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Thread: [Quest] Lostbelt Raising Project

  1. #501
    死徒 Dead Apostle zikari8's Avatar
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    Year:
    2018
    Location: Bianca’s Mansion, Fairyland

    “Bianca…”

    I try to calm myself as I search for the words to say. I need to think carefully about what I want to tell her.

    Normal reasoning and common sense won’t work on Bianca. Things that would be obvious to any other person are alien concepts for her. In her mind, things like ethics and morality are non-issues. She simply doesn’t think such things apply to her, because of how special she is. Therefore, no matter how much I argue it, the idea that she’s doing something bad has no effect on her.

    In that case, I have to reword my approach in a way that can get through her thick skull. If she only cares about herself, I have to make her think about the topic in terms of her self.

    “Bianca, have you ever considered what it would be like to be mind controlled?” I finally ask her.

    “Huh?” She responds with a tilt of her head.

    “For example, what if I used my power on you right here, right now? What if I used Mind Break to make you do whatever I want regardless of your own will or desire? How would you feel about that?” I interrogate firmly.

    “Hm? Well…” Bianca begins to ponder.

    Bringing her hand to her chin, she makes a pensive expression as the gears in her head visibly start turning. It seems that she’s taking the question rather seriously.

    I’m sure it’s a question she has never thought much about in the past. For her who considers herself the only player in the world, the idea that the tables could be turned on her must be foreign to her. That’s exactly why I need to make her properly think about it and put herself in the shoes of others.

    “Hmmm, I’m not sure.” Bianca finally answered after her brief moment of thought. “I don’t really know how I would feel. I mean… that’s not up to me, right?”

    “Eh? What do you mean?”

    “In that scenario, you’re the one who would decide how I would feel. That’s the whole point of our abilities, isn’t it? So, whether I like it or not depends on what setting you’d input.” She calmly states.

    Well… she’s not wrong.

    “No, no, that’s not the point.” I shake my head emphatically. “I mean, how would the current you feel about being mind-controlled? About having your free will stripped away and having your mind violated by someone else? Doesn’t that thought scare you?”

    “Hmm, I don’t really like thinking like that. I think it’s just unnecessarily stressful to get worked up over that kind of stuff.” Bianca remarks nonchalantly.

    “Over mind control?” I ask, surprised at her thoughts.

    “No, just the future in general. I feel like it’s no good to get anxious about uncertainties, so I try not to think about it too much.” Bianca explains. “Besides, what’s more important is how you feel afterwards, not how you feel before, right? Like, everyone’s scared about going to the dentist beforehand, but then they feel good about it after since their teeth don’t hurt anymore. We don’t say that going to the dentist is bad just because we’re scared of it, do we?”

    Giving a blasé expression, Bianca pulls up her chin haughtily.

    “I guess that’s how they’re programmed, but NPCs sure seem to like worrying all the time. Personally, I think getting all anxious over things you can’t control is silly. If you start caring about stuff like that, you’ll never be able to enjoy the moment.” She states.

    “So what? Are you saying you aren’t scared of being brainwashed?” I ask her directly.

    “Hm? No, not really.” She just shrugs. “I don’t really care.”

    I’m astonished.

    I was certain that playing towards her own potential fear would help Bianca start to put herself in other people’s shoes, but I hadn’t expected the chance that she would be so apathetic to it.

    “W-why?” I question in a quiver voice. “Why does it not bother you? It’s mind control, you know. Brainwashing. You’ll lose all semblance of free will. You won’t even be you anymore. The you that’s here right now will cease to exist. It might as well be death!”

    “Yeah, I don’t mind. You’re free to go ahead if you want.” She bluntly replies.

    My shock and disbelief become immeasurable. Bianca has far surpassed my expectations.

    “Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Nothing really matters. Living, dying, free will or not, it’s all the same. As long as I’m having fun, I don’t really care.” She says, almost sighing, with blank, lifeless eyes that have lost all their light.

    “You… aren’t even afraid of death?” I gape at her incredulous statements.

    “Nah, not really. I’m not like normal people after all. Stuff like regrets or lack of fulfillment are for those who aren’t competent enough to do whatever they want. But I’ve already gotten everything I could ever want so many times over that it makes me yawn. So, I don’t really care if I were to die right now.” She explains in a somber tone. “Well, actually dying seems like it’d hurt a lot, so that’s a minus, but it doesn’t sound like Mind Break is painful, so whatever.”

    I see. I now understand what’s up with this stupid girl.

    Bianca Chrome has no fear. All her life, everything has always gone her way. No one has ever told her no and nothing has ever gone against her plans. That’s why she has no sense of anxiety. Since everyone does as she pleases, there are no uncertainties and there’s nothing to be scared of. That’s why the idea of fretting about the future feels alien to her.

    Bianca has never needed to think about the future since she always knew that things would work out however she wanted. She only has to live in the moment, indulging in physical sensations through instant gratification. That way, every day is utterly perfect and the happiest day of her life. There will never be a sadder day and there will never be a happier day. Since she already has anything and everything she could ever want, there’s nothing for her to work towards, nothing for her to regret when she dies and… nothing for her to live for.

    That’s… kind of sad.

    “Ah, we kind of got off track there, Ben. What were we talking about? Oh, right, you were complaining about how I use my powers.” Bianca continues with no regard for my stunned state. “Honestly, I still don’t get why you’re so huffy about it. Caring about silly stuff like right or wrong is beneath us. We’re the players so we don’t need to involve ourselves with NPC matters like morality. There’s nothing to threaten us so there’s nothing to worry about. Isn’t that great? You can live a life without any stress or anxiety if you’d just stop beating yourself up, Ben.”

    “… yeah, you’re probably right.” I sigh heavily.

    “Oh?” Bianca perks up, raising a brow. “You actually agree? Have you finally come to your senses?”

    “Even I know that I’m missing out on a lot in life. I have no friends, I have no hobbies, I have no treasured memories. When I reflect, I realize how few times I’ve genuinely had fun or smiled before in my entire life. I’m sure if I could just loosen up like you, I’d be a lot happier.” I admit reluctantly.

    “So, you do get it! That’s great, Ben!” Bianca eagerly beams, clapping her hands together.

    Her eyes light up with hope washing away all of the previous dull, lifelessness as if a single word could part the clouds in her mind. In sharp contrast, though, I feel more miserable than ever as I hang my head in shame.

    The truth is, she’s not entirely wrong. Most humans are naturally cooperative and empathetic. Only by working together and supporting each other can they become greater than their sum and manage to survive and thrive in this world. And from that bond, love and justice are able to be born. One could say that such things are a necessity for the continued existence of humanity. But what if such things are not necessary. What if someone can thrive on their own not through the support of others but by manipulating them? Does that person need to care about good and evil? Does that person need to care about the people they control anymore than the animals they eat? Probably not.

    If such a person exist, they would surely possess a peace of mind that few other people can ever obtain. In a sense, one could even say that they would reach be removed from all human concerns and reach a type of enlightenment. Such an existence would surely be far happier than any other human life. Such an existence would only be natural for such a person.

    But—

    “But, I can’t.”

    “… Huh?”

    The moment the words leave my mouth, Bianca’s smile fades just as quickly as it appeared.

    Quietly and slowly, I lift my head and meet her eyes.

    “You see, Bianca… I’m a coward.” I confess to her. “I can’t be like you. I’m just too much of a scaredy-cat.”

    “Wh-what are you talking about, Ben? You’re a Player too so you don’t have to—” Bianca stammers.

    “But I do. I get scared really easily. I worry about all the most pointless things and I always feel anxious. Whenever I talk to someone, I fret over what to say and how I look. When there’s something important happening the next day, I can barely sleep at night as I think about all the ways that things can go wrong. I’m scared of dying. I’m scared of the future. I’m scared of other people. There’s no end to the things that frighten me.” I tell her, clutching my chest as the contents of my heart spill out.

    A familiar pit in my stomach churns as it always does, winding up my body until I feel like a shriveled up, quivering mess.

    “But y’know, more than any of that, I’m scared of myself. I’m scared of what I might do and who I might become. I don’t want to be monster. I don’t want other people to think of me as a monster. I don’t want to accept that I am a monster.” I say, digging my nails deeper into my chest as if to draw blood from my heart. “To you, that might be stupid, but I can’t help but be afraid of my own reflection. For the past ten years of my life, there has been nothing I’ve been more scared of and hated more than myself.”

    I pause for a second and bit my lip, as if holding back something shaking withing me.

    “But recently… that changed. For the first time, there’s something else that frightens me even more than my own shadow. No, it frightens me because it’s no different from my own shadow.”

    I take a final sigh and force out my final words towards the specter staring across from me with lifeless eyes.

    “Bianca, you scare me.” I sincerely admit. “I’m afraid of you. That’s why I can’t be like you.”

    That’s all I could say to her. Even if she doesn’t fear herself and other people can’t fear her, I alone am still afraid of her. I alone can see what kind of monster she is. If no one else will hate her, then I’ll hate her enough for everyone.

    If she is the way she is now because she has never encountered conflict, never known fear, and never questioned herself, then I’ll give her enough trouble, anxiety, and doubt to smack that arrogance out of her.

    “…”

    Bianca is silent.

    After my declaration, she froze up and has remained standing still, stiff as a board. Her arms dangle limply by her side and her eyes lose all their light. At that moment, she looked no different from a hollow doll, devoid of all life.

    And then, so quietly as to be nearly inaudible, she murmurs.

    “… I thought you would understand.”

    Before I can even react, she starts sprinting away, rushing out of the bedroom and slamming the door behind her. The last thing I see as she passes by me are the slight traces of tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

    After the door closes, I hear the slightly distant sound of the adjacent door to Bianca’s room violently opening and closing as well. In the end, I’m left all alone in the room once more.

    Reflecting on everything that had just happened, I slowly saunter back to my own bed and collapse onto it, feeling exhausted. Not wanting to bother myself with that whole ordeal anymore, only a single thought remains in my mind.

    “… who the hell would want to understand you?”


  2. #502
    死徒 Dead Apostle zikari8's Avatar
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    Year:
    2018
    Location: Bianca’s Mansion, Fairyland

    “… can’t sleep.”

    Before I know it, it’s night and I’m lying in bad unable to pass out.

    After my altercation with Bianca earlier in the day, I ended up spending the rest of the day in the room. Even though I probably have a lot of things I should be doing, I just wasn’t in the mood. Mostly though, I didn’t want to run into Bianca, so I hid away in my little hole.

    When I peaked outside for a bit, I found a tray of food for dinner outside my door, but other than that, I spent the whole day mulling in bed and musing over all sorts of stuff. Maybe that’s why, when night came, I didn’t feel sleepy at all.

    “… maybe some fresh air would help.”

    Feeling whatever the opposite of refreshed is, I pop open the window of the room and let in the cool outside air into the room. Almost immediately, the atmosphere within changes, feeling slightly less gloomy than before. The breeze feels just right and the scenery from the window is as beautiful as ever, even at night. At this angle of the house, I can’t see the lake, but the forest lit up with strange, ephemeral lights is no less fantastical.

    It’s honestly amazing. How could such a peaceful place cause me so much strife? Despite its vast expanses of nature, this place feels even more suffocating than the cramped cities of Yao. It’s history’s most luxurious prison.

    “Hm? What’s that sound?” I suddenly wonder as I hear something on the wind.

    It kind of sounds like some sort of grunting or shouting. But looking around, I don’t see the source of it; it must be coming from the lakeside.

    This late at night, I thought everyone would be asleep, so I can’t imagine what could possibly be making that noise. It kind of makes me curious.

    I could just ignore it, but I honestly don’t have anything better to do and I don’t think I’ll run into Bianca, so I decide to check it out.






    Year: 2018
    Location: Hallow Lake, Fairyland

    “Oh, so it’s you two. What are you doing so late?”

    After quietly sneaking through the sleeping mansion, I sauntered out the front door to find a certain pair of Servants out in front of the lake.

    “Hm? Oh, if it isn’t Lord Bengshan? What are you doing out here?” Saber greets me as he notices my presence, putting down the sword in his hands.

    “Oh. Hi there.” Scylla coolly adds with her usual blasé expression.

    For some reason, the two of them were loitering outside the house, despite it being way past bedtime.

    When I first came out to peek, before I called out to them, I had caught a shirtless Saber diligently swinging his sword through the air over and over again, while Scylla watched unenthusiastically on the sideline. Though I could tell what they were doing, the sight still confused me somewhat.

    “Sorry for interrupting. I just heard some noise outside, so I came to check what it was.” I answer as I casually stroll up to them. “I guess that must’ve been your grunting.”

    “I’m sorry, did I wake you up? My sincerest apologies, Lord Bengshan.” Saber immediately apologized with a genuinely remorseful look. With that expression, he sort of gives off the same aura as a sulking puppy.

    “Nah, it’s okay. I couldn’t sleep anyways, which is why I ended up hearing you. But what are you exactly are you doing anyways?” I ask, still feeling in the dark.

    “Oh, just some practice swings. I tend to milady all day, so I try to get in my training at night when she’s asleep.” Saber answers.

    “Training? Even though you’re Servant?” I question in surprise.

    “Yes. It might not have any physical effects, but it helps keep my mind sharp. A single day of idleness will rust even the sharpest blade.” Saber announces proudly. “Well, it’s also just a little habit of mine. I get antsy if I don’t sweat a little for an extended period of time.”

    “So, you do this every day?” I wonder.

    “You bet he does.” Scylla suddenly chimes in with a sour tone. “Hmph. It’s one thing to swing his monkey stick around, but he has to do it by my lake. Not a night of peace and quiet since I got here.”

    “My apologies, Berserker. But, for the sake of our Master’s security, I can’t stray too far from the mansion. This is the only place where I can move around freely.” Saber says in a smooth and suave voice befitting a prince. “I greatly appreciate you allowing me to borrow your territory. Thank you, Berserker.”

    “Eh, w-well…” Scylla suddenly stammers, her face turning slightly red, before she swiftly looks away. “Hmph, whatever. It’s not like you’re in my water so do whatever you want, monkey.”

    Well, I guess these two are somewhat close. I didn’t really pick up on it earlier since they didn’t interact much during the whole swimming thing, but I guess they must be friendly if they’re spending every night together like this.

    “By the way, Lord Bengshan, I was hoping to speak with you.” Saber addresses me in a more serious tone. “Did something happen between you and Lady Bianca? I thought you two would be sending the day together in your room, but she suddenly stormed out and shut herself in her own room for the rest of the day. She didn’t even come out for dinner and had it delivered instead. I can’t help but be worried.”

    “That’s… it’s nothing really.” I answer hesitantly, making it obvious how little I wanted to talk about it.

    “What? Did you accidently forget to pull out and made her angry?” Scylla suddenly asks.

    “E-eh? N-no, of course not! Nothing like that happened.” I shout back.

    “Berserker! Please refrain from speaking of such inappropriate topics.” Saber swiftly commands in a rare harsh tone.

    “What? What else was I supposed to think those two were doing alone in a room together all day long?” Scylla protests, throwing up her hands.

    “It does not matter what you think, but saying such things besmirch milady’s name and honor. What happens in her chambers are to stay in her chambers.” Saber scolds.

    “Hmph. Fine.” Scylla pouts.

    “Geez…” I mumble to myself, still feeling embarrassed.

    Now that Scylla brought up the subject, I’m suddenly remembering the dream I had last night and it’s making me feel awkward in her presence.

    Well, then again, considering how casual she’s being, that must confirm that it was a dream after all… right?

    “I apologize for her rudeness, Lord Bengshan.” Saber says softly. “Still though, did nothing really happen between you two? I do not mean to probe, but I would like to know for milady’s sake.”

    “… it’s nothing much. We just… had a little disagreement. That’s all.” I decide to say, leaving out the details.

    “I see. I suppose such things do happen, though I have personally never seen Lady Bianca argue with anyone.” Saber accepts with a nod.

    Well, of course he’s never seen it. Everyone else automatically agrees with her.

    “Still, Lord Bengshan. I know it might be difficult for you, but I do hope you two can reconcile soon. It pains me to see my Master in such low spirits.” Saber gently asserts. “This may sound like outside meddling, but when you get to a certain age, you come to realize that there are few things in the world truly worth breaking a close friendship over.”

    “I guess I’ll keep that in mind…” I respond unenthusiastically.

    The mere thought of “reconciling” with Bianca repulses me too much to even act nice about it.

    “Hahaha.” For some reason though, Saber chuckles at my reaction. Then, he quickly straightens himself up and flashes me a bright, casual smile. “My apologies, Lord Bengshan, but would you mind sparing me a moment of your time?”

    “Hm? Well, I have nothing better to do, so sure.” I shrug and accept.

    “Then, why don’t you take a seat? I don’t intend to take up a lot of your time, but you should make yourself comfortable.” He offers politely.

    “Then don’t mind if I do.” I nod and quickly settle myself down on a comfy-looking rock in the clearing.

    While I made myself comfortably, Saber swiftly towels off his sweat and puts his shirt back on, though leaving the full armor plating off. Once he was ready, he plops down on the grass in front of me, seemingly caring little about getting his trousers dirty.

    For some reason, even though not much has changed about him, his demeanor suddenly feels much less… stiff. Rather than a prim and proper butler, the aura emanating from the man in front of me feels a lot more down-to-earth and casual, like a friendly guy that you would run into at a pub or something.

    “So, truth be told, I’ve actually been meaning to talk to you for a while now, Bengshan.” He suddenly admits with a broad smile.

    “Huh? Really?” I gasp, shocked.

    “Well, Lady Bianca talks about you all the time, so I naturally grew curious.” He explains vivaciously. “But more than anything else, I heard from her that you wanted to become a hero.”

    “Th-that’s…” I quickly hide my face, feeling rather embarrassed. “Sh-she told you that?”

    “Yeah. She told me that you became a Master because you wanted to be a hero and help save the world. Something like that.” Saber affirms.

    I blush and wonder how Bianca knew that. I don’t remember telling her or any of the Crypters my reasons for joining Chaldea.

    I wanted to become a hero. Or rather, I wanted people to treat me like some sort of hero. I was tired of feeling like a monster, so I wanted other people to start praising me, and paying attention to me, and liking me. That’s why I signed up to “help save the world” and what not. Though nowadays, that feels like decades ago.

    But I still don’t know how Bianca could know that. The director sort of knew but… oh, wait, that’s right. Bianca said she took a look at my files. That’s probably where she found out.

    “S-so, what? What about that did you want to talk about?” I ask Saber after regaining myself.

    “Hmm, nothing much really. I just felt like talking to you, hahaha.” Saber merrily shrugs. “You see, I too want to become a hero.”

    “Huh? You want to be a hero? Aren’t you already a hero?” I ask, tilting my head in confusion.

    “Oh, right, I guess I am. Oopsies!” Saber laughs. “Right, what I meant was that I always wanted to be a hero, more than anything else in the world. So, when I heard you wanted to be one too, I felt like talking to you.”

    “Is that so?” I reply blankly, not really sure how to react.

    “Y’see, when I was kid, I always admired those stories of chivalry and adventure, especially those of the Round Table. I would imagine myself becoming a knight and fighting alongside legends like Arthur or Lancelot or Gawain.” Saber cheers with all the excitement of a 10-year old boy, before playfully sighing in a half-somber tone. “But, unfortunately, I guess I was born too late. Knights weren’t really a thing anymore by my era and stuff like dragons or giants had disappeared a long, long time ago. That kind of bummed me out.”

    “But in the end, you managed to become a Heroic Spirit, didn’t you?” I point out.

    “Yup, I managed to make it. I guess you could say my lifelong dream came true at the very end.” Saber grins. “But well, I guess that’s why I felt a connection with you. As someone who made it, I feel like I have to help you reach your dream too. Y’know, passing it forward.”

    “Well… thanks, I guess.” I half-heartedly bow.

    I’m really not sure how to feel. Maybe because this is coming out of nowhere, I feel a bit awkward talking about these things with Saber.

    “So, tell me, Bengshan. What kind of hero are trying to become?” Saber suddenly asks.

    “Huh? Wh-what kind?” I squeak.

    “Yeah, what sort of hero do you want to be? Or rather, what does a hero mean to you?” He affirms eagerly.

    “Th-that’s… um, I haven’t really thought about that…” I admit anxiously.

    “Oh?” Saber expresses a little surprise. “Well, no matter. If it’s something you want, there’s a reason for it. I’m sure if you just think a little now, you can find the answer easily.”

    “…”

    As he suggests, I find myself contemplating the question.

    All this time, I’ve sort of vaguely wanted to become a hero but… what exactly did that mean to me? What exactly did I want out of myself?

    What kind of hero do I want to become?

    Choice!
    After another heated argument with Bianca, you find yourself having a chat with Saber and bonding over your shared desire for heroic status. Through it, he asks you want being a hero means to you.

    What is your answer?

    1. Someone who always does the right thing.
    2. Someone who helps and protects others.
    3. Someone who punishes evil and wrongdoings.
    4. Someone everyone likes and accepts.
    5. Still don’t know
    6. Write-In


  3. #503
    吸血鬼 Vampire BnEl15's Avatar
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    2. On another note, I still have no idea on who Saber is, but he seems surprisingly recent (relatively speaking, at least).
    Feel free to look at my Servant sheets here (Now 100% fixed and viewable)

  4. #504
    屍食鬼 Ghoul Theadier's Avatar
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    4. Someone everyone likes and accepts.
    Saber could be anyone

  5. #505
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    6. Write-In:​ Someone who challenges and corrects.

    Camille's not certain what is really "right." He's extremely limited to what he can do to protect (not to mention his reluctance to use Mind Break). Not to mention his reluctance to judge what is "evil" especially what he had done, and that his personality is not very much of the "Accepting" type.

    But throughout the Quest, Camille has refuted and questioned the motivations/approaches of others, and does his best to return/compromise things back to the way it is - - be it through Rider and her Gang or learning more of Alisha from Starkad....

    Effectively returning things to closest to a "Status Quo," a form of arbiter so to speak; a return to a peace he can live with, one where he's not longer a monster. And in this way, Camille can protect those he cares for.

    And in a sense, reflects the nature of ESP being a form of Alaya's influence - - making Camille an agent of humanity's interest, and in this case, Yao's interests.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

  6. #506
    Sleepy's 6.

  7. #507
    吸血鬼 Vampire Wyvern's Avatar
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    I'll also vote for Sleepy's 6

  8. #508
    I'm going with Sleepy's 6​ as well.

  9. #509
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Sleepy's 6!
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  10. #510
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Sleepy's 6 as well

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