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/qst/ - Quests

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You are Anon, a 6’2” albino man of exceptional strength and magical energy who can remember neither his past nor own name, and a Master in the Akeldama Great Holy Grail War, which is taking place in a city in an artificial world called Akeldama. Your Servant is Avenger of Red, a winged girl wielding considerably powerful magic who has declined to tell you her true name as of yet. Most recently you’ve learned a little bit about how to use your own power, partially hijacked a vampirization transformation, returned to your base in a nondescript office building, and started passing out, so your Servant helped you fall asleep.

First thread: https://archived.moe/qst/thread/5331278/
Subsequent threads: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Low+Speed+Anti+Divine+QM
Reference for Servant (and other related) stat-blocks: https://pastebin.com/5mPbUP4G
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The next thing you knew, you seemed to be floating. This supposition based on the fact that you didn’t feel your feet making contact with anything, and anywhere you looked you saw naught but a grey, enshrouding haze. Were you in a cloud? As you looked about to see if you could orient yourself, you observe that you don’t seem to have a body in this state either, reminding you of your first memory from yesterday. Surely this is a dream of some sort, but if nothing comes of it you may end up rather bored.

As if on cue, you felt yourself gently being pulled downward by some unseen force, and as you looked below an island came into view. The island itself didn’t seem to have any cities or villages built on it; you’d guess it was largely untouched by civilization. You find that you had just slipped out of an overcast sky, feeling a moderately powerful wind gust past you from time to time. At the end of your gradual descent, you touch down on a rocky outcropping on the shoreline and try to survey your surroundings.

Right away you spot something worthy of note: a winged girl sitting on one of the rocks, gazing out over the rolling waves. From your perspective behind her she seemed to be almost the spitting image of Avenger, though the feathers of her wings appeared a uniform brown as opposed to black with red stains. You try to move yourself through sheer force of will to an angle that would let you see her face, and gradually succeeding you see her face is nearly the exact same as Avenger’s, but one difference strikes you. The expression on this girl’s face seems to describe loneliness and grief, which you could hardly imagine your Servant showing. You’d seen malice, condescension, curiosity, sadistic glee, and some moments of good humor, but Avenger’s been acting too tough for you to expect her to display something that could be construed as weakness or a lapse in mental fortitude. Although there was that one time in the church where you may have gotten her a little flustered…

“Why do you lament, old friend? It saddens me to find you so downcast the first time I’ve seen you since our last parting so long ago.” You heard a feminine voice say in an even tone. Turning at the same time as the winged girl, you see a black dog walking toward her.

Not at all overjoyed to see the dog, the winged girl scoffs, “You sneak onto my island, and only see fit to visit me in that form, do you, old friend?”

Sitting down in front of her, the dog answers, “It is a pity, but I cannot reveal the fullness of my glory in this place; our powers are fading, you know this as well as I. All that aside, I came to offer you a small favor.”

“I may accept it, on the condition you don’t ask for something of greater value in return.” The winged girl said, making her suspicion of the dog’s motives evident.
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Sounding amiable, the dog replied, “Right to the point I see. Don’t fret, it’s but a trifling thing. I agree to your stipulation.” With a nod of assent from the girl, the dog continued, “My gift for you is a warning and counsel. The warning is this: your time on this island is ending soon.”

Crossing her arms, the girl voiced her displeasure, “I can’t help but get the impression you go out of your way to see that I’m dispossessed of the things I rightfully earned, bitch.”

Starting to sound a bit irritated, the dog responds, “You also rightfully earned the consequences of your actions, my dear .” Then composing herself again, the dog said, “Regardless, I’m not here to banish you or serve an eviction notice. My counsel is to aid you in finding a … comfortable retirement, let’s say.” Somehow putting a sly grin onto her canine features, she continued, “I hear you’ve been getting along unexpectedly well with the widow of Ithaca’s king… and with her son.”

The winged girl’s face turned red as she burst out, “Do you really have nothing better to do with your time than pry into my business?! Shouldn’t you be more concerned about the world’s mana depletion or something?”

“I’ll have you know I’ve put quite the effort into discerning the nature of the phenomenon that’s weakened Gaia’s authority.” The dog said defensively, speaking of matters that really are going over your head. Though wait, maybe this has something to do with the True Ether fading from the world that Avenger told you about? The dog continued, “A god from another pantheon I visited called it a side-effect of this Yuga cycle, to be further accentuated in the Kali Yuga. It’s my dearly-held hope that this ‘human order’ is a transient phase than will burn itself out in the next couple millennia, but unfortunately it’s beyond even the power of the gods to directly oppose.” Refocusing, the dog then said, “But I’m getting off-topic. My counsel in light of your predicament is this: proceed with your ‘son-swapping plan’, but know that the four of you may wish to retire to the White Island with my aid.”

Though she grimaced in embarrassment again when the dog revealed knowledge of her ‘son-swapping plan’, the winged girl recited, “Elysion…” contemplatively after hearing mention of the ‘White Island’. Her mood softening, she said to the dog, “Maybe you’ve turned over a new leaf, given the changing circumstances. I’ll give your counsel some thought, and send word of my decision to you once I’ve finished deliberating. And perhaps I’ll clean up your altar before I make my supper.”
As though the clouds suddenly fell upon you, the world of the dream was enveloped in a grey mist. The ocean, the rocky shore, the island’s interior, and the winged girl all vanished, leaving only the dog remaining. Unnerving you slightly, the dog had been silently staring at you ever since the dream began to fade.

Her peculiar grin returning, the dog asked you, “I take it you enjoyed your eavesdropping, interloper?” before the haze obscured her as well.

Though you hadn’t felt capable of meaningfully interacting with the dream earlier (not that you really wanted to, as their conversation proved quite interesting), now you could speak, but had no idea what to say. Who or what was this dog? Why did she acknowledge your presence? The winged girl seemed to be Avenger in some form or other, did the dream reveal some of her legend? The king of Ithaca, Gaia, the Kali Yuga, Elysion, all were probably worth investigating at some point.

Your eyes then opened, and you saw an office’s ceiling overhead as your waking consciousness suddenly returned. You seem to have been moved to a bedroll in a lounge; it was fairly comfortable. Sitting up, you noticed your shirt was also gone for some reason.

“You’re awake. Quite the heavy sleeper.” You heard Jen say as a lazy greeting. Turning around, you see a new white undershirt and dress shirt neatly folded on the seat of a chair behind you, as well as Jen sitting at a nearby desk playing some kind of game with a deck of cards. She also had changed into clothes suited for exercising since you last saw her, rather than stay in her sweater and jeans.

“Good morning to you too, Jen.” You say as you put the undershirt on, pointing out her lack of politeness.

“Right.” She replies, standing up as she starts gathering her cards, “Anyway, Avenger wanted to serve your breakfast, some exotic stuff. You can find her if you go left down the hall, your nose should be able to take you the rest of the way.”

“I see.” You say, relieved to hear that your aching hunger would soon be satiated. Though Jen didn’t sound terribly enthusiastic about it herself, “Are you planning on getting any?”

“Not really. It’s not that it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s for me.” She answered, stretching her arms, “Now that you’re up I’ll get back to figuring out more about what I can do.”

You were a bit curious about what you missed since you passed out. Did the other Masters even learn that Jen was a vampire, and how did they react if they did? Have they made plans this morning already in your absence? Did they undertake any operations last night while you were asleep?

As you finish buttoning up the shirt, you then…

> Ask Jen a few questions before you go to breakfast. (What questions?)
> Go to see Avenger now.
> Do something else (write-in)
Hecate (doge)
>‘son-swapping plan’
yo I read a doujin like that
>Ask Jen a few questions before heading to breakfast.
>How are you feeling now that we've got some reprieve from last night's events?
>Your appearance now resembles my own. The ritual we used to prevent you becoming a ghoul used some of my blood as a primary ingredient, and I'm apparently a "homonculus" and not a vampire. Do you have any idea what you've become/what capabilities you might have? Based on what we saw and heard last night you're likely not a standard vampire/dead apostle.
>Would you have preferred I left you to your fate or delivered you a quick mercy kill? I dragged you into this mess without asking and I don't even fully understand what's happening myself other that us being trapped in some grand ritual where spirits from the past are forced to fight and die.
We don't know shit about our own origins and we want to know ourselves. So I imagine we'd be pretty forthcoming with how others came to be if we had info they lacked. Would be a bit meta to autistically mumble a few of those dream keywords out loud and see if Gaia especially pings a reaction but probably a bit too ooc.
Can't really think of anything else.

If/when we meet Hecate we really need to force her to put on bunny girl costume.
>Ask Jen a few questions before you go to breakfast.
>>How are you feeling after last night?
>>What have you figured out so far?
OOC I'm guessing the "son-swapping plan" is something to do with Telegonus, though I can't imagine what, and "Elysion" is Avalon.
Hecate hoping that the age of man will "burn itself out" is a subtle reference to FGO, foreshadowing the eventual reveal that Akeldama is actually a singularity created by Triscus. His master plan is to produce a timeline where the age of gods comes back and elevate to a lost world (similar to LB6). This explains all the gods participating in the war and the "Akeldama protocol" set in place for problem Servants like Altera
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Anon, Triscus Adajio is an anagram for Judas Iscariot.
With Akeldama being biblical as well, seven sins counter in pastebin and original Sweets' Akeldama having more or less established motivation for Judas it would seem to me that LSAD QM follows that as main cause of Akeldama war.
But we do have the usual suspect of such meddling, big cast and names around though, that's true.
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Reasonable questions to ask
*wink wink*
>If/when we meet Hecate we really need to force her to put on bunny girl costume.
pic related
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“How are you feeling now that you’ve had some time to process last night’s events, Jen?” You ask, hoping to learn more about her. When you think about it, you’ve known her for less than an hour if you don’t count the time you were asleep.

Rotating her hands to stretch her wrists, Jen answered, “My body feels fine: no injuries, aches, or organ failures as far as I can tell. I feel a little anxious, though.”

“Regarding what?” You ask.

“Part of it is I don’t know exactly how my body works. I know plenty of rumors of the things vampires can do or can get killed by from Jennifer’s memories, but I don’t know how to separate the bullshit from the real shit.” She answers as she slowly leans her head from one side to the other, “The prospect of exposing myself to sunlight makes me uncomfortable, so I’m playing it safe for now. But will crucifixes burn my eyes? Do I die if I eat garlic or get a wooden stake run through my heart?”

“I don’t know about garlic, but people generally die if their heart gets impaled.” You answer sarcastically.

“Ha. Ha.” She said in the most unenthusiastic laugh you’d ever heard, before elaborating, “I’d rather not learn through experience, but I’ve found that I can heal little cuts and scrapes instantly, so knowing where the limit is would be nice. I wonder if the other… nah, forget it.”

“What are your other capabilities, if don’t mind my asking?” You ask, not bothering to pry about what she was wondering about.

“Well, I can extend these whenever I feel like it.” She said as claws extended about three inches from her right hand. “Their exact shape is a bit malleable, they can be curved, straight, have serrated or beveled edges. It’s nice to have a multi-tool on-hand all the time.”

Retracting the claws, she then tapped a revolver that had been laid down on the desk she’d been playing the card-game on before continuing, “I’m also as good a shot as Jennifer was, and she found time to practice at the range her brother ran fairly often. And one other thing I noticed,” She said before she took a deep breath through her nose, “is my sense of smell is a lot stronger than a human’s. I can make out the scent of each person I’ve encountered so far, and quickly track them down should I feel the need. I guess it’s a predatory instinct, to help a being like me find my prey.”

That just took an unsettling turn. “Hold up. You haven’t been marking the people here as potential meals, have you?” You ask in a serious tone. If she starts causing trouble with the other Masters or, god forbid, attacks someone… well, you’d need to step in before things get to that.
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“Would it bother you if I were? You realize bringing me here isn’t much different than if you brought a tiger back with you, if you think about the food-chain.” She answers mischievously, not putting you at ease in the slightest. “After you passed out, the old wizard told everyone what I was, and they weren’t too happy when he did. Not that I blame them.”

“First of all, it should go without saying, but don’t attack anyone here.” You order her, before asking, “Second, you haven’t been thrown out, so what happened?”

“It wasn’t too hard to get into their good graces.” The vampire explained, “After trying the ‘don’t judge people before you get to know them’ tripe with a little success, I told them I’d leave to give them some time to think, but would come back with changes of clothes, hygiene items, and recreational stuff like decks of cards, and that I could to take orders for things to be on the lookout for. The rich girl in particular was glad to not let her cleanliness be the first casualty your group suffered. Playing courier for mundane items was easy enough, although most of the signs being in Japanese made it a little difficult to find some of them.”

“I see, you won them over with modern luxuries.” You sigh. Really, Truvi? You guess her privileged lifestyle would have made her open to that type of ingratiation. Or was it because she was a girl? You then ask Jen, “Did you encounter anyone while you were out?”

“Nope.” She answered simply, “The city’s pretty big, and I’m not looking to start a fight before I get a better idea of how to use my power.”

“This may make the issue more complicated, but you have a right to know.” You assert. If you were in her place, you’d have wanted someone to describe the details of your origin if they knew. You begin to explain, “There’s a reason your new appearance resembles mine: Avenger and I used a ritual to stop you from becoming a mindless ghoul using some of my blood as a vital ingredient. It seems I’m some kind of homunculus as opposed to a vampire, and based on what we’ve observed last night you don’t seem to be the standard fare when it comes to vampires or Dead Apostles. Knowing that, do you understand yourself or your abilities a little better?”

“Though your story checks out, I have no idea what that means.” She replies with some visible confusion, “I wonder, did the old guy guess correctly when he assumed you were like a brother to me? He seemed to have a keen eye.”

Now that you think about it, Avenger made that pool and you provided some of your blood, so would that make you and Avenger something like her parents? You’re not sure how you felt about that analogy.
“Hrm, let’s not think too hard about that.” You say, letting a hint of unease seep into your tone. Changing the topic, you ask, “There’s something else I’ve been wondering about: does it bother you that I interfered and made you like this? I dragged you into a real mess that even I don’t fully understand, beyond the fact that we’re stuck in a grand ritual where spirits of the past are forced to fight and die. Would you have preferred it if I left you to your fate, or dealt a swift mercy-kill?”

“You don’t seem to understand.” She sighed. Walking up to you, she flicked her middle finger into your forehead before answering, “Don’t be a retard, of course I’d rather be alive than dead, and rather be the way I am now than a brain-dead zombie. You seem to be forgetting, ’I’ came into being when ‘I’ leapt out of the pit that Avenger put Jennifer Hill’s dying body in. I am not Jennifer, I’m someone, or maybe something , new. If you wanted Jennifer’s opinion, she would have preferred to have been saved if it was possible, but she wouldn’t be spiteful and want me to die just because she did.”

A bit relieved that Jen doesn’t seem to hold any animosity toward you for what you did, you then inquire, “Being pushed into the Holy Grail War doesn’t bother you? Did anyone explain the premise to you while I was passed out?”

“I picked up on it when the other Masters were considering kicking me out.” She answered, before laughing softly to herself for a moment and continuing, “From what I can tell, I could technically hunker down and sit the whole thing out since I’m not a Master, but that would be a wasted opportunity.”

“Opportunity?” You ask, “I thought you wouldn’t have a stake in it since you’re not a Master, as you said.”

“It’s an opportunity for me to become someone who surpasses legends.” She declared confidently, “Don’t you feel the same way?”

You begin to reply, “You mean you want to-”

“Kill Servants, yes.” She said, answering your question before you finished asking it, “The blood of a true hero must be delicious, but more than that, it’s the deed itself that’s the main draw. For someone like me, without a name, family, nation, or sentimental idealism to give my life purpose, there could be no better canvas to paint my identity on than the greatest heights of human history.”
“That’s… quite the ambition. You definitely don’t want to step onto that battlefield half-cocked.” You reply. Did you feel the same way, you wondered? It wasn’t something you’d given much thought to, you mainly wanted to understand yourself and get back the memories that you’d lost. In Jen’s case though, she hadn’t really lost anything, so much as she’d been created without an identity. Even though she claimed to lack sentimental idealism, the ideal of becoming ‘the one who exceeds human history’ seems to be what she’s deciding to pursue, from what you can tell anyway.

“I already know that, of course.” She said, before asking you, “Speaking of, when you’re talking with Avenger over breakfast, can you bring up the topic of drawing out and sharpening my power? I think she’d be more likely to agree if you were the one who asked.”

Will you agree to ask:

>”Sure, I can give it a shot”
>”Sure, I can give it a shot” (Lie and later say that Avenger said no without asking)
>”Maybe some other time, I have a lot on plate right now”

Now then, it’s:

>Time to go to breakfast
>Time to do something else (write-in)
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Will you agree to ask:
>”Sure, I can give it a shot”
>"But you both should not treat each other like a strangers. She played just as much of part as me and my blood in making (you) who (you) are now. You both have bit of an attitude but you'll bond quite well now that you have the same personal goal of defeating enemy Servants. "
Now then, it’s:
>Time to go to breakfast
Just a bit of extra to try and make our closest allies to have better attitude towards each other.
Shame that Jen wants to avoid breakfast as it could have been a nice social event for her to ease the relationship with everyone else since she would be sharing normal food with them and it would test on how she feels about normal food but it can't be helped. Guess Truvi just have to live the idea that Jen prefers Truvi's now clean neck over Avenger's kykeon.
>”Sure, I can give it a shot”
>Time to eat breakfast
Cool stuff.

Sorry if I've been teeing up no-brainer decision-trees from time-to-time, I don't mean to railroad. Any topics you want to bring up to your Servant when you meet up, aside from Jen's request?

Also, suggest she comes along to breakfast for appearance sake.

If she considers herself a predator of humans she should expect humans to have innate fear of her. She has to act human somewhat if she wishes to be accepted. Seeing as she'll be up against stronger foes which we've already seen are working in tandem, including the DA who initially tried to have her made into his thrall, she's going to need to establish some social connections with the group here.

Should also mention Avenger was integral to her "birth" and if she values her existence she should be less abrasive with someone that could be considered her "mother" of sorts, as Avenger already has a pretty bad temper herself. You'd like them to get along somewhat and Avenger likely feels Jen was being somewhat ungrateful with how she was speaking to her considering she utilised what is essentially a crystallisation of her own myth/legend/story to create Jen as she is.

Probably worth being open about what we saw in our dream, asking for context on the major buzzwords we heard first before giving Avenger full context in case she goes spaghetti upon hearing about memory transfer of her past more "stable" self.

>The king of Ithaca, Gaia, the Kali Yuga, Elysion.

I think it should be done in private/telepathically though seeing as Avenger has been very protective of her identity so we should respect that.
>she should be less abrasive with someone that could be considered her "mother" of sorts
You're going for parenting angle after all? I didn't want to push it if no one else was on board, but I can work with that.
Maybe get other anons in agreement before locking that part in
Is this elaborate way of asking Jen to call Anon her "Daddy"?
“Sure, I can give it a shot.” You answer. With that said, you think it would be for the best if Jen would try to set your other allies more at ease, so you suggest, “However, I don’t think the two of you should treat each other coldly. Avenger played just as much a part in making ‘you’ who ‘you’ are now as I and my blood did; probably more, in fact. Though you both have somewhat prickly attitudes, I think you’ll bond quite well once she hears that you’re on board with helping us defeat enemy Servants. Why don’t you come with me to breakfast to explain things?”

Still reluctant, Jen answered, “While you do have a point, I don’t exactly want to be a third wheel, if you know what I mean.”

“Third wheel? Isn’t everyone else there too?” You ask, a bit unsure as to what she’s implying, “I was thinking it’d also be a good opportunity for you to set everyone more at ease by trying human food and acting a bit more sociable.”

A sudden realization visibly dawning on her, the vampire replied, “Oh, you’re misunderstanding the situation. This time it’s on me, I wasn’t very specific.”

“What do you mean?” You ask.

“Well, it’s almost 11am now, so everyone else has already eaten breakfast and started going about their day.” She explained, “They assumed you’d understand, active war going on and all.”

“Ah.” You mutter as you realize that you seem to have overslept a little. “Do you happen to know what they’re up to?”

“The rich girl and the delinquent went out together with their Servants to survey another part of the city, the other kid wanted to spend the morning and afternoon training with his Servant in this building’s gym, and the midget teacher and the building maintenance guy are with them, not sure if they’re helping or just watching. So yeah, it’s just Avenger keeping the pot warm for you.” She answered.

“Did you not remember a single one of their names?” You ask, a little disappointed at her attention to detail. At least she generally kept track of their whereabouts.

“Hey, don’t get on my case.” Jen replied defensively, “I know the teacher’s called Koko! She’s my favorite right now, by the way.”

“It’s because she has a simple nickname, isn’t it?” You ask flatly.

“Everyone here is either Japanese or is called something outlandish like ‘T-something-Anne’, cut me some slack.” Jen answered irritably, then added in a teasing tone, “Or doesn’t give a name at all, Mr. Anonymous.”

“Coming from you, that’s hardly a scathing criticism.” You banter back with a slight smirk.

Conceding your point, she admits, “Fair enough. We’ve gotten somewhat off-topic though.”
This does make for a different situation. If it were just you and Avenger you could talk about all manner of things in confidence, like the dream you had that seemed to feature your Servant in some form or other. You imagine talking about that with Jen there to listen in could raise Avenger’s ire, but talking using silent telepathy would leave her feeling confused and shunned. Then again, you still want to get Avenger and Jen to come to an understanding sooner than later.

What to do…

> Insist Jen comes with you, you’ll just hold off discussing some of the more personal details of last night’s dream until some other time.
> Give Jen leave to do as she pleases (within reason), but ask that she tells you where to find her once you’re finished eating so you can help her train. Then you can talk with Avenger in confidence.
> Reiterate your request for Jen to accompany you, but let her know that some of the things you’ll be talking about are highly sensitive and she’ll need to be ready to swear herself to secrecy.
> A different approach? (Write-in)

It's at least at the back of Anon's mind.
Not. On. Your. Life. -Jen
> Give Jen leave to do as she pleases (within reason), but ask that she tells you where to find her once you’re finished eating so you can help her train. Then you can talk with Avenger in confidence.
I think Avenger would appreciate some privacy for this talk.
Going for some one-on-one time I see.

Anyone want to second it?
>Give Jen leave to do as she pleases (within reason), but ask that she tells you where to find her once you’re finished eating so you can help her train. Then you can talk with Avenger in confidence.
I'll second it. You can't talk about the birds and the bees in front of your children.
While writing I realized I should have you roll 1d100 Bo3 for a stat upgrade.

No major rush on rolling it, the update is still in progress (and will be fairly long).
Rolled 42 (1d100)

Rolled 77 (1d100)

Rolled 37 (1d100)

Bottoms up.
I can't handle her strongest potions.
That poor pillow... Even here she can't escape the memory of what Hera put her through. Brings a tear to my eye.
77/100, Decent success

Oh hi Sweets, long time no see.
Hey there, Low. Nice dream-memory, it felt very appropriate for Circe's latter days. Having fun with the quest?
Yes, I've found it to be quite an enjoyable hobby. The players are chill and there hasn't been any troublesome drama worth mentioning since you last dropped by. I'm moving the plot more slowly than you did, but I think that's largely because I decided early on that this story arc would have a lot of characters to juggle between, so doing everyone justice will take a while.
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You decide it’d be for the best to clear things up with Avenger as the first priority, in as much detail as possible; and it would behoove you to speak with her alone. But you aren’t going to forget about Jen either. “Here’s what we’ll do: I’ll go see Avenger alone, but I want you to tell me where I can find you once we’re finished so we can help you figure out more about your powers. Deal?”

“Sounds fine to me. I’ll pay the gym a visit and see if the Lancer there can show me how tough Servants are.” Jen answered as she started walking toward the door leading to the hall, “Though if she’s pitifully weak I can’t guarantee her safety.”

“She isn’t.” You say with certainty as you follow the vampire to the door. Though you hadn’t had a good look at Lancer of Red’s fighting style, you knew she was able to make quick work of one of Sun Wukong’s clones unassisted; no meager feat. You’re starting to get concerned that Jen could get herself into trouble soon if she doesn’t stop being socially abrasive.

Revealing an excited smile, Jen replied, “Good.”

“By the way, her Master’s name is Yumigawa Rushorou, Yumigawa being his family name. Be polite, and you should have a better chance at getting them to cooperate.” You offer as advice.

“Mm-hmm.” She hummed as an apathetic affirmative before heading right down the hall. She’s bound to learn a lesson from this soon. What kind of lesson it will be is up to her…

As Jen said, you were able to catch the pleasant aroma as you followed her directions. Coming into a kitchen, you find Avenger standing by a large pot, stirring its contents with a ladle. Next to the pot there’s a tall, narrow pitcher that you assume contains some kind of beverage.

Catching sight of you, your Servant flaps her black wings a couple times as she greets you pleasantly, “Good morning Master, I trust your slumber has rejuvenated you?”

“Good morning, Avenger. It has, aside from my stomach. But I see you’ve made arrangements for that.” You reply in good humor.

“Of course; when you’re feeling your best, I can fight at my best. The pot has a stew, and I prepared some kykeon and put it in that pitcher. Help yourself to as much as you’d like, once it metabolizes your body should get a modest, yet permanent physical enhancement.” She said as she handed you a large bowl with a spoon over the pot. You find your eyes widening in anticipation, excited at the prospect. Bit of a shame Jen’s missing out, but then again it might not work for her, since her physiology’s probably quite different from yours.

Examining you for a moment as you fill the bowl with the stew and a cup with the kykeon, Avenger adds, “And it appears the hatchling vampire didn’t try to do anything insolent; how wise of her.”
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Come to think of it, leaving your unconscious body under her watch could be a bit of a risk, although Jen didn’t indicate that she was hungry at all when you were talking with her. Maybe she doesn’t need to eat as often as humans do. But this is a good time to ask Avenger about having her help you in the Holy Grail War. “Speaking of Jen, she said that she was very interested in helping us defeat enemy Servants earlier.”

“Is that so? I’m doubtful she’ll amount to much in battle, but maybe she could attack a Master while the Servant is distracted.” Your Servant replied as a tactical assessment after taking a small sip of kykeon.

That’s definitely not what Jen had in mind. After taking a seat at a table and helping yourself to a few mouthfuls of the stew, you inquire as to your Servant’s reasoning, “What makes your expectations so low?”

“Tell me what she can do, and we’ll compare it with the familiars I’ve had this whole time.” She answered bluntly as she sat down across from you.

“I don’t know the limit of her physical strength, but it seems to be at least comparable to mine.” You report, recalling the sensation you felt after she punched you last night.

“My boars are at least that strong.” Avenger replied.

“She can extend claws from her fingertips at will.” You then say.

“Lions.” She deadpans, not feeling the need to elaborate further.

“A strong sense of smell?” You say less confidently, recalling that you ordered one of her boars to track someone yesterday.

“Hounds. Or a boar.” She predictably recites.

Remembering something definitely beyond the beasts’ capabilities, you assert, “None of your familiars can shoot guns.”

Avenger pauses to think for a moment, then replies, “I’ll give her that one, but those peashooters are useless against Servants.”

“They are? What if a Servant got shot in the eye with an anti-tank round?” You ask, hoping to get a little insight on the kind of firepower that’s necessary to damage Servants.

“The bullet would bounce off and the Servant would feel as though someone lightly poked their eye.” Avenger answered as she pointed at her own eye. “We’re spirits with etheric bodies: unless a physical attack is imbued with some form of magical energy, it can’t cause substantial harm to us.”

After taking a short break to continue eating, you then ask, “Shouldn’t it be possible to imbue bullets with magical energy?”

“I… suppose so.” She answered hesitantly, then chuckled as she continued, “You come up with amusing ideas, Master. I wouldn’t have conceived of trying to fit modern warfare principles into a battle of mysteries.”

“I guess I just want to optimize our resource management.” You reply, “When we’re done with breakfast I was hoping you could instruct me on how to use magic like last night; could we have Jen tag along and try to learn with me?”
“I don’t see why not.” She said freely, before grinning mischievously as she continued, “Heh, if anything I won’t have to pull my punches with her, whereas in your case I can’t push you too hard.”

A bit concerned for the vampire’s well-being, you inquire with the intention of discouraging taking excessive risk, “You aren’t planning on having her fight an entire pride of lions all at once, are you?”

“Not all at once!” Avenger exclaimed in a similar tone to what a child would have when some wrongdoing of theirs was uncovered, “I mean… didn’t you want to gauge her combat ability? She seems haughty enough that I could get her to agree to just about anything if I pose it as a challenge.”

“Ok.” You reply wearily, deciding to worry about dialing down Avenger’s training regimen later. There were other issues you’d like to get cleared up, after all.

After eating in silence for a while, you reopen the conversation by reporting, “I had an interesting dream last night, but I’m having some difficulty understanding what I saw. Could I ask you a few questions regarding some of the names that came up?”

“I suppose that’s to be expected.” Avenger sighed, giving you the impression that she considers explaining this as dealing with something unpleasant yet inevitable. “What did you see?”

“It was set on the shoreline of an island on an overcast day. Someone who looked almost exactly like you was talking with a black dog about… a few different topics, I suppose.” You say as you begin to relate the experience to her.

“So you are aware, a dream such as that will depict an event from the time when I was alive as a consequence of our contract; I imagine you already suspected as much. Anything in particular you’d like elucidated?” She explained. This doesn’t really come as a surprise to you, as you already knew that the connection through the Command Seals allows for telepathic communication. Memories leaking from one person’s experience into the other’s dreams would be a reasonable side-effect. Wait, could that mean…

“Did you have a dream involving a past memory of mine? Something from before this whole ritual started?” You ask excitedly.

“No such luck, I’m afraid.” She replies.

“Was worth a try.” You say a bit despondently, disappointed that you haven’t gotten a new lead; you’re pretty sure it’s not her fault. “In that case, could you explain what ‘Gaia’ is?”

“Certainly: in short, the planet has a conscious will to protect itself and the creatures that it gave life to. When it takes action through the various means available to it, it’s the Counter Force, or Gaia, doing so. Incidentally, as human civilization developed and set itself apart from the natural world, it developed its own Counter Force, whose priority is to preserve the human species, as opposed to Gaia which prioritizes the planet as a whole.” Avenger explained methodically.
“How does a planet’s will take action, exactly?” You ask out of curiosity.

“It generally gives birth to nature spirits which manifest and act on its behalf, such as phantasmal beasts, the fey, and divine spirits.” She answers, thinks for a few moments, then continues, “If I recall, the progenitors of the Dead Apostles were similar beings, but they were made in collaboration with the moon.”

The moon has a will too, and it helped Gaia create vampire progenitors? You have a feeling that continuing to pull this thread is going to bring up more questions than it answers, so you decide to leave it for now and move on, saying, “I see. Can you tell me what Elysion is?”

“Elysion?” Her immediate reaction to your question betrayed surprise, as though you’d heard more than she’d expected you to. “Right, it’s known also as the Isle of the Blessed or the White Island. It’s a land of heroes and men of outstanding virtue, a destination for those who do not enter the realm of Hades.”

Interesting, it seems the dog was offering quite a boon to the woman who was probably Avenger, to help her and some of her family go there together from what you recalled. Moving right along, you then ask, “And can you tell me anything about the Kali Yuga?”

Her face wrinkling up a little as she seemed to be racking her brains, Avenger remarked, “What an odd thing to bring up. Let’s see, I think the Kali Yuga is part of a temporal paradigm originating in an eastern pantheon, where time is viewed cyclically in terms of humanity’s relationship with the gods, or perhaps spirituality in general. The Kali Yuga is named after a demon-king, and represents the era when humanity is the most debased and willfully ignorant of the divine. This isn’t exactly my point of expertise, mind you.”

“Do you think that’s linked to how human civilization is apparently breaking away from the will of the planet? You said earlier that the planet created divine spirits, aren’t those the gods?” You ask, wondering to what kind of conclusion these connections might lead.

“I could be pedantic and go into the finer details, but generally speaking you’re not wrong.” She answered, “And your supposition is certainly plausible, as the advancement of civilization since the AD era has been inversely proportional to the level of Mystery remaining in the world. But I personally won’t get too hung up on a mode of thought originating from another pantheon. One aspect to consider is that unlike the Great Fathers and Mothers of the fey, a god or goddess’ existence is affected by humanity’s collective understanding of them.”

“This has been quite enlightening, thank you.” You remark, though you’re finding with each layer of this metaphorical onion that you peel back, you find still more waiting to be revealed. You then ask, “One last thing: can you tell me who the king of Ithaca was?”
Avenger remained silent for a while, tipping her cup back and taking her time drinking the rest of her kykeon. At length, she eventually set her cup down and replied in an aloof manner, “Obviously, he was the king of place called Ithaca.”

She clearly isn’t inclined to talk much about this one, but part of you wants to put some pressure on her to come out with it. You have a feeling that if you really think about it, you could eventually come up with the answer yourself, but then she may get the impression that you were prying behind her back. You suspect you’ll get a lot closer to finding out her True Name from this revelation, and at this point you’re starting to think you’re entitled to know. Haven’t you proved yourself competent by now? She can even periodically give you another dose of a telepathy-blocking potion for additional security.

> Push her to tell you more about the king of Ithaca, as well as her True Name. It’s about time she was straight with you.
> Push her to tell you more about the king of Ithaca, but leave her True Name off the table for now.
> Just drop the issue, finish eating, and find Jen to practice magic under Avenger.
Understandable. The cast you're trying to work with is even bigger than my Awakening Mirror, and that was time-consuming enough. You're giving yourself a hefty challenge, but that does make it fun, doesn't it? Hope it all goes well for you.
> Tell her you trust her with your life and if she wants to talk about it you will be open, finish eating, and find Jen to practice magic under Avenger.
Don't see many reasons to push her and we will see the dreams anyway (if we did not have memory issues, her reaction right now would have give away her True Name away). So with her trust issues, we might as well show we trust her and give her signal we already for the talk when she is. I am quite certain she will have church vows talk and initial promise to fight together on her mind.
>Just drop the issue, finish eating, and find Jen to practice magic under Avenger.
This >>5533149
But also mention how in the dream her wings weren't their current colour and you appreciate something must have happened to her to dye them as they are now.
Oh that's a good question to ask.
Being patient I see. So be it, Anon's curiosity will have to wait.
Building proper trust too
Rolled 46, 36, 22 = 104 (3d100)

Checking something
Yo who jobbed?
It was less about jobbing and more about how much the character learned from the experience... apparently not very much.
haha circe-sensei forcing anon to stay after lessons to do (another course with) her
I suppose there's no issue spoiling it since I'm hoping to finish the update tonight.
Remember when Jen went to pick a fight with Rushorou's Lancer? That was what it was for. The outcome was forgone, but she's more salty about it than edified.
In spite of your curiosity, you decide against pushing the issue right now. You’ll be seeing more dreams in the days ahead, Avenger isn’t leaving anytime soon, and you’re willing to trust her enough to wait patiently for when she’s ready to talk.

“That would make sense.” You reply to her simplistic answer, “If you feel there’s something else I should know, I trust you can bring it to my attention when you deem it necessary.”

“Well, naturally.” She said, displaying some surprise that you were willing to table the topic so quickly.

“I understand something must have happened to you between the events of that dream and now, to dye your wings to their current color.” You speculate, taking the rather small leap in logic that the winged girl in the dream was your Servant in a different stage of her life.

“Many things… have happened since then.” She said slowly, and with a notable lack of fondness in her tone. It seems to you that whatever occurred is a topic that probably brings up painful memories.

In the remaining time that you spend eating, Avenger explains some of her lesson plan. For the location, she’ll have you and Jen join her in the building’s underground parking garage, where she’ll try to gather some mana from the air for the two of you to work with. This area isn’t near a particularly strong leyline convergence point, but she said that she can gather up a heavy enough concentration of mana to make inducing the same trance as last night an effective training aid.

First she’d walk you both through a process of converting ambient mana into od for your own use, then you’d see at what point your bodies get saturated from absorbing the mana as a baseline measurement. She also mentions that one of the reasons you may have started to tire yesterday from her bombardment attack is that your body wasn’t acclimated to running its magic circuits for an extended period of time, and she’s hopeful that the exercises she has planned can improve your ability to utilize your power. Once that’s done, she’d offer a few different options for you to choose from, such as actively reinforcing your own body with the od that you gather, learning how to redirect or disrupt incoming spells, physically manifesting Ether, or perhaps even experimenting with converting Ether into True Ether.

Having at length finished your meal, Avenger leads you to the building’s gym. You enter just in time to find a disheveled Jen fall onto the floor after being pushed from some distance, and Lancer of Red quietly observing the vampire from a nearby martial arts mat, retracting her foot from some kind of kick. It appears Jen got the fight that she was looking for, though you couldn’t say she was enjoying it.
“Khhhhhh…” Jen hissed angrily as she exhaled, staggering to her feet and letting her claws slightly extend from her fingertips (perhaps involuntarily, for all you knew) before noticing your arrival. Retracting the claws, she took a deep breath before gruffly telling the white-haired Lancer and her master, “Looks like it’s time for me to step out.”

“The three of you have plans?” Rushorou asked, dressed in gym clothes and sitting on a bench with a water bottle in his hand. He appeared fairly worn out; you suppose he was taking a break while Jen was getting kicked around by his Lancer.

“That’s right: we planned on experimenting with magic for a while in the parking garage.” You answer.

“I see; perhaps I’ll try that, some other time.” The young man replied as he stood back up to rejoin his Servant on the mat, focused on the task he’d been working at. Guess it was time for you to leave.

“Best of luck, then!” You lightly cheer him as you step out of the gym.

“To both of us.” He answers coolly.

After you began heading to the parking garage, you recall that no one else was in the gym. You decide to ask Jen, “Do you know where Koko and Suzaku went? You said they were in there.”

“They were, earlier.” Jen replied a bit irritably, “At some point the topic of booting up this building’s Wi-Fi routers came up, so they went to give that a try. Though I’m pretty sure Suzaku’s the one doing most of the work.”

“They wanted to use the internet?” You ask, wondering if a system as complex as that would even work in a fabricated world like the one you were all in.

“I guess. Suzaku assumed that since inanimate objects seemed to have been copied into this world, any web-servers within the city’s limits should have been copied as well, so they might be able to access something.” She answered, before sighing and continuing, “Even if so, I think that would only work if the servers themselves were already booted up; good luck finding them if they’re not.”

Not long after, the three of you made it down to the garage, finding a spot with a lot of open space. Throwing a small flask onto the ground, Avenger declares, “Master, you’ll proceed with the first step as we planned.” As you inhale some of the mist, you begin to see specks of golden and white dust, giving you a visual approximation of the densities of the two types of mana just like last night.

Creating a summoning circle, Avenger then surprises you by addressing Jen, “As for you, vampire, I’ll be evaluating whether it’s any use to bring you onto the battlefield. If you can’t handle one of these, you’ll just slow us down.”

One of her lion-familiars appeared in the circle, fiercely snarling at Jen and raking its claws against the concrete floor, chipping away at it.

“Avenger, what are you doing? This wasn’t part of the plan.” You ask telepathically to maintain discretion.
“Her emotions are too unstable to practice something that requires calm concentration, so I’m giving her something on the other end of the spectrum.” Your Servant replied self-assuredly.

Extending her own claws, Jen scoffed as she moved into a readied stance, “You better not be bothered that I’m about to devour your pet down to the bones.”

Just take deep breaths and concentrate on getting the mana. Not a care in the world…


You guys can roll 2d100 (Bo3), the first one is for practicing absorbing the mana, the second one will be for a new ability/spell that you'll learn. You'll vote on which one to try out (skill-tree time):

> Physical Reinforcement [Difficulty: Low-Mid]
> Counterspelling (choose between redirecting other spells using normal Ether [Difficulty: Mid] or annihilating it with True Ether [Difficulty: Mid-High])
> Physically manifesting Ether [Difficulty: Low]
> Experiment with converting regular Ether into True Ether [Difficulty: High]

You'll make faster progress on the easier ones.
Rolled 54, 96 = 150 (2d100)


> Physical Reinforcement [Difficulty: Low-Mid]

Fingers crossed
Rolled 28, 90 = 118 (2d100)

>Physical Reinforcement [Difficulty: Low-Mid]
With Reinforcement, we won't die in 3 seconds if we run into a Servant.
Rolled 66, 36 = 102 (2d100)

Smart anons also picking reinforcement
66, 96

Since the second one got two hits 90+, Physical Reinforcement comes quite naturally to you. You can also roll 1d50 Bo3 after picking one of the following (critical success bonus):

> Work extra on reinforcing yourself
> Practice reinforcing items
> Get started on one of the other options listed in >>5537632
Rolled 12 (1d50)

Damn, we are natural.
> Work extra on reinforcing yourself
Since EMIYA manages to get C-rank Clairvoyance with it
>Capable of keeping track of fast-moving object within a range of four kilometers. EMIYA acquires this by applying Reinforcement to his eyes.
It could be useful to test if we can get similar overclock. And with Avenger's food providing additional permanent physical enhancement, we have potential for solid gains.
Rolled 24 (1d50)

>Work extra on reinforcing yourself
Rolled 32 (1d50)

> Work extra on reinforcing yourself
These are some good rolls.
Rolled 78, 67, 96, 81, 49, 35 = 406 (6d100)

Before I go on I should explain how I'm dealing with the stats/powerscaling so we're on the same page in terms of number-crunching.

In the official TM system, a stat with a letter rank (no +/-) is assigned a multiple of 10 value (E=10, D=20, C, B, A ascending likewise).

I'm going to say that's the same, expect allow for a little variation (+/- 1), so E is an integer in the inclusive range R:[9,11], D has R:[19,21], etc.

I'm also going to use "+/-" a little differently from the official system in some circumstances (normally it indicates power boosts that temporarily multiply or demerits on by default that can be temporarily surpassed). For a (non-NP) parameter, "+/-" indicates that the rank has a stable value somewhere between two letters' ranks (A+ is the exception to this, it just means it's a fair bit higher than 50 [capped at 100] since EX isn't quantified the same way). An E+ is R:[12,15], D- is R:[16,18]. Similar process for the other letters, you'd just add the appropriate multiple of 10.

If a Servant or other character has an ability that allows for temporary power boosts to STR/AGI/END, I wouldn't have their baseline stats reflect that, but would rather describe that when the ability is toggled on the stat would "effectively increase by N rank increments" where 3 rank increments is a full rank (C -> C+ -> D- -> D).

NP's tend to have more qualitative modifiers (e.g. super-effective against X-trait enemies), so if they have a +/- assume it uses the official multiplier/demerit system unless stated otherwise.

**Anon's baseline Agility and Endurance both permanently went up from E to E+, this is meant to indicate that before they were R:[9,11], but now they're R:[12,15] due to the permanent powerup. Anon's Reinforcement is going to temporarily increase STR and AGI by one rank increment and END by two, but that won't be reflected in the parameter rankings themselves on Anon's stat sheet, I'll just write a note in under a skill (maybe Magecraft E or something).**

The reason I decided to do it this way is because I think it indicates incremental growth a bit more clearly than the official version would. And because I find the official version a bit opaque when it comes to quantifying things like buff-stacking.
Sounds fine to me.
>**Anon's baseline Agility and Endurance both permanently went up from E to E+, this is meant to indicate that before they were R:[9,11], but now they're R:[12,15] due to the permanent powerup. Anon's Reinforcement is going to temporarily increase STR and AGI by one rank increment and END by two, but that won't be reflected in the parameter rankings themselves on Anon's stat sheet, I'll just write a note in under a skill (maybe Magecraft E or something).**
That's fewer worries about randomly dying to some summons or those dead apostles skulking around for sure.
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You are of two minds at the moment. On the one hand, you’re grateful that Jen led the lion away from you before fighting in earnest, so the ruckus she’s kicked up wasn’t very distracting. On the other, since the sounds of fighting died down before long and she hasn’t returned, you’re curious how she fared. Fortunately, you’ve been making headway on understanding the process of inhaling and assimilating the ambient mana into your body with occasional advice from your Servant.

“She… actually IS eating the entire thing to the bones.” Avenger remarked in disbelief a couple minutes after the fighting died down.

“How did it go? I couldn’t pay attention.” You ask as you continue your breathing exercise.

“She’s better than I expected, made quick work of that lion.” Your Servant grumbled, disappointed by her familiar’s less than stellar performance. By the time you spotted Jen walking back with her clothes spattered in blood-stains, you feel that you’ve gotten a good handle on the mana conversion process.


Her spirits visibly lifted, Jen commented as she returned, “That was quite tasty. Who’s next?”

“You want to fight another one, do you?” Avenger muttered as she summoned a boar in front of the vampire, “You asked for it, so don’t come crying to me if you get mauled.” Should you make her stop? She may be acting more out of wounded pride than measured instruction; then again, maybe feeding Jen a couple familiars every now and again will keep her appetite satiated.

The boar charged straight toward the white-haired vampire with a fierce snort, hoping to mangle her legs and drive her into the ground. With a wild grin, Jen leapt diagonally-backward, holding herself above the ground with one of her clawed hands gripping into a concrete pillar, causing the beast to pounce through empty air. “This is what I needed: no rules, just a fight to the death!” She exclaimed, darting from pillar to pillar while taunting, “Try to keep up, pork chop!”

Leading the raging beast away from you, she took the fight to another section of the garage where it wouldn’t be as noticeable a distraction. You start to wonder how well you’d fare in a fight against Avenger’s familiars in comparison. You didn’t carry a weapon on your person, but you were fairly tough all things considered. Then again, the beasts were also quite a bit stronger than an average animal of their species, so the question might come down to whether you had the right instincts to kill a berserk predator with your bare hands. You didn’t have built-in claws or rapid healing, so it might get ugly.
Once you demonstrate an adequate proficiency in absorbing mana, Avenger decides to move on and remind you of the basic spells that you could work on learning. You decide to go for Physical Reinforcement, with the intention of shoring up your vulnerability to enemy attacks. Now Avenger won’t need to worry so much about the possibility of you getting unceremoniously killed by a stray bullet, or arrow, or falling rubble, or… whatever else. Assuming things go well you could probably withstand a few hits from an enemy Servant without being incapacitated, so long as the Servant isn’t particularly powerful.

“The main idea to keep in mind is that you want to use your magical energy to make your body’s structure perform its normal functions in an optimal, and eventually super-optimal, manner.” Avenger explains as she keeps a close eye on you, “Overdoing it or getting sloppy will cause your body to react as though it’s been poisoned, so I’ll give you rundown on your physiology to make sure things proceed well.”

Jen returns again with a few new bloodstains on her clothes when you’re about to get started, reporting to you and Avenger that the boar was a bit tougher than the lion, but she appreciated the challenge and enjoyed its taste more. You dissuade Avenger from having Jen fight any more familiars and instead get her started on the same breathing exercise you were working on earlier.

Over the next couple hours, you end up surprising yourself as well as Avenger by how quick you are on the uptake for Physical Reinforcement. Not only do you take it further than she’d expected you to in a single lesson, you also figure out how to use it so that your eyes can visually detect mana in the air without the aid of the trance from Avenger’s mist.

Upon asking Avenger what would happen if you used your own Reinforcement on yourself at the same time she used hers, she had this to say, “Since it’s the same spell being used at differing levels of effectiveness, the benefit from my casting of it would overlap the comparatively lower benefit of yours, rather than stack on top of it. But your use of it rather than mine would allow me to focus my concentration on other tasks more precisely, so whether it’s preferable to use mine or yours will depend on context.”

Jen eventually also got the hang of absorbing mana from the air, so you and Avenger explained the general idea behind the Reinforcement spell. After she worked it for about half an hour, Lancer of Red suddenly materialized in your midst, reporting in a formal tone, “The others will be returning from their survey shortly. My Master has suggested a strategy meeting be held. Attend if you wish.”

Before anyone had a chance to respond, she dematerialized without further explanation.

“I don’t want to quit until I’ve got this figured out; can you two give me a quick summary once it’s over?” Jen suggested, focused on learning the spell.
It’s clear to you that increasing her own combat power is a much higher priority to Jen than social interaction. Should you try to persuade her to come, or would it be perfectly appropriate for her to sit it out since she isn’t a Master?

> Try to persuade Jen to come to the meeting
> Leave Jen to practice the spell and attend with just Avenger


Jen rolled 96 on fighting critters and 81 on spell practice
> Try to persuade Jen to come to the meeting
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Interlude: She can see all of them

It was cripplingly frightening. More frightening than the high-school girl Saito Miko could stand. Sitting quietly in a fetal position on an office-chair and hoping to be beneath the monsters’ notice was the best she could do, despite realizing that it would eventually be futile; she’d been brought into their lair for some purpose, although she wasn’t sure exactly what it was. The room she was in had a guard, but fortunately it just stood silently in the doorway so she could ignore its presence. Part of her regretted giving herself up to them, maybe she could have made a run for it in the chaos rather than persuade the vampire to call off her minions that were coming close to killing the other people that were fighting them. No, that wouldn’t have worked. The instant she caught the vampire’s eye, she knew she couldn’t escape.

A few years ago, Miko had been pressured by her family into working as a shrine maiden after she inadvertently admitted to her grandmother that she could see spirits and auras, and over time she’d slowly become accustomed to seeing a variety of phantoms, ghosts, and the like. Apparently her eyes had a rare trait that only manifested once every few generations. The spirits that she could see were generally benign, in the sense that she could ignore them without them physically harming her; however, it didn’t stop them from being creepier than anything in mortal flesh, or so she thought at the time.

Contrasting that, the animated skeletons and zombies in the first city were a very real, physical threat, but one that she’d managed to keep clear of through good luck, desperate stealth, and the fact that she could make out a dark, faint aura emanating from them, allowing her to avoid making a wrong turn or getting cornered. The vampire calling herself Rusalka, however, had an aura so intense and unnerving that the mere sight of it caused Miko to feel palpable discomfort: it was like gazing into a crushing, abyssal vortex. The girl was fearful of what could happen to her if she stared at it for too long.

The auras of the heroic spirits like Diomedes, however, burned brightly enough to break that darkness, with a warmness that reminded Miko of the light of the sun. That warmth stood in stark opposition to the chilling malevolence that Rusalka’s aura possessed, along with those of her undead servants. Wights, she called them. A normal observer wouldn’t see them as very different from simple animated skeletons aside from their attire and an eerie glow in their eye sockets, but a few offhand comments from Rusalka allowed the girl to piece together their true nature.
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An animated skeleton is a body without a soul, capable of movement on account of a necromancer’s will, and in her time as a shrine maiden Miko had encountered numerous entities where the opposite was true: hollowed-out souls drifting about without bodies, devouring whatever other spiritual entities they came across. What happens when one such disembodied spirit is bound to a corpse used as a necromancer’s familiar, is the creation of a wight. And the fell spirits of the five wights under Rusalka’s command were by far the most hideous and powerful that Miko had ever seen.

“You’re so cute when you’re scared, little Miko.” Rusalka suddenly cooed from behind the girl. Pacing around, the vampire continued with a gleeful smirk, “I just need another quick peek at your face to lift my spirits from all that boring spellcasting.”

“Don’t act up, it’ll just encourage her. She’ll get bored and go away soon.” The girl thought to herself as she put a disinterested expression onto her face and tried to suppress her ability to see the vampire’s aura. “If all you want to do is look, feel free Rusalka-san.” The girl then said calmly.

“That’s it! That’s what I wanted to hear!” The vampire giggled sadistically as she leaned forward to the point where her forehead nearly touched Miko’s, “You put up a brave front, but I can smell the terror you’re experiencing. It’s so adorable that I was even able to forget about crushing that twat Edelfelt last night! Though you should know, your little heroic sacrifice only delayed the inevitable.”

Scooting her chair back and averting her eyes slightly as the vampire’s aura began to unsettle her, Miko ignored the implications of what Rusalka said and coolly replied, “You’re a little too close, Rusalka-san.”

“You do have a point: I shouldn’t be too reliant on heavy-handed tactics.” The vampire conceded as she backed away a little, “After all, it’s more satisfying if my words alone are what eventually drive you to despair, my sweet. Well, I did also plan on giving you a front-row seat when I finish what I started last-!”

Cutting her off, a tall, stocky young man in armor gripped Rusalka’s skull with one of his hands before hurling her into a wall; her head plowed through it while her body hung limply from that anchor-point.
“D-Diomedes-san!” Miko exclaimed, taken completely by surprise that the Servant seemed to have just betrayed the vampire that he’d been working with.

“Your jokes are starting to be in nauseatingly poor taste, Master.” The hero said in disdain as his owl perched itself on his shoulder.

The vampire’s slender arms pushed against the wall, popping her head out of the newly-cratered hole. As she tried to brush the dust off herself, Rusalka complained, “Must you be such a stick in the mud, Lancer? I’m perfectly capable of mixing business with pleasure in moderation.”

Ignoring his Master’s grumbling, Diomedes gently pulled Miko to her feet as he replied, “I’m taking her to the roof to see if any enemy factions are large enough to warrant expanding our own.”

Apparently shaking off her irritation at his insubordination, Rusalka requested, “Ah yes, while you’re at it can you look for that small Berserker we encountered early this morning? I have a feeling we could get along quite well if we could open a dialogue.”

“I’ll consider it.” Diomedes answered, before taking the girl’s hand and ordering, “Come with me, Saito Miko.”

“Yes, sir.” Miko replied nervously as he began to lead her to the building’s roof. She couldn’t deny that she felt safer when Diomedes was around, both from his comforting aura and his refusal to play along with Rusalka’s games, but she could also tell that he wasn’t acting out of the kindness of his heart.

When they got to the roof, Diomedes asked the girl, “Last night, were you able to see Perseus when he wore the cap of Hades?”

Thinking back, Miko reported, “Y-yes. It held his aura close to his body, but I was able to see him if I looked directly at where he was.”

“I see. It seems your ability is different from mine, and I believe mine has a limitation that yours does not.” The hero of antiquity replied.

“What kind of limitation?” The girl asked.

This time, the owl on the hero’s shoulder responded in a feminine voice, “He can detect anything that has ties to the divine, be it a Servant or a Noble Phantasm. Those without divinity, however, may conceal themselves from his gaze. We would like to ascertain whether your Mystic Eyes can detect those Servants lacking in divinity from a distance due to the strength of their aura.”

“Mystic… eyes?” Miko asked, unfamiliar with the term but understanding that they were probably referring to her ability to see spirits.

“Correct.” The owl affirmed, before elaborating, “I believe a fitting moniker might be ‘Mystic Eyes of Spirit Perception’, though the semantics are less relevant than the effect itself. Tell us, can you detect the aura of the Berserker who accompanied us last night?”
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“The big guy with the spear…” Miko whispered as she tried to remember how she perceived his aura. Looking around and focusing on searching for it specifically, she eventually pointed to the southeast and answered, “I think he’s about a kilometer that way.”

“You can see it, then.” Diomedes said with a smile, “We knew the location of his Master’s base from sharing information with them; that was a test to confirm your capability. Well done, Saito Miko.”

“Th-thank you.” She answered reflexively, but suddenly remembered that helping him was also helping Rusalka advance toward whatever goals she might have. “W-wait, Diomedes-san. I’m not comfortable helping you fight this war if your Master’s going to get a wish granted from winning. Don’t you feel the same way? What if she wishes for vampires to take over the world? Why are you okay with working for a monster like her?!” She asked, slowly raising her voice as she spoke with less and less discretion.

“Do you care which question I answer first?” The Lancer asked with his eyes narrowing.

“N-no…” Miko gulped, realizing that she may have run her mouth more than she should have.

“First: we Servants don’t choose our Masters, so I’m making due with the hand I was dealt. Second: my Master told me her wish right away, and I consider it tolerable. And last: what gave you the impression that your world wasn’t already ruled by vampires?” He answered.

“H-huh…? Y-you’re joking, right?” Miko asked in disbelief. Had Rusalka lied to him about the state of the world so that he’d comply with her wishes? Or… could it actually be true? Miko knew that there was a lot going on that she didn’t know about, but she really didn’t want to believe THAT was one of the world’s secrets.

“They aren’t a unified organization, and my Master’s wish pertains to gaining an advantage over an opposing faction.” He answered cryptically, “We’re using each other to advance our own goals.”

“That… can’t be…” the girl muttered, disheartened and struck practically speechless by what she was hearing. The nonchalance that he spoke with, as though it were a matter of obvious fact, dealt a heavy blow to her reluctance to believe it. Sitting down on an air-conditioning unit, she looked down into her hands, unsure of what she should do. At this point she was worried that she would start losing track of what was and wasn’t real.

Raising her chin from its slump with a couple of his fingers, Diomedes knelt down so that she would meet his gaze at eye-level. “You have beautiful eyes, Saito Miko. You see things that no one else can.”

“I…-” She stammered, unable to articulate a clear response.

He explained softly, “When you use them, you’ll use them for yourself, and for me. When I fight, I’ll fight for myself, and for you. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes, Diomedes-san.”
>when no tentacle hat girl around to help
> Leave Jen to practice the spell and attend with just Avenger
We can socialize Jen later, when people are more used to her.
Also, nice interlude.
>the owl on the hero’s shoulder responded in a feminine voice
We are in for some bad surprise upon meeting Diomedes.
>Charisma grooming a child
A classical greek hero.
Switching to
> Leave Jen to practice the spell and attend with just Avenger
To get things moving.
Keeping it to official Grail War members it is

>>Charisma grooming a child
>A classical greek hero
Girls her age who ran into Achaean raiders would end up as war-brides, so it's to be expected. Though perhaps I should clarify that he didn't activate a skill specifically tuned for seducing adolescent girls when he was talking to her.
>Girls her age who ran into Achaean raiders would end up as war-brides
When does Anon gets a war-bride?

I thought that's what Jen is :^)

But on another note very happy that our magic training got off to a good start. My 90 earlier and the other anon's did well for us
>When does Anon gets a war-bride?
Well... who do you want? The thing about getting a war-bride is you just need to pick a girl, sweep her off her feet, and keep her under guard at your camp until the war's over! Funnily enough I'm a bit surprised that Achilles has been in the Fate IP for so long yet neither his waifu Briseis nor his best bro Patroclus seem to have had so much as a mention as far as I can tell.

>I thought that's what Jen is :^)
Humu humu, a viable option, perhaps.

I've been meaning to ask as general questions to the players. We're in thread 5, so you guys have a fairly large sample of my writing to look over. Do you like the way the story's progressing? Do you feel like Anon has enough agency as a character? Are there any characters that have stuck out as interesting or you want to see more of? Any characters that you find unrealistically written or have unwarranted Mary-Sue powers? Any other general criticisms? I have an outline for the next update but in the meantime I thought now was as good a time as any to ask around.

Lurkers encouraged to pipe in, if you're here.
I'm wary of bomb loli, since she killed Gulag's run and marked the beginning of the end for Sweets' but it's good otherwise.
>Do you like the way the story's progressing?
So far, so good.
>Do you feel like Anon has enough agency as a character?
Anon seems to follow character traits we establish through votes so that's good.
>Are there any characters that have stuck out as interesting or you want to see more of?
I like Ogawara's parallel adventure in the background.
>Any characters that you find unrealistically written or have unwarranted Mary-Sue powers?
I am with >>5544309
>Any other general criticisms?
I think your update schedule somewhat encourages lurking since it does not have fixed time between updates but it is not like it can be helped. And pastebin is pretty empty.

On the side note. Amusingly for Fate quest, Anon doesn't seem to have any romantic chemistry going on with other characters but that's probably for the best and understandable in his situation. Although, we can always do Special Romantic Operation on Rusalka.
>pastebin is pretty empty.
A good point, and fairly easy to remedy on my end. In the in-story meeting I'll write a note that indicates that you traded information with your allies on the Servants that everyone encountered (to the extent that they revealed their abilities) so you'll have something to work with.
>Well... who do you want?
Koko! She’s my favorite right now.
Update's ready, and it's a long one. However, I've got a 40K killteam game scheduled soon, so I'll post the update later tonight.

Amusingly, the captcha was "X K40 H"
>40K killteam game
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“Sure, take some more time to work on it if you wish.” You answer, deciding that you can fill Jen in on what happened later, and perhaps convince her to be more sociable once everyone else is used to her presence. Come to think of it, you haven’t directly heard anyone’s opinions on her (save Avenger’s) yet, just secondhand reports. Maybe you could bring that up in the meeting.

Smiling gently, Jen answered, “Thanks, I really do appreciate it.”

“Let’s go, Avenger.” You tell your Servant as you turn toward the elevator.

“Yes, Master.” She affirms as she follows you to leave.

You find Truvietianne, Matsuda, and their Servants had just returned and were exchanging pleasantries with Rushorou and his Lancer in the building’s lobby. Shortly afterward, Rushorou leads everyone to a conference room with all the amenities to be expected, such as coffee, water bottles, white-boards, and TV screens mounted on the walls. You suspect he’d taken a break from training and spent some time getting everything ready here; what a helpful guy.

“I heard you went on another survey, how did it go?” You ask, addressing Truvietianne and Matsuda.

“Not much happened, actually. We saw a few of that Rider’s scouts from a distance when we went down the coast, but no one attacked us.” Matsuda answered, “Guess people are playing it safer on day two when they realized some Masters prefer to fight at night.”

“Did something else happen last night?” You ask, wondering how much you missed.

“None of us decided to sortie, but we could tell even from a distance that battles were sporadically breaking out all night, then dying down at dawn.” Truvi answered, grumbling, “No doubt our Dead Apostle friends are to thank for that.”

“I believe it’s time we present an official report of our recent excursion, Master.” Caster told Matsuda before showing an updated map to everyone and copying the updated sections onto the other maps. They found one leyline convergence point to the south in the Shinagawa ward, and two more to the northeast of your current position. Aside from the aforementioned scouts, they didn’t see any other hostiles, and refrained from investigating the occasional sounds of battle they’d hear in the distance. One other location of note was a foreign structure erected in the Chiyoda ward, where the Imperial Palace normally would be. Truvietianne said she recognized the architecture as fitting somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean and had a few ideas of what it might be, but she couldn’t come to a definitive answer.

“Do you think an internet search could narrow it down? Suzaku was working on booting up the building’s wi-fi.” Rushorou suggested before sipping from a coffee cup.

“Ah, maybe I’ll ask him about it later.” The lady replied, letting the topic drop at that. You got the impression that something made her a little embarrassed just now.
“I recommend we consolidate the information we have on the various opponents that we’ve encountered; draw up dossiers on them along with their last known locations.” Perseus suggested, to which everyone either vocally or tacitly approved.

On one of the whiteboards, the eight of you gradually list the known capabilities and locations of the following groupings of enemies:

- Kuro no Lancer Sun Wukong, last detected in the subway station in the Taito ward accompanied by an unidentified Servant, likely allied. Wukong is likely still recovering from the wound to his arm that Perseus dealt him.
- Aka no Rider allied with an unidentified Archer, last seen at a leyline convergence point in the Meguro ward, bordering Shinagawa. Rider and his army sustained significant damage in your battle.
- A magus Master ‘Sean O’Mordha’ and his Saber of Black, allied with Assassin of Black, last seen near a leyline convergence point in the Shinjuku ward near Shibuya.
- Kuro no Berserker, last seen pursuing Saber of Black after wounding Assassin of Black.
- The Dead Apostle Master ‘Rusalka’, her Servant Aka no Lancer Diomedes, and at least four wights, allied with a Master named ‘James Mathers’ and his Servant Aka no Berserker, the latter of which received a shallow wound to his side from Perseus. This faction took custody of a civilian in the northern part of the Chuo ward.
- Whoever is occupying the foreign structure in place of the Imperial Palace.
- A Master who uses telepathy called ‘Abraxas’ and his Servant Rider of Red, though you recommend against choosing them as a priority targets for the time being. You also recount his descriptions of the Archer of Red to the far north, the chakram-wielding Kuro no Archer, and the mysterious music that Abraxas praised.
- A Dead Apostle called ‘Master Karture’; rumor has it he commands a ghoulish army.

“Can one of you guys explain what a ‘Dead Apostle’ is?” Matsuda asked, scratching his head as Karture was being discussed, “Are they just a strong version of vampire or somethin’?”

Truvietianne suddenly turned around, adjusted the rim of a pair of glasses, then answered, “I’m glad you asked, Matsuda; and gladder still that we conveniently have another white-board that hasn’t had anything written on it yet!”

Whispering to Rushorou, you ask, “Did you see where those glasses came from?”

“I think she took them out of her dress and slipped them on while making that pirouette just now.” He whispered back with some degree of uncertainty and wonder, “Her reflexes must be impressive.”
The young lady began eagerly scribbling on the white-board as she explained, “The term ‘Dead Apostle’ might be best considered a life-cycle designation. They ‘reproduce’ by converting living humans, with the one instigating a conversion labeled the ‘parent’. Drawing power from the blood that they consume and accumulate over time, the oldest tend to be the most powerful on account of their extensive stockpiles. There are seven designated Ranks, or stages of growth, with the most powerful and developed specimens labeled True Dead Apostles and Dead Apostle Ancestors. However, most can’t progress beyond the first few stages, and a select few will start at higher Ranks due to random qualities of their blood or the ‘parent’ taking care to ensure a cleaner conversion process. To quickly summarize each stage:

- Rank 1: Corpse-familiar: bodies without souls animated by a necromancer. A majority of humans who are converted begin and end their existence here.
- Rank 2: Zombie: when vestiges of the original soul remain intact but are relegated to instincts to devour. They’re more dangerous than the first rank due to their savagery, but are still dependent on their master’s magical energy to function. Sunlight doesn’t damage either of these first Ranks, though their weak Curse of Restoration (described further below) would be negated by it.
- Rank 3: Ghoul/Lesser Vampire: these retain their sapience after their conversion, and aren’t 100% reliant on their master’s magical energy. Some mental faculties are underdeveloped, and their sense of pain is lost. At this rank they begin to take minimal damage from sunlight.
- Rank 4: Vampire: can maintain their original personality, possess physical abilities greatly surpassing normal humans, but weaken significantly when exposed to sunlight due to it burning out their blood-reserves.
- Rank 5: Greater Vampire: similar to Rank 4, but also manifest special powers due to their blood quality or that of their ‘parent’. Sunlight does more damage to them than those at Rank 4, however.
- Rank 6: True Dead Apostle: at this stage, they begin to become calamities incarnate, practically invincible against all human means of attack except those of highly-specialized exterminators. The Curse of Restoration (a healing ability that operates by locally reversing time as they are wounded) is massively increased in efficiency, and on top of that they begin to craft conceptual armor which makes them even more resistant to human attack. Mystic Eyes with some form of powerful enchantment are also the norm. Silver lining: exposure to sunlight quickly destroys their bodies.
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- Rank 7: Superior Dead Apostle/Dead Apostle Ancestor: As bad as the Rank 6 members are, their power pales in comparison that of those who’ve reached this pinnacle, the very presence of which begins to taint the earth itself. With all of their abilities and blood stocks scaled up from what they were at Rank 6, even elite anti-Dead Apostle strike-teams are very hesitant to engage them. Fortunately, their numbers are few, as it’s a generally-accepted estimation that no more than about twenty-five are active on the planet at any given time.”

You’re awestruck in no small degree by the fact that she was able to write that out so quickly off the top of her head. Does she study things like that as a hobby, you wonder. Perhaps you could consult with her when it comes to topics that are more relevant to the modern world’s mage-society.

“So… they’re a strong version of vampire. Gotcha!” Matsuda answered with a thumbs-up and some forced enthusiasm.

“Is that what Rusalka was talking about when she bragged about entering the sixth rank?” Rushorou asked Truvi, describing something that happened when they encountered the Dead Apostle.

“Yes, she was a Greater Vampire in the 1940’s, but seems to have increased her power over the past few decades.” She answered, now more somberly.

“What about the wights that you mentioned were with her?” You ask, having noticed their conspicuous absence from Truvi’s lecture.

Picking up the marker again, she drew an arrow from the end of the sentence describing the first stage and pointed to an empty spot before explaining, “They aren’t Dead Apostles per se, but a corpse-familiar is their physical component. Their consciousness arises from the wraith or evil spirit that’s bound to the corpse; from what we’ve observed a wight’s power is greater than the sum of its parts.”

“It must be convenient to be practically immortal and able to create perfectly-compliant soldiers and monsters from just about anything you encounter.” Rushorou grumbled.

“They are powerful, but I’d wager that even Dead Apostle Ancestors would be overmatched when fighting against top-class Servants like ours.” Truvi said, trying to reassure him, but had to admit, “The issue is since humans are their natural prey, we’re going to have a rough time holding out against them if our Servants are occupied fighting elsewhere.”

“Now that we’re up to speed on monster classifications courtesy of Miss Edelfelt, I think it’s about time we decided on a plan of action for the afternoon and evening.” Caster asserted as he refocused the discussion, “It’s worth noting that if all four Servants sortie at once, the noncombatants will be undefended, assuming they don’t accompany us. I could place more wards as deterrence, but it would no doubt be safer with a Servant standing guard.”
“I wouldn’t object to guard duty this afternoon.” Perseus suggested, facetiously adding, “It’d be bad manners for me to carry the team too much.”

“Right…” You heard Rushorou quietly comment, slightly affronted by the Lancer’s assertion.

Caster chuckled before continuing, “That aside, I’d also recommend we relocate our base to one of the unoccupied leyline convergence points soon. Aside from the obvious benefit of having access to a higher volume of ambient mana, you may also know that Casters tend to have a skill called ‘Territory Creation’ that allows them to gradually increase their power and strategic options by setting up a workshop. I’ll disclose that my ‘Wandering Pilgrim’ skill, however, works in reverse. By using it I immediately gain a large benefit from establishing a territory, but it diminishes over 24 hours. We would greatly improve our security were we to reposition soon, perhaps this evening before sunset.”

“That sounds more like ‘your’ problem than ‘our’ problem, Caster.” Avenger observed, “Or rather, you’re proposing a course of action that disproportionately benefits you specifically; though I’ll concede that committing to a single position is a fine way to find yourself under siege.”

Unbothered, Caster replied, “Ever the cynical one I see. Nevertheless, it’s my opinion that we ought to let our Masters decide how to distribute our forces and what positions to take.”

Quite a few decisions are on the table to consider, what opinions will you voice:

Should you relocate the base this evening?
> Yes
> No

How many of the Servants should leave the base to sortie this afternoon?
> 1
> 2
> 3
> 4 (Perseus will probably complain about being overworked)

If you decide to take Avenger out this afternoon, would you request to go
> in a group
> with just her

Which areas/high-value targets should your group prioritize (the list can be found up in the passage itself)?

Will you check with Suzaku and Koko to see if any research can be done before setting out?

**Understandable if you want to hold off on voting some of these options until I fill out the pastebin database with known enemy information.**
Looks like we need to form a plan. Maybe something like this?

Should you relocate the base this evening?
> Yes but only if Caster is willing to provide his other skills to team benefit. Item Creation and reconnaissance. Current base can be abandoned after we set booby traps for potential visitors and fire artillery barrage from current location on potential target to draw people into said prepared trap before we left. He should also contribute heavily in setting up defences in new base with his power up from ‘Wandering Pilgrim’ skill because we have two Dead Apostles who might be aiming for us.
How many of the Servants should leave the base to sortie this afternoon?
>3 but leave Perseus with a communication device incase we get unwanted visitors
If you decide to take Avenger out this afternoon, would you request to go
> in a group
>Telepathically tell her that group is needed in case you run into another enemy encampment or army and you want her to to take a look at potential place for relocation and judge it and not just let Caster do it on his own
Which areas/high-value targets should your group prioritize (the list can be found up in the passage itself)?
>leyline convergence point to the south in the Shinagawa ward (in a group)
>Caster's familiars can check the rest from above, prefeably looking for good target for barrage
Will you check with Suzaku and Koko to see if any research can be done before setting out?
>See if they can feed search engine/museum or library databases information on other Servants and get some results
>Also check if local video surveillance is still up and can be connected to for intel
Last two might require rolls?
Rolled 37, 41, 68 = 146 (3d100)

Alright, I've finished expanding the pastebin database! [Link at the top of the thread]

> Last two might require rolls?
If the time comes, I'll roll for them.
Speaking of...

And technically you're just proposing a course of action; whether or not everyone else is on board remains to be seen.

This is pretty coherent. Also forms a win win compromise for Avenger and Caster, because outright talking your own Servant down in front of everyone would do wonders for our relationship with her.

But also, that us includes innocent non combatants. Maybe stress this as they can obviously become a burden, but appealing to morality as its the "right thing to do". Most, if not all of our allies are also Good alignment, and Avenger understands our constant appeals to emotion aren't done out of pure selflessness by any means. Also, the normies may prove useful with mundane forms of recon if they cna get into city CCTV or something like that, which many mages wouldn't even think to worry about.
>Which areas/high-value targets should your group prioritize (the list can be found up in the passage itself)?
>>leyline convergence point to the south in the Shinagawa ward (in a group)
>>Caster's familiars can check the rest from above, prefeably looking for good target for barrage
To confirm your intention, are you planning on going to that location, secure the immediate area, and try to destroy any hostiles in a wider radius so you can relocate your base to there later in the evening?
Yeah, that's the idea.

This seems like it covers just about all fronts. I might suggest that once we change bases over to on the leyline that we utilize the opportunity for putting some extra effort to training in and getting a grasp of our Ether/True Ether qualities and having spells to use them.
Say and since we have gotten a lay out for the scale of power to Dead Apostles where does Jen lie on the scale Low Speed? My guess out of the gate she is around the rank 4-5 range given we had done a whole ritual involved between our blood as a reagent and Avenger she's solidly within there with some strange shit we don't know she can do yet

Am this anon >>5544223 reporting
From what you've observed of her abilities you'd guess Rank 4 or 5 would be likely, but you shouldn't discount the possibility that she's an irregularity like the wights (a fusion of a stage 1 and an evil spirit).
I expect the update to be ready tomorrow.

Tangentially related, LB 7 part 2 came out in FGO JP, and it sounds like it was a glorious clusterfuck.
Tlaloc rabu.
ORT-chan rabu
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grand foreigner BIGGURABU
Based, I love this overpowered alien motherfucker like you wouldn't believe.
How cute.
You arrive at your opinion on what course of action to take fairly quickly, but before you begin to suggest it, Rushorou says, “On the topic of relocating, I’m in favor. If there’s an area with more magical energy available we may as well make use of it once we secure it. And I believe safety of transporting the noncombatants would be a non-issue, since my Lancer and his Avenger both have rapid-travel abilities.” He gestured to you toward the end, emphasizing his point.

That’s right: as long as you know your intended destination, Avenger’s teleportation would cut the travel time down to zero; no need to worry about escorting civilians under guard. Though you do want to get a word in before everyone else agrees, “That’s all fine and good, but before I approve it I’d like an assurance from Caster that once he sets up his ‘Wandering Pilgrim’ skill, he’ll use his abilities like reconnaissance and item creation for our whole group’s benefit.”

Shrugging, Caster of Black replied, “No need to ask me; you need only confirm my Master grants his assent.”

“I’ll trust you guys know the fancy strategy stuff, so yeah, go for it.” Matsuda Ryuuta answered, sealing his Servant’s cooperation (or so you hope, at least). It seems the rest of the Servants had come to some kind of unspoken consensus to let their Masters decide how to approach the situation; perhaps they were evaluating both their own Masters as well as those of their allies.

“Before I forget to mention, we should also set up traps in this building before we leave it, and launch an attack from here to draw attention and hopefully bait someone into the traps.” You say.

“We can decide on how to deal with that when the time comes; for now, we should decide to where we should relocate.” Truvietianne said, before reporting, “The three convergence points we found earlier today were unoccupied, and I recall some of the others from yesterday were as well. The one in the south was less an exact point and more a general area around two shrines, the one in the Chuo ward was centered on a Kabuki theater, and the one in the Chiyoda ward was at a park near the moat to the Imperial Palace, or whatever’s been erected in its place.”

“I’d either pick the one in the theater or near the southern shrines.” Rushorou suggested, “The one near the moat is too close to an enemy base for comfort, unless we want to make a big show of dislodging them in the center of everything.”

“Let’s secure the shrines.” You recommend, “From the geography there shouldn’t be too many unknown factors since we should have a good idea of who might be around there.”

“Wouldn’t that be a spot where we could get cornered by that Rider’s army though?” Matsuda asked, but then corrected himself “No wait, teleporting’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
“Quite so, Ryuuta.” Truvi confirmed. Interesting, was she getting on a first-name basis with him, you wondered.

“Lucky us.” You say, quietly complimenting your Servant’s ability, before gesturing to the two lads, “I think the three of us ought to take our Servants and secure that area, while Truvietianne and hers guard the base, though we’d want to leave some way of communicating with them in case something comes up.”

“All three of us together? I don’t think we need to commit so many resources all in one place when there are so many loose threads lying about.” Rushorou rebutted.

“I’m inclined to agree with him, Master.” Avenger pipes in telepathically, “Though mainly for the flexibility acting independently offers.”

While your Servant conveyed that, you overheard Truvi say something about investigating at least one enemy position during the day, to which you reply, “There’s still plenty of daylight, and if there’s no one in the vicinity of the shrines we could work on something else with time to spare. Caster also ought to be able to spot targets for us; maybe we could go after whoever the nearest Servants to the new site are.”

Then replying to Avenger, you say telepathically, “I don’t want Caster of Black using his territory ability on the leylines unsupervised. He’s rather secretive about how his abilities work, and if we keep an eye on him we may find out more about how he fights.”

“Hmm, maybe so.” She responded, mollified by your reasoning.

“Yeah, and we might be able to settle things with the Rider and Archer who gave you a rough time yesterday!” Ryuuta suggested readily.

“That’s certainly possible, since they were still having scouts surveil that area earlier today.” Rushorou replied.

“How should I contact you while you’re gone?” Truvi asked the three of you.

Pulling a smartphone out of his pocket, the well-kept student looked at it for a moment before commenting, “I would have given you my number to dial into Koko or Suzaku’s phone, but it looks like service from telecom towers is still out. But there appears to be a wi-fi network available now!”

“Would that work without wireless telephone signals active?” Truvi asked, unfamiliar with the particulars of that technology.

“It could, so long as there was internet access at each location.” The young man answered, then uneasily continued, “Though it looks like the network’s password-protected, so it may not be so easy.”

“Instead of worrying about that, I could ask Avenger to make another set of telepathy crystals.” You suggest, to which the other three Masters agree would probably be the easiest solution. One pair of small, red crystals later, and you’re at two sets to keep track of. Hopefully you won’t have your pockets bursting with them by the time this is over.
“Ready to go?” Avenger asked you as you stowed your red crystal away into your pocket.

“I also wanted to check on Suzaku and Koko to see how they were doing, and leave them with a couple suggestions on what to do next.” You answer, hoping that they’d be willing to help you with online research, and perhaps even access security cameras in the city.

“You can just tell me what you wanted to ask them, I can handle it.” Truvi offered, potentially saving some time.

How will you respond:
> Tell her what you wanted to ask them and hit the road.
> Decline, it might be a little complicated for her to explain second-hand.
> Decline, it might be a little complicated for her to explain second-hand.
As much as it would be fun to read an interlude about Truvi and computers, I would prefer for us to go meet them ourselves.
Alright, I'll try to not take too long.
>Decline, it might be a little complicated for her to explain second-hand.
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“It might be a little complicated for you to explain it second-hand, I’ll just check on them real quick before we leave.” You decide, not entirely confident in your colleague’s knowledge of modern technology. You also wanted to see how they were doing yourself before you left again.

“If you say so...” Truvietianne replied sourly, noticing the subtext of your answer.

“We’ll be waiting in the front lobby, when you’re finished with whatever you planned on explaining just meet us down there.” Rushorou said as he begin leading his Lancer away, Ryuuta and his Caster following.

“Well, I was planning to check on them regardless, so I’ll be coming too.” Truvi asserts, then asks, “Though this begs the question, do we even know where they are right now? This building is fairly large, after all.”

She does have a point, unfortunately. You think out loud, “Hmm, none of us have phones... There should be a security or admin office of some sort that would have the wi-fi hardware. If we don’t find them quickly, I suppose we could try calling out to get their attention.”

“Oh my, keeping track of those two may prove to be our most formidable challenge to date.” Avenger chuckled. There’s no way she doesn’t have some kind of ability that could point you in the right direction; is she amusing herself at your expense, you wonder. Though wait, you wouldn’t want some ravenous beast chasing their scents.

Speaking of ravenous beasts, you hear Jen suddenly say behind you, “Yo. What’d I miss?”

“Ah, perfect timing Jen.” You reply as you turn around, “We were about to look of Koko and Suzaku, could you take us to them?”

After taking a deep breath, Jen tapped her nose as she answered in verse, “I suppose: the nose knows.”

She leads the four of you to a large, cubicle-filled room on the second floor, where you find Koko sitting at a workstation using a computer while Suzaku is rooting around a few compartments down. The latter noticing your presence first, he greets you saying, “Hullo there! Good news: we figured out the wi-fi password, and one of the workstations had a notebook stashed with a list of all their passwords, including the computer’s login credentials! It’s bad security, but some people get tired of having to keep track of passwords that change every few months, haha. I’m looking for another one so we can have two people experimenting on what websites are active.”

It intrigues you to see how differently the man’s acting, now that he’s ‘in his element’ as it were. The night before he was on the verge of a total mental breakdown, but it seems like returning to something resembling his normal routine has genuinely lifted his spirits.
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“That’s great work, keep it up!” You congratulate him, then ask, “Koko, have you had time to test the internet browsers? I was hoping we could do some research soon.” It’s odd, despite not having a single memory of ever actually using the internet, you still can contribute to discussion involving it, seemingly more effectively than someone like Truvietianne who appears fairly unfamiliar with it. Perhaps before your memory was wiped or whatever happened, you were proficient?

“Yes yes!” The schoolteacher cheerfully answered, “I’ve been testing things: it’s really a mixed bag on whether a given website is active or not. We’re guessing it comes down to whether its host server is both in this pocket-dimension and booted up. All of the hardware and software seem to have been cleanly copied from the real world, which is pretty impressive when you think about it.” Her tone becoming more somber, she continued, “I don’t really understand why someone who can do something as amazing as this would do it all for some creepy human-sacrifice ritual thing.”

“You’re not the only one…” You concur, considering for a moment what real significance this ritual has for you. Are you just going with the flow and doing Avenger a favor by fighting as her Master, hoping all the while to come across a lead to your identity? Remembering another reason for coming by, you set aside those concerns for now and ask Suzaku, “Do you think you could access the city’s CCTV surveillance systems? We might be able to identify and locate some enemies in advance with it.”

A little puzzled at your request, he replies, “Err, I’m not exactly a hacker. If a camera’s already connected to this building’s security office I could probably access it, but that wouldn’t give much wide-area coverage. Wouldn’t you rather have two people checking the internet?”

Well, was worth a try. You answer, “Perhaps so: we were planning on relocating the base this evening anyway so using the cameras might not be worth the trouble.”

“We’re moving again already?! Isn’t that dangerous?” Koko asked worriedly.

Her distress makes you feel a little uncomfortable, though you’re not entirely sure why. Hoping to reassure her, you clarify, “Don’t worry, we’ll teleport you all to the new base once we’ve secured the area and made sure it’s safe. You won’t be in harm’s way during the transit or when you arrive.”

“Oh, that doesn’t sound so bad.” The diminutive schoolteacher replied, relieved by your explanation.

“My Servant and I will be sticking around while they’re gone, for good measure.” Truvietianne added.

“Same here.” Jen piped in, then said to the Edelfelt Master, “Say, could you fill me in on the war situation while we’re here… I can call you ‘Anne’, right?” Huh, that’s a more common-sounding nickname than ‘Truvi’.
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Her glasses appearing again after a swift pirouette, Truvietianne replied, “O-ho, a fine suggestion my partner in fashion! I had some questions for you as well, but they can wait until I’ve brought you up to speed!” Catching one of the vampire’s hands, she started running toward an empty whiteboard, pulling her now-bewildered ‘student’ along.

“Guess I’d better make sure they don’t get into trouble.” Perseus said as he started following them, but you could tell he was more amused by his Master’s antics than actively cautious.

You decide there’s not much else to do up there for now, so you head down to the lobby with Avenger. After consulting Caster’s map to ensure you land on-target, she teleports your party of six to the area near the shrines. You find yourselves in the middle of a road littered with some abandoned vehicles, and some buildings several stories tall to each side. Of note, there are signs pointing toward the locations of a few different shrines nearby, a library, a rock-climbing gym across the street, and a large real-estate office.

“Is this area clear?” You ask Caster of Black.

“It appears to be, though I can’t guarantee that no one’s concealing themselves in a building or underground at this time.” He answers as he looks around, “I can say that there are no Servants aside from us nearby, unless they possess a particularly effective Presence Concealment ability.”

“Hold up, we’re not gonna hafta search all the subway lines and sewers near here ta be sure are we?” Ryuuta asked, clearly not looking forward to such an endeavor.

“Worry not Master, I merely said I can’t offer guarantees at this time because we just arrived. You needn’t concern yourselves with such legwork.” The sagely Caster replied, “My territory will be in place soon enough, allowing for divinations and wards to be enacted, keeping us from getting caught off-guard.”

“I’ll be keeping one eye open for other Servants, and the other open for him.” Avenger told you telepathically, “And don’t forget, we’ll be ‘sending him back to the Throne of Heroes’ sooner or later.” She added, reminding you of the transience of your alliance by means of what you were sure was a euphemism for killing him. While she wasn’t technically wrong, someone else might defeat him before it becomes an issue for you; though in that case you wonder if that might leave some hard feelings if it were a situation where you could have done something to help but decided it wasn’t worth it to keep him around any longer. This is all rather hypothetical, though.

After you nod to her in response, you ask Rushorou and Ryuuta, “So, what do you think we should do in the meantime? Get a better view of the whole area? Pick a new building to use as the main base? Maybe check out the shrines?”
“I trust our Servants can protect us, so I don’t think we need to be too on edge.” Rushorou replied, “I’d probably go with looking the area over before picking a new spot as the new hideout.”

A bit hesitantly, Ryuuta said, “I kinda wanted to try out the rock-climbing gym. I dunno, I just feel like we should try somethin’ a little different to unwind. Maybe we race to the top or somethin’…”

That might be kind of fun, though you’d want to put a few limits on your options to keep it fairer, like no jumping more than half a meter at any given time.

Which option sounds appealing to you?
> Looking the wider area over
> Looking through the shrines specifically
> Rock-climbing
> Picking a new hideout
> Rock-climbing
Rolled 41, 68, 88, 63, 68, 30 = 358 (6d100)

“Let’s try rock-climbing for a while, then.” You say, supporting Ryuuta’s suggestion, “Maybe we could set a few rules in advance, like no magical assistance or enhancements during the run, and no jumping more than half a meter at any point.”

“Those do make for reasonable restrictions, but are you sure we shouldn’t do something of more strategic relevance?” Rushorou responded, unsure of the point of the exercise, “I don’t see anything stopping us from rock-climbing after the war’s over.”

“It may not be so easy to meet up like this after it’s over.” You reply, “Or even possible, for that matter.”

“I think you had a fine idea, Master.” Caster of Black said to Matsuda, “Scaling a mountain is a trial many heroes had to face in their journeys. Perhaps you’ll learn something interesting from the experience.”

Deciding to go along with the majority, Rushorou gave his assent, and the three of you went inside the gym, accompanied by your Servants for the time being, who ensure no threats are lurking inside. There appears to be quite a selection of lanes to try to scale, and for the first round you decide to take turns going up one of them, and the one who reaches the top the fastest (without falling) would win.

One question before you start is whether you’ll hook yourselves into safety harnesses. The floor is padded near the climbing walls, but highest point is 30-35 feet up. You don’t plan on falling, and even if you did you could just reinforce your body for good measure, but the risk of injury is still nonzero. Should you try it without the safety precautions to add real stakes to the game? There’s a spooled cord at the top that you could wrap around yourself to slow your descent once you make it, so you’d only be at real risk on the way up.

> Set up safety harnesses, no need to risk injury over bravado
> Ask one of the Servants to stand-by in case of an accident (which Servant?)
> Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let the Servants dedicate their energies to securing the area, and at most have the guys waiting their turn break the fall of whoever slips up. It’s not that far anyway.

Roll 1d100 to see how you do in the race! The other guys also have ‘protagonist probability rates’, but you’ll get a flat +5 bonus since you’re physically stronger.
Rolled 57 (1d100)

> Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let the Servants dedicate their energies to securing the area, and at most have the guys waiting their turn break the fall of whoever slips up. It’s not that far anyway.
No pain, no gain.
>‘protagonist probability rates’
I believe in yandere harem protagonist Ogawara!
Rolled 5 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let the Servants dedicate their energies to securing the area, and at most have the guys waiting their turn break the fall of whoever slips up. It’s not that far anyway.
Matsuda (or Yumigawa?) just unlocked a skill...
Rolled 22 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

third roll if you need it
Rolled 39 + 5 (1d100 + 5)


> Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let the Servants dedicate their energies to securing the area, and at most have the guys waiting their turn break the fall of whoever slips up. It’s not that far anyway.

Alright let's get at it
Forgoing the safety equipment, the three of you decide to go in order of height, making you the first since you’re the tallest. You figure it’d give the other guys more time to look over the arrangement of the hand-grips and know what time they have to beat, since you have an advantage in reach and physical strength; though you do plan to win, it’s ultimately just a friendly game.

At first it’s fairly easy, but once you’ve scaled about 20 feet of the wall, the hand-grips start becoming smaller and sparser, prompting you to plan your course a few steps ahead rather than just take the easiest path in front of you. As you climb higher, you begin to feel anxious as the consequences of falling become increasingly punishing. Your palms and fingertips begin to sweat, making the smaller grips more difficult to maintain.

About four feet from the top, you misjudge the curvature of one of the holds: rather than letting your fingers curl into a stable grip, it instead offers only a flat surface to rest them on. Unfortunately, to reach that grip you’d extended yourself farther than was stable, and your fingertips were tenuously holding up more than half of your weight, one of your legs supporting the rest with one hand and one foot without a hold at the moment. But you’ve already committed to that path, and trying to reverse course could make the situation worse.

Perhaps it was the beginning of desperation or panic that you were feeling now, more than you’d felt it before. Thinking back to the beginning, the zombies hardly posed a challenge to you, and for every other obstacle you faced, you felt secure in the fact that Avenger was backing you up. It’s not like your life is really on the line, but the fact that falling from this height would cause serious injury to a normal person isn’t something you can easily shake from your danger-avoidance instinct. Leaning into the wall and straining to find a grip for your free hand, there isn’t anything available unless you risk jumping nearly a foot above your already tenuous position or attempt to back-track in spite of your reservations. One thing is for sure: thinking about it any longer will just sap your stamina, yet neither option is particularly good.

“…enter the state of Becoming….”

As you strain to quickly decide what to do, you don’t hear a voice speak those words; instead you recollect it. This… had to be a memory of something that came before!

“…ascend before you regain what you set aside...”
The fragmentary memory spurs you on to hurl yourself upward to the grip above. Twisting your body to raise your foot onto the flat-topped protrusion that gave you some trouble earlier, you’re able to get yourself into a stable position and catch your breath. You’re not all that physically tired (though holding your weight up by your sweaty fingertips becomes difficult even for you after a while); rather, you’re interested in the meaning of the phrases you recalled. You feel as though they were spoken to you, but the context is still frustratingly opaque.

“Nice jump big guy! You’re still on the clock though!” You hear Ryuuta call up to you. That’s right, you can think more about it when you get down; the last couple feet up serve as a nice victory lap. As you wrap the cord at the top around your arm before gently descending, Rushorou lets you know your time, a little over three minutes.

Next up is Ryuuta, who manages to beat your time by a few seconds, and then Rushorou surprises the both of you by picking a roundabout route and still managing to beat both of your times by over twenty seconds. It seems the time he had to analyze the layout of the wall let him pick an advantageous path. The three of you then move to different walls, climbing a different wall in the same order once, then trying a couple rounds of going on different, shorter walls all at once. You stopped keeping track of who was winning, and focused more on the challenge itself. Though you didn’t come across another revelation, you were fairly pleased at your good fortune. After all this time, you finally have something of your own to think on: at some point you entered the ‘state of Becoming’, and must ‘ascend’ in order to ‘regain’ something you set aside, presumably when entering that state. And what kind of ‘state’ were you in before all that, then?

“You lads seem to be enjoying yourselves.” You hear Caster of Black declare as you reach the top of a smaller wall, “I can confidently assert that the immediate vicinity is secure, now that I’ve finished establishing my territory. I see three prudent courses of action that we could choose from: decide upon a new location for our camp, look for a supply cache to help furnish you with weapons, or investigate the Servants off to the west. Though no scouts have come close, they still present an issue that we may wish to deal with. And of course, there’s no requirement that all of us concentrate on the same task simultaneously.”
You probably wouldn’t need more than one Master picking a location for the camp. For searching the area for supply caches, more people working at it should improve your chances of finding something, but spreading out to scavenge resources could leave you in a bad position if Aka no Rider and the Archer (or perhaps some third party) decide to quickly mobilize and attack you again. You do remember that you found Jen (well Jennifer, technically) in a supply cache, and on the way there you noticed there were some signs pointing toward it. They may not be too difficult to find now that you know what to look for.

You’ll recommend:

> Pick one Master to decide where to set up the base, then have the other two search for resources with their Servants.
> Have everyone look for supplies, then fortify a base.
> Mobilize everyone and move to the west, with the intention of eliminating Aka no Rider and whoever his allies are.
> Split up in some other way (write-in the strategy).
>“…enter the state of Becoming….”
>“…ascend before you regain what you set aside...”
Self-induced memory alteration to achieve a specific goal? Going to brace myself for an upcoming meeting with Type Mars.
> Have everyone look for supplies, then fortify a base.
Don't think there are bad calls here, but could be tied to roll too.
Regardless, we might be moving again tomorrow, so sweeping the place for the maximum amount of loot would be reasonable.
>Pick one Master to look for supplies and have the others fortify the base.
Perseus and Truvi can look for supplies, since they're of no particular use in fortification but good at scouting. The two Casters will fortify and other Lancer will help guard us.
After they come back, our next course of action will probably be to eliminate Rider and his allies while we have the buffs on our side.
Perseus and Truvi are not with us, they are protecting old base and our human allies.
It is a us, Rushorou and Ryuuta we are picking next action for.
Ah, what was I thinking? Then I'll just go with your plan.
> Have everyone look for supplies, then fortify a base.
It is

Damn, the board's moving fast. I was hoping to get to another Servant encounter before the thread ended but may not make it :(
You can still fit in an interlude or two if you don't want to break the next segment between threads.
Rolled 3 (1d3)

You, Rushorou, Ryuuta
For the sake of expediency

The next update will probably be the last, and maybe I'll have time to put to pen Ogawara's group's next encounter.
Rolled 10 (1d100)

>Ogawara's group's next encounter
rollan for lingerie shop visit
“There aren’t really any bad options; I recommend we all look for supplies before fortifying a base. I went into one of those supply-caches last night when I found Jen, and noticed that there were signs pointing in its direction as I went toward it. If we know what to look for the chances of finding one improve significantly.” You say, recalling from Rushorou’s report that Caster of Black needed physical items as a baseline before improving them with his Item-Creation still. If he has actual weapons to work from, the quality of the finished product ought to be better.

Approving, Caster replies, “A fine idea, we can better outfit our Masters the trials ahead.”

“You don’t wanna fight the Servants when we know where they are and nearby?” His Master asks him.

“It shouldn’t be a problem, Caster can tell us if there’s a notable development; or our Servants will just detect them if they come close enough. We’re better off making sure we can hold our own when the fight starts.” Rushorou replied, putting you at ease knowing that he was mentally ready to get into battle himself.

“I guess that makes sense.” Ryuuta answered, giving you the impression he’s deciding to go with the flow rather than argue.

The three of you decide to split up, each Master taking his Servant in a different direction. You explain what the sign in the subway station looked like so they know what to be on the lookout for, then part ways. While you’re looking you decide to ask Avenger what she thought of your choice as she’d spoken little since you left. She replied unemotionally, “It seems a passive approach to me. You may end up ceding initiative to Aka no Rider’s faction again.”

You can tell she has more to say, so you decide to hear her out now that it’s just the two of you, “That encounter didn’t cost us too much, but it’s possible a different approach would have been more effective. With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done?”

“I’d have moved off the leyline so they wouldn’t have been sure of our position and couldn’t easily encircle us, sent a few beasts as diversions and to possibly find the leader, then either teleport to him or push through his comparatively weak soldiers before they have a chance to properly mobilize.” She answered.

“I considered doing that at the time.” You reply, “The problem with that approach would involve ensuring the Masters’ safety, especially now that we know there was an Archer-class Servant supporting him.”
“The Archer may have been occupied elsewhere, as he only attacked toward the very end.” She argued, “And I could easily protect you from being overwhelmed by weaklings like Rider’s foot-soldiers, even if you weren’t fairly strong yourself.” Stopping and looking you in the eyes as you stood still to not get ahead of her, she continues, “Can you trust me? Yesterday you said you wanted to fight with me alone, but after we blew away those two shipborne Servants it’s as though you decided to be joined at the hip to those kids. I understand non-aggression pacts being useful when there are over twenty Servants active, but it strikes me as almost cowardly to rarely venture out unescorted.”

“I recall us going out alone to rescue civilians last night.” You reply, a little irritated by her implication that you were losing your nerve.

“We also didn’t battle a single Servant in those outings.” She said, “Anyway, the things I mainly wanted to say are that sticking too close to your ‘allies’ will make it more difficult for me to use all of my abilities, and that you shouldn’t be so quick to rely on them in every battle.”

“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.” You answer.

The two of you continue looking around for about half an hour before Avenger detects Caster moving toward you. When he arrives, he lets you know that he and his Master had found a supply cache, so the three of you go there; it appears to have been in an upscale restaurant. Leading you to a walk-in freezer, you see Ryuuta standing at the entrance rubbing his biceps with his hands to try to warm them up, which gets you thinking about the weather in this world. It’s been so mild that you hadn’t given it much thought before now, but the total lack in variation is peculiar when you stop to think about it. Next to him, you also see a crescent spear leaned against the wall that you suppose he’d picked out from inside.

In the freezer, you predictably find a lot of frozen food, but also a wide variety of melee weapons arranged on racks, a pile of gem-stones, and four mana crystals that Avenger describes as containing sufficient energy that even a weak Master using one could have their Servant fire a Noble Phantasm while suffering no personal drain. Meanwhile, Rushorou and his Lancer are looking over the weapons, considering which one to pick. There’s really so many that you can’t even put a name to all of them, though there don’t seem to be any bows, firearms, or explosives like grenades.

As you’re looking over the spoils, you feel the crystal that was linked to Truvietianne vibrating in your pocket. Pulling it out, you answer, “It’s me, what’s going on up there?”
“There are four Servants approaching our base, though not directly. They’re fighting amongst themselves, my guess is two-on-two, but if they keep going the way they are we may end up in the line of their fire. If you’re not too busy down there could you send someone back?” She reports; looks like the war’s intensity is starting to ramp up.

You let the others in your group know the situation, and Rushorou volunteers to go back, noting that Avenger and Caster could probably get more done securing the area than his Lancer. Before anything’s set in stone, Caster informs you, “It looks like the Archer you encountered yesterday is on the move, heading toward us on horseback. Our presence shouldn’t be immediately detected due to the wards I started putting in place, but if he gets close enough we’ll need to respond accordingly.”

“If the Archer wants to push his luck and overextend, I’ll gladly punish his arrogance.” Avenger quipped.

It sounds like you have a couple options available, what will you recommend:
> Rushorou and his Lancer can head back to reinforce the base as requested, you and Avenger will head off the Archer while Ryuuta and Caster follow behind to support you as needed.
> Same as above, but Ryuuta and Caster instead work on finding a base to fortify.
> You’ll head back to reinforce the base instead, Rushorou and Ryuuta can have their Servants fight off the Archer.
> Everyone should reinforce the base, four Servants on four Servants would make for an interesting battle.

You can also write-in minor details like what kind of weapon you want to pick up, if any (I left it intentionally vague so whatever strikes your fancy is probably there).
Anybody has preferences for our next action?
Matsuda does not seem to mind which fights he is part of as long as he gets some action.
Yumigawa prefers to take well-thought-out choices and looks like he wants to play a hero here.
And Avenger is eager to have an all out fight, preferable one on one.
We can go for something like:
> Rushorou and Lancer and Ryuuta and Caster head back to reinforce the base as requested, taking advantage of already established combat experience between the two and Caster's recent buff, while you and Avenger will head off the Archer going all out
This would cover everyone desires and give solid chance to thin enemy numbers since in that case 2 vs 2 vs 3 fight will favor us a lot more. And downside would be that we postpone finding a spot for base and if Archer has Assassin ally that could be troublesome for us.

>You can also write-in minor details like what kind of weapon you want to pick up, if any (I left it intentionally vague so whatever strikes your fancy is probably there).
With our unnatural strength, we would get advantage from colossal swords or massive blunt weapons.
Another solid pick would be halberd/glaive/naginata/guandao.
And we should pick a smaller sword or axe as sidearm regardless, since we might get in position where we can't swing a huge weapon but still need some cutting edge or range rather than just our fists or improvised weapons like metal pipes.
> Rushorou and his Lancer can head back to reinforce the base as requested, you and Avenger will head off the Archer while Ryuuta and Caster follow behind to support you as needed.
I think I will just go with one of the default options rather than potentially overcommit since nobody else if around. We can always readjust if something unexpected happens.
>You can also write-in minor details like what kind of weapon you want to pick up, if any (I left it intentionally vague so whatever strikes your fancy is probably there).
Big two-handed hammer/mace for main weapon. Don't care for specifics too much, could even be kanabo or just a huge club. Just need to be sturdy and solid to withstand us flailing it around with our strength, allowing to use its reach and weight to its full potential.
And normal short sword/big knife/kukri just in case we need a more personal stab/slash tool at some point. Never really wrong to have something like that.
>Rushorou and his Lancer can head back to reinforce the base as requested, you and Avenger will head off the Archer while Ryuuta and Caster follow behind to support you as needed.
As for choice of weapons, I say we go for a bastard sword and a dagger. That should serve us equally well against the DAs and summoned soldiers we'll fight - polearms don't mean too much to the undead, and heavy weapons could encumber us too much.
>heavy weapons could encumber us too much
I don't think that would the case for us, since we ripped a road sign from the ground alongside concrete attached to it and beat some undead with it in the first thread without much of an effort.
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The fight between the two Sabers on the open street had been going on for quite a while, and it didn’t seem like the stalemate was ending anytime soon. With Kiyohime guarding the three high-schoolers, the four of them watched as Nijou Kaguya’s Aka no Saber fought against the other Master’s Kuro no Saber. While the former would land five or six hits for each one her opponent scored, he had a skill active that made his body extremely tough, so they were slowly taking damage at about the same rate.

“This is taking too long: Yatsu-kun, can’t you have your Servant apprehend the unguarded enemy Master?” Kaguya asked Ogawara using a nickname the girls had settled on last evening, “The Sabers appear evenly matched, so we’d win by making the Master surrender.”

“I-I don’t know about that, Kaguya-sama…” He answered evasively, “If no one’s standing guard we’d be unprotected against a sniper or assassin or something…” In truth, while he was concerned about a third party attacking them, he was also hoping that letting the two Sabers fight would weaken both of them and give him an idea of how their powers worked, paying special attention to Kaguya’s Aka no Saber. And he had been gaining useful information on the two Sabers’ skills, though he was unhappily coming to the conclusion that they were both unreasonably powerful. Both of them seem to outclass Kiyohime’s physical abilities, and Aka no Saber’s skillset appears to focus on further increasing her attack power, while Kuro no Saber’s is focused on withstanding his opponent’s attacks and eventually finding an opening when they get tired.

“That could be the case, or you could just be stalling because you want to keep analyzing their fight.” Kaguya replied, making her suspicions known, “Maybe your lie-detector Servant can clarify your motives?”

Starting to panic at how quickly she saw through his half-hearted answer, the boy responded, “L-let’s not jump the gun here. Just because neither of them has an advantage now doesn’t mean-”

“You agreed to be my underling, Yatsu-kun.” Kaguya pointedly reminded him, “And one thing I don’t tolerate from underlings is insubordination.”

“Master, do you want me to break her neck at an opportune moment? With her Servant busy, an opening could come up at any time.” Kiyohime schemed, telepathically asking her Master for approval of her treacherous plan.

Before Ogawara could respond, Mizuri tapped Kaguya on the shoulder and advised her, “Nijou-san, I don’t think you need to order him to attack: something’s happening to the other Saber.”
As they turned to confirm what she said, they saw Kuro no Saber had been launched back and fallen onto one of his knees. Raising his head, he revealed an enamored smile and blurted out in a sudden shift in personality, “What a lovely fighting spirit you have, Aka no Saber! The beauty of your slender form is contrasted perfectly by your stern ferocity -!”

Bursting forward and kicking him in the head, Aka no Saber launched him backward again toward his Master, a middle-aged, bearded man who’d drawn a semi-automatic pistol at the beginning of the encounter but hadn’t taken aim or fired it as of yet. “Incomprehensible.” She muttered simply as she readied herself for the next clash.

His Master reached into his coat as he berated his Servant, “Saber! This is a war, not a fucking blind-date! Now use your NP and take her out!” Having revealed a crystal of some sort, the three high-schoolers down the street watched as it started to dissolve into little blue sparks that flowed toward Kuro no Saber.

His sword suddenly shone in a fierce radiance, and as he stood up he looked and sounded genuinely aggrieved when he told Aka no Saber, “I would have much preferred to ‘take you out’ in the sense of courtship, my lady. Forgive me!”

“This man is... really forward.” Ogawara remarked, split between admiring his brazenness and feeling second-hand embarrassment.

“He’s a loony.” Kiyohime responded in disgust, but suddenly shifted to an affectionate tone as she hugged her Master’s arm and continued, “Although if you were to shower me with praise in a questionable context I wouldn’t be mad at all, Master!”

Paying close attention to her Servant’s status, Kaguya suddenly shouted at Kuro no Saber, “Hey! What did you just do?”

Noticing the glowing tattoo-patterns that lit up Aka no Saber’s body had all faded, Mizuri guessed nervously, “No way, did he shut down all of her skills right before he attacks with his Hougu?!”

“Holy sword, earth-bane, reveal the fullness of your might! DURENDAL!” Kuro no Saber shouted as he leapt into the air toward his opponent. Diving to the side to avoid his overhead strike, Aka no Saber was blasted away when Durendal made contact with the road, shattering the asphalt in a massive radius as though it were fragile glass. Kuro no Saber then burst toward her as she regained her footing and pressed his advantage, forcing her to block his sword with her own and try to get away from the ground whenever one of his downward strikes would hit it, as that would cause another explosive impact. What was even more surprising to the onlookers was that as their exchange continued, Durendal was beginning to notch and sunder the blades of Aka no Saber’s sword.

Grabbing Ogawara by the collar of his uniform and pulling him toward her, Kaguya yelled in his face, “Hurry up and DO SOMETHING you clown! If my Saber loses, your ‘girlfriend’ is next on the chopping block!”
Recognizing that she wasn’t lying, as Kuro no Saber’s Master had said as much when they began the battle, Yatsuhide threw up his hands and sheepishly replied, “Alright, alright! Kiyo, go after the Master-”

Just then, Kiyohime pushed all three of the high-schoolers onto the ground before breathing fire in the direction of a nearby rooftop, as she detected an Assassin-class Servant had just dropped his Presence Concealment ability to attack. Inside the flames, small explosions could be heard as three projectiles violently broke apart from the heat and scattered as shrapnel. The two Sabers both recognized the imminent peril, disengaging from their fight and racing back to their respective Masters. As her wall of flames faded, Kiyohime spotted a cloaked figure with a skull-mask crouched on the roof of a nearby building with several more knives in his hand, then froze in shock as she heard her Master struggle to tell her “Kiyo… I think he got me… it really hurts…” .

Glancing back to him, the Berserker felt regret and blazing wrath welling up inside her when she saw that one of the bits of shrapnel had pierced through her Master’s side, leaving him bleeding and quivering in pain on the road. Focusing on the Assassin who’d turned to flee, she barked to Aka no Saber, “Watch them, Saber. I’m sending that wretch STRAIGHT TO HELL!”

Her fury began overflowing from her body as a blazing inferno. Moving away from her Master for his own safety and to pursue her foe as he fled, the shackles of her physical limitations began gradually crumbling off, and the wake of her relentless pursuit was a trail of blackened ash.

[To be continued…?]
The thread's not long for this world, now I know why Hans and Shakes seethe about deadlines so much.

> Rushorou and his Lancer can head back to reinforce the base as requested, you and Avenger will head off the Archer while Ryuuta and Caster follow behind to support you as needed.
Seems to be the consensus option, but the weapon choice for Anon isn't quite decided.
Kind of a tossup between big bludgeoning weapon + smaller sidearm or big (but not giant) sword + smaller sidearm from what I can tell.
I've also been dreading the prospect of advertising this on /qtg/ beyond announcing when a new thread is up since it could invite toxic players (given the earned reputation Fate quests have there), but I feel like it might be the right call since player participation is kind of critically low right now. Maybe I'm overreacting because of scrambling to hit the deadline. I hope I am.
>prospect of advertising this on /qtg/
What's the worst that could happen? But you don't really have problems of previous Fate quests like namefags obsessed with waifus and incest. Quite on the opposite, Anon the Homunculus does not seem to care or think about romance at all and Sweets' homunculus loli from Awakening Mirror does not seem to be around either.
Between few people who got burned after initial QM dropped the quest, not much to catch attention of ADHD anons and you not being 4 updates-a-day QM there is certainly not too much momentum going on. However, you also made it to thread 6 since the original QM dropped it in thread 1 and that and lack of aforementioned waifuwars itself can be at advertisement point and that might be good for reputation of Fate quests in general.
Wow, Altera is really held back by her garbage master. Hard day for alien invaders from space.
>What's the worst that could happen?
Worst case: someone with a grudge against past Fate quests decides to let it all out here, shitposting/samefagging and voting for incoherent, out-of-character choices, possibly tied to gratuitous, short-sighted harem-mongering.
This might be my latent paranoia borne of pessimism speaking, though despite being a relatively tame board /qst/ IS still part of 4chan; but I'll give what you said some thought before thread 6 goes up.
>Anon the Homunculus does not seem to care or think about romance at all
One thing about Fate that I'm not the biggest fan of is that a romance gets forced into nearly every story even if it's not really necessary. If Anon wants to pursue a closer relationship with one of the lady-characters there's nothing stopping him from doing so, but I haven't gone out of my way to pre-plan 'routes' into the story. If he wants to stay single and just focus on his own issues I won't force anything. Most of the ladies also have enough pride/self respect that they won't desperately start throwing themselves at Anon or put up with skeezy N-timing, where N is an integer greater than 1.
>Sweets' homunculus loli from Awakening Mirror does not seem to be around either.
Even if she does eventually show up, there's no rule that says she's going to have the exact same personality that the original Lilliesviel had, or that you have to interact with her in the same way Alberich did. Likewise with Adelheid.

>Wow, Altera is really held back by her garbage master.
I wouldn't be too hard on Kaguya, she's not a magus so there's not much she can do about her energy capacity in 24 hours.
Also funny story behind the way I decided to write that fight: initially I'd planned for it to be really one-sided in Altera's favor, but decided to look up Saber Roland's abilities for some ideas on how he fights to make it more engaging. That's when I found out that Roland is actually REALLY STRONG in the lore, so I changed things up accordingly.
So it wasn't just that Altera was nerfed (although she was), it's also that her opponent is no joke, especially for withstanding enemy attacks in a drawn-out fight. His Master also found some mana crystals the day before, so he's in good shape.
Can't believe you would just disconfirm a bunch of possible Servants just like that!
>I wouldn't be too hard on Kaguya, she's not a magus so there's not much she can do about her energy capacity in 24 hours.
All she needs is a shack in the woods and romantic atmosphere with Ogawara. That's confirmed method.
>That's when I found out that Roland is actually REALLY STRONG in the lore, so I changed things up accordingly.
It is funny how Paladins and Charlie himself looks like a joke in Fate while their deeds in their legends most time puts them far above majority of Arthurian cycle despite latter being much more prominent. Kaguya's performance aside, Roland vs Altera is also funny due to Charlemagne own involvement with Velber, going as far as both Karl and Charlie calling Altera their sister in Extella Link.
And, LSAD QM, jokes about possible romance aside, I personally do not see much of actual romance chemistry for Anon so far among presented characters.
She seems to be interested in the end goal of getting Grail and does not care much about other connections. We might have won some respect points from her, but she proactively took the role of a Mentor/Caretaker rather than her usual Caster-self act. Clearly still have grievances she's still going over.
Does not seem to be interested in Anon on her part at all. More of just acquaintance who was forced to work on the same project. Plus, she seems to be actually interested in Matsuda.
She is kind of a relative to Anon, given the process she went through. Daddy angle would be taking it too far but she does feel like at very least a niece.
And I don't think there is much need to be said about Lancer or Koko on this front.

On the contrast, Ogawara seem to be doing fine with Kiyohime, lucky him, and Diomedes appears to be having a healthy relationship with his Master and war-bride/living detection tool. Would not put it past him to get Adelheid also hot and bothered too if she allies with his team.

I don't really mind that, but it is somewhat unusual for Nasuverse to have nothing going on. So idk if you should do something about that, I like characters having agency and romance hook out of the blue would be odd with already established direction with how you are handling it and your personal preferences.
You brought up interesting points, and I think this is worth further consideration. I'll just come out with some of the characterizations that I haven't had time to clearly explain in the narrative yet:

One thing is in your vote-choices you've been understandably prioritizing 'business' before 'pleasure', so in Anne's case Anon comes across as hyperfocused on success in the war; in part she's reacting to you based on that perception and mirroring it in a way. She is grateful that Anon bailed her out when you met and thinks you have a level head on your shoulders, but since Perseus got shot up by that Archer after she assumed the formation you suggested without input of her own, she's thinking hard about standing on her own two feet as a Master rather relying on Anon, as getting a bloody nose like that wounded her pride; but she's not going to just tell you all of that for obvious reasons. It may be that I haven't offered too many dedicated socialization options as default choices to develop things further.

Avenger's initial characterization is an 'ice-queen', as I'm sure you can tell. The original QM laid the groundwork for that and I figured it'd be best to not rock the boat with a sudden personality shift. And despite your occasional disagreements she's been warming up to Anon some, though you'd probably need to put in some amount of directed effort into changing your relationship to a more intimate one.

Jen's a case where the votes went a way I didn't really expect them to go, so I had improvise a new character on the spot. I kind of invited that when I introduced the "rescue civilians" subplot, but that was my WORLDBUILDING thought-processes at work initially it was an excuse to get you alone with Avenger so you wouldn't have to talk telepathically while Truvi and Perseus were hanging out in the church, but I grew to like the dynamic that situation presented. Jen is in a similar boat to Anon in the sense that she wants to establish an identity first and foremost, and she doesn't want to 'attach' herself to someone else right away because in her mind it would mean she's admitting there's a defect in her personality that she needs external help to fill. And she's been around for what, 12 hours in-quest? Give it time...

Another thing is Anon in his current state has been around for barely more than a day, so I was concerned that I might accidentally go the 'love at first sight' path (which I both don't trust myself to execute properly and would probably be railroading) and fire off those character moments prematurely, from a narrative perspective. I do try to add tidbits of stuff here and there, like Anon feeling a need to "protecc Koko's smile" because anons have periodically mentioned that they like her, though since Anon's been so busy he hasn't had time to actually have a conversation with her yet. (1/2)
Now, I would like to establish that while Ogawara got lucky in the romance department, right now that's almost entirely due to the fact that Kiyohime decided she likes him and not so much his own merits. He does feel a need to do his best that he never felt before now, though, so maybe she'll grow to like him more for who he is.

Diomedes and Rusalka know their values aren't aligned, but they also both have enough experience in working with people that they disagree with that they can deal with it well. In Miko's case, I'd say it's probably half intimidation, half "complicated feelings" toward the captor that's been comparatively kind to her.
I do understand those aspects you are going for about how interpersonal relationship around Anon been so far.
And you did a good job sticking to characterization outlines with our choices so far: Anon's main drive is his missing memories (first talk with Avenger), he recognizes that to partake in Grail War is to wager your life on the line (first talk with Avenger), he makes use of creative tactics than possible (Bombardment, poison gas possibility and other choices like that), cordial with allies/those who got unwillingly caught into war and pragmatic/ruthless against enemies (Bombardment and ruse we did in a fight against Rider and Archer).
Although, putting it like that makes it looks like that closest character among the cast with similar attitude would be Altera.
I'd do more than lurk if I could stop getting range banned lmao, sorry lsad
>putting it like that makes it looks like that closest character among the cast with similar attitude would be Altera
It is weird how things like that can turn out

With digits like that I have no choice but to forgive you
>She was civilisation destroying space invader and he was amnesiac nameless albino man who committed several war crimes and does not plan stopping. You could not have made it any more obvious.
Greatest love story ever told.

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