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Thread: [Quest] Lostbelt Raising Project

  1. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by Bugs View Post
    There's a discord?
    The same as for the other quests ! This should be the right link to it : Questverse !

  2. #82
    2. Might as well, should learn what we can about fake father-in-law. (Though the demons might turn out to be a bit more immediately relevant given our current course.)

  3. #83

  4. #84


    Year: 2018

    Location: Housing Complex, Chang-an Village, Level 4

    “Haaah...”

    On the roof of the housing complex, I take a deep breath and look solemnly at the black sky, seeing only the faintest outline of the reinforced roof of the level. My high-pressure first meeting with my in-laws had just about ended and I come out to the roof for some solitude and fresh air. Although, now that I think about it, since Yingying was adopted, they aren’t actually my in-laws… so what does that make them? Ah, whatever, it doesn’t matter.

    After she woke up, Yingying’s mother welcomed us with open-arms and led us into their humble abode. To summarize, it was a rather shabby looking place, not dirty but seemingly run-down for how concrete the entire building is. From the looks of it, it seemed to be some sort of one-room apartment with a small kitchen and bathroom. No doubt that it is awfully cramped and could only fit two people living in it. Certainly, it would be difficult to imagine Yingying growing up in this sort of place, just physically speaking. I had wondered if I could stay here for the night, but it’s clear there isn’t nearly any space for me.

    We ended up just chatting casually at the tea table for a while, talking about the typical questions like “What are you doing in town?” or “How long will you be staying?” or “Why the hell wasn’t I invited to the wedding?”. I felt bad for the hospitality considering the state of the house, but Yingying’s mother absolutely insisted on bringing out some tea and fruits, that seem lavish in comparison to the state of the house, all while apologizing for not having prepared something more. Perhaps that was the infamous Chinese hospitality that I’ve heard of?

    After a while, the father returned, and I was introduced to him. He was a stern-looking middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a grim face, reminiscent of my image of a white collar salary slave from my world. From the dignity he carried himself with, I could see where Yingying’s good manners must’ve come from. Surprisingly, he wasn’t as harsh as I imagined him to be, certainly not any shotgun carrying ‘don’t touch my daughter’ type. After that, the four of house just spent the time talking while having a meager dinner, before I excused myself.

    I had also taken the chance to ask a bit about the Emperor to see what people from the lower levels thought of the man but... well, it was the same patriotic drivel I’ve heard before. I guess that’s to be expected from Yingying’s parents though. Their daughter certainly shares their views. I guess there’s no need to rush, I can investigate with the other locals later. Yingying’s family just happened to be a dead-end in this aspect. You can really tell they are related…

    “... family, huh?”

    With a heavy heart, I reflect on the warm atmosphere that spontaneously formed as the three people tied by blood came together. The three of them openly sharing their thoughts and feelings around a small table, relishing in each other’s presence. A loving mother… a strict father… and an innocently happy child…

    How nostalgic.

    How disgusting.

    Seeing that saccharine sight made me sick enough to retreat to the desolate rooftop. I couldn’t stand it. It was too happy-go-lucky stupid. No, that’s not it. I’m just being immature. Running away from my old wounds. Tch, how stupid of me.

    “Haaahhh….”

    “Why the long sigh?”

    Just as I’m feeling melancholic, I hear another voice approach. When I turn, I see Assassin materializing. A moment later, Rider also appears behind her. Not in the mood to be nice, I nonchalantly turn to them and bark back.

    “Oi, you guys are late. What took you so long?”

    “Oh~ feeling cranky, are we?” Rider giggles at my obviously bad mood. “We arrived a bit earlier but were waiting for you to get away before we showed up. I don’t think it would have been wise to introduce ourselves to the princess’s family so soon.”

    “Mn… good thinking.” I begrudgingly accept her answer. Certainly, I don’t know what I would’ve said to introduce the Cheongsam Sisters to Yingying’s parents.

    I take a moment to look off of the housing complex’s roof and scan the surroundings below, looking for any noteworthy individuals. It has nearly been the five hours I promised to the Saber and Lancer Servants. They said they would be the ones to find us, so I expect them to arrive any moment. That’s also part of the reason I came to this desolate roof.

    “By the way, Master. Apparently, those two also approached Rider after us.” Assassin mentions.

    “Eh? Really?” I jolt up and turn to the pirate queen. “Is that so? What’d they say?”

    “Hm~ Nothing much. It seems they already knew I was allied with you, so they just said that they’d talk to us all together at once.”

    “I see…”

    Putting my fingers to my chin as always, I contemplate our two mysterious Servants. What exactly could those two want?

    Just as I start thinking though, my deduction is cut short by a sudden and conspicuous noise on the roof. There, as if blending in with the moonless night, are two warriors.

    “It looks like everyone’s here. Shall we start?”







    “Before we begin, can I ask you two something?”

    I lead the conversation immediately, not wanting to waste any time on pleasantries. Looking from the outside, my attitude might’ve seemed a bit stand-offish, but I’m just not taking any chances.

    The five of us, 4 Servants and 1 Master, stand on the roof opposite each other. Assassin and Rider are behind me, letting me take the lead, while the opposite side seems to mirror the situation from earlier today as Saber steps up to talk while Lancer once again watches from the back.

    “What is it?” Saber nods, seemingly compliant.

    “Are you two the ones responsible for the treasury robbery from about a week ago?” I ask directly.

    “Yes, we are.” She answers without hesitation.

    I’m a little taken aback by how easily she admits it. As I was expecting more of a fight for the info, I take a moment to reconfigure how to approach the conversation before asking again.

    “Can I ask why you did it?”

    “For justice, of course.” She proclaims with absolute conviction. There is zero doubt or shame in her clear, noble voice.

    It was certainly an answer I didn’t expect and caught my curiosity.

    “Justice? So what? You’re fighting and stealing for the people, like Robin Hood, or some stuff?” I ask calmly.

    “That’s right. We’re heroes of justice!” She responds with vigor.

    Oh dear, what a bold answer. Heroes of justice, huh… that phrase alone gives me a sour impression. I don’t mean to be biased, but those who proclaim themselves heroes of justice tend to be a certain type of people.

    I could ask for more details as to how they plan to enact such justice and further reasons behind their actions, but honestly, it’s not that important, regardless of how curious I am. For now, I should focus on the matter at hand.

    “Alright then. So… what is it that you guys wanted to talk about?” I return the conversation to the original topic swiftly.

    As I do so, I feel a small shift in the intensity of the air. Like always, Lancer is silent, but very clearly attentive. Though Saber is the one talking, I feel the pressure of Lancer’s glare far more than Saber’s words.

    “We don’t have much to discuss. We just want to know what the other Servants are planning to do.” Saber explains bluntly. “We can’t just ignore the other Servants after all. If our goals align, I think it’d be best if we work together, as well. We’re all from the same world, right?”

    “I see…”

    I think I have a better idea of their intentions. They must have been going around looking for other Servants just as we have, hopefully seeking to recruit others to their side. Certainly, with the knowledge of their being other Servants around, that isn’t an uncommon strategy to come up with. I don’t know how, but they clearly have some sort of tracking ability based on how they were able to find us. No, wait… perhaps their robbery of the treasury was also a way of being conspicuous and luring others to find them in steed. It’s not a bad idea.

    I now have a good idea of the ‘how’ but… the real question is the why, I suppose.

    “Before we answer, may I know what you two are planning? Are you… planning to destroy this alternate world?”

    “Hm?”

    Saber makes an astonished expression while Lancer’s gaze clearly sharpens.

    “Of course, we’re going to destroy it. That’s what we were summoned here to do, right?” She answers with a bit of incredulity. “We just want to see how the other Servants want to approach the matter.”

    So that’s the heart of the matter, huh. As I thought… well, that’s the natural assumption to make. Normally, it’d only make sense for Servants from our original world to want to destroy this one. I shouldn’t have expected differently, or rather I already expected this answer.

    No, wait… something’s not right with that.

    “Hold on.” I abruptly speak. “That doesn’t make sense.”

    “What’s wrong?” Saber continues to seem confused by me.

    “Earlier, you said you were fighting for the people, right? Acting against the injustice of this world and all. But doesn’t that contradict your goal? If you’re trying to destroy this world, why would you care about the people in it?”

    That’s right. It doesn’t add up. Fighting for people that you intend to kill off, no one in their right mind would do such needless actions. It would be like renovating a house just before you plan to demolish it. That’s simply too contradictory. I begin to suspect that they have been lying to me somewhat, and yet—

    “… but isn’t it only natural to protect the weak?”

    Saber answers as if it were only natural. There is no dishonesty or doubt in her voice, only mild confusion at my objections.

    “Just because we’ll eventually destroy this world doesn’t mean we can ignore the injustice happening before our eyes. We are certainly fighting for our own world, that much is obvious. But that doesn’t mean we can see the people of this world as disposable. To defeat but not to humiliate. To destroy but not to violate. To win while inflicting the least pain. That is the honorable path we seek.”

    … I’m speechless. As if having a bright light suddenly shone on my face, I can only mentally flinch at her noble intentions.

    I see… certainly, she’s not wrong. If you look at it from a view of efficiency, certainly their actions would seem contradictory, but through the lens of a hero, they make sense. Fighting to protect your own world against another. Protecting the weak and poor against systematic injustice. Certainly, they are both heroic actions. Therefore, they are not contradictory, as they are both justice. Even if it means inefficiency, such things do not matter when it comes to what is right or wrong.

    “Well, that’s what we intend, but what about you guys? Is there something else you want to do?” Saber asks earnestly and in a friendly tone, already treating us future allies. In response to that amicable tone, I…

    “I’m sorry, but our intentions are the opposite.” I declare firmly. “We don’t intend to destroy this world at all. In fact, we are trying to save it.”

    “Eh?”

    “Oh~?”

    “Master…”

    Various gasps resound throughout the roof in response to my straight answer. Saber seems surprised while Lancer looks perturbed. Assassin and Rider though seem worried about my bluntness.

    “There’s no point in lying to them. It won’t do our discourse any good if we aren’t clear about our intentions.” I explain to my allies swiftly.

    “You really are a reckless idiot, aren’t you…” Rider sighs.

    “Lying is bad, but there’s a thing known as tact, you know.” Assassin also slumps her shoulders.

    I can only shrug my shoulders to their many complaints.

    “A-are you serious? You want to protect this world? Even though it would mean losing our original world?” Saber is clearly bewildered by my answer.

    “Yes, that’s right.” I can only nod.

    For a moment, she seems to have trouble processing my answer, before her attitude suddenly shifts entirely. The friendliness in her voice disappears and she speaks with the tone of a warrior.

    “Then... then, that makes us enemies.” She declares and immediately takes action.

    Saber’s posture shifts swiftly into a battle stance. In an instant, two swords suddenly appear in her hands. Even I can feel the magical energy building up in her body, signaling the beginning of an attack.

    Shit, she’s serious.

    “Woah, woah, calm down. Can’t we discuss this?” I hastily try to pacify her, but to no avail.

    “I have nothing to say to villains.” She proclaims with conviction and prepares her swords.

    Dammit, I wasn’t expecting her to just suddenly explode. I was hoping she’d hear us out first, based on how reasonable she seemed earlier. Could she be the type that’s merciless against enemies?

    “Tch, you’ve really gone and down it, boy.” Rider also jumps into action, materializing her rifle.

    Assassin also seems to start concentrating, though I don’t know what she plans to do.

    Overall chaos seems to break out as the Servants prepare to clash. In a straight fight, I expect that our party doesn’t stand much of a chance, but perhaps we might be able to escape if we make the right moves. Unless I use my ability, we definitely can’t win, so all I can do is think of a way to turn the tides a little. Combat seems absolutely inevitable at this point. But just then—

    “Hold on!”

    An abrupt call freezes everyone in place. We all turn to find the no-longer silent Lancer standing there with folded arms and a very serious, but peaceful expression. His roar wasn’t loud, but its forceful tone made us all immediately stop fighting.

    “Fall back for a second, Saber. I want to ask them something.” Lancer commands.

    “Hm? Oh, okay.” Saber nods casually. As if her previous hostility was a lie, she immediately straightens herself and dismisses her swords. I don’t know what their relationship is, but it seems clear that Lancer’s calling the shots.

    With the imminent threat gone, I get the chance to take a breath of relief, before confronting Lancer. He himself doesn’t move but speaks calmly.

    “I want to ask why you three wish to protect this world.” He states with an intimidating growl. “I’d like to hear your honest reasons. Not as a group, but as individuals, what are you wishing for?”

    He turns his head first at Rider, prompting her to answer. She quickly glances at me and Assassin, gun still firmly in hand, as if seeing what we have to say.

    We do kind of have a knife to our neck at the moment, so we have no choice to go along. I nod to her, as to give her to go ahead for answering honestly. With our acknowledgement, she turns back to Lancer and simply shrugs.

    “Frankly, I don’t care about the fate of the world or what not. I can’t be bothered to think on such a stupidly large scale. All I care about are those around me. So whether it’s this world or the other world, I’ll fight for the one that gives me the best chance for happiness.” She says with honesty and conviction.

    Immediately, Saber seems off-put by that answer, but Lancer himself doesn’t change his expression. Instead, he immediately just turns to Assassin.

    “And you?” He asks sharply.

    “… my answer is similar to hers.” Assassin states with a little trepidation. “But I do think that as a Servant, as those who have already been deceased, it isn’t our duty or right to decide the course of the current humanity. Whether it is this world or another, we can only assist those who call upon our powers. That is the definition of a hero. Hence, I shall simply assist the will of my Master in his own righteousness.”

    “…” I say nothing.

    There’s a lot I want to comment about that philosophy, but I put it aside for now, as Lancer now turns to me.

    “Then, you?” He asks me at last.

    I take a small pause to think for myself. What is the reason that I have for saving this world? For what purpose was I entrusted with? Why did I become a Crypter? What is the truth that I have been holding onto all this time?

    After everything that has been said, the answer I give him is…

    Choice!
    The Servant Lancer has asked you what your reason is for trying to save the Lostbelt. Whether it is your truth or not, what is the answer that you will give him?

    1. I only care about those precious to me. The fate of the world doesn’t matter.
    2. I’m only completing the task given to me by the Alien God in exchange for coming back to life.
    3. Even if this world is destroyed, it doesn’t matter, since another one of the seven Lostbelts will just remain supreme. So, we might as well fight to protect this one.
    4. I believe this world is better than our own.
    5. I’m just satisfying my own selfishness.
    6. Write-In



  5. #85
    死徒 Dead Apostle Bugs's Avatar
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    吸血鬼 Vampire cooldownnow's Avatar
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    3. I just think this is an interesting line of thinking.


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  8. #88
    4.
    Sure, isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but could do a lot worse than this world. (Besides, other answers feel too lackadaisical.)

  9. #89
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  10. #90
    リビングデッド Living Dead Faux's Avatar
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  11. #91


    Year: 2018

    Location: Housing Complex, Chang-an Village, Level 4

    “…”

    I am speechless. I know that the answer I give here is crucial to pacifying the enemy Servants, yet I’m unable to say the words they want to hear.

    “What’s wrong?” Lancer asks, seeming to notice my hesitation. “Don’t have an answer?”

    “No, I…”

    The reason I have for fighting, the reason I became a Crypter, the reason I was brought back to life, that is…

    Because I think it is right?

    Because I was told to do so?

    Because there are people I want to protect?

    No, of course not.

    That’s not it at all. Such proper answers couldn’t possibly be true. I don’t have such strong and noble convictions. I simply…

    “I’m just doing it for myself.”

    I answer with half-hearted resolve the true reason I’m standing here now.

    Yes. That’s how it is. I don’t have any good intentions. I’m doing this solely for my own satisfaction, my own selfishness. I’ve never cared about stuff like the fate of humanity or billions of people I’ve never met. The only thing that drives me are my own dumb, selfish desires. Since back then and even now, that is the truth.

    I want to prove that I too can save the world.

    “I see… how disappointing.” Scoffing at our motives, Lancer sighs as if giving up on us. “I had hoped you may have had reasons for betraying our world, but it seems that you truly do only care for yourselves.”

    “Geez, what a waste of time. You should’ve just let me defeat them already.” Saber pouts beside him.

    “It’s no good to be hasty. Even our enemies may sometimes provide valuable insight.” He retorts with a solemn tone. “But I suppose this was indeed a letdown.”

    Disappointment quickly shifts into ferocity as he takes an aggressive stance. The immense pressure he was emitting before doubles in strength.

    “I’ve heard enough. The time for talk is over.”

    With a roar, he declares his killing intent. It pours out endlessly and washes over us like flames. I don’t even realize when I start sweating.

    I’m afraid. My body is terrified. I made a bad choice. I should’ve lied. I know what will happen next. I’m going to die. And yet…

    “… are you going to kill us?” I ask him sheepishly, like a lamb before beast.

    “That’s right. In our mission to save our old world, you are all enemies.” Lancer declares with righteous conviction.

    A line that wouldn’t be out of place in a fantasy battle novel or a comic book about super-powered do-gooders. They must really think of themselves as heroes of justice if they’re able to spout out lines like that without blushing. It’s so proud and noble that one might cheer them on just by hearing it. Surely, this is where the theme song kicks in and the villain-of-the-week is defeated after a quick high-tension battle, leading to another happily ever after as the credits roll.

    …that makes my stomach churn a little.

    “So… what? Just because we don’t agree with you that makes us your enemies? You’re going to kill us for having differing opinions?” I snap back, not backing down to my fear.

    “That’s right.” Lancer affirms. “It’s clear that, with our differing motives, we won’t see eye-to-eye. Then all that is left is to settle things.”

    “Ah, don’t try to get out of this now by saying that you’re innocent or anything. As long as you ally with this world, we won’t hold back.” Saber quickly adds.

    Tsk, how firm. I click my tongue in frustration.

    “Are you okay with that? You’ve given up on convincing us to join your side, so you’ll just eliminate us? Anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an enemy? Is that your justice?” I question them fervently.

    “You have a problem with our methods?” Lancer snarls.

    “Of course, I do. I’ve got plenty.” I yell out my complaints. “Murder is bad. Everyone knows that! But moreover, attacking people because they oppose your goals is unreasonable. If there’s a difference in opinions, you should convince them through discussion.”

    “Hmph. Are you saying that violence is unjustified? I didn’t peg you for a pacifist.”

    “I’m not. I get being physically aggressive when you’re hot-headed and frustrated. Heck, I understand being so angry you want to beat someone up. But… using violence as an alternative for discussion is different. That’s no longer violence for the sake of violence. You aren’t only hurting people’s bodies anymore, but their wills and desires as well. You’re just forcing your will on other people, controlling their actions and thoughts. How is that right!?”

    I don’t know what’s gotten into me. The words come out of my mouth before I have time to think them over. It’s as if the filter on my speech has been broken and all my bottled-up thoughts are spilling out.

    This happened before. Back then with Rider, when my back was pushed against the wall and I was on the verge of death, when my old scars are reopened, I just started babbling. As if the fear was fueling my passion, I boil over and let out all the emotions and thoughts I usually try to keep beneath the surface.

    “Master…”

    I hear Assassin’s concerned voice from behind me, but it’s not enough to break my feverish mood.

    Lancer and Saber, however, are as stone-faced and iron-willed as ever. Facing my angry rant, their hostility doesn’t die. Yet, they have still not launched their attack, as if wishing to hear the last of my words before they finish me off. Aggressively but calmly, Lancer answers.

    “When discussion is impossible, there’s no choice. It is necessary for the implementation of Justice. Without fighting, you can’t always protect the ones you must.”

    Their justice continues to piss me off.

    “That’s not fair. Then, of course the stronger person will always have their way, if they can just force people to do what they want with violence. Just because someone is strong, that means their opinions and goals have more weight? The desires of those who are weak don’t matter? That’s no different than oppression of the powerless. You’re just flaunting your power and allowing might to make right.”

    “That can’t be helped. If those with strength don’t use it for good and only stand by, then there is nothing to stop evil from having its way. We use our power not for ourselves, but for the greater good.”

    “The greater good?” I scoff. “Are you saying that you only do what other people want you to do? You follow whatever decision is democratically voted upon?”

    “Not necessarily. There are times when one must go against the will of the masses to correct the world, when one must follow one’s own justice.”

    “Then, in the end, you are just forcing your own views on the world! Just because you think it’s just or is for the greater good, you’re using your inhuman strength to mold the world as you see fit!” I shout out angrily.

    “Hm…”

    And for the first time, Lancer doesn’t immediately respond.

    “Lancer?” Saber glances in surprise at her hesitant partner.

    Without dialing back his intensity, Lancer contemplates. His killing intent instead shifts into concentration as he absorbs and examines all of my complaints. After a short moment, his focus returns, slightly more relaxed.

    “Perhaps, you have a point. Though not aptly put, your words have genuine emotion in them. You have given me some things to think about.” He states firmly, accepting my words.

    Just as I breath in relief, though, he takes a step forward.

    “But this is this and that is that. My justice will not be shaken so easily. You are still opponents that must be defeated.”

    His killing intent returns, clearer than ever, no longer shrouded by disappointment or doubt.

    Shit. It seems my words did get through to him, but they were far from enough. Is this… the limit of discussion?

    “Bastard…” I swear under my breath at the unreasonable warrior.

    “I don’t think you have room to be cursing my resolve. Or have you not realized?” He says with an accusatory glare.

    “Haah?”

    “Surely, you’ve been here in this world long enough to learn how it works. So then, I wonder how you’re able to stomach this world, much less protect it, with such lofty ideals.”

    “Ah.”

    Once mentioned, flashes of this Lostbelt flicker in my mind. Images of the orderly cities and thoughts of the absolute system, those that I’ve been avoiding thinking of too deeply, come to mind.

    “Well, it matters not any longer. You’ll perish here before you can regret your foolishness.”

    He declares, and with a flick of his wrist, materializes his spear.

    In the very next moment, he disappears from sight.

    “Drown in your hypocrisy and die.”

    It is an attack faster than anything I’ve experienced, more so than even Rider’s bullet. I don’t even have time to react or see my life flicker before my eyes. Certain death rushes towards me.

    “Get down, fool!”

    Something pushes me aside and the killer spear hits empty air.

    It is only after everything is over that I comprehend what just happened. It seems that Rider managed to make it in time and get me out of the way of the attack.

    “Alright, boy. You’ve said everything you needed to, right? Then we’re getting out of here, pronto.” She rapidly states and, without waiting for my response, pulls me along. With her other arm, she grabs the bewildered Assassin and immediately leaps away from the roof with superhuman strength.

    “Rider!” I exclaim as I’m dragged through the sky.

    At the same time, I push away the doubts clouding my mind. I can contemplate them all I want later; right now, we need to focus on the life-or-death situation at hand.

    “Hold your tongue or you’ll bite it. It’d be stupid to fight them head-on, so we’re getting out of here.” She says without looking back. Like an experienced free runner, she leaps from roof to roof easily.

    “Master, are you okay? He didn’t pierce you, did he?” Assassin takes the chance to ask, still being clutched in Rider’s arm.

    “Yeah, I’m fine. Managed to avoid it, thank to Rider.” I ease her worries. “But maybe not for long…”

    Just as I’m speaking, I notice two figures approaching at high speeds. It needs not be said that they are Lancer and Saber, hot on our heels.

    That’s not good. Rider might be the class with the highest mobility, but that’s only when it comes to their mounts. From what I can tell, both of the knights are faster than her on foot. It shouldn’t take long for them to catch up.

    … or so I thought.

    “The hell?” I voice my surprise at the strange sight.

    For some reason, the two aren’t getting any closer and are merely keeping pace with us at a respectable distance.

    “What are they doing? They can’t be afraid to fight us, could they?” I wonder, scrapping my mind for a reason for their strange behavior.

    “Hmm…” Assassin ponders before coming to an epiphany. “Ah, they’re probably waiting for us to leave the village.”

    “Huh?”

    “If we fight here in the village, there might be civilian casualties, right? So, they’re making sure not to confront us directly while we’re still within the distance of innocent people.” She explains.

    “I see… how noble of them.” I scoff.

    But well, if they’re so insistent, we can use that to our advantage. It seems we have some leeway until we’re out of the village boundaries. In that time…

    “Oi, Assassin. Can you identify those weapons?” I ask our resident expert as I try to analyze our opponents.

    In Saber’s hands are the ornate twin swords she was wielding earlier, rather regular in design. In Lancer’s however is a long spear, more than 2 meters in length, with a strange tip. Rather than a regular sharp spearhead, it was a long winding steel, like a fluctuating flame.

    “Hmm… I don’t know the swords, but even I can identify the spear.” Assassin assesses. “It is no doubt the legendary Serpent Spear wielded by a certain general from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”

    “Then, you know who Lancer is?” I inquire with high expectations.

    “Well, that weapon does narrow the answer drastically.” She nods with confidence.

    If he is indeed who Assassin seems to be implying, then we might be in quite a bit of trouble. I don’t think we’re equipped to deal with such a warrior head on.

    “Hey, Rider. You do have a plan, right? You aren’t just running about aimlessly, are you?” I shout at my ally with whom my fate lies.

    “Oho~ Do you not trust me, boy?” She sneers cockily. “Let me guess. You think we don’t stand a chance against those two in a battle.”

    “Uh, well…” I can’t deny it.

    I’m not doubting Rider’s ability, but we’re hopelessly outgunned. Assassin and I are basically useless, so it’s really 1 vs 2, and the enemies are both Knight classes. I just don’t see a path to victory.

    And yet, in the face of my unease, Rider grins.

    “I’ll have you know, boy, that battles aren’t determined by strength alone. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, so take this chance to learn from your Big Sis. I’ll show you just how I conquered the seas of China.”

    It dawns on me that she must have worn that same shit-eating grin countless times in her life. When faced with impossible odds, never backing down against superior enemies, she must’ve smiled and bragged in such the same way. Thinking that, I’m able to relax a little.

    It was few minutes later that I saw what her proud boast was alluding to. As we neared the exit of the village, what seemed to be a giant, black forest came into view.

    “That’s… the Oxygen Farm?” I narrow my eyes as I see our destination.

    Oxygen Farm

    Despite its grandiose name, our destination was in reality just a large and dense forest enclosure. As you’d expect, there’s an inherent danger to living in an enclosed underground when it comes to the air intake that every human needs. While there are systems in place for funneling oxygen down to the lower levels, it seems that much of the production comes from these special farms. Most large villages or areas seem to have at least one; there were even plenty on Level 1. Now, I haven’t looked to deeply into them so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how all these trees manage to grow without sunlight, but I assume it has something to do with the special black trees that make up the farm, apparently bred to produce several times more oxygen than a normal tree from my world. I’ve also heard that staying in the farm for too long is dangerous due to the incredibly high oxygen density. Naturally, the Imperial Examination decides who’s assigned to managing the farm, so I can only pray for the health of the groundskeeper.

    With a final leap off the furthermost building, we fly over the fence and land just at the entrance of the large forest. Barely lit by neighboring lamplight, the dark forest gives off an ominous feeling as we arrive.

    “W-why did we come here?” Assassin wonders as we abruptly stop at the edge of the forest.

    “I figured it’d come down to a fight, so I scouted for advantageous terrain before the meeting.” Rider explains, while taking the chance to look back. “This is the optimal battleground for us. Here, we stand a fighting chance.”

    Just as she declares, our unruly guests arrive. The two figures appear in vision and approach rapidly like twin meteors falling towards the earth and—

    “Oi, Rider! They’re not stopping.” I yell out as the shooting stars rush at us without any sign of stopping or landing nearby. Are those idiots really gonna just attack immediately, now that we’re out of the village?

    “Don’t worry. Just step back!” Rider proclaims before suddenly taking a giant breath.

    In one smooth motion, her chest suddenly seems to swell, and her cheeks puff up. Barely realizing what she’s planning in time, I grab Assassin and hastily hit the ground.

    “Dragon Lady’s Flare!”

    An intense jet of flame bursts forth from Rider’s mouth, just in time to completely envelop the approaching enemies. Swallowed by the overwhelming heat, their attack is halted completely. It is an undeniably deadly flamethrower attack, befitting the legendary dragon’s breath.

    “Amazing…” I remark as I watch from the ground.

    I saw her little fireball puff before, but it wasn’t even close to this level of offensive power. Even if she was holding back earlier, the difference is hardly comparable. Could it be… is it because of the high oxygen density in the forest? Is this why Rider chose this area?

    “Not enough!”

    Just as I think the match is settled, Lancer abruptly bursts forth from the flames, only somewhat singed. Dammit! He looks barely hurt by that super attack. Any normal human should be a crisp by now, but he continues to rush Rider like a stubborn bull.

    But Rider seems unfazed, as if she knew it wouldn’t be that easy.

    “Now!”

    The moment she shouts, something suddenly appears from the darkness. The shadowy object is launched at Lancer and entangles around him upon contact. That’s…

    “A net?”

    Restricting his limbs, the ropes slow Lancer’s momentum drastically. I try to see where the mysterious savior net came from, but before I can get a good luck—

    “Fire!” Rider shouts out.

    An instant later, I see numerous flashes of light in the forest followed by many loud bangs.

    “Geh!” A sound of pain comes out of Lancer, as he is hit by bullets from all sides. The barrage of attacks must be fierce as his entire assault is stopped in place. And in that moment,

    “Bang.”

    Rider brings out her rifle and makes her own shot, at near point-blank range. Restrained and riddled with bullets, Lancer is unable to avoid the final attack. The fatal bullet hits him straight in the chest and blows him away, as if it were a cannon ball.

    “… okay, I’m a little impressed.” I’m forced to admit after witnessing Rider’s combo attack.

    I can’t see them in the darkness, but I can guess that the rest of the Red Scarf Pirates are hiding in the shadows of the trees of the forest. They must be the ones responsible for the gunshots and net attack.

    I understand now what Rider was planning. Within this dark forest area, the pirates can launch all the guerilla-style ambush attacks they want while avoiding direct combat. Furthermore, Rider’s fire breath attack is amplified due to the oxygen density of the area. It truly is their optimal battleground.

    “Oho~ do you see now how the Queen of Pirates handles big tough brutes with nothing but strength?” Rider chuckles. “Terrain, tools, and teamwork are the three T’s of underdog combat. Remember that well, boy.”

    “I don’t think I’ll need to as long as you’re by my side…” I note.

    I’m really glad now that this woman is one of my allies. Even if she weren’t a Servant, I don’t think I’d want to fight her.

    “Yes, impressive indeed.”

    Breaking the celebratory mood, Lancer’s growl shakes the air as he swiftly gets back on his feet.

    Oi, oi, buddy. You just took a bullet to the chest. You shouldn’t be getting up like you just finished taking a nap. How stupidly tough are you?

    “But as I said, that’s not enough to stop me.” He declares with the stubbornness of a zombie.

    “Ugh, he’s not bluffing. He is really hard to kill. I’ve tried.”

    To make matters worse, Saber chimes in as she gets back up as well. I thought that at least she was reduced to a pile of cinders, but it seems neither Servant is willing to die that easily.

    “Are you hurt, Saber?” Lancer asks his companion.

    “No problem! A little puff is no problem! Peace!” She answers energetically, giving a V-sign.

    It pisses me off a little how casual they are after receiving Rider’s super combo attack.

    “Tch, I aimed for your spiritual core to kill you quickly, but it seems that you avoided a direct hit.” Rider also clicks her tongue in annoyance. “Perhaps I need to go for the head, next time.”

    “There won’t be a next time. We’ve seen through your tricks.” Saber proclaims. “From here on, it’s just a good old-fashion duel.”

    “Indeed. Let us settle this at last.” Lancer agrees.

    And then, with style and flourish, the two brandish their weapons and pose dramatically, as if they were in a super sentai series.

    “My name is Lin Chong, the Majestic Star! Through fire and water, in heaven and earth, I endure hell to see my path through!”

    “My name is Hu Sanniang, the Bright Star! Whether against a hundred or ten thousand men, as long as the darkness of evil exists, my light will never waver!”

    ““We are the Stars of Destiny! Let us have an honourable fight!!!””

    Wise-up! Demonic Lancer Status
    Majestic Star A+
    One of the reincarnated 108 Stars of destiny, said to bring calamity.
    Lancer is the Majestic Star, who wields overwhelming might and fortitude.
    Wise-up! Demonic Saber Status
    Bright Star B+
    One of the reincarnated 108 Stars of destiny, said to bring calamity
    Saber is the Bright Star, whose intelligence and wisdom finds a path in the darkness.

    Loud and clear, just and pure, they announce their names and put their honor on the line. In the face of adversity, the heroes of justice stand tall and proud.

    Their True Names say it all. The beast-like spearman, Lin Chong, and the beautiful swordswoman, Hu Sanniang, they are none other than the great heroes of the Water Margin, one of the 108 Stars of Destiny. They who became outlaws to fight against the corruption of China… it was not an understatement for them to call themselves heroes of justice.

    And now that they’ve invoked the right of honorable combat by revealing their true names, only a real scumbag would resort to dirty tactics.

    “Alright, boys, scatter!” Rider yells before high-tailing it with Assassin and I in tow. The sound of chiming bells echoes through the forest as the other pirates also take the chance to run away into the darkness.

    “Ah, bastards! Not fair!” Saber complains to deaf hears.

    Good thing, we happen to be scumbags of the lowest order.




    “Alright, we managed to lose them.”

    After several rounds of running away and sneaky ambush attacks, Rider pulls Assassin and I to the shadow of a large tree far from where Saber and Lancer are. Even now, they are probably fending off the insistent and sly attacks of the pirates in enemy terrain. In such a contest, the battle won’t be settled any time soon.

    “Okay, you guys stay here and keep your head low.” Rider instructs us, making sure we’re safely hidden from view under the shade of the large tree. “I’ll come back once it’s safe and we’ve won.”

    “Rider, you…” I voice my worry as I look up at the overly erotic woman about to head back into fatal combat.

    “Oho~ What’s with that face, boy? Could it be you’re concerned for me?” Her girly voice returns for a second as she giggles at my obvious uncertainty. “Don’t worry so much and just leave all the combat to me. That’s what you hired me for, right?”

    “U-uh… right.” I nod but can’t shake the doubt in my mind.

    “Oh right, do you want them dead or alive? I know you were thinking about recruiting them before.” She asks one more thing before she heads off.

    “Ah, well…” I give her my answer and she accept it easily.

    “Don’t lose! Good luck!” Assassin also gives an encouraging cheer, generic but earnest.

    “Hahaha~ Like I said, don’t make that kind of face. Just relax, you two. Make out or something if you have to.” She waves goodbye. “When I come back, I’ll be victorious. That’s a pirate’s promise.”

    With that, she heads back into the dark forest, guns ablazing.

    Assassin and I are left alone in the impenetrable darkness, only occasionally hearing the sounds of gunfire in the distance.

    Minutes pass and the signs of battle don’t cease. The longer things go on, the uneasier I become. I just can’t shake the feeling that things aren’t going well; whenever I hear a gunshot, I picture Rider as the victim and it’s slowly driving me piss-pants scared.

    Is everything okay? Is it really alright for me to just sit here while other people are fighting for me? Am I okay with that?

    Choice!
    At last, you have engaged in combat with the enemy Servants, Lancer and Saber. While you are sent to hide in the Oxygen Farm Forest, Rider and the Red Scarf Pirates engage the enemy. Frustrated at your helplessness, what do you do?

    1. Believe in Rider and stay where you are.
    2. Try to help from afar with magecraft
    3. Jump in and help fight the enemy
    4. Send in Assassin to help but stay hidden yourself.

    Furthermore, before heading off, Rider asked what your preference for dealing with the enemies are. What did you tell her? Do you want them dead or alive?

    A. Kill them with certainty
    B. Capture them alive at all costs
    C. Try to capture them alive but kill if you must.
    D. Leave the judgement to Rider


  12. #92
    The Great and Powerful Wizard's Avatar
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  13. #93
    Evil of Humanity Half-Blood Master's Avatar
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    Assassin is super super weak, remember?
    Quote Originally Posted by Faux, July 20th 2019
    We gave HBM, of all people, access to a morals loosening field
    Quote Originally Posted by Faux, December 25th 2019
    Senta deserves the right to a life where she gets to choose if she's actually a Nazi
    True Rider
    A wise and beautiful woman who exudes an aura of grace. She is a sly, cunning, manipulative person who always gets what she wants, whether through trickery or ruthlessness. Her own fighting abilities are low, but she should not be trifled with. What does she ride? Men, of course!

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    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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  16. #96

  17. #97


    Year: 2018
    Location: Oxygen Farm, Level 4

    “God dammit!”

    “Master!?”

    I yell out as I rise to my feet.

    I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t just sit back while other people are fighting in my steed. I don’t want anything to happen to Rider. I have to go help. I don’t know what I can possibly do to help, but I have to do something.

    Wise-up! Rider's Status
    Affection Up!
    You are now greatly concerned for Rider’s wellbeing.

    “I’m going to help, Assassin. I have a bad feeling about this.” I inform Assassin before immediately sprinting off.

    “Ah, wait, wait. Master!” She runs after me, doing her best to keep up. “What are you going to do? Do you have a plan?”

    “None!”

    “Ehhhhhh?” She exclaims at my unreasonable answer. “…I know you’re kind of an idiot, but isn’t this pushing it too far? Your masculine pride isn’t worth your life!”

    I don’t say anything.

    I know this is dumb. I can’t do anything against two Knight-Class Servants, so there’s literally no benefit to me joining the fight. But even so… my body was moving on its own.

    How can I be a hero if I stand by while my comrades are fighting?





    “Haa… haa… where are they?”

    I stop and seek out our target as my body is crying out in pain. After a few minutes of sprinting, I’m left panting and covered in sweat, the natural consequence of abusing my couch potato body. We followed the bright flashes, loud bangs, and bell ringing in the forest to try and find our way back into the fray until we reached what seemed to be the frontlines. The smell of gunpowder and smoke was heavy in the area; the battle must be fiercer than what I imagined.

    “Huh? Big Bro?”

    I hear a voice from the darkness. When I look, I find the figure of one of the pirates, snooping around in the forest.

    “Eh? Weren’t you hiding far away? What are you doing here?” He innocently asks in honest confusion at my sudden appearance.

    “Haa… haa… the situation’s changed.” I answer evadingly, while still looking around, trying to find the Hero of Justice Duo. “Never mind that. Status report.”

    “Huh? Uh, we’ve successfully split up the enemy and are engaging them separately. Big Sis is currently fighting Lancer, so our unit is keeping Saber busy until she’s finished so- No, wait, this isn’t the time for that!” He suddenly yells out in the middle of his explanation. “We have to get you to safety now. Saber’s really close by.”

    “Ha… no need. I’m gonna fight with you guys. Don’t worry about me.” I calm my breath and prepare for an argument.

    But before the pirate can respond or I can catch my breath—

    “Finally found you.”

    A woman’s voice interrupts us.

    “Oh, shit!”

    I barely get a curse in before I’m swept off my feet. Out of nowhere in the darkness, something flies out at us and grabs a hold of my arm.

    “Big Bro!”

    “Master!”

    The two yell out and try to catch me, but it’s too late. In the next second, the thing around my arm pulls me away from the others with superhuman strength and I’m sent flying through the forest. This texture… some sort of fabric? Is this a cloth lasso?

    After a short trip through the air, I meet the assailant. A pretty young woman in martial arts clothes, holding a red cloth-like rope in her hands.



    “Well, well, we meet again. Shall I say that I missed you?” She speaks jovially with a smile, but her actions are anything but cheerful as she pulls in with the lasso and immediately locks me in place with her superhuman strength.

    “I definitely didn’t miss you. At all.” I timidly scowl as she wraps her arm around my torso as to not let me run away.

    “Oh, don’t worry then. Our acquaintance won’t be long.”

    With a smile, she holds up her sword to my neck, making her intentions clear as the nonexistent day.

    “Alright, you guys! If you want to save this man, you’re gonna have to come and get him.” She shouts out so that everyone in the area can hear. “If you don’t come stop me soon, I’ll cut his neck right here!”

    I catch onto her intentions immediately. Dammit, this woman… as expected from another outlaw bandit, she knows exactly how to play dirty despite her noble appearance.

    In order to save me, the pirates have to come out of hiding to confront her head on. And the can’t risk shooting from afar without possibly hitting me, so their only choice is to rush her. Is this the intelligence of the Bright Star?

    I can’t let her get away with this!

    “Oi! Don’t listen to her. Forget about me!” I yell out desperately while flailing about in Saber’s arm.

    But before I can say anything else, she moves up her hand to seal my mouth shut. My muffled words cannot reach the pirates in the forest, and they emerge from the trees one by one with pained expressions.

    “Dammit, we have no choice.”

    “We have to save Big Bro!”

    “Come on, everyone. Let’s get her!”

    The pirates bellow and begin running with their swords drawn. In order to save me, they abandon their guerrilla tactics and head fearlessly into battle. It’s a noble scene but that’s exactly what Saber wants.

    “Perfect.” She nods in satisfaction as her prey shows itself. “Then I don’t need you anymore.”

    With that, she lets go of me and then, in a perfectly smooth motion, spin-kicks me.

    “Geh!”

    A heavy impact like a truck. I’m sent flying before I even know what’s happening and next thing, I know I’ve slammed into a tree trunk some distance away. Pain like I’ve never felt before reverberates through my entire body. Heat is spreading throughout my abdomen and I can’t breathe without feeling like my insides are on fire. The feeling is too strong to precisely tell how bad it is, but I know something in my body must’ve been broken from that kick.

    “Master! Master, are you okay?”

    I hear a voice in the haze of agony. With my blurry eyes, I make out the figure of Assassin coming up to me.

    She’s here? Oh, right, she must’ve snuck past the battlefield and ran straight to me. That makes sense. So, she’s safe… that’s good.

    “Assassin…” I manage to say through bloodied breath. “What’s happening right now?”

    “Uh, well, everyone’s fighting Saber but…” Her dejected voice gives me a clear enough picture of how bad the battle is going.

    “I see…”

    Though my body is on fire and probably in critical condition, I feel an even stronger burning urge to get up.

    “… I have to… go help them…” I mutter in between large breaths.

    “… no, Master. Stay down.” Assassin speaks up after some hesitation and physically pushes me back onto the ground. “You’re in no condition to fight. I won’t let you do any more reckless things.”

    What is she doing? Why is she stopping me? Is she crazy? I have to get back up so I can help the others. They can’t match Saber in a head-on fight so if I don’t help then they’ll… they’ll…

    “But I… have to…”

    Mustering all the determination, I push myself up with clenched fists. Even with what is probably a shattered body, I do all I can to will myself up. I can’t be stopped now. If Assassin gets in my way, I’ll just have to push her aside. No matter what, I have to help!

    “You’re only holding them back!”

    “!”

    Assassin’s shout brings me to my senses. She says the one thing I wanted to not think about.

    That’s right. She’s right. I know it. I can’t do anything to help. I’m only a burden. I knew that from the beginning and yet I selfishly joined the battle anyways.

    If I hadn’t joined in, I would’ve never been caught by Saber. But because I was caught, she was able to draw the red scarf pirates out of hiding and fight them head-on. If it weren’t for me, they could’ve kept using their effective guerrilla tactics and possible even hold off a Servant for a long time. So, it’s my fault this is now happening.

    I knew that all along, but I tried to not acknowledge it. I clung onto the hopeless fantasy of being able to help and tried to rejoin the battle because I didn’t want to admit it. I looked away from my failure.

    Because, if all the pirates die in battle now… it’s my fault.

    “Assassin… I…”

    “Well, well, are you guys having a lover’s quarrel? I hate to interrupt but…”

    A menacing voice breaks the conversation. A woman approaches, slowly and cockily, with her weapons in hand.

    And her blades are soaked deeply in blood.

    “Hm, I was kind of expecting more, but they all went down with one strike each. It didn’t even take two minutes to sweep them all. How disappointing.” Saber laments as she strides on up. “Now then, since you were such a big help, shall I grant you the chance to say a few last words?”

    I grit my teeth. Anger, pain, frustration, fear all mix together wildly without differentiation. I don’t even know what I’m feeling anymore; it’s just heat melting my brain.

    “You bitch…”

    “Aptly said. Die.” She smiles and raises her sword.

    But before she swings it down—

    “Oi… Assassin… what are you doing?”

    Before Saber can attack, Assassin gets up and spreads out her arms wide in front of me. It’s almost as if she’s…

    “I-it’s okay, Master.” She says with a trembling voice. “I’m your Servant so I’ll protect you.”

    Dread washes over me as she says that with a clearly fake smile. Her body is shaking. She looks like the opposite of reliable. And yet, she’s still standing there, ready to take the blow for me.

    Though she paused to see what’s up, Saber decides to not humor the gesture any longer and begins to swing down her blade for real this time.

    And so, I realize.

    Assassin’s going to die. She will die in one hit by Saber’s strike, trying to protect me.

    And there’s nothing I can do to save her.

    I am weak. I am useless. I couldn’t do anything to help earlier, so of course I can’t do anything now. I can’t protect anyone. I can’t save anyone.

    If only I were stronger, if only I were a better Magus, if only I were a proper Master, things might’ve been different. But I’m not. I’m just a weak-ass third-rate Magus.

    There’s nothing I can do.







    No, there’s still one thing left.

    The conditions are set. I can use it.

    I can use my ability. That which I swore to never use again.

    If I use it, I can save Assassin and completely overturn this situation. The moment I use it, everything will turn out okay. Against that ability, someone like Saber doesn’t even stand a chance.

    But…

    If I use it, Saber will die. 100%, insta-kill, no chance of survival.

    My hands will be soaked in blood once more.

    Can I… do that?

    Critical Choice!
    The time has come. You are out of options. With your back to the wall and Assassin about to die, you must make a choice or come up with a way out. If you do nothing, Assassin will die, and you’ll soon follow suit. If you use your ability, you can save the day instantly. But Saber will die.

    What will you choose?

    1. Use your ability. Save Assassin and kill Saber.
    2. Do nothing. I won’t use this power no matter what!
    3. Command Spell [Write-In]


  18. #98
    1. Call me a pessimist, but I don't see a command seal outright winning this fight or sending Saber on the retreat, and using one to escape could leave Rider to fight both Saber and Lancer, not to mention make the Red Scarf Pirates (RIP) deaths even more pointless. (Plus I want to see it.)

  19. #99
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Time to see what our ESP does, huh.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

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  20. #100
    吸血鬼 Vampire Ayr's Avatar
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