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Thread: Fate/Closure [IC Thread]

  1. #241
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase



    Due to the exhaustion suffered during the past two days, you are one of the few in the inn to have been granted a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, the myriad of thoughts relating to the plans you have for the day are soon interrupted by the lack of a key element that marks the beginning of the day. That is, the moment you leave the isolation of your room, the absence of natural light becomes immediately apparent, as it would appear that the sun has yet to rise. There are no stars in the sky, and the moon does not seem to be anywhere in sight. As a result, it's really dark, almost terrifyingly so. Your hand instinctively reaches for the hallway's light switch, yet that motion proves to be fruitless, as it fails to provide any sort of illumination.

    Granted, a power outage could very well be the logical consequence of the destruction brought by the strange phenomenon surrounding the city, and maybe it just so happened that you woke up earlier than the norm, before the sun had a chance to make its appearance. Unfortunately, even a little girl like you can understand that those are nothing but excuses. The space outside your room feels like a completely different realm, ruled by shadows, monsters and the like...

    It's not entirely pitch-black, so you can still find your way, albeit at a much slower pace. That said, it does not feel like a good path for an innocent to wander through.

    Fortunately, it looks like your Servant is here to pick you up. If the sudden news of an 'endless night' are meant to be comforting in one way at the very least, that would have to be the fact that Assassin thrives in this sort of environment. It wouldn't be a mistake to claim that with this setup, her Saint Graph would be able to showcase its full potential consistently. You would soon learn that this is not her doing, however, adding yet another unsolved mystery to the list.

    Could this have something to do with the facts 'M' mentioned during your conversation?

    In any case, it looks like things will only get crazier from now here on out. Speaking of which, there is one thing your Servant should share with you, although it's not her obligation to do so. Because as soon as you meet the others at the living room next to the kitchen, you would undoubtedly notice the absence of one of the most outstanding members of the group. Yes, as a result of the aftermath of last night's ordeals, Masaki Taichi had to undergo a special procedure in order to save his life. It's too soon to declare whether it has been a success or a complete failure, regardless, his body has been buried six feet under as part of the next step in his 'recovery', a task in which Assassin actively assisted given her superior strength and ever-lasting stamina.

    For those clad in knowledge of the occult, this might not seem strange at all, but for someone close to an ignorant civilian such as yourself, it is something absurd and hard to understand. Masaki Taichi is 'dead'. Forfeiting his life was a requirement to begin his transformation into a 'Dead Apostle'. Now, whether he surpasses death or succumbs to the vampiric poison that flows through his veins, it's up in the air. How to explain that, then, to a young little girl...?

    And more importantly...

    Would Assassin be the one to do so?

    -------

    Prana Reserves
    Alicia: Full recovery.
    Assassin of the Stray Path: 15 (Assassin's daily Recovery) - 12 (Assassin's Daily Maintenance Cost) - 12 (Assassin's Battle Maintenance Cost) - 100 (Hunter of the Dark [Active]) = -109 (Total Prana Spent last day)

    -109 - 9 - 150 = -268 (Total Prana Spent so far)
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  2. #242
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase


    "It's dark..." Alicia murmured blearily, squinting through the gloomy ambience. Having just risen from her slumber the young girl's first response to the unnatural darkness had been to grope blindly for the nearest lightswitch. Unfortunately, her instincts were disappointed when the usually reassuring 'click' heralded nothing but further shadows.

    Compared to everything else she'd seen in the last two days a power-outage was nothing to lose one's head over. Even so, that combined with the absense of familiar warm sunlight pouring through her bedroom window left Alicia's senses on edge. At first she assumed she'd just woken up early. But a quick glance at the clock on her bedside table confirmed her suspicions. It was morning. It's just that for some mysterious reason, the same phenomenon that cut Fuyuki off from the world had also obscured the sun, moon and stars. Almost as if a black shroud had been stretched over the whole sky...

    Well, thinking such creepy things wasn't going to help her solve anything. Besides... (Groan...) a pang of hunger stirred in Alicia's gut, reminding her that she hadn't had anything to eat since departing the inn yesterday morning. "Ah, I hope we can still have breakfast like this. Everyone must be hungry after the big battle," the blonde said to herself, rubbing her tummy before setting off down the main hall. It wasn't pitchblack so Alicia could still make her way vaguely through the dark, especially since she'd already more or less memorized the inn's layout by hand. Until suddenly...

    Crash!

    "Eek!" Alicia squeaked, bumping into something large and heavy and tumbling to the floor. Or at least, she would've hit the floor, were a pair of familiarly slender but sturdy arms not to wrap around her at the last second.

    "Yo, Master. You're sure jumpy in the morning," Assassin's lighthearted voice teased her. Looking up Alicia met the Servant's gold eyes that peered at her in the dark, and managed a soft smile. Looks like at least one thing hadn't changed from last night... Despite her intimidating appearance Assassin's presence was a beacon of comforting warm familiarity in a world that had lately found itself rapidly changing beyond all reason.

    Still, she wasn't going to forgive her so easily for giving her that little scare... "You're the one who ran into me. For all I knew it could've been a scary monster or something," Alicia muttered, pushing out her cheeks in a slightly peevish pout.

    Assassin laughed, showing her sharp teeth. "Hah, thankfully for you the scariest monster around here is me. And I don't have a taste for innocent young girls like yourself. Now we should get going, breakfast will be ready soon and I'm sure everyone will want to talk after what went down last night."

    With those words she grabbed Alicia's hand and took off briskly towards the living-room. "I can't object to that," Alicia agreed, matching the Servant's pace as her stomach growled again. But on the way there a question intruded on Alicia's mind. "Assassin...?" she asked slowly.

    "Yeah?" The Servant stopped, concerned gold eyes fixing on her. "What is it Master?"

    "Taichi... Tomomi's brother, he was really injured in that fight and had to go to his room early last night. What happened to him? Is he okay?" Alicia said as if afraid her worries would be made real once spoken aloud.

    For a moment no answer came from Assassin, a stiff silence filling the air. Finally after looking like she was closely deliberating her next words the wolf-eared woman spoke up. "It's a little hard to explain, but Taichi was in critical condition the last time I saw him. He was going to die if we didn't do anything. So Akane and I decided to go for an emergency treatment that had a chance of saving his life... er, him anyways." She corrected herself for a reason Alicia couldn't understand before continuing. "Tomomi agreed of course."

    "And then what?" Alicia asked innocently. "Don't tell me, it failed...?" The young girl's voice broke as images of the worst possible outcome flashed through her mind.

    "No." Assassin quickly shook her head. Despite her reassuring words her tone wasn't as relieved as Alicia would've expected. "It's not that. He's still undergoing the treatment, and his survival isn't clear yet one way or another. But Alicia..." Now it was Assassin's turn to struggle for words, looking for a way to explain what came next in terms one unfamiliar with the magical world could understand. "If Taichi survives the operation, he'll become 'something other than human'."

    Alicia blinked in bewilderment, clearly not comprehending what Assassin had just uttered. "Not human anymore... what do you mean Assassin?"

    "He'll become a bloodsucker, a vampire," Assassin answered simply. "Taichi's injuries were so severe the only way to save him was to risk turning him into an undead being. Of course, there's a chance he won't revive at all and then we'll end up with a corpse on our hands either way, but... at least he's got a shot of coming through."

    "No way, a real vampire...?" Alicia repeated, eyes wide and voice flat from disbelief. She fell silent and for a moment Assassin feared her young mind would be wholly unable to process the information, or even lash out at her for having played a role in the decision. After all, even if it was to help save his life she'd willingly helped turn her best friend's brother into an inhuman monster. Assassin bit her lip, resolving herself to accept whatever tantrum Alicia threw her way as penance.

    But then Alicia just smiled and exclaimed "That's so cool!"

    A deadpanned "...Huh?" was the only reaction Assassin could muster in that moment. Alicia's sudden turn into cheerfulness had taken her off-guard to the point where she had no idea what to say or do next. "M-Master... are you serious? You heard me properly, right?" she settled for following up incredulously.

    "Of course!" Alicia chirped as if she didn't see what Assassin was so upset about. "Because of you and Akane Tomomi's big bro has a chance of surviving right? So I should thank you right now, Assassin." She leaned forward and threw her arms around Assassin's waist, pulling the taller girl into an abrupt hug. "Thank you," Alicia whispered in a soft heartfelt tone. "You're the reason Tomomi doesn't have to cry yet. She's been through a lot, and I don't want her to have to lose someone she cares about."

    "Wow..." Assassin muttered, blushing at how close Alicia's head was to her chest. "I really thought you'd have been more freaked out by this..."

    "Why?" Alicia asked as she pulled back from the hug. "Vampires are super cool! They're all broody and mysterious, can turn into bats and fly around, and do all sorts of awesome stuff. Um, just as long as he doesn't sparkle or anything though. That'd just be weird." She giggled, joking to lighten the mood.

    "Y'know, most people would think vampires are something scary..." Assassin said dryly.

    "You mean, like a scary wolf-lady?" Alicia commented.

    Assassin looked down sheepishly for a second. "That's not... what I meant."

    "Don't worry," assuaged Alicia with a sweet smile. "I don't find you scary. You're a kind person, and you've always done your best to protect me. But, Taichi is the same way. He's strong, and whatever this vampirism is I'm sure he won't give into it and become a different person than he was before."

    "Alicia..." Assassin murmured, briefly mesmerized by the purehearted trust her Master was displaying. "You really do have faith in other people, don't you?"

    "When they're people I care about, of course," Alicia answered like it was perfectly obvious. "Now let's going. Like you said, breakfast must be almost ready by now."

    "Right," Assassin said, snapping back to attention. "Off we go Master." She took Alicia's hand again and they began walking down the darkened hall.

    "So..." Alicia mused to make conversation along the way. "You said Akane was the other one involved in this plan? Does that mean...?"

    "Mhmm." Assassin nodded. "She's a vampire, and the one who 'converted' Taichi... at least if this procedure goes as planned."

    "Then I oughta' thank her too when I see her again, plus I can ask what cool vampire tricks she can pull off sometime. Ooh, I wonder if she can freeze people or shoot laser beams from her eyes..." Alicia trailed off with a daydreamy look on her face.

    "Oi, what kind of traditional vampire powers are those...?" Assassin deadpanned, but knew better than to try to puncture the young girl's fantasies. Honestly, the way Alicia's mind worked was a mystery to her at times more than anything behind this unorthodox Grail War. She acted as innocent as a child most of the time, and yet showed an astounding maturity and quick-thinking in dangerous situations. Not to mention, her reaction to learning about Taichi's potential to become a vampire was seriously abnormal.

    Vampires were beings that rejected humanity. Therefore, it was just instinct that humans would reject them in turn. No matter how trusting or accepting you were, an instinctive revulsion towards the walking dead was something engraved into the human race. Zombie, Strega, Jiangshi, there were countless legends testifying to such traditions in unrelated cultures across the world. Most would call it superstition, but Assassin knew it was survival instinct, as denizens of the moonlit world like vampires had preyed on humans since their conception. Yet... Alicia seemed to totally lack those feelings. Not that she repressed or tried to look past it, like Tomomi surely had when the terrible choice was put before her. No, such fear simply didn't exist in the girl called Alicia Rosenkopf to start with...

    As if she'd been around corpses long enough that the dead held no mystery or fear to her. Or as if she hid a monster inside her far more terrifying than any without...

    Either way, one question loomed front and center in Assassin's mind. Alicia Rosenkopf... just
    what
    who
    in the world was she?

    "Tch." Assassin pushed those thoughts away with a frustrated click of her tongue. 'Why the hell am I wracking my brains over this crap? Alicia's my Master, and she trusts me from the bottom of her heart. That alone is enough reason for me not to doubt her. If there are any dark secrets she's holding, I'll find them out from her myself when the time comes, so there's no sense poking my nose around. Besides...' She looked down at her hands, briefly imagining them stained in blood. 'I have my own secrets I'm hiding.'

    "Assassin?" Alicia called out suddenly, waving a hand in front of her face. "Earth to Assassin? You just stopped and were spacing out all of a sudden..."

    "O-oh, yeah..." Assassin stammered, the young girl's voice cutting through her ruminations. "Sorry 'bout that Master. I was just..." she fumbled for an excuse, "thinkin' of what to eat that's all. I hope they have some good meat at this crappy inn anyways..."

    "Right, since you are a carnivore and all," Alicia said.

    And so the pair renewed their walk to the living-room, wondering what sort of atmosphere would await them amongst the other survivors. After last night's battle, Alicia knew they weren't exactly going to have a carefree breakfast. There was much to discuss now that morning had come, and the future ahead was still uncertain. Even so, there wasn't any point worrying about such things on an empty stomach, so Alicia hoped they could all have a full meal before facing whatever lay ahead together.

  3. #243
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Hiyako Tsurara
    Dark World - Location Unknown
    Unknown Phase



    "..."

    It's a nostalgic sensation of pain accompanied by the newfound promise of death. In spite of the inescapable consequences, Kawamoto Yutaka cannot help but feel relief at least. He attempts to express said emotion with words, but
    ultimately ends up coughing blood instead. After all he was forced to live through, for his life to be taken away from him by something as simple as a stake of wood conveniently left on his 'landing spot'... How ironic. But, in the end, he cannot ask for more. For him to finally close his eyes and join others in an eternal rest has been wish he has kept to himself for too long. Now that his job is done, all he can do is accept that the rest is in someone else's hands.

    "......................................."

    The curse has been lifted.


    He's gone.

    Unceremoniously. Unexpectedly. Unpunished.

    By the time you come back to your senses, the man who called himself Kawamoto Yutaka is no more. Leaving behind more questions than answers, the mysterious time traveler has succumbed to his wounds and departed towards the afterlife. Perhaps searching him might yield a clue as to his real motives, regardless, this outcome leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Whatever hopes you had of fixing this whole mess have just straight up disappeared. No clue of where you are and not a way back in sight...

    To make matters worse, you have been separated from the victims you came here to protect. You are alone, surrounded by nearly pitch-black darkness and the corpse of a former 'enemy'. If it wasn't for your enhanced, supernatural senses, you would be completely lost. However, even if your field of vision does not extend very far, there are other means of perception you can rely on to find your way. It doesn't take very long before you realize that this location is not that much different from the last, with the exception that this one feels a lot more precarious. The wooden boards underneath your feet feel like they could give out at any given moment, even more so if you give them a reason to do so with sudden, abrupt, movements. The desks, which would normally be put in lines and organized have all been pushed towards one of the doors, as if to make a point that certain things are best to be kept outside the room.

    Your nose picks up a rather distinctive and repulsive odor. Humans have been here for extended periods of time, and it smells like Yutaka's blood has not been the only one that's been spilled. This place has acted as both a repository and a cemetery. The air is heavy, and the mere decision of staying here for long occasionally nags at your sanity.

    More importantly, you can hear shouts in the distance. You can't exactly tell which direction they're coming from, which is rather puzzling to say the least, nor what exact words are being said, but you can be sure that they are in Japanese, so that's a lead you should follow, if given the chance.

    With a splitting headache that's there to remind you of your limits, you pick yourself up and get to work, the lingering sense of dread and danger ever-present in the back of your head...
    Last edited by hero; April 15th, 2021 at 07:53 AM.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  4. #244
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase



    "..."

    When you come back to your senses, you are met with a sensation of utter relaxation, one which usually manages to avoid the mind of a troubled, busy Magus. If you had to put it into words, it would be akin to taking flight, no, levitating, except the warmth temperature makes the experience even more accommodating. If this were to be a dream, then it would be perfectly understandable for anyone to ask for an indefinite extension of it. Alas, the moment you take a deep breath -or, to be precise, the moment you make the attempt to- the fantasy world you envisioned soon becomes a nightmare. Precisely, because what goes into your nostrils is not fresh air, but rather hot water. Combine this with the surprise of suddenly waking up in a completely awkward position with your head upside down and you get a formidable death trap that instantly undoes all the pleasant memories that came beforehand.

    It's only to be expected for your recovery to take a couple of seconds at the very least, and for it to be followed by an expression that's a mix of bewilderment and anxiety. The steam that rises from the hot water has almost completely invaded the large room you find yourself into, but even with it getting in the way, you can tell that the other two individuals that remain at a prudent distance, as well as yourself, have surrendered -willingly or by force- most, if not all, of the clothing they are supposed to wear under normal circumstances. Well, that, too, is only natural, for what greets you is the sight of a large bathhouse. Though its design is elegant to say the least, it does not entirely match with the rest of the environment, leaving it clear that it's an addition, a zone that has invaded an area that would otherwise be purely utilized for science.

    "Umm... You alright?"
    Luna addresses with a polite, somewhat worried tone. "Assassin said you would heal faster if we kept you upside down, but..."

    ...

    Putting that aside, where is Assassin, exactly? He couldn't have gone too far.

    "Oh don't look at me."
    As your accidentally lay your eyes on the far off white ceiling, a familiar voice rings out. "I had nothing to do with this, nor do I intend to become involved in the future."

    With that, the old man of the mountain informs you that you are alone in this predicament, and leaves you with Luna and the second Assassin of this team.

    A certain cat-eared Servant.

    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  5. #245
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase



    Warmth.

    Comfort.

    Peace.

    For Yamashita Hiro, these were not very common sensations.

    She was not familiar with warmth. Fire, sure. She burned all the time. Every time the fire demon came out or even stirred, she could feel her mystic circuits burning as if she had molten iron running through the veins of her soul. But a pleasant warmth? Like the feeling of placing one’s head against the bosom of a loving parent, feeling the nightmares grudgingly recede? Warmth was not something she knew.

    She was not familiar with comfort. Confidence sure. She well knew the heady feeling of nigh unparalleled power. With the Demi-servant within her, less then one and one thousand mages could ever challenge her. And not one in a hundred thousand without magic or concept to call could ever bar her path. But comfort? To a mage it was a heresy. Happiness was being satisfied with what you had, while success is claiming that what you want. Therefor, to be a mage you rejected happiness and simple comforts and pursued hard fought successes. Comfort was not something she knew.

    And least of all...peace. If Hiro did not know of warmth, if she knew nothing of comfort, then at least, she knew of them. Hiro could define and describe these things, perhaps even dream of them, in a hazy mindset of what heaven might be, a place she could go upon death if she was really good. But peace? Her soul had never tasted such a thing. Comfort most of all, was something she could never know.

    Not in years of study.

    Not in thousands of repetitions of spear play, of simulated and real world battle. Not in nights where the fire demon burned her dreams and gave horrors of fire to ensure she never escaped the flames even when she slept.

    If there was one thing at all that was similar to how Hiro felt now, and how she was used to feeling...it was...

    Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, I can’t fucking breathe!

    Pushing aside the hazy somnolence that clouded her thoughts, Hiro struggled against whatever was choking her, feeling without processing rivulets of hot steamy water being thrown by her flailing arms as she vainly sought to gain purchase against the slick smooth stone of the bath floor. It took several attempts before she managed to get her head above the water for a few seconds to draw in a gulp or two or blessed air, sucked greasing past steam that clogged her mouth, and her own free flowing black hair which fell around her face and tried to follow the flow of oxygen down her throat.

    When she finally managed to get a knee planted and pull her head out of the water, coughing, hacking, and spitting like a stepped on cat, she was ready to burn something alive.

    “I don’t know *cough* whose fucking idea this was but I’m going to roast their asses over a spit! On low heat! Until the cunt sucking *ahack!* son of a whore begs me to eat them!”

    Hiro choked out the vulgar homicidal ideation before grudgingly assessing her surroundings. Likely less out of curiosity at her current location and far more likely to be a measure of assessing potential targets for judging who to claw up first.

    ...At the same time, the mage side of her, the calm collected anima that was her usual facade of determination felt something worthy of note.

    ...There was something in the water. Or maybe, to put it another way, the water was something. A weak genius loci assessed her mental sending and then dismissed her. There was a spirit of the spring. This was no haphazard pool randomly stumbled upon, more was it some closely guarded place of comfort and leisure. This hot spring had been called. The spirit that answered the calling cared not for Hiro. Nor Luna, or even the nearby Servants. It’s roll was to dance amongst the steam, bringing fire to water and turning steam to delicious relaxation. It cared not for its inhabitants. It brought the onsen because it was the onsen, that’s all there was to it.

    “Trying to suffocate me with a low ass elemental...” Hiro said, frustration boiling over as she pulled back her wet hair with an audible ‘Slap!’ Sound and then carefully rolling it into a bun on her head. It was right about then Luna demonstrated she was either 50% more gullible or 500% more spiteful then Hiro had previously believed.

    “Have you lost your mind?!” Hiro goggled at the apprentice magus, whilst shifting her weight against the bottom of the pool so that she could lean up against the edge and stretch her feet out.

    “What kind of person do you think I am that I heal faster while breathing water! I’m a magus, not a bloody mermaid! And another thing, where did you even bring me!” Hiro said, bringing one arm in angry demonstration high over her head before dropping it to rest on the edge of the seemingly natural stone spring.

    “Are we under ground right now? My Servant did this didn’t she?” Hiro’s...voice had grown noticeably softer, and the next time she raised her other arm, it was less a thunderous motion and more of a haphazard flop onto the warm, wet stone, so that both her arms rested on the lips of the pool, her slim, childlike legs idly floating in front of her.

    ”...”

    ”.....”

    ”Ahhhhhhh...” Hiro idly finished, sliding down slightly from being roughly chest high to down far enough that the hot steamy waves lapped at her chin.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird of Hermes View Post
    The moment the opportunity arises for a pun, the one known as 'Taiga's Knight' will be there to deliver whether you like it or not.

  6. #246
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers - ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase

    "Nyaaaaaa..."

    In sync with the confused magus' long sigh of relief and relaxation, a similar noise comes from her nearby Servant. Assassin is as bare as the rest of the bathhouse occupants, modesty preserved only by the coating of wet fur that covers her body from head to toe. She floats with her back to the wall, wet arms splayed out across the cool stone, head thrown back over the edge and a towel resting on her face. She has been like this for several minutes now, at first hesitant to enter the water but now utterly content to call it home. Even Hiro's vocal complaints fail to pierce her veil of satisfaction.

    Assassin's ears do perk up, though.

    "Not so loud, subject. Your voice is not so pleasant to hear as the hiss of the steam of this so-called 'onsen'."

    Her smooth voice slinks underneath the clouds of roiling water vapor.

    "If you've the strength to mewl, then the Bannik has done its duty," she murmurs sleepily, and sighs again. "Nyaah..."

    For a moment all is quiet again, as everyone relaxes and soaks. Subject and Servant are side by side, resting in the same fashion. It's difficult to be angry here. The heat and steam sap away weariness and erode any traces of a sour mood. It is perhaps for that reason that Assassin is at ease, despite the many reasons not to be.

    She lazily reaches over and lifts one corner of the towel just to enough to let her affix Luna with an ambiguous stare.

    Assassin smiles, liking what she sees.

    "Say, girl, your soul smells delicious."

  7. #247
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Location Unknown
    Time Unknown



    It feels like your head is going to split apart. It has felt that way for the past few minutes and it doesn't look like there is going to be an end to it any time soon. Words, people, places, events, all gather into a single place. It's overwhelming, to the point where you can recognize the nature of each image that you see, yet you are not allowed the time to even question its meaning. Every little hint you get is immediately buried under a new wave of information. Aya Alayana cannot survive this procedure. Such function has not been installed into her human body. Eventually, she will reach a point where her mind will eventually shut down. You know this instinctively, as it is perhaps the only thought you are allowed within this madness.

    And yet...

    Defying all odds, Aya Alayana reaches a place no human should. Whether it is through dumb luck, sheer force of will, through her own merit or through someone else's is hard to say, as none of the listed causes are valid. This pathway, this backdoor, has been created with the intent of keeping others outside. For an outsider to wander into it so casually is an error that stands on the verge of impossibility. But then again, you are not the first one to be washed ashore by the sea of fate. Yes, trapped in this cage of thought, in this room that exists between mind and matter, between dream and reality, someone else awaits. But make no mistake: He's not the host, he's not the maker, he's simply someone like yourself, except he arrived here a long time ago, if time means anything in this world.

    "..."


    It's a school library, one big enough to be worthy of praise, yet at the same time not large enough to claim independence from the institution it is meant to assist. It's quiet, and the only sound you recognize is the gentle rain caressing the earth outside. Your groggy head is adamant to rise from the table that acts as its makeshift pillow, and for a good reason. Compared to the moments of agony you were subjected to mere seconds ago, this place might just as well be paradise. Here, you are stripped of your worries, as no memory ties you from the past that has led you here. It is exactly as it sounds like, here Aya Alayana has no recollection of how she arrived or what happened previous to that. She is not tied up to the flames that reside within her body and shouldn't even be troubled with the somewhat unfamiliar surroundings.

    Here Aya Alayana is just Aya Alayana in its purest, human form.

    "..."


    The only other person here, a man with an untidy and unkempt look, finds a seat across from you. His expression looks both calm and preoccupied. He struggles to find the right words to break the ice, yet he knows he must make a move. In the end, what captures your attention is not the man himself, but the aroma present in the warm cup of coffee he slides towards you. It's strange, even though there shouldn't be any emotional attachment towards it, the smell is nostalgic enough for you to move and claim it for yourself.


    Spoiler:

    "Drink up, miss. I am afraid we've a lot to talk about."

    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  8. #248
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Location: Unknown
    Time: Unknown


    ---It doesn't stop.

    A torrent of information, of noise both meaningful and meaningless, accompanies the shrieking of her existence as everything threatens to fall away. It continues on and on, a suffering that should have blanked out her thoughts long ago, the journey to a place that cannot be identified in spite of seeing it right in front of her, of images full of meaning that dance without any meaning at all, yes...

    ---Eventually, something clicks, or maybe something gives, or maybe something does nothing at all, yes...

    It's hard to say.

    Why does she rise at the sound of rain?

    It's impossible to say.

    "..."

    Silence.

    The girl that has found herself sitting in a library she does not recognize does so in a manner that is very much unlike her usual self... The hints of the constant aggression are gone, replaced by the quiet, thoughtful form of someone who seems very unlike Fuyuki's 'Red Devil,' yes...

    While the hair continues to shimmer like fire, everything else has become far more subdued; she isn't aware of it herself, cannot be aware of it herself in her current state, but the absence of that curse is the absence of almost all malice, the root of the mania that had sharpened her mind and thoughts to a fine steel point, the grim realization that it represented, and the subsequent duty of the Alayana Family...

    "..."

    Without those things... Her existence seems far more... Pleasant...?

    Certainly the eyes are softer, ironically more warm, in spite of the agonizing pulse that continues to exist behind her eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "Drink up, miss. I am afraid we've a lot to talk about."
    Someone slides a drink her way.

    ---There is nothing to associate with it in her thoughts, and yet, she finds herself grasping it anyway.

    Just like when she was a child, a child grasping at a cup of hot tea with simple amusement, of the pleasant feeling of something warm in a world that has gone cold and wet, yes...

    "...Do we?"

    In response to the man's declaration, the woman simply says this...

    But it's in a pleasant way.

    Not a mocking or sarcastic question, simply a sincere one, confirmation that there is indeed something to talk about here, and...

    "Okay."

    ...She agrees with it.

    Simply.

    Easily.

    Like this, she doesn't have much reason to be suspicious, like this...

    The idea of harming or being harmed has absolutely no role in her thoughts.

    "I'm listening. What do we need to talk about?"

    Even the voice is gentle now.

    Much more like the 'guardian' a certain group of kids knew, a face that she showed only them, and even then, only rarely...

    "Although you look much more tired than me... Are you alright?"

    Yes.

    If anyone back home had seen it...

    It might have felt much like being slapped from afar by the sheer shift in her demeanor...
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  9. #249
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase



    When Assassin and you finally arrive at the living room, you are met with a completely unexpected scene. Naturally, you were able to hear the whispers, the movement and all its related noise from the narrow hall that led you up to this point, but that doesn't take away from the surprise. Defying all expectations, the atmosphere in the living room is lively, a polar opposite of the downcast pressure that used to linger in the Sleeping bishop after the dark events that transpired there the previous day. It has to be the first time you see something like this, a play which goes against all prejudice you might have unconsciously inflicted on the inhabitants of the inn because of the roles they are usually assigned to.

    Though the place has received some quick repairs, the signs of in-fighting and struggle are still present. However, Sakaki Yuuna, the maid, is far too preoccupied with her morning push-ups to place her attention on such trivial issues. Normally, she would practice with Taichi out in the garden, but without her usual partner, she has shifted to a more intense solo routine.

    The one coming in and out of the kitchen is Takagi Akane, the owner of the inn, who, in spite of all the effort she has put in last night's procedure, is still there, taking care of a breakfast for four single-handedly. She is temporarily wearing a kitchen apron which remarks an usually hidden cute side of her. Because she is always so serious, it's unusual to see her like this.

    Finally, Tomomi has taken upon herself to give the ongoing investigation a firm direction. She has brought a couple of large books over to the table, and constantly switching between skimming them and writing notes. Far from being unable to act due to her bother's situation, it appears that her entire focus is on creating a new plan or two.

    Up until now, you've been left in charge of making decisions. Because you summoned Assassin, you somehow became a pushing force that moved the entire group forward by yourself for good or bad. But with this panorama, things must have changed. Everyone is fighting their own fight, but at the same time, they are working together towards the same goal.

    For themselves, for you, and most importantly, for Taichi, everyone would do their best.

    "Good morning, lady Alicia."

    "Oh, Alicia? Good morning. Breakfast is almost ready."

    "Good morning Alicia! I am glad to see you are alright!"


    The three of them say, nearly in unison, as they finally become aware of your presence.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  10. #250
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase



    "..."

    Alicia's jaw nearly dropped, taken aback by the lively scene unfolding in front of her. After the grim events of yesterday she'd been expecting a more somber gathering in the morning, yet instead a warm festive atmosphere enveloped her as three welcoming voices chimed out in unison.

    "Um, good morning to you guys," she returned the greeting awkwardly, not quite sure how to react at first. But that surprise quickly gave way to a grumbling in her belly when the warm aroma of whatever Akane was cooking washed over her senses. "Mhmm, that smells good," Alicia sighed happily, plopping herself down on a chair besides Tomomi.

    "Looks like you have a one-track mind," Assassin chuckled, standing casually beside her young charge. "Well that makes sense, breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all."

    Once she'd taken a seat Alicia waited a few moments before clearing her throat purposefully. "So..." she spoke up once everyone's attention was fixed on her, trying to find the right words. "What's our next course of action? You must've been talking already since I woke up, so have we come to any conclusions yet? On where to go or how to end this so-called 'Holy Grail War'? And Tomomi..." Alicia turned her gaze to her friend, resting a hand over hers reassuringly. "I've heard about your brother. I'm sure he'll come through somehow."

  11. #251
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro (& Assassin of the Distant Kingdom)
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase



    "Umm..."



    Your outburst comes as a natural response to the sheer amount of stress you've accumulated during the past few days, product of a long streak of insane events that have not only defied your daily routine, but also reason as a whole. What's not a natural response is Luna's sturdy composure, which does not seem to wear down even in the face of straight up verbal abuse. Though she retreats a little bit with an apologetic smile, the thought of replying never really crosses her mind. Although, well, there is also the fact that she is the kind of person to keep to herself unless she knows what she is talking about. And God knows there were a lot phrases in that speech she may never know how to respond to.

    "I did recover a little sooner than you, but I was also unconscious when the Assassins brought us here. So I have no idea where we are either."

    In other words, Luna is as much of a victim as you are. Or perhaps even more so, considering the predatory stare she is getting from your newly found Servant. Luna must feel pretty much like an exchange student being thrown into a brand new class, except here the students are all supernatural oddities. Retreating in a discrete and polite manner, her timid response to Assassin of the distant kingdom is trapped underwater as she allows the lower part of her face to sink. She's probably grateful for the compliment, but definitely does not know how to talk back to the creature which resembles a werecat, especially not when it acts in a such a regal manner.

    "Umm..."
    But then, unexpectedly, she allows her mouth back to the surface and voices a genuine concern. "H-How should we call you...? I mean, you two are "Assassin", yet you look so different. It's kind of strange that you are named after your roles, instead of having proper actual names."

    Luna moves her hands as if they were pincers trying to clutch something, but in reality, she's just using them to create the image of people talking to strengthen her argument.

    "Like... If Hiro yells "Assassin! Help!", which one of you two would come? What if one of you has a mission, but then both tail back to protect him when only one should...?"

    The entire thing is being dramatized by Luna's hands...

    And it might just be a whisper coming from above, but you are pretty confident that at one point you hear Hassan saying something treacherous like "I definitely wouldn't come" or "I wouldn't worry about that..."
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  12. #252
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Location: Unknown
    Time: Unknown



    "Do I look that way to you...?"
    The man pauses for a second, a brief hint of wonder present in his otherwise untidy demeanor. "Makes sense. I've always been the kind of person to look after others before myself. No, rather, what I mean is that I rarely take much care of myself if I don't have anyone to push me in that direction."

    It's a quiet, slow paced conversation between two strangers. In reality, many things are at stake, but here, there is not even a nagging thought to remind you that something is out of place. Even when the man suggests a serious talk, you can tell it is more with the intent of simply filling you in. You can't sense any sort of weight to be placed upon your shoulders. Perhaps he simply has been looking forward to the day where he would be able to talk to someone else like this.

    Almost as an art of magic, a cup of coffee materializes in his hand as well. You don't question it. Here, such thing is natural.

    "Where are my manners? My name is Tetsuro."
    It's a casual introduction with no handshakes involved. He gives you a moment to properly do your part before moving on. "Regrettably, I do not know where we have stumbled, however, I would advise not to be fooled by its appearance. This place is more of an observatory than it is a library. And, at the same time, a prison and purgatory. Listen, I'll be perfectly clear..."

    There is no ill-intent, yet his eyes become as sharp as knives.

    "... There is no way back. There is no escaping here. Your soul has been torn apart and scattered in all directions. What remains is no more than a figment of your being, the core of your very essence."


    You're dead.

    That's the short version of the story.

    When, how and why it happened is a mystery. You cannot recall the events that have led up to this point.

    In other words, said realization shouldn't have a big impact on your current self.

    Yet, when he puts it that way, something surges from within you. It's faint, yet powerful emotion.

    But you cannot define it. You simply can't.

    And that makes the experience all the more bizarre.

    "Having said that, you have the right to know what happened. Pick up a book. It will tell you about yourself. Or you can let go, and spend the rest of your days without worries."
    Last edited by hero; April 12th, 2021 at 06:01 PM.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  13. #253
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Location: Unknown
    Time: Unknown


    "You can call me Aya."

    In response to his words, the woman offers only this much up in response; it is not because she feels like being rude or anything like that, no, in her current state she might just be someone that could serve as a convincing nun in a certain church, no...

    She simply chooses to let him say his piece before saying her own.

    This habit likely remains from the past she cannot remember... While her demeanor has shifted towards the positive in a way that is almost disturbing, such a shift has also come with the loss of much of her knowledge, and thus, much of her ability to provide insight on the situation they find themselves in, in other words...

    ---She does not wish to come across as foolish, therefore, she chooses to speak last.

    The things he tells her are bizarre of course... Or at least, she can assume that they are not the sorts of things that would typically happen in 'reality,' whatever reality happened to be... It is this bizarre mood that lets her take the news of her own -apparently shattered- soul with absolute grace, clear eyes flickering behind crimson hair as she sips at the coffee in her hand in a testing way, as if trying to coax something out of the depths of her consciousness...

    Nothing comes.

    How problematic.

    Still...

    "...No way... Back...?"

    In the end, when it comes down to it, the first thing she says is a simple question, then-

    "Hmmm... I see... Well, I can't say I really believe that as an absolute. We got in here somehow right? It is probably more correct to say that it is just incredibly unlikely for us to be able to escape, there is no such thing as impossibility after all, just the self-imposed perception of a limit you can't cross."

    -she says something incredibly bizarre.

    She does not know where it comes from, but she does not truly question it either... Perhaps it simply felt like something to say, thus, she had found herself saying it, the last scraps of some rebellious spirit of the person she had been perhaps?

    She has no way of knowing.

    Such things are lost to her here, and that knowledge doesn't bother her as much as it probably should...

    "Not that I would know where to run too anyway. If I'm dead, then there is not much I can do anymore."

    She says it calmly.

    Eerily so, as if the concept of her own death was simply a fact of life, and well...

    ---If one thought of her current consciousness as a rebirth of sorts, then this really was all that she knew.

    She had started off dead, so...

    There's no strong rejection that comes with acknowledging it.

    "...That being said, it's probably useless to find out about myself. What would I do with the information?"

    She tilts her head to the side for a moment.

    Truly, it is probably pointless.

    ---Even so...

    She sets the cup down.

    Then stands up.

    "Although thinking about it... It'd be boring to sit around knowing nothing too, so if this is the one thing I can do, I might as well do it, right?"

    Is she talking to herself or him?

    She doesn't know.

    Can't know.

    Either way...

    She grasps at a book on the shelf.

    It doesn't seem to matter which she picks, so...

    "..."

    In a manner reminiscent to her past self, she dives into the pool of knowledge with little ultimate resistance... Standing there, frowning to herself, staring down at words that aren't words, that are just...

    Images.

    ---That's all they are, images, knowledge without feeling, a movie that goes by in a timespan she cannot place.

    She sees plenty of things.

    She remembers plenty of things.

    ---Nothing pierces to the core.

    Why did she do this? Why did she do that? A symphony of victories and errors play out before a shattered mind, and that mind cannot truly understand them anymore, without emotion it cannot be seen, after all, Aya Alayana, as much as she pretended otherwise, had always been driven by emotions and traumas in one form or another, but...

    "...I see."

    ...In the end, she finishes the novel...

    And simply sets it back in place.

    "I had an unfortunate life it seems... A bit arrogant at the end perhaps? Just because I always survived up until then, doesn't mean I would continue to do so when the world itself is ending..."

    It's a morbid sentence, but she chuckles to herself at it.

    "Well, I can't complain too much about it, seeing myself beg for mercy would have been unsightly too."

    A pause, then...

    "...Failing as a guardian is rather unfortunate too I suppose, but it seems there was little I could actually do about it."

    There should be some sort of spark in her heart at the thought, and perhaps something does stir inside of her, but...

    More than anything else.

    She just feels bad for the people she had seen, including herself...

    "...Quite the fool, Aya Alayana."

    Yeah.

    In the end...

    That's what she comes away from this with...
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  14. #254
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase



    "Thanks." Tomomi nods with assurance. "I am sure big bro is doing his best, so we cannot allow to fall behind."

    Hearing those words, you can't help to feel a little inspired as well. While you have yet to get to know Taichi on a personal level, he has always there when things would go awry, ready to put his life on the line for those around him. With a grumpy, distant and nihilist attitude, he would discretely fill his role of a big brother, not just looking after Tomomi, but everyone at the household. The hints left behind are hard to notice, but now that he isn't here, at least a couple of them come to mind. Yes, Tomomi is right: It's time to return the favor, time to show them what everyone can do when you set your mind on it!

    And so, the breakfast becomes an impromptu strategy meeting. The difference between this one and the one held the previous day is that of Heaven an Earth. There is a sense of security that was not there before, and everyone is able to work in unison even as they share a delicious meal. It's a coordinated effort born out of the determination that resides in everyone's hearts.

    "I've been investigating what you said about Fuyuki being divided in layers, Alicia."
    Tomomi is the one to begin. "I think what M is trying to say is that Fuyuki has been separated in different dimensions that overlap one over the other, while keeping the same identity."

    Now, the younger Masaki sibling does possess the mind of a genius, but she would never be as mean as to leave the explanation as that. In order to make sure she would be understood, she prepared pen and paper beforehand. Now, all she needs to do is quickly write down the word 'FUYUKI' twice big enough for everyone to see. However, there is something clearly different with the second time she writes it. Taking all the time that is necessary, Tomomi leaves several horizontal lines of blank space that give the impression that someone has deliberately cut down the word into different pieces.





    Those have to be the layers, but that much you already know. While you do get what Tomomi is trying to say, it still doesn't bring anything new to the table. You don't know how that theory translates into real life, much less how to piece everything back together...

    "I've been thinking. My brother and I have encountered a similar phenomena once before. The important think to remember is that it all overlaps in the same physical location. That's why M called them layers. In other words, there could be three or more Fuyuki that are nearly identical, existing at the same point in time. What that means is that if Alicia and I were on different layers, we could both have breakfast on this very same table at the same time, and never run into on another in the process. Think of it as being on different radio frequencies."

    In light of this new information, the Akane briefly closes her eyes, realizing what it all implies. In spite of this, she allows her maid, Yuuna, to voice it in her stead.

    "Would it be correct to assume that has been the destination of lady Tsurara and all the others that disappeared so suddenly during the first couple of days?"

    To this, Tomomi gives them another nod.

    "Even in the supernatural side of the world, it is strange for so many to simply vanish at once, leaving no trace behind. I am sure that there still plenty of innocent trapped within the city doing their best to survive. But the entirety of Fuyuki's population might have been split across these layers. That's why it almost feels like an abandoned town."


    Nearly done with her little lesson, there is still one more point she needs to address before passing the ball to the rest of the team.

    "If this is indeed the case, there should be a 'rabbit's hole' somewhere leading towards another layer. I don't know if we can turn that 'hole' into a 'bridge', but if we find it, that'll be a start."
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  15. #255
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Sleeping Bishop
    Morning Phase


    "Alright, let's give it our all to resolve this situation together!" Alicia exclaimed, eyes shining with determination as she hastily shoved a piece of beef udon into her mouth. A little too hastily in fact, as she nearly ended up choking and coughed several times before a strong pat on the back from Tomomi helped her swallow the delicious meat.

    "Don't get carried away Alicia," the bluehaired girl chided dryly. "Strategizing is one thing, but you still need to focus on your food. Miss Akane put a lot of effort into making it you know."

    "S-sorry about that..." Alicia muttered, continuing her meal at a more ginger pace. It was tasty, and she appreciated it more taking time to savor every bite.

    Noticing the blonde's sheepishness Tomomi softened her stare and said "I know you're fired up to help Taichi and everyone. Preserving your strength and relaxing is important too though. You'll drive yourself crazy otherwise." Alicia blushed at the other girl's concerned words. Even though they were about the same age she couldn't help but feel Tomomi was acting like her mom right now. Well, if she knew her mom for very long anyways...

    Before she had time to reply Tomomi spoke up again. Taking on an almost professorial tone the Masaki sibling began to recount what Alicia had learned from her journey through the ruined school yesterday. "I've been investigating what you said about Fuyuki being divided in layers, Alicia. I think what M is trying to say is that Fuyuki has been separated in different dimensions that overlap one over the other, while keeping the same identity."

    Alicia could only stare speechless at the explanation. She had only the fuzziest idea what Tomomi was trying to say, and her head swam trying to piece it together. Thankfully the other girl quickly resorted to a visual aid to clarify her thoughts. Taking out a pen and paper she began to methodically scribble the word "FUYUKI" with several horizontal slash-marks across the letters. Alicia squinted at the page for a few seconds before her eyes widened in realization.

    "Oh, I get it!" she said thrusting her hand up. "Just like the letters have been cut apart while still being part of the same word, Fuyuki has been divided into layers that are still linked together."

    "Nice job. Do you want me to give you a gold star?" Assassin quipped behind her.

    "Hey, don't treat me like a little kid!" Alicia wheeled around in her chair and glared huffily at the smirking Servant.

    "Bad habit of mine, Master..." Assassin held up her palms apologetically. "I just can't resist teasing someone who looks so earnest."

    "Grrr..." Alicia grit her teeth before the sound of Tomomi selfconsciously clearing her throat snapped her attention back to the topic at hand.

    "That's right," she said, ignoring Assassin's interruption. "But I've been thinking. My brother and I have encountered a similar phenomena once before. The important thing to remember is that it all overlaps in the same physical location. That's why M called them layers. In other words, there could be three or more Fuyuki that are nearly identical, existing at the same point in time. What that means is that if Alicia and I were on different layers, we could both have breakfast on this very same table at the same time, and never run into on another in the process. Think of it as being on different radio frequencies."

    And so the group continued their discussion, the subdued breakfast transforming before Alicia's eyes into a spirited strategy-meeting. Akane's maid Yuuna spoke up to voice the possibility that Tsurara and the others' sudden disappearance had been because they'd somehow ended up on a different 'layer', which Tomomi confirmed with a nod.

    "Even in the supernatural side of the world, it is strange for so many to simply vanish at once, leaving no trace behind. I am sure that they're still plenty of innocents trapped within the city doing their best to survive. But the entirety of Fuyuki's population might have been split across these layers. That's why it almost feels like an abandoned town." She paused, before giving a final remark that struck Alicia clearly. "If this is indeed the case, there should be a 'rabbit's hole' somewhere leading towards another layer. I don't know if we can turn that 'hole' into a 'bridge', but if we find it, that'll be a start."

    The blonde's hands clenched resolutely at her sides. What Tomomi had said was the only lead they had towards overturning this nightmare and saving everyone. That meant they had to pursue it, no matter the risk! Actually, Alicia remembered something, a bit of information M had divulged to her that had slipped her mind until now.

    "Guys..." she cut in, willing her voice to be heard over the vigorous conversation. "M told me something before, back in the abandoned classroom. She said that heir of some household called the 'Tohsaka' stopped a disaster like this a long time ago. I don't know much about this city's history, but maybe we could look there for clues to find another portal? It'd be a start at least."

    Alicia trailed off, feeling scrutinized under everyone's gazes. She wasn't sure how much this information would help, but at least wanted to contribute something useful rather than being lead along by the others' deductions. She may not be a genius like Tomomi, but that was no excuse to just sit idly by!

  16. #256
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Hiyako Tsurara
    Dark World - Location Unknown
    Unknown Phase


    Tsurara looked dully at the silently cooling corpse in the floor.

    "How anticlimatic..."

    Rationality had finally ensued. Gone her madness, gone 'that form' of hers, all she was left with was a simple notion.

    "I screwed up, huh?"

    Nothing was left for her. No means to travel in time to return to her home. No way to return, her only path back sealed with the finality of death. Not that she thought that this was the last she'd see of Kawamoto Yukata, if that was indeed his real name: time travel was funny like that.

    By the gods, she hated time travel so much.

    She understood now.

    Regardless of what happened here, and how this whole mess was solved, chances were that Hiyako Tsurara was going to die. At least 'this' one wouldn't be allowed to see the tomorrow that would come if the end was prevented. Hopefully, the 'other' Tsurara would pick up the slack. Well, he had told that man her name, and if he was able to tell she was one of the pieces of the puzzle, perhaps he could travel in time himself to bring another of 'her' into play. At the very least, that had been the possibility she had left floating as a back-up while she spent 'this life' to investigate the Dark World and try to reach an understanding of the true nature of this apocalypse.

    So she thought as she idly searched the body for any clues available, although she doubted she would find much.

    Half of Tsurara's power where her subordinates. Her minions, trained fighters both in mortal and supermortal capacity, her eyes and fingers. In a time not her own, and in a world not her own, she was bereft of this very important strength of hers.

    All she could do was depend on her own personal power.

    Thankfully, she had personal power in spades.

    The Rakshasa grinned grimly as she brandished her sword and stepped lightly but swiftly on the fragile floor, plunging through the door. She did not care anymore what she faced, she would slay it with the same power that had landed her in the middle of this disaster.

    Her first step would be to shatter, to break, to step all over this Dark World.

    Keeping her eyes peeled, she ran through the ghostly school, searching for the sources of the voices she was hearing.


    quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1984 View Post
    Besides, I don't see what's so terrible about looting anyway. It's only property, they're not actually harming anyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by lantzblades View Post
    when I say hero I don't mean hero in the spirit sense. I mean a morally grounded, good natured person who doesn't slaughter innocent people. No such person exists in the Nasuverse.
    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
    [00:12] <~Katie> of gay memes

    [16:15] <~Katie> lesbians has always been my gimmick and i will exploit it to the fullest

    [22:56] <@Sei> airen is pegging hero this time
    [22:56] <@Sei> for once airen isn't the uke
    [22:56] <@Kuroyuki> I thought Air was the Woman in the Relationship?
    [22:56] <@Airen> Yeah I kinda thought I was the girl too!

  17. #257
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
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    "Heh."
    Somehow, your remark manages light a momentary spark in Tetsuro's expression. "You are a curious one, aren't you? Unfortunately, miss Aya, I do not speak in conjecture. You see, true freedom goes beyond leaving the boundaries of wherever we are. Even if you'd find an exit, Where would you go? One cannot just pick a corpse's scattered pieces, put them back together and expect life to come back to it." His smile grows wide, but for no more than a few moments. "That's just inhuman."

    The man takes another sip of his cup of coffee, as you skim through the pages of the book that tells the events that supposedly have led Aya Alayana towards this tragic fate. It's a story filled with struggle, strength and misfortune, but all those scattered memories feel alien to you, especially those that go against your very essence. Why would Aya Alayana purposefully reject Aya Alayana's 'raison d'être'? In that sense, it should have been to be expected that her end to be that of self-destruction.

    In the end, you feel more contempt for those Aya Alayana failed to protect, rather than Aya Alayana herself. Although, that's not to say you don't feel a little sympathy for her as well...

    "That's awfully impetuous of you, miss Alayana."
    Now that he knows your surname, he can address you in a way he is more comfortable with. "I had suspected you would be more observant, but perhaps I, too, judged you ahead of time."

    Once he has your attention, he points elsewhere...

    You follow his lead towards a nearby shelf, filled to the brim with book after book. Though they aren't named or anything, you can tell, instinctively that they all have the same protagonist as the last one you read. However... There is something different about them. The moment you draw your hand closer, they are stripped of all color and rendered inaccessible to you. They won't come out of the shelf, no matter what.

    "Those are the stories of the 'Aya Alayana that could have been, but wasn't'. For every time you've chosen to do one thing, there is another you who chose differently. The timeline then divides in an infinite number of threads, giving birth to an equal amount of parallel realities. Like it or not, that's how the world works, Miss Alayana. There is usually no such thing as determinism in the FATE universe. That said, before you start asking yourself whether those Aya Alayana can even be called so, we have to address a big BUT in the equation."

    A normal person would quickly grow confused by the constant influx of information. Because new data might defy what one already knows, it is only natural to begin questioning one side or the other, depending on one's mental strength. However, here there is no such thing. You do not reject what the man says, nor do you betray your own ideals. It's a conversation that is so pure that it has no place in the modern era, where one's thoughts are pitted against another's for survival.

    "Fuyuki has become a land of determinism. Someone has ensured the road does not branch off, that every choice that is made is definitive and cannot be changed. In other words, we'd always end up here, even if someone did their best to prevent such thing from happening."

    Hmm...? What is that?

    Curious...

    There are some books that still retain part of their color. Are those the one's Tetsuro was pointing towards?

    "The question, Miss Alayana is not 'How', nor 'Where' but rather 'When'. When did arrive here? When did you your body become a corpse and scattered across all directions? When did you become an observer? When... Did you hear the legend of the nine warriors of hell?"
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  18. #258
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Location: Unknown
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    ---How strange.

    The woman listens quietly to the words of the bizarre man, one who speaks of things like inevitability and impossibility while clearly continuing to move, to function, to resist in some way -no matter how small- against the idea of this bizarre destiny.

    There is, after all, no reason to do anything if he truly believes that all of this is fated... No, there is some meaning behind the man's actions, what it is she cannot truly tell, but there is meaning in them all the same, thus...

    She takes it all in good humor.

    "Impetuous? Time is meaningless here, no? What does it matter if I decide not to look before I leap?"

    ---A bit of the old humor edges into her voice.

    Yes.

    It is only natural for Aya Alayana to charge headlong into her problems, she is, after all, a flame... Something that can warm and defend others, but that also runs the risk of running rampant, consuming everything, a person who constantly straddles the line between being a curse and a human being, who must constantly live in naive resistance to her 'origin,' in order to avoid giving into it and truly becoming a demon...

    Yes.

    Aya Alayana is a 'flame,' even if she does not consciously acknowledge this...

    Some of that is reflected even in this self, the warmer aspects of a fire perhaps, the human aspects, the tame ones that won't harm others, but a fire nonetheless...

    ---There is always at least a bit of risk.

    Even so...

    "Fuyuki has become a land of determinism?"

    She frowns.

    "...How annoying."

    The sights of the previous self were alien in a sense, however, such things still make logical sense... Fuyuki was her city, she held no emotional ties to it in her current form, but that fact would not change...

    It was hers.

    Naturally, this extended to everyone in it as well...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetsuro
    "The question, Miss Alayana is not 'How', nor 'Where' but rather 'When'. When did arrive here? When did you your body become a corpse and scattered across all directions? When did you become an observer? When... Did you hear the legend of the nine warriors of hell?"
    And this...

    She frowns again, hair shimmering in the light as she turns to regard the man behind her, eyes alight with thought, a storm that can reach no conclusion, due to all the conflicting information running through her, but...

    "When did I become an Observer? When did I hear the legend of the Warriors of hell?"

    When did she do those things?

    Did she do those things?

    She had no idea.

    He certainly seems to believe she did...

    "I suppose that is certainly a question..."

    She chuckles.

    "Not one that I have an answer too I'm afraid, but perhaps..."

    Then reaches out for the few colors that remain...

    "The answer lies within these tomes?"

    Not like she has anything better to do, considering the circumstances.

    "If I'm going to hang around in some sort of purgatory, I might as well absorb all there is to know about myself."

    ---Yes.

    It's certainly logical, but...

    It's the logic of a person who lived like a fire.
    Last edited by Airen; April 14th, 2021 at 05:20 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  19. #259
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase


    “Ngh...”

    The young boy knuckled blearily at one eye. It was often said that while it takes two people to form a friendship, it only took one to start a fight.

    However this particular situation was proving that was only half true. More precisely, while you only needed one instigater to act as the aggressor...


    ...It was really hard to stay pumped and focused in the face on contrition and innocence. The fire demon gleefully consumed innocence, but after then many fights yesterday that creature had lapsed into somnolence, exhausted and satisfied from joyful battle. And just as Luna had trouble responding to Hiro’s outburst, the boy himself actually was unfamiliar with this kind of naïveté. To a certain extent, he was not used to feeling more informed and worldly then another.

    Well, in a very real sense the young boy was not used to being on the other side of “look at that face how can you stay mad at her?”

    ...Suddenly Hiro felt a moments remorse...or at least mutual commiseration with the many maids of his home with whom he had successfully utilize such a ploy.

    “Uhh...” Hiro started, abashed. “Let me first say that while I feel like some poor choices were made, I’m not mad at you. I apologize for yelling. In retrospect I suppose it must be hard to fathom, but despite the theoretical master and Servant relationship, the ancient rival whom I summoned...” The lounging boy looked up through the heady (and heavenly steam) at the creature who would fly into a spitting rage at the premise of Servant... “can not really be trusted to offer guidance on my part. In the future, just...use your own best judgement.”

    After coming as close as he could to apologizing to someone who had done him wrong (seriously, Luna’s innocent adorable ness was straight up unfair) Hiro’s attention turned to the lazy black furred cat who despite having successfully utilized Luna as a “cat’s paw” felt the need to describe her as “smelling delicious”. That needed to be addressed first before any ancillary concerns or questions.

    ”Assassin. Rival to the fire demon, and drawn to my pain, Allow me three remarks on what you just said.” Drawn to my pain was a simple premise. Even though the ziggurat had been a dream, and as had been most of it...Hiro still felt the fire. When she had burned away her future to melt the ice of her lostbelt self, she had truly lost something. Hiro didn’t know what it was, only that it was irredeemable, priceless, and he would never get it back.

    So be it.

    ”First, do not confuse your ancient enemy for me. Though the jungle spirit rests within my core, so to do you. To own a cat is to be owned by a cat. Secondly, you should beware that which killed the cat! I have tasted a bit of that girl’s heart, and there is lightning there. Put bluntly, I expect a cat to be smarter then the stupid small dog chasing the car. Finally...and this is really the most important thing...you are right about Luna smelling delicious. I won’t say there is anything wrong with that statement. But see...the thing is?...”

    Hiro’s smile was cold, threatening, and full of teeth.

    “So does yours.”

    this was not a remark from the fire demon, the ancient rival of the King of Cats. There was nothing but Yamashita Hiro, a mage talking. As a mage, the young boy did not believe in solving problems through mayhem. He directed his course with feats of thatamurgy. That was no different then any other magus. But as a Demi-servant? As a member of the Remnant of Chaldea? This had led his research to strange places.

    One of which was the holy grail war. There had been over seven hundred frail wars in various fashions. Hiro could tell you the names and families of every last combatant you all those battles, all the way from the first called servant to a magus hunter hired by a family of alchemists. And while traditionally it was a ritual to invoke the Third Mystery, he was aware of something else rather interesting.

    Namely, that some mages preferred to take the lesser grail.

    Yes, it was true, in at least some of the Holy grail wars the Servants were fuel for a grand ritual to reach the root, not every participant in the war desired such. Some oddballs had instead sought the unbridled magical energy of the lesser grail. Comprised of six servants, there was enough magical energy to bring about anything which could be wished for.

    ...To rephrase that slightly, any Servant was comprised of one sixth enough magical energy to create a miracle. As a magus and a student of the holy grail war, then Hiro’s own Servant, assassin of the Distant Kingdom, well...

    Her soul as well, truly smelled delicious, smelled desirable and worth consuming. This was not a statement by the Cat King’s ancient rival, it instead was the honest verbalization of a mages’ greed made manifest. Held in check only by the claws of the cat.


    ...And...maybe the same sentiment that kept even a starving man from eating his own cat.

    To own a cat was to be owned by a cat, after all.

    ”As for names...I see your reasons. Though to be honest I am not sure it will come up. I am not sure that man could help against something which could threaten the jungle spirit. And quite frankly, my own servant would be as like to strike at my back when hearing me cry for help, simply because it is her nature. However the point is well reasoned nonetheless. Therefor I dub you ‘Ryuji’” Hiro said, pointing at the male assassin.

    ”And to my own Servant, whom I assume will reject the appellation as it comes from me, I offer the name ‘Morgana’. Appropriate for a female cat king. Choose your own nomenclature if this is unsuitable.”

    Hiro shook his head as if to swish away the cobwebs that came from hours unconscious and the grogginess of mana deprivation.

    ”To be honest though I find these points, reasonable as they are to entirely pale before a much more important question, what the hell is that?!” Hiro said, pointing at the large object overhead which resembled nothing so much as a large, golden penis.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird of Hermes View Post
    The moment the opportunity arises for a pun, the one known as 'Taiga's Knight' will be there to deliver whether you like it or not.

  20. #260
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Fuyuki's Underground Servers - ???'s Secret Laboratory
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    "Oh...?"

    As Hiro finally finds composure enough to speak at length, Assassin flicks away the towel covering her face. Her wide eyes follow her Master's every word, growing thinner by the second. She stands, water dripping from her shoulders, form indistinct, blacks and whites blending into the rising steam. Her presence fades as his grows until, as Hiro is asking about the great machine above them...

    Only her smile remains, floating in the air, as sharp as a knife.

    "My, my. Your tone has changed, subject. A little heat, a night of rest, and the flame of rebellion within you flares up. Perchance, was the mewling kitten who called me 'majesty' last night swallowed up by the steam?"

    In an instant that too vanishes, along with any trace of the Assassin of the Distant Kingdom besides her voice, which originates from everywhere and nowhere, hidden in the mist of magical energy. Even if it is not that mist, it is still a wonderful playground for an Assassin-class Servant.

    "Shall I find her then? The child behind the veil of confidence? Or is there something else here?" Something sniffs at Yamashita Hiro's neck, but when she turns nothing is there. "I see, I see. So that fool is beginning to stir. She rankles at your subservience, planting irritating whispers in your mind, needling and prodding you to action... hmph. She ought to keep her mouth shut."

    Even though she can no longer be seen, it is clear by her voice alone that the feline Assassin is no longer smiling.

    "One. Do not presume to dictate what I see. That oaf slumbering within you is not the one I chose; you are. Two. I'll collect whichever soul I please, as is my station. Strong, weak, all are the same. One does not fear their food. Until then... three." It runs across Hiro's neck. A gentle caress from a claw that could draw blood and paint the water red, should it press the slightest bit deeper. "I don't dislike that greed of yours, human. But to threaten me is to challenge my Authority, so subsequently... if you seek to usurp the crown, be prepared to die for it."

    And just like that the killing intent that had been building up the entire time, to the point where it could be felt as a tangible pressure... fades away.

    "Hah..." The whisper is to Luna, now. An almost gentle purr, as if Assassin is right behind her, hands brushing against her shoulders. "But I am patient, so be at ease. You are my new subject's mate, are you not? I can smell your scents intermingling, melting together... In that case, I'll not walk over your grave until after you've been laid to rest in it."

    When she next speaks, her voice comes from above, near where the other Assassin has retreated. She reappears there, dry once more, arms folded. Perhaps she has had enough of the steam and water.

    "Morgana was a rancid woman. Leaving aside her petty machinations against Camelot, her twisted Taigheirms took the lives of many a subject over hundreds of years. The bravest among them was Cluase More, so I shall honor his name by wearing it. As for you..."
    She eyes the other Assassin. Even if his presence is also obscured, her instincts draw her eyes to his location. "'Mask' suits you better."

    A rather childish conclusion. With a huff, Assassin looks away, gaze latching onto the giant golden phallic thing hanging from the ceiling.

    "...really, your Master is quite disgusting. Do you expect us to repair it in exchange for hospitality? At this rate, the steam will only rust its insides."

    In that, she and Hiro seem to be in agreement.
    Last edited by Bloble; April 16th, 2021 at 10:47 PM.

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