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Thread: CROWNLESS (IC)

  1. #21
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    EGLANTINE & ARBALEST
    Afternoon
    Atlas Telamon


    “The likelihood of betrayal is always a possibility, however we have our doubts. For one thing, she has made no attempt to hide her activity and access logs, so it had always been clear to us that she had been interested in this case. She should know this, too. If she really has turned on us… then we doubt it was premeditated.”

    She frowns. “The most likely scenario we are considering is that she has been captured. Given that we are dealing with Harvesters, it is very likely that she’s still alive, given what Harvesters do.” She pauses for a second, as if to let that sink in for a bit. “However, while this does mean she can be salvaged if found quickly enough, this may also mean her Crests will have been compromised. We know not if this signature is her, or the something else using her Crests. Unfortunately, we must prioritize the infiltration over her rescue.”

    “Well, I say infiltration, but I’d say there are two parts to this operation. Your talents here are still very much needed.”

    “We’ve pinpointed the location of KHAMSIN’s Crest to a warehouse in the lower city, located in an industrial park, which we believe to be a facility used to store kidnapped Espers for this gang of Harvesters. Of the type we might be dealing with, we believe these to be those more linked with human trafficking, creating their own Espers to harvest, rather than the kinds that simply attack and harvest other awakened Espers on the street. The latter cases are often of the same breed as gang violence, while this seems to be more along the lines of organized crime.”

    “Their victims must be coming from somewhere, and the obvious suspect is the establishment Mr. Langley had been investigating beforehand. Aries Palace Casino.”

    “Thus, this infiltration is twofold. One, to investigate the Palace regarding this case of trafficking, and gather information on the disappearances of our agents. Two, a raid on the facility in which we suspect the victims to be held.”

    “I suppose in the latter, subtlety isn’t quite as key.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  2. #22
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    LILITH & 2D
    Afternoon
    The Madame’s Establishment


    You both see it from the Madame at the back of the room, out of the corner of your eye. Just as LILITH mutters her warning.

    She smiles.


    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino


    You arrive, to find your Mr. Baldwin waiting at the entrance. An unextraordinary-looking man, like the typical businessman you’d find anywhere up on the upper city— save for an odd, stilted smile.

    “Ah, Nadya! Looking lovely as always, you are.” He offers the Madame his hand to shake, which she takes, wearing just a strained smile. “We’ve been expecting you.”

    LILITH, standing by the Madame’s side, notices that he strangely doesn’t seem to have any of his Knights stationed with him. Otherwise, you have no need to marvel at the Palace and all— your days of service with the House of Karnstein, back in your duties of guarding the heiress, make this establishment a familiar one. How long has it been, since you’ve come down with her? How long, since you’ve last seen them? Months? Years now? Have you been forgotten, or had they ever searched for you? Are they still? A nostalgic memory, a torrent of nauseating thought, bubbling back up from beneath the surface, making you feel almost ill.

    Many of the patrons here are Nobles, you recognize, the mark of wealth all too apparent. Some of them you recognize from back then. Business owners, bankers, politicians, the works. This place really hasn’t changed. Is that bar that Lady Karnstein used to love frequenting still around today? Do the big bands still play in the entertainment venues at this time today? Do you think, after all this time, you could maybe see them again?

    None of the other Nobles pay you any mind. They have no reason to, to look at you, to recognize you, to remember you.

    No.

    There, for an instant, you notice a woman stare at you. A flash of recognition. Strained memory. Confusion, hesitation, that unsure expression when one tries to remember— Is this someone I know?

    It lasted only for an instant, and the others don’t seem to notice, but she shakes her head and leaves, apparently mistaken.

    2D, meanwhile, hangs a bit back from the group as instructed— close enough to observe, but far enough to avoid immediate notice, so long as you don’t screw up too much and make a scene. Over 01 you wear a suit, lent to you by the Madame, and probably the most expensive pieces of cloth to ever touch your body. It feels almost surreal to you wearing such a thing, after weeks of living off instant noodles and food court samples. The restaurants here probably cost more in one meal than you can afford to spend in a single month— and yet the Madame has spared you a small allowance for you to use. An ambiguous message, but most apparently an offering of goodwill— “This is but a fraction of what you have to gain, should you succeed.”

    Your drones, by the way, were found dropped into some bushes a block away. While you’re not too sure how accommodating the casino would be to hauling armed drones to their doorstep, they are, nevertheless, close enough for you to operate and issue orders to from within. Whether you try to sneak them in, or leave them outside, is up to you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  3. #23
    Rose Lewith
    Morning
    Lower Alexandria


    Neon lights illuminated the lower districts of Neo Alexandria, blinking and shimmering. High heels clicking on the ground, Rose made her way through the wondrous streets of the lower city.

    She wasn't a stranger to this side of the city. When she was still in University, she reminisced, her friends and colleagues would always invite her down here. For a long time, she declined all invitations related to the entertainment district, and it wasn't until a silly bet that she found herself give in.

    I was such a square, she thought. The strict life she led paved the way to a promising career, but happiness didn't always align with success. Amongst her colleagues in the Sector, she was the youngest by a considerable margin. Her friends often made fun of her, telling her she was wasting away her youth, but she never saw it that way. She didn’t need to go out and look for entertainment or even love because she already found her place in life. The Sector was where she belonged.

    Today was different. She had taken the morning off from work to meet with an old childhood friend. The circumstances were quite coincidental. Not too long ago, she helped out a coworker by the name PERCY, who promised her a favor in return. At the time, she didn’t expect anything from him. She didn’t like holding people down to debts and favors and the like. But when not over a week ago her old friend Jean contacted her, breaking a silence that lasted several years, she changed her mind. PERCY is a capable man and taking over one morning shift for me won’t hurt him. Just this once. If I don’t do something selfish once in awhile, I might just fade into grey. A grey undefined blob, she imagined, that only ever worked and slept and slept and worked.

    She came to a halt in front of a glass building, topped with neon pink letters spelling Kitty Paradise. Staring through the the translucent walls, she examined it's interior. The establishment's furniture had an unusual, comic-esque style. As seats one had cushions in the shape of a large cartoon cat that sank in when someone sat down on it, and sprang back into it's overly large form the second one stood up, almost like a cat taking a leap.
    He must think I’m just as uptight as I was in school, she thought. Did he choose something this silly to mock me? Gazing inside, her eyes wandered toward an extraordinarily petite woman with caramel complexion. Strutting through the ensemble, each of her hands held up plates with various snacks and foods on them. Her head was adorned by metallic cat ears that glew a bright neon pink, and in the place where her nose should be, she instead had a small black dot. Her mouth was tiny and pouty, with whiskers poking out to the sides of it.
    One of the waitress, Rose assumed. Stopping at the table of a male customer, the she-kitty put down one of the plates. The man, bald-headed and large in size, was crushing a cat cushion beneath him. The cat had two crosses as eyes and a tongue hanging out of it’s cartoon mouth. Rose chuckled. She found this restaurant had a strange, but endearing sense of humor.
    Another customer, Rose noticed, a pale woman clad in a tight black dress, slowly found her way through the ensemble to take her seat. Her ginger hair was pulled in a tight, high ponytail, framing her face beautifully. For a moment, Rose was stunned by her beauty. The fact that she was able to spot a woman this dressed up and glamorous inside the strange restaurant reassured her. Maybe she wouldn't feel out of place even somewhere so silly.

    He’s probably waiting inside. As Rose stepped closer to the entrance of the Kitty Paradise, she noticed bass drumming through the ground, and faint electronic beats playing inside the building. Jean had told her this would be a restaurant, but she was getting the impression this establishment doubled as a club.

    A notification rang through her cyberbrain. A text message. She opened it immediately, and put one finger to her ear as her in-built audio assistant read it out to her. “From: PERCY. Unable to take over shift. Sorry.”

    Shit, she cursed herself. Nervously, she bit her lower lip. She wanted to be selfish today, but only so long as it didn’t hurt her career. I have to explain myself to him, she told herself. Leaving now wouldn’t be fair. Yet, she couldn't bring herself to go inside. The situation was too awkward. She didn’t even know him anymore. The last time they met was four years ago, when she was still in school. All she had was a picture he sent her upon contacting her. Admittedly, he seemed to have grown into a handsome young man and his good looks were part of why she had been so eager for this date, but that only made her feel more so as though they hadn’t seen one another for too long a time. Looking through the translucent walls separating her and the interior of the Kitty Paradise, she couldn’t even make out where he was among the customers.

    This isn’t right, she thought. If we are to reconnect, we would need more than a brief moment. She stepped away from the building and turned around. I’ll send him a text message later, she reassured herself.

    By noon, she found herself back in the Atlas.

    Afternoon
    Atlas Telamon


    She had been called by DOMINION, a knight of the Fifth King. Alongside her were three other agents, all of whom were unfamiliar faces. The matter was simple. An agent named KHAMSIN was to be retrieved from a group of harvesters.

    Until now, Rose had avoided facing harvesters in her work for the Sector. On a few occasions they showed up in paperwork, but never had she met one personally. Harvesters were monstrous criminals that used Espers like livestock. First they would research their targets and track their steps through Neo Alexandria; where they lived, where they worked, who they knew. Then, they struck. Taken away to their hideouts, they’d slowly remove your crested limbs one by one until there was nothing left of you to take.
    One particular story came to mind. Four years ago, when Rose herself had only recently awoken her crest, the gruesome tale of Harvester network was all over the news. An underground den of their ilk had been uncovered, and the mutilated Espers retrieved could only live on in a catatonic state of existence. Only one man among them was able to speak, albeit hardly coherent. A live interview with him aired on almost every major news channel. Even now, she could remember what he looked like clear as day. The image of his malnurtured, boney body, arms missing and scars all over him, was forever burned into her mind.
    His story, however, was what haunted her even more. As children, he and the other Espers had been taken away from their homes and imprisoned by the Harvester network. They were given only the bare necessities to survive, and once one of their crests grew strong enough to sell well on the black market, they underwent torturous surgery that most of them didn’t survive.
    At the time, almost all Harvesters behind the crime were caught. Most of them now spent their days in the prisons outside the city, while their leaders rotted away in the prison complex of the Atlas. One, however, escaped the grasp of the Sector. The head of the network, an ominous man by the name Crow. That man still running free might be why that particular story was so scary to her.

    These stories shouldn’t frighten me anymore, she told herself. She had grown into a strong Esper, and more importantly, a good agent. Those Harvesters are the ones who should be scared of me.
    Still, knowing a fellow agent was possibly in the hands of these monsters couldn't help but make her uneasy.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOMINION
    “Their victims must be coming from somewhere, and the obvious suspect is the establishment Mr. Langley had been investigating beforehand. Aries Palace Casino.”

    “Thus, this infiltration is twofold. One, to investigate the Palace regarding this case of trafficking, and gather information on the disappearances of our agents. Two, a raid on the facility in which we suspect the victims to be held.”

    “I suppose in the latter, subtlety isn’t quite as key.”

    “We shouldn’t be wasting any time then.” Rose took a step toward DOMINION. “How about this. I go investigate the Aries Palace Casino and you three raid the facility. While you retrieve the victims, I find out who’s the leader of their group.” Her words were directed to her colleagues as well as DOMINION, who's approval as authority for the mission she seeked.

  4. #24
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    PENANCE
    Afternoon
    A Worn-down Church


    A brief silence. He sighs.

    “...Leontine’s.”

    He says something unexpected, and you look to him for an explanation. “It’s a patisserie in the Palace. Their petits fours were one of Lady Falkenrath’s favorites. If you really must go, at least try that place out at least once in your life.”


    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino


    It’s not often you find yourself in the lower city.

    A district dominated by entertainment venues and nightlife, it just wasn’t the place for you. As one who preached to the downtrodden and the destitute, a single look at the place was all you needed to know, that the congregation you sought would not be found here. Of course, today you’re not here to preach.

    On your way down to the Palace, you see, shadowed by the skyscrapers, the warehouses and industrial parks tucked away from the lights of the city. There, somewhere, lies your destination.

    You stop at the doorstep of the Palace. Even with your nicer-than-usual dress, and passes and the like forged with some help from your friends who work here, you still feel like you stick out like a sore thumb. Is it the youth? The absent air of wealth? What worries you have of being ousted, however, seem to be unfounded. Barring a few glances here and there, you don’t seem to be the center of much unwarranted attention.

    The interior of the casino itself, from what you can see just by the entrance, is decorated in mostly an Old-World fashion, though you don’t quite recognize which kind. From what you’ve been told of the place, the bottom floor is mostly occupied by the entertainment venues, and varied restaurants. The upper floors are occupied by nightclubs and bars and the like. The gambling halls, of course, occupy the largest chunk of the establishment, which spans multiple floors.

    As far as who you know in the Palace, Henrich has passed onto you several files, regarding your Church’s connections within their employees. Most of them are acquaintances within the more menial ranks of the Palace’s employment— janitors for some, busboys for the others, and some even working as dealers in the gambling halls.

    Thankfully, the age for drinking and gambling around these parts is only eighteen, and you can enter without much fuss.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  5. #25
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino


    Of course, only in a place like this could you find wine dating from before the War. It’s almost good enough to justify the crater it leaves in your wallet.

    As your Regalia manifests, barely visible by anyone, your senses heighten. Distant music, louder. Flashing lights, brighter. It takes you a second to adjust your mind, like stepping out of the darkness into an overly brightened room, and then it settles.

    There’s another advantage to your Regalia here, aside from intelligence gathering. Poker here is a safer bet in establishments such as these. While the others were games of rigged chance, mathematically determined to stack the odds against you, poker pit you against others, with all the same advantages and disadvantages you did. The rake on the pot was all the casino needed, with nothing in your way but the wits and machinations of the other players.

    In this field, you have a clear advantage.

    But enough of that. You observe the crowds.

    Nothing immediately jumps out at you, but you take note of whatever you can, under the guise of wandering about the lobby to the halls. There’s a tense air here, though you aren’t sure whether that’s just your nerves, or not.

    A girl who looks a bit too young be here, a fish out of water. Men in suits whispering to each other, stern conversations in hushed voices. A woman who appears to appeared with a troupe of Knights, greeting a business partner. A young man meandering about the bushes, maintaining a slight distance. A janitor looking about himself, mostly out of sight, apprehensive.

    And, from the sound of it, as a slightly harried and clearly irritated man storms away from the gambling halls, an open seat at the poker tables.
    Last edited by Kirby; August 14th, 2017 at 12:30 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  6. #26
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Frederick Fontaine
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino

    The real advantage to Fontaine's Regalia wasn't the added capacity for quick thinking; it was the ability to see all around without making it known. By peeking without peeking, he could spy on others much more effectively. The disadvantage to observation was usually the inevitability of said observation itself being observed, and he'd neatly sidestepped it, allowing him to notice many more things than one man normally could.

    Such as that man near the bushes, clearly weighing the chances on whether he could get away with taking a leak there in lieu of the well-furnished bathrooms. A paranoid afraid of the hidden cameras no doubt present inside? Not that it was Fontaine's business, nor did he care overmuch.

    He did care about the woman whose entrance was accompanied by a score of Knights. As she struck up a conversation with her business partner Fontaine's instincts nudged him in her direction. He had to nudge back. He wasn't about to approach someone that heavily-guarded, even for small talk. Same for the dozens of hushed conversations between suits all around him.

    What Fontaine considered was who would talk to someone in his position: a complete stranger, a young man with sharp eyes and no business out by himself? Which of the countless conspirators in the Palace would give Frederick Fontaine the time of day? It certainly wouldn't be the woman and her Knights, nor could it be the countless pairs or trios of businessmen. He would be rebuffed in an instant even if his words were honey. The nervous janitor was a possibility, but that was a problem of Fontaine being too high and the man being too low. Wolves could not speak to mice without turning the whole forest on its head. There were rules that needed to be followed.

    No, there was only one prey fit for Fontaine, only one way he could hunt.

    "Excuse me," he said, flagging down a nearby waiter. "That young beauty over there - bring her a cup of the same wine I'm drinking. The barman has the rest of the bottle on hold. No need to tell her it was from me - she'll know." He stuffed a bill into the nervous man's pocket and gave him a pat on the back - was it just him or did all the workers around here seem nervous, perhaps from the threat of being kidnapped? Fontaine noted that down as a possible avenue of approach, even as he left the waiter behind.

    He was not going to approach the woman, though that would have been Fontaine's usual style. He was on business with no spare time for leisure. That being said, what he'd just done was a calculated move, not an attempt to pick up a nice girl for the evening. She would at least be able to enjoy some alcohol, Fontaine had thought, and wonder about the mysterious stranger keeping his eye on her. Paranoia about being watched would serve her well in the cutthroat environment she'd found herself in, and perhaps even save her from the opportunistic scumbags infesting the halls. And if she was smart - he didn't want an airhead - she would track him down by their mutually shared drink.

    That being done, Fontaine made his way to the open spot in the poker table.

    The true reason he'd hurried was to catch a seat before some other fool decided to try his luck.

  7. #27
    21+ old maid Katie's Avatar
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    PENANCE
    Afternoon
    A Worn-down Church


    When she arrives, she notices she isn’t really in the mood for pastries. Wearing a simple dress with a purple flair, she wonders if her youth is already too apparent. It was luck that the age she chose was the beginning of the cut-off, and that she could indulge in whatever debauchery she decided. Not that she was particularly inclined. She had little to personally spend and she was almost certain she couldn’t handle her alcohol.

    Which made it all the more suspicious when a waiter hands her a wine glass, with an anonymous donor. Almost instinctively, the mood reader she has installed kicks in, telling her the poor man is nervous, possibly overworked. Though, that was probably something she could tell without the aid of technology. Nevertheless, she wasn’t used to such charity, but she had long since learned man often only invested when it benefitted themselves.

    There were other motives at work, and she’d like to know of them.

    Before the waiter can leave, she tenderly grabs his sleeve, unsure of what she is actually supposed to do in such a situation. He turns around, a bit shocked, almost stumbling, but straightens himself up with an alarming speed.

    “Would you kindly tell me who gave me this? I’d like to inform them that a woman of the faith isn’t available.” She says it with a wry smile on her face, because, in all honestly, she had spent so much time being prim and proper that acting a bit more… crass was quite relaxing, if unnatural. She might as well try and be, what was it, flirty, to make it seem as if it wasn’t PENANCE preaching, but Kristina Scriabina on a night out. Her faithful would recognize her and she could clear up the misunderstanding later, if such a thing happened. “Although, if you are ever in need of aid…”

    She leans in close and practically whispers it into the waiter's ear.

    “Confessionals are free, understand?”

    The giggle that escapes her lips is just a bit sadistic.
    Last edited by Katie; August 14th, 2017 at 04:04 PM.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  8. #28
    ARBALEST
    Afternoon
    Atlas Telamon

    “The most likely scenario we are considering is that she has been captured... Unfortunately, we must prioritize the infiltration over her rescue.”


    "Noted." Typical brass, more than half a century and they haven't changed a bit. Perhaps not mission critical information, but the difference between a traitor and a captured comrade. Tch. Her thoughts kept to herself, impassive behind the visor infront of her DOMINION. It didn't set well with her to write off a captured soldier so easily.

    “Thus, this infiltration is twofold. One, to investigate the Palace regarding this case of trafficking, and gather information on the disappearances of our agents. Two, a raid on the facility in which we suspect the victims to be held.”


    The map of the city springs up with the ease of a thought, her cyber brain tapping into the Sector's databases again with practiced ease. The information far more detailed than the google maps of her era, including everything from the owner, to detained building structural information. A few quick mental taps saving, and disseminating the data to the rest of the group, overlays of LoS included.

    “How about this. I go investigate the Aries Palace Casino and you three raid the facility. While you retrieve the victims, I find out who’s the leader of their group.”
    "I can provide overwatch to both sites simultaneously." A slight gesture with her right 'arm', the oversized for personal weaponry railgun that fits seamlessly to her shoulder. It would leave her then as the most exposed member of the unit if something were to go wrong, and distance should mitigate that risk as well.
    Collection of cherished moments
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  9. #29
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    EGLANTINE & ARBALEST
    Afternoon
    Atlas Telamon


    DOMINION nods. “Good. It seems you have your formation sorted out, then.” She takes something out, and tosses one over EGLANTINE, and another to ASCLEPIUS. He almost drops it.

    “Take these. Get ARBALEST to link with this. Use it to sabotage their network once you’re in, if need be. If she’s on overwatch, with these, it’ll let her safely hack into their system from afar.”

    She leans back into her seat, and smiles.

    “Good luck on your mission.”


    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino


    Your formation has been set.

    EGLANTINE, infiltrating the Palace. ARBALEST, keeping watch. BALMUNG and ASCLEPIUS, storming the compound.

    ARBALEST watches from a nearby skyscraper, from above the Palace. Pillars like vines reaching to the tops rise from the lower city to the Atlas, looming above the city, providing additional vantage points around which she can maneuver. She watches the others on their mission.

    You all receive a ping in her cyberbrain, BALMUNG’s voice over the secure channel you’ve all set up.

    We’re in.

    A pause. A snort. “Christ, you actually said it. In that voice, too.”

    She sees them, too, disappearing into the compound from a panel on the rooftop. BALMUNG and ASCLEPIUS have successfully entered the facility undetected. A video feed of their line of vision is available to her to take— though taking it would impede her own, so long as it’s up.

    Regardless, from her current vantage point, she has a clear view of the Palace, and of her fellow agent on the ground.

    EGLANTINE, meanwhile, is at the doorstep of the Palace, scouting the place out.

    She looks about herself. At the moment, nothing seems too overtly odd. It’s a rich crowd, many of them Nobles, but her experience in these sorts of missions makes her well at home here. She sees them mill about and mingle, and from the sounds of it, some of them are here for business, rather than leisure. For example, the woman with the small troupe of Knights, speaking to a man at the entrance.

    Speaking of Knights, several Crest signatures can be sensed, but none of them are too distinct. They can be pinpointed down to several figures in the crowd, most of which seem to belong to bodyguards and personal Knights of the Nobles here. Others likely belong to bodyguards of the Palace, though you don’t expect you’d find a Knight among the lower ranks. Stronger signatures can be felt within the Palace.

    Two options are more obvious here— entering through the front door and join in on the party, posing as a guest of the establishment. That, or entering through a vantage point out-of-view; while more straight-to-the-point, such an entrance would immediately pin her as a hostile on this territory, should she be discovered.

    You hear BALMUNG’s voice over the comms.

    “Well now. Shall we begin?”
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  10. #30
    Trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday. Prix of Heroes's Avatar
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    LILITH & 2D
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    The safest thing to do in this sea -- this place with so many predators, innocents, and even that shimmer of being underwater -- that could overtake one with memories or mistakes or delusions of grandeur in an instant is to keep your head down. Lilith tries to do that. Not literally. It is her job to stand here, to pay attention, to take everything in. Usually, this task isn't quite so littered with obstacles. It occurs to her that she doesn't know if this is something that has happened deliberately up until now. Has the Madame kept her away from places that she might find familiar? Has she found a way to keep her away long enough that people don't recognize her? That she is unrecognizable?

    What has changed?

    Has the Madame just slipped up because of her own ego, or has Lilith found her way into the fold?

    Has Madame forgotten that she is not a lamb led to this slaughter of her own accord? She has been sacrificed from the world above, trapped here for so long that direct sunlight hurts now, and no one has come after her. Whatever flickers of hope there might be should be squashed by that fact alone. Standing in here, no one recognizes her now, but if they hadn't taken a walk and looked around after a drink one night months and months ago, why would they bother with it anymore?

    "Madame, I believe I saw something," she says abruptly, in a serious, grave tone that seems professional for her line of 'work,' whatever it is called here. She is glancing one specific person, but it is not the woman who'd just been looking at her. If nothing else, Lilith has learned the value of misdirection. She reaches out in a gesture that seems both respectful and protective, and as her nerves tighten it's almost hilarious how much it might have looked like she had been about to take Madame's hand. She isn't that far gone. Not yet.

    Before she can be ordered otherwise, or at least quickly enough to grant her plausible deniability, she moves into the crowd and meanders around, trying to take a circuitous course toward the woman who'd seen her -- the first one in such a long time. Even the new blood didn't bother looking at her. This woman did. Lilith silently curses the fact that she can't scan anything -- damn jammer -- from her former life to help her out here. Finally, she is close enough to take a few direct steps toward the woman.

    Since ancient times, the moon has carried magic, women, and death.

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  11. #31
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    LILITH & 2D
    Evening
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    When 2D sees a woman he vaguely recognizes , he panics, but its quick and over in an instant. There's no good way to say it for him but it's obvious -

    2D, legendary hacker and dangerous criminal, was not good with woman. It's why 02 got away with everything, and 01 got away with nothing. It's the difference in speech, in personality, in acts. 2D's never been great with women, but his time with robots hasn't made it any easier.

    "01," he muttered into his suit, "Maneuver 00 and 02 into position. Place out of sight near the upper windows. Put sights over my shoulder, 2 meters in front on turret. I want to be able to crush anyone who tries anything."

    01 doesn't respond, but 2D knows he's already working. He turns to Lilith, nudging her shoulder, "Possibility they know who I am. If so, they're gonna kick up security." He winks at her, flicking a stray strand of hair out of his eyes. "No worries, though - most people don't know me in this sort of get-up. I'm not really one to dress for these high-class occasions, y'know?"

    His eyes flicker to Baldwin, and he mutters again into his jacket, "01, jack me into the security system. Better to break in now then it is to wait it out."
    Last edited by Frantic Author; August 17th, 2017 at 06:26 PM.
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  12. #32
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    The waiter, by the way, is practically sweating bullets. Be it his patron, or you, or something else, it could be for any of them, or all three. So says the mood analysis.

    “My apologies. But,” he says, hesitating on that last word for just a moment longer than he otherwise would, “He has chosen to remain anonymous. Though if you should want to find him…”

    He gestures to the west wing, among the bars and restaurants.

    Amadei. I know not where else he’s wandered off to, but at the very least, the rest of the bottle could be found there. Perhaps there, you’ll have better luck at finding the man.”

    With a respectful bow, he takes his leave.

    Last edited by Kirby; January 1st, 2018 at 09:55 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  13. #33
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
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    As you make your way to the table, you notice a faltering connection on your phone, like a jamming signal— most likely a countermeasure meant to be used against cyberbrains, often employed by casinos to prevent cheating. Another man half-strides, half-fast-walks his way on over to the same table you have your eyes set on, but luckily, you manage to beat him there. As you make yourself comfortable in your seat, victorious, you watch him grumble and sullenly walk away. Such is war.

    A mirthless laugh, as you sit down. “Another one here for the killing fields, eh?”

    A man speaks up as you sit down at the table, half amusement, half irritability, giving the impression of a man who’s probably had his fill for the night. Five other players sit at the table here with you, and from the looks of their chips, they, too, are a bit down on their luck tonight, save for one. Your eyes drift over to the conspicuously taller stack of chips, piled up by the man opposite of you.

    He says nothing as you sit down. He only smiles.

    Texas hold’em. That’s the game being played here. The dealer nods appreciatively at the stack of chips you’ve brought to the table, and you notice a glint in the other man’s eye. He, you assume, will be your first challenge for the night.

    It’s time to play.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  14. #34
    ARBALEST
    Afternoon
    Atlas Telamon


    The air atop the skyscraper should be cold enough to draw visible breaths, but hers remains invisible even in the crisp air. The soft hum of her mechanical body swept away as the oceans breeze blows through the heights of the city.

    “Well now. Shall we begin?”
    A simple green ping across their private network to confirm her position in over-watch. The steady stream of data from the operatives on the ground mostly in favor of her own visual senses, surveying their targets, and already planning additional vantages should she need to move.

    “Well now. Shall we begin?”
    'EGLANTINE. I have an attack package ready if you can access a port.'

    If all went well this would just be a boring evening spent atop the structure. Far enough away that she would not be easily retaliated against while she either fired freely, or provided cyber support.

    It was a well designed plan.

    She doubted it would.

    Not with her luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kotonoha View Post
    I'LL KILL YOU PLUE
    <Zagrin> I'll kill ya Plue

  15. #35
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Frederick Fontaine
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino

    When it's all boiled down to the basics, gambling is a matter of numbers and probability. Given truly random draws, it's impossible for someone to win or lose confidently. Luck can build or topple anyone, or so logic says. For that reason the desperate will always make bets they are unprepared to lose, purely on the possibility of lady luck smiling upon them. But they will lose, as they always do. Probability would grant maybe a third of the challengers fortune, but the actual number is even less: fewer than ten percent of amateurs come out of a casino richer.

    So, then, what is the unexplained variable that distorts what should be a logical conclusion? Who dares to sweep aside luck's mandate?

    That would be man, in all of his fragility and glory. For a good game of cards - such as the one Fontaine found himself slipping into - is more about playing the opponent than the table. If one watches a professional gambling league for any length of time, they might notice familiar faces reappearing over and over again. Those who are good, truly good, will win nearly every time.

    The one holding luck's reigns at the table was clearly visible to anyone. Where the rest of the players were tight-lipped and all business, the man whose chips were piled above the rest lounged, spreading himself around and eyeing newcomers as one might a waiter holding second helpings of a particularly delectable order. His eyes met Fontaine's and without a single word being said, Fontaine was informed of the situation at the table.

    "Mm."

    Fontaine nodded, and completely ignored the man, denying him the respect he deserved. Fontaine gave each face at the table an equal once-over, marking down their moods and chip totals and mentally tallying them. The true opponent could have be simply been down on their luck and biding their time to lure an overconfident bait player into gathering their winnings for them. The current winner was given no special treatment, as if saying the man's tower of chips was due to the whims of luck and nothing more.

    Fontaine's chip total was among the smaller ones, though he'd yet to lose any money; he simply didn't have the stable finances to muster an amount matching that of a true Noble. He would let them think he was poor or stingy or setting a limit for himself, and they would draw their own conclusions. Still pointedly ignoring the top dog, Fontaine took a sip of wine and held it in his mouth. He placed the glass by his elbow, and neatly arranged his chips into twelve equal stacks, and one left over for the ever-growing pot.

    Then Fontaine undid the top button of his shirt and swallowed the wine he'd been holding. He tapped the table twice and motioned for the banker to deal him in.

    What strategy would he use? Build himself up through steady plays, only capitalizing on good hands? Bluffing like mad and hoping he could make something from nothing? Or perhaps he could challenge the leading man directly and force him from his throne. The remaining players were likely to be wary, holding onto their remaining money and only going in with presumably solid hands. The man with the tower of chips, by contrast, would be strutting his stuff and picking away hands as he pleased. If so, then following the crowd would not be a decent, if uninspired method.

    In the end, the mission made Fontaine's decision for him. This was business, not leisure, so he couldn't afford to waste time having fun.

    "I'm short on time tonight," he said. "So do kill me quickly."

    As he decided, the eyes on his head closed and his Regalia withdrew, leaving Fontaine with only human wits on his side.

    He did leave a single eye open, though. On the back of his head, staring directly behind. He was still waiting for someone, after all.

    Fontaine slid a whole stack of chips forward on his first hand, after barely glancing at his cards and before the river had even been revealed. It was an amateur, reckless move, one of the key signs of someone with no idea what they were doing. It was also the spark that would re-light the dying flames of the table.

    He was a small fish in a stagnant pond. The water was calm and the top predator roamed, eating as he liked. But, by bleeding himself and making a scene, Fontaine would stir up the mud and cause a feeding frenzy. Starving predators, low on cash and desperate for a way to salvage their night, would be staring at him instead of the man with the tower of chips. In their hunger to devour him, they would revive the game and get the money flowing quickly. Even that man wouldn't be able to navigate his way through the mess reliably. But, as the center of attention, Fontaine would be able to manipulate it as he liked with a bit of acting.

    Then, as the game escalated, Fontaine would make his move and line his pockets with their throats.

  16. #36
    21+ old maid Katie's Avatar
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    Perhaps that was a bit much, she thinks, but it is of no real consequence to her. She now has a direction to move towards, some people she can hopefully meet along the way. A girl like her had no proper investigative experience, and she was not petty enough to consider asking Him for guidance. He only delivered opportunities, and it was up to the faithful to discern when and where they were given. No need to ask—such things were there if you sought for them.

    For this was a world with free will, and with free will came sin. His influence was subtle, for infringing on the gift He gave to humanity was something He was unwilling to do.

    Kristina walks east, where the waiter pointed, wondering if she could find a half-empty bottle that matched the color of her drink. She takes a sip, the taste and feel a bit uncomfortable on her throat, alcohol inherently strange to someone who never indulges in physical pleasure. Even if she is not one to refuse a gift… she can’t really say that she is partial to this gift.

    But even so, she still has to repay someone’s kindness with her own.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  17. #37
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    LILITH
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    You know this trick will only buy you a minute or two of time, before they send someone to find you.

    You manage to wade your way through the crowd, and catch up to her, though she’s turned away, apparently not noticing your presence. Try as you might, you can’t recall a thing about her— though rather than the unfamiliarity of a stranger, it’s that telltale absence of memory that should’ve been there. This tells you enough. You don’t know how, but you once knew her.

    And she once knew you too.

    The wonders of modern technology, that allowed even one’s own memories to be blocked. Of course, that technology isn’t perfect. A memory, once recorded, cannot be truly be forgotten. The technology could only block its recollection, where such things lie dormant and sleeping.

    She speaks with another, a man in a suit, who from the faint signature he gives off appears to be another Knight. A Noble lady with her Knight, so it seems. You listen into their conversation, picking up snippets.

    “—Alicia. She’s still not here, is she?”

    “No, Miss Moreau.”

    “Late again. God, I love her, but would it kill her to be on time for once?”

    “If anything, it would be wiser to reserve seats for now. We have reservations, after all.”

    “I wanted to surprise her—”

    —An otherwise mundane conversation. One typical of the kind you’d find in the lobby. Only the name Moreau sticks out to you, familiar for some reason, but a gap lies where your memories should be. As you mull over it all, the man looks in your direction, frowning. You lock eyes for a brief second as he frowns, and he looks away, as they start to leave the lobby.

    Someone speaks to you over comms, a man’s voice. One of the Madame’s Knights, who was brought along.

    “Oy. LILITH. You see something? We’re going to head up.”


    2D
    Evening
    Aries Palace Casino Entrance


    You can tell, from the information feeding into your brain, that all your drones are all in position, and undetected for the moment. 01 works to analyze the network of the establishment, and in the meantime you watch the scene unfold.

    LILITH has disappeared into the crowd, seeing something, while the other two of Nadya’s Knights stand on the alert, as the Madame and Baldwin exchange half-hearted pleasantries. They agree to meet up in the one of the offices on the upper floor to discuss matters of business, and he afterwards offers her a tour of their facilities. Standard fare. They begin to make their way into the casino, most likely to the upper floors, possibly within movement range of your drones.

    While the crowd’s thick here, you could easily follow from behind undetected, but you have a feeling that at some point it’ll thin enough that your stalking would get a bit conspicuous.

    01 buzzes in your comms.

    “I found something.”

    You’ve found access to several comms channels. Most of these are more lightly encrypted and unsuspicious, and not much of a problem to you. You’d probably guess that they’re just the mundane channels used by the guests, for everyday usage. You also find a few protected channels with fewer users, that you could probably access easily. You’re sure this is the casino’s private network— their security, or their business operations, you’re not quite sure yet.

    As far as the establishment’s data does, the casino itself seems to be operating on a private network, one that you won’t be able to access easily at this range, merely wirelessly. You’re sure there’s a server room in this complex, where physical access to such a place could easily allow you to take what you need, though, of course, such a place is likely to be guarded.

    What worries you most is one comm channel you almost missed, heavily encrypted, one you faintly recognize. One that carries signs of belonging to the Sector.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

  18. #38
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    2D
    Evening
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    2D hisses at the discovery 01 has made, cursing under his breath. Sector wasn't part of the plan, and as such, it's a bit more dangerous, a bit more of a risk to be here. "01, message Lilith on the network we're using, disconnect after 5. Tell her 'One section of the casino seems a bit too intelligent.' She should pick up what we're referring to. 00, you're on recon. See if you can spot anyone who looks out of pace. 02, keep on mark. Do not fire, without codeword Hex being used. At Hex, you fire, and 00 strafes back towards her original location to provide sniper support. 01, you're with me - we're cracking into the private networks."

    He flags down a waitress and grabs a drink, handing her a few credits in return with a smile, before his comms blare up.

    "Oy, 2D what is this!? Why do I have to mark, while 00 gets to do whatever she wants?! This isn't fair at all!"

    2D fucking hated 02. "Because you're the better shot. 02, do not fuck with me. Do not test me on this right now. We are in the middle of something. We are going to complete our job, and then you can complain about whatever the fuck it is you're on. Right now, work."

    There was a hmph over the channel, and then blissful static. "01, hook me into the private networks, and then we're going to make an attempt at the section. I want it to look like the casino's picked up on who's here, not like an outside channel. We can work on the server complex later."

    2D looks around, sitting at a slot machine in the corner of the room, and grins. "Let's get to fucking work."
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  19. #39
    Trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday. Prix of Heroes's Avatar
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    LILITH
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    "Nothing here," Lilith replied tersely, while her eyes told the truth. She followed the man and woman, but she didn't try to pursue. "What have you got where you are? I can come to you," she offered. She changed trajectory, feeling the line cut as she probably lost sight of anything that might have given her a clue. She wondered what the foggy, almost-sedating gap in her mind was, but if she held onto the frustration and nothing else, she could almost forget.


    Since ancient times, the moon has carried magic, women, and death.

    Blog of Fiction for You to Consume
    Blog of Servant Sheets & Etc.


  20. #40
    ARF Kirby's Avatar
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    VIDOFNIR
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    You win some, and lose some. But from the look on the other man’s face, you’re winning more than you should.

    Without your Regalia to aid you, you only have your own senses to help as you play. This being so, your readings aren’t quite as precise as they could be, but you can read the others well enough. Your pile of chips has grown a bit, since you’ve began. The other man still has the most out of anyone at the table, as several other of the players have come and gone— save for the other player who’d spoken up, who seemed to remain more out of spite against your opponent here, rather than any real attempt at victory. Indeed, you’ve gathered a few watchers looking on at your game.

    The man, however, is probably quite irritated. Of course, such a thing isn’t apparent at first glance, where he still smiles serenely and wordlessly as usual, but it’s different now, what once had been a knowing smile now resembling a leer.

    Your playing style is reckless, deliberately so. Moves so risky no one expected you take them. You bleed yourself out and win it all back again, and you can feel that sense of spectacle lingering around the table, as the others watch on. Is he an idiot, or a genius? Had anyone else been playing the way you had been, they easily would have lost all their chips and their fortunes. And yet you somehow manage to hold on, winning more than you’d been losing. This, you can tell, grates your opponent to no end, you’re sure.

    Among the watchers, you notice a girl, who waves at you and smiles. Faintly familiar-looking, a face you’d seen around sometimes, who worked with your King. She mouths the words at you, “Having fun?”

    The other players at the table don’t even put effort into playing anymore, all eyes on you and your opponent. He, for the first time, speaks.

    “Let’s put an end to this game.”

    He raises. With all the chips on the line, if you choose to match him, you could lose nearly all of your chips should you lose. If you fold, you could cut your losses. He seems to be going more reckless now, but you don’t know if that’s real, or an act to get you to lower your guard. He looks to you to make your move.





    Five cards sit out there on the table. A King of Hearts and King of Spades, and an 8, 10, and Jack of Clubs. In your hand, the other two Kings, giving you four of a kind. A lucky hand, if anything, but…

    You look at the other cards on the table. Of the dead cards, few of them are Clubs. You know that your opponent needs a straight flush or better to beat you, yet you don’t know if he could possibly have that. You already have one of the Clubs he needs to make the flush. The question is— does he have the other two?

    The onlookers wait with bated breath. Your opponent smiles. The outcome of this night rests on this next move.
    Last edited by Kirby; September 1st, 2017 at 01:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    there aren't enough gun emojis in the thousandfold trichiliocosm for this shit


    Linger: Complete. August, 1995. I met him. A branch off Part 3. Mikiya keeps his promise to meet Azaka, and meets again with that mysterious girl he once found in the rain.
    Shinkai: Set in the Edo period. DHO-centric. As mysterious figures gather in the city, a young woman unearths the dark secrets of the Asakami family.
    The Dollkeeper: A Fate side-story. The memoirs of the last tuner of the Einzberns. A record of the end of a family.
    Overcount 2030: Extra x Notes. A girl with no memories is found by a nameless soldier, and wakes up to a world of war.

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