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Thread: But For A Stone (A Matou Shinji Series AU)

  1. #541
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [x] An Alias

    So many names, but which one will he wear for the night?
    [ ] Makar Zolgen
    [ ] Ignatius Pollaky
    [ ] Kōichi Zenigata

    And who do you approach first?
    [ ] The purple-haired girl who is pretty obviously Sokaris
    [ ] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"
    [ ] The raven-haired girl with Sokaris
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; February 7th, 2018 at 11:35 AM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  2. #542
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [ ] Makar Zolgen
    [ ] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"

  3. #543
    [x] Ignatius Pollaky
    [x] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"

    Quote Originally Posted by Skull Leader View Post
    [X] Use alias - Kōichi Zenigata

    Tell me that its does not fit. A talented person that bumbles around...oh Shinji can play that well.
    Gotta admit but, that kind of defeats the point of hiding his identity if he picks a Japanese name. Unless the intent is simply to impersonate the rival of Lupin, which is acceptable. Only, not many people will pick on the rather obscure reference. xD

    Pollaky should at least be recognized by a few guests. Morriarty would have been a fun option if we really wanted to go full trolling.
    Last edited by Daiki; February 8th, 2018 at 02:39 AM.

  4. #544
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Chapter 11. Shifting Faults

    In the wake of what was being termed the Chamber of Secrets Incident, Matou Shinji found himself feeling very ill at ease about everything that had transpired. It wasn’t that his friends needed to be hospitalized for several weeks in St. Mungo’s Creature-induced Injuries wing, to recover from their rather brutal mauling, as he was simply happy that they’d lived. It wasn’t that Professor Quirrell – and Hogwarts, by extension, claimed the credit for discovering the legendary Chamber of Secrets; that was a small price to pay for he and his friends being spared expulsion and imprisonment.

    It wasn’t even that he had been unable to save Argus Filch’s life. Admittedly, coming to terms with the fact that because of him, a man was dead, had been quite difficult, but the Professor’s words – that if Filch had lived, one of his friends would have died in his place helped blunt the worst of his soul-searching.

    He could live with the fact that an unpleasant man who he knew little about was dead, live with the fact that perhaps he had unconsciously known that not everyone could be saved, and perhaps had acted on that knowledge in mishandling the body.

    Yes, he told himself that it hadn’t been deliberate. That he had tried his best with what he knew at the time, but whether it was true, or whether he was just telling himself that…

    ‘I don’t know. And in some ways, I’ll never know…’

    What made him truly uneasy was how most of those around him were all-too-ready to buy into the cover story concocted by Professor Quirrell: that as Shinji and Quirrell had gone to get help for Filch in the wake of the discovery of the Chamber of Secrets, Ernie and Phelan, seeing a chance to explore an untouched part of the school, had sneaked by them and entered the tunnels below – where sadly, they were brought low by some of the creatures within.

    Most of the Hufflepuffs his year saw him as a hero for not only doing his part to try to save Filch’s life, but for going after the others, since Quirrell had said that without him, only one of the boys would likely have survived.

    ‘Why…why do they treat me like I did something good? Something noble? I wanted a man to die and he did!’

    It would have been easier if his peers had looked at him hatefully, thought of him as a monster who had somehow managed to escape any penalty for his crimes.

    And yet none of them did, overawed by the fact that he had been there when the Chamber of Secrets had been revealed to the world.

    Unable to bear to bear the weight of their regard, the boy had revealed the truth of the situation to Miyuki-senpai in the privacy of her greenhouse, thinking that she at least, would treat him as he deserved to be treated, but no matter how much he insisted he was a vile murderer, that she should hate him, should spurn him, should at least strike him for his cowardice and his weakness, the older Hufflepuff had not.

    “You are already punishing yourself far more than anyone else could, Matou,” she observed, her fingers brushing his cheek and the line of his jaw, before falling away, making him long for the comfort of her touch.

    “…you don’t think I’m a hero too, do you?”

    “I do not,” the raven-haired girl had replied, much the boy’s relief. “I think you are someone who has suffered just as much as those who you wished to save, whose wounds run just as deep, even if they are invisible to the eye.”

    “I deserve to…someone has to know…has to remember the truth.”

    “Matou,” the girl murmured, raising a slim eyebrow as she regarded him with her amber-colored eyes. “The truth is rarely as simple as you think. What you consider your truth might not be what another considers truth. And both of your truths may yet be wrong.”

    “…huh?” Shinji asked, confused by Miyuki’s words. What did she mean about these multiple truths, or that a truth could be wrong?

    “Tell me…what do you regret most about what happened?” she asked, looking up at the silver moon. “Is it really the death of Argus Filch, or is it something else?”

    The boy was silent for over a minute as he stood there, thinking.

    “…it’s how weak I was…” Shinji admitted, his gaze fixed firmly at his feet. “I couldn’t do anything on my own. I couldn’t save anyone. Not Ernie. Not Phelan. Not even Filch. Everything…everything was done by someone else, and I could only watch.” The boy shrank in on himself, hunching over as he drew in a breath so grief-stricken it was almost a sob. “This time…this time the person who died was…” ‘Trash,’ a treacherous voice whispered in the back of his mind. “…was just some…janitor,” he muttered. “What if it hadn’t been?”

    What if it had been Natsumi who had been injured? Or…

    ‘What if it had been senpai…?’

    The boy’s body shuddered at the thought of Miyuki-senpai injured like Filch had been. If he made the same mistakes, then it wouldn’t be an unpleasant Squib who died, but…

    “You are afraid…”

    “…yes,” the boy whispered, closing his eyes in shame. “I came to Hogwarts to get away from my weakness. To become something more than what I was. But in the end, nothing is different. I thought Mopsus made me strong, but…”

    Power meant nothing without the knowledge of how to use it properly, and the exhilaration of being able to just move things with his mind had blinded him to all the things he could not do when under its influence.

    …things like cast a simple wand-lighting spell, or any number of basic cantrips which might have been so very useful.

    The boy gasped as someone – senpai – touched him on the shoulder, opening his eyes involuntarily to find the beautiful raven-haired girl crouched before him.

    “Then if you are weak, let us become strong…together,” she suggested, with an expression on her face that he could not – would not – refuse.


    Over the next few weeks, in exchange for allowing her to use the annotated Potions book he had obtained some time ago, he learned much about Transfiguration from her, as well as the basics of, if not healing spells – since, she confessed, she did not know those – at least basic first aid, and some spells one might find useful when used in conjunction with it.

    Petrificus Totalus,
    for instance, could be used to immobilize someone who had suffered a head or neck injury.

    Bluebell flames, or Cold Fire, as the spell was sometimes called – a variant of Incendio Tria which did not burn humans – could be used to burn away constricting clothing or other flammable matter without harming someone who was already injured.

    His Gemino spell could be quite useful for creating more supplies if he needed them, so long as they were non-magical in nature.

    And Wingardium Leviosa could be used to lift objects off of a person, though it was rather impractical for moving people around, since it did not work on humans.

    “Oh. I didn’t know the spell was so…limited,” Shinji admitted. “I thought I might be able to use it to fly.”

    “You would not be the first, Matou.”

    “…senpai, don’t tell me you…”

    The girl chuckled.

    “Not I. Another.”


    “Someone I used to know.”

    At one point in their training, she even gave him a large, well-stocked first-aid kit, which she created by duplicating hers. When he protested he had no real place for it, Miyuki transfigured into something like a bracer for him to wear, slipping it over his hand with a gentle smile.

    “With this, you will never be caught unprepared, so long as you remember how to undo a transfiguration,” she told him, with the boy being nearly beside himself in gratitude over someone – someone who wasn’t family – giving him a gift.

    “You…you’re too kind to me, senpai.”

    “No. I am not kind at all,” she murmured in reply, her voice distant as it sometimes was. “One day, perhaps you will realize that, Matou.”

    Surprised by her words, the boy glanced at the older Hufflepuff to see that on her face once more was a melancholic, lonesome smile which made his chest…ache.


    Of course, Miyuki-senpai wasn’t the only one the boy found himself working with in his quest to become stronger, merely the most memorable.
    After all, he also regularly worked with Sokaris, Natsumi and Ernie (once he was released from St. Mungo’s) on Potions in the library, mostly looking things up for the purple-haired girl and acting as a gofer, while trying to understand just how she was able to derive the ideal recipe for a potion just by looking at the effects.

    ‘…or how Natsumi seems to grasp it so easily.’

    In some ways, he envied the chestnut-haired girl. She was a sight more cheerful than he was, after all, and despite her insecurities, was someone who tended to get along well with most others.

    And Ernie…

    “Look, I don’t blame you for what happened,” the blond had grumbled after being pestered by Shinji on whether or not the boy was alright. “It was our fault for running into that…mess.” Macmillan seemed rather more focused and intense after the incident, pouring himself into potions with a fervor even Shinji found a little shocking. “…thanks for getting Quirrell to save our sorry hides.”

    What could he really have said to that?

    He’d asked as much to Ernie, with the blond Hufflepuff snorting in amusement.

    “…you’re welcome would have been more than enough,” the boy had replied. “Just…next time we go on an adventure, remind me not to listen to Phelan.”

    “…I’ll try to remember that,” Shinji had noted weakly


    “How is he, anyway?” the boy from the east had asked, looking down.

    “The same as always,” Ernie had sighed despondently. “’This – this is nothing! It wouldn’t keep Lockhart down, so it won’t keep me!’ he was saying. It’s like the fact we nearly died means nothing to him.”

    “I doubt that,” Shinji had responded. “Maybe its just how he deals with weirdness.”

    “Ha. Could be,” Ernie had admitted. “Back to the books, eh?”

    And so they’d turned back to their current task – re-engineering the recipe for the Wiggenweld Potion, as had become something of a point of pride for the group. Well, more for Sokaris and Natsumi than the rest, though the others enjoyed the fruits of those labors, and at least appreciated the chance to learn what they could of Alchemy.

    Though speaking of Alchemy…


    “Yes?” the dusky-skinned Ravenclaw inquired as she looked up from her calculations.

    “You know a bit about Alchemy, right?” he asked, if only to confirm what he already knew.


    “Then…have you ever heard the tragedy of Nicholas the Wise?” the Japanese boy questioned, only to see the purple-haired girl’s face remain utterly impassive, as if he hadn’t even spoken. “I mean, Nicholas Flamel. Have you heard of him?”

    “The Alchemist said to have invented the Philosopher’s Stone,” the Ravenclaw replied mildly, as she regarded him with something very much like curiosity. “Why?”

    “Well, Professor Quirrell mentioned something about him. Something about his apprentice betraying him?” the boy thought he recalled. “Only, I don’t think I ever heard who his apprentice was.”

    “He has had many over his many years of life,” Sokaris said softly. “Of which do you speak?”

    “His most…recent one?” Shinji hazarded. “I mean, if you happen to know, that is.”

    “A simple enough question,” the purple-haired alchemist observed. “As we have all met him.”

    “…you can’t mean…” Natsumi commented, having been listening in. “Professor Slughorn?! He is…”


    But Sokaris’ reply was cool and abrupt.

    “Oh. Then…who?”

    “It’s Quirrell, isn’t it?” Ernie chimed in. “That’s how he knows so much about—”


    Sokaris’ voice, this time, was somewhat frostier, for all that it was barely a whisper, the sudden change causing the others to regard her warily.

    “…then, who?” Shinji prompted softly.

    “Albus Dumbledore,” the purple-haired girl spoke, with the boy from the east taken aback by her response.

    “The Headmaster?” Ernie noted, narrowing his eyes, as he tried to recall what little had heard about the Headmaster’s alchemical past. “But he…

    “…his specialty is Dragon’s Blood, if I remember correctly,” Shinji supplied, causing the Natsumi and Ernie to look at him oddly. “What?”

    “…how did you know that, Matou-kun?” Natsumi inquired.

    “Nigel?” Sokaris questioned, raising an eyebrow as she glanced over at him.

    “Yes, that’s right,” he told her, before turning to Natsumi. “My flying partner, Nigel Wroxton.”

    “And how does he know of the Headmaster’s past?” Ernie asked suspiciously. “It’s not like the old man talks about it much.”

    “Because Dumbledore saved his life,” Shinji replied, trying to reconcile the image of Albus Dumbledore with that of a treacherous apprentice who had stolen the Philosopher’s Stone from his Master. ‘When Professor Quirrell said that Flamel’s apprentice betrayed him, I wasn’t expecting someone so…old.’

    “Matou. Recount this…tragedy as you heard it,” the purple-haired Ravenclaw asked of him, her purple eyes looking into his intently.

    “Uh…ok,” Shinji agreed, proceeding to do so.

    “…and were it in your power, would you desire the Stone for yourself?” she inquired, her voice dangerously quiet.

    “…I wouldn’t wish it destroyed, at least,” the boy said fervently, rising to his feet as he glared at the girl. “For such an artifact to be cast away like it was rubbish…no, I will never accept that. Someone who would want to do that is unworthy of its power.”

    Suddenly realizing that the others at his table were staring at him, the boy blushed and sat down.

    “Most curious,” Sokaris noted solemnly. “No doubt Professor Quirrell feels the same way.”

    “Mm, no…”

    Shinji’s thoughts went cold as he followed the girl’s words to their inevitable conclusion. She couldn’t mean…but if…wait…

    ‘The Headmaster is Flamel’s apprentice. Quirrell believes that there is no good or evil,
    only power, and those too weak to seek it. Does Quirrell means to…?

    No. That…it couldn’t be. If that was so…

    ‘Don’t tell me. It’s at
    Hogwarts. The Philosopher’s Stone is at Hogwarts…hidden. Somewhere…’

    The boy’s mouth went dry at the thought.

    If he found it. Claimed it. Then…

    ‘But where is it?’

    Now…that was the question.

    …not that he thought he’d have the power to hold such a relic on his own, and without it, any claim he held over the Stone, presuming he managed to get past whatever traps laid by Flamel’s treacherous apprentice, would be very short-lived.

    ‘Right now…I’m still too weak. Too weak to obtain a power that can keep everyone I care about from dying. But that is only the case right now…’

    Not that defeating an old and powerful wizard would be easy, especially if he had apprenticed under Flamel and had learned the man’s tricks.

    ‘What to do…what to do?’

    “Matou…is something wrong?” Ernie questioned, with the blond frowning at the rapidly changing expressions on Shinji’s face, expressions of fear, rage, hate, and naked desire flitting along one after another.

    “…huh?” Shinji asked, the voice of his friend breaking him from his runaway thoughts. “I…I was just thinking,” he offered lamely, pushing back his chair and rising to his feet. “I’m…just going to take a walk. Grab some fresh air. I’ll be right back.”

    He wanted to clear his head, since right now there was no way he could study.

    Not with thoughts of the Stone and the promise it held filling his mind, whispering to him like a siren song.

    ‘No. I…what’s wrong with me. I just went on a mad adventure where my friends nearly died, and I’m thinking about challenging Flamel’s treacherous apprentice in the seat of his power…?’

    That…would be like challenging a magus in their workshop.


    And yet.

    Part of him didn’t care. Now that he knew how fragile human lives could be, his desire for the Stone had awakened…

    The boy shook his head, walking out of the library as—


    —a most unpleasant voice called out to him.

    “What do you want with me, Granger?” he asked, not bothering to turn around and face her, though he had a good idea of where she’d been if he hadn’t noticed here.

    ‘Leaning against the wall next to the library doors, no doubt.’

    “Have you changed your tune at last?” he pressed, when she didn’t answer. “Decided to treat me like an actual human being?”

    “We need to talk,” the bushy-haired brunette said at last, her voice determined – resolved.

    “We’re talking now, aren’t we?” the boy commented. “Or did you have something else in mind?”

    “…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there are too many people around,” she replied, looking about almost…furtively. “Come with me.”

    Without another word, she began walking off, the sound of her footsteps quickly receding, and Shinji, curious as to why she had chosen to approach him like this, turns and follows, against his better judgement.

    She led him to an unused classroom on the third floor, gesturing for him to in before her, which he does, as if to show that he doesn’t mind turning his back on her – that he considers he no threat.

    The room was old and in disrepair, with furniture piled all about haphazardly.

    ‘I guess even in a magical school, some things don’t change.’

    “Nice place,” he drawled. “Come here often, Granger?”


    The girl was quiet, eyeing him warily as if he was some sort of predator who would lunge the moment she let her guard down.

    “Well, you wanted to talk, and you brought me here, so talk, Granger,” Shinji all but commanded, with the brunette fighting down a visible tremor as she gripped the wand she’d hidden under her robes.

    Leave Sokaris alone,” she demanded in a low, insistent voice.


    “I don’t know what kind of hold you have over her, Matou,” the girl continued, as if he had not spoken. “What weakness of hers you’ve latched onto in order to make her obey like this. It’s wrong.”

    “I’m…what the hell are you talking about?”

    “She’s not like this. Not like you!” the girl nearly spat, her wand drawn now, though not yet pointed at the boy. “She’s a good person.”

    “I know she is,” Shinji said sincerely, shaking his head. “A better person than I could ever hope to be.”

    “Then why are you forcing her to do these things against her will? To say things she doesn’t mean? To…to cheat!” Hermione managed to squeak out, her face red with exertion.

    “…what do you mean, ‘cheat’?” Shinji asked, bewildered by the accusation.

    “What do you mean, what do I mean?” the girl shot back, bewildered that anyone could be ignorant. It had to be an act – it just had to be.

    “You…you…” She groped for words as her mind failed her for a moment. “You’re a cheater. In potions. The four of you. Suzuki, Macmillan, you…and Sokaris. Slughorn told us to work in pairs!”

    “And? What’s your point?”

    “He didn’t say you could work in a group of four!” Hermione raged, with her new cherry and dragon heartstring wand pointed at the boy. “Three Hufflepuffs and a Ravenclaw. You’ve been using her. Taking advantage of what she knows. Stop this, Matou. Do the right thing.”

    “If you think its cheating,” the boy said, after a moment, his voice low and dangerous. “Why don’t you tell Slughorn about it? If you think all four of us are cheaters.”

    The girl flushed violently, her eyes widening with rage at what this…this insolent Hufflepuff was insinuating.

    “I know Sokaris. I sat with her on the train coming to Hogwarts. She’s not the kind of person who would do this,” Hermione almost hissed. “She doesn’t deserve to be expelled. Not like you. You’re a monster. A murderer.”

    “…it’s funny,” Shinji spat. “You call me a murderer, and yet you’re the one threatening me with a wand. I wonder what a teacher might say if they saw us right now, saw poor Miss Granger holding a student hostage.”

    Hermione Granger flinched at his words, but she didn’t back down.

    “I’ll give you one more chance, Matou,” she growled. “One more chance to do the right thing. To make the right choice and stop forcing Sokaris into your schemes. If you have any human decency at all…”

    “I can’t.”

    “What do you mean you—”

    “I mean Sokaris is working with me of her own free will,” Shinji explained, his expression turning predatory as the girl paled.

    “You—you can’t—"

    “Face it Granger, she likes me better than she likes you.”

    The chairs just behind him disintegrated as the girl’s arm flinched.

    ‘…what the—’

    “I know what people like you are like,” she spat. “I dealt people like you for years. They use people, use them up and throw them away when they’re no longer useful. Well, I won’t let that happen to Sokaris. Because compared to her, you should be the one who is thrown away! And when everyone else realizes that, they’ll do what you do to others. They’ll throw you away like a piece of trash.”

    “Throw…me…away,” Shinji repeated, his voice distant, dead, hollow. “Throw….throw me away?” he echoed, as if unable to believe his ears, as he began to sway from side to side. “Throw? Throw? Throw? Ah…” The boy shuddered, his vision glazing over as he shrank into himself, his body shaking. “Thrown away? Thrown away. Thrown away thrown away thrown away thrown away…” the words spilled out from within him, one after another, before the boy laughed, a sound like jagged metal edges rubbing against each other escaping his lips as he rocked in place.

    “Matou Shinji thrown away, yes. What I deserve, to be thrown away. Like trash,” he whispered in a voice not his own, his eyes bright and wide as he stared at the girl, baring his teeth as he took a step towards her. “Hated. Hated hated hated hated!” His features twisted, contorting into something not quite human as Granger took a step back, despite the wand she carried.

    Laughter burst full and unrestrained from the boy’s throat, his mouth contorting into a rictus that made cruel mockery of everything a smile should be.


    “Monster,” Hermione whispered, levelling her wand. “I’m…I’m not…”

    Moments later, an inhuman shriek filled the air.

    When Matou Shinji came to, he was laying in a bed in the hospital wing, with a very worried Natsumi watching over him.

    “Oh, thank goodness – you woke up!” she cried, gripping his sleeve in relief. “When we found you in that classroom, alone after that terrible sound…and some kind of puddle, we…”

    “…you…you were worried. About me?” the boy said in wonder, as if he couldn’t actually believe it. He tried to sit up, but winced, feeing his head – his entire body – throbbing painfully, as if it was not his own, as he lay back down again.

    His skin felt…sore. Like it had been burned…

    “You left for so long and didn’t come back…” Natsumi said, holding onto his hand tightly. “And then…that scream…”


    “…you don’t remember?” the chestnut-haired Hufflepuff asked, blinking. “It…we could hear it from the library. You must have been…what happened?”

    “…I…I don’t really remember?” the boy told her, finding a curious blank in his memories. “I remember that when I left the library, Granger said she wanted to talk, but after that…”

    “She…did she do something to you?!” Natsumi almost snapped, her voice sharp, before she looks down. "I mean...if you don't mind saying..."

    “…I really don’t remember, Natsumi,” Shinji admitted, closing his eyes. “I’m sorry for worrying you.”

    Natsumi frowned on hearing that Hermione somehow drove her...friend into this sort of state. Admittedly, she didn’t know much about this sort of thing, but memory loss was very serious – even she knew that much.

    "What did she say?" she asked plaintively, as she gripped his sleeve. “Why…did you go with her?”

    “Something about…Sokaris, maybe?” Shinji offered, raising his arm to scratch his head, but deciding against it once his body began to scream in protest. “I can’t…everything’s a mess.”

    “Has this…something like this…happened before?” the chestnut-haired girl asked in a small voice. “You…forgetting things. Like this?”


    “Is that why you're practicing Occlumency? So you can better remember what happens?"

    “You’re half right, I guess,” the boy admitted with a deep sigh. “It wasn’t the reason at first. But maybe, if I work hard enough I can…”

    He didn’t look especially hopeful.

    “I just wish I knew what she did to me. Why it hurts so much…”

    Shinji closed his eyes, feeling a tear or two trickling out onto his cheeks and sliding down his face.

    “It’s just…so hard sometimes…”

    His fellow Hufflepuff comforted him as best she could, standing with him and keeping him company.

    It was not until quite a while later, after she had left, that Matou Shinji noticed a folded-up package that had been left on the table beside the bed – which, upon opening, apparently contained a decent sized potion of Basilisk skin, large enough to make a garment out of.

    “To aid you, no matter what you choose.”
    The note within read. “Do as you will.”

    It could only have been Professor Quirrell who had left this for him. But when? And why?

    He didn’t know, and that uncertainty troubled him more than he could say.

    So many names, but which one will he wear for the night?

    [ ] Makar Zolgen
    [ ] Ignatius Pollaky
    [ ] Kōichi Zenigata

    And who do you approach first?
    [ ] The purple-haired girl who is pretty obviously Sokaris
    [ ] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"
    [ ] The raven-haired girl with Sokaris
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  5. #545
    ぷよ使い Puyo Mage fallacies's Avatar
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    [x] Kōichi Zenigata
    [x] The purple-haired girl who is pretty obviously Sokaris

  6. #546
    死徒 Dead Apostle
    Join Date
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    [ ] Makar Zolgen
    [ ] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse

  7. #547
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Happy to discuss online, if anyone desires.

    Also, may be time to start speculating about Xmas presents! What three people should Shinji prioritize? What things might he give them?
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; February 8th, 2018 at 03:02 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  8. #548
    [X] Kōichi Zenigata
    [X] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daiki View Post
    Gotta admit but, that kind of defeats the point of hiding his identity if he picks a Japanese name.
    Well the idea behind it was that it was a detective/inspector that Shinji is likely to know. I am not so sure that Shinji would be likely to know your pick (I admit I had to look it up) even if the muggles at hogwarts might have a better chance to get the reference. Its not like our picks here are as world famous as Sherlock or Watson are. And even they would have the purebreed wizards blinking at.

    Honestly I am not trying to hide Shinji's id from others here, while yes a Japanese name would lead someone to think of Shinji, let us face the facts here. Even in his clothes and wearing a mask, Shinji still is one of the few young wizards of Asian decent and he has almost blue hair. I don't think that Shinji has the ability to hide himself from others. And his clothes...well they grab the worlds attention as if the boy was afraid that people would forget about him.

    Christmas presents...hmmm

    Based on their importance to Shinji, I suspect the three that he would gift would be Miyuki, Sokaris, and then we have a wild card slot. To me that third slot is a toss up between Natsumi, Amber or Zouken. On the subject of Zouken I am not sure its a top priory of Shinji to go out of his way for a gift for Zouken based on this years events. Sure he would give him something, but spending a lot of effort on getting the right thing...not so much.

    We should really get Hermione really paranoid and get her a present. Something that ticks maybe...
    Last edited by Skull Leader; February 8th, 2018 at 05:41 PM.

  9. #549
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    You may also want to think about where to go for Xmas, be it home, Exton Hall, or somewhere else - perhaps even remaining at Hogwarts.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  10. #550
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [X] Kōichi Zenigata
    [X] The twin-tailed brunette standing near the "corpse"

    Shinji, having decided on his alias, decides to approach the half-masked brunette standing near the body of Slughorn, a thoughtful expression on her face.

    "Good evening," the boy greets her, tipping his hat to her with a flourish as he bows.

    "Good evening," the girl replies with a curtsey, tilting her head in curiosity. "Do I know you, young sir?"

    "Should you not?" Shinji asks with exaggerated shock. "After all, the name of Kōichi Zenigata should be known even in this distant land, should it not, miss...?"

    "Lockhart," she supplies, after a moment. "Aeris Lockhart."

    She extended her hand to him, and Shinji, emboldened by the mask he wore and remembering every western fantasy novel he'd read, took her hand and kissed it.

    "Charmed," he said with a roguish grin.

    The brunette smiled slightly and withdrew her hand.

    "I suppose you wish to know what I have seen, monsieur, that I looked so odd?" she questions. "I can't imagine why else you might have come over to this dreary corner."

    "it can hardly be dreary with your smile giving light to us all, can it?" the boy questioned.

    "Perhaps not, though you were curious, yes?"


    "I was just considering that such an obvious poison, one that blackens the teeth and lips, was strange for a killer to use, when there are so many ways one could kill a man without leaving a trace."

    "Do you usually spend much time thinking about how to kill a man, Miss Lockhart?"

    "No more than most girls," she replied coyly. "Does that surprise you, Mister Zenigata?"

    "...of course not," the boy answered after a beat. "After all, I certainly know how dangerous beautiful women can be."

    "How rare," the girl remarked with a trace of a smile. "Shall we go and speak with the others? On the off chance that this isn't a test to make us distrust one one another, and there is a murderer about?"

    "A splendid idea."

    Party member gained: the half-masked brunette

    Who does Shinji approach next?

    [ ] The purple-haired girl
    [ ] The Raven-haired girl with her
    [ ] someone else (write-in)
    [ ] He has more questions first (write-in)

    And who are the top three people we want to focus on for Xmas gifts?

    [ ] Write-in
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; February 9th, 2018 at 07:49 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  11. #551
    死徒 Dead Apostle
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    [x]Tsuji Miyuki
    [x]Tohsaka Rin

  12. #552
    Is that Phelan disguised?

    [x] The Raven-haired girl with her.

    As for gitfs;

    [x] Miyuki
    [x] Sokaris
    [x] Noel Twins
    (subject to change)

    Going with the assumption that Shinji may accept the invitation to Exton Hall, and thus would bring a worthwhile present to the hosts. On the fence about that last choice, it mainly depends where Shinji ends up spending his winter break.
    Last edited by Daiki; February 9th, 2018 at 08:08 PM.

  13. #553
    吸血鬼 Vampire Desann's Avatar
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    [x] The Raven-haired girl with her

    [x] Miyuki
    [x] Natsumi
    [x] Sokaris

  14. #554
    [X] The purple-haired girl

    Gifts: [X] Miyuki, Sokaris, Noel Twins

    Is it fair for us to put the Noel twins down as one entry? It feels weird to spend uneven time on both their gifts if we do go to their estate (I am good with going there) but on the other hand, taking two of the three slots for them seems like overkill. The thing I want to avoid the most however is gifting them a shared item and stating that annoying line that people do of 'you are twins, you can share the gift.'

  15. #555
    Guess it depends on the gift. For example, a pair of two way-mirrors would work.

  16. #556
    [x] The Raven-haired girl with her

    [x] Miyuki
    [x] Natsumi
    [x] Sokaris

    btw hermione is best character in both this story & the main story, she's hilarious

  17. #557
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Who to approach? [x] The Raven-haired girl with her
    Gift priority: [x] Tsuji Miyuki, [x] Sokaris +1 more (see vote)

    Having gained a partner for the evening, a Lupin to his Zenigata, a Moriarty to his Holmes -

    '...wait, wouldn't that imply that Miss Lockhart was the criminal here? I mean, she is suspicious, but...that would be too obvious, wouldn't it? Hmm...'

    "Something on your mind?" the half-masked brunette in question inquired with a lazy half-smile.

    "No. Not really," Shinji replied mildly, thinking he'd try to play things cool.

    "Except that you think I am the killer, don't you, after my comments earlier."

    ", not at all," the boy from the east lied, glancing about and finding the purple-haired figure wearing all white that he was using as a landmark in the room talking to a raven-haired girl about senpai's height, if not. "Anyway, I think we should approach those two next. Safety in numbers, right?"

    "Unless one of them is the killer, right?" 'Miss Lockhart' shot back, with Shinji wincing as he acknowledged that she had a point. "Still, we may as well. One of them may also have a clue we need, eh, Mister Zenigata? Now, you will be a gentleman and escort me properly, yes?"

    "Y-yes. Of course," Shinji managed, offering her the crook of his arm, as one of her delicate hands came to rest on his robes.

    A part of him wondered if Miyuki-senpai was watching what he was doing from somewhere in the room and laughing at him for not being able to pick her out of the crowd, or for how he'd fallen into this other girl's pace so easily. Or of course, if Sokaris would recognize him, given that as they walked towards the duo, Shinji noted the dusky-skinned Ravenclaw look over in their direction, giving him a slight nod.

    ' way. She can't tell its me in these robes, can she?' He'd never worn their like before, after all, since senpai had just made them for him this afternoon. ' hair?'

    It was so black it seemed blue in any sort of light, after all, which was admittedly somewhat unnatural.

    But there was no time to muse on these things further, as the two crossed the distance, coming up to the Ravenclaw and her companion, with Shinji waiting for Miss Lockhart to release him - only she never did, with the girl who had to be Sokaris eyeing where the brunette's hand was resting in the crook of his elbow, though whatever expression she wore was hidden behind a black half mask.

    "Good evening," Shinji began.

    "And good evening to you," the raven-haired girl next to Sokaris said hesitantly, as her eyes took in his form and visage. She didn't seem like Miyuki-senpai, though her voice was familiar for some reason. "Do I know you?"

    "Should you not? After all, I am Kōichi Zenigata, the great Alchemist," the boy from the east joked, his lips pulling up into something like a smirk as he recalled the title on the card he'd been given.

    "An Alchemist?" Sokaris inquired mildly. "No, I think not. An Inspector, perhaps."

    "Oho!" Shinji's eyes widened behind his mask as the most unlikely person he could think of understood his reference. 'How does she...?' he thought, before shrugging in his mind. Sokaris was full of mysteries, after all. Finding that she apparently knew enough about a certain infamous manga series to recognize the alias he was using for the night was admittedly a bit of a shock, but... 'Maybe I'm overthinking it. Maybe she's just saying I can't possibly be an alchemist.'

    "Oh, and what makes you so sure, Miss...?"

    "...Eltnam," Sokaris supplied after a moment, her tone very dry indeed. "Eltnam Atlasia."


    Shinji rocked back on his heels, with Miss Lockhart having to steady him as Sokaris' declaration nearly - literally - floored him. The utter unexpectedness of hearing such a name from the purple-haired girl's lips nearly staggered him. Atlasia? As in the name given to the Director of Atlas Academy, one of the three Great Branches?

    'No. There's no way that could be true,'
    the boy reasoned. 'It's a masquerade party, where no one says who they really are. Maybe, since she knows a bit of Alchemy, she came across the name and thought it would be nice to pretend to be the Director of Atlas tonight? Yes, that must be it.'

    "Are you alright, Inspector?' Miss Lockhart asked from beside him, her tone both playful and worried at once. "I rather thought someone of your position should be more...resilient. Not living in fear of some name."

    "Oh, I'm..." Shinji laughed nervously. "I'm not afraid."

    "You nearly fell over just now."

    "An utter coincidence, I assure you," the boy told his companion, as she glanced away. "I simply ah...swooned?"

    "Oh? Is Miss Atlasia that much prettier than I?" the brunette inquired, her face somewhat closer to his than propriety allowed.

    "What?!" Shinji blurted out, what was visible of his face now completely red as he took a step back. "Yes, I mean, no, I mean..."

    Miss Lockhart, if that was truly her name, laughed prettily at how flustered the boy had become over a few words.

    "I am only teasing you, Inspector," the brunette murmured, with Shinji feeling pleased somehow. "That is your title, yes? You did react so when Miss Atlasia addressed you by it."

    "'s true, though perhaps not of the organization as Chief Inspector Quirinus," the boy quipped, glancing over at the man, who was now speaking with a chestnut haired girl wearing an outfit all in red, with a rapier at her waist. 'Well, that must be Lady Gainsborough, at least...but who is everyone else?' Speaking of which...

    "Miss Atlasia, my companion, Miss Aeris Lockhart," Shinji supplied somewhat tardily, with the girl beside him releasing his elbow momentarily to curtsy.

    "As in the adventurer?" the raven-haired girl spoke up. "I do love his books! His adventures are always so grand, so different from anything in our ordinary lives. I thought about starting a book club, but even in Ravenclaw, that's a bit..."

    "Ravenclaw is it?" the brunette inquired mildly. "And which particular name might you hold among the Eagles who prize wisdom?"

    "Oh - that's right," the raven-haired girl murmured, as if realizing she hadn't yet introduced herself. "I'm Ch--Cassandra. Cassandra...Chen."

    '...Cassandra Chen?' Shinji repeated in his head, somewhat skeptical of the claim. After all, he knew no Cassandras, and he was pretty sure she'd begun to say... 'Oh. It's Cho Chang. The one who said those things about Miyuki-senpai...and who senpai doesn't really like.' He really, really hoped that the older girl wouldn't hold this conversation against him if she saw him - and recognized who he was speaking to.' No. It's ok. Only Sokaris is really recognizable in this group.'

    "A pleasure, Miss Chen," Shinji commented, playing to his image by taking her hand - which she hadn't quite extended - and kissing it lightly. It wouldn't do for him to let on that he knew her identity, after all, and it was a bit cute how she blushed prettily, as if such a thing wasn't something that happened to her often. "I suppose you and Miss Atlasia are wondering why I came over to you tonight?"

    "Because you believe one of us can assist you in solving tonight's...mystery?" Sokaris inquired, causing the boy to deflate, as she'd cut through the entire monologue he'd had planned.

    "...well, yes," the boy replied, not at all annoyed at losing his chance to grandstand a bit. "I don't suppose you've seen anything...strange this evening? Perhaps something out of place in the room, or from talking with others?"

    "Only that the Chief Inspector is using his actual name, on a night when so many are borrowing identities not their own," Sokaris commented indifferently. "And that not all masks are so easily donned as the one you wear. But that is all I will offer at this time."

    Frankly Shinji didn't think that was much help, since of course a "Chief Inspector" would have to use his proper name and title, as he would have no authority otherwise.

    "...and you, Miss Chen?"

    "To be honest, I...wasn't paying attention," the girl who knew to be Cho Chang admitted. "I was simply...caught up in speaking with Miss Atlasia about her...associate, who is not with us this evening."

    "Ah, I see...thank you for that," Shinji said with a bow and a flourish. "If you will excuse me, ladies, there are other people to question before the night is through, I think." He glanced over at his companion. "Unless you had more to ask?"

    "No. Let's move on," 'Miss Lockhart' replied with something like a smile upon her lips. "Who next?"

    At a glance, the following catch his eye:

    Who will the intrepid duo engage in conversation next?

    [ ] A raven-haired girl talking to one with reddish blonde hair, though her figure and poise is a bit more uncertain
    [ ] A raven-haired girl wearing a form-fitting dress of silver and blue - the poise is right, but she seems rather more...developed than senpai
    [ ] A girl a little taller than he remembers Miyuki being, wearing with a full mask, cloak, and dress of black that hides her head and hair entirely
    [ ] The rapier-armed brunette who just finished talking with the Chief Inspector
    [ ] A blonde girl his age holding court on the couch, discussing wondrous inventions, such as bags of holding, with a circle of others

    Between these two, who gets higher gift priority?

    [ ] Noel Twins (subject to change)
    [ ] Natsumi
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  18. #558
    ぷよ使い Puyo Mage fallacies's Avatar
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    Great Garden of Cats
    [x] A raven-haired girl talking to one with reddish blonde hair, though her figure and poise is a bit more uncertain
    [x] Natsumi

  19. #559
    Oh that was entertaining...Sokaris pulled ranks on Shinji Alchemist dreams. Never challenger her Shinji she gets to peek at everyone's cards before hand. At least we identified Cho early so now that we can focus on others.

    I am not sure who this Miss Lockhart is but she is becoming a new favorite of mine. If it is, in fact, Natsumi, then wearing a mask seems to embolden her or she must know it is Shinji and can let loose with herself.

    Let's pick up Amber...or at least someone that likely her. She seems to actually be solving the case rather than just playing around so would be a good team member. Really I just want to see Amber groan at hearing the name of Miss Lockhart. Interrupting Selena having fun with her court seems pointless without first grabbing Amber. She does not seem to be caring about the entertainment event.

    [X] The rapier-armed brunette who just finished talking with the Chief Inspector
    [X] Noel Twins (subject to change)

  20. #560
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [ ] Noel Twins (subject to change)

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