LAST TIME, ON DRAGON SLAYER QUESTYour name is Noah Lee - straight B- student, scrawny runt, and lover of old ballroom dance vinyls. After a chance encounter during detention, you discovered that you possess the mystical "Type O-alpha" blood-type, which marks you as...Monster bait. No cool powers. No "chosen one" status. But apparently, if you bleed around the wrong people, they will explode into gigantic, reality-warping monsters known as "Dragons" and immediately try to kill you. Silver lining! Surviving a Dragon attack gave you magic powers - "Alchemy", the ability to enforce your intent on the world and reshape matter and energy.After a fraught encounter with your teacher, who burst into a Dragon and attempted to kill you, you were saved by Kendra Shields (call her Ken), a gruff, battle-worn two-star Slayer for the Fraternal Order Of Dragon Slayers (FOODS), and became her apprentice in order to learn enough so that you could defend yourself from Dragons.It's been... A lot. A lot. A ton! Let's count the things that happened in the past 24 hours.First, you went to homecoming, with your maybe-girlfriend Rebecca George, and that was nice. Then, the two of you got held hostage by your ex-gym teacher turned Dragon with a grudge, the Three-Star Jabberwock Type, who you killed by creating an entire fence inside of him. Then, you passed out, almost dying in the process. Then, you got dropped off at home.Then, you and Rebecca and your mom had an awkward talk, and then your mom left the scene, and you had to come clean to Rebecca about your (apparently) Spiderman-Like life. You wouldn't know, comics aren't really your thing, and then you passed out with Rebecca petting your hair (NICE) and had a weird, vaguely prophetic seeming dream.In the morning, you and Rebecca had a nice chat, she made you breakfast, and then you told her to go to school, you could handle the rest of your day. You lazed around, you relaxed, you practiced alchemy, breaking a lightbulb in the process, and then Saint showed up.You don't remember what happened in between now and then. But now you're here, in a hospital, evidently after having some kind of seizure and with a fretting mom about to tell you everything about some childhood trauma you've forgotten... or suppressed, or blocked out?It's gonna be a long night.
Your mom returns with the juice box, as requested, and gently underhands it into your hands. You catch it with surprising dexterity, given all the shit wired up in your arms and the IV drip in your veins keeping you hydrated, and fumble with the straw enough that it takes a solid twenty seconds to actually get it in.She sits in the chair and slumps quietly while you drain the juice box of its fruit-punch-flavored contents, and then toss it into the nearest trashcan with a quietly muttered "Kobe.".Your mom looks up and claps twice. "Feeling better?""A little bit." You say, and then the two of you sit in silence for a bit, until you speak again. "Hey, Mom?""Yes, honey?" She replies, looking up at you from her knees, her eyes glimmering slightly behind her glasses."I know you told me not to worry about it but... I want to know. What happened to me when I was a kid?" You ask.She sighs. "If you insist..."
>>5032302"You... hmm. Do you want this the brusque way, or..." She says, rubbing her chin in mild consternation."Just say it the mildly offensive way it's on the tip of your tongue for." You say, not sure if you phrased that sentence right."You didn't really... come out... right?" She says, laughing a tired, exhausted little laugh. "Something about your head and your liver and your blood, and you'd freak out and... Hoough." She takes a deep breath, fanning her face like she's trying not to start crying."If it's hard for you, you don't have to--" You start, but she cuts you off."No, no, it's fine. It's just... been a while since I had to think about this." She says, and you recognize a sort of tell-tale glazing in her eyes, just for a moment. That there's something Draconic in her memory, and your heart skips a beat. "I don't... I can't..." She mumbles, before her neck sort of pulls back up to look at you. "I don't remember, I'll have to look up exactly what was wrong, but you were... you were having a lot of seizures. In and out of emergency rooms. Toxins in your blood... a lot of dialysis. It was..."She takes another deep breath. "It was a lot. And we had to get a specialist on it. Some hematologist, I-I can't remember their name, but you went in for a couple of weeks, and then you came back out, and you were fine." She sucks in air through her teeth. "You were fine."...You have a couple of sneaking suspicions.>Do you remember what they looked like?>Did you keep in contact with them at all?>Does the name "Dr. Georgio D'Angelo" mean anything?>Do you remember anything else about what my condition was?>Do we have any, like, leftover documents from back then?>...I see. Um. Thanks.>Free Option.
>>5032303GLOSSARY OF TERMShttps://pastebin.com/ipHuwpgLCHARACTER LISTINGhttps://pastebin.com/Y3wCvLWBLISTING ON SUPTGhttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Dragon%20Slayer%20QuestPREVIOUS THREADhttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4989244/If you're enjoying the quest, your upvotes are greatly appreciated, but not at all required
>>5032305 Noah's Dossier Physical Health: Poor Mental Health: Mediocre Strength: Mediocre Agility: Mediocre Grades: Middling Intelligence: Middling Pneuma Reserves: Excellent Pneuma Control: Poor Alchemical Sense: Excellent Alchemical Styles Forge Alchemy - Level 1 Mobility Alchemy - Level 1 Architectural Alchemy - Level 1 First Aid Alchemy - Level 1 Resonance Alchemy - Level 1 Biomedical Alchemy (Forbidden) - Level 1 ??? Alchemy (Forbidden) - Level 0
>>5032303>Do you remember what they looked like?>Did you keep in contact with them at all?>Does the name "Dr. Georgio D'Angelo" mean anything?>Do you remember anything else about what my condition was?>Do we have any, like, leftover documents from back then?
>>5032303>Do you remember what they looked like?>Did you keep in contact with them at all?>Does the name "Dr. Georgio D'Angelo" mean anything?Not really sure what's stopping us from asking ALL the questions, but just in case it's not nothing I'll save it to these.
Aughh, there's nothing I really, really hate more than missing a day during the three day bumpable period but a very beloved close relative of mine just got diagnosed with stomach cancer and I've been trying to get an update out but nothing's coming to me. I'll try to get you all one tomorrow afternoon. My apologies, readers.
>>5033115Fuck dude, that’s awful. Take care of what you need to with the folks. I hope things improve for them.
>>5032355>>5032330You've got... a lot of questions. Too many, even. Thinking about them all makes your head spin, and then trying to think back to their impetus makes your head hurt, like some sort of little gremlin inside your brain pressing out from the inside to get you to stop dwelling on it. Your vision goes white for a moment, and you take a deep breath until it returns. Most pressing one first. "Do you remember anything about them? Like... did you keep in contact with them, or know what they looked like? Or will I never be able to thank this mystery doctor for saving my life?" You ask, scooting up onto your pillows a little. You give a nervous chuckle, to express some measure of non-hostility, but you don't think it's necessary given how blank your mom's glare looks, down at the ground. Oh no. She doesn't even respond. "Mom?""Huh? Oh, sorry, I was... I was just thinking." She says, and you move on."Okay, this is going to sound weird, but does the name Georgio D'Angelo mean anything to you?" You ask, leaning forward, straining closer to examine her expression. You catch the moment in her eyes as she thinks and as it happens, and her face scrunches in exertion, like she's fighting it. Is that even possible?"Doctor... Doctor D'an..." She says, her wrists and hands tensing against her chair, her eyes going glassy and teeth visibly clenching against each other. "N-..."Then, her body goes slack a little bit. Unlike what happens when you try to remember so hard, there's no nosebleed. She doesn't even seem to be having a seizure. "I'm sorry, it's just... it's been a long night. What was it you wanted to know again?" She asks, nervously laughing. You can hear yourself quite cleanly in her anxious chuckle, the exact same as your own. She reaches back and tucks her hair behind her ear in the same way you do."Do you remember anything else about my condition? Any documentation? Anything?" You ask, heart thrumming hard enough to make your monitor start visibly and audibly accelerating. You glance towards it at the same time as your mom does, and suck in a deep breath. "Sorry, just trying to take this all in.""There should be some in my bedroom closet, I can get them for you when we get home. As for specifics... well, I mean. I knew at some point, back when we thought you were either going to die or need medicine forever, but then you didn't, and it..." She makes a swooshing sort of motion with her hand, like she's drawing thread from a loom. "It just sort of slipped out. Your kidneys, I think it was, they were filtering your blood wrong. They started to reject it, autoimmune disorder style. You had to do dialysis. A lot of dialysis." She sucks in air between her teeth. Do you have any other questions?>Yes (Free Option)>No, we're good. She can go back to sleep.>Ask if she can grab another juice box.>Call her over for a hug.>Free Option.
>>5034051>Call her over for a hug.
>>5034107"Hey, c'mere." You say, opening your arms up. Your mom takes a couple seconds to understand the intent here, blinking at you, and then she gets up and sort of shambles over towards the bed.Then, she lurches towards you and hugs you, and you hug her back, and she makes a little deep noise from somewhere in her throat in your general direction before she pulls away. "This is going to sound like a strange question, but... do you feel like you've been forgetting more recently?" She asks, reaching over to rustle your hair. "Like, I mean, not as a... You know." She taps your forehead. "Not a seizure thing. Just a forgetting thing."You raise your eyebrow at her and try not to look shocked. "How do you mean?"She scratches the back of her head nervously, and you see yourself in her again while she steps back from the cot. "I just feel like, ever since a couple weeks ago, I've been forgetting things just... More. And just now, I know I was trying to tell you something, but I can't for the life of me remember it was.""The dialysis?" You ask, scooting back into your pillows. A part of you idly wonders - can people break through the effects of Dragons? Or can they only know that there's something they've forgotten at all, with enough effort? You make a mental note to check this out later."No, before the dialysis. Oh, Noah, I'm getting old..." She says, chuckling to herself and tossing herself lightly back into her chair, fanning herself with her face.>Just go for it. "About Dr. D'Angelo? The one that fixed me?">Try to coax her into it, see if you can bust that wall. "Do you know if you were trying to remember a person, or a place, or what?">...Proof by negation? "This is going to sound silly, but can you think about what you *weren't* remembering?">"I wouldn't worry about it for now. For what it's worth, I still think you're as sharp as ever.">Free Option.
>>5034882>Just go for it. "About Dr. D'Angelo? The One that fixed me?"
>>5034882>...Proof by negation? "This is going to sound silly, but can you think about what you *weren't* remembering?"
>>5034882>"I wouldn't worry about it for now. For what it's worth, I still think you're as sharp as ever."
>>5034882>Try to coax her into it, see if you can bust that wall. "Do you know if you were trying to remember a person, or a place, or what?"
>>5034882>...Proof by negation? "This is going to sound silly, but can you think about what you *weren't* remembering?"I feel bad for mom. When will we tell her about everything, anons?
>>5035290>>5034976"This is going to sound silly, but can you think about what you can't remember?" You ask, raising an eyebrow at you. She looks right back at you and hums with thought."Elaborate on that." She says, in a way distinctly evocative of a particular funny video on the internet the two of you enjoy."No." You catch her joke, and the two of you chuckle, and then you crack your knuckles. "I mean like... you probably weren't remembering a wedding, were you?"She laughs and then shakes her head. "No. It definitely wasn't a wedding. We're talking about your soap opera mystery childhood illness, remember?"Right. "You're definitely sure it wasn't a wedding?"She rolls her eyes. "Noah. I am very certain I was not trying to tell you about a wedding. You listened to me while I was talking to you, can't you just tell me what I said?"You suck air from between your teeth. "You mean about Dr. D'Angelo?" You ask, and she gives it a moment's thought before her face slackens - then tenses - then slackens again, eyes almost seeming to flicker between glassy and full of life."Ah. Did you just tell me something?" She asks."Yes." You reply, honestly."And... I immediately forgot." She replies."Looks like it." You answer, similarly honestly."That's... unnatural." She says. You rub your chin a little bit, and she mirrors you unconsciously, rubbing her chin the same.>Well, you know she can tell what it definitely *isn't*, what are some questions we can ask that might get us some anti-answers? Think, Noah, think! (Free Option)>You have a feeling that even trying to trick your way into an answer won't work - her memory's blanked, remember? It's not like... negative memory, it's null memory. It's 0, not -1. But maybe we can coax her into understanding the situation...? (Free Option)>Bugger it all, just tell her about the Dragon shit already, she'll probably find out eventually anyway. Might as well rip the band-aid off.>No, don't do that, we don't want her in the firing line. Let's just... accept the conversation for what it is and try to get some rest in. It's probably exhausting being a nurse in a city that's apparently full of Dragons.>Free Option.
>>5035667My brain is far too smooth for something like this, much less at one in the morning. Can a kind anon guide the way?
>>5036697I think trying to push her towards figuring it out isn’t a great idea at the moment. This is a lot of pseudoscience/pseudomagic that we aren’t exactly qualified to mess with and I don’t think we’d want to use anyone as a guinea pig for this sort of experiment, much less our own mom.If we still want to probe, getting anti-answers would be the route least potentially harmful to her, while telling her about dragons would put her in the crossfire. While I’m sure she’d want to know since it’s something that her son is involved with, it seems like a poor decision for her safety (so I’d say avoid that for now, until we know about the consequences of telling someone about it, at the very least). I know that we already told our girlfriend(?), but that’s not our own mom. Also, she didn’t actually witness our arm explode so there’s less to cover for.I’m also not sure about the consequences of leading her to an understanding of things. She’s probably smart enough to pick up on some patterns herself with enough attention brought to it, but that might make her agonize over things that she can’t actually perceive.Thoughts?
>>5036726Technically, she'll be in danger whether or not we tell her about dragons. It's just a matter of "she stumbles into trouble" or "trouble locks eyes with her." I'm tempted to tell her, if only because she's already been alerted to something strange going on with her memories, and trying to keep up a web of lies in the face of that will be... difficult, to say the least. We've already done a poor enough job of acting uninformed, as it is.
If there's no consensus by tomorrow afternoon-ish I'll move on with >No, don't do that, we don't want her in the firing line. Let's just... accept the conversation for what it is and try to get some rest in. It's probably exhausting being a nurse in a city that's apparently full of Dragons.As the default choice.
I feel like if we don't tell her now, it's going to be hard to tell her anything later.>Bugger it all, just tell her about the Dragon shit already, she'll probably find out eventually anyway. Might as well rip the band-aid off.Let's keep this train rolling and shatter the status quo.
>>5035667>Bugger it all, just tell her about the Dragon shit already, she'll probably find out eventually anyway. Might as well rip the band-aid off.wow I didn't notice this thread for a week>>5036726We can stick to the concrete things>I did some looking in before uh, this, and I think the doctor was someone dad called in. And I think whatever they did messes with people's memory.
>>5038345>>5038242"I... did some looking up stuff, actually. A couple of days ago, and, I mean... D'Angelo is my dad's last name, isn't it? I think the doctor was someone Dad called in." You say, and you have her attention before you mention "the doctor", and her eyes close in thought, brow furrowed, face immediately scrunching up. She's trying so hard to hold on to whatever it is she's not able to remember, it's kind of heartbreaking. The thought, of course, slips out of her head. "Look, Mom, can you look at me for a second?"She opens her eyes and wipes sweat off her brow. "Yeah. I'm here, what's up?"Time to rip the band-aid off. "I'm going to tell you something that I think is dangerous to know. It's also going to sound completely insane. But, just trust me, and then we can talk about what to do about it afterwards, alright?"She looks at you and nods, face hardening. You can see that look in her eyes, the look she gets on the rare occasions you can see her coming home from a hard shift. From a shift where someone's died. "I'm listening.""There are... things in this world that are not human. They were at some point, but now they aren't." You decide that maybe going all the way into the nomenclature might throw her off, make it sound too fantastical. "They are very unnatural, and can basically make it impossible to remember certain things unless you've been attacked by one in the past."She leans back in her chair, arms folding over her chest. "Elaborate on "Certain things".""Well, they attack people, and sometimes they kill them, and if they do, that person just sort of vanishes from the world--" You start, and she interrupts you."Retroactively?" She asks, eyebrow raised."Uh..." You reply, trying to remember what the word actually means."Like, it's not "from then on". It also includes past events that involved that person, right? Like they never existed in the first place." She says, and you nod. Man, she's catching on quick, this is very refreshing if slightly terrifying."Yeah. Retroactive." You confirm.She puts the rest of the pieces together herself. "And whatever happened, involving "someone"" - she waves her hands around, making it clear she's speaking in the abstract - "that worked on you when you were a kid, this retroactive thing happened on them, and that's why I have a headache and can't seem to remember a certain thing that we're trying to talk around."Huh. Well, you guess you don't get a nursing certification and also to like, your late 40s without being kind of clever. "Yeah, that's... that's about it."
>>5038516She leans back a little further, the front two legs of her chair coming up from the floor for a moment before clicking back down. "That's troubling, if it's true. But I believe you, because you're my son, and I don't see a reason why this wouldn't be true. It's not like it's exactly falsifiable, so we can go with the assumption that it's correct for the time being without having to really adjust much other than knowing that this "phenomenon" exists.""Oh, that was easier than I thought..." You mumble, maybe slightly louder than you intended to. She laughs."Noah, I'm your mommy. If you told me there were monsters under your bed, but for real, and they were scaring you each night even though I couldn't see them, I'd buy a shotgun and shoot the floor for you." She says, smiling wide.That makes you feel a lot better.>Now that she's bought in, explain that the monsters themselves can't be detected, which is why it's dangerous to know about them.>She's probably wondering how you know this, even if she won't ask it out loud because it might make you sound insane. You might as well come clean about FOODS - plus side, lets her know the government knows about this.>Tell her that the only way to see these things and get the memories back is getting attacked by one of them and not dying, which is what happened to you at school.>Free Option.
>>5038519Best mom, must protect from anime mom syndrome.>Now that she's bought in, explain that the monsters themselves can't be detected, which is why it's dangerous to know about them.>She's probably wondering how you know this, even if she won't ask it out loud because it might make you sound insane. You might as well come clean about FOODS - plus side, lets her know the government knows about this.
>>5038557>Best mom, must protect from anime mom syndromeIndeed. She must never be allowed to wear the side ponytail of plot progression.>Now that she's bought in, explain that the monsters themselves can't be detected, which is why it's dangerous to know about them.>Show her a little bit of Alchemy to back up your words. A piece of paper reinforced to CUT the juicebox should be easy enough... yes, the juicebox you just threw out. Amazing work, Noah.
>>5038519goddamn, mom is a badass>She's probably wondering how you know this, even if she won't ask it out loud because it might make you sound insane. You might as well come clean about FOODS - plus side, lets her know the government knows about this.>You accidentally did them a few favors so they could actually pay for this visit if you make some calls>Show her a little bit of Alchemy to back up your words. A piece of paper reinforced to CUT the juicebox should be easy enough... yes, the juicebox you just threw out. Amazing work, Noah.
Going to try to have an update tomorrow afternoon ish/whenever I wake up, huge headache due to very stupid IRL drama involving a large quantity of autism, can't focus on writing about how awesome Noah's mom is. Love you all!
>>5038557>>5038568>>5038611"Alright, so--" You say, leaning forward. Your mom leans forward too, clearly interested in what you have to say, hands on her lap."There's more?" She asks, not sounding like she's rejecting the proposition, more curious than anything else. "Oh yeah." You reply, breathlessly. She leans back in her chair again."Should I get a shotgun?" She asks."It couldn't hurt." You joke, off-hand. She grimaces slightly, exaggeratedly, and then chuckles. "Okay. The reason why it's dangerous to know this is that the monsters are also unrememberable."She nods. "That follows logically, otherwise I imagine we'd be hearing reports of very harmless monsters that have definitely never killed anyone." You both share a laugh at that, and she continues. "And the reason you can see them is because you got attacked by one of them, right?"You gulp quietly, your throat feeling very tight for a moment, and then nod. "Yeah." You reply. She clenches her hands for a moment, and then unclenches them, putting them by her side, presumably hoping you don't notice. You consider, for a second, showing her some alchemy to prove it, but you think she believes you and also think she'd pass out if she saw you biting your thumb open or something. Maybe in the morning. "At school, one of the teachers turned into a monster and almost killed me.""And you promise this isn't some sort of absurd gag you're pulling over my eyes?" She asks, sounding uncharacteristically angry. You don't think it's at you, though."Promise. I can prove it to you later." You say, putting your hand over your chest. "Cross my heart and all that."She raises an eyebrow. "You can prove a completely unfalsifiable hypothesis? I mean, assuming your plan isn't "let me get attacked", which, god forbi--""Of course that's not my plan, silly." You say, wadding up the nearest scrap of tissue paper you can find into a tight little ball while she speaks and beaning it at her forehead, catching her surprisingly off guard enough to interrupt her. "There's a government agency for dealing with them. We've... been in contact."In your chest, you feel like introducing the magic powers before actually meeting someone from FOODS as a plot element would probably strain credulity - plus, you don't want to have her worried about you going out and actively fighting these things. Not yet, at least. You can cross that bridge later.She pinches the bridge of her nose. "And does this government agency have a name that I could look up?""Well, you probably won't find it, but they're called FOODS. Eff Oh Oh Dee Ess." You answer. "Eff... Oh... Fraternal order of what, exactly? Demon... spotters?" She pieces together fairly quickly, pressing back into her chair."Dragon slayers, actually..." You mumble, sheepish and flushed. That gets a laugh out of her.
>>5039967"Seriously? And let me guess, the monsters are actually dragons, like, from medieval times, right?" She asks, very heavy on the sarcasm. When you blink at her a couple of times, she puts her face down and rubs her temples. "Oh, Christ.""Well, someone's gotta kill the monsters, otherwise I think they'd just eat everyone if nothing was able to stop them. It's like how if, like, contagious vampires existed then we'd mathematically be fucked, right? Or zombies?" You ask, to kick her thinking gears back in. She nods."Yeah, if they're predatory and also undetectable there's really no reason why they shouldn't have hunted all humans to extinction by this point. I guess it makes sense that the government is... aware. Is it well funded, at least?" She asks, and then shakes her head. "Who am I kidding, we're American, of course it's not."You laugh.>Offer to put her into contact with one of your colleagues(? are they colleagues at this point?) (Free Option)>Eh, if the bandaid's already half-off might as well keep tugging, now might be a good time to tell her about the whole "they're trying to recruit me as an agent thing".>Time to soften the whole "there are invisible monsters trying to kill us all" thing with some good news - FOODS is going to help pay our insurance, maybe?>Free Option.
>>5039968>Time to soften the whole "there are invisible monsters trying to kill us all" thing with some good news - FOODS is going to help pay our insurance, maybe?
>>5039968>Offer to put her into contact with one of your colleagues(? are they colleagues at this point?) (Free Option)Doc Hyde
>>5039968>Time to soften the whole "there are invisible monsters trying to kill us all" thing with some good news - FOODS is going to help pay our insurance, maybe?>Offer to put her into contact with one of your colleagues(? are they colleagues at this point?) (Free Option)>Doc Hyde
Energy's out and writer's block is in tonight fellas, will try and get one for you as early as I can manage tomorrow. Apologies! It's been a rough autumn and I can feel the winter SAD starting to kick me in the balls but I'm trying to push past it..
>>5040984I did not mean to double period that last sentence like a melodramatic goofball, apologies.
>>5040667>>5040037>>5039981"Well, I mean... they're funded enough to help with insurance. Probably." You say, trying to soften the all of this. She laughs."Noah, sweetie, I'm part of the union, I already have good insurance and you're on my plan for about a decade." She replies, and you deflate slightly. This makes her laugh even harder, infectiously spreading to your own vocal cords."Does the union insurance cover monster attacks?... also, what's a union?" You ask back. She waves her hand in front of her face like she's wafting off a bad odor."Probably not, and don't worry about that. We can talk about it more when you're looking to start applying to jobs and all that." She assures you, and you nod. "I mean... Is there some kind of... insurance... person...nell I can talk to at this place? And presumably, they'll talk to my insurance and we can get something figured out if you're having Dragon-induced seizures or something like that.""Yeah, there's a person, one sec--" You say, grabbing around for your cell phone. You're not sure where it was before, but it sure is on the side of your bedstand now. You text her Dr. Hyde's contact information, and then put your phone back down. "Great." She says, as her phone makes a dinging 'you-just-got-texted' sound. She gets up from her chair, yawns quietly, and then walks over to you so she can give you a kiss on the forehead. You check the time - it's a little past midnight. "They're probably going to call me back in soon. You seem pretty hale and healthy to me, so hopefully you'll survive the night. I'll call the man from FOODS when I get another break. Or woman, I don't know, they might have named their daughter "Rick"." She jokes, ruffling your hair.You lean into her hand and smile, before flopping back against the poor quality hospital pillows. "Stay safe." You say, and she laughs even harder than before."Noah, I think we should be worried about your safety. I wonder if they'd let us get you a gun license this young..." She jokes(?) again, turning around as a small thing-a-majig in her purse starts buzzing and beeping loud enough to make her jump a little. "Yep, that'll be that - duty calls, alright, honey?""You go help save some lives." You reply, reaching out to ruffle her hair back. She smiles wearily at you, deposits her cell phone back into her pocket, grabs her purse, and departs.It's just you, the monitoring equipment, and the hospital room.>Go to sleep. You've done enough tonight.>Maybe warn Dr. Hyde in advance? Tell him what you did and didn't tell your mom.>Don't, actually, it'll be funnier that way.>Wait, actually, *can* we get a gun? Maybe text Ken about that for her to respond at heir leisure.>It would be a good idea to keep someone, or someones, at FOODS appraised of what the hell happened tonight. (Free Option)>Free Option.
>>5041483>Maybe warn Dr. Hyde in advance? Tell him what you did and didn't tell your mom.>Give yourself a pat down. Maybe something happened to you tonight that people can't see.
>>5041483>Maybe warn Dr. Hyde in advance? Tell him what you did and didn't tell your mom. Do so in a quiet voice. You'd rather not have someone listen in.
>>5041483>Maybe warn Dr. Hyde in advance? Tell him what you did and didn't tell your mom.
>>5041665>>5041632>>5041524Once you're sure the coast is clear and the door is shut, you use your last remaining reserves of awakeness to call Dr. Hyde. He answers the phone sounding far more tired than you do, almost burping out a "Yeah? Are you dying?""I'm not going to say no to that." You reply, keeping your voice low. As you talk, you give yourself a quiet pat down, trying to see if there's something physical that's happened to you that your mom or the doctors haven't been able to notice.Nothing that you can find, at least, which is good. "What's up?""Well, I think I had another seizure. I remember..." You think for a moment, and then decide maybe telling him that you're on good terms with a Dragon is a bad idea. "...that I was talking to someone, and then I passed out and woke up at the hospital with my mom worried sick.""Hmm. That's no bueno." He replies, seemingly nonchalant. You get the feeling it's just the time though."That's one way to put it. Anyway, I told my mom about FOODS and the Dragons and stuff." You say, wincing pre-emptively, expecting to get a tongue lashing. Instead, Hyde's voice just sighs, all phone-y and crackle-y on the other end."'Course you did. Did you at least mention the insurance stuff? So it's not all "there's invisible monsters trying to kill us all"?" He asks."Oh, yeah, I gave her your number and told her to talk to you in the morning. I also, pointedly, did not tell her that you guys are trying to recruit me to fight Dragons for you." You answer, pulling a loud laugh out of Dr. Hyde."'Course not, that'd be a bad idea. You'll have to tell her eventually, no doubt, but I'll keep up that charade for you. What else is on the docket, kid?" He asks. Well, this conversation is going better than expected.>Ask about the memory loss stuff affecting your mom. He'd know the specifics more than you do.>Ask if he knows of a Dr. Georgio D'Angelo - hey, can't hurt, right?>Ask him if the phrase "Egregore" means anything to him?>Free Option.
In other news, not immediately, but I do want to give you all a heads up, that I may need to take a break from Dragon Slayer Quest at the conclusion of the current arc (not this thread, this story arc). I'm still having a great time, but writing about 5-6 days a week relatively consistently for over a year now, combined with other real life circumstances, has led to me experiencing a great deal of creative burnout, and I may need some time to regain my spark, maybe running something else in the interim when the time comes. Either way, I thank you all greatly for reading so far, even if my readership is small, I value each and every one of you greatly.Thank you!
>>5042919>Ask if he knows of a Dr. Georgio D'Angelo - hey, can't hurt, right?Trying to confirm if he's our grandpa, but it's a little hard when people glaze over after hearing the name. Just another dragon victim inquiry, no need to bring in the medical stuff
>>5042919>Ask about the memory loss stuff affecting your mom. He'd know the specifics more than you do.>Ask if he knows of a Dr. Georgio D'Angelo - hey, can't hurt, right?>>5042921Thanks for running all this time!
>>5042941>>5042919+1, and agreed. Look forward to your return.
No update for tonight, gotta get a tooth [redacted] tomorrow and need to wake up early for that. Catch you all later!
MOUF HURT, OW>>5042939>>5042941>>5043070You decide that maybe going for broke and directly asking about egregores might be a little too much - you're not supposed to know what those are, remember? But you do pick at some stuff that you would know. "Well, so, since I had to come clean to my mom about this, I also noticed that there's moments where her eyes just sort of glaze over and she can't... like, remember anything. She was struggling against it pretty hard, trying to remember someone who's name came up while I was, uh, investigating, but she couldn't. Does that mean the person got... eaten?"You can almost hear him rubbing his chin on the other end of the line. "Well, it means either one of two things. Either they got eaten, or they're a Dragon themselves. Or both. Cannibalism isn't unheard of, particularly among 1-Stars, who can't really control themselves, but sometimes even if you're a 3-Star you might just need to eat someone to shut them up or get them out of the way or regain lost biomass... Sorry, tangenting. Anyway. It's pretty impressive that your mom could at least resist it - it's not unheard of. Probably means it's a pretty important memory that she doesn't want to let go of." He says, and then pauses for breath. "Like, a life-or-death sort of memory. Dragons can wipe anything. Marriages, births, Bar Mitzvahs, Bris'es--"You interrupt him. "What's that last one exactly?"He laughs nervously. "Don't worry about it. The point is, A Dragon could make you forget your mom even gave birth to you, hypothetically. I mean, not you anymore, since you're immune, but you know what I'm saying. To hold onto something it has to be really life-or-death important."You lean back in your bed, nodding even though he can't see it. "Like the name of a doctor that saved your son's life?"He hums quietly. "Maybe. Like I said, Dragons can make people forget a pretty astounding quantity of stuff. Most of the time, reality will just glaze past it, and nobody will even notice. But I guess maybe saving your baby boy might be enough. Want me to look up a name, since your mom can't?""Yeah, actually. That'd be ideal." You reply, adjusting a pillow behind you so you can lie down a little more. "Dr. Georgio D'Angelo mean anything? He was a blood doctor, I think. Or a kidney doctor.""Dr. Georgio..." Dr. Hyde replies, and then the line goes quiet for a little bit. A solid thirty seconds of silence, occasionally punctuated by flipping of pages."Doc? Still with me?" You ask."Noah. I am addressing you by your first name instead of calling you kiddo or anything so you know I'm being serious. First, I need to know how you know that name. Then, I need you to promise to never mention it to anyone in FOODS ever again."He's serious. Your blood runs cold. "Why?" You ask, and you can hear him sighing, then sucking air between his teeth.
>>5044986"Dr. D'Angelo was forcibly removed from FOODS for practicing forbidden biological alchemy. I... There's things they let you be a little privy to when you become the practicing clinician of a field branch. You're lucky that I'm the person you told, and not, like, Ken, or Chief Grey, because you honestly might just be a smear on the wall otherwise." Dr. Hyde says, sounding the most uncomfortable and nervous you've ever heard him saying. "We know a little bit about the background... gotta know how to fix someone's mistakes in case someone makes them again by accident. They wouldn't even tell us what D'Angelo did besides the broad strokes. How do you know Dr. D'Angelo?"For the first time, you think Dr. Hyde sounds angry. No, not angry... frightened. Frightened for you.>"I... think he might be my grandfather?">"I was just... digging into my medical records. His name was in my mom's stuff even if she couldn't remember." (Lie)>"His name came up while I was doing alchemy research..." (Lie)>"I was looking into hospital staff for the local hospitals that would've worked there while I was a baby. You know. Skimming the internet and all that." (Lie)>Free Option.
>>5044987>"I was just... digging into my medical records. His name was in my mom's stuff even if she couldn't remember." (Lie)Not surprised, but we gotta reveal SOME things if we want leads.What I DO find surprising is how little scrubbing dad did if Georgio was that important.
>>5044987>"His name was in my mom's stuff even if she couldn't remember."This is the truth. We don't need to lie about medical records.
>>5044987>"I was just... digging into my medical records. His name was in my mom's stuff even if she couldn't remember." (Lie)
>>5045079change this to support >>5045345
>>5045345>>5045523>>5045697You try to keep your cool and give him a technically correct answer, just in case he can somehow read your mind over the phone. You don't know if he can, it seems implausible, but you are slightly panicking so anything sounds possible at the moment. "His name was in my mom's stuff, even if she couldn't remember him."Dr. Hyde goes silent again for a couple of distressing seconds. "Hold on.""Holding." You reply, trying to cover your fear with snark."Okay. Call me crazy, but--" He starts, before you immediately interrupt him."Hi, Crazy. I'm Noah." You joke. He chuckles, and that makes you feel a little better."Pleasure to meet you, Noah, I'm Crazy, but people call me Dr. Hyde around here. Anyway. Moving on." He says, and then you hear him take a deep breath on the other side of the line. "Doesn't this strike you all as... convenient? No, I'll actually go a little further, it's fishy.""Elaborate on that." You reply, pressing back into your pillows a little bit."For the record, I'm not accusing you of anything, because you are, like, fifteen, and not capable of long term planning." He starts, and you do not bother correcting him on the age thing. "But you get attacked, discover FOODS, and then we have a rash of Dragon incidences that you end up, one way or another, getting involved in, including a 3-Star Dragon at your goddamn school, and now we have a bio-alchemist so infamous what exactly he did is scrubbed from the record books somehow involved? And all this in like... not even two months. Pardon my French, but it's a little... weird."You swallow, and decide that maybe telling him that Dr. D'Angelo might be your grandfather could be a bad idea.>"He's my grandpa. I think." Just blurt it out and see where it gets you.>"You're right - I've been trying to investigate... all this by myself, because it seems weird to me too. But I don't think I can get much done by my lonesome anymore, it's clear this is going way out of my pay grade." Try to get him on your side of things. Would be good to have a friend on the inside, right?>"What do *you* think this all means? You know I trust what you have to say about this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't have even brought him up.">Free Option.
>>5045907>Hence checking out my mom's stuff. Any other super sekrit alchemists I should be worried about having known?
>>5045907>"What do *you* think this all means? You know I trust what you have to say about this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't have even brought him up."
I'm sorry. Personal catastrophe going on. Response when I can. Nobody is in any sort of danger I'm just dealing with a lot. QM's curse.
>>5047630Be well man.
Okay, Crisis mode over. Update tonight. Thank you all for your patience!
>>5046613>>5046430"I mean... What do you think it all means? You know I trust what you have to say about this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't have even brought it up in the first place." You ask, nervously glancing around as a spike of paranoia buries itself quietly in your chest. What does it mean?"I don't know, man. I really don't. But I know that I don't like it. And I don't think, whatever it means, it'll be good. What sort of doctor did you say he was again?" He asks, sounding more concerned than you've heard, honestly, most people in your life."Either blood or kidneys. That was what was wrong with me, apparently, I needed pretty regular dialysis and stuff until Dr. D'Angelo fixed me." You say, and then almost immediately regret it as Hyde makes an inscrutable noise with his mouth."Of course. The bioalchemist fixed a kid with a blood disease. When our entire livelihood revolves around blood, and our weird blood particularly. God fucking damnit. Of course he did." Dr. Hyde angrily sputters, sounding more like he's talking to himself than anyone else. Then, he breathes in, audibly through his nose, and exhales it in a long, exhausted sigh. "Right. Well. It's probably connected to whatever seizures you've been having, I wouldn't be surprised if he put a fuckin' geas on you--"You interrupt him for a moment. "Is this another term for an actual thing from mythology that turns out to be a real concept adapted from the real alchemy and laundered into pop culture again?" You ask, trying to lighten the mood. He laughs, hard and rough, before he breaks into a little coughing fit."No, dude, I'm Irish. I'm talking about, like, an actual mythology geas. Why do you know what a geas is?" He asks. You think back to the time before Josh was super cool, back in middle school, during his anime phase, and do not want to tell Dr. Hyde about your best friend excitedly explaining to you what a "Code Geass" was while he made you watch a very... interesting cartoon about robots. "Just sort of passing knowledge. Don't worry about it." You respond."Right. Anyway. Probably wouldn't want you accessing any memories of him or anything related to him, your health be damned. If you want to come in and be subject to a slightly invasive battery of tests, I might be able to call in some professional favors I owe and try to fix that little issue." Dr. Hyde offers, before sucking a hissing of air through his teeth. "Or maybe not. Let's save that for later, actually.">"Yeah, I think I'm good on medical attention beyond the necessary bits to keep me alive.">"No, I. I don't want whatever he's put in me in me. Let's get it out. How can I be expected to function as a monster hunter if I'm compromised by the Alchemy Dr. Mengele?">Consider the fact that a thorough investigation will probably reveal familial ties, and freak out a little bit. "Yeah, let's. Let's just save that for later.">"You'd pull professional favors in for little ol' me?">Free Option.
>>5049733>"You'd pull professional favors in for little ol' me?"
>>5049733>"Yeah, I think I'm good on medical attention beyond the necessary bits to keep me alive."
>>5049733>"You'd pull professional favors in for little ol' me?">"Yeah, I think I'm good on medical attention beyond the necessary bits to keep me alive.">"Maybe once everything blows over, though. I don't feel too comfortable with the idea of... this, hanging around."Well, we're probably going to have to encounter something related to dear ol' gramps due to the bioalchemy book and the related cult thing that's been dropping them on kids' doorsteps. Rather get a potential weakpoint done away with sooner rather than later.
>>5049801>>5049815>>5050248"I think I'm good on the medical attention beyond the necessary bits to keep me alive." You say into the receiver of the phone. "Touched that you'd pull a professional favor in for little ol' me."Dr. Hyde laughs on the other end of the line. "Honestly, it's less about you and more about my burning, mad scientist curiosity about what the hell's wrong with you. Could lead to some great discoveries if we can get it fixed... but don't worry, I'm not about to go all Victor Frankenstein on you, especially not if bioalchemy is getting fucked around with." He answers, which simultaneously makes you feel both more and less nervous at the same time, in different directions."Right." Is your only appropriate response."Sorry." He replies. "Anyway, I won't keep you for much longer. I'll... do some looking up, a little snooping here and there, and get back to you ASAP, alright?" He replies, and you nod. Then, you remember he can't see you nodding when he repeats "Alright, Noah?""Oh, yeah, sorry, I, uh. I nodded." You answer."Well, I can't see you nodding, so you should probably just say yes next time." He says. You remain silent a couple more seconds, this time on purpose, and his voice yells out "Noah!", clearly trying not to laugh."Catch you later, doc." You reply."'Later." He says, and click, the line goes dead.Well. That was a distressing conversation.>Is there anything you think we could find about Dr. D'Angelo on our phone while we're already up and awake?>No, let's not try to stress *ourselves* out too much. We already had one seizure today. Just go to sleep.>Nah. You smell something funky. Get up and get out of here, you can figure out the rest later. Something's wrong.>No? Nothing's wrong, you're just in the hospital. Chill out. Get some rest. The investigation can continue tomorrow just fine.>Try to remember what you can about Dr. D'Angelo and your childhood.>Or maybe don't do that, actually.>Free Option.
>>5051328>Nah. You smell something funky.>Time to see if you can fix it in your sleep, because who fucking knows what's going on with your powers and egregores and dragons at this point.new theory, Noah is some kind of Pneuma reactor, leaking so much pure, quantifiable consciousness that he wouldn't be out of place in an EVA show. And the excess gets into the people near him, giving slight resistance to the memory stuff for humans and small amounts of sanity to dragons.
>>5051328>Nah. You smell something funky. Get up and get out of here, you can figure out the rest later. Something's wrong.
>>5051328>Nah. You smell something funky. Get up and get out of here, you can figure out the rest later. Something's wrong.>Leave your mom a note.Saint needs our help, buckos. We've wasted enough time.
>>5052109>>5051430>>5051334Nah.You get up, wincing as you yank out your IV, feeling a sudden surge of blase strength overwhelm you, and from there, so to go the rest of your monitors. You vault over the edge of your bed, give the monitoring machines a couple of pokes and prods, and somehow, against all odds, manage to get them to stop making a racket.It then occurs to you that you have no idea how you are going to get out of a hospital room unspotted, but then, by the time you're grabbing the door and opening it, you think you have bigger things to worry about."Good. You're up." Father Benedict says, looming over you. Blood trickles down your arm, and you feel your hand instinctively balling into a fist, getting it all over your fingers. "I was prepared to stand watch all evening, but if you'd prefer I stay inside the room rather than outside...">"No, I'd prefer you leave. What are you doing here?">"Get out of my way, one of my friends is in trouble." You actually have no idea if this is true, but a small voice in your head is telling you it.>"Yeah. Stay out." Shut the door in his face and try to figure out how the hell you're going to get out of here without going through the front door.>Attack him somehow. The bad vibes here are far too off the charts. (Free Option).>Free Option.
>>5052219>"Uh. Hi. Sir. Do you mind explaining?"Father here wouldn't subject dragon buddy to continuous torture just to confirm any connection to Noah....right?
>>5052219>>5052225Shit, delaying as long as we did gave me a bad feeling. Hope Saint is still kicking.
>>5053452>>5052262>>5052225"Uh. Hi. Sir. Father. Sir Father, sir. Do you mind explaining?" You ask, looking up at him. He looks down at you, and the light reflects off his glasses in just the right way to completely hide his eyes. If this were a TV show or a cartoon, you'd call it "on-the-nose", but this is real life, so you call it "an ominous coincidence"."Of course. I was keeping guard for outside your house." He says, and for a moment, his syntax and accent both resurging reminds you that he's not a native English speaker, at least, not to your knowledge. "I detect the Demon, the kind that makes the air go... Wooohw." He wiggles his fingers, getting them a little bit close to your face. You recoil away an equal, if slightly larger distance. "The kind you and I hunt. Then, I go in to check on you. You are asleep, you are bloody, Demon is missing, I called medical services."You don't believe him. You don't know why, if it's just his intimidating vibes throwing you off, or if there's something else - you don't have any firsthand knowledge that he's lying and you did pass out while talking to Saint and you did wake up in the hospital with no Saint to be found.You just don't believe him and you don't know why. Everything inside you screams danger. Your voice... Your voices are incoherent. You can't think.>Stare blankly at him.>Go back to bed, lock your door.>Accuse him of being a liar to his face.>Free Option.
>>5053649>Do YOU know what's happening to me? You called me a great fire, am I....burning myself up?We already checked outside the house, and he should've been questioned by FOODS for hanging outside a kid's house, but I don't see any angle after pointing that out.
>>5053649>Stare blankly at him.
No update for tonight due to Circumstances, will try to have an afternoon one for you with some substance to it.
>>5053696>>5053677You stare at him blankly for a couple of moments, scrambling for some kind of response that never seems to come to your head. He looks at you and smiles the least comforting smile you have ever seen on a human being, and you're still certain he's lying, although you can't place why. "Do you know what's happening to me? You called me a "great fire", am I... burning myself up? Am I dying?"His smile flattens out into neutrality. "You have a demon inside of you. I am hoping I will have the ability to exorcise it before it becomes some sort of problem for our order." He says, in a stunningly insensitive combination of nonchalance and mild threateningness.You take a step back. "A demon, like... one of the monsters? Like a Dragon?" You ask, hoping to at least get some sort of answer on if you're about to be assassinated or not.He gently stretches the gloves that are on his hands out, just a little bit. "Maybe. There are many things inside of you, child. You are certainly interesting."You laugh nervously. "Oh, so I'm the chosen one now?" You shoot, half-joking, but trying to draw some sort of answer out of him anyway. To your surprise, sort of, he laughs back even harder."Chosen one? What is this, a storybook for students? Of course not. There are no chosen ones or anything of the sort. You are just... unfortunate." He says, turning halfway to the side of you."Are you going to kill me?" You ask, after a moment's silence."Maybe. Would you wish me to?" He replies with such a degree of casualness that it wraps around to being perhaps one of the most threatening things you've heard in your entire life. He glances at you sideways. "If you think you cannot conquer it..."Your brain is trying very hard to resist the urge to try and snarkily goad him.>"Conquering it is a thing you can do?">"Wait, wait, wait, wait, hold the fucking phone. This is bullshit. What are you even talking about? There's no way to tell who'll become a Dragon before it happens. You can't bullshit me.">"I'd like to see you try, Father.">"Why haven't you killed me already, if I'm that big of a threat?">"What do you know about me that I don't?">Free Option.
>>5055437>"What do you know about me that I don't?"
>>5055437>"I'd like to live, thanks.">"What do you know about me that I don't?"
>>5055445>>5055496"Honestly, I'd like to live, thanks." You say, and he chuckles a little in a way that makes you feel even more threatened. "What do you know about me that I don't?"He laughs a little harder at that. "I know many things, my child. All members of our order do. We know more than the common guardsman or the ingrate street-warrior." He adjusts his glasses for a moment, and you can see his eyes, narrow and piercing, before the light begins glinting off them again. "I know that you have the touch of the demonic in you, as do the rest of your kin. It is a burning infection that started when you were first attacked, and it will overtake you some day. You can master it, or die at the hand of some stalwart hero. There are no third options."You squint at him like he's a fucking psychopath, and take three steps back, clenching your hand up. "Have you?""Have I, what, exactly?" He asks, taking a big step forward. You keep one hand on the door, just in case you need to slam it onto him."Have you... mastered it?" You ask, resisting the urge to roll your eyes at his melodramatics, but playing along anyway. Your heart is beating hard enough that you can feel it in your eardrums."Of course I have. I am the conqueror of Behemoth." He says, and your blood runs ice cold. "I could show you, but... that would destroy this hospital... wing? Wing. Hospital area. Very few of l'Ordine possess my mastery. Most practice the simple alchemies like the good servants they are. Only when there is great need is one of us allowed in these depths.""Am I part of this great need?" You ask, squeezing the door frame so hard that it makes your hand hurt."Not directly, no. There are more things in this city than you, child. I am here to acquire an important resource for l'Ordine, as well as to cull the escalating demonic population. Your participation is an interesting... occurrence, but just a wrinkle." He rambles, adjusting his glasses for a moment again. "I will not kill you unless you desire it.">"What if I tell FOODS? That you're a Dragon. Then what?">"Why are you telling me all this? Aren't you afraid I'll tell someone else? Wouldn't this hurt the Order's reputation?">Slam the door into his face, then run.>Just do whatever you can to get him out and *immediately* call Hyde back.>Free Option.
>>5056208>"Why are you telling me all this? Aren't you afraid I'll tell someone else? Wouldn't this hurt the Order's reputation?">Just do whatever you can to get him out and *immediately* call Hyde back.
>>5056208>"So what's stopping us from getting dragons to uh, conquer themselves?">"Thanks for telling me, I guess. I'll uh, work on staying human. Bye."
>>5056225>>5056237Your brain swirls with questions and snarky remarks, all of which are competing with your mouth for attention. The snarkiest comes out first. "So what's stopping us from getting dragons to, uh, conquer themselves? You seem... Well adjusted."He laughs. "Do I? No, most of them simply lack our resolve, and are content with base consumption. But us of the Order simply have more willpower. We have trained.""Wouldn't this hurt the Order's reputation if it got out? Aren't you afraid I'll tell someone?" You rush out, trying to get the obvious questions out of the way so you can gauge why exactly he's so confident telling you this. Your chest and stomach hurts, and your torso is pulling all the blood from your limbs into your chest - you feel alternating waves of anxious cold and boiling hot running through you, knees wobbling quietly. He laughs even harder. A quick sidelong glance and listen out makes you realize that nobody notices him there - no nurses to chastise him for being loud in a hospital ward, no doctors asking him to get out of the way. He's not there. "Who would believe you?"Your fingernails dig into your palms as you resist the urge to hit him with the nearest object out of combat impulse. You're dumbfounded for a moment, just stuck completely quiet at the shameless admission. He continues quietly. "I have been hunting Dragons longer than you have been alive, child. Even if they did believe you, I am far less replaceable than you are. I'd like to bring you to a... tier? Where you would be like me. Either way, I do not believe such a decision would be wise."Your hand squeezes against the door hard enough for it to hurt. "Thanks for letting me know, I guess. I'll, uh. I think I'll work on staying human. Bye."You shut the door in his face before he can respond. First things first, you shake your hand out to get some feeling back in it, while Father Benedict speaks through the door. "I will remain here for the rest of the night, so that you are not attacked in your sleep, young one. You have nothing to fear! I will be here."Yeah, sure. You wipe some of your arm off, keeping the blood collected under your fingernails and along your fingers in case you end up needing it. Your arm aches a little bit where you pulled the IV out, but most of the trickle of blood has calmed down now. You can feel your heartbeat everywhere.You grab your phone. Your first thought is of Hyde, but immediately you're concerned on being eavesdropped on, no matter how quiet you are - you know that Alchemy can be used to make things easier to hear, recalling the conversations you've had on Ken's motorcycle.>Call someone (Free Option)>Text someone (Free Option)>Try to get out of the room somehow without getting Father Benedict's attention (Free Option)>Free Option
>>5057035The only angles I'm seeing now are pushing FOODS to cooperate with Pandora now that the entire church confirmed that willpower actually works, or just trying to sleep and astral project some shit to Saint.Even if we ping Hyde for any dragon activity tonight, there's not much we can tell him to act on it, and busting our way out seems like it'll cost significantly more than we have anything to gain.
>>5057042>>5057037Your brain rapidly flickers between two options, which is "go to sleep" and "text Hyde". Eventually, you settle for texting Hyde "Too tired but I have to tell you something in the morning", and then shove your phone underneath your neck, roll over, and pass out....When you awaken again in the distorted dreamworld it feels almost passe, like you're getting used to it. Of course you would be having another weird lucid dream. It's not like your life isn't goddamn weird enough already. You sigh with resignation, only to get a firm hand clasped over your shoulder, spinning around to come face to face with some kind of dream phantasm of Saint."Noah." They say, and you jerk up in your bed, fully awake again. The little tray-on-wheels that they use to give patients food is situated over your bed, with a full hospital breakfast set out there, and all your monitoring equipment has been re-attached. Your arm is clean of blood, and a little cloth pad has been taped to where the IV was inside of you.You pick at the hospital breakfast, grumbling quietly to yourself when you pull up the plastic tray lid to reveal food, and a package of gummy worms... and a printout of homework signed with Josh's name on it. You check your phone -- 3 PM, too late to actually get up and go to school even if you feel mostly fine, sore arm nonwithstanding.Speaking of your arm, your arm! Your arm, although it looks a little cleaner, has begun to finally resolve itself into some sort of shape, criss-crossed with the telltale fractalline spiderweb scarring of someone that got hit by lightning, which you have to admit, looks pretty awesome. You glance towards the open door and don't see any meddling priests, nor do you feel any Alchemy in the air. Knowing schedules, your mom is probably home asleep by now. You breathe a little sigh of relief and look around the room - she's even got your bookbag situated on one of the chairs, and two changes of clothes. How sweet.You check your texts.hyde/<What's up, G>josh/<heard you were in the hospital>josh/<hope you're good bro get well soon>josh/<i went ahead and got ur homework 4 u>josh/<dont want you getting another detention lmao>mom/<Hi, Noah... got some stuff from home for you. Auntie Melissa delivered it to your room. Don't know if doc will want to keep you longer for observation. Computer in backpack... try to do your homework!>You smile a little bit, and text "thank yous" to your Mom and Josh.Now, Hyde... What are you gonna tell him? You can cram a lot of info into a single text, the boundary is probably just "what's useful right now".>Text Hyde asking if he's found out anything new about Dr. D'Angelo. Don't use his actual name, of course.>Text Hyde to tell him about Father Benedict being a Dragon. Make it sound like he's a lone wolf.>Text Hyde to tell him that l'Ordine is secretly full of Dragons.>Free Option.
God damnit, 4chan collapses non-breaking spaces now? Anyway imagine Mom texts with double spaces after every period like a 50 year old.>>5057799And what are we gonna do with the rest of our day?>Go call a nurse to check out. Should probably get home.>Okay, we're checking out and *immediately* looking for Saint. Something's gone wrong, you just know it.>Relax. Eat your shitty hospital lunch/breakfast. Enjoy the gummy worms. Do your homework. You're still injured. If you push yourself too hard, you'll just injure yourself more. There has to be a balancing of risk here.>Free Option.
Also, for clarity - Aunt Melissa is a fellow nurse and a family friend, not an actual blood relative. You see her maybe two or three times a year at most. She is nice and wholly unremarkable.
>>5057799>Text Hyde that Father Benedict mentioned l'Ordine's powers involves tapping into their Dragon-ness. Which they can apparently do because of willpower or bible studies or something.>>5057801>Relax. Eat your shitty hospital lunch/breakfast. Enjoy the gummy worms. Do your homework. You're still injured. If you push yourself too hard, you'll just injure yourself more. There has to be a balancing of risk here.We're not going to do much world saving as a bloody meatsack.>Check your bag incase Pandora or Saint left a message in thereI think it's time to go looking for Pandora. They can give Saint a place to lie low if it comes to it, and we've got enough info to say that they're onto something.
>>5057799>Text Hyde and relay the gist of our meeting with Father Benedict. Don't realy our conjectures.>Eat the food then go looking for Saint. Hommework can wait.
>>5057819>>5057810You take a deep breath, try to center yourself, and remember not to make things worse by spreading conjecture that would make you look bad if it got proven wrong. Just stick to what you know.Noah/<I talked to Father Benedict last night.>You text him back, and then eat while you're waiting. Your brain flickers between "do homework and try to take it easy" and "go find Saint, something tells you he's in trouble", but you grab your backpack and open it up to grab your laptop and find the decision made for you.Inside a small plastic bag, the kind you'd store a sandwich in, is tucked an empty mini-water bottle. You pull the back out, open up the water bottle, and, with some vigorous shaking, dump out the little rolled note inside. Unsigned, sloppy handwriting, it could really be from anyone. "They're okay. Come to the scrapyard when you're ready. Any day, be careful. Things are getting dangerous."You stuff some gummy worms into your mouth while your phone buzzes.Hyde/<Oh jesus.>Hyde/<Joke semi intended>Hyde/<Are you dead yet?>Noah/<He threatened to kill me but I said "no thaks", so, we're fine.>Noah/<*thanks>Noah/<Also, he's a Dragon.>Hyde/<Bullshit.>Noah/<He told me as much!>Noah/<He said, paraphrased, "everyone can turn into a dragon, I've just mastered it." or some shit like that.>Hyde/<Bullshit.>Hyde/<That would make him at least three star which means he will have to had personally eaten.>Hyde/<A large quantity of people.>Hyde/<At LEAST.>Hyde/<Did he show you any Draconic powers? Did he shapeshift or anything?>Noah/<No. But I don't see what he has to gain for lying about that.>Hyde/<And I don't see what *you* have to gain by lying about this either.>Hyde/<Not good. Definitely a troubling development if the order is infiltrated by Dragons.>You decide that maybe telling him that this appears to be, according to Father Benedict, a common thing, is not the move right now.Hyde/<Also, why were you talking to Father Benedict in the first place?>Hyde/<Aren't you in the hospital?>Noah/<Yeah, he showed up at my room when I tried to leave.>Hyde/<o.o>Noah/<Is an emoticon really your preferred way of expressing shock here?>Hyde/<Tone is difficult through text, pipsqueak.>Hyde/<O.o>Hyde/<I'm gonna try and >Hyde/<DISREETLY>Hyde/<Get this information percolating up the chain.>Hyde/<*discreertly>Hyde/<God damnit>Hyde/<discreetly>Noah/<Probably a good idea.>Noah/<Keep me updated.>Hyde/<Will do. Stay safe.>Hyde/<For real, Noah, take it easy. You're just a kid.>Hyde/<I'm not going to pretend it gets any easier but... please, don't burn yourself out for our sake. There's always people willing to fight Dragons. You are not special.>Hyde/<And I mean that in a complimentary way. There is nothing so particular about you that you need to run yourself ragged for our sake.>Hyde/<FOODS is full of talented individuals, not including myself. Please. Take a couple of days off.>Noah/<Aye aye, cap'n.>
>>5058443>Finish your food, check out of the hospital, and immediately reject Hyde's suggestion so you can go check out the junkyard and hopefully the source of the mysterious note.>LETTING THE DAYS GO BY (Take it easy until you otherwise can't).>Free Option.
Anyway, because I'm insane and having more plates to juggle makes me feel more productive, I started another quest. This one is more game-like and is based off Shin Megami Tensei. It may or may not last past the initial thread, consider this a pilot. Feel free to give it a look-see if you're interested.>>5058462>>5058462
>>5042921>>5058467The duality of man>>5058445>Finish your food, check out of the hospital, and immediately reject Hyde's suggestion so you can go check out the junkyard and hopefully the source of the mysterious note.
>>5058492Writing about a single thing almost daily for a year can kind of burn one out a bit, unfortunately
>>5058445>Finish your food, check out of the hospital, and immediately reject Hyde's suggestion so you can go check out the junkyard and hopefully the source of the mysterious note.
>>5058548>>5058492You don't exactly rush, but you do make a little haste finishing your food down the drain. You can barely remember the last time you had gummy worms, savoring them like they are the nectar of the gods, but even they pass through like ephemera. You pack your shit up, get dressed, and immediately disobey Hyde's direct instruction.-----Nobody really stops you on your way to catching an Uber to a scrapyard, although your driver does give you a weird look as he drops you off. Exiting was easy, just checking out with the nurse's desk and then the front. No Father Benedict, no secret hidden assassins, no nothing.The scrapyard is still as much of a piece of junk as you left it, but you feel much more composed stepping into the open front gate, considering it's business hours and you were invited. It strikes you, for a moment, that perhaps you should've made sure it was a trap, but then the feeling passes.As you pass by what looks to be a wheel-less RV van, someone busts through the front door of it, pointing at you with one arm. "Noah." Saint grunts, stumbling sideways a little bit with the force of their own motion, nearly falling on the ground before you run up to them and steady them."Upsie daisie--" You grunt with effort, forcing Saint's considerable weight back into standing position. They look at you, and somehow, you feel sorry for a Dragon. They look seven different kinds of fucked up, face clawed to bits, their entire left arm just... gone, leaving a thick, clotted stump where it used to be, with little tendrils of sinew sticking out, trying to heal. "Man, you look like shit." You blurt out, and Saint lets loose a bitter, wheezing laugh."You should see... the other guy..." They hiss, as the office door for the scrapyard slams open, nearly making you jump. A familiar-seeming man with spiked hair and oversized headphones takes two steps out, followed by a masked figure wearing a big, billowing cloak that hides almost all their features and shape other than "tall". "Man, I figured you'd wait, like, more than a couple hours..." The masked figure says, deep, resonant voice muffled through their porcelain Kabuki mask. "Let's get the introductions over with quick!" The man with headphones howls. "Saint, Noah. Noah, Saint. Noah, Kabuki. Kabuki, Noah. Noah, Dog. Dog, Noah." He says, pointing to Saint, the man in the Kabuki mask, and himself, respectively. "Great, that's all taken care of. I'm gonna go take a piss.""Have fun." Kabuki says, waving Dog off as he returns to the office interior, slamming the door shut.You blink at them a couple of times, then turn to Saint, concerned. "Who did this to you?"
>>5059261Saint wheezes, and while they talk, you hear the crunching of Kabuki's footsteps on the dirt. "Priest with glasses... turned into big... big monster... Biggest I've seen..." They hiss, and you give them an awkward-feeling pat on the forehead, which they return by bumping their head into your palm."Benedict. Yeah, he's... something, alright." You say, leaning against the RV and sighing, slumping down onto the little plastic stairs leading up to it. "You ever have a day that's like, well, this might as well god damn happen, huh?""Constantly." Kabuki replies as he enters your conversation sphere. His voice feels just vaguely familiar, but not enough to place. Maybe you heard him on a video somewhere before? "Anyway, since I know you and you know of... my organization, I'll make this clear. This isn't a Pandora thing. This is a "there's a dangerous Dragon on the loose that needs to get put down." thing.""I thought you guys were against putting Dragons down?" You ask, leaning your head against the RV door. Saint squeezes in past you to get something from inside."Man, you're just fulla questions, huh? Anyway, yes, most of my... colleagues would insist we capture this Benedict fellow alive, but softie and lefty as I may be I'm not an idiot. I've been tracking him for a while. He needs to die.""...What'd he do?" You ask, sort of afraid to know the answer.Kabuki sighs, rubbing his forehead through his mask. "What didn't he do? But also, he's going around killing Dragons and people. He's too wild and too strong to be contained, and I'm concerned he's on the threshold for going 4-star.""Which would... be a problem." You reply, to continue the conversational flow.Kabuki lets out a single chuckle. "To put it lightly, yeah. You don't have to help us, but Saint here--" He says, gesturing to the Dragon that just muscled past you again, this time with a bag of peanuts, "insisted we give you the heads up.""Gonna have to... fight him... to stop him... Didn't want you... to not know... in case I die..." Saint wheezes, awkwardly chewing through the bag, plastic and all."Were you hoping I'd help you?" You ask, eyebrow raised."Honestly, I was hopping you'd stay out the way, but you apparently have a habit of getting your nose stuck in places where it shouldn't be." Kabuki replies, not joking.>"You're right about that. Saint's my friend, and I'm not about to let this go. Benedict's a threat to everyone. He needs to go down.">"I make no promises that I will or won't stick my nose where it should or shouldn't be.">Jerk your head towards the office. "What's his angle? Just more firepower?">"...Do I know you from somewhere?">Free Option.
>>5059262>Honestly this is getting too hot for me. I'll tell you what I know about him, but it looks like you already know more about how his powers work than me.I want to bring up the tome of forbidden alchemy, might be related to what the priest is looking for. If Pandora's more familiar with forbidden alchemy, they might know what the point of a homunculus engine is for.
>>5059262>Jerk your head towards the office. "What's his angle? Just more firepower?">"...Do I know you from somewhere?"And also >>5059300
>>5059300>>5059331"Honestly? This is getting too hot for me. I'll tell you what I know about him, but it looks like you already know more about how his powers work than me." You reply, leaning against the de-wheeled RV and sighing. "I'm like, fifty kinds of banged up right now, my arm--" You gesture it around "--is literally like two days out from being basically hit by lightning, and I'm apparently having regular Dragon-induced seizures or something. I'm in no position to fight shit."Kabuki laughs. "Fair enough. You don't have to protagonist this one, kid. Can let other people handle things sometimes."You stare at him a little bit, and then look down at your feet. "Yeah, sure... Do I know you from somewhere?"Kabuki tilts his head towards you. His voice just remains on the precipice of being familiar, but whenever you feel like you're getting close to something, you compare the voice of the person you're imagining to the muffled voice of Kabuki and go no, that can't be it."Maybe so. Don't worry about it. If you find out sometime, you'll find out." He replies, sitting down on the scrapyard ground. "What a helpful answer. Anyway," You say, jerking your head towards the office. "What's his angle? Just more firepower?""Something like that. I'm not gonna say we're friends but we definitely know of each other. He's got beef with Benedict. I'll take the help I can get."Saint offers you a peanut. You accept it and swallow it whole, because you forgot for a moment that peanuts are meant to be chewed. "Alright, so... I guess that's it then, huh?" You say, after a minute of silence. "Are you going, like... tomorrow? What's the plan?""Honestly, I didn't expect you to show up, like. Now. We're going to be waiting a week or two and feeding Saint raw steaks until he can be useful in a fight again."You glance at Saint, who sheepishly waves their stump at you. You sigh and scratch your head. "Okay. Now what?""I don't know, you tell me." Kabuki replies, arms folded a little bit tighter. "You're the one that showed up here. Dog and I were gonna spar. Go home, man. Get some rest. If you know anything about Benedict, let me know and we'll handle it. This isn't for you, even if you are keen of Saint."You pinch the bridge of your nose. "He's batfuck and keeps trying to recruit me to the weird priest order. That's the most I know."Kabuki rubs their chin in thought. "Hmm. Shit. Well...""Well?""Well, hopefully he doesn't do anything stupid to you."You groan quietly. "Yeah, I hope not."-----
>>5060116Select Weekly Activities - Pick Two!>Just... take it easy. Please, Noah, Christ. Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie.>Investigate Benedict more to see if you can feed more information to the, uh, anti-Benedict crew.>Spend time with someone in your life (Pick a Character)>Physical training, can't slow down just from a burnt arm!>More Alchemical training (Pick a School)>Investigate Dr. D'Angelo with Hyde more.>Do some independent investigation on one of the mysteries in your life (Pick a Topic)>Focus on your schoolwork so you don't fall behind.
>>5060118>>More Alchemical training (Pick a School)We need to level 2 something. I'm going to go with whatever covers the egregores so we can finally get a handle on Noah's weird excess pneuma.>>Focus on your schoolwork so you don't fall behind.
>>5060118Let's go with >>5060125
>>5060118Argh. On the one hand I want to tell our friends we're okay (especially our bro), but on the other hand we really do need to practice if we want to live through the next few weeks.
>>5060118>>Just... take it easy. Please, Noah, Christ. Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie.
>>5060125>>5060147The week of recovery is spent in blissful studying. Word eventually gets around - somehow (you think sarcastically to yourself, knowing exactly how) - that you were the one involved in the strange and sudden gas explosion, and it's not like you can really hide the gnarly scars on your arm which inevitably attract all sorts of questions. A couple of people correctly piece together that they look way more like high voltage electricity scarring than the sort of scar you'd get from an explosion, but you just sort of wave them off.Thankfully, after a couple more check-ups over the week, you have a relatively clean bill of health barring that strange unknown brain problem that they're still trying to figure out. Somehow you managed to avoid really breaking anything, so no cast for people to sign, just a whole bunch of bruises and soreness from you blowing your own hand up. And, hey, some FOODS people drop by from your house from time to time while on guard duty and usually bring you a snack or something. When your mom notices the increasing stockpile of food, you are honest with her and explain that the invisible Dragon police that people can't usually notice feel bad from what you got caught up in and are giving you little tzotchkes. She asked where you learned the word "tzotchke" from and you just say "a friend of mine" so you don't have to say Saint, who you visited a couple more times over the week to check their recovery. You imagine it must be very frustrating for their Yiddish-heavy conversational vocabulary to be spoken with the weird fucked up tongue and lips and teeth they have. Their arm is growing back reasonably quickly, fed by a diet of raw meat and whatever offal and scraps Kabuki and Dog aren't eating. You feel bad, so you share some of your snacks with him on Wednesday, and practice a little medical alchemy - the proper kind - on him to help take the edge off. Just practicing your bandages and rubbing alcohol and whatnot.Then, when you have free time, it's study time. You alternate between doing actual homework so you can stay on top of things and digging deep into the forbidden alchemy book's section on Egregores, scouring the pages for any useful information that might help out your situation. You learn a mighty fine quantity of information about how to use them, how to implant them, and how to make them useful, but the majority of anything that looks useful to your situation of "probably needing to remove one" appears to be in some sort of stupid medieval cipher you're not nearly smart enough to put together.God damnit!Still, the knowledge is there. You know... in case you end up needing it.You have raised Egregoric Alchemy (Forbidden) from Level 0 to Level 1!
>>5061914Select Weekly Activities - Pick Two!>Just... take it easy. Please, Noah, Christ. Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie.>Investigate Benedict more to see if you can feed more information to the, uh, anti-Benedict crew.>Spend time with someone in your life (Pick a Character)>Physical training, can't slow down just from a burnt arm!>More Alchemical training (Pick a School)>Investigate Dr. D'Angelo with Hyde more.>Do some independent investigation on one of the mysteries in your life (Pick a Topic)>Focus on your schoolwork so you don't fall behind.
>>5061915>>Physical training, can't slow down just from a burnt arm!>>More Alchemical training (Pick a School)Egregoric AlchemyI will not be defeated by lame medieval ciphers!er, is Pandora not saying anything about the forbidden books?
>>5061920If any agents of Pandora have anything to say about the books being passed around it hasn't made its way back to you yet. You also haven't told anyone else about your own (at least IIRC) so far.
>>5061921As long as they know this is happening, I guess. Might be bigger than 1 priest wrecking havoc
>>5061915>Investigate Dr. D'Angelo with Hyde more.>More Alchemical training (Egregores)
Apologies for the delay, I was fully intending on writing a mid-afternoon update but then I got caught in a stupid 9 hour long internet argument I sort of had to deal with and that ate most of my free time. Let's get that week done.>>5061967>>5063212All quiet on the western front. Every so often, Ken updates you with the latest information on 1-stars in the area, but also insists you rest, which you think is her way of showing that she cares somehow. But, you have bigger fish to fry than your semi-erstwhile mentor (sorry, Ken).Over the course of the week, you follow up with Hyde. Just a couple of texts back and forth, until you meet with him at a coffee shop at the other edge of town - he pays for your Uber. You haven't seen him look this disheveled in a while, with his normally prominent dark rings are even thicker and darker. He smiles at you the best he can."I figure it'd be prudent to have this over, like, a cup of coffee and some sweets." He says, presenting you with a slice of coffee cake and some very warm coffee, which you give a single packet of sugar and nothing else, a habit you picked up from your mother at a young age. It always feels to you like you're drinking ballroom jazz whenever you take a sip of a dark, barely sweet coffee, and today is no different.He also has a coffee cake of his own. His own cup is, like, tan. At least three creams, you'd wager. He also takes a sip. "Damn good coffee."You nod in agreement. "Damn good coffee."He smiles and chuckles a little bit, like he knows a joke you don't know, but you don't know enough about things to know what he could be laughing at. "Alright. Hold on to your hat. I'll just launch into the preamble because I doubt you'll have heard of what exactly his area of expertise in, but he specialized in something called "Egregores", which are... like, a basically entirely theoretical concept from the fucking 14th century or whatever where they thought if you put enough of your blood in someone else your mind could take over their body. With Alchemy. Or something like that." He sighs, and then pinches the bridge of his nose.You're not exactly sure of what expression is on your face. "And that's why he's persona non grata?" You ask.He leans in close, checks his corners for people listening, and then closes his eyes for a moment, looking genuinely a little uncomfortable. "He was doing this to kids, Noah. Plural. That's why he was executed by FOODS about a decade ago. He was trying to put his soul in children, man. You hear what I'm saying?"You very suddenly feel nauseous.>Wait, do Egregores actually work? Did he succeed? [Academic]>Wait. Hold on. Does this mean that I've got... some fucked up mad scientist's soul... in me? What exactly does this mean? [Worried]>So whenever I've been blacking out, is that, like... some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing? Is the evil mad scientist using me to carry on his experiments? [Glib]>Free Option.
>>5063507>Wait. Hold on. Does this mean that I've got... some fucked up mad scientist's soul... in me? What exactly does this mean? [Worried]
>>5063507>Well if he was trying to do that to me, he didn't do a very good job. [Glib]>But whatever I've got was there before he did anything to me. Did he....take something out?
>>5063507Normally it's the priests that put things in kids, but I guess doctors are uniquely suited to that, too
>>5063761>>5063536>>5063513"Wait, so. Hold on." You say, trying to process the correct snarky response to this unsettling revelation. "So, supposedly, I've got some fucked up mad scientist's soul inside of me. But also, according to my mom, whatever I've got was there before he did anything to me. If he was trying to do something he didn't seem to do a very good job." You theorize, resulting in Hyde reaching up and rubbing his temples."I don't know, man, I'm just relaying what I found out. The names of his victims are all anonymized for their privacy and I'm very doubtful I'd be able to uncover them. He was quote unquote "successful" with three kids. He killed eight more. The specifics of what he put in or what he took out are a little beyond my pay grade, even with what I've been able to uncover. This isn't... stuff that's supposed to get out."He takes a two-handed sip of his coffee from his very quirky logo mug that the coffee shop temporarily provides to all visitors, apparently. You take a sip from yours. The two of you luxuriate in uncomfortable silence. Then, you break it. "Normally, it's the priests that put things in kids, but I guess doctors are uniquely suited to that, too."Hyde stares at you with the bleakest expression you think a human being could make, and then busts out laughing, covering his face with his hands. "Noah, that's awful. Please never make any joke like that in front of anyone else ever again.""No promises." You reply, cutting into your cake with your fork and stuffing it into your mouth.>Free Option.>End Scene & Move On
>>5064527>End Scene & Move On
>>5064527It doesn't seem like we're a bunch of kids stuffed into one body.I suppose he's too worried about the egregore stuff to think about Benedict>End Scene & Move On
>>5064568>>5064562With that... delightful revelation in mind, you double down on your egregoric research, if only to discover some sort of method of actually removing at this point what you are assuming is some sort of fragment or version of your possible grandfather's soul or mind or whatever from your brain and body at all costs. Your fainting episodes do not accelerate, and you do not have any other seizures, but your weird dreams remain about as weird as they've always been, steadily increasing in clarity, the ghostly memory of everything you've ever done with actual Alchemy remaining somewhere in your brain. If there's a piece of Dr. D'Angelo in your head, you're not finding it in your dreamscape.Most of your research now doesn't involve actual research, but rather, attempts at codebreaking. Most of the forbidden binder, you recognize now after giving it a much more thorough skimming, is written in code that just happens to use mostly latin characters, hence why you sort of missed it the first time around. You spend an inordinate amount of time at the school library, alternating between occasionally getting shit done so you can just barely stay on top of your schoolwork and researching what resources the school has on cryptography. Codebreaking for dummies.Your math teacher helps a little too, and when they question the sudden interest in cryptography you just tell them it's for a planned Valentine's Day gift. You wanna make a really mean puzzle.Caesar ciphers and Polybius squares... frequency analysis, it all feels like it's slowly coming together. A mono-alphabetic cipher with no word breaks... or, no, it changes cipher with each page. Whoever wrote this text very clearly did not want their words uncovered, but, unfortunately for them, you live in the 21st centuries, and computers are very good at codebreaking. You could even say they're designed for it (pause for laughter in your internal monologue, okay, back to work).Each page takes about a day of pretty continuous effort. You do not get any better at alchemy, but, as a startling side effect, you do find yourself getting a little bit better at math.Slowly, Saint's arm continues to heal and grow, almost done now... If they're going to do anything to deal with the strangely-awol Father Benedict, you have a feeling it'll be soon.Select Weekly Activities - Pick Two!>Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie. Take some personal time to decompress before you need to take a grippy sock vacation.>Investigate Benedict more to see if you can feed more information to the anti-Benedict crew.>Spend time with someone in your life (Pick a Character)>Physical training, your arm's feeling better - time to get that muscle tone!>More Alchemical training (Pick a NON-Egregore school)>More Codebreaking of the Forbidden Binder>Do some independent investigation on one of the mysteries in your life (Pick a Topic)>Focus on your schoolwork so you don't fall behind.>Free Option.
>>5065223>Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie. Take some personal time to decompress before you need to take a grippy sock vacation.Our mental health was stated to be mediocre even before the shit that happened in this thread.>Spend time with someone in your life (Becky)
>>5065223>Physical training, your arm's feeling better - time to get that muscle tone!>More Codebreaking of the Forbidden Binder
>>5065223>>Physical training, your arm's feeling better - time to get that muscle tone!
>>5065223>Investigate Benedict more to see if you can feed more information to the anti-Benedict crew.>Physical training, your arm's feeling better - time to get that muscle tone!
Rolled 1 (1d4)>>5065856Benedict Investigation (1)>>5065235Codebreaking (2)>>5065226Relaxation (3)Spend time with Rebecca (4)
>>5065856You take some time off from codebreaking to instead see if there's anything you can feed the Anti-Benedict crew still nesting in the city scrapyard. You don't know anything about Kabuki but you have a feeling that Saint isn't doing any Google searching anytime soon, so you use your practiced skills as a burgeoning member of Gen Z and Google surf the best you can, looking to make literally any progress.It's not like Father Benedict doesn't exist, after all. Alessandro Benedict, 35 years old, Master of Theology, studied at Pontifical Roman Major Seminary for his priesthood. He has a Facebook and a LinkedIn and everything, albeit ones that are infrequently updated and feature a picture of him looking about ten years younger and in a suit, which is slightly off-putting.He... exists as a person, which is the strangest thing to read about yet. You find an article written about him in a school paper, boasting of his ability to micromanage a seemingly impossible quantity of extracurricular activities. There is a youtube video of him singing in a choir. There's certainly nothing about... him turning into a monster. And Google searching l'Ordine, or its full name, or its translated name, brings you nothing really relevant. If there's some secret internet only available to people who've been inoculated with Dragon venom, you don't know what it is yet.Hmm. Note to self; ask if there is a secret internet for people inoculated with Dragon venom.Either way, you spend a solid two days digging and digging into the depths of Google, keyword hunting the books the best you can, but come up empty handed except with a more complete understanding of who Father Benedict is. He is a workaholic, an actual ordained priest, well-respected in the world of the Catholic Church. He's had articles written about him and occasionally takes interviews and answers questions. He has a Twitter account, where he posts about the need of the modern Catholic Church to adapt to changing times and societal pressures, generally, in a sort of lefty sense. There's a picture of him eating a burger from a restaurant in your city and having a good time "on my working vacation". Still, knowledge is power - you print out as much of a dossier as you can assemble, and one day after school, drop it off at the RV for Saint, who thanks you with a bag of peanuts.And then, the rest of the week, you work out. And not just because you want to try and keep and maintain what little muscle tone you've developed, but because you've been seeing a physical therapist every here and there on the orders of the hospital and also your mom, and you need something to do to maintain your grip strength on your injured, exploded hand. You get some really, really firm putty to squeeze on in a tub (it smells bad) and a dumbbell set to take home, and you work on that.
>>5066961It's nice, surprisingly meditative. It's not exactly got the same brain health benefits as taking a day off to do nothing, but as the air grows cold and dry it's nice to be able to just focus on a single, non-distracting task and work out for an hour or two a day to the tune of Frank Sinatra. It's more relaxing than the alternatives, at least. You go jogging around the block. You find a nice, long stick and practice spear techniques with it. You arm wrestle with Saint once or twice and lose horrendously, but get a good stretch from it.At the end of the week, you make another day-stop to the Junkyard before home. Saint's arm is looking more regrown and whole every day. By the end of next week, they're going to make their move, they say, and Kabuki insists you should stay out of the way.>Relax. Enjoy some music. Watch a movie. Take some personal time to decompress before you need to take a grippy sock vacation.>Spend time with someone in your life (Pick a Character)>Physical training, your arm's feeling better - time to get that muscle tone!>More Alchemical training (Pick a NON-Egregore school)>More Codebreaking of the Forbidden Binder>Do some independent investigation on one of the mysteries in your life (Pick a Topic)>Focus on your schoolwork so you don't fall behind.>Ask Ken for any low level grunt work to try and make it in good with FOODS you could do.>Free Option.
>>5066961>Spend time with someone in your life (Rebecca)Relationships require maintenance.
>>5066967>>5066989>>5067105You don't know yet if you're going to get yourself involved, but, let's be real here - it's excessively likely the trouble will come find you once the Benedict situation boils over, so you might as well take the time to prevent yourself from taking a grippy sock vacation. You spend the week doing not anything in particular, just destressing, letting your body let go of all the misery you've been putting it through, and doing the bare minimum. Bare minimum homework, bare minimum physical therapy, bare minimum studying of cipher keys until you realize you kind of need to focus on that one. You maximize your jazz-listening ability, and make plans with Rebecca.When she comes over on the weekend, it's with a smile and a gift-wrapped box. She opens the front door and immediately greets you with a kiss on the nose. "How's my favorite superhero holding up?" She asks, gently grabbing for your scarred arm and giving it a squeeze on the wrist.You smile back at her and raise an eyebrow. "You know more than one?" You ask, and she laughs and playfully slaps you, not with any actual force. Just sort of a hand-on-cheek-with-some-velocity thing. You let her inside and shut the door behind the two of you."Did you fight any monsters to defend mankind recently?" She asks, while the two of you plop onto the couch and you unwrap her small gift. It's... It's...!... A bottle of mace and a switchblade?"No, also, how did you get these?" You ask, staring at the two of them. You realize, then, that the switchblade was actually a Swiss army knife, which makes it considerably more useful in your eyes."Amazon, dummy. I figured if you're going to be fighting any monsters you could use all the help you could get, right?" She says, grinning awkwardly at you. Not that she feels awkward, but just the tenor of her grin poses questions. You can almost hear them ticking in your head - wouldn't they give people hunting monsters a gun, at least? But you recognize, at least, assuming you're not wildly projecting onto her, that it's the least she could do to feel like she's contributing. You bend over and kiss her back on the nose."Much obliged." You say, putting the two of them in your pockets, left and right, respectively.""Much obliged", you're such a dork." She teases, ruffling your hair, and you lean into her shoulder.>Watch a movie together.>Listen to music together on the couch.>...You wonder if she has any weed? That might be fun. She seems like she would.>No, actually, we should *probably* tell her there's a non-zero chance a giant monster will be involving itself in our business soon. She should probably be aware of that.>Free Option.
>>5067766>Watch a movieThere's not much the warning will be able to do, seeing how any fight radius involving the priest can be measured in kilometers.
>>5067766>Watch a movie together.Weed rots your brain.
>>5067766>Watch a movie together.>No, actually, we should *probably* tell her there's a non-zero chance a giant monster will be involving itself in our business soon. She should probably be aware of that.
>>5068012>>5067880>>5067779You figure that any potential fight you get involved in, whether you want to or not, with Father Benedict will have a blast radius measured in kilometers, so it's probably not worth worrying her about it at the moment. If she finds out, she'll find out. If she doesn't, she won't. And if you get eaten by a Dragon, well, presumably she'll move on with her life easily, which provides you with a small amount of admittedly very dark comfort.So, instead, you watch a movie together. You scrounge around for an HDMI cable and hook up the old CRT to your laptop computer through an annoying, fiddly little adapter and start finding movies on YouTube to watch. It's around that time of year, so, at her recommendation, the two of you watch 1408, followed by, at your recommendation, The Shining. Your television screen is big enough that the two of you don't have to lean in or anything like that to see it, and can instead just lean on each other and the back of the couch.It's comfortable. She's warm. The sun is dipping below the horizon a little earlier and earlier each day, and by the time the two of you segue-way into The Shining, it's dark outside. Your Mom is resting comfortably in her bedroom, having given you your space (and, slightly uncomfortably, left a package of condoms in your nightstand. Uh, thanks, Mom.)"Hey." She says, apropos of nothing, during one of the quiet moments that's not filled with tension."Hey." You reply, glancing over at her."Thanks for inviting me over. I know everything's probably... busy with the superheroics. You really don't have to make time for me if saving the world is on the table or anything like that." She says, and you feel a little pang of guilt, although you're not sure what for.>"I invited you over because I wanted to see you, silly. You're just as much a part of my life as the monster hunting." [Sincere]>"Believe me, I'd rather be on a couch with you right now." [Glib]>"Oh, it's no problem at all. I'm, uh, glad you like being around me." [Shy]>Free Option.--->Fall asleep on the couch with her. Experience the peaceful moments while you can.>Order some pizza and pig out a little with her. Spend some time with junk food and soda. Indulge in the little joys.>After the movies are over, offer to put on some music and slow dance with her. The only person stopping you from being sappy is yourself.>Free Option.
>>5068799>"I invited you over because I wanted to see you, silly. You're just as much a part of my life as the monster hunting." [Sincere]>Order some pizza and pig out a little with her. Spend some time with junk food and soda. Indulge in the little joys.
>>5068799>"I invited you over because I wanted to see you, silly. You're just as much a part of my life as the monster hunting." [Sincere]
>>5068799>"Believe me, I'd rather be on a couch with you right now." [Glib]>After the movies are over, offer to put on some music and slow dance with her. The only person stopping you from being sappy is yourself.Live your best life
Possible missed update tomorrow - will be visiting a sick relative in the hospital + burnt the shit out of my finger lmao so might need to rest it. Will keep you updated.>>5069066>>5069022Nice dubs"Believe me, I'd rather be on a couch with you right now." You say, trying your best to be sappy to her. She giggles and bops you on the nose with her fingertip, making you recoil. The two of you keep your moviestravaganza up throughout the night, switching through various horror movies to suit the mood, and ending on a brave showing of The Fly. You're not sure how good you are at stomaching this sort of stuff, but the horror-macabre stuff seems to be right up Rebecca's proverbial alleyway.Then, it's just you two and a YouTube window on the flickering television. The night is dark, your mom has left the house for work, and you can't tell what emotions are in the air with your stupid stunted teenager brain. You aren't sure how to broach the topic, so you start with self-deprecation. "Hey, I know this is going to sound stupid, but, uh... Would you, um... care to dance?" You say, getting up and bowing to her slightly.She laughs. Then she gets up and does a very sloppy curtsy at you. "You are such a nerd, Noah.""Is that supposed to be an insult?" You reply. She reaches out for you and rather aggressively grabs your hips, leaving your hands to fumble for her shoulders."When did I say I didn't like it?" She replies, reaching down to grab her cell phone out of her pants pocket. She one-handed skims through Spotify until she picks out some suitably slow and romantic sounding ballroom jazz, presumably as a gambit to appease you, and then walks you back over to the lights so she can flick the kitchen ones off.The two of you dance. There's not much to be talked about - you lean forehead to forehead and sway back and forth with all the confidence and competence as a teenager slow dancing at Homecoming. You sway side to side and walk in circles, clearing out enough room in between the kitchen and the front of the rowhouse to give you ample swinging room. Occasionally, the tempo changes. The sun goes down. It gets dark outside.The two of you dance for a while, getting a little sweaty even though you're not doing all that much. Her... playlist, apparently, of Noah-appropriate music continues on seemingly indefinitely.>Tell her you love her.>Kiss her, dummy.>Don't ruin the moment. You've only known her for like two months, let's not think with our dicks too hard here.>What? You already know she likes you. Kiss the girl, idiot.>Free Option.
>>5069853>Kiss her, dummy.
>>5069853>What? You already know she likes you. Kiss the girl, idiot.But don't go any further. If VNs taught me anything, it's that right after the sex scene shit hits the fan all at once.
>>5069853>>What? You already know she likes you. Kiss the girl, idiot.
>>5070000QUADS OF TRUTHAlso +1
>>5070000Nice quads>>5070047>>5070277You lean in and kiss the girl, expecting the roof to cave in and a Dragon to punch through your door at any second now. It's not a big damn kiss - it's small, almost but not quite chaste. She shuts her eyes just a little bit, and then opens them back up, and then kisses you back. You kiss her again. She kisses you again. The two of you keep encircling each other.Then, you're both lying down. You dragged some pillows and stuff from your bedroom down here so you can lay on the ground, and she's lying on the couch, and the TV is still playing, but more as background noise than anything else. It's late, maybe 3 AM. Your eyes are doing the thing where they're slowly opening and shutting, drifting in and out of what's almost sleep, but the two of you are enjoying your idle small talk too much for either one of you to really go to bed. you yawn, and so does she, though, and there's about a minute of silence. She reaches down from the couch and brushes her hand over your nose, so you bite it as a goof, and she laughs.It all feels... surreally pleasant. Your eyes shut, but you don't fall asleep. If there's something that's been on your mind, now feels like a good time to say it.>Free Option.>Go to sleep. Let tomorrow come.
>>5072153>Go to sleep. Let tomorrow come.this is entirely too wholesome for me to know what someone in that situation would do
>>5072153“What do you think of marriage?”
>>5072153>Go to sleep. Let tomorrow come.
Update coming tomorrow, very exhausted tonight. Thank you all for reading along so far.
>>5072153>"So how do you feel about anal?"
>>5072481>>5073031This is a little too much, you're tired, you're sleepy, and everything has overwhelmed you. You figured after the past two months you've had, that very little could overwhelm you, after you literally blew your own arm up with a sodium flare and nearly broke it... but here you are, with a voice in your head telling you that this situation is just too unfamiliar to know what to do with. And you know what? In your tired delirium, you agree with it.You reach up and gently grab for her hand for a moment, and just hold it, and it feels nice and comfortable. The voices in your head go quiet, and you realize for once that they appear to be, on some level, distinct, like a conscience separate from your conscience. You idly wonder in that same sense of dazed, tired delirium if this is the egregore inside of you, and then a thought occurs to you that you should maybe ask Rebecca how she feels about anal, and you wave it away with a scowl on your face. That's gross, dude. Poop comes from there.She holds your hand. Not a tight squeeze, but just enough that you know she's awake too, until eventually her fingers go limp and she begins snoring quietly. When you fall asleep, you don't even realize it until you're stirring close to the morning again, back sore from sleeping on the floor but not as sore as it could've been from your impromptu pillow bed.No bad dreams, no paranoia. Slowly, you creak your eyes open.TO BE CONTINUED... NEXT THREAD! Thanks for reading.
>>5074324Thanks for running!
>>5074324Naisu.Also, oh shit, he's noticing us! Take your meds, boy!
Alright, quest has been archived, next thread will be started sometime this weekend. Thank you all for reading, and hope you are still enjoying!http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/5032301/
Okay, last day of my break. Been dealing with an absurd, unreasonable amount of silly bullshit that is so stupid if you read it in a book you'd go "Bullshit!" and it would ruin your suspension of disbelief. Update tomorrow.
>>5082546Be well, man.
>>5082547God am I fucking trying.
NEW THREAD, JUST IN TIME>>5083609>>5083609>>5083609