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Thread: Fate/Closure [IC Thread]

  1. #281
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Sewers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase

    ...

    ......


    A choked breath of surprise, and sharply reddening cheeks. That was the skinny child’s initial reaction. Being praised as possible royalty seemed like a compliment, but he who bore the soul of a Goddess did not aspire to further accolades. Far from it. Instead...

    ”Ah....ahaha...” The dark haired lad’s pretend laugh was painfully transparent. “Ah...one of my maid’s has said much the same, Luna. I don’t mean to be difficult. My family...well, we have spent much time with little company besides ourselves. As a result we haven’t progressed as one might. Erm, my apologies.”

    It was perhaps a kindness that Luna went on in a hyper verbal tangent heavily reminiscent of someone boiling out thoughts she had previously intended to hide and repress, and then once began were impossible to stop.

    it was an honest, beautiful, and very vulnerable admission of some of the most basic human emotions.

    What was more basic and understandable then the desire to exist, to live? For an amnesiac, in a real sense she had only lived for such a brief moment, thrown right away into battle, to terror, her only ally at best half trusted with goals of his own.

    Even more so, if what she said was true, and Hiro had little doubt it was, then she couldn’t even find a moment’s solace in the quietude of her own mind, for there crackling and impatient was lightning, coursing and dangerous, desiring to burn her away.

    At first, the dark haired lad only had a desire to take her in his arms and offer that most basic of human comforts, another’s warmth. Simply say it indeed will be ok. Perhaps that’s what a man, a human would do.

    But mages are not human.

    As she spoke, the boy’s eyes showed sympathy, but they also contained the hardness and loneliness of those who sought the deeper mysteries. There was only one response.

    ”Luna. I feel like I can understand you better. You and I have something in common. I to know what it means to have something that rests within, and would happily devour you. I wish I could tell you I believed that you could continue to fight it, using your obviously impressive will power, but I do not. At the least, I believe you will need to have more insight into what it is you wish to corral and contain. But I do not say this to leave you bereft of hope. You have offered me nothing but kindness in our short time together, and considering the situation now is a time for boldness.”

    ...Ths might have sounded more impressive, more regal, as Luna had earlier put it, were it not for the fact that his cheeks were noticeably reddening still further all whilst saying this, till the young boy was bright red, with a further flush that suggested embarrassment to the level that his entire body was flushed underneath the thin cloth of Dracul’s Wrap.

    ”I offer you a secret, and a chance for you to try to compel this lightning in a controlled manner, or at least negotiate. I will help you as I can of course. However the method for such will require...”

    The dark haired boy coughed, clearly uncertain how to phrase the action on his mind.

    “Well, you will need to be wrapped in something I cannot risk being without. Therefor, I’ll will have to ask you to embrace me. You...uh....will need to be naked.”

    ”...As will I.”
    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.

  2. #282
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Hiyako Tsurara
    Dark World – Stray Cats HQ
    Unknown Phase


    “Aah, you know how it is. Had to bash a few heads, knock a few teeth, bloody half of the damn gang until the boss was willing to negotiate.”

    Around twenty years might have passed, but Tsurara’s attitude remained unchanged. The same prideful gait, the same careless coldness. She was still the same person.

    Not growing old, but also not changing.

    And she had yet to accomplish her objective of obtaining the information of what exactly this Dark World was and how to stop its encroachment, the reason why she had decided to invest this life of hers and go to this world.

    Yes. That also had not changed. The result of the time her mind had slipped and she had abandoned her own life.

    Hiyako Tsurara fought as if she was dead.

    Ironically enough, perhaps it was because she had given up on her own life that she was able to survive until now, even against the most powerful monsters that lurked in this timeless hellscape.

    Not only she had survived, but she had ended up forming her own gang and her own power in this world. If anything, the name and title of the Rakshasa had become even more famous and well-known here than it had been in her former world.

    She had achieved strength and power… that is how it would be seen from the outside, but in reality, it had just taken her twenty years (or fifteen, or ten, hard to tell) to return to the same point she had been before. Warrior she may be, but she was educated to be a leader, and that was what she was now.

    “Well, I got the leader to trade us food for weapons and also got their ‘support’ for what it is worth. We defend them when they’re attacked, they defend us if we’re attacked, same promise I forced on the other gangs.”

    Tsurara grimaced. To be honest, with the recent rise of the gang’s name, the Stray Cats had started to undergo some upscaling, so securing more food was needed, and the Hidden Dragon had a surplus of it.

    “But really, they’re unreliable. The trade will work, I think. However, with how aggressive they got just with me wanting to meet their boss… well, I was lucky they didn’t come to me all at once. Not even I can crush a whole gang by myself, you know?”

    That had been an absolute pain. Thankfully it had taken a while until their upper brass had understood exactly with who they had picked a fight, and by that point she’d been able to pick them off group by group until all they could do was negotiate.

    Absolute power would keep them reined in, but their loyalty couldn’t be counted on: her evaluation of their judgement was pretty low due to their aimless aggression.

    Then again, it was to be expected. The people in this world had a tendency to be infuriatingly smug and even conceited. Not that she was one to talk, but she had seen so many people killed by being unable to rein their pride in.

    At this point, Tsurara also had to take a humbling pill and realize that she was divagating in order to not accept a certain truth.

    “No, I did not get what I went there for. They did not have the information I wanted. Not even a hint of it.” She admitted, with a tone of voice that did not disguise her annoyance.

    “Anyway, anything happened while I was away? Any news at all?”


    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!

  3. #283
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase


    Being reserved, polite and, perhaps, a little mysterious, it goes without saying that getting a conversation going with Sakaki Yuuna can be an arduous task. Granted, being a strictly professional maid, you have a strong suspicion that she would, without hesitation, do anything you ask of her, from preparing a meal on the go to giving you a piggy back ride, but... How to put it? Despite how warm she can be with you at times, it feels as though an invisible wall has been erected between you two, or rather, between the green haired girl and the world. At least that was your first impression. The reason why you haven't been able to speak a word ever since you left the inn has nothing to do with being unable to find a proper topic to break the ice.



    "Stay behind me."
    "Don't get distracted."
    "Stand straight."
    "If this happens, make sure to..."

    "When we arrive, let me do the talking, but listen carefully to what I say."

    "If this magically polluted environment is making you ill, please let me know."
    "Watch your feet."


    It might be rather unusual, but all this time Yuuna has been speaking non-stop, giving you a brand new tip, instruction or suggestion with each step you take, leaving virtually no room for you to guard, much less counter-attack! A strong surge of charisma is released with each word, forcing you to immediately compel to what is being asked of you. Perhaps you were quick to judge Sakaki as a run-of-the-mill Japanese maid. Yes, just from this, one can tell that she has long since moved past that designation. Within the Sleeping Bishop, she might be the only one in charge of housekeeping but...

    ---Her technique is clearly on the level of a Head Maid!

    Proving that her skills are truly unrivaled, the moment Assassin speaks up in order to put some order to the situation, she too is quickly drowned in warnings and pieces of advice. You are glad Yuuna cares so much about the well-being of the party, but this is quickly beginning to feel like an intensive multi-function maid course-!

    "..."

    Something, however, eventually forces her to make a momentary pause.

    It's a dreadful sight.

    It might be several hundred meters away, but from this elevated position, binoculars aren't needed. Amidst the destruction Fuyuki City has been subjected to in the past few days, there is a certain place that stands out.

    The school.

    The very same school you visited yesterday...

    ---Has been reduced to ashes.




    All that remains is a big sphere of darkness that has at least tripled in size since the last time you saw it.


    "It's an evil forgery that drains the life force of anyone that comes close enough, and uses it to fuel the space that must be traversed if one wants to reach 'that place'. When there is no source of nourishment within range, it just expands until there is, slowly killing or corrupting all living organisms it encounters in its way. It does so at an alarming pace, actually."
    M's words ring strong in your head.

    That thing won't stop. Not unless you find a way to stop it.

    For that reason you must find the strength to prevent its presence from affecting you and focus on what is important.

    You must resume your walk towards the Tohsaka Household.

    And, now that you have the chance, it might be a good time to ask Yuuna a question or two and liven the mood. You are still a kid, after all. It's only natural for you to be curious. Doubly so after finding out Takane is a creature of the night, a vampire. That makes the inn their vampiric castle (fortress). And Sakaki is the head maid...

    Surely, she can tell you a story or two.
    [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. #284
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase



    Alicia shuddered. The view of the ravenous abyss that'd continually expand until it swallowed up everything reminded her of how urgent she and her friends' efforts were. They had to stop this and save Fuyuki, no matter what. But those worries were for another time. For now, a more immediate objective of reaching the Tohsaka residence loomed before the motley team. Since it was still awhile before they arrived, and taking advantage of the lull in Yuuna's nonstop lecturing, Alicia decided to speak up and make conversation on the way.

    "Um..." she voiced awkwardly while maintaining her brisk pace beside the older girl. While Yuuna seemed like a kind person Alicia couldn't help but feel a little intimidated by her proper adult-like aura. Nevertheless the prospect of remaining silent was more uncomfortable than making conversation and so she tentatively continued to speak. "This might be a little weird, but... your boss, Miss Akane is a vampire right? A-ah, don't get the wrong idea!" Alicia spluttered, quickly waving her hands through the air. "I don't think she's a bad person because of it or anything, I'm just curious. How did you... meet her? And... are there more people like her in this city too?"

    'Crap,'
    she thought to herself, 'I totally spoke too much there. Now she's going to think I'm suspicious for asking so many questions...' "You don't have to answer if you don't want to, sorry if I'm being overly intrusive," Alicia added in a smaller selfconscious tone. "It's just... mythical heroes summoned from the past, portals to other dimensions... I've found out so much about this city in the last few days I never would've imagined before. It makes me want to know even more. So vampires and the like really exist in this world, huh?" she asked, hoping to have clearly conveyed her thoughts in a manner the maid uniform-clad girl would approve.

  5. #285
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Einzbern Forest
    Morning Phase



    "Ugh...!"

    Feed my loyal army to the burning abyss-?! Endless Mercy...?! Who does this woman think she is-?!

    In a matter of seconds, Elizabeth has turned into the walking image of a whistling tea kettle. Still unaccepting of her blatant loss in this verbal duel, her arms and legs shake and steam rushes out of her dragon-like scales, as she desperately struggles to hold a last stand against a much bigger predator. In the end, it is futile. A child cannot beat a grown-up in a game forged with grown-up rules. Perhaps if Eliza was not trying so hard to play the role of a adult -and an intimidating one at that-, the outcome of this match might have been different. Maybe.

    "Fuh..." The little demon sighed, releasing some of her pent up stress in the process. "For a dirty little vagabond, you ask too many questions. Well, I guess it is only natural. Your parents most likely could never afford to give you proper education. Let me tell you how I got here. That should sate your faint thirst for knowledge."

    Firing another jab, she resumes her regal stance, before continuing. It's a reckless dance but she knows the timing. Taking step too early might hurt her image; taking one step too late would pair her up with flame. If that is the case, she just needs to make use of all the skill she has to create the perfect rhythm-!

    "Last night I was working on my latest hit when 'bam!' all of a sudden I rolled into the world of the living! It might have been a faulty summoning but I was more than satisfied with the result, you see. Yes, my surroundings were a total wreck, making it the perfect villain entrance!"

    Standing on one leg with her arms extended upwards in a 'V' shape... That's the pose Elizabeth switches to. You figure she's just mimicking the pose she did back then, however...

    ... It doesn't look like a villain pose at all. In fact, despite looking bizarre enough for you to never take it seriously... It has a strange air of heroism to it that is hard to describe. Perhaps... You've already seen it somewhere else before?

    "In any case, my performance might have been too much for the little piggy that summoned me, because he didn't hesitate to flee the moment our eyes met! I guess I can understand him... Terror sometimes just takes over when you meet someone like me. I chased him all over the place, set on making him grovel and beg for one of my unreleased tracks, but then that idiot and his friend walked straight into a trap laid just for them..."

    The innocent devil frowned.

    "You could say that the safekeeper of this forest is my nemesis. Or rather, one of them, like that blonde roman emperor or that other version of me from a what-if future."

    ... What is she talking about now?

    "She's a giant who can monitor all of her domain. Or, at least that's what I thought. It would seem like this particular spot is right outside her field of vision. Well, I guess you would know. You picked it as your place to take a nap, no? I assume homeless people must have an eye for these sort of things. Aaanyways... You were here when I arrived, so I thought I would patiently wait for you to wake before granting you the honor of becoming my giant-slaying knight."

    And she did while doodling on you.

    Now that's a creative way to forge a good impression.

    "You see... My loyal army is on its day off..."
    Last edited by hero; July 9th, 2021 at 10:55 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

  6. #286
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Sewers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase



    "..."

    When presented with a tough choice, Luna has shown -from the beginning- to be capable of keeping a cool head until a decision is taken. Whereas the average person would have easily succumbed to stress after so much insanity in such a small gap of time, the blue haired doctor/scientist has proved capable of critical analysis of the situation in spite of clear naivety and experience. This type of courage is something that belongs to her and has little to do with her being an extraordinary individual, someone gifted (or cursed) with the presence of a supernatural entity who has intertwined with her soul. Even the act of expressing how she feels about this ordeal, going as far as to quickly share her insecurities before they become a burden speaks volumes of the potential behind her otherwise innocent mindset.

    "... Eh?"

    From an objective point of view, there is hardly any reason to be alarmed by Yamashita Hiro's bold request. For one, she trusts and believes she knows the Magus well enough to believe that her plan has not been worded with any ill intent. While it would be absurdly simple to fool Luna at this point, the main goal is to help her subdue the beast within and nothing else. Some practices can be a little invasive both in theory and in practice but, as someone who must have undergone medical training at some point, she's instinctively aware of how unprofessional it would be to confuse therapy with something else entirely.

    "... Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-?!"

    Next, there is the issue about nudity.

    There isn't much to talk about it, really. Luna and Hiro are both girls and any reason to be shy around one another should have long since ceased to be an issue. Hell, they already shared a bath together. Perhaps not the ordinary bath one is typically acquainted with but a bath nonetheless. If that is the case...

    If that's the case, then why did the distance between the two skyrocket in the span of a single heartbeat?

    Yes, long before Luna could ever hope to properly understand the meaning behind your words, her body had already acted on its own, moving her out of reach in a desperate act of self-preservation (?).

    "E-embrace?! N-No, we can't! I-I-It's wrong. Between girls... Is wrong."

    Regarding Luna's critical thinking...

    It normally works fine...

    But it would seem everything is thrown overboard the moment certain social misunderstandings arise...

    Evidence of this is the quickly reddening of her face and...

    The tendency to correct her own communication mistakes, even when doing so only exposes them further...

    "I-I mean... A-Any embracing is a no-no... Not just between girls... B-because I'm married... So I cannot... Embrace anyone..."

    This pure personality belongs only to her.

    It's not property of the thunder demon that resides within. And, perhaps, it does not even belong to the person that she was before meeting you. What is certain is that this is the Luna that you know.

    Being bold might have earned you yet another obstacle to sort but...

    These moments are something you should treasure.

    After all, in the life of a Magus, these moments are often short-lived and, once gone, hardly ever return.
    [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

  7. #287
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Einzbern Forest
    Morning Phase


    "..."

    ---At first, the only response the flame-haired woman gives to this bizarre noble is silence. Indeed, while there are a number of things should could say to interrupt the tiny heroic spirit as it prattles on and on about it's standing in comparison to her own (ones that are quite wrong, considering she is more or less a noble herself) the woman simply chooses not to voice those thoughts aloud, or at least...

    "..."

    ...Seems willing to wait until the smaller girl stops in her explanations?

    It's a rational ploy, her way of ensuring that she gets whatever information she can from this being... And indeed, for once, she might look the part of a willing-if-not-eager listener, someone who actually cares about what the smaller girl is saying to her, but at the end...

    "...I see. So what you're saying is you do desire to be taken under my wing... Very well, I suppose that is my duty as an adult."

    ...She again reveals her true nature.

    In the end an adult is an adult and a child is a child, the child can say whatever it might like in an attempt to provoke you, but there is no real reason to rise to those provocations after a certain point, in essence...

    She didn't respond to the insults simply because she does not care about them anymore... Acknowledging them would simply egg the smaller demon on, and thus she taps into the natural ability of an adult, an elder human, and simply chooses to ignore those parts of the girl's words that do not fit her own narrative. Giant-slaying knight? No, no, no, this is the unfortunate reality of a grown up having to defend a kid against a greater obstacle, even if said task would ultimately turn out to probably be a huge pain in the ass, yeah...

    "No... It's my fate as a babysitter I guess..."

    She chuckles.

    Hands go into the pockets of her coat, searching for the familiar box of cigarettes, and yes...

    She indulges in a bad habit, a brief flicker of fire lighting up the chilly morning, and leaving her with her gaze fixed on the sky, a newly formed smoke ring dissipating into the blue as she takes another puff from the incarnate vice.

    "Anyway, I don't actually know why I was sleeping here... Probably something to do with the brats, and the brats absolutely sound like the type that might see something like you and run, so I guess I'm in this for the long haul... But make no mistake, I'm not scared of any giants, heroic spirits, or dead apostles... It's all the same thing, burn it down, take em out, keep the city safe."

    Another smoke ring, the nicotine rush helping to clear her head from her nap in the snow.

    "So, name?"

    She regards the smaller girl, one eyebrow raised, all of the pseudo-hostility from before gone, replaced by...

    An apparently strict woman?

    One who was making it clear she doesn't exactly bend to the whims of anything around her, if she does something it's for her own reasons, even if it's benevolent, that benevolent action still arises because she has decided she wants to do it, not as a favor to anyone or anything in particular, or as the result of some overwhelming moral code, yes...

    Pure and simple.

    She'll protect family because they're family, kids because they're kids, destroy her enemies because they're her enemies... She's a fire, so hiding her motives is counter to her nature, in the end, charging straight ahead fits her best, devouring anything and everything that chooses to get in her way.

    "Tell me what it is and we'll get moving, I've got nothing on me to hide my presence and burning down the forest... It's a bit too soon for something that extreme, so we'll just head straight to the manor, see what happens."
    Last edited by Airen; July 12th, 2021 at 02:05 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?



  8. #288
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Shinto - Bridge
    Morning Phase



    "..."

    Being treated like a king, surrounded by both men and women alike, each willing to do his bidding, no matter the cost. It's an attractive offer overall, highly compatible with Hassan's innermost ambitions and desires. Because he is a coward, it is natural for him to long for a life without problems, devoid of challenge, where everything has been handed to him in a silver plate. Yet, because he is a coward, he already knows living that sort of life is beyond his reach. Even if such place were to exist, he wouldn't be able to abandon who or what he is. In other words, said life would be wasted on him. The face without gestures that lies behind the mask is aware that he embodies a contradiction: To reach his destination he must cease to be who he is, abandon what little identity remains, and become someone else. He would have to change.

    And change is the one thing he cannot do.

    "..." The old man of the mountain turns his attention to you and, for a second, it almost feels like he's about to shoot a compliment your way. Something like 'Huh, that's rather sharp of you', a line that may not necessary denote appreciation but definitely at least a little bit of respect. Unfortunately, all he ends up saying is: "Beats me. I only have a few skills under my sleeve and solving interdimensional riddles isn't one of them. But I don't like it. The more treacherous and chaotic the waters of a river are, the higher the odds of you getting swept by the current if you try to make it to the other side."

    To put it in other words...

    Assassin feels uncomfortable because he cannot control the scenario he is walking into. It is like walking into pitch-black darkness, but for the very first time. Without proper gear, it's nothing short of a miracle to properly move around. There are likely to be obstacles, things you cannot see and that might hinder or downright stop your progress. Normally, one needs time in order to adapt, the two of you must already know that the darkness is not impossible to conquer, that is for certain, but...

    Sometimes you just aren't granted that much time.

    "... It's not the outrunning part I am worried about, cat." He fires one final glance at the distortion before your departure. "I just don't like being slowly cornered. There is a giant hammer right above our heads and we don't know when it's going to come crashing down. We don't even know if this place will be the same on our way back."

    It's a cold shiver on the back of his head.

    There are some forces out there you cannot outrun. Not forever.

    Cruel or merciful as one's destiny might be, once the evening bell tolls, the only option left is to accept it.

    "... Don't mind my ramblings." He shakes his head. "Tsk, I'm getting old."
    [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

  9. #289
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Hiyako Tsurara
    Dark World – Stray Cats HQ
    Unknown Phase



    "Right, right, if you say so."

    Mayumi casually gestures you not to be so humble before finding herself a place to sit. Naturally, she did not entirely buy your line about being unable to take out a gang like the Hidden Dragons by yourself. Because she is a human, she can't really gauge the difference between two opposing supernatural forces, as each would be 'equally superior' to someone with no powers at all, so she sticks to the one she has to rely into. Or is it that she sees a surge of potential where you cannot...?

    "Unfortunately the only news I have are bad news." She sighs, already regretting having to sour the mood so quickly. "One of our resupplying teams fell victim to a monster's attack. We lost five men and all the goods they carried."

    Five men... That's terrible.

    Even when one forgets each life is unique and precious, five deaths is beyond the number of losses that would be expected in a well-established group like the Stray Cats. Furthermore, even the rookies are properly trained to properly deal with such situations, so what stands as a full-party wipe comes as somewhat of a surprise.

    You don't need to be a genius to tell that it probably wasn't the average encounter. There are in fact monsters that would automatically spell your doom the moment you cross paths with them, but those are rare and mostly show up when you do something forbidden, something that transgresses the rules of a world without rules.

    "A flock of 'Cadavers', actually."

    Except the creatures Tachibana mentions have long since ceased to be a concern for your scouting and resupplying teams. Granted, they might be numerous and, at times clever enough to manage an ambush, but they are slow and clumsy. Not something that would turn the tables on a veteran...

    "... Or that's how they made it look like. We, uh... Recovered some evidence that hints at the presence of another attacker."

    What the orange haired girl is trying to say is that a corpse was found, or at least a fragment of its remains, and it contained wounds not compatible with the monsters blamed for this tragedy. It's clearly not enough to affirm that it was murder (it might have been a slightly older injury), much less point fingers at anyone, but just enough for you to begin to suspect the team had a target painted on their back.

    "... It's the second team we lose in three months, boss. Wake up, we know who's behind this. And they'll just keep doing it if we let them."

    Surviving in this world is like rafting in treacherous waters.

    It's a mix of standing your ground and knowing what your place is.

    So naturally, when something like this happens, it's normal to have conflicting thoughts dance in your head.





    "I think it's about time we decide what we want to do with this 'Dwellers' club. I am fairly sure they've already decided they don't want us around."
    [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. #290
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase



    "... It's fine. It's natural to be curious. I also found out about the existence of supernatural beings right around your age."

    The green haired maid nods, as if to convince herself it is correct to talk about the topic as the three of you march down the hill. While it is true that you are a novice and that you might ever see a need to know the specifics, there is no harm in teaching you a couple of basic principles that might come in handy in the near future.

    "Regarding 'vampires and the like'... Please do not address them as 'good' or 'evil'. That will just lead to confusion. More often than not, a combination of both aspects is necessary for them to survive. So while I hold Lady Akane in high regard, I would be lying if I considered her a purely 'good' person. The same concept might apply to humans as well, but between beings that hide themselves from the eyes of the world, the line of morality becomes significantly blurrier."

    If you go by popular culture, vampires need to sustain themselves by drinking from the blood of others, and that often brings nasty consequences to the victim, does it not? If a vampire kills this way in order to survive, it's hard to call them 'evil'. Yet, at the same time, if the vampire is killing your fellow citizens it would be hard to find the strength to call it 'good', even when its behavior is justified. So you get what Yuuna is trying to say... When it comes to the morality of supernatural creatures, it's probably best not to think too much about it.

    "In the end, it all comes down to your own perception, so it is critical that you do not hesitate or falter in your decision. You either accept or deny them whole, and stick to that for as long as possible. Nothing is truly black or white, but you can make it so if that is your belief. In my case, I've chosen to follow Lady Akane. The rest is not important."

    Sakaki shoots brief glance at Assassin before delving deeper into her personal connection with Akane.

    "I was too young when we first met, too young to even remember. But as far as my memories go back, she's always there. Guiding me, lecturing me and sometimes even spoiling me a little more than I deserved... Lady Akane has raised me like she would have raised her own daughter. That's why I've decided to stand by her no matter what. Even if she is a vampire, I don't want to ever sever my bond with her, so I simply accepted it; the good and the bad."

    Being adopted by a vampire...

    Now that feels like it's been taken straight from science fiction.

    "She's over two hundred, by the way." Yuuna confesses, drawing a subtle, yet unusual, smile of complicity, as she looks back over her shoulder. "Don't let her know you know, though. She doesn't take comments about aging well."
    Last edited by hero; July 15th, 2021 at 05:15 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

  11. #291
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Einzbern Forest
    Morning Phase



    "Hmph. Then pay close attention, because an ill fate befalls those who forget my name after hearing it once." Invigorated by your acknowledgement of her existence, the little demon puffs out her chest in pride, reading herself for some ominously epic (lame) intro. "Who am I? I'm she whose beauty weights as much as the fate of this world. She whose charm reigns eternal! A lone maiden with a message, from her solitary castle to the rest of the globe...! Future #1 trending idol, Elizabeth! (Or eli-chan for short)."

    Putting aside the fact that you almost regret giving her your attention...

    It would seem she has changed her view of herself on a whim. She's still as self-centered and delusional as she was moments ago, but it appears she has discarded the villain facade in favor of a more... Socially friendly image. Perhaps, seeing as you stand tall as the unrivaled 'bad cop', Eliza has switched to a different persona in order to avoid a rivalry to flourish.

    ... Or maybe she doesn't feel like losing, so she'll score a win in a different category?

    Whatever the case, her core personality hasn't changed. She's still a brat who'll selfishly use others to satisfy her own needs. However, for now, it seems like your objectives are aligned and that you can at least work together.

    "Hey wait! What do you think you are doing...?!"

    ... Even if your definition of working together is getting things done yourself.

    The moment the horned devil gives you as small of a hint as she possible could regarding the whereabouts of the castle, you immediately begin your march, putting little care in whatever dangers might lie on the way. But that should come as no surprise for someone who plans on daringly venturing into an enemy hideout from the front door.

    "You'll get us both ki-"

    Elizabeth does not even get to finish her sentence.

    What silences her is nothing more and nothing less than a towering shadow.

    Standing there and blocking the blessing sun, the giant that the idol spoke about quickly reveals her presence.

    Your teammate was not kidding when she said that the guardian of this forest was tall. In fact she's tall enough to crush you under her feet if she ever needs to. But that's not all. Her body is decorated with several garments and accessories made of gold, fitting for a figure of royalty... No, with the sun behind her back...

    She can be no less than a God.

    As if to empower this image, the moment she places her equally divine staff on the ground, the ground below her feet shakes lightly...


    The greatest enemy appears!


    "You are not the first, nor the last foolish soul to trespass these holy lands, little devil. I see you have brought 'friends' with you... Now speak! The Great Pharaoh demands it! Say your last words before I vanish you back to the dark realms where you came from-!"
    [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. #292
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Aya Alayana
    Einzbern Forest
    Morning Phase


    ---The ground shakes.

    Her footsteps come to a stop, the journey of a thousand miles both beginning and ending within the span of the same handful of steps... Of course it's only natural, for someone like her, the only real plan was to march straight ahead...

    Her magecraft can only destroy.

    Subtleties like hiding one's presence?

    Impossible.

    Straight ahead, that's just how it is... She can suppress it a bit more if she absolutely has too, but if the brats have been locked up in confinement, she doesn't have time to go home and come back, she has to go drag their asses out of the fire right now, and so...

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "You are not the first, nor the last foolish soul to trespass these holy lands, little devil. I see you have brought 'friends' with you... Now speak! The Great Pharaoh demands it! Say your last words before I vanish you back to the dark realms where you came from-!"
    ...Here she is, standing before a giant with an unlit cigarette in hand, and...

    "Now this one is an impressive Servant."

    ...She states that to the smaller idol at her side, showing next to no fear in the situation... It's something close to insanity perhaps? While certainly a powerful magus, in the end a magus is a magus and a heroic spirit is a heroic spirit, and yet...

    Something in this person simply refuses to give?

    Perhaps it's the chanting at the back of her mind, or simple knowledge of her affinity with such beings, but...

    "Still... I see what you mean, she really is a giant."

    The cigarette lights up.

    There's no lighter, as always, her will alone is more than enough to make a spark...

    "That being said, giant or not, I'd appreciate it if you didn't banish this kid to the Dark Realms, I just told her I'd protect her and I'd hate to be seen as a liar this soon."

    She speaks to the entity, without backing down a single step.

    "Perhaps we could just talk things out first? I don't believe we've done you or your lands any harm yet, no?"
    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?



  13. #293
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase



    "So supernatural beings are neither good nor evil, huh?" Alicia remarked intently, musing over the maid's words. She thought back to what Assassin had said to her before about not being the kind of hero kids like her should admire. Then a small smile crossed her face. "Even so, from the way you describe her... Miss Akane sounds like a really kind person. I'm actually a little jealous," Alicia went on in a bittersweet tone. "I lost my parents when I was too young to remember them, and the person who raised me after that died a few years back too, so I'm on my own now. It must be nice having someone you know will stick by your side no matter what, even if they are an immortal old lady." She punctuated with a note of wry humor.

    Alicia delivered the speech matter-of-factly and with only a trace of lingering sadness, absent the angst you'd expect of a girl her age who'd been through such upheaving events. It was enough to unnerve most adults who spoke to her long enough to see past her delicate exterior, but within Alicia Rosenkopf was a core of iron forged through the traumatic events she'd underwent. "J-just to be clear, it's not like I'm telling you this so you'll feel sorry for me or anything," she added abashedly. "It's just... I want to say that I'm happy for you, and you're right to be grateful for what you have in Miss Akane. That's all."

  14. #294
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Shinto - Bridge
    Morning Phase

    "Nyehehe. Your limbs are limber, Mask, but thy spirit is rather stiff. If you don't loosen up you'll just shatter the moment I catch you. Or perhaps you are merely an incurable pessimist."


    Unlike the other Assassin-class Servant, Cluase doesn't seem to perturbed by the incoming 'hammer', at least beyond her initial distaste. She considers the broken sky with the same expression she might throw at a particularly nasty piece of roadkill. Neither is the other Assassin's poor mood capable of rubbing off on her. She is angry for her own reasons and no others.

    That doesn't mean she is blind to the precarious situation, of course. The enemy has decided to assault the entire city from another dimension. Forget about counterattacking, there is simply nowhere to run if the sky and earth collide. It is correct for an expert in fleeing such as the masked Assassin to be fearful in such a situation, for his skills cannot escape the oncoming death. Even now, before it strikes, the mist descends from above...

    The same mist that she resents.

    "...very well then. We shall swap now."

    Cluase steps forward and sniffs the morning air. Her whiskers twitch and her expression is fearless. She is a complete opposite to the hero who may as well be an embodiment of the fear of death.

    The catlike Servant shows no hesitation as she steps up the red side of the bridge, which slowly curves upwards approaching the center.

    "If you know not where to flee, then try chasing for once. I shall assuredly lead you to victory - up until we must duel for the Grail as the last remaining Servants. And then, Mask, I will reach you. But before then, I shall grant thy cowardly spirit a measure of hope."


    She points to the broken sky as she climbs the bridge, starting on two legs and walking now on four. Her form grows small as she distances herself from the sewer they emerged from.

    "A hammer possesseth a fulcrum. To swing a great weapon you humans must muster your strength upon and from a single point, else it shall accomplish nothing. Be it radius or ripple or regency, all stem from a center. It is an immutable law, as that which you call your world would be naught but a dead layer over the truth were it not for a handful of anchors humanity gained for itself. Were even one to be removed, the Age of Man would finally reap the suffering it has sown. Thus, to halt this calamity we need merely find the point upon which force is exerted, and then assassinate it."

    Assassin has reached the top of the bridge, far above the streets. She spreads her arms, a small gnat against the outline of the red sky behind her. Yet that gnat wears an implacable grin.

    "If you are truly an Old Man of the Mountain, then you know, don't you? What is needed before one's target can be reached."

    She winks.

    "Catch me if you can, Mask."


    In an instant she is gone. A cat jumps into the dawn.

    "Nyahahaha!"

    Assassin runs like a woman who is finally alive again.

    Hers is a wild advance, abandoning all traces of stealth. It is the sort of mad dash that screams out "chase after me or begone!", a challenge to all who might notice her. She leaps over buildings, under eaves, through alleys, and between trees, following neither rhyme nor reason. Her form shifts as she moves, diving through small cracks in the form of a cat, and reaching for ledges to vault over with a human's grip. The other Assassin, of course, is expected to keep up with this haphazard approach, for she does not slow down for an instant. If he hesitates he will be lost. As will anyone else who ever considers giving chase.

    It is no mere child's run, however. The route Assassin chooses is deliberately inefficient, the sort that would take far too long to reach its destination if traveled with care and quiet. It is a route that necessitates throwing caution to the curb if one wishes to make it in time. And yet, in that inefficiency... is information. The one irreplaceable ingredient to any successful assassination.

    The wilds. The suburbs. The industrial areas. The main streets and downtowns. The schools and the stores. She runs by all of them, getting for herself a taste of her new hunting ground, a measure of Fuyuki itself, as she advances towards her destination. Committing it to memory... and committing herself to the memory of any who might see her. A King's proclamation that she is here, and she is not hiding. If one wishes to speak to her, they must immediately chase with no abandon...

    For no others are worthy of interrupting her mission.

  15. #295
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Yamashita Hiro
    Fuyuki's Underground Sewers- ???'s Secret Laboratory
    Morning Phase


    Just as there had been moments in the past where the young lad's erstwhile calm and comforting demeanor had been broken with fits of anger and vulgarity, so to did Luna have...perhaps, an extreme reaction when her emotions over ran her reason.

    Actually they were both a bit weak to embarrassment, or perhaps carelessly phrased words. Well, they did say the apprentice took after his master.

    If there was a difference between the two, it was that when flustered Luna had a tendency to draw back...But for Hiro? Well...when you stepped on a cat's tail...it tended to yowl.

    "I-its not like this is something normal for me...!"

    The young boy said, reddening noticeably. After a bare few seconds, the steam coming from his head would have challenged and matched even that produced by the spirit of the hotspring not that long before.

    "A-and, I get that this is something strange, especially since you are the closest thing I ever had to a friend..."

    That may have been a sad statement, but it likely was not an inaccurate one. The black haired boy had few acquaintances that weren't residents or employees of the Yamashita manner. And yes, it was the case that maid and ward could gain a certain closeness, that was also true for some of his instructors. However, the young lad was well aware that they interacted with him because it was their job. Its not like he was unaware that if they stopped receiving their paychecks, they would not return out of a sense of camaraderie.

    To be fair, he did have his family. But their was a difference between bonds of blood and kinship, vs the ties of friendship and mutual respect.

    Besides, the household of a magus was not a warm place.

    "But how else am I supposed to keep you alive?!" Hiro finished, somehow impossibly reddening even further.

    "I don't really care about whatever Grail facsimile this war is about, I came to study Servants. This was supposed to be where my knowledge took me to a new level, a rebirth even, but how can I do that if I am dragging around regrets. You saw that Berserker, I couldn't beat it, it was everything I could do just to run away! I don't even know if I could kill it if the King fought next to me, and what are the odds of that happening?! You know how hard it is to admit I can't protect you?"

    ...That had always been one of the hardest lessons a magus of the War had to learn. Such had even been codified once, in a strange war across the mists of time, where Masters and Servants had danced in front of the Regalia of a wish. Masters were not even allowed to put hand to sword without first acknowledging the depths of their inadequacy. That had been one of the more extreme examples, but some of those who studied the different wars speculated the true purpose was less an aborted ritual to reach the Root then it was a crucible to reforge a desire to take the next step on the path of a mage...if only to avoid ever having to feel so powerless again.

    The dark haired boy knuckled at one eye.

    "Look, a marriage is a precious thing. I have no desire to step on either your bonds or your feelings. You know I wont force you. But I do have to ask. What would your husband, or wife say were they hear now? Would they tell you to seek after some ideal of purity...or would they tell you to do whatever is necessary to return yourself to their embrace. I don't know your spouse. But I do know what what my own feelings would be. If I loved someone with my whole heart, I would say while I have no desire for you to shame yourself, and it is your choice in the end, what would be most important to me is you do whatever it took so that I might see your face again, hear my name on your lips once more."

    There was a sudden swell of heat. The silent stone, slicked cool from evaporating steam suddenly became much hotter. The fire that flickered and then blazed on the dark haired boy's hand was not physical, but burned no less hot for it.

    "And while we are on the subject. I cant speak for your spouse. But I will say this...should I learn that he or she is more interested in some imagined desire to possess you, body and soul then that person is in seeing you safely returned to their arms, then they never deserved you in the first place and I will take entirely to much joy in burning that fact into their skull."
    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.

  16. #296
    アカシャの蛇 The Serpent of Akasha RacingeR's Avatar
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    Hiyako Tsurara
    Dark World – Stray Cats HQ
    Unknown Phase


    “…” Tsurara’s face remained completely still and emotionless as she heard out Mayumi’s report.

    Not showing grief or wrath, just still as permafrost as she recollected the information, processed it, and drew her own conclusions.

    “The Dwellers, huh?” She said coldly as she closed her eyes, as if trying to fight a headache.

    Really, she did not want to deal with that troublesome bunch. In many ways, they were the best the humans and abhumans of this world had to offer. They had after all, the absolute highest power, numbers and organization possible. They were the top dogs.

    But in many ways, they were also the representation of the worst traits of the many inmates of this world-prison. Smug, petty, prone to outbursts of violence and a strange lack of self-esteem that translated into exercising their power over the weaker ones in an attempt to aggrandize themselves.

    She had once told to Mayumi that her evaluation of this Dark World and the dangers within was extremely high, but that her evaluation of the many survivors within, the people, was extremely low. Perhaps it was hypocritical of her, but there certainly was a ‘wrongness’ on the way people here behaved.

    Maybe at the end of the day, they were all insane, just like she was. This world was not a friendly one to sanity, and you had to go a little mad just to be able to survive. Rationality was less of a guiding principle here, and more of a mere suggestion.

    Given past dealings with the Dwellers, and their attitude… she was convinced that they were the ones the ones behind this.

    “Very well.” The frigid coldness behind Tsurara’s voice seemed to have intensified. Mayumi was, no doubt, able to feel the overall temperature of the room… no, of the entirety of the Stray Cat’s base, lower to an uncomfortable extent.

    “Call our top brass, it is time we have a reunion about this. Order all expeditions outside the base to cease and get everyone to return, except the sentinels we have outside. Oh, and summarize for me the information of all the other strong survivor groups. I want to know even the tiniest detail.”

    The nail that sticks out will be hammered down.

    That was true in the society of the outside world, and that was true in the Dark World.

    The Dwellers had been at the top for too long, and their attitude had gained them practically no friends at all. Most other gangs would be positively itching to make them fall or at least force them to eat a loss. The Stray Cats were far from being the only faction they had pulled this bullshit against.

    Proof? Rules? Presumption of innocence?

    Such a joke. There were no rules in this world. There were no police. No judges. A yakuza like Hiyako Tsurara didn’t give a shit about that in the first place.

    “Oh, and get me some information on the Dwellers’ nearest operation. I think it is high time we send them a message… that if they want war, they will have war.” Tsurara smiled wolfishly as she said that.

    No, that was not a smile. That was a beast showing her fangs.

    Nobody killed Tsurara’s people and got away with it. Nobody.

    They wanted to play dirty?

    It was time to pay them back with their own coin. Nobody played dirty better than an actual criminal, and it was time to teach these arrogant brats a lesson about the real world.
    Last edited by RacingeR; July 30th, 2021 at 05:04 AM.


    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. #297
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Miyama - Ryudou Temple
    Morning Phase

    All things considered, the pair's arrival at their destination is both quick and unexpectedly quiet. For all of Assassin's bravado earlier, she is both a cat and an Assassin, neither of which are known to make noise. She ran silently across the city, taking in streets and rooftops and various features, noting them down for use during later hunts, until finally...

    She arrives at the foot of the great mountain which they must climb. It stretches upwards before her. A sea of trees parted by hundreds of steps, culminating in a torii that opens to the morning clouds.

    Assassin does not approach from the steps, of course. Her arrival, in contrast to the departure from the sewers, is imperceptible. The sun, still low above the horizon, casts lengthy shadows from all it touches. It is within those shadows of the many trees that Assassin hides in animal form, slinking from one shadowy patch to another, her fur blending in with the darkness as it was always meant to. Presence Concealment does the rest.

    "..."

    The cat stares for a moment. Then another moment. Then three moments.

    There is magical residue here. The remnants of an immensely powerful barrier among the trees. One that had surrounded the whole mountain. A barrier so powerful that its impact could still be felt, years later. Areas where half-dormant magecraft lingers, hungering for the magical energy, like a magical minefield that would devour the essence of any spirits who passed through and dull their strength.

    Assassin doesn't care. She is already off. Dashing upwards, taking an irregular route, ignoring the steps and weaving from tree to tree without shaking even a leaf, twisting past the residue, following both her nose and her sense for 'death' to guide her to safety.

    A squirrel bends down to dig through the ground for tree nuts. A black blur leaps over it in that moment. It does not notice.

    A bird lands on its nest, feeding a worm to its children, their mouths wide open. The cat lands on the same branch without even shaking it, and is off. They do not notice.

    A wild Tom bites the neck of a mouse, and its kill stops struggling. It pauses as it is about to bite down, looks around. Sees nothing. Moves on. He did not notice.

    She passes upwards, unnoticed by the mountain itself.

    The Assassin of the Distant Kingdom's approach to advancing is fundamentally unlike that which a human might use. Where the stealth of Man is one born of careful training and logic, Assassin's is completely different. It is entirely based on something completely at odds with the Hashashin's methodology:

    Instinct.

    Yes, the Assassin of the Distant Kingdom's stealth is as much instinct as it is art. It is not something she was taught; it is something she inherited down to the genetic level, and then refined even further by elevating her skills to the peak of her species. Assassin does not think so much as she feels the correct way to go. As such she winds around, occasionally doubling back, avoiding easy clearings that might coincidentally provide an opening, taking each moment as it comes, always, always unblinking, all traces of cheer gone. It is an infinitely patient approach, and in this moment Assassin is far past 'machinelike', for not even a machine could match her movements that embody the primordial form of a cat on the hunt. For on a hunt there is no happiness or sadness. There is merely the ritual. The approach. The deception. The tension between predator and prey, even if the 'prey' in this hunt is merely a location that may not even be inhabited. Assassin has performed this ritual thousands of times. She will not make a mistake. Her body and soul remember the movements better than her mind ever could. She does this all trusting the other, Masked Assassin to be able to follow her perfect path. If he could not at least chase the back of a master, he would not be an Old Man of the Mountain.

    Instinct. It is that which leads her to approach from the back, avoiding the main entrance.

    Assassin winds through a small graveyard first. A place that called to her, though she did not know it. It is not the nostalgia that permeates this area, that tickles a half-forgotten memory in the back of her head, that says "I have been here before". No, rather, she approaches from this direction... because the sight of the graves of men is a calming one.

    "...haaah."


    A silent breath.

    Bodies. Bones. Buried. But also... traces. Traces of her favourite food, the souls of the dead.

    Assassin passes over the graves as she approaches the Temple proper, seeing its wooden roof peeking above the trees. As she does so, she feeds. On the leftover memories and sentiments of those buried there. And, should any graves be shallower than the rest, perchance she may snag a morsel for herself that is a tad bit fresher.

    The roof catches her eye as she reaches the end of the graves. Then it catches her attention. And finally, her instincts. Yes, that will do nicely.

    A small shadow runs up one side of one of the winding pillars of Ryuudou temple. It moves through gaps in brick and wood, winding along the top of the temple, slinking across support beams and as it approaches from above, a place humans would never see. It is one with the darkness, unable to be reached by any light streaming up.

    What, Assassin finally wonders, lies below? What is so special about this place that the strange machine would point them here?
    Last edited by Bloble; July 29th, 2021 at 08:03 PM.

  18. #298
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Assassin of the Distant Kingdom
    Miyama - Ryuudou Temple
    Morning Phase


    The realization comes as an afterthought.

    It might have been a short meal, a brief snack given the circumstances, and yet you find it particularly difficult to recall an occasion when this sort of nourishment has left you more satisfied. The leftover grief and residual thoughts that linger in the surroundings of a graveyard and in the place proper are usually strong. Even if bodies have fully decomposed and have become nothing but an empty shell, a fragment of the drive that used to fuel the soul that once resided there usually lingers for decades to come. However, this... This has been leagues above that, enough for you to suspect that whatever you ingested might have already been on the level of a vengeful spirit in the making.

    The next spell or ability used will cost half of its original cost. (Last until day end. Does not include Noble Phantasm.)

    One would discard it as a coincidence, as mere good fortune. As your luck goes up, someone else's takes a turn for the worse. It's the natural way of things. Except your instincts tell you otherwise. No, it's not just your instincts, but the information that you've gathered on your way to the temple. It might have been hard to notice then, as you were possessed by the animalistic impulse that defines you, but now it is all slowly coming together.

    Regret. Sadness. Fury.

    The atmosphere that surrounds the entirety of Fuyuki city has been bathed in those and many other powerful emotions. A giant feast if a king has ever seen one. And yet, if it were just that, there would be no problem at all. The toxic whispers from beyond might have a negative (or perhaps even positive!) effect on the behavior of those who inhabit the land, however, it would be far from a world-ending catastrophe. Yes, the problem here lies in the excessive interaction between the physical and the spiritual

    Materials are quickly overwhelmed by erosion, thoughts and memories are given form, and there is even enough collected evidence to affirm that extended exposure might just be able to drive a man beyond madness, turning them into an actual monster.

    A haunted land out of control.

    "..."

    A few minutes go by but the Old Man of the Mountain does not arrive. Perhaps he is simply running late -a man cannot beat a beast in a race without aid-, or maybe he simply decided to tackle the temple from a different angle, led by a string of logic that a cat has no need to follow. Regardless, he is an elusive one, so you doubt his tardiness has anything to do with getting into trouble. Like you, he must be hiding in a way unique to his kind...

    Ultimately, there is no time to follow a whim and go searching for him. A pair of voices already inform you of the presence of at least two individuals. However, from this angle, it is hard to tell exactly what they're talking about or if they are in any way related to the supernatural side of the world. The existence of magecraft has been compromised within the boundaries of Fuyuki. During your trip across the city, you managed to spot a number of civilians staring at the darkness with fear in their eyes and isolating themselves as much as possible in order to survive. They never caught a sight of you but... Should that been the case, you can rest assured that you are not the scariest things they've seen within the past few days.

    Their presence draws closer.

    You cannot make out what they are talking about, but their tone hints that they are familiar with one another. Two females, from the sound of it. Ah, it seems that one of them is commenting on the beauty of nature, showing some enthusiasm, while the other one does not find it very exciting to be outdoors. A rather common conversation, the more seconds go by, the easier it becomes to understand. There is nothing strange with these two... Most likely they came all the way here looking for shelter and stayed upon finding out that it was otherwise desolate.

    Yeah... Neither of them feels or smells like a Servant.

    And there isn't any clue that would lead you to believe that this area is currently being used as a workshop, either. At least not from where you rest.

    Even so...

    Something is off.

    You can't put quite your finger on it but your gut feeling is telling you not to trust your eyes.

    There is a puzzle piece that does not fit here...
    [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

  19. #299
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase


    "..."

    The secret of maidcraft lies in observation and discipline. Simply knowing the how-to is not enough, one must both preserve and adapt each technique to suit the needs of another. At the same time, one must constantly acquire new knowledge, otherwise one risks becoming stuck in time. It's not as simple as discovering and mastering the things one's lord desires, as invited guests are common and they, too, must feel comfortable. A maid is, after all, a good part of the image of the household that she represents.

    So it goes without saying that Sakaki Yuuna did not miss the fact that a young lady, not to say a child, came into their inn just a few nights prior without a parent to guide and support them. At first, the green-haired girl thought it would be wise to offer some words of confidence regarding the current situation, to inspire some hope and resolve into the little girl, even if at the time it would have been no more than an empty promise. However, she never needed to. You never asked for your parents, requested their presence or even showed much fear in their absence.

    The maid noticed and stayed silent back then, too. Deep down, she already knew what you are telling her today. Out of respect, she did not pry, and out of respect, she won't inquire any further.

    "... I don't." She answers after a few moments. "I think you are very brave."

    It's not just about fighting the supernatural, embarking on a journey that feels unreal. No, during these past few days you've faced challenges that go beyond mere death-matches. You have faced struggle, loss and reality, and you have made decisions based upon those. And not a single time have you lost faith or cried, or prayed to some random deity. You were never out of options and always managed to keep the flow going, even when the rest of the group seemed discouraged.

    Yuuna does indeed believe you deserve that compliment. And...

    "If you don't have a place to go after this resolves, Would you like to join us? I am sure Lady Akane won't be against it, and neither would I."

    Perhaps she worded it a little too carelessly.

    Even if she is the Head Maid, she still lacks experience in some specific areas.

    She wanted to word it as an offer, but instead she worded it as a question that places all sort of pressure on your side of the court. Now you are literally forced to give an answer here...

    ... Or that would have been the case, had something strange not have got in the way of your downhill trip.

    "... Stay behind me."

    A small pile of black sludge that could easily be crushed under your feet. A shape that feels as strange as it is familiar, completely disconnected from the environment that surrounds it. It's like a shadow, but at the same time it behaves the same way a physical object would. It reminds you of Assassin, back when she was clad in that feral umbral armor.

    It's a beating heart.

    Therefore, it's alive.
    Last edited by hero; August 2nd, 2021 at 08:55 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

  20. #300
    Lost in Paradise RoydGolden's Avatar
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    Alicia Rosenkopf (& Servant Assassin)
    Miyama- Streets
    Morning Phase



    "A place to go?" Alicia repeated, taking in the offer. The solitary phrase elicited a surge of memories from the last dwelling she'd spent the night at, before all of this began. Flashes of spilt blood and fresh corpses littering the floor in a ghoulish display.

    In that moment the young girl's hands clenched at her sides, an unconscious gesture that nevertheless likely didn't escape Sakaki Yuuna's shrewd stare. That's right, Alicia reminded, these people were kind enough to take her in, to shelter and aid her even knowing of the danger it brought. Masaki Tomomi and her brother, Sakaki Yuuna and Takagi Akane... although having just known them for a few days they were already close friends and even the closest thing she held to family. Certainly, their meetings would leave a warm memory in the girl called Alicia Rosenkopf's heart.

    But that's precisely why the option of long-term cohabitation was rejected from the start. Because if they stayed by her side, they'd certainly end up finding out her secret and falling prey to 'it'. The monster that'd been beside her ever since that day, whose whispers reflected like shards in her every fitful dream. She couldn't let that happen, and so it was necessary to maintain a certain distance even with those she considered close companions.

    And so after a cursory moment of reflection the girl merely smiled and answered "That's sweet, but you don't have to worry about me. I'm used to living on my own, so it's fine. Besides, I'd say we have more important things to worry about for the time being." Whether this was enough to reassure the savvier green-haired girl was dubious, but in any case the pair were swiftly distracted by an unexpected interruption to their downhill jaunt. A small shadowy mass on the street that seemed to pulsate organically like a beating heart.

    "Stay behind me." was Sakaki Yuuna's forceful warning as she stepped forward and spread out her arms, unhesitantly prepared to shield her youthful charge with her body in the event the mysterious muck proved malignant.

    "What is that weird thing?" Alicia called out, cocking her head to try and peer around at what had so startled her unflappable guardian. Although only managing a brief glimpse before Yuuna had abruptly thrown herself between them, Alicia had already gotten an incredibly ominous feeling from the clump of shadow. "Assassin?" She turned to her Servant who'd been keeping vigil in spiritual form for the last few minutes. Even not being able to see her Alicia instinctively sensed the wolf-eared woman's reassuring presence by her side and her expectations were answered by a shimmering in space as Assassin stepped forward to reveal herself.

    "Your guess is as good as mine Master," she appraised casually yet warily. "Still..." Assassin paused to take a few whiffs of the air before continuing. "Its smell kinda' pisses me off. I don't know why but every instinct in my body is telling me we'd better watch out for this thing. If you'd like, I could just shred the squirmy bastard to pieces and put an end to our worries," the Servant eagerly suggested, flashing a toothy grin to Alicia as she meaningfully extended her claws.

    "N-no, I think we could approach things a bit more cautiously than that," Alicia nervously replied. "Geez," the young girl exhaled a small sigh, "you're always one to first suggest slicing things apart aren't you? I appreciate your enthusiasm but aren't there some problems that need to be handled with a more delicate touch?"

    "Slicing things apart is totally the best solution!" Assassin indignantly protested. "Whatever that thing is it can't pose a threat to us if it's dead, right? W-well, that being said," she trailed off with a small blush on her face. "If you really think so I guess I'll trust your judgment for the time being, Master." With that settled she joined Yuuna in guardedly studying the bizarre entity. Albeit still with claws bared in case she had to ward off any sudden attacks.

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