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Thread: Matou Shinji and the Broken Chains (HP/FSN CYOA)

  1. #3061
    This write in major problem is that if Shinji tells Ginny that line, he will come off as a fair weather friend. One that hanged around during the good times but left you when things became bad. That Shinji will be running from Britain to safety and then come swooping back into their lives only after the danger has passed after a reform.
    Sure, if you expect him to run. The majority of the Ourea knows him better than that.

    The guy who stood his ground when facing a Troll on his first year is going to run to safety? The same guy who fought against a horde of giant spiders? The one who took upon himself to protect a stranger against his own schoolmates? The same person that left on an expedition to stop a rampaging familiar in hostile territory? The very same taking a severe media beating right now yet serving Britain's interests? Who is risking his very life participating to a tournament in which he has no personal drive only to fulfill obligations?

    If he were to fear for his life, he wouldn't be where he is right now.

    After all the bullshit he had to go through for the country and its people, the gratitude he received was being targeted by a fellow Hogwarts student. Being insulted and suspected of being a traitor who dabbles in dark arts. And on top of that, being unwanted by the authorities because he doesn't belong. He would have good reasons to be fed up.

    Is that how Britain threats those who bleeds for them? Is that what the Ourea wish to defend and serve? These are questions that should pop in the Ourea's heads.

    Before judging Shinji, these guys have to make a decision. And what will be said here will serve as a trigger for them to pick a side. Remember that some of them have family members working for the ministry, they might easily choose the wrong party if Shinji doesn't make a point about how things have to change.

    If their leader who has been through so much suddenly claims that nope, it's not worth it to stay around if you are to live under such conditions, they will have to consider why he would say that. And that's what matters. Not where Shinji himself stands. Their personal decision on what's needed for the country to recover comes first.

    Not everyone will be convinced by an act about Shinji telling them what to do or ask to follow him, especially the newest recruits who haven't been interacting with him much. The answer must come from themselves. Especially since the risk of death will be high when the rebellion starts.

    Ginny family members have died, lost their house, been in comas, lost their memory and magic over the current events and we want Shinji to tell her straight up that he wants to leave but totally come back all friendly after she bleeds more to fix the country. If Shinji says this line to her, Britain will never be his true home, only a place that he vacations at year round because its 'nice.' A fair weather friend.
    I have not suggested anything yet about Shinji's stance on the conflict nor where he will live. Hence why, I used the term come back.

    Which can be anytime before, mid or after rebellion. He will be forced to go the Isle soon. Until then, he won't be free to do as he pleases. And maybe not even after, depending how things turn out.

    Besides, Shinji was honest with Harry about his feelings of current Britain. There is no reason that he cannot explain his lack of enthusiasm about remaining in the country, which doesn't want him anyway, to the members of Ourea.

    ----

    Also, didn't pay attention that the second choice could be a double pick, so I'll add [x] Mention his training with the Book of Potions.

    On irc if you guys want to discuss.
    Last edited by Daiki; August 29th, 2017 at 01:05 PM.

  2. #3062
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skull Leader View Post
    ...lost their memory and magic over the current events ...
    Technically, this bit comes after the current conversation. Shinji isn't even aware that Fred and Draco were in comas, let alone are being held at Hogwarts. Aside from the Ministry personnel who have been informed on a need to know basis, only Lockhart and Luna know at this point.

    Edit: I'll be online in about half an hour to chat.
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; August 29th, 2017 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #3063
    リビングデッド Living Dead Haunter's Avatar
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    [X] Mention Radu Eshkol Mann, the Serpent Lord - a quiet youth who keeps to the shadows and handled security for the Ball
    [X] Mention Fleur Delacour, the Beauxbations Champion - mention her beauty, the fight against the troll, and her ability to conjure a corporeal patronus (which was not mentioned in the Prophet)

    Oh boy. Even if we choose to actually raise legitimate defenses for Fleur, we JUST have to mention her beauty while at it, which will probably invalidate our point. If we don't mention her or Lestrange, it just looks like we're avoiding mentioning them (I mean, we are, but..). Oh well, might as well not ignore the elephant (or at least one) in the room. Radu is a cool dude though. He does look suspicious ("Serpent Lord", "quiet", keeps to the shadows"), which might make us look worse for associating with shady people.

    [X] Be frank about his underdog status - people like Rachelle Lestrange and Sayjou Ayaka greatly outclass him
    [X] Mention his training with the Book of Potions, and give some background on Budge, who is training him

    No need to lie about how outclassed we are when everyone can see it, though mention that we ARE training hard. It's a bad idea to show off the Potion of Fading, because we're already seen as dabbling in the Dark Arts and we've seen Myrtle's reaction to us. On the other hand, showing them now may be less painful than us eventually revealing it later. Keep in mind that even if we show it now, it could end up as another "Harry shows off his Animagus form and alienates Fred" situation from many pages ago.

    [X] "It's not really a matter of if I want to stay, but if they'll have me."

    The reform write-in is doesn't really address this part, in that Britain is probably going to kick Shinji out even if he wants to stay (especially if we end up screwing Harry over after how much he's been holding the line). It implies that Shinji has a clear choice to leave or stay, even though the deck is reaallly stacked against us if we choose the latter, and it isn't probable that Shinji will be able to come back if we choose the former.
    Last edited by Haunter; August 30th, 2017 at 12:15 PM.

  4. #3064
    [x] Mention George and Fleur

    [x] Be frank and Mention his training with the Book of Potions and Budge

    [x] I don't know

  5. #3065
    [X] Mention Radu Eshkol Mann, the Serpent Lord - a quiet youth who keeps to the shadows and handled security for the Ball
    [X] Mention Fleur Delacour, the Beauxbations Champion - mention her beauty, the fight against the troll, and her ability to conjure a corporeal patronus (which was not mentioned in the Prophet
    [X] Be frank about his underdog status - people like Rachelle Lestrange and Sayjou Ayaka greatly outclass him
    [X] Mention his training with the Book of Potions, and give some background on Budge, who is training him
    [X] "It's not really a matter of if I want to stay, but if they'll have me."

  6. #3066
    Choice 207:
    [x] Mention Radu Eshkol Mann, the Serpent Lord - a quiet youth who keeps to the shadows and handled security for the Ball
    [x] Talk of George's performance in the First Task, and the cleverness he demonstrated by freezing the water around his orb

    Describing Durmstrang, as requested, plus a bit of friendly PR

    Choice 208:
    [x] Be frank about his underdog status - people like Rachelle Lestrange and Sayjou Ayaka greatly outclass him
    [x] Mention his training with the Book of Potions, and give some background on Budge, who is training him

    Honesty politics, leaving our new trump aside.

    Choice 209:
    [x] "It's not really a matter of if I want to stay, but if they'll have me."

    i do like Skull Leader's Ourea-themed write-in, but i'll choose more neutral stance here.

  7. #3067
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    I'm on IRC, if anyone wanted to chat.
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  8. #3068
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Current Tally:

    Choice 207:
    [0] Mention Andreas, the Raven Lord, who spins intrigues with the ease with which most simply breathe
    [0] Mention Rachelle Sondrol, the Raven Lieutenant and Field Marshal of Durmstrang
    [4] Mention Radu Eshkol Mann, the Serpent Lord - a quiet youth who keeps to the shadows and handled security for the Ball
    [6] Mention Fleur Delacour, the Beauxbations Champion - mention her beauty, the fight against the troll, and her ability to conjure a corporeal patronus (which was not mentioned in the Prophet)
    [0] Mention Rachelle Lestrange - the beautiful grim reaper who is descended from a line of Alchemists
    [4] Talk of George's performance in the First Task, and the cleverness he demonstrated by freezing the water around his orb


    Choice 208:
    [7] Be frank about his underdog status - people like Rachelle Lestrange and Sayjou Ayaka greatly outclass him
    [5] Mention his training with the Book of Potions, and give some background on Budge, who is training him
    [0] Say that Slughorn hasn't been much help, and is more of a hindrance than anything else
    [1] Show off some of his potions, including his newly devised Potion of Fading, mentioning that it isn't just an invisibility potion (which already exist)


    Choice 209:
    [3] "It's not really a matter of if I want to stay, but if they'll have me."
    [0] "Frankly, I don't. The Britain I knew - the place that welcomed me as a second home, doesn't exist anymore. "
    [0] "Of course I do. Things may have been a bit rocky this year, but Britain has given me so much. Friends, a lover, brothers-in-arms - even the honor of being their Champion."
    [0] "I'm still thinking about it. But if worse comes to worse, I was offered a place at Beauxbatons."
    [2] Not as things stands right now but willing to come back after a reform.
    [1] Certainly not as things stands right now but one does not run from a Kobayashi Maru. They face it on their own terms.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  9. #3069
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Choice 207: [X] Mention Radu Eshkol Mann, the Serpent Lord - a quiet youth who keeps to the shadows and handled security for the Ball; [X] Mention Fleur Delacour, the Beauxbations Champion - mention her beauty, the fight against the troll, and her ability to conjure a corporeal patronus (which was not mentioned in the Prophet); [X] Talk of George's performance in the First Task, and the cleverness he demonstrated by freezing the water around his orb


    Choice 208: [X] Be frank about his underdog status - people like Rachelle Lestrange and Sayjou Ayaka greatly outclass him; [X] Mention his training with the Book of Potions, and give some background on Budge, who is training him


    Choice 209: [X] "It's not really a matter of if I want to stay, but if they'll have me."





    Chapter 62. Question and Answer

    After days of experimentation and training, during which Matou Shinji had come close to dying several times, whether by the simple expedients of exsanguination, explosion, asphyxiation or simple mortification, the boy called a halt to his labours. His efforts in the days after Christmas had borne fruit in the form of a promising potion he’d created through blood magic, which according to Zelkova, had the curious effect of shifting him into a different layer of reality – the one in which spirits primarily operated.

    ‘I don’t think I’ll be able to use that specific recipe during the Championship, but having an example of what is possible through combining Eastern and Western potion lore gives me something to aim to create.’

    Success tended to be somewhat easier to reach when one had some idea of what one was trying to accomplish – much as, in focusing on becoming more competent with his movement skills while working with Lockhart these past few days, he’d finally made some headway with flow-walking, such that he could mostly use the ability if he tried hard enough.

    ‘My grasp of it isn’t flawless, but I didn’t expect flawless. And today…today is New Year’s Eve.’


    The Eve – the final day of the old year – was the second most important day of the year, a day to reflect on all that had transpired over the last 365 days, and to make a head start on any resolutions one had for the new year.

    So, though important events loomed ever closer in the distance, Matou Shinji had decided to spend the day resting and taking in what had become of Hogwarts while he hadn’t been paying attention, and of course, what had become of his reputation among them, given all the lies that had been written about him in the Daily Prophet…and his unpleasant encounter with Moaning Myrtle the other day.

    Fortunately, it didn’t seem like the wretched spirit told anyone credible about her suspicions that he had become a necromancer, though even without that, the stares and glares that followed him as he made his way about the castle made it eminently clear what most of his peers thought of him.

    ‘Years of hard work building up my reputation…wasted
    ,’ he thought, feeling indignant that so many who used to look up to him now…did not, instead thinking of him as some opportunistic lecher who did whatever he pleased, driven more by the need to impress a pretty face than for grave matters such as honor.

    Oh, the people he talked to were polite enough to his face, but once he’d left, and they thought he was out of earshot…

    “I’m sorry things are like this,” Luna murmured from beside him as they walked, squeezing his hand as if to reassure him that she, at least, supported him still. “It’s not right, how they’re treating you.”

    “As if I’m useless, or worse?” Shinji asked bitterly, shaking his head. “At least it’s still not as bad as how my…my grandfather looked at me in the end. Their hate has nothing on that of a centuries old archmagus.”

    Thinking of his last encounter with Matou Zouken, in which turned his blade against his grandfather and had been cast out of his family, the boy felt a pang in his chest. He’d tried to impress the old man too, but in the end, all Zouken had really seen was that he’d betrayed the family out of a desire for personal advancement.

    ‘Yes, I made mistakes. I didn’t ask about the family history and our arts when I could have, as I had other mentors to learn from. I charmed Tohsaka perhaps too much, without any intention of marrying her to bolster the Matou family fortunes. I brought the wrath of the Einzbern upon us. But none of that was just out of ambition.’


    Given that Touko and Kaiduka had been willing to teach him, he would have been a fool not to take them up on their offers. On the matter of Tohsaka, it was no secret that he’d admired her for a long time, and so took no small amount of pleasure in seeing her blush and stammer when she took in his wealth and power. And as for the Einzbern…

    ‘I just wanted Ilya to be happy, because she deserved so much more than what life had given her.’


    He didn’t regret telling her what he had. Not really. Not even if, in the end, he’d been cast out of his family for it, because in his mind, he had done the right thing.

    ‘And what is right is not always what is easy, or what is convenient.’


    Which was something he kept in mind as he dealt with his colleagues in Magical Britain this year, many of which had turned against him because they could not see what he was trying to accomplish – couldn’t see that what he had done had been right.

    ‘But then, of course they can’t,’
    he reasoned. ‘They’re missing several key pieces of information and so are filling in the blanks from what they know.’

    Not that he had any intention of correcting them, despite how grating their…slander and libel was, given that telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would mean damning himself – or for that matter, George, who at this point might be something of a Dark Wizard, though Shinji didn’t know for sure – and didn’t really want to know, if he was being honest.

    “Are you sure about this…dinner, Luna?” the boy asked weakly, as they approached their destination. “I wouldn’t mind just spending the evening with you, you know. Instead of with…” He made some vague gesture. “Less than half the Ourea, since most of them are still at Durmstrang anyway.”

    “Mm,” Luna responded, uttering a wordless sound. “There will be time, afterwards,” the girl murmured. “Besides, even if you don’t want to go, you left me as the leader, so I have to.”

    “…ah, duty before pleasure, is it?” Shinji grumbled, shaking his head. “Oh, very well then. If you insist.”

    His stomach chose that very moment to growl, given that he hadn’t eaten much all day.

    “…besides, it sounds like you need it.”




    In his years at Hogwarts, Shinji had often presided over Ourea dinner meetings, with the group talking of many odd things as they sat around a table laden with all sorts of interesting delicacies that would not be found in the Great Hall. On some occasions, they had discussed historical scenarios; on some occasions, politics and current events; on some occasions, upcoming events like the Tri-Wizard Tournament, or their future ambitions.

    Still, joining his former companions for the Eve was a rather odd experience, not least because he no longer formally led the Ourea, and was instead the guest of honor. As well, everyone his age or older – save for Pansy and of course, Lockhart – was absent, with the rest of those around the table being only third years or younger.

    Not to mention the fact that the fare on the table was very, very Japanese, with each person having before them a steaming bowl of udon topped with tempura, some greens, and a single raw egg.

    Toshikoshi Udon, eh?” Shinji murmured, as he took his seat, with Luna to his left and Pansy to his right.

    “Yes. I hope it is to your taste. As you are the guest of honor tonight, I thought you would appreciate something from your homeland,” Lockhart noted solicitously from across the table. “And toshikoshi udon is part of a traditional eve, as one waits for the new year together with family or friends.”

    “Indeed,” Shinji agreed, with a faint smile. “Quite different from the wild parties in the West. But then we often save those for Christmas Day.”

    A few second years raised their eyebrows at this. They’d never seen the Potions Champion in this sort of setting before, and it disarmed them to see him being so friendly and affable, given how the Matou Shinji depicted in the Prophet seemed very much like a beast – a creature of dark magic who was a slave to his lusts.

    “Oh? But George and Fred told me you threw quite the party last year, in that fancy manor of yours!” Ginny commented. “You even shared with them some exotic new dish. Pizzo, or something?”

    “I believe the word you’re looking for is pizza, Miss Weasley,” Lockhart corrected genially. “Pizzo, as I recall from my travels, means something rather different and rather less savoury.”

    Indeed, while a pizza was a yeasted flatbread typically topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and other ingredients, before being baked in an oven, pizzo was protection money paid to the Sicilian Mafia.

    “That’s right – pizza! You had the house elves make that for us at the welcome dinner for the Ourea,” Ginny commented. “You’ve had it too, then, Professor? And you know how to make it?”

    “Miss Weasley, I’ve traveled the world as an adventurer, and in my line of work, you learn to appreciate a good meal wherever you can get it,” the man noted. “And frankly, after solving strange puzzles to break the seals of ancient temples and strongholds, or outwitting dangerous beasts the world over, remembering a recipe is a bagatelle.” He turned to his young apprentice, who had traveled with him over the summer. “Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Parkinson?”

    “Mm, I would, yes. Though I tend to remember desserts more than main dishes,” the young Assassin-in-training replied amiably. “Like the bamieh and baklava that will be brought out for dessert.”

    An Iranian dish, bamieh were delectable bite-sized pieces of syrup-soaked fried dough, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside — and fragrant thanks to the rosewater- and saffron-infused syrup they were liberally soaked with.

    Baklava, on the other hand, were rich, sweet dessert pastries of Turkish or Greek origin, made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.

    “Well, that’s no surprise to me,” Lockhart commented. “As for the rest of you, please, help yourself to some of delicious food. I’m sure the Potions Champion can answer questions while we’re eating, yes?”

    Wordlessly, they dug in, each partaking of the grand feast that had been provided for them. For a few minutes, they concentrated on tasting the delights spread before them, savoring each bit and relishing how it filled their empty stomachs.

    Soon enough though, the questions began.

    “So, Champion Matou…” a girl asked, looking up from her food. A small brunette who seemed unreasonably endowed for her age, with a distinct fondness for green, as seen by her dress and the ribbons woven through her hair. This was Hestia Carrow, half the young Slytherin contingent of the current Ourea.

    “What news do you bring from Durmstrang?” her twin Flora – the other half of the Ourea’s young Slytherin contingent, chimed in.

    “We don’t exactly hear much about what goes on there,” Ginny explained, almost apologetically. “All we normally get is what’s in the Prophet, and that, uh…” She glanced at Pansy, who waved for her to continue. “…doesn’t seem to be the most reliable publication these days.”

    “I have mentioned that before,” Luna commented, with her old friend grimacing at the Stone Cutter’s words. “Usually when we discuss the stories covered in the Quibbler.”

    “Yes, well...this and that are different things,” Ginny responded, trying to be tactful about her opinion of the…publication run by Luna’s father. “In any case, since you’re here, Champion, perhaps you wouldn’t mind telling us about the Tournament? Or any news about my brothers?”

    “I’m not in the same Banner as Fred, George, or Ron, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about what’s happening with them,” Shinji said apologetically. “Honestly, I wish I knew more myself, though I will say that George seems to be doing quite well as a Champion though. He hasn’t exactly demonstrated the ability to cast a corporeal Patronus yet, unlike Fleur, but he’s doing well enough.”

    “True, at least he wasn’t mauled during the first task, like Viktor Krum,” Pansy interjected. “A solid performance so far, showing off his cleverness, without giving away any of his skills.”

    “A Patronus?” a third year asked – one Colin Creevy of Gryffindor. “The Beauxbatons Champion cast a Patronus? I didn’t read about this in the paper!”

    Shinji glanced at Pansy questioningly, but the brunette only replied with a single word: "Editors."

    “How did my brother pass the first Task?” Ginny questioned. “The article was remarkably sparse on details, saying only that he had used his wit and cunning to overcome where the Durmstrang Champion’s use of the Dark Arts failed.”

    “The first task, as you may recall, was to retrieve a golden orb from the bottom of a lake, which doesn’t sound too terrible until you remember that Durmstrang is far colder than Hogwarts, that there was a Selma living in the lake, and that touching the orb draws the Selma to you,” Shinji noted, shaking his head. “Fleur used her Patronus to bring the orb to the surface, Krum brought it up by hand, and George froze the water around it.”

    “Froze the water around it?” A Hufflepuff boy echoed, narrowing his eyes – one Anthony Otterburn, who like most of his House, was remarkably fond of plants. “And how would that…?

    “Ice is less dense than water,” Pansy replied.

    The Hufflepuff boy just looked blankly at her.

    “Well, you’ve had cold drinks before. Haven’t you seen how ice floats on water?” Pansy asked dryly.

    “…ohh,” Anthony responded, nodding slowly. “Why didn’t you just say that to begin with?”

    “…I did, just not in so many words,” the Slytherin girl said, shaking her head.

    “Speaking of Miss Delacour,” Hestia interjected, turning her curious gaze on one Matou Shinji.

    “What exactly is your relationship with her?” her twin, Flora, supplied, looking at him in the same fashion as her sister.

    “The Prophet has much to say.”

    “Words.”

    “Pictures.”

    “Stories.”

    “But we’re not sure what they’re saying is…the truth,” Hestia concluded, noting that the two Stone Cutters in the room seemed as close as ever, reasoning that, if something had happened, surely this would not be the case.

    “Aren’t we?” a third girl asked. This was Heather Barnaby, a Hufflepuff, who like many of the others in the room, had been on Luna’s Capture the Flag team the year before. “I’d say the picture of them sleeping together is pretty conclusive, wouldn’t you? She…she didn’t even seem to be wearing anything in that picture!”

    “…being completely fair, that had more to do with the angle at which the picture was taken,” Pansy broke in. “Not that Matou and Miss Delacour were not in matching outfits, with hers being somewhat revealing.”

    Shinji shot Pansy a look, as if to say “whose side are you on”, with the brunette saying nothing further, though the corners of her lips tugged upwards in amusement.

    “What Pansy isn’t saying is that all of the Champions were wearing matching outfits,” the Boy from the East corrected her. “Provided to us by Beauxbatons courtesy of fashion house LeShin.” He smiled, ever so slightly. “A gesture of international cooperation, as it symbolized that, for all our differences, we were all Champions.”

    “Oh, was that what it was for?” Pansy inquired, raising an eyebrow. “I thought perhaps LeShin just wanted some free publicity, given that the Champions’ Ball would be covered by many of the leading papers of Europe?”

    “…I suppose that might have been one of their motives,” Shinji replied after a beat. “I wouldn’t know, of course.”

    “Of course,” Pansy echoed, though she sounded…not entirely convinced. “I wouldn’t mind an outfit like the one Fleur wore, of course. Though I’d like mine in dark blue.” She chuckled, though there was a bit of an edge to it. “Not that it matters, since none of us can exactly send out mail outside the country, can we?”

    “Anyway,” Shinji said quickly, changing the topic before it could get uncomfortable for him. “Any other questions about the Tri-Wizard Tournament?”

    “Well, not exactly about the Tournament, but I kind of wanted to know what Durmstrang was like,” Ginny replied.

    “Ah…” Shinji smiled slightly, thinking about the people he’d met in the Banner of Ravens. “Well, Durmstrang is a good place for learning, actually. The school might be cold and dark most of the time, they might indeed teach the Dark Arts, and they don’t have House Elves to do the cooking, the cleaning, or the laundry for students, but the way the school is setup engenders a sense of discipline and responsibility you don’t see at Hogwarts.”

    “…no House Elves?” Colin blinked. “But how…?”

    “The students do the cooking, cleaning, and everything else,” Shinji explained. “They’re organized into three Banners – Serpent, Raven, and Wolf – with each Banner having several duty rotations a week.”

    “That must make it hard for them to have classes together,” Ginny noted. “Or really do much together.”

    “Yeah. Each Banner is a lot more self-contained than any of the Houses of Hogwarts,” the Boy from the East confirmed. “Though if you don’t like your Banner, you can choose to go to another one, once a year.”

    “Oh?” Anthony Otterburn frowned. “That doesn’t really encourage a sense of loyalty, does it? Since you can just leave.”

    “I actually think it does better than the Hogwarts system,” Pansy interjected. When the Hufflepuffs in the room turned to her, their eyes silently asking for an explanation, she smiled wryly. “At Hogwarts, it doesn’t matter if you change your mind, or hate the people you’re living with. The only person it affects is you, since you can’t leave – from the moment you’re sorted, you’re a Slytherin, a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff, and that’s that. At Durmstrang, because it’s the students who do the work, each member of a Banner is valuable. If someone leaves, it means the rest have to take on their share of the work, so the leadership of each Banner works hard to make sure their subordinates are happy.”

    “And what if someone does choose to leave then?” Otterburn questioned. “Despite how it would inconvenience everyone else.”

    “Then they are allowed to leave,” Pansy responded with a shrug. “If someone is determined to leave, maybe it is for the best that they can.” She raised a hand, forestalling the inevitable protest. “Don’t misunderstand – people don’t make such decisions lightly, since a person can choose to go to a new Banner once a year, and once only. But if things aren’t working out where you are, why not try something new?”

    “And whatever Banner they end up in,” Shinji added, “they are still students of Durmstrang, and comrades in arms. So, it isn’t a matter of loyalty, because at the end of the day, each Banner relies on each other to do their duty. Svalbard is a hard, and dangerous, place, after all.”

    “So, who are the Commanders, then, and how are they chosen?” Ginny inquired, curious now. “Are they students, like our prefects? Professors, like our Heads of Houses?”

    “Students,” the Boy from the East explained. “Each chosen by popular vote. They appoint their subordinates though.”

    “Popular vote?” Colin Creevy echoed. “That sounds a bit strange. The professors trust the students enough to give them that kind of power?”

    “The professors don’t really get themselves involved with student governance,” Shinji corrected. “And if there are issues, they tend to be self-correcting, since an unpopular Commander can be deposed.”

    “Ah, so more like Professor Lockhart’s Consul system.”

    “Just so,” Lockhart said, speaking up, as all eyes turned to him. “At a school like Durmstrang, with its climate, the magic they teach, and the makeup of their student body, practical lessons in leadership are quite necessary. And well, such lessons are easier to impart when those learning them must juggle actual responsibilities, with actual consequences. But, don’t let me interrupt.”

    “Thank you, Professor,” the Boy from the East noted. He shook his head as he reflected on his last few years at Hogwarts, and how different the British school was from the institution in the north. “Aside from lessons, which are the responsibility of the Professors, the Council of the Host, which is made up of the three Commanders, effectively runs the school. They handle duty assignments, event planning, and even security.”

    “…security?” Ginny asked. “Why would they need something like that for…oh.” Her eyes widened slightly in realization. “It’s because of everyone else, isn’t it?”

    “Because of all the visitors, yes. And what happened earlier in the year,” Shinji agreed. “It would look pretty bad if someone was attacked at the Champions’ Ball or something like it, yes?”

    “And what really happened this year?” Hestia Carrow inquired, looking at the Potions Champion with an intense, inscrutable expression.

    “We heard that some Hufflepuffs died and others were sent back to Hogwarts after a vicious attack by Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour, with a few only surviving due to the intervention of one of the Commanders,” Flora clarified, with Shinji making a face at what he was hearing. “Was that what really happened? Were they really attacked…by the Champions?”

    Shinji grimaced. He might have guessed the topic would come up, and in all honesty, he didn’t really want to talk about it, since he knew the truth. Perhaps if he waited, someone would change the topic?

    …but no one did, with the rest just looking at him expectantly.

    “It was more that they tried to ambush Krum and Delacour,” he said, feeling pressured to say something after no one spoke.

    “That’s…that’s not what we…”

    “Not what you heard?” Shinji interrupted, glancing at Heather Barnaby – the young Hufflepuff who had spoken. “That’s because the Prophet and the Ministry lied.”

    A profound silence fell over most of the room.

    “…what?” Ginny Weasley asked eventually. “But why would they…?”

    “Do you remember what Professor Lockhart told us about examining what we are told and looking beyond the obvious?” he responded, a question for a question. When the redhead hesitantly nodded, Shinji continued. “Well then, when you consider that the Ministry is training an army, and is trying to convince the people of Britain that the rest of the world is arrayed against them, then doesn’t such a thing fit neatly?” He chuckled – a harsh sound full of bitterness and long-suppressed rage. “It sounds better, you know, than admitting that those very people who were lauded as heroes tried to murder two innocents, in the same way their very families were murdered!”

    This time, the silence that fell was far more complete, as many of the younger students just looked at him, mouths open in shock as they tried to process what they were hearing.

    “That…that’s…” Anthony Otterburn managed after some time. “That’s…”

    “Well, you don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to,” Shinji said, with a tight little smile. “But you weren’t there. You didn’t see how in the aftermath, Fleur Delacour was afraid, not for her life, as much as of how she might be forced to hurt people if they came after her. You didn’t see the things many of the Hogwarts students called her, the hateful looks they gave her – the fact that someone released a troll in an attempt to kill her. You didn’t see how vulnerable she was. How sad she was at the fates of her attackers.”

    As her self-appointed bodyguard, Shinji had spent hours – days – weeks, with the Champion of Beauxbatons, and had learned quite a bit about her. Naturally, the British press had twisted this into him being closely entangled with an avowed enemy of the country, with some pitying him for having been ensorcelled by the Veela, while others, citing his standing as a Stone Cutter and his remarkable abilities in the Dark Arts - including the beheading of a ghost and such back in his second year - think no ensorcellment was necessary, given his interest in exotic and powerful women, but the truth remained.

    “But…why? Why would good people…?”

    “Fear,” came a response from an unexpected source, as Luna Lovegood spoke up. “Fear can twist even the best of us into monsters. Fear of others and fear of ourselves.”

    “Fear…of ourselves?” Ginny asked. “What do you mean?”

    “Fear that we might have been too weak. Too slow to see the truth. Too slow to act. That we will be the architects of our own unmaking,” Luna replied enigmatically. “It festers, grows, changes. Fear becomes anger, anger becomes hatred. We blame others for our deeds as we fan the flames, and tell ourselves we do what must be done, even when it isn’t true.”

    “What does that…?”

    “Miss Delcour was part-Veela. Viktor Krum was Bulgarian,” the blonde Ravenclaw mused aloud. “In the minds of the others, that was enough to make them complicit in what happened this summer. Perhaps some feared they would finish what was started, and in fear, acted first.”

    “You think…Hufflepuffs were the ones to attack?” Heather replied in only a whisper. “But that’s. Surely one of them would…” She trailed off. “Unless House loyalty meant…they didn’t want to abandon their peers? Or didn’t want to lose face in front of them?”

    “Do you not feel loyalty to your peers?”

    Heather opened her mouth to speak, then closed it, a strange, almost pained look on her face.

    “…maybe not as much as I did before all this…business,” she admitted. “I feel more at home with you and the rest of the Ourea, captain.”

    “I have not been your captain in over a year.”

    “Even so…” Heather said quietly. “What about you, though? You believe in…” the young Hufflepuff gestured at Shinji.

    “I do.”

    “Why?”

    “Because I’ve seen how he goes out of his way to help those who need it. Because I’ve seen how angry he gets at injustice.” Luna smiled dreamily. “Because I can tell whenever he’s lying to me. Or hiding things. He’s too honest to be a good liar. And because even if his mouth says one thing, his body will say another.”

    Shinji jerked at Luna’s last comment, flushing as the room turned its collective attention to him once more at his lover’s…rather suggestive words.
    Had she meant it that way? Had it just come out that way? He didn’t know, but it did make him a bit uncomfortable.

    “You don’t believe the rumors about him and Miss Delacour then?” Ginny inquired, curious as to just how close their relationship was.

    “No. I don’t,” the silver-eyed girl replied, taking a sip of tea. “I find that the Prophet isn’t very reliable when it comes to reporting on these sorts of things.”

    “…you don’t trust my reporting, Lovegood?” Pansy quipped, mock outrage in her voice.

    “It’s not you I don’t trust, just the editors,” Luna replied amiably.

    “Fair enough,” the Assassin-in-training acknowledged with a quirk of her lips. Far be it from her to defend the editors of the Prophet, after they had turned away from the quest for truth. Speaking of the truth though… “Say Matou,” she said, turning to the boy in question. “How prepared are you for the upcoming Potions Championship, anyway? And what do you think your chances are?”

    “Well…” Shinji began, as all eyes turned to him. “I’ve been working hard, experimenting with new brewing techniques and ingredients, with help from the Book of Potions and Professor Slughorn. I think I’m about as prepared as can reasonably be expected, frankly. As for my chances…speaking off the record, I’m outclassed by most of my competitors.”

    “What do you mean?” Anthony Otterburn asked. “I’ve read Professor Slughorn’s column on your opponents, but they don’t seem to be too troublesome. Except for maybe Stukov and Lestrange.”

    “Lestrange, certainly…” the Boy from the East acknowledged, his lips twisting a bit. “I have the pleasure of being acquainted with her, and she’s not one to be underestimated. Aside from the natural advantages that come from being a seventh year, and thus having had more time to learn and work with Potions, she seems to have inherited her family’s…” He hesitated for a moment as he considered how to phrase this. “…talent and wealth of knowledge.”

    The fact that this knowledge was stored in her demonic blade, Deuillegivre, which she had formed a contract with, was neither here nor there for the purposes of this conversation.

    “She’s better than you, then?” Colin asked bluntly.

    “As far as the art of Potions in the West, certainly!” Shinji admitted. “Just as Sayjou Ayaka of Mahoutokoro is my superior in Eastern potionlore.” He smiled then. “But then, I think I’m the only one who knows some of both, so that’s where I’ve concentrated my research. It is my aim to create something new for the Potions Championship, a masterpiece that blends the knowledge of East and West, transcending what either can do alone.”

    “…that’s a pretty ambitious goal,” Pansy noted, a touch of admiration in her voice. “But…have you made any progress towards meeting it?”

    “Some,” the Boy from the East said evasively.

    “Do you have something to show us, then?” the brunette pressed.

    “…not at this point in time,” Shinji replied wryly. “You’ll just have to wait for the Championship for me to unveil my masterpiece.”

    “Do you think it will be enough to win?” Ginny asked.

    “Well, we’ll just have to see, eh?”

    The group returned to eating, helping themselves as heaping plates of fried chicken appeared on the table before them.

    “Just something I thought you would appreciate, after all your training,” Lockhart commented, when Shinji glanced at him. “After all, this is something of a traditional dish for the holidays, yes?”

    “Well, for Christmas, but…thank you,” Shinji murmured, inclining his head to the man.

    He had some questions of his own for the group, and as they ate and talked, he learned of how things had been in his absence, including the greater focus on practical skills and how Lockhart had been testing the Ourea via a game called Insurgency, in which they controlled a faction that sought to overthrow the Ministry of some fictional country.

    “So, Luna is the most powerful unit in Insurgency, huh?” he remarked, on being given the details of the allies each side could call on. The boy glanced over his fellow Stone Cutter, who for her part, seemed slightly amused. “And I draw the attention of everyone on the battlefield. Heh. I guess that’s not too inaccurate. I wouldn’t mind giving Insurgency a try myself sometime.”

    “Do be careful who hears you saying such things,” Lockhart cautioned. “With the political situation as it is, such a declaration might prove hazardous to your health.”

    “…ah, right.” Shinji sighed heavily, some of his good mood fading as he realized that such was a consideration only he had to be concerned with. “I’ll be more careful about that in the future.”

    “Speaking of the future, Matou, what are your plans?” the History Professor inquired. “The Potions Championship will be over soon enough, and your exemption from the ban on foreigners in Britain only extends through the period of the close of said event.”

    “Yes, I know,” the Boy from the East admitted. “I do have other options though, in case I can’t stay, but it isn’t really about what I want, is it?”

    “But it is. It’s one thing to have options,” Ginny broke in, not liking the Stone Cutter’s evasiveness. “But what do you want to do? Do you even want to stay in Britain, after this year and everything that has happened? Or will you…"

    She trailed off, though everyone knew what she meant.

    “Maybe if I do well, I can get certain concessions for the Ministry, earn a few more freedoms,” Shinji replied with a shrug. “As things stand right now though, I’m thinking about going home. At least there I’m not treated like a criminal and scoundrel. At least there, the people aren’t so afraid that they lash out at anything at all which could hurt them. Don’t misunderstand – I have many good memories here in Britain. I’m honored to have been a Stone Cutter and a Champion, but if the price of it is to be heaped with scorn just for being who I am, it’s not worth it.”

    “But what about...?” Ginny glanced over at Luna meaningfully. “Are you just going to leave everything and everyone behind because things are getting difficult?” ‘Including your lover?’

    “I hope it won’t come to that,” Shinji all but whispered, as Luna’s hand found its way into his and gave it a comforting squeeze. “Like I said, it’s not really my choice, and I’m still hopeful that maybe something can be worked out. But you know, Luna’s right about fear and what it can do. This whole country is steeped in fear, and I don’t see that changing any time soon, not without something else changing first.”

    “…I wish I could say you were wrong,” Ginny answered, after taking a moment to digest the Champion’s words.

    “You know, so do I,” the Boy from the East murmured sadly, as a more thoughtful silence fell, with the members of the Ourea turning once more to their meals.




    Soon enough, the evening ended, with the other members of the Ourea filing out of the room after wishing the Professor and their guest a Happy New Year, until only Shinji and Luna remained.

    “A most insightful evening, wouldn’t you say, Matou?” Lockhart inquired solicitously. “I thought it would be useful to show my students the human side of the suffering the current policies embodied, and fortunately, you did a good enough job of that by telling them your story.”

    “Oh?”

    “Here at Hogwarts, they only see so much, after all, and while I too am well-traveled, you are more of a peer than I,” the History Professor explained.

    “Well…that’s true.”

    “Anyway, you mentioned wanting to know more about the Weasley family – Fred and Ron in particular?”

    “Yes? But how you know about what’s happening with them?” Shinji asked, somewhat puzzled at the Assassin’s question.

    “I know because Fred Weasley, at least, is at Hogwarts,” the man revealed. “He and young Mister Malfoy were brought back to Britain some time ago – or at least their comatose bodies were. From what I have been able to gather, the two participated in something of a disastrous Capture the Flag match.”

    “Where…where are they?”

    “They are being housed in two unused classrooms on the third floor, both of which have been converted into sickrooms,” Lockhart told him, “the doors to which are guarded by Aurors.”

    “What’s their condition?”

    “Draco awakened on Christmas Day,” the Assassin noted. “Fred, however, remains comatose.”

    Indeed, despite the best treatment that Wizarding Britain was capable of, with Healers working to restore his body as best they could, Fred had not yet awakened, and worse, his vitals worsened with each passing day, as he teetered on the line between life and death.

    He’d remained on this side of it for now, but for how long?

    Understandably, the Ministry had questions about how this state of affairs had come to pass, as there was no known spell capable of tearing through dragonhide robes and inducing a coma that a fourth year would know. Their working hypothesis was that Draco's wand had acted on its own in response to what it perceived as a threat to its master's life, as phoenix feather wands had occasionally been known to do, but as to how it had generated such an effect, no one had any idea.

    "Why are you telling me this?" Shinji asked of his Mentor.

    "Why, because I thought you would be interested in what has happened while you were gone," Lockhart replied gravely. "And I wished to give you an opportunity to act, if you so choose."

    "To act, you say?" Shinji echoed. “What can I do? I’m no healer, and I doubt I’d be allowed to visit either of them. Even knowing they are here instead of at Durmstrang would probably get me in trouble.”

    “Sadly, I am somewhat tired, so I believe I will retire for the evening,” the Assassin said, not bothering to answer the boy’s question. “I will commend you on your accomplishment in finally being able to Flow-Walk though. A most intriguing skill, given that Hogwart’s defenses do not protect against it.”

    And with that, Lockhart was gone.

    ‘Visit, huh…’


    “What do you think, Luna?” he asked of his companion. “We don’t have too long – it is already the morning of the New Year in Japan, and we have plans for the day.”

    “We have at least a little bit of time. And besides, how you end the year is just as important as how you begin it, right?” she reasoned, her silver eyes somber and serious.

    ‘Fred, then
    , I suppose. He was a comrade once, whereas Draco…’

    Well, Draco was already awake, and Shinji didn’t want to have to answer any inconvenient questions from either him or the Aurors guarding his room, so the choice was obvious.

    “I’ll wait for you in the Room of Requirement then,” Luna said, slipping out the door and leaving Matou Shinji entirely alone.




    For most, arranging to visit either Draco or Fred was something of a difficult task at best, given that for all that the Ministry refused to acknowledge that the two young men were currently at Hogwarts, the section of the school where they were being housed and treated was cordoned off, with some of Britain's precious supply of Aurors assigned to patrol the area, disillusioned and wary of any would be treachery or interference during the ongoing investigation.

    Thus, if one wanted to visit either of them, one would have to find a way to sneak past the invisible patrols and enter the room, without detection - something that would be nearly impossible for most wizards to manage, given that the conventional methods of achieving invisibility would not do anything to prevent them from being detected by the homenum revelio spell, or enchantments on the door which prevented any unauthorized person from walking across the threshold.

    Of course, Matou Shinji was not most wizards, having means and ways that most in Britain could not begin to imagine.

    Or rather, he had a loyal familiar who was capable of fairly incredible things, who could bypass any patrols or defenses while in spirit form, including the enchantments at the doorway and homenum revelio, neither of which reacted to him given that he was not a person as the spell would define it.

    Once inside, the kodama set a single ofuda on the ground and sent a signal through the mental connection he shared with his master. Mere moments later, Matou Shinji appeared soundlessly in the room, eyebrows raised faintly in surprise, as he hadn't been sure that the plan he’d come up with would work.

    This was the first time he was going across half a castle instead of merely across the span of a room, or moving underground a few meters.

    'This technique is truly a powerful thing...'
    he mused. Previously, he'd simply thought of it as a movement ability that was invaluable in battle, but he'd never considered how it could be used for infiltration, unlike a certain Assassin...

    He didn’t have long though, so he turned his attention to the unconscious figure of Fred Weasley, who was laying on the room's only piece of furniture, a white, sterile bed that did not seem comfortable at all. Granted, he was not exactly well-versed in the healing arts, though he figured he would at least do what he could.

    'Pants at them is what I am,'
    Shinji thought ruefully. 'Actually, now that I think about it Zelkova, would you mind looking Fred over? Perhaps you can see something the Healers have missed?'

    'Certainly, Master,' the kodama replied, still invisible to all present. It took a minute, as Zelkova was not exactly an expert at human physiology, but as it happened, the issue didn’t have to with Fred’s flesh. 'Ah, I see the problem, Master.’

    Zelkova's voice seemed grave over the mental link, which concerned Shinji, as his familiar was usually quite serene.

    ‘What is it?’


    'His spiritual core has been irreparably damaged, Master.'


    The Boy from the East blinked.

    '...how?'


    'From the current situation, I believe that he was assaulted with a tremendous amount of yang prana that flooded - and shattered - his spiritual core, aside from the physical trauma it caused.'


    Shinji blinked again.

    'What? But I thought that yang was healing energy?'


    ...and that its main application in battle was to make a spell much more physically potent, not to induce spiritual damage, unlike the yin prana he was more than capable of drawing on.

    'As one who studied magecraft, you should be aware of the dangers inherent in attempting to channel or hold prana in excess of one's capacity,’
    the kodama explained.

    ‘…are you saying that is what happened here?’


    ‘Yes. Only more serious than when it occurs in magi, given that Circuits are necessary for a human to survive and can simply be burned out. For those someone like you, Master, descended from
    youkai, the organs which circulate and process prana are intertwined with the flesh. If a practitioner’s spiritual core and vessels are damaged, they do not simply cease to function. Rather, magical energy spills from them in an uncontrolled fashion.’

    Under ordinary circumstances, such an overload was not possible, as practitioners of witchcraft did not generally have the capacity to draw on as much of the world’s prana as a magus would – nor had the need to do so, given their higher efficiencies. However, this could be bypassed by a direct infusion of yang prana, which, while usually used to heal or to refill one's stores, could also be used to induce a destructive overload in another’s prana circulation system, much as a scalpel could be used in the service of medicine - or assassination.

    '...I see,'
    Shinji noted, taking in this information with a frown. 'And is there anything we can do for Fred? I know neither of us are particularly adept at healing, but since this doesn't seem to be a matter of flesh, but spirit…’

    The kodama was silent for a long moment, with seconds dragging on into minutes, and Shinji starting to become concerned before his familiar spoke again.

    'Well, there is one thing, Master,'
    the familiar related with obvious reluctance. 'Though it is an option I do not particularly care for.'

    'Oh? And what might that be?'
    Shinji inquired, wondering what it was that had Zelkova so unsettled.

    ‘Sealing away his spiritual core, so that no further prana flows into his spiritual channels.’


    ‘What.’
    To say that Matou Shinji was shocked would have been an understatement. ‘You…can do that?’

    ‘We could – in fusion,’
    Zelkova admitted. ‘Your yin prana is particularly adept at destruction and sealing, and while you do not have the skill to use it for such a delicate purpose, I could supply the knowledge that would allow you to perform the operation, if you wish. But…’

    ‘But what…?’


    ‘If you do this, Master, he will be left without any magic at all – without any possibility of regaining his magic, or passing it on to future generations,’
    Zelkova noted. ‘Such a thing is irreversible, and to someone who has been part of a world of magic for his entire life, likely worse than death.’

    Fred Weasley, who had prided himself on his cleverness and his magical might, would be left a muggle.

    Helpless, powerless, alone.

    '...I'm not sure I like that option,'
    Shinji admitted, his lips curving into a frown. 'Is there anything else we could do for him? Anything less...unpleasant?'

    ‘You could grant him the mercy of a quick and painless death,'
    was the simple reply. 'Using yin prana, it would be simple enough to sever the connection between his soul and his body, freeing him from his prison of flesh and allowing him to pass on to the Other Side of the World.'

    'How is that the
    less unpleasant alternative?' Shinji questioned incredulously. How could it be that his familiar thought killing Fred was preferable to saving him, albeit in a reduced form?

    And was there no other choice besides ending Fred's life himself or taking away the boy's magic, leaving his former friend broken?

    ‘...as I would have been broken, had the Hogwarts letter not come in the moment of my despair.’


    Only worse, as Fred Weasley would have known of magic, would have remembered being a practitioner of the arcane arts, compared to a boy who had never had any potential for magecraft in the first place.

    'From what I have seen of Fred Weasley, he would fall into despair without his power,’
    Zelkova commented patiently, echoing Shinji’s own thoughts. ‘His nature as a wizard - a practitioner of witchcraft - is central to who and what he is. If you took that from him, he might wake, yes, but I do not think his mind would ever fully recover from the shock of losing everything that he is.'

    'You mean...?'


    'That there are risks, Master. He may go mad, or take his own life, even should you seek to spare it.'


    '...I'm starting to think I should just leave him here and let nature take its course,'
    Shinji grumbled, shaking his head. 'There really are no good options here, are there?'

    'No,’
    Zelkova replied. ‘That is sometimes the way of things. Still, the decision is yours, Master. What will you choose? Will you simply walk away? Or—’

    ‘No,’
    Shinji said. ‘I can’t do that. Not when there’s something I can do.’

    ‘Then let us fuse, Master, and make your choice.’


    And so…Matou Shinji did, knowing that he would never be able to take it back.

    ‘I’m sorry, Fred.’




    Choice 210: After this, Shinji and Luna go to Japan to join the Fujou family for a Shrine visit - as well as to participate in a performance of Ode to Joy - the world's largest such event, with over 10,000 people to be singing. The group includes Fujou Shiroe and Kirie of the main family, Hisui and Kohaku - twins from the branch family, and mysteriously, a blonde foreigner with a majestic presence who is walking next to Fujou Kirie.

    Shinji greets them, introducing them to Luna, who was clad in a midnight-blue kimono, with Shiroe looking amused, Kirie nodding and...the blonde looking over them impassively in a manner that reminded him of Lockhart.

    'Is she trying to see if I'm a threat...? Or Luna?'

    Given the group they were with, there was a good chance that perhaps the woman was a magus of some sort, though she seemed more serene than most.

    "Won't you introduce me to your other mystery guest?" he asked, glancing over at the kimono-clad blonde. "Or will I have to think of her as Mysterious Heroine X?" he joked.

    "She is my esteemed sister's guest, actually," Shiroe noted, turning to Kirie. "Sister, if you would?"

    "Matou, Lovegood, this is Āsā Drake, a swordswoman from the west who has been working with our family," Fujou Kirie related, some amusement in her eyes.

    "Drake?" Shinji echoed, raising an eyebrow. "Any relation to Sir Francis?"

    "Perhaps a distant one," the woman replied coolly. "I am unsure. I would like to believe that my deeds matter more than my relations, however."

    It would have been difficult to prove either way, since records of the Drakes from before the time of the great Privateer were not quite complete, and Sir Francis himself had left no descendants.

    "...true enough," Shinji allowed, bowing to the petite blonde, even as Luna did as well. "A pleasure to meet you. I am Matou Shinji, of Britain and Mahoutokoro."

    "Of Britain?" the woman echoed. "And you are something like a magus?"

    "A reasonable assumption," the would-be onmyouji acknowledged. "I aspire to be an Alchemist."

    Luna, however, seemed far more serious at the sight of the other blonde, her silver eyes fixed on the other's form.

    "Your blood sings of mysteries, my lady," the blonde Ravenclaw murmured, curtseying deeply - and offering, when she rose, a single white lily, which she had to have conjured. "It is an honor to meet you, Miss Drake."

    "And you, Miss Lovegood," the other replied, tilting her head. "You are...not quite human?"

    "Part-kitsune at present," Luna admitted quietly.

    "Ah, what they call fusion. I did not know that Britain condoned such practices," Asa Drake noted wryly. "Mistress Fujou certainly has interesting acquaintances, I must say."

    "She obtained her familiar here, actually," Shinji corrected, "though she is quite interesting. At least, compared to me."

    "Modesty, Matou? It doesn't quite suit you," Fujou Shiroe suggested quipped, shaking his head. "In any case, shall we talk as we walk, perhaps?
    The Fushimi Inari Shrine may not be far, but it is certain to be crowded, and then we have a visit to the Maiden of the Tree before the performance."

    "Very well," Asa said deferentially. "Lead on."

    Who would Shinji like to talk to during the walk to the Shrine? (choose one)

    [ ] The mysterious swordswoman, Asa Drake
    [ ] Kohaku, who seeks to catch his eye
    [ ] Fujou Kirie, as he does not know her well as of yet
    [ ] Fujou Shiroe, as he wants to catch up with his old friend

    Choice 211: And what is Shinji's wish for the new year?

    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; September 2nd, 2017 at 01:25 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  10. #3070
    Traps Are Love Nanao-kun's Avatar
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    Hmm, the four choices are all very tempting. Seems like Kohaku has something she wants to talk with Shinji about though.

  11. #3071
    [x] Fujou Shiroe, as he wants to catch up with his old friend

    [x] (write-in) wish for the safety and luck of his beloved ones (Luna, Rin, Mashu,Sion, Harry, etc) in case he could not come with live from the Potion Tournament.
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; September 2nd, 2017 at 02:52 PM.

  12. #3072
    [x] Kirie.

    Sorry Kohaku, don't think wakame will be having fun talking about Weasley.

    Besides, Kirie will be a master in the Grail War. We need to work on that relationship and maybe plan a future meeting.

    [x] To win the Potions Championship.

  13. #3073
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    I'm on IRC if anyone wants to discuss
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  14. #3074
    [X] Kirie

  15. #3075
    リビングデッド Living Dead Haunter's Avatar
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    [x] Fujou Shiroe, as he wants to catch up with his old friend

    [x] (write-in) wish for the safety and luck of his beloved ones (Luna, Rin, Mashu, Sion, Harry, etc) in case he could not come alive from the Potion Tournament.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    [x] Kirie.

    Sorry Kohaku, don't think wakame will be having fun talking about Weasley.

    Besides, Kirie will be a master in the Grail War. We need to work on that relationship and maybe plan a future meeting.

    [x] To win the Potions Championship.
    I thought even with Budge getting mad at us not actually wanting to win the Championship, we still actually aren't focused on winning the Championship and rather more focused on doing what Sion told us to do.

  16. #3076
    Sion made a request and also asked him to do his best.

    That aside, I think we can agree that with all the potions focus and training this year, it would be a waste not to aim for victory.

    If we only cared about doing what Sion asked, we would have made a deal with Ayaka to help us out in exchange for the book.

  17. #3077
    リビングデッド Living Dead Haunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    Sion made a request and also asked him to do his best.

    That aside, I think we can agree that with all the potions focus and training this year, it would be a waste not to aim for victory.

    If we only cared about doing what Sion asked, we would have made a deal with Ayaka to help us out in exchange for the book.
    Ah, I see. Thanks.

  18. #3078
    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    Sion made a request and also asked him to do his best.

    That aside, I think we can agree that with all the potions focus and training this year, it would be a waste not to aim for victory.

    If we only cared about doing what Sion asked, we would have made a deal with Ayaka to help us out in exchange for the book.
    Well that is not a bad idea, don't matter if we get the POAP what matter is than sion get that potion, so is not a bad idea think in help Ayaka with the book of potions if that mean we can have access to the POAP.

    Alf is possible ask to Ayaka if she would like make an alliance with shinji to brew something great using the book of potions in change of give the recipe of the potion to Shinji after the potion tournament?

  19. #3079
    Well, I shooting to please Sion more than winning this championship at all costs, but frankly I am not sure how the two goals are mutually exclusive. So I am hoping for both in the end, as winning it would please her, but it is not a requirement that needs to be met.

    On the subject of this write in. I would like to say that this new year wish is for the whole year, not just the time frame of the Potions Championship. We should frame the wish far more broadly they we are currently doing. After all for the Japanese, new year wishes is the reflection of a persons hopes and dreams for what will come to happen in the entire year. I am going to modify one of our write in to reflect that. And the other wish (winning PC) while super important, is only a wish for maybe for a two week period of time in an entire year for Shinji. It would be better to wish more in line for the best outcome for the year after the PC is over, and Shinji has to deal with the consequences of whatever fallout or reward that PC might result in for him. That would take up most of the next year for him.

    [X]Wish for the safety and luck of his beloved ones (Luna, Rin, Mashu, Sion, Harry, etc) and himself for the coming year.
    [X] Fujou Kirie, as he does not know her well as of yet

    Really want to talk to Saber here, but talking to Kirie overruled that behavior because I think that Shinji needs to get to know Kirie more after he gave up the water of life to save her. I think that Shinji getting to know her better and what that act from him means to her is exactly what Shinji needs mentally right now when so much of what he has done this year has been thrown at his face in the worst possible light.

  20. #3080
    [x] wish to be successful in the potion championship

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