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

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Aside from the Catholic schoolgirl look, at least . . .
    She really shares that look with Hifumi. I was wondering why it looked so distinctive.

    Are we? I'm under the impression that the War takes place in February . . .
    I was referencing this post, which said June. Though it's not necessarily the case that you're following that particular speculative direction, if you were, I'd expect the Fifth War to happen after the start of Persona 5 proper. Kasumi puts us quite close, but definitely before, the start.

  2. #62
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    She really shares that look with Hifumi. I was wondering why it looked so distinctive.
    It's just possible I have a type . . . It's also possible that type is "breathing" - no, wait, too many crushes on undead girls. Never mind.


    I was referencing this post, which said June.
    All right, that's fair.


    Though it's not necessarily the case that you're following that particular speculative direction, if you were, I'd expect the Fifth War to happen after the start of Persona 5 proper. Kasumi puts us quite close, but definitely before, the start.
    In full disclosure, up until recently, I had always assumed that the War started in early summer, based on the visible weather in the various TV shows; the Heaven's Feel films and a little subsequent research have corrected me on that front. (Hey, I am improving - I once mistook Gilgamesh for Shirou, somehow, back in the early days!)

    As such, the timing of Kasumi's "incident" - which is an undisclosed day in March, a month(-ish) before the game proper - would place it after the War, assuming that this is a fusionverse . . . And as such, Bazett would be (presumably) irrecoverable, still, having not survived Kirei.
    “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




  3. #63
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    . . . And regarding the "Ifrit Lord" pact - while the Exalted books to date have no examples of one (which is annoying, seeing as Mara is statted and described), it occurs to me that I could always use her:






    . . . She would count, right?
    “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. #64
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Yes, yes, the Angel Camael is a good idea in this case. :P
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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?

  5. #65
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Just started the series, but she's rapidly becoming my favourite character - not least because I really enjoy her dub actress. And if the books aren't going to give me a decent description of an ifrit lord, then why not . . .?

    (Hell, Date-A-Live basically combines the concept of Shiki wooing Arc with the concept of Heroic Spirits, when you think about it.)
    Last edited by Kieran; October 7th, 2022 at 09:23 PM.
    “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. #66
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    That sounds about right to me.
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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?

  7. #67
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Are you doing okay, Kieran? I hope it's just a case of having an off-day, 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?

  8. #68
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Sorcery Path: Arcana of Human Nature

    Through observation or the whims of fate, the sorcerer has stepped on the path of discovery of humans, human nature, and the ineffable ties which can bind them—and the strengths that such ties can bring. Though it is a more subtle path than some, there is power in it, nevertheless; miracles can be born from the smallest of acts, the merest of coincidences, true knowledge of oneself and others, and the will to see one’s path through.


    Shaping Ritual: The sorcerer draws power from those he is connected to. The Essence of their bonds is clay in his hands, taking form in his sorcery. Whenever he takes a shape sorcery action while within the context of an Intimacy (such as to defend a friend, or while reminiscing on something learned or done in that friend’s company), he may reap additional sorcerous motes equal to that Intimacy’s value (for example, four motes from a Defining Tie). Intimacies can only be tapped for motes in this fashion once per day, and the sorcerer cannot harvest power from a Tie that has no relevance to the situation. Normally he may only drain one Intimacy to fuel the casting of a spell, but he may draw power from any available Intimacies when casting his control spell. He cannot draw more than ten sorcerous motes per scene with this ritual.


    Merits



    Note:
    The sorcerer must have a bond relating to the appropriate Arcana before the benefit of the Merit can be applied.

    Arcane Elements ** (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) – The basic building blocks of the world are reflected in human nature and recognising this allows the sorcerer to focus or diffuse them when encountered. When casting a spell that creates or manipulates the element as its primary effect, or summons a related elemental (Air/Swords, Earth/Pentacles, Fire/Wands, Water/Cups), the cost of a spell is lowered by three motes. If it is his control spell, they may waive one Willpower point of its cost once per day.

    Blessing of the Arcana ** (Cups, Pentacles, Swords, Wands) – The length and breadth of the human experience has begun to open to the sorcerer, allowing them to add non-Charm bonus dice to any roll which applies to the following:


    Physical rolls: Pentacles
    Mental rolls: Swords
    Social rolls: Cups
    Willpower: Wands


    These bonus dice may be applied to any single roll per day and are determined by the strength of the related Intimacy (one for a Minor Tie, two for a Major, three for a Defining Tie). No more than four rolls per day can be made for any given Arcana.










    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Are you doing okay, Kieran? I hope it's just a case of having an off-day, man.
    Partly that, partly work, partly Thanksgiving, partly binging Date A Live, and partly developing a sore throat over the weekend . . . Plenty of excuses, I know, but the other element is that this fic takes longer to write because of the formatting - since I'm manually double-spacing, it's taking me longer to make sure I have the amount of material I think a chapter should have, rather than just hitting 10 pages and thinking "OK, done!"

    . . . In any case, I hope this is some consolation for the wait.
    “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




  9. #69
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    I understand, Kieran. Thanks for the heads up.

    Yes, the above information is a decent consolation prize, man. I honestly hope that you can expand on it, and even give Kotori some time to shine as well.
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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

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  10. #70
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    I understand, Kieran. Thanks for the heads up.
    You're welcome. I don't like being unproductive, it's just hard to get the time and energy to focus with so much else . . .


    Yes, the above information is a decent consolation prize, man. I honestly hope that you can expand on it, and even give Kotori some time to shine as well.
    That would require changing his Sorcery Path . . . And really, please don't encourage me to bring Date A Live into this - this is going to be complicated enough as it is . . .
    “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. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Sorcery Path: Arcana of Human Nature
    Mmm. Those are individually stronger-looking than equivalent Sorcery Path abilities, but you only get 1 Shaping Ritual and 2 Merits, even if they are quite strong. Reverse-Mara is obviously a strong effect, but since that's all you get for shaping, it's limited. I love the "in the context of an intimacy" condition. Very flavorful, though still pretty broadly applicable, especially since reminiscing counts.

    Arcane Elements looks like a Suzerain of Endless Flame or Ever-Blossoming Mastery, but since it scales up to be apply to several elements, quite strong. It's a big jump on establishing a first bond of each kind.

    Blessing of the Arcane can be applied up to 4 times per Arcana per day, with scaling bonus dice for each variety of Tie? (there seems to be a contradiction, I'm seeing both "any single roll per day" and "no more than four rolls per day"? Is this related to the Court cards, one roll per bond?)
    This seems quite strong; since it gives you non-Charm dice, that's not just offsetting paying motes for Excellencies, but lets you add on top of a full Excellency usage? Though it also scales up the slowest; Elements relies on the variety of Intimacies, Shaping Ritual on their number and strength, but Blessing relies on variety and strength together (and possibly number). I'd imagine it would take a long time for that to reach its full potential, especially if my guess about one roll per bond is correct.

    Partly that, partly work, partly Thanksgiving, partly binging Date A Live, and partly developing a sore throat over the weekend . . . Plenty of excuses, I know, but the other element is that this fic takes longer to write because of the formatting - since I'm manually double-spacing, it's taking me longer to make sure I have the amount of material I think a chapter should have, rather than just hitting 10 pages and thinking "OK, done!"
    I was going to figure Thanksgiving. Formatting is an interesting problem though.

  12. #72
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Mmm. Those are individually stronger-looking than equivalent Sorcery Path abilities, but you only get 1 Shaping Ritual and 2 Merits, even if they are quite strong. Reverse-Mara is obviously a strong effect, but since that's all you get for shaping, it's limited. I love the "in the context of an intimacy" condition. Very flavorful, though still pretty broadly applicable, especially since reminiscing counts.
    I tried to look at as if it might be used in an actual game; hence, the mechanic is meant to encourage "roleplaying," in the same sense that stunts are - elaborate description, but this time tying back into the character's motivations and circumstances. At the same time, it's meant to encourage actually gaining and developing those bonds - he can't do anything with them if he doesn't have them, after all . . . Which also makes it an excuse for him to socialise, and talk to people.


    Arcane Elements looks like a Suzerain of Endless Flame or Ever-Blossoming Mastery, but since it scales up to be apply to several elements, quite strong. It's a big jump on establishing a first bond of each kind.
    True, but o be fair, I've been operating under the assumption that he actually needs to buy a Merit with XP - it's not automatically handed over just because the Arcana Bond suddenly exists.


    Blessing of the Arcane can be applied up to 4 times per Arcana per day, with scaling bonus dice for each variety of Tie? (there seems to be a contradiction, I'm seeing both "any single roll per day" and "no more than four rolls per day"? Is this related to the Court cards, one roll per bond?)
    Yes - one roll for every Page (or Damosel/Prince/Princess), Knight/Knave, Queen and King "card" he has.


    This seems quite strong; since it gives you non-Charm dice, that's not just offsetting paying motes for Excellencies, but lets you add on top of a full Excellency usage? Though it also scales up the slowest; Elements relies on the variety of Intimacies, Shaping Ritual on their number and strength, but Blessing relies on variety and strength together (and possibly number). I'd imagine it would take a long time for that to reach its full potential, especially if my guess about one roll per bond is correct.
    Yup - as I said, it's meant to make him (want to) work at it.


    I was going to figure Thanksgiving. Formatting is an interesting problem though.
    It is, because I forget half the time, and then wonder why something looks wrong - or I'll count up pages and find that it's not nearly as many as I think it is . . . Things like that.
    “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. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    I tried to look at as if it might be used in an actual game; hence, the mechanic is meant to encourage "roleplaying," in the same sense that stunts are - elaborate description, but this time tying back into the character's motivations and circumstances. At the same time, it's meant to encourage actually gaining and developing those bonds - he can't do anything with them if he doesn't have them, after all . . . Which also makes it an excuse for him to socialise, and talk to people.
    Oh absolutely, the "reflect on your friends before the final fight" trope is heavily used by Persona, and this leans into it.

    True, but o be fair, I've been operating under the assumption that he actually needs to buy a Merit with XP - it's not automatically handed over just because the Arcana Bond suddenly exists.
    This is one of those very basic system details that I miss by not actually playing Exalted/having a grounding in the basic system rules. If you have to purchase Sorcery Path merits, especially if this is one purchase per suit, that's considerably weaker.

    Yes - one roll for every Page (or Damosel/Prince/Princess), Knight/Knave, Queen and King "card" he has.
    Lovely. That's quite slow scaling, so cheating dice pool caps seems not-unreasonable.

  14. #74
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Oh absolutely, the "reflect on your friends before the final fight" trope is heavily used by Persona, and this leans into it.
    That was the idea, obviously; pleased to see you find it appropriate.


    This is one of those very basic system details that I miss by not actually playing Exalted/having a grounding in the basic system rules. If you have to purchase Sorcery Path merits, especially if this is one purchase per suit, that's considerably weaker.
    I'm not sure that your original interpretation (i.e., they're automatically bestowed) isn't correct - I don't find the text to be clear. But for my purposes, I'm assuming they need to be bought - they're simply available to him as a part of the path.


    Lovely. That's quite slow scaling, so cheating dice pool caps seems not-unreasonable.
    That was my thought, yes.
    “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. #75
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Something wrong with your life over there, Kieran?
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  16. #76
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    He threw some pre-reading at me, to make sure he got characterization right, today. So it's just a little slow in making sure characterization is right, etc. etc.

    You might recall how Fate/Anarchy went slow at times from research? (Not to even mention Shattered Paths, and how THAT'S going...) Same deal here.
    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

  17. #77
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Okay, yeah, I understand. Thanks for the clarification.
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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?

  18. #78
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Chapter 5 – Fateful Meetings

    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.









    Church of St. Michael (“Kanda Church”)
    Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
    March 2, 2004









    It began with feeling a chill on her skin.

    Not freezing, by any means; in fact, it felt rather invigorating, if she was truthful—and that confused her. She looked around, up, wondering if perhaps she’d simply crossed a shadowed patch in the church itself . . .

    Was it, she wondered, some element of the night outside seeping through the stained glass, perhaps?

    But no—the day was late, but it was not yet dark. The golden light of the sun, drowning as it was in red, had yet to disappear, and it still provided a faint sense of warmth when she stepped into its rays. Try and she might, she could find no physical cause for the sensation . . . And in her case, that would normally imply something very specific—but that didn’t feel right, either.

    Caren Hortensia had been trained exactingly in determining the difference between a mundane reaction to stimuli and that of a true manifestation. It wouldn’t do, after all, to be mistaken . . . And if that was because her superiors were more concerned about cleaning up unnecessary collateral damage than preserving innocent lives, she’d long ago accepted that it was for God to judge them for it, not herself.

    (Not that it stopped her, but that was what her evening prayers were for.)

    Did she feel something, or was it simply nerves? 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 . . .

    Then again, neither would the presence of a daemon—quite the opposite, in fact.

    Caren began pacing the church, trying to see if the sensation changed with her position; proximity mattered when it came to possessions, whereas emotional reactions were omnipresent. Eventually, she found herself heading outside, where her breath began to mist—but that, she suspected, was due to the March chill more than any supernatural reasons.

    More than a little puzzled, and beginning to get frustrated, the nun turned her eyes heavenward.

    “Oh, Heavenly Father, forgive me,” she murmured, “for I am but a frail mortal, and Your wisdom often confounds me. If You, in Your beneficence, could grant me a clearer sign—”

    A loud screech and a not-insignificant thud immediately followed her request.

    She half-spun around to see that a bird had fallen from a tree, before tilting her face heavenward once again. “Thank you, Lord.”

    Caren resumed her inspection of the bird warily, though her expression betrayed none of that, of course. It was some species of owl, beyond that, she couldn’t identify it with any certainty; more importantly, it seemed not to be a familiar, lacking any of the abnormalities in its appearance that would mark it as a magus’ creation. Still, it was certainly unusual, as it seemed unhurt by its fall, instead rolling to its feet while managing to keep its eyes locked on her despite the contortions it was undertaking. It was quite unsettling to watch.

    The owl continued to stare at her, though, making the nun consider whether she’d been wrong in dismissing it as a familiar. It seemed too fixated on her . . . But perhaps that was just the reaction of a wild animal to an unknown, keeping its attention on a potential threat? Caren didn’t know enough about animal behaviour to say for certain—save for humans, of course.

    (She was quite familiar with what beasts they could be . . .)

    For a moment, girl and bird stared at one another silently—before it abruptly exploded into flight, winging with eerie silence upwards and across the sky until the rooftops hid it from view.

    . . . And with it went the odd sensation in her chest—as though clouds had swept across the Moon.

    “How curious,” Caren murmured to herself, still trying to define the feeling for herself.

    It had been a supernatural sensation, after all—but utterly lacking in the sense of malice that her condition usually evoked. Cold, yes, distant and impersonal, certainly; but not hostile in and of itself. She had never before encountered such a feeling, and had no idea what it might mean. Being a woman of faith, she was hardly superstitious, but Caren couldn’t help but consider the encounter an omen. The problem was, she couldn’t decide what kind; in Italy, where she’d grown up, owls were considered an ill omen; however, she’d read that in Japan they were considered lucky . . .

    So, depending upon which element of her heritage she wished to rely on, this was either good or bad—but it was undoubtedly significant somehow.

    She glanced upwards again. “You truly do work in mysterious ways, O Lord . . .”








    What freaking deity have I offended, exactly? Frid thought, more than a little hysterically, as he flew in no particular direction—away was the important part.

    I’d like to say I got a concussion from landing on my head, and she was just a hallucination, but seeing her is the reason I fell in the first place . . .!

    It made no sense—Caren Hortensia was a TYPE-MOON character, in no way, shape or form related to Persona 5, or the franchise in general. TYPE-MOON didn’t even associate with Atlus, the game’s publisher—given the popularity of both Persona 5 and Fate/Grand Order, a crossover event would’ve made big headlines, and Frid, while hardly up to date on such things, hadn’t even heard the concept mentioned.

    The closest thing I ever came across was that one fanfic on Beast’s Lair—and it was a Persona 4 fusion . . .

    No, there was absolutely no even-remotely-applicable reason for anyone from the Nasuverse, let alone a (relatively) minor character like Kirei Kotomine’s daughter, to be found in this scenario—and even if there had been, she’d likely have looked something closer to her appearance in the Prisma Illya series, since Persona 5 took place either 8 or 12 years (depending on how you reckoned the dates) after Fate/hollow ataraxia did . . .

    No, no reason at all—SO WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE DOING HERE . . .?!

    Frid discovered to his dismay that owls were apparently perfectly capable of hyperventilating.

    It wasn’t just that Caren was, in herself, an intimidating character; and between her connection to the Holy Church and its Executors and her own personality, she definitely was. No, the main issue was that if she was here, then everything he knew and expected of what was about to happen with the Phantom Thieves was so far out of whack that it was a joke . . .

    And more to the point, the two series’ cosmology was . . . OK, maybe not fundamentally incompatible, but it would require a certain amount of adaptation and/or interpretation for both to be considered functional simultaneously. Maybe it would make more sense in an EXTRA universe, where traditional magecraft and magical phenomena had been phased out in favour of digital “codecasting.” Even there, though, that seemed more in line with the core Shin Megami Tensei series, or one of the other spinoffs, like Digital Devil Saga or Soul Hackers.

    (. . . Of course, if he would up in most of those, Frid would be clueless as to what was going on—his memories of Digital Devil Saga were over two decades old, he’d never finished SMT III, and never played any of the rest—so, small favours, he supposed.)

    So, why in the world would Caren be here, when there wasn’t any reason for her world’s concepts to exist, much less herself . . .?

    [Excellencies: Intelligence, Wits]

    Essence churned furiously within the Exalt, and for a moment, the experience of actually being smarter, thinking faster (in the latter case, faster than a mortal brain actually could) left him dumbfounded—

    Then the urgency of his question caught up with him, and he dedicated all that supernaturally enhanced brainpower towards answering it—because if he was going to accomplish anything, he needed to know what the hell was going on here!

    . . . What did he call it? “The Law of Conservation of Realities?”

    It was truly sad that Frid’s only possible explanation came from fan fiction, but he was hardly a student of the Kaleidoscope’s principles, quantum physics, or possessing the stupidly vast intuition of his former druid persona. He had to work with what he had—which was basically a little bit of cunning, a lot of esoteric (and largely useless) trivia, and more creativity than was probably healthy. Certainly, his imagination appeared to have ADHD, more often than not . . .

    Not important, Frid reminded himself firmly. But it does seem like that “law” applies.

    Essentially, the idea went that even in the infinite possibilities of the multiverse, creating unique and distinct individuals each and every time was too much work—as such, it tended to fill in the gaps by using already-existing ones as placeholders. And as said placeholders often weren’t the “main focus,” it didn’t matter if the ones used wouldn’t normally belong in said universe, because the elements that normally made them important weren’t relevant. They were just there to be a face in the crowd, so to speak.

    As such, Frid concluded, you might find, say, Caren Hortensia serving as a nun in a church where the resident clergy weren’t actually shown in-game, but it obviously had to have some in order to be a real, functioning church in a real world. She wouldn’t be a member of the Burial Agency, or necessarily have supernatural powers, but much like the AIs in Fate/EXTRA, to all intents and purposes, she’d be Caren to anyone who’d recognise her.

    That made some kind of sense, at least—though the choice of Caren, of all possible people, was still a bit unusual. Given that with her colouring, she could normally pass for a resident of the Velvet Room . . .

    After a bit of thought, Frid concluded that that was probably his fault—after all, given how many times had Rin complained about getting a migraine because of the effects his “metaphysical weight” had on reality whenever she’d tried examining him, it was just possible he’d “bent” things to have a TYPE-MOON focus, given where he’d come from. It certainly would make more sense than drawing characters or concepts from Exalted, given the setting—but in the final analysis, this was a Persona universe, and that would be what mattered going forward, regardless of whoever he may or may not encounter.

    And as to the church’s appearance in the Metaverse . . . Maybe that was just how a site where Joker would meet his Confidants looked. He hadn’t exactly taken a close examination of it, nor seen anywhere else to compare it to, yet.

    A weight off his mind, Frid sighed, and looked around.

    Now, back to my original problem—where am I, exactly, and how do I get to Yongen-Jaya from here . . .?








    Avalon Castle, Phantasmagoria Island (Grail Works. Ltd. Headquarters)
    Beyond the boundaries of time and space (yet approximately the same time)










    Sempai?” Shirou turned from the sink at the sound of Sakura’s voice and was nearly facing her when she followed up with “He’s awake.”

    “That’s great!” Shirou said excitedly. His first successful attempt at saving someone . . . Well, OK, it had mainly been Sakura, Rin and Ilya doing it, but it was still something they were able to do because of this place he’d been given—so it was a start!

    And speaking of Sakura . . .

    “And how are you?” he asked. “I may not know much about magecraft, but I know it can’t have been easy to do that—”

    “N – no, it’s fine, Sempai!” Sakura said hurriedly. “In fact, I kind of feel better than I have in a long while, after that!”

    Shirou looked at her, and the way she was trying to hold herself up, rather than slump against the wall, or against Rider behind her. Even he knew that operating magic circuits was a brutal effort, and what she’d done (however she’d actually accomplished it) almost had to be a lot more complicated than anything he’d ever tried. She was blinking so fast it was obvious that her eyes were drooping—

    Shirou paused. Maybe it was the light, or something to do with the strobe effect that her eyelids were creating, but were Sakura’s eyes a bit bluer than violet . . .?

    His train of thought was interrupted by a figure coming up behind the two girls, one which stood nearly a head taller than Rider, and therefore towered over the petite magus. Dusk-skinned, he was compactly built despite his height, with lithe muscles that were poorly hidden by the homespun-looking garments he wore. His ears were pointed, but a lot shorter than anime had led him to believe elves’ ears actually were. His roughly styled hair was white, with sky-blue highlights; and while the almond shape of his eyes was familiar, their lapis lazuli colour, flecked with gold, was not.

    Shirou had seen the figure before—or hints of him, at least. The man (being?) had been a bit fluid in his appearance and composition, apparently due to a “fusion of existence”—but it looked as though Sakura had managed to stabilise him, finally. He certainly looked impressive; like a high-end cosplayer, if nothing else. From how Rin and Ilya had described what they’d learned of him, that was kind of what he was—just on a much bigger scale . . .

    “Emiya Shirou,” the being said, his voice a contralto rumble contained hints of something growling in its lower register, while remaining strangely musical. “Mine senses dazzle me, yet I cannot doubt them; ‘tis thee in truth. I know not wherefore I hath arrived ‘pon these distant shores, yet ‘tis plain that I am in thy debt.”

    Shirou did recognise that he spoke Japanese, but the dialect . . . Well, to put it mildly, it was very archaic. Still, the last part was easier to parse, and he was quick to refute it.

    “You don’t owe me anything,” he said firmly. “You needed help, and that’s what we’re here for.”

    “No less wouldst I expect from thee,” the stranger said with an amused tone, “yet whilst I am new-formed in many respects, I find the twain roots of mine nature grow alike in their scorn of debts. Nature itself demands a balance in all things, young Emiya—and for mine gifts, I am bound to its dictates.” He smiled. “Prithee, how might I be of service . . .?”

    Shirou stared and met a wall of resistance that he’d only seen equalled in Saber when it came to the concept of missing meals. It might even be stronger than that, but he wasn’t sure that was possible (and was honestly afraid to find out, no matter what the answer was). The guy wasn’t going to just give up the idea; that much was clear.

    “Well, maybe you could,” Shirou said uneasily. “Depending on what all it is that you can actually do . . . Although, it would be easier if we knew your name.

    “I hath several, potentially,” the stranger admitted, “But as they are both pale descriptors of mine present self, and a pox ‘pon the ears to pronounce for such as thee, if thou wouldst permit me, I will perforce rely ‘pon an epithet in thine own tongue. Thou mayest but speak ‘Kurai,’ and I shalt answer forthwith.”

    “Dark,” Shirou heard. It sounded like a name devised by someone with middle-schooler syndrome, but at the same time, looking at the tone of his skin, the would-be hero could hardly say it wasn’t accurate . . .

    “I guess that’ll do,” he conceded. “It’s nice to meet you. Welcome to . . . Well, to be honest, I’m not sure what to call this thing we’re doing—but the simplest way to describe it is this . . .”








    Bar Crossroads
    Shinjuku, Tokyo
    Four hours later









    Lala Escargot had been tending bar a long time and knew how to spot trouble. Usually, things were kept well in hand—force of personality went a long way, where Lala was concerned, and the rep that came with it had a force all its own—but nobody won all the time. If that was the case, bartenders would be out of business . . .

    The evening started like usual; a few of the regulars came in, Ohya perching on her usual stool. The odd new face wandered in, as well: a student, hoping their fake ID might work, a tourist wanting to see what the place was like—or in one case, just lost and looking for directions. He’d been nice enough to buy a drink first before asking, and a second for the road, tucking himself away in a quiet corner to finish it before he left, having paid and tipped in advance.

    That made him remarkable, in Lala’s estimation—why couldn’t there be more tourists like him?—but really, she hadn’t thought to pay him too much attention. He was remarkable, but not really memorable . . .

    Until the latest bunch came in: a sixpack of wannabe yakuza who smelled like they’d already been kicked out of at least one bar tonight, and loud enough to cut through even Ohya’s buzz. She was seemingly vacillating between using her phone to call the cops or take pictures, while most of her regulars fled to the nearest exit or hidey-hole, and Lala was sizing them up—unfortunately, the odds did not look good . . .

    Gentlemen,” came a voice from the corner, “and I use the term very loosely, I’ve had a very long day, and I was enjoying a quiet drink—I would very much like to keep doing so.”

    “Is that your fancy way of telling us to shut up?” the leader of the punks said. He stormed over to the corner stool and loomed over the tourist, while his friends crowded around. “You don’t know who you’re talking to—howzabout you shut up, before we do it for you?”

    In response, the tourist slid off the stool, and stood up—

    Lala blinked. In a single movement, the tourist had somehow gone from “average guy” to “action hero.” He was at least a head taller than anyone else in the bar and built like one of those American superheroes—a minor flexing as he stood displayed muscles that looked like they could crush the bowl holding the bar nuts, never mind the nuts themselves. But it was his eyes that really stunned—an ice-cold, merciless gaze that fixed upon the leader like a bird of prey upon a mouse, just waiting for the wrong twitch to swoop down on it.

    “You don’t know who you’re talking to,” the tourist warned. “Last chance to walk away before you learn the meaning of the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss.’

    Lala tensed, knowing that things like that could escalate a situation as or more often than they worked—

    But the tourist apparently had the luck of the gods, because they broke and outright ran, rather than call his bluff.

    (Though Lala was fairly certain that it hadn’t been—admittedly, whether he could’ve followed through was a different story, but looking at him, his confidence was understandable.)

    “Sorry for the scene,” the tourist said, bowing in a credible effort. “I hope they don’t cause you further trouble. When I get settled, I’ll give you my number so that the police can contact me if you wish to file a report against them—but it might take me a couple of days . . .”

    “Where did you say you were going?” Lala asked.

    “I’m trying to get to Yongen-Jaya,” the tourist answered. “I know a few of the locals, and I’m hoping one of them will have work for me—at best, be willing to put me up until I can find some.”

    “Can you mix drinks?” Lala demanded. “Good as you’d be at it, I don’t usually have much call for a bouncer here—but I can always use another bartender.”

    “No,” he admitted—before picking up his empty glass, twirling it around across the back of his hand, then tossing it up to catch it, balanced and spinning, on the index finger of his opposite hand.

    “But if you’re willing to teach me, I can make it look fantastic,” he said, smirking.

    WOO!” Ohya hooted approvingly, apparently having downed enough after the panic died down to regain her earlier level of intoxication. “Drinks and a show? Lala, you gotta hire this guy . . .!”

    Lala shrugged. “Job’s yours if you want it, kid—and as for a place to crash . . .”

    “He could always come home with me,” Ohya suggested flirtatiously.

    “You really want to put someone else through suffering through your hangovers?” Lala fired back. “No, one of my regulars owes me a favour I can cash in—it won’t be much, but it’ll be a roof over your head.”

    “. . . I appreciate the kindness,” the tourist said.

    “Don’t thank me—you haven’t seen your paycheque yet,” Lala warned, before grinning. “But in any case, welcome to Crossroads! The name’s Lala Escargot—what’s yours?”

    “My name is . . . Well, complicated to pronounce—I mostly go by ‘Frid,’

    “I’ll still need it for the official paperwork,” Lala warned, “but for right now, that’s fine. Have a seat at the bar while I make a call—with any luck, we can get you settled in tonight.”

    “. . . Thank you,” Frid said, sounding almost dazed by how quickly this was moving,













    As the ethereal voice echoed in his ears, Frid had only one thought.

    . . . What the hell was THAT?!










    Additional Writer's Notes: Sorry - it took a bit longer than I wanted to get this all down. And as you might guess, it was Caren's characterisation I was worried about. Since I mainly know her through her appearance in Prisma Illya and a few clips of Carnival Phantasm (I really need to watch that in full, one day), I'm not entirely convinced I did her properly . . .
    Last edited by Kieran; October 17th, 2022 at 07:56 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




  19. #79
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the chapter, Kieran. Now, though... is Caren going to be a Social Link of Frid's?

    Also, while on the topic of Social Links, is the one that Frid made at the end with a canonical person of P5 in any way, shape, or form?
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    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    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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  20. #80
    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. Now, though... is Caren going to be a Social Link of Frid's?
    It's probable . . .


    Also, while on the topic of Social Links, is the one that Frid made at the end with a canonical person of P5 in any way, shape, or form?
    Yes, Lala is (and I'm avoiding using pronouns for obvious reasons).


    I figured it was either this bar, or "The Stray Sheep," which is canon (technically, at least) to the Persona universe - but given TYPE-MOON's stance on gods . . .

    It's a pity, really . . I keep having this scene in my head of Ereshkigal walking into The Stray Sheep, seeing Catherine at work, and exploding "Just WHAT do you think you're doing, young lady?" - to which Catherine replies, panicked, "MOM?!"
    “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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