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Thread: Grail Works, Ltd: A Royal Mess (F/SN, P5R, E3E)

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    That makes a lot of sense... and, yes, that last line is HILARIOUS!! XD
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  2. #82
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    That does make me wonder who Lala's friend is. I'm assuming it's not Sojiro, because that would be especially silly (though Godafrid was heading that way)... well, we'll probably find out. No one immediately comes to mind. I really like Lala being a Minor Arcana; excellent example of a character that isn't part of the main P5 Confidants, but could be developed more. Also, I have to appreciate just how much of an advantage Godafrid is at; working at the bar has a fairly steep Kindness and Proficiency requirement in-game. Godafrid has presumably crushed the latter.

    The narrative "voice" for Caren definitely has a certain ethereal quality to it that sounds correct for when she's being virtuous, and she has no reason not to be, here. It's been a bit too long since I read Hollow/Ataraxia to really say, though.
    I am giggling somewhat at the reference to how owls are good at keeping their head stable when staring at something. Also, it's always fun to see Godafrid just on the wrong track. Not totally wrong, but he's probably going to be kicking himself later.

    Kurai's introduction to the Works is around the same time, so we ARE after the Fifth War, okay. There's something... elegant about Godafrid wanting to "try once more" and ending up when he began.
    Being after the Fifth War is extra-relevant because of Caren's internal observation
    [...] After all, her present situation, while hardly unpleasant, was very uncertain; she was literally a phone call away from being reassigned to a place she both dreaded and desired to see and would remain so until it materialised. Unease could certainly have manifested as a persistent sense of chills—yet if so, it wouldn’t feel so pleasant . . .
    Which probably refers to Fuyuki. I'm not sure where else might apply, that seems the most obvious.

  3. #83
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    That makes a lot of sense... and, yes, that last line is HILARIOUS!! XD
    Sadly, hard to handwave since TYPE-MOON's Ereshkigal is not Nergal's consort (and he is very much Catherine's father), contrary to myth - but given their similar looks, and Eresh's general personality, I can't help but be tempted . . .




    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    That does make me wonder who Lala's friend is. I'm assuming it's not Sojiro, because that would be especially silly (though Godafrid was heading that way)...
    It would put a crimp in Ren's situation if that was the case, wouldn't it?


    well, we'll probably find out. No one immediately comes to mind.
    I am, admittedly, still mulling over possibilities - and as always, open to suggestions . . .


    I really like Lala being a Minor Arcana; excellent example of a character that isn't part of the main P5 Confidants, but could be developed more.
    That was my thought, yes.


    Also, I have to appreciate just how much of an advantage Godafrid is at; working at the bar has a fairly steep Kindness and Proficiency requirement in-game. Godafrid has presumably crushed the latter.
    Oh, you have no idea - Exalted Third Edition changes the mechanics considerably . . .

    Whereas once an assigned difficulty rating indicated what number the die had to read to indicate a success (and a single success was generally considered sufficient), now 7, 8, 9 are automatically considered successes (with 10s as double) - the difficulty assigned to a task indicates the number of successes required. And in terms of scale . . .


    "Determining Difficulty

    Having determined what dice pool to use, the Storyteller then considers the task the player wants his character to attempt and assigns it a difficulty rating. As great heroes, Exalted characters are assumed to possess abundant confidence and competence. Tasks which run-of-the-mill individuals in Creation would consider challenging (such as picking a lock or removing a patient’s appendix without killing him) are ordinary fare for heroes. Such tasks are appropriate for difficulty 1.

    Performing challenging tasks under significant duress (such as picking a lock or removing an appendix in the dead of night, without sufficient light, in the midst of a howling storm) is appropriate for difficulty 2.

    Tasks which might daunt even heroes, by contrast, are appropriate for difficulty 3. Examples might include plucking a gem from a nest of writhing serpents without being bitten, or breaking a man-eating horse born in the depths of the Wyld so it accepts the hero as its rider. Performing such tasks under significant duress (such as plucking the aforementioned gem while the temple collapses around the intrepid thief, or breaking the man-eating horse in the midst of a raging forest fire) are appropriate for difficulty 4.

    Near-impossible feats, even by heroic standards, are appropriate for difficulty 5. Examples might include reading a letter in pitch blackness by feeling the texture of ink on the paper, leaping over the rail of a sorcerer’s flying chariot to land safely in a hay cart hundreds of feet below, or running for three consecutive days and nights without succumbing to exhaustion."


    . . . Essentially, the low difficulty of the tasks and his general dice pool makes him well-equipped for many things.


    The narrative "voice" for Caren definitely has a certain ethereal quality to it that sounds correct for when she's being virtuous, and she has no reason not to be, here. It's been a bit too long since I read Hollow/Ataraxia to really say, though.
    I understand, and that's good to hear. Thank you


    I am giggling somewhat at the reference to how owls are good at keeping their head stable when staring at something.
    Yeah - their necks are insanely flexible.


    Also, it's always fun to see Godafrid just on the wrong track. Not totally wrong, but he's probably going to be kicking himself later.
    Yes.


    Kurai's introduction to the Works is around the same time, so we ARE after the Fifth War, okay. There's something... elegant about Godafrid wanting to "try once more" and ending up when he began.
    Well, of course - after all, it was Astraea who did it.


    Being after the Fifth War is extra-relevant because of Caren's internal observation

    Which probably refers to Fuyuki. I'm not sure where else might apply, that seems the most obvious.
    You are correct (because it is obvious, there's no reason to play coy).
    “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




  4. #84
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Oh, right, my birthday's today. Just wanted to share that before the chapter gets released tomorrow... I hope it's a good one.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

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    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Oh, right, my birthday's today. Just wanted to share that before the chapter gets released tomorrow... I hope it's a good one.
    Happy Birthday, and I'll try my best to have it on time.
    “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




  6. #86
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kieran. I appreciate it, man.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    In the spirit of being a good reader, I present a bit of a "what if" question, one that might be interesting to see play out in a future story. What if Frid helped Ren Amamiya (even if I prefer the name Akira Kurusu to the one Kieran chose) find a way to work in the Grail Works LTD, even with the Phantom Thieves as optional help? Interesting idea, no?
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

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  8. #88
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    In the spirit of being a good reader, I present a bit of a "what if" question, one that might be interesting to see play out in a future story. What if Frid helped Ren Amamiya (even if I prefer the name Akira Kurusu to the one Kieran chose) find a way to work in the Grail Works LTD, even with the Phantom Thieves as optional help? Interesting idea, no?
    Curious idea to think about. It'll take time, effort, and probably him throwing ideas at me for the next few months for if it'll work out, to be perfectly fair.

    Also, hope you had a good birthday, Xamusel!
    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: http://iwl.me/s/696f37bd

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanmaBushiko View Post
    Curious idea to think about. It'll take time, effort, and probably him throwing ideas at me for the next few months for if it'll work out, to be perfectly fair.
    That makes sense, yeah. I hope you and Kieran both work this out, man.
    Also, hope you had a good birthday, Xamusel!
    I did, yes. Thank you for the well wishing, man.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    In the spirit of being a good reader, I present a bit of a "what if" question, one that might be interesting to see play out in a future story. What if Frid helped Ren Amamiya (even if I prefer the name Akira Kurusu to the one Kieran chose) find a way to work in the Grail Works LTD, even with the Phantom Thieves as optional help? Interesting idea, no?
    Well, as this is a "fusionverse," they are "local," so to speak, so getting them to the Works isn't much of an issue; the collapse of the Metaverse and loss of their Persona powers, on the other hand, would be, since without them they're just teenagers (though in Ren's case, something of a prodigy among them). Of course, that presumes that in a fusionverse, all elements of Persona 5 Royal are unchanged . . .


    As to the chapter, I'm roughly half-done - technical and medical issues have unfortunately been an annoyance, this week. I'll get it up as soon as I do finish it, if it's earlier than next Sunday (sorry).
    “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




  11. #91
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Kieran, I get it... I hope that you can finish the chapter relatively soon, in any case.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Chapter 6 – The Wheel of Fortune Turns

    DISCLAIMER: Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and the staff of TYPE-MOON. Persona 5 Royal, the Persona series and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Atlus. Exalted, Scion and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of White Wolf/Onyx Path Publishing.

    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.


    Writer's Note: Certain dialogue sequences in this story are lifted from Persona 5 Royal, but I trust in the intelligence of my readers (and the availability of the game) to recognise them when they see them.









    Shinjuku, Tokyo
    March 3









    When he was five years old, Frid had developed the habit of waking up at or around six AM to sneak downstairs and watch cartoons. A decade-plus of scheduled school hours had reinforced the habit—as had shift work for the better part of another decade and more afterwards. As such, he’d always been an early riser, though never actually a morning person.

    Once he’d passed forty, however, that had shifted, and Frid had gained new sympathy for his teenage friends “wasting half the day,” as he’d considered it, by sleeping until ten-thirty or later (though his record was just after nine AM). Now he despised getting up early, and hated needing to be awake and active early even more so . . .

    That being the case, one might expect him to have slept in today, as well; even without the attitude, the last twenty-four hours he’d experienced had been brutal in many respects, after all. Nevertheless, Frid found himself awake at 7:30, according to the bedside clock—later than sometimes, but not as early as he could’ve been. The wonders of having a newly rejuvenated body, in peak human condition (or maybe even a little beyond that), he supposed. Then again, he appeared to be lacking the caffeine-deprivation headache brought about by almost thirty years of habitual coffee-drinking, so, small favours.

    (Of course, he still wanted coffee—the physiological reset did nothing for the psychological conditioning—but that just gave him an “official” excuse to seek out Yongen-Jaya and Leblanc, later.)

    Frid lay there for a moment, taking things in. The sun was up, judging by the corona of daylight shining from the edges of the curtains, so he’d at least not woken before sunrise, for a change. He had employment and shelter, thanks to Lala Escargot, identification and some funds—though as he lacked access to groceries, toiletries, or even a single change of clothes, how long the latter would hold out was a matter of debate . . .

    This is a problem Morgana never had . . .

    Rising grudgingly from the bed, Frid looked around. The apartment belonged to one of Lala’s “regulars,” she’d said—one who was presently travelling, “searching for a lost lover.” Apparently, this arrangement was as much to make sure the customer didn’t lose the apartment as for Frid’s own benefit; according to the lease, it needed to be occupied, given the high demand for living space in the area, so it worked out well for all concerned.

    A handy coincidence—or contrivance, more likely, the Exalt admitted to himself. I wonder if it’s my doing, or something else . . .?

    Regardless, for the moment it meant that shelter wasn’t a concern, and that he didn’t have to feel awkward bunking with a teenager as his “pet,” which was always a good thing. And as it was 7:30 (-ish, now), he had a good four hours to kill, since Lala had said that he wasn’t expected back at Crossroads until noon for “orientation.”

    So, let’s see what I have to work with . . .

    By the time they’d arrived last night, Frid had been uninterested in the apartment beyond the fact that it had a bed—in which he’d promptly collapsed. In the light of day, he saw that the apartment was larger than he’d expected for Japan: it had a separate bedroom (with a Western-style bed, no less!) bathroom (with, again, a Western-style toilet), with a main room and attached kitchen. There was a desk in the “living room” where a computer had obviously been meant to go, but an absence where it would be, though the programming books that surrounded it were still intact. Likewise, there was a music stand, but no sheet music or sign of an instrument; evidently, those had gone with the occupant.

    (There was, however, a bizarre-looking sheep plushie on the table—what was that about . . .?)

    And to Frid’s horror, he found perishable food in the fridge—so, because he didn’t want the occupant for making such a rookie traveller’s mistake (and because he was hungry, not having really eaten since the Wolfen had been attacked), Frid cracked a couple of eggs and found what at least smelled like milk, mixed them together and started scrambling.

    So, the Exalt asked himself in the middle of cooking, what, exactly, do I need to accomplish here . . .?

    As Frid knew, he was fulfilling Morgana’s role in this world. That meant, among other things, that he had to meet Joker and mentor both him and the Phantom Thieves. This included providing information on Mementos and the Metaverse (theoretically easy), support and general life lessons (again, theoretically easy), and provide the Thieves with transportation. He was no “Monamobile,” but Stormwind Rider ought to suffice, and there were other spells he could learn to supplement or replace it . . . And in terms of combat, the Phantom Thief code-named “Mona” was a Persona user with the Wind element and healing spells; Frid thought his Charms could stand in for that well enough.

    But all of that was a general overview. In the story proper, Morgana stood for the Magician Arcana amongst Joker’s Confidants/Social Links—which Frid presumed he could do but might harm Joker’s progress if he couldn’t. Worse, Morgana was directly responsible for Haru Okumura (alias “Noir”) becoming a Phantom Thief, training her during his “runaway” phase . . .

    And how the devil do I arrange that . . .?!

    Even if Frid could somehow contrive an excuse to break from the group, he hadn’t the slightest idea how Morgana had encountered Haru, figured out how to get her into the Metaverse—the app was always Joker’s doing—or convinced her to go along with things, since it was explicitly stated in-game that no one who hadn’t been to the Metaverse could actually hear him speak . . .!

    “The joys of doing things ‘off-screen,’” the Exalt muttered to himself. “Easy way for writers to spare themselves work, not so easy for the people who actually have to figure out how to accomplish it . . .”

    In some ways, he’d have it easier than Morgana: Silver Curtain Parted let him open portals directly to the Metaverse, no navigation app required. On the other hand, he couldn’t talk in animal form period, and the reaction to an adult human male dragging off a teenage heiress would be drastically different from her following a cute kitty somewhere. Likewise, said heiress would presumably be a lot less eager to make friends with the former than the latter.

    Depending on when exactly he was, though, it was a problem for Future Him—there was a far more immediate and important one to consider.

    “Do I kill Goro Akechi,” Frid asked himself, “or not . . .?”

    The kneejerk response was, “Yes, absolutely”—he was a traitor, a murderer, and the main reason the conspiracy behind everything was as successful as it was. They might have access to Wakaba Isshiki’s “cognitive psience” research, but Akechi was the only one who actually used the Metaverse. That implied that there wasn’t a lot the conspiracy could actually do with it; because if they could send entire teams of operatives into the Metaverse to mess with people’s heads, they’d have won long ago. Instead, they relied on a single, underage agent, who built his reputation as a detective by using the Metaverse for his “deductions”—either by getting clues directly from people’s minds or twisting them to fit his narratives.

    No self-respecting conspiracy would rely on someone like that unless they had to—especially one as long-established and successful as this one. Which at least implied that if Akechi went down, they’d be very much dead in the water . . .

    The stupid thing was that it wouldn’t even be hard. Frid was fully capable of beating the bastard to death before he was likely even aware of the threat, up to and including taking that gun of his and feeding it to him, all while using an entirely random appearance (or a specific one, like, say, a Palace Ruler’s) to throw people off the scent. And that was if he wasn’t even trying to be subtle—a “random” animal attack, or a freak gust of wind “accidentally” pushing Akechi into traffic (or in front of an oncoming bullet train) wouldn’t be any harder to arrange. There were any number of ways to get rid of him, really.

    Of course, Shirou would disapprove (and possibly Shiki, though Frid couldn’t be sure about that); murder wasn’t what the Works was about, after all—very much the opposite, in fact. And Akechi had some value to Joker, as a Confident and (potentially) a friend . . . And then there was what the entity masquerading as the Holy Grail (and Igor, of course) might do if his unwitting pawn was taken off the board prematurely—that was potentially dangerous, and it was an argument very much in favour of letting the little bastard keep breathing (for now, at least).

    “Doesn’t make killing him any less tempting, though,” Frid muttered. “And stop talking to yourself—you can’t afford to reacquire that habit, and especially not here!”

    The Exalt decided that for now, at least, he’d stick with the devil he knew. The fact that Akechi didn’t know that he knew was an advantage, after all, and there was no point in tipping off his patrons (mundane and supernatural) if they were unaware of him—particularly the latter of them. And again, depending on “when,” it might not even be relevant yet . . .

    There was no sign of a calendar in the apartment; presumably, the occupant used their phone and/or laptop. But there was a TV, so Frid flipped it on and went channel-surfing for the weather channel, or a news station that would mention the date—and eventually, he found one.

    March third? The game starts in April, doesn’t it . . .?

    That sounded right, at least: the series’ timeline had followed the Japanese school year from the third game onward, and April was when it started. That meant that Frid had roughly four weeks before Joker was even due to show up in Tokyo, at minimum—enough time to learn crafting thieves’ tools, if he could find a library, and maybe work on some other things . . .

    Training time in Exalted is usually counted in terms of weeks or months, training eight hours a day—four, at minimum. It’ll be tricky, but I can probably pull it off . . . And at least Third Edition lets you train multiple things at a time, if you’re creative about it.

    (If nothing else, pushing himself to run on minimal sleep would probably help raise his Resistance score . . .)

    I sort of know what I have to work with, and what I need that I don’t have—is there anything else . . .?

    Frid went through the jacket again, wondering if he’d missed another hidden pocket—

    A fragment of stone fell out. Limestone, to be specific. flecked with a dark stain that had ingrained itself into the material.

    The Exalt blinked, puzzled—before he remembered what it was.

    The magus shape in his library (the actual owner of the “Godafrid Úa Súilleabháin” identity) had visited Čachtice Castle—prison and deathplace of the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Báthory—prior to his death (in fact, he had died there). He’d been looking for a summoning catalyst for his fiancée, Fiore Forvedge Yggdmillennia, (correctly) assuming that she was about to get involved in a Holy Grail War, and might have need of such a thing . . .

    The Exalt shook his head, mildly awed as he considered his—what would be the right term? “Predecessor?” “Progenitor?” “Original . . .?” Whatever it was, the magus had been desperately in love; desperate enough to risk summoning Elizabeth Báthory, in all her infamy, if that was the only possible way that he could protect Fiore. Unlike Frid, he’d had no prior knowledge of her potentials as a Servant; her manifesting as anything other than the Assassin Carmilla would’ve been a complete surprise—and Frid still had no doubts that he would’ve done it.

    After all, he was desperate enough to bargain away his form to me . . .

    It was, Frid thought, the primary reason why maintaining the ruse of being Fiore’s fiancé couldn’t have worked, long-term: in the end, he wasn’t that man, he didn’t love her that much—and pretending otherwise was only being cruel. Moreover, even if he could have fallen for her, and she was somehow forgiving of the deception, it seemed a callous repayment of the man who’d begged for his help.

    In any event, neither Fiore nor Frid had ended up using the catalyst, as it turned out; at least, not directly. In hindsight, its presence was probably why Mecha Eli-chan had initially appeared when he’d actually done a Servant summoning—and Mecha Eli-chan, in specific, because all the slots Elizabeth could normally fill were already occupied. The Alter Ego was the one version of her that could be summoned, by the point.

    Not that it mattered in the end, given that XX took her out before she’d even finished materialising, Frid reflected.

    Idly, the Exalt contemplated it for a moment, before tucking it back into the jacket. Given the fact that the Holy Grail in this reality was the “final boss,” there was no way in hell he was going to try summoning a Servant unless somebody was otherwise about to die—not unless he could alter the aria to specifically connect to Ilya, anyway. And while he probably could, working out the kinks would take time.

    And, the thought drifted through his mind, it’s not like the catalyst would matter even if I did manage it anyway, since she’s an Anti-He—

    Frid blinked. While things were different in Fate/Grand Order for reasons unexplained (to him, anyway), and the Moon Cell of Fate/EXTRA was an entirely different setup, the Fuyuki Grail system was supposed to be explicitly forbidden from summoning Anti-Heroes. That was, if he recalled correctly, the main thing that had tipped past Masters off to Angra Mainyu’s corruption of it; the mere presence of Servants like “Bluebeard” in the War had indicated something wrong. And the canon list of Anti-Heroes included Elizabeth Báthory, in both of her primary forms . . . As well as Jack the Ripper, otherwise known as “Assassin of Black”—

    Who had been summoned by a very much untainted Holy Grail.

    That should not have worked—not in a timeline where the Einzberns summoned Ruler instead of Avenger . . . That version of Jack the Ripper being in Fate/strange fake makes sense, because it’s based off a piece of the tainted Fuyuki Grail and a bastardised version of the ritual—and it’s no more a real Heroic Spirit than Kojiro Sasaki was . . .

    But the Trifas Grail shouldn’t have been able to call up Jack the Ripper like it did, not unless I’m misunderstanding something really badly . . .

    Frid mentally moved working out that aria up several notches on his priority list—he needed to be able to contact the Works, and he didn’t dare without making absolutely sure that he neither connected to nor alerted the other Holy Grail. Because either the Works had answers he didn’t, or worse, they had a vulnerability that they had no idea about—and that thought was flat-out terrifying.

    Like I don’t have
    enough to worry about . . .

    . . .


    Annoyingly, Frid realised, there was nothing he could actually do about it right now, unless—

    “Ilyasviel . . .?” he tried experimentally.

    The Grail spirit did not appear.

    Frid snorted. “Of course not.”

    When do I ever get a break, after all . . .?

    Reluctantly, Frid concluded that there really was nothing he could do about it—not here, not now. Not disconnected from the Works, with “the Holy Grail” in play. With those two conditions factored in, the only possible move he even had was to actually try using the catalyst and see what happened. And while any Servant could be potentially useful, most versions of Elizabeth would be far more trouble than they were worth in this situation. Not unless he could somehow guarantee summoning her Brave form, who was canonically “Chaotic Good,” anyways—or the Phantom Thief “Mistress C,” perhaps. At least she would be “on theme” for this setup . . .

    No, the Exalt decided. Even if she’s more “laid back” in her Swimsuit form, her profile states fairly openly that she’s no less dangerous to beautiful young women than normal; flat-out, letting Carmilla anywhere near Ann, Makoto, Futaba or Haru is a terrible idea . . .

    Sighing, Frid shelved the idea in his head—though he resolved to keep the stone with him. It might not have any use as a catalyst to him, but there were enough occult influences in the Persona setting—to say nothing of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise in general—that he feared what someone else might be able to do with it. This universe’s metaphysics might not be geared towards Servant summoning, but summoning was absolutely a cornerstone of magic here; it would be safer in his possession and in his sight—especially if it was stored “Elsewhere,” as Third Edition called it.

    (And besides, maybe it would turn out to be a useful consumable in the Metaverse; Luna knew, items just as bizarre had uses in Persona games that no one sane would think of, inside or outside of a fight . . .)

    His meal finished, and his musings more or less concluded—at this point, he’d basically just be thinking in circles if he kept at it—Frid cleaned up the dishes and checked the time. There were still a couple of hours until Lala expected him at Crossroads, which left him with some time to do some experimenting.

    After all, he’d need to be familiar with the subway system, given all the places that Joker would wind up needing to go . . .

    Let’s see what can be seen out there, Frid resolved.

    The Exalt grabbed the keys in the bowl next to the door and locked the apartment door behind him.








    Chihaya Mifune was bitterly regretting her decision to wander Shinjuku this early in the morning.

    Firstly, because it was early, and also March; she was not only still groggy, but cold, and her cup of subway-station-bought tea was not nearly hot enough to flush out the chill (and yet, still hot enough to scald her tongue, somehow). Secondly, because she wasn’t all that familiar with Shinjuku, and so had gotten a bit turned around—she'd tried to keep the subway station in sight as a landmark, but as people started filling the streets in earnest, she’d lost track of it.

    But the final reason she regretted it had an arm blocking her path, face screwed into what he no doubt that was a “charming” smile.

    “So, howza ‘bout it?” he finished. “I promise I’ll show you a good time . . .”

    The fortune-teller found herself speechless. Hailing as she did from a small country village (where she wasn’t all that well-regarded, no less), she had little experience with the big city, and even less at being hit on. Coupled with her “early morning brain fog,” Chihaya had no idea how to reply to this—

    “I don’t believe the lady is interested.

    The words were exactly what she needed to say, but the voice wasn’t hers; it sounded like an avalanche. And turning to see the source of it . . .

    Ho-ly—! How in tarnation did I not notice him . . .?!

    Despite her present pickle, Chihaya was no stranger to attracting attention. Forget her divine powers, her eyes were violet—exotic and eye-catching even in Tokyo, never mind her home. This guy was even more foreign, with his white skin, brown hair and blue eyes—but he also stood head and shoulders above her and was about twice as broad as anybody else on the street. The tight fit of his shirt proved that none of it was excess fat, either, despite what movies or TV said about American tourists.

    Still, the jerk didn’t seem intimidated (of course, he was taller and heavier than Chihaya, so the difference wasn’t quite as much).

    “Mind your own business, gaijin,” he sneered. “The lady and I were talking privately.

    “You were,” the pale man agreed.

    As Chihaya watched, his watery-blue eyes—the kind that seemed to reflect other colours easily—suddenly gleamed, like sunlight reflecting off a frozen lake. Though he hadn’t moved, he seemed to be looming over the other man, like a diving owl’s shadow spreading over a field mouse, and every word that emerged from his lips carried a terrible promise in them.

    “And if you value your ability to talk, or your privates, find ‘business’ elsewhere—now.

    Chihaya blinked. When she opened her eyes again, the first man was halfway down the block, and the foreigner seemed to have shrunk in on himself, that predatory presence fading like a dream . . .

    Twice in maybe twelve hours,” he muttered under his breath, presumably to himself. “I thought the Japanese were supposed to be polite . . .?

    The fortune teller reddened, both at eavesdropping and the content of what she’d heard. By the time she looked up, she found that his attention was on her—and her blush deepened, again for two reasons: first, that she hadn’t noticed his own focus shifting, and second, up close, he was kind of exotically attractive himself.

    (Not that he’d be interested in someone like her, of course . . .)

    “Sorry for the trouble, miss,” the foreigner said with unexpected sincerity, his voice not quite so deep, now—though it still ran through his tone, like an undercurrent. “Are you alright?”

    Still a bit lost in the whirlwind of events, Chihaya replied without thinking, “Jest peachy.Then her mind caught up to what she’d said—and how—and she corrected herself, “I – I mean, I’m fine, thank you!”

    Inwardly, she cursed herself. The ADP had spent a lot of time and money teaching her to lose her country dialect—it would make interacting with her customers easier, and more likely that they would take her seriously—and to have forgotten it so quickly. . .!

    At least she kept her turmoil off her face, because he didn’t seem to react to her slip.

    “That’s a relief,” he replied. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

    Chihaya briefly considered trying to convince him to buy a Holy Stone—tourists usually had the kind of money that would make the expensive trinket affordable, after all—but she hadn’t brought any with her, so there wasn’t any point.

    “No, I don’t think so,” she admitted at last.

    “All right, then,” he said, a smile spreading across his face. “Once again, I’m sorry for the trouble—you have a much better day, all right?”

    Wish it was that easy, Chihaya thought. If she wasn’t supposed to have a better day, she wouldn’t, regardless of anyone’s wishes. Fate was inescapable, in her experience.

    Still, she was half-tempted to go for her cards at his statement—if nothing else, she was curious as to what kind of fate had led someone like him to cross her path . . .

    “Oh!” she gasped as an idea occurred to her, causing the man to cease walking away and turn back—he’d only made it a step or two, so it wasn’t far.

    “Um . . .” Chihaya said, suddenly embarrassed as she realised how this might sound, but she pressed on anyway. “I—I’m setting up a fortune-telling stand here, starting next Monday. If you wanted to come by, I could read yours for free . . .?”

    “That’s very kind of you,” he said kindly. “It’s not necessary, but I’ll take you up on it if my working hours permit, all right?”

    Chihaya blinked. “Oh—you’re not a tourist?”

    “Oh, I’m very new here,” he admitted, “but I’ll be bartending at a place not far from here.” His head tilted appraisingly. “I’d extend an offer to drop by, but I’m not sure you’re old enough to drink.”

    Her cheeks blazed. “I’m legal!”

    (She wasn’t sure whether she was offended or not at being thought of as too young.)

    His smile reappeared, and that voice took on a teasing undertone that highlighted its deeper elements again. “If you have an ID that can prove that, then I’ll be happy to serve you if you drop by.”

    Chihaya’s blush intensified. “I . . . Might just do that.”

    “I’ll look forward to it, then,” he said. “The bar’s called ‘Crossroads,’ and it’s about a block or so thataway.” He pointed, and then tipped an imaginary hat. “You have a nice rest of your day, miss.”

    As he turned again, she blurted, “Chihaya!” When he turned back, she elaborated, “I’m Mifune Chihaya—Chihaya Mifune, in Western order. Please, call me Chihaya.”

    “Pleased to meet you, Chihaya-san,” he replied, doing a reasonable approximation of a polite bow for a foreigner. “My full name is a bit ridiculous to pronounce—you can call me ‘Frid.’

    “All right . . .” She felt a bit embarrassed at using what was obviously a personal nickname—to say nothing of her own behaviour in this whole encounter. “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well, Frid-san.

    He nodded. “I’ll let you get on with your day, now—until later, Chihaya-san.

    “Until later,” Chihaya repeated. Once he was out of sight, she turned around, looking for the nearest café. She needed to sit down, preferably at a table, because she really needed to see what the cards said about this latest encounter . . .

    She had a feeling that, somehow, it was incredibly important to her fate.
    Last edited by Kieran; October 31st, 2022 at 11:00 AM.
    “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




  13. #93
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
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    Ahhhh, sheep plushie is just enough of a hint that I can work out who Lala's regular is. He's a good choice for off-screen reference in Persona, there's precedent.

    Lots of introspection in the first half of the chapter. Planning and making some of the initial choices to not rock the setting too hard, at least initially. I like the little dive into Original!Godafrid, and that's a good reminder as to why summoning Mistress C was on the table. And now Godafrid gets to wrestle with that same problem you mentioned a couple months ago. Still not sure why that's happening, but hopefully you've worked something out.

    Chihaya is usually Joker's Fortune Arcana, so I have to wonder if her introduction means she'll act as something else for Godafrid. Pentacles feels relevant. At the same time, she does work next to Crossroads, so with Godafrid is establishing himself there, she is the immediate next person who it makes sense to introduce.

  14. #94
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Ahhhh, sheep plushie is just enough of a hint that I can work out who Lala's regular is. He's a good choice for off-screen reference in Persona, there's precedent.
    That was my thinking (on all counts), yes.

    And it's just enough of a reference for you to enjoy it without its mattering, if you catch my drift - which is the best kind for this sort of thing. You may find a few more, as the story goes on . . .


    Lots of introspection in the first half of the chapter. Planning and making some of the initial choices to not rock the setting too hard, at least initially.
    Yup - because, again, the easiest way to fix a lot of problems is to just murderise Akechi. Hell, given what Frid knows, killing his boss isn't necessarily impossible, when you think about it. But of course, that derails a lot of necessary developments (personal growth of people, and otherwise), so . . . *Shrugs* Even leaving aside Shirou's (likely) disapproval of such a thing, it would ultimately do more harm than good - and being Frid, he'll need occasional reminders of that (particularly in later portions of the timeline).



    I like the little dive into Original!Godafrid, and that's a good reminder as to why summoning Mistress C was on the table.
    Yup. It's a resource that exists, and will (probably) eventually find a use - though how is up for debate, still . . .

    Honestly, I actually am tempted to summon some version of Liz, because her status aside, she actually IS exactly what the Works represents (however imperfectly or half-heartedly): hope that the inevitable can be averted. That's the whole reason she's exists - because she doesn't want to BE Carmilla.

    . . . And it's Halloween, and as the official (Heroic) spirit of Halloween, she's always on my mind this time of year.


    And now Godafrid gets to wrestle with that same problem you mentioned a couple months ago. Still not sure why that's happening, but hopefully you've worked something out.
    Nasu never creates a loophole without an explanation, so there must be one, somewhere - but at the moment, what it might be still escapes me.


    Chihaya is usually Joker's Fortune Arcana, so I have to wonder if her introduction means she'll act as something else for Godafrid. Pentacles feels relevant.
    I'm not sure, yet - it seems a bit . . . "Simple?" To just slot her in there. Or perhaps she just needs more than an introduction to make the connection.


    At the same time, she does work next to Crossroads, so with Godafrid is establishing himself there, she is the immediate next person who it makes sense to introduce.
    Yes - particularly since he'll be around for at least a month, and possibly several before Joker ever meets her (in June). So ignoring her made no sense, but where it'll go yet, I'm not sure.

    I admit, working her in was a bit tricky since she's "only available at night" - but assuming she's just moving in herself gave me the preceding scene.
    “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




  15. #95
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the chapter, Kieran... sorry that I missed the update a bit more than necessary, man.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  16. #96
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Thanks for the chapter, Kieran... sorry that I missed the update a bit more than necessary, man.
    No worries - it happens.


    . . . And as a side note: while I'm still working out how to include it, the next chapter should have a VERY informative element to it that I can't wait to share . . .
    “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




  17. #97
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    :O Wow... that should be something.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  18. #98
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Hey, Kieran, what's the word on this story?
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  19. #99
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Hey, Kieran, what's the word on this story?
    He's maybe 60% complete. Maybe you should take a glance at what I wrote, while waiting? Hmm... options, options, and yet more options. You'll enjoy what he's written for sure, though!
    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: http://iwl.me/s/696f37bd

  20. #100
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    That makes sense, RB. Thanks for the heads up, man.

    Yeah, I need to read your story in full, I get that... gimme a couple days to do so?
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

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