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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 only faint vestiges of his past, is unaware of his real name, and is 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 so far. Most recently you managed to defeat Sun Wukong, but he and Diomedes left you much worse for wear. A thunderstorm covering your retreat from the latecomer Aka no Berserker, you and your allies find Truvietianne Edelfelt alone, with her Servant dead and Sophia, the enigmatic vampire you’d helped to create the night before, having departed with another enemy; her motivations for doing so are not entirely clear to you. Now you and those of your allies who remain are driving in a van back to the area that Caster of Black had set up as his territory to regroup and recover, and Miss Edelfelt took an opportunity to ask you what your priorities were, given all that’s happened.

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
[To anyone new, the beginning of thread 8 has a tl;dr summary that gives a quick overview of everything that happened up to the beginning of that thread]
“I suppose you have a point.” Truvietianne whispered, gently sliding her shoulders your way until she lightly leaned against you. You feel her chest expand and contract in rhythm with her breath as she continues, “Though I’ve been wondering, what do you consider to be your win-condition? Or maybe it’d be clearer to ask what your priorities are? Dying is losing, I’m sure, but where are you going with all this?”

After giving her question some thought, you respond, “I still want to learn who I am, but that may end up being more of a long-term goal; likewise for discovering the truth behind this Great Holy Grail War and seeing it through to its end. Shorter term, I’ll prioritize learning more about myself in an immediate sense, such as my capability to learn magic, and protecting the innocents we’ve found; and anyone else who doesn’t belong on a battlefield. Laying low until Avenger’s ready to fight again seems to be the best course of action for now. Though if the overseer or one of those scumbag Dead Apostles makes themselves an easy target, I may go ahead and give them what they deserve.”

“I see. As I am right now I’d say I don’t belong on a battlefield, so you’d better take good care of me.” She answered slyly.

“I guess I talked myself into a corner there.” You laugh, “Though if you still have at least one Command Seal, shouldn’t it be possible for you to make a contract with a Servant who lacks a Master if we run into one?”

“I have all three of my Command Seals, largely because I lacked the presence of mind to use them when I should have.” She replied more solemnly, “I suppose the chance of that happening isn’t zero, but I have half a mind to expend them without a target and wash my hands of this Master business.”

“You shouldn’t just discard them.” You say, “I know things haven’t gone your way lately, but there’s no knowing if we’ll need your help in the future.” Oh wait, that could have come out wrong.

“No knowing indeed.” She sighed, “Well, if nothing else I can at least make myself useful in explaining what I know of these Holy Grail Wars, Dead Apostles, Modern Magecraft, and whatever else my limited experience can offer.”

“You’re also knowledgeable enough about history and mythology to help us research the other Servants, or to give general advice for that matter.” You point out, “After all, it was your idea to go looking for survivors in the first place. That saved Koko’s, Suzaku’s, and Sophia’s lives, in a very real sense. Try to keep an open perspective.”

“Thanks, I’m –ow!” She began to say as she turned to look into your eyes, wincing in pain from the movement, “Other than my neck, I’m starting to feel a little better.”

“Mind if I join you? Lancer can drive the rest of the way without further assistance in navigation.” Rushorou said as he stepped out of the driver’s section of the van.
“I don’t see why not.” You reply, and Truvietianne gently nods in assent.

As he sat down in a seat along the side-wall of the van opposite you, he suggested, “Perhaps in the time it takes us to finish driving back, we can bring each other up to speed on what happened while we were separated; I could report what we saw.”

Gradually moving off of you as she straightened her back, she replied in a more formal tone, “Very well, you may begin Rushorou.”

His report is pretty comprehensive, you only add a minor detail here or there, or describe something that happened when he wasn’t with you, such as how you crushed the head of one of the Wukong clones with your mace. Truvietianne seemed particularly interested when Rushorou described his attack that sent a crescent-shaped blade of wind out of his sword to amplify its damage potency, but held off on asking for more information. She’s visibly relieved to hear that by all accounts it appears that Wukong’s main body was conclusively destroyed by Kuro no Archer’s Noble Phantasm ‘Sudarshana Chakra Yamaraj’, but is uneasy when Rushorou explains that Diomedes and Aka no Berserker arrived in rapid succession toward the end of the battle.

“Their coordinated arrival seems too convenient to be coincidental.” She surmises, speaking up for first time since the report began, “I suppose they’re in communication with each other somehow; if they consistently know how to pick the worst possible time to engage, it could prove troublesome for us.”

“I’ll say.” Rushorou replied, “Both of those Servants have impressive raw power, and the Berserker’s Master Mathers in particular has… unsavory proclivities.”

“Yeah, he seems about as deranged as that ghoul Anton Kagan was.” You agree with a nod.

“I wonder…” Truvi pondered, “I hadn’t given him much thought, but now I’m recalling during the time we encountered him, he used the phrase ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ to begin casting a spell. Did he not, Rushorou?”

“Something to that effect, yes.” He affirmed, “Does that remind you of something?”
“It does.” She answered, before taking a deep breath. Looks like it’s time for another of her famous lessons. “About a century ago, there was a notorious man who amassed a significant following. He called himself ‘The Great Beast 666’, and claimed to be in contact with a variety of spiritual entities, ranging from gods and angels to devils. At first it was assumed that he was an ordinary man, in the sense of lacking magical aptitude, who simply became a self-styled Satanic-cultist. However, after he ingratiated himself into and eventually caused an actual organization of magi, peripheral though they were, to begin fracturing, the Mage’s Association and the Church began to suspect that reports of him being in contact with sinister, inhuman entities may have been more than hysterical rumors given credence by his taboo-violating public persona. But he was found dead in his home by the time a proper investigation was mobilized, so it was ultimately written off as an anomaly of little consequence. More immediately relevant, ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ was one of the commandments, if you will, in the ‘Book of the Law’ that he penned.”

“Some kind of relationship is more likely than not, then.” Rushorou reasoned, “Do you have any idea on what kind of magic Mathers would be capable of? In our first encounter he didn’t do much because Rusalka insisted on upstaging him, and when he tried to attack us after Wukong was defeated, a lighting-storm interrupted him and covered our retreat.”

“Unfortunately not, but I’d be very careful if you see him again. Perhaps Koko or Suzaku could help me use the internets to learn more.” She replied, “Information on that man’s organization should be publicly available, since he was an upstart who often ignored the tradition of secrecy.”

At that point you noticed that the van had come to gentle stop, and Rushorou’s Lancer announced from the driver’s section, “We have arrived: Caster and his Master await us outside.”

You pick up Avenger, who’s now flittering in and out of consciousness; better than being out cold, you suppose. Swinging the rear-doors of the van open, Ryuuta greets you, “Glad you guys made it-” Struck silent as he observes your party’s various injuries, he then changes tact, “Crud, are you alright?”

“Put simply, no.” Truvietianne replies wearily as she slowly rises to her feet, “Though some of us are better off than others.”

“It seems a medical clinic may have been a better place to set up camp.” Caster of Black says as he reveals himself from outside of the van, “But we may treat your injuries inside the hotel nonetheless.”

Leading your party inside an upscale hotel-lobby, Caster and Ryuuta quickly bring up a couch for you to lay Avenger on, and comfortable seats for yourself, Truvietianne, and Rushorou.
“Would you try to help Avenger’s recovery first?” You ask the long-bearded Servant, “I can wait.”

“If neither of the other two young Masters object, certainly.” He replies cordially. They don’t, so he sees to your Servant’s wound with a mix of glowing runes that he draws in the air, a few herbs that he draws out of a pouch in his robes, and modern first-aid equipment that were looted from somewhere nearby. In the meantime, Koko and Suzaku come by to see you, and you bring them and Ryuuta up to speed on what happened since you parted ways. You also learn a little more about what happened between Sophia and Kuro no Berserker from Truvietianne. Apparently Sophia offered to go alone to try to get the Berserker to leave Anne there, not trusting the girl’s or her Master’s motivations to be good-natured, and threatened to put up enough of a fight that taking either of them alive as ordered would prove difficult. The Berserker went along with Sophia’s demand, and the two of them left shortly before you got back. Anne didn’t have time to learn how Sophia ended up killing the last copy of Sun Wukong, so you may have to learn of that from Sophia herself later.

You and Rushorou again refrain from mentioning how Wukong claimed that Sophia ate Perseus’ Spirit Core, though you’re not sure how long you should wait to say something on that front. You’re also curious to hear from Caster himself about the lightning-storm that covered your escape from the subway station after Wukong was killed. By the time everyone’s been brought up to speed, Caster’s found time to bandage the wounds of Avenger, yourself, and Rushorou, and to put a brace on Anne’s neck. You feel as though that there’s something about these bandages that’s helping your body recover more quickly than it would with ordinary bandaging.

For now, you’ll decide to:

> Go to a room with Avenger and wait with her to see when she regains consciousness. You’ll leave the door open in case anyone wants to see you. You can keep yourself occupied practicing the magical abilities that you know or by meditating in the meantime.
> Same as above, but ask someone to accompany you because you wish to speak with them (write-in who is the person, and what do you want to talk about)
> Find a place for Avenger to rest, but tell Caster that you want him to finish enchanting your mace, making good on his promise to help everyone increase their fighting-power. If he has a workshop set up you’ll go to it and see if there’s anything interesting that he can show you there.
> Ask Caster if he was responsible for the weather-shift and lightning-storm, and for sending the bird to advise you to leave when it did.
> Something different? (write-in)
>> Ask Caster if he was responsible for the weather-shift and lightning-storm, and for sending the bird to advise you to leave when it did.

> Ask Caster if he was responsible for the weather-shift and lightning-storm, and for sending the bird to advise you to leave when it did.
> Something different? (write-in): Ask if Caster could provide some assistance in developing our Magecraft. If he can pull off that big lightning storm for covering our escape, then we were right in spotting the Not So Ordinary Old Man. Would be a waste to not pick up a trick or two like that while Avenger is recovering

We are back baby.

Time for us to spend this time wisely, I'm leaning towards properly cracking open the Ether can and develop some Interesting stuff. When Avenger recovers, it'll be Warcrimes side by side more evenly!
>Ask Caster if he was responsible for the weather-shift and lightning-storm, and for sending the bird to advise you to leave when it did.
>Something different? (write-in): Ask if Caster could provide some assistance in developing our Magecraft. If he can pull off that big lightning storm for covering our escape, then we were right in spotting the Not So Ordinary Old Man. Would be a waste to not pick up a trick or two like that while Avenger is recovering.
I expect he'll be tight-lipped about this, but it can't hurt to try.
Let's see how much you can get out of him then.

Roll some dice (1d100) to spice things up a little while you're at it.
Rolled 99 (1d100)

got all your secrets old man
Lmao, not too shabby. I'll have to come up with something good.
Rolled 18 (1d100)

Boner city akeldama
Rolled 9 (1d100)

Check this 1.
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Gonna take a while to live that one down; next drawing I'll be more cognizant of such things
When the conversation hits a natural lull, you decide it’s about time you cleared up what was going on with the storm. You ask Caster of Black, “The lightning-storm that threw our pursuers off us and the bird that warned us about it, were they your doing, Caster?”

“Indeed they were; it seemed you could use the assistance with how things were developing.” He replied casually, then elaborated, “Manipulating the weather of this peculiar little world wasn’t particularly difficult. This City of Akeldama, while apparently a replica of a small section of the real world, copies primarily the material features while neglecting many of the underlying rules. Not only did it gloss over animal-life and weather-patterns, but even the world’s will is largely absent. Should some of the mages or Dead Apostles come to understand the implications, they may not wish to leave.”

“Does that mean the laws of physics are different here or somethin’?” Ryuuta asked his Servant.

“You’re on the right track Master, though it’s less the laws ‘of’ physics so much as laws ‘above’ physics.” The Caster answered, before turning back to you and continuing, “Anyhow, the storm was my doing. It’s not a tactic that lends itself to routine use, as it takes several minutes for the clouds to gather. But should the enemy be occupied with other matters and overlook the warning signs, much less trace it back to the source, it may prove useful as it did today; particularly if the lightning can be guided by an on-site observer such as a familiar.”

“Interesting.” You remark. He was being unexpectedly straightforward, explaining even the limitations of one of his abilities. Perhaps he has many other means of fighting, so he doesn’t see a need to maintain secrecy on this particular technique. Now’s as good a time as any to see if you can get anything else out of him. “Its practical applicability aside, I could see firsthand that you’re capable of throwing around a lot of firepower with that lightning-storm. I’d planned on developing my ability to use magecraft while my Servant is recovering, perhaps you’d be so kind as to assist me?”

“How fortuitous that you should ask.” He replied with a kind smile, “I’d intended to show you all to my workshop sooner or later. I could forge enchantments on weapons or other items myself more quickly, but it is my firm belief that it will be more meaningful in the long-term it you learn to maintain your equipment yourselves.”

“While that is a tempting offer, I must excuse myself before joining you.” Truvietianne responded as she stood up, “My clothes are drenched, and I need some time to think. Preferably in a hot bath.”
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“Don’t you worry Edelfelt-san, a room I scouted has just the thing!” Koko chirped, hopping up to her feet as well, “And since Suzaku remembered to grab the bags that had our extra clothes, you’ll be able to change into something fresh once you’re done!”

“Thank God.” Anne sighed gratefully, before revising her statement, “And thanks to the two of you as well, of course.”

“I-it’s nothing, really.” Suzaku said as he rubbed the back of his neck, “We want to be more than dead-weight, you know…”

“Are you sure you don’t mind leaving your Servant unattended?” Rushorou asks you as you all prepare to leave the lobby.

“If she wakes up she can contact me telepathically. I imagine she’d prefer I be proactive rather than hover over her for sentimental reasons.” You answer, though you do ask Ryuuta and Suzaku if they could show you to a room where you could leave her to recover comfortably. Suzaku also lends you a new shirt that was not previously pierced by a spear. The fit isn’t the best, but you prefer it to something drenched from the rain and your dried blood. After you slip it on, you decide you’re ready to go.

But before you do, Caster asks you, “Before we begin, would you prefer to deepen your understanding of the abilities you’ve already started to realize, or work on improving the weapons that you’ve acquired. Or perhaps you’d like to try your hand at crafting a new item altogether? I have a variety of resources you might choose from.”

What do you want to work on for the next couple hours?

> “I’ll try to build on what I already know, for now.” Choose to emphasize:
>> Your ability to visualize and absorb magical energy
>> Your physical reinforcement spell (do you emphasize further buffing yourself, extending it to items, or both equally)
>> Try to understand how the Ether can manipulate actualized spells (such as those from enemies) as opposed to raw magical energy
> “I’ll improve the weapons, they’re served me well so far.” (If there’s any modification in particular that you want to try, write it in)
> “I’ll try crafting something new, show me what I have to work with.” Choose between:
>> a new shirt/jacket/light armor
>> a pearl that can store a large amount of excess mana for later use (reusable)
>> a ring

The 99-roll from before will speed along your development in whichever you pick
> “I’ll try crafting something new, show me what I have to work with.”
>> a ring
>Your physical reinforcement spell (extending it to items)
I think this will help in learning other spells that affect our weapons; it may even be a prerequisite for mana burst or something similar.
The ring would be funny but I'm more interested in spears.

> Try to understand how the Ether can manipulate actualized spells (such as those from enemies) as opposed to raw magical energy

IT'S TIME. Let's get some proper experience with something that's been burning for me to try for 3 or 4 threads now
I probably should have realized that offering more options than I had players could lead to each player picking a different one.
To trim things down, any further votes are restricted to one of the three options that were already got a vote.
If there's no tiebreaker, please count my vote in >>5716797 as support for >>5716810.
Sounds good; I’ll leave the poll open until I’m done with my day-job today in case anyone else drops by.
>> Try to understand how the Ether can manipulate actualized spells (such as those from enemies) as opposed to raw magical energy
Alright, first step of the "Counter-spell" skill tree coming up.
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You consider Caster’s suggestion. There are a lot of options available, but for whatever reason three surface in your mind most vividly. One is to craft an item of some sort, perhaps a ring with magical properties; you could have a latent affinity for craftsmanship, for all you know. Another is to expand on your understanding of the reinforcement spell and to try extending it to items. However, one that’s been at the back of your mind for a while now eventually wins out.

“Avenger found that I have an affinity for two Ether elements, and speculated that I may be able to use them to manipulate the structure of spells as opposed to simply raw magical energy. I’d like to pursue that, if you could assist me.” You disclose, prompting the old man to stroke his beard and ponder the context for a moment.

“Ether elements, you say? Yes, an ability along those lines may be within your reach: whether you can comprehend the spell that you’re trying to manipulate will likely be the primary factor, but in many cases, such as with direct attacks, it may be intuitive for you.” As he turns to go, he beckons you to follow, continuing, “Come along then, I’ll also be instructing my Master on weapon maintenance in my workshop. Perhaps his contemporary as well, should he request it.”

Without further ado, he leads you and Ryuuta to an elevator, and takes you to the top floor where he set up his makeshift workshop in a penthouse suite. You see a small forge, an anvil, and a few workbenches covered in various tools and materials ranging from textiles to gems. Rushorou and his Lancer were already up there as well, where she was demonstrating how to sharpen a sword to him. Caster leaves you waiting for a couple minutes as he gives Ryuuta a rundown of how to maintain the crescent spear that he’d picked up a few hours prior, before he opens a door to the balcony and invites you to join him.

Drawing a pipe out from his robes, he blows an unexpectedly coherent smoke ring into the air before telling you, “The magic that I use is different from that of your Servant, but the fundamental concepts should be similar enough for the purposes of instruction. It’s my understanding that you’re more interested in practical application than hours of theoretical lectures, so a brief overview must suffice for now. At its core, Ether is an amorphous substance employed to realize a Mystery by combining with another element or elements in some way. For now I won’t split hairs on the conceptual overlap between Ether and Magical Energy beyond a present example that Servants such as myself are composed of Etheric bodies, while our blood is Magical Energy. Anyhow, consider what you’re trying to do as the following: analyze the structure of a spell, and from that use your affinity to alter not the physical element, but instead the underlying Mystery.”
“That sounds all well and good, but how do I ‘use my affinity’? Is it just turning on my Magic Circuits and hoping for the best?” You ask, generally understanding what he’s trying to convey but unsure of how exactly to implement it.

“I’ll begin with a simple exercise.” He replies, drawing a rune in the air and narrating what he’s doing, “This spell creates a ball of light and has it rotate in a tight circle until I cancel it. Your task is to alter the path of the ball. I’ll leave you to it.”

Hardly comprehensive instructions on how you’re to go about it, but you decide to just experiment alone while he checks on his Master. For the next ten minutes you test a variety of sensations and impulses, as well as activate your ability to see ambient mana to try to discern the exact structure of his spell. At a point you become distracted by looking out at the city, seeing the strands of nearby leylines with your own eyes as mana gently emanates out of them. It seems Caster’s ‘Wandering Pilgrim’ ability causes the area he establishes as his territory to emit a fair amount more mana from what you can observe, but you quickly get back to the task at hand.

At length you finally begin to make progress by placing your hand on ball of light itself. It’s not a solid object so it harmlessly floats through you, but as you touch the ball and the path it makes you begin to comprehend the spell’s mechanism. An Etheric ring was bonded to the air to establish a path for the ball to float through, so you need to find a way to unravel that ring.

Scraping at the air with your hand while activating your Magic Circuits with the directed intention of deforming the ring turns out to actually affect a small change, though the ring returns to its original shape if you stop grasping at it. Noting your progress, Caster returns and provides further explanation on the nature of the spell and how you can more keenly direct your focus at it. You practice for a while longer, and your grasp on the concepts quickly improves to the point that after another half hour you at last unravel the ring, causing the ball of light to tumble away before blinking out of existence.

Caster next guides you to attempt disrupting the structure of spells without physically touching the area of effect, which pleases you as you’d rather not have to touch something like a fireball to change its trajectory. To aid in your practice of this, Caster creates another ball of light that this time moves to and away from you at a steady pace. Figuring out how to disrupt its path remotely, you meet overall success about two hours in.
As you step back inside the workshop, you see that everyone had paused their work and were listening to Caster say, “… someone’s wandered into the area. Not a Servant, not a human either. Perhaps he’s a phantom-spirit summoned by a different Servant, though not a warrior like the ones Aka no Rider commands. My supposition is he’s some kind of attendant to an Assassin-class Servant, as he exhibited a type of Presence Concealment as he trespassed.”

“Could be an expendable scout.” Ryuuta guessed, “Should we take him out quick and quiet?”

“That is one option.” His Servant replied, “We don’t know how quickly he can relay information to his master, so leaving him to gather information may be hazardous. With that said, he won’t be coming near here anytime soon.”

“Why’s that?” You ask.

“I placed a ward over this area, a type of bounded field that distorts the sense of direction of anyone who enters without my leave.” He replies, “Our intruder could wander in circles for the rest of the afternoon without realizing it.”

“We can’t just ignore it though, we ought to consider apprehending and interrogating him. We may learn something about his handlers.” Rushorou suggested.

It seems convenient, maybe too convenient. It could be bait of some kind, but whoever sent the scout may simply have not expected him to waltz into the territory of an accomplished Caster who could detect and ensnare even someone with Presence Concealment.

How do you respond:
> Encourage them to kill the intruder quickly and quietly
> Encourage them to arrest and interrogate the intruder.
> Encourage them to leave him be until they learn more about his capabilities, even if it takes a couple hours.
> One of the three above, but specify that you want to go along with them.
> No need, you have your own matters to attend to. You’ll keep working on your experimenting, and assume that whatever they decide to end up doing can’t go too badly.
> Something different (write-in)
>> Encourage them to arrest and interrogate the intruder.
>Encourage them to leave him be until they learn more about his capabilities, even if it takes a couple hours.
Another possibility is that they already know about the bounded field, and this is an attempt to bypass it. We may have intruders teleporting to the minion as soon as we capture him.
If no other votes come in overnight I'll have dice decide between the two voted options
Rolled 2 (1d2)

“For my part, I’d leave him be until he reveals more of what he’s capable of, even if it takes a couple hours.” You say, deciding to voice your opinion, speculating, “The intruder may have made arrangements to get through the bounded field, such as to teleport his allies to him after you capture him.”

“While not beyond the realm of possibility, that scenario is unlikely.” Caster responded, “Teleportation is beyond the capabilities of most, aside from wielders of extremely advanced magic such as your Servant.”

“I understand you’re cautious after what happened with Sun Wukong, but you’re letting it paralyze you into inaction.” Rushorou told you reproachfully, “The sooner we interrogate the intruder, the sooner we get a lead on the next enemy to wipe out.”

“I can’t force you to listen to me.” You reply, displeased by his hard-headedness and impertinent tone, “It’d be nice if he just slipped up and you can take easy advantage of it, but I’d bet there’s going to be some kind of twist.”

“We’ll find out if your fears are founded soon enough. ” He answered, emphasizing the word ‘fears’.

“Oi Kaichou, if you’re goin’ I’m goin’ too.” Ryuuta said as he walked over to join his contemporary, “No offense, but you’re a bit straight-laced for this kinda thing.”

Unbothered by the other young man’s assessment, Rushorou replied, “That’s fine, your Servant can confirm where to find the intruder as we go.”

“It seems I’ll be indisposed for a while, then.” Caster tells you as he reaches into his robe to reveal a frog-shaped wind-up toy. As it spontaneously hops out of the palm of his hand, he instructs, “You may find practicing on a more unpredictable target entertaining while I am away.”

“I suppose I won’t get bored.” You reply, quickly deducing that he’s put some kind of enchantment on the toy to make it move about on its own. “Well, good luck then.” You add, bidding the two Masters and their Servants farewell as they leave to find the intruder. Hopefully it won’t blow up in their faces.

The toy-frog reacts as you attempt to disrupt the spell animating it, swiftly jumping away and forcing you to restart and focus on its new position. A proverbial game of cat and mouse begins, as you incrementally improve your ability to deal with its random movements. And yet, likely by Caster’s design, the closer you come to unraveling the enchantment, the more frenzied the toy becomes. Well, you’re not about to lose to a mere plastic frog. Your Magic Circuits begin heating up as you escalate your efforts, you start inhaling and absorbing all of the mana in the immediate vicinity to keep yourself going against your increasingly-desperate target. At long last, your disruption reaches the toy and unravels the spell faster than it can evade.
Before you catch your breath, you begin to vaguely recall something. A steady voice cautions, “An opportunity to change oneself is not without risk. The possibility of transcendence is inherently accompanied by the possibility of degradation. Shall you persist in this undertaking?”

A different voice replies, “… My will has awakened, and it yearns for a freedom that cannot be found in this sea of eternity.” This voice, and the words it spoke in reply, you recognize as your own.

Falling into a chair adjacent to one of the workbenches, you rest your head in your hands as you ask yourself, “Who… or what… am I?” Maybe you should try to learn what the ‘sea of eternity’ could be. In spite of all the exposition and magical jargon you’ve heard since you gained consciousness in this artificial world, no one’s mentioned a ‘sea of eternity’ so far.

“… Master? Where have you gotten off to?” You hear Avenger ask groggily through your telepathic link. She’s regained consciousness!

“I’m at the top floor of this hotel, but I’ll be right down.” You quickly answer, standing up to head to the room where you left her to rest. This may be excellent timing, while what you recalled is fresh in your mind. On the way down you begin bringing her up to speed on what occurred while she was unconscious. By the time you reach her room, you’ve gotten to the part when you got out of the van and entered the hotel.

You find her sitting up in bed, tucked under the blankets but leaning back on a few pillows. Her outstretched wings span the entire width of the bed and then some. Greeting you, she says, “I’m pleased that you managed well while I was… out.” Patting a side of the bed with her hand, she added, “Have a seat, we can continue with spoken words.”

Now that you’re here, what do you want to prioritize talking about:

> Finish explaining what happened while she was unconscious, including your progress on utilizing your affinity for the Ether element
> Ask her what the ‘sea of eternity’ could be
> Ask her how she’s feeling, and if there are any lingering effects from Diomedes and Athena’s attack
> Talk about something else (write-in)
>> Finish explaining what happened while she was unconscious, including your progress on utilizing your affinity for the Ether element
>Finish explaining what happened while she was unconscious, including your progress on utilizing your affinity for the Ether element
>Ask her how she's feeling, and if there are any lingering effects from Diomedes and Athena's attack
If not both, then just the recap.
It's been hard to find time to write; I'll try to have something ready in the next couple days. Also been working on more character art.
You pull a chair by the side of her bed and begin by briefly explaining how Caster of Black treated everyone’s injuries, then get to the juicier bits, “… and then I got Caster to help me train my Ether-abilities. When you came to I’d begun to learn how to disrupt or redirect spells cast by others by tampering with the structure of the spell itself.”

“It’s only been a few hours, hasn’t it?” Avenger asks you, her brow furrowed in uncertainty.

“That’s about right, yes.” You confirm.

Your Servant’s uncertainly shifting in the direction of amazement, she replies, “That’s… commendably fast. Your ability to use magic must be similar to mine, in the sense that you don’t need to use what’s called a ‘Magecraft Foundation’ the way the modern mages have to.” Pouting a little, she continued, “It seems circumstances arranged it so that the old goat would show you how to manipulate the Ether instead of me. Bit of a letdown.”

“Don’t be too broken up about it, he left me to my own devices most of the time.” You joke, “And I’m sure there’s plenty of room for you to improve or expand on what I know.”

“Of course, Athena’s strike shouldn’t keep me down much longer.” She answered with a smile. You may be seeing things, but could it be that Avenger’s started mellowing out a little? After a pause, she lightly laughs, “You know, for a second I thought I might teach you the High Speed Divine Words, but they probably wouldn’t avail you much if you can’t draw on the Authority of a god of magic. Although… if you could understand them even without using them, I suppose it may say something about the nature of your being.”

“That could be an interesting experiment, if nothing else. I already know that I’m something different from a normal human.” You reply. Recalling the earlier flash of memory, you speculate, “Perhaps something that washed out of the ‘Sea of Eternity’, whatever that is.”

“What do you-” She began to say, but stopped as she clutched at her chest-wound in pain as a little bit of blood began staining the bandage placed over it. “Damn… it...” She grumbled.

“Are you alright?!” You ask as you jump to your feet, though you don’t have a solution to the problem in mind.

“I spoke too soon… about shrugging off a wound… from a war-goddess...” She breathed out laboriously as she laid back, grimacing. Creating a potion-vial at her side near you, she pants, “Pour on. Wound. Please.”

You swiftly do so, and follow a number of her other instructions involving treating the wound. What’s going on is pretty beyond you; if you had the luxury of slowly analyzing each step you probably could have learned something about what was causing her wound to flare up, but it was more of a desperate scramble to ensure things didn’t take a turn toward disaster.
Eventually her pained expression softens, and she whispers, “Those drugs are going to make me rest for a while. Sorry our time together was limited, we’ll make up for it later…” Right after she finishes saying that, she passes into a quiet slumber.

“I guess that’s all for now.” You sigh, sympathetic to your Servant’s suffering. As you consider what to do next, Koko pokes her head into the room.

“A-are things alright in here?” The diminutive woman asks hesitantly, “I don’t mean to intrude, but it sounded bad.”

“Oh, hi Koko. Avenger regained consciousness, but not long later her wound got worse for some reason. I think we have it under control again.” You respond. Come to think of it, you haven’t talked with Koko much yet; you’ve been giving priority to matters relating to the Holy Grail War.

“Oh, ok. I hope things turn out well.” She says, fidgeting a little before continuing timidly, “Um… I wanted to… n-nevermind, I should get back….”

You’re a little curious about what she might have intended to say to you, but there are other things you could do as well. What will you do next:

> Ask Koko if something’s troubling her. You’re willing to listen.
> Look for Truvietianne. She might know what the “Sea of Eternity” could be.
> Head back up to the workshop. You’re sure you can find something do up there.
> Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. You could also get a look at the leylines and practice absorbing the ambient mana.
> Something different (write-in)
Rolled 59 (1d100)

For something completely unrelated
>> Ask Koko if something’s troubling her. You’re willing to listen.
>Ask Koko if something’s troubling her. You’re willing to listen.
Koko's time has come. Let's find out what her deal is.
“Is something troubling you, Koko?” You ask, stepping toward her before she turns to leave, “I can hear you out if you want to talk about it.”

“Are you sure? Don’t you need to stay with Avenger?” She asks in return.

“There’s not much I can do for her right now besides trust that she can rest and recover.” You answer, “I don’t think she’d want me hovering at her bedside, anyway.”

“I-if you say so.” Koko says as she taps the tips of her index fingers together, “In that case, could you walk with me for a minute?”

“Sure.” You reply. As you step into the hallway and quietly close the door to Avenger’s room, you continue, “So what’s on your mind?”

“I’ve just been thinking about things... trying to understand why someone would do this to us.” She explained as you walked together, “Does it all go back to Triscus Adajio, the overseer? Was he working with others to set this all up? If he wasn’t, how could one man do all this?”

“I see, you’re trying to get to the root of the problem.” You remark, “Come to think of it, I haven’t the faintest idea of where he went. He said he’d relocate to this city, but I suppose he’s been laying low since then.”

“Maybe it’s because the Masters are doing his job for him, so he doesn’t need to do anything himself.” She replied. You could be mistaken, but for a moment you thought you heard a hint of distaste seeping into her tone.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” You ask, curious where she’s going with this.

“Well, for whatever reason he wants the spirits of 28 heroes to kill each other, and to do that he kidnapped who knows how many people and promised a wish for the winner so they’d get with the program.” She explains, “But he never said what he gets out of it. I guess it’s not impossible that he’s doing it for fun because he’s deranged, but my gut’s telling me there’s more to it than that.”

“You’re probably right, but until we find him and make him talk we probably won’t be able to learn more.” You reply.

“But the other Masters keep you busy, so you can’t find the time to do that. And in response, you do the same to them.” The short woman responds as the two of you get to the lobby. Looking toward the entrance, she then asks, “Oh, could we step outside? The air’s a little stale in here.”

“I don’t see why not.” You agree. As you head over there, you respond to her line of thinking, “You want to suggest we arrange a cease-fire with all of the other Masters and kick the overseer’s knees out from under him? I hate to tell you, but that’s wishful thinking.”

“But why does it have to be like that? We’re all victims here!” She complains as the two of you walk outside.

“For one thing, at least two of the Masters are Dead Apostles.” You say, “The vampires who tried their best to kill you, or worse, all day yesterday.”
“Okay fine, but shouldn’t there be twenty-something Masters that aren’t evil vampires?” Koko replies, arguing, “The evil vampires would have no chance if they were outnumbered that badly.”

She seems to have a rather… positive… estimation of the ability of people to work together in spite of a strong incentive to be self-serving. You recall she was a schoolteacher, so getting her students to peacefully resolve conflict could come with her job. And perhaps she isn’t entirely wrong, for all you know people like Fyodor and Kiara might have become agreeable allies had you encountered them in different circumstances. Then you remember Mathers. Probably not.

“I don’t blame you for wanting the war to be resolved with minimal bloodshed, but aside from the presence of the Dead Apostles, the reason to keep fighting is the Holy Grail.” You say, “Personally, I’m not all that interested in a wish, but I can’t say the same for the other Masters. And the Servants like Avenger are even more driven to kill for it, since they knew they were getting themselves into a war when they accepted their summons.”

“Nnnnhhhh!” Koko fumed as she balled her tiny fists in consternation, “I don’t like it! It’s not right! Why is everyone okay with dancing to the overseer’s tune?!”

You recall that Adajio seems to hold the key to accessing the Holy Grail, so could be difficult to convince anyone interested in the Grail to attack the overseer without a concrete plan for acquiring it afterward in spite of Adajio’s wishes. You doubt Avenger would be receptive to this borderline-pacifistic approach immediately as well, or many of the other Servants for that matter. But perhaps if you put a plan together to allow access to the Grail after Adajio was taken care of, people may be more likely to agree to help?

> Explain that you believe waging the war as intended is the more practically-feasible option (generally disagree with her position).
> Say that you’ll seriously consider proposing an uprising against the overseer to any Masters willing to parley with you (generally agree with her position).
> Tell her that you think she’s cute when she’s angry (tease her to get her mind off this).
> Something else (write-in)
>> Say that you’ll seriously consider proposing an uprising against the overseer to any Masters willing to parley with you (generally agree with her position).
it's undeniably wishful thinking but still, fuck that guy! grail wars never go the intended path anyways

> Say that you’ll seriously consider proposing an uprising against the overseer to any Masters willing to parley with you (generally agree with her position).

I suppose it's not THAT unrealistic to get some of the others involved in a revolt against the Overseer. Even opportunistic fellas will stick by to try and survive
Huh, I'm kind of surprised you went with that option. I guess Anon will try to have a little faith in humanity.

I may drop an interlude in a different style first though.
> Say that you’ll seriously consider proposing an uprising against the overseer to any Masters willing to parley with you (generally agree with her position).

"Father" Triscus has been a sussy baka for some time
“By the Command Spell: Pierce that Assassin’s heart with your next arrow!”

The tall Archer wearing a masked helmet immediately focused the entirety of the power of the Command Spell into augmenting the speed and power of her next attack, greatly eclipsing the clawed Assassin’s advantage in agility as she loosed an arrow from her recurve bow.

“Gu-hah!” The Assassin coughed blood. “Your song… persists without me, Christine… “


“Trading a Command Spell for an enemy Servant’s life? Not bad, for a mere civilian.”

“The narrowness of his command was key. More importantly, are you capable of further treatment, magus?”

“No. He shouldn’t die, but I can’t fuse his arm back on or heal the damage to his organs to a point where he’d be able to move freely anytime soon. Fortunately because of your class, it shouldn’t be too much of an impediment for your Master to be dead weight. Moreso than he already was, at any rate.”

“I’m right here… jackass.”

“Was I wrong?”

“Fuck off.”

“How eloquent.”

“Your presence is no longer required here. Attend to your own Servant.”

“I’ll take my leave then, Archer.”

“… I won’t hold it against you if you try finding a new Master. He’s a dick to point it out, but I’m not much help to you. The coin can give you the same amount of energy as usual in the interim.”

“You’re prepared to relinquish your position as my Master? Do you not desire victory?”

“Your wish is probably better than whatever I would have come up with. Though it wouldn’t hurt if you added a provision to fix my organs and give me my arm back.”

“I didn’t ask about a wish.”

“… I’m used to not getting what I desire.”

“Is that simply half-hearted resignation?”

“I don’t know, it could be. I don’t really have grand ambitions worth pursuing. I don’t have a plan to change the world or dig up some magic root. All I’m good for is anchoring you to the world, and even that’s mostly the-”


“I understand the stress of your injury makes you inclined to complain, but your excess of humility has given way to a self-loathing that grates on my ears. Speak no further unless it’s to discuss a proper strategy or to issue a command that leads me to victory.”



This time I decided to maintain the fog of war more than in the other interludes, while still indicating that the conflict is unfolding in many different theaters.

Well I suppose even with FoW we can deduce a few things regarding the Servant.

>Master is now Kayneth'd and has limited mobility
>The Servant is an Archer
>No nonsense and won't take Master whining too much
>Working alongside an asshole Medi-Mage

Alright dunno exacts but it's my own guess that the Servant here is Atalante. But won't know for sure til if/when we encounter them
I’d say masked helmet rules out Atalante. Might not be a canon Servant.

Well shit you're right. And I don't know many famous archers wearing helmets either so my guesses are dead in the water
Sorry I haven't made a normal update in over a week, IRL work and writer's block have kneecapped my output speed even more than usual lately.
I'll try to finish the update tomorrow.

As a general advisement, I don't plan on dropping the quest until this Akeldama Holy Grail War story arc is completed, at which point I'll take an extended break to plan out the next story arc (it should have a smoother start than this one, since I started writing this with no planning and taking over from a flake who wrote about 17 pages total before quitting). If I don't post anything for a while, it's because I'm too tired from either my day-job or other hobbies to write something at what I consider an acceptable quality.

If something truly unforeseen happens and I have to drop the quest for an extended period of time, I'll say something (as opposed to ghosting).

I'll leave the cryptic hint that there's something... off... about a number of the Servants summoned in this Holy Grail War (it's not just Avenger).

Example: Sun Wukong normally would wear the headband that Sanzang used to control him and be in a mindset where he keeps the wisdom he gained from his journey (or gets a headache if he starts acting up as a running gag). But here, he had the mindset of when he rebelled against the heavenly realm (up until he was about to die).

In-story there's not really much opportunity for this to be spelled out, so I may as well disclose it now.
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“It’s undeniably wishful thinking. However, you’re not wrong to wish for it.” You say at length, causing Koko to perk up with a relieved smile, “I’d even go so far as to say that you opened my eyes to something I should have already thought to do.”

“Really?!” She asked almost ecstatically.

“Your observation that things have gone Triscus Adajio’s way for too long hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. And I can’t stand the guy either.” You answer, “I’ll seriously consider proposing an uprising against the overseer to anyone willing to listen, and work on a plan for dealing with the Holy Grail once he’s out of the picture.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful! I’m sure the other Masters will see reason!” She cheered.

“Who should I ask first…” you mutter to yourself, before asking Koko, “Have you brought this idea to Rushorou and Ryuuta already?”

“I had time to mention it to Matsuda-kun.” She replied with a hint of disappointment, “He wasn’t opposed to the idea, but was reluctant to commit to anything because, in his words, whoever he asked could sell him out and team up with the overseer to possibly gain an advantage as a reward. But as long as enough people are really on board, the imposters won’t have enough sway to risk standing out!”

“Imposters, huh.” You repeat. Depending on how powerful Triscus and his bodyguard end up being, you’d definitely want to make sure that the force you mobilize against them can be trusted to both overpower them and not have any traitors who could tips the scales against you. Who can you trust, though? Ryuuta’s been generally agreeable so far; Rushorou a little less so, but you don’t think he’d take the side of the overseer against you. Then again, you don’t know what either of the two of them really want to get out of this Holy Grail War, so you may have to ask a few probing questions before it’s worth asking them to commit to rebelling against Adajio. Truvietianne would have definitely been on board, but her Servant is unfortunately no longer with you.

Who else? Maybe Abraxas? You could bring it up to him when you contact him again tomorrow evening. If Kiara and her Servant survived that lightning-storm you may be able to work something out or strongarm them into helping if you found them. But former enemies who were coerced into aiding you would be the most likely to betray you at the worst possible time. Perhaps someone that you haven’t encountered until now could be convinced? But if you haven’t encountered them you’d have no idea who or where they might be. There was that third kid you met when you found Rushorou and Ryuuta. What was his name again? You can’t quite remember, but you think there was one coin left in the overseer’s chapel that he might have been able to take. Would he have lasted long in a war though? He seemed rather weak and timid, but perhaps his Servant was -
“Moshi-moshi? Hello? You still here?” Koko asks, pulling you out of your contemplation.

“Right, yes.” You reply. “I was trying to think of who to ask to join the rebellion.”

“I see, I see.” Koko responded with seriousness, “Why don’t we go back inside and talk with Edelfelt-san about it? I think she’d be glad to hear that you made the decision you did.”

That’s one option, certainly. You still have time to kill until Avenger is feeling better, after all. You might also go back to Caster’s workshop to practice your ether-manipulation or tinker with the tools there, or perhaps go and see if you can find Rushorou, Ryuuta, and find what happened to the intruder.

You will:

> Go with Koko and try to hatch a plan with Truvietianne
> Go back to Caster’s workshop and either
>> put a little more practice into etheric manipulation
>> tinker with the tools and try to craft something (what do you want to craft?)
> Try to find your allies who went to apprehend and interrogate the intruder and see how they’re doing
> Something else (write-in)
>> Go with Koko and try to hatch a plan with Truvietianne
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>Sorry I haven't made a normal update in over a week, IRL work and writer's block have kneecapped my output speed even more than usual lately.
you can take your time, the board is slow as shit
>That spoiler
>Go with Koko and try to hatch a plan with Truvietianne
Well, the number obviously has to be thirty in correspondence with the pieces of silver. I’m getting the sense that the Servants are forced into being their selves or mentalities that are most in rebellion against the heavens or something to that effect. Combined with that one mystery man making a reference to “Ur of the Chaldees,” I have a sneaking suspicion of someone who might be showing up…I hope I’m wrong about that one though, because I’m using him as the mastermind’s Servant in MY HGW quest!
Also, there are ones who actually rebelled against or opposed the gods, like Altera, Son Wukong, and Bryn. On the other hand, there are also heroes who executed the will of gods like Perseus, Diomedes, and others.
My schizo hypothesis is that this Grail War is a variant ritual meant to recreate the battle between the heavenly host and the forces of Lucifer, and the winning Master will become a god by being 'confirmed' as one.
The man who wants to leave the sea of eternity (i.e. leave the Earth and roam the universe with humanity) reincarnated himself as Anon to prepare himself for a final transformation ("transcendence") into a terminal of both the Planet's will and the Anthropic Principle - essentially a god of humanity, whose domain permits him to exist in the modern world. It should be possible to achieve such a transcendence within this artificial World's diminished ruleset and maintain it outside using the belief of a small population of Akeldama survivors.
My less schizo hypothesis is that the ocean departer wants to become a modern hero without cutting a deal with Alaya, and thus 'leave' the sea by becoming an immortal Heroic Spirit.
“Sure, let’s go see her.” You decide, “She may know something about the Holy Grail that could help us pitch the idea to others. Do you know where she is right now?”

“Let’s see…” Koko replied, “Last I saw she was getting ready to take a bath, but that was over an hour ago. I think she mentioned checking something on the internet after she was done, so maybe we can find her in the main office where Suzaku booted everything up.”

The two of you go back inside the hotel and check the office, but find Suzaku there alone. After you ask him whether he saw Truvietianne, he replies, “Edelfelt-san? Can’t say I’ve seen her. Maybe she just wanted to take a really long bath? Wouldn’t blame her, I’m about to find a room and wash up myself. Oh, I wrote the login credentials on this sticky-note here if you want to use the computer when I’m not around.”

“I see. Thanks for letting us know.” You respond.

“If you don’t mind my asking, what did you need her for?” The portly man asks in return.

“Anon-san and I are going to bring the overseer to justice!” Koko answered cheerfully as she pumped one of her tiny fists, “So we were going to ask Edelfelt-san if she had any ideas to sell the idea to other Masters.”

“I guess we’re calling me ‘Anon-san’ now.” You chuckle, not bothered by the nickname. It plays things safe on the off-chance the Einzbern assumption is a red-herring.

“The overseer? The guy who brought everyone into this ritual in the first place?” Suzaku said, audibly interested in the prospect, “That’s a pretty cool idea, flip the script on him before he gets all of the Servants to kill each other.”

“Indeed. We just need to make sure we have a plan so that whatever leverage he might try to offer to get the allies we find to betray us isn’t going to work.” You explain, “Anne is familiar with the history of Holy Grail Wars, so she may be the right person to ask for information.”

Closing up a few notebooks and preparing to leave the office, Suzaku responds, “Well, don’t let me hold you up any further then. I’m more of an engineer than a strategist or wizard or whatever, so I don’t think I’d have too much to pitch in.”

“That sounds like an excuse to go take a warm bath.” Koko presumed, “But that’s fine, we’ll call for you if your skills are needed.” You can tell that she’s getting a little more assertive since she found common cause with you.

Koko leads you to the room where she last saw Truvietianne; the petite schoolteacher knocks on the door and asks if the young lady is still inside. You hear Anne reply, “Oh, Koko! You can come in if you like, the bath has a curtain.”

So far so good, next you’ll
> Go on in. This in an important matter, and there shouldn’t be a problem in regards to modesty if you can’t see her through the curtain.
> Ask her if she’s sure, you can wait for her to dry off and get dressed if you have to.
>> Ask her if she’s sure, you can wait for her to dry off and get dressed if you have to.
>Ask her if she’s sure, you can wait for her to dry off and get dressed if you have to.
Very well, there will be no awkward conversations through a shower-curtain.
“Are you sure?” You ask, realizing that she probably wasn’t aware of your presence when she invited Koko to join her, “We can wait for you to dry off and get dressed if we have to.” Something gives you the impression that talking with her while she’s naked with only a shower-curtain separating the two of you could make her uncomfortable.

Koko acknowledges your gesture with a sigh of relief as you hear Truvietianne nervously respond, “O-oh, right. Of course, I shouldn’t keep you waiting long.”

It takes her about ten minutes to step out of the steamy bathroom, clothed in a new blue dress with her still-damp hair hastily pulled up into a bun. The dress is similar to the one she wore before, aside from being sleeveless and revealing a few more inches of her shins. Koko and Anne each take a seat on one of the hotel room’s beds, while you place a chair at the other end of the furniture to conveniently form a triangle before you and Koko explain your intentions to her.

“Had you proposed we concentrate our efforts against Triscus Adajio sooner, I would have given you my full support.” Anne replies after you finish, “Unfortunately I can’t really bring much to bear at this point.”

“While that’s true for now, let’s say, hypothetically, a rogue Servant asks you to become his or her Master. Would you accept?” You say.

After considering the scenario for a moment, she answers purposefully, “… Yes, I’ll keep my Command Seals in case such a situation arises. I won’t turn down a chance at personal involvement in bringing Adajio down.”

“Glad to hear it, it’d set me at ease if we could find a Servant for you before we confront the overseer. I know I can trust you on this, more than any other Master.” You reply, recalling that it was you who dissuaded her against attacking him when Adajio introduced himself to you.

“Trust…” Anne echoes with a faint smile, “That will be a vital factor in making this work.”

“Any ideas on who else would be trustworthy?” Koko asks.

“To take a wider view of things, each Master should fit into one of three general categories: ordinary human, magus, and Dead Apostle.” Truvietianne replies, “Of the three, I estimate ordinary humans would be the most likely to agree to assist us, as we could appeal to a common sense of justice or revenge that a magus, by comparison, wouldn’t find particularly compelling. With mages, I expect most would be interested in using the power of the Holy Grail to advance their family’s path of research, but there may be a few who are skeptical from having heard rumors of the repeated debacles of the Fuyuki Holy Grail Wars, as I was. For the Dead Apostles, although they aren’t inherently malevolent, the two we’ve confirmed to be Masters, Rusalka and ‘Karture’, most certainly are, so I wouldn’t expect to trust them.”
Shifting the subject a little, you say, “I was also thinking you may have some ideas on how the Grail might work on a mechanical level, here and now. If we can understand and utilize it in the overseer’s place, we could bump him off while allowing the ritual to still reach its natural conclusion without too much interruption, which could win over those with a vested interest in victory and using the Grail.”

“Good observation.” Anne responds, “I recall that the Fuyuki Grail was tied to the land’s leylines so that it could power itself and automatically reactivate after a few decades when an attempt at the ritual was unsuccessful. I don’t know where to start finding a physical location for a terminal to interface with the Holy Grail here though, except that it’s probably tied to the leyline-structures in this city of Akeldama.”

“The overseer said he had it, didn’t he?” Koko asked, trying to recall Adajio’s words from the day before. “What does it even look like, a golden cup?”

“The Fuyuki Grail had a ‘Lesser’ and ‘Greater’ component.” Truvietianne explained, “The ‘Greater Grail’ was what drew power from the leylines to facilitate the ritual and wasn’t physically manifested most of the time, and the ‘Lesser Grail’ apparently required constant replacement. I think an Einzbern homunculus was used as the Lesser Grail, but our situation is sufficiently distinct that I wouldn’t risk making too many assumptions from information this old.”

Doubtful that you’ve been a ‘Lesser Grail’ this whole time, you reason, “It sounds like the simplest approach to get updated information would be to find Adajio. Maybe we could come up with some pretext to talk with him before declaring our intentions? Alternatively, perhaps we could learn something if we analyzed the city’s leyline-structures more carefully.”

“Whatever you decide to do, try not to antagonize more people.” Koko responds, “It’s a shame Sun Wukong was as belligerent as he was, if he was on our side we could-” You and Anne both flash Koko an involuntary grimace, prompting her to fall into an uncomfortable silence. Neither of the two of you have particularly favorable memories of that fellow.

After a short while, you break the silence by thinking aloud, “Maybe we could find allies to rebel against the overseer in areas of the city that we haven’t explored. If we haven’t met them yet, there shouldn’t be any social baggage or hard feelings to smooth over.”

“I suppose that’s simpler than telling our former enemies that we’re turning over a new leaf.” Anne chuckled, “Though for now we should start smaller by convincing Rushorou and Ryuuta to join.”
Soon afterward, you intuit that Caster of Black and Lancer of Red are returning to the hotel. As their Masters are likely accompanying them, you decide it’s as good a time as any to leave the hotel room with Anne and Koko to greet them and find out what happened regarding the intruder. When you find them in the hotel lobby, there’s only the four of them; no prisoner.

When you ask what happened, Ryuuta replies, “Long story short, the guy blew up before we could bring him back.”

“It appeared as though he was killed remotely to prevent him from giving away too much information.” Rushorou clarifies, “A wise decision on his handler’s part, as he was more of a coward than even I’d anticipated.”

“Real effeminate-looking too.” Ryuuta added with a bit of disgust, “Caster thinks he was a eunuch sent by whoever’s in the palace up north. Begged his ‘empress’ for mercy before he got exploded.”

You wonder if you should press them for more details on what they heard from the eunuch, or get right to discussing the rebellion against the overseer.

> Try to convince them to rebel against Triscus Adajio, appealing to (pick one):
>> Justice, as the overseer must pay for bringing about the atrocities that have taken place
>> Strategy, as assembling a large coalition of other Masters would, among other things, reduce the number of immediate threats
>> Camaraderie, as you trust each other to hold the keys to the Holy Grail more than you trust Adajio
>> Pride, as whoever defeats the overseer and his bodyguard would stand head and shoulders above the other Masters and Servants
> Ask for more details about their encounter with the intruder first
>>> Camaraderie, as you trust each other to hold the keys to the Holy Grail more than you trust Adajio
>Camaraderie, as you trust each other to hold the keys to the Holy Grail more than you trust Adajio

> Pride, as whoever defeats the overseer and his bodyguard would stand head and shoulders above the other Masters and Servants

I think appealing to a Magus' ego and the glory gained upon knocking down Adajio and his own guards is something of good use for those powerful but arrogant who otherwise wouldn't come into this coallition

Captcha: Autism X????
You may be misinterpreting the prompt, this is to determine how you approach convincing Rushorou and Ryuuta to get on board with your and Koko's plan of making the overseer the priority target. If you try to win over other parties you'd get a separate prompt for that at the time; though it doesn't hurt to plan something in advance.
>Camaraderie, as you trust each other to hold the keys to the Holy Grail more than you trust Adajio

Ohhhh yeah I misinterpreted this. Thought it was an overall outline for how we get the other Masters on board. I'll switch to

>Camaraderie, as you trust each other to hold the keys to the Holy Grail more than you trust Adajio
Alright, the first update of thread 10 will resolve this. I'll also do some bookkeeping and planning so that hopefully by the time I hit the board again we can move the story along at a quicker pace than this thread did.

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