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Thread: Matou Shinji and the Price of Victory (HP/FSN CYOA)

  1. #41
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Skull Leader's Avatar
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    Choice 37

    [x] Something Longer term

    Not really interested in gold/cash. Most of Shinji needs are met at the moment. But we do need to start thinking long term planning. So might as well set something off to pay off when we will need it most in a few years.

    Choice 38

    [X]Because we need the good will that will be generated by caring for orphans. To the witchcraft British world, they are just lowly foreigners in a time when they are paranoid by the outside world. And where Shinji had four years building a reputation with the people, good or bad, Rin has none of that. She could win all the battles in the world, but that would never cause any of them to ever look up at her in admiration. Winning hearts and mind is about more than fighting. Taking care of orphans is a start, same with getting Hermione to help generate positive PR for the team. When they do finally go into battle, these kids will be cheering Rin on. But no one will cheer for the unknown foreigner Merc.

    That covers basically my current feelings on this. She needs to realize that this is not just babysitting (yeah I get it Rin it not the role you want), its fits into the current action. And it helps build Rin credibility and gets her a foot in the door with becoming a hero in this war, assuming that she can prove herself to be capable.

    Choice 39 EDITED took out the line about wanting to see childeren

    [x] Tohsaka, you and are friends - I already know that I can count on you. However, things with Hilde and I are complicated. Not because of anything you are thinking, but the complete opposite. Last time I met Hilde before the island, they were Antagonistic to each other, ending in a battle that turned very nasty. I needed to make sure Hilde would work with us and figure out what is driving her as well as bury the hatchet with her.

    Modified Daiki write in, that I discussed with him on. Basically I am supporting what he had but having Shinji admit that Hilda and Shinji had a rocking past as they were on opposite sides and are not close at all. That this 'date' was more them working past that issue and burying the hatchet. Not a start of some romance.
    Last edited by Skull Leader; May 31st, 2019 at 07:32 PM.

  2. #42
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [x] Something Longer term


    [x]Because sometimes, there are better ways to get what you want than fighting


    [x] Tohsaka, you and are friends - I already know that I can count on you. However, things with Hilde and I are complicated. Not because of anything you are thinking, but the complete opposite. Last time I met Hilde before the island, they were Antagonistic to each other, ending in a battle that turned very nasty. I needed to make sure Hilde would work with us and figure out what is driving her as well as bury the hatchet with her
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; May 31st, 2019 at 07:27 PM.

  3. #43
    [x]Something Longer term

    Start investing for future since we should have enough assets if we need money in the present.

    [x]Because sometimes, there are better ways to get what you want than fighting

    This to me just sounds better.

    [x]Tohsaka, you and are friends - I already know that I can count on you. However, things with Hilde and I are complicated. Not because of anything you are thinking, but the complete opposite. Last time I met Hilde before the island, they were Antagonistic to each other, ending in a battle that turned very nasty. I needed to make sure Hilde would work with us and figure out what is driving her as well as bury the hatchet with her. I also wished to meet the children that we will have under our care.

  4. #44
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Choice 37: [x]Something Longer term

    Choice 38:
    [X]Because we need the good will that will be generated by caring for orphans. To the witchcraft British world, they are just lowly foreigners in a time when they are paranoid by the outside world. And where Shinji had four years building a reputation with the people, good or bad, Rin has none of that. She could win all the battles in the world, but that would never cause any of them to ever look up at her in admiration. Winning hearts and mind is about more than fighting. Taking care of orphans is a start, same with getting Hermione to help generate positive PR for the team. When they do finally go into battle, these kids will be cheering Rin on. But no one will cheer for the unknown foreigner Merc.

    Choice 39: [x]Tohsaka, you and are friends - I already know that I can count on you. However, things with Hilde and I are complicated. Not because of anything you are thinking, but the complete opposite. Last time I met Hilde before the island, they were Antagonistic to each other, ending in a battle that turned very nasty. I needed to make sure Hilde would work with us and figure out what is driving her as well as bury the hatchet with her.




    Choice 40a: Something longer term can certainly be arranged.

    Which of the following would he be most interested in choosing?

    [ ] Real Estate - the most reliable method to get returns - You don't have the money for this
    [ ] Albion Bonds - issued by the new government as a way to raise money for various programs; matures in several years, redemption contingent on Albion surviving, may be redeemed for something other than money
    [ ] Stock in a hypothetical "Gobcorp" - a corporation the Goblins are thinking of establishing; longer term investment, high risk
    [ ] Muggle stocks (specific company)
    [ ] UK Government bond (low return, low risk)
    [ ] A Diversified portfolio
    [ ] Something else (write-in)

    Choice 40b: Thinking more on this, there is an additional opportunity here, what with Diagon and Knockturn Alley utterly wrecked and so many of the usual stores no longer in existence. Couldn't Shinji take advantage of this to secure a cheap space to construct an outlet store for Fashion House LeShin? (Maybe it might even attract tourism from France, since people like being able to try things on!)

    Does he pursue this opportunity?

    [ ] Yes, have the Gringotts goblins make the arrangements
    [ ] No, it will be more trouble than it is worth

    Choice 41: "...I'm sure you want to bury something in her," Rin mutters, almost - but not quite - too quietly for him to hear.

    "What was that?" the boy asked, his voice almost - but not quite - threatening, as a part of him bridled at her defiance of his authority.

    "N-nothing," the girl denied, looking away with a flush, only to find herself forced against the wall a moment later as the boy trapped her against it with his body and his arms. The closeness of him...the intensity of his gaze - it made her heart throb and made her feel weak in the knees. "M-matou, I..."

    "Yes?" he whispered, his voice husky, almost...dangerous.

    "I..."

    "Mhm?" he asked, his voice almost a growl, sending a thrill down her spine. "What is it?"

    "I..." She began, though her voice faltered as she looked at him. "Matou..."

    "I won't know unless you tell me properly.."

    "I...take me," she begged. "N-not her." She kicked her lips. "Not just her," she amended. "Take...take me..." she whimpered.

    The boy's lips curved up into a cruel smirk.

    "Alright," he murmured, leaning towards her as if to kiss her, only to pull away, leaving her almost desperate, wanting more, as he stepped back and looked her over. "I'll take you..just like I took her. To Diagon Alley."

    And with that he walked off, with Rin sinking to her knees as she watched him go.

    What will they do?

    [ ] Follow the same agenda
    [ ] Play it by ear
    [ ] There are places you have to see (write in)

    Choice 42: You've asked to see the Fujous, and they do wish to see how Shinji is doing. Their letter asks if he would like them to meet him in London, or if he wants to come to Mahoutokoro.

    [ ] Have the Fujous come to London
    [ ] Go to Japan
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; June 1st, 2019 at 02:44 AM.
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  5. #45
    [x] Stock in a hypothetical "Gobcorp" - a corporation the Goblins are thinking of establishing; longer term investment, high risk.
    [x] Yes, have the Gringotts goblins make the arrangements
    [x] Follow the same agenda.
    [x] Have the Fujous come to London.
    Last edited by Daiki; June 1st, 2019 at 04:09 AM.

  6. #46
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [ ] Stock in a hypothetical "Gobcorp" - a corporation the Goblins are thinking of establishing; longer term investment, high risk[ ] Yes, have the Gringotts goblins make the arrangements[ ] Follow the same agenda[ ] Have the Fujous come to London
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; June 1st, 2019 at 04:21 AM.

  7. #47
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Added a new choice, under 40b. Don't forget to vote~
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  8. #48
    [x]Stock in a hypothetical "Gobcorp" - a corporation the Goblins are thinking of establishing; longer term investment, high risk.
    [x]Yes, have the Gringotts goblins make the arrangements
    [x]Follow the same agenda.
    [x]Have the Fujous come to London.

  9. #49
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Choice 40a: [x] Stock in a hypothetical "Gobcorp" - a corporation the Goblins are thinking of establishing; longer term investment, high risk.
    Choice 40b: [x] Yes, have the Gringotts goblins make the arrangements
    Choice 41: [x] Follow the same agenda.
    Choice 42: [x] Have the Fujous come to London.






    Chapter 3. The Forbidden Truth

    When he came to, opening his eyes upon a strange vista, the boy who called himself Matou Shinji found himself utterly alone, and what was more, far away from anything even close to familiar.

    ‘This…isn’t London,’ he could tell. From where he was standing, he could see no rubble, no ruins, no signs that there had ever been buildings here, much less an entire city, only an endless expanse of black sand. But then, this wasn’t some wild land either, as there was no grass, no trees, no moss – no wind. There was no trace of life here, no indication that the ebon desert wasn’t all there was in all the world. No sun, no moon, no clouds – only a pitch-black sky studded with points of cold white fires.

    A CURIOSITY.

    The voice, if one could so name something he felt in his bones more than he heard, issued from all around him, reminding him of nothing so much as the slamming of coffin lids.

    'Who?' He spun around, reaching for the fire within him, for the power that had now been eager to come forth and destroy – only to find nothing there. The draconic might he had tapped into just moments ago to rip apart his enemies was gone – and so too was the trickle of prana that he could usually draw from his core. ‘What? How?’

    He willed his anger to rise, for his body to change and take on a more monstrous form, as he realized he lacked his wand, but…nothing happened. His armored scales did not appear. His fingers did not change to claws. He remained completely and utterly human.

    Had he come under attack just then, that would have been the end of the one who called himself Matou Shinji. But as the seconds dragged on into minutes and nothing happened, no ambush or explanation to follow-up on the cryptic words from above, the boy began to get rather nervous.

    “Where are you?” the boy demanded, in a tone that he thought intimidating, though really, it was anything but. "Show yourself!" he shouted. “NOW!"

    As if in response to his words, the world shook with a rumble that rattled his bones and scattered any thoughts of unruliness, and to his shock, he recognized the tremors as something like words.

    YOU WOULD NOT REACT WELL IF I DID.

    '...who...?' Such an answer unnerved Matou Shinji more than he cared to admit, though the discomfort was really only skin deep, as he didn’t feel as…startled as he thought he should. Perhaps he was simply…tired, or had pushed himself too far, for he felt almost…hollow, body was but a thing of dirt, fashioned in the likeness of a man – a mud doll, as one of his enemies had once put it. "Who are you?!"

    THE ASSASSIN AGAINST WHOM NO LOCK HOLDS.

    Shinji blinked, trying to parse the words.

    "The Assassin against...Professor Lockhart?" the boy asked, confused. “Are you the one doing this?” Was this perhaps the Book of Spells or something he’d been trapped in. “If it is, this isn’t funny. Where are you?”

    NO FURTHER THAN THE THICKNESS OF A SHADOW. So the voice rumbled. WITHIN EVERY CELL AND IN THE HEART OF EVERY START AM I. WHERE THE FIRST THINKING THING CAME TO BE, THERE WAS I ALSO. WHERE MAN IS, THERE AM I. WHEN THE LAST LIFE CRAWLS UNDER FREEZING STARTS, THERE WILL BE I.

    There was a pause, seemingly as interminable as the universe itself.

    AND I AM NOT YOUR PROFESSOR.

    The last bit seemed almost an afterthought, and the boy opened his mouth to retort, only for his words to die in his throat as a figure materialized before him: a grinning skeleton in a very tattered black robe, wielding a scythe that gleamed in the cold light of the stars above.

    A figure of fear and legend, from which every mote of essence in his body, every cell, every atom of his being screamed for him to run.

    He…he knew who, no what, this figure was.

    The inescapable end of all things. The being – the embodied concept – that would outlive the universe itself, if only by mere moments.

    Truthfully speaking, in the presence of this entity, the boy was terrified, and at the moment, he would have liked nothing more than obey the impulses screaming through him – only he could not, for his legs were frozen in place, just like his arms, his eyes, his diaphragm.

    As he looked upon this figure, he found that his legs could not move, that he could not look away, that he couldn’t even breathe.
    That simply being in the presence of this entity that was beyond even the gods was enough for him to understand that the place where he now stood was no place at all, that the color of the world, the light of the stars, that his voice and the voice of the being before him were all illusions which the other allowed to exist.

    That in this place, nothing was true – that everything he could see was merely…permitted.

    The figure regarded him impassively, and something shifted, whereupon the boy found that the pressure on his throat and chest eased, with the paralysis lifting.

    “…Death,” he whispered, giving a name to the skeletal figure.

    SO SOME HAVE CALLED ME, came the reply, which sounded like nothing more than two slabs of concrete rubbing against one another. EVEN MATOU SHINJI.

    The boy blinked.

    "...what's so special about me calling you Death?" he asked. "That's what you are, right?"

    THE QUESTION IS NOT WHO I AM, BUT WHO YOU ARE.

    “Um…what do you mean? I’m Matou Shinji,” the boy stated, though the figure before him seemed to shake his head.

    NO. THAT YOU ARE NOT.

    "W-what do you mean by that?" the boy questioned, his voice quavering despite himself. Truthfully, he felt the the urge to step back, to run, to cover his ears, lest the answer of the ancient entity be his undoing – though he did none of it, partially because he couldn’t, and partially because he knew none of it would do him any good.

    After all, the voice of Death was felt as much as heard, processed by the mind as much as by the ear.

    MATOU SHINJI, THE ONE WHOSE NAME AND FACE YOU WEAR, DIED ON THE ISLAND.

    "Wha...t?" the boy's mouth went dry as he heard this, the words resonating with— "No!" he denied. "No...that's not true! That's impossible!" he said, denying the statement of Death itself.

    SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS. YOU KNOW IT TO BE TRUE.

    “No. No. Nonononononononononono!” Matou Shinji screamed, a sound of terror, of hate, of denial, of rejection, for he would not, could not, acknowledge what the other was saying, and so simply wailed to drown out everything in the world. For as long as he was screaming, he didn’t have to think, and as long as he wasn’t thinking then…

    IT IS USELESS TO RESIST. THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM WHAT YOU ARE.

    Perhaps not, but Shinji tried anyway, thinking that if he could deny the truth of those words, push them away, refuse to accept them, then…then…

    Then what?

    For if what Death said was true, if he was not Matou Shinji...

    '...then who am I?'

    A QUESTION THAT FEW ENOUGH EVER THINK TO ASK.

    "Wait I...you can read minds?!" the boy exclaimed. The stories…they’d never said anything about this.

    YOU SPOKE ALOUD.

    The boy didn't think he'd done anything of the sort, though he wasn't exactly planning on arguing with Death in the latter's domain, which this place was, or so he grasped.

    "...do you know the answer then?"

    NO. I ONLY KNOW WHAT YOU ARE, NOT WHO.

    "And what am I, then?" he asked. "...not that what I am matters much if I'm dead." He shook his head. “I mean, that’s why I’m here, right?”

    NO. YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU FELL THROUGH THE VEIL. FROM ONE SIDE OF THE WORLD ONTO ANOTHER - YET THERE WAS NO PLACE FOR YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE. YOU ARE NOT TRULY A SPIRIT, NOR ARE YOU HUMAN. NOT ALIVE, YET NOT TRULY DEAD.

    "Not...dead?" the boy...the being asked, trying to wrap his head around this whole state of affairs. He didn’t think he was dead, but then he supposed no one would. "But I…I remember…”

    Fire and blood.

    Fire and darkness.

    The falling moon.

    YOU BEAR SCRAPS OF MEMORIES TIED TO SCRAPS OF SOUL, TIED TO THE ESSENCE OF A DRAGON, THE SYMBOLS OF A HERO'S MIGHT, AND THE HEART OF AN ELEMENTAL BOUND A VESSEL OF MUD TURNED FLESH BY A POTENT ECHO OF THE LAST AGE.

    “Scraps of memories tied to…” the boy repeated, parsing the statement of the entity before him. “That...sounds a lot like necromancy,” he murmured, raising his eyebrows. “Are…are you’re saying that…I’m undead?”

    NO.

    But Death disagreed with his conclusion.

    YOU ARE A STRANGE AMALGAM WHICH CANNOT TRULY DIE, BECAUSE YOU WERE NEVER TRULY ALIVE. IN THAT SENSE, YOU ARE AN ENTITY DISTINCT FROM MATOU SHINJI. A VESSEL ALIKE IN NATURE TO THE ONE HE DESTROYED, THOUGH INHERITING HIS WILL, NOT THAT OF AN
    OUTER GOD.

    “…I see,” was all the boy said in reply. That meant…what did that mean, exactly? That he was a vessel? Something like a mud doll after all, being puppeted by whatever bits of Matou Shinji remained? But then, the rest of the sentence began to sank in. If Death had said that he could not truly die, then… “Wait...does…does that mean I can go back?” he asked carefully. “That I can return to the world of the living?"

    NOT AS YOU ARE, came the grim reply.

    "…what would it take then?" Shinji asked, knowing that to beg a favor from Death or any being approaching the embodied concept’s level of power – especially in what must be Death’s very domain – was very much a devil’s bargain.

    So, practitioners of witchcraft had discovered in Tales of Beedle the Bard, where the gifts Death provided were exactly what the three Brothers had asked for, if not precisely what they wanted. Likewise, those which were (un)fortunate enough to bind a Jinn to service, or who were in the practice of using wishcraft tended to get exactly what they asked for – and human beings tended to be poor at asking for what they actually wanted, as they rarely knew.

    …but then, he wasn’t human anymore – or maybe he never had been.

    TO RETURN TO THE WORLD OF FLESH AND STONE, A SACRIFICE IS NEEDED. The Grim Reaper intoned in a voice like the very earth tearing itself asunder, as if an…earthquake was conversing with him. WHAT YOU WERE. WHAT YOU ARE. WHAT YOU MIGHT BECOME. THE SYMBOLS OF HEROISM YOU CARRY. YOUR CONNECTION WITH THE EARTH.

    There was a pause.

    THE PRICE IS ONE OF THOSE, Death added, almost as if an afterthought, though the very suggestion that Death could have an afterthought was utterly bizarre to the being which called itself Matou Shinji. IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO GRANT YOU A SECOND LIFE AS A HUMAN, BUT THIS WOULD BE EVEN MORE COSTLY.

    The boy took a moment to try and puzzle out what Death had meant.

    What he had been – that would the scraps of his human soul.

    What he was – his memories, because without them he wouldn’t be himself.

    What he might become – this one was more difficult, though he imagined it might be the blessing that Gaia had bestowed unto him.

    The symbols of heroism – the Noble Phantasms that had been left to him by Perseus – Harpe and the winged sandals .

    His connection with the Earth – at first, the boy almost thought Death was referring to blessing of Gaia, but after going over what had been said, it seemed to be his earth affinity, something which had only been strengthened by having an elemental’s heart be part of him.

    Each of these was a terrible price indeed, representing something that he had fought and bled to obtain – and yet maybe that was the point, that Matou Shinji had obtained these things, but not the collection of odds and ends which bore the name.

    Even so, he wanted to ask if there was something else he could do, if there was some way he could avoid...giving anything up. After all, choosing what to sacrifice...having to sacrifice anything at all...was difficult.

    ...and yet, as he looked upon the figure before him, fully intending to protest, to say something to try to persuade Death, his words died unspoken on his tongue, as something gave him pause. Perhaps it was the fact that he was looking upon the literal embodiment of the concept that everything that had a beginning had an end. Perhaps it was the fact that the figure before him seemed utterly unconcerned with whatever the boy had to say – not that the boy thought he was any great shakes at reading the expression of a cloaked skeleton.

    Or perhaps it was merely the fact that all his rage, all his fire, all the power he had accrued over the years meant nothing here, as none of it would not respond in his hour of need.

    Whatever it was, what indignation he'd mustered up fizzled out as if it had never been there to begin with.

    CHOOSE, the Grim Reaper prompted him.

    "...what happens if I don't?" the boy dared to ask. Could…could he stall for time, drawing things out long enough that Death would give him better terms?

    YOU WILL EVENTUALLY, the Grim Reaper replied, seemingly unconcerned if the boy made up his mind or not.

    "Are you sure you won't get tired of waiting before I do?" Shinji quipped, only to reconsider his words as Death looked back at him, the sight of the empty sockets in the grinning skull making him feel as if he was less than a worm crawling on the ground. After all, what did all of his experience, all his power mean in the face of the Ultimate Conclusion before him, that which waited for every living thing, for everything that even existed.

    Oh, Death could wait.

    More patiently than any living thing, more enduring than any work of man or civilization, beyond the span of time permitted stone or wind or the very stars, Death could wait.

    Looking upon the figure of the end, Matou Shinji - or rather the being that called itself Matou Shinji – knew that there was no winning a stalling game with death, that even if he postponed his decision, his mind would wear out long before Death was willing to reconsider his terms, even if his body did not.

    Faced with that truth, he chose.

    "...I'll give up the symbols of heroism," he said bitterly, swallowing as he remembered just how it had come to pass that he – that Matou Shinji – had come to acquire it. How Matou Shinji had fought against the Echo of the Moon, pushing himself past his limits to land a single, decisive blow upon the monster – had, in Perseus’ eyes – proven himself worthy of being called a hero. "Not that I know why you're making me choose," he added, unable to resist the temptation of a parting barb, no matter how foolish it might be.

    But Death was ever reasonable. No doubt he had heard much worse in the aeons in which he had existed, with the dying cursing death as it approached, or those left behind cursing him for taking their loved ones away.

    ‘What must it be like to be something like death?’

    Matou Shinji – if that would be his name from now on, which he wasn’t sure about – couldn’t even begin to imagine that sort of existence.

    YOU MUST CHOOSE BECAUSE THESE THINGS WERE ALL PART OF WHAT DEFINED MATOU SHINJI, the Grim Reaper explained. AND MATOU SHINJI IS NO MORE.

    "...and without giving up something, I will be too close to the original to be allowed to return, is that it?"

    AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION, BUT NOT INACCURATE.

    "...I don't suppose I could just...get rid of the more draconic part of me," the boy asked, only for the world to rumble in that peculiar way that seemed to indicate Death being amused.

    WERE IT NOT FOR THE DRAGON, YOU WOULD NOT BE...

    Oddly enough, Death trailed off.

    "...alive?" the boy suggested.

    NO. The response was both instantaneous and absolutely certain. FOR YOU ARE NOT TRULY ALIVE. NOT YET. THE BEING BEFORE ME IS BUT A DOLL MOVING IN HALF-REMEMBERED PATTERNS, BELIEVING ITSELF TO BE MORE THAN IT IS. FOR YOU TO TRULY LIVE, YOU MUST CHOOSE WHAT YOU ARE, AND WHAT YOU ARE NOT, WHAT YOU WILL RETAIN AND WHAT YOU WILL SURRENDER.

    Silence hung over the desert for a small eternity before the boy spoke, his voice almost a whisper.

    "...I chose already, didn't I?" he asked, swallowing as he looked down at his feet, his hands balling up into fists at how cruel – how terrible all of this was. "I'll...I'll give up what Perseus left me."

    WHY?

    "Because I'm no hero, no matter what people call me." He closed his eyes then as he sank to his knees. "I'm just...I'm just..."

    JUST WHAT?

    "...never mind. You wouldn't understand."

    A COMMON BELIEF MORTALS CLING TO, THOUGH THEY ARE USUALLY WRONG.

    The being which called itself Matou Shinji looked up as he felt something stream forth from him, noting a silver wisp of something weighty that shot off towards the horizon, with the Grim Reaper turning to track its motion with its gaze.

    THE PRICE IS PAID. PERHAPS WHEN I NEXT SEE YOU, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER MY QUESTION.

    "...your question?"

    WHO ARE YOU?

    Without waiting for a response, Death faded from sight, followed quickly by the cold stars, the sky, the endless sands, and then...even he, himself.




    When he came to, Matou Shinji found himself in the air, borne aloft by a pair of slender, yet strong arms, with azure light rippling all around him, as he opened his eyes to see...

    '...an angel...'

    Or perhaps, a goddess, with eyes that seemed to glow with pale fire, and long, luxurious hair that was...silver? Lilac? He couldn't really say, only that in this moment, the woman in whose arms he was being carried was the most beautiful creature he'd ever laid eyes upon.

    …except for Sokaris.

    Which this person reminded him of, save that Sokaris had never worn form-fitting black armor, nor did she possess wings wrought of light/

    Sokaris..

    To the boy who was not a boy, the Matou Shinji who was not Matou Shinji, the being who wasn't sure if he was awake and delirious, dreaming, or dead and being carried off to the afterlife in the arms of a valkyrie, there was only one real answer to the question of where he wanted to be taken.

    'To Sokaris...'

    For even if everything else in the world was a lie, if everything and everyone else in the world became his enemy, she would be his ally. No. No, that was backwards, for was it not the other way around, that he would always be hers. In life or in death, in sickness or in health, for better or...no, there was no for worse. She was the one whose side he strove to reach, for whose sake and in whose name he did so much, and to deny that now would be...

    It wasn't something he could do.

    "Take...me..." he managed to say, his voice barely a rasp as liquid fire seemed to race through his nerves and vessels. "...angel..." he settled for saying, since he wasn't sure if this was the afterlife, and it wasn't likely he was in the presence of a true goddess.

    "Take...you?" the valkyr—angel replied, eyes widening fractionally, as if surprised or simply curious.

    But then, that was only to be expected, since he hadn't finished saying what he'd meant to say.

    Words.

    Words were...they kept slipping away, much as his consciousness threatened to with each passing second. It was like all of him wanted to collapse into some dark pit in the core of his being, a pit that was both infinitely cold and infinitely vast.

    "Warm..." he found himself murmuring, as he nuzzled the smooth, unblemished skin of the angel's bare arm with his cheek, with the haze of power radiating from her form seeming gentle, almost comforting, like the flames of the unconquered sun.

    ...the sun...

    "I...I want to see..." he managed eventually. His words trailed off as fatigue washed over him, but with one last gasp of effort, he was able to break through the mental fog for one shining moment to express his intent. "...Sokaris. I…"

    And then the moment passed, with the consciousness of boy-that-was falling into the pattern of a dream.

    A dream of elder days, of dragons and drakes, of fire and blood.






    Choice 43: Should Rin go to the alley as herself, or in the same disguise as Hilde?

    [ ] As herself - wearing her usual outfit
    [ ] As herself - wearing robes
    [ ] In the same disguise Hilde wore

    Choice 44: And what about Shinji?

    [ ] Using the same disguise. It would be better if he was not recognized as himself
    [ ] He might as well appear as himself, wearing robes
    [ ] He might as well appear as himself, wearing his Illuminati armor
    [ ] Appear as himself, in products from Leshin

    Choice 45: When Rin goes to Diagon Alley, she is stunned to discover that there is a bank run by non-humans in the very heart of London, as she thought this was the Age of Man. She was even more startled when she first saw a goblin crew working on clearing out some rubble and sifting for valuables. For a moment, she thought they were all a mage's familiars, and that a single mage was in charge of them all - a comment she unfortunately made in the hearing of a goblin passing by, who acidly commented that he was no wizard's pet.

    Rin blinked.

    "Are these...people then? What happened to them to make them like this?" she muttered to herself. "Was there some kind of accident which twisted them into what they are now?"

    The goblin from before just stared at her.

    "Kindly keep your words to yourself, so I'll keep my knives," he said curtly, before turning away. "Or don't."

    "...Tohsaka, stop. Please. They're goblins - they're a very proud people," the boy explained hastily. "They've run this bank - and the economy of this hidden world - for decades."

    "Centuries."

    "...centuries," Shinji amended. "My apologies for my companion's poor manners, Master...."

    "Grimlok," the goblin supplied, noting the courtesy of the other. "Grimlok the Iron Monger."

    Though this encounter was not a positive one, it at least prepared Tohsaka so that she did not give this sort of outburst in Gringotts, when she went to inquire about accounts - and signing the contract to join the Home Guard, with her asking for Shinji to be there to advise her.

    Does Shinji...

    [ ] Allow her to go by herself - since this is her account and future
    [ ] Go with her in case she makes more...questionable decisions

    Choice 46: And so with the reply sent, Fujou Shiroe, Fujou Kohaku, and Shiroe's fiancee, Tsuji Miyuki would soon be coming over. Thus, a a few decisions must be made...

    First, what is the itinerary for the day?

    [ ] Just host them for Dinner - he wants to show Shiroe his home, so that his friend might see that he isn't without means
    [ ] Take them to Magical London, and host them in the new Government House (with permission from Lockhart)
    [ ] Take them around Muggle London - none of them have been here before, he thinks, and he may as well play tour guide to get his mind off things

    Second, who will be present (other than himself)?

    [ ] No one, as they'll be talking about Tohsaka, and he'd rather this all remain in confidence
    [ ] Tohsaka, so she knows he isn't talking about her behind her back
    [ ] Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal
    [ ] Tomas, who volunteers to be a tour guide and is familiar enough to the Fujous
    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; June 2nd, 2019 at 03:03 PM.
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  10. #50
    So far, how I feel about this set;

    Spoiler:


    [x] As herself - wearing her usual outfit
    [x] Using the same disguise. It would be better if he was not recognized as himself


    Rin has no reason to impersonate Hilde here, and I don't want it to seem more than a stroll (and chat) through Magical London. Shinji, however, should still remain under cover for obvious reasons.

    [x] Allow her to go by herself - since this is her account and future


    It's part of making her opening her wings and leaving the nest. Also, it's her life, she should make her own decisions even if she regrets them later. That's how you get through life, take a path and learn.

    [x] Just host them for Dinner - he wants to show Shiroe his home, so that his friend might see that he isn't without
    means

    I think that a dinner is fine this once. In other circumstances, I would have Shinji be a better host and escort them though (mundane) London - since Magical London is not the best place to explore right now. But, I feel like they should take the day to do as they please in Britain (maybe Tomas will be happy guiding them) and simply have dinner at Shinji's for a more comfortable end of the day.

    Plus, I don't feel like discussing Rin's issues while having a picnic or going to a restaurant (for example) is the best way to go about it. It's Shiroe's first time in London. Have them at least make it a little more 'welcoming' (with a meal worthy of the the occasion) than that.

    I don't think either that bringing Miyuki, Shiroe and Kohaku to the damaged London serves much purpose besides the shock value or showing them the next seat of power of Magical Britain in construction. They may end up go and check it out for themselves if Shinji doesn't play guide, but there's no real need to bring them there yourself.

    [x] Tohsaka, so she knows he isn't talking about her behind her back
    [x] Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal


    It's Rin's situation which is discussed after all, probably best if she can hear first hand what she lacks or needs to improve. It's stuff that Shinji would eventually bring up to her anyway - so she would know Shinji was talking with the Fujou behind her back.

    Just have her around with Mashu, so it doesn't feel like he brought his own "fiancée" when Shiroe brings his. Also, these two together, so Rin can hear Shinji is receiving help in recovering from the Isle with Mashu - rather than further nurture her fear of them being a thing. We have enough headaches as is. No need to keep that extra fantasy (or nightmare where Rin is concerned) going.


    (subject to change as usual)
    Last edited by Daiki; June 2nd, 2019 at 08:04 PM.

  11. #51
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    [x] As herself - wearing her usual outfit [x] Using the same disguise. It would be better if he was not recognized as himself[x] Go with her in case she makes more...questionable decisions[x] Just host them for Dinner - he wants to show Shiroe his home, so that his friend might see that he isn't without means.[x] Tohsaka, so she knows he isn't talking about her behind her back [x] Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal

  12. #52
    [x]As herself - wearing her usual outfit
    [x]Using the same disguise. It would be better if he was not recognized as himself

    Rin can just go as herself while Shinji should not show himself in public.

    [x]Allow her to go by herself - since this is her account and future

    Rin should learn to be more independent and since it is her income let her make the choice herself.

    [x]Just host them for Dinner - he wants to show Shiroe his home, so that his friend might see that he isn't without means
    [x]Tohsaka, so she knows he isn't talking about her behind her back
    [x]Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal
    [x]Tomas, who volunteers to be a tour guide and is familiar enough to the Fujous

  13. #53
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    What is the point of asking about Rin from the Japanese Faction if you all are just going to have Rin right there when he asks? That not going to give a good answer or a truthful answer. There is no point to asking about Rin if you are doing this.

    [X] As herself - wearing robes

    When in Rome do as the romans. She is going into magical Britain at least dress the part.

    [X] He might as well appear as himself, wearing robes

    Same Logic. And he gets to see the difference between him walking the streets and the last trip. Really I want to see what happens when Shinji is not in a disguise.

    [X] Go with her in case she makes more...questionable decisions

    This one is a hard pick for me. I don't want to feed Rin's warp views (and going in will do that) but I don't want her to get hostile Goblins or insult them. In the end the tie breaker for me is where does Rin want Shinji and for that I have to answer that she would ask him to be there so thus I am voting that way.


    [X] Take them around Muggle London - none of them have been here before, he thinks, and he may as well play tour guide to get his mind off things

    They have come all this way, we might as well show the famous sights of London. We have done this in the past when people visit, see no reason to change. The mansion is nice but its not going to impress people. Certainly not Saber. And frankly it is a good place to talk business away from Rin.

    [X] Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal
    [X] Tomas, who volunteers to be a tour guide and is familiar enough to the Fujous

    For discussion purposes. Rin can be distracted with a girls night with Kohaku and go see her own sights.

  14. #54
    Spoiler:
    Asking feedback about how she performed during their home training isn't going to be invalid because Rin is there.

    The whole reason Shinji even bothered with asking outside pov is because he needs to dress an accurate picture of skills, habits and personality - meaning having a good idea of what she does, how she thinks and reacts to a given situation. The more feedback he gets, the higher the chance to pinpoint what to focus on. (He can then pass that information to Mudbutton as well when she starts her boot camp)

    If it was something as easily solved as 'just ask Rin', there would have not been up to three choices for that vote. As we discussed back then, you know there are things that people do without even noticing or don't when they should. Sometimes it's just an odd quirk they aren't aware to have, other times it's a bias for certain patterns, or it could be simply lacking an essential / basic thing, etc...

    The mansion is nice but its not going to impress people. Certainly not Saber.
    It was less about conveying "look at me I'm so important, yo," but to have a 'taste like home' type of meal rather than something impersonal while eating out. This is exactly because I think Shinji isn't in the mood to play his usual grandstanding act that I picked that one, ironically.

    Having the guests, Shiroe at least, (though Kohaku is free to join) participate in the kitchen for example, would go a long way to have that convivial ambiance. You know the warm and pleasant feel when you get at your parents home and you eat a meal you often had as a kid? That sort of vibe. I want Shinji to have just one relaxed dinner where he can take a breather and have a good time with his friends. He kinda needs the emotional hug before his mission start.

    Until obviously something / someone and the party ends early x).

    Well, that was the hope anyway. (No write-in for that one, so I picked what was closest)

    Saber doesn't come by the way, which is why this is a preferable interlude (for me at least) to going to Japan yourself.


    Longer than I intended, sorry.
    Last edited by Daiki; September 7th, 2019 at 02:06 AM.

  15. #55
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Choice 43: [x] As herself - wearing her usual outfit
    Choice 44: [x] Using the same disguise. It would be better if he was not recognized as himself
    Choice 45: TIED - As such, I will go with the conservative option of letting her go by herself
    Choice 46a: [x] Just host them for Dinner - he wants to show Shiroe his home, so that his friend might see that he isn't
    Choice 46b: Choice 47: [x] Tohsaka, so she knows he isn't talking about her behind her back; [x] Mashu, as he would like to introduce Shiroe to the person who has helped him out a great deal and is helping him recover from his ordeal




    Choice 47: Matou Shinji looked upon the disguise he had worn before with a critical eye. It was, as mentioned, a black, somewhat military looking jacket and slacks that happened to match, accompanied by a headband that helped to smooth out his hair and colored it silver, thus achieving a sort of obscurity through notoriety. Obviously, whoever this strange figure was, it couldn't be Matou Shinji, given that Matou Shinji never really saw the need for disguises and apparently had the tendency to grandstand, from what Mashu and Hilde had both informed him. (Not that he thought they were being entirely fair, since he had never thought of his actions as grandstanding, but he supposed it was best to avoid even the appearance of any such actions).

    In any case, the visual aspect of the costume was fine, but something was missing.

    'But what...?' Thinking back to his outing with Hilde, he recalled a particularly odd moment when he'd introduced himself as Makar Shinra, for lack of a better idea. Though...given that the Epic of Makar Zolgen had been translated, perhaps that wasn't such a good idea?

    What alias should he use when disguised?

    [ ] Makar Shinra - He's already used it once, might as well stick with it
    [ ] Emiya Shirou - his old friend certainly isn't using the name
    [ ] Outis - the classic pseudonym first (and most popularly) used by Odysseus
    [ ] Nines - a corruption of the Latin "non esse" ("not to be" or "non-existant"), or alternatively the German Nein es ("no id")
    [ ] (write-in)

    Choice 48: Partially as a result of her utter humiliation in the spar, Tohsaka Rin has resolved to finish a wand type Mystic Code for herself, as she has seen how effective Matou's growing and shrinking staff (which reminds her heavily of the legend of the Monkey King) is. Since Shinji is, of course, more...experienced than she is, she wants suggestions on both the form the Code should take, and the stone (or stones) she will integrate into it.

    What forms would you suggest she look into for her Mystic Code?

    [ ] (write-in)

    What gems should she use? (choose up to two)

    [ ]
    Ruby - for Fire
    [ ]
    Topaz - for Wind
    [ ] Sapphire - for Ice
    [ ] Emerald - for Earth
    [ ]
    Amethyst - more general, can be turned into a familiar at need

    Choice 49: So...what's for dinner?

    [ ] Leave the menu up to Rin (ask her to take charge)
    [ ] Leave the menu up to Mashu (ask her to take charge)
    [ ] British food, of course, most of which can just be made with an oven
    [ ] Japanese food - something like hotpot, which requires minimal cooking
    [ ] (write-in)
    "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne

  16. #56
    [x] Nines.

    I think the underlying implications of the name are fitting for this Shinji.

    The Makar choice makes this inconsistent but the chapters have yet to be written anyway, so Alf could probably go with the result of this vote for both his outings with Hilde and Rin.

    It's not even a retcon!

    [x] Suggest that she should check magical girl manga (Magical Amber, Phantasm Moon and the likes)

    Haha, sorry.

    [x] Topaz
    [x] Emerald


    Wind can do more than fire (like protect, push back, redirect stuff) while having about as much destructive potential.

    Amethyst for the medium, yet overall, boost to other elements + the familiar form, which can be useful when Rin gets disarmed for example (have the amethyst Owl fly back to her hand), as well as having the other benefits a basic familiar provides.

    I like the idea of using Earth for defense and Wind for offense.

    [x] British food, of course, most of which can just be made with an oven

    I think that's what the guests would be more inclined to go for, since they come all the way there. Japanese food, they get that basically every day.

    I might have suggested a cooking contest for kicks but that might end up in a full scale battle (even more so if Shirou and Kohaku take part) - with Shinji being the ultimate loser when he has to replace a fully equipped kitchen. x)
    Last edited by Daiki; June 4th, 2019 at 12:18 PM.

  17. #57
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    [X] Nines - a corruption of the Latin "non esse" ("not to be" or "non-existant"), or alternatively the German Nein es ("no id")

    I would go Outis here but Man off the Moon Fic uses that nickname so much that I rather shy away from it as I am not sure it would land well. Plus we voted away Shinji's greek connection.

    [X] Something that already suits the fighting skill she has IE Gauntlet or Claws. Or if desires to be more wandlikem then the Siangham or Iklwa (a Punching spear)Trying to fit with her Bajiquan skill here. The Siangham is basically a baton with a piercing point at the end, so very wandlike weapon, that I can see the crystals being attached to it and firing spells off with, yet heavy enough to hurt someone when bonked on, and still allowing to stab someone.

    [X] Topaz - for Wind
    [X] Emerald - for Earth

    Fire is thrown around by almost every magus so not that special of a focus. Ice could be fun but I think I rather go Wind since it as an element fits her a bit more than Ice. And I rather not double up on the elements that Shinji can't do or are weak to. That makes her too close in the abilities of Luna. So I went with Earth since its more defense based so that she has a good tool to protect herself with to go along with more aggressive Wind. And Amethyst works but I think I would rather not make a general tool for her at this time but set her to having help in two of her elements.

    [X] Leave the menu up to Mashu (ask her to take charge)This or British Food. But I went with Mashu cause she is the one that likely to result in the best meal possible. Asking Rin to do the meal is just asking for trouble, both in spicyness and making Rin go doki doki cause Shinji PICKED her food over Mashu.
    Last edited by Skull Leader; June 4th, 2019 at 12:54 PM.

  18. #58
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    [ ] Emerald - for Earth

    [ ] Sapphire - for Ice

    [X] Something that already suits the fighting skill she has IE Gauntlet or Claws. Or if desires to be more wandlikem then the Siangham or Iklwa (a Punching spear)

    [x] British food, of course, most of which can just be made with an oven
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; June 5th, 2019 at 11:51 AM.

  19. #59
    [x]Nines - a corruption of the Latin "non esse" ("not to be" or "non-existant"), or alternatively the German Nein es ("no id")


    [x]Something that already suits the fighting skill she has IE Gauntlet or Claws. Or if desires to be more wand like the Siangham or Iklwa


    [x]Topaz - for Wind
    [x]Sapphire - for Ice


    [x]Leave the menu up to Mashu (ask her to take charge)

  20. #60
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    Choice 47: [X] Nines - a corruption of the Latin "non esse" ("not to be" or "non-existant"), or alternatively the German Nein es ("no id")
    Choice 48: Form - [X] Something that already suits the fighting skill she has IE Gauntlet or Claws. Or if desires to be more wandlike then the Siangham or Iklwa (a Punching spear); Gems - [X] Topaz - for Wind, [X] Emerald - for Earth
    Choice 49: [X] Leave the menu up to Mashu (ask her to take charge) - Russian / British Food




    Just so you know, I'm heading off to E3, so I may not be writing a large chapter for a week or so. In the meantime...

    Choice 50: Flattered that Tohsaka is turning to him for advice, but determined to do a better job of it than just telling her to 'be herself', given how disastrously that worked out for her in the past, Shinji takes her request seriously. He informs her that something like his variable-length staff is too complex for her to her to attempt to make (or learn to use) in a short amount of time, and that even now, a year after receiving it, he's still working on it.

    "You want something that will go with the skills you already have," he says to her. "Something that you might be able to use if you need to get in close with bajiquan, but that won't impede you from acting at range."

    "Like what?"

    "Well, like a katar," the boy suggested, having had some experience/thoughts on exotic bladed weaponry. "Or some kind of gauntlet, I guess," he said more seriously. "Right now, your Crest is exposed, which means someone with good aim could stop you from casting pretty quickly - or take off your arm - if they were fighting you seriously."

    Rin blinked.

    "...people do that?" she asked, looking rather aghast at the suggestion. A magus' crest was...well, it was more valuable than their lives, for if it was stolen or destroyed, then generations of effort would be lost. For someone to deliberately target one...that would be something only a monster would do.

    (Or well, Aozaki Touko, who did have a habit of capturing other magi and modifying their crests for her use, but then, to say that would be repeating what had been said before).

    (...or the Church, which during the war with the Association had made a point of destroying the Crests of any magi they fought to keep their enemy weak).

    "They do," Shinji confirmed with a troubled nod. "That and worse." He shook his head, as his gray eyes looked off into the distance. "I've seen things, fought things, that you couldn't even begin to imagine."

    "Like what?"

    "It wouldn't do you any good if I just told you - you wouldn't understand unless you'd been there," the boy muttered, refusing to explain further. "It...changed me. The person I was...died on that island," he said, his voice sad. "Me as I am now...I'm different from who I was. I couldn't go back to being that person, even if I wanted."

    "Oh..." Rin noted hollowly, not quite understanding. "Anything else?"

    "Well, you're an Average One, and I'm not, so I can't really say too much. Just from what I've seen...wind is one of the most useful elements there is," he said, recalling all the times and all the way Luna had turned lifegiving air into deadly blades or more. "And well, I can't think badly of Earth either, since that's what I make use of most."

    ...at least, in fusion and as he used to be. Nowadays, he found himself enjoying fire a good bit, but...he couldn't let his personal feelings get in the way of giving proper advice.

    "I don't know what jewels those would be though," he commented apologetically. "Unless you want one of my scales for earth, I suppose, though I don't know how good th--"

    "I...I would!" Tohsaka exclaimed, the look in her eyes almost...hungry as she looked at him. "I...please, could you..."

    "Sure," the boy said warmly, with his left arm shifting from that of a human to that of a dragon with jewelled scales. The boy reached over, plucked one free, and handed it to her, which she took reverently. Interestingly, the scale remained a scale when he transformed his arm back, which he thought might be the case. "There you go. I suppose this way, part of me will always be with you."

    "Y-yes, t-thank you," Rin stammered, her face entirely red, as if she wasn't quite well.

    Shinji frowned, seeing this.

    "You look hot, Tohsaka. Do you want to go to bed then..."

    "Yes..." she breathed. "Let's go...to bed," she swallowed. "Please....I..."

    "Then I'll leave you to it," the boy noted, turning away, his mind already on other matters. "Sweet dreams."

    "I...a name!" she cried out after him.

    "Yes?"

    "Give me a name!"

    "Oh...you mean for when we're disguised?"

    "Yes...."

    What alias will you assign to her? Keep in mind that Rin means "Freezing Cold" (or in literary terms, trembling [in fear])

    [ ] Rachelle - because its a nice name
    [ ] Kaguya - after the famous tale of the princess of the moon
    [ ] Sakura - because that is a very Japanese name
    [ ] Gwen - after the Welsh word for white
    [ ] Lumi - from the Finnish for snow
    [ ] (write-in)

    Choice 51: And what will her disguise look like?

    [ ] The one that Hilde copied - the white hair, black dress, stockings, etc
    [ ] A more formal Japanese kimono and wearing her hair up will do the trick
    [ ] Just put her in robes and have her let down her hair
    [ ] Dye her hair blonde, and have her dress more as a noble would
    [ ] (write-in)

    Choice 52: There is also the matter of the team talk - where should this happen?

    [ ] At Shinji's house - for the most privacy possible
    [ ] On an outing in muggle London so Shinji can see how Rin and Hilde interact in a less formal situation
    [ ] In a cordoned-off section of magical London (near the Ministry)), to impress upon them the gravity of them working together
    [ ] At WADA, because it can wait till they get to the site

    Choice 53: During one of the late night training sessions Shinji has with Mashu, the Alchemist inquires as to his intentions towards Miss Tohsaka, who Shinji is very...familiar with, with some of his interactions with her being rather...questionable.

    While she appreciates his self-control thus far in not...taking advantage of Miss Tohsaka, his behavior could be seen as...problematic in some ways, as he does have others he has made commitments to, and it would be most unfortunate if he was to be seen as breaking or no longer valuing those commitments.

    What is Shinji's response?

    [ ] That he is testing Tohsaka - he's aware of the attraction, but if can't handle a bit of teasing, she doesn't belong in the moonlit world
    [ ] That the Matou Shinji who made those commitments is dead, and shouldn't have to be bound to all of his predecessor's promises
    [ ] That teasing Tohsaka is all in fun - and he knows how to keep his private life separate from his professional responsibilities
    [ ] That he has already gone above and beyond the call of duty for his goals - why is he even being questioned about something like this?
    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; June 6th, 2019 at 04:57 PM.
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