Last time, you stopped by the Church and learned that Assassin tried to kill the overseer, as well as about the bounty now on Assassin's head. What about now?===Info Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1L5-s3EIlzJJ2Mt_wQLDV-6oH0Y4fFHHBhQUd_2_3RTA/pub===You mull over your options. While the Command Seal that Elena is offering in exchange for Assassin's head is tempting, not to mention the added bonus of being on good terms with a Church Knight-Captain, seeking out an enemy you know little about is still far from ideal, especially someone like Assassin who will do everything he can to avoid a direct fight. After your question on what her plan is, Xuan gives a slight shrug in reply, crossing her arms behind her head. "Well, if the Master of Assassin is who I think it is, then my Servant and I don't exactly have good compatibility with him on either level. It's just an annoying fight unless I try something that I'd rather avoid doing." She says dismissively. "So, I probably won't bother. As much as I'd love to help our darling little overseer, it's just not worth the risk for me. Mm, if you like though, I can give you a piece of information about who I think the Master is...well, if you can make it worth my while. It's in my best interests if they die anyway, since they're the pair most annoying to me."You consider Xuan's offer; not being in the dark as much is a tempting benefit, but what can you even give her in exchange? A Command Seal is an obvious one, but also a heavy cost that is worth far more than this information. Alternatively, you could accept her alliance offer, but that would certainly upset Kiyohime. You could just deny her offer, certainly, but that means finding Assassin will be all the harder.  Offer a Command Seal. Offer an alliance. Decline Xuan's offer.
>>48084133>DeclineThat offer is complete shit. Why in the world should we pay you to remove a dangerous to you?
>>48084133Fuck you Xuan, we're not doing work for you
>>48084133Yeah, let's decline.
"I'll find him on my own, if I decide to look for him at all, thanks." You reply to Xuan, not bothering to disguise the trace of irritation in your voice, both to please your dear partner and because her offer is honestly just detrimental to you. From it, Xuan gets the benefit of a danger to her being removed as well as whatever you offer her, while all you get is the Command Seal from Elena; it's hardly a fair deal. Xuan shrugs in reply. "Well, suit yourself. If you ever reconsider, though, you know where to find me. Nice talking to you, Elena~" She hums, turning and moving to exit the church with a wave to the overseer, leaving you, Elena, and Kiyohime in the Church.  Ask Elena about Xuan, why does she trust her? Tell Elena you'll try and find Assassin. Say your farewells, you don't have much time before nightfall (specify next location).
>>48084755>[x] Ask Elena about Xuan, why does she trust her?Maybe we can slyly get some info about her that way.
>>48084755>Ask Elena about Xuan, why does she trust her?
>>48084755Ask about Xuan
After Xuan's left, you let out a rather exasperated groan. Really, that woman is bordering on being unbearable; you can understand where Kiyohime's coming from all the better now. "Why do you even trust her so much?" You mutter, glancing over to Elena questioningly.In reply, Elena looks to you with a decent amount of surprise. "Hm? Do you not, or something?" She asks, seeming to look at you as if you'd just said that you didn't believe in gravity or that you thought space was really just a hologram. "I mean, she's probably about as trustworthy as a participant's going to be, right? Sages tend to be like that, though I've only ever met a handful."You manage to not let your sense of victory show. You've finally gotten some bit of information on Xuan, even if it might just be a mistake on Elena's part. A sage, it's hardly a standardized term but among magi it's generally used to refer to people outside the field of magecraft who have lengthened their lifespan and gained special wisdom through one method or another. If nothing else, it fits Xuan saying she didn't know magecraft and was over three hundred years old, though you can't be sure if she just lied to Elena about that or not; the overseer doesn't seem that clever, to be honest.  Try and see if you can squeeze a bit more information out of Elena while you're at it.  Ask Elena how she survived the assassination attempt. A human shouldn't be able to survive against a Servant, even an Assassin.  Head out (specify location).
>>48084917>[X] Head out (Einzbern forest).We haven't annoyed them yet, I guess? I believe it was mentioned in the last thread or two that going there during the day would be pointless.
>>48084917Let's go see if Feend's home. If he's not, we can burn the place down.
>>48084917> Try and see if you can squeeze a bit more information out of Elena while you're at it.
Rolled 1 (1d2)Two votes to leave, so 1 for forest, 2 for the house in Shinto.
Saying your farewells to Elena, you head out for the forest at the west end of town. Given that it's on the other side of Fuyuki, though, by the time you make it to the forest night has just about fallen; the last bits of sunlight will be gone in half an hour or so. As you progress through the forest, neither you nor Kiyohime manage to see anything out of the ordinary, though of course you're only in the shallower area of the forest itself. As such, you're faced with a decision as you stop outside of the Bounded Fields of the Einzbern. You can continue deeper into the forest, but that leaves you in unfamiliar foreign territory at night, which could be dangerous. Alternatively, you can just head out of the forest right as night falls, and either return to the Tohsaka household, or search somewhere else in the city.  Press on into the Einzbern territory. Head out and go somewhere safer.
>>48085300>[X] Press on into the Einzbern territory.They might see it as hostile, but maybe we can get on their good side.
>>48085300Let's head back, I'm paranoid after our death
>>48085300>[X] Press on into the Einzbern territory.But let's be careful
Somewhat hesitantly, you continue on into the forest, entering the Bounded Field of the Einzberns. They no doubt no you're here now, thanks to that, so you need to keep your eye out in case someone tries to catch you unaware. Kiyohime stands at your side, ready to protect you at a moment's notice. After only a few minutes, though, you feel a familiar burning from your Command Seals, while Kiyohime tenses up at the same time. A Master and a Servant are nearby, though not so close that you can locate them. Kiyohime, though, seems to be troubled. "Something's...wrong. There's only one Servant there, but it feels like that one is...fighting?"Casting out your threads of consciousness, you confirm that there only seems to be one magus in the immediate area, about a ten minute walk away, quicker if you run. Still though, one Master and one Servant, and Kiyohime thinks the Servant is fighting? That's certainly...worrying. Head forwards, but be cautious instead of running in. Head forwards as quickly as you can, you can't afford to miss whatever's happening. Turn back.
>>48085536Stay cautious. We don't want to draw attention to ourselves.
>>48085536>[X] Head forwards, but be cautious instead of running in.
You decide to go for the rational choice, heading in cautiously and tentatively rather than going in guns blazing. The last thing you want to do is be lured into a trap or attacked while hastily running towards the Master and Servant. With that, you and Kiyohime carefully proceed through the forest. ...it comes as a surprise, then, when after just over five minutes of walking, the burning of your Command Seals stops. You hastily throw out your threads of consciousness again, but find...nothing. Whoever it was, the magus that was there doesn't seem to be anymore, and yet Kiyohime tells you that the Servant is still present. Once more, you're faced with the same question. Hurry forwards, something's happening.  Continue carefully, it could be a trap.
>>48085606>[X] Hurry forwards, something's happening.
>>48085606We either fucked up, or we're being rused. Let's book it, we're not missing the action.
>>48085606>[X] Hurry forwards, something's happening.Let's go
Something's happening up ahead, and regardless of what it is, you can't afford to miss a chance to get more information. At your command, Kiyohime hefts you up and runs forwards, carrying you far faster than you could run with your weak human body, though not so fast that you snap your neck or pass out. She slows down as you near the place where she still senses the Servant, whose presence she says is weakening by the second. You press forwards, peering through the trees, and...Before you is a castle, wreathed in layer upon layer of Bounded Fields, but that isn't what catches your eye. What catches your eye isn't the castle, nor the puddle of blood that soaks the grass before its steps, nor the man covered head to toe in European armor that looks to just predate the Middle Ages. No, what catches your eye is what covers the entirety of the space immediately before the castle. Glinting, silver threads, wires, whatever they are, fill the air. Like a living web, they barely leave any room to breathe as they whip around and cut through the air, striking at the armored man. He wields a lance in his hands, a simple thing with a glinting tip, as though some sort of poison or such thing is leaking from it. The man fights valiantly, and keeps the wires from his neck, but is only barely managing to do so, even with skill that dwarfs Kiyohime's own by far. What's more, now that you're at this distance, you can feel it; his prana is fading with each passing second, and without a Master to anchor him to the world, he is soon to fade. The wires are no doubt the work of Assassin, but there are so many of them that intersect and tangle over each other, coming into the clearing before the castle on all sides, that you can't even trace backwards to follow them back to Assassin. All the same, they don't seem to have noticed you yet; that, or they're simply ignoring you to focus on the man with the lance. (Cont)
>>48085738You activate your Master's Clairvoyance. At the verge of death, the Lancer is making use of all of his abilities, so everything save for his name and Noble Phantasm is made apparent to you. >Class: Lancer>STR: B >END: A >AGI: B >MAG: D >LCK: E >Magic Resistance: C >Battle Continuation: A >Eye of the Mind (True): BYou only have a bit of time before he dies, and with him, the full story of whatever happened here, but getting involved means fighting against those countless wires that even this Lancer can't cope with, and for some reason you doubt that Kiyohime will help; if anything, it'll only make matters worse since you're an easy target yourself.  Jump in, have Kiyohime try to help Lancer. Order Kiyohime to use her Noble Phantasm, it's your only chance. Don't interfere, your life is what matters.
>>48085774We actual Grail War Stuff now. Let's stay out of this. We're not a homunculus or god-tier mage, so even if we save him we can't support contracting him and he'll just die anyway. Not worth the risk.
>>48085789 HereWait, can we help Assassin? I'm not going to say we should but that'd be hilarious.
>>48085806If you want to, feel free. I'm not going to railroad you guys, so if you think Assassin's a good ally then go ahead.
>>48085774> Order Kiyohime to use her Noble Phantasm, it's your only chance.
>>48085806>>48085816To be honest, I don't think Assassin would need our help now, unless this Lancer (with Luck E, of course) has a Noble Phantasm he hasn't used yet.>>48085774If helping Lancer gets us killed, I guess we shouldn't interfere....
>>48085774>Order Kiyohime to use her Noble Phantasm, it's your only chance.
Rolled 2 (1d2)1 for NP usage, 2 for staying out of it.
You could tell Kiyohime to use her Noble Phantasm. You doubt those wires could stand up to dragon fire, and you'd almost certainly be able to save the Lancer if you did so, but...odds are, Assassin is far away and would be unharmed, and they probably have some ability to see from afar given that they're able to control these wires to attack a specific target despite being so far away that Kiyohime can't sense them. In other words, your Noble Phantasm usage would reveal Kiyohime's identity, and given how prana-consumptive it is...you'd be a perfect target for later on. As such, it's all you can do to watch on silently as the Lancer struggles against the wires. You feel like he would have fared better had his Master still been alive, but with them gone, he can't sustain himself sufficiently. Abruptly, his spear begins to glow, every ounce of his remaining prana flowing into it as he goes still, making a last-ditch effort to at least do something before he fades. Before he can even utter the true name, though, the pause needed to prepare his Noble Phantasm gives the wires an opening. Its doubtful if he could even activate it with what little power he had left, but that matter becomes irrelevant as those wires slice through the air, taking the Lancer's head off in a single motion. As the Lancer's body fades into nothingness, the wires retract from the area, vanishing into the darkness. It's merely you and the castle now. You may have just witnessed the first death of the war, and you don't even know the names of those who died. Step forwards, investigate for any traces you can get information from. Head out, this place is still a danger zone.
>>48085966>Step forwards, investigate for any traces you can get information from.
>>48085966>[X] Step forwards, investigate for any traces you can get information from.Maybe we can follow the Master's blood trail without Assassin making one of our own.Last thread starter was Illya, could it be...?
You step forwards, standing out in front of the castle. The first and most obvious thing to examine is the blood in front of the castle. It's not a stretch of the imagination to think that it's from the Master of Lancer, but it could have another source. Lancer didn't seem to have been wounded sufficiently prior to dying, though, so it probably wasn't him, which leaves his Master or a third-party. What's troubling, though, is the absence of a body. Those wires shouldn't have been able to disintegrate a body, which means that it was likely carried away. But for what? The Command Seals, maybe? You're not sure if those even remain after death. You're just barely able to notice a small trail of blood coming from the puddle, but it seems to taper off and disappear before too long. Even with trying to track the magical energy left in the blood, by the time you set up a ritual precise enough to do that, the prana in question would certainly have returned to the earth. You can't find anything else of note immediately, so maybe you should see what's present inside of the castle itself? Or perhaps you should keep searching here for a while longer. Head inside of the castle.  Keep investigating the area outside. Head out of the forest.
>>48086088>[X] Head inside of the castle.
You move to enter the castle, glancing around for any signs of life or motion. You're met with...nothing. The air of the castle itself feels dead. You can't explain it in words, but there's a sense of supreme resignation that permeates every inch of space here, so much that you doubt you'll find anything of merit. As you look around, you see a white-haired woman wearing what looks like a maid uniform, splayed out on the floor atop the stairs like a puppet with her strings cut.  Keep checking around the castle. Head out.
>>48086237>[X] Keep checking around the castle.If we find a whole lotta nothing, we can just leave.
You decide to look around the castle, which proves a relatively tall order given the sheer size of it. The space it covers is immense, and with every few rooms you check through you find another white-haired maid, lifeless on the ground yet without any wounds apparent. That puppet analogy you made with the first one feels increasingly accurate as you go on, and the state of everything more or less confirms that the deceased Master looks like it was that of the Einzberns. Regardless, by the time you finally finish searching through the castle, you end up with almost nothing to show for it. The only thing of note would be the numerous dead maids who you assume are, or rather were, homunculi that the Einzberns made, and a large storage of alchemical reagents and supplies. If you were an alchemist, you'd kill to have these resources, so when the war's over it could be worth it to gather them up and sell them yourself. You doubt you could find a buyer during the war. ===Alright, looks like we're down to one person and we've been going for over three hours, so I think that makes for a fair stopping point. Things will start heating up from this point onwards.
>>48086349Thanks for running!
>>48085966It's so strange that an assassin was able to kill a lancer so easily. I know he had no support, but still, assassin is supposed to be one of the weakest servants in servant to servant combat. I was really hopeful to see the lancer of this war, given it's my favorite class.