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Thread: The Grail Works Mission Dossier (Discussion & Ideas)

  1. #7101
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Hey guys... sorry for my absence. I'd been busy with life.
    It happens.


    On top of that, I got COVID, which should have never happened where I live.
    I'm extremely sorry to hear that, and I hope that you recover quickly and completely.

    . . . In hopes of bringing a smile to your face (if not a few chuckles), have a peek at that "revamped-yet-familiar" idea I mentioned, while I work on getting the reworked MobuSeka idea ready to post tomorrow . . .










    Tokyo, Japan
    Showa 20 (1945)








    The capital was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.

    Though I would, admittedly, almost certainly be blamed for it. One of the primary instigators was, on paper, at least, my subordinate; that remained the case regardless of my actual authority (or more accurately, the lack thereof) over her.

    I still found it somewhat baffling that someone who could be so committed to their goals, and the reasonable attainment of them, could be such a battle maniac—but then, I suppose I should have expected no less, given her infamous reputation. Then again, if I’d expected her to entirely adhere to that reputation, she would have been a man . . .

    Truly, this was an insane world.

    The continual explosions were an almost tangible testament to that fact, and I wasn’t so jaded to them that I failed to keep awareness of my surroundings. Sudden death could (and in my experience, frequently had) come from anywhere, so it behooved anyone with a desire to keep themselves both alive and intact to remain alert. And while I might be effectively useless in the larger conflict, as the anchor-point for our literal biggest gun, I was a tempting (and comparatively vulnerable) target.

    Naturally, I was Reinforcing myself as far as was physically possible—my senses as well as my physique. It was, admittedly, unlikely that I’d survive a direct hit; but with everything tuned up as high as I could get it, the chances of my reacting in time to turn a direct hit into a glancing blow were as good as anyone’s.

    . . . Not as good as they’d be if I actually wasn’t in the middle of a warzone, mind you—seriously, whose idea was this again? I have a Servant with the Independent Action skill, after all. That being the one specifically designed to allow a Servant to operate at full capacity while being far, far away from the presence of their terribly vulnerable Master (me). Why are you squandering this incredible resource by putting me right in the middle of the explosions?

    I would have liked to complain to upper management, but that sort of thing got you shot for treason, even before the politics came into play.

    I took some solace in the fact that the Servants seemed to be focussed on each other, at least for the moment. And the fact that I had a nice, thick wall of heavily-armed and highly-trained soldiers between me and possible attack—

    A sudden explosion off to my left forces me to repeat and revise that thought; I had a nice, thick wall of heavily armed and highly-trained soldiers between me and possible attacks. Now, I have a large gap filled with the detritus of what were once unexploded human bodies.

    A blur of motion at the periphery of my vision causes my head to turn in that direction—just in time to see a human form slam to the ground, apparently having launched another soldier away. It takes a second to register that only the fact I’ve Reinforced my eyes allows me to track his movements, and in that time, he’s sent another one sprawling.

    I raise my gun but can’t get a clear shot—and I know that if I hit the infantryman, the rest of them will turn on me. The man in charge of this operation is a warmonger and a patriot of the highest order, and there’s no question as to what he’ll do if given the smallest excuse. He’s made it laughably clear that he considers both my Servant and I as expendable, and I find the sheer waste encapsulated by his attitude almost as appalling as its inherent threat to my personal safety.

    Almost.

    Fortunately, I have a ready-made excuse in the fact that the last surviving infantryman has managed to aim his rifle in time—

    And at literal point-blank range, he misses.

    I am momentarily struck speechless by the sheer incompetence, but a maddened cackling from the skies quickly fills the silence, and I relax, certain that my point is about to be made for me. After all, whatever her feelings regarding personal combat, Archer has made no secret of her disdain for the fallen standards of the Japanese military; such sloppy, unprofessional work will no doubt draw her ire—

    “AHAHAHAHA! Impressive—I could only wish my Master was as adept on a battlefield!”

    Hey! I might be enlisted in the army, woman, but I’m a magus—what do you expect from me?

    “Still, the standards of the nation truly have fallen far indeed, if a single foreigner can be so deadly . . .”

    Precisely. In this, we are in full accord; so far, this entire military exercise has proven to be an even more exorbitant waste of resources than war usually is—but more to the point, there is a significant threat to my health and well-being in the immediate vicinity. So, if you would please direct a small artillery strike or its rough equivalent in that general direction, I will make a tactical withdrawal—

    “What do you say, Saber? I’ve enjoyed our battle thus far, and I could always use such a skilled blade in my army—and given his show of prowess, I would be willing to offer a place to your Master, as well. Perhaps he can turn out better soldiers than the one who claims to be mine apparently can . . .”

    Now that’s an outright lie, Archer—not to mention an insult to my professionalism! I didn’t choose these idiots; they were just handed to me! And I wasn’t allowed to put them through training; I assure you that if I had, you wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Now that said, I approve highly of your headhunting (in the non-literal sense) attempt—talent should always be scouted and encouraged to join your side. Or at least to think well of you if you’re not in a position to take them on at the present time.

    “Ah, well—it can’t be helped!

    With that ambiguous statement, there’s a sudden drain of prana on my circuits, accompanied by a sound like rattling bones; or more accurately, thousands of gun safeties clicking off—

    That MANIAC—!!

    I dive for a storm drain at full speed, wiggling my way through it; it’s not much cover, but it’s the best I can find. Finding a pipe opening, I redirect my Reinforcement outwards, toughening the material as much as I dare even as I curl into a ball and wait to die—all the while, cursing the author of my terrible fate.

    DAMN YOU, BEING X . . .!
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  2. #7102
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    A Redline crossover with Tanya the Evil? Interesting.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  3. #7103
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    A Redline crossover with Tanya the Evil? Interesting.
    Well, it does fit Being X's criteria of "a world of magic at war" . . . But the idea goes a bit deeper than that.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  4. #7104
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    That makes sense to me. I like the revised version.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  5. #7105
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    This was an interesting reading experience, since I was initially expecting a first-person perspective to be Godafrid. Tanya has a noticeably different inner voice. The self-preservation and military pride are quite distinct, though Tanya and Godafrid seem to share a tendency towards cynical interjection.
    I enjoyed the continuity here. You can clearly tell the same events (grenades going off, Godafrid fighting soldiers hand-to-hand, etc) are happening in this snippet, but Tanya's a bit further away from the action.

    Nobu could well be a compatibility summon for Tanya, especially with her anti-Divinity. The other fun question to speculate about is whether Tanya has an unfairly-large amount of prana available from Being X somehow, similar to the Type 95. That might explain how she's able to support Nobu in the first place.

  6. #7106
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    This was an interesting reading experience, since I was initially expecting a first-person perspective to be Godafrid.
    That was part of my aim.


    Tanya has a noticeably different inner voice.
    Excellent.

    Firstly, because it's been a while since I've read the light novels, and I wasn't sure I was portraying her accurately (in a sense, fanfiction writers never do, but still). And secondly (and more importantly), first-person narration all sounds the same in my head when I read it; in fact, that's part of my issues with light novels - they literally do all seem the same to me. But if Frid and Tanya come across as two separate characters - in the same scenario, no less! - then I am extremely satisfied.


    The self-preservation and military pride are quite distinct, though Tanya and Godafrid seem to share a tendency towards cynical interjection.
    Which, I think, makes them interesting foils; much like Nobu and Okita.


    I enjoyed the continuity here. You can clearly tell the same events (grenades going off, Godafrid fighting soldiers hand-to-hand, etc) are happening in this snippet, but Tanya's a bit further away from the action.
    But not far enough, alas, to be outside the blast zone . . .


    Nobu could well be a compatibility summon for Tanya, especially with her anti-Divinity.
    That was part of my thought process, yes.


    The other fun question to speculate about is whether Tanya has an unfairly-large amount of prana available from Being X somehow, similar to the Type 95. That might explain how she's able to support Nobu in the first place.
    As I understand it, in-canon Tanya is actually a "B-class" mage; which is the category above the minimum needed to sustain flight. Since TYPE-MOON uses the same ranking system, if not necessarily the same criteria FOR each rank . . . Touko has 20 Magic Circuits, and is ranked "B+" in terms of circuit quantity; Souren Araya is A-ranked with 30. Admittedly, this makes no sense given that 20 is the "average"/standard for a magus, but we can presume Tanya's somewhere in that range, with an unknown quality level of Magic Circuits, which puts her at least on par (mostly) with Masters like Shirou, presuming her Circuits' output is anywhere near normal (unlike his).

    . . . Part of it, of course, is that her in-universe backstory is still up in the air. There are two characters Tanya could theoretically replace - who are themselves replacements for the TYPE-MOON characters used in the Koha-Ace version of the story, so I feel justified.

    Kaname Asama is Nobu's canon Master; an Arturia expy who's half-Japanese, and the daughter of a high-ranking general. While this would cover her general look and connection to the military (family expectation, plus a means to counter the discrimination she faces as a "half-breed"), Tanya is not the type to take being slapped lying down - which the guy running things does, when Kaname protests his plans.

    Alternatively, Tanya could replace Major Reiter (Rider/Medousa), who has the advantage of being a Nazi (following her "Germanian roots"), and even roughly the age Tanya might be by 1945, assuming she was born at the same time . . . Given the country's political turmoil, it even makes sense for her to join, as women weren't well-thought of by the Nazis - and to "escape" to Japan as soon as possible (and given that the Nazis have fallen by the time of the Grail War, I expect she'd regard it as the right decision).

    Of course, Reiter, in-canon, is the Master of Assassin, which would require some changes to the Servant lineup and the story's canon - but given that Frid wouldn't recognise him anyway, does it matter . . .?
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  7. #7107
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Excellent.

    Firstly, because it's been a while since I've read the light novels, and I wasn't sure I was portraying her accurately (in a sense, fanfiction writers never do, but still). And secondly (and more importantly), first-person narration all sounds the same in my head when I read it; in fact, that's part of my issues with light novels - they literally do all seem the same to me. But if Frid and Tanya come across as two separate characters - in the same scenario, no less! - then I am extremely satisfied.
    I can't really speak to accuracy, since I haven't read any of the Tanya LNs, and it's been a couple years since I watched the anime. I'm going mostly off of extending her expressed preferences. This Tanya's interest in self-preservation, frustration with military hierarchy, and pragmatic psychopathy are all clearly expressed in this snippet, and seem well within what I'd expect.
    For me, first-person is heavily informed by my expectations of who's narrating. When reading with the expectation that this was Godafrid, I sorta-heard it that way, but there was something in almost every sentence that didn't feel quite right. Godafrid follows his tangents a bit further, and his descriptions have a lot more life to them.

    Which, I think, makes them interesting foils; much like Nobu and Okita.
    Very true. I don't think they'd actually get along, except in an enforced scenario like Isekai Quartet, but they seem like they'd respect each other.
    As I understand it, in-canon Tanya is actually a "B-class" mage; which is the category above the minimum needed to sustain flight. Since TYPE-MOON uses the same ranking system, if not necessarily the same criteria FOR each rank . . . [...] which puts her at least on par (mostly) with Masters like Shirou, presuming her Circuits' output is anywhere near normal (unlike his).
    That seems reasonable. I initially didn't remember that her crazy feats (unusually high flight, nuclear explosions) were mostly based on having the Type-97 and its attendant side effects.
    Of course, Reiter, in-canon, is the Master of Assassin, which would require some changes to the Servant lineup and the story's canon - but given that Frid wouldn't recognise him anyway, does it matter . . .?
    Personality/backstory-wise, Tanya definitely seems closer to Reiter, but it does sound like you'd have cascading changes by doing that. I'm not sure if Tanya would actually protest in the same circumstances/for the same reasons Kaname does, so it might not conflict to have Tanya take that role.

  8. #7108
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    MobuSeka Proof of Concept, Part 2: A Cleare Route

    This, Frid admitted to himself, was probably not my best idea . . .

    In his defence, he’d flat-out panicked. Yes, he’d known marriage was in the cards; given that Zola had been apparently designed to outdo Cinderella and Snow White in the “wicked stepmother” category, it was obvious that he wasn’t liable to enjoy it. And given that Frid’s official status was “third son,” and bastard son of a country baron, no less, it was even politically feasible to explain aiming to make him miserable. Frid was often a fool, but rarely an idiot—he’d been considering ways and means to counter that since he was five years old.

    The problem was that he was a country lord’s third son, which meant helping in the small barony’s manual labour as much as studying the kind of topics his rank demanded. He often worked from sun-up, physically, and well into the night, mentally; an exhausting pace even for an Exalt, even if it did make building his body back into peak condition much simpler—that kind of workout, stretched over years, did add up. Between everyday life and trying to work on his Lunar abilities in secret, however, his free time was effectively nil.

    And that was leaving aside the fact the barony wasn’t a wealthy one. This meant that they often didn’t really have the resources he would’ve liked or needed (such as up-to-date maps, full political and geographical workups of the kingdom and its surrounding regions, a fully equipped airship for exploration). Or those they did have just flat-out wouldn’t be given to him, on account of being a third son in a quasi-matriarchal society. He just wasn’t worth the effort—and besides, his stepmother and older sisters needed luxuries, and those were expensive . . .

    (If it weren’t for the fact that the next youngest son—his brother Colin—was nine, and he suspected that she might still try to push this idea on him, Frid literally would just fly away and be done with this mess . . . Honest to Luna, why hadn’t he arranged a brutal “wild animal attack” on Zola by now?)

    Granted, he’d always had a last-ditch plan to try adventuring his way out of things—but Frid had to admit to himself, “plan” was being a little generous in terms of a description. As evidenced by the fact that, when forced to resort to it, he had very little idea of what to do or where to go next.

    But still, no Door to the Works had opened for him yet, so his situation must have been salvageable, somehow . . . Either that, or he was somehow totally beyond their reach . . .

    (He shoved that thought deep down.)

    Frid had yet to try summoning a Servant. Magic existed here, so he could probably get through to Ilyasviel with the right tweaks to the incantation—but that did nothing about the Servant itself. Barring one with the Golden Rule Skill (almost none of whom he’d want to interact with, let alone trust), having a Servant wouldn’t actually help him at the moment, even if he could summon and support one . . . And their reaction to being summoned so frivolously wasn’t likely to be healthy—not for him, anyways.

    So that plan was still under “absolutely final last-ditch option,” and Frid didn’t think he was that desperate yet.

    Of course, exploring the island of the elves doesn’t sound any
    less desperate . . .

    There was, of course, no guarantee that there was anything here he could salvage to save his freedom. There was, in fact, a pretty good guarantee of his being killed—or outright starting a war—if he was caught. At the same time, he had his curiosity about this place and the people who inhabited it, and if he was going to lose his freedom one way or another, then he wanted to know what the hell was going on with the elves.

    Elves in this world made no damned sense. According to his research and observations, they supposedly had the long lives and magical prowess, (and definitely had the superiority complexes) that were stereotypical to fantasy elves . . . But on the other hand, their sole interactions with humans, economically or socially, was as sex slaves (sorry, “servants”), which was not something such a species did unless they were desperate. Either because they a dying race (which really made no sense, given how important breeding would be), and thus, seriously outnumbered, or just plain outgunned.

    Which, Frid supposed, was possible, given magitech as it was in the kingdom, but with their magical focus, hardly certain. After all, elves in these sorts of settings tended to have “high magic,” or “ancient magic,” or something that meant they could pull bullshit compared to humans in that area—so, as with the flipped gender norms, the Exalt was betting that it was another case of “This needs to exist in order for the plot to happen.”

    There was something up with the elves in this world, and he intended to find out what it was—and if the Exalt happened upon a way to save himself in the process, all the better . . .









    This, Frid ruminated, makes no sense whatsoever.

    He’d spent some time observing the village; and by “observing,” he meant flying or crawling around in various animal forms. After all, he doubted a human would be treated kindly for snooping—or possibly even existing, depending on how stereotypically racist they were—so this was definitely a stealth mission, even without considering the burglary potential.

    Perceiving the Hidden World and Scent of Midnight Dweomers had been invaluable in that regard, since they’d let him perceive and analyse the various magics overlaying the village. Somewhat to his surprise, they had nothing like an “anti-shapeshifter ward”—or even anti-illusion.

    Seriously—I knew the
    human tomes I could get access to said there was nothing like a Lunar Exalt in existence, but the race renowned for its mastery of magic has no idea, either? This is so weird . . .

    Weirder still was the fact that the ruins he was presently exploring, despite being in a fairly centralised location between the villages, were utterly bereft of magic. Not so much as a spark of it, to his eyes—and yet, they were very clearly the oldest thing here.

    And utterly empty, to boot.

    The Kingdom of Holfort had been founded by adventurers, which seemed to follow the D&D mould of the term. As such, dungeon-diving was a respected pastime, and an easy way for sufficiently-prepared people to make money—and it was common knowledge among adventurers that dungeons would continually respawn materials so long as their utmost depths remained uncleared.

    The elves would’ve figured that out long before the humans—why the hell would they empty a potentially perpetually renewable resource . . .?

    Is that why the prostitution trade exists? Because somebody was dumb enough to clean the island out?

    No, that didn’t track, either; there were any number of ways to trade for resources that didn’t involve selling elven pride, if they really needed them. And given the forest dwelling and magic-rich stereotypes—which seemed to be in full force, here—they would need very little that humans could provide.

    . . . And it definitely didn’t explain why this “abandoned” dungeon had recent traces of people trekking through it.

    The traces were subtle; without Frid’s access to animal senses a human just didn’t have, and the ability to sharpen those senses with Essence, he probably wouldn’t have noticed. But he had, and it told him that parties unknown made their way through here semi-regularly; and that they’d gone to some effort to disguise that fact—like putting in a false floor, of all things.

    Let’s see what’s behind Door Number Three, shall we . . .?








    Holfort Academy
    Three months later










    “. . . You know, Cleare,” Frid muttered, seemingly to empty air, “if I’d known that this would be the result of digging in those ruins, I really would’ve considered killing myself.”

    “Then you should have let me trigger the self-destruct, Master,” a female voice chided in his ear. “Or at least accepted that Armor fragment.”

    That thing was vile,” the Exalt spat immediately. “And I’m speaking as somebody whose whip was created by torturing damned souls until they’re rendered down into a suitable alloy.

    (True, the book said that souls could voluntarily be turned into soulsteel as a means of redemption—or respite from their agony—but he doubted that Hel would bother asking.)

    “I still find that implausible, Master,” the artificial intelligence said cheerfully, “but I’m not really properly equipped for metallurgical analysis, so I can’t irrefutably dispute it.”

    You would think that an AI would be cold and logical—but then again, this one had been programmed to combat magic-users, so a certain level of flexibility was, Frid supposed, necessary. Especially as her focus had been on bioweapons research, and all the unnatural abominations such an area of expertise lent itself to—like, for example, creating an entire race as disposable, magic-capable shock troopers . . .

    (Cleare had been simultaneously surprised that the elves had evolved so far from their feral design, and disappointed in the degradation of their magical capacity.)

    Regardless, she’d had a piece of what the kingdom would term “Armour” (read: “mecha”), captured from the ancient enemy for analysis. It had more in common with an Evangelion than Armour as Holfort thought of them and was outright parasitic in design and nature.

    Seriously, if you’d told me that it was an artefact designed by or for an Infernal Exalt, I’d have believed it.

    No, that thing was better off destroyed, plain and simple. But it had been far from the only thing Cleare had possessed in storage, or was capable of making, and the results . . .

    Frid groaned. “Is it too late to turn down the title? I really don’t want to go to the Academy—after wasting a decade on university, I swore I’d sooner blow up a school than go back . . .”

    Scouring Cleare’s topographical database for test sites, along with comparing them to the current political maps, he’d found a nice unclaimed islet which was of sufficient size to qualify at becoming a baronetcy in its own right, assuming he had the funds to maintain it. And supplying himself with wealth had been almost as easy. After all, amber, leather, furs, wood, pearls and even diamonds were all organic at the source; and this world didn’t even have the concept of “synthetic” yet, really, so their value was the same as the naturally occurring element. More, really, since the “jewels” could be manufactured at a much higher purity.

    The ruins’ function as a research and development lab meant that creating such materials was relatively simple, even in industrial quantities. He'd even been careful not to flood the market . . . But apparently, Frid had underestimated just how valuable seriously pure gemstones and machine-quality manufactured items actually were—the market for silk alone would’ve made him a wealthy man, never mind things like “ermine fur” . . .

    As such, he apparently qualified as a baron in terms of wealth, a rank equivalent to his father’s, rather than subservient. Which meant that when he entered the Academy, he was going to have to take the “advanced” classes for the higher nobility—essentially, a glorified matchmaking program, on top of being a school curriculum and a political minefield, to boot.

    “At your command, Master, I can have armies of monsters ready to attack the kingdom within days,” Cleare assured him. “Or, if you’re impatient, there’s always the option of a viral weapon; I’m nearly ninety-eight percent sure that your uniquely malleable physiology will allow you to survive—”

    “No genocides, and no weapons of mass destruction,” Frid repeated the daily refrain, adding, “But if you’re a good girl, and somebody pisses me off enough, human experimentation and/or vivisection are absolutely on the table.”

    He didn’t really expect anyone to make him that angry, so it was an easy promise to make.

    Just the same, he added, “And provoking someone into making me that angry is not ‘being a good girl,’ for clarity’s sake.”

    “. . . You can be annoyingly competent, Master.”

    For an artificial intelligence that was just a voice in his ear—or a refugee from Aperature Laboratories when she was operating a “field observation drone,” Cleare could give a remarkable impression of pouting, all the same.

    “If I wasn’t, you’d have blown us both up by now,” he pointed out reasonably.

    “Yes,” Cleare agreed.

    “And missed out on all these research opportunities . . .

    He could visualise her spherical remote form perking up at the reminder.

    “Yes!” she exclaimed. “Don’t worry, Master—I will locate the most genetically-compatible partner for you and ensure that you are both capable of breeding the original humanity back into existence!”

    Frid winced. “Please stop making my life sound like an H-game . . . No, worse—a bad fanfic of an H-game.”

    In his defence, it was really, really hard to convince an AI who’d been created to help genocide “new” (i.e., magic-using) humans out of existence (starting with him) to not do it. That he seemed to be almost genetically identical to an “old” human, despite his ability to use magic (because his largely wasn’t genetic, but because of a fragment of divinity grafted to his soul), had intrigued her. Apparently, the original humanity had largely died out because the presence of mana in the environment was toxic to them, and Frid had parlayed that into a hypothesis: if he could be both genetically “old human” and immune to mana poisoning, perhaps it was possible to simply breed the new humans out, much as they’d originally done. . .?

    It was a desperate, ridiculous idea—but it had kept her from just blowing the complex up with him inside it, so Frid chalked it up as a win. Even if he now had to deal with a matchmaker who had shades of GLaDOS—or maybe Washu—to her.

    To be fair, given that the Academy is apparently meant as much or more as a means to procure a wife as a place of education, and my track record with women, I can certainly use help—I’m just not sure she qualifies . . .

    Still, better to have her where Frid could see her, and not actively pursuing genocidal biological warfare schemes, right?

    Right?

    . . . Whatever. That was Future Frid’s problem—Present Frid had enough on his plate.

    “How’s the drone working out, Cleare?”

    “As expected, no communications issues,” she informed him. “Though again, Master, my ability to help beyond the drone is limited. I would be much more useful if you’d remained in the complex; or even at the base camp on your island, rudimentary as it is.”

    Sadly, despite being an AI in charge of a research centre straight out of futuristic science fiction, Cleare did not have access to anything like a replicator, nanotech material assembly factories, or other sources of ridiculously complex engineering feats. She was strictly research oriented, which meant that she could analyse things quite quickly and deeply, with a remarkable range of sensors—but most of her weapons were built into the complex itself, and repairs were largely automated, even from her perspective. And most of what she could do was biology-oriented, which didn’t really mesh with the world’s present aesthetic.

    This meant, sadly, that Cleare couldn’t build him an Armour of his own to go with his new rank, much less whistle up some supermaterial to build it out of—with a matching sword and set of personal armour, of course. As it was, though, he did have a lot of clothing made of silk; made of Darwin’s bark spider dragline silk, to be exact, making said clothing over ten times tougher than if they’d been made of Kevlar—that, he felt, ought to surprise the hell out of the first twit to come at him with a pistol or sword.

    (And hey, who knew reading fanfiction about a web serial could be useful in one’s next life . . .?)

    As far as technological advantages went, though, Frid was lucky that Cleare had access to “remote observation systems” (the aforementioned drones), intended to evaluate the field performance of any “combat models,” like the elves. The things were stealth-capable like nothing else (because they often didn’t want to attract the experiments’ attention, much less the enemy’s), and at least they allowed Cleare to keep in contact with him.

    “And the other drones?” Frid pressed.

    Because he’d ordered more than one released, of course. A few were hovering around his parents’ land, keeping an eye out for trouble—but the rest were here, keeping an eye on the students. Knowledge was power, and given that he was up against nobility, politics, and magic, he fully intended not to be caught off-guard.

    “Most of the local gossip appears to be centred on the prince and his entourage,” Cleare replied. “There is some mention of you, but mainly as a curiosity—your rank is too low to apparently be truly concerned with.”

    “Good.” For all the spectacle his Exaltation provoked, Frid preferred anonymity—it made it easier to actually accomplish things.

    (Plus, it had to be admitted, it allowed a certain level of theatricality when he did act—and he loved it.)

    “Any other local curiosities?” he asked. It would help to get an idea of what level of interest he was generating—and not to be caught off-guard by any actual oddities he ran across . . .

    “Just above you in frequency, there is talk of a ‘scholarship student’ in the advanced classes—”

    This was the first Frid had heard of a scholarship—he’d have applied for one if he’d known it existed, and spared himself a lot of grief . . .

    “A commoner girl, by all accounts,” the AI finished.

    “. . . Her name isn’t Maria Campbell, is it?”

    Granted, the world didn’t match what he remembered of My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, but the author had pulled out unexpected sequels to Fortune Lover before to extend the pl—

    “No one’s mentioned her name,” Cleare answered, but it sounded distant, as something suddenly went click in Frid’s brain, and a years-long question finally found an answer out of all the scattered pieces of evidence:

    This world is a bloody otome game, isn’t it . . .?!

    That explained a lot—but not what kind of game it actually was. After all, while they were both technically dating sims, there were worlds of difference between, say, Sakura Taisen and Shuffle!

    . . . Duh—it has mecha; think the former.

    Which would, of course, mean war—even if the protagonist (presumably, the commoner girl) wasn’t leading the team of them in battle, the love interests would need something to fight in the mecha (whoever they ended up being).

    Wait, Cleare said “prince and his entourage”—so again, duh . . .

    Frid sighed. It just figured that the core element of this scenario was something he couldn’t participate in—lacking an Armour, or something like the God Beast Transcendence Charm, there just wasn’t anything he could—

    “Cleare? New project,” he said suddenly.

    “Yes, Master?”

    “I need you to build an organic shell, equivalent to an Armour,” he instructed. “And creatures capable of excavating—and if necessary, creating—moonsilver, as its described in the notes I gave you. And then, figure out a way to thread the former through the latter.”

    After all, “artefacts” were mostly designated as “anything primarily composed of X magical material”—and Lunars could attune themselves to moonsilver, which was very protean in nature to begin with . . .








    Writer's Notes: It's either that, or he summons Odysseus, I suppose . . .










    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    For me, first-person is heavily informed by my expectations of who's narrating. When reading with the expectation that this was Godafrid, I sorta-heard it that way, but there was something in almost every sentence that didn't feel quite right. Godafrid follows his tangents a bit further, and his descriptions have a lot more life to them.
    Again, excellent - I was hoping to pull a bait-and-switch, as it were, and it sounds like it worked quite well.



    Very true. I don't think they'd actually get along, except in an enforced scenario like Isekai Quartet, but they seem like they'd respect each other.
    Quite probably not. She'd think he was lazy (which I am), and a bleeding heart; he'd think she was heartless - though unlike most people Tanya deals with, he at least understands why she's that way, and on that basis, they can likely work together, at least.

    Though if she finds out that he can, in a very real sense, scare the HELL out of Being X (by virtue of being able to look at him and scoff, "Creator? Almighty? Allow me to disabuse you of some misconceptions . . ."), it's quite possible that she's going to equal and exceed Nobu's recruitment attempts.


    Personality/backstory-wise, Tanya definitely seems closer to Reiter, but it does sound like you'd have cascading changes by doing that. I'm not sure if Tanya would actually protest in the same circumstances/for the same reasons Kaname does, so it might not conflict to have Tanya take that role.
    Given that I think Kaname is blonde, if I want to keep her in play, it occurs to me that she might be Tanya's niece . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  9. #7109
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    I see and respect that Worm reference, very nice.

    This is a significant difference compared to the original, though it resolves similar problems. I presume Cleare is a later development normally, but the organic focus means Godafrid has an very different set of tools at his disposal, which is going to make his life harder right now. On the other hand, it seems very exploitable to be able to mass-produce a variety of luxury goods. Cleare's personality also seems to complement Godafrid's nicely.

    I'd expect Godafrid to be more socially competent than Leon, at worst by brute-forcing it through Excellencies (or lavish gifts), because Leon... certainly does a good job of irritating people. It'll be interesting to see if he sidesteps some of the conflicts Leon gets into, or if not, why.

  10. #7110
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I see and respect that Worm reference, very nice.
    A good idea is a good idea.


    This is a significant difference compared to the original, though it resolves similar problems. I presume Cleare is a later development normally,
    Yes, and canonically, she's reliant on Luxion for her "body," but I found that a bit silly, given the kind of tasks you'd want to be able to do in a bioweapons research lab. So, she has a drone fleet of her own - though her main body is a fixed installation, unlike Luxion.


    but the organic focus means Godafrid has an very different set of tools at his disposal, which is going to make his life harder right now.
    Oh, absolutely - not having Luxion available to all-but-magic up supermaterials and tech means a lot of the problems of the series he can't simply steamroll over . . .


    On the other hand, it seems very exploitable to be able to mass-produce a variety of luxury goods.
    Yup - fancy woods and textiles, leather, edible produce . . . What he lacks in military power, Frid can certain make up for economically. Not to mention goodwill; absolutely no one will ever starve. And that's not considering medical possibilities.


    Cleare's personality also seems to complement Godafrid's nicely.
    She's a bit of a mad scientist with a BL fetish, who needs to kept on a careful leash - so, maybe?


    I'd expect Godafrid to be more socially competent than Leon, at worst by brute-forcing it through Excellencies (or lavish gifts), because Leon... certainly does a good job of irritating people. It'll be interesting to see if he sidesteps some of the conflicts Leon gets into, or if not, why.
    Truthfully, up until the very last bit, he was perfectly willing to ignore the students . . . Except now he can't. So yes, it will - though I'm unsure just how much trouble he should get into. If this is the game world, with no reincarnators (as opposed to the six I've heard of in the LNs), then there are issues, but he's liable to run into more with the Idiot Squad than anyone else; Frid's basically an unknowing capture target, after all.

    If I include Marie, then there's a bit more drama, perhaps - certainly, he'll follow Leon's part insofar as protecting Angelica goes (particularly given her resemblance to Lancer Arturia), but otherwise not much care about what she does, because he doesn't have Leon's foreknowledge of where she's going wrong . . . On the other hand, Marie is aware of the otome game's (first) sequel, and could set that up . . . But then I have to consider the other reincarnators - and if I really want to.

    (Amusingly, the second game has elements/characters I rather like more - or would like to beat up more - but dropping him there directly would mean the audience was lost, too . . .)
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  11. #7111
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    A Luminous Beginning . . .

    Beyond the boundaries of time and space
    Unknown place, unknown time









    He tumbled through the emptiness as though on a storm-tossed sea—adrift, anchorless, barely able to stay conscious, far less coherent . . . But that annoying little voice in the back of his head, the snarky commentator who was both the best and the worst of him, kept talking . . .

    Breaking, not broken—it’s been damaged, not destroyed . . . The Wyld is dynamism, at its core; chaotic in nature and output, yes, but not malicious . . .

    . . . Oh,
    God, the things I’ve done—

    And the things he hadn’t done—Astraea was very thorough, and the consequences of apathy and inaction were no less brutal . . .

    Good.

    He’d never liked that about himself but seen no way to stop it. With the Works, he’d at least had a chance to believe that he could be better, a chance to do more—hell, to do anything at all. It was just a shame he seemed to be so terrible at it, succeeding in spite of himself, more often than not . . .

    But, Astraea’s judgement compelled him to ask, is that really my fault . . .?

    After all, he’d been a pawn of greater forces (the Seldarine, the Aesir) from the beginning; either that, or forced to work around their interference, whether well-intentioned, unwitting—or outright malevolent, in the case of Ymir. Things outside his control, well beyond his ability to handle, and seemingly thrown into the situation out of nowhere—with no context for their interference, aside from seemingly being placed there just to make things difficult for him.

    I always believed the universe hated me, but throwing actual deities into the mix is way more than a bit RIDICULOUS . . .

    Regardless—objectively, the point stood: what might he be able to accomplish if actually left to his own devices? No unexpected reactions with a curse he wasn’t really aware he was under creating Shadow Servants bent on killing him, no sudden divine incursions from ludicrously over-the-top characters created by absent power-gaming friends—just himself, the problem at hand, and whatever resources he could bring to bear.

    Could he actually do what the Works existed to do—what Shirou believed in—and save people? Or was he just wasting everyone’s time and efforts, a tired old man (all right, middle-aged, but if you were only as old as you felt, then he was bloody primordial) lost in a fantasy?

    God knew, it was hard to tell when you were surrounded by “fictional” characters on a daily basis . . .

    Once upon a time, as a youth, he’d read a quote attributed to Lincoln that he’d liked: “If there is a place and work for me, then I am ready.” As he’d gotten older, his attitude had shifted to the point where nowadays, his motto was more accurately described as “Let’s get this over with,” but the sentiment was the same, in many respects—a shift in thinking that braced him for the task ahead.

    Once more. He would try once more, to get this right. To do the job, wherever or whenever he might end up; and if it still all went down in flames . . . Then whatever happened to him didn’t matter—but for now, he had to fight.

    With an effort such as he had never made in any incarnation of his life thus far, he began to try to push past the agony ravaging his body; to master the riotous magical forces wreaking havoc on his form, on his fate—

    And as though simply making the effort locked things into place, it surged back, building towards a crescendo, some ultimate goal or destination that he couldn’t guess, or possibly even imagine—but he fervently hoped that it would be more in the vein of “Third time’s the charm” than “three strikes, you’re out”—

    Something chose that precise moment to smack him in the face, somehow, with enough force to send him spiraling wildly—and he suddenly felt like he was drowning, on top of everything else.

    As it had once before in his memory, and probably with consequences just as life-changing and reality-altering, the world went white . . .








    Unknown Location
    In time or space









    To paraphrase his favourite Star Wars novel, Frid woke up feeling like he’d spent the night drinking in a bar where the drinks weren’t watered, the glasses weren’t cleaned, the bottles weren’t labelled, and the first-aid kit consisted of a loaded gun with no safety.

    Now granted, after Astraea put him through the wringer like that, Frid hadn’t actually expected to wake up at all, but he wasn’t sure this could be considering “living,” either. Some unknowable amount of time was spent curled up into a ball and whimpering for a while, trying to focus on the silence of the surroundings, rather than the roaring of blood in his ears.

    (At least, Frid hoped it was blood—that, in his experience, went away after a while . . .)

    Eventually, the world stopped spinning without his eyes even being open, but it didn’t get any louder, which was concerning. No world he’d visited yet was that quiet naturally, after all. Even as he was half-convinced something was going to jump him, Frid reluctantly got to his feet, and tried to assess things.

    . . . Much to his surprise, Frid appeared to be much the same as before. Given that it had felt like Astraea was putting him through a meatgrinder on every conceivable level, he’d half-expected to see his original body under his gaze—the Seldarine had torn away his previous persona with a similar effort, after all. But no, it appeared that he was still built like an athlete, and tattooed across the entire expense of his sk—

    The penny dropped before the thought was even finished. A Lunar Exalt’s moonsilver tattoos were meant to protect them from the corruptive influence of the Wyld (the in-game name for the primordial chaos from which the world had arisen). With them affixed, no power but the Lunar’s own could cause them to change—though that protection only applied to the body. The mind, soul and fate of the Lunar were still considered fair game . . .

    Given that Frid still felt like himself, though, it looked like Astraea had been merciful.

    (Though admittedly, if she hadn’t, how would he know . . .?)

    Frid’s potential existential crisis was abruptly cut off as a scream caught his attention—one he echoed as he saw its source.

    Because Neco-Arc was staring at him with a look of utter horror on its face.

    “What are you doing here?!” the meme that walked like a human being demanded.

    “I have no idea,” he said bluntly—reflexively, with the urge to be secretive utterly overridden by his desire to run screaming from the less-than-Yoda-sized thing before him.

    (Only the fact that, going by what he knew of feline and human body language, it was just as terrified, kept him from doing so.)

    The Exalt and the eldritch abomination stared at one another, before the latter finally shrugged.

    “. . . Eh, maybe it’ll be funnier this way,” it said, before turning and dashing around a corner.

    Frid blinked, then started after it—

    Only to find it gone, of course.

    What in Luna’s name . . .?

    Neco-Arc’s presence indicated either a Melty Blood or Carnival Phantasm type world; neither of which was especially good, but the latter was at least mildly less potentially apocalyptic, since it usually played out for laughs—

    Turning back to his arrival point to try and get his bearings (since if he could recognise Fuyuki, it meant Carnival Phantasm shenanigans, whereas Misaki probably meant Melty Blood), Frid’s train of thought was interrupted by a sudden impact to his midsection. He was fine, if momentarily bereft of breath, but it took an act of split-second reaction to keep the missile that had bounced off him from hitting the pavement.

    Chibi-Rin . . .? No—her eyes are just as much yellow as green, and that’s a Chinese shirt, not a sweater. Which means—

    “Tohsaka-san?” Frid said aloud, before following up almost immediately with, “. . . No. Apologies, young lady—I thought you were someone I knew. Are you alright?”

    Because he knew of Miyako Arima, but they’d never met, so he had to react like she was a stranger and cover any impression he gave of being familiar with her. Also, Frid deliberately used the term “ojou-sama” to refer to her, because he really didn’t need her freaking out over the sudden appearance of a tall foreign stranger. Shiki would have his head if he was lucky . . .

    “. . . I’m fine,” she asserted, in the tone of every child trying to seem tough—before her eyes widened in panic, and Frid resigned himself to eventual certain death.

    “Oh, no—where did it go?

    “Where did what go?” Frid asked carefully.

    “The cat that was guiding me to Onii-chan!” she exclaimed. “Did you see it? It was white, and it could talk . . .!

    Probably Neco-Arc, Frid decided—before an alternative option presented itself.

    On the other hand, what if she saw White Ren, and Neco-Arc was the opponent for this round . . .?

    From what Frid knew of Melty Blood, White Ren’s presence was actually, arguably, the least dangerous of all the final bosses. She just wanted to “prove her superiority to” (read: “kill off”) her original, as did the other evil clones she made; TATARI and the Dust of Osiris were a LOT less (relatively) benign.

    Focussing his mystical senses, Frid tried to read the “aura” of the town; if Misaki was blanketed in the supernatural field that TATARI generated—either from the original or White Ren’s own version—he ought to be able to detect something. At the very least, it ought to be flavoured differently, depending on whether it was coming from the Dead Apostle, the familiar made from it, or the materialised nightmare that was Sion’s vampire half.

    If he could identify which it was, he’d know exactly how screwed he was . . .

    [Scent of Midnight Dweomers]

    . . .NOTHING?!

    That made no sense—Melty Blood always involved a vampiric superboss character manipulating the town by bringing rumours and nightmares to life . . .

    Cold.

    Frid stiffened. All of a sudden, he could feel a damp chill in the air, like a winter wind—and while it did smell of death, the notes of it brought to mind an altogether different entity than White Ren.

    Ymir . . .


    “—am I going to find that fraud of a sister now?” the Arima heiress was pouting. “Or Onii-chan? I have to get him away from her . . .!”

    “I can help,” Frid said quickly, trying his best to sound inoffensive and trustworthy. “Would you like me to escort you, young lady? I know we haven’t been introduced, but I wouldn’t feel right leaving you by yourself . . .”

    “Hm—all right!” she agreed cheerfully, bowing as she said. “I am Arima Miyako, and I’ll be in your care!”

    (That seemed to Frid to be far too easy and trusting of her—but then again, she had been willing to follow a “talking cat,” so . . .)

    “You can call me ‘Frid,’ Arima-san,” the Exalt said aloud. “Now, I think we should probably start by checking the Tohno estate, hm? I admit, I’m not sure where in town we are right now, compared to where it is, but it shouldn’t be too hard to get directions.”

    Not compared to keeping us both alive against a Titan, anyway . . .








    Writer's Notes: Of course, Frid is very wrong as to the source - but that's the point . . .

    Not my best work, I know - sorry, it's been a bit hectic this week.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  12. #7112
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    This isn't quite how I expected to see a Tsukihime Remake story operate, but Type Lumina seems like a fun choice. Neko-Arc must have been terrified. By its standards, Godafrid is like Cthulhu showing up in person.
    I was also caught by expecting Ymir, hah. One of the appealing things about Tsukihime Remake is definitely Godafrid's imperfect knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    This isn't quite how I expected to see a Tsukihime Remake story operate, but Type Lumina seems like a fun choice. Neko-Arc must have been terrified. By its standards, Godafrid is like Cthulhu showing up in person.
    I was also caught by expecting Ymir, hah. One of the appealing things about Tsukihime Remake is definitely Godafrid's imperfect knowledge.
    Right? It's definitely an interesting start!
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof: http://iwl.me/s/696f37bd

  14. #7114
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    This isn't quite how I expected to see a Tsukihime Remake story operate, but Type Lumina seems like a fun choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    Right? It's definitely an interesting start!
    Well, canonically, Type Lumina is supposed to take place 10 days before Tsukihime proper starts, so if I am going to put him there . . . With the actual canonicity of Type Lumina's events being an entirely different matter, of course.

    With Saber as a DLC character, the Works crossover is even easy to explain; if Arc can be unexpectedly summoned into Fate/EXTRA, she can be unexpectedly summoned into Souya Town - I imagine the Counter Force would summon her specifically (as opposed to the other iterations of Arturia Pendragon) to get Frid the hell out of its worldline, before he does something . . .



    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Neko-Arc must have been terrified. By its standards, Godafrid is like Cthulhu showing up in person.
    Given that Neco-Arc's Last Arc summons NASU, (signifying just how much of a creator's pet Neco-Arc is), and Godafrid is effectively on that level . . .? YES. Neco-Arc did not expect to suddenly meet a peer - and one with a lot more mass and reach, at that.

    I was also caught by expecting Ymir, hah.
    The fact that Vlov looks like a Castlevania character is a bit of a bonus, too. Frid will be cursing Erik's shenanigans under his breath the whole time, while trying to figure out how to survive this insanity - or at least make sure Miyako does . . .


    One of the appealing things about Tsukihime Remake is definitely Godafrid's imperfect knowledge.
    Absolutely - though the story's being incomplete is definitely a concern . . .

    . . . Then again, considering what I knew about Tsukihime or Fate when I started writing here, maybe not as much of one as I think it should be?
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  15. #7115
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    A Thousand Curses Upon This Wonderful World!

    Beyond the boundaries of time and space
    Unknown place, unknown time









    He tumbled through the emptiness as though on a storm-tossed sea—adrift, anchorless, barely able to stay conscious, far less coherent . . . But that annoying little voice in the back of his head, the snarky commentator who was both the best and the worst of him, kept talking . . .

    Breaking, not broken—it’s been damaged, not destroyed . . . The Wyld is dynamism, at its core; chaotic in nature and output, yes, but not malicious . . .

    . . . Oh,
    God, the things I’ve done—

    And the things he hadn’t done—Astraea was very thorough, and the consequences of apathy and inaction were no less brutal . . .

    Good.

    He’d never liked that about himself but seen no way to stop it. With the Works, he’d at least had a chance to believe that he could be better, a chance to do more—hell, to do anything at all. It was just a shame he seemed to be so terrible at it, succeeding in spite of himself, more often than not . . .

    But, Astraea’s judgement compelled him to ask, is that really my fault . . .?

    After all, he’d been a pawn of greater forces (the Seldarine, the Aesir) from the beginning; either that, or forced to work around their interference, whether well-intentioned, unwitting—or outright malevolent, in the case of Ymir. Things outside his control, well beyond his ability to handle, and seemingly thrown into the situation out of nowhere—with no context for their interference, aside from seemingly being placed there just to make things difficult for him.

    I always believed the universe hated me, but throwing actual deities into the mix is way more than a bit RIDICULOUS . . .

    Regardless—objectively, the point stood: what might he be able to accomplish if actually left to his own devices? No unexpected reactions with a curse he wasn’t really aware he was under creating Shadow Servants bent on killing him, no sudden divine incursions from ludicrously over-the-top characters created by absent power-gaming friends—just himself, the problem at hand, and whatever resources he could bring to bear.

    Could he actually do what the Works existed to do—what Shirou believed in—and save people? Or was he just wasting everyone’s time and efforts, a tired old man (all right, middle-aged, but if you were only as old as you felt, then he was bloody primordial) lost in a fantasy?

    God knew, it was hard to tell when you were surrounded by “fictional” characters on a daily basis . . .

    Once upon a time, as a youth, he’d read a quote attributed to Lincoln that he’d liked: “If there is a place and work for me, then I am ready.” As he’d gotten older, his attitude had shifted to the point where nowadays, his motto was more accurately described as “Let’s get this over with,” but the sentiment was the same, in many respects—a shift in thinking that braced him for the task ahead.

    Once more. He would try once more, to get this right. To do the job, wherever or whenever he might end up; and if it still all went down in flames . . . Then whatever happened to him didn’t matter—but for now, he had to fight.

    With an effort such as he had never made in any incarnation of his life thus far, he began to try to push past the agony ravaging his body; to master the riotous magical forces wreaking havoc on his form, on his fate—

    And as though simply making the effort locked things into place, it surged back, building towards a crescendo, some ultimate goal or destination that he couldn’t guess, or possibly even imagine—but he fervently hoped that it would be more in the vein of “Third time’s the charm” than “three strikes, you’re out”—

    Something chose that precise moment to smack him in the face, somehow, with enough force to send him spiraling wildly—and he suddenly felt like he was drowning, on top of everything else.

    As it had once before in his memory, and probably with consequences just as life-changing and reality-altering, the world went white . . .








    “I’m very sorry,” said the beautiful lady in the antique-looking chair (causing him to jump, startled), “but I’m afraid you’ve died.”

    He was still blinking spots out of his eyes, but as they cleared, Frid found himself seated in a room that was largely empty, though what there was of it was quite elegant. The floor was a checkerboard of black-and-white marble tiles, the wooden furniture polished and well-crafted, while the ceiling was either transparent or non-existent, showing a dazzling view of a night sky (and not Earth’s, he believed, though astronomy wasn’t his strong suit).

    . . . Granted, the “walls” seemed mostly to consist of that hazy, gray fog, but one couldn’t have everyth—

    . . . Wait, what?

    “Wait—what?

    “Your death was painless,” the statuesque woman assured her, clear blue eyes glimmering earnestly. “There wasn’t time for it to hurt.”

    I beg to differ,” Frid growled, as memories started trickling back into their assigned places. Astraea’s judgement had been fair, but in no way pai—

    He blinked, suddenly realising who he was looking at.

    “Wait—what am I doing here?

    Now it was his companion’s turn to blink, her serene composure cracking in befuddlement.

    “Huh?” she exclaimed in a disbelieving tone. “I just told you—what are you, deaf or something?”

    And there’s the Aqua I know, Frid thought, but since she’s in “professional” mode, it’s probably better to address her as . . .

    He said politely, “Lady Aqua—”

    She perked up. “Oh! You’ve heard of me?” A self-satisfied smirk spread across her face. “I guess that’s no surprise—I am a reliable and amazing goddess, after all.”

    “Indeed,” Frid agreed (because to be fair, to her followers, she was.) “However, as I understand it, you’re tasked with overseeing those souls who—”

    “Oh, yeah!” Aqua interrupted, as if suddenly reminded of the situation (which was no doubt true).

    Straightening her posture, she smiled beatifically and resuming the measured tone she’d been speaking with earlier, the goddess pronounced. “Since you died in Japan, at such a tragically young age, you’ve now fallen into my care.”

    “And with all due respect, Lady Aqua, that should not have happened—because I might be dead, but I’m not young and I died in Romania.

    “. . . Wait, really?” Aqua blinked. “That’s weird . . .

    She squinted at him, her mouth eventually turning into a rictus of disgust. “Hold still, would you—I need to clean you up so I can see you properly.

    “Clean me—?"

    The thought went unfinished as Aqua gestured, and a horrific tearing sensation resonated from somewhere deep in Frid’s core. He must’ve blacked out for a bit, because when he could finally breathe again, Aqua was holding . . .

    Well, it looked like a writhing snarl in reality, shimmering with blue and silver light at the edges, but deepening to a kaleidoscope of colours (some of which he would swear didn’t actually exist) in its core.

    That’s better,” she said in self-satisfaction. “. . . Hey, you know, this is actually kind of pretty—it’s a shame it’s broken.

    Frid stared, struck dumb by the implication that Aqua—the airheaded water goddess of KonoSuba—had just casually ripped out the remains of his pseudo-Exaltation.

    But is it really so surprising? After all, Aqua is always depicted as being stupidly powerful, even if the emphasis is more often on the former—and you’re dead, and she’s in full goddess mode here, acting as a psychopomp. She’s got every reason to have the authority and the muscle to do that.

    “. . . OK, so looking at you now,” Aqua said, her voice abruptly bringing Frid back out of his thoughts, “you still look young, even if you have the thoughts of a dirty old man—were you a tourist? That might be close enough for things to get confused . . .”

    “If you look at it the right way, yeah,” Frid mused. “I guess I am—or was.

    The goddess in question hummed to herself, even as her hands played with the mass of chaotic energies absentmindedly. He tried not to stare but watching her manipulate primordial energies—that had been grafted to his soul a minute or so ago—like modelling clay was profoundly disturbing.

    “. . . I guess that’s close enough,” Aqua decided. “I don’t want to deal with all the paperwork that reporting an error will cause, anyway.”

    It was as reasonable an explanation as any Frid could think of. Maybe it was Fate, taking his resolve as a cue to put him somewhere he could test it (though why here, when Kazuma was the guy who’d pull it off, he had no idea). Maybe it was something to do with the water association of his Exaltation calling him to a water goddess—or even that Astraea and Aqua were theoretically connected via their Latin names. Yeah, it was specious logic, to put it mildly—but short of the sheer chaos of his broken pseudo-Exaltation dropping him here at random, he wasn’t exactly flush with possibilities . . .

    “So,” the goddess continued, apparently oblivious to his thoughts, “you could simply choose to be reborn, and start your life all over again—but that's really boring, don’t you think? Secondly, you could choose to go to Heaven . . .” Trailing off, she leaned over and whispering conspiratorially, “but between you and me, it’s really, really boring there: there’s nothing to do by lie around in the sun. You don’t even have a body there, so you can’t ever have sex—!”

    As a forty-plus-year-old virgin (regardless of the hardware his soul had been wearing), Frid had pretty much resigned himself to that; after a beat (with a brief flash of disappointment on her face at his lack of reaction), Aqua coughed before continuing.

    Or,” she said leadingly, “there’s a third option. You see, there’s a world right out of the video games kids like you love—”

    Not actually being a kid, or able to play video games for a good fifteen years, thanks to the nerve issues in his wrists, Frid remained unmoved. Besides, he knew what sales pitch Aqua was leading up to.

    “And it’s under siege from a terrible Demon Lord,” Aqua continued. “It’s so terrible that no one wants to be reborn there, and the loss of life will mean its doom . . .

    “But if you’re willing to fight,” she proclaimed, “then we’re willing to send you there with your current body and memories, and a special godly cheat power or item!”

    Better not to appear too forewarned, Frid decided. Aqua was about as sharp as a butterknife, but the fact that he was here was strange enough—who knew what she, or her colleagues, might do if he displayed the kind of metaknowledge he had? Worst case, they’d track him back to the Works, and shut them down for muscling in on the “salvation” aspect of Heaven . . .

    Though if Aqua pulled the same transitional stuff as she had with Kazuma . . .

    “You’ll send me over exactly as I am?” Frid said. “Do they speak the same language there? And what about food—can I eat and drink things there? I can’t help anybody if I can’t sustain myself . . .”

    “Well, we’ll load the local language into your brain as a freebie,” Aqua said. “You’ll be able to speak, read and write there—it’d be a lot harder to the defeat the Devil King if you couldn’t communicate with the locals, after all. But yeah,” she added cheerfully, “other than that, you’ll be just the same as you were when you were alive! And just like Earth, there are foods you can eat there,” she assured him. “The booze is pretty good, too. Now, about your cheat item—”

    Frankly, Frid thought that being a Lunar Exalt, with a soulsteel whip and a magus shape in his library (which would let him cast TYPE-MOON-variety spells) was enough of a “cheat.” He’d take a deal if it was offered, most of the time, but he didn’t actually like cheating people out of what they’d fairly earned.

    “If you’ll just repair that and give it back to me,” Frid said, gesturing at the thing in her hands, “that seems fair enough.”

    Aqua’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “Well, this is a surprise—normally, people are dying to get their hands on the cheat items . . . But I have to give this back to you anyway; it’s part of the whole ‘reincarnation’ deal.”

    Frid blinked. “It is?”

    “Well, yeah!” Aqua said cheerily. “After all, I couldn’t exactly reincarnate a decapitated person as a body and a severed head, or a gunshot victim with a hole in their chest; it’s the same principle here.”

    Wait—is she saying my pseudo-Exaltation is what killed me . . .?

    “It’s really nice of you to try and save me work, though,” Aqua said brightly. “Just for that, I’ll fix this up so that it’s better than new!”

    Alarm bells started ringing in the back of Frid’s mind—big, cast-iron ones with funereal tones. On the one hand, Aqua was a goddess of the arts, and incredibly talented as a result; she could build a functional mecha out of milk cartons. However, nothing good came of her being enthusiastic—and she was acting positively sunny . . .

    “. . . Can you make it so I can summon my friends for help?” Frid said weakly.

    Ilyasviel might be able to undo whatever screwups Aqua made, after all, as a semi-omnipotent wish-granting device . . .

    “Sure!” she said distractedly. “I’ll just build that function in right now”—she twisted her grip, like solving a Rubik’s cube, and something eyewatering occurred in the non-Euclidean geometry of the energy mass—“annnnd . . Done!

    Frid had time to glimpse actinic colours before Aqua shoved—

    “—ne-of-a-kind divine creation, courtesy of the glorious goddess Aqua!” the goddess was saying when consciousness returned to him. By virtue of facing the floor, Frid saw a runic pattern surrounded the chair, shining a column of light upwards. And following the light, the Exalt(?) began to rise . . .

    “With this blessing, farewell, brave hero, and good luck!” Aqua called. “Now, to get back to my snacks . . .”

    Oh, this is going to suck, isn’t it?

    And once again, the world vanished into light . . .








    Axel, Town of Beginnings
    Kingdom of Belzerg
    Date unknown









    Frid abruptly found himself standing, in a town square, in what seemed to be close to midday. The mental whiplash from his previous positions (seated in a dark, foggy chamber, or beneath the night sky as Astraea judged him) was disorienting; it left him stunned in place for what had to be several minutes.

    Closing his eyes, Frid tried to centre himself, feeling for his Essence pool, and the mental switches of his Charms and shape libr—

    His eyes shot open. His library was gone.

    Damn it Aqua, what did you DO?!


    Closing his eyes, Frid concentrated again, calling up the mental “character sheet” he’d had since stumbling through the Works’ door; what it displayed had changed, over his incarnations, but it was always there—and in a world that ran on actual classes and adventurers’ cards, that shouldn’t have changed . . .

    The sheet appeared in his mind’s eye, looking largely the same; there were inborn Attributes, learned Abilities, Essence Pools, Charms—it was still an Exalted character's sheet.

    It was just for the wrong kind of Exalt.

    Should’ve half-expected this—Aqua purifies any water she touches, and there’s no purer representative of “water” among the Exalted than that Aspect of the Dragon-Blooded. Looks like—Third Edition rules? Did Aqua load those in—or Astraea . . .?

    In some ways, this was terrible—the Terrestrial Exalted were pretty weak, one-on-one, when compared to their Celestial kin (Solars, Lunars, and Sidereals). Their lifespans were “mere” centuries as opposed to the millennia, their Exaltations were genetic, rather than passed through reincarnating in suitable hosts, and their Charms didn’t match the sheer scope of power that the Celestials did. On the other hand, they were still far more than mortal, less affected by the Primordials’ Great Curse than the rest, and when it came to Charms . . .

    As things stood now, Frid was a Water Aspect Dragon-Blooded; but nothing stopped him from learning the Charms of the other elements—or using artefacts made of any of the colours of jade (the Dragon-Blooded’s innate “magical material”). And jade was a hell of a lot more common, in any world, than the more exotic materials the other Exalts were associated with. Expensive as hell, sure, but a lot easier to lay his hands on.

    Of course, the Dragon-Blooded are dissonant when it comes to soulsteel, which means the whip is useless to me—but as I recall, Axel does have a pawn shop . . .

    Frid nodded, as the plan began to lay itself out in his mind. Find the pawn shop—or maybe the blacksmith—and hope he got enough for the exotic material of the weapon to afford the registration fee for the Adventurer’s Guild. With card in hand, he’d look into earning enough money to keep himself going until Aqua and Kazuma showed up—assuming that he was somewhere close to the canon timeline, at least. If he was earlier than that; like, say, when the creator of the Crimson Demons and the Destroyer was around . . . Well, if so, plans would change—but for now, this was a start.

    Hopefully, it’s simple enough that even this place’s habit of subverting expectations can’t screw with it . . .








    Somewhere in Japan
    October 1, 2013









    “Easy there!” Shirou said, steadying the tracksuit-wearing boy. “Are you OK?”

    The other youth scowled. “Thanks for wrecking my big heroic moment, you jerk! I was about to save that girl”—he pointed, turning his head for emphasis from being run over by th—a . . .” His mouth worked soundlessly for a moment, before he finished weakly, “A . . . Tractor . . .?

    He stared wordlessly at the vehicle and the bewildered driver—and the girl, who, on closer inspection, was nowhere near said vehicle.

    “. . . “

    An uncomfortable silence reigned for several seconds, before the boy turned and stormed off with a snorted “Screw it—I’m going home.”

    “Um . . .” the girl called uncertainly after him, “Aren’t you . . . Satou Kazuma?”

    “Yeah, I’m Kazuma,” the boy answered—though he seemed wholly uninterested in turning around.

    Shirou, just as puzzled as the girl, shook his head and walked away, even as he murmured, sotto voce, “Well, I saved somebody, Ilya, but there’s no sign of Frid—are you sure you detected him here . . .?










    Writer's Notes: Because KonoSuba is a pen-and-paper RPG, now, which means that theoretically I could make up the Works members as characters . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

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    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




  16. #7116
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    That was funny, but I worry that Frid would become the next Demon King, and the first Demon Emperor​ of the Multiverse.
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    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    That was funny, but I worry that Frid would become the next Demon King, and the first Demon Emperor​ of the Multiverse.
    *Chuckles* Nah, that's the Abyssal version . . .

    . . . Or if the Demon King's daughter is particularly attractive, I suppose - or if he summons Nobu (though he'd be the consort, in that case).
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




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    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    “Yeah, I’m Kazuma,” the boy answered—though he seemed wholly uninterested in turning around.

    Hai,
    Kazuma desu

    I was actually expecting Aqua to be competent for a moment. She seemed so earnest about "improving his Exaltation", after displaying surprising ability at manipulating it in the first place, I was actually expecting Godafrid's expectations to be subverted. I can't believe I made that mistake. Existence is suffering, and Godafrid gets few breaks.

    I know about as much as Godafrid describes here about Dragon-Blooded, which is to say, not a lot of finer detail about their charm pool, or how it's worse. There's definitely something about the zealotry of Aqua's followers and the role of the Dragon-blooded in hunting down Anathema that seems to match well. It gives Godafrid considerably less margin to disrupt the setting, and seems comparable to other sorts of cheats.
    Of course, he has the ability to summon help, which tips the scales a bit, but I'm still expecting a somewhat more down-to-earth story here, at least, by Konosuba standards. Sounds fun.

    I suppose RB has been encouraging this one, so it's interesting to see it return in a different format.

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    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post

    Hai,
    Kazuma desu

    I was actually expecting Aqua to be competent for a moment. She seemed so earnest about "improving his Exaltation", after displaying surprising ability at manipulating it in the first place, I was actually expecting Godafrid's expectations to be subverted. I can't believe I made that mistake. Existence is suffering, and Godafrid gets few breaks.

    I know about as much as Godafrid describes here about Dragon-Blooded, which is to say, not a lot of finer detail about their charm pool, or how it's worse. There's definitely something about the zealotry of Aqua's followers and the role of the Dragon-blooded in hunting down Anathema that seems to match well. It gives Godafrid considerably less margin to disrupt the setting, and seems comparable to other sorts of cheats.
    Of course, he has the ability to summon help, which tips the scales a bit, but I'm still expecting a somewhat more down-to-earth story here, at least, by Konosuba standards. Sounds fun.

    I suppose RB has been encouraging this one, so it's interesting to see it return in a different format.
    Eh. I've encouraged A crossover to happen somewhat, but my story already handled it as "so many universes spawned, and Zelretch can't tell which one will be the real one without locking it in, Erik doesn't get backup from the Works as a result. Can't rely on one timeline of them if they're all gone." So even if it's not eventually the full canon route, it's still an alternate universe as a result of how much he's written, and everyone enjoyed.

    Neatly handles most characteristics for the Wolfen Sidestory, as well. Exactly why she noted how Godafrid didn't feel stable, back then when I first wrote it. Since even back then, we had the ending securely locked down, but nothing after that.

    Sorry for going slow in writing, by the way. Been preparing for a camping trip, and that's been taking time up. As well as me working on the rewritten side content for the Wolfen story as an Interlude featuring Missouri and Arizona... only to realize that the whole "abortions rights" situation in real life right now would make a lot of it be taken... poorly. Not trying to put drama on here.

    So somehow, I wound up writing a bit more of an interesting Anarchy: Shattered Paths interlude... unfortunately, it's only 4 pages in, and I'll be out the door soon after waking up tomorrow. So no surprise interlude while I'm gone, I'm afraid. As much as I wish otherwise...

    Still, I think you'll enjoy the third and final meeting the Plain Doll had, while everyone was between universes... who with, though? You'll have to guess...
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post

    Hai,
    Kazuma desu
    Well, obviously Frid's expectations had to be subverted somehow - and given the Works' "save everyone" mandate . . . Yeah, they'd be something of an "Isekai Prevention Organization," wouldn't they?


    I was actually expecting Aqua to be competent for a moment. She seemed so earnest about "improving his Exaltation", after displaying surprising ability at manipulating it in the first place, I was actually expecting Godafrid's expectations to be subverted.
    Aqua is arguably at her most dangerous (or possibly, most destructive) when she's trying to be helpful . . .


    I can't believe I made that mistake. Existence is suffering, and Godafrid gets few breaks.
    And KonoSuba runs on Rule of Funny, so it can never be that simple or easy.


    I know about as much as Godafrid describes here about Dragon-Blooded, which is to say, not a lot of finer detail about their charm pool, or how it's worse.
    They have a much smaller Essence Pool, for one (which means anima banner flares will be a lot more common), and their Charms . . . As an example, the anti-spirit Charms of a Dragon-Blooded can create a barrier to repel them, or destroy them; but they can't outright command them, or consume them for Essence like a Lunar or Solar could (the method that ultimately killed the Primordials who died in the War). It's a much smaller scale of effect - though again, they're far from being useless.


    There's definitely something about the zealotry of Aqua's followers and the role of the Dragon-blooded in hunting down Anathema that seems to match well.
    Another reason I thought this worked well.

    It gives Godafrid considerably less margin to disrupt the setting, and seems comparable to other sorts of cheats.
    Yes. And in some ways, Aqua has done him a favour; her artistry abilities allowed her to turn it into a genuine Exaltation of its type (she's just that good), and the fact that it's both elementally-aligned and genetic means that using it in a TYPE-MOON universe is much more palatable to the rules of the World - Gaia being the Dragon-Blooded's ultimate progenitor, for starters, means that it's something the World can comprehend, even if it's not a precise match for anything pre-existing.

    It's also something that can be passed to his offspring - an important point in both magus society and KonoSuba (since the royal family is as strong as it is partially due to marrying prior Heroes over the generations). If nothing else, this gives Rin a way to fight back if and when Sakura and Ilya start pushing her towards Frid.

    ("But Sakura, your original Element was Water, wasn't it? What better way to spite Zouken than to make sure your kids inherit it . . .?")


    Of course, he has the ability to summon help, which tips the scales a bit,
    Depending on how, exactly, Aqua inputted the whole "call my friends for help" ability, yes . . .


    but I'm still expecting a somewhat more down-to-earth story here, at least, by Konosuba standards. Sounds fun.
    I thought so.


    I suppose RB has been encouraging this one, so it's interesting to see it return in a different format.
    Sort of - if nothing else, it's a crossover I could do immediately, rather than having to jump through hoops to set up Nobu as in the original snippets.

    . . . Now, if only I could get my mind off of Robotech, RIFTS, and cosmo-knights, I'd get right on that . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette




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