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alfheimwanderer
September 28th, 2015, 11:53 PM
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?

As made, vanishing cabinets come in linked pairs, not as individual units. They provide a convenient - and inconspicuous - way for people to travel from one location to another. For example, the heads of old families might have bought a pair so they had access to the house of their mistress, or such.

Mattias
September 29th, 2015, 12:00 AM
[x] Vanishing Cabinets. We leave one in the RoR and the second in either our home (to better embezzle artifacts) or take it with us to Durmstrang so we can commute easily.
[x] The Desk of the Hind. This seems like an easy in for Drake when the War comes. While she's no Nero, She's still a great servant for us. Extra Team a-go!

[x] Faust. Phantom is too love story for a girl we're not going after. Tempest would just be cruel. I mean, a wizard who goes to such extremes to protect his daughter that he takes her to an abandoned island, shown to a girl who thinks her wizard dad abandoned her for a redheaded Japanese kid he found in the street (who is also a friend of ours)? Recipe for disaster. And I've never heard of Arcadia.


On the Touko's debt issue, while I'm all for helping out the Master, we shouldn't bankrupt ourselves doing so. Like never more than half of our wealth, unless we have a very large and secure payoff coming almost immediately after. It's not like she really needs the help. She's been doing just fine on her own for years, and who are they going to send to collect the debt on Blue's sister? Lemming McRedshirt?

BibliophileGoat
September 29th, 2015, 12:09 AM
[X] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[X] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons) ...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] The opera Faust

The vanishing cabinets and Black Library for the same reasons everyone else has been stating, and Faust because it sounds interesting. As for the desk, my reasoning is the same as Mattias'. Rich Shinji plus Drake is an interesting prospect, to say the least. The First Folio remains rather tempting, though, seeing as Shinji and Shakespeare's chemistry could be rather interesting. Well, I'll likely have forgotten all about this by the time we actually get to the war, so no matter.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 12:44 AM
Changing my vote.

[x] 4 sets of Vanishing Cabinets :P Or just 1 if Alf wants to insist money doesn't somehow solve this problem.
[x] The most important individual books of the Black library
[x] Drake's desk.

Total spend 260k, about 950k left. Should be more than enough to pay Touko debts, since it's almost 5 million British Pounds.

Honestly I'd like to trump 400k more for the library core and still have 550k for Touko, but doesn't look like the votes will go that way.

But yeah, rich Shinji + Francis Drake = AMAZING. We can go for the Drake route.

Caster
September 29th, 2015, 12:52 AM
I think the Folio would be pretty interesting for sure. Though who knows if she will be around, but would be funny seeing Hermione meet Shakespeare. That and he seems fitting for Shinji as he is now. More crafty. That and I can't imagine that the only benefit to it is summoning, so curious what it may hold. Shakespeare is a Caster after all, maybe Shinji could learn magic from it. Drake is tempting, I'm just not sure it has as much immediate benefit.

Vanishing Cabinets and their benefit hardly need to be explained really. So much they can do, so little drawback.

As for the library, hard to say what to do. I do think grabbing up some books is wise, maybe get some advice from someone who would know the right books. Snape or Lockhart maybe could help, rather than just Shinji guessing, or Tomas perhaps. I don't think the bidding war is right though, as others said needlessly antagonistic.

As for the play, I think Faust is a good idea, though I honestly don't know quite how any of them would go for sure.

So my votes are Vanishing Cabinets, Core books with friendly advice, Shakespeare, and Faust. I'm not sure how costly that is, but with the cabinets we should be able to get more money later on. Drop one cabinet at Hogwarts, take the other with you to Japan, work on that some in the spare time. All of these except the cabinets are limited offers, some caution is good but I think it's better to jump on these a bit instead of just letting them pass. We can get more money after all.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 01:02 AM
Yeah, this is really why I'm keen to get the whole core of the library collection for 500k instead of just a couple of books. Who knows what's in there? We may never get this chance again.

This is the same reasoning for Drake's desk. I want to build up a collection of possible catalysts if we can. More options in the end is better.

gesalt
September 29th, 2015, 01:50 AM
Purchase:
[X] 1-4 sets of Vanishing Cabinets
[X] Core
[X] Desk

Play:
[X] Arcadia

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 02:10 AM
I'm plenty fine not getting Drake, let's not waste our precious Touko money on that. Can I give negative votes to certain options?

Caster
September 29th, 2015, 02:32 AM
I'm not sure where we are getting the idea of Touko getting Shinji to pay for things. Doesn't strike me as being likely. Does Touko even have reason to believe Shinji has a lot of wealth? I can't recall it coming up.

Thedoctor
September 29th, 2015, 02:49 AM
I'm pretty sure the Touko's debt is gonna be paid in favors not gold.
As for the votes:
Purchase:
[X] 4 Vanisishing cabinets.
[X]The more interesting titles.

Play:
[X] Arcadia.

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 03:13 AM
[X] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)

As others said, it would greatly help our mobility between important places, such as RoR.

[X] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons) with the intention of acquiring a few of the more interesting titles (+100k galleons)

A few books are fine. Shinji learns trough practice and experiments better than books and there may be something that could really interest him. And yes, I am against just driving up the prize. Let's not antagonize the most powerful man in the Wizarding Britain, OK?

[X] Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

So, this is the newest play. With Ilya's sheltered upbringing, there are chances she had not seen other plays as well, but I think she at least heard about them. This is also about how she views Shinji. What message would he send by taking her to Phantom or Tempest? Besides, from a quick glance, one of the themes of Arcadia is nature of evidence and truth.

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 29th, 2015, 03:33 AM
[x] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[x] Have your Agent bid on the Black Library (1k Galleons)...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)

While it is not my intention, I would imagine that just going for "interesting titles" could incite paranoia in Malfoy or other prospective buyers as they might presume that Shinji was acting under some sort of information, causing him to deem only a select few books worth acquiring.

[x] Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

Kishou the Badger
September 29th, 2015, 04:14 AM
[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 winning the entire collection (+900k Galleons)
[X]A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons)

[X] The opera Faust

All the other popular choices I'm cool with, but I think Faust might be more familiar to Illya because it's based on great German literature. Guess what ethnicity Illya (mostly) is. German.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 05:27 AM
I can see many of the points that everyone has made with regards to not antagonizing Lucius and taking Arcadia as the play.

Changing my votes accordingly:

[x] - One to four pairs of Vanishing Cabinets (Depending on what is permitted)
[x] - A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons) (Replaces Running up the Price as much as possible)
[x] - Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (Replaces Tempest)

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 06:34 AM
In regards to First Folio and new, shiny furniture, I find it amusing that (counting them separately) Shinji stumbled so far at, what, three or four possible summoning catalysts?

Besides, I think if he bought First Folio, Shinji's thought process would actually look something like that:

Hermione is name from Shakespeare --> Hermione likes Shakespeare --> I paid for wand with Hermione's gift (shit, shit shit) --> Buy her a nice present --> I don't particularly care for Shakespeare --> Give First Folio to Hermione --> ??? --> Success!

And then, three, four years later markings appear on Hermione's hand and she goes to Matou, because he seems to always know what is going on. And so, Hermione rents a room in Stratford-upon-Avon and attempts summoning with First Folio in hand. She doesn't even think it will succeed, because Bard wasn't all that heroic (even if he was famous), but thinks it would be a shame not to try. And hey, if it doesn't work, she will still get someone! And then, there is entirely different Caster team for Fuyuki Grail War.

Of course, looking at the price of the damn thing (500.000 Galleons!), I doubt it would be likely.

Veldril
September 29th, 2015, 07:32 AM
In regards to First Folio and new, shiny furniture, I find it amusing that (counting them separately) Shinji stumbled so far at, what, three or four possible summoning catalysts?

Besides, I think if he bought First Folio, Shinji's thought process would actually look something like that:

Hermione is name from Shakespeare --> Hermione likes Shakespeare --> I paid for wand with Hermione's gift (shit, shit shit) --> Buy her a nice present --> I don't particularly care for Shakespeare --> Give First Folio to Hermione --> ??? --> Success!

And then, three, four years later markings appear on Hermione's hand and she goes to Matou, because he seems to always know what is going on. And so, Hermione rents a room in Stratford-upon-Avon and attempts summoning with First Folio in hand. She doesn't even think it will succeed, because Bard wasn't all that heroic (even if he was famous), but thinks it would be a shame not to try. And hey, if it doesn't work, she will still get someone! And then, there is entirely different Caster team for Fuyuki Grail War.

Of course, looking at the price of the damn thing (500.000 Galleons!), I doubt it would be likely.

Just don't give her a catalyst to summon Hans Christian Anderson... God, she would be reborn into Devil Hermione in super yandere mode.

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 07:37 AM
Here are my choices:

[ 2x] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[ x] 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)
[x] ...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)
[x] 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

This will leave us with about 929,000 galleons in reserve.

I like the idea of having two pairs of Vanishing Cabinets if possible.

We deny Lucius the most interesting titles without coming across as needlessly antagonistic or spending too much at once. We'll likely be able to learn something from the books, and even if we'd learn more from the less interesting volumes it's likely to be a marginal return.

The First Folio could be presented as a gift to Hermione, but it is far too expensive and would trip more romantic flags. We should just get her a thoughtful and reasonable present. Beyond which, I don't trust Shakespeare as our Servant.

The Desk from the Golden Hind is a much more practical choice. Of course, Drake may still say we're a villain, but we've matured beyond EXTRA!Shinji and if we don't squander too much of our wealth we should have a good rapport with her. Even if it isn't used as a Catalyst (of course it will be) it should be a nice desk and status symbol.

We are under no obligation to pay Tokuo's debts, and I'm not sure why someone saw fit to bring that up. We've probably already paid Rin's debts with the jewels we sent her, but if there is anyone we should be giving preferential treatment it should be Rin (Rin route FTW!).


[ ] William Shakespeare's The Tempest
[ ] The opera Faust
[x] Tom Stoppard's Arcadia
[ ] Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera

Would Illya really be familiar with these plays? Didn't the Einzbern keep her cloistered away in their castle so that should could be molded into a weapon/vessel for the Holy Grail War?

Regardless, Arcadia, because I like science and I will project that interest onto Shinji. Though strangely I hadn't heard of that play until today.

Thedoctor
September 29th, 2015, 07:38 AM
Please don't give her first folio.

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 07:40 AM
Please don't give her first folio.

Of course not.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 07:59 AM
Please don't give her first folio.

We'll do what we can to make sure it stays that way.

Veldril
September 29th, 2015, 08:01 AM
Also, I'm changing my vote from The Tempest to [X]Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 08:38 AM
I'm not sure where we are getting the idea of Touko getting Shinji to pay for things. Doesn't strike me as being likely. Does Touko even have reason to believe Shinji has a lot of wealth? I can't recall it coming up.

Alf has said that this is going to be happening in IRC. We'll be running into Aoko and she'll be wanting Touko to cough up the money she's been taking.


We are under no obligation to pay Tokuo's debts, and I'm not sure why someone saw fit to bring that up. We've probably already paid Rin's debts with the jewels we sent her, but if there is anyone we should be giving preferential treatment it should be Rin (Rin route FTW!).

Uh, we're her apprentice. If we're under anyone's obligation it's hers.

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 08:47 AM
Tokuo is responsible for her own finances. Sure, we can help her if we want (a good idea since she is our teacher), and we are grateful to her, but we shouldn't let ourselves be taken advantage of. Now it would be one thing if she asked for money as a condition for teaching us, but that's not the arrangement that we currently have.

Neither are we obligated to Rin… but our money is more useful in making a positive impression upon her than it is upon Tokuo, and I'd like to keep pursuing the Rin route. Besides, it's not like we're covering Rin's debts anymore - we already did that and anything else is out of continued goodwill toward her.

Abendroth
September 29th, 2015, 09:13 AM
Naturally, we are not actually obligated to help Touko with her debts. That is why if we do she will owe us a favor. A favor from Touko, her gratitude, is worth more than anything else we can buy. Like, if "Favor from Touko" was on the current purchase list, would you rather buy that or the Black library?






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.

I believe you are miss-remembering the play.


Faust is bored and depressed with his life as a scholar. After an attempt to take his own life, he calls on the Devil for further knowledge and magic powers with which to indulge all the pleasure and knowledge of the world. In response, the Devil's representative, Mephistopheles, appears. He makes a bargain with Faust: Mephistopheles will serve Faust with his magic powers for a set number of years, but at the end of the term, the Devil will claim Faust's soul, and Faust will be eternally damned. The term usually stipulated in the early tales is 24 years; one year for each of the hours in a day.[citation needed]


During the term of the bargain, Faust makes use of Mephistopheles in various ways. In many versions of the story, particularly Goethe's drama, Mephistopheles helps Faust seduce a beautiful and innocent girl, usually named Gretchen, whose life is ultimately destroyed. However, Gretchen's innocence saves her in the end, and she enters Heaven. In Goethe's rendition, Faust is saved by God's grace via his constant striving—in combination with Gretchen's pleadings with God in the form of the Eternal Feminine. However, in the early tales, Faust is irrevocably corrupted and believes his sins cannot be forgiven; when the term ends, the Devil carries him off to Hell.
Since the play is the Goethe version, Faust is a story about a Magus who does terrible things for power, but in the end is redeemed through a combination of the power of love and his nobility in pursuing knowledge and efforts to make the world better with his power, despite his terrible bargain.


Don't know much about Arcadia.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 09:33 AM
I though that the play we were referring to was the french opera, that was loosely based on Goethe's Faust.

Especially considering it was detailed to be the opera.​

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 10:09 AM
Abendroth: Fair enough. If it's us voluntarily doing a small favor for Tokuo and having her in our debt, then that's fine.

Malgos
September 29th, 2015, 11:12 AM
After reading up on it the Vanishing Cabinets sound nice, as well as bidding on the more interesting titles. I'd rather not bother with acquiring a catalyst now and I'd lean more towards going for a compatible Servant anyways. Also not overly interested in securing Shakespeare or Drake.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 11:24 AM
I don't see why people wouldn't be happy with Drake as a Servant. We're Shinji for heaven's sake, we have pretty much no prana. We can't fuel beasts like Karna or Achilles or whatever.

What are the Servants you peoplr would want if not a fun rougish pirate with an A+ magical storm pirate cannon bombardment who can potentially do all sorts of amazing and unique strategies and gets powered up by our gold rather than our magical strength?

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 11:28 AM
Shinji: Screw the rules, I have money!

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 11:51 AM
I, for one, would be interested in seeing Shinji NOT participate in the Holy Grail War. He doesn't even has anything he would want from the Grail at the moment. Granted, it will probably change in those four years when Voldemort returns, but then, Shinji will probably help Harry with fighting and not go to Fuyuki for a whole month to get himself in mortal danger.

Besides, those catalysts are really freaking expensive, and even with RoR at his disposal, it would be better if Shinji preserved money.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 12:25 PM
I thought that the desk would be a good investment even though Shinji doesn't join the grail war. I'd rather he not, myself, but we can't always be sure so I felt that the insurance might be good.

Worst case we can lend it to a friendly so that the have a catalyst for their own summoning. As you mentioned, it'd be hilarious to have a completely different servant lineup for the grail war - even though we're not participating in it ourselves.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 12:25 PM
Obviously we don't know if we'll even get a choice in the matter so saying "I don't want any catalysts because I don't want to participate" is daft. Gotta plan ahead for emergency situations.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 12:35 PM
I feel like unless people fix him up in Mahotokoro we can probably presume Shirou will bring out Artoria, Old Man Acht will probably insist on Herkzerker no matter how well we get on with Ilya and assuming Medea doesn't show up to fuck around Hassan will definitely be Assassin. If for some reason Rin doesn't use her pendant then we could potentially be looking at a Servant from the Archer, Lancer, Rider or Caster class (or a Hassan) if we do end up mixed up in HGW5.

Of all the Riders I'd genuinely think Drake is one of the most preferrable for the above reasons. Otherthan her maaaaybe St George if he gets his full range of stuff rather than just his GO set, or Boudica for fun interaction with Artoria (but no Rank A NP for Herk makes me sad). I don't really want a Lancer, none feel like they fit Shinji. For Casters I'd only really be interested in Medea becausemost other Casters are either not possible under the Fuyuki system or awful betrayers, even worse than Medea since they all had nice Masters.

An Archer would be ideal because Independent Action offsets our low prana and either Chiron or Atalanta have good strong attacks and versatility, or Robin Hood might suit our methods well. But they're all totally dependant on Rin not goofing up and summoning EMIYA, which we just don't know about.

So right now having a catalyst for Drake seems like a good idea to me.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 12:41 PM
I feel like unless people fix him up in Mahotokoro we can probably presume Shirou will bring out Artoria, Old Man Acht will probably insist on Herkzerker no matter how well we get on with Ilya and assuming Medea doesn't show up to fuck around Hassan will definitely be Assassin. If for some reason Rin doesn't use her pendant then we could potentially be looking at a Servant from the Archer, Lancer, Rider or Caster class (or a Hassan) if we do end up mixed up in HGW5.

Of all the Riders I'd genuinely think Drake is one of the most preferrable for the above reasons. Otherthan her maaaaybe St George if he gets his full range of stuff rather than just his GO set, or Boudica for fun interaction with Artoria (but no Rank A NP for Herk makes me sad). I don't really want a Lancer, none feel like they fit Shinji. For Casters I'd only really be interested in Medea becausemost other Casters are either not possible under the Fuyuki system or awful betrayers, even worse than Medea since they all had nice Masters.

An Archer would be ideal because Independent Action offsets our low prana and either Chiron or Atalanta have good strong attacks and versatility, or Robin Hood might suit our methods well. But they're all totally dependant on Rin not goofing up and summoning EMIYA, which we just don't know about.

So right now having a catalyst for Drake seems like a good idea to me.

I agree with you here.

Though from the non-existent roster, summoning Tadakatsu Honda as lancer or perhaps Oda Nobunaga under archer, saber, or rider would be great for Shinji considering how many mythical legends were in play in the Fifth Grail War. Of course, these two suffer from the lack of development from actual canon.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 12:44 PM
The Fuyuki War doesnt allow for Asian Servants. So I didn't even consider any of the Koha Ace servants or any Asian from GO.

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 12:45 PM
I feel like unless people fix him up in Mahotokoro we can probably presume Shirou will bring out Artoria, Old Man Acht will probably insist on Herkzerker no matter how well we get on with Ilya and assuming Medea doesn't show up to fuck around Hassan will definitely be Assassin. If for some reason Rin doesn't use her pendant then we could potentially be looking at a Servant from the Archer, Lancer, Rider or Caster class (or a Hassan) if we do end up mixed up in HGW5.

Of all the Riders I'd genuinely think Drake is one of the most preferrable for the above reasons. Otherthan her maaaaybe St George if he gets his full range of stuff rather than just his GO set, or Boudica for fun interaction with Artoria (but no Rank A NP for Herk makes me sad). I don't really want a Lancer, none feel like they fit Shinji. For Casters I'd only really be interested in Medea becausemost other Casters are either not possible under the Fuyuki system or awful betrayers, even worse than Medea since they all had nice Masters.

An Archer would be ideal because Independent Action offsets our low prana and either Chiron or Atalanta have good strong attacks and versatility, or Robin Hood might suit our methods well. But they're all totally dependant on Rin not goofing up and summoning EMIYA, which we just don't know about.

So right now having a catalyst for Drake seems like a good idea to me.

Well, if you can convince others to spend over a hundred thousand on that furniture made of Golden Hind, I will throw my vote for that.

[X] A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons)

Lancer kinda depends on Bazett, which depends on Kotomine (I remember something on him basically being her sponsor). If she gets into the war, there is Cu. I would actually agree with you that Archer would offset relatively low prana reserves Shinji has. Being in England, we may stumble upon something for Robin Hood (who, if I got it right, is like Hassan, collection of heroes who took the mantle, so he can be different from canon). Chiron and Atalanta would require trip to Greece (and maybe good PR with centaurs) and some info on their catalyst. And then astronomical prices, because Age of Gods local heroes.

If Rin fucks it up again and summons Emiya, we may have to turn for Rider and Caster. It really is depressing if Medea (Witch of Betrayal) is actually one of the nicer Casters possible in Fuyuki system. Maybe some OC, English Caster? Like Morgan la Fey or one of Founders?

Rider is basically Drake as you said.

Unfortunately, Trickster, under Fuyuki Grail system Japanese Servants are big no.

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 12:46 PM
The Fuyuki War doesnt allow for Asian Servants. So I didn't even consider any of the Koha Ace servants or any Asian from GO.

I was not aware of this. Wasn't Sasaki technically an Asian Servant despite being fictional? As was Okita Souji.

Edit: Ah, well that's a shame indeed. Perhaps other options will present themselves, then. Darius the First, perhaps? XD

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 12:47 PM
Medea hijacked system. Even then, Sasaki's qualification is Fake Assassin.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 12:51 PM
Kojirou was because Medea basically hacked the Grail. He's an abberation. Sakura Saber hasn't shown up in any Fuyuki Grail War, only the warped Koha Ace Grail War where things have clearly been messed around with a whole lot.

- - - Updated - - -

Medea only betrayed those who basically used her and discarded her. She latched on to Brick Wall like a fucking life preserver on the Titanic.

Also I think it'd be fun to summonMedea Lily

Omida
September 29th, 2015, 12:55 PM
Medea route is now confirmed to be possible for non-asshole Shinji. Clearly, there is no better option. (Yes, I want to give her happy ending)

mr_Trickster
September 29th, 2015, 12:57 PM
I wouldn't mind Medea route opening up for Shinji.

Aren't Lilies considered a little on the eh side for stats, though?

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 01:13 PM
If it prevents a ganking then hey.

- - - Updated - - -


Medea route is now confirmed to be possible for non-asshole Shinji. Clearly, there is no better option. (Yes, I want to give her happy ending)

Drake is a better option ;)

Caster
September 29th, 2015, 01:44 PM
I'm still a bit unsure on what makes Drake a good summon for Shinji. Aside from money I can't see much that would cause the two to get along especially, or make for interesting interactions. Though it looks like that'll wind up being the catalyst we get either way, just would be curious to hear convincing reasoning.

alfheimwanderer
September 29th, 2015, 01:56 PM
Just in case it wasn't quite clear before:

1 Galleon = 5 British Pounds

In this time period, 1 British Pound ~ 2 US Dollars, so 1 Galleon is about 8-10 USD, if you want prices in a more common unit!

(And of course we're not giving the First Folio to Hermione. She's not on your list of 3 to prioritize, and he's not spending $2.5 Million USD on her. On the other hand, a first edition of H.C. Andersen's Fairy Tales - which includes such favorites as The Nightingale and the Ugly Duckling is valued at oh, $30,000 USD).

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 01:57 PM
I'm still a bit unsure on what makes Drake a good summon for Shinji. Aside from money I can't see much that would cause the two to get along especially, or make for interesting interactions. Though it looks like that'll wind up being the catalyst we get either way, just would be curious to hear convincing reasoning.

They got along just fine in EXTRA.

Caster
September 29th, 2015, 02:29 PM
That Shinji and this Shinji are not the same though. Like... Shinji in this has become really different. Though is Hans on the list of potential catalysts? I'm really curious why Shakespeare is so expensive, assuming it's not purely for accuracy reasons, which is also partially why I want to go for it. The more expensive options tend to have more weight to them.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 02:34 PM
Then you should buy the whole library for ~$9,000,000

alfheimwanderer
September 29th, 2015, 02:36 PM
That Shinji and this Shinji are not the same though. Like... Shinji in this has become really different. Though is Hans on the list of potential catalysts? I'm really curious why Shakespeare is so expensive, assuming it's not purely for accuracy reasons, which is also partially why I want to go for it. The more expensive options tend to have more weight to them.

Accuracy reasons, essentially. It's a complete copy of the First Foilo in excellent condition. Similar copies have been appraised at such a value (or higher!), given how few of them there are.

The Andersen book and such would essentially be pocket change for Shinji at this point, hence why it really isn't being listed as something to purchase, while the First Folio would still dent his fortune. Considerably.

Caster
September 29th, 2015, 02:37 PM
I would be behind that honestly, but I think it's a bit easier to swing core books vote-wise. Though if I had an idea of how much helping Touko would cost I could at least consider how that might play out a bit.

Edit: Ah. Well that kind of changes things a bit, doesn't mean it would hold anything that I was thinking it could. Still think Shakespeare would be more interesting, but not surprised Drake is winning given the usual tide.

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 05:56 PM
Why do set on Drake, Vagrant? She's already losing to under statted Emiya, Saberclone, and foxgirl in Extra. Quite frankly, I think she'd probably be less use than even Medusa against a lot of the FSN servants.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 06:02 PM
If you think gamemechanics means anything I thin that's a bit silly.

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 06:17 PM
Not really, I just don'tthink Drake is all that strong a heroic spirit. Plus, she'd be completely useless against Cu and Herk.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 08:17 PM
So like most Heroic Spirits of the caliber shinji could expect to summon then?

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 08:26 PM
So like most Heroic Spirits of the caliber shinji could expect to summon then?

Just need to find a good budget Heroic Spirit. Like Medea or George.

Vagrant
September 29th, 2015, 08:28 PM
Dunno if George is that budget to be honest. Medea can manage herself as long as she has any human anchor but we already know she can't deal with Herk.

Very few people can.

EnigmaticFellow
September 29th, 2015, 09:19 PM
Just need to find a good budget Heroic Spirit. Like Medea or George.

Our best bet in that regard would be an Archer that isn't a prana hog. Sure Shinji would be unable to support the likes of Karna, but there's got to be some good Archers out there.

Nephirin
September 29th, 2015, 09:24 PM
Dunno if George is that budget to be honest. Medea can manage herself as long as she has any human anchor but we already know she can't deal with Herk.

Very few people can.

Sure she can. Just needs to hit his Master with Rulebreaker.

Abendroth
September 29th, 2015, 09:40 PM
We may be about to commit another " reading a while on watch duty" choice. I was re-reading the description of the choice, rather than looking at the choice list, and I noticed something.




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.






We have become so concerned with finding the play that sends the right message that we have forgotten that the purpose is to keep Illya entertained. Illya is, after all, an easily bored child.


Of the options, Arcadia is a modern, minimalist play. It is pretty much the polar opposite of "spectacle and pomp." Because this is the opera Faust (as mr_Trickster was kind enough to remind me), Faust is a poor choice as well; the opera was originally turned down it because it was not "showy" enough.


That leaves The Tempest the and The Phantom. If you want spectacle and pomp, Andrew Lloyd Webber is your huckleberry. The Tempest does have some flare too, if not as much.


Tempest is about an exiled sorcerer who eventually forgives his enemies and engages his daughter to the son of one of his old enemies, before abandoning his magic so he can leave his island.


Phantom is about a disfigured man who does terrible things to help a young woman, before kidnapping her, and then, depending on the which ending is used, either living with her thereafter or being killed by an angry mob while she marries her fiancé. It is suspected for some time that the phantom it is her father.


I'm not really sure about the message but I think Illya would enjoy Phantom more. The music is fantastic and it has lots of drama.


[ ] Commission a pair of Vanishing Cabinets for your use (10k Galleons)
[ ] A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind (+150k Galleons)

I'm not sure if we want to participate in the HGW or not, but given Shinji's Prana supply a spirit that depends on a money instead is a good thing to have in our back pocket just in case, especially since we can acquire it now for a reasonable fee. Summoning Medea is a very interesting option as well, if we actually have that option.

Magus
September 29th, 2015, 11:22 PM
That is a fair point about the purpose of the play being to entertain Illya.

Change my play vote to: [x] The Tempest.

Omida
September 30th, 2015, 12:49 AM
Good thinking. I will change my vote too.

[X] Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 12:52 AM
Eh sure.

[x] Phantom of the Opera

Malgos
September 30th, 2015, 12:55 AM
Good luck trying to change it this late. I sorta doubt it, though.

Edit: Cause the votes were already tallied.

Caster
September 30th, 2015, 01:14 AM
Was going to say it's a bit late, yeah. Alf was sharing a bit of the possible results.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 03:32 AM
Choice 62:
[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)

Choice 63:
[X] Arcadia

100%

Chapter 24. The Looking Glass Game

Diagon Alley.

After two and a half years of going to school at Hogwarts, it was hard to believe that this was the first time Matou Shinji was finally setting foot in the shopping district said to be the heart of wizarding Britain, given that most others had to come here at some point or other for school supplies or visits to the bank, but here he was, standing beside Robert Hillard, Head Boy of Hogwarts, having just stepped into a tavern that the other swore was the area's main access point.

“Are you sure this is the gateway?” Shinji asked, feeling rather skeptical as he looked around. This place, the Leaky Cauldron, was a rather tiny, grubby-looking pub, seeming rather dark and shabby – and it had not escaped him that the moment they had appeared in the tavern, all eyes had been on Hillard and himself. “It seems rather…”

“Oh, it’s not much to look at, aye,” the bartender interjected, a bald, wrinkled old man that reminded Shinji of nothing so much as a toothless walnut. “But the Cauldron’s a fine place, aye lads?”

The “ayes” which trickled in from around the tavern seemed half-hearted at best, with most of the patrons more concerned with their drinks than anything else – but then, Shinji supposed that was to be expected, given that it wasn’t yet noon.

“…you should have come in the evening,” the man sighed, peering at the duo more closely, a sense of recognition flashing through his eyes as he came out from behind the bar and seized the hand of first one, then the other. “Why, as I live and breathe! Its Robert Hillard and Shinji Matou of the Stone Cutters in my humble establishment! Friends of Harry Potter himself!”

Then there was a great scraping of chairs and the next moment, Matou Shinji found himself shaking hands with everyone in the Leaky Cauldron, feeling both gratified at the recognition – but also rather uncomfortable due to the presence of so many people crowding around him.

“We read about you in the Prophet,” one patron spoke up. “Brave, brave child to face a Dark Wizard so.”

“The world needs more heroes like the two of you.”

“Delightful, just delightful to meet you!” another said, shaking their hands. “If only my son was as heroic as you are. So selfless, so brave!”

“. . .”

Shinji just smiled politely and kept shaking people’s hands, though as people kept coming – and where were they all coming from? – his smile became more and more strained, especially when they commented on what a nice girl he’d danced with at the ball, what a lovely couple they made, and how young love was such a wonderful thing.

Hillard was in something of the same boat, as he was swarmed by people who regarded him as a figure of romance and drama. Not for the first time, he wondered how Professor Lockhart put up with the crowds that inevitably gathered around him when he went out, and whether the History Professor had taken a position at Hogwarts for some welcome relief.

“It’s been an utter delight to meet you all,” the Head Boy said to the throngs. “To honor our meeting, let us buy you all a round, shall we?”

“So generous!”

“So kind!”

“What a blessed day!”

“Indeed. Matou, if you would kindly…I think a hundred Galleons would be enough?” Hillard requested of the younger boy, who glanced at the older Ravenclaw balefully but withdrew the money needed, since compared to what else he was buying, this was pocket change. “Tom, a round of Gamp’s Old Gregarious for everyone, please!”

At the sound of his words, dead silence filled the pub. Gamp’s Old Gregarious, after all, the brand of wizarding beer named after Ulick Gamp, the first British Minister of Magic, was said to taste surprisingly foul – so much so that there was a hundred Galleon prize for anyone who managed to finish a pint of it – a prize that had gone unclaimed nearly three hundred years after its creation.

Something that all present were very much aware of.

“Um…be meaning no disrespect, Mister Hillard,” one of the tavern-goers spoke up after a moment. “But might’n you reconsider your choice of beverage?”

“Nonsense,” Hillard replied, clapping the man on the shoulder, while smiling his most winning smile. “If today is the luckiest of days, then let our fortune be your fortune. Perhaps you might even win a hundred Galleons for your trouble! Opportunity knocks once and all that.”

“Ah, of course, Mister Hillard, sir, quite honored,” the other man said with a bow.

And as Old Tom, the bartender, moved to deliver pints of the brew to everyone in the tavern, Hillard and Shinji made their escape from the bar, going out the door and into small, walled courtyard, where there was nothing but a trash can and a few weeds.
“I…didn’t expect that,” Shinji stated, still feeling more than a little overwhelmed. “All those people…”

It was one thing to be at a press conference, with throngs of reporters sitting in the audience desperate for answers, because they were out there, not crowding in on him. It was quite another to be quite suddenly mobbed by people of uncertain intentions.

“…I guess we’re more popular than I thought,” Hillard noted, shaking his head. “Hopefully Gamp’s Old will keep them busy for a while.”

“Gamp’s Old?” Shinji echoed. “The brew you ordered for everyone?”

“That’s right,” the Head Boy answered. “The funny thing about people is that they usually live up – or down – to their expectations, and with me having given them my blessing…”

“…they’ll keep trying and trying to down the beer, no matter how disgusting it is,” Shinji realized, looking at his companion with a touch more respect. “I guess once a prankster, always a prankster, eh?”

“Admittedly, it’s part of why Tonks and I get along so well,” Hillard answered, a smile crossing his lips at the thought of the older woman. “We’re both pranksters at heart, even if I’m usually a bit less obvious about it.”

“Oh?” Shinji asked.

“Unlike myself, Tonks never became a prefect,” the older Ravenclaw explained. “Something about Professor Sprout thinking she lacked certain necessary qualities.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, the ability to behave herself,” Hillard replied with a chuckle, a bit of a twinkle in his eye. “Though speaking of behaving, did you and Lovegood enjoy the mistletoe?”

Shinji blinked, wondering how Hillard had known – and then realizing the older boy must have hung the mistletoe himself.

“…so you were behind that?” he asked in a flat voice, though his blank expression was betrayed by faint spots of pink on his cheeks.

“Of course, Matou,” the Head Boy answered jovially. “I promised not to bring up Granger or Lovegood, not that I’d stop…meddling. Besides, judging from your blush, it worked, didn’t it? First kiss, I suppose?”

Shinji mumbled something incomprehensible – and highly uncharitable – under his breath.

“…no, actually,” he admitted, though he wasn’t about to spill the details. A gentleman didn’t kiss and tell, after all…

“…Merlin blast it all,” Hillard muttered, shaking his head. “And I thought it was such a sure bet too, with how you two…oh never mind, I just owe Potter a case of Bolandi’s Exquisite Crystallized Pineapple. Unless Granger did steal your first kiss after the Halloween Ball, in which case I owe the Twins.”

For a moment, Shinji didn’t say anything at all, though the expression of surprise on his face said it all.

“She did? Merlin, I wouldn’t have…” the Head Boy continued, cradling his head in his hands. “Bother, I was looking forward to a case of Blishen’s Firewhiskey for Christmas too.”

Shinji twitched, his brain connecting the dots and coming to a rather unsavoury conclusion.

“…you all bet on who was going to take my first kiss?” he asked incredulously. Surely his colleagues had other affairs to concern themselves with, apart from his personal life, even if kissing Luna hadn’t been…unpleasant at all. “Why?”

“Well, we can’t be all business all the time, now can we?” Hillard replied, harrumphing. “With Potter, there’s no sport in it – we all know who he’s with. The Twins don’t have steady partners, and I couldn’t begin to guess with them. You, on the other hand…”

“…if it makes you feel better, I do wish that had been my first,” Shinji said after taking several deep breaths. “Alas…”

“Alas indeed…” Hillard agreed. “Ah well, can’t expect to win all the time, I suppose.”

“Anything else I should know you’ve been betting on?” Shinji inquired mildly.

“Nothing much,” the Head Boy answered after a beat. “Just a few things here and there, like which House will win the Cup this year, or which team will win the Honeydukes Cup for Capture the Flag. Keeps the tension off of wondering who brought in…” ‘…the Acromantulae.’

“...I can see that,” Shinji allowed. After all, that was why they had not gone to the faculty as a whole with the concerns, given that they knew someone on the staff – perhaps several someones – had to have been involved in not only bringing the giant spiders to Hogwarts, but covering up their existence for decades. Based on how long the colony had probably been there, they suspected it was one of the older faculty members, someone highly placed as well – but who was the question.

It was something of a quandary. If they reported the presence of the colony to the authorities, they risked people wondering why they were there in the first place when the Forbidden Forest had been labelled as off-limits to students – and if there was someone on the staff working to keep the presence of the spiders a secret, the spiders might be given forewarning, so that whatever task force was sent out would not find them.

They remembered Quirrell, after all, and how well he had fooled the other members of staff in first year, so that none of them ever suspected him of bringing in the troll, of harboring the spirit of Voldemort, of any hidden motives – so much so that even now, the late Defense Professor was praised as a hero who had represented the very best of Hogwarts.

…and if there was one such person on the staff, there might be others. Why, even Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress, was not above suspicion, given how long she’d been on staff.

The only one they thought they could trust – by virtue of him being a recent hire who couldn’t be involved with the conspiracy because he was abroad so often – was the History Professor, Gilderoy Lockhart. Coincidentally, the adventurer happened to be the one man who they thought might have experience dealing with such creatures.

“Right…” Hillard said. “Anyway, to access the Alley, you just tap the bricks in a counter-clockwise order…like so.”

The older Ravenclaw proceeded to demonstrate, tapping the wall three times with his wand, as the bricks he touched quivered, wriggled, sighed, with a hole opening in the middle of them, growing wider and wider until the duo faced an archway that opened onto a cobbled street that twisted and turned out of sight.

"Welcome," the Head Boy declared grandly, "to Diagon Alley." He blinked as he saw Shinji’s expression stay exactly the same as before.

“This…is it?” Shinji asked, looking puzzled at all the buildup, struggling to understand what he was seeing. “This is the heart of Magical Britain?”

When he’d stepped through the portal to Mahoutokoro, he’d found himself on a ledge overlooking a subterranean cavern – an entire city spread out before him, bustling with magic and mystery. The sight of that had struck him with wonder as to the possibilities of the world he was entering, inspiring him with what could – what might – be.

This place though? Compared to the grandeur and openness of the city of magic he called home in Japan, this…was a back alley accessible only through a dingy pub, as if having the ability to change the world was a shameful secret that one had to hide at all costs.

“You’re not impressed,” Hillard observed, slightly surprised. “At all. Why is that?”

He was genuinely curious. After all, for him, Diagon Alley had been his first exposure to the world of magic – to the fact that there was an entire society of wizards and witches – that there were others like him and his parents. So why did Matou seem…disappointed?

“Because Mahoutokoro was grander,” Shinji said simply. He knew why – or at least he thought he did. The jewel of the East had been built with the cooperation of youkai, practitioners of witchcraft, and magi alike, far away from the War which had raged between Church and Association, after all. As such, it was a single, centralized city whose name meant “the place of magic,” a place where these abilities and powers were cultivated, respected, celebrated – not hidden away out of shame and fear.

It was likely no coincidence that Durmstrang and Hogwarts were so far away from the Continent, after all, in difficult to reach places that had at various times been described as the end of the earth, or that Beauxbatons was hidden away amidst the craggy peaks of the Pyrenees, while Mahoutokoro’s facilities were beneath the former capital of Japan.

…but then, with the exception of those who were hidden Christians, the influence of the Church in Japan had always been weak, as opposed to largely Christianized Europe.

In his mind, he understood all this. But in his heart, in the very core of him, that knowledge didn’t matter. What mattered was that Mahoutokoro was a symbol of what was possible if he walked his path for long enough, if he did not simply ascribe to one set of dictates or another, but forged his future with his own two hands.

And that Diagon Alley, well…

“Grander?” Hillard echoed, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.

“You’d understand if you saw it,” Shinji said quietly. “I’ve grown up with thaumaturgy my entire life, but it wasn’t until I went there that…” ‘…that I understood that I had a future. That I wasn’t just a useless child who had been replaced. That I had my own path.’

“I see,” the older Ravenclaw noted, shaking his head as a wry smile touched his lips. He should have known better than to think Matou would be impressed by this. “Anything else you want to add?”

“Well, now that you ask, I’m not exactly impressed with how the name reads as ‘diagonally’, a play on how witchcraft isn’t in line with the common sense of the world…or maybe on just how crooked the alley is,” Shinji remarked blandly. “What next, a place for ‘dark artifacts’ that sounds like nocturnally?”

Hillard coughed.

“Knockturn Alley,” he corrected with amusement, with Shinji letting out a long-suffering sigh. “Anyway, enough dilly-dallying. They’re probably almost tired of killing their taste buds in there.”

“Let’s go in then.”

And with that, the duo stepped into Diagon Alley, as the archway closed behind them.

“Well, onwards to Gringotts then,” Hillard said brightly.

100%

The two walked past stacks of shiny cauldrons, shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon, and more, though Shinji had seen their like before.

As they walked, though, Shinji couldn’t help but notice the snowy white building, an immense edifice that towered over the little shops, with burnished bronze doors marking the only entry point.

“…is that?”

“Mhm,” Hillard confirmed. “That, my friend, is Gringotts, the only bank of Magical Britain. Goblin run, of course.”

Subtly, he indicated the two figures that flanked the door, clad in uniforms of scarlet and gold. They were about a head or two shorter than Shinji, with swarthy, clever faces, pointed beards and, very long fingers and feet.

‘…not unlike Professor Flitwick.’

Which was only natural to think, given that the Headmaster of Hogwarts was part-goblin.

The goblins bowed as they walked inside, passing through the bronze doors – and then a set of silver ones, as they entered a vast marble hall, with about a hundred more goblins sitting on high stools behind a long counter, scribbling in large ledgers, weighing coins in brass scales, and examining precious stones through eyeglasses – including a pile of rubies as big as glowing coals.

“The counter then, I think,” Hillard said, heading towards a free goblin, who peered over half-moon spectacles at the two of them.

“Can I help you?” the goblin questioned, in a tone that implied they weren’t worth his while.

“I have an appointment,” Shinji explained, withdrawing the last letter he’d been sent from his agent at Gringotts and handing it to the goblin, who read the letter closely.

“This seems to be in order,” the other said after a moment. “I will have someone take you back to the conference room.”

This someone turned out to be Goldfarb, the goblin intermediary that Shinji had retained to negotiate with Black on his behalf.

“I trust you have been…satisfied with the services we have offered so far, sir?” Goldfarb inquired solicitously. “We at Gringotts pride ourselves on being the best bank of Magical Europe, after all.”

…which was not terribly difficult when it was the only bank as well, but that was perhaps indelicate to mention.

“Quite so,” Shinji responded with a bow. “I most especially appreciate your efforts to keep my identity secure during all of this.”

“Of course, sir,” the other replied. “You are hardly the first wizard to request such our services, and we do not expect you will be the last. Though you are younger than our usual customer.”

“Is that a problem?”

“No, not as long as you can pay,” the goblin answered, lips pulling back into a toothy smile.

“Ah, that, will certainly not be a problem,” the Matou scion assured the goblin. And it wouldn’t be, for his money was already in escrow.

The group walked in silence for some time, their footsteps echoing along the marble floor of the bank as Goldfarb walked them to one of the many conference rooms, where Sirius Black sat waiting.
The man stood as they entered, looking over the trio.

“Sirius Black,” Goldfarb intoned, looking up at the shaggy-haired wizard. “The buyer is here.”

100%

Seeing two young wizards enter, with the goblin Goldfarb leading them, Black stood, his eyes widening in recognition as he saw the tall, lanky figure of Robert Hillard – a face he recognized from the gossip column of the Prophet.

“Robert Hillard,” Black noted gruffly, as he strode over to the group and extended his hand. “Read about you in the paper. Hard not to with society gossip being what it is.”

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Mister Black,” the Stone Cutter replied as he clasped Black’s hand in a firm handshake, both of his eyebrows lifting upwards in an expression of faint curiosity. “Oh, and what is the gossip these days?”

“Bah, mostly boring things like you holding the Order of Merlin, fighting off trolls and Dark Wizards,” the Head of House of Black replied dismissively. “But…” And here Black lowered his voice conspiratorially. “They say you’re seeing cousin Dora, something about a romance begun while helping Mad-Eye teach Defense at Hogwarts. A man after my own heart! Just between you and me, how’d you do it?”

“I blew away an army of Dementors with my Patronus,” Hillard said dryly, with Black nodding at first, then freezing as the words registered.

“Say. What. When?” Black demanded. “I know Fudge was in a bit of a state since I escaped Azakaban, but Dementors? I thought there were just Hit Wizards at Hogwarts. Or at least there were when I went there to find Wormtail. Did they bring them in after?”

To the side, Shinji covered his mouth, desperately trying to hold in a laugh and managing – barely.

“Of course not, Padfoot,” the Head Boy responded smoothly, with Black’s eyebrows shooting up in surprise. “And well, it’s a long story.”

“Heh. Did your research, did you, boy?” the man asked, looking over the seventh year appraisingly. “But then, I suppose you would have had to in order to learn I was planning to sell. Potter told you, I imagine?”

Given that Sirius had only told this to his godson, it was the obvious conclusion. It was, however, unfortunately incorrect.

“Actually, no,” Hillard corrected.

“No?” Black asked, blinking. “But then, how did you? Unless Snivellus…”

“Also wrong, because I’m not the buyer,” Hillard noted, nodding to Shinji. “He is.”

“…”

Black couldn’t conceal a look of surprise as he looked between the two young wizards. He had assumed it was the older one, not the one the age of his estranged godson, but apparently he was wrong.

“You?” he asked.

“That is correct, Mister Black,” Shinji said with a deferential bow. “Matou Shinji of the Stone Cutter Society, at your service. I brought Robert with me to assist me with the inspection and other such.”

“I…see,” Black noted eloquently, as he shook his head. “I’ll be honest. You’re not who I expected to see today. Neither of you are, really.” Frankly, he had expected some powerful nobleman from the Continent or some such, or a Quidditch star of some sort, given the extent to which Gringotts had gone to protect the other’s identity, not one of his godson’s associates.

“What can I say?” Shinji asked, holding out his hand. “Life’s full of surprises. Pleasure to meet you, Mister Black.”

“And you as well,” the Head of the House of Black noted, as he gave the boy from the east a firm handshake. “I daresay this explains why you were so particular about me furnishing and renovating the house for you. After all, you’re still in school.”

“Indeed,” the Matou scion agreed. “I can hardly handle such things from inside Hogwarts, can I? There’s a limit to what I can manage through the mail.”

“…I’ll grant you that,” Black allowed. “I imagine you found out I planned to sell from Harry, didn’t you?”

“Of course,” Shinji answered. It would have been futile to deny it, since there was really no other explanation as to why he knew Black wanted to sell before the man had even announced it.

“Well then, let’s get down to business,” Black said brightly, as Goldfarb brought in the draft of a deed transferring title of the Black Estate and its lands in its current condition to Matou Shinji, with addenda specifying the renovations that had been done, the furnishings added, and such. “As agreed, the renovations have been made, and the house has been furnished according to your specifications. No house elf will come with the property, however.”

“You did inform me of this,” Shinji noted.

“Just reminding you,” Sirius Black replied, shaking his head. “You wouldn’t have wanted him anyway, impudent, disobedient thing that he was. He even had the gall to hide away some valuables and scream at his rightful Master.”

“Just out of curiosity, what did you do with him?” Hillard asked.

"Why, I had him put down, of course," Black answered easily. "A house-elf that steals and goes out of his way to twist orders is no good to anyone. He might even have ended up poisoning someone eventually, as some do. I'm sure that Mister Matou will agree that was the right choice?"

"A good assumption," Shinji stated impassively, as he knew that a servant which twisted the orders one gave it could be very dangerous indeed, as that was likely the first sign of greater treachery. And whether or not house-elves had been broken and made to serve years ago, that was immaterial for the purposes of the current discussion. "You mentioned that the Black Library and effects would not be included in the sale either?"

“Correct,” Black confirmed. “I’ve already sold off the effects to various other shops, and the library will be auctioned off following the announcement of the house sale.”

“Mm,” the Matou scion noted.

“Right. Any other questions?” Black inquired. Seeing none, he smiled broadly. “Great, then its time I show you the house.”

A quick stroll and apparition later, the quartet found themselves in the Borough of Islington, standing outside 12 Grimmauld Place, a rather stately residence that looked every bit as elegant as a house belonging to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, thanks to the recent renovations. Prior to those, it had been something of a dilapidated ruin, but enough money could work quite a few miracles.

Given the renovation, it lacked most of the defenses it had once had, but it was still Unplottable, at least, with some other basic protections. And once inside, the interior screamed opulence and splendor.

Taken as a whole, the rooms were sumptuous, ornate, redolent with the earthy scents of cedar, rosewood, and incense, complemented by the warmth of burgundy, maroon, and gold in Moroccan style accents of silk and velvets. Sensual and exotic, intimate without being decadent, luxurious and inviting – it was a house which reminded Shinji of what a home should be.

A place to be safe, a place to be comfortable, a place where he could rest and be at peace.

There was a sense of sturdiness and solidity to it, like at Hogwarts, but without the coldness of stone, or foreign feel of some other magic – a presence he was almost always aware of at Hogwarts. This place would be his to shape as he wished, and the notion of it warmed his heart.

‘Mine…’

The reception areas featured rich red décor and plush velvet furnishings, highlighted by the soft-light of prana powered lamps and an open wood fireplace, and seemed particularly inviting spaces to relax for a time – albeit with perhaps a touch of ostentation in their gilded, pressed-metal ceilings.

There were a few cozy nooks, hideaways really, near the back of the house with bar stocked with all manner of fine liquor - Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey, Swott Malt Whisky, Spiced Mead, and more.

There were studies with space enough for a sizeable library, though the best of these rooms lacked a fine desk as of yet – something easily enough remedied.

The main bedrooms were certainly comfortable, even if in their sensual, exotic aesthetic they would have fit in perfectly with a scene from A Thousand and One Nights, with Hillard giving Shinji an odd look when Black mentioned that he had made sure to make the furnishings attractive and inviting for his female companions. So too were the rooms made for guests on one of the upper floors, though these were somewhat more austere in nature.

Not quite as austere as the workspaces in the basement, however – two of which would become primary workshops, one of which would become a guest workshop, and the last to be used for storage. These were plain, with solid stone furniture for tables and workbenches, and enough space for magic circles to be drawn.

Aside from that, there were the conference rooms, the kitchen, the tea room, dining room and more, with everything very well appointed indeed (as it should be, given exactly how much the Matou scion was paying for it).

And perhaps the crown jewel of the house was the penthouse suite, with floor length windows that could be made opaque, a ceiling that had been charmed to show the sky and give a feeling of utter openness while preserving privacy and more, where an entire suite of rooms had been placed for Shinji’s personal use.

There was all this, and more.

“I trust this meets your…rather detailed list of requirements?” Black inquired after they finished the grand tour, with Shinji nodding slowly as he took everything in. “The defenses are rather generic for now, but I thought with your desire for privacy, you would wish to set up anything more specific yourself.

“A good though,” the Matou scion asked in turn. “…there is a telephone line installed, I trust? And magical energy to electricity ports?”

“Those were one of the more difficult parts to arrange,” Black noted guffly, shaking his head. “But yes, you have those installed, as well as Floo Service until the New Year. Is there anything else?”

“Hillard?” Shinji asked.

“No…I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary,” the older boy replied, seeming a little overwhelmed by this display of wealth and extravagance. His own abode was far more humble, as the Hillards had never been part of la crème de la crème of society. “This is…certainly quite a house.”

“I did say you were welcome to live in it, if you wished,” Shinji reminded his friend. “Tohsaka would find it hard to live here alone, I think.”

“…I will certainly keep that in mind,” Hillard answered, shaking his head. “When you said a house, I didn’t think…”

“If that is all, then let’s go back to Gringotts, where we can be done with the paperwork at last, eh?” Black questioned, wishing to conclude their business.

“And you can get your money,” Shinji noted dryly, with Black raising an eyebrow at the boy’s bluntness, but nodding.

“And that, yes.”

There was nothing further to check, so the group headed back to the bank, where the papers were signed, with title to the land and estate passed to Shinji, along with the keys to the house and its rooms, and various bits of info about the defenses.

At long last, it was finished.

“What now?” Shinji asked.

“Now that you have completed the deed, you must file it with the Ministry,” Goldfarb said helpfully. “Unfortunately, that is something you must do yourselves, now that the agreement has been signed. Gringotts cannot complete that step of the process for you.”

“Oh, very well…” Shinji sighed.

“Kid, you’ll get used to it sooner or later,” Black reassured him, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “Or maybe you’ll tired of it. That’s why I’m going to France, after all.”

“You mean you aren’t going there to enjoy a rendezvous with the lovely widow Zabini?” Shinji inquired, as Black raised an eyebrow.

“…well, there is that,” the former prisoner admitted with a bit of a smirk, deciding not to ask Matou where he got his information. “And yeah, I know what they say, but after over a decade in Azkaban, what’s the point in living if you don’t feel alive? As for the auction, that will be tomorrow – Gringotts will know where if you wish to send a representative.”

“To the Ministry then,” Hillard sighed.

And away they went, with the poor official at the Land Registry Office flummoxed by the appearance of Sirius Black and one of the young Stone Cutters, who presented her with a signed and certified deed granting Matou Shinji title to the Black Estate and the lands around it. Frankly, she’d expected a slow day at the office, not the crowds that quickly sprung up when they heard what was going on, nor the impromptu press conference that the two delivered, with Black announcing his intention to leave Britain and sell off his worldly possessions at an auction to be held by Gringotts the following night.

‘They planned this…’ the official thought to herself. ‘What in the world?’

By tomorrow morning, the picture of Matou Shinji and Sirius Black shaking hands, along with an article detailing how the Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black had sold his family estate to the young Stone Cutter, and now intended to leave the country, would appear on the front page of every wizarding paper in Magical Britain.

Every paper except the Quibbler, of course.

That one had far more pressing things to write about, such as speculation about the nature of the world beyond the veil, and reports of a grand army of werewolves and giants on the march, led by the shade of a Dark Wizard who commanded them from beyond the grave.

100%

After the press conference, the duo of Stone Cutters parted ways with Sirius Black, with the older man going to pay a visit to his lover, while the others returned to Gringotts, as Shinji had some other business to take care of.

This time, when he stepped through the doors of Gringotts, he was ushered to the back right away, where he signed over a substantial bonus to the Goblins for their excellent work and asked a number of questions about the auction to occur on the morrow.

“Are you interested in bidding on some items in the Black Collection?” Goldfarb asked, his lips drawn back into an almost predatory smile. “We are of course, willing to assist for a fee.”

“Perhaps a few of the more interesting tomes from the library,” Shinji suggested. “Anything that would be particularly rare or one of a kind.”

“Doable,” Goldfarb replied, looking at the boy appraisingly. “Speaking of one-of-a-kind, there is a notable item in the collection you may have some appreciation for.”

“Oh?” Shinji remarked. “And what might that be?”

“A writing desk and chair allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind,” the Goblin explained. “A ship I understand to be quite important in the history of you…humans. Acquired before the institution of the Statute of Secrecy, of course.”

The Golden Hind – the flagship of Sir Francis Drake, the hero who had defeated the Spanish Armada and circumnavigated the world.

A desk and chair made from its timbers, if in good condition, would be priceless artifacts indeed.

Goldfarb leaned forward over the conference table, seeing that he had Shinji’s interest.

“I see you know the name,” the goblin murmured. “Most wizards would not, sadly. Given your…generosity to Gringotts in the past, we are willing to sell it to you now, rather than put it up for auction, provided that the price is right.”

“Name your price,” Shinji stated bluntly. If Gringotts was willing to outright sell him such a thing, he was not going to be foolish enough to say no.

“150,000 Galleons,” Goldfarb voiced impassively. “We couldn’t possibly go any lower.”

“Done,” Shinji replied without a moment’s hesitation, with the goblin blinking at the boy’s confidence.

“You…do not wish to bargain, wizard?” the goblin asked, curious as to this wizard’s actions. Realistically, they didn’t think they could get more than 20,000 Galleons for it at auction, given that it was not enchanted beyond what little was required to preserve it, so why was this boy paying almost ten times its valuation on the spot?

“Why would I?” the Matou scion asked, meeting Goldfarb’s eyes with his own steely gaze. “The price was quite right, after all.”

And it was, for he had expected nearly double the amount requested. For him, obtaining a priceless artifact like this for such an absurdly low price was nothing short of a steal.

“Perhaps you would be interested in another item we have then?” Goldfarb inquired after a bit of shock. “A book entitled Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, published in 1623. We were intending to pass it to a Muggle auction house, but if you have 500,000 Galleons, we would be willing to part with it…”

More commonly known as the First Folio, it was one of only 750 copies printed, with only around 230 known surviving copies – each of which was worth a fortune.

…in this case, however, it was a fortune Matou Shinji really didn’t think he could spare, given that this wasn’t exactly a bargain. This was essentially market value, and nearly half of his remaining funds, after his expenditures on the house and everything else.

“Not at this time,” Shinji replied.

“Mm, pity. Will that be all then?” the goblin asked. “If so, feel free to sign our retainer agreement. If you wish, you may certainly appear at the auction in person, but we do ask that you notify us before the event itself.”

“Understood. Have the desk shipped to 12 Grimmauld Place, please.”

With that, they shook hands and Shinji concluded his business, with Hillard shaking his head at how impulsively Shinji seemed to buy things.

“Did you really need to spend that much on a desk?” Hillard questioned, as they were led out into the main hall. “It may be an antique, but surely it wasn’t worth that much.”

“I think it was worth every knut,” Shinji answered. “As I said, there is no need to bargain when the price was indeed quite right.”

“Mm, well, your money.”

The duo had just walked out of the bank and into the light of Diagon Alley, when they were accosted by someone Matou Shinji found all too familiar.

…after all, one didn’t easily forget the face of a person who hurled Killing Curses at oneself.

“Matou,” a voice called out, with Shinji turning to see the figure of Tomas – Touko’s puppet – exiting Gringotts with a golden cup clutched in one hand. “It’s been almost a year since our last encounter. It is good to see you…alive.”

He was perhaps the last person the Matou scion had expected to see in Britain, as the last he knew, the puppet was limited to exploring Mahoutokoro. Of course, with his Master here, that might have changed, he supposed…

“Ah, Tomas,” Shinji acknowledged with a sigh. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“No one ever does,” the handsome youth replied, his red eyes almost amused. “And so they don’t, usually.”

“Friend of yours?” Hillard inquired sotto voce, as he didn’t recognize the teenager as a student at Hogwarts, though he seemed about his age by appearance.

“Yes…” Shinji said reluctantly. “He’s my Master’s…assistant.” Turning to the puppet, he made to make introductions, as they seemed inevitable. Robert, this is Tomas, Professor Aozaki’s assistant. Tomas, this is Robert, one of my comrades.”

The two older teens shook hands.

“A pleasure to meet you,” the Head Boy said graciously.

“And yourself,” Tomas replied with a smile. “Matou mentioned you as one of his mentors.”

“Nothing too bad, I trust?”

“Oh, that you’re much easier on him compared to me,” the puppet answered. “But then I suppose in another life, had I been born in Britain, I would have been a Slytherin, not a Ravenclaw.”

“Ah, that’s right, you come from the East,” Hillard recalled, as he remembered Matou’s master was a Professor at Mahoutokoro. “Your English is quite good, I have to say. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were from here.”

“You are too kind,” Tomas said. “As for my English, well, you should thank Matou’s Master. It was Professor Aozaki who made me what I am today, after all, and she spent a considerable amount of time in Britain once.”

Shinji’s face almost twitched at whatever game Tomas was playing this time. The puppet had always been good with words, after all.

“So what brings you here, Tomas?” Shinji inquired, wondering what the man was doing in Britain, where in another life he’d had…quite a past.

“Well, our Master happens to be visiting, as you well know,” the puppet responded reproachfully. “And while she has an appointment with the Potions Master of Hogwarts, I have been assigned to do her shopping.”

“…did she forget to give you money?” Shinji asked, feeling the urge to cradle his head in his hands. Frankly, it wouldn’t be the first time, though how she expected Tomas to have access to Gringotts was…

‘…wait.’

“Ah, it was no trouble,” Tomas replied, a hint of a sly smile crossing his lips as he fingered the item in his hands - a small golden cup with two finely-wrought handles, engraved with a badger. “A…friend gave me access to her account should I need it, after all.”

“A…friend,” Hillard repeated. “Much like Matou’s…friends, no doubt.”

Was it this person who had taught Matou how to charm others?

“I wouldn’t know,” the puppet said blandly. “In any case, I have been tasked with buying a number of reagents, artifacts, and other such, as my Master requires them for a project. In particular, the silk and carapaces of giant spiders, but those are in short supply everywhere.”

Shinji blinked, a thought coming to mind. If his Master needed such things, well…

‘Perhaps I will forfeit my share of the funds from the venom and see what I can gain from selling the other parts instead?’

“Robert, would you terribly mind going to Twilfitt and Tattings?” he asked mildly. “We do have to get ourselves measured and such before they can make the…items.”

“The…items you say, Matou?” Hillard inquired, letting the question hang for a moment before shaking his head. “Well, I suppose I’ll go then. I will see you there, I suppose?”

“Indeed. See you there, Robert,” Shinji agreed, seeing the other boy off before turning to the puppet. Thankfully, it didn’t seem anyone was around. “Giant spiders, Tomas?”

“Walk with me, and we’ll talk,” Tomas related. “I think what I need is probably best found in Knockturn Alley. They might have some Acromantula parts there.”

“Acromantula parts, huh?” Shinji echoed. “I might have a source…”

Tomas just looked at the boy for a second, before what he said clicked.

“…oh, I see,” the puppet noted. “Hagrid’s pet spawned, did it?”

Shinji stopped cold, eyes narrowing as he heard the name.

“Hagrid’s…pet?” he repeated quietly. “Do you mean…Rubeus Hagrid?”

“Indeed,” Tomas confirmed, a touch of amusement in his voice. “The man kept on as groundskeeper by Albus Dumbledore, and subsequently used as his agent in all things.”

Shinji nearly scowled at this revelation, given that he remembered Dumbledore well, and how the man had a record of allowing dangerous things at Hogwarts and having an utter disregard for the safety of the students.

‘…well, this confirms my suspicions of faculty covering for each other,’ he thought. And it was a conspiracy that had reached to the highest levels of Hogwarts, no less.

Which only made Professor McGonagall more suspicious to him. For if Albus Dumbledore, the late headmaster, had been instrumental in the plot to conceal the existence of an Acromantula colony, then everyone he had been involved with was also suspect.

…even Professor Snape, sadly enough.

“And exactly how do you know this?” Shinji asked, his eyes demanding an answer from the puppet.

“Don’t ask a question you already know the answer to, Matou,” Tomas chided, and Shinji nodded, for he had a point. Tomas – in his former incarnation as Riddle – had likely been there. “And further, do be aware that if you wish to hunt them, Acromantula do possess a level of resistance to spells.”

“…that much I am aware of, but I am not without options,” Shinji noted calmly.

“Are you now?” the puppet asked, holding the boy’s gaze for a moment. “Well, I would be greatly interested in seeing that when you are next in Japan.”

‘…damnit,’ Shinji thought to himself, wondering just what he’d gotten himself into.

“I do look forward to any updates on the situation,” Tomas noted. “Perhaps you might consider commissioning a pair of Vanishing Cabinets so you can send messages back and forth with more ease – and no risk of interception.”

“Oh?”

“And if you desire other artifacts, perhaps you should go to Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley,” the puppet continued. “They usually have a large and varied assortment of such things.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

100%

Not having anything better to do, Matou Shinji took made his way over to Knockturn Alley, a shopping area off to the side of Diagon Alley filled with rather dangerous looking individuals, though none of them bothered him as he walked in.

Which was fine with him, as he was rather dangerous himself.

Borgin and Burkes was easy enough to find, given the rather prominent sign, and he walked in the door to find a large dimly lit shop with plenty of very interesting things scattered about.

“Mister Matou, of the Stone Cutters, what a surprise to find you in my shop,” A stooping man appeared behind the counter, smoothing his greasy hair back from his face. “How may I be of assistance?”

“You can,” Matou Shinji replied, eying the man he supposed was probably the proprietor of the shop. “Would you be Mister Borgin or Mister Burke?”

“Borgin,” the other uttered, in a voice as oily as his hair. “You looking for unusual and ancient wizarding artefacts then? I have a few rather interesting items, just in today and very reasonably priced—”

“Do you have anything from the Black Estate?” the Stone Cutter inquired, cutting the man off. “I have recently come into possession of the property and would like to see if any…heirlooms might have found their way to your store.”

“I understand, sir. Of course,” the man agreed quickly, bidding for Shinji to follow. It was not every day one had what was likely an extremely wealthy customer in one’s shop, after all. “We have a number of interesting artifacts, but what you may be most interested in is this.”

The man produced a cushion, on which rested a large, oval locket of heavy gold, with an intricate pattern of green jewels set into the metalwork.

“A rare and valuable treasure, dating back to the days of the Founders, I am sure,” Borgin continued, attempting to hype up the piece to the boy. “It is unfortunately sealed, but no doubt there is some rare treasure to be found, given that it was indeed…from the Black Collection.”

That and thought maybe he could pawn off a necklace which wouldn’t open onto a boy who was obviously wealthy and foreign. He’d only spent ten Galleons acquiring it each time, after all, and this seemed like an easy mark.

Shinji looked at it, noting the beauty of the glittering green stones, resembling nothing so much as a serpent. To him, it felt odd, very much like the diadem…

‘…like the diadem. Perhaps Sion would appreciate this item…’

“How much?” he asked the owner blandly, with the other deciding to take a stab in the dark.

“Five thousand Galleons,” Mr. Borgin…suggested, knowing the other would negotiate him down from this ridiculous starting point.

“Done,” Shinji replied at once, with the other blinking and smiling broadly.

“And what else can I help you with, sir?” the man asked. “Would you be interested in a one-of-a-kind Vanishing Cabinet? Anything you put into it will simply…vanish.”

Normally, they came in pairs, serving as a passage between two places, with objects placed in one cabinet disappearing in another, but for whatever reason, the other cabinet of this set had been lost, and Borgin wasn’t about to risk finding out where the other end was. Perhaps it led into some powerful family’s house, or into a prison of some sort.

He didn’t know, and he didn’t ask questions, since he didn’t want to be held accountable for anything the owners did with these items. He was just the supplier, after all.

“Interesting,” Shinji noted, thinking that if it were a one-off, then Touko might like to study it, and if not, well, maybe the other end would be somewhere interesting. “How much?”

“I’ll give it to you cheap, since you seem like a good lad,” Borgin replied in his oily voice. “A thousand Galleons, and that’s cutting my own throat.”

“I can do that,” Shinji agreed, with Borgin going on to show him quite a few more items, like Hands of Glory and the like, even a stuffed Acromantula.

“And where would you like this delivered?” the shopkeeper asked.

“Deliver everything but the stuffed Acromantula to 12 Grimmauld Place,” he directed. “That item should be sent to Matou Zouken, via Mahoutokoro.”

“International package, eh?” Borgin noted. “It will get expensive.”

“I can pay,” Shinji said blandly, as the other nodded.

“Right you are sir.”

With that, he walked out of the shop, and headed to Twilfitt and Tattings to be measured for his wyvernhide garments, before moving on to a shop for Vanishing Cabinets, where he commissioned a large set for himself, to be ready when it was ready, though there were a few small ones he bought on the spot.

‘A pair to send messages to and from Atlas. A pair for Touko. And one for Sion’s personal use…’

As for the other gifts he would get people, he thought most wouldn’t mind some candy, so he made a few more purchases before mailing off a parcel he’d gotten from Lockhart for Zouken, containing a number of books, an artifact or two, and something about the size of a shoebox.

Among his purchases were:

Crystallized Pineapple - small pieces of pineapple cooked in sugar syrup and encrusted with sugar crystals - for Sion.

Some wizarding Christmas crackers and a box of sugared butterfly wings for Sakura, made with organic butterflies, organic dark chocolate, milk, sugar, and coconut.

Scarves and gloves for each members of the Ourea, along with a selection of candy for each. Draco Malfoy, notably, received Cockroach Clusters – sweets quite literally made of cockroaches.

A pack of Spindle's Lick'O'Rish Spiders for Ron Weasley to remind him to keep his mouth shut, liquorice-flavoured sweets shaped like spiders and bewitched to seem alive.

An enchanted notebook for Hermione, an item that would craft illustrations from the owner’s imagination when the owner wrote in the book, allowing her to bring stories she imagined to life. He thought that would be a fitting gift.

And for Luna, a signed first edition of Le Petit Prince that he’d found in a rare book shop, with the author having written “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” as an inscription. Quite fitting, he thought.

100%

That night, Matou Shinji slept under an unfamiliar ceiling - a ceiling that was for once, his and only his. That solstice night, he dreamed.

100%

Choice 64: Should we go to the Gringotts Auction ourselves?

[ ] Go, we might as well see what we're bidding on
[ ] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

Choice 65: Whose Guest POV would you like to see for the Auction? (choose one)

[ ] Lucius Malfoy
[ ] Gilderoy Lockhart
[ ] Rita Skeeter
[ ] (write-in)

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 05:46 AM
You use the "confirm suspicions of covering for each other" twice in two sentences - that's bad form.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 05:49 AM
You use the "confirm suspicions of covering for each other" twice in two sentences - that's bad form.

Fine. Fixed.

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 05:54 AM
And we got another Horcrux… and ripped off… but I guess Shinji doesn't care too much about money when he's been able to pilfer things out of the Room of Hidden Things thus far.

A stuffed acromantula for Zouken…. I wonder how that will go over.

As for the votes:

[x] Don't go - we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

This also goes for Illya. Maybe we'd get a better auction result in person, but let's try to make a good impression on the girls, especially Rin.

[x] Lucius Malfoy. This should be fun.

- - - Updated - - -


Fine. Fixed.

Thanks. Style errors like that are just distracting when the rest is fairly well written.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 06:03 AM
And we got another Horcrux… and ripped off… but I guess Shinji doesn't care too much about money when he's been able to pilfer things out of the Room of Hidden Things thus far.

The Horcrux is also pocket change compared to what he's been spending on the house and furniture. So it's also a matter of what he values and what other people value. People's conception of price can be two very different things.


Thanks. Style errors like that are just distracting when the rest is fairly well written.

No problem. At the rate I churn this stuff out, it's inevitable some mistakes get through.

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 06:41 AM
The Horcrux is also pocket change compared to what he's been spending on the house and furniture. So it's also a matter of what he values and what other people value. People's conception of price can be two very different things.



No problem. At the rate I churn this stuff out, it's inevitable some mistakes get through.

Yes, you do have quite the high rate of output. My own writing (Fate/Proto Crossing) has slowed to a crawl as I both study for some teaching exams and spend time with my family. And of course, I'm past the point which I essentially had drafted out from last year's fan fiction contest, so that also makes the writing process take longer. That you're able to keep churning out lengthy updates is incredible because so often life gets in the way.

Abendroth
September 30th, 2015, 09:38 AM
Choice 64: Should we go to the Gringotts Auction ourselves?
[ ] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

Choice 65: Whose Guest POV would you like to see for the Auction? (choose one)

[ ] Rita Skeeter

Mint
September 30th, 2015, 10:22 AM
[X] Go, we might as well see what we're bidding on

[X] Gilderoy Lockhart

gesalt
September 30th, 2015, 10:26 AM
[X] Don't go

[X] Lucius

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 10:49 AM
There are benefits to actually showing up to the auction ourselves. As the choice itself stats, we can see what we’re bidding on as well as being able to ask our agent to bid for additional things that catch our interest as we can see things in ways that our agent might not be able to. This will allow us more control and perhaps even better books to acquire. Of course, doing this might also make our presence at the auction far, far more personal – and with Lucius’s presence there, we might attract a bit of his ire (more than we might already since we’re participating in the auction at all).

I can also see quite a few benefits from choosing to go around London to see the sights before Rin arrives. This would allow us to get a better grasp of the area we will be going around in (crucial for an assassin in training – not that I expect us to need this anytime soon.). Advantages gained from doing this will also extend over to Illya as we are slated to take her around the city as well when she arrives. Perhaps we can even address our problem with where we can find a place to purchase food for Christmas Eve as we have not yet resolved that problem.

As for who we might want to get a point of view from for the actual auction, it’ll depend on what we want to see.

Lucius is the obvious choice here as we consider this person an enemy and getting the point of view of someone that possibly has inside information could be very, very beneficial to us. The downside of taking this persons point of view is that his mind is locked within the realms of Magical Britain and we might not gain any long-term benefits from gleaning information off of him.

Lockhard, meanwhile, is on the other end of the spectrum. He has access to quite a bit of information while at the same time sees things through the lenses of the Moonlit World. The downside to this is that we no longer have any death eater insight outside of what information he had gotten in Albania since he was last there. Of course, I could be wrong as he might have been going in and out of Hogwarts this entire term – but I find that unlikely.

Rita Skeeter is an interesting perspective here. She is neither a Death Eater nor a part of the Moonlit World (at least not that we are aware of right now). At the same time, her presence here implies that we might get a perspective we do not expect as well. I am aware that she is tied to the media, yet she managed to write the version of history that we are aware is canon in the Harry Potter universe that never saw the light of day until the seventh book – and even then it was just to a select group of people.

I would like to see what insights she has to provide, and who knows? We might find that there is far more to her then what meets the eye.

[x] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

[x] – Rita Skeeter

Veldril
September 30th, 2015, 11:08 AM
[x] Go, we might as well see what we're bidding on

[x] Rita Skeeter

First rule of investment, your investment is solely your own responsibility, period. (As a real life securities trader, I just can't simply ignore this rule). Auctions like this is considered as "investing" in "assets". We even spent like 100k Galleon for that, which is a large sum of money. We have to make sure that what we get is worth every bit. We can play "curious" tourist with Rin later.

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 11:17 AM
Well yes, not attending the auction in person implies a certain amount of carelessness on Shinji's part - a carelessness that we've already seen in his tendency to snap up expensive items without trying to bargain the price down, and we would undoubtedly get a better result at the auction attending it in person. We don't even know what the "most interesting" books in the Black collection are. But becoming familiar with London is something that we can only do in person, and it seems to present immediate benefits to our relationships with Rin and Illya. Gringotts has been reliable for us thus far (though admittedly gouging us on the desk), and we can trust in their expertise at the auction.

Veldril
September 30th, 2015, 11:19 AM
Well yes, not attending the auction in person implies a certain amount of carelessness on Shinji's part - a carelessness that we've already seen in his tendency to snap up expensive items without trying to bargain the price down, and we would undoubtedly get a better result at the auction attending it in person. We don't even know what the "most interesting" books in the Black collection are. But becoming familiar with London is something that we can only do in person, and it seems to present immediate benefits to our relationships with Rin and Illya. Gringotts has been reliable for us thus far (though admittedly gouging us on the desk), and we can trust in their expertise at the auction.

That's also reasonable. But I will stick to my vote as a matter of principle and I also think that an input from Shinji at the actual auction on what he want and has his agents do the bidding is better than not knowing about items at all.

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 11:36 AM
That's also reasonable. But I will stick to my vote as a matter of principle and I also think that an input from Shinji at the actual auction on what he want and has his agents do the bidding is better than not knowing about items at all.

And I respect that position.

OtherDark
September 30th, 2015, 11:37 AM
[X] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives
I personally prioritize better relationships with allies over better loot. Fingers crossed that it'll actually pay off...

[X] Rita Skeeter should be an interestingly different viewpoint, as Trickster said.

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 11:40 AM
Social Links! Social Links! Social Links!

And Rin route! Yeah!

OtherDark
September 30th, 2015, 11:55 AM
Rin route? Only if that's compatible with the Illya route. Rin can be plenty happy on her own or with Shirou, but we're going to get Illya her happy ending if it kills us. Gee, sure wish we had access to research on magical ways to make backup bodies... *nudge nudge wink wink*
Just realized we're going to need to get in damn good with Touko if we want to try that, though. Good thing we set aside money for that debt!

Magus
September 30th, 2015, 11:58 AM
Regardless, Shinji might be getting some strange looks soon by going around London with one who looks as young as Illya (even if she's really the same age as him) and is obviously not related to him.

Also, we will pursue the Rin route. Resistance is futile… or not. I guess it depends on how the votes go.

But you are right that our relationship with Touko opens some interesting options.

OtherDark
September 30th, 2015, 12:16 PM
Good point on the appearances side of things. I never really consider "public opinion" or that sort of thing.... Still, getting a good relation with Illya is a VERY good idea IMO as it means we might not have to fight Berserkules once the HGW rolls around, and I know there was some concern about how to handle him. If you can't beat em, join em! 'Sides, we might be able to pick up some things on alchemy, and that might let us get further down Sion's Social Link as well.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 12:20 PM
Okay. Diary, ring, diadem, locket, cup and Harry. Good lord, that's all of the Horcruxes.

I presume the diary was destroyed, and I can only imagine what Tomas does with the cup. Though of course I assume he is himself now a Horcrux and will unfortunately have to die to kill Voldemort.

Cassius
September 30th, 2015, 01:48 PM
[x] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

[x] Lucius

Caster
September 30th, 2015, 01:51 PM
Nagini is still around too I imagine, unless I missed that death. And depending on what people do with the Horcruxes Voldemort may be in dire straights. Still a mostly caught up Voldemort, and he has no idea.

As for votes, I think we should go to the auction. I think it's better if we look a bit less concerned with Rin (Shinji can cover himself anyways) while the potential boon of the auction having our attention seems worth it. Other than possible run ins with other characters i have a hard time seeing much reason to not go, and we will get a better perspective from the third party on what they think of Shinji if he goes. Could offer valuable Lucius or Lockhart motivation. If he isn't there I think Shinji would get less focus in their thoughts.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 01:55 PM
I thought Nagini didn't happen until the 4th book or the 3rd book or whatever. I'm probably wrong.

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 02:25 PM
[x] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

Not going to the auction will hurt our book choices, I agree. Had we bought the core collection or the whole thing we could have got away from not going as anyone could grab those options just fine for us, but with a few choice books choice, not going will hurt more. However I have to vote the social option as it will keeps Shinji's knowledgeable persona intact with Rin.

[x] (write-in,Andromeda Tonk)

Yes, an odd choice but one I think will give us great insights. First, She is the Pansy that got her dream, her own life that was not picked out for her. She is the middle child of the three black daughters. She was raised in the pure blood house and will understands the political parts of what is going on with the Black House being sold and their library being on auction. With her view we get all of that from a Black (former) point of view. And she's not a pure blood supporter since she married a muggle.

2nd She is the mother of N. Tonks so she will likely give insight to her daughters relationship with a certain Stonecutter. That would maybe lead to thoughts about the rest of the stone cutters in turn.

3rd - She is sister to the wife of Lucius Malfoy and would have great insights on both of them as she did grow up around both of them. Granted the relationship has been cutoff when she was thrown out of the Blacks. Also she knows Sirus very well. As she is the only cousin that every gave a damn about him, her point of view on him and what he is doing destroying the Black Legacy would be so cool to see.

And last, having her watch the books she grow up with sold off. She knows the titles better than any of the other choices will know save maybe Lucius. She can tell us from her thoughts on where the dangous books are tending to go because I am almost postive their not going to Shinji.

New viewpoints from not yet seen characters will make the story richer not worst. We have seen moments from the other choices point of view, let's see someone new. I will get off my soap box now.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 03:02 PM
I thought Nagini didn't happen until the 4th book or the 3rd book or whatever. I'm probably wrong.

In canon, Nagini was made a Horcrux in 1994, with the murder of Bertha Jorkins. Here, Nagini was caught up as collateral damage in Lockhart's escape from Voldemort's wraith, as living creatures caught in Fiendfyre don't tend to do so well. Wasn't mentioned because Lockhart himself wasn't exactly paying attention to what else might be caught in the Fiendfyre.

Caster
September 30th, 2015, 03:11 PM
Andromeda Tonks sounds potentially interesting enough. Out of the box but in a good way. Though I am curious what everyone is thinking honestly.

Interesuing that Nagini is gone. Wonder how that will impact things.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 03:18 PM
Though I am curious what everyone is thinking honestly.

That's what makes this an interesting choice, no? Especially as all these people will have seen the article in the Daily Prophet, ​among other things...

Kuroyuki
September 30th, 2015, 03:26 PM
[x] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

[X] Lucius Malfoy

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 03:27 PM
That's what makes this an interesting choice, no? Especially as all these people will have seen the article in the Daily Prophet, ​among other things...

But what do the readers of Quibbler think? The nature of of the world beyond the veil, an evil army of werewolves and giants, people need to know!

I am surprise there was not a small article in it about the wonders of a first kiss by one of their younger correspondents.

Malgos
September 30th, 2015, 04:11 PM
Don't go and Lucius.

Nephirin
September 30th, 2015, 04:44 PM
[x]Don't Go
[x]Lockhart

Omida
September 30th, 2015, 05:32 PM
So, Shinji is not impressed by wizarding taste in naming places, is wary of Tomas' wordplay and discovers, that his love life is subject of heavy betting. Interesting to see that he expected Golden Hind's furniture to be so much more expensive. Would that be wizarding world's (and thus, goblins') ignorance of muggle history?

Oh, and he is a thoughful grandson that he should be and sends his beloved grandpa a new (stuffed) pet to play with. Imagine, Zouken Matou, now with 100% more spiders!

[X] Go, we might as well see what we're bidding on

I would actually prefer some level of control over auction. Also, this way Shinji can react instantly to development on auction. Since it's out of the bag that he purchased Grimmauld, we can as well not hide our interest.

[X] (write in) Andromeda Tonks

I will actually agree with Skull Leader here. This POV is really intriguing, perhaps even more so than Rita's. Andromeda has enough connections to the parts of auction that her thoughs on recent events will be interesting. It may also end with shedding some light on significance of events that transpire right now.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 05:45 PM
A big issue I have on picking Andromeda Tonks is that she just might not be there unless Alf can confirm her attendance - or lack thereof as the case may be. I am inclined to change my vote if she is going to be present.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 05:57 PM
A big issue I have on picking Andromeda Tonks is that she just might not be there unless Alf can confirm her attendance - or lack thereof as the case may be. I am inclined to change my vote if she is going to be present.

She'll be present.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 06:20 PM
She'll be present.

Well that certainly decides my vote, then. Switching to [x] - Andromeda Tonks. While we might not get any immediately useful information as we possibly still could from Rita, we can get a civilian's take on the matter - allowing us to gauge the playing field from the view of the public - and that is useful in itself.


Just an FYI, more time in London may mean running into Hermione. We narrowly avoided an encounter with her due to the play, might be best not to continue to tempt fate.

Ugh. I certainly see your point for that. [x] - Go to the Auction.


I think I've had enough of Hermoine for the remainder of the Academic Year.

Caster
September 30th, 2015, 06:39 PM
Just an FYI, more time in London may mean running into Hermione. We narrowly avoided an encounter with her due to the play, might be best not to continue to tempt fate.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 07:02 PM
Just an FYI, more time in London may mean running into Hermione. We narrowly avoided an encounter with her due to the play, might be best not to continue to tempt fate.

All this worrying over poor Hermione. I'm sure it wold warm her heart to know Shinji was taking her into account in his decisions so very much.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 07:07 PM
All this worrying over poor Hermione. I'm sure it wold warm her heart to know Shinji was taking her into account in his decisions so very much.

In all of the wrong ways, but I am certain it would anyway.

Omida
September 30th, 2015, 07:10 PM
Hermione: Ahh... Matou-kun thinks about me~...

In all seriousness, though, I didn't really think about her until you guys mentioned it.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 07:12 PM
I honestly don't either, and try not to. That is probably what got us into this mess in the first place.

Caster
September 30th, 2015, 07:38 PM
Thinking about her or not thinking about her got us into the mess? I'd argue the second more than the first personally. I'm not saying it's a guarantee, but given that we missed one bullet of her and her family seeing us with Ilya, I do think it's worth keeping in mind. I think the minor social hits we may take with Rin are more than mitigated by a mansion for her to stay in.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 07:42 PM
Thinking about her while not thinking of the consequences of our actions relative to her. And yes, I see your point, it's why I switched over. :D

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 30th, 2015, 07:59 PM
[x] Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives

[x] (write-in) Andromeda Tonks

Abendroth
September 30th, 2015, 08:04 PM
Was going to say it's a bit late, yeah. Alf was sharing a bit of the possible results.
If Illya is going to like Arcadia I may change my vote to attending the auction. If she enjoys the play than it is less important to make sure that the other half of her visit goes well. Did Alf say what the result would be?

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 08:17 PM
Did Alf say what the result would be?

I did not. I merely said who some of the special guests would have been if you'd chosen the others - like Hermione and family for Tempest, or Snape and Touko for Phantom of the Opera.

Abendroth
September 30th, 2015, 08:20 PM
On the subject of vanishing cabinets, we need to think about security a bit. If we take one of them with us to Durmstrang * there's the possibility that someone there will spy on us using it and thus potentially follow us. This would not only lead them into the room of hidden things, and thus the heart of our fortune, but it would also allow them to completely bypass Hogwarts'** defenses. I think we should place the cabinet in a room a near the room of requirement, but not actually inside of it, and furthermore that we should speak to headmaster Flitwick so that he can setup appropriate defenses.


If we remove the cabinet from the room of hidden things then there is no need to keep it a complete secret. It isn't against the tournament rules to have the cabinet and if we allow the use of the cabinet to the Hogwarts champion (in the event that it is not one of us) headmaster Flitwick will be all in favor of giving Hogwarts an entirely legal, yet discreet, advantage. We have a good relationship with the headmaster so we might as well put it to use.

And it would be somewhat hypocritical of us to criticize Dumbledore for endangering the students while opening up a gap in the school's defenses ourselves.




* I'm astonished that my speech to text program actually recognizes this word and yet messes up words like "play".
** It also recognizes Hogwarts.

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 08:25 PM
I did not. I merely said who some of the special guests would have been if you'd chosen the others - like Hermione and family for Tempest, or Snape and Touko for Phantom of the Opera.


See this is why the Touko Route is the hardest route. Snape been moving on her since last year. Nothing that Grail-kun can't help fix. *Grabs Knife*

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 08:35 PM
On the subject of vanishing cabinets

Some notes:
- The Hogwarts Vanishing Cabinet was never broken and is not currently in the RoR
- You would not be allowed to take a vanishing cabinet with you to Durmstrang as your personal property, as intercountry transport generally needs to be negotiated between the various wizarding governments. For the Hogwarts Potions Champion, arrangements may be made to commission a pair between Hogwarts and Durmstrang so the Champion and His/Her Second may have access to Hogwarts resources (to prevent any sabotage). Similar arrangements may be made for Beauxbatons.
- If one is delivered to Mahoutokoro, Hijiri will probably tweak it so she can shut it down like any of the portals she generates, as its a matter of security.

Mattias
September 30th, 2015, 09:00 PM
[X]Go to the auction. I want to see what up, so we can "Aquire" the interesting things at a later date. Plus, We can get lost with Rin. That'll be fun. Maybe it'll cool her hots for us too.

[x] Malfoy. I we're going, we don't really have to worry about his perspective missing things mundane but valuable. Plus, I want to see him seething/bewildered when we outbid him on things he wants/bid on things he has no idea what they are. I want us to bid on like a toothbrush or something, and have everyone think its some kind of rare and powerful muggle device and try to buy it off us.

mangafreak7793
September 30th, 2015, 09:01 PM
Why did people vote for the Desk? We had Mashu who is Shielder who is arguably better then Drake?

So we just wasted money on a artifact we aren't going to use.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 09:12 PM
Why did people vote for the Desk? We had Mashu who is Shielder who is arguably better then Drake?

So we just wasted money on a artifact we aren't going to use.

How will you get a Demi Servant in a canon traditional war?

You
September 30th, 2015, 09:14 PM
How will you get a Demi Servant in a canon traditional war?
xactly the same.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 09:16 PM
I thought it was only Chaldea/FATE fuckery that allows demiservants. And Shielder is an abberant class plus we need the catalyst for Galahad. Mashu not a catalyst I suspect

You
September 30th, 2015, 09:21 PM
I thought it was only Chaldea/FATE fuckery that allows demiservants. And Shielder is an abberant class plus we need the catalyst for Galahad. Mashu not a catalyst I suspect
well it was supposed to be Chaldea's sixth experiment so it might be a Mashu only thing because it kinda sounds like she's a laboratory
baby. And gilgamesh comments on how unique it is.
but yeah, nothing seemed unusual, thingy just was like "k in i go" "k."

mangafreak7793
September 30th, 2015, 09:22 PM
I thought it was only Chaldea/FATE fuckery that allows demiservants. And Shielder is an abberant class plus we need the catalyst for Galahad. Mashu not a catalyst I suspect

Why not? The principle should be the same.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 09:24 PM
I still think that unless Chaldea helps us out Shinji probably can't manage a shielder or any sort of Grail hack by himself.


Unless we get a Luvia route and get Gunner Simo Hayha.

- - - Updated - - -


Why not? The principle should be the same.

But what principle is it? Like You said, Chaldea tried six times. I don't think it's a totally simple process. And again, no catalyst for Galahad.

Mattias
September 30th, 2015, 09:51 PM
Why did people vote for the Desk? We had Mashu who is Shielder who is arguably better then Drake?

So we just wasted money on a artifact we aren't going to use.

Besides, she's not our side, she's with whatever organization shes spying for. Drake would be our Bro. We'd go out and get drunk, get wenches and shoot cannons at mythological figures.

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 10:05 PM
The grail war is not happening until 7th year or so. We are 3.5 years away from that point. We have more important problems like trying to survive against hundereds of very large venomous spiders that are resistance to magic. What Servant we want and/or get is a problem for later. Doesn't hurt to be prepared thought.

At least we have a cool desk to impress people.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 10:10 PM
Exactly. The more catalysts we acquire the better.

mr_Trickster
September 30th, 2015, 10:11 PM
At least we have a cool desk to impress people.

It is a really cool desk.

Nephirin
September 30th, 2015, 10:13 PM
But what principle is it? Like You said, Chaldea tried six times. I don't think it's a totally simple process. And again, no catalyst for Galahad.

On the other hand, even before GO and Apocrypha (Where Jeanne is kind of a demi-servant as well, human body), we had information about how a heroic spirit could lend its power to someone without a grail even being involved.


It is a really cool desk.
Not really. It's a waste of fucking money. Let's auction it off in the muggle world now, see if we can turn a profit.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 10:16 PM
It was fucking less than 10% of our money jesus fuck how big do you think Touko's debts are we intend to make like three times as much each year at minimum for fucks sake harry don't put yer dick in the owl

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 10:28 PM
Let's auction it off in the muggle world now, see if we can turn a profit.


What value can we really get from it in the Muggle world? Sure someone might buy it but it lost already most of its real value. Its been turned it to a desk so its not in its orginal form, so it lost its value to all the Historians out there. And we have no proof that its made from the Golden Hind. The goblins only said it was allegedly made from the timbers of the Golden Hind. There is no evidence to give to any muggle buyer.

A Muggle Auction House would laugh this right out the door with out some kind of record of proof. So its mostly worthless to sell. Which I guess proves that it was a bad purchase.

All That Is Left Unsaid
September 30th, 2015, 10:29 PM
How does the Ravenclaw like his writing desk?

I'll show myself out.

Nephirin
September 30th, 2015, 10:29 PM
It was fucking less than 10% of our money jesus fuck how big do you think Touko's debts are we intend to make like three times as much each year at minimum for fucks sake harry don't put yer dick in the owl

Really has nothing to do with Touko's debts, just think wasting 10% of our money on a fucking desk is terrible. Better uses for it.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 10:32 PM
Please enlighten me as to these better uses.

mangafreak7793
September 30th, 2015, 10:35 PM
Please enlighten me as to these better uses.

Business Investments, could have spent it getting more books, etc, etc

Nephirin
September 30th, 2015, 10:37 PM
Please enlighten me as to these better uses.

Literally anything.

Preferably making more money so that we don't go broke.

Vagrant
September 30th, 2015, 11:02 PM
Point out to me where "business investments" or "making more money" have been choices for us already and also where us having some $9,000,000+ is not enough for us to make future investments?

Alf pointed out that we wanted to hold on to about half a mil for situations, we kept almost double that and you still think somehow we are in a crisis of funds? Jesus fuck.

Abendroth
September 30th, 2015, 11:16 PM
Diagon Alley


At the end of the first paragraph you describe them as standing in front of a brick wall, but in the next paragraph that describe them as being inside the Leaky Cauldron, then later describing them going out a door to get to the wall.


Their concerns about the Acromantulas being warned provides a welcome explanation for why they decided to fight hundreds of horse-sized magical spiders themselves.


You describe the alley as Hillards first exposure to the world of magic, his first experience that there were other people like himself, but you also described his parents as the magical. It would be extremely unusual for a pair of a wizards to never associate with any other wizards.


I see you're not any more fond of the name Diagon Alley then I am. In my opinion, puns as a form of world-building lived and died with Piers Anthony. Nonetheless, criticizing the wizards for their unusual naming sense is such a meta complaint that it seems mean spirited. The Quibbler headline describing the end of the canonical Philosopher's Stone adventure was a more subtle and amusing brand of fourth wall humor.


The bank


As we see, the social aspect of who we brought with us continues to be the important part.


Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I was under the impression that Sirius treated Kreacher more like a disobedient and treacherous servant rather than an animal, particularly since he was written as one of the good guys.


I find it extremely surprising that Shinji's accepts this so calmly, especially given his belief that house elves are a variant strain of humanity. This really doesn't make either of them look good. Perhaps if Black said the elf tried to poison him or such then it would make sense for Shinji to accept killing it so calmly. Magical creature rebels against the person that is compelling it and is killed? Perfectly in line with the common sense of a Mage. Executing someone for shouting? Not in line with the the expectations of the Shinji we have been shown so far.


The house
The descriptions of the house are rich and vivid without venturing into purple prose. It really feels like both Shinji and the players got their money's worth.


Unsurprisingly, Robert does not detect anything unusual.


And we see that Voldemort's army is on the move.


Not that I'm complaining in this case, but Shinji really needs to learn how to negotiate rather than always paying full price.




Tomas


He certainly enjoys doubletalk.


I'm not sure who this female friend is and I am almost surprised that he did not use his own account. It's not like the goblins would talk. :)






Shopping


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
All that speculation and worry about who we should bring to the house and what we should buy at auction and we casually picked up the locket at a secondhand store. This story continues to surprise me.


I wasn't aware there was such a thing as a non-organic butterfly. :) I am also surprised that wizards care enough to label food with what is, from their perspective, a recent muggle fad.


A very nice present for Hermione. Reminds me a bit of the diary.


And a possibly even better present for Luna.

Skull Leader
September 30th, 2015, 11:23 PM
I'm not sure who this female friend is and I am almost surprised that he did not use his own account. It's not like the goblins would talk.

The cup came from Bellatrix's vault, the female "friend." She is the loyal crazy minion of Voldemort, and in this case also Tomas. That's where the cup was in HP lore.

alfheimwanderer
September 30th, 2015, 11:57 PM
You describe the alley as Hillards first exposure to the world of magic, his first experience that there were other people like himself, but you also described his parents as the magical. It would be extremely unusual for a pair of a wizards to never associate with any other wizards.

If this is the main shopping district, wouldn't it be likely his parents went there, and brought him along? One does not have to 11 or older to access Diagon Alley, after all, if one is of magical birth. So his experience with Diagon Alley was quite a bit ago, and for a young boy, it was something wonderful.

I've edited the part in the tavern and the bit with Sirius / Shinji talking about Kreacher a bit to take into account your notes. As a note though, this is a Sirius who is somewhat different from the one in canon, without anyone he's really close to, seeing the things he grew up with as distasteful after his long imprisonment. In canon, if he'd had the option of disposing of Kreacher and getting a new elf, he probably would have, but given that he was still a wanted fugitive there, it wasn't as if he could simply procure a new elf from the House Elf Placement Agency.

It isn't just the shouting though - if these are creatures which have been brought under control, and they are no longer under control, twisting orders and hiding things away, as Black mentioned, then that is a possible threat. Its the whole literal genie issue that can be a bit of a kicker.


I wasn't aware there was such a thing as a non-organic butterfly.

Twas how it was described. Perhaps they mean it in that they didn't need to use magic to feed the butterflies or such, and that they are in-effect, all natural.

Abendroth
October 1st, 2015, 12:07 AM
If this is the main shopping district, wouldn't it be likely his parents went there, and brought him along? One does not have to 11 or older to access Diagon Alley, after all, if one is of magical birth.
Perhaps it is just me; from my memories of childhood, I remember playing with other children before I remember being taken to the mall.

I've edited the part in the tavern and the bit with Sirius / Shinji talking about Kreacher a bit to take into account your notes. As a note though, this is a Sirius who is somewhat different from the one in canon, without anyone he's really close to, seeing the things he grew up with as distasteful after his long imprisonment. In canon, if he'd had the option of disposing of Kreacher and getting a new elf, he probably would have, but given that he was still a wanted fugitive there, it wasn't as if he could simply procure a new elf from the House Elf Placement Agency.


Oh, I certainly agree that he would've been quite happy to kill Kreacher in canon. I just didn't expect him to sound like Lucius Malfoy when he talked about it.


Also, you repeat a line at the end:

"You mentioned that the Black Library and effects would not be included in the sale either?" “You mentioned that the Black Library and effects would not be included in the sale either?”


Exactly. The more catalysts we acquire the better.
Personally, I have no intention of acquiring additional catalysts, even if they seem "better". We have our fallback position as insurance against Shinji's terrible Prana capacity, which would severely weaken ANY other servant we might summon. I don't intend to spend the next 3 1/2 years buying every rare artifact we come across just because it might be needed as a catalyst, only for most of them to inevitably go to waste. When we get close to the actual event, if it looks like we will actually be participating, then I will consider purchasing more.

Business Investments, could have spent it getting more books, etc, etc
We have no vote options that would allow us to spend 150k on any of those things.



The cup came from Bellatrix's vault, the female "friend." She is the loyal crazy minion of Voldemort, and in this case also Tomas. That's where the cup was in HP lore.


Ah, thanks, I had a feeling it might be her.

mangafreak7793
October 1st, 2015, 12:16 AM
We have no vote options that would allow us to spend 150k on any of those things.

Playing the long game or if anything could have bought the core section of the Library

alfheimwanderer
October 1st, 2015, 12:19 AM
Perhaps it is just me; from my memories of childhood, I remember playing with other children before I remember being taken to the mall.

Not all magical children display signs from a very young age. Some are even thought to be Squibs until they finally manifest themselves, so while he may have had playmates...


Oh, I certainly agree that he would've been quite happy to kill Kreacher in canon. I just didn't expect him to sound like Lucius Malfoy when he talked about it.

Whether or not he rebels against it, it is how he was raised, and some of those attitudes are easier to shake than others, especially old prejudices. Imagine his situation especially, when after a decade of imprisonment, you are acquitted and feted by your peers in private...and then return to your childhood home to be called a blood traitor by a painting, and be treated with nothing but disrespect by a house elf that is rightfully yours now. Thing is, I don't especially see Sirius as a good guy or a bad guy, really, just someone who happened to find himself on one side of the war, and doesn't have the love/hate relationship with his past anymore because he can flee it, though he can't run away from himself.

Abendroth
October 1st, 2015, 12:26 AM
We have no vote options that would allow us to spend 150k on any of those things.

Playing the long game or if anything could have bought the core section of the Library
100K spent+150K from the desk is still not the 500k needed for the core. And playing the long game is what buying a catalyst for a low-prana spirit is all about.

EnigmaticFellow
October 1st, 2015, 12:32 AM
[X] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives
[X] Lucius Malfoy

Thedoctor
October 1st, 2015, 06:09 AM
[X] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives
[X] Lucius Malfoy

mangafreak7793
October 1st, 2015, 10:04 AM
[X] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives
[X] Lucius Malfoy

alfheimwanderer
October 1st, 2015, 03:18 PM
[X] - Don't go, we need to make sure we're familiar with the mundane side of London before Tohsaka arrives
[X] Lucius Malfoy

100%

Choice 66: Since we're not going to the Auction, we have the 22nd mostly free to explore London. The unfortunate thing, however, is that Shinji is less than well-versed with how to get around the city - though he does know how to take the Tube. On his agenda today is a quick visit to the British Museum, to see if Touko left anything for him - or there's something he should know about the gala, followed by an exploration of some of the local spots, and possibly a bit of tourism.

But exploring is always better with a good friend, so we decide on touring the city...

[ ] With Hermione - She's a native of mundane London, and this would be a good chance to give her our present
[ ] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city
[ ] With Luna - She's not from London proper, but sometimes wandering together is fun - and her questions are likely to be closer to what Tohsaka would ask
[ ] Alone

Vagrant
October 1st, 2015, 03:21 PM
[☆] Hermione! She knows London perfectly!

Skull Leader
October 1st, 2015, 03:40 PM
I can't believe I am doing this but my vote is for,

[X] With Hermione - She's a native of mundane London, and this would be a good chance to give her our present

Yep, this will totally send the wrong signals to her, but she is our friend who we are not seeing at any other time during the Holidays. We owe her something and she will be the best tour guide ever with all kinds of facts if she was given more than 5 minutes of prep time. Plus this will allow for a gift exchanges so that she doesn't drop in at our house. This will keep her from finding out that Shinji's out of town friend is a girl, who staying with him. Of course this is assuming that Shinji does not spill the beans on that fact during the trip.

I am ok with taking Harry if people rather go down the safer path.

mangafreak7793
October 1st, 2015, 03:53 PM
[ ] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Max out his social link

Caster
October 1st, 2015, 04:02 PM
Harry. Safer than Hermione, and continues the theme of Stone Cutter focus.

Mattias
October 1st, 2015, 04:49 PM
[x]Harry. Hermy will see it as a date too much, even if we are well her its so we can show our friend and date around. Which is a too bad since she'd be fun.

Malgos
October 1st, 2015, 05:10 PM
Harry to spent more time with him.

Omida
October 1st, 2015, 05:23 PM
[X] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Yeah, some alone time with our first friend will be good. Since Harry isn't accustomed to London as well, he might still be treated as a form of training for Rin, even if to lesser degree than Luna would.

Magus
October 1st, 2015, 05:43 PM
[x] Harry.


Going with Hermione would send the wrong signals.

Luna's questions would probably be way out there compared to what Tohsaka would ask - though admittedly she might bring her own form of insight.

Alone does little to help our social standing, though perhaps we'd have some sort of unique encounter instead.

Harry helps build our relationship with another Stone Cutter.

Nephirin
October 1st, 2015, 05:53 PM
[ ] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Thedoctor
October 1st, 2015, 06:34 PM
With Harry.

Vagrant
October 1st, 2015, 06:36 PM
All these Harrylovers. Disgusting filthy Snakecharmers.

Caster
October 1st, 2015, 06:37 PM
I think if Hermione was our friend we'd see a more even split, at least based off of usual voting patterns. But because she's so volatile right now it just isn't worth the risk.

mr_Trickster
October 1st, 2015, 06:41 PM
[x] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city.

I have to agree with Omida here. Time with our first friend would be great. While I am inclined to go alone just to see who we could be meeting (*cough* Sion *cough*), we might benefit from improving our friendship with another Stone Cutter even further.

And no more Hermoine support from me for a nice long while. All those times we've given her alone time in hopes that things might sort themselves out are telling me that bothering with her at all just is not worth it at this point.

Cassius
October 1st, 2015, 06:59 PM
[x] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Magus
October 1st, 2015, 07:18 PM
[x] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city.

I have to agree with Omida here. Time with our first friend would be great. While I am inclined to go alone just to see who we could be meeting (*cough* Sion *cough*), we might benefit from improving our friendship with another Stone Cutter even further.

And no more Hermoine support from me for a nice long while. All those times we've given her alone time in hopes that things might sort themselves out are telling me that bothering with her at all just is not worth it at this point.

I'd say it's more of a balance with Hermione - too much and she gets the wrong idea, too little and she might commit suicide. Remember, choosing to tell Hermione about the house was what stabilized her after we ignored her to practice Ofuda (though that decision in itself also saved Shinji and Ron's lives or at least let them escape serious harm).

EnigmaticFellow
October 1st, 2015, 07:20 PM
[X] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

mr_Trickster
October 1st, 2015, 07:24 PM
I'd say it's more of a balance with Hermione - too much and she gets the wrong idea, too little and she might commit suicide. Remember, choosing to tell Hermione about the house was what stabilized her after we ignored her to practice Ofuda (though that decision in itself also saved Shinji and Ron's lives or at least let them escape serious harm).

I see your point. Hermoine is on a high right now regardless. Personally, I'm still iffy about leading her on at this point. Between actually being together with Luna now and all our other commitments to other women...

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 1st, 2015, 07:49 PM
[x] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

AZURE
October 1st, 2015, 08:49 PM
[x] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city.

Veldril
October 1st, 2015, 10:37 PM
[x] With Luna

Let's show witch and wizard the muggle side and the wonder of technology!!!

gesalt
October 1st, 2015, 11:14 PM
[X] Solo

alfheimwanderer
October 1st, 2015, 11:44 PM
Just putting it out there that you did promise that you would see Hermione at some point during break, so if not now, she'll be dropping by for a visit towards the end of the year.

Skull Leader
October 2nd, 2015, 12:22 AM
Just putting it out there that you did promise that you would see Hermione at some point during break, so if not now, she'll be dropping by for a visit towards the end of the year.

Thus why I voted Hermione. I would rather have the control of seeing her now before Rin is around then having Hermione show up later and run into Rin. I like bro points with Harry like the rest of you but she will see us at the worst time if we do not pick here now. And she will do it without being told by us that our roommate is a girl that known us for years.

Edit: I know it hurts ya to vote Hermione but it needs to happen if we don't want her crashing our events later during winter break.

mangafreak7793
October 2nd, 2015, 12:51 AM
[ ] With Hermione - She's a native of mundane London, and this would be a good chance to give her our present

Changing my vote to Hermonie,

I do not want her to crash the new years party.

Veldril
October 2nd, 2015, 12:54 AM
Ughh changing my vote to [x] Hermione too. Too high chance that she will crash the party.

Caster
October 2nd, 2015, 01:24 AM
Keep in mind Alf tends to like to see votes that cause drama win. Typically when he mentions something as a drawback it's because the vote that's winning is too mellow. Case in point Gray Lady to the ball became Hermione. I would bet that Hermione will still show up in a way we don't want. But who knows for sure.

Skull Leader
October 2nd, 2015, 01:40 AM
Keep in mind Alf tends to like to see votes that cause drama win. Typically when he mentions something as a drawback it's because the vote that's winning is too mellow. Case in point Gray Lady to the ball became Hermione. I would bet that Hermione will still show up in a way we don't want. But who knows for sure.

Yes, but everyone seems to be treating this like we are screwed no matter what we do from now on. And well I might be quoting Hillard here but..I don't believe in a no-win scenario.

This problem can be fixed. It might not have came up yet or we may have missed it but all I can do is try to run damage control. I am fine with people going with Harry but it seems that almost everyone has just given up.

Caster
October 2nd, 2015, 01:44 AM
I'm not giving up. I just think it's a bad place for this.

Skull Leader
October 2nd, 2015, 01:46 AM
I'm not giving up. I just think it's a bad place for this.

I can respect that postion.

Caster
October 2nd, 2015, 02:12 AM
I'm also mildly concerned that since we'd be meeting her by the Mage Association that it'll lead to an encounter involving Hermione in a less pleasant manner. It's one thing to meet her at our home and maybe make her feel excluded, I'm just not sure exposing her to that side so directly is wise.

Though whatever people decide is fine ultimately to me, I just think there are facts to be considered that explain why she's risky here. I also think time apart is better at this stage.

Thedoctor
October 2nd, 2015, 02:17 AM
I'd rathet have her crash the party. Maybe that will clue her in.

Omida
October 2nd, 2015, 02:26 AM
I would rather not change the vote. Yes, Hermione is volatile factor right now. Yes, it would be unpleasant if she snapped. But well, Shinji needs to focus, not spread himself. We decided that this year we are focusing on the Stone Cutters, so their options will hold precedence for me over others, unless I think they are too dangerous. And sooner or later Shinji will have to sacrifice something.

Magus
October 2nd, 2015, 06:13 AM
We already understood that Hermione would drop by the new Matou mansion at some point during the break. If we're busy before and during Christmas, can't she come on the day after for instance? The break at least extends past New Year's again, right, alfheimwander? So why do we need to meet with her now?

Edit: I realized that alfheimwander probably meant the end of the calendar year, not the school year, which is consistent with the above, e.g. no need to panic.

Then again, she'd meet Tohsaka that way. Depending on how that's handled that could be bad or it could help reduce her obsession with Shinji.

Omida
October 2nd, 2015, 06:25 AM
Reduce obsession with Shinji. Hermione.

I am afraid we passed that point long ago. But yeah, Shinji knows Hermione intends to drop by somewhere after Christmas, as she knows Shinji is busy until after it, so there shouldn't be a problem.

Magus
October 2nd, 2015, 07:01 AM
You're right, it was pure optimism to suggest it at all.

Abendroth
October 2nd, 2015, 08:41 AM
Keep in mind Alf tends to like to see votes that cause drama win. Typically when he mentions something as a drawback it's because the vote that's winning is too mellow. Case in point Gray Lady to the ball became Hermione. I would bet that Hermione will still show up in a way we don't want. But who knows for sure.Taking the Grey Lady would have caused more drama, what with our ability to touch spirits being unique, and implying that we were doing research into death/souls. It's the voters who decided to outsmart the themselves with terrible choices, instead of going with Luna or Pansy.

I'm not really sure whether I wants to see her now or later, but she's also the most qualified guide to London, so I'll choose to see her now when her presence also provides a bonus to the effectiveness of the action.


[X] With Hermione - She's a native of mundane London, and this would be a good chance to give her our present

mr_Trickster
October 2nd, 2015, 09:34 AM
I think what Caster meant was how the votes suddenly went from a landslide victory to a close call between Zelkova and Hermoine for a time until Azure and Vagrant ended what would have been a draw with some sudden-death votes.

Now as for the new information, we have been presented, I'd like to point out that we had been given a similar warning (I think?) when we were choosing between Ofuda and three different date-types with Hermoine. I would like to ask everyone to remember what resulted of the vote both on the Hermoine front and - more importantly - the Shinji achieving Fusion front. This was then followed by us managing to stabilize the aforementioned girl by simply telling her about how we purchased a house. These results tell us that her volatility can be something that is both a liability and something that we can use to our advantage.

I shall be maintaining my decision for now, and will stand with the others that do in taking this risk.

mAc Chaos
October 2nd, 2015, 10:10 AM
Seeing Rin take apart Hermione would be great though.

Magus
October 2nd, 2015, 10:25 AM
Seeing Rin take apart Hermione would be great though.

Yes, it would be fun as the reader to see how they interact.

Magus
October 2nd, 2015, 10:48 AM
I wonder how many chapters it will be before we meet Mashu. After all, she'll be the live-in maid/possible spy for Chaldea or the Mage's Association/new member of the harem (though I'm guessing she's older than Shinji in this world). Since the next chapter will be about exploring London and the auction, maybe we'll see her in in the chapter after that - or the tail end of the next.

Mint
October 2nd, 2015, 12:17 PM
[X] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Tough call but letting Harry see some more of the world swayed me.

Kuroyuki
October 2nd, 2015, 03:59 PM
[X] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

Got to try and give a little space to Hermione. Spending time with Harry might get us said space jus due to their mutual distaste of each other. Also it's better for her to meet Run while we're there (so we can run damage control) versus them exploding without control.

Ratman
October 3rd, 2015, 02:36 AM
The line will be drawn here!”

‘…and I’ll make him pay for what he’s done
Hey, Alf, I just finished reading the second year, and you rock.

alfheimwanderer
October 3rd, 2015, 03:25 AM
[X] With Harry - The Boy-Who-Lived grew up around London, but has never really had the chance to see much of the big city

100%

Chapter 25. Wolf in Winter

On his first real exposure to London, Matou Shinji was not at all surprised to find out that it was not entirely unlike Kyoto, a city in which he’d spent a considerable length of time since leaving Fuyuki, at least in its sense of age. In some respects, the city, like so many others in Europe, was a living monument to the past, but at the same time, the tension of the encroaching future could be felt from the glass and steel edifices that dominated the skyline.

It was radically different from say, Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley, places which seemed isolated from the flow of time, as if things would be the same in a century no matter how the world moved on, with mystery proving a sharp counterpoint to modernity.

At least Mahoutokoro, a place of refuge and sanctuary for those of the Moonlit World in Japan, acknowledged the events and importance of the happenings of the outside world, training its acolytes to be able to function in modern society, but then the supernatural had always been a part of the culture of Japan.

Here, though, as he emerged from the Leaky Cauldron out onto Charing Cross Road with the Boy-Who-Lived besides him, he was surprised to see Harry’s reaction to the city: a sense of surprise and unfamiliarity, though he’d grown up in Surrey, not too far from London.

“You don’t really come here often, do you?” Shinji asked quietly as they walked from the dimness of the tavern into the morning light, noting the cars passing by on the road.

“I don’t,” Harry confirmed. Except for trips to and from King’s Cross – and that rather ill-fated trip to the Zoo, this marked one of the first times he had set foot in what used to be the center of the world, the capital of an empire upon which the sun never set. “I’ve spent more time…” ‘In the wizarding world.’

A world where he was acknowledged, even if that acknowledgement had come at a high price. A world where he was a hero to people. A world where he was someone instead of just another face in the crowd.

…even if had learned to move quickly through crowds and tried not to draw undue attention to himself, lest he be accosted by someone seeking a picture or an autograph.

“So where are we going today?” he asked Shinji, who seemed somewhat more comfortable here. “And why are we going into London?”

“Well, since one of my friends is coming over from Japan, I thought it would be good to get to know the city a little bit,” the Matou scion answered with a smile. True, he had received a small hand-written guide to the City – including who to talk to at the Museum for more information about the gala – this morning from his Master, but having a book about a place wasn’t the same thing as knowing a place.

Feeling the rhythms with which the city moved, the atmosphere of it, the pace and energy of its denizens – how it felt to walk from place to place or take the Tube. The best travel guide might capture a sliver of all this, offering hints and tips as to where to go, what to take, and other such, but it was at best an overlooking view, just information without context.

‘There is a danger from being too separated from the world, from the present…’

So his Master had taught him when he’d stepped into Kyoto Station all those years ago, and it was a lesson that remained with him even now.

“Right. You mentioned Tohsaka,” Harry recalled, shaking his head as he remembered the girl who Shinji had described as the Second Owner of Fuyuki – someone nominally in charge of the land, almost like nobility. Though that raised questions in and of itself… “Why is she coming to Britain anyway?”

“To study,” Shinji replied, glancing down the road towards Trafalgar Square, the great public heart of London once called Charing, and then Charing Cross, after a memorial cross that had been raised on the square. “Both of our families have ties to Britain, after a fashion.”

“Will she be…at Hogwarts?” Harry asked, his brows furrowing in confusion. He didn’t think the school took transfer students, after all. Matou’s mother had gone to Hogwarts, so he had a direct connection to the school, but the other…

“No,” the Matou scion answered, shaking his head. “Not there.”

“Not…the Wizarding Academy of the Dramatic Arts then?” Harry knew that was a stretch, since in his brief meeting with her, Tohsaka Rin hadn’t seemed like someone who liked the limelight. Still, it seemed more likely than the Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages or the like – though Tohsaka did need work on her English.

“Not exactly.” For a moment, Shinji frowned as he sought to find a way to explain it without giving away too much about the Moonlit World, as his thoughts turned to the Tower – and the Museum which served as its public front. ‘Aha.’ “Have you heard of the Grand Tour?”

“The Grand…what?” Harry echoed.

“The Grand Tour,” Shinji repeated. Seeing no sign of recognition on his friend’s face, he proceeded to explain, in effect passing on what Lockhart had told him about the adventurer’s own trip around Europe. “Apparently, it used to be a tradition where young nobles and other well-to-do people would travel around the known world to learn about art, culture, fashion and history. A rite of passage as well.”

“Huh,” Harry noted thoughtfully, recalling that Magical Britain had no such tradition, with many young people never leaving the country where they were born at all. “Is that what she’s doing here?”

“Yes,” Shinji confirmed, nodding at his friend’s question. “As the heiress to her family, she’s been well trained in her craft. Now her priority is learning more about the world and what masters of the art have to offer.”

“Huh, so she’ll be something like an artist-in-residence?” Harry inquired, as the picture of Tohsaka Rin as an artist in her workshop, clad in a paint spattered smock, with a brush in one hand and palette in the other, came unbidden to his mind. The image was surprisingly charming. “That sounds wicked.”

“Close enough,” the boy from the east allowed. And it was, really, given that during her time at the Tower, she’d be given a studio space to work on her craft, with special access to the Association’s resources and faculty.

“Mm, I wonder what that must be like…” Harry mused, shaking his head with a sigh. “I’ve never really seen much art before, aside from the things in Hogwarts. I’ve never even been to a museum.”

“Never?” Shinji asked, blinking in confusion.

“Never,” Harry repeated. “The Dursleys – they never took me anywhere if they could help it. And I don’t think I’ve seen one anywhere in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley.”

“I don’t think that side of the world cares much about preserving the past, or about things like art too much,” Shinji reflected distantly, remembering a conversation he’d had with a somewhat melancholic Pansy Parkinson on the matter. “After all, it’s a world where everything will be the way it was, more or less. Just look at how History was until Lockhart showed up…”

“…you have a point,” Harry muttered. “A world where no one remembers what really happened, where the knowledge of the past isn’t valued. Isn’t there a saying about those who fail to learn from history being doomed to repeat it?”

Lockhart had mentioned this as one of the reasons Dark Lords kept rising again, and again, and again, because the system was broken. As terrifying and cruel as they had been in their own right, Dark Lords were but symptoms of an underlying disease, their reigns of terror made possible by the corruption of this society in hiding – the lies of natural superiority and hypocritical self-righteousness that Magical Britain was founded on.

Beliefs, Lockhart pointed out, were dangerous things, especially beliefs about people being naturally superior or naturally evil. Why, after all, was one House at Hogwarts singled out as being a hive of Dark Wizards in training and shunned by the others? Why were those who didn’t fit in with wizarding society – which by its own admission was a culture of oddballs and recluses – shunned – unless they proved themselves powerful? Why did the Fountain at the Ministry depict other magical races effectively worshipping wizards and witches when the reality was far different?

So much of what was held to be tradition just didn’t stand up to close scrutiny.

“There is that saying, yes,” Shinji murmured, shaking his head. “It’s why I don’t plan to stay in Britain after I finish my studies at Hogwarts. It’s only a matter of time before everything comes crashing down.”

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

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

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

“Besides, I might stay for a while,” the boy from the east added, missing the implications of his friend’s jibe entirely. “Who knows? Four years is a long time. Four years ago…”

Four years ago, he couldn’t have imagined being where he was today. Back then, the world began and ended with Fuyuki, and it seemed his destiny would be to live out his life in that town, in the shadow of Tohsaka, his sister, and everyone else. To be used by his family for whatever they needed, and no doubt used up in the process.

“…yeah,” Harry agreed. “Four years ago I was back at the Dursleys. I didn’t have a clue about this…other world.”

Shinji recalled a line from the book of Shakespeare’s plays Hermione had given him that first Christmas – the one he’d traded away for his spare wand. While reading Hamlet, one of the passages stuck out to him…

“‘There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy,’” he quoted, with Harry tilting his head as he tried to place it.

“That sounds like something Lovegood might say,” the Boy-Who-Lived remarked.

“It’s from a play actually,” Shinji corrected. “Although it does sound like her.”

“A play?”

“Hamlet, by William Shakespeare,” the Matou scion supplied. “One of the great tragedies the man wrote.”

“I’ve never read Shakespeare,” Harry mused. “But then I haven’t seen much Muggle literature in the last few years.”

“Muggle?” Shinji repeated wryly. “Didn’t you grow up in…?”

“It’s not really my world anymore,” Harry explained, shrugging. “It used to be, but everything I know, everything I’ve earned – everything that matters to me is…”

“I guess I can see that,” Shinji allowed with a soft chuckle. “Well, in that case, shall we play tourist? Beats being mobbed by crowds in the Alley. And we’re not wearing robes, so we’d fit in well enough.”

“That…sounds like fun,” Harry admitted. “Let’s go.”

And so the two wandered through the great city.

They passed through Trafalgar Square, home of the grand column commemorating the victory of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, bordered by rich cultural spaces and museums, visiting the National Gallery, the old church called St. Martin-in-the-Fields (which had once indeed been in the fields, far from the city limits of Roman London, but now was in its very heart), and more.

From there they meandered over to Piccadilly Circus, a place named in honor of a tailor in the area that had popularized the piccadil – a large broad collar of cut-work lace that was quite fashionable in the late 16th century and early 17th century. Thus, Piccadilly Circus (circus indicating its circular shape) simply meant the roundabout closest to the tailor’s house.

Of course, with the opening of new streets and redevelopment over the years, the area was no longer a roundabout, but it was still a highly trafficked area – the Times Square of London, with billboards and signs in neon lights advertising products from Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and more. Unlike Trafalgar Square, this area was not a place of museums, of reflection on the past, but of the glorious, eternal present.

Theatres, restaurants, and more surrounded the place – and even something as old and venerated as the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, erected in honor of the philanthropic works of the Victorian Era Lord Shaftesbury, had been ignored and even vandalized.

Though the fountain still stood in the square, it lacked its usual crowds, as the statue which normally topped it, one of the most famous in all of Britain, was missing – the aluminum statue most called Eros, but which had been intended by the one who commissioned it to be Angel of Christian Charity, and by the artist as Anteros, twin of Eros, the god of requited love.

So the two walked past the monument without making a wish, or even taking note, with Harry more surprised by the neon lights and the many, many signs.

“Shall we have lunch?” Shinji proposed.

“Sounds like a plan,” Harry agreed.

Like many tourists, they ate at the Criterion, a historic neo-Byzantine restaurant complex that was one of the oldest and finest in the world – a veritable cathedral to food both in the delectable European fare it offered, as well as the sheer opulence of the gold mosaic ceilings, marble walls and sculptures, and sumptuous furnishings.

And then they wandered on, heading to the place Shinji had picked out as the ultimate destination of the day: the British Museum.

100%

For Matou Shinji, the day had been fairly enjoyable so far, though it hadn’t started off that way. He’d awoken that morning from dreams of shadows, blood and flames, one he hadn’t had since he’d obtained a familiar. It had been strange, because in those dreams he’d known fear.

At this point, he wasn’t afraid of simple monsters like trolls or giant spiders. They were powerful and brutal yes, but they were enemies he could fight, enemies he could face, enemies he could stand against, if not beat. They might best him. They might even kill him, but they would not destroy him, given the legacy he held now in Magical Britain.

No, the things he feared were far worse than monsters. They were the doubts he harbored in his heart of hearts, the thought that he might fail, might be dismissed as worthless by those whose opinion he cared about most.

People like Sion Eltnam Atlasia, the Director of Atlas, whose elegance and power was a goal for which he strived, as he wanted to be able to meet her as an equal one day.

People like Aozaki Touko, his Master, who had shown him a new world of possibilities, had accepted him as an apprentice, had acknowledged him as being worth something.

People like his grandfather, the patriarch of the Matou family, who had once dismissed him and his father as nothing, but had deigned to give him a second chance.

Even people like Luna, whose encouragement kept him on his path, who challenged him, made sure he did not, could not rest on his laurels, reminding him that while he was known and respected at Hogwarts, there was an entire world beyond it.

In his dreams, dreams so vivid and intense he didn’t know if he was asleep or awake, he found himself amidst shadows and blood, fire and steel, running, and running…and running. Sometimes he fought, facing monstrosities made of shadow twice as tall as trolls. Sometimes he stood his ground and was killed, run through by an invisible sword. Sometimes he wore a wrist-mounted blade and plunged it mercilessly into his adopted sister’s heart, as she stared up at him, eyes wide with betrayal and pain.

Sometimes, he stood atop the crenellations of a castle much like Hogwarts, and as red robed figures closed in across the rooftop, he threw himself from its ramparts towards the lake shining below.

He had woken up this morning exhausted, feeling that he hadn’t slept all night, and for several long moments thereafter, he had frozen, thinking that he could hear something whisper from the abyss between the nameless stars.

He’d listened intently, trying to pinpoint where it had come from, or what it was saying, but there’d been nothing, so he’d forced himself to calm down –

Bzzt!

—before the doorbell rang.
Stifling a curse, Shinji had simply thrown on his Hogwarts robes and made his way downstairs to the door, where he peered through the peephole to see a regrettably familiar figure standing outside.

Shaking his head, he’d opened the door, as the puppet most called Tomas pushed his way inside.

“A nice house,” Tomas had remarked, looking around at the furnishings. “Though I remember it as being…darker.”

“…renovations.” Shinji had not really been in much of a mood to talk. He had pretty much just woken up from a nightmare.

“So I read.” The puppet had produced a copy of the Daily Prophet with a picture of Matou Shinji and Sirius Black on the front page. “You didn’t mention your acquisition the other day.”

“I didn’t see the need,” Shinji had replied, wondering why the puppet was even here. “You had your own errands to run for our Master, after all.”

“I suppose I can grant that.” Tomas’s response seemed faintly…disapproving, but Shinji willed himself not to react. “In any case, I am here for two reasons today, one of which is an errand from our Master. Something about a message she didn’t want to leave to chance.”

“Oh. Well.” The Matou scion had stiffened, startled to attention. “What can I do for you, Tomas?”

The puppet had handed him a packet of papers, along with a guidebook to London.

“From Aozaki Touko,” Tomas had said. “She was concerned you would not know how to get around London, and would…look foolish.”

“That’s…very kind of Master,” Shinji had noted, nodding. “Was there anything else?”

“She said that further information would be available at the British Museum. I presume she included the details in her letter,” the puppet had drawled. “Though there was one other matter.”

“Yes?”

“You went to Borgin and Burkes.” There was no question in the puppet’s remark, as he knew very well what had happened. “Where are the items you purchased?”

“Which items might these be?” Shinji had asked. He’d bought so many the other day, after all, something which he regretted slightly the morning after, given that after buying the Black Estate and all the other items he’d been offered, he only had something like a million Galleons remaining of the wealth he’d collected from the Room of Hidden Things.

‘It won’t last forever. There might be another couple million in there, if I take care to find valuables, but the majority of the easily harvested money is gone.’

The fight against the Acromantulas would probably prove profitable, if he found a place to sell the resultant carapace and silk, but there had to be something beyond that, something more sustainable.

“I think you know which items I mean.” The puppet’s expression had darkened at that, as his red eyes stared at the boy. “The locket, for one. Give it to me.”

“No.”

Shinji’s response had been instantaneous, surprising both of them.

“No, Matou?” Tomas had asked, his voice mild but dangerous all the same, with Shinji intimidated by the utter intensity of the puppet’s gaze. “Not even if I give you the 5000 Galleons you paid for it?”

“No,” Shinji had repeated, his grey eyes defiant. “I bought that locket as a gift for someone special to me. I won’t just give it to you.”

“What if I were to give you a locket in exchange then?” Tomas offered, withdrawing a golden octagonal locket on a heavy gold chain from his robes. “An heirloom of the Black family, belonging to its late heir, Regulus Arcturus Black.”

“My answer is still no.”

The two had just looked each other, fighting a silent war of wills, before Tomas conceded, shaking his head.

“You’ve grown, Matou,” the puppet had noted rather bluntly. “I suppose you intend to give the locket to the Director of Atlas, then?”

Shinji had swallowed. How had Tomas known that? Was he—

“No, I am not reading your mind,” the puppet had continued dismissively. “I do not need such a thing to know who is most important to you.”

Tomas had laughed then, a cold almost cruel sound in the morning light that went on for nearly a minute before he stopped.

“I suppose I do not understand such attachment. Nevertheless, I do recognize its power,” the puppet had conceded. For a long moment, Tomas had looked at him before handing over the octagonal locket. “You have shown me something interesting, so I suppose this will be a gift. Merry Christmas, Matou Shinji.”

The boy from the east had blinked, not knowing what to make of the puppet’s change in mood.

“You’re giving this to me?” he’d questioned, wondering why Tomas would do such a thing.

“Indeed,” the puppet had noted with a cold chuckle, as he pressed the cold metal into the boy’s hands. “Enjoy your day, Matou.”

And with that, Tomas had left, with Shinji taking a long, cold shower to cleanse himself of the feeling of dread he sometimes felt around the puppet. Deciding that he needed something to distract him from his dreams, he decided to head to Diagon Alley to change his wizarding money for British pounds – and to write Harry, who might be available as a tour guide of sorts, since Shinji knew he’d grown up around London.

100%

Overall, the day had been pleasant enough, with wandering the streets of London doing wonders for Shinji’s mood, though he grew more somber as he and the Boy-Who-Lived approached the British Museum.

To the public, it was one of the most prestigious museums in the world, with a collection drawn from all from all continents of the world illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its humble beginnings to the present day. And it was that, certainly, but for those of Moonlit World, it was far more.

For the British Museum was also the home of the Clock Tower, the current headquarters and main branch of the Association, with its departments and the workshops of its members located deep beneath the earth.

‘…I wonder what it’s like…’

If the splendor of the Museum was just the veneer that most saw, who knew what wonders it concealed. But then, Shinji would be the first to admit that he had a bias for institutions that were hidden beneath the earth, perhaps because in his youth, the basement had always been the place that was off limits, the place of power for his grandfather.

The worm pit.

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

Up the steps they went, towards the main entrance of the museum – which look for all the world like a Greek temple. And why shouldn’t it? Literally speaking, a museum could be said to be shrine to the Muses, after all, the goddesses of literature, science, history, and the arts.

“So this is the British Museum?” Harry asked in a hush as he stepped through the doors, feeling a chill at the weight of history here. He’d been the National Gallery earlier in the day, but this was a place for more than just paintings. This was a place where the past was enshrined and studied.

“Indeed,” Shinji replied, looking around and picking up a booklet on the way in. “It’s my first time here too, so I can’t tell you much.”

Flipping through the pamphlet, he found that he had missed out on a number of Japanese-centric exhibits earlier in the year, involving the Japanese cartoon tradition, prints from the Ukiyo-e school, a collection of Noh masks, and an exhibit by Hamada Chimei, known for art based on his experiences in military services – the experience of suffering, absolute obedience, and absurdity, all captured on canvas with a sarcastic, scathing undertones.

Still, there were some exhibits that seemed interesting, such as an exhibition of gold and silver from Roman Britain, the artwork of Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889), an individualist and an independent, perhaps the last virtuoso in traditional Japanese painting, and an exhibition on chess pieces, including the famous Lewis Chessmen – pieces of elaborately worked walrus ivory and whales' teeth in the forms of seated kings and queens, mitred bishops, knights on their mounts, standing warders and pawns in the shape of obelisks thought to have been made nearly a thousand years ago.

And of course, there was the little matter of the Rosetta Stone and the colossal bust of Ramses II which had inspired the Percy Shelley to write Ozymandias.

There was no putting off the inevitable any longer though, now that he was here.

“Where should we go first?” Harry asked, unsure of which direction – which gallery to choose. There was just so much to look through, so many possibilities…it reminded him of the first time Hagrid had taken him to Diagon Alley. The memory sparked something in him, namely an irrational urge to visit the gift shop, but he didn’t want to bother Matou too much.

“…actually, if you wouldn’t mind waiting in the gift shop, I have some business I need to take care of,” Shinji noted quietly. “Unless you want to see the Rosetta Stone or something.”

“Business?” Harry rejoined, nonplussed. What business could his friend have in a museum?

“I was invited to a function here by my Master, and I was told to come here for details,” Shinji related, with Harry shaking his head.

“I see,” he said. The Boy-Who-Lived supposed he shouldn’t be surprised at this. “Alright, I don’t mind waiting.”

He wanted to go anyway.

“Great. I’ll see you in a few then,” Shinji said, walking over to a guard and flashing something that looked like a ticket, before he was escorted to an elevator and descended beneath the earth.

100%

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

After all, the Fifth Magician didn’t exactly frequent the administrative levels, and when she came, she tended to be irate, as something had happened with her pay.

“…what do you mean the money was already wired to my account?!” the master of the Fifth Magic demanded, her hand slamming down on Octavia Leyland’s desk with enough force to make the woman flinch. “I just checked. There’s nothing in there.”

“Miss Blue, please,” the receptionist said, swallowing as she beheld the…annoyance of a True Magician. “I can show you a copy of the wire receipt if you’d like. Payment was rendered in full.”

‘She’s not really angry,’ Octavia told herself. ‘She’s just annoyed. If she was angry, I’d already be dead…’

After all, it was well known that magicians were monsters whose power extended far beyond that of any simple magus of the present age, and Aozaki Aoko in particular was known for her capacity for destruction.

“Ugh…” Aoko groaned, sighing. “This hasn’t happened for over a month.”

“Well, Miss Blue, we….”

“Right, right, I get it,” the Magician huffed. “It’s my sister again…”

A sister people knew better than to mention to her face, given that the Aozaki sisters hated one another. Why, the master of the Fifth Magic went so far as to dislike the entire discipline of Runes because her sister used them, just as the puppetmaster who had achieved the highest rank in the Tower disliked Numerology and related things because of her sister.

Before the Magician could say anything further, the elevator chimed, with a young oriental boy stepping out of it, his hair so black it was almost blue. This was fairly odd in itself, given that easterners were not common at the Tower, but his youth was also peculiar.

“He can go first,” the Magician growled, shaking her head. “I know this is going to take a while.”

“As you say,” Miss Leyland said quickly, breathing a sigh of relief. Maybe today wouldn’t be such a bad day then, if the Magic Gunner was going to take time to calm down.

Unfortunately, this was not to be.

Shinji, of course, bowed in thanks, thinking that the woman with the long red hair looked somehow familiar, though he didn’t recognize her immediately.

“Good afternoon!” the receptionist greeted, flashing the boy a winning smile, which the youth returned hesitantly. “My name is Octavia Leyland, receptionist for the Tower. What can I do for you?”

“Good afternoon,” Matou Shinji spoke. “My Master told me to report to the Tower for details on the Christmas gala?”

“Ah, that we can do,” Miss Leyland said brightly. “Could you tell me your name, the name of your Master, and the one who invited you, please?”

And that was the moment everything went wrong.

“Matou Shinji, apprentice to Aozaki Tou—” he began, before an overwhelming wave of killing intent, greater than anything he’d ever felt before, brought him to his knees. This…this wasn’t even like that false TATARI, or his grandfather. This was beyond his Master. This could only be…

“…Blue…” he croaked out, as those terrible blue eyes bore into him, icy and cold, as if the specter of death before him was weighing his life in her hands.

“Indeed. And you are my older sister’s apprentice,” the Magic Gunner noted coolly, icy cold killing intent pressing down on Matou Shinji even more, threatening to drive away his consciousness entirely, but with the tenacity of a cockroach, he hung on to awareness.

If he fell here, he’d never see Sokaris again. Would never see…the one whose shadow he chased. Would never catch u—

And then the killing intent lifted, as Aozaki Aoko folded her arms and sighed.

“I’m…I’m alive…” Shinji said, panting as his body was finally able to move again.

“Of course you are,” the Magician replied rather grumpily. “I’m not my sister after all. I value human life.”

Gingerly, the Boy from the East felt his arms and legs to make sure they were still there, and with supreme force of will, heaved himself to his feet. It was the hardest thing he’d ever done – his body still felt like stone, but he wasn’t surprised. It seemed that he’d managed to anger – his Master had managed to anger – one of the monsters in human form who wielded a True Magic.

“I can see that,” he said, bowing deeply to the red-haired woman. “Thank you.”

“Feh, don’t thank me,” Aoko grumbled, though she couldn’t hide a bit of curiosity. “What prompted her to take you as an apprentice anyway?”

“...the one who invited me to the gala,” Shinji stated, re-centering himself by thinking that soon he’d see Sokaris again. Soon… “The Director of Atlas.”

This caught the Magician’s attention – with the Matou scion having no idea if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Oho, Sion Eltnam Atlasia herself, eh?” the Magician murmured, whistling slightly. “She has caused quite a stir lately, with the Philosopher’s Stone of hers, curing vampirism and changing things to gold.” Aoko smiled crookedly at this. “So, if you know her, think you could pay back what my older sister took?”

“How much?” Shinji asked, more out of curiosity than anything else.

“Oh, just four million pounds,” Aoko mentioned off-handedly, as Shinji’s eyes widened.

‘Four million pounds? Master…why?’

“Do you want that in solid gold?” Shinji asked resignedly. That…would effectively wipe out most of what he left, leaving him with just over a hundred thousand Galleons.

“Wait, you can?” the Magician inquired, seeming somewhat surprised. “I’m surprised. You’re actually a decent human being.”

Shinji blinked.

“…what made you think I wouldn’t be?” he asked.

“You’re my older sister’s apprentice,” Aoko said bluntly, before shaking his head. She was silent for a moment, looking at him as if considering something, before she made up her mind. “Alright, tell you what, you don’t have to pay me. Solid gold is too much trouble anyway.”

Shinji nearly breathed a sigh of relief, but then the Magician kept talking.

“Just take her a message that I expect my money back by the end of the year,“ the Magic Gunner concluded with a smile. “She’ll probably ask you for a loan, but that’s hardly my problem is it?” Then, Aozaki Aoko smiled. “I’ll see you at the Gala, Shinji,” she said, “I’ll be sure to let the Old Man know my sister’s apprentice is in town.”

And with that, she was gone.

“Old Man?” Shinji found himself asking.

“…she means Zelretch. The Wizard Marshal,” Octavia Leyland supplied, thankful beyond words there had been no property damage or bloodshed. “Let me get you your papers.”

With her usual efficiency, the Clock Tower’s receptionist found the purple folder labeled with the golden seal of Atlas Academy, set aside for Matou Shinji.

“Here you are, then, your package as part of the Director’s entourage,” Octavia explained, flipping the folder open and pointing out the relevant items. “Information for the chauffeur service you have access to, two front row tickets for Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Lyttelton Theatre, access credentials for the diplomatic lounge at the Tower, a credit card to cover any expenses you have for the duration of your stay, and information we have regarding your guest, Miss Illyasviel von Einzbern.”

Apparently, the daughter of the Einzberns would arrive on the morrow.

‘…wait…Tohsaka arrives tomorrow. This could be bad.’

…though at least Illyasviel was due to arrive at Heathrow in the evening, and by that time, he imagined Tohsaka would be asleep, given that the trip from Japan to the UK would be much longer than the short hop from Germany – a short hop via private plane.

‘…one can only hope.’

100%

It was a somewhat more sober Matou Shinji that found Harry Potter standing in the gift shop of the British Museum, looking at a chess set with a thousand-yard stare.

“Harry,” Shinji said, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder, as the Boy-Who-Lived flinched at the sound of his voice.

“Wh—oh, it’s you,” Harry replied quietly, looking away from the chessboard at last. “Sorry, I was…”

“It’s ok,” Shinji answered, squeezing his friend’s shoulder. “I know.”

Harry shook his head, trying to clear it of his memories of Sokaris, and of the ill-fated adventure the Stone Cutters had gone on their first year, as they sought to keep the Philosopher’s Stone out of Quirrell’s hands.

“…do you think we’ll ever see her again? Or that she’ll ever forgive us?” Harry whispered. In his mind, he’d failed her.

“I’m sure she already has, because you remember her,” Shinji replied, escorting his friend out of the shop and into the museum, towards the Egyptian galleries, where some of the finest exhibits were, and where he thought Harry might find a bit of peace. “Too many forget the past, even though the past is never truly behind is, even though the past shapes us even now. By acknowledging it, by remembering it, those we care about live on – in us.”

“Mm.”

100%

Lucius Malfoy looked around at the group of wizards and…goblins that had gathered for the auction of the Black Collection, a once in a lifetime event – or perhaps even rarer than that, given how rarely families as powerful as the Blacks ever truly left Britain. Families died off, certainly, but that just meant property shifted from one family to another, given that most of the upper echelons of wizarding society were related in one way or another.

If Sirius Black died in Azkaban, without a will, the Malfoys would have inherited everything, as Narcissa Malfoy (nee Black) was his closest relation who had not been disowned from the family, leaving them as undisputedly the wealthiest pure-blooded family in Britain.

He had not however, with the man somehow managing to even escape Azkaban – the inescapable prison, a feat which brought to mind all sorts of stories of what Black had done, and how he had sold out the Order of the Phoenix.

Back then, Lucius Malfoy had assumed they were true, with Black having only worked with Potter and his ilk to give the Dark Lord an advantage, but as fortune had it, this turned out not to be the case, with new evidence (in the form of a still living Peter Pettigrew) being brought before the court after all these years.

Black had been set free, with Lucius pushing to have the last scion of the House of Black decorated as a hero for enduring unjust captivity in the hope of currying his favor.

But instead, Black had announced that he was planning on leaving the country, taking the Black fortune with him – after selling his estate to Matou Shinji of the Stone Cutters of all people, which raised quite a few questions as to how the boy had obtained the funds necessary to buy the property – or even learned it was on sale in the first place.

Worse, he had made this announcement – and the announcement of the auctioning of his worldly possessions – at the very last minute, when most families of any standing had already made plans for the holidays.

…Lucius Malfoy suspected that this had been done on purpose, as a way for Sirius to bite his thumb at the society that had wronged him.

For this event was something no wizard of proper breeding could afford to miss, given what the Black Collection amounted to – the single largest collection of magical lore, artifacts, and other items to go on sale ever in Magical Britain.

And so people had canceled their plans and gathered in this auction hall in droves, though as usual, there were a few goblins around, with those unsightly beings acting on behalf of individuals who did not want to be identified.

‘They have a right to be concerned,’ the man conceded. He could see Alastor Moody in the audience, no doubt paying heed of where the darkest books were going to, as well as Rita Skeeter, and of course, Gilderoy Lockhart, though only Merlin knew what he was doing here.

“Good evening, Lucius,” the History Professor greeted, taking a seat next to him.

“Good evening, Gilderoy,” Lucius Malfoy replied smoothly, though the sight of this man annoyed him. “Interested in adding to your collection?”

“As you are to yours, I’m sure,” Lockhart noted. “Pity no catalog was released in advanced, isn’t it?”

“For once, we agree on something,” the Chief Warlock answered. “Out of curiosity, do you know how it was your student came to acquire the Black property?”

“He bought it, of course,” the adventurer rejoined. “Didn’t you read the paper?”

“…good luck on the auction,” was all he said in reply, with the other nodding to him.

At least in the end, he managed to acquire the bulk of the collection, though Lockhart made away with some of the personal journals and letters of the Blacks, some others bought their collection of knives or house-elf heads, and one of the goblins was quite interested in a few early notes from Nicholas Flamel, Paracelsus and other books on Alchemy, as well as a few tomes on the forbidden art of necromancy.

100%

Choice 67: Lucius Malfoy has thoughtfully given us a pair of VIP tickets to the Quidditch World Cup to thank us for our participation in the press conference re: the Tri-Wizard Tournament. However, its not likely we will need such things, as we will be in Mahoutokoro training for whatever might come next year, so what do we wish to do with them. (choose 1)

[ ] Give them to Prof Weasley
[ ] Give them to Headmaster Flitwick
[ ] Give them to Hillard
[ ] (write-in)

Choice 68: As one might expect, when we tell Touko her sister wants her money back, she asks us for a loan, knowing that we're good for it. While you believe the best of your Master, you have...concerns about just loaning her the money, and suggest an exchange of services. She agrees and is willing to give you one of these options in exchange (choose 1):

[ ] Advanced Defenses for your new house and enchanted clothing for you
[ ] A fragment of the Round Table
[ ] The Cup of Helga Hufflepuff
[ ] Enchanted clothing for you and your companions
[ ] Defenses and a future favor
[ ] Enchanted Clothing for you and a future favor

Cassius
October 3rd, 2015, 03:46 AM
[X] Give Tickets to have Rin and Luna go to the World Cup. (Harem Route)

mangafreak7793
October 3rd, 2015, 04:00 AM
[ ] Donate the to the Hogwarts Quditch Cup

Gives them something to strive for and seems more suitable considering we already offering prizes for CTF

[ ] Defenses and a future favor

We need security for our home, and a favor from touko isn't bad.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 04:13 AM
Alf, why are you a sadist? So many tempting options. I'll need time to consider them and see what people think.

Edit: Just realized we could get three artifacts for Servants already, that's pretty bonkers. Shinji could field a HGW of his own at this rate with all those catalysts. I'm tempted by the option for protecting our team, but at the same time all of them are nice.

Thedoctor
October 3rd, 2015, 04:31 AM
[ ] Give them to Prof Weasley

[ ] Defenses and a future favor

Why defenses for the house and not enchanted clothing and a future favor?

mangafreak7793
October 3rd, 2015, 04:44 AM
Why defenses for the house and not enchanted clothing and a future favor?

I already mentioned it in my previous post.

Our house has no security besides the non-plotable, and if this is going to be a base for the SCS and house Tohsaka, we need something more then that.

Also we are getting Dragonhide clothing.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 05:28 AM
I assume Touko would have some talents that wizard tailors are lacking. Though Alf, I think some idea of what Touko's defensive boons would provide would be nice. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

alfheimwanderer
October 3rd, 2015, 05:59 AM
I assume Touko would have some talents that wizard tailors are lacking. Though Alf, I think some idea of what Touko's defensive boons would provide would be nice. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

If you mean Advanced Defenses for the house, then Fortress-level defenses, as one might expect from a powerful magus. Things blocking apparition, portkey, etc intrusion by uninvited parties, warding against things like prana inside leaking out, so what is outside can't detect spells inside and such. Who knows what else...

Veldril
October 3rd, 2015, 06:35 AM
[X] Give Tickets to have Rin and Luna go to the World Cup. (Harem Route)

I second this notion :P

[X] Enchanted clothing for you and your companions

We are about to walk and battle into an Acromantulas colony with 100 of giant spiders that hit like a truck with fangs full of venom. If we don't prepare for it (or if our friends are not prepared enough), then I don't think Stone Cutter will come out fine. (If you kinda don't care about other SC then the house + Shinji's cloth should be fine too).

mangafreak7793
October 3rd, 2015, 06:49 AM
[X] Give Tickets to have Rin and Luna go to the World Cup. (Harem Route)
I don't think Luna or Rin will be interested in Quiddich

Magus
October 3rd, 2015, 07:04 AM
[X] Give Tickets to have Rin and Luna go to the World Cup.

Rin doesn't get out enough to do fun things, and even if we're not there in person, we can show her some of our new world in this way.

As for Luna… I don't care so much about her although Shinji has a good relationship with her, and if that's the price of getting a winning vote for Tohsaka getting one of the tickets, so be it.

[x] Advanced Defenses.

We want Rin to be safe, and I'm concerned about the conspicuous lack of security - that could come back to bite us later. We already have a potential Catalyst (though I'm sorely tempted by the piece of the Round Table - perhaps that could even facilitate summoning a knight like Galahad, which would be interesting given another choice we've made). As for enchanted clothes, didn't we already commission dragon armor?

Malgos
October 3rd, 2015, 07:26 AM
Rin doesn't get out enough to do fun things, and even if we're not there in person, we can show her some of our new world in this way.

I don't really see how Quidditch is fun and I'd like to think that Rin would be of the same opinion as me and think it's kind of silly.

Shinji himself didn't really see the appeal in it either, so why would Rin? Would probably make for an hilarious chapter, though.

Magus
October 3rd, 2015, 08:15 AM
I don't really see how Quidditch is fun and I'd like to think that Rin would be of the same opinion as me and think it's kind of silly.

Shinji himself didn't really see the appeal in it either, so why would Rin? Would probably make for an hilarious chapter, though.

I didn't remember that detail, but I'll take your word for it.

Of course, Rin is a different person than Shinji, so she might think differently - and I doubt that she's been to a sporting event like that before. But as you said, at the very least it would probably be a hilarious chapter, so I'll stand by my vote for now.

Nephirin
October 3rd, 2015, 08:55 AM
[x] Hillard

[x] Defenses and a future favor

Abendroth
October 3rd, 2015, 09:45 AM
Choice 67:
[ ] Give them to Headmaster Flitwick

It's been awhile since we talked with our old patron and former head of house and it pays to remain on good terms with him. Rin is unlikely to care about the tickets anymore than we do.


Choice 68:
I'm very glad we decided to save some money and just buy the most important books at auction.


We want to make sure we ask for a favor that we're going to get as much use out of as possible.


I have an instinctive desire for defenses, but making the house even more valuable ties us more closely to it and Britain. It's not a mobile investment.


As for whether we need the enchanted clothing, that depends: Alf, how well does Shinji think the Stone Cutters are going to stack up against the Acromantulas? Do we have things well in hand or are we desperately behind?


I'll have to think about what I want, so I'm willing to be convinced.

Skull Leader
October 3rd, 2015, 10:01 AM
Also we are getting Dragonhide clothing.

While we are getting Dragonhide clothing already, Lockhart did say the following when he talked about armor.


“Assuming you wanted to equip the Stone Cutters with something more versatile, that you knew a reputable maker, and cost truly was no issue, I would go with a layered set,” the assassin answered after a moment. “Close to the skin, one would wear garments of enchanted cloth with enchantments for physical protection and concealment. On top of that, one would wear a dragonhide robe for an added measure of magical protection, one designed with a hood and a plate to provide protection for the neck. And on top of that, depending on your combat style, you would likely want some kind of belt for you to carry a potions satchel or other…tools.”


So I assume the armor she would be making is the under armor cloth layer that heavily enchanted, which would be really useful for us. More protection is always good.

As for defenses for the house, we just blow almost all of the remainding money helping our master out, so we can afford normal means of buying protetion services. If we do not pick defenses for the house now we are leaving it open for any Joe Blow to burn it down or loot it while we are off playing around at school or Japan. Rin is not enought to protect the house. Also this allows us to cast spells when we are at the house since the defenses will keep the prana from leaking out and being detected by the MoM.


[x] Give them to Headmaster Flitwick
Flitwick points are not bad to have and if anything goese wrong for the Cup like the death eater attack in cannon, then we just placed one of the best dualers in the middle of the action. Constant Vigilance.
I am fluid with this choice if people have a better option. Giving tickets to Rin and Luna seems stupid. Rin doesn't know the game and Luna likely to be out of the country with her dad or given the da forced luna stuff, with us.

[X] Advanced Defenses for your new house and enchanted clothing for you
While I am sure the favor will open doors for us later, the enchanted clothing is needed to fill out Lockhart's armor design. Just wish everyone could get it but protecting the large investment that we put into the house comes first. Having a safehouse doesn't work if its not safe.

gesalt
October 3rd, 2015, 11:17 AM
[X] Hermione + Rin

[X] Defenses + Favor

Thedoctor
October 3rd, 2015, 11:32 AM
Tickets to Luna and Rin.

Defenses + Enchanted clothing for you.

Mint
October 3rd, 2015, 11:49 AM
The tickets I have no clue what to do with.

[X] Advanced Defenses for your new house and enchanted clothing for you

mr_Trickster
October 3rd, 2015, 12:55 PM
It would appear we did in fact dodge a bullet by not appearing at the auction. Those books that the goblin had chosen would have done little to allay people's fears of the Dark Lord Shinji - especially considering the fact that Moody and Lockhart are aware that Shinji's most treasured person is the apparently-dead Sialim Sokaris.


Arthur Weasley getting the tickets would gain us reputation with both himself and the rest of his family - quite a thing when we consider the twins, Ginny, Ron, and the professor himself. We are already getting tutoring from him on advanced charms in exchange for our help with lesson plans. Doing this may unlock even further lessons and allow us to reach a higher level of enchanting; I have, however, to bring up that this is already similar with runes and while we may gain benefits to utilizing both in certain situations, I see little benefit in making an investment on this right now.


Now, among the things we need to consider for the upcoming Tri-wizard tournament is the amplified role that the restpective headmasters are going to get when the tournament has started. We have already recieved quite a few favors from now-Headmaster Flitwick, ranging from a private room to tutoring that we recieved from back in second year. Alexandre Dumas once said that "We are never quits with those who oblige us, for when we do not owe them money, we owe them gratitude."


The favor of the headmaster will be quite beneficial for us next year for we may utilize any reputation we have to influence the champion, or perhaps gain him as our coach should be become a champion ourselves. Who knows, we might be able to gain some leeway when we take action in the future such as having to leave the school in the middle of the year to address a problem presented to us from the Moonlit World.


Hillard is another Stone Cutter reputation gain. This would allow us to have an extremely useful contact within the Department of Magical Law Enforcement especially considering how we might be coming into the close scrutiny of both the ministry and people like Moody. We've already put quite a bit of points in with him this year, though, and I feel like we might want to look into other profitable investments.


The following choice is one that is far more challenging to address. We are presented with options that are a mix of short-term and long-term effects.


Advanced Defenses for the house and enchanted clothing for us is what I feel is the middle ground between long-term and short-term effects. We can expect to make some very powerful enemies in the future - whether this is intentional or accidental may not matter as gaining influence will undoubtedly incur the ire of someone in either world. Our home and base of operations will need to be secured for us to be able to continue our work safely; prioritizing the fortification of Grimmauld Place would also protect our investments with other people such as Touko, Luna, Rin, the Stone Cutters, and Sokaris especially when we consider the fact that we have purchased Vanishing Cabinets that we will be sharing with quite a few people. Should our defenses fail and intruders make it inside, all of them will now be at risk.


Of course, enchanted clothing for us or for our allies would be the immediate benefit as this would increase the success chance of our little adventure into the Acromantula Nest.


The cup of Helga Hufflepuff appears to be a rather dangerous choice. If Tomas has not acquired the soul within it, we risk incurring his ire; something we have already managed to pique with our decision to withhold the Locket from him. Our gains might be monetary in nature if we decide to come forward with it, but it is ultimately damaging to us in the long run.


Defense and a future favor is perhaps the most long-term choice here. We gain benefits from a secure home as well as a favor we can call at a later time. This will be very useful in either the Tri-Wizard tournament or in the Holy Grail War or the other war that may break out in the near future. This choice opens to us options that we may not have had now, but will likely pay dividends later on.


As mentioned, the last choice is - once again - a middle ground between now and future benefit with a little more risk for our long-term as our home will be a lot less safe.


With these in mind, my votes are as follows:


[x] - Give them to Headmaster Flitwick
[x] - Defense and a future favor

alfheimwanderer
October 3rd, 2015, 01:36 PM
As for whether we need the enchanted clothing, that depends: Alf, how well does Shinji think the Stone Cutters are going to stack up against the Acromantulas? Do we have things well in hand or are we desperately behind?

Not quite one, not quite the other, as they still need to work on their coordination drills and such. The dragonhide is slated to come at the end of January once everything is finished, with the spiders probably waking up around March, as winter comes to a close. Shinji will also have to work on getting his fusion down as something he can access more readily, before into the hollow of death march the six hunters.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 02:30 PM
Has Shinji got someone lined up for the enchantment even if he does not get Touko? And the risk to others is a good point on the house defenses. Especially as Shinji will have multiples, making sure people can't just port around using his stuff is major. At the same time I can't imagine that everyone will make it out whole if we ignore the defensive boon. Would be a sucky way to end the year on Stone Cutters, with yet another death or dismemberment because they weren't cautious enough. As much as the others are interesting, hard to justify them when it's likely they would come at the harm of someone now.

As for tickets, I think just tossing them to Flitwick might be best. Would seem odd to give only two too Arthur. Though it's hard to think of anyone who would really want them badly.

Magus
October 3rd, 2015, 03:16 PM
Most likely someone comes to injury either way if we choose the enchanted armor over the defenses or vice versa - the question is when, who, and how severe.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 03:23 PM
It's doubtful someone would get attacked in his house this year though, gives us more time to find defenses or ask Touko for more help. If she's running into debt this bad I'm sure another time could come up and we could grab more. Whereas we know our friends are marching into a combat situation right now. Considering robes, defenses and favor are all nice it's hard to vote, I don't see anything else being as good.

Abendroth
October 3rd, 2015, 03:24 PM
Has Shinji got someone lined up for the enchantment even if he does not get Touko? And the risk to others is a good point on the house defenses. Especially as Shinji will have multiples, making sure people can't just port around using his stuff is major. At the same time I can't imagine that everyone will make it out whole if we ignore the defensive boon. Would be a sucky way to end the year on Stone Cutters, with yet another death or dismemberment because they weren't cautious enough. As much as the others are interesting, hard to justify them when it's likely they would come at the harm of someone now.

Well, I do have several ideas on how to get some robes from Japan without having to leave Hogwarts ourselves, and Arthur Weasley is supposed to be a skilled enchanter, so we could give him the tickets or perhaps hire him since teaching is not taking up his time during the winter holidays. While Touko's would be superior to either, other sources may be" good enough".


mr_Tricktster's point about having a safe place to store our resources and Allies is well taken and I would very much like to get the Defense, if we can manage it.

Malgos
October 3rd, 2015, 03:31 PM
I think Professor Weasley should receive the tickets as it would probably make him the most happy out of the three listed ones and I'm not really on board with Rin going there as I don't really think she'd have a great time.

As for the favor I'm going to go with enchanted clothing and a future favor. I don't really see the need to have Touko set up the house defenses, while they would be excellent it seems a bit like a waste. I'd rather have Shinji ask Rin to set up some defenses for the house. I think that would make her feel more comfortable, as she's not just receiving favors and becoming more indebted to Shinji but pulling her own weight. Sure they wouldn't be as good, but I'd like to think that Rin wouldn't do too badly especially if she gives it her best. She is a genius after all.

Kuroyuki
October 3rd, 2015, 03:47 PM
[X] Give them to Pansy for another CTF prize

Honestly I don't think giving them to Mr. Weasley is that bad. It's just that he needs more than TWO tickets. So yeah. Also I don't think Rin would have that much time to attend due to her studying furiously for the clocktower (and to catch up to Shinji). Luna is most likely going to be touring the world with her dad. So really I think I would like to spice up the CTF games by adding another great prize.


[X] Defenses and a future favor

Favors are a lot more powerful, useful, and fluid in general. So that's why I'm not asking Touko for Defenses and Enchanted Clothes. The reason why I'm voting against it is because we already have adequate defenses for this year. Especially since we aren't facing anything that is going to be slinging a lot of spells at us and give our current party and preparations. We should be adequately equipped for the Spider Raid.

alfheimwanderer
October 3rd, 2015, 03:53 PM
With regards to Mr. Weasley, the Twins also got two tickets apiece, so in giving them to the man, he'd have enough for Ron, Ginny, himself, his wife, and the twins.

All That Is Left Unsaid
October 3rd, 2015, 04:17 PM
[x] Give them to Prof Weasley

[x] Defenses and a future favor

Defending the house is good. If a war does come to the area, it could be a vital safe house. As for clothes, while I do think Touko would be a good choice, if it is only for Shinji then it may become a bit redundant as he becomes better with spirit fusion. Remember, the acromantula in the caverns broke its fangs apart on Shinji's skin once he fused with Zelkova. With that alone, Shinji is the best suited to be the tank of the group, as almost anything the spiders could do to him would be useless. With the dragon hide, he could potentially solo the hoard, even if the spider he fought was a comparatively weak representative.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 04:21 PM
I suppose I'll throw in for defenses and a favor, I do want the favor as it will definitely be a noteworthy thing.

mangafreak7793
October 3rd, 2015, 04:49 PM
I think Professor Weasley should receive the tickets as it would probably make him the most happy out of the three listed ones and I'm not really on board with Rin going there as I don't really think she'd have a great time.

As for the favor I'm going to go with enchanted clothing and a future favor. I don't really see the need to have Touko set up the house defenses, while they would be excellent it seems a bit like a waste. I'd rather have Shinji ask Rin to set up some defenses for the house. I think that would make her feel more comfortable, as she's not just receiving favors and becoming more indebted to Shinji but pulling her own weight. Sure they wouldn't be as good, but I'd like to think that Rin wouldn't do too badly especially if she gives it her best. She is a genius after all.


Why would it be a waste? Also Touko has more knowledge in defenses then Rin does.

Thedoctor
October 3rd, 2015, 05:07 PM
Future favors won't do us much good if we're dead. This story is lethal.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 05:09 PM
They don't, but I think Shinji dying is unlikely. It's others dying I worry about. Hence why my thoughts were defenses and favor or clothing for the team. I don't think the rest is worth it unless Shinji really sucks at choices the rest of the semester.

Skull Leader
October 3rd, 2015, 06:51 PM
So we seem to be in two main camps on what to ask for Touko, Defenses and favors vs Defenses and clothing. However we are very split when its coming to what to do with the tickets. We have had three to four different write ins on that question and by my count no one option has received more than 4 votes.

Can we come together a little bit on this issue? I did a rough count of our vote for this one.

[2] Give them to Prof Weasley
[3] Give them to Headmaster Flitwick
[1] Give them to Hillard
[4] Give them to Rin and Luna
[1] Give them to Hermione and Rin
[2] Dontate them to the Hogwarts Q. cup or CTF
[1] Give them to Zouken

Please make the write ins stop.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 06:56 PM
I don't think anyone from the Moonlit World would be a great choice for those, it's definitely a Wizarding thing. Luna likewise seems like she would be bored by it. I say Flitwick or Arthur make the best choices, but which one I can't say. Hillard is tempting too, but I'm unsure how good an investment that is.

Kelnish
October 3rd, 2015, 07:00 PM
Seriously guys, give the tickets to Zouken. Not a joke. Please change your votes. I think he'd like it and it'd give him an opportunity to get out of the basement and meet some people for a change.

And then defenses and a favor.

Malgos
October 3rd, 2015, 07:31 PM
Why would it be a waste?
Anyways personally I think it's a waste, because Rin could it albeit worse but she's still a genius and could surely do something at the very least above average if she puts her mind to it. It would also help Rin to feel less awkward about the whole basically being allowed to live in the house for free thing and makes her feel like "she helped". Rin can do something too, no need to spoil her that much.

Another reason I consider it to be a waste is because Shinji doesn't really have any intentions of staying in Britain at the moment.


I say Flitwick or Arthur make the best choices, but which one I can't say.

I choose Arthur as the man seems to be the one that would the most happy about them and as Alf stated the man can watch the games with his family then. Also would be a nice thing as life seems to finally look up for him. Finally rid of that horrible job he had before. Becomes a Professor and earns more. And now gets tickets for free. Honestly when Shinji first encountered the man this year, he really sounded like he needs a break in life and with that little gift that should be pretty happy year for him. I sort of got the impression that tinkering on his car was one of his few joys in life before this.

In regards to repaying Flitwick, Shinji got him a present every year and well this year he got helped out by the Stone Cutters quite a bit as he probably wouldn't be headmaster. So I don't think there's much to repay so to say. He should've achieved quite a bit of happiness this year already thanks to that. Sure, you can always repay the man even more but headmaster is pretty huge no need to make it more overkill as is.

mr_Trickster
October 3rd, 2015, 07:34 PM
Of course, there will have to be accommodations to take into account those long-term decisions that I am backing. We'd have to take every opportunity we have for the remainder of the academic year to work with the Stone Cutters on group training and time we have to ourselves for either Ofuda or Movement to compensate. I don't see much to be gained in additional protective clothing right now unless its for our group rather than ourselves, as most of us have brought up that provided our fusion is well enough we can gain quite a bit in terms of personal protection.

For the purpose of additional clarity, Alf, may I ask how many Hogsmeade weekends we're still getting up till our next boss fight and if we will be giving the option to work with the Stone Cutters during those days? Just want to be sure as we might be running into events where we cannot make that choice because of various possible reasons.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 08:31 PM
Zouken and Sakura going to a Quidditch cup is actually tempting for the surreal nature of it all. Or giving it to Shirou.

alfheimwanderer
October 3rd, 2015, 08:39 PM
It would also help Rin to feel less awkward about the whole basically being allowed to live in the house for free thing and makes her feel like "she helped". Rin can do something too, no need to spoil her that much.

Well...not exactly. Keeping in mind the mentality of a magus, the fact that you got this house - essentially for her - and are now asking her to prepare the defenses for it (without any sort of payment or such) constitutes a sense of ultimate trust. In effect, it would be like you're proposing to her.


For the purpose of additional clarity, Alf, may I ask how many Hogsmeade weekends we're still getting up till our next boss fight and if we will be giving the option to work with the Stone Cutters during those days? Just want to be sure as we might be running into events where we cannot make that choice because of various possible reasons.

About 6 more Hogsmeade trips left until spiderfight. From now going forward, Shinji will be prioritizing work with Stone Cutters in the evening (for group tactics), and Luna in the morning (for fusion) unless otherwise indicated, as the situation is understandably most important to deal with. You will of course be able to choose what to do during the 2 Quidditch weekends coming up.

mr_Trickster
October 3rd, 2015, 08:41 PM
In regards to repaying Flitwick, Shinji got him a present every year and well this year he got helped out by the Stone Cutters quite a bit as he probably wouldn't be headmaster. So I don't think there's much to repay so to say. He should've achieved quite a bit of happiness this year already thanks to that. Sure, you can always repay the man even more but headmaster is pretty huge no need to make it more overkill as is.

I think I can see your point here, and I looking back I realize that we have not quite managed to get in too many points with the Twins as of late despite having chosen them for the Train. As this is the Stone Cutter Year, might as well work on them then.

Changing my vote to: [x] - Professor Arthur Weasley


EDIT:

Well...not exactly. Keeping in mind the mentality of a magus, the fact that you got this house - essentially for her - and are now asking her to prepare the defenses for it (without any sort of payment or such) constitutes a sense of ultimate trust. In effect, it would be like you're proposing to her.

This certainly cements my decision to have Tokou be the one to handle forging the defenses of Grimmauld place. We might be interested in the Rin route, but going for her at this time - especially with Luna and a potentially explosive Hermoine in the mix we could end up losing quite a bit.


About 6 more Hogsmeade trips left until spiderfight. From now going forward, Shinji will be prioritizing work with Stone Cutters in the evening (for group tactics), and Luna in the morning (for fusion) unless otherwise indicated, as the situation is understandably most important to deal with. You will of course be able to choose what to do during the 2 Quidditch weekends coming up.

Thank you, Alf.

I would certainly suggest to continue focusing on ourselves and improving our art and other abilities. This would be the best opportunity to cover our short-term needs on top of making the most long-term of the opportunity we get from requesting defense and a future favor from our master.

Mattias
October 3rd, 2015, 09:25 PM
[x] Defences and a future favour. Ward that motherfucker up to the gills. Also might help when our 'maid' finally decides to screw us over.

[x] Blue. Hillard is out because as a Stone Cutter, he could probably get tickets for himself at the drop of a hat. Same goes for Harry and the rest, so any attempt to play matchmaker is out. Flitwick also seems to fall under this, as the head of Britain's premier magical academy. But we just met Aoko, and she's pissed at Master, so maybe while we're trying to get together the cash to bail out Touko, we can maybe get a bit of a positive relationship going here, for the next time Touko 'accidentally' screws us over. I mean, wouldn't she find this whole thing hilarious, mages flying around of brooms of all things trying to catch a little piece of gold? Plus if a DE attack does occur, they get seriously fucked over if she gets offended by it. Or she eats an AK and shit goes to hell in a handbasket, either way, it's fun.

Cassius
October 3rd, 2015, 09:36 PM
[x] Fortress level defences

Nephirin
October 3rd, 2015, 09:57 PM
I'll change my vote to Aoko.

Edit: Actually, how many tickets are we getting again? Maybe we could send both Aoko and Shirou.

Magus
October 3rd, 2015, 10:03 PM
Hmm…. interesting discussion.

Edit:

While Aoko and Rin would be interesting for Quidditch, I'll stick with [x] Luna and Rin just to make sure Rin stays involved if there isn't a significant change in votes overnight.

Asking Rin set up the defenses is tantamount to a proposal? Okay, scratch my vote as to what to ask Tokuo for. Let's focus on the more immediate [x] Enchanted clothes for us and our companions and let Rin set up some defenses.

This presents less risk to the Stone Cutters in the upcoming battle and offers a major boost to Rin's points. Our home will be less secure than if Tokuo fortified it for us, but I don't think we have to worry about an immediate attack, and there should be more opportunities to improve the fortifications later.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 10:46 PM
Aoko seems interesting enough to push towards. Though at the same time seems like it could screw up badly.

Cassius
October 3rd, 2015, 10:52 PM
[x] arthur
changing from Rin and Luna vote.
Also just because we give aoko the tickets doesn't mean she'd go.

Mattias
October 3rd, 2015, 11:03 PM
Also just because we give aoko the tickets doesn't mean she'd go.

True, but her going would just be a fun side thing, what I want is to start building a rapport with the walking magical cataclysm, so that if things ever when things start to go south we've got both Aozoki's in our corner.

mr_Trickster
October 3rd, 2015, 11:11 PM
One issue is that the sisters really hate each other. Intended reputation gains with Aoko might damage our reputation with Touko - which isn't exactly something we want since we're also gunning for a full apprenticeship this year.

Caster
October 3rd, 2015, 11:21 PM
Yeah. I think giving it to Shirou and Sakura could be good though. Get them out of Fuyuki and having fun. Aoko is really funny to imagine though.

Abendroth
October 4th, 2015, 12:05 AM
True, but her going would just be a fun side thing, what I want is to start building a rapport with the walking magical cataclysm, so that if things ever when things start to go south we've got both Aozoki's in our corner.
The Aozoki's are mutually exclusive, really.

[x] arthur
Flitwick is losing, so just in case the vote gets called soon, I'll switch.

EDIT: [x]Defenses.
No way we let Rin make those. No proposals.

Before sending it to Japan, remember they also need a way to get to the world cup themselves, or the tickets are useless.

Skull Leader
October 4th, 2015, 12:10 AM
I will also change from Flitwick to Arthur.

Changing to [X] Give them to Prof Weasley


Aoko VS Death Eaters would be a great curb stomp.

Why do people think that everyone in Japan wants to travel across the world at their own expense to see a game they have never heard about? Let them stay in Japan, we can gain points with them when we are there.

gesalt
October 4th, 2015, 12:15 AM
Maybe we can just ask Weasley to enchant our fancy spider fighting clothes

Skull Leader
October 4th, 2015, 12:18 AM
Maybe we can just ask Weasley to enchant our fancy spider fighting clothes

It would not be as good but its a thought. However I assume we would have to tell him why his two sons need the clothes for. Do you think his wife would allow her sons to fight giant spiders?

Caster
October 4th, 2015, 12:19 AM
Would he support us? I mean, his sons would be participating in a dangerous battle. And I'll go for Arthur/Defenses + Favor I suppose.

Skull Leader
October 4th, 2015, 12:22 AM
He might but I feel that his wife would not if she got wind of it. I feel if Arthur found out about this, he would have to join in and he would grab at least Bill, if not get Charles as well, to come help us. Or he would stop us from doing this.

However fear the moment when half the Weasley family goes to "Mortal Danger" on their clock if they help. Molly will not be happy.

mangafreak7793
October 4th, 2015, 12:23 AM
[]Luna and Rin

Changing my votes to this, because it's the Goblet of Fire.

Caster
October 4th, 2015, 12:36 AM
I know that people want Luna/Rin points, but the Quidditch cup is not the way to do that, it really doesn't suit either of them. But it'll be funny seeing it backfire I guess.

mangafreak7793
October 4th, 2015, 12:43 AM
I know that people want Luna/Rin points, but the Quidditch cup is not the way to do that, it really doesn't suit either of them. But it'll be funny seeing it backfire I guess.

I'm not in it for points mearly for other reasons then that.

gesalt
October 4th, 2015, 12:45 AM
Would he support us? I mean, his sons would be participating in a dangerous battle. And I'll go for Arthur/Defenses + Favor I suppose.
We just tell him its part of a uniform for the SCS and ask him to do it in exchange for the tickets

Omida
October 4th, 2015, 01:35 AM
Shinji's dreams, when mentioned, continue to be disturbing. London sightseeing was nice, calm, somewhat reflective part. Aoko encounter, however, was the most intriguing part of chapter. It began from perspective of some no name, average magus and showed us how they view Sorcerers. Aoko's reputation is quite terrifying and Shinji, just for a moment, was in extremely unfavorable position of being object of Magic Gunner's ire. That was scary. Also shows, that Aozaki routes are exclusives. Sisters dislike Runes and Numerology just because other one uses it! Being Touko's apprentice, even if acknowledged as decent human being, means that Shinji is somewhere around cockroaches for Aoko in terms of affections.

[X] Give them to Prof Weasley

[X] Advanced Defenses for your new house and enchanted clothing for you

Malgos
October 4th, 2015, 04:17 AM
Well...not exactly. Keeping in mind the mentality of a magus, the fact that you got this house - essentially for her - and are now asking her to prepare the defenses for it (without any sort of payment or such) constitutes a sense of ultimate trust. In effect, it would be like you're proposing to her.

Ah, I'm an idiot. Didn't look at it from that perspective, well scratch that then.

Nephirin
October 4th, 2015, 11:03 AM
Well, since I guess Aoko will be a waste of a vote apparently, I guess I'll switch again-- to Flitwick

mr_Trickster
October 4th, 2015, 11:20 AM
Does anyone happen to know the current vote tallies?