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30578 No. 30578
[x] Lots-o-stuff

“Hold on a minute,” you say, “Since we could be interested in contracting your services at a later date for similar duties, surely you must be able to tell us what your capabilities are as guards.”

“... stalling,” Gengetsu mutters. “Going nowhere, although we may never get there.”

“It's a little more interesting than guarding.” Mugestu laughs, “Come on, we can talk for a bit, right? It's their energy.”

“Still,” Gengetsu sighs, “If they know how to summon us, they know out abilities.”

“They are incredibly strong astral warriors,” Patchouli kindly answers, “As guards, they can completely block a location up to twenty-three cubic miles from access through any means other than physical. Downscaling the area does not change the contract terms, but it would make them more effective against a very large assault. Defeating them would remove the blocking effect, however.”

“Right,” Mugetsu says, “So it's completely blocked, because you can't defeat us. Well... maybe someone could, but it'd be cheaper to just pay us off.”

“What kind of area are you guarding?”

“Contract terms,” Gengetsu answers simply. So no answer, then.

You continue. “I don't suppose you could tell us what this contract looks like? What would happen if the Lady were to violate it?” You ask, shrugging.

Gengetsu looks towards Patchouli. “Would you?”

Patchouli nods. “For a permanent arrangement like this, it would be on parchment made of goat skin sealed in a golden tube. Likely kept inside the mansion. As for violations, they would become immediately unbound from the Lady and free to act as they normally do.” She pauses, looking towards the two. “Breaking the contract is a very serious offense, one I imagine you would not take kindly to?”

“Well, she won't dare sleep for the next few years, that's for sure,” Mugetsu laughs, “Remember the last time someone broke the contract, sis? Good times.”

A rather devilish smile crosses Gengetsu's face. “Why yes, I do. Good times.”

“... ok, then,” you continue. “I've been curious, what's up with those looks? You guys looked so much nicer back in the astral.”

“Trying to flatter us, now?” Mugetsu laughs, “Or maybe insult, I'm not sure.”

“They are demons,” Patchouli interjects again, “at least, on this plane. It's natural that they would look demonic here, whereas they would look more natural in their native one.”

“Yeah, you should have looked in the mirror when you were out there,” Mugetsu nods, “Talk about ugly!”

It's enough to make you put on a half-hearted smile, at least. “All right, I get it. What's up with that maid uniform, then?”

Mugetsu laughs. “Oh yeah? What's up with that coat, human?”

“Even the human questions your fashion sense,” Gengetsu comments, “See? As I've told you before...”

“Pfft,” Mugetsu says, after giving her sister a playful shove. “I'll dress how I want.”

“Ooookay,” You interject, interrupting the two, “moving on... was it the Lady herself who summoned you? How long have you been working for her? Have you worked for her in the past?”

“The name of the summoner, as well as the date, is on the contract,” Gengetsu states simply. “As for past deals... I don't think so.”

“We worked for her dad, though, right?” Mugetsu asks, “Vlad T--- oh, I guess the family name's on the contract.”

“... ah, that's right,” Gengetsu asks, “A wonderful man. But that was many hundreds of years ago.”

“No names, huh,” You say, scratching your head. “How about a physical description? Her abilities?”

“... hmm. We may go somewhere after all. That information is available,” Gengetsu says, “How much are you willing to pay?”

[ ] “I don't suppose you take anything other than souls? We could offer (write-in).”
[ ] “How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon.”
[ ] “How about this dog's soul? A talented chronomage must be worth something.”
[ ] “Nothing, I'm afraid. I'm not about to deal in souls.”
[ ] Something else (write-in)
In queue:
[x] "Thank you for your time; we'll be sure to consider you the next time we have an opening."

>> No. 30579
[x]“How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon.”

I am slightly weary of asking this, as they could interpret it as a deal, but whatever. We need the information, and shouldn't risk losing our hostage so quickly.
>> No. 30580
[x] “How about this dog's soul? A talented chronomage must be worth something.”

Hey Sakuya, tell us about your master or we'll sell your soul and find out anyway.
>> No. 30581
[X] “Patchouli, we should ask the guild about setting up an expense account. How about this dog's soul? A talented chronomage must be worth something.”
>> No. 30582
[x] “I don't suppose you take anything other than souls? We could offer cash.”
Earning money for humans is hard, parting with it takes effort. It is that effort what spirits enjoy, by taking the cash it is transfered to them... complicated, I'm not sure you can understand it.
>> No. 30583
[x] “How about this dog's soul? A talented chronomage must be worth something.”
>> No. 30584
We could probably restore the villagers to normal if we had their souls. Or something.

sucks to be one of the dead ones
>> No. 30585
[x] “How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon.”
>>30582
>> No. 30590
[x] “How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon
>> No. 30592
Called, update in a few hours.
>> No. 30594
[x] “How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon.”

“How much are you asking? Sounds like we may be coming into a huge stash of souls soon.”

“Oh, I don't know...” Gengetsu says, thinking for a moment. “Twenty a piece would be fine, I think.”

“That's not much,” Mugetsu frowns, “Couldn't we charge him a little more?”

“I made an offer he's likely to accept,” Gengestu retorts, “It's better than nothing.”

After a moment, Mugetsu nods. “... eh, I guess that's true.”

“If we are dealing in debts,” Patchouli interjects, “We would have plenty of leverage to get these two out of the picture. If one were to do the math, it comes out to approximately seven-thousand two-hundred remaining.”

Four-hundred per day, ten-thousand total... that sounds about right.

“Oh, it does, doesn't it?” Gengetsu smirks, “Why, I hadn't even thought of that.”

Mugetsu scoffs. “Yeah, right.”

“Whoa, whoa,” Marisa calls out, stepping closer while placing her hand on your shoulder. “You're not seriously considering this, are you?”

“It is logical,” Patchouli notes, “Said souls are already damned. It's simply a matter of choosing to give them to a certain demon, rather than letting them float free to be devoured on their own time. Certain demons, pardon.”

“Damned?” You ask, uncertain of what she means. Demonology is one thing you've not looked into too much. Generally, that's not something you want to fake.

“They've been removed from the natural cycle,” Patchouli answers, a little coldly. “If they had not been, we would have zombies or corpses.”

“Well, can't we put them back in or something?” Marisa asks, “There has to be something we can do.”

“You can destroy them,” Gengetsu speaks up, “Replacements will be made soon enough. We can even guarantee their quick destruction,” She adds, with what you could swear was a quick lick of her lips.

“Couldn't we get a priest?” Marisa continues, “Anything?”

“Perhaps,” Patchouli says, “But I have never heard of the spell the Lady used to strip the souls, so it likely doesn't have a counter. One could require years of research to produce, which would keep the souls trapped in their unpleasant state until we found one.”

“Or not, right?” Marisa asks, “What if it's some simple counter? Or maybe you've just never heard of it before, and there is a counter already.”

“That is fairly unlikely,” Patchouli counters, “And I would have heard of it.”

“Sure, because you know everything, right?”

“I believe that I know more about this than you do, yes.”

“Whoa, whoa, hold it,” You say, much to the dismay of the demons who seem to be enjoying this whole thing. You need to stop this before it gets out of hand.

[ ] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”
[ ] “... I'm not really comfortable with the big deal. Would the smaller deal be fine? We could use the info.”
[ ] “Marisa's right. We can't just start feeding every demon we come across.”
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 30595
[x] “Why sell souls we don't have when we've got a perfectly good dog soul right here?"

I don't want to sell the villagers' souls until it's extremely clear that they cannot be cured.
>> No. 30596
[x] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”
>> No. 30597
[x] “How about this dog soul for forward payment, and the rest upon completion of our mission?"

You've got leverage, use it.
>> No. 30598
[ ] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”
>> No. 30600
[x]“Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”

They only want 40 souls total? They are getting 400 a day, and they only want 40? This deals way to sweet to pass up. Sign me up.
>> No. 30602
[x] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”
>> No. 30613
In a scene outside of time...

"How about this dog's soul?" You ask, giving a gesture back to your prisoner. "She's got to be worth more than a normal human."

"She's not worth fourty," Gengetsu states simply, "But... I think she'd be worth about twenty. We could include her in the deal if you wish."

"Yeah, and who'd get that one?" Mugetsu asks, "Not me, that's for sure. Give me an extra five and I'll let it slide, though."

================================================
I thought I had added the above part in another update, but it looks like I hadn't.

Also, sorry if the vote wasn't clear, but the comments seem to indicate I wasn't. The choices are basically:

1) Get the information (40) and give the two demons the rest of the souls (however many the Lady has stockpiled currently, likely around ~7000), in order to get them out of the picture entirely.
2) Get the information, but that's all. You'll still be blocked from any divination taking place inside the mansion.
3) Neither.

So, if you'd like to change your vote or clarify, feel free. I'll call the vote tomorrow.
>> No. 30614
Question: they're not only astral warrior but physical ones, right? Even if they ditch the divinations and attack head-on, they'd still need to beat those two unbeatable demons, right?
>> No. 30615
I'm all for getting them out of the picture.
>> No. 30620
>>30614
They're astral warriors, not physical ones. You won't need to deal with them if you don't plan on messing around outside the physical plane.
>> No. 30622
>>30620
Meh, no need for that then. Sure, we'll run into a few surprises, but it's far better than the alternative.
[x] “... I'm not really comfortable with the big deal. Would the smaller deal be fine? We could use the info.”
>> No. 30623
[x] “... I'm not really comfortable with the big deal. Would the smaller deal be fine? We could use the info.”
>> No. 30624
[x] Take the information.

Hopefully they can warn us about Flandre. She'd be... well... nasty as hell to meet unwarned.
>> No. 30633
[x] “... I'm not really comfortable with the big deal. Would the smaller deal be fine? We could use the info.”
>> No. 30635
Oh I didn't realize we were voting again.

[x]Take the deal
>> No. 30636
[x] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”

As Patch said, they're already damned. And if you assume that it is possible to put them back in, then even with the small deal you'll effectively be killing 40 people for some information that might not even turn out to be useful. Divination on the other hand has proven to be extremely useful, and between the three magicians, you'll want some diversity. Aside from that, Skrad is unlikely to expect divination precisely because she has these two incredibly expensive astral demons standing guard.
>> No. 30637
Are we voting again?

If not then discount this

[x] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”
>> No. 30641
Vote called, update in a few hours.
>> No. 30643
[x] “Patchouli does make a good point. It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”

“Patchouli does make a good point,” You say, “It would be worth it to get these two out of the picture.”

“But---”

“Look,” You say, sighing, “This really is the best option. We're going to need all the help we can get against this Lady. Any surprise will help. She's not going to expect this.”

“...”

“And all those souls... I'm no expert, but I've heard that kind of isolation is pretty close to hell. We owe it to them to end it as quickly as possible.”

“... fuck it,” Marisa sighs, “You've already made up your mind. I'm not going to have a part in this.”

With that, she quickly turns around and begins to walk away, kicking debris out of her way with a bit more force than necessary. You try to think of something to say, anything, but nothing comes to mind. Seems the rest of the room has the same trouble. Well, you should be able to get to her after she cools down a bit. Eventually she makes it to the door, and disappears out of sight.

“Well,” Patchouli says, after Marisa leaves the room, “It's good to see that you are reasonable.”

You shake your head, sighing. “I don't like it either, but it needs to be done.”

“What's the matter?” Gengetsu asks, grinning a triumphant grin “Everybody wins. Well, everyone that's not damned, at least.”

Mugetsu lets out a cackle. “I bet the Lady's going to wish she signed that 'no overbidding' clause, isn't she?”

“Well, we won't be around to find out, that's for sure,” Gengetsu laughs softly. “Come on, let's get this drawn up.”

Trying to ignore them as best you can, you turn to Patchouli... who's already set to work. You're not sure where she got it, but she's got a few pages of parchment and a vial of red... ink. Noticing your curious gaze, she shrugs. “I was prepared for this.”

“Well, we might as well get our information now,” You say, turning back to the demons. “No sense keeping you.”

“She is 4'8”. Blue hair, red eyes, pale skin, wears a rather silly pink outfit with a pink hat,” Gengetsu begins, “A vampire, as you've no doubt guessed.”

“Don't forget those big bat wings,” Mugetsu chimes in.

“Ah yes,” Gengetsu continues, “and she has wings as wide as she is tall, although she keeps them folded most of the time. As for her abilities, well... she's got the standard vampire fare, with some extras.”

“Super strength, speed, and the ability to turn into a bat. Can't go out in the sun, hates holy water and garlic, takes a stake to the heart to kill?”

“Forget the garlic,” Gengetsu says, “She had a really good smelling dish with that in it the other day. I think your chained dog over there was the one to fix it.”

The maid glares, but doesn't say anything. You continue.

“How about the extras, then?”

“You'll love this,” Mugetsu speaks up, “She's great with blood magic, better than the normal vampire. And she can twist fate.”

Patchouli, who had been writing furiously up to this point, stops mid stroke. “Please explain.”

Gengetsu takes over again. “If there is any uncertainty in an action, she can tilt it in her favor. Not absolutely, of course, but enough to make a difference.”

“You know that fog?” Mugetsu laughs, “Well, there's a one in ninety chance it works on a person. It's not this effective... normally.”

Noticing the look on both of your faces, the two demons laugh in unison. “You seem worried,” Gengetsu finally says, “She has been preparing for this for at least a few years. She can't do something of that magnitude on a whim. But don't be surprised if she gets a few 'lucky' breaks.”

Patchouli seems satisfied with this explanation, and gets back to writing. “Anything else we should know?” You ask, “Does she have any more demons in store for us?”

“Would that fall under 'abilities', sis?” Mugetsu asks, “Can we tell him?”

Gengetsu pauses for a moment, and then nods.“... I suppose one could argue that it could. There's that dog, of course. She wasn't expecting your initial attack, or she would have easily won. The Lady has a sister as well, who's arguably at least as strong as she is. Quite a bit more insane, though.”

“Same kind of abilities?”

“She's a vampire, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. She has the ability to manipulate eyes, and possesses a rather famous sword. Have you heard of Laevateinn?”

You nod. Yes, you've heard of that one. It was some kind of sword that possessed amazing reach and was used by one of the native warlords in the reason, back before the land was tamed. It had some kind of power over fire, too, curiously enough. Maybe that was also used in the fog.

“Yes. I can't say I've heard of 'eyes', though, unless you're talking about these,” you ask, pointing to your two own eyes.

“No, the eyes of objects.”

“Something like an essence,” Patchouli interrupts, “If you destroy the eye, you destroy the object. A very dangerous ability.”

Gengetsu nods. “She needs line of sight to use it. The Lady usually keeps her locked up, so she doesn't act on her own often. With her broken mind, it would be accurate to consider her little more than the Lady's tool.”

“We'll need to stay out of her sight, then,” You say, “Anything else?”

“Not really. Random servants and the like, and the mansion itself has enough traps in it to rival a few royal tombs. But nothing more of note that we can say.”

“How about a layout of the mansion, then?” You ask.

Gengetsu laughs softly. “I thought I'd leave that to you. Unless you want to let this binding down so we could hand you a map...”

“I don't think so,” You say, instantly realizing that's a bad idea.

“How about that one woman?” Mugetsu asks. “Does she count?”

“Even if she did,” Gengetsu says, “I would not want to be on her bad side.”

“Wait, what?”

“I have finished,” Patchouli interrupts, “You should read this carefully.”

The demons don't answer, so you ask the question again. “What woman?”

“Trust me,” Gengetsu states, with a sinister laugh, “You could never have enough for that information. I don't think she will give you any trouble, so don't worry about it.”

Somehow, you're inclined to believe her, so you decide to drop it. Reaching for the contract, you give it a read over.

“Jack, hereafter referred to as 'the human', and the demon sisters Gengetsu and Mugetsu, hereafter referred to as 'the demons', agree to enter into this contract on this day (the date is filled in). The human has expressed intent to defeat a third party, who goes by the title Lady of Skrad. Any souls that he comes across in any soul wells that the Lady owns will belong to the demons and will be given to them after the human is able to do so safely. Said souls will be consumed as quickly as possible, and no further suffering will be inflicted upon them. In exchange for these souls, the demons will break their current contract with the Lady, and provide information on the Lady's features and abilities. Any breech of this contract from the demons' side will result in forfeiture of the human's payment, while a breech from the human side will result in retribution as the demons see fit. If, after the demons receive the souls, the demons breech the contract they shall be tried in the courts of Makai for fraud. This contract will be protected under the standard secrecy clause.

________x _________x _________x”

“Sounds good,” You say, after finishing the whole thing. Holding it up to the demons, you ask. “How about you two?”

“Tch,” Gengetsu clicks, after reading the thing much more quickly than you. “I was hoping you'd forget that line at the end. But I have no problems with it.”

“Yeah, me either,” Mugetsu shrugs. “Sounds good. Pass it here.”

Patchouli nods, passing the contract, pen, and 'ink' through the shimmering barrier. The two demons sign it on a desk, which seemingly appears from nowhere, before passing it back. “All you, Jack,” Mugetsu laughs.

You nod, placing the thing on the crate Patchouli was using. With a few swift strokes, your name is also on the contract.

“Done.” You say. “Now, you're su---”

Gengetsu quickly interrupts you. “Good doing business with you, Mr. Steam.”

The two demons leave as soon as the thing is signed, leaving only a faint laugh and a puff of smoke that smells vaguely like brimstone. The shimmering ceases immediately.

“Uh... well then,” You say, straightening your coat and now-ruined hat. “That's that, isn't it?”

“That's that,” Patchouli confirms. “You seem unsettled.”

“Yeah, well...”

“If it helps, you have made the right choice if you do not plan to break the terms,” Patchouli says again, “Is that all for now?”

[ ] Yeah. You're going to go catch up with Marisa.
[ ] Yeah. You're going to go lie down for a bit. Lots of work to do tonight.
[ ] Actually, you'd like her help in interrogating the maid. She'll know the layout of the place.
[ ] Actually, you'd like her help in cleaning up. This place is a huge mess.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 30644
Oh, uh... forgot to add: if I wrote any loopholes in that contract, it was unintentional. Consider it perfect within it's scope.
>> No. 30647
[x] Yeah. You're going to go lie down for a bit. Lots of work to do tonight.

Marisa is pissed. Do not go after her right now. As for interrogating, we paid good souls to be able to divine the mansion layout.
>> No. 30651
[x] Actually, you'd like her help in interrogating the maid. She'll know the layout of the place.

Marissa's angry, and i'd like to see some sinister Patchy spells.
>> No. 30658
[X] Actually, you'd like her help in cleaning up. This place is a huge mess.

Patchy~
>> No. 30663
[x] Actually, you'd like her help in interrogating the maid. She'll know the layout of the place.

She's a paid resource, might as well squeeze what we can out of her.
>> No. 30665
[x] Actually, you'd like her help in interrogating the maid. She'll know the layout of the place.

If I remember correctly, Jack currently doesn't have any specialties. Since he is near powerless without a class, so to speak, we need as much information as possible. Now, just to be clear, we did sign over Sakuya's soul, right? It's kinda vague over whether or not we agreed to that.
>> No. 30667
> Any souls that he comes across in any soul wells that the Lady owns will belong to the demons and will be given to them after the human is able to do so safely.

> Any souls that he comes across

Well, there's one loop hole. We just have to go out of our way to not find any soul wells.
>> No. 30670
>>30667
See
>>30644
If you see any loopholes in this contract, it is purely a work of your imagination.
>> No. 30671
>Now, just to be clear, we did sign over Sakuya's soul, right? It's kinda vague over whether or not we agreed to that.

Jack only signed over the souls in Remilia's soul wells. So only if Sakuya dies and her soul is placed in one.

[x] Yeah. You're going to go lie down for a bit. Lots of work to do tonight.

We need to reacquire a specialty as quickly as possible. Since the mansion is filled with traps, we'll want to use divination to make our way through it, rather than rely on Sakuya's unwilling and unreliable information.

The other problem is that interrogation is a two-way street. Patchouli is characteristically reticent, but Jack risks making revelations that could be dangerous should Sakuya make her way back into Remilia's hands.
>> No. 30681
>>30667
To make it clear, you've signed over any souls that the Lady has lying around by the time you finally storm the mansion.

>>30667
See >>30671

Anyway, vote called. Update within a few hours.
>> No. 30685
[x] Actually, you'd like her help in interrogating the maid. She'll know the layout of the place.

“Well, no, actually,” You say, “I was planning on interrogating our prisoner next. I figure she'll know the layout of the place.”

“Ah,” She nods, “Yes. Whether she's willing to tell us or not is a different matter, of course.”

“That's why I may need a little help,” You respond, “Come on.”

You head across the vault, Patchouli tailing behind you, towards where Sakuya lie. You try to present yourself as friendly as possible. This will be much easier if you can get the information out of her willingly.

“Hello again, Sakuya,” You say, taking a seat in a nearby crate. “I'd like to ask you some questions.”

She doesn't respond, instead opting to glare at you as she did before.

“Look,” You continue, “I'll be frank. You're not going anywhere. I'm pretty sure that you didn't particularly care about leaving the bank, so I think that was part of the plan to begin with. The Lady isn't going to bother looking for you for a while. And besides,” you add, tipping your hat, “you owe me for ruining this.”

“Untie me and return my watch,” She states, coldly, “And I will repay you one hundred times over.”

You laugh a little at that. “I'm sure you would. But I'm interested in information, not dying.”

“I am far more loyal than those two demons. You are wasting your time.”

“So, you heard all that? Then you know we're going to know everything about the mansion, anyway. You might as well help us.”

“I did not,” She says, with a cold smile, “However, it's obvious now what the deal was.”

… she's a clever one. You'll need to be careful with your questions. It didn't sound like the Lady had any way of remote presence, but blood magic is also pretty broad. Either way, the less she knows the better.

“Nice one,” You admit, “So, you won't reconsider?”

“I was not given my duties for changing my loyalties every time it was convenient.”

Patchouli, quiet until this point, speaks up. “If you cannot currently see reason, perhaps we can force you to see it.”

Sakuya doesn't respond. You move over to Patchouli, and whisper a question in her ear. “Torture?”

She takes a moment to respond, whispering back. “Of a sort. Is this a problem?”

[ ] “No, go ahead.”
[ ] “I'd rather you didn't. Maybe we can try something else.”
>> No. 30686
[x] “No, go ahead.”

I like how the MC isn't above doing what needs to be done.
>> No. 30689
[x] "No, go ahead."

Ugh. I would say to walk away, but we just gave her information... might as well try to salvage this situation.
>> No. 30699
[X] “No, go ahead.”

I hope this is mental, and not physical torture.
>> No. 30700
[x] “I'd rather you didn't. Maybe we can try something else.”

I get the feeling she'd resist torture pretty damn well... and that something more unconventional is needed.
>> No. 30701
>>30700
The best part is we can do both!

No need to discard alternatives on a hunch.
>> No. 30702
>>30701
Isn't it better to resort to torture after the non-torture tactic fails? If we're going to do both, we're doing it backwards.
>> No. 30712
[x] “No, go ahead.”

Pragmatist to the end.
>> No. 30718
[x] “No, go ahead.”
>> No. 30720
[x] “No, go ahead.”

She's too crafty for standard tactics; we risk giving away even more information. Even how well she resists the torture should be revealing, showing us the lengths Remilia will go to train her servants and how loyal the rest the rest might be to her.
>> No. 30721
[x] “I'd rather you didn't. Maybe we can try something else.”
Torture is the last option.
>> No. 30725
Called. Update either later today or early tomorrow.
>> No. 30726
[x] "Why, no need for that torture, I can read her mind like a book. I am a great psionist afterall."
>> No. 30733
>>30720
Torture is a very standard tactic among such dark circles; it's almost standard for any shadowy group to have torture resistance training, that or a way to kill themselves quickly in such a case.

Should we start calling our lead George then?
>> No. 30735
>>30726
Goddamnit that was an excellent idea.
>> No. 30736
>>30735
Mind reading seems to fall under divination, I think. But Jack's too tired to pull off any more magic before sleeping, in any case.
>> No. 30749
[x] “No, go ahead.”

“No, go ahead,” You respond, after thinking about it for a moment. “It'd be good to get this info soon.”

Patchouli gives a single nod, muttering something under her breath. In response, the four koakuma in the room flock to her, taking up formation just behind her head. They seem to know what's up, grinning little diabolic grins.

“Koa. You may begin. Stop when she asks you to, and don't kill her. I will be just outside.”

“Right,” The four of them chime in unison, “Get ready~”

After giving the signal, Patchouli begins to leave the room. You decide to follow. Whatever those demons are going to do... if Patchouli's not willing to watch you probably don't want to either.

The two of you walk past the door that you had wedged shut earlier, but curiously enough there's a charred hole in the base where you had wedged your dagger. The dagger itself looks a bit scorched, but otherwise fine. Huh. Marisa probably blew this open.

Patchouli finally comes to rest on a bench placed near the base of the stairs, while you take a seat next to her. “Think this'll be quick?” You ask, trying to catch her in a conversation before she pulls a book from nowhere.

“I believe so,” Patchouli says, “Judging from past efforts, I would estimate twenty minutes.”

“Oh,” You say, with a grim laugh. “You do this often?”

She pauses for a moment before responding. “Not particularly often. Even if the opportunity presents itself, it can be difficult to convince the mission commander that it needs to be done.”

“Why don't you just request to lead?” You ask, curious. “That's what I did. My boss gave me a little hassle for it, but I haven't had to be backseat since then.”

“The Guild prefers to keep humans responsible for everything,” She states simply, “It wouldn't do for a youkai to cause another Shisan, would it?”

You remember that one. It was... a village of about five hundred, about twenty years ago; now, it's little more than a few charred remains of buildings strewn about a field. There was a cult based there, a real nasty one that had taken to kidnapping little boys from a nearby town every week or so to use as sacrifices. Eventually the Guild got hired by the regional guard to step in and do something about it, since they lost quite a few men looking for the cult.

Long story short, the team sent to investigate decided it would be better to wipe the village off the map to “make sure”, even though the cult was only around fifty. The field commander of the team was eventually tried, stripped of his rank, and sent to prison for life – although there are all kinds of conspiracy theories about him not staying there. Since then, the Guild has been able to shovel responsibility for any hideous mistakes onto the commander.

Well, mostly. Generally they prefer to file them quietly, for new initiates to find later and be quiet about. You probably ran across ten or twenty of those. Heh. For a moment, you wonder how much of this your boss is going to make you omit.

“So the rumors are true, then,” you say, finally getting your confirmation. “You are a youkai.”

“Of course,” She says, with something like a very tiny grin forming on her face. “I was surprised you hadn't asked earlier.”

It's your turn to grin a little now. “Even you should know that that's almost insulting to ask someone that.”

“That doesn't stop most commanders from doing it.”

There's an old saying that you can think of, one that's probably been around longer than Gensokyo itself: 'There's two things in this world that you can be sure of. First, that the sun'll come up tomorrow. Second, that the only good youkai is a dead one.'

That's been changing in recent years, but it's still obvious that that sentiment is around. For example, the capital city of Aegis is surrounded by a great barrier. You're not sure of the specifics but it was set up way back when Gensokyo was founded to keep youkai out, forever maintained by the current Empress.

Even now, if you're a youkai it's impossible for you to just walk in through the gates whenever you want. You need to apply for entry, and from what you've heard, the Empress herself needs to make an exception for you. The application process isn't terribly strict, and hundreds of requests are granted per day for varying periods, but the fact that it's still there is a testament to how deeply rooted such sentiments are.

“As long as you don't go around eating random people,” You say, shrugging, “It doesn't bother me a bit. Well... maybe just a tiny bit,” You add with a smile, “But I blame growing up in the capital for that.”

“Good.” Patchouli says simply. She reaches off to one side, and withdraws a book from...

“Wait, hold on,” You say, “Seriously. Where do you keep that book?”

“A friend gave me an extra-dimensional pocket many years ago as a gift.”

“I've only heard of those, never seen one. How large?”

“About as large as that sack you brought with you,” She says, moving the book into her lap. She goes to open it...

[ ] … and that's that, then. Time to do something else.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 30750
[x] Study that divination book she let you borrow.

I'm not sure where it is, but if it's nearby it couldn't hurt to flip through it while waiting.
>> No. 30751
[x]"You must be tired after preparing the ritual and dealing with the demons. We should try and get some rest. Mission success depends on us being in top shape."
>> No. 30752
[x] ...and you sweep her into a passionate kiss.
Oops, too soon.

[x] "You must be tired after preparing the ritual and dealing with the demons. We should try and get some rest. Mission success depends on us being in top shape."
>> No. 30753
[x]"You must be tired after preparing the ritual and dealing with the demons. We should try and get some rest. Mission success depends on us being in top shape."
>> No. 30756
Why are you guys voting to rest in the 20 minute timespan we have available?
>> No. 30757
>>30756
Powernap.
>> No. 30760
[x] Study that divination book she let you borrow.

I doubt a mere nap will do us much good.
>> No. 30762
[x] Study that divination book she let you borrow.
>> No. 30766
[x] Study that divination book she let you borrow.

I don't want to let Marisa stew, but we certainly won't be winning any points if we confront her while the torture is still ongoing, without any idea of what it actually consists of.
>> No. 30768
[x] Investigate around. Self-question as why Marisa co. aren't killed yet by Lady Skrad. Meet Kourin if you have to.

No matter how strong Marisa is, no matter how fortified the bank is, thirty vs thousands should not end in any kind of victory. Also Sakuya did infiltrate the fortress easily, and on par with Marisa. There must be something valuable here.

I'll remove this post if someone pointed what's missing.
>> No. 30771
>>30768

They don't realize it, but they're probably being kept in this figurative pen as Skrad's blood supply. As long as they feel they have a modicum of safety, they won't scatter and hide somewhere else. I wouldn't be surprised if Sakuya was in the vault to restock their food stores.

We also don't know that Skrad has direct control over the soulless creatures. They may be operating entirely on instinct.
>> No. 30774
I'm pretty sure Sakuya got in when we broke open the door. Didn't we note that something was strange back then, but the feeling passed?
>> No. 30788
Called, update either today or later tomorrow.
>> No. 30797
>>30788

Hooray!
>> No. 30839
Guess not, I got caught up in other things. Expect something tomorrow morning.
>> No. 30841
>>30839

Hooray!
>> No. 30860
[x] Study that divination book she let you borrow.

… and you let her do so.

“See you later,” you say, with a slight chuckle. You think she gives you a vague nod in response.

Wondering what you should do next, you remember that book that she had loaned you. Maybe it'll help you get back into the mood a bit faster. Divination isn't terribly taxing unless you're trying to divine out really fine details or really secret information, so you'll probably have enough juice to keep going if you can just cause the shift.

That's one of the difficult parts of being a schizist, really. Mostly you have to rely on random cues and context, but there are a few basic spells (albeit taxing – thoughts are hard to modify) you can use for auto-suggestion.

In either case, you get up and head for the stairs. Hopefully you won't get lost this time – that was a rather convoluted path that you took to get down here. Once you reach the top of the stairs, though, it's easy to see you won't. You're greeted by a single wide hallway, which you follow.

Eventually you end up near the front door. There's a few guards, and you give them a nod. Scragly bunch, although it occurs to you that they're probably the reason the maid didn't leave after delivering her message. If this is the only entrance, she wouldn't be able to get the door open without being seen.

Or without killing the guards off, you suppose, although that might be against the Lady's law. Heh. Maybe they're all saints, so she's not allowed to just kill them like that. Well, whatever. You give them a nod, and continue along the path that you remember from earlier.

Upon making it up to the office, you find the door open. It's almost empty, although Kourin seems to be pouring over some paperwork at his desk. You give a light knock at the door, surprising him somewhat.

“Hey,” You say, “I just came by to get something out of my bag.”

The man nods, and puts his head back down.

“Something important?” You ask, with a slight laugh. “For some reason, I don't think you're going over the books.”

“Well, technically I am,” He says, “Supplies, though, not finances.”

You wince. He's going to be in for one hell of a surprise when he finds out what happened down in the vault. Most of that stuff seemed pretty sturdy – canned or non-perishable – but those oranges at the very least didn't fare well, and you didn't exactly check to see where all those errant knives went.

“Has Marisa been by here, recently?” You ask, out of idle curiosity. She'd be one to break the news.

He shakes his head. “Nope, it's been quiet since you three left earlier.”

[ ] You should probably fill him in. You did catch the maid, after all.
- [ ] Leave out the elaborate circle in the corner.
- [ ] Leave out the mess.
[ ] Give a nod, grab your book and leave.
>> No. 30863
[x] You should probably fill him in. You did catch the maid, after all.
-[x]Everything

We're in this together. No matter how much it might annoy Bronnosuke, he deserves to know just as much as everyone else. We'll need everyone to cooperate and be on the same page if we are to pull this whole thing off successfully.
>> No. 30864
[x] Fill him in.
- [x] Everything except the fact that the villagers' souls are all sold. Again.
- [x] Ask where Marisa's room is and check if she's there. Do not try to talk to her.

Even if we win, they lose. This sucks. I wouldn't be surprised if Marisa just skipped town completely.
>> No. 30868
[x] Fill him in.
- [x] Everything except the fact that the villagers' souls are all sold. Again.

>Even if we win, they lose.

At least with the information we got, the living will have a better chance of not losing their own souls.

>I wouldn't be surprised if Marisa just skipped town completely.

There's some kind of enchantment that prevents escape. That's why no word has gotten out about the situation.
>> No. 30887
>>30886
We should tell him everything Marisa knows. Marisa doesn't know whether we sold the souls or not. So it's okay to lie about that.

Huh. Could we get away with lying to Marisa's face? I'm all for that.
>> No. 30888
>>30887
Marisa skipped out because we started negotiating with the twins over the souls. She doesn't know for absolute certain we sold them all, but I'm sure she knows, if you get my drift.
>> No. 30893
>>30888
And I'm sure Jack could say he backed out at the last minute and get away with it. He does specialize in lying, after all... admittedly, to himself, but that's almost as good, yeah?
>> No. 30894
>>30893
If you can fool yourself, you can fool anyone.

[x]Fill him in on a "need-to-know" basis.

He doesn't need to know about the deal.
>> No. 30899
[x]Fill him in on a "need-to-know" basis.
>> No. 30932
Vote called, I'll update tomorrow when I have some free time.
>> No. 30939
>>30932

Hooray!
>> No. 30948
[x] Amalgamation of votes

“I suppose I should fill you in,” You say, “We managed to catch the murderer from earlier.”

“Oh?” He asks, “That's good. What did you do with them?”

“We're, ah... questioning her right now,” You say, “We caught up with her in some storeroom down in the basement. I think it was a vault.”

He nods, sighing. “Probably. We've been using them for storage. I suppose the room is trashed now, however.”

You laugh a little. “Kind of, yeah. Turns out the murderer was a chronomage. Really, the only way you can fight those is to either be a chronomage yourself, or fill the air with as much destruction as you can and hope they run into it.”

“Something Marisa's quite good at.”

“Oh, and don't mind the huge magic circle in the corner,” You add, “We needed it for something, but we're done with it now.”

“Right,” He says, “I probably don't want to know anyway. If you could, I'd like you to move the prisoner somewhere else when you can. There's a bunch of empty offices on this floor that you can use.”

You nod. “Sure. Give us, ah...” you look at your watch. “Probably a half hour.”

He nods, and goes back to his papers. “Oh, uh... you wouldn't happen to know where Marisa spends most of her time, would you?”

“Hm, lost her already?” He muses, “Well, you could try the cafeteria or the lobby. She's either there, on patrol, or up here most of the time.”

“Lobby?”

“Through those double doors in the main hall,” He says, “We've set up a kind of barracks there.”

“Ah,” You say, “Thanks. I'll see you around.”

He nods, and you decide to take your leave. You have to wonder why there's a fortified hall leading into the lobby, with even more doors, but... well, whoever built this place seemed to have a thing for castles. Probably good for a bank this far out, since you'd have one hell of a time robbing it if they knew you might be coming.

On the way back downstairs, you swing through the cafeteria... but only find a few guards sipping away at some hot beverages. You peek into the lobby-turned-barracks, too, and do manage to find her there sitting on a cot writing away furiously at something. Well, that's good. At least she's not trying to round up a lynching mob or something.

After that, you make your way back downstairs. Patchouli still seems engrossed in her book, so you assume that her little torture-of-a-sort session isn't over yet. You take a seat next to her, and open your own book.

… after another chapter, this one suitably on different kinds of astral beings, you're interrupted by a tiny voice from a tiny devil.

“Hey, hey, got any paper?” It asks, in an almost sing-song voice, “She wants to draw us a map~”

“I, uh...”

Patchouli's much quicker on the draw than you are, coming up with some before you even get through a few of your pockets.

“Great,” The koakuma says, snatching up the paper and promptly flying back down the hall.

You mark your chapter and close the book, waiting for the result. Within a few minutes all four koakuma come flying down the hall, the paper now darkened with some ink.

“This is what you wanted, right?” The one holding the paper asks, giving it to you. “All we had to do was---”

“He doesn't want to hear it,” Patchouli says, closing up her book as well. The sound seems to startle the imps a little.

You give a weak nod, and take a look at the map. On one side, it has the location of the building in the town – north side, on one of the cliffs overlooking the river that cuts through the place. That makes sense with that hill imagery from before.

On the reverse side, you've got a floor plan for the mansion itself, complete with short notation on various types of traps. It's three floors (four if you count the basement), and pretty damn huge. You can't be sure of the scale, but there's at least one hundred rooms in the place of varying sizes.

The traps seem to be mostly magical in nature. There are a few that are denoted as “lethal”, but most of them seem to just paralyze the intruder... well, you guess being an unwelcome intruder in the Lady's domain is probably lethal anyway, especially if you can't fight back. All but a few have verbal pass phrases that let you bypass them, according to this.

There's three entrances; a main entrance, a servant's entrance, and one that leads directly to the cellar from the cliff face. They all look heavily trapped and watched, though, and from this you can't tell which one would offer an advantage.

“That, uh, Kourin fellow wants us to move her when we're done down here,” You say to Patchouli, “He says we can drop her off in an office in the upper floors.”

“Are we done?” Patchouli asks.

“For now, yeah,” you say, holding out the map. “Want to take a look?”

“Perhaps later,” She answers, “I would ask the koakuma to move her, but they are worthless when it comes to moving things.”

“Can she even walk in those ropes?” You ask, “We might need to---”

“I'll show you what knot to undo,” One of the koakuma volunteers, “She'll be able to move her legs. Not sure if she'll be able to walk, though...”

“You didn't rough her up that bad, did you?” You ask, a feeling of dread slowly rising up.

“Nope! But she might need some rest before she can walk, hehe.”

“You can stay here,” Patchouli says to the imp that spoke up, “The rest of you, assist the guards.”

The other three shoot glances at the first one, but obey without much hesitation.

“Do you need assistance to move her?” Patchouli asks.

“I don't know,” You shrug, “Let's go see.”

You head back into the vault, Patchouli tailing behind you, half expecting to see some kind of bloody lump on the floor. Surely, with that much devotion, she wouldn't give up an entire floor plan with security without a fight. To your surprise, though, she seems perfectly fine – albeit breathing heavily, and maybe a little flush. Likely some kind of mental torture, then.

She doesn't bother looking at either of you after you get close. Patchouli wastes no time, however.

“Untie the knot,” Patchouli says to the koakuma, who sets to work immediately undoing a rather random know. Sure enough, though, the binding around her legs all loosen. They don't fall off completely, but there's enough slack now that she can move.

“Get up,” Patchouli commands again, this time to the maid. She obeys, but she seems very wobbly and unsure of her footing. You think it's partially because her arms are still tightly bound, making it hard to balance. It looks like she can walk, though, albeit with a little difficulty.

[ ] This is a little too cruel. Let her rest for a bit, and have the koakuma only bind her hands.
[ ] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 30949
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

I'm pretty sure we're far past the point where sympathy would do us any good in her eyes.
>> No. 30950
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

Sexual torture? That's rather...unorthodox.
>> No. 30952
[ ] This is a little too cruel. Let her rest for a bit, and have the koakuma only bind her hands.
[ ] Ask the Koakuma what method they used to squeeze info from Sakuya. Make sure Patchouli isn't around when you ask it.

Sakuya's weak points may come in handy later.
>> No. 30953
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

I wanted sinister patchy, but good enough.
>> No. 30954
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room
>> No. 30955
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

>>30950
Seems natural for Koakuma.
>> No. 30958
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
>> No. 30964
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

She can rest up in her new cell.
>> No. 30965
>>30964
Bugger that. Too bad requesting mind-break would be out of character.
>> No. 30966
Ohoho. Nice torture there.

[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
>> No. 30967
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

>>30950
Sakuya probably doesn't get much action, being the Head Maid, so she could be weak to that. It's not as bad a plan as it sounds, really.
>> No. 30968
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
>> No. 30970
[ ] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
>> No. 30980
[x] This is a little too cruel. Let her rest for a bit, and have the koakuma only bind her hands.
[x] Ask the Koakuma what method they used to squeeze info from Sakuya. Make sure Patchouli isn't around when you ask it.
>> No. 30982
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.

Somehow, moving her when she is at strength doesn't seem like such a good idea to me.
>> No. 31003
[x] >>30980
>> No. 31008
[x] This is a little too cruel. Let her rest for a bit, and have the koakuma only bind her hands.
[x] Ask the Koakuma what method they used to squeeze info from Sakuya. Make sure Patchouli isn't around when you ask it.

Some kind of ghastly nightmare? I wanna know so bad.
>> No. 31017
Called, update later tonight or tomorrow.
>> No. 31031
>>31017

Hooray!
>> No. 31033
[x] No sympathy for prisoners. Get her up to the new room.
[ ] Write-in.

You look for some way to help her, but without undoing that tight binding there isn't really much you can do. Better just get this over with as quickly as you can.

“We're moving you to a different room,” You say. Then, looking to Patchouli, you add “I'll lead. Could you follow behind?”

Patchouli gives you a vague nod. Right. Well, off you go, then. The trip back upstairs is a bit slow but entirely uneventful. That's good, you suppose. Better than the place getting overrun by an enemy rescue party or something.

All of the offices on the upper floor are pretty similar, so you just choose one close to a patrol route that runs through the floor. It seems suitable enough. One barred window, and, although the door locks from the inside, you have Patchouli throw up a magical lock on it.

“Well,” You say, with that all done, “That was unpleasant.”

“Mildly,” Patchouli says, “What do you plan to do now?”

“Straight to the point,” You say, with a little chuckle. “Well...”

Choose one of these:
[ ] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[ ] Right now? Go talk with Marisa.

And one of these:
[ ] The overall plan is to attack later tonight.
[ ] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.
================================================
Apologies for the shortness, but I need some direction. I'll update tomorrow if there is a winning vote.
>> No. 31034
[X] Right now? Go talk with Marisa.
[X] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.
>> No. 31036
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack later tonight.

Who would attack vampires in the middle of the night? Surprise, surprise! Attack when the enemy least expected it.

And chances are, we are avoiding Meiling's raid in this night by doing this.
>> No. 31037
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

I think taking out Sakuya and all the intel we're about to get more than makes up for any surprise we'd get from rushing to attack at night.
>> No. 31038
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

Its been stressed that Jack is exhausted. We aren't going to be doing shit if he collapses later on.
>> No. 31039
[X] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[X] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

>>31036
>Who would attack vampires in the middle of the night? Surprise, surprise! Attack when the enemy least expected it.
Except nighttime is when vampires are at their strongest. If you want to be easily crushed, be my guest.
>> No. 31040
um... I'm really having second thoughts here. We should go talk to Marisa. Now. Before she has a chance to dwell on this shit while falling asleep.

Changing
[x] Right now? Go talk with Marisa.
>> No. 31043
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

> [ ] Write-in.
> [ ] Ask the Koakuma what method they used to squeeze info from Sakuya. Make sure Patchouli isn't around when you ask it.
You mean this? Damn. I knew, I should've explicitly voted against it.
>> No. 31044
[x] Right now? Go talk with Marisa.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

>You mean this? Damn. I knew, I should've explicitly voted against it.

Me too. It wasn't asked in the update, so I guess Jack is waiting until this decision is made and Patch leaves. If we didn't ask we'd have some degree of deniability when talking to Marisa. Still, I don't think it'll be too bad. They are fighting for their lives after all.
>> No. 31045
>>31044
Because agreeing to use a torture you know nothing about is better somehow? If anything, it's worse.
>> No. 31053
>>31045

Assuming Marisa asks about what we did to Sakuya, compare:
"Sorry, I didn't ask, but she didn't seem all that bad off afterwards."

To:
"Uhm..."
Glare from Marisa.
"Well, we had those Demons rape her silly until she spit out the secrets, but she didn't seem all that bad off afterwards."

Even if that wasn't quite what has been done to her, somehow I think something like the first option might go over slightly better.
>> No. 31054
I take back what I said because of surprise work. Keep voting (or don't), I'll call it tomorrow.
>> No. 31055
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

Also, why are we foregoing our plausible deniability?
>> No. 31057
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

Sounds like a plan.
>> No. 31060
>>31053
What's stopping him from lying? She doesn't need to know that he knows.
>> No. 31064
>>31060
Lying is harder. Jack is busy enough lying to himself. Sure, he should be quite good at it, but look at it the other way round: What do we have to gain from asking? It seems like an unnecessary risk to me. It's not even only about Marisa. You also have to consider the impact this information might have on his mental constitution.
>> No. 31066
>>31064
You're gaming this too much. I think we'll gain a funny scene.
>> No. 31076
Called, update in a few hours.
>> No. 31077
[x] Right now? Rest for a while, then try to find out more about the Lady.
[x] The overall plan is to attack in the morning.

“... right now? I was going to take a little nap, then get back to divining if I can force myself back into the mood.”

“I see,” She says, “Perhaps I should do the same. Are we going to assault the mansion tonight, or tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow,” You respond. “No sense rushing in. I'm not sure about you or Marisa, but I'll need some real rest first.”

She gives a thoughtful nod. “Yes, we all should get some rest. If you do need me, I'll be in the cafeteria.”

“There was a sofa in there, right?” You ask, “I'll join you.”
Strangely enough, the lounge is empty when you two arrive. Must be in the middle of a guard shift or something. You take up residence on the sofa (which turns out to be more comfortable than it looks), sprawling yourself out with your head propped up on one arm. Patchouli takes one of the more normal wooden chairs, and sets to work on her book once more.

Placing your slightly ruined hat over your eyes, you slip into a kind of meditative nap. It's not exactly sleep, but it might as well be. You let your thoughts slip away, one by one, until you're left with a single one remaining – the time you need to wake up. Even that isn't much of a thought.

You're vaguely aware of people coming and going in the hour that you 'sleep', but all in all it's quiet. You wake up on time, feeling... not refreshed, but rested enough to try some more divination.

Standing up, you grab your book off the nearby table.

“I'll see you later, off to gather some info.” You say to Patchouli, who gives you a nod in return. Right. You've already got a circle set up, so you do your best to get back there.

This time, you succeed on not getting lost. Seems no one has tried (dared?) to mess with it while you were away, doing other things. It's definitely not as elaborate as the one Patchouli set up in the cellar, but it serves it's purpose. A purpose only a diviner could see.

Thankfully, you are one. Faked or disturbed circles are kind of sad affairs, so seeing that this one is still intact leaves you with a bit of a warm feeling inside.

You pull the newly acquired watch, knife, and map from your coat, courtesy of that chronomage from earlier. That was one hell of a fight, you remember, but... no, stop thinking about it. It's not important. Focus on the task at hand. The path is clear, now. Take it while you still have the energy.

After modifying the circle a little bit, you add the new items to their appropriate places and put the mirror back in it's place. The transition is very quick this time – you find yourself solidly in the familiar farm-esque landscape within a few seconds.

That ever-present dog from before seems to be only a memory now, and you're free to roam without it's prying gaze. A phantom of it is still around, but the phantom would only seem real from a distance. You doubt that the Lady, tucked away in her mansion, can tell.

You shed your formless form when you reach the mansion, taking on a real astral form instead of a metaphorical one. The danger seems to be completely gone from this place now with those two demons gone. Reaching into your astral coat, you pull out the map and walk up to the door.

However, it seems to be locked. Sort of expected, you guess; if the lady can kill a town, she can ward her own mansion. If you had to guess, she threw this on so that if you managed to slip by the demons they'd catch you while you were working on bypassing it.

In either case, you manage to break it in fifteen minutes. Tough, but not absurdly so. This probably isn't her forte. You turn the knob, swing open the doors, and step inside.

It's... well, definitely a sight. This is a mansion fit for a Lord, or a Lady in this case. The main hall that you're greeted with takes up two floors, easily 20 feet high, with an enormous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Overly ornate pillars line the path to the main stairwell, which is easily wide enough to drive a train up. One thing that sticks out is a portrait of a rather intense looking man, hanging above the stairwell, dressed in very old clothing. You're not sure who he is.

Architecture aside, you take a look at your map and begin to play through possibilities like you did before. Phantom images of your party (albeit more defined versions now – she seems to know who you are when you enter) run throughout the mansion, doing whatever they end up doing in their timeline. Watching them, you see that the traps are where they should be – large numbers of your party run through them and get stuck, drop to the ground, or whatever. Presumably the ones that get through are the possibilities that have your map.

But... wait, these should all have the map, shouldn't they? How is this possible? You try to focus, narrow down the possibilities. This, however, is not so easy – it's somewhat easy to see what choices will spawn what possible outcomes, but to go in reverse... well, it doesn't work like that. Maybe you could get lucky, but it would take time nonetheless.

Oddly enough, a lot of these paths seem to not be using any of the doors, but just simply appearing in dark corners. Another thing you notice is that they all seem to be taking vastly different paths around the mansion – some heading straight to the upper floors, some running around the first floor, some to the basement. Nothing particularly interesting seems to happen in this room, however.

A general overview is nice, you decide, but some specifics before you're too tired to do anything else would be better.

[ ] Focus on what you do when you get there. What paths do you end up taking that succeed?
[ ] Focus on the Lady, and her Sister. Knowing their combat styles will be invaluable.
[ ] Focus on the odd entries. What the heck?
[ ] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.
[ ] Write-in (one thing)
================================================
No combo voting please.
>> No. 31078
[x] Focus on the odd entries. What the heck?

Teleportation magic? Interesting.
>> No. 31080
[x] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.

I wonder if some of the possibilities involve Sakuya breaking free (and thus being able to restructure the mansion with spacehax).
>> No. 31086
[x] Focus on the odd entries. What the heck?
>> No. 31094
>But... wait, these should all have the map, shouldn't they? How is this possible?

Because the map is bogus. If they're immobilizing traps, Sakuya won't be in any danger if you drag her into them. She would have no reason to be telling the truth.

Of course, Remilia could just have changed things around once she realized Sakuya wouldn't be coming back.

[x] Focus on what you do when you get there. What paths do you end up taking that succeed?
>> No. 31098
[x] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.

We can plan a route when we're conscious, but this is the last chance to know what we're getting into.
>> No. 31101
[x] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.

The first person to get the "extraordinary" idea of splitting up dies first, you heard it here first.
>> No. 31104
[ ] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.
>> No. 31107
[ ] Focus on what you do when you get there. What paths do you end up taking that succeed?
[ ] Focus on the Lady, and her Sister. Knowing their combat styles will be invaluable.
[x] Focus on the odd entries. What the heck?
[ ] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.
[ ] Write-in (one thing)

So we won't run in circles.
>> No. 31108
[x] Focus on the consequences of not attacking tomorrow.

What's she going to do, siege the place? She already is. Either we get more intel, or draw her out of her trap-infested home ground.
>> No. 31110
[x] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.
>> No. 31125
Called, update later today or by this time tomorrow.
>> No. 31171
>>31125

Hooray!
>> No. 31191
[x] Focus on the traps, time aside. That should not be happening.

… well, the issue of the traps is pretty disturbing. You decide to work on that, even if it may be difficult. Well, here's to hoping you can get lucky and pull one of these flawed paths out right off the bat.

The future is a very tricky thing – you can see that, even now, the number of possible timelines that get caught by the traps are reducing. Maybe that's good, in a way, but it makes your task of isolating them that much harder.

So, you set to work... or stabbing in the dark, as it were. How do the ones that succeed succeed? Many ways; by giving the right password, by disarming the traps, by bypass--- why do they disarm them instead of using the passwords? The passwords change, the passwords are incorrect, the passwords are communicated incorrectly, a fly passes through without saying the password and triggers the trap, a freak atmospheric incident that causes enough pressure to set it off...

… the number of ways these things can go off is completely ridiculous, and it takes you a good amount of time to sort it all out. A lot of them even include false security based on this divination in some way. Nevertheless, you continue sifting.

After an hour or so, you find out something akin to a root cause – the map is not flawless. If you follow the map completely you may or may not run into traps. Before you can get any more specific, like what part of the map is responsible and why, the world begins to fade.

In not long at all the physical world completely replaces the astral one. You find yourself back in the bank, completely drained and a little irritated. What the hell kind of answer is that? What should you even do with such a vague bit of knowledge?

[ ] Find Patchouli. Sakuya should be able to fill you in, one way or another.
[ ] Do nothing. If the maid faked this, she can fake anything else you ask for. At least the floor plan seems sound.
[ ] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.

If not the first option, choose one:
[ ] Get your ass some rest.
[ ] Write-in.
================================================
Or not, sorry. I ended up running into some friends from highschool that I hadn't seen in around 4 years and homework that took longer than expected.
>> No. 31192
[x] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.
[x] Briefly inform Patchouli of what you've found and your intention for tomorrow. She can exercise her own judgment, but now you need to get in as many hours of sleep as possible.

We did a lot of shady bargaining in order to get astral access to the mansion. Walking into this blind because of an initial failure would be throwing all that work away, in addition to simply being dangerous.
>> No. 31193
[x] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.
[x] Get your ass some rest

Jack is exhausted we need sleep etc etc. Everything else can wait until we recuperate.
>> No. 31194
[x] Do nothing. If the maid faked this, she can fake anything else you ask for. At least the floor plan seems sound.
[x] Visit Marisa.

It's just Remilia's power. Nothing to see here, move along.
>> No. 31197
[x] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.
[x] Briefly inform Patchouli of what you've found and your intention for tomorrow. She can exercise her own judgment, but now you need to get in as many hours of sleep as possible.
>> No. 31198
[x] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.
[x] Briefly inform Patchouli of what you've found and your intention for tomorrow. She can exercise her own judgment, but now you need to get in as many hours of sleep as possible.
>> No. 31199
Isn't it better to not walk into the fight at all? There's still time to learn that teleport trick.
>> No. 31203
Just throwing out a thought that occured to me, but what if Sakuya had to report to Remilia at regular intervals? And what if one of those just happens to be tonight? If we attack tonight she will be at her best, but not have the time to reorganise security, leading to most possibilities of making it through the traps and whatnot. If we attack tomorrow she will be weaker, but probably have the mansion secured in a completely different way with different passwords and all. Cue our possibilities of springing many/most/all of those traps.

If this is correct, then we effectively have to decide on easy stage and hard boss, or hard stage and easy boss.

Also, how long do you guys think we will be taking with the mansion itself? Even if we attack tommorow we could be slow enough to take until nightfall deleting our planned advantage. In a similar case Remilia could be planning to attack us as in person first thing if we go there at night, planning to use her power advantage.

tl;dr: how many gambits have our resident xanathi piled up?
>> No. 31205
>>31203
>What if x and what if y
Too many hypothetical have to be true for that to be a concern.

The only thing we truly know about this situation is that if we enter later, the chances of everyone dying exponentially increases, but if we do succeed, everyone makes it. Conversely, if we enter sooner, the chances of success is higher, but not everyone makes it. At least if I'm remembering that scene correctly.

Tl;dr: We don't know shit, and unless Sakuya gets real chatty all of a sudden, we are going to be winging it.
>> No. 31207
>>31205
We'd know quite a bit if we weren't so fixated on these traps.
>> No. 31208
>>31203
Unlikely, in my opinion. She would've had trouble leaving anyway, so that shouldn't have been in the plan.
>> No. 31228
Vote called, update later today.

>>31199
I'll add in this option sometime later, so you can vote for it then if you still want to.
>> No. 31230
[x] You can deal with it in the morning. It'll be draining, but better to walk into a fight half-tired than not at all.
[x] Briefly inform Patchouli of what you've found and your intention for tomorrow. She can exercise her own judgment, but now you need to get in as many hours of sleep as possible.

Fuck it. You're tired. No use thinking about it now. It'd be better to work something out in the morning, when you've got a good night's sleep powering you.

That's all for now, so you pack up your things and get moving towards... hmm. Well, you guess you never asked the head honcho about lodging, did you? Sleeping on the sofa might work, but that seems kind of silly with beds around. You should report back to Patchouli first, too. She'll want to know what you found out.

Finding your way back isn't much of a challenge this time; you manage to do it without getting embarrassingly lost. From the main hall it's only a short walk to the cafeteria. Upon entering, you find Patchouli set up at the table like she was before, a few of the patrollmen enjoying a break, and Kourin working on something over the stove.

“Hey, guys. Patchouli. Kourin.”

Patchouli gives you a nod as per usual. Oddly, though, the soldiers snicker a little at your greeting.

“Please, it's Rinnosuke. Rinnosuke Morichika. 'Kourin' is Marisa's pet name for me.”

“Ah... sorry,” You say, “I wasn't aware.”

“It's my fault,” he responds, turning back around. “We were never properly introduced. Are you taking a break?”

“I was just going to fill Patchouli in on a few things, and then head to bed,” You say, shrugging. “Speaking of which, do you have any spare cots available?”

“We've got plenty in the lobby,” He says, “Just take one without anything in front of it.”

“Hmm, alright.”

“Have you eaten yet?” He asks, “It's not too late to double this recipe.”

“Eh... I suppose I could go for something,” you say, not one to turn down a free meal. You haven't eaten in a while, either. “What is it?”

“Rice.” He says, flatly.

“Hah, right,” You say, “That makes sense. Hey, Patchouli? You mind taking a break for a minute?”

She thumbs a few pages ahead, and then back to where she was before closing the book. “I do not mind.”

“Right,” You say, taking a seat down across the table from her. “Well, I've got some good news. The map seems to have the layout of the mansion correct, and the barrier is down.”

“You seem to be implying there is some bad news.”

Very direct. “Yeah. The traps are marked incorrectly.. sometimes.”

“Oh?”

“It seems like it can be wrong and right. Or, maybe it's wrong and we have the ability to get the right one. Or maybe it's right and we have the ability to get a wrong one. It could be something else completely, too. I'm not sure what the deciding factor is. Seems I'm completely spent, so I couldn't get that far.”

“Interesting. Do you think that our prisoner might have the answers?”

You shrug. “Like I said, no idea. I was going to sleep on it and worry about it in the morning. It shouldn't be a huge problem, though. If it comes down to it, I think we can circumvent a few traps.”

“Was there anything else of note?” She asks.

“Not... anything I focused on,” You say, thinking back. “Some weird astral stuff, I guess, but nothing that makes any sense right now. I was more worried about the traps.”

“I see.”

Out of things to say, you go silent. Patchouli does as well.

Your meal is rather uneventful, too. You and... Rinnosuke make small talk about how great the bank was and about some of the city districts. He does seem to recall a mansion on the north side of town that fits the description of the one you're looking for – a dark red thing perched all alone on a cliff. There's no crazy stories about it or anything, though. It's kind of strange... usually, there's at least something. Well, whatever.

After the meal, you thank your host and make for the barracks. It'll be easier to sleep now that you've got something in your stomach.

Upon arriving, though, you realize a problem with your plan – Marisa's still hanging out on her cot, reading something.

[ ] … might as well deal with this now.
[ ] Thankfully, she's at the far end of the room and occupied. And you spy an empty cot nearby...
>> No. 31231
[x] Thankfully, she's at the far end of the room and occupied. And you spy an empty cot nearby...

Fuck everything, it can all wait till tomorrow.
>> No. 31232
[x] … might as well deal with this now.

Do not want a pissed off Marisa that thinks she's being avoided.
>> No. 31241
[x] Thankfully, she's at the far end of the room and occupied. And you spy an empty cot nearby...
>> No. 31245
[x] … might as well deal with this now.

Better dealing with this now than tomorrow where it might bite us fatally in the ass.
>> No. 31247
[X] … might as well deal with this now.

Better handle it now than right before we storm the castle.
>> No. 31248
[x] … might as well deal with this now.

If we look exhausted, she's less likely to start railing on us.

Maybe.
>> No. 31291
Called. Update either in a few hours or tomorrow.
>> No. 31308
Actually make that later tonight.
>> No. 31310
[x] … might as well deal with this now.

… well, you guess you might as well deal with this now. She's probably calmed down a little bit by now. At least, you hope so. Even if she hasn't, it's still probably better than letting her brood on it any longer.

Steeling yourself, you walk across the room in her direction. Either she doesn't notice you or doesn't particularly care, because you don't even get so much as a glance.

“Hey.”

“If you're going to try and convince me that you're right, just stop,” She says, not bothering to look at you, “I don't want to talk about it.”

“Alright,” You say with a sigh. If there's one thing you can admire about her, she does stick to her guns. Very direct, too. “Can I talk with you about something else, then, or should I go die off and die somewhere?”

“Hey, don't make fun of me,” she says, “you might get some help with that second one.”

“Right,” you say, sighing. This isn't going well. You dropped the ball on that one. “Sorry. I'll see you tomorrow, then.”

You turn around to leave, but after a few steps she stops you. “We can still talk if you want.”

You nod, and turn around. “This whole situation really is shit, isn't it?”

She laughs a bit grimly. “You've got that right.”

As you take a seat on a cot next to hers, she places a mark in her book and sets it aside. “Look, I'll be honest. I don't know if we'll be able to do this without your help.”

“Oh, that's what you want,” She says, “Don't worry, I want to kill this bitch at least as much as you do. Just let me know when.”

“Unless something comes up,” You say, “Sometime early tomorrow. The maid...” you try to think of a nice way to put 'torture', but nothing comes up. “...well, we got her to give us a map. I've still got some divining to do, but I'm completely drained right now.”

She gives an understanding nod. “You do look like shit. No... well, almost no offense, but I hope you feel like it too.”

“Yeah, well,” You say, with a very half-assed chuckle. “I suppose I do. A bit more so now.”

“Good,” She says, “That's a start.”

“A start?”

“Now you just--- right,” She says, pausing mid-sentence. “I didn't want to talk about it.”

“If you do, don't stop yourself,” You say, before adding, “Well, unless you really were serious about helping me die.”

She pauses for a moment before speaking. Yelling, really. “Fine. How can you even make a choice like that? You didn't live with those people for a year. You didn't chat with them about their daughters getting married, or how their dog was sick, or get drunk with them every friday night and sing folk songs, or... or...”

Then, mid sentence, she breaks down, her words choked with tears. “The Lady killed them the first time, and I hate her for it, but you didn't have to kill them again!”

Shortly after, she applies a right hook to the side of your face. It's pretty obvious that she doesn't do this often – you could have easily dodged, but... well, maybe you do deserve it. But damn, she's stronger than she looks.

She lets out a faint yelp, nursing her hand. “Damn it...”

You lean in to look, to make sure she didn't seriously hurt herself, but that's a mistake. Using her other hand, she plants one straight into your face this time. It's a clumsy blow – if she were a bit higher, she could have knocked some teeth out, but as it is it doesn't do too much.

For now it's probably best not to resist so you opt to not recover from that blow. You let it carry you backwards, hoping to land on the cot... but, you didn't account for it being so narrow, so your upper body doesn't find much to land on. Instead, you tumble off onto the floor before you can catch your balance.

“Fffuuuuuu---”

The cot, being as lightweight as it is, goes shooting out from your shifting mass. You hear it collide with Maris's cot, and presumably her legs from the sound she makes.

For a moment, everything goes completely silent. But soon after you hear footsteps coming from further back in this room.

“What's going on here?” One of the two men who comes over asks.

You wait for Marisa to tell them how horrible you are, but she doesn't say anything. You can't tell how she looks from here, so you decide to speak up. “Don't worry about it,” You say to the two men, “Carry on.”

They give you a very odd look, but decide not to press the issue further. They do give another glance to Marisa, though.

“... yeah,” She says, sounding rather weak, “it's fine.”

The two look at each other, shrug, and leave. Not willing to risk more of Marisa's wrath, you stay still, your legs still propped up against the cot.

Again, there's silence for a while, but eventually Marisa mutters an apology.

“... sorry.”

You shake your head. “No,” you sigh, “I probably deserved that. Don't worry about it.”

Timidly, you see Marisa peek her head over the cot and into your field of vision. She still looks shaken, holding back tears.

“Oh god,” She remarks, “You're bleeding.”

You feel your face, eventually coming to a bit of blood where the first blow landed. Nothing major, but you are indeed bleeding.

“You're right,” You say, reaching into your coat for a handkerchief. Your hand brushes against the case containing that demonic contract when you do. “... you know, didn't this happen last time we worked together?”

She laughs. A genuine laugh, although it sounds hoarse through her miserable state. “Yeah, I think so.”

[ ] An idea comes to mind: remind her of how you were considering breaking the Lady's contract. That is, that if she can find a flaw...
[ ] <the thought never crosses your mind>
================================================
The more I think about this, the more I'm not sure if I'm railroading. Also I'm not sure how much you want Jack's word to be worth.
>> No. 31312
[x] <the thought never crosses your mind>

No. The other option is too cruel; it will just give her false hope. If we can't find a way of breaking this contract, and freeing those souls from their terrible fate, than we shouldn't say shit, as it won't change anything. It's better to say nothing, and just do it, than raising her spirits only to fail and crush them.
>> No. 31313
[x] <the thought never crosses your mind>
Jack deserved that.

Eh, just give us a few (Truth) and (Lie) options and we'll figure out how much we want Jack's word to be worth.
>> No. 31318
[X] <the thought never crosses your mind>

Speaking of contracts, we also need to make an attempt to not find any soul wells, as the demon contract specifically said any that we find.

It never said what would happen should we not find anything.
>> No. 31321
>>31318
Klaymen said no loopholes. Just take the damn thing at face value.
>> No. 31325
>>31318
That sounds more like the first choice...

But is the contract in question the one Remilia made or the one we made? And is it too late to do anything about Remilia's one?

As far as I can tell the choices are

A) Basically lie to the dream demon sisters, but be honest with Marisa.
B) Lie to Marisa, thus remaining pretty honest with the sisters.

[x] An idea comes to mind: remind her of how you were considering breaking the Lady's contract. That is, that if she can find a flaw...

If it's Remilia's Marisa would know how to find a flaw in it. If it's ours... well Marisa wasn't there at the signing, thus she isn't bound by it. That is unless Jack did something stupid, like specifing Marisa in it.

In the end, those souls aren't really coming back most likely, but it'd make Marisa feel better that they'd be allowed to pass on as opposed to ending up dream demon food.
>> No. 31327
Is Marisa even allowed to read the contract? There's that standard secrecy clause. Or does that only apply to the demons?
>> No. 31356
[ ] <the thought never crosses your mind>
>> No. 31357
[X] <the thought never crosses your mind>

What thought? I was just about to head to sleep.
>> No. 31359
Called, update either later today or tomorrow.
>> No. 31362
[x] <the thought never crosses your mind>

You get up, still holding the handkerchief on your face. “Feel better?”

“A little,” She says, again with a little laugh. “I think I still hate you though.”

Not quite sure how to respond to that, you opt to move the cot back into place. “Thanks.”

“For punching you?” She asks, a little shocked. “Or hating you?”

“Both,” You say, “If I know you're going to turn me into a charred spot in the street for doing something, well, I'll have to take that into serious consideration.”

“That's a horrible philosophy,” She says, laughing like she can't really believe that. “Seriously? That's how you work?”

“I weigh all the options and choose the best one,” You say, “Dying is usually a pretty big negative, so...”

“I'll keep that in mind,” She says, a bit more accepting now. Then, with a firm nod and a firm stare, she adds, “You'd better watch yourself. Your rope's running pretty thin.”

“I figured,” You say, “Anyway, I'm going to get some sleep. You probably should, too. Big day tomorrow.”

“Yeah, big day,” She says, cracking her knuckles. That's a little more like the Marisa you know. “The Lady's going to wish she never met us.”

You nod. “I'll see you in the morning.”

With that, you turn and head towards the entrance to the barracks. You spied an unoccupied cot near there earlier, and decided that's the one you're going to use.

Although your bag is still elsewhere, you don't particularly care at this point. You place your book in front of the thing, and use your jacket as a very lumpy blanket. The blows Marisa landed still sting a bit, but it's nothing that being completely drained can't overcome – so, after you wait for the bleeding to stop (it really was a minor cut), you fall fast asleep.





… and, after a few terrible dreams about the capital burning and being overrun with vampires and various other nasties, you wake up. The cots are noticeably more filled than they were when you went to sleep. Looks like the morning guard is pretty slim.

Checking your watch, you find it to be broken. Well, shit. You must have broken it in your little encounter with Marisa last night, since you remember it working up until then. Thankfully, you do have the one that Sakuya was carrying around.

6:13:07, presumably am. Seems you can't sleep in in a situation like this – not that that's a bad thing, of course. You don't feel like a million dollars, but maybe a quarter million. Your face feels a little swollen from the tussle last night, and you've got a slight headache, but other than that you feel much more energized.

Well, no sense lying around in bed any longer. First thing's first -

[ ] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.
[ ] get to work. You still need to figure out what's going on with that map.
[ ] get to work. Maybe this time, you'll get a bit more information on the Lady and her sister.
[ ] get to work. Maybe this time, you'll worry about the odd entries.
[ ] get to work. Maybe this time, you'll work out a general plan of attack.
>> No. 31365
[x] Get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.

We are running pretty low on time, but these types of things should never be skipped.
>> No. 31369
[x] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.

How utterly single minded of anon never to consider other options... Let's see how many other friends we'll loose.
>> No. 31376
[ ] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.
>> No. 31377
[x] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.
>> No. 31383
>>31369
>I weigh all the options and choose the best one.

Sorry, but this isn't some starry eyed idealist here, you'll find plenty somewhere else. I rather like him as a pragmatist.

[x]Get some food. Make sure your team does as well.
>> No. 31386
>>31383
Even if it costs him all his friends? There are some people in the world that may be the very best at what they do, but the methods they use are as such no one ever wants to work with them.

I certainly wouldn't be friends or be remotely in the same area as a guy who seems willing to offer up someone else's life to get the job done.
>> No. 31389
Pragmatism is all well and good, but we haven't exactly accomplished anything useful with our deal yet. It'd be a real shame to have them all die again for nothing, even if it did seem like a good idea at the time.
>> No. 31391
>Pragmatism is all well and good, but we haven't exactly accomplished anything useful with our deal yet. It'd be a real shame to have them all die again for nothing, even if it did seem like a good idea at the time.

We wasted time by picking the wrong divination approach. That was a failure of judgment, not philosophy.

Luckily we have another chance before our scheduled meeting.

[x] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.
>> No. 31400
[x] Get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.

Supply lines are important to maintain in war.
>> No. 31418
> Even if it costs him all his friends? There are some people in the world that may be the very best at what they do, but the methods they use are as such no one ever wants to work with them.

We get along okay with patchy. I mean plenty of people who are much more evil then us have friends.
>> No. 31465
Friends are not crucial to the mission.
The job comes first.
>> No. 31466
>>31465
That's short-term thinking. If you were really pragmatic, you'd prefer putting your friends first to create unbreakable bonds of friendship that can overcome any obstacle.
>> No. 31534
Called, update... within a few days.

Sorry for the huge delay (and the excuses), but all of my classes decided to take a shit on me at once and I wasn't prepared for it. I've written around 10 pages of material for various homework in the past week, and close to a thousand lines of code, so I hope you can understand if I don't really feel like writing even more stuff.

Good news is I have half a week off next week, which I intend to use to get ahead in a few of my classes so this doesn't happen again. I'm also going to be performing an experiment which will hopefully give me a lot more free time. We'll see how that goes, though.

tl;dr Update in a few days. Fucked up time management, going to be slow for another week or two
>> No. 31541
>>31466
Did you mean "very effective pieces that would sacrifice themselves for you willingly?"
>> No. 31543
>>31541
Exactly.

Though, as a Schizoid, there's no reason why we can't be both pragmatic and hopelessly romantic. Just not at the same time. It might even boost our magic's effectiveness.. for example, a healer that never views anyone as expendable would likely be more powerful than one that treats life cheaply.
>> No. 31556
[x] get some food. No sense being distracted by hunger.

You definitely needs some food. Yesterday you only had breakfast and a bit of rice, and it's going to suck if you suddenly find yourself thinking about a sandwich in the middle of divining something. Dragging yourself out of bed, you put your footwear on and make your way to the kitchen.

Upon arriving, you find two soldiers talking over a tea or coffee, and... Patchouli, who looks as if she's been sitting there all night.

“Did you move at all since yesterday?” You ask her as you pass by, heading for the cupboards you saw Rinnosuke dig around in yesterday for food. “Ah, right. Do you even need to sleep?”

“Only for an hour,” She mutters, still engrossed in that book of hers.

“How about some breakfast?”

She shakes her head, so you turn to the two solders. “How about you two?”

“We already ate,” one of them responds, “Thanks.”

Easier to cook for one, you suppose. Opening the cupboards, you really don't find much more than rice. There's a few other things lying around, but you wouldn't really feel right just gobbling that stuff up. You won't need to worry about nutrients unless you plan on staying for a long time, so something filling is enough. A bowl of rice if fine, since hopefully you'll be able to have a victory feast later tonight.

So, you cook and consume, the whole thing taking around a half hour. 6:45. You dig around for that invitation that you got earlier. Right, Sakuya was supposed to find you around 9-o'clock. You're not sure who was supposed to kill you if you rejected the invitation, but you're pretty sure that the Lady will know something's up if you don't show up on time.

From here, it'll only take fifteen or so minutes to get to the mansion, which, assuming the maid wasn't planning on using time manipulation to get you there sooner, leaves you with about two and a half hours before you're late. That's enough time to get some quality work done, you think.

Divination:
[ ] It'd be best to save that energy. You may find a better use for it when you get there. (0 mins)
[ ] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
[ ] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)
[ ] Look into the odd entries to the mansion. It's still bothering you. (50 mins)
[ ] Try to get some information on what strategies succeed, and which ones fail. (50+ mins)
Planning:
[ ] You can plan on the way to the mansion, via talking. (0 mins)
[ ] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
[ ] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
[ ] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[ ] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
[ ] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
================================================
Giant vote time. Choose as many as you like, but at least one from each set. And, don't worry about this becoming locked in - you'll have the chance to modify what you do next as you gain new information. If you go over or severely undershoot 150 mins, that's fine too. It'll just effect things later.

All times listed are estimates to add a little spice, so if a 50 minute task takes 40 minutes or an hour don't be surprised.

Also, if it has a plus next to the time, you may spend extra time on it. For instance, you could spend 30 mins on a 20+ task. For these types, the original number is the lower limit (it will never take less time) and the one you provide will be the upper limit (it will never take more time).

Write-ins are also welcome; try to give a reasonable estimate for the time. I won't be updating for a few days, but I'll try to drop in and correct an estimate if it doesn't work.

If it's all too complicated, sorry. I just kind of wanted to try it. If I get the feeling you want to turn me into a charred spot on the street for this, I won't do it again.
>> No. 31557
Divination:
[x] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
Planning:
[x] You can plan on the way to the mansion, via talking. (0 mins)
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)

Element of surprise! Let's get there early and catch them with their pants down.

I really like this idea. Though I suspect either every vote will be unique or one plan will be dogpiled... probably not mine.
>> No. 31558
>leaves you with about two and a half hours

[x] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
[x] Try to get some information on what strategies succeed, and which ones fail. (50 mins)

[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15 mins)
[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (20 mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20 mins)

[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)

Could not include everything i wanted. Get infos on them is a good idea, Get some strategies, everyone should know where to go at least even if the time is too short, that is why they get map copies in case they get lost. Now that everyone knows where everything is, discuss what best stratgies could be used in those places.

And off we go.
>> No. 31560
[x] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)

[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)

We went through a lot of shit to get this map, and it has been the focus of our last few scrying attempts. It would be pretty spectacular if it, you know, worked flawlessly. Maybe we should get on that before handing copies of it out to everyone like poisoned cookies?

With a proper map in hand, we can easily formulate strategies that will make up for our comparative lack of knowledge regarding the Ladies combat potential. Besides, without a map, some of our group aren't even going to make it to the final boss fight, and than what good would our strategies do?
>> No. 31561
>>31560
I like this, but we could make far better strategies if we knew the sisters' abilities.

[x] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)
[x] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (15 mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)

That's only 145 minutes, so I tossed an extra 5 minutes onto drawing the map for extra good maps. If the estimates are wrong, we can skimp on that and some planning.
>> No. 31587
>If it's all too complicated, sorry. I just kind of wanted to try it. If I get the feeling you want to turn me into a charred spot on the street for this, I won't do it again.

No. This was a good idea.

[x] Try to get some information on what strategies succeed, and which ones fail. (50+ mins)
[x] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)

[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)

Knowing why the map is incorrect isn't as important as actually getting to where you need to be. Rely on your divination, not a map you already know to be faulty.

You want to go into this with a strong idea of what to expect and how you're going to accomplish your goals. This isn't because they aren't going to change on the fly, but because you want your party to have faith in your leadership ability and the chance that they'll get things done by trusting in your judgment. It could be disastrous if Marisa for example decided to go off on her own to confront the Big Bad or to loot the mansion.

Going over the layout is more important than individual maps because it's not reliable, you don't plan on splitting up, and in the case where someone is captured and needs to escape on their own, the map likely won't be on their person any longer.

Purposefully omitted the 'Head to the Mansion' part because it no longer matters if we're late now that we've captured Sakuya. That we go in after the time limit, we show that we're not cowed by her threats and that things aren't necessarily going to go the way she wants them to. Even if we're just 15 minutes late, it's an opportunity to goad her and gauge her reaction. Just like when we drop her maid at her feet, hogtied.
>> No. 31590
>>31587
Planning doesn't work as well when you're trying to plan around things that MIGHT happen. That's why I want the map so badly. It and the knowledge of the sisters' abilities are things that will not change. That's something we can base a real plan around. And we SHOULD plan on splitting up. That map is vital for avoiding traps, if we did need to split up and someone didn't have it, they'd be as good as dead.

As for getting there on time... why do you want her to know something is wrong? Sakuya should be mostly harmless without her focus, in any case. Besides, if you really want to prove how we aren't going to take her shit, wouldn't it be better to show her Sakuya's corpse?

also your plan is only 135 minutes without heading to the mansion. that makes it 150. you aren't very good at arriving late.
>> No. 31604
9:00 - 6:45 = 2:15, or 135 minutes, not 150. That said,

[X] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
[X] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)
[X] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[X] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
[X] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
-[X] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)

Chose basic strategies, as flexibility is more important than a rigid plan. Maps are important and allow us to plan rally points in case of an emergency.

Use any extra time on making the maps. Precise drawings are many times more valuable than scribbles loosely based on reality.
>> No. 31611
[X] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)
[X] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)
[X] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[X] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
[X] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
-[X] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
>> No. 31760
Vote called, update either later today or tomorrow.
>> No. 31761
Hooray!
>> No. 31792
[x] You'll need information on the Lady and her sister – any tricks they still have, you want to know about. (30 mins)

Hmm... may as well start with some divination. Maybe go for a bit of information on the Lady and her sister? A whole list forms in your mind of things to do, but this one stands on top. With the wards down, it shouldn't take too long for you to divine some useful information.

“Well,” you say, looking towards Patchouli, “I'm going to go gather some more information. You going to be here for a while?”

You get a rather distant nod in response.

“Right. See you in a little over an hour,” you say, just before heading off. The path there is getting pretty familiar now.

You take a seat at your place in the circle, and set down a slightly different path. The dreamworld will have to wait until later. For now, you close your eyes and let your thoughts drift. It takes a little longer than you had expected to enter the right state, since this circle was constructed with something else in mind. Still, it's much, much better than nothing. Once you are there, you begin questioning the divine.

What sort of person is the Lady like?

… self-centered, first and formost. After that come arrogance and strong sense of superiority. Behind that, she's reasonable, calculating, and a bit childish.

What is the Lady's name?

Remilia Scarlett.

Has she ever fought before? Is she any good at it?

Yes, and yes.

What sorts of strategies does she employ?

… instead of a verbal response to this one, you instead get a bunch of old instances where she has fought in the past. In every single one, she looks exactly the same – different clothes, perhaps, but she doesn't look a day over 12.

Still, she's no child. Most of these fights seem to take place inside the mansion, against things that were summoned for the sole purpose of fighting her. Mainly demons, but they're things you'd definitely have trouble with even in your current party.

Her style is... troublesome for your party, to say the least. She's very fast, and prefers a rather direct approach. "Run straight at the enemy and begin striking with blows that can punch through concrete" seems to be her style. And, if the enemy is slower than her, she's pretty apt to use her speed for hit-and-run. What blood magic she has, she doesn't use all that often. Generally, it looks like she only uses it when she's really showing off, or taking a gamble.

There's more than one fight in here where she looks like she's going down in the next hit, and then instead of playing it smartly lets the enemy move in – and then, in no time at all, said enemy vanishes in a vortex of boiling blood. Or ends up impaled. Or ends up being slashed in half with giant, magical crimson claws. You get the feeling that these are augmented by her fate abilities more often than not, since it honestly seems like the enemy has zero chance of survival when she uses them.

Aside from that, you recognize a few things that she does that'll make quick divination of her moves easier. For instance, it looks like she'll always take one step backward before charging in with blow, but a step forward or none at all is likely a feint. Just a few things, but it may make your job easier down the road.

So, what about her sister? What's her name? Personality?

Flandre Scarlett. She has no personality, at least in the static sense. She's very dedicated to her sister, but that's all you can count on. Everything else changes depending on what day it is, your accent... any number of things.

How about her combat strategies? What do they look like?

This set of battles to look at is decidedly smaller than Remilia's. Only twice has she been in full blown combat – the first time with a summon that Remilia lost to (the only one, at least a few hundred years ago), while the second was an attempt by vampire hunters to root out the pair.

Still, it's difficult to call these battles. They are over a few moments after she realizes that she's in one. A grin, and then... she closes her hand. Then, whoever or whatever she was looking at simply falls apart. The demon dematerializes instantly, while the vampire hunters suddenly look like their skin forgot that it was attached to muscle, which was attached to bone, etc. They just crumple to the floor in a pile of guts and bone.

She does need line of sight, and it looks like there is a little prep time involved before she can close her hand. You doubt the people in these battles had any idea what they were up against, and so weren't really looking. The image of this little girl standing there, laughing and laughing with her crystalline wings tinkling in the background... it's enough to send shivers down your spine.

No one has ever touched her in combat, so how about her melee? Strong, but nothing terribly impressive. That wand? She's never used it in straight combat, it looks like. You feel, however, that something terrible would happen if she did. The sense of dread is enough that you don't even look into the possibility. It's safe to say that, if that happens, your chance of winning is almost none – and, if Remilia is still around, even closer to none.

Time remaining – 120 minutes:
Current schedule – (110 or 115 minutes)
[ ] Continue with the current plan.
[ ] Revise (produce a new list).
======================================
This is what I came up with when I tried to fuse votes. I based it around popularity of individual votes, so it may not be exactly what you want. There was also a tie for two of them, so I just did an or since they both wouldn't fit. Check back one update for the full list, or feel free to write in more things.
[x] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20 mins)
[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
<-------------------------------->
[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
or
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
<------------------------------->
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
>> No. 31793
[x] Continue with the current plan.

Our current plan has the maps, so we're basically all set to go. Remilia won't know what hit her when we pop out of the secret corridors and shit.
>> No. 31797
[x] Continue with the current plan
and for the choice
[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)

I bet Jack could stop Flandre's ability if he was in Manipulator mode. He could see her gathering energy and disrupt it. Though... after that, who knows. Have faith in Marisa's ability to take her down?
>> No. 31800
[x] Continue with the current plan.

Remilia looks rough. Flandre looks rougher.

Lets hope we can kill the enchantments over the town by just defeating Remilia. A proper army can deal with the little sister.
>> No. 31802
[X] Continue with the current plan
-[X] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
>> No. 31803
Called, update tomorrow.
>> No. 31804
> Remilia looks rough. Flandre looks rougher.

Then we need to look the roughest.
>> No. 31825
>>31803
>Called, update tomorrow.

Hooray!
>> No. 31827
[x] You need information on how the map is flawed. It's pretty pivotal to this whole operation.(50 mins)

Well, that's all you can think of to check up on your enemies about. These two are going to be tough as hell, but you're sure the three of you can come up with something to do about them. Later.

You let your trance fade, and find yourself back at your circle once again. For now, you have other things to look at. Specifically, what you started yesterday before you ran out of juice. Getting hit by one of those traps will pretty much be the death of whoever does it, and potentially everyone else as well – this map needs to have it's secrets revealed.

After changing your posture and swapping around your focii into more appropriate positions for the task, you project yourself straight over to the mansion. Going through that dream world is completely unnecessary now that the door is wide open.

Things haven't changed much from last night. You don't meet with any new guards, and the sort of crappy ward on the mansion hasn't even been reset, so you're pretty sure that the Lady still has no clue as to what's going on. Good. You set immediately to work from where you left off, sifting through the thousands of paths while trying to find a correlation.

You search, and search, and search... and search some more. Really, someone should invent a faster way to do this than through brute force. Maybe you'll work on researching that after this whole fiasco wraps up.

Eventually, you come to the choice to split up or not before entering. “Do it” produces normal results, while “don't do it” ends with almost all of the groups losing a party member to a trap. Just what you were looking for. You pick an arbitrary “don't do it” group, and watch what they do.

This group decided to opt for the cliff entrance, although you don't look into why. You do a little bit of dickery to have your copy of the map show up here as well, so that you can look at it and follow along.

So, they walk in. The door is locked, but – huh, that's interesting – you have a key. Maybe you'll need to see Sakuya about that before leaving, since you certainly don't have one now. The space right in front of the door is trapped. You say the passphrase, and walk over. Everyone laughs a little, expecting it to not have worked. Marisa says the passphrase, and walks ov---

Well, tries to walk over. A bright green light erupts from the spot on the floor where the trap is hidden, catching Marisa and Patchouli completely while only catching your lower half. You watch yourself struggle to move, trying to grasp the...

… no, enough of that. Well, shit. The passwords are only valid once? You play the scenario over again, only this time with more knowledge. You cross successfully, divine up the new password, say it, and... watch as the same thing happens.

Again. This time, you write down the password on paper, wad it up into a ball, and throw it across to your team. It takes a minute, but you all manage to get across just fine.

Huh. A quick runthrough of random paths throughout the mansion confirms your suspicion. The passwords on your map are only good for one use. If you weren't a diviner, that little trick probably could have doomed you all. That, or cost you a ton of time as you had to stop for 10 minutes every time to disarm one.

You wonder if Sakuya knew this or not... well, even if she did, you doubt she'd know the other passwords. That's sort of the whole point. Either no one else enters besides the maid, or maybe the traps have different password lists for different personnel.

Annoying, but it does leave you with a few options. If you ever do split up, it's likely that you won't head down the same immediate path as someone else. Not right away, anyway.

So, it's not a problem for you, since you did pay those demons off to get scrying in the place. It really does keep paying for itself. Out of curiosity, you run this path again... ah, damn. The new password seems to be randomly generated, even. The one you come up with is different from last time.

Time remaining – 70 minutes:
Current schedule – (60 or 65 minutes)
[ ] Look into that. Maybe you can figure out the pattern, at least for a few of the major places (10 mins)
[ ] Continue with the current plan.
[ ] Revise (produce a new list).
======================================
Same deal as before. Oh, and forget what I said about the times changing. You can still modify the ones with a +, but they won't take longer/shorter.

By the way, my new time management system is in place and seems to be working. So, unless it suddenly collapses on itself, you can be expecting more regular (every day or two) updates again.

[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
<-------------------------------->
[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
or
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
<------------------------------->
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
>> No. 31828
If Remilia gives us an offer to join her, I am so voting the join her. This security is awesome.
>> No. 31830
[x] Look into that. Maybe you can figure out the pattern, at least for a few of the major places (10 mins)
[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10+ mins)
[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15+ mins)
[x] Formulate a fairly rigorous assault plan from what you know. (20+ mins)
[x] Head to the mansion. (15 mins)

Dropping the basic strategies vote in favor of password fuckery. It seems a little redundant when we are going to formulate an assault plan, right? The only problems I see is that this uses the exact 70 minutes without accounting for the +/- discrepancies. I'm sure we can swing it, though.
>> No. 31832
>>31830
This but with basic strategies instead of assault plan.

We need to come up with a way to deal with Flandre. An assault plan isn't going to help that.
>> No. 31835
[x] Look into that. Maybe you can figure out the pattern, at least for a few of the major places (10 mins)
>> No. 31879
Called, update later today.
>> No. 31882
>>31879

Hooray!
>> No. 31902
>>31879
Did I say today? I meant today. Sorry.
>> No. 31915
Tomorrow, fuck. I keep finding random encounters.
>> No. 31937
[x] Look into that. Maybe you can figure out the pattern, at least for a few of the major places (10 mins)
[x] Come up with/review some basic combat strategies – where the best place to fight would be, what sorts of attacks would work best, etc. (20+ mins)
[x] You'll want to go over at least the basic layout of the mansion with everyone. (15 mins)

Well, you'll need to do something about that. It won't do for you to be the only one able to pass through them on your own. Taking a look at the map, you see a few obvious choke points and other areas that would be nice to pass through freely.

Hmm. Upon further inspection, it looks like the traps don't reset on a wrong password, so you at least have that going for you.

… and, upon even further inspection, the list for each door for the day is only 6 or so passwords long, and they get spit out in pairs. Pairs remain active until used, so you guess you're supposed to grab a new pair before you leave the room. Heh. People must not leave the mansion that often. Well, you guess they wouldn't really need to, since most of them aren't people. Better for you, then.

With no security at all in place to protect against diviners, you jot down all of today's passwords for the main entrance, rear entrance, and anything between the two on your map in the real world. At least, you hope you do – you can't exactly see what your body is doing from here.

After completing that, you check the time... good. That didn't take too long. But, you really do need to move on to other things. You leave the astral world behind, and end up back at your circle with a newer, better map. Now you can leave your worries about those traps behind. They're all but defeated now.

Running through your mental to-do list, you decide that it's time for a brainstorming session with your team. You definitely aren't going to stand a chance if you aren't organized.

So, you pack up your stuff and head out to find the others. First stop is the barracks, where, much to your dismay, you find Marisa. Dead asleep, and snoring loudly.

“Hey,” You say, giving the cot a little kick, “Time to get up.”

“Mmm...”

“No, really,” You say, giving it another solid kick. This time, it's a bit more forceful. “We need to do some planning.”

You think you hear her mumble a “fine”, but she doesn't exactly move.

“Hey.”

“... heard ya,” She mumbles again, “gimme five.”

You guess that's fine. “Sure. Patchouli and I will be down in the break room.”

She gives a very sleepy nod. Well, you'll leave her be for now, you guess. Probably not good to risk even more of her ire. You head down to the break room, and find Patchouli still rooted in her reading chair.

“Mind stopping for a moment?” You ask her, taking a seat at the table as well. “We've got some planning to do.”

“... three minutes,” She says, her eyes scanning a bit faster. You sigh. This would be so much easier if this was the military or something.

Marisa shows up just as Patchouli closes her book.

“Bit late, isn't it?” Marisa asks, clearly still groggy. “I was expecting something earlier.”

“I had to take care of some stuff first,” You say, shrugging. “I figured this would be long enough to figure out what the hell we're going to do when we get there.”

You take the map out of your coat, and place it on the table. “So, this is what we have so far.”

“Huh, so this is the map,” Marisa says, leaning over to get a better look. “That place looks pretty huge. What's with all the writing?”

“Passwords,” You say, following her finger, “There's random traps all over the place. Sakuya gave us a password for each, but each one only works once. I came up with some more so we won't have to worry about it.”

“So that was the flaw,” Patchouli states, “Interesting.”

“Anyway, we really need to come up with what we're going to do about the Lady,” You say, “I did some divining on her combat skills; she's a beast. Seems like she fights higher-level demons in her free time. And it looks like if her sister shows up and we're not prepared, we'll end up dead in a few seconds.”

Marisa laughs. “Sounds like a challenge. How does she fight?”

“Well, the sister does that thing with the eyes,” You say, “Basically, she closes her hand after a few seconds and your body loses all bonds holding it together. Even though she's almost as old as the Lady, she's only fought twice... so maybe we can get lucky and not run into her. Or get the jump on her, or something. She's pretty detached from reality most of the time.”

“Ouch,” Marisa notes, “That doesn't sound like something you can dodge.”

“It's most likely line-of-sight,” Patchouli interjects, “All cases I've heard of are.”

“The Lady herself fights like a normal vampire – you know, the 'rush in and snap the foe in half' type. I'm not sure how we're going to deal with it. Our group is pretty much a glass cannon right now.”

“Yeah,” Marisa laughs, “We kind of are, aren't we? Unless Patchouli here has something up her sleeve, that is.”

Patchouli heaves a tiny sigh. “I can take a support role, if need be. Although, I can't say I'm fond of such a position, nor incredibly good at it.”

“Like I said, she was snapping demons in half,” You say, shrugging, “Think you can manage a defense against something like that?”

“Yes, but not for long. It may be wise to surprise her, instead.”

“Well, once we're inside the mansion I should be able to track her without too much trouble,” You say, “Divination at that range isn't all that hard. Oh, yeah. Looks like she likes to use her blood magic to throw people off guard. Like, she won't use any the entire fight, then suddenly impale you out of nowhere.”

“Ugh,” Marisa groans, “I'll keep that in mind.”

“So, let's get this down. For the Lady, I'll try to keep her from pulling anything sneaky while watching for a good opening. Marisa will be shooting, and Patchouli will be backup. Sound good?”

“I still favor avoiding a direct confrontation,” Patchouli says. “'Not for long' would be somewhere in the range of 6 to 25 blows, depending on her strength.”

“... oh. Hey Marisa, how long do you think it'd take for you to shoot a vampire to death?”

“Eh, a few minutes,” She says, “That's assuming I was moving, though. If you could let me charge for a while somehow, I bet I could fry this bitch with one shot.”

“Well,” You say, taking a look at the map. “My instinct tells me that she's hanging out in this room. At least right now.”

Indeed, all signs point to that larger room on the second floor. The one with only one entrance, sadly.

“... huh. Well, we don't want to just walk in the front,” Marisa says, shrugging, “How tough is this place?”

You see a glint of destruction flash in her eyes. She's always loved blowing through things if possible, so you have some idea of what she has in mind. “Strong enough to hold battles with demons, remember. I don't think you'll be able to just knock a hole in the wall, if that's what your suggesting.”

“... hmm,” Marisa says, “A bit off topic, but I wonder if some other kind of magician might be better to have along than a diviner.”

You laugh. “It's not like we have much choice, though, right? Unless you know of another mage hanging around that I don't know.”

“I wonder,” Patchouli says, looking at you. Damn, this is getting a little creepy. “Hypothetically. What do you think?”

[ ] I can't really think of anything better.
[ ] Well, I guess a force mage might be handy so someone could go toe-to-toe with her (magic-hulk class)
[ ] If we had a second Marisa, that might work pretty well (blow-shit-up class)
[ ] Some sort of shield mage would be perfect (forcefield class)
[ ] Something else (write-in, although I may veto it)

Also (after planning session):
Remaining time (25 mins)
Scheduled time (25 mins)
[ ] Revise schedule.
[ ] Schedule is fine

[x] Everyone will need a copy of the map. (10 mins)
[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)

============================
This is your free change for the day. Even if you choose to pass it up, trying to change in the mansion may result in... bad things, so yeah.
>> No. 31938
[x] Manipulator (support class)
[x] Schedule is fine

I still think Manipulator has a shot at disrupting Flandre's power. Plus, since Patchy sucks at shield spells, we could definitely help her out there.

and buff/debuff classes are cool as hell
>> No. 31940
[X] I can't really think of anything better.
[X] Schedule is fine

Divining has served us well in the past, and I trust in it. Something is going to go horribly wrong in that mansion, and if we are to have any hope of foreseeing it, it'll be as a diviner.
>> No. 31961
I know more than two people are reading this.
>> No. 31962
[x] Some sort of shield mage would be perfect (forcefield class)
I'm going with this, because having better defense papers over our biggest weakness at the cost of less adaptability. This also lets Patchy focus on what she's good at; as we saw near the beginning, her elementalism is not to be taken lightly. Force mage might also work, but there's a whole lot more to meleeing vampires than just being strong.
>> No. 31966
[X] Some sort of shield mage would be perfect (forcefield class)
[X] Schedule is fine

The divination earlier has already given us information on how she'll be fighting, but besides seeing what's coming, I doubt a diviner would have much skill in combat. Let Marisa and Patchouli play to their strengths.
>> No. 31970
[x] Well, I guess a force mage might be handy so someone could go toe-to-toe with her
Meat shield+glass cannons=good balance
>> No. 31971
[x] Some sort of shield mage would be perfect (forcefield class)
[x] Schedule is fine

I'd write in chronomancy, but it doesn't synergize well with a party, and I don't know if we could kill Remilia on our own power even if we had all the time necessary.
>> No. 31974
[X] Some sort of shield mage would be perfect (forcefield class)
[X] Schedule is fine
>> No. 32005
... guess I shouldn't have opened my mouth about the schedule thing. It seems that that's always what causes things to go awry.

Anyway, called. Update either today or tomorrow.
>> No. 32006
>>32005

Hooray!
>> No. 32059
At least, I would have, if the campus career fair didn't appear out of nowhere along with an exam.

I'll have something up later today for sure though.
>> No. 32060
>>32059
Still hooray!
>> No. 32077
“I guess some sort of shield mage might help” You say, shrugging, “A good one would buy us some time to wound her a bit, maybe slow her down. But that's neither here nor there.” But, then, you pause. It's like your head suddenly goes blank, although you aren't quite sure why. “...wait. What are we talking about?”

Marisa lets out a curt laugh. “We were talking about how it's good that we've got a shield mage along. Right?”

“Right,” You say, remembering quite suddenly. “Sorry. I kind of spaced out there for a moment.”

Yes, there was a diviner here a little while ago, although he had some business to take care of. Something more pressing, so he couldn't stay. You three were in the process of digesting that information.

“Anyway, I think this'll work fine,” Marisa says, “You'll just keep the shield up as we blast away.”

You nod. “I'll try. She sounds like quite the beast.”

“There is still the matter of just walking in the front door,” Patchouli points out, “That doesn't seem wise.”

Ah, right, that's what you were talking about. Right before Marisa interrupted with her comment. You shrug. “I don't know. She doesn't seem like the type to attack us the moment we walk in, and... this does look like the room that diviner describes,” You say, “So there would be gaudy statues and pillars scattered around.”

“Cover enough,” Marisa says, “So, just go in, talk for a bit, then turn her to dust?”

You laugh. “Well, if we're doing that, we can just walk in through the front door to the mansion too.”

“I like it,” Marisa says, grinning. Then, turning to Patchouli, she asks “How about you?”

“Brash, but I suppose it will work,” She says, “Assuming we can find a defensible position while irritating the Lady enough to continue attacking.”

“And the sister?” You bring up, “We could just hope to not run into her, but... hm.”

“As I said, she likely needs line-of-sight,” Patchouli says, “Are you any good at producing a light shield?”

“I... that's a good question,” You say, thinking about it for a moment. “I can't say I've ever tried. You mean a shield that prevents light from entering?”

“Exiting, or else we couldn't see,” Patchouli says, “It may provide effective cover from her ability.”

“Good idea,” You note, “We could attack her from inside, as long as she's not doing anything else.”

“There is still the sword,” Patchouli says, “Well, I suppose we could attempt to disarm her. Still, we should avoid that confrontation if possible.”

You nod, satisfied with that. “Right, then. Let's go over some basic formations and signals.”

Marisa frowns. “What?”

“We want to be at least a little organized,” You say, shrugging, “An unruly mob of mages still won't have a chance, even if they've got a bit of magic armor around them.”

“Eh... I suppose,” Marisa admits.

“Right, so, if I go like this, we...”

It's easier to cover three people under a force bubble, but obviously that makes for one target – and, although you could just bark out orders, that would make for easy countering. Basically, you spend the next few minutes coming up with responses and counter-responses, and some emergency actions you all can take. There's a few setups too, to strike a balance between being clumped together and being too spread out. Who knows if they'll be useful at all or not, but it's good to have them.

After that's all said and done, you decide to work on copying the map.

“Eh... trust me when I say I shouldn't try to make a copy,” Marisa says, after you bring up the topic, “It'd probably be easier to follow from memory.”

“Well, we only need two copies,” You note, “Want to help me, Patchouli?”

Patchouli gives a nod. “Yes. I'd rather not get lost if we get separated.”

“I'll just, uh...” Marisa takes a look around, “... get some breakfast, I guess.”

[ ] “Actually, you could go get that key to the back entrance the diviner mentioned that the maid has. It'll be useful.”
[ ] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”

Remaining time (15 mins)
Scheduled time (15 mins)
[ ] Revise schedule.
[ ] Schedule is fine

[x] Head to the Mansion (15 mins)
>> No. 32078
I'm not sure if the schedule is fine or not, but I definitely think
>[ ] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”
needs to be a part of whatever wins, since I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to have Marisa trying to deal with Sakuya alone. Or possibly seeing the aftereffects of what was done to her by the little devils, for that matter.
>> No. 32082
>[ ] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”
>> No. 32087
[x] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”
>> No. 32091
[x] “Actually, you could go get that key to the back entrance the diviner mentioned that the maid has. It'll be useful.”

We've already eaten, and Marisa is going to go eat whether or not we agree that it's a good idea. This'll be our last action before heading into the mansion, so let's try and make it worthwhile, instead of meaninglessly wasting time trying to keep up relations.
>> No. 32092
>>32091
I don't think she would eat with the other choice as she'd be too busy dealing with Sakuya. It's better for Marisa to be in the best possible shape for the upcoming operation.
>> No. 32094
>>32092
Ugh, shit, you're right. I read that completely wrong. Didn't realize that I was voting for dialogue, and not an action. I thought we would be the one going to go grab the key, leaving Marisa to go eat. Apparently I am simply a massive retard. I'll keep the vote though, as we really do need that damn key.
>> No. 32095
[x] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”

I'd rather use the front entrance.
>> No. 32096
[x] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”

Marisa's a badass, but you CANNOT trust her to be alone with Sakuya after her mental toss-up. Time stopping bitch is too crafty.
>> No. 32101
>>32094
At least we won't get a "nobody voted to get the key from Sakuya, this will be taken into consideration" this way.
>> No. 32102
>>32101
Unanimous votes strengthen Jack's magic, you fool!

Or close votes. One of the two.
>> No. 32106
>>32101
Who does a dick move like that?
>> No. 32110
[x] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”
[x] Schedule is fine

>>32094
>we really do need that damn key.

Yeah, but we're taking Sakuya with us, so we can just take it from her when we need it.
>> No. 32148
[x] “Good idea. No need to go into battle hungry.”
[x] Schedule is fine
>> No. 32242
Called, update tonight or tomorrow.
>> No. 32255
>>32242
Hooray.
>> No. 32258
“Good idea,” You nod, “No need to go into battle hungry. Did you eat yet, Patchouli?”

“I do not need to eat now,” She says, already starting work on her copy of the map. … right, youkai. That must be pretty convenient.

“You sure? Well, whatever,” Marisa says, “Have fun you guys.”

And so, the three of you set to work on your different things. You quickly find out that this map is very difficult to copy correctly – you're not bad with your copying, but damn, this is a nice map. You could probably build a copy of the mansion from this.

In the end, yours isn't nearly as nice. It's probably good enough for your purposes, though; nothing seems too crooked and you've got your proportions good. Patchouli's is pretty close to the original, if not exact. She also finishes a few minutes before you do.

“Yeah,” Marisa says with a mouthful of rice, as you set down your pen. It looks like she's almost finished in either case. “that's a lot better than something I could do.”

You shrug. “It's not all that great. I got the important bits, though.”

“So, which one do I get?” Marisa asks.

“Take the original,” You say, “I'll just use mine, and Patchouli can use hers.”

You pull out your new watch, and... much to your surprise, find that you've still got a few minutes left. Cutting out the clutter seems to have given you a few minutes extra.

[ ] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.
[ ] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.
[ ] Something else (write-in).
[ ] Cool. Now you can leave a little early.
================================================
Sorry for the shortness. I wasn't even thinking you guys (maybe) wanted to bring Sakuya along, so cut it short instead of going on. Consider this your "are you prepared for your journey, hero?" post, just in case I forgot something else too.

Expect the next update Wednesday or Thursday. Spring break is coming up, so as soon as I get my work for this week in I'll have time to put other things off.
>> No. 32259
[x] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.

This is a terrible idea. Let's do it.
>> No. 32260
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.
>> No. 32261
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.

Honestly we're stupid to not execute her. Why the hell would you drag her along on the raid?
>> No. 32263
>>32261
Remember our reasons for sparing her?

>[x] "I'm not going to crash the Lady's gates without at least bringing along my invitation."
>[x] "We can always kill her later if she causes more problems; if her mistress is as harsh on failure as I think, she might just save us the trouble."

They're why.
>> No. 32272
[x] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.
Our 'invitation' eh?
>> No. 32274
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.

Dragging our unwilling prisoner back to her master would be utterly idiotic. We should be content with the preparations we have down, and the key.
>> No. 32288
[x] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.
>> No. 32295
[X] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.
>> No. 32317
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.

As much as I want to bring a deadwood alongside us.
>> No. 32342
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.
[x] Enough time to go grab the prisoner, then.

There's no reason not to do both.
>> No. 32346
[x] We have enough time to go grab the prisoner.
>> No. 32349
[x] Enough time to go grab the key off of the prisoner, then.
>> No. 32408
Called, update in a few hours along with a new thread.