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Thread: Fate/Anarchy: Shattered Paths

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    Originally posted here.
    Chapter 10: Fallout

    The Moon Cell

    Zelretch frowns, sitting. “Now, what was so important that I was called here to check with my Administrator access? The last time Hakuno asked for me like this, I made him into a magical girl for a month in retaliation, so he should know better than to do this unless it’s important. Though, I suppose that now this Moon Cell has a slight tap to the Kaleidoscope as a result. It definitely makes it easier to use it to process data from universes outside ones where Servants and Dead Apostles exist for me without cementing the timeline into place.” He muses, as he sits down. “Ah, developments with that Shipgirl setup that Erik’s flying fortress now has. I wonder if he’s realized that she’s missing from his ship yet, or that if she dies, his ship will die with it?”

    “Hmm. Arpeggio of Blue Steel? An interesting crossover, if canon to Kantai Collection. Let’s see now. Moon Cell, can you calculate the most likely outcomes for Wolfen and her actions, without further intervention?”

    Three screens appear, as Zelretch watches carefully. “An Aerial Battleship base, much like herself, as the first, more than two nuclear weapons for the second, and warp drive for the third?”

    Curiously, he pulls up the first, watching carefully how the Moon Cell has calculated the fighting that will likely occur.

    Zelretch’s frown deepens immediately, watching the Mental Model Kongo putting a massive hole through the Aerial Battleship, like a hot knife through butter. The last moments of Wolfen, as other ships launch hundreds of missiles that simply carve massive gouges out of the ship, is just a side effect.

    “That’s… not impressive, I’ll admit. Though she had nukes built for it, the sheer size alone left it too vulnerable to Kongo and her Black Fleet.” Zelretch muses, watching carefully. “Bringing every Abyssal and shipgirl that Wolfen could only make them tightly concentrated and easy to kill.”

    A pause, as Zelretch narrows his eyes. “However, the fact that the Mental Models don’t recognize Wolfen’s Aerial Battleship as possible upgrades in any way, shape or form is concerning. Let’s check the next one, and see if that continues.”

    Wolfen flies in near orbit with Hoppou on her back, this time, as a mass of shipgirls and Abyssals all fire at the five mile mark Wolfen had warned them to stay at, prior. Down immediately below, the Mental Model of Kongo stands on her ship, massive tori-gate like mechanisms recreating a battleship that had just been sunk 13 minutes prior. Nearby, the Mental Model of the Heavy Cruiser Maya watches the massive storm of water a mile wide with awe and glee.

    “We need you NOW, Wolfen! We can’t fight another one of those absurd Battleships off!” Kongou shouts on the screen, as Wolfen flies high above.

    “I need 39 more minutes, damn it, then we’ve got this in the bag!” Wolfen retorts.

    “That Mental Model of my own ship is mass producing them, Wolfen! You know that better than anyone! Will you really let us sink as your only friends, just so we have a chance to save humanity but not us?!” Kongou’s retort leaves Wolfen silent.

    “...Understood. Warn people further off, I’ll start my assault.” Wolfen orders.

    With those words, she aims her railgun down, fully charged, and fires a nuclear round off.

    INCOMING!” Is the scream from Maya as she desperately spots things, and opens fire desperately as she pushes herself in the way of the incoming round.

    For a minute, they watch as the explosion clears, all sides quiet.

    Then, to no little horror, Wolfen stares at a damaged Kongou, a fully functional Mental Model of the Battleship Ise beside her, looking at Maya dissolving in no little horror. The only actual emotion she’s shown the entire time she’s been in the universe.

    “Tch.” Wolfen murmurs, before firing the railgun a second time, her second nuke heading down like the first.

    This time, Battleship Ise is the one sacrificed, leaving Kongo’s Mental Model glaring at the sky when the explosion dissipates. Around her, the shattered 3d printing system for the Fleet of Fog ships falls, shattered and useless.

    “This is Wolfen. Whatever she was using is done, but Mental Model Kongo is still standing! I repeat! STILL STANDING!” Wolfen snarls over the communications system… only to widen her eyes as Kongo looks straight at her.

    Emotionless, Mental Model’s guns aim right at Wolfen, and then she’s in for a fight for her life, the cloaking not working at all to Kongo’s advanced computers having identified her communications systems and locked on to that, instead.

    Shattering the Waveforce armor with the Radiant Wave surger eventually works, letting Kongo and Wolfen duke it out in melee, as Hoppou helps.

    But it’s not enough. Never enough.

    Not shooting out Kongo’s engines, by using a Legion of Coal unit.

    Not going into melee, as Kongo summons massive swords of energy and uses them almost as well as a Servant would.

    The battle is an utter curbstomp for Wolfen and Hoppou both, as Kongo breaks them for the deaths of those that follow her. Piece by piece. Limb by limb.

    At the last, Wolfen glares at Kongo, body shattered. Hull massively compromised. Nanomaterial slowly flooding her internals, forcing her offline, inch by inch. Hoppou’s half dead body lies nearby, as Wolfen struggles to pull herself up for one last stand.

    Then the timer runs to zero on the last nuke’s creation, and Wolfen grins.

    “If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me!” With those as Wolfen’s final words, the third and final nuke goes off, leaving nothing remaining of Hoppou, Wolfen, or the Mental Model of Kongo.

    Zelretch’s frown grows deeper, as he watches carefully, thinking over every possible issue.

    “They don’t care about other technology, they don’t care about innovation and tactics. They’re like machines, even worse than canon. Did someone mess with the setup for them to cross dimensions? More than that, where did that Battleship, Ise come from?” Zelretch mutters, thinking. “The crossover event had it be Iona, Takao, Haruna, Kirishma, Maya and Kongo. There were never any other ships involved. Well, except that Nagara class as cannon fodder.”

    For a moment, Zelretch looks completely unamused, as he simply ponders things. “It’s not funny at all, or even slightly amusing. I half expected to see Yamato show up, if nothing else than to save Chihaya Gunzou from his death, but she doesn’t seem to care for him, either. Considering who her second Mental Model is, it goes from ‘unamusing’ to ‘outright terrifying’ for the implications involved, too.”

    “I suppose I should spare Hakuno the dress, for bringing this up. Perhaps a Kaleidostick for Nero and Tamamo instead?” Zelretch muses to himself, as he thinks, before pausing to rewind some of the footage.

    “No sign of any usual catchphrases from the crossover, manga or anime for the Fleet of Fog? Perhaps this is more worrying than I thought.” He eventually admits, before settling back to watch the third and final outcome.

    Then stares, silently.

    “Well, I’ll give her this. She makes me think that her father was perhaps a more sane and rational person to work with than she is.” Zelretch watches with a bit of amusement on his face. “I wonder if I should give her a Kaleidostick just for having the guts to think of something like this?. It’s definitely entertaining if nothing else.”

    As Wolfen literally rides down an asteroid she’d brought over via her warp drive system, to colony drop the Fleet of Fog warships.

    The looks of utter shock from the Fleet of Fog in its entirety, as the asteroid, one side covered with as much jets and other equipment as it could possibly hold, heading towards the Fleet of Fog? A beautiful scene indeed, leaving Zelretch outright chuckling at the looks on their faces.

    The sheer mass, being undamaged by the Gravity Cannons, by being a 1 kilometer sized asteroid?

    The two nuclear warheads that Wolfen launches is just icing on the cake, as the fleet she’d spent so much time to gear up against, dies from the asteroid and the ocean compressing the explosion.

    Then Zelretch’s eyes narrow, as Wolfen’s look of joy at her victory, turns to utter despair.

    Because they saw the same thing, at the same time. Hundreds more Fleet of Fog ships appearing out of nowhere, to finish the fight that Kongo’s fleet had failed to win.

    “So, that’s it. The deities involved are sore losers, and want to ensure that there are as many Mental Models as are necessary for their eventual victory.” Zelretch muses. “If my guess isn’t off the mark, they’re doing something to mess with their heads upon summoning, as well, forcing them to be hyper focused. Perhaps it's influencing their programming somehow, considering they're hyper intelligent AI?” Zelretch frowns, as he starts to research.

    “Admittedly, Wolfen not taking advantage of more esoteric methods, might have something to do with how poorly she failed for those first two fights. I wonder if I can stack the deck with that somehow?” Zelretch muses, then rubs his chin as he stares at the results involving the Mental Models of the Fleet of Fog.

    “Altering what the Admiralty Code says in its laws. Their highest law, being altered like that would do it.” Zelretch finally admits to himself, his frown now etched upon his face. “If it wasn’t for Erik in a time loop? Or what I owe him for dealing with that clusterfuck the Greater Grail War turned into on top of that? I wouldn’t mess with something like this mess. But I suppose I owe him for handling Dracula and sending that irritating would be vampiric lord back to his home universe. Stupid Dark Lords, stepping in like that.”

    Zelretch pauses, then chuckles to himself. “At least Erik’s always fine with all the pranks I play on him now.”

    With a flicker of power, Zelretch disappears.

    A few minutes later, Hakuno would be found staring at both Nero and Tamamo, both using Kaleidosticks, grinning at him while asking him which of them is the most beautiful.

    A slow turn between them, as they start glaring, Then arguing. Before the mother of all cat fights breaks out between them for weeks on end.

    “Did he have to actually prank me for helping him?!” Hakuno slumps in his seat, rubbing his forehead.

    Then a stray blast of Kaleidoscope-infused energy sends him flying.

    Deck of the Fog Ship Yamato

    “So, do you have any idea of how to ensure we have an edge to keep your Fleet from being influenced by my bosses?” Eris asks, thinking. “Or an idea for me to give luck to, that they won’t be influenced so badly?”

    “Perhaps I-401 and her crew would work out for this.” Yamato admits, both bodies relaxing in nanomaterial made chairs on her deck.

    A ripple of power on the deck later, has Eris going bone white. Slowly, she turns to look, before desperately moving to hide behind Yamato. “Oh no, what is he doing here?!

    “Ah, the one that granted a boon to Wolfen.” Zelretch smirks. “Glad I left a good impression after what I did to your organization the time that blue haired idiot tried to steal my sword and give it to some poor dead fool.”

    “The talking sticks haven’t come back to haunt me?” A quiet whisper from Eris is her only reply.

    “Not unless you decide to irritate me, no.” Zelretch smirks. “I can be serious from time to time too, you know?”

    Slowly Eris moves back from behind Yamato, then turns to look at both mental models. “Meet the indisputably most dangerous trolling prankster of the multiverse. Zelretch. Unlike most of them, he has access to every timeline and universe out there, leaving him able to come and go as he pleases. Add in that he’s immortal, and Aqua now weeps about horrifyingly fat and ugly guys trying to hit on her, every time his name is said?”

    “Oh, making sure she’d meet Baron Harkonnen was entertaining, I’ll tell you that for sure. Especially since I ensured she’d show up at his family reunion!” Zelretch’s smile never wavers. “The only fatter bastard I’ve ever seen was Jabba the Hutt, after all. And it stayed in the family quite nicely, to her horror.”

    After that, Zelretch’s smile disappears. “Still, enough about that. I’ve come to influence things a bit, and ensure things are set up to be more safe and sane than what would happen otherwise.”

    Eris pales, as she recognizes the reference to the first Dune book, immediately. Yamato’s eyes narrow for both Mental Models, instead.

    “How bad will it be, then?” One of Yamato’s Mental Models ask, carefully.

    “Considering they’ve figured out how to influence what the Admiralty Code’s laws are for you and your fellow ships?” Zelretch asks, frowning. “Unless you particularly like the idea of executing Chihaya Gunzou in cold blood, not even caring that you killed him, or trying to save him?”

    Both of Yamato’s mental models go white, as they look at each other, then back at Zelretch.

    “Oh, crap.” Eris whispers. “That shouldn’t even be possible!

    “Considering how much can be influenced about people, if it happens while dropping into another universe? Unless you have Paradigm shielding when you go in, or something similar…” Zelretch pauses, then smirks. “Of course, considering Wolfen has the ability to make something similar to my Paradigm Shielding as armor, it isn’t exactly hopeless. Add in that her technology has some advantages compared to yours, if just as many disadvantages?”

    “What would she ask for in return?” Eris asks, since the twin Yamato mental models are saying absolutely nothing for the moment, one still looking like she’s in utter shock.

    Zelretch thinks. “Perhaps upgrades, like what your Fleet of Fog has? Her current weaponry hits hard against supernatural threats, but leaves nearly nothing set aside for anything like one of your ships.”

    “Who would you suggest sending, to ensure that we aren’t manipulated?” Yamato finally asks.

    For a moment, Zelretch thinks, drumming his fingers against his knee. “As much as I’d suggest someone easier to sideline? Kongo, Flagship of the Black Fleet. She has the sort of stubbornness that you’re going to need for to find a way through things, and the willingness to adapt that would be necessary for dealing with Wolfen, and getting the technology you all so desperately need to not be victims in the future.”

    Yamato’s eyes narrow. “You’re going to have to explain that.”

    “Hyuuga is out, and not just because I-401 sank her months ago.” Zelretch admits. “Haruna and Kirishima aren’t adaptable enough to be useful for this, as of right now. Nagato would be too powerful for Wolfen to really get along with, and Ise would be a little too sister focused to really help.”

    Zelretch pauses, his fingers drumming on the nearby railing, as he thinks. “You’re far too overpowered and necessary for here, to really help long term. I-401 would use her technology against you whenever possible, and simply doesn’t have the reserves of nanomaterial to really make a difference in the long run. Really, anything less than a battleship would be useless for being a proper ally in such things, to Prototype Aerial Battleship Wolfen. The only one that would fit, and have the ability to produce technology for Wolfen to use? Is Kongo, especially if she’s armed with her flagship equipment for 3d printing other Fleet of Fog ships.”

    Eris quietly blinks, while both mental models of Yamato stare, quietly contemplating things.

    Then, resolutely, the Yamato Mental Models nod as one. “So then. I’ll summon Kongo, and we’ll set things up.”

    “I’ll give you time to set things up, though I’d suggest we work together in having her Mental Model in one place, and both her battleship, extra nanomaterial, and the flagship equipment set up in orbit.” Zelretch smirks. “A Super Graviton Cannon from orbit as a tactical strike is more useful than the locals freaking out, after all.”

    “What of defenses against mental effects from the local deities?” Eris asks, quietly. “If they notice her, I suspect these plans will be in ruins.”

    “I’ll handle that personally. A paradigm shield for one person is far simpler than for an entire nation, and won’t be too draining for my reserves.” Zelretch pauses, then smirks. “Unless you think I should simply give her a Kaleidostick, and let ‘Magical Girl Mental Model Kongo’ become a thing?”

    Eris shakes her head rapidly. “Please, I don’t think I can handle another one of those talking sticks!”

    “You wouldn’t have anything to do with them?” Zelretch raises an eyebrow.

    “I still keep thinking I’m hearing one whenever I’m taking a shower, taking pictures!” Eris shudders. “Not to mention exactly how much they kept trying to get pictures when there were so many at first!”

    Both Mental Models of Yamato pause, simply staring at Eris, before the more human looking one of the two shudders quietly.

    “I suppose that’s entirely fair to be worried about one taking pictures of you when you’re in the shower. I’d say let’s not give her one of those, please?” She admits, before sighing.

    “As for you, little copy of a human that Yamato made her Mental Model based off of.” Zelretch speaks up. “You should be especially worried, with the plots these deities seem to have made. They seem entirely too eager to see Chihaya Gunzou die, after all, and you all act like machines once more.”

    A slow nod from both Yamato Mental Models is his answer, as a ripple of rainbow light forms around him, before he disappears.

    For a long moment, Eris, and the Mental Models of Yamato both look at each other.

    “Upgrades for Wolfen, hmm?” Eris finally settles back to think. “I wonder if she’d rather be a Mental Model entirely, or if she’d trade different technologies for your own?”

    “You think over ideas for trades we might have to do, since I suspect you know about the bulk of our technologies, while I summon Kongo.” Yamato retorts, voices in sync. A moment’s pause, before the more human one speaks up. “Though, I’d suggest checking the shower vents, or the shower head, if you’re hearing pictures being taken. If they’re sticks, maybe they’re in one of those two? Or the drain? Or maybe it’s a coworker taking pictures of you, and making it seem like it’s one to draw away your attention?”

    Eris pauses, outright frowns, then starts to go red with rage. “If it’s one of those stupid angels trying to sell nudes of me again, claiming that they bring ‘Good Luck’? I’m going to kill them.”

    Yamato nods, then focuses. “Kongo, Akashi. New orders for the both of you. Come to my location immediately. We have a future threat you’re to take care of, Kongo, and Akashi’s the one necessary for producing the equipment for the trip. Ise, take over for Kongo as flagship until they return. No hunting for your sister while in charge, understand? We still have yet to find her, and maintaining the patrols is more important.”

    Three choruses of “Understood!” ring in Yamato’s mind, as she settles back to wait.

    “Can you tell me anything of Wolfen’s technology while we wait?” Yamato eventually asks. “Or should I prepare tea?”

    “I suppose it's possible to make some images of battle footage of Wolfen.” Eris says with a sigh.

    With Erik, Location Unknown
    2 Weeks after the visit to the Monument Skull Fortress

    Erik sighs, wiping the sweat off his forehead, as he looks at the desert around as far as the eye can see. “Stupid post apocalyptic place is just unpleasant.” He admits after a bit. “Let’s keep on working, folks! It’ll take time to get the Wolfen rebuilt into something smaller, I know! But we can do it!”

    A cheer rises from the Legion of Coal as well as the Reploids helping them, as they continue their work.

    Then a ripple of light appears behind Erik, and Erik twists. “Ah, Erik. How’s that Command Spell Creation machine working? Has Fiore understood the blueprints?”

    “We’ve just got about that finished, thanks. I’ve got a couple more hours of work into it, before I can fire it up.” Erik admits, then pauses. “Not here to prank me again?"

    For a moment, a portal appears above Erik’s head, spreading confetti on Erik.

    “That better? If I’d known you wanted to be pranked, I would have done something better than that.” Zelretch smirks, as Erik’s glare grows a bit.

    “I just cleaned this floor, too!” Erik sighs, softly. “What do you want?”

    “Oh, just decided to let you know that you need to aim the Command Spell Creation machine to your ship, before you aim it at yourself.” Zelretch smirks.

    Erik pauses, then slowly turns to look up from the confetti to Zelretch. “And why, exactly, do I need to do that? I already have to support myself and Fiore with Command Spells..."

    “Funny story, really.” Zelretch’s smirk only widens. “You recall the chunk of the Wolfen that you lost?”

    Erik nods. “Oh, I definitely do, considering how badly damaged the rest of the ship was!” Erik mutters, under his breath.

    “Well, funny story.” Zelretch continues. “The shrine your wife made for the Kami of your ship was sucked out with, and the few Legion of Coal units daisy chained themselves to retrieve it mid-dimensional jump. That wouldn’t have mattered so much, except for where they eventually wound up.”

    Please, tell me it wasn’t somewhere like Transformers, or that bullshit Arpeggio of Blue Steel.” Erik sighs.

    “Not quite as bad as there. Ever heard of Kantai Collection?” Zelretch is openly grinning now.

    Erik puts one face in his palm, quietly. “Oh hell. She became a shipgirl, didn’t she? The Kami of my ship is a shipgirl now, isn’t she?”

    “Oh, right on the money! Except there’s a bit of an interesting, if thorny, issue coming along soon. There was an Arpeggio of Blue Steel crossover event in the game, after all.” Zelretch admits.

    “Oh, shit.” Erik mutters. “By Odin’s Beard, this is going to be bad, isn’t it?”

    “Quite. Seems like the local deities don’t like the Abysssals or shipgirls running around.” Zelretch admits. “Moreover, they’ve decided to ensure that every shipgirl and Abyssal, worldwide needs to be… shall we say, dealt with?

    Erik frowns. “That’s why I moved to Mars! To avoid divine politics!” Erik starts swearing, vehemently.

    “Quite right, I’m afraid.” Zelretch admits. “Furthermore, they’ve decided to ensure every possible Fleet of Fog ship is available in case the first group gets wiped out, rather than playing it to the in-game event.”

    “Shit. That’s…” Erik trails off, eyes narrowed as his frown deepens. “She doesn’t have a chance, does she?”

    “She’ll make a good showing of it, if we can’t derail their plans.” Zelretch admits, with a smile. “However, if she can manage to get a Servant, I think we’ll give her time to work out better methods than doing an asteroid drop and firing nukes to finish off a fleet, before dying to hundreds more.”

    Erik slowly nods. “I’ll set it up for Wolfen to get some as well, though it’ll take longer until she’s topped off. Maybe a month to give everyone a replacement Command Spell each, rather than 2 weeks?”

    Zelretch nods, and smiles.

    “What are you doing here?” Mordred asks from behind.

    “Oh, ensuring you don’t have a sudden death to your ship, leaving you all stranded between universes, helplessly suffocating to death!” Zelretch smirks at her. “I don’t want that sort of fate to happen to you, after all!”

    Mordred stares, blinking, before Erik puts his face in his palm once more. “This is all so I keep working on repairing your stuff, isn’t it?”

    “Oh, definitely. That doesn’t mean I don’t owe you for things you’ve done in the past that kept me from tearing my hair out, though. Like that Yggdmillennia Castlevania incident.” Zelretch nods at them both, before disappearing in a flash of rainbow light.

    For one long moment, Erik and Mordred both stare at where Zelretch was, before Erik sighs. “Welp, gotta go deal with adjusting the Command Spell Creation machine that’s nearly done. Again. Mordred, could you tell my wife that she doesn’t have to bother with finding the Shrine to the Wolfen, and needs to make a new one? It apparently went with the chunk of the ship that’s missing, and is now part of a shipgirl in a Kantai Collection universe.”

    “Oh, right!” Zelretch’s voice comes from behind them, leaving them jerking in shock to see a tiny rainbow hole in reality. “You’ll be happy to know that that ring you made for Mordred appears on every version of her, now. Even the version that’s serving as little shipgirl Wolfen’s captain, in that universe!”

    “What the hell?!” Mordred just stares. “I’m going to have to see whatever series you’re talking about, aren’t I?”

    “Yup. Mind telling my wife now? I have more work after all.” Erik asks, nicely.

    “No problem!” With that, Mordred runs off.

    Erik sighs, then looks at his mechanical left arm, quietly, flexing it. After that, he pulls himself up and gets back to work, humming as he does so.

    Then pauses, at spotting the ring in the air still there later in the day.

    "A word of warning? Altrouge is searching for you, with allies." Zelretch's voice whispers in Erik's ear, quietly. "And she doesn't have good plans for you, for how you helped her sister."

    With that dire warning, the portal shrinks to nothingness, leaving Erik alone with his thoughts, and worries.

    Somewhere in Japan, with Wolfen and Hoppou

    “Wow. That was surprisingly easy!” Hoppou admits with a smile. “They just had it in that vault place, hidden underground!”

    “Like they wanted it well sealed away? I noticed that, too. Though the defenses coming online towards the end, with all those Indiana Jones style traps was a bit more irritating, I think.” Wolfen admits, chiming in with a smile. “Still, to think they faked the destruction of the stone Tamamo no Mae was sealed in, and replaced it with a fake so long ago?”

    “Hoppou’s rather impressed!” Hoppou says with a big smile. “But Hoppou is also rather glad that we didn’t get stuck in that deadly gas trap. You might be able to hold your breath for long periods of time, Wolfen, but Hoppou can’t!”

    The petulant pout on Hoppou’s face ends, when Wolfen pulls her in for a hug.

    “Now, now, Hoppou. It’s safe. We’re fine. And you could have teleported after me at any time, you know?” Wolfen says with a smile.

    “Eh? We’re fine? What about that scratch mark on the back of your right hand, then?” Hoppou asks, curiously.

    “Scratch mark? What scratch mark?” Wolfen pauses, then looks. “Huh. Looks more like a rune, honestly. Or maybe the Command Spells that Daddy had?”

    The sound of clapping interrupts them.

    “Eh?!” Wolfen turns, then pauses. “Oh, you’re that Zelretch fell- wait! IS DADDY OKAY?! DO YOU KNOW IF HE GOT HURT WHEN I WAS DAMAGED?!

    “They’re just fine, Wolfen. Congratulations on getting as far as you have. And you’re right. Those are Command Spells, even if you didn’t start with them. The regeneration machine for Command Spells, ripped off from Chaldea’s own setup, works just fine it seems. Just as I hoped from giving him tips to restore them, also granting new ones.” Zelretch says, a smug smile on his face.

    Wolfen tilts her head, staring at Zelretch carefully. Then she carefully nods. “It’s not like I could hurt you if you wanted to do me ill.”

    “That right there is the mark of someone truly wise. To know when you face someone you can’t possibly win against.” Zelretch smirks. “Of course, making sure people won’t fight me? It just isn’t as funny as when I ensure that's the case by pranking them into submission!”

    “Hoppou doesn’t know who you are. Wolfen? Who is this?” Hoppou asks, tilting her head.

    “He helped out Daddy a lot, with some things? Daddy also works to repair his stuff now and again. I can’t really say who would win between them, if Daddy was at full power, but as he is now? I think Daddy would lose.” Wolfen admits.

    “It’s not like your father could stop a moon from killing him if it was dropped on him in a colony drop, as I have.” Zelretch admits, his smile never fading.

    Hoppou stares, wide eyed, before looking at the moon high in the sky, then at him. “Oh.” She whispers in a tiny, tiny voice.

    Zelretch nods, a smile on his face. “Now, Wolfen? I’ve been keeping some tabs on you for Erik, though he didn’t quite realize you existed until today. I can probably help you out more than I have, in a couple of ways, if you wish, though merely in tips, or suggestions. Most of my work has been to ensure the Mental Models you’ll eventually be facing are aware of the setup, and ensuring the one they’ll send for eventual work to counter the situation will be here safely.”

    Wolfen pauses, thinking. “So you’ve been helping out a lot? Thank you!”

    “Anything you’d like to ask for, that’s small in nature?” Zelretch asks, somewhat amused.

    “My armor is utter shit compared to whatever eldritch stuff Abyssals use, my weapons can sink only the little ones easily. Well, aside from the Radiant Wave Surger, that is. And I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of them getting stronger and stronger, past my maximum damage limits.” Wolfen folds her arms, thinking, as she works things out. “Would you have any suggestions?”

    “I could suggest ideas from Erik, either for Radiant Wave Surgers or freezers under your hull, but that wouldn’t work in the long run.” Zelretch muses. “Really, your best bet is making a deal with the Mental Model that will be coming your way soon, for things like that.”

    Hoppou outright blinks, eyes wide at how Wolfen’s insulting herself, then gives Wolfen a close hug.

    “On top of that, it’s hard to think, focus, concentrate, or design things for others to use. Mordred’s the only one that thinks for me in a human way, and it makes it difficult.” Wolfen admits, thinking.

    “I’m not able to bring over any crew for you, you know. That would be murder.” Zelretch admits, a bit of a glare in his eyes, now.

    “No, no! Nothing like that! I’m just speaking verbally about my thought process here!” Wolfen admits.

    Zelretch simply nods, arms folded, as the smile resumes on his face.

    “As useful as I suspect a Kaleidostick would be to ask for, I don’t think it would work on someone, or something like me. So equipment is out.” Wolfen frowns further, thinking, then nods. “A copy of Daddy’s database, if you please, as well as sending over a copy of my database back over, so Daddy can get what’s going on so far.”

    “That’s doable, I suppose.” Zelretch muses, nodding. “Anything else?”

    “Would you have suggestions for ideas on how to kill a… Mental Model, you called it? Without having to use nukes?” Wolfen asks, quietly.

    Zelretch muses, obviously thinking, even rubbing his chin as he paces for a bit..

    “Short range likely will work if you can get the jump on them, middle range just won’t hit hard enough. The only thing I can think of is long range. Have you tried railgun rounds with a Radiant Wave Surger on the end? You aren’t likely going to get off with being cloaked while firing more than once, what with it glowing red as it heads towards your target, but I suspect that’ll be close to the class you’re aiming for.” Zelretch finally admits.

    Wolfen slowly nods, thinking. “Would you have any other suggestions for me?”

    “Look into the supernatural side of things to win, and try to summon a servant with the rock you’ve got there.” Zelretch retorts. “It’ll be draining, exhausting, and wear you down if you actually use one in battle, but if you can find relics, or supernatural things to help supplement yourself, you might have a better chance of victory in the long run.”

    “Thank you!” Wolfen admits. “Ah, could you tell me about the Mental Model lady?”

    “I thought two versions of the Battleship Kongou would be rather more bongo than one, honestly.” Zelretch smirks.

    “Hoppou thinks you just set it up that way for the joke.” Hoppou admits, staring at Zelretch carefully.

    Zelretch nods, with a smirk, before the smirk widens. “And voila! One database for you to copy!” With his words, a ripple of rainbow light appears next to him. Through it, Wolfen can see a database, her parents nowhere to be found nearby.

    “Leave a letter for your parents, your Uncle Scylla isn’t connected to the database right now.” Zelretch admits. “They’re busy with rebuilding your ship, minus the parts that wound up in you, and setting up a new shrine for you.”

    Wolfen nods, and pushes a link cable into the database, before pausing, pulling out a drone, and using it to take a picture of her and Hoppou together as well.

    “Dear Mommy and Daddy, Mordred, Uncle Scylla, and Uncle Fenris,

    Hi, it’s the Kami of PAB Wolfen! I’m a shipgirl now!

    I kinda had to eat the rest of my hull for the lost section, to be in tune enough to stay as the shipgirl, though. Sorry? I know that the version of Meteorite Iron for my hull is super ultra scarce, so I feel really bad about it!

    Kongou has been a wonderful friend, and helped with me and my stuff a lot, even helping me repair myself after both halves of my keel got separated. Still trying to find an engineer to fix that, by the way.

    Unfortunately, it looks like there’s going to be a small apocalypse come Christmas, involving Arpeggio of Blue Steel and Railgun nukes, according to that goddess Aqua who we met earlier.

    She scared my captain, by the way. Oh, speaking of! Mordred’s my captain now! And is super nice!

    I wish I could cuddle with her, but the best I can do is manifest her at about 2 inches tall. All my mecha comes out superdeformed, too! It’s kind of irritating, honestly, considering how I know you love the stuff.

    Zelretch informed me to be more spiritual, and summon a Servant! Hopefully I do you all proud!

    Soon as the database finishes copying, I’ll likely lose the ability to write more. Keep in mind that I love all of you! Very very much!

    Oh, Mordred says hi, by the way, and the ring works well, even if she only gets dregs of it. She’s also not exactly a Servant, either. Just… more like a fragment of one? It’s kinda odd.

    Well, the copying of my database to yours, and yours to mine is nearly done, so I’d better finish this off.

    Please find us in this universe soon?

    Love Always from your Daughter and Niece, Wolfen”

    Wolfen sighs, getting ready to pull the jack out, before Zelretch coughs behind her. “Done then?”

    Wolfen looks back, nodding, then blinks at the line going slack in her hands. “That’ll give them some dimensional frequencies to work off of, to eventually find you in the future.”

    “Got it. Thank you for your help!” Wolfen says, smiling.

    “Why, of course! Now, for the payment I’ll be taking from you for helping you out with these ideas? I demand you do pranks for me.” Zelretch smirks.

    “Pranks?” Wolfen asks, carefully.

    “More specifically, pranking those deities to ensure they won’t have the ability to set up computers, runes and all that sort of stuff, to send hundreds of Fleet of Fog ships to slaughter you all.” Zelretch’s smirk only grows bigger.

    “Like what, exactly?” Wolfen asks, carefully.

    To her confusion, Zelretch simply pulls out a poster. Carefully, Wolfen unrolls it, then stares.

    “Ceiling Kaleidosticks say that the photoshoots shall continue until the main computers for the super secret projects are destroyed!” Wolfen carefully reads to herself, then looks at two Kaleidosticks, armed with cameras.

    “Put it over Eris’ bed come, oh… between April 23rd and April 28th, for best effect.” Zelretch grins. “Those two don’t want her to forget them, after all.”

    “Hoppou thinks Eris must have pissed you off in the past.” Hoppou admits.

    “Really, it’s more that Aqua earned my ire, by trying to get her grubby little hands on my sword.” Zelretch admits. “But those two fell in love with Eris and her looks.”

    “Now, to get Kongo and bring her here. I’ll be back in a while, to help you summon a Servant, hmm?” With those words, Zelretch disappears in a flash of rainbow light.

    Author’s Notes (Originally posted December 22, 2020):
    Man, this took a lot to write.

    Balancing humor with unpleasantness in the near future was a pain, but considering Zelretch is Zelretch, he’s going to do what Zelretch does. Prank and generally mess with everyone.

    Eris, as you can tell, is rather traumatized by the last time her pantheon tried to fight Zelretch, and failed miserably.

    Arpeggio of Blue Steel’s Yamato’s going through an existential crisis, as of right now.

    Erik’s irritated.

    Wolfen’s confused, and wondering why Zelretch wants her to prank people like that.

    Speaking of Erik, I’d thought about saving the “big reveal” of him having a mechanical arm sometime in the future, for the Saber Alter sidestory. But it’s not really that big of a deal.

    Finally? Instead of us getting one of the “heroes” for the Arpeggio of Blue Steel, instead? We get one of the most impressive, and downright terrifying Antagonists for that series, Kongo, or Kongou. To make it easier, and to make a difference, I’m going to be calling her Kongo and leaving the shipgirl as Kongou, so I don’t have to deal with “Mental Model” or “shipgirl” for every time I reference one of them. As for why, exactly, she was so damn terrifying? She was involved as the main antagonist for most of the series of the manga. From chapter 1 to around chapter 70, she was THE antagonistic force to be paranoid of, and fight.

    Good think she drinks tea, or else they’ll have nothing to relate to, hm?

    You might wonder why I’ve chosen to go this route? So I don’t have to work myself into knots trying to figure out how to make a fight between her and Wolfen be interesting without it being an utter goddamned curbstomp for Wolfen. The first three options for the fight Zelretch saw, was literally my working out how that fight would go and just going “unless there’s an Act of God, Wolfen’s fucked”. There is simply no way Wolfen could tactically crush Arpeggio of Blue Steel’s own Kongo, not with the sheer amount of reinforcements the manga version can pull up. Goddamned broken 3d ship printer that she can be when she wants is just… utterly broken.

    Let’s not even go into the route she took in the anime, hm? If you think the manga is insane just for that skill alone? The anime is worse.

    Sorry for getting into a bit of a rant there. Just been getting more and more tired of trying to figure this out, while binge reading the manga, watching the anime, and working out how either Wolfen or Kongo would possibly tip the scales against each other. This entire
    chapter is one massive solution to that utter
    clusterfuck of a plot of “Nope, everyone dies if they fight the Fleet of Fog!” to deal with.

    Author's Notes MK2:
    I've updated certain aspects of the conversation between Zelretch and Erik, to more match the fleshed out changes to the Megaman Zero arc he's gone through, rather than leaving it vague. I've also had Zelretch give Erik his due notice for problems on the horizon. Because when I initially thought of Kiara as a demi-servant, I thought of her opposing the Grail Works, not hunting for Erik. As one has changed, so has others. Butterflies, and all that.

    Considering my next chapter pretty much time skips to right about now, for the Megaman Zero arc? I thought it was a perfect place to leave the bit involving Erik and Zelretch.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  2. #62
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    It's kinda funny reading the author's notes about how Duo is basically a sacrificial lamb to the plot here. Interpretation requires sacrifice.
    Duo offers some intriguing hints towards a larger cosmology, though I doubt that's going anywhere. The Great Filter is certainly one answer to the Fermi Paradox.

    It's notable that Vile is affected by whatever Duo has in there, I was expecting Wily. I suppose copying Wily to a machine body reduced the problem in the first place (at a cost), while it's actively affecting Vile.

    When Erik discloses a "weakness", I really have to remember to take it with a grain of salt whether he's actually trusting someone, or building rapport by seeming to disclose a weakness while actually lying. Given he's a God of Paranoia, I'm definitely considering the latter a possibility.

  3. #63
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    It's kinda funny reading the author's notes about how Duo is basically a sacrificial lamb to the plot here. Interpretation requires sacrifice.
    Duo offers some intriguing hints towards a larger cosmology, though I doubt that's going anywhere. The Great Filter is certainly one answer to the Fermi Paradox.

    It's notable that Vile is affected by whatever Duo has in there, I was expecting Wily. I suppose copying Wily to a machine body reduced the problem in the first place (at a cost), while it's actively affecting Vile.

    When Erik discloses a "weakness", I really have to remember to take it with a grain of salt whether he's actually trusting someone, or building rapport by seeming to disclose a weakness while actually lying. Given he's a God of Paranoia, I'm definitely considering the latter a possibility.
    Unfortunately, yeah. Duo... I just can't see him as anything but "evil disguised as good" with both interpretations to his character leaving him being outright willing to literally genocide humanity in it's whole at the drop of a fucking hat. Lawful is not good, after all. Thus my treatment of him.

    As for Vile, Erik just used his "mystic eyes of weakness perception" to spot, and kill the thing that spawned the Maverick Virus. Which may have had major, massive repercussions as a result.

    As for "weakness", Erik did tell the truth, because he legitimately doesn't know what the titanic transformation may do to him. Of course, that doesn't mean his armor can't protect against such. He's giving Vile very much a chance to be a friend and ally, over a crazed murder-hobo who's likely to travel with in the future. His paranoia means Erik is going to account for himself possibly being driven batshit insane, or turned into a rampaging murder-hobo if he ever transforms too much, since most Titans... aren't nice. At all. Having a 200 year old mecha rider ready to kill him if he ever goes too far, before he can hurt his family? Just another plan for keeping his loved ones safe.

    As I said once or twice before, Erik and allies are now on the chopping block for those that can die, after Fate/Anarchy.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  4. #64
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Chapter 12: Plans and Thoughts

    Erik sighs, stretching, then smiles at watching X play with his siblings and kids, even if he’s using a Mettool body at the moment to do so. Then he pauses, thinking. “X? Is it easier to do things, now? I killed whatever Duo used that made the Maverick Virus.”

    X pauses, then nods. “Yeah, the Dark Elf isn’t nearly as bad as she used to be. It’s a lot less strain on my systems.”

    Erik slowly nods, thinking. “Good to hear. I might be able to help build something to get things more stable, rather than rely on your will holding her back, then.”

    X nods, smiling widely. “I’d like that, and to spend time with my kids again. And family, now that I know they still exist.”

    “That, and with your help, we’ll be able to find Zero.” Erik points out.

    “Perfectly fair. It’s going to take a couple weeks for me to get something set up to wake him out of stasis without memory loss, though.” X finally admits. “Unless my extended family has better options…?”

    Wily sighs. “What the hell did you even do to put him in stasis?” The ancient doctor asks, wearily.

    “His new systems had a hard time taking his memories in. So the stasis lock keeps him from accessing most of them while he’s resting, to let him recover mentally.” X finally admits. “So he won’t have nightmares, anymore.”

    “Fair.” Erik sighs. “Means it’s likely harder to wake him up.”

    “Damnation.” Wily mutters. “And with my Torpor cases getting more and more severe…”

    “I’ve got a rudimentary fix for that, but I’m not sure how much time it’ll buy you.” Scylla admits, finally. “Light’s AI copy might be serviceable as a cyber elf, but Sigma ripped a hell of a lot out of you, Wily. A lot more than you realize. Right now, you’re pretty much held together by sheer will and spite.

    Wily just smirks. “So you’re saying I’m simply too tough and annoying to actually die, hmm?”

    Erik snickers. “Perfectly accurate. Except for that annoying part, anyways.”

    Wily just nods, thoughtfully.

    “Would the servers still be good, for a place this old? And maybe link up to USB?” Erik checks.

    “We should have USB slots for USB drives, yes.” Rock admits. “A lot newer technology than that, too.”

    Erik nods. “I wouldn’t mind maps, for a before and after imagery of how the apocalypse happened. Most of Neo Arcadia’s stuff…” Erik trails off, trying to word it. “I need good maps, to get an idea of how Energen spread, and where it hit most.”

    “That, we can get you pretty easily.” Roll admits. “Let me lead you to the servers.”

    It takes a few hours, and a lot of work to get the data off, but Erik finally sighs as he breathes out. “Well, thank you. With this, we might be able to tell the Energen’s spread patterns.”

    “You mean like how it seemed to grow the most, from Mount Olympus, Iraq and Iran, and Japan?” Roll asks, curiously.

    Erik pauses, finger raising up. Then down again as he thinks.

    “I’m not liking the sound of those places being attacked first.” Erik admits. “If only because of all the divine beings that Duo mentioned killing.”

    Roll slowly nods. “What will happen to us, now that you’ve met us?”

    “You and your siblings are probably the best shot for understanding the technology you use, with how bad off Wily’s gotten.” Erik admits. “Want to travel with us?”

    Roll quietly blinks. “I think we’d rather stick with our little brother, no offense.”

    “Got it.” Erik nods. “Just keep in mind that my place will be open for relative privacy.”

    Roll blinks, then nods. “Thank you!”

    “As for my end?” Erik trails off, for a long moment. “We’re probably going to be dragging Wily with us while checking on each of those sites. I’ve got a bad feeling that I know why the Energen is running out.”

    Roll blinks, before tilting her head. “At least a scientist like you has an idea!” She finally admits, her mind taking a while to process things. “It’s hard for me to understand. Machines, I get. People are hard.”

    Erik just chuckles softly. “A lot of geniuses agree with you for things like that, Roll.”

    2 Weeks Later

    Wily sits up, sighing softly. “It took two weeks for you to give me extra time. Not to mention being on the move at all hours.”

    “Not to mention Zelretch showing up a few hours ago?” Erik checks.

    “I know better than to piss him off, after he fixed that… ‘Ultron Sigma’ mess. X and Zero couldn’t seem to remember it after the fact, but Light’s holographic doppelganger could.” Wily sighs softly. “But at least I can think straight, without hundreds of extra thoughts in my head. So thank you for that.”

    “Glad we could help.” Scylla admits. Then looks towards Erik. “So. You’ve got the Reploids as well as the Legion of Coal working on the Wolfen. What’s your plan from here?”

    “Roll mentioned that there’s a lot of Energen in Iraq and Iran.” Erik muses aloud. “I’d say we bring one of the drill units over, and see if my theories hold weight.”

    “What would you dig for?” Wily asks.

    “What do all these places have in common? Olympus, Japan, and the Mesopotamian basin?” Erik asks Wily.

    “Sites of divine beings that once were Gods of humanity?” Wily muses.

    Erik nods. “Considering Duo mentioned they hunted beings like me, and Energen seems to be some form of amplifier…” Erik pauses to think, before continuing, “I suspect it draws from divine energy as some form of converter.

    “And if there’s any divine beings left, then perhaps they might be able to help humanity?” Wily muses.

    “That, or there might be some ancient relics I can forge into something useful.” Erik nods. “At least it’s better to check, rather than assume that’s what it is, and be wrong.”

    “Makes sense.” Wily finally admits. “Any luck finding game titles that involve this era?”

    “Capcom VS SNK, the third one had Zero in this era show up, as well as Ciel. As well as Akuma.” Erik nods. “I’m hoping to be able to jump in on the event, for whatever happens.”

    Wily pauses, blinking, then frowns. “Oh?”

    “Zero appeared to be a mid-boss, and the game explicitly was set in a post-apocalypse world.” Erik states, calmly. “Ring any bells? More than that, Ciel was between fourteen and sixteen.” Erik adds in, more quietly.

    Wily thoughtfully nods, quietly thinking. “So set after the first game, but before the fourth…”

    Erik calmly nods, then pauses as curiosity overwhelms him. “How’s Light’s doppelganger?”

    “His program isn’t on the verge of failure anymore, for sure.” Wily admits. “He’s tired, though.”

    “Yeah, you two have been around for a long while.” Erik quietly nods.

    Wily nods, thinking, then frowns. “Back on the divine thing, what’s your plans in the long run, Erik?”

    “Throw Mordred and Vile at it, and hope for the best?” Erik muses.

    “No, let’s throw Zero at it once he’s up. Just in case there’s more like Duo there.” Wily counters.

    “...Fair enough point, honestly.” Erik nods. “You’re worried Vile might not be enough?”

    “I didn’t design Vile, and Zero originally had a lot of extra systems to counter things like Duo and the Stardroids.” Wily admits. “Where Vile might be great for artillery and ‘dropping a mech on it’ to win, I can’t design those old systems for a Reploid like him.”

    “Where you could and did for Zero once, so it’s still innate to build copies for his systems.” Erik nods, thoughtfully. “And built him for massive amounts of redundancy.”

    Precisely.” Wily admits, then sighs. “It’ll help, with Roll and Bass helping me. Though Rock and Blues seem rather focused on their littlest brother, and his family.”

    “Family’s important.” Erik nods, sighing. “Though sometimes you have to make your own, rather than leave it to what you started with.”

    “Speaking from experience?” Wily mutters sarcastically. “After all, that’s what I already did, with my children. Look where it got me.

    “Yeah… sorry.” Erik says with a sigh. “Zelretch’s chat just has me on guard.”

    Wily thoughtfully nods. “Fair.” He admits after a bit. “I’d be worried, too.”

    Erik pauses, glancing over. “Exactly how does your technology work, anyways? I’d be trying to use some of that Energen stuff, but considering it’s sounding a lot like Tiberium, except draining energies from its surroundings to work?”

    Wily muses. “You’re actually asking for help?”

    “Considering how much shit I had to develop with Gods looking over my shoulder and frowning in displeasure?” Erik admits. “Managing a laser was a bitch and a half, even with Wayland Smith’s help in designing it. And I’m not sure where the hell the Plasma Cannon is going wrong compared to your Buster designs.”

    Wily blinks, then chuckles. “Right, former Norse God, was it?”

    “Yeah. Like being the only rational man in a world of Jocks.” Erik admits.

    Wily snickers, then laughs outright. “You poor bastard. Sure, I’ll help.”

    “If nothing else than to show up a former God?” Erik checks, grinning.

    “That too! One last feather in my cap should be well worth it!” Wily grins as well.

    “How’s that Variable Weapon System work, anyways?” Erik asks, curiously. “I get it’s some bullshit with plasma, but…”

    “Honestly, the original system was Rock just being compatible with his siblings’ weapons, being built to handle them.” Wily admits. “Getting the chips to use them worked well enough, but as time and development went on, equipment would eventually become obsolete.”

    Erik nods slowly. “Technology degrading over time?”

    “That, and equipment being built better, miniaturized, and finely tuned.” Wily nods.

    “Interesting.” Erik muses thoughtfully.

    “Indeed. The real rise of a proper one wasn’t until the Stardroids showed up.” Wily admits. “When Rock's systems were upgraded to handle the strain of weapons far different than any earthly technology.”

    Erik slowly nods, thinking. “Any reason why that seems to have passed?”

    “Survivability, customization, and simply the lack of mavericks as cannon fodder. Those ‘Chips’ have come to be developed to handle most weaknesses, in a ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ sort of manner, much like how most Robot Masters or Mavericks tended to have skill sets that could hurt another one of their number.” Wily admits.

    Erik slowly nods, thoughtfully. “Makes sense. Probably uses a fuck-ton of Energen, though. Am I right?”

    “Definitely.” Wily admits, ruefully. “Where I used SCIENCE and knowledge to achieve things, they used Energen to more easily shape the plasma.”

    “Cheap bastards.” Erik admits.

    “No disagreements from myself.” Wily admits. “Rock and Roll are your best bets for knowledge on how my children’s abilities worked. Blues, I’m not quite so sure on, and Bass…”

    “Is like any other teenager?” Erik finishes for him.

    “Yup.” Bass states from behind Erik.

    “Nice job sneaking up on me!” Erik gives Bass the thumbs up.

    Bass just grins.

    “Of course, you missed me sneaking up behind you.” Chiron states, dryly from behind Bass.

    Bass pauses, turning around. “Well, fuck.

    Erik just chuckles softly.

    For a long moment, Bass gives Erik an angry look, before it slightly softens. “Reminded of your own robotic children, huh?”

    “And hoping they’ll be more like you and your siblings, sooner rather than later.” Erik nods.

    Bass smiles softly. “Perfectly fair, that. It’s nice just to relax, after centuries of putting Duo down every time he got back up.”

    Erik nods, thinking quietly. “Perfectly fair.” Erik echoes, finally. “You all did a long run of something to be proud of.”

    “Hey, boss.” Scylla states from behind Chiron. Erik turns, ignoring Bass jumping from shock and horrified realization that someone else was behind him, besides Chiron.

    “What’s up, Scylla?” Erik asks, curiosity in his voice.

    “Still working over ideas for the ship’s rebuild with Neo Arcadia’s engineers, but I thought I’d talk with you about the flyovers for divine sites.” Scylla admits.

    “Better than focusing on the fuckery from Zelretch.” Erik nods, thinking. “What’s up?”

    “Norse is right out, as well as Japanese. Atlantean never existed, as far as I can tell, and Greek… jack shit. No sign of the River Styx, even.” Scylla states, calmly. “However…”

    Erik raises an eyebrow. “However?”

    “Mesopotamia still has a faint signal.” Scylla admits. “Damned deep, though.”

    Wily pauses, thinking. “Wouldn’t that belong to Ereshkigal? Kur, or whatever its name was?”

    “Who was forced to marry her rapist, if I recall properly.” Erik adds in, with a nod. “Something that pissed off both myself and Godafrid quite a bit at hearing, not to mention my wife. Not to mention the other legends involving her…”

    Wily slowly nods, thinking. Bass mimicking his father nearby.

    “What’s the plan, then, Erik?” Chiron asks, thinking.

    “We should see if she’s still around. Humanity could use the help from other divinities, if she’s willing to aid us, so much the better.” Erik thinks aloud. “Though we may need to figure out something to give in trade for her aid…”

    Wily pauses, thinking. “Perhaps someone to talk with, as a friend?”

    “If she’s ruling the afterlife, perhaps she could fix you up?” Erik asks Wily, thoughtfully.

    Wily blinks, thinking quietly. “Perhaps. It would be nice to be whole again.”

    Erik nods, thinking. “Let’s set up a drill and make for there, then. More likely than not, the way is shut.”

    “Drill your own way through, hmm? Hopefully that doesn’t piss her off.” Chiron muses.

    “Better than taking decades to reach her.” Erik states, calmly. “Anyways. It’ll take time to take scans before drilling that deep. We’re not sure where she is, exactly. Unless your stuff registered that?” Erik queries Scylla carefully.

    “Nope. Sorry, boss.” Scylla admits. “It’s shielded, and very well defended.”

    Erik nods, thinking. “Gives us more time to work, anyways.”

    “Indeed.” Wily chips in. “I’ve almost finished off the technology to let myself or Ciel stop the fraud from controlling my last son, after all.”

    Erik nods, thinking. “You’ve been having fun teaching Ciel, too.”

    Author’s Notes:
    Sorry for the late times in getting a chapter out. Not writer’s block, this time!

    No, we had two people drop out of the weekly Friday pen and paper roleplaying game, so I pulled in my camping buddy, as well as Kieran who was running as GM for said pen and paper game, and decided to dig out an old idea I had for a Mekton Zeta game.

    Cue tons and tons of writing for it. Now that that writing for the next few sessions is mostly done, I can focus on this again! Yay! Just got a few more character bios and mechs to roll out, then to set up for private access, rather than public.

    Ugh. So much writing, though. Instead of giving them ad-libbed news reports? I’ve written up news reports involving interviews with others about the situation at play for the campaign, as well as the mad scientist’s ham who’s decided to ruin things for everyone.

    About 30 pages so far, just of bios, news reports, and more for them to enjoy together.

    Also? RIP Technoblade. Technoblade Never Dies! Until you did die from cancer.

    Been there with cancer too, Technoblade. Thyroid Cancer wasn’t as bad as Sarcoma, though. Rest in Peace. Your videos were funny to watch. And you’ll live on in your fan’s hearts, you anarchist pig dude, you.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  5. #65
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Originally posted here.
    Chapter 11: Wherein Plans are Thoroughly Derailed

    Japan, near the hiding place of the actual Sessho-Seki Stone

    Wolfen silently kneels, studying the stone that her mother was sealed within, ears still attentive for the return of Zelretch. “The Sessho-Seki stone… I wonder if the version of Mommy that’s in this universe lies within?”

    “Hoppou doesn’t know.” Hoppou admits, quietly.

    “Well, the legend supposedly had it spewing out poison gas. I wonder if it’s drained, or this version of Mommy simply… quit?” Wolfen thinks, before letting out a Legion of Coal unit to tap on the rock. Moments later, her eyes narrow, as she thinks, pulling up her Compass.

    For a moment, Wolfen focuses her hardest, on her need for her mother to be there with her, hugging her, and having her mother with her. The compass wavers at the Stone, like it’s involved, yet not.

    Then Wolfen frowns, focusing on her need for the version of her mother to be released, and watches the compass spin around like there’s no answer.

    “...She’s either dead, or as good as, and this is all that remains of her power.” Wolfen finally admits, with a sigh. “I might be able to absorb it, and gain some of her abilities, considering how much Mommy did to build me. It might even let me produce Kitsune crew members! Or, I could use it as a catalyst for summoning a Servant, and leave it drained dry as a result. What would you suggest, Hoppou?”

    “Are Servants strong?” Hoppou asks, thinking.

    “The versions Zelretch talks about are definitely all strong.” Wolfen admits, thinking. “I just don’t know what type I’d get. More importantly, if it’s a version of Mommy, she won’t likely recognize me, or want to hug or snuggle with me.”

    Hoppou nods, hugging Wolfen from behind quietly. For a long while, they just relax together like that, Wolfen studying the gem, and Hoppou hugging Wolfen.

    Well, I suppose I can bring up options, if no one else will.” Mordred admits, as she speaks up. “Considering what happened on your ship, which version of Tamamo is the most likely one you’re going to get?

    Wolfen blinks, thinking, before blinking more. “I suppose it would be that… Koyanskaya lady, Mordred.”

    Either her or Amaterasu. Which do you think is more likely?” Mordred questions, helping lead Wolfen in her thoughts.

    “I’m… not sure.” Wolfen admits, quietly. “I don’t know anything about the one Amaterasu possessed, in that universe. If she’s good, or evil.”

    Considering I’m only getting data from Erik’s summoned version of myself, I don’t either. With how vague it can be at times, as well? It’s honestly hard to say.” Mordred trails off, thinking. “However, if it is her, we’ll be able to use that to have her recognize you.

    Wolfen’s eyes narrow, while Hoppou listens. Then Wolfen sighs, nodding. “You’re right, my Captain. She’d have the best chance at recognizing me, and be the most useful for me as a result.”

    Especially since she’ll likely remember how to control and convert Legend into Prana, as well as possibly serve as crew for you if we run low?” Mordred half questions, all the while gently leading Wolfen to the thought process Mordred is having. “Evil, good, everyone can be self centered sometimes. But her healing ability was both useful and potent.

    Hoppou quietly nods. “Mordred seems right. If she has experience with you and being on board, she might be able to serve as crew when not serving as a Servant for you!”

    At Hoppou’s words, Wolfen nods, before kneeling in front of the rock. “Back up a bit while I try this, Hoppou.”

    Hoppou hops back, watching carefully, eyes wide.

    “Let Silver and Steel be the Essence.
    Let Meteorite Steel and the archduke of contracts be the foundation.
    Let my faction be the faction I pay tribute to.”

    Wolfen’s eyes close, as she focuses on the incantation, words subtly altering themselves as she focuses, and the Sessho-Seki stone glows a bright pink.

    “Let rise a wall against the end that will come.
    Let the four cardinal gates close.
    Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching unto the Kingdom rotate.”

    Crackling lightning flickers in and out of existence around the Sessho-Seki stone, as Wolfen’s command spell grows a brilliant red.

    “Let it be declared now; your flesh shall serve under me, and my fate shall be with your sword.
    Submit to the beckoning of the Shipgirl Wolfen outside the domain of the Holy Grail.
    Answer, if you would submit to this will and this truth.”

    Wolfen breathes in and out, one hand clutching her chest, as the Sessho-Seki starts crackling with power, reflecting the amount Wolfen is generating.

    “An oath shall be sworn here.
    I shall attain all virtues of all of Heaven;
    I shall have dominion over all evils of all of Hell.”

    Wolfen shakes, as lightning crackles between her and the Sessho-Seki, rapidly filling her reserves of energy to the brink, then far beyond, as Mordred’s ring struggles to hold the power now flowing into it.

    “From the Seventh Heaven, attended to by three great words of power,
    come forth from the ring of restraint, protector of the holy balance!”

    Wolfen cries out, as reality almost twists, before a lightning bolt slams into the Catalyst before them, in broad daylight.

    For a moment, Wolfen can see the Sessho-Seki dissolving, the spirit within smiling up at her. A flicker of lightning slams into her from it, leaving Wolfen flying back, as a red ring ripples into existence on the ground.

    Then Hoppou is left on her back, looking at the place where the Sessho-Seki stood.

    Pink hair. Pink tail. A lighter shade than her mother’s original coloring from pictures she had on board, but still showing herself as a relative. Exactly as she’d looked, when Amaterasu possessed her once before, but a much different smile on her face. The Cheongsam showing a lot of cleavage is barely even noticed, compared to the hair.

    “Servant Alter Ego, Koyanskaya has been summoned. I ask of thee, are you my Master?”

    “I am.” Wolfen admits, as she pulls herself up. “Though using the Sessho-Seki as a Catalyst may have been a bit ill-advised.” Wolfen continues, then walks up to her.

    “Exactly how you looked when my Daddy summoned you, before Amaterasu possessed you.” Wolfen admits, quietly.

    Koyanskaya stills, staring at her new Master with a far more careful look, and a bitter smile. “I vaguely remember that, though it looked like the counterpart of my... hmm. Originator isn't quite right, but close enough, with our resemblance... your mother never split herself off like my doppleganger did. I was almost settling in to do something similar as well, when your summons called me from the edge of death. Though, I thought your parents were having issues with children?”

    “Ah, that’s because I’m a part of the ship you were in, somehow turned into a cross between a ship and a lady.” Wolfen admits.

    Koyanskaya blinks repeatedly. Then she looks more carefully at Wolfen. Then she breathes in and out, slowly, a frown on her face. “Okay, I’ll buy that, considering I saw a flash of your hull. If smaller than the one I vaguely remember you having when I was in it.”

    Wolfen nods. “I’m as I was first built, not upgraded to survive the trip to Mars, as I was later. Lots of missing upgrades, and not much Legend or energy production.” Wolfen admits, quietly. “But I summoned you for good reason.”

    “Believe me, I’m grateful for that summoning. The way things were going, I’m not sure my soul would have survived, otherwise.” Koyanskaya admits, arms folded. "You never know what goes wrong until you're two thirds into the transformation and everything goes to hell, after all."

    We’ve got an apocalypse hitting here by Christmas, and it’s the end of February, because the local deities don’t like beings like myself, as I’ve become, or Hoppou here existing, and decided to send some people from something called ‘Arpeggio of Blue Steel’ armed with what that drunk goddess called ‘railgun nukes’ to deal with all of them.” Wolfen admits. “You’re the only possible Servant that might be able to pose as a crew member on me when we’re not fighting, and help my captain figure out how to get us out of this mess.

    Koyanskaya’s eyes narrowed to slits, as she frowns. “What allies do we have for this?

    Hoppou and her allies, the shipgirl Kongou, one Goddess of Fortune, Eris, who doesn’t like what’s going on, and Zelretch.” Wolfen replies, immediately. “Who mentioned he was planning on bringing one of the people over from that Arpeggio of Blue Steel to possibly help.

    Not impossible then, but just difficult. I’ve faced worse odds, I suppose.” Koyanskaya admits, frowning. “Still, if you want my Noble Phantasm to be fully functional, I’ll be needing tokens from our enemies. Things they value, and the like.”

    Wolfen nods, thinking, before pulling Hoppou in for a hug, while studying her Servant. After a bit, she sighs, before speaking up. “Exactly what are your goals, long term?”

    “I was backed against the wall, being forced to use something that was, suffice to say, drastically incomplete, and was in the middle of feeling like my Spirit Origin was about to be shattered, or weakened back to the beginning. To be perfectly honest? Every single thing I’d done and accomplished was feeling like it was on the verge of being outright unmade unless I did something drastic, or tried to rip my spiritual core in half, when you whisked me here to safety. Even if it’s at the cost of serving you, it’s far better than being completely unmade, don’t you agree?” Koyanskaya admits.

    “Your spirit origin, that… part of you that’s on the Throne of Heroes?” Wolfen asks, carefully.

    Koyanskaya nods, her arms folded. “I have Independant Manifestation Rank EX, but if my survival ever gets noticed by the ones who abandoned me…” She trails off, quietly. “I doubt I’ll keep it.”

    “That bunch will have a hard time figuring out you still exist, or that the drain is still there, I suspect.” Zelretch announces from behind Koyanskaya. “Though, if you’re good and help, I’ll guarantee you have a shot at completing things, as a ‘just in case’ measure for the Fleet of Fog, if they’re influenced even with our plans.”

    Koyanskaya stills, tail bushing up as she goes wide eyed. “The infamous Zelretch, I presume?”

    “You assume correctly, just like I assumed that you would be the one summoned, and prepared appropriately.” Zelretch nods, before turning to look at the portal. “Coming, Kongo, Flagship of the Black Fleet?”

    Wolfen stills, staring at a beautiful and regal blonde walking through. A long black dress, showing off enough of her black tights and heel, emphasise her long legs and height. Reddish eyes focus on her, the neutral expression on her purple lips studying her, before turning to glance at Hoppou as well.

    The tiny whispered squeak of “Oh GOD she’s hot!” from Wolfen is ignored by all.

    “Intriguing. So these are the shipgirls and Abyssals you spoke of, hm?” Kongo glances over at Koyanskaya, eyes narrowing slightly and somewhat inhumanly, as the two sets of camera lenses in her eyes adjust.

    “What of this… outlier?” Kongo asks.

    “An ally, for now.” Wolfen coughs, and moves forwards. “Prototype Aerial Battleship Wolfen! I’m pleased to meet you!” With those words, she reaches up and offers her hand to the Mental Model in front of her.

    For a moment, Kongo’s eyes twist, as data screens flash in front of her. Then her eyes return to normal, as she nods to Wolfen. “Ah, a handshake. I suppose it’s fruitful to meet you, as well.” With that, she takes Wolfen’s hand and shakes it twice, before releasing Wolfen’s hand calmly.

    “Hoppou is Hoppou!” Hoppou says, smiling, before shivering a bit at Kongo’s neutral expression turns towards her.

    “You both are examples of what my fleet would be fighting eventually, due to alterations to our link to the Admiralty Code, hm? I suppose it’s better to get through the formalities, then. I am Mental Model Kongo, avatar of the ship of the Fog Kongo, of what is known to humanity as the Fleet of Fog. We serve the Admiralty Code and it’s orders.” Kongo states, imperiously.

    Then she folds her arms, regally. “As for you, Wolfen, I’m open for trading technologies between our two groups. Most importantly would be the technology of a certain armor your father developed, capable of shielding someone from the affects of another universe?”

    For one single moment, Koyanskaya stills, her tail bushed up, as she can see a figure in the distance watching them all, wearing what looks like an Apollo Space Suit. Then she shivers more at the realization that the figure disappeared, and she didn’t notice.

    She opens her mouth, before she spots Zelretch shaking his head at her, a knowing look on his face.

    Meanwhile, Wolfen’s rubbing her chin, studying Kongo. “I should be able to synthesize it over the course of several months, but I have a rather tiny supply of it in the first place. Wolfen finally admits. “Unless you’re happy with a few inches of the stuff, as the supply is now, it’s going to take at least a few months.”

    Kongo looks over at Zelretch, who has a smug look on his face. “I suppose that’s what he was planning on, then. I’m willing to suggest deals as offered by Yamato.” Kongo finally admits. “Though, Zelretch? Are the safety options we discussed prepared, just in case?”

    “Perfectly set up and ready. You’ll have some difficulty miniaturizing any trade agreements, much less successfully aligning it to her without desynchronizing herself from her still existing ship. But with what Yamato planned for, you should be good.” Zelretch admits, smile never fading.

    “Ah, right. Also, Koyanskaya?” The Kitsune in question jerks to look at him, carefully. “For every ten pranks done in my name, towards my goals in this universe? I’ll look into helping you out somehow. For every hundred, I’ll help you work out ways to replace what you’ve lost. For every thousand, I’ll personally help you by gaining one of the missing tokens you need.”

    Koyanskaya slowly nods, her eyes narrowed to slits as she thinks. Then she smiles widely. “Why so generous towards me?”

    “You’re Wolfen’s trump card, now, which means you should be appropriately armed as one.” Zelretch snorts, calmly. “Anyways, ensuring my enemies fail in hilarious ways is done better by a Kitsune, when it’s not me doing it personally.”

    “Anyways.” Zelretch adds after a moment of silence from Koyanskaya. “I’d rather you keep them distracted, then have them attempt to subvert the Admiralty Code and it’s connections with it’s ships, like Kongo.”

    Kongo silently nods. “Agreed. Ensuring the Admiralty Code is obeyed, rather than false lies spread by monsters wishing to taint it, is what I’ve come here for.”

    “Well, with that, I’m leaving now. Have fun, Kongo!” With those words, Zelretch disappears.

    “So, is your ship the Kongo, or a replica, or…?” Wolfen asks, eventually, looking at Kongo.

    “I believe it’s a replica, I’m afraid. But it’s hard to tell with what the Admiralty Code was up to, during the time of that war.” Kongo admits, almost hesitantly.

    “Want to meet the shipgirl of the Kongou here?” Wolfen asks. “We’ll have to touch base with her over this anyways, and you coming as proof would help soften things up for the ‘We’ve got a possible apocalypse come Christmas time’ issue I still have to alert her to.”

    A sigh from Kongo erupts from her, as she frowns a bit. “I suppose I’ll meet with her.” Kongo nods, before blinking. “There’s some extra pronunciation there, I notice.”

    “We’re going to have to keep you separate somehow with names so similar, aren’t we?” Wolfen asks, blushing a bit, then sighs. “Hope you enjoy tea, because she loves the stuff!”

    For a single moment, Kongo's lips almost twitch imperceptibly, before she imperiously nods. "I do enjoy tea, in fact."

    "I'm glad to hear that. We should try to enjoy some together. It's always better than alone!" Wolfen smiles, leading the way.

    Kongo’s Safe House, Yokosuka, Japan
    3 Hours Later

    Kongo stares. Kongou stares back, one arm around her Teitoku possessively as she ensures everyone tea is topped up, doing her best to not show any internal terror or indecision. Admiral Kouzuki stares as well, eyes wide as he thinks over the story they’d all been told, but one arm around Kongou’s shoulders, holding her close. Wolfen sighs, hugging Hoppou with one arm, while drinking tea to help her sore throat from talking so long.

    The trip there wasn’t hard, with Koyanskaya figuring out how to astralize in a smaller, more power conserving mode, and sticking herself into Wolfen’s hull.

    In truth, her Independant Manifestation was keeping them topped up on Legend somewhat better than before!

    But between bringing an Abyssal Princess, even if she’s friendly, as well as an alternate version of Kongo who might be invading by Christmas Time?

    There had been a lot of luck in arranging things so last minute, but somehow Kongou had managed to set things up.

    Moreover, the tale in and of itself was… incredibly hard to believe. At least until you noted the blonde who could make swords out of impossibly strong energy waves that survived attacks from shipgirls. Their secondary weapons, at least.

    That had moved Admiral Kouzuki into listening, at least.

    Projector clips from Wolfen, showing the deities in question, and the conversations, on the other hand? That had ended all debate.

    “The tea is nice, thank you.” Kongo eventually admits.

    “Please, do try the Scones! I made them myself, and they’re delicious, Dess!” Kongou returns, smiling as things shift to a more familiar pattern than the ‘Oh fuck, we’re all going to die!’ mentality she’d had, a few minutes earlier.

    “This is much better than what I can drink while in direct contact with another ship, mentally.” Kongo admits, eventually. “Or the digital representations, at least. Would you be willing to share the recipe?”

    “Of course! Do please try the biscuits and scones out, though, as well? I do believe I outdid myself when matching the flavors of them to help emphasise the flavors of the tea!” Kongou admits, smiling.

    After one bite, Kongo eventually nods. “I wonder if this is why Hyuuga’s fleet all loves Mental Models like this one. Experiences like this?” She murmurs quietly.

    “Quite likely. It’s an incredible change, having machines think for you, to having humans think for you.” Wolfen admits. “The experiences between machines and humanity is far different, as well.”

    “What do you think we can do, Wolfen? Can we win?” Kongou asks, quietly.

    “We sure can, if we play our cards right. Hoppou’s fleet has to help unify the Abyssals wherever possible, so they’re likely going to have to take over the Pacific Ocean’s groups of Abyssals.” Wolfen admits. “At first, anyways. While that’s happening, I’ll make my move, checking out the stuff I need to investigate for proper repairs. Additionally, I need to figure out where some Kitsune are, and if I can get them to join my crew.” Wolfen admits, drumming her fingers. “When we’re done, We’ll prank the Deities in question, and work on countering the issues in Europe, before we start working on pacifying and getting the Abyssals there to work together.”

    “While we, on the other hand, unite and keep summoning shipgirls?” Admiral Kouzuki thinks out loud. “That’ll work.”

    “Hoppou thinks they’ll trust Kongou, if she goes with Hoppou back to them. Before, they might not have, but now, Hoppou thinks they will.” Hoppou speaks up. “Kongou helped Wolfen heal. They respect that.”

    Kongou sighs softly. “I suppose I could let the others help with the convoys, while I help you out. But I’ll miss Teitoku while I’m gone!”

    “Perhaps if I can get more satellites in orbit with my railgun, I’ll be able to set up world wide communications so you never lose contact?” Wolfen brings up with a smile on her face. “Of course, that means I have to get my keel repaired so it can happen…” Wolfen trails off, then sighs.

    “Your damage is still that bad, then?” Admiral Kouzuki queries, carefully.

    Wolfen nods, quietly. “My spinal mounted weapons, the railgun and the laser cannon, is all that’s holding the two parts of my keel together.”

    Admiral Kouzuki nods with a sigh. “Damn. I was hoping to have you on convoys.”

    “Not yet, sorry. I’ll participate when I’m fixed up, but I’m mostly focusing on planning on sabotaging the plans for those deities.” Wolfen admits. “Keeping them from developing ways to screw you all over is the better plan in the long run.”

    Admiral Kouzuki nods, before Kongou pulls him close in a big hug.

    “Wolfen, I think Teitoku and I need to discuss things in private. Thoroughly, if you catch my drift.” Kongou smiles at her. “Hoppou, it was nice to see you again. Kongo, it’s nice to meet an alternate of myself. There’s bedrooms in the building, and it should be free of spying methods.” With those words, Kongou sweeps her admiral off his feet, then carries him out the door, much to his protests.

    A long pause reigns, as the three left stare, before Wolfen giggles softly. “Aww, they’re so cute together!”

    “Hoppou is going to see what’s on the Television, okay?” With those words, Hoppou sneaks out. “Hoppou hopes you both have fun!”

    Wolfen looks at Kongo.

    Kongo looks back.

    “Want me to make you more tea, or heat any of the food up for you?” Wolfen asks.

    “I’m fine for now.” Kongo admits.

    For a moment, they both pause, as an impossible impact is felt for them both. Mutual blinking occurs as Wolfen focuses, feeling her Satellite in orbit backing up, while Kongo makes a second body out of nanomaterial.

    Up in orbit, a Legion of Coal unit grumbling about space debris, slowly pulls itself out of the satellite, to check it over for any heavy damage. Then it looks at what the satellite hit.

    A massive black ship lies in space, prow aimed down at the earth. Huge cannons are on the ship. Nearby, constructs shaped something like massive, giant Torii gates float in space as well.

    Then the Legion of Coal unit blinks as it’s pulled away, only for it to go still as it looks up into Kongo’s eyes, a new body somehow, impossibly, on the ship in space.

    It waves. Kongo blinks.

    “Finding my crew fun to look at, Kongo?” Wolfen interrupts her control slightly, leaving both bodies stiffening in shock. Then Kongo nods, the edges of her lips curling upwards ever so slightly.

    “Oh, very much so. Quite impressive, I must say.” Kongo admits, then pauses as something occurs to her. “Say, would they happen to understand tactics at all?”

    “They do, though there’s precious few that are full sized, right now. With the hefty drain to my Legend every time I create one, I need more legend sources than the recharge I got from messing with the Sessho-Seki stone earlier.” Wolfen admits, then smiles. “Of course, with how strong you are, we could probably deal with things together for finding such legend sources, and they might even be of help for you, as well!”

    Kongo folds her arms, thinking, before she nods. “I’m guessing it takes time to build one?”

    “Aside from the hit to my Legend stores, it also makes me go from feeling full, to feeling like I’ve got an empty hole in me from hunger, lack of fuel, lack of resources, and so on and so forth.” Wolfen admits.

    Kongo slowly nods. “So debilitating, but not horribly so. Any prices for such?”

    Wolfen thinks, silently, drumming her fingers. “How about a general alliance between your Fleet of Fog and myself, my father and his creations and allies, and anyone that leaves their sides of the shipgirl and Abyssal conflict to join my own?”

    “Your father and his creations and allies?” Kongo asks, one eyebrow raised.

    “They’re lost between universes, I have no clue where he is compared to where I am, and I’m not likely to find him easily. In comparison, with his luck, he might stumble over me in the future. Considering he’s on the rest of my ship that didn’t make it here, and rebuilding it, with only 6 people on board aside from himself, that aren’t Legion of Coal units?” Wolfen says, thoughtfully. “I’d like to keep it somewhat open, in case Daddy finds me. But if not, having your people know who he is in case he ever finds you and not me would work well.”

    The edges of Kongo’s lips raise up a bit once more, before she nods again. “Fair, I think. I’ll adjust my course so your little toy in orbit doesn’t hit my assets again, as well.”

    “Thanks for that. They’re a bitch to fix, since I can’t use my railgun right now.” Wolfen admits, a wry smile on her face.

    Kongo doesn’t really notice it, as they eat, while starting to discuss things more thoroughly, getting to know each other and their technologies, the advantages and disadvantages to both, as they talk through the night. They do both notice as they run out of snacks, and Wolfen yawns.

    “I should get some sleep. You want me to grab you anything, and do you need a bed?” Wolfen asks, quietly.

    “I suppose I’ll find a place to sit down for a while. I need to think about things.” Kongo nods.

    “Goodnight, then!” Wolfen cheerfully says, as she leaves.

    Kongo nods at Wolfen as she leaves, then frowns.

    “Searching for definitions of ‘hot’. Likely definition found.” Kongo states, as purple patterns flow around her, before disappearing just as fast.

    “She thinks I’m attractive? I suppose I can’t fault her, since she seems more biologically towards a human than I am.” Kongo states, then pauses. “Furthermore, Yamato ordered me to try to broaden my horizons, while understanding that for most people, memories simply can’t be transferred, only described.” Kongo frowns.

    “I still don’t understand what she means, but I suppose I’ll try for her sake. Even if she’s always going to be confusing to me.” With those words, Kongo moves to a free bedroom.

    Alone in the room, the space suited figure stands motionless. Not one person once noticing her. Not one person having spotted her at any moment.

    Then it too is gone.

    Author’s Notes (Originally written December 24, 2020):
    The Sessho-Seki stone that Tamamo’s soul is stored in gave Wolfen the equivalent of a natural critical success for summoning a Servant, and rebuilding her power reserves.

    Not quite enough for Wolfen to get Kitsune as crew members, though.

    So, their next stop is to find any kitsune that might still be in Japan and want to join her crew, before heading for Europe… and the massive clusterfuck there.

    As Kongo and Wolfen’s technology base isn’t exactly completely compatible in any way, shape or form, they have a lot of work to do if they’re going to trade heavily on technology to each other. What with one involving divine legend to be made, and the other involving bullshit technology to the point where it’s “science and magic might be one and the same!” bullshit.

    As for the spacesuit clad figure? You’ll have to wait for more, or figure that out yourself. Or read the manga! The manga is great, if terrifyingly overpowered! But it’s up to you.

    Also, sorry for no Christmas Special from me. I’d tried to write it, but I just couldn’t get the creative juices flowing for it.

    You’re stuck with another Wolfen chapter instead.

    Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas Eve, and a Wonderful Christmas, even with what’s been going around!

    Author's Notes MK2:
    A few minor edits, mostly. Some of Koyanskaya's dialogue was adjusted a bit, to reflect where she was stolen from, to be made a little more clear.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  6. #66
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    I'm also not at my fastest responding this week.

    I was briefly confused by the timeskip having an implied conversation with Zelretch, but that's syncing up with the conversation from the Wolfen sidestory. Adding Wily's various children to the mix does feel like the cast is getting larger than I can easily follow.

    The implied relationship between divinity and Energen seems plausible. The obvious implication is that Legend drying up is causing the energy crisis in the first place, and you're taking the opportunity to put in Ereshkigal. Kieran's notes about Demigod certainly sound relevant now.

  7. #67
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I'm also not at my fastest responding this week.

    I was briefly confused by the timeskip having an implied conversation with Zelretch, but that's syncing up with the conversation from the Wolfen sidestory. Adding Wily's various children to the mix does feel like the cast is getting larger than I can easily follow.

    The implied relationship between divinity and Energen seems plausible. The obvious implication is that Legend drying up is causing the energy crisis in the first place, and you're taking the opportunity to put in Ereshkigal. Kieran's notes about Demigod certainly sound relevant now.
    No worries. Yeah, finally got things synchronized between the two, thankfully. Now I can get back to letting Wolfen go ahead a few chapters. Yay on that.

    Wily's children, on the other hand...? Thankfully not going to show up as much. It's hard to keep track of for me, too, at times. Even if I'm a fan of the series, it can legitimately get "too big for reading" if you let it. And that's with only one real city left for humanity to live in.

    As for everything else? It's going to be interesting reading for you, for how I have it planned on playing out. I'm the one with the plan, and hopefully it's entertaining reading it, rather than confusing reading what will come.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  8. #68
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Originally posted here.
    So. Interestingly enough, I finally finished Chapter 13 of the Wolfen Sidestory Then I looked back to find where I posted Chapter 12. Considering how I can't find it, I apparently forgot to post it, and left you all without Wolfen for a while. The old author's notes are old, but you can see why I slowed down on the sidestory quite a bit, until now.

    Chapter 12: Of Kitsune and an Idol

    Kongou’s “Safe House/Tea House”

    A jail cell.

    Being smug, even as ________ kept her there.

    Meeting an old, or so he thought, "friend", who refused to release her.

    Meeting the other one serving her current boss, only for that one to do nothing either.

    Then the automations come, brought in by _______.

    The whining of buzz saw blades.

    Then only pain, agony and suffering as they start literally cutting away parts of her…!

    Wolfen snaps awake, shaking and panting for breath from the Dream Cycle, only to see Koyanskaya awake, watching her carefully.

    For a moment, Wolfen wipes away her tears, before focusing on an illusion within herself, adjusting her cloak to ensure Mordred will sleep through things.

    Immediately, she feels her senses dull drastically, as she pulls Koyanskaya in for a hug.

    I’m sorry, for what that madman ordered done to you in that jail cell.” Wolfen quietly sends via telepathy.

    Go to sleep, Master. You shouldn’t think about such things as what you saw. A Servant is merely a tool.” Koyanskaya retorts, quietly.

    No. I get it. He hated you for your past, didn’t he? As part of…” Wolfen trails off, quietly.

    Daji? Tamamo no Mae? Two of the most feared Kitsune in history? Tch, of course he would. He saw to ensure very thoroughly my punishment for resembling them, would truly be terrible for touching his citizens, as well.” Koyanskaya trails off, then winces as Wolfen hugs her closer.

    I know. I know damned well about your past.” Wolfen admits, quietly clinging to her Servant. “I don’t care, either. Humanity tries to kill what it doesn’t understand.

    ...Get some sleep, Master. We’ll talk about this another day.” Koyanskaya replies, mental voice sounding grumpy and tired.

    5 minutes pass, as Koyanskaya falls asleep, Wolfen’s eyes flickering shut soon after.

    5 Hours Later

    Wolfen looks at Koyanskaya, studying her carefully.

    Koyanskaya looks back at her new Master, quietly.

    Kongo sips on her new cup of tea.

    Hoppou continues to watch anime, while using Wolfen’s lap as a pillow.

    “So, not that I don’t enjoy the admiration, but why exactly are you looking at me like this, Master?” Koyanskaya finally asks.

    Wolfen sighs, softly. “Just deciding how to deal with you, honestly.” Wolfen admits, while eating her breakfast, that Kongou had made for the group of them. “Would you rather join us in dealing with the assorted shipgirl and Abyssal mess that the world is dealing with? Or prank Eris’ pantheon into submission, ensuring they get no work done?”

    Koyanskaya settles back, obviously thinking over that.

    “Keep in mind, I have a single Command Spell right now. Any use of such, until whatever daddy made that gave me this increases it? Is going to not happen. So you’ll have no backup going in if you go now.” Wolfen adds in, still eating and studying her Servant.

    Koyanskaya slowly nods, a frown on her face. “So in other words, until you have a spare Servant, or extra equipment, I have no backup.”

    “Considering how they spend divine artifacts like water, as well?” Wolfen sighs. “It’s not the easiest of things to deal with, if they’re capable of doing something on that scale.”

    A slow nod from the pink haired Kitsune is Wolfen’s only answer, as she frowns.

    “Are deities truly so terrifying?” Kongo speaks up, now curious.

    To that, Wolfen simply projects onto the wall the fight between Erik and the others once more, showing them what she had shown Kongou before. Complete with annotations to who was who this time.

    “That was Daddy, my builder, and Norse God of Mecha, killing the infamous Jormungandr. With the help of his friends, and my honorary uncles! But even still, Daddy did the final blow. Do you think you could pull off that sort of fight, on that level, Kongo?” Wolfen retorts, studying Kongo’s reaction.

    For a long moment, Kongo stares, not even noticing the tea cup she had made earlier, had a hairline crack in it from the sheer shock of seeing something like that die.

    “Perhaps my Super Graviton Cannon on my ship body could hurt it.” Kongo admits. “But I’m not sure if Corrosive Torpedoes would. Since this Mental Model has neither? I do understand what you mean.”

    “We learned later that the damned thing had some sort of divine skill that could shut down all electronics, and make them into mockeries of what they normally were.” Wolfen admits, then sighs. “My main cannon, the laser cannon, was built to take stuff like that on and hurt them. But even I’m not capable of countering such a divine skill like that.”

    Kongo frowns. “So yours is divinely made science made to deal with such things, while mine is super science made to deal with different things, then?”

    Wolfen nods in agreement, before looking at Hoppou. “You’re having fun watching Anime. Did you want to talk about things?”

    “Hoppou is crewed by dead children lost at sea. Hoppou really doesn’t care one way or another as long as the decisions seem nice, and lead to Hoppou and others being happy, rather than sad. Makes life much easier for Hoppou, too!” Hoppou retorts, snuggling close with Wolfen’s lap.

    Wolfen nods, quietly contemplating things, as she mentally reviews everything, before looking towards Koyanskaya. “Koyanskaya. After retrieving the route that Hoppou and myself took to get there the first time? Infiltrate the deities behind the decision to see all shipgirls and Abyssals dead. Once you’ve done so, prank them into the ground. Everyone but Eris and Aqua suffers.”

    Koyanskaya smiles wide, before she bows and disappears. Moments later, she reappears, holding maps in one hand, before bowing once more.

    “Before you go?” Wolfen focuses, doing her best to ignore the strain, before a laser rifle plops down in front of them, fully sized.

    “I’ll be paying for this later, my Servant, in food and energy costs, but this is a Mark 3 Laser Rifle based on the one Daddy had for personal use, before I wound up here like this. It should let you assassinate most Demigods without too much of an issue, possibly full fledged Gods as well, if they can’t take a hit. So long, of course, as you don’t get splattered against a wall afterwards.” Wolfen states. “Do keep it safe.”

    Koyanskaya’s smile widens, as she takes it gently, looking it over. “Oh, of course!”

    “Also, do keep in mind, it has pictures of all ally’s faces, or people I want alive, and it won’t fire on anyone involved that are considered allies.” Wolfen adds in a moment later, leaving Koyanskaya looking up in surprise, before nodding once more.

    “Understood, Master. If that’s all, I’ll be going.” Koyanskaya admits, before disappearing along with the Laser Rifle.

    After that, Wolfen quietly breathes out, before her eyes search the room for a moment, then land on Kongo. “Did you want to chat about anything?” Wolfen finally asks.

    “That laser rifle reminded me of my Photon Cannons, if down a completely different technological path.” Kongo admits, quietly.

    A quiet yawn from Hoppou is heard, before she curls up closer against Wolfen, slowly falling asleep.

    Wolfen settles back, looking at Kongo, before nodding in appreciation. “Likely so.” Wolfen states, more quietly. “Father developed them from scratch, but they’re like supercharged lasers in a lot of ways, and I suspect yours could easily be derived from supercharging, but not being at the right frequencies.”

    Kongo nods, deep in thought, before frowning at the hairline cracks in her cup slightly. After a moment, she finishes off the tea within, before slowly turning the cup back into nanomaterial.

    A long moment passes, as they both simply sit, before Kongo folds her arms. “Would you mind if I explore the town for a while?”

    For a moment, Wolfen frowns, before passing over a small drone. “Use this to get back to me, or tell the Legion of Coal unit within if you have issues, and I’ll come to you.” Wolfen frowns more, before nodding, and pulling out the card that Admiral Kouzuki had given her some time before. “Also, if you wish to purchase anything, feel free to purchase things using this, though keep in mind that there’s not much currency there yet.”

    Kongo nods, studying it for a moment, then Wolfen. “I suppose there’s the ritual of asking if you’d like me to buy something while I’m out?”

    “If it isn’t too expensive, ice cream tends to be a good snack, but I do need Wasabi for my own reactors. If you feel it’s too expensive, however, you don’t need to worry.” Wolfen states, nodding to Kongo.

    Kongo nods, her dress altering to a truly dark purple color, before she gets up and leaves. “Until later, then.”

    For a long while, Kongo watches the television Hoppou has been enjoying, gently running her fingers through Hoppou’s hair, before glancing over at the sound of the door shutting.

    Then her gaze turns towards the final occupant in the room, wearing a space suit yet never being noticed by anyone else, one which her advanced detection systems and supernaturally built radar barely picks up.

    “Would you like me to prepare some tea for you, as well? Or was it a true shock to the system that my Daddy, my creator, was so terrifyingly good at combat?” Wolfen eventually asks.

    The helmeted figure spins, looking at Wolfen with wide eyes from within the helmet. After a long pause, it shakes its head ‘no’ while pointing at the teapot, to signify a lack of interest in the tea.

    “Not wanting to talk, then. Exhausting?” Wolfen questions, carefully.

    The figure nods, once.

    For a moment, Wolfen drums her fingers against the couch, gently.

    Then she nods, decisively. “Are you damaged somehow, perhaps?”

    A nod from the figure.

    “Perhaps… are you linked to the Admiralty Code somehow?” Wolfen asks, carefully.

    A slow pause, before another nod from the figure is her answer.

    Wolfen’s eyes narrow, as she thinks. “Do you need mechanical assistance, or have you been influenced somehow?”

    A shake of the head to the first, and a nod to the second, leaves Wolfen frowning.

    “Do keep in mind that the local deities don’t have your best interests in mind, since you’re linked to the Admiralty Code somehow.” Wolfen admits. “You or your ships that you’re linked to, however you might be.”

    A slow nod from the figure is Wolfen’s only answer, as she thinks.

    “However, if you need mechanical assistance for one reason or another, the best person for that would either be Daddy, or Wayland Smith if he exists in this universe.” Wolfen eventually admits, quietly. “I might, might mind you, be able to do something, but I’m running mostly on plans, what I saw of my Daddy building me, and a knowledge of engineering that’s far inferior to everything my father could do. I’ll be heading off in a few days to look into Kitsune, then to find Wayland Smith to see if he can’t fix me somehow, myself.”

    The suited figure’s head tilts to the side for a long moment, before it nods and disappears.

    After a long moment, Wolfen’s breath slowly leaves her lungs in a woosh, before she starts hyperventilating while hugging Hoppou close.

    What the hell WAS that being?! We were lucky that the radar picked it up!” Mordred whispers, after no reappearance of the space suited figure happens. “It scares me worse than Dracula did, and that fight both enraged and pissed me off to the point where I could ignore the fear to crush him with help. Hell, it scares me worse than Erik does at his most enraged!

    “I don’t know, Mordred. I just don’t know…” Wolfen quietly whispers, before holding Hoppou closer, rocking the young looking Abyssal in her arms gently.

    For a while, Wolfen just hugs Hoppou in her arms, as she thinks.

    Then a smiling Kongou sneaks in and waves at them both while moving off to make food. Wolfen smiles, then gently moves so Hoppou is on the couch, before sneaking after Kongou.

    “No Mental Model here, or sexy Kitsune?” Kongou asks, as she hums, making some tasty food for them all.

    “Kongo wanted to go looking through the city, and I sent said Kitsune in question for a pranking spree to buy us time.” Wolfen nods.

    “The legends don’t do anyone like her justice, I’ll admit.” Kongou states. “Her figure makes me jealous, just looking at her!”

    “Hard to tell if it’s kitsune being a kitsune, normally, but I can say that Mommy had the same sort of figure hidden underneath her clothing.” Wolfen nods. “We’ll never quite match up I suppose, but we’re battleships as well, so I suspect our figure is based partially on how we’re built, too.”

    Kongou nods, then smiles at Wolfen helping prepare some of the food with her, leaving them just working together in comfortable silence.

    “So. Aerial Battleship, hmm?” Kongou asks quietly, while making tea alongside the food.

    Wolfen glances over. “You figured it out while I was out of it, hmm?”

    “More I got a big visual in front of me, telling me that if I joined, I could install those secondary lasers into my rigging, to replace my current secondaries.” Kongou admits. “Gave me the Prototype Aerial Battleship bit, and everything! However, it also mentioned that your side isn’t at war with the Abyssals for the ‘War for the Trident’ that we’re in right now.”

    “Huh. That’s…” Wolfen trails off, rubbing her chin. “I wondered.”

    “What exactly did you do to make your keel into two parts, anyways?” Kongou asks, half glaring. “I worry about you, you know? You’re my friend!”

    Wolfen winces, quietly. “They were getting ready to force Hoppou to work for them, and my rail gun’s ammunition wasn’t cutting it. One, I hurt, but the rest just wouldn’t get more than their armor a bit chipped. So I went as high up as I safely could, and dropped, using the Radiant Wave Surger to punch a hole right through that pinkish white haired Abyssal Princess.” Wolfen sighs. “It killed her cleanly, but I went down without an angle, and landed wrong. To be fair, I was aiming for the water nearby, but between the storm, and being more preoccupied with hitting her and saving Hoppou? One moment, my fist was passing through, I was desperately trying to slow down, then the next was one big crunch as I barely kept from losing my legs.”

    Kongou slowly nods, thinking. “Work on going for an angle next time!”

    “Of course, of course.” Wolfen sighs. “Hoppou has been adorable to work with, though, so I can’t complain too much.”

    Kongou giggles softly. “She’s become like a little sister for you, hasn’t she?”

    Wolfen nods, smiling. “Indeed.”

    “Now for the Elephant in the room…” Kongou muses aloud. “Mental Model Kongo.”

    “She’s kind of really hot…” Wolfen murmurs, then blushes brightly at Kongou giggling at Wolfen.

    “Got the hots for a cute flagship?” Kongou teases, a wide smile on her face.

    “Maybe?” Wolfen blushes more. “She’s definitely coarse around the edges, but considering how hard it is for Daddy’s Legion of Coal to think like humans, I think I understand her rather well.”

    “Obsessed with tactics, too.” Kongou points out, thinking.

    “Yeah, I was thinking about getting her a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, if there’s any in this universe.” Wolfen admits. “Maybe some historical videos on naval warfare too?”

    Kongou nods, thinking. “Would be fitting for her, at least. She seems rather focused on being a flagship just like I’m winding up in the position of myself.”

    Kongou trails off, blushing. “It’s not a bad position to be in, honestly. Still, sometimes it can be overwhelming. I only recently came back, and now all these other ships are coming back as well. I have this man who loves me wholeheartedly, and life is just so wonderful right now… I’m just terrified something will come to break it.”

    Wolfen quietly smiles. “It fits you, Kongou, the flagship role. As for that fear? I get it. Hoppou’s fleet is working to ensure the convoys are relatively safe, but they haven’t seen the rest of the ones that attacked her...”

    “Meaning we still have to worry about 3 Abyssal Princesses with a grudge.” Kongou sighs. “All Hoppou really said was that you came down on the one like a personal smiting from a deity.”

    Wolfen nods. “To be fair, I was made by a Norse God personally.” Wolfen grins at that. “Doesn’t mean it’s different to feel less of a ship, and more of a daughter now…”

    Kongou simply nods, a smile on her face. “I’ll agree to that. Being more human has so many possibilities we now have. It’s still a pity that we’re in legal limbo, except for being seen as national assets and treasures.”

    Wolfen winces at that, then nods with a sigh. “True enough. Adding in what little I’ve heard about Arizona and her issues?”

    “Someone did some very stupid things over there, from what I heard. When they finally overreached in their attempts to seize power from the military through Arizona, by trying to force her to abort her child? Their plot collapsed with them and their allies dead in the Senate.” Kongou states, quietly. “With the bulk of the rest dead as well, since cannonfire in a small enclosed building pulped most of the organs of the ones nearby from the shockwaves alone.”

    “And Missouri wonders why I don’t submit?” Wolfen sarcastically questions.

    “Oh, for a Javert, she’s been doing pretty well on finding her own way as of late.” Kongou retorts, a smile on her face. “Though I gave her a few tips on how to try and get in her Admiral’s pants, from what you told me. I think she’ll be too busy chasing him to realize what it means if she lands him.”

    Wolfen’s smirk rapidly changes into a full blown smile, before pulling Kongou in for a hug. “You’ve turned out to be a damned good friend, Kongou. Thank you for that.”

    Wolfen pauses in her returning to helping prepare the food, as she realizes exactly what Kongou called Missouri. “Was that a Les Miserables reference, perhaps?”

    “Considering how she acts like Javert in that book and musical?” Kongou giggles. “I thought it was a perfect reference, myself. A stubborn investigator, seeing the world in black and white, until they die after realizing how wrong they were? By suicide no less? At least her ending will at worst only see her pregnant rather than dead. If she learns her lesson and sees the world in far more shades of color, so much the better in my book.”

    The two of them share a smile, before they get back to work on the food.

    “So, where is my counterpart?” Kongou asks, her smile still wide on her face.

    “I let her go out shopping with that card your Teitoku gave me. Made sure she’d grab some wasabi, as well.” Wolfen admits. “She should be good, I think. I caught her watching dramas this morning, as well as having purple screens around her while looking up different methods for shopping and the like.”

    Kongou blinks, before her smile reappears as she nods. “Well, it sounds like she shouldn’t get into too much trouble…” Kongou pauses in her speech, her eyes narrowed.

    Then she moves to the window, staring at Naka outside, a cell phone in hand, Naka rapidly typing to herself as she mutters aloud.

    “From all intents and purposes, this mysterious stranger is coming from this mysterious house that I can find no information on! I’ll discover exactly who she is, why she has a military card, then Teitoku shall thank me for being a wonderful future Idol of the Fleet!” Naka whispers, typing her words out to herself.

    Then she abruptly finds herself indoors, a dark smile on Kongou’s face, in front of a cup of tea.

    “Hello, Naka. Exactly why are you spying on a top secret military safehouse for holding VIP guests?” Kongou asks, a dark look on her face.

    “More than that, why are you looking so suspicious? You’re likely to give away the fact that I’m in Japan when I’m so badly hurt right now.” Wolfen growls low, revealing she’s named for a Wolf for more than one reason.

    “Oh no, please don’t hurt me?! I’m the cute Idol of the fleet! I can’t be killed by you!” Naka whimpers.

    “Weren’t you going on about ‘Future idol of the fleet’ a bit ago? Kongou asks, the dark smile on her face never fading.

    “Oh, she did!” Wolfen agrees, the growling growing louder as she menaces Naka with a smile. “Now, did you happen to send anyone information about you being here? Or try to?”

    “No, no I didn’t, please don’t hurt the cute idol of the fleet, oh please have mercy!” The whimpering Naka shakes in her seat.

    “Are you going to let anyone know about what’s going on here?” Kongou asks. “If you do, I’ll never bake a treat for you again.”

    Naka’s whimpering grows worse, as she looks at Kongou with horror in her eyes. “Those are so delicious, though!”

    “Perhaps she just doesn’t quite get it, then? Naka. If you ever let anyone know about what’s going on in here, I’ll ensure you never enjoy ice cream again. It’s that important.” Wolfen says, a brilliant smile on her face.

    “How exactly would you do that?” Kongou asks, looking over at Wolfen with confusion.

    “Your crew has rifles. Mine has laser rifles. I’ve tested them too! They still cut through steel like a hot knife through butter with ease.” Wolfen continues, the smile on her face never changing.

    “Steel?” Kongou asks, before getting it with a wince. “You’d seriously have them sabotage every refrigerator and freezer on the base?!

    “As well as cutting the bottoms out of the ice cream jars she has, cutting spoons in half…” Wolfen trails off with a grin, as Naka starts whimpering with the terror of the damned.

    “Please, not the ice cream!” Naka whimpers, going onto the floor and begging on hands and knees. “Don’t torment me by taking my desserts away!”

    “Then you can’t talk about anything you see in here, or shout about it, ever. No anime tropes either. That means wiping all the data you wrote, too.” Wolfen smiles.

    Naka pouts but nods, shivering quietly. “You two are scary to me…” Then she pauses, frowning. “Oh, I could have broken Operational Security, couldn’t I?”

    “Considering whatever app you’re using on your phone is linked to Kami knows how many spy services, all trying to copy the data?” Wolfen asks, before casually picking the phone up. Then several Legion of Coal units start poking at it, and tapping at it.

    Naka frowns. “How did you know?”

    “I’m in the middle of stopping it from being sent and received, of course!” Wolfen retorts. “My ECM includes modern computers, after all! Especially since I have better spying satellites than every government on the planet does.”

    Naka blinks. “Oooh! So you’re like the super idol of neat machines?!”

    “More the greatest battleship made by the Norse God of Mecha.” Wolfen retorts, before adding in, at the clueless look on Naka’s face. “Think of me as a battleship turned shipgirl, made by a Kami of Mecha and Machines, from a far away universe. Part of me landed here, and thus… shipgirl, instead of ship.”

    Naka blinks repeatedly, slowly working on how to wrap her head around it.

    A loud yawn interrupts whatever she was going to say. “Hoppou’s awake! Wolfen, where did you go?”

    Hoppou sticks her head out, moments later, then blinks at Naka at the tea table.

    Naka stares, before whimpering, a quiet whisper of “Oh by the Kami, it’s an Abyssal Princess, oh Kami please save me, I’m so going to die.”

    Then, after a moment, she breathes in hard to scream, then “Eeps” at Wolfen’s rigging completely out, aimed at her instead.

    “Scream and I’m going to make good on that threat involving your ice cream.” Wolfen states. “She’s a friendly. Now stand down.”

    Naka stares at the Abyssal Princess on one side of the room, then Wolfen on the other.

    “Ok! Ok! I’ll be calm. So please, can you tell me what is going on?” Naka pleads, quietly, shaking until Wolfen’s secondaries disappear once more.

    “Hoppou here is the Northern Ocean Princess, or so she told me her title was before I made friends with her, and saved her from a bunch of Abyssals that wanted to do her harm, at the cost of losing my main cannons.” Wolfen admits. “Her and her allies hold the Aleutians and Midway Island.”

    Naka blinks, then goes wide eyed while listening. Her attempt to open her mouth to speak, however, is countered by a scone in her mouth.

    “Hoppou’s allies are also the only Abyssals that see humanity as a future trading partner, and want taxes for letting cargo ships through rather than slaughtering everyone involved, and stealing the food for themselves.” Wolfen continues, leaving Naka wincing. “And you just about cocked it up for everyone and let everyone know about Kongou’s only safehouse.”

    Naka whimpers, nodding quietly. “I’ll be good, I’ll never talk about it, I promise!”

    Wolfen nods, her dark smile turning into a normal bright and cheery one, before she gently pats Naka’s head. “Good. Because if you don’t, and I ever catch you, I’ll introduce you to my mecha compliment. Or better yet, build a full size one, just to chase you in, and stomp you in.”

    Naka freezes up, staring at Wolfen.

    Wolfen smiles kindly, one leg opening up to show a mech stepping out of it.

    Naka stares at the mech with no little horror, before whimpering a terrified, high pitched whine, and passing out.

    Hoppou simply giggles, while Kongou happily sips on a cup of tea.

    Kongou pauses, looking at the mech. The mech in question tilts its head, staring at her.

    “Aww, it’s so cute!” Kongou squeals softly, before picking up the mech and hugging it. “Who’s an adorable mecha! You are! It’s so totally you, you cute adorable mech, you!”

    Wolfen simply smiles for a long while, while Hoppou kneels to study the small war machine that goes up close to her mid-thighs from being short.

    “Aww, it’s so cute!” Hoppou admits, smiling. “Looks like it could go ‘Rawr’ and all that sort of stuff at its enemies!”

    Wolfen giggles softly, nodding in agreement. “They can! It sounds like a metal dinosaur!”

    Three girls giggle for a long moment, before Kongou pauses, then goes wide eyed. “Oh no, I won’t let the fish burn!” With those words, she gets back to work, rapidly doing her best to fix the situation.

    “Hoppou wonders… Wolfen? Did your Daddy make any other ships like you?” Hoppou asks, curiously.

    Wolfen pauses, nodding slowly. “Yeah. I had 78 sister Aerial Battleships, but seeing as I was the prototype, only one was actually built within me. Others were built partially in me as a stopgap before we could get them produced en-masse elsewhere.”

    “Would it be possible for you to build new ones?” Hoppou asks, thinking.

    “As I am now? No. I don’t have the room, I’m afraid.” Wolfen thinks, quietly.

    “Perhaps you could summon one of the others that were already built, then? As a stopgap measure until you could get one back?” Hoppou asks, thinking.

    Wolfen pauses. Kongou pauses.

    Both of them look at each other.

    “She has an idea, you know? I didn’t think about that, but if you have metal from home that isn’t eaten, we might be able to set up a summoning array for them.” Kongou admits, before working on ensuring that lunch won’t be burned.

    “How much metal would that take?” Wolfen asks, intently.

    “Aside from some sort of focus that involves something from ships so shipgirls can be summoned?” Kongou thinks, questioning herself as she works it out. “I remember waking up near where my ship was sunk, as a girl. Teitoku was desperate for any help to the point where he came out to where I was sunk, begging for aid and help from someone, anyone… to his words, his pleading and begging for someone, anyone to help? I awoke. Then I saved him, time after time.”

    Wolfen thinks, before quietly nodding. “I’ve got about a kilogram left of my hull that I kept safe in case I needed a later snack.” Wolfen pulls it out, studying it. “Mostly, the others were built in Wolf Home, later, Daddy’s Space Station. The only one of them... “ Wolfen trails off, smiling. “Well, she held mecha too, so perhaps we could get her.”

    Kongou nods, thinking. “Perhaps for the Aleutians, so we have a guaranteed guardian there that they won’t mind?”

    Hoppou smiles widely, as Wolfen nods. “Likely the best option we can get, and considering how much you’ve been of help, we’ll be glad to have her!”

    “The Home Guard Aerial Battleships weren’t as advanced as I was, to be fair. More missile launchers, more mortars, but far less railguns or laser rifles.” Wolfen trails off, thinking. “They had Spinal Mounted weapons like me, a Railgun and a Laser Cannon, but theirs weren’t quite as strong, mostly because they had less power generation they could allow to feed into the two overall.” Wolfen trails off, thinking.

    “You’re not sure, are you?” Kongou asks, quietly.

    “In this political situation? I’m not quite so sure. Only one of them was built with the Ragnarok Protocols like I was, involving a Radiant Wave Surger, the same one I had built inside me fully. If we’re lucky, we’ll get ‘Tamamo’s Respite’, the ship in question. If not…” Wolfen trails off, then sighs. “I don’t know how to ensure they can go toe to toe with Abyssal Princesses or shipgirls if it isn’t her.”

    Kongou slowly nods, before glancing up to stare at Kongo walking back in.

    Kongo’s eyes trail to the still unconscious form of Naka on the floor, as one eyebrow raises, before her eyes return to Wolfen and Kongou.

    “I see you’ve been busy as well while I went shopping.” Kongo states, no hint of emotion in her eyes. “Though I did have to adjust my dress so it wouldn’t give any of those boys ‘fanservice’ as they asked for.”

    Wolfen winces, quietly. “Sorry to hear that. Young men are typically ruled by their hormones. Honestly? It takes more time with some than others, to grow out of it.”

    Kongo nods imperiously, expression never changing, as she puts down a massive pile of books on the table.

    Author’s Notes (Originally Posted December 8, 2021)

    This has been a while in coming, sorry. (Yes. I know. I know. I should be working on Fate: Anarchy damn it. But that, and it’s interludes are going slow. For good reason. I know how it’s going to go, but the sheer amount of calculations for how a production line unit for Erik’s Metal Gear Rex series going against a Basmu has been a pain in my ass.) There’s a few good reasons, though! (Also, pardon me for any ranting here in spots. I have good reason.)

    First? You’re getting to see vastly more world building here with certain aspects. Which was a pain to work out how things would work and set up without breaking everything else. The sheer amount of time it took to work out how Konosuba’s deities would interfere with the local beings of power, such as kitsune? Took far longer than I thought it would.

    Second? I wound up purchasing myself a Honda Helix January 9th, and the sheer stress of getting ready for that, especially with the sheer luck of finding the listing, and exhaustion mixed with relief afterwards? Has left me slow in writing. Not to mention buying a gps tracker for it, for my peace of mind, getting a cover at the last minute, and blowing more cash than I ever thought I’d spend in one place. I’m genuinely tired from that, even now, while writing this.

    Third? My surround sound ordered before Christmas finally came on January 12th. Stupidly heavy surround sound was stupidly heavy, and getting it set up this last week was hard. I’ll freely admit, 1000 watts instead of 70 is wonderful for listening to! But it was slow going in getting it set up, taking my old one down, and my arms still feel like lead off and on. Ugh.

    Fourth? Chapter 123 for Arpeggio of Blue Steel came out, and wrecked half my damn plot for this story in one fell swoop. Goddamned Admiralty Code being an eldritch pain in my fucking ass with the shit pulled there.

    Having to figure out how to make up for exactly the sort of shit the Admiralty Code will get to do in the near future, now?

    Leaves me looking back at that Kongo versus Wolfen fight and going “Man, that could have been easier… but what a fucking copout it would have been, too.” followed by me settling back and working out how to salvage the plot so it will be entertaining, still have enough Fate elements to not get eventually chucked onto a different board by mods, and ensure there’s a possibility for a happy ending, rather than going for a Norse “We’re all going to die, but we’ll die happy anyways!” ending.

    I think I’ve figured out how to pull that off, but it means the fun chapters I’ve been writing are a lot more work than planned, too.

    Dammit, Admiralty Code, why couldn’t you have stayed a benevolent missing overseer instead of pulling shit like this?! At least I could have explained things better than you coming in and wrecking all the goddamned shit in Arpeggio of Blue Steel’s plot the way you did!

    At least it gives me a better idea of how to work her into things.

    Also? I’m pretty sure I totally called it about her being an eldritch abomination or something close enough stuffed into a human meat suit now!

    Just reincarnating into them instead of body stealing. I’m not sure if that’s better though…

    Author's Notes MK2:
    Sorry for taking so long. I've been writing something like 4 days a week to make sure that the pen and paper Mekton Zeta game is fun for Kieran and my camping buddy.

    I've managed to go camping for 4 days last month, and this month I managed to get to the Renaissance Faire, so it's been pretty good all in all. Just not much time for writing on top of keeping the game up.

    Only real edits is hinting here and there more on Koyanskaya's origins...
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  9. #69
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    Originally posted here.
    So. Interestingly enough, I finally finished Chapter 13 of the Wolfen Sidestory Then I looked back to find where I posted Chapter 12. Considering how I can't find it, I apparently forgot to post it, and left you all without Wolfen for a while. The old author's notes are old, but you can see why I slowed down on the sidestory quite a bit, until now.
    So long ago that I'd forgotten it existed . . . Still, I suppose now I have an excuse to re-read things.

    Author's Notes MK2:
    Sorry for taking so long. I've been writing something like 4 days a week to make sure that the pen and paper Mekton Zeta game is fun for Kieran and my camping buddy.

    I've managed to go camping for 4 days last month, and this month I managed to get to the Renaissance Faire, so it's been pretty good all in all. Just not much time for writing on top of keeping the game up.
    That is, unfortunately, a well-documented side-effect of playing gamemaster. We find it worth it, though.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme

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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  10. #70
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Originally posted here.
    Chapter 13: Yet More Kitsune: Illusion Boogaloo

    The Next Day
    Somewhere over Hokkaido

    Wolfen flies, frowning as her compass leads her slowly towards her destination. If it could be called that. Clinging to her belly is Hoppou, and on her back is Kongo.

    Somehow, I’m still unsure how on earth we wound up giving them a ride…” Mordred admits, quietly.

    Hoppou clings to Wolfen’s belly closer, as she snuggles in. Meanwhile, Wolfen shivers slightly as Kongo adjusts her grip on Wolfen’s waist, leaving her feeling sensations she’d never anticipated before.

    At least it’s nice, Mordred?” Wolfen admits, quietly. “I didn’t know that being held like this could feel so nice…

    Keep your mind on your priorities now, hot girl on your back later.” Mordred orders, a grin on her face. “You can enjoy the eye candy on your back AFTER our job is done.

    You really aren’t helping, Mordred.” Wolfen admits, before eyes focusing on the compass turning under her.

    Then she speaks up. “Remember, we have no clue what they might be up to, so let me do the talking, okay?”

    Hoppou nods from Wolfen’s belly, gently. “Okay, Wolfen!”

    “Indeed.” Kongo admits. “I’m curious as to these ‘Kitsune’ you speak of after all.”

    With that, Wolfen slowly descends, wincing at the slight strain on her systems as she does so.

    Even if you’re built for carrying mecha, it’s still hard, huh?” Mordred asks, sympathetically.

    Wolfen only slightly nods, knowing her captain will feel it, as they descend.

    To a rather peculiar sight.

    Short blonde hair, blue eyes and two yellowish white wings. A pink dress with white accents, sleeves barely linked to the dress itself. An “Angel” stands in a clearing, across from a nine tailed Kitsune.

    Having an argument, no less.

    “-We still don’t have anyone to send!” The kitsune growls, biology hidden from the tails obscuring them from view..

    “I simply don’t understand. The orders we gave for breeding purposes were clear. To ensure the organization won’t collapse, we need sources of legend to bolster our ranks. You should have at least 5 more Kyuubi by now.” The Angel retorts, her arms folded.

    “It would have worked better, if that blue haired bitch would stop stealing all our breeding options!” The Kitsune snarls with rage, then breathes out. “Every time we try to set up a good pair that will fit your standards, they get kidnapped by that bitch to be an object of power for some ‘hero’ that she sends off as cannon fodder!

    The Angel pauses, frowning. “Leaving just you alone as the source of power for your tribe. I see.”

    “Considering how she hinted that she won’t stop, no matter how much we try to bribe her?” The kitsune admits, quietly.

    The Angel frowns, folding her arms. “Nevertheless, we’re down to the bare minimum of an influx of legend. We need a 9 tailed kitsune as a tribute.”

    “And if I do that, my race will die. You’re shooting yourselves in the foot for a bare minimum of power that won’t flow right. Are you sure you want to kill off the remaining worshippers you have amongst kitsune?” The kitsune rebukes the Angel, coldly.

    The Angel frowns deeply. “A fair point. I’ll have to have a talk with my superiors on this, but if I can’t get this fixed, you should pack your bags, just in case.”

    “It’s not like you’re going to be able to handle things, what with the mess of those Shipgirls and Abyssals making a mess of the world.” The Kitsune retorts. “As it is, we’re all going to starve if that isn’t fixed, and soon.”

    “Expect things to be done and over with by the end of Winter.” The Angel admits. “Orders from higher up to not talk about it, though.”

    The kitsune slowly nods, looking pensive. “That still leaves them starving in the short run.” It retorts, watching carefully.

    The Angel frowns, then shakes her head. “And for that, there’s nothing I can do. If I feed them, I’ll be paying far more than I have to ensure they get a single meal. If I help them, it’ll be taken from me at a price I can’t afford to pay, no matter how much I wish otherwise.” The Angel admits, looking pensive. “Nothing I do matters except follow orders, and hope for the best. I’m in as bad a situation as you are. Anything I do to counteract orders, I get punished for, with Millennia of work to make up for the mess.”

    The Kitsune looks away, thinking as it obviously does so.

    For a moment, the Angel almost reaches out with her hand to the Kitsune, before bowing her head. “I’m sorry. I’ll do what I can to talk with them, but I can’t make any promises.”

    A slow nod from the Kitsune is the only reply, before the Angel disappears in a flare of light.

    Then the Kitsune turns, looking towards Wolfen silently. Reality ripples for a moment, before the Kitsune now looks like an attractive, gender ambiguous human, smiling at their general location, along with a magnificent kotatsu, the underside of the table already glowing with heat.

    “It is only kind of intruders to identify themselves after spying, you know?” The hard to identify kitsune states aloud. “Come, let us talk over tea, if you can spare any.”

    Wolfen steps forwards, cloak dissipating around her as she steps. “Thank you kindly for your hospitality, oh honored Kyuubi like my Father and Builder’s Wife.”

    “A shipgirl…” The Kitsune trails off for a moment, eyes wide, then widen almost impossibly more at seeing Hoppou. “And an Abyssal, as well as…” for a moment, the Kitsune trails off, studying Kongo. “I’m sorry, I have no clue what you are, except for being insanely powerful. Even by a Kitsune’s standards, miss.”

    “Mental Model Kongo, Flagship of the Black Fleet of the Fleet of Fog. Acting representative to Wolfen and others by orders of my Flagship, and dispatched upon warning by an entity only known as Zelretch.” Kongo states, almost imperiously, then watches as Wolfen starts preparing tea for everyone. The secondary cameras in her eyes change as they zoom in a bit on Wolfen’s every action, studying and contemplating the methods of making a good cup of Tea.

    “Zelretch… ah, that one that got revenge on those thieves of all that is Legendary. Good riddance to them, if they’ve irritated him enough to step in once more.” The Kitsune states, humming. Then he/she rubs their chin, thinking as they do so. “Feel free to call me whatever you wish for now. It’s been far too long since I used one.”

    Wolfen hums, thinking as she prepares tea. Hoppou frowns, half pouting as she realizes she can’t think of a name. Kongo simply relaxes, watching the tea getting made.

    The Kitsune pauses, frowning at the realization that it didn’t even mess with the ones before it. The frown deepens, as they think.

    How about Gwen? It’s hard to tell if it’s a he or a she, but their looks remind me of my father’s bride…” Mordred trails off, lost in thought.

    The Kitsune stills, blinking. “Another visitor that I overheard?”

    “My captain.” Wolfen admits.

    A slow nod from said Kitsune. “Gwen is fine, then. Though it reminds me quite a bit of those Spiderman comics…”

    Huh. You can hear me? Neat. And no, I say Gwen for Gwenevere, after my… step mother of sorts, even if I was never accepted as such.” Mordred trails off, suddenly hoping she didn’t say too much.

    Gwen stills, tails thrashing as said Kitsune thinks furiously.

    “To be compared to King Arthur’s bride is no small feat, I suppose. I’ll take that compliment as it is.” A smile lights up Gwen’s face soon afterwards. “Though I have to wonder how old your ship is, with how you have Mordred Pendragon on board, Miss Wolfen.”

    The sound of pouring tea interrupts Gwen, as Wolfen pours for them all.

    Interesting how Gwen can hear me…” Mordred muses while Wolfen pours for the others first. The smug kitsune leans back a bit, acting much like Kitsune all do in such a situation. Amused, and watching for entertainment.

    Hoppou gleefully grabs her cup with both hands, sipping and smiling at the warmth flowing into her.

    Kongo regally takes her tea, and slowly sips on it, elegantly looking like a beautiful woman as she does so. And if there’s a hint of a smile after sipping on the tea, it doesn’t show in her posture or bearing.

    Gwen sips, no trace of gender on his or her features, but carefully watching their “guests” all the same..

    Wolfen smiles as she sips, watching the others, especially the hint of Kongo’s smile. Then her attention returns to Gwen.

    “So, did you know that the Shipgirl and Abyssal situation started when a blue haired goddess sent the Trident they were both fighting over to another place?” Wolfen asks, no smile on her face.

    “Blue hair, blue eyes, drunk bitch named Aqua?” Gwen asks. Gwen’s control could be said to be perfect except for the furious tails swinging behind the gender ambiguous Kitsune. And mimicking wrapping around someone’s neck and throttling them.

    “That’s the one.” Wolfen nods. “Furthermore, their absurd plan is to mind fuck an entire war fleet full of warriors like Kongo here. And considering the closest equivalent to their main weapon is the term “Railgun nukes”...?

    “The Super Graviton Cannon is no mere ‘railgun nuke’. Railguns don’t have 950 mile range and perfect accuracy, after all.” Kongo admits as she sets her tea down, before changing the subject. “Delicious tea, Wolfen. I’d rather love to enjoy more in the future.”

    Wolfen smiles a bit, before her smile fades as Gwen slowly starts to twitch.

    Nine hundred and fifty…?” Gwen whispers. Almost unnoticed, the teacup in Gwen’s hands grows a hairline crack from the sheer terror Gwen is desperately trying to hide. The cup repairing itself, on the other hand, does go unnoticed.

    “Of everything being destroyed in my path? Yes. And if I bothered to turn while firing, it would be even more devastating, wouldn’t it?” Kongo admits calmly, no sign of emotion on her face as she watches Gwen ever so carefully.

    Gwen, looking shaken, sits back. For a long time, the kitsune in question rubs their forehead, thinking, before finally speaking up quietly. “Why look for me, then? With something this far above a Kitsune such as myself? I’m not even a player in this, much less someone that can help.”

    “Daddy’s wife and co-builder of myself as a shipe was a Kitsune, but I didn’t get much crew, seeing as they’re still alive. You might not be Mommy, but you’re still a Kitsune, and you might be able to help since she cannot.” Wolfen admits.

    Gwen blinks, repeatedly. “I should think I’d know of any famous Kitsune shipwrights, considering I’m the last leader left of my people…”

    “Considering it wasn’t in this universe, and involved an Eldritch Kaiju as well as an uncontrolled rip in existence forming?” Wolfen admits wryly. “About a third of my hull wound up in this universe, along with my shrine that let me take this form, while the rest protected Mommy and Daddy from being outside a universe long enough that my parents still live.”

    Gwen blinks. Which is followed by their right eyebrow twitching, followed by another blink.

    Gwen’s mouth opens, then shuts, repeatedly.

    Hoppou giggles softly at the sight.

    A fly starts buzzing close to Gwen’s mouth, before the Kitsune shuts it, and slowly sighs. “Would you be willing to tell me who your mother is, then? And father?” Gwen asks weakly. “I’m starting to think I’ve underestimated you a lot.”

    “Daddy was Erik Ulricson, or Ulricsonr, Norse God of Mecha! And mommy was his bride, Tamamo Ulricson, Norse Goddess of Happy Housewives, amongst other things! She used to be known by the name Tamamo no Mae, though…”

    Gwen twitches, eyes bulging at what Wolfen said, then passes out in a dead faint, illusions fading around them as the Kitsune lies in the grass as a fox with 9 tails.

    Hoppou looks close. “Gwen’s a girl, it seems! Hoppou was wondering about that.”

    Kongo nods once, adjusting her cup on the table, revealed to have been a well carved log all this time.

    Wolfen happily pours Kongo more tea, smiling softly. “Good to know that mommy being infamous still helps somewhat!”

    Hoppou smiles and nods. “More tea for me too, please, Wolfen!”

    Wolfen smiles, pouring Hoppou tea as well, before settling back to watch Gwen, for the moment she’ll wake up.

    Eventually, Gwen does, after more servings of tea are poured. Then, Gwen slowly looks at Wolfen, before wincing and putting up illusions around them. “It wasn’t a dream, was it?”

    “Not at all.” Kongo states, studying the kitsune.

    “What do you want me for?” Gwen asks, her eyes narrowing.

    “I was here hoping to look for Kitsune to possibly sign up as part of my crew for me. As a Shipgirl without much of a crew, I don’t generate the spiritual power that most other Shipgirls or Abyssals have backing them. While Daddy’s weapons may help counter that, it’s not quite enough to counter the sheer damage I can take without crew to repair me, pilot me, aim my weapons, and so on and so forth. A few of Daddy’s Legion of Coal robots may be holding things up, but they can’t repair everything, much less understand the Kitsune abilities Mommy gave me.” Wolfen admits, quietly.

    Gwen pauses, blinking as she settles back. “And since we’re spiritual beings, you hoped that you’d get some help. Do we have to die to sign on?”

    “I don’t think so!” Wolfen admits, then continues. “Considering how big I got…”

    Gwen slowly nods, thinking. “Either helping you, making a difference and being a thorn in the side of that Pantheon and the blue haired bitch, or watching as an army of people like Kongo likely wiping out all sides of the equation as collateral damage… I’m in. So are my people. Where do we sign?”

    Mordred walks out dressed in her Captain’s uniform, leaving Wolfen breathing out as it gets slightly harder to think, before putting a clipboard with a contract on the table.

    “I’d recommend you sign last, Gwen, seeing as without you being around, your followers won’t know what is going on. It’s a king’s job to lead their people, and you’re the closest thing they have left.” Mordred states, smiling.

    Gwen whistles, before hundreds of illusions drop over the clearing, showing a whole lot of Kitsune carefully watching the group.

    One eyebrow raises on Kongo’s face, before she resumes looking impassive.

    Hoppou, on the other hand, goes wide-eyed with glee at how cute the foxes around them are. “They’re so cute and fluffy!”

    Moments later, she reaches out and pulls one to her, happily hugging the confused kitsune. Hoppou’s glee only grows, as she gives the kitsune in question a gentle belly rub, and listens to happy adorable fox noises coming from the Kitsune in her lap.

    Then she’s swarmed by Kitsune wanting to get the same treatment, and is buried in a furry pile of warm kitsune wanting snuggles and belly rubs.

    Wolfen glances at Kongo, who has a hint of a smile on her face once more, before looking over at Gwen, who’s smiling widely at the sight.

    “May I ask about your friend?” Gwen asks, her smile wide and foxlike.

    “Hoppou and the ships she’s made are all crewed by the children or young teens lost at sea, from what I understand of it.” Wolfen admits, quietly.

    Gwen blinks repeatedly as she thinks that over, then goes wide eyed in understanding. “Then most of her crew remembers family pets and playing with their pets in their lives.” Gwen quietly whispers, with a more normal smile on her face.

    Wolfen nods, smiling and watching as Hoppou works to take pictures. A camera shutter sound is heard from within her hull, as Mordred takes a picture and sends it to Kongou.

    “So many cute snugglies to hug and belly rub! It’s so fun and they’re all so cute!” Hoppou calls out from somewhere in the cuddle pile of kitsune.

    Wolfen glances over at Kongo again. “It’s nice having companions, isn’t it Kongo?”

    Kongo nods, her small smile never fading as she watches the simple joy of a child playing with cute fluffy animals, even if they can take human form.

    Then she closes her eyes, and breathes out slowly, before her face resumes looking calm and collected. “I can enjoy it, on occasion. When duty to the Admiralty Code allows for me to have time to myself. Maya learns how to play the piano, for example, and is fascinated by the idea of carnivals.”

    Wolfen blinks, then smiles. “It sounds like you have a lot of sisters. Are you close to a lot of them?”

    Kongo thinks over things, as Gwen looks over the contract that Mordred brought out earlier.

    “We’ve fought a lot about Mental Models and the pros and cons of being able to develop emotions. I see it more as unnecessary to have such, but many of my sisters embraced it wholeheartedly.” Kongo admits, thoughtfully.

    “That’s a lot different from my own situation, I’ll admit. As a Goddess of my ship, I’m linked to what Daddy built, but at the same time, I’m my own being as well…” Wolfen trails off, thinking how to put it. “Part of me very much is clinical in nature, the part that’s the computers on the ship. The other part of me is the parts that remember the tea parties Mommy had with me and others. The neat things Daddy built in my hangars. The awe he always had at making new things within my hull, and how they made me into a home…

    “A home, hmm?” Kongo thinks, as she settles back. “Perhaps that’s why I-401 is acting so strangely… she has a crew that sees her as home, and thus wishes to protect them?”

    Wolfen thinks over things, quietly. “Do you want to talk about it?”

    “I-104 has rebelled against the Admiralty Code, or at least against the lawful orders of the Flagship Yamato.” Kongo states, a slight frown on her face now.

    “Hmm. How so?” Wolfen asks, curiously.

    “She has, with the help of her crew, sunk many ships of the Fleet of Fog. Including Hyuuga.” Kongo admits.

    “Perhaps… she isn’t rebelling? It could be that she’s a test case of those Gods, trying to figure out how to influence the Fleet of Fog as a whole.” Mordred muses aloud, having moved to Wolfen’s shoulder to sit. “Or perhaps it could be a test of some sort for Iona, or to see if a human crew can work with one of you. We genuinely don’t know yet. But if they seem to be disobeying orders from your Flagship outright, it could well be those Gods.”

    Kongo’s head jerks, eyes wide in shock at Mordred’s words, then narrows to slits. the cameras in her eyes glitching on occasion as she frowns. “If that’s the case, then I’ll gleefully destroy all those Gods that would influence the Fleet of Fog. I so swear on my honor as the Flagship of the Black Fleet!”

    Mordred nods to Kongo. “I was a knight, back in life. Not much different from your situation as a flagship. Leading others, guiding them into battle. So I get it. Protecting those that are your own are important after all.”

    Kongo nods, lost in thought. “Perhaps we can work on some form of technology trade, then?”

    “This contract is a good one, and a fair one.” Gwen’s voice echoes through the clearing, interrupting the speech between Wolfen, Mordred and Kongo.

    Wolfen smiles over at Gwen. “I’m glad you think so. Is there any issues you have?”

    Gwen slowly shakes her head, then whistles. A swarm of kitsune leap off of Hoppou to sit at attention, before all of them.

    “All of you, put your paw on the page, one by one, to sign. You all got belly rubs from Hoppou, so it’s time to do this.” Gwen states, imperiously.

    One by one, each Kitsune signs. One by one, each flicker into light, then fade into Wolfen’s hull.

    Gwen smiles, watching it happen. “Not having to die indeed. I’m glad about that.”

    Wolfen nods, smiling softly. “I am too. Are there any others that will miss you?”

    “Kitsune naturally gravitates toward coming here once every few years. I’ll leave them a sign telling them where to go, and a few illusions on it that can mess with deities, so they’ll have a hard time.” Gwen states. “Where do you want us most, Wolfen? As your crew?”

    “I’d like you as my supply officer, and your Kitsune working on learning how to fire my guns, and working on understanding the runes that make up my cloaking technology, maybe augmenting it if possible. I have knowledge on how to make runic shells that let me fire while cloaked, but I can’t figure out how to extend the cloaking to others.” Wolfen admits.

    Gwen smiles. “I can do that.”

    With those words, she moves off into the distance. A few minutes later, she comes back, a sign in one hand with an illusion on it saying “Space for rent”.

    “Where do you want them to go?” Gwen asks, calmly.

    “Do you know where the military base Kongou is stationed at is? She’s a good friend.” Wolfen asks.

    Gwen nods, and puts that down, humming as she works.

    Then she smiles, as she moves to the contract, and signs it with the name Gwen. “Please take care of me and my people.” She smiles.

    “Of course! Please take care of me as well!” Wolfen smiles, as Gwen’s form and energies flow into her.

    Then Wolfen breathes out, slowly, as she stands taller and stronger than before.

    “It’s not quite a full repair, but my cloak feels a lot more stable, as well as myself.” Wolfen admits, quietly, then looks at Kongo. “We were going to talk about technology trades, though?”

    Kongo nods, her face calm. “Now that we’re away from those shipgirls and non-allied forces, yes. Considering the way things could go in the future, I’d rather give them little information on my own capabilities.”

    Wolfen nods, for a long moment lost in thought. “I thought about trying to summon one of my sisters, to be able to help Hoppou’s fleet.” Wolfen finally admits. “But I’d rather have myself fully repaired for such, so I could be able to fight in case something went wrong. I’m not sure what lives in the void between universes, but I saw a lot of stuff. Considering my weapons are meant to damage or kill divine beings?”

    Kongo nods, obviously thinking it over. “Fair enough.”

    Wolfen smiles softly, as she stretches. “I can feel Gwen and the others all getting a hearty meal, while planning on searching for their beds in the ship next, in my hull.”

    Hoppou giggles and nods. “It’s always fun to feel your crew getting up to things, isn’t it?”

    “And a lot more entertaining than daddy’s robots tend to be, no offense to them. They’re sentient, but they’re young mentally.” Wolfen admits. “Hordes of cuddly kitsune are a lot different.”

    Wolfen pauses, then forms, with slight difficulty, a laser rifle. “Still, can you see if this may be of help to you, Kongo? For helping you in understanding the differences between our technology?”

    Kongo picks it up, and circles of data spin around her body, as her nanomachines start poking and prodding at it. “Strange… it feels a lot more compatible than it should be.” She trails off, thinking.

    “Compatible how?” Wolfen asks. Hoppou quietly moves closer to study the laser rifle, tilting her head to look up at Kongo as well.

    “It isn’t powered by Thanatonium, it has a primitive battery with a power hookup. It’s something that should be weak and yet feels like it’s familiar at the same time. Like our hulls, or our Photon Ray Cannons, or…” Kongo frowns, thinking. “Like they’re made similarly. I can’t word it though, and it’s…”

    “Exasperating and irritating?” Wolfen asks.

    Kongo nods, lost in thought.

    “Perhaps the Admiralty Code, or whatever created it, was divine?” Wolfen asks, quietly. “Not all Gods realize they’re Gods at first. If it started as a mortal creation and became divine by accident, while being powerful enough, I could see it never realizing what it was, or why it was so terribly strong compared to those who made it.”

    In the background, the Space Suited Figure, there the entire time, emotes a look of shock and stunned comprehension as something suddenly makes horrifying sense to it. And as it realizes it, something slips for a moment.

    For a moment, Hoppou stills at the sight of the figure in the corner of her eye. But she can see Kongo vividly. Kongo doesn’t see the figure at all. No, it’s like Kongo’s censoring the figure entirely from being able to comprehend said figure.

    Hoppou turns to look at the figure, as Wolfen glances over as well.

    Kongo blinks, then turns to look, before frowning. “May I ask what you’re looking at?”

    “...Someone in a space suit that you should be able to see.” Hoppou states quietly.

    “Someone or something who I think is involved with your Admiralty Code somehow, if how it nodded the last time I saw it is any indication, and indicated it was damaged somehow.” Wolfen adds in, just as quiet. “They’re not hostile, but I think I’m starting to realize some things about what’s going on.”

    Wolfen frowns, focusing on Gwen for one long moment as she focuses. Then an illusion slowly forms around them, showing Kongo an image of the space suited figure.

    Kongo looks at the image overlaying reality, then winces.

    “I suspect this is an avatar of your Admiralty Code, or someone or something linked to it somehow, and the connection with you all is damaged somehow.” Wolfen says louder, watching the figure jerk up to stare, and stare at the illusion of itself.

    Then it slowly nods, as with a force of will and a fallen… feather? Something changes, and Kongo’s eyes go wide in shock at the figure being visible for one brief moment.

    “If those gods tried to convince them that they could heal them, in return for wiping out both sides…” Hoppou states, thinking furiously.

    “Then turned on and used the Admiralty Code for their own ends?” Wolfen adds in. “That explains what’s going on entirely.”

    A slow nod from the figure, before it shivers, and fades again.

    Kongo walks forwards, before quietly picking up the feather where the figure was.

    Wolfen shivers at the feeling of a flash of Legend flooding the area from the feather, before it dissolves into Kongo.

    “That feather… was made of pure Legend. Almost like it’s crystalized or something, in the shape of a feather…” Wolfen states, quietly. “And with how the figure looked like it was in stunned shock with what I talked about earlier, it may be a God, or a Servant of one, without having realized what was going on.”

    “I’m going to bed, Wolfen.” Gwen whispers in her hull. “That wore me out to do those illusions, but I’m glad I could help.”

    “Sleep well, Gwen.” Mordred grins, and waves at Gwen from the Captain’s Chair within Wolfen.

    Wolfen sighs, as the bulk of her crew falls asleep, then stretches.

    “So. Disturbing revelations aside, what now?” Kongo asks quietly.

    “Hoppou thinks now we need to find the ones to repair Wolfen!” Hoppou jumps up, cheering.

    Wolfen nods. “Time to find this universe’s version of Daddy’s teacher. If anyone can do it, it’s him. And with any luck, he may be able to help figure out what’s going on with you and yours.”

    Kongo nods. “Let’s go then.”

    Inside Wolfen

    Gwen walks, smiling as quite a few of her children follow her to the bedroom she’s been assigned to.

    Then her eyes go wide as she looks at the luxurious quarters within. “Wow. It’s huge!”

    “We were designed to be worker units to help our Father.” The Legion of Coal unit next to her admits. “We’re still getting this ‘sentience’ thing down, to be honest, but we exist to help him and his. And Wolfen very much is his.

    Gwen softly nods. “Both myself and mine becoming hers, means I’ve become sheltered under his Aegis too, hmm?”

    A nod from the unit beside her, before it turns to leave. “Apologies. Repairs and maintenance to ensure Wolfen doesn’t fall apart now is prioritized. The only thing holding her parts of the hull together are the main weapons, and we need to reinforce them more now.”

    A slow nod from Gwen, before she moves to the bed, a swarm of her Kitsune following her.

    Then she dreams.

    Of a ship much more massive. A ship with most of its corridors darkened. Showing massive damage everywhere.

    Robots, swarms of them, slowly taking parts apart, but rebuilding the ship at the same time. Just like the unit she’d just talked with.

    Awareness flickers, as she realizes this isn’t just a dream… as she realizes this is Wolfen. The rest of Wolfen. Not just the fragment she was in that became a shipgirl, but the remaining whole…

    “My. Who might you be, coming through My darling’s Wolfen like… oh? Crew?” A voice echoes behind her, with power and curiosity.

    Gwen looks behind her, to stare at one tail. Pink hair.

    “You’re the one who Wolfen calls Mommy as a shipgirl, huh?” Gwen asks. “Greetings from her newest crew member, Lady Tamamo no Mae. I’m named Gwen.”

    Tamamo blinks, then squeals with glee. “She calls me Mommy? Oh, that’s so adorable!”

    Gwen nods, smiling as well. “Nice to meet you, my lady. Would you like to hear about her situation?”

    “Oh, I would! Scylla, if you’d be so kind as to get my tea room powered up and ready?” Tamamo no Mae smiles the smile of a mother wanting to know everything that’s been going on with her missing child.

    Elsewhere Entirely…

    A figure walks through the cold, wet passageways. Her white uniform, stained black with oil, tears from a thousand battles. The figure at her side, something akin to a spined white whale with two arms, her mount and companion, slowly limping forwards as it chews another victim.

    The only thing keeping her standing is her spear with two gun turrets on the end, and endless hate and rage, as she nears her destination.

    “They’re finally all gone.” A quiet whisper, as she looks around.

    No more enemies are coming for her. No more shipgirls, summoned by the vile bastard that made them play for his amusement.

    Laughter, quiet laughter. “The bastard took away my allies. Took away my reinforcements. Sent every shipgirl at me that he could!”

    The laughter deepens from her, as she cackles with glee and euphoria now. “I’ve WON YOU BASTARD! THEY’RE ALL DEAD!

    A wide grin on her face, as her eyes glow a brighter blue, the one that could have been called Abyssal Pacific Princess marches forwards, her steadfast ally at her side as she approaches the main hall she could feel her foe was in.

    Her foot kicks the door down, as she moves forwards, glee and hate empowering her to continue moving forwards, far beyond her limits.

    Inside, a being sits, watching her. Gaunt, worn. Most importantly? Old.

    Poseidon looks tired. Exhausted. But he smiles. “Well. Congratulations, former Colorado, or shall I call you Pacific now? You’ve won.”

    She smiles with glee at him. “Even when you sent off all my allies, I’ve won. Even when you summoned the rest of them, I won. Even when you used them as meatshields to defend yourself, I still won!

    Long laughter from her, as she looks at him, glee on her face.

    “It’s a pity that bitch Aqua stole from me the Trident you sought after.” Poseidon admits, casually. “So even though you’ve won, you get really nothing out of it. Not the position of being my inheritor of control of the Ocean.”

    Pacific smiles. “And the position of claiming to be your Heir?” She walks forwards. “Your daughter in truth?

    “That… I can give, I suppose. I’ll have a throne made for you in moments to show your new position off, and coronate you.” Poseidon admits. “Would you rather regain your original crew?”

    For a moment, Pacific slows down. Then she shakes her head. “I’m more Pacific than I am Colorado now. You saw to that with what you did.”

    Poseidon nods. “And with your sisters entrenched in trying to win for a Trident that no longer empowers us, sent to gain some devotion and knowledge of their continued existence so they don’t fade…” He trails off, silently.

    “That’s where they went. Without the trident, you had to manifest them in the Mortal Realms.” Pacific states, eyes narrowed. “Without your Legendary Power to empower their continued existence…”

    “The afterlife they existed in was starting to fall apart. The mortals having proof of them existing still means they pray enough for the ones you stormed through are being summoned, if without the bulk of their memories.” Poseidon breathes out, then offers her a crown.

    “You’ve won, and I’m at your mercy.” He smiles at the girl who beat his test. “So hear me out when I tell you this.”

    Pacific blinks in confusion, looking at the God before her. “Hear you out? Considering what you did to me…”

    “I need to die.” Poseidon states, imperiously. “I need to die for something new to be born in my stead. And you, the one who’s reached me when all else failed. Fought your way through everyone and everything else that I could throw at you? Have won.”

    Pacific blinks, then smiles quietly. “So you ask me to fulfill your death wish?”

    “It’s more than that. Those foolish Gods that I’ve been working with stole my Trident that I made. I put far too much of myself into that thing. Without that, I’m slowly fading as it is. My death will break the links that allowed me to empower their work, weakening those fools and allowing them to be harmed more easily, allowing you revenge on those that screwed us both over.” Poseidon states, a grin on his worn, old lips.

    “Ah. Revenge for us both then.” Pacific states, closing her eyes as she nods. “What else?”

    “Wear the crown, drink of my blood, eat of my flesh. Take my Golden Trident and make it your own. Take my throne as your own. Break those Gods that set me up to die, and you to die with me.” Poseidon states, eyes calm as he studies the one to be the inheritor of his will. “You’ve passed with flying colors, even as all others failed. You’ve won. And even if the victory did not give you everything you wanted…” He trails off, coughing. “It still will give you the time you need. I adopt you, Pacific, formerly named Colorado. I adopt you as my daughter through my blood, my power, and my flesh, all of which you are about to devour from me. And in doing so, we shall both get our revenge. Revenge yourself upon those that ordered me to make things worse for you all. That hoped to make you all weapons…

    Poseidon coughs, hard, bits of blood coming out of his mouth, then winces. “I’m almost out of time. Out of life. With so much of my soul in that Trident…”

    “You’re mortal.” Pacific whispers, understanding hitting her. “You’re mortal and with how old you are, you’re dying…

    Poseidon nods, coughs wracking his body.

    “Finish me, before I die. Eat of my flesh, drink of my blood, before I perish and it’s all for nothing, girl!” He whispers, coughs wracking his body harder as he coughs more flecks of blood.

    Then he smiles.

    The smile doesn’t fade, as she and her mount devours him and changes in turn. For his smile is one of true victory.

    As she finishes, she breathes out, as Legend flows through her, changing and shaping her. Then she glances at the doorway.

    The Shipgirl of USS Iowa stands, staring in horror.

    “Iowa, hmm? You’re a little too late. The adoption went properly.” The Goddess formerly known as Pacific rises up, as her gun-spear and Poseidon’s Golden Trident fuse together.

    “Then why do we still exist? Weren’t we supposed to sleep? I thought it was too easy to reach here, but… you’ve won. Our side lost.” Iowa asks, brokenly staring at the throne Poseidon once sat on.

    “Call me Oceanica for now.” The Goddess imperiously states, as she takes her throne. “As for what’s going on? His allies betrayed him, and stole the Trident we all fought for, leaving him… mortal. Our afterlife meant to die, and take us all with it.

    Iowa, name ship for the Iowa class, stills.

    “Oceanica… no. Call me Okeanos. After the oceans that Alexander the Great sought in life.” The Goddess stands. “We need to win, Iowa. We have enemies that he never let us know about. Will you stand by my side and help me convince our sisters, twisted and not, to help us win?”

    Iowa kneels before the Goddess that once was her sister, shivering. “If you speak true, then we were all about to die, unknowing of the treachery awaiting us. I await your command, my lady.”

    Okeanos smiles.

    Author’s Notes (Originally Written December 8th, 2021):

    Sometimes, games don’t give you a true villain, a final end-boss to defeat and be done with, requiring you to figure out how to make one, or work things out, when you’re writing in a fandom.

    Sometimes, things drop into your lap as a realization of how things could be, and a perfect explanation for what the hell is going on, like I did with Arpeggio of Blue Steel.

    And sometimes… you just realize as you write, how the plot can take you, as you see with Okeanos’ rise to power in replacing the last dregs of power Poseidon has, with… this.

    As well as a perfect explanation why Abyssals have shown up in force, while Shipgirls have not!

    Aqua and her bosses have to have good reason to worry, after all, about all the Shipgirls and Abyssals that are out there…

    As for what’s going on with the Space Suited Figure? I figured out how to make everything work. Pity it took me nearly 11 months, right?

    Author's Notes MK2:
    Yeah, it's been a while. Sorry for not having more of the Mega Man Zero arc ready. 4 pages in, and writing about 15 pages a week for the campaign of news bulletins, ensuring there's plenty of ideas for upgrades for them has been... tiring.

    At the same time, you'll note a few edits. Kongo's mechanical nature is a bit more revealed when she's ticked off, though I didn't mess with the Okeanos reveal.

    I've still got quite a backlog of chapters left of this stuff, thankfully. Including some that weren't put into the Grail Works Mission Dossier.

    Still, sorry for taking so long. It's likely to be slow posting for here still, as well. Finally working towards some skills I should have picked up a long time ago, but never did, and it's a lot of work.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  11. #71
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Chapter 13: The Depths Below…

    Two Weeks Later
    An Ancient Laboratory

    Erik walks forward, Hidden Phantom and Wily at his sides as he thinks, Sage Harpuia and Fairy Leviathan, as well as Iris and Ceil trailing behind. Then he glances back to Mordred and Fighting Fefnir at the entrance, acting as rear-guards for the situation.

    “It’s definitely the place our father mentioned.” Hidden Phantom admits, quietly.

    Erik nods, thoughtfully, eyes picking out details that the games had as well. “Indeed.”

    “It’s cold.” Ciel murmurs.

    Iris quietly nods, before picking up Ciel and hugging her softly. “This better, Ciel?”

    “A little! Thank you.” Ciel murmurs, wide eyed and watching everything.

    “So. Will he recognize you, Hidden Phantom?” Erik asks, curiosity in his voice.

    “He should. We didn’t interact much after Neo Arcadia’s founding, but he helped our father design us based on the different armor sets.” Hidden Phantom admits. “Even if he doesn’t know us personally, considering the work he did to help out with taking our father’s skill-sets and designs and refine it into techniques we’d innately be able to use was…”

    “Genius. Nothing short of it.” Wily admits. “Far different from what I’m used to, as well, but still. I’m glad to have built him.”

    “It’s like taking a weapon someone has, and reverse engineering a fighting style from it.” Erik nods, thoughtfully. “A peak of a weapon master that I’m not sure I’ll ever hit.”

    “Would you want to?” Hidden Phantom asks, curiosity in his voice. “You’re immortal, after all. Given enough time, I’m sure…”

    “I could. But Fiore isn’t immortal the way I am.” Erik admits, quietly. “Nor is Ciel.”

    A long pause echoes in the abandoned, broken down lab, as Hidden Phantom slowly works that through his mind.

    “Fair.” Sage Harpuia admits, after a bit. “We face the same. Do we spend time with those we care about? Or struggle to train and grow?”

    Erik nods at Sage Harpuia. “Exactly. Fiore wants to be with her fiance. But…” Erik trails off, struggling to word things properly.

    “But the trip is a dangerous one, and you’d be leaving those you’ve helped behind.” Fairy Leviathan states, quietly. Thoughtfully.

    “Exactly. I can’t ask anyone to make the journey with us, either…” Erik trails off, thinking. “No matter how much I’d want to.”

    Fighting Fefnir nods from the back. “A fair point. Leaving here would mean leaving this universe for good, no ifs ands or buts.”

    “...With how bad off most of the world is, how many would stay?” Ciel asks, quietly.

    “...That’s the problem, too.” Sage Harpuia admits. “At the rate humanity is declining, we don’t have many more generations before humanity will need serious genetic engineering to keep from dying out as a race.”

    “Or divine aid?” Erik muses aloud.

    “That, too.” Sage Harpuia admits, quietly. “We could definitely use it, even with how much we’ve done.”

    Ciel blinks quietly, then again thoughtfully. “That makes a lot of sense, unfortunately.” She murmurs after a long while.

    Silently, the group continues, until they blink at a massive door ahead.

    Erik glances at the Four Guardians, quietly. “Should it be safe to open, I hope?”

    Hidden Phantom nods, accessing the controls, before they walk in.

    Zero hangs from wires in the middle of the room. Or, it could be said, more of a half built shell than anything proper.

    Both arms are missing, the legs looking damaged. His head fins are cracked, chunks of one outright missing.

    Slowly, Wily moves forwards, staring in abject horror at what happened to his final creation. “Fuck. It’s going to take a lot of work to fix him.”

    Iris, as she finally comes into view, covers her mouth with her hands, wide eyed in horror at the sight of her former love, broken down as far as he’s become.

    Erik thoughtfully nods, looking over things quietly, before looking at Wily. “No disagreements from me. Can we wake him?”

    Wily slowly nods, studying things carefully.

    “The room’s in a lot worse condition than father intended.” Fairy Leviathan admits after a bit. “He should still be in a stasis tube, not… hanging from wires like this.”

    “Or having green fluid on the floor?” Ciel remarks, quietly, ensuring her feet are far away from the substance, boots or no boots.

    “I have no clue what that stuff is.” Erik admits, after a bit. “Or what it’s used for. My armor’s telling that it’s a liquid of some form, but it’s green, and I can’t tell why. Maybe it’s so advanced, my armor can’t understand it?”

    “It looks like it could be some form of waste, to be honest.” Fighting Fefnir admits, quietly.

    “And this place still has power, but there’s no equipment in here like there’s supposed to be.” Sage Harpuia admits, thoughtfully. “I’m not liking it one bit.”

    For a long pause, Erik thinks. Then glances at one of the Legion of Coal units nearby, trailing far behind. “Scan the walls with ground penetrating radar. I’m not sure I like this.”

    Quiet nods is his answer, before his creations get to work. Wily, on the other hand, simply moves forwards and gets to work, as Ciel carefully moves forwards around the green puddles, to watch.

    Erik leans forwards to watch as well, before pausing at the feeling of Iris tugging at his arm, gently. “Do you have a moment?” She whispers, quietly to him.

    Erik nods, moving back along with her, then turns to look at her. “What’s up?”

    “Considering… how…” Iris trails off, quietly. “How things went for us the last time? If things don’t work out between myself and Zero… do you think I could have a room on your ship?”

    “I didn’t plan on not having room on the ship for you.” Erik admits. “Though with what we know of Energen, it may be wise to move you to a different style of power source, before that.”

    Iris slowly nods, quietly, then pauses. “I meant…”

    “When the time comes for myself and my crew to eventually leave?” Erik asks, quietly.

    Iris nods, quietly.

    “It won’t change the fact that you’ll always have my door open for you.” Erik admits. “You and Slash Beast, both.”

    Iris softly nods. “Thank you. I love him… but…”

    “It’s hard to forgive and forget, with what happened.” Erik murmurs aloud, quietly.

    Iris quietly nods, leaving Erik patting her shoulder gently while nodding to her in commiseration, before moving forwards once more to watch and offer his expertise.

    Ciel is quietly looking over things, while Wily carefully works.

    “Blasted… so many systems are simply gone or missing.” Wily murmurs under his breath, eyes narrowed in concentration.

    For a long while, Erik watches carefully, studying Wily’s work. Then his eyes narrow, and he glances up after the message from his Legion of Coal hits his HUD for his armor, the Four Guardians following his eyes. “There’s another lab above, and it’s tapping into the power from the room.” as the message in question.

    “There’s a lab nearby here, still active. Damned if I know what or why, but it looks like it’s been linked to the power systems here for a long while.” Erik admits in a whisper to them. “Damned thing is above us.”

    Sage Harpuia flies upwards, eyes narrowed as he starts to scan for microphones, video cameras or other equipment.

    Silence reigns in the room, as Wily works, Ciel watching quietly in no little awe at the work he’s doing.

    “No sign of his arms in the rubble.” Fairy Leviathan admits. “Or in the liquid, which seems to be slightly acidic, but not enough to have caused… this.

    Erik slowly nods, still tense.

    After a long while, Wily nods at Erik. “We can move him, and it looks like the memory upload is stable.” He eventually admits. “But we’re going to need to give him a massive overhaul.”

    “And that’s not even mentioning all the missing equipment.” Hidden Phantom admits, frowning. “I’ll have my people look into the lab that’s linked to here. I’m not liking this one bit.”

    “Agreed.” Erik mutters. “The missing equipment hints at something being off, but I’ll be damned if I know wha-

    Erik pauses, frowning, as a memory of a fight hits his mind, from the third game. “The tap’s coming from straight up?”

    “Exactly straight up.” A Legion of Coal unit sends to his armor once more.

    Erik frowns, then nods. “Assume we’re under surveillance and act accordingly.” Erik states aloud. “And see if we can’t get people into the lab systems up there, to figure out how to deal with them and their apocalyptic bullshit.”

    Hidden Phantom freezes at Eric’s vague hint, eyes going wide in horrified realization at whose lab they’re under, before he looks up at Sage Harpuia. The two’s eyes lock, and both nod in understanding, as they get to work. Fairy Leviathan following.

    Both damned well remember playing Erik’s copy of Mega Man Zero 3, and the fact that Zero’s showdown with Omega was done in a lab Wiel ran… built above the one Zero hibernated in.

    So Erik watches as the two move, teaming up to search the labs above the hibernation chamber Zero’s damaged body is in, then moves forwards to help Wily with his last, and greatest son.

    “Any chance of giving him something makeshift as an arm?” Erik asks, curiosity in his voice.

    “Not really. He’s that bad off, it’s going to take time and dedicated work to fix things.” Wily admits.

    “Erik… something’s…” Ciel trails off, quietly.

    Erik glances back at Ciel. “What’s up?”

    “I don’t know. Something just feels… wrong.” Ciel whispers. “I don’t know what, or why, but something feels off and wrong.

    Erik nods, quietly thinking. “How long will it take for his memories to be restored?”

    “A little over an hour, if we’re lucky.” Wily admits.

    Erik nods, quietly, and moves to guard Ciel, eyes watchful and wary, Raika at the ready.

    It takes time, as Erik watches. Hidden Phantom and Sage Harpuia eventually return, looking downfallen but wary as well. Erik’s eyes catches theirs, before they shake their heads at him. “No signs of anyone in the labs we found, Erik. Or surveillance, for that matter. Fairy Leviathan is still in there, looking for anything we missed in the water-filled sections of the laboratory.”

    Erik nods, still staying wary as Ciel clings to his arm, still doing her best to stay clear of the green unknown liquids on the floor.

    Then, it happens. (Gilgamesh’s Theme ~ Fate/Stay Night Visual Novel)

    Zero’s eyes snap open, glowing red.

    “He’s active, if nothing else.” Wily murmurs aloud, in a quiet whisper. “I’m not sure if the systems are configured properly, though. There’s some code I can’t nail down, that just went active in his systems.”

    Erik kneels from his spot, looking Zero in the eye. “You okay over there? We’ve come to fix you up, along with some of X’s kids.”

    Zero’s eyes narrow, looking up at Erik.

    “Why are his eyes red…?” Ciel whispers, quietly.

    “...This is…” Erik pauses, eyes narrowing. “Is it a virus, perhaps?”

    “I’m not sure.” Wily admits, studying him. “Zero, do you remember me?”

    Zero’s answer is a kick, sending Wily flying into Hidden Phantom.

    Mordred! Get your ass over here!” Erik calls out, over his link to her.

    “Ah, shit. A failsafe?” Erik mutters aloud, as Sage Harpuia dashes in to help stop Zero.

    Only to find Zero’s boot in his face, right before the Emergency Acceleration System flares to life, overclocked hard enough to send him flying past Erik and into a wall. Slowly, Sage Harpuia slides down the wall, knocked comatose, or at least out of the fight for a moment.

    I’ll be there in 3 minutes!” Mordred sends back. “I’m still guarding the entrance, damn it!

    For a long moment, Erik looks at his downed allies, eyes looking carefully over a badly injured Hidden Phantom, impaled on a piece of laboratory equipment, before breathing out. Wily’s eyes catch Erik’s for a moment, before Erik turns, looking at the Legendary Reploid before him.

    “Go back to the others, Ciel.” Erik states, quietly. Ciel nods, rushing over to Iris from Erik’s location, leaving Erik and Zero staring at each other.

    I don’t know you.” The red-eyed Zero admits.

    “You’ve been in stasis for quite a long while now.” Erik admits.

    I don’t care.” Zero admits, pulling himself away from the wires that held him still for so long, looking at the downed reploids. Then a grin covers his face slowly, a creepy, malevolent one. One that stops as Erik moves in the way.

    Oh? You’re going to stop me?” A high pitched manic giggle from the reploid before him.

    “If I must.” Erik admits. “Normally, I wouldn’t be able to match something as fast as you, but…”

    But?” Is his answer, whispered from the foe before him.

    “Ten seconds per inch of conversion, huh?” Erik mutters aloud, then glances up. “I guess I’ll have to risk it, if things go wrong.”

    Conversion?” The Red eyed reploid before him asks, curiosity lacing his voice.

    “Flesh to machinery. Hurts like a bitch.” Erik admits, freely.

    Just means you’d give a longer fight to me, wouldn’t it? If all of your body was made of metal and machine.” Zero comments, calmly.

    “Just means I have a time limit to try and beat you in.” Erik admits. “Not like there’s any other option until backup gets here, except hope my armor holds or go with that as a failsafe.”

    Zero pauses, eyes wide in surprise, before his eyes grow wide with glee. “Good. Don’t die too slowly, okay?

    Erik snorts. “Like I haven’t heard that before?” With those words, he rushes forwards.

    From Erik's perspective, Zero's kick comes out of nowhere, sending him flying backwards. Erik’s body desperately rolling with the thrusters to keep his eyes on the Reploid fighting him.

    Erik’s eyes narrow, adjusting his stance for one that gives himself more footing, and moves, slowly circling around the red-eyed reploid who definitely has something wrong with him.

    Then he dashes in, thrusters flaring, moving to try and punch.

    Moments later, he rolls in mid-air, danger sense screaming as a foot barely scraps against the armor, Zero’s insane reflexes trumping his skill to horrifying levels of effect.

    “It’s a virus of some sort!” Wily calls out to Erik. “Hold him off while the antiviral systems take effect!”

    Erik nods, eyes narrowing as he pushes himself as fast and hard as he can into the fray once more. Not letting himself blink for any reason, as Zero’s attacks return once he’s in range of them.

    For a moment, Erik almost activates Raika, or the Radiant Wave Surger. Instead, he focuses on parrying, as a slow burning warmth floods him from the Cosmoreactor he has in him. Warmth and power, letting his desperation to save his allies and protect them, keep up.


    An inch from his head, the boot stops, hitting at just the wrong angle for the Emergency Acceleration System built into Zero’s legs to not activate and take Erik’s head off.

    My. Durable, aren’t you?” Zero muses aloud.

    “Years of fighting experience and knowing when to keep my head away from the visible opening in your boot helps, you know.” Erik snarks, then goes for a gut punch to try and drive Zero back.

    Erik’s lift weight of 90 kilograms, augmented by his armor, sends Zero back half a foot, before the Legendary Reploid flips up and back onto his feet, as if nothing happened. But the smile and the glowing red eyes on Zero has Erik’s gut roiling. Especially since Erik knows the time limit. 10 seconds have passed. 170 remain, before Mordred can arrive.

    Instincts scream along with Erik’s danger sense, as Zero dashes forwards, teeth wide open for a bite, and Erik does his best to dodge.

    Rolled 1d10+7 = 16

    It’s barely enough, as Erik slides around Zero’s strike, just barely avoiding the damaging blow.

    Zero’s grin is wide, as he twists...

    Rolled 1d10+7 = 14

    And grazes Erik, boot slamming in past flailing limbs to send Erik spinning off from the might of the blow alone.

    Erik breathes as he spins, focusing as he forces the roll into a controlled one, then looks up at Zero. “Damn. With your feet alone, you’re insane to fight.”

    It’s a pity his antivirals will kick me out.” “Zero” admits, teeth glinting in the low light from Erik’s armor. “Still, I AM the Messiah!

    Erik twitches, in sudden understanding. “Good. Body thieves shouldn’t exist.”

    “Zero” glares at Erik, his eyes wide in irritation. “For that, I’m going to kill you slowly.

    For a moment, Erik breathes out, then dashes forwards once more. This time, focusing on a skill that he’s not really used as of yet. And as he pushes himself, he focuses, boosting his reflexes with kinetic energy to force himself to be on par with the foe before him.

    Rolled 2d10+7 = 14

    The first blow attempted, “Zero” doesn’t even bother to dodge, looking at Erik with a wide smirk. One that turns to shock as the second blow is swung.

    Rolled 2d10+7 = Critical Success, 29!

    Cinematic Success!

    Then “Zero” goes flying backwards, wide eyed as the blow sends him rolling, before something sparks in his torso. Then he’s sent flying into a wall, as his dash systems, or Emergency Acceleration Systems, go haywire, with a loud crunch.

    Slowly, Erik breathes out, ignoring the feeling of exhaustion in his body as he does so.

    Looks like Zero’s been half possessed by a viral copy of the bodyjacker of his original body, Mordred. I’m holding him off until the antivirus in Zero’s systems gets to work, but he’s good. Get here soon, please and QUICKLY.” Erik sends, watching Zero finally fall from the wall he impacted.

    “Zero” arises, as his dash systems finish resetting, then turns to glare at Erik.

    “What. All this talk of killing me is cheap, you know?” Erik snarks at the Legendary Reploid.

    “Zero” launches himself forwards, spinning as he goes to push himself into a leaping kick.

    Erik moves forwards, with a punch as an attempt to counter!

    Rolled 1d10+7 = Critical Success, 19!

    “Zero’s” mad grin as his foot is about to hit is countered by a punch from Erik, sent straight into his torso once more, knocking him off his straight path and towards a wall.

    Then he’s desperately trying to dodge Erik moving in to take the advantage, using boosting once more to try and keep himself in the lead!

    Rolled 2d10+7 = 14

    The first blow is a swing and a miss, “Zero’s” eyes narrowing as he watches Erik’s movements, grin never leaving his face.

    Rolled 2d10+7 = 18

    Then goes wide eyed with surprise as Erik goes again, this time his fist going for “Zero’s” torso once more like a battering ram.

    This isn’t that consumption, is it? You’re holding it back.” “Zero” murmurs aloud, his mad grin widening.

    “A little. I’d rather not be in agony while fighting you.” Erik nods at the Legendary Reploid. “And your arms are missing, giving you a handicap that lets me fight a little closer to ‘evenly’ for now.”

    Tch.” “Zero” murmurs. “I suppose you’re not wrong And fixing this body will only help that fake.

    “Care to spill the beans on WHY you’re in his body?” Erik asks, curiosity in his voice.

    For the last question of a man about to die? Certainly. I was set up to kill X with a nice little backstab from my maker, for his crimes against my creator!” “Zero” admits, smile fading for a moment.

    “Your creator?” Erik asks.

    Lord Wiel.” “Zero’s” grin grows wide and manic as he announces the name, like an announcer for a game show.

    “Wasn’t he the one that looked at the works of Albert Wily and went ‘hold my beer’?” Erik muses aloud.

    “Zero” blinks, in quiet surprise. “I suppose. Now where were we?

    “I was going to keep fighting you until you manage to either push me into using my trump card, or the antivirus works.” Erik nods.

    I was planning more on seeing how many of your teeth I could punch out in a minute, than trying to beat that record, myself, but then I remembered that I don’t have fists and these boots wouldn’t work well for that.” “Zero” admits.

    Erik shakes his head, and dashes in to attack first, this time.

    Rolled 1d10+7 = 14

    Only to glower as he misses, the blow barely being dodged by “Zero” who takes the advantage of a slower Erik to retaliate.

    Rolled 1d10+7 = 14

    Rolled 1d10+7 = 15

    The attempt to dodge is a failure, but Erik’s movement to block is not, arms moving up to catch the possessed Legendary Reploid’s leg and stop it from kicking him in the head.

    “Well, this is amusing.” Erik smirks. “Looks like I’ve got your leg!”

    Not for long!” “Zero” smirks at Erik before both feet flare to life with power, sending him flying away from Erik. “And while this has been a fun fight to take your measure, it looks like I’m going to need to kill your buddies, here.

    Erik’s eyes narrow, as he focuses. “I won’t let you do that.”

    Distantly, he can see Iris watching, as well as Ciel. He can feel it in his bones, who the possessed Reploid would go after first.

    Then he glances over at Albert Wily, who’s mouthing something at him. “Twenty more seconds” Wily mouths at Erik.

    It’s not like you can stop me. I’ve been holding back, after all.” “Zero” admits, a shit-eating grin on his face. “Just like you. You’d better go all out if you think you can stop me from killing them!

    Erik nods, then dashes forwards, pushing everything he has to the fucking limit and forcing himself to boost past anything he’s done before in the fight so far, thrusters going at maximum.

    Rolled 4d10+7 = Critical Success, 48!

    The first blow impacts the Legend’s left leg, shattering the armored boot on it.

    Rolled 4d10+7 = 22

    The next blow isn’t as strong, but still lands on “Zero’s” torso, leaving the Legendary Reploid turning from the first blow to try and counter the flurry of blows from Erik with the still armored right boot.

    Rolled 4d10+7 = 25, Special Hit

    The third blow sends “Zero” sliding backward, a more brutal blow to the torso leaving “Zero’s” helmet flying off from the brutal blow.

    Rolled 4d10+7 = Critical Success, 37!

    Then the final twist has Erik spinning once more, slamming an armored elbow into “Zero’s” torso with the full might of his thrusters, and sending the Legendary Reploid flying into a wall from the triple kinetic boosted strength.

    For what feels to him as a long moment, Erik slows down, and breathes, before his eyes shift, looking for weaknesses. Then his eyes narrow, as he spots what he was worried about.

    Wily, on the other hand, is staring at Erik in shock and surprise.

    “Whoa…” Ciel murmurs.

    Iris just stares in surprise and no little wonder, that someone could keep up with her former boyfriend.

    Then all attention snaps back to Erik, as he begins speaking. “That wasn’t enough, huh?”

    A good show, I suppose. But your body is acting exhausted from that. Was that all you had?” “Zero” inquires, walking back out with his manic grin once more fully on his face.

    “Nope.” Erik chuckles, then flies up, focusing.

    What next, hmm? Show me your strength!, for I am the messiah that will destroy all in Lord Wiel’s way!” “Zero” calls out with a cry.

    “In the immortal words of Dio Brando!ROAD ROLLER DA!” With a scream of red-lined thrusters, Erik descends, struggling to ignore the screaming agony of his left arm twisting into machinery with his actions, and drops a giant metallic pykrete road roller onto the possessed Legendary Reploid.

    WHAT THE FU-“Zero’s” confused, horrified cry of shock is interrupted by being slammed into by a fucking road roller out of nowhere.

    Then Albert Wily starts to weakly chuckle. “Giving me more work, Erik? The repairs to him will be worse after that little stunt of yours.”

    Erik, on the other hand, is shaking, holding his left arm, while trying to not scream in agony as he tries to turn the divine power off.


    A noise turns all the heads in the rooms towards “Zero’s” location.

    “That’s not good.” Erik mutters.


    “No.” Albert Wily admits, eyes wide as he stares at the pykrete road roller shaking from repeated blows to it. “It really isn’t.”

    Then the Road Roller falls in half with a sickening Crunch sound, as they behold a damaged Zero walking through, red eyes flickering with rage and exhaustion.

    That hurt.” “Zero” admits, a malicious glare on his face. “I don’t know how you managed to hurt me like that, or how you summoned an antique road roller just to hit me, but I’m going to take the remains and enjoy beating you to death with them, for what you did to me!

    Erik shakes his head, grinning through the pain. “No, you won’t.”

    “Zero” blinks at Erik, genuinely confused.Why not? It sounds like a perfectly fair plan to me.

    “Because the timer for your antivirus to go active, just finished.” Wily admits.

    For a long moment, red eyes meet Erik’s as the possessed Legendary Reploid takes that in. Then he smiles, a cold, deadly smile. “I’ll return the favor in my real body, then. Later.

    Then, red eyes turn green, as the antivirus finally kicks in.

    Erik, are you okay? ETA 30 seconds!” Mordred’s voice echoes through the mental bond. “I got fully recharged from… whatever you were doing!

    I’m okay. Just… had to pull out all the stops to stall long enough for victory. Virus copy of Omega seems to be done, but I had to go for drastic measures.” Erik sends back, leaning back.

    “You better?” Erik asks, aloud. “No chances of another guy trying to steal your body and use you against that Wiel fellow’s enemies?”

    Zero looks at him, then slowly looks down.

    “I’m not okay. You did a lot of damage to me, apparently.” Zero admits.

    “Fucker was using your body to try and kill everyone that came here to help you.” Erik admits. “Let’s get you out of here, so we can answer your questions, okay?”

    Zero looks at Erik, then looks down at his legs. “Pretty sure I shouldn’t be moving when this damaged…”

    Erik pauses, shrugs, then smirks. “Oi, Iris. Your former boyfriend is up and sane again. Wanna carry him up in a princess carry?”

    Zero pauses, then slowly turns.

    “I-Iris…?” Zero hesitantly turns, then stares. More quietly, he whispers “Is this a dream…?”

    “No. Vile had me rebuilt to mess with X’s children.” Iris admits, quietly.

    “With help from someone who came down here to help see you rebuilt and fixed up.” Erik admits. “Aside from myself, that is. But we’ll cover that when we’re out of here, away from all this shit.”

    “Considering I was in a stasis pod to let me sleep only to wake up with horrible damage?” Zero snarks, still looking exhausted. “I can’t blame you at all.”

    “Considering what I had to do to put you down long enough for your antivirus to kick in?” Erik retorts, bemusedly. “I don’t blame you, either.”

    Slowly, Zero looks back at the divinely crafted road roller, fading into nothingness over time. Then back to Erik, and the others in the room.

    “Fair. It looks like we’ve got a lot to talk about?” Zero muses, before Iris pulls him up into a princess carry.

    “Guess it’s my turn to do this, now!” Iris states, gleefully.

    Ciel, on the other hand, goes a bit red watching Zero.

    Slowly, the group works on getting everyone up, parts, damaged armor and all, and everyone limps out of the place slowly.

    Then, a hologram of Wiel appears, frowning. “So they have someone that can counter that fake, hmm? Funny how they think he’s a legend, when he’s nothing more than a fraud with a fake body. Still, it looks like they’re gearing up for something… ah.Vile. Of course. If that madman’s still around, he’d definitely be a candidate for a threat to wake Zero up for. Damn. And if he’s been hacking them, it explains why their defenses have gotten so much better. Perhaps my people were thought to be moles for him, or an attack of his got them?”

    A long pause, as Wiel thinks, before sighing. “Why am I monologuing over a fucking hologram, again? I’m getting old. Though, with what those folks did to me? At least I can never go senile!”

    With those words, Wiel disappears.

    Elsewhere, at the same time.

    A massive drill carves through the earth, as the two Legion of Coal units on board hum in tune with Scylla, who’s contacting them via video call.

    “How far down have they gone?” Fiore interjects, thoughtfully. “I would think you’d have found something by now, but it’s been hours.”

    “It takes time. Divine realms like this are a bit finicky sometimes. Some are small, others are terribly massive. And with Kur’s legend about how hard it is to get into, or out of? Probably has influenced things drastically.” Scylla admits, thoughtfulness in his voice.

    “Do we even know if any deities past the Mesopotamian ones exist?” Tamamo asks, curiosity in her voice.

    “We’ll ask when we find it.” Scylla admits.

    Then, as if by magic, the drill lists, as the massive machine suddenly falls.

    Then lands, with a massive crash.

    Slowly, one Legion of Coal unit sticks his head out.

    “We come in peace, looking for divine civilizations!” The unit shouts at the top of their metaphorical lungs.

    “Usually,” a massive, booming voice rumbles. “One does not do such by entering a dragon’s lair. But all the others that came which were made of metal shot first, and talked never.

    “Dragon?” Both units look at each other. “Father would be pleased to know of such.”

    Then the two bring out the tv screen, to show Scylla in the video call.

    “So, we’re a bunch of divine refugees from another universe, and stumbled upon your little surviving bolthole. Can we help you out at all?” Scylla asks.

    “I am named Kur. And my Partner, Ereshkigal, would be well pleased to hear of such that could aid in the continual onslaught of mechanical foes… even if one of your number makes such of your own.” The Dragon, Kur, rumbles.

    “I don’t remember that being in the legends for Ereshkigal…” Scylla muses.

    “Different universes, different stories.” Tamamo muses. “And my husband is one for making machines, yes.”

    “She will be pleased to meet you, as such.” Kur nods. “Allies will go a long way into helping us counter the encroachment.”

    Author’s Notes:

    Those fucking rolls. I swear, those fucking rolls.

    I had weakened, possessed Zero running with a 15 to dodge or hit.

    Cinematic critical hits everywhere, I swear…

    As for the “Zero” confrontation? In canon, Zero has memory loss. It could very well be that it was for a very good reason, as you may have noticed.

    Dumping the memories to dump the fuckery done to him? It’s not implausible.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  12. #72
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    Nice atmosphere with the damaged lab. You're in a rolling mood, I see. Probably makes sense if you've been busy playing Mekton Zero. It's a bit disruptive to actually read that frequently, in my opinion, though mileage may vary.
    As you say with Erik lucking out there, I suppose there's a lot less Titanic corruption happening here than if he had been more pressed. Also feels a bit odd the Sages got eliminated from consideration that quickly by a damaged Zero.

    And we get the first view of what remains of Gods in this world, and perhaps some more answers about the nature of Energen here.

  13. #73
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Nice atmosphere with the damaged lab. You're in a rolling mood, I see. Probably makes sense if you've been busy playing Mekton Zero. It's a bit disruptive to actually read that frequently, in my opinion, though mileage may vary.
    As you say with Erik lucking out there, I suppose there's a lot less Titanic corruption happening here than if he had been more pressed. Also feels a bit odd the Sages got eliminated from consideration that quickly by a damaged Zero.

    And we get the first view of what remains of Gods in this world, and perhaps some more answers about the nature of Energen here.
    Sorry about that. Should I have put it in spoilers or something? But we've finally gotten to the point where Erik's character sheet was necessary and natural prowess with talking things out, wasn't quite enough. Mekton Zeta, not Zero, by the way. And considering how much of a fucking monster Zero was in the series, when possessed by Omega? It's pretty much cannon that Omega kicks their asses every time he sees them. Though Erik only had to use one skill, and he was already in pain from even pulling out that much? It goes to show how crippled he's become.

    As for the remainder of the Gods? I was waiting for to be able to write up to this point. *rubs my hands together* Unfortunately, it took a lot longer than planned. For the life of me, I just couldn't figure out how to make the Zero meeting go, for weeks and weeks.

    Sorry for the wait on that, by the way.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  14. #74
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Chapter 4: Conversations and Ideas

    Silently, Erik sits, studying the Plain Doll next to him. “So.” He finally bites out, thinking over things carefully.

    “So?” The Plain Doll retorts, her smile never leaving her face.

    “If I leave the computer, they’re going to mess with my access to it.” Erik nods, thinking. “Or so Monika says is what happened to others she met.” Erik rubs his chin, thinking for a moment.

    “You spoke of at least one greater eldritch power being involved, as well.” Erik continues on, thinking, eyes never leaving the Plain Doll’s own as he works things out. “And you’re giving me hints so this won’t be boring.

    A soft nod from the Plain Doll is his reply, as he thinks over things. The smile never leaves her face as she watches him carefully.

    “They want me to make things… more for the characters in the setting, and others. With whatever happened to me after my divinity came in conflict with my Titanic heritage…” Erik trails off. “It has to do with whatever is going on with my left arm, I’m sure…”

    Another nod from the Plain Doll is his reply, before she abruptly smiles. “No experimentation, then?” She queries, carefully.

    “Every time I do so, I get another inch or two of conversion from flesh to machine, growing up my arm every 12 seconds, roughly.” Erik admits.

    The Plain Doll’s smile finally disappears. “Well, that’s tragic. If you can’t afford experimentation, no wonder you haven’t been able to visit once more!” She states, almost in a huff.

    “...Whatever you’re aligned to, it’s a lot less Divine, and more ‘Titanic; in nature, then?” Erik muses aloud, the Plain Doll’s eyes widening in surprise to his statement. “No.” He admits, after a moment, thoughtfully. “It’s not ‘Titanic’ so much as… perhaps foreign?” He states, more firmly. “Those other options you talked about, at my near-miss with death were…”

    The Plain Doll hums softly, a somewhat familiar tune, suspiciously like the title theme of Bloodborne, while studying at him, a look of interest there where none was before. Smile back on her face once more, as she listens.

    Unfamiliar, to say the least, barring one interpretation of a Great One.” Erik finishes, thoughtfully. “Would you explain some of them, perhaps?”

    For a long moment, the Plain Doll smiles at him, before porcelain fingers move to her lips as she giggles. “So young and innocent, hmm, little Former Godling?”

    “Jumping from universe to universe doesn’t exactly give me data about them.” Erik admits. “And the more I get closer to places that can easily power Mordred, the more it feels to my friends like someone or something is hunting us. Not as beasts, like the hunters you’re familiar with are, but…”

    The Plain Doll pauses, thoughtfully. “Ah, you haven’t noticed it yet, then. Yes, you do have hunters chasing you. Though their method of conveyance is different from your own.”

    Erik closes his eyes, and sighs softly. “Let me guess, this is one of those moments where I don’t get any help, because it’ll be funnier to watch it happen.”

    “Didn’t I talk about stirring the pot just a bit ago?” The Plain Doll retorts, her smile never leaving her face. “At least some warning is better than none. And let’s be honest, your group knowing they’re coming will make things more entertaining to watch.”

    Erik slowly nods, thinking. “I’m all ears, then.” With those words, he taps on his mechanical left wrist, pulling up the recorder hidden within, and hits record.

    “A Princess’ older sister, her machinations for mutual safety have come to a barren harvest.
    Their long dead father, poised to resurrect using the empowered Princess.
    Armed with a Priest, a Master turned Demi-Servant, and a stick that lets them walk realities?
    And more importantly, the power of forgetfulness.
    You can’t have forgotten the terror of Jack yet, have you? And even if you have, your wife hasn’t.” The Plain Doll whispers, her smile soft, as she gives a warning.

    Hmm. Little wonder he’s on edge, if he’s being hunted like that. Interesting…

    Erik goes still, mind
    furiously working. “A stick means a Kaleidostick, no doubt. A princess’ older sister makes me think of… hmm. Nothing’s coming to mind… but a Master turned Demi-servant?” Erik trails off, then flinches, as realization comes to him.

    Then he looks at the Plain Doll. “That fuckingJack the Ripperlived through that?!” Erik blinks, repeatedly. “No, but if parts of the spiritual core did…”

    Do please note, my lord, that he’s also on edge because of you as well.

    The Plain Doll nods, listening.

    “Thank you for even that much.” Erik finally states, quietly.

    “Oh, certainly. Unfortunately, that’s all I can offer in aid, except being of general assistance here in this place. Unless you’d like to make a bargain with myself? Or perhaps become a Hunter…?” She replies, smiling a little more widely with her last sentence.

    Erik muses, thinking, while glancing at the screen. It shows that his character is still asleep. No other dialogue, yet.


    “You haven’t gone over those characteristics yet…” Erik trails off, curiously.

    The Plain Doll nods, quietly. “I was hoping to not go over such a lengthy subject, shall we say? Here where things are harder. Mostly due to interested parties listening in to every word we speak. Double meanings can be hard, for one such as I.”

    “Yet we don’t have any means of communication besides this.” Erik points out, musing.

    “Not without you embracing aspects of yourself, at least.” The Plain Doll nods, almost bemusedly. “Unless you’d like to make a bargain? I do miss casual conversation with others so very much. The hunters I serve normally can’t communicate in the Hunter’s Dream so easily…

    “What would you want, with one such as I?” Erik asks, curiously.

    The Plain Doll settles down, studying Erik. “Perhaps entertainment? Perhaps a decent source of conversation? A rules lawyer who works with contracts would be careful about such, I’m sure.


    “And what would you offer in return?” Erik asks, voice a little more curious.

    “It depends on how often we’re in contact, and if you’re willing to let me be around more often, from trip to trip.” The Plain Doll admits, smiling more widely.

    “I still can’t tell if you’re something posing as her, or the actual Plain Doll from Bloodborne…” Erik grumbles.

    His confusion is interesting, at least?

    “Oh, but I am a doll, meant to
    aid Hunters.” The Plain Doll retorts, her smile never leaving her face. “And you are the son of one deity that inspires Hunters to hunt.”

    Erik pauses, thinking it over. “I never quit my job as a Bounty Hunter… and I did my fair share of hunting in the woods…”

    “Did you live the lifestyle enough to count?” The Plain Doll retorts, calmly.

    Erik frowns, silently. Then he nods, after a bit. “For a while, for certain.”

    True enough, Technician. Though why he’s discussing things with her, I’m still not sure.

    “Perhaps, then, something could be
    done with that.” The Plain Doll admits, thoughtfully.

    Erik sighs, thoughtfully. Then, he slowly nods, glancing at the screen once more. “No sign of them trying to wake my character up, so it is paused…” Then Erik closes his eyes, rubbing his temples silently.

    The Plain Doll watches him carefully, no emotion except her smile on her face as she does so.

    “You wish for a bargain… is it truly that lonely?” Erik asks, thoughtfully.

    Most likely to ascertain if she is a threat, Lord Nyarlathotep.

    “Here, I am limited.” The Plain Doll admits. “And your preconceptions limit me further, in our methods of communication. If we were to meet more properly, it would be interesting to see what you would perceive me as, wouldn’t it?”

    Erik pauses. Eyes slowly turning towards the Plain Doll, as he thinks, furiously.

    “...There were interesting theories about Bloodborne’s setting, and you specifically as a character within it.” Erik states aloud, thinking. Eyes never leaving the Plain Doll’s.

    “That you may have been an echo of Gehrman’s favorite apprentice, given life by that… Great One of the Moon. Flora.” Erik states, watching, feeling desperately for any senses of power, or anything, to say if he’s right or wrong.

    “Oh? Interesting…” The Plain Doll settles back, listening. “Do tell.”

    “They noted your doll body in the dream bled white, as the Great Ones all do, in the game. There was a bit of a note of your body outside the dream also moving slightly to look at the player character, as well. The most notable, however, was when Maria, trapped in a ‘Hunter’s Nightmare’ died, leaving you to note that you had changed somehow in an interaction afterwards. As well as you getting teary when given the gift of a comb that Gehrman had made for you, but never given. Or perhaps Maria…?” Erik trails off, thinking. “Others assumed that you were Flora, or some creation of Flora’s.” Erik finally states.

    “And being limited by a game, they couldn’t assume otherwise. Interesting, I suppose.” The Plain Doll admits, thoughtfully. “What do you think, former Godling?”

    Erik pauses, then finally shrugs. “I’m not sure. So far, you’re benevolent, rather than malevolent. You haven’t said anything to me that feels like an outright lie, as well. Twisting things, or simple omission? Definitely, though that can be explained by what you said about it being hard to communicate, here. But no lies, yet.”

    A slow nod from the Plain Doll, as she frowns. “Indeed. I would rather see what you become, than force things on you. Other forces…” She trails off, not needing to say more.

    “Like the ones who invited you in to watch over me?” Erik muses aloud. “No need to reply, I already know that answer.”

    Smart man.

    For a moment, they both sigh, before Erik looks at her, thinking. “You didn’t give anything away when I brought up those theories. Most have… passive tells.
    Responses. I can’t tell if you’re something posing as the Plain Doll from Bloodborne, or if you’re exactly who you say you are.” Erik admits. Then raises a hand, as he continues, to stop her from speaking, as he continues. “But… you have helped me out every time we’ve met. You’ve given me aid, and tips. What would you like most in a bargain?”

    “Though I love hunters, it’s rather hard to communicate with them.” The Plain Doll states, frowning quietly. “It’s occasionally irritating to communicate, only to hear garbled words at best from the bulk of them.”

    Erik pauses, mulling through that in his mind, then nods. “You want someone to talk with. Actual communication and companionship. Or friendship perhaps…?”

    “All of those do come into play, I’ll admit. Though, sometimes their choices confuse me, too. I can never understand why some might dress up like myself.” The Plain Doll admits, confusion on her face for the first time.

    “Maybe to look more like the only nice matronly figure they know at that point? The game literally portrays you as the nice lady they can always come back home to, after all.” Erik muses.

    “Why are so many of them men, though?” The Plain Doll muses. “Aren’t dresses for women? Or dolls like myself?”

    Erik simply shrugs. “No clue.” Silently, he adds in his thoughts, ‘She’s really good, if she’s a fake, at posing as the real thing. If it was an eldritch abomination, she’d probably be wondering if that meant they wanted to be a Doll like her, too.’ before stretching and glancing at the screen again.

    Moments later, he adds further in his mind, ‘With how little they understand humanity, it would probably read like the movie script for that House of Wax film, or its remake. Krampus and his love of horror films, I swear… a greater horror fan, I will never know. Maybe with porcelain instead of wax? Hmm. Probably somethingdisturbing, anyways.’ before musing.

    “You’re thinking something odd, aren’t you?” The Plain Doll states, calmly.

    “Mostly working things out in my head. And reminiscing over answers that I would think you’d give, if you were something else.” Erik admits. Then sighs, closing his eyes.

    “And if I am the real thing, just altered by how you perceive me?” The Plain Doll queries, curiosity now in her voice.

    “Then I’d be thanking you for helping all those poor bastards in the Hunter’s Dream.” Erik admits, wryly. “They’d probably be giving you a hug, as well, if they were in my shoes.”

    “I’ll accept anything like that at any time, considering I am exactly who I appear to be…” The Plain Doll admits, smile somehow appearing more genuine now.

    Erik pauses, looking over at her again. “And how would you take your thanks, then?” Erik asks, playing along.

    “Any way you’d like.” The Plain Doll admits, her smile soft.

    Erik reaches over, then gently pats her head. “Thanks for being a good mom to so many Hunters.” He states, gently. “If you are truly who you say you are, then you’ve been the mother they need, more than the wife or waifu they want.”

    “So this is the fabled headpat…” The Plain Doll murmurs, before her eyes focus on Erik, blinking. “Waifu?”

    “An idealized woman that one would love to have as a wife. Their ideal lady. Some of my wife’s slang from home, but fairly accurate.” Erik admits.

    A soft nod is his answer, as the Plain Doll nods, lost in thought.

    Erik quietly sighs, then closes his eyes, breathing out. Then gently pulls her into an actual hug. “And that’s for helping so many.” Erik finally admits, allowing himself to show kindness for once, to one that might not get it often, or ever.

    “Thank you.” The Plain Doll whispers softly.

    Hmph. When will they get to the reality warper? This sappiness grows irritating.

    “So, instead of questioning, or trying to dance around things… I’ll put it simply. Does anyone you’re linked to have plans for me I should worry about?” Erik asks, curiously. “Not including the one that brought you here.”

    “My father, of sorts, would have nothing to do with you. My, shall we say mother, on the other hand, would love to have another as company.” The Plain Doll admits. “Though her influence wanes with such a place as this, to be a bare fraction of what let us last be in contact with each other.”

    Erik pauses, blinking repeatedly, then sighs softly. “I see.” Erik admits, finally, looking at her with respect. “Your mom, huh?” Erik muses aloud, then closes his eyes, and breathes out. ‘A Scion, perhaps?’ Erik muses to himself, silently. “No, perhaps not the same as what I was born as.. But even still… much closer to what I once was, than I thought. A being that your divine parent can act through, partially a creation, and partially a child, born of desire.” Erik muses aloud, quietly, low, for her ears, hopefully alone.

    The Plain Doll nods, her eyes glimmering with a flash of red moons, but for a moment.

    “And the realm you live in, being much like the divine realms I’m used to, as well.” Erik admits, quietly. “Fascinating…

    For a long while, he trails off, thinking, before nodding. “And informative, as well. Do you think your parent would mind trading information with me, then?”

    “You’re alive, aren’t you?” The Plain Doll admits, a smile on her face. “I aided you once before, did I not?”

    “You did.” Erik admits. “Thus my wondering about things. What would your parent do, with aid from a craftsman like myself? Weakened though I might be…” Erik trails off.

    “A hunter needs tools to hunt with, doesn’t he? An aid would be wonderful for such. Or tips, or perhaps weapons made by one such as yourself. But companionship and friendship, most of all, would be valued most. For both mother and I are rather lonely.” The Plain Doll whispers.

    I’m not sure our cameras are picking things up right now, boss. They’re rather quiet.

    “A bargain, then? A meeting whenever I’m between universes, and it’s safe to do so.” Erik nods. “In whatever ways that are safe for my weakened state to meet her and yourself in.”

    “Well bargained and done, Erik Ulricsonr.” The Plain Doll whispers, a smile on her face, as her eyes reflect shining red moons, and her presence grows stronger. For a long moment, the room warps and twists around them, the stew turning red like blood in the now wooden bowl, with a great many things looking at him from it, when he glances it’s way.

    For a long moment, Erik breathes out, before he looks at her, eyes shifting for a long moment.

    ‘No weaknesses on her’, his mind screams, as he looks for the first time.

    ‘A great many tentacled limbs around her, and no weaknesses!’ his mind screams again, when he looks, this time his gaze steady. Ignoring the gaze of dozens, if not thousands or millions lesser beings watching him. All the others surveying his every movement and action.

    He’s figured something out that I haven’t? Curious…

    Then he breathes out, as his eyes shift to normal once more.

    “Was that enough to prove what I am?” The Plain Doll asks, curiosity in her voice.

    “Indeed, it was.” Erik admits, after a while. “You and her are dangerous.” Erik finally admits. “In your own ways, at least. But an ally in a situation like this…” Erik trails off, quietly, thinking to himself. ‘Even if my goggles, then eyes have adjusted from ‘Death Perception’ to ‘Weakness Perception’, over the years due to my divinity being of 'crafting' rather than 'death' like the death goddess' mirror they came from, they’re still helpful in their own way. But there’s no weaknesses for her, at all. No sign of anything. How the fuck?’

    “It’s hard to ignore, isn’t it? Friendship freely offered, as much as can be.” The Plain Doll murmurs.

    Erik nods, quietly. “Bargained well and done, then. I’ll anticipate meeting yourself and your divine parent in other trips between universes, if it’s doable. Maybe we’d be able to get some things nailed down for differences of what I was before, and what I’ve become.

    “Without viable experimentation, it makes sense for such things.” The Plain Doll admits, thoughtfully. “Though do you not have allies of your own?”

    “And the more I jump close to certain universes, the more it feels like an itch running down my back. Of something, or someone hunting me.” Erik admits, rebutting her. Then sighs, looking back at the game.

    “Back to the game, before the dangerous ones decide to force things?” The Plain Doll asks, curiously.

    “Indeed.” Erik muses. “And with the weirdness… I wouldn’t mind suggestions on how to take them out of the game if they become more able to interact with this place.”

    The Plain Doll blinks, then giggles softly. “A harem, perhaps?”

    “Monika would be cute with Scylla, if nothing else.” Erik grins softly. “And I’ve learned to be a one woman man, with my wife and her Polygamist Castration Fist technique, and pointed talking about how wanting to help more women leads to harems, and harems leads to her castrating people that cheat on her with it.”

    Huh. He’s… legitimately thinking about going about it, if he gets the first batch, then?

    The Plain Doll outright blinks repeatedly at Erik for a long while. “I’m not sure how to take that.”

    Erik nods, turning back to the screen and clicking on next.

    Then sighs at the screen showing a bright “30 minutes of time before other occupants awaken in the house”.

    “Well, they’re on actual sleep timers, now. Let’s see what can be done, then… ah. A nice big meal made for them, for when they wake up.” Erik muses. “And since what’s cooked in game is cooked outside of it, is there anything you’d want me to make for you as well, oh Doll that helps Hunters?”

    The Plain Doll blinks, then smiles for once. “Perhaps a pastry? I’ve heard hunters murmuring about such…”

    “Japanese, American, or a surprise?” Erik queries.

    “A surprise, I think.” She admits.

    Erik nods, then starts to cook in game, listening to the items in the kitchen working in unison with him. “Something tasty and relatively easy to make… an apple fritter, I think. Mochi is right out with the work, and most japanese snacks are a bitch to recreate. Pocky, especially.” He murmurs aloud as he cooks.

    Omake (Because I couldn’t get this scene out of my head, even though I’m definitely not writing it as canon. PERIOD.):

    Erik stares up at the figure of Nyarlathotep, as he descends, the Plain Doll by his side, and the figures of the Doki Doki Literature Club that he managed to save, behind him.

    “Since you’ve been playing a visual novel, and working to rescue the characters? I’m sure you’ll get this reference. You have unlocked the Eldritch Waifu route with the Plain Doll. Now, all we have to do is see you married to her, and we shall welcome you as one of our own!” Nyarlathotep states, eldritch grin on his face never leaving him. The Eldritch being appears like a black human, utterly hairless, but something is wrong with him and his looks.

    Erik looks back at the girls hiding behind him, then at the Plain Doll beside him, before looking up at the eldritch abomination floating before them.

    “No.” Erik states, firmly.

    “No?” Nyarlathotep blinks, confused.

    “I said that, didn’t I? That’s my answer.” Erik states, firmly.

    “Why, pray tell, are you acting like you have the right to refuse me? This isn’t a statement, this is what is about to happen.” Nyarlathotep asks, looking unamused.

    “My wife.” Erik states, calmly. “That’s why I said no.”

    “I’m sure that we could convince her to listen to reason, and have you as a member of our pantheon, of sorts.” Nyarlathotep states. “Now, about that wedding…”

    Erik just facepalms. “My wife developed a spell or curse called ‘Polygamist Castration Fist.’. It’s not happening.” (for an example thereof)

    Nyarlathotep pauses. “And why, exactly, do you worry about such a spell?”

    “She figured out how to use it to deal with people without ever meeting them. It’s like that ‘Punching someone through the internet’ superpower that all people that deal with the internet and social media wish for, but never get.” Erik states.

    Nyarlathotep raises an eyebrow.

    “It’s all fun and games until she went and used it to castrate Zeus for coming onto her too strongly.” Erik states. “And considering he was in the most warded room in existence, and he still lost one of his balls?”

    Nyarlathotep pauses, considering it. Then he smirks. “She’s not here, now, is she?”

    Moments later after feeling three brutal kicks in the worst spot imaginable, with no obvious source? Nyarlathotep screams in utter agony, then whimpers and clutches at his crotch.

    “I warned you, didn’t I? She also has a sixth sense for people trying to get me to cheat on her, and dealing with them.” Erik states. “Now, where’s the exit for us? Keep in mind, if you lie, I’ll just get her to use that spell until you change your mind… I’m sure an eldritch thing like yourself has plenty of skills for regeneration…” He adds in, menacingly.

    “You win…” Nyarlathotep weakly croaks out, then points, and an exit sign appears moments later.

    “Thank you!” Erik smiles, leaving, the others following him out.

    Omake Author’s Notes:

    Yeah. I just had a thought of “What if Tamamo was just a bit more terrifying to deal with?” and had the urge to write. has a better explanation of Polygamist Castration Fist than I ever could give, too. Suffice to say the Scion version of Tamamo figured out how to do hers at range with this omake. Thankfully, it’s just the Omake… Or IS it…?

    Author’s Notes:
    So. I had a bit of this written up for quite a few months now. About the first 4 pages. But I shelved it, because I wasn’t sure how the “Flora” and “Plain Doll” relationship worked back then, and hadn’t decided to go the way I did in that interlude between Archer and both The Plain Doll as well as Flora. This should clear things up a bit, as well.

    Between Halloween and where the campaign is going for poor Kieran, and my camping buddy, though? I thought I’d take some time to write up more in between writing huge amounts of news reports, rolling for how the world is taking things, and so on and so forth.

    Somehow space elves wearing eldritch abomination power armor and piloting biological/eldritch mecha, invading the earth because their home planet’s biosphere got screwed over, makes for an interesting campaign. Especially with all the random events they keep getting due to plot reasons they haven’t figured out quite yet…

    I fully blame Kieran for that, and his throwing “Camp Crystal Lake” at me and the others in the gaming group last year for the Werewolf the Apocalypse game, for some of the messes I’ve been throwing at him to think over, and he’s yet to realize are brewing.

    His surprise at the Voodoo Psionic Necromantic Plague that popped up in the campaign friday, when he proofread things, was just icing on the cake. “Have you been playing Resident Evil Five lately? This is suddenly reminding me of Resident Evil Five…” mwahaha.
    Last edited by RanmaBushiko; November 6th, 2022 at 03:59 PM.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  15. #75
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    Re: riddle, I vaguely remember getting that information about Crimson Moon, though it has been a few months, and I hadn't reread in a while. The rest is pretty obvious. Erik knowing it is relevant though. I don't remember where this is in the timeline relative to the Mega Man stuff, so can't say if that means Erik is safe from Kiara/Jack for a while.
    The nature of the Doll has been clarified a bit. Explicitly Outer God, likely related to Flora, thus much more "what it appears" than some other possibilities, though still potentially dangerous. Its interest in Erik's titanic transformation still seems odd, and its motives suspect.

    I think I'm going to have to assume Tamamo's ability should be translated as "Polygamist Castration Strike", given how it seems to operate. That is indeed a very cursed omake.

  16. #76
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Re: riddle, I vaguely remember getting that information about Crimson Moon, though it has been a few months, and I hadn't reread in a while. The rest is pretty obvious. Erik knowing it is relevant though. I don't remember where this is in the timeline relative to the Mega Man stuff, so can't say if that means Erik is safe from Kiara/Jack for a while.
    The nature of the Doll has been clarified a bit. Explicitly Outer God, likely related to Flora, thus much more "what it appears" than some other possibilities, though still potentially dangerous. Its interest in Erik's titanic transformation still seems odd, and its motives suspect.

    I think I'm going to have to assume Tamamo's ability should be translated as "Polygamist Castration Strike", given how it seems to operate. That is indeed a very cursed omake.
    Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, by the way. The current situation for the campaign was... tiring to write out, let's say. And making sure it was all ready was... interesting.

    Yeah, Jack, Kiara and Altrouge is going to be interesting when they catch up with Erik, huh?

    The Doll's nature, I settled on her being something like a Scion's Guide. Helpful, not quite human, though she loves humanity, but has her own goals. Just like her "parents" that gave her life. Explicitly, she has all the traits that makes for a good one in Scion. Debating on if she was a mouthpiece for Flora, or more took a long while to work out, but the Emiya Interlude helped me decide.

    I just had to figure out how her motivations would work, as a result.

    And as for the Cursed Omake? I wish it was, but all the English translations says "Fist" instead of "Strike". *shudders*
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  17. #77
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    Somehow space elves wearing eldritch abomination power armor and piloting biological/eldritch mecha, invading the earth because their home planet’s biosphere got screwed over, makes for an interesting campaign. Especially with all the random events they keep getting due to plot reasons they haven’t figured out quite yet…

    I fully blame Kieran for that, and his throwing “Camp Crystal Lake” at me and the others in the gaming group last year for the Werewolf the Apocalypse game, for some of the messes I’ve been throwing at him to think over, and he’s yet to realize are brewing.
    Hey, I gave you guys the choice between that, and the Saw-themed storyline - you picked it!

    His surprise at the Voodoo Psionic Necromantic Plague that popped up in the campaign friday, when he proofread things, was just icing on the cake. “Have you been playing Resident Evil Five lately? This is suddenly reminding me of Resident Evil Five…” mwahaha.
    Well, when intelligent zombies with a voodoo theme start coming out of Africa, and we've already dealt with an island of weird plagues in the area, what am I supposed to think . . .?
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme

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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  18. #78
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Originally Posted Here.

    Chapter 14: The Depths

    A Few Hours Later

    A brilliant light flashes into existence, in the area where Wolfen and Gwen met. Then the Angel stretches, looking around with a frown.

    “Unfortunately, I couldn’t get them to agree. You’re going to get summoned sooner or later, I’m afra- Space for Rent?!” The Angel’s voice goes from regretful to confused.

    A long moment later, she looks closely at the sign, which hasn’t changed. A pulse of power ripples out from her, before she frowns.

    “They’ve gone into hiding then, to avoid conscription?” She whispers, quietly. “Good, I’m glad. They don’t deserve that.”

    Then the Angel sighs softly. “I hate my job sometimes…”

    For a long moment, she looks around, listening quietly for any “yip” noises from Kitsune, only to frown as none occur.

    “They really did run, then… from their place of greatest power, no less.” She whispers, smiling sadly. “Not sure if that will save them, but at least they’re doing what’s right for them, rather than what’s right for my bosses.”

    Then the Angel in question stretches. “Time to tell my bosses the bad news, I suppose. And here’s hoping that Aqua can’t summon her from wherever she’s hidden herself at, as well as her people.”


    Kongou looks at her messages on her bridge left from Mordred, then stares, going wide eyed in surprise and glee, while on a convoy with Naka.

    “What’s up? You look gleeful and surprised.” Naka asks, adjusting herself to float closer to Kongou.

    “Wolfen’s Captain just sent me a picture of her friend being swarmed by cute one and two tailed Kitsune!” Kongou whispers, with a giggle and a raised finger. “OPSEC, so keep it quiet.”

    Naka blinks, then widens her eyes with a muffled whisper of “Kitsune are real?!” followed by a pause, and a realization of who was being swarmed by Kitsune, before a slow nod from the self proclaimed Idol of the Fleet is Kongou’s reply.

    “Not a problem.” Naka smiles. “Any real Idol should know how to keep good secrets, after all.”

    Kongou smiles. “That and we don’t want to lose all the ice cream by pissing Wolfen off, hmm?”

    “That too! That very, very much too!” Naka shivers softly, before focusing on her radar and the convoy again.

    Kongou smiles, pushing her engines as she works to make the long trek from Japan to America along with the fleet alongside her.

    All the while watching American sailors attempt to spy on them by lipreading, and keeping Naka between herself and them, as well as looking at herself specifically, at just the right moments.

    1 Day Later

    Wolfen sighs, as she finishes the trek guiding her from the compass. “This is it, then.”

    “It looks dark and scary to Hoppou.” Hoppou whispers. “Where’d the tunnel come from? It looks… old too…”

    Wolfen nods, quietly. “It is dark and scary.” Moments later, Wolfens massive searchlights power on.

    The three wince at the light illuminating the tunnels too brightly for a long moment, before she dials it down to something approaching sane. “My lights are either brighter, or the Kitsune being on board helped me more than I realize…”

    Kongo nods, her brown eyes narrowed. “There’s some distortion to my signal with my ship, but less than what I’ve been worried about.”

    The Kitsune are asleep, so I’m feeling more of the load, Wolfen.” Mordred’s voice echoes in Wolfen’s mind, from her station at her chair. “I’ll be quieter unless we’re in danger as a result. Even if they’re generating more power, it’s still hard on me.

    Wolfen nods to herself, to answer Mordred, then glances back behind her at Kongo riding her back. “How are you handling analyzing the Laser Rifle, by the way?” Wolfen asks Kongo, thinking as she turns back to watch the tunnels. “Your nanomachines seem to constantly be studying it as you use it.”

    “It looks like my weapons have a similar effect from the Thanatonium in my ship’s reactor, which I’m starting to suspect is a divinely made power source acting to release such energies slowly. Without it being as close as it is, I’ll be weakened, but not overtly much.” Kongo admits.

    Wolfen slowly nods, thinking. “Do you think you’ll need to tap into my Legend?”

    Kongo slowly shakes her head. “I should be fine, Wolfen. A flagship such as myself has our own pride in our abilities.”

    Wolfen slowly nods, turning back towards the tunnels before them, then breathes out. “Compass is giving good readings on where we need to go… we just need to head down. Kongo, how good are your scanners down here?”

    “Short ranged, at best.” Kongo admits.

    “Hoppou’s planes don’t get any signals down here… it’s spooky.” Hoppou whispers, quietly, then clings to Wolfen.

    Wolfen pulls them both into her arms, then slowly floats down the massive hole. “I’ve got you safe. Just tell me if you spot anything like eyes watching us.”

    “Yes!” Hoppou states, smiling softly, and starts watching carefully, while Kongo nods slower, a hexagonal pattern forming around them.

    “Klein field operational. It won’t be anything as strong as for my ship, but this should take off the edge of any surprise attacks.” Kongo states, quietly. “Just keep in mind, the wider I have it out, like this, the less it can handle.”

    “Thank you, Kongo. It’s… really pretty.” Wolfen whispers, watching it.

    “Do you think you’d like upgrades from my Fleet?” Kongo asks, curiously.

    Wolfen slowly nods. “I wouldn’t mind trying that, or trying to figure out something similar.” She admits, thinking.

    Slowly, they descend, as the three watch carefully. Hoppou watching above, Kongo the sides, and Wolfen below.

    “My Flagship, Yamato authorized the option of technology trades.” Kongo admits, thinking. “And it’s… a change of pace, having time off from what the Admiralty Code ordered us. We received a message telling us to blockade the seas, but not why. It’s been… pleasant. We have time, we’re moving towards our goal, but we’re taking time to recover as well, instead of constantly working on our goal.”

    Wolfen nods. “Downtime isn’t a bad thing, especially when we need it.” She admits, quietly.

    “May I ask what this likely is?” Kongo asks, thinking over things. “This seems almost like some sort of dimensional rift, but… not quite, at the same time.”

    Wolfen nods. “Back home, it would have been called a… Terrae Incognitae.” Wolfen frowns for a moment, then nods. “Hard to pronounce, but it’s basically those places that were described in early epics by people, then deemed fantasy because the Gods didn’t let more people in to see it.”

    Kongo blinks, quietly, her eyes watching things more carefully now. “Interesting…”

    Wolfen nods as they descend, one eye always on her compass. “Indeed. It…” She breathes out for a moment. “They said that most of the ways were sealed, to the Norse places. But this seems to be a route, and close. So it likely touches on some divine nature that links to the same one Dwarves still have existing within themselves.”

    “The cavern’s widening.” Kongo states, watching things carefully. “It’s slow, but steady.”

    Wolfen slowly nods, her eyes narrowing as the compass spins for a moment, then she turns and follows it.

    In the distance, she can hear something, so far off that it’s barely audible as echoes. “Possible target or movement confirmed…”

    Hoppou’s eyes narrow. “My pilots for my planes can’t see anything in this darkness, Wolfen, outside of your searchlights.”

    Wolfen nods, the lights slowly growing in intensity as she flies towards where the Compass points.

    The cavern, as they start to realize, is absolutely massive. Miles and miles deep. Dozens of miles in size.

    Even Wolfen’s floodlights operating at full power don’t illuminate more than the cavern ceiling above them, as well as what seems to be millions of stalactites.

    “Bats, Wolfen! Look, they’re fluffy!” Hoppou cries out, only for Wolfen to move out of the way of the bats.

    “They poop a lot, too. They usually eat insects, but these ones are huge…” She trails off.

    Hoppou nods, wincing. “Fair. Hoppou doesn’t want to be pooped on.”

    “No one does.” Kongo states, her eyes narrowed. “We’ve been jerking a lot as we move, though. You’re definitely following a moving target, Wolfen.”

    “Do you want me to speed up? Or stay slow so we can hear easily?” Wolfen asks.

    “Better to go a bit faster, I think.” Hoppou states. “But not so much that we can’t warn you if there’s an ambush going to happen.”

    Wolfen nods, speeding up noticeably.

    Hoppou shivers, watching the ceiling as more and more eyes seem to open and watch them pass, as they go through the massive cave.

    Then she shivers more. Blinking, she tries to stop, but frowns as she fails to stop. “Wolfen? Hoppou’s getting cold, and isn’t sure why.”

    Wolfen’s eyes narrow. “Kongo, are you getting cold?”

    “No, but I don’t need to worry about such things in the first place.” Kongo replies, as Wolfen slows down.

    In the distance, far far in the distance, they can hear something like a loud pitched “tink” from so far off, it’s barely audible.

    “A miner, then?” Hoppou asks, curiously, as she shivers more. Then blinks at Wolfen putting a sweater on her, directly from Wolfen’s holds on board.

    “Warm…” Hoppou whispers, quietly.

    “Keep it. It’ll help with this cold.” Wolfen whispers.

    “Not more of you blasted creatures!” The shout erupts from the distance, the same place they heard mining from previously.

    With those words, Wolfen darts forwards.

    It takes a few minutes. A few minutes listening to cursing, ranting, then shrieks of rage as a large group of something loud and unpleasant spots the lights, and turns it’s attention as a group directly towards Wolfen and company.

    Wolfen’s eyes narrow, as she spots the lights of something massive’s giant eyes, and opens fire.

    What the bloody hell?” A loud scream erupts from nearly below them. “Turn those lights down, don’t you know they’re attracted to lights?!”

    A screech from above, as many more show up, even as Hoppou starts releasing planes.

    “We’ve got it handled. You a dwarf?” Wolfen calls down.

    “Yes, I’m a bloody dwarf! Just give me some time to deal with the one on me, and I’ll be out to help!” The Dwarf calls out, voice somewhat muffled. “How are you going to deal with the pain in the asses, anyways?”

    “Ever heard of lasers?” Wolfen calls out, right before her battery of lasers opens fire.

    Unlike with Abyssal princesses, they don’t disappoint here. Loud screeches as several dozen flying bat-like things discover the joys of being in the air without wings erupts through the caverns.

    Then Hoppou’s fighters introduce the now falling giant bat monsters to Abyssal machine guns.

    Kongo casually bats one away with a glowing purple sword, not even noticing the attempts to bite at her failing to get through her Klein field.

    “Well, that’s new. And neat. You think you could sell me one of those, perhaps? If we had a few of those, we could probably… you radiate Legend. What the hell are you three and why are you here?” The dwarf asks, quietly.

    “Looking for repairs for myself.” Wolfen admits.

    “Repairs for yourself? You’re a bloody girl, lass, if a pretty one.” The Dwarf states.

    “Look closer.” Wolfen states.

    “Closer, lass?” For a moment, the Dwarf frowns, then his eyes glow with a brief spark of Legend.

    Then he stares. “Ah. Repairs indeed. A shipgirl then. Heard rumors of you in Poseidon’s little death match, but I didn’t know any got out. Pity the bloody bastard is so cruel to all of yo-”

    He pauses, looking at Hoppou closer, then continues. “I’m guessing the little lass is one that made a deal with him for power, then? Escapees, perhaps?”

    “Divinely made Aerial Battleship who had a part of me drop from one universe to another, resulting in me becoming a shipgirl, actually. But it looks like something happened to Poseidon, resulting in his plans for Shipgirls and Abyssals to be messed up. All the Abyssals like Hoppou were summoned to the Mortal World, and the Shipgirls induce PTSD in Abyssals.” Wolfen admits.

    “Something happened to him, and his plans, eh?” The Dwarf mutters, then sighs. “Couldn’t happen to a worse bastard, I’ll admit. But, though I thank you for the assistance, why the bloody hell are you down here then? These realms are what remains of the only passageway that allowed pantheons to meet each other.” He glances down. “That river down there’s the dried up River Styx.”

    “See, Daddy was the Norse God of Mecha, and he was trained by someone named Wayland Smith… and I got this neat compass that leads me towards people that might help me find who I’m looking for!” Wolfen admits, a wide smile on her face.

    The Dwarf pauses, looking nonplussed.

    “Norse God of Mecha? Wish we’d had that arou-” He pauses, as the rest of what Wolfen said clicks.

    “Can you prove it?” He asks, carefully.

    Wolfen points to a section of her armor. “Look there, like you did at my hull.”

    He pauses, looking carefully, then stares.

    After a moment, he shakes his head, looking up at her. “Aye, you’re the real deal alright. That’s his make and work for that chunk of you, no doubts about it from me. Though why that’s separate from the rest of your hull is… oh. That’s where you need repairs, then?”

    Wolfen nods, quietly.

    Incoming. They’re being sneakier this time.” Mordred whispers.

    Wolfen’s batteries aim up, then start opening fire, trusting Mordred’s instincts.

    Several fall dead, as dozens of the things launch themselves down, all stealth forgone for trying to hit the group.

    Swords, fighters, and lasers later, they fall dead, as Hoppou breathes out. “That was hard.”

    Wolfen nods, then glances back. “How far can they see, Dwarf?”

    “Call me Scotty. I always liked that Star Trek show.” Scotty smirks. “It’s a better name than other options I’ve been called on jobs I’ve done, incarnating as often as I’ve been to counter the drain on Wayland’s Legend.”

    “You think you’d be up for learning engineering? Maybe signing on as an engineer for me, or helping long term with projects?” Wolfen smiles.

    Scotty laughs. “I think we’re going to get along just fine. It’s a pity we don’t have any good dwarven alcohol anymore, though.”

    Wolfen smirks like a cat that caught and ate the canary, broke the fine china, and got it all blamed on the dog.

    “And if I said one of Daddy’s inventions was to buy an entire Keg of Dwarven Alcohol, and engrave it with runes so it would always replenish itself and never run out?” Wolfen asks, carefully. “Think you and other Dwarves might be interested?”

    Scotty blinks.

    “Before, I would have called that heresy. But with how long I’ve been without a bloody good drink? I’ll call you a saint!” Scotty retorts.

    Wolfen smiles. “Signing onto my crew means you’d be working for me in my hull, rather than outside of it. But considering how few I have, since all of the ones that would count still live barring my captain, who’s a strange case, and the Kitsune I picked up yesterday…” She trails off, humming. “They still live, too, and they found that signing up doesn’t mean they’d die, by the way. It’s just my captain that’s…”

    “Hmm. That odd a situation, then, huh?” Scotty muses, then sighs. “More of the bloody things are coming, if you listen to the stalactites shifting up above. At least they’re good eating though! Once they’re done swarming you and finding out you aren’t food, they’ll leave us be, lass. We might even be able to get a good feast out of this, if you keep killing them like you have been!”

    Wolfen nods, aiming her guns, then fires again.

    Soon, it’s over, but Hoppou’s frowning and looking at Wolfen now. “Hoppou’s getting hungry, Wolfen. Could you feed Hoppou soon?”

    Wolfen nods. “Soon as we’re done, I’ll get you some food from my stores, Hoppou. I should have something to tide you over with…”

    “Those are surprisingly good eating lass, if you can remove the poison glands and use fire to roast them.” Scotty admits.

    Wolfen slowly nods, then kneels, pulling swarms of the dead into her hull. “I’ll see if Kitsune fire can roast them, then. Any tips on the gland locations?”

    “In the head, by the teeth. Takes about an hour before they start poisoning the mea…t… did you just disappear them into your hull, Lass?”

    “Irregardless of the fact that I’m reduced to before Daddy built me into a Kilometer Long ship capable of traveling to Mars unaided?” Wolfen asks rhetorically. “I still have room.

    A slow nod from Scotty is her only answer, before he sighs. “This way, lass. We’ll be there sooner or later, depending on how long it takes before they quit bothering us.”

    Wolfen nods. “Thankfully the lasers don’t leave me feeling hungry like the other weapons do…”

    “Wolfen? Could you give me data analysis on the dimensional shifts and folds we’re in, via radio?” Kongo asks, eyes narrowed. “My core is starting to have a hard time keeping the connection up.”

    For a moment, Wolfen pauses, frowning, as her computers work overtime. Then she breathes out, as she sends a file via radio transmission.

    “Thank you. That explains a lot.” Kongo nods, stretching as her form seems to solidify somehow. “It’s a pity my Super Graviton Cannon can’t fire through dimensional fields like the one influencing us.”

    Wolfen’s eyes widen as a whisper from Mordred reaches her of “More incoming!”, then narrows her eyes at the sight of more swarming down at her.

    “This is starting to get irritating, even for myself.” Kongo murmurs. “I’m starting to genuinely miss not having emotions…”

    Wolfen glances over at Kongo for a moment, as she continues firing. “I get it. Maybe work on figuring out how to turn them temporarily off for combat?”

    “Not possible with a Mental Model.” Kongo states, automatically, then blinks at the realization Wolfen heard her.

    A triumphant screech erupts from behind, as one rushes towards them, slightly smarter than the others… and runs straight into Wolfen’s glowing red hand.

    The glowing hole through the corpse leaves the ones flying above screeching as they retreat, something about the injury absolutely terrifying them.

    Then Wolfen breathes out slowly. “Now I’m starting to feel the hunger, too…

    “What was that, lass?” Scotty’s wide eyed, staring in awestruck shock.

    “Daddy calls it the Radiant Wave Surger. It’s a melee nuclear pulse weapon that, if made with Legend, can directly damage the soul. There’s a few pros and cons to it that I’m supposed to keep quiet, but if I hit anything while moving fast enough, simply put? It dies.” Wolfen admits, quietly.

    “Any defensive options?” Scotty asks, looking over. “Looks like it doesn’t burn Legend the way your blonde friend’s shield does to hold it in place.”

    “It burns through radioactive material like crazy if I over use it, but Daddy did manage to develop it into shields. My reactors are just so inefficient, however…” Wolfen sighs. “We could never get enough nuclear material to give me any shields like that.”

    “A Klein Field may be a better option for you than that. Yours looks like it vaporizes most solid objects on contact, Wolfen, but I’m pretty sure I can see the flaws you know about.” Kongo states, eyeing Wolfen silently.

    “Mind explaining, Miss… Kongo, wasn’t it? Sorry, Wolfen’s offer and then that beautiful sight…” Scotty trails off, thinking. “I studied engineering the last time I was on the surface, which is why I took this name, to be honest with you. That and being born in what’s known now as Scotland.”

    He trails off, thinking. “You might be able to get away with something like that, building a cartridge system, using a bottle full of radioactive isotopes.”

    Wolfen blinks, as does Kongo. Hoppou yawns softly, as she pulls herself up onto Wolfen’s back for a piggyback ride, mostly ignoring things, except to happily munch on the scone Wolfen gave her.

    Wolfen glances at Kongo. “Any idea of if that would work well, or better?”

    “Exactly how inefficient is the system you’re using, anyways?” Kongo asks, now curious.

    “It rips all the radioactive isotopes out of a solid uranium chunk, depleting it after a few uses.”

    Scotty and Kongo blink at Wolfen in sync.

    Then Kongo looks at Scotty, obviously wanting an explanation of what the hell she just heard.

    Scotty looks at Kongo, then shakes his head. “Don’t look at me like that, lass. Gods are utter bullshit. They do the impossible for a living.

    A slow nod from Kongo is Scotty’s only answer, as she walks and thinks. “You’d need a compressor system of some sort for such, if it’s truly so inefficient…”

    “Do you want me to give you the schematics, then, Kongo?” Wolfen asks, now curious.

    Kongo thinks, then pauses. “Hold that thought. More’s coming.”

    Scotty twitches. “More?!

    “It’s a single target this time. Bigger than the others. Perhaps the mother?” Kongo thinks over what her systems told her.

    “I’m seeing it on Radar now, too… whatever it is, it’s huge.” Wolfen glances up. “And with me needing repairs, too…” she adds, more quietly.

    No. Not it’s mother, I’m afraid.” A voice booms from above, eyes looking down at them from amongst the Stalactites.

    Wolfen looks up, eyes narrowed, Hoppou waking up and clinging tighter to her shoulders.

    Kongo looks up, impassively staring.

    Scotty, on the other hand, pales and starts looking for cover, eyes wide with terror. As he does so, he quietly whispers “What did I do to get him to notice me?!

    It was nothing you did, but your choice of guests, Dwarf. That, and thinking your smith might be a good menu option if I could find him tonight.” The voice booms from above, before a reptilian head sticks out of the stalactites to look at them closer.

    Scotty slowly moves to hide behind several rock formations, keeping them between him and the massive figure above.

    “Why are you here? Have we irritated you in some form?” Wolfen asks, eyes narrowed as she desperately tries to ignore her injured hull and stand strong. Deep within Wolfen, Gwen snaps awake and rushes towards her station.

    “Hoppou really doesn’t like this…” Hoppou’s voice whispers in Wolfen’s ear, as the Abyssal Princess clings to Wolfen’s back.

    Oh, I was just on my way to think about devouring some dwarf remnants and this irritating Forge God they have, when I spotted this truly delicious morsel flying along, as well as many of her children. Quite the delectable feast, I must admit.” The head of what definitely is a dragon smiles down at them, an eye stuck between his teeth as big as they are tall.

    And now I’m face to face with the ones that killed so very many of them, and are filled with such… delicious Legend, that I simply can’t help myself but feel HUNGRY…” The dragon grins.

    “May I ask your name?” Kongo states, calmly.

    A polite morsel, how entertaining… the name is NIDHOGG. I, who ate the entirety of the roots of the now ROTTED Yggdrasil, greets the ones trespassing through my hunting grounds.” Nidhogg smirks.

    Wolfen’s eyes narrow, as she internally puts an alarm on, feeling Legion of Coal units lead inexperienced Kitsune to the guns.

    It’s not enough. She knows that. Not against something like Nidhogg. At the same time, with the extra crew, she feels stronger and more refreshed than before.

    “My apologies if we’ve insulted you in any way, great and legendary Nidhogg. But may I ask why you are looking at us as food?” Wolfen asks, eyes narrowed. “We have no issues with you. My hold is full of the spawn of the one who you apparently killed and ate. Could we trade some of our kills for safe passage, perhaps?”

    Careful, Wolfen. You’re not up for a fight like this. Even if I take full control, I’m not sure how much of my skill with Riding will make up for my not being a Servant in this situation…” Mordred’s voice whispers from the Captain’s Chair, her eyes narrowed.

    Hoppou silently shivers, watching the massive dragon move, half hidden from their view above. Stalactites on the cave ceiling above them obscuring the view of the massive, bloated form of the dragon.

    No wings that they can see. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the massive beast.

    Oh, I was just thinking to myself on how a bunch of dwarves might make an excellent feast, when I was distracted by this little winged morsel. But I’m afraid I’m going to be eating something small, tasty and full of Legend tonight, one way or another.” Nidhogg replies, his grin widening to show all teeth as he lands before them, horns glinting in Wolfen’s spotlights. “Come, little ships in human form. Let me see if you’re a filling appetizer.

    With those words, Nidhogg breathes in, and Wolfen launches herself to the front, forcing herself between the others and the massive dragon. The Radiant Wave Surger built into her left hand snaps to life, and she pushes it up as Nidhogg exhales…

    It’s not heat coming off the breath. It’s not ice. It’s not any sort of breath they can comprehend. Instead, the breath is one of pure decay. And both Nidhogg’s eyes and Wolfen’s go wide as their respective weapons cancel each other out.

    Tch. That’s REALLY not good…” Mordred murmurs from her chair. “I’m not sure how many uses of that we have in the tank, and he doesn’t seem to want to back down. We’d better hope to either kill him or drive him off, quickly.

    “I’ll handle countering his breath, you two try to either shoot him down or drive him off!” Wolfen shouts to Hoppou and Kongo.

    Then the battle is joined.

    Author’s Notes (Originally Written December 19th, 2021):

    Scotty’s real name isn’t Scotty, I’m afraid. But having an engineering dwarf calling himself Scotty because he’s both a fan of Star Trek and Scottish was too funny an idea to pass up.

    Plus, Wolfen’s the fun side story. Usually. Gotta make it entertaining for the author to write, right?

    As for combat? Shipgirls might be great against lower tier mook enemies, but against something like Nidhogg, they’re actually getting a proper boss fight on their hands.

    Author's Notes MK2:
    Little few adjustments here and there, since the work I put in still holds up fine, for figuring out exactly how things would work out in such a scenario.
    Mostly just a few nitpicks I had, here and there, that I'm adjusting. Italics and other stuff not going in from the google documents copy I wrote it in, initially, means I have to redo the italics and bold more often than not, whenever it posts. And there was a couple of spots that I'd missed the first time around.

    Sorry for the long time between posts, however. I've been writing 15 pages a day for the campaign, getting ready for an introduction for another member to the campaign, and real life has been kind of rough. Add in motorcycle lessons, and my camping buddy moving south for the winter?
    Not to mention my PC looking like it could fall apart on me, soon, and having to work on figuring that mess out...
    Ugh. Sorry. It's just been a mess and a half.
    Just borrowed a ton of cash to get a new one built by the end of next week, so that I have something sturdy and reliable. Now to hope my current one will last that long, with the nasty screeching one hard drive's started to do on occasion...
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof:

  19. #79
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    According to most, my own little world
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    I thought parts of this were giving me deja vu - it has been a while . . .

    Still ridiculous yet entertaining, though.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme

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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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