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35356 No. 35356
[x] Modified "I bent it to my will, and it's my shikigami now. It won't attack you.”

You smile at the kid, while your brain scrambles to come up with an answer. “Well... you see... have you ever heard of a shikigami?”

A little lie never hurt anyone, you suppose.

The boy shakes his head. Good, good. Then, you can just twist this a bit.

“A shikigami is a monster that's bound to a magician,” You say, with a laugh. “Turns out it wasn't really dead. I was so impressed with it's ruse, that I decided to make it mine. It won't be attacking anyone now, so you don't need to worry.”

“Wow,” He says, “You can do that?”

You give a sagely nod. “It's difficult, but it can be done.”

“That's so cool,” He says, taking a look towards the paper in his hand. “Oh, yeah. You probably want your message, right? It just came in, but it looks like it's garbled.”

You laugh. “It's in code. Pass it here.”

Quickly, you scan over the letter.

'A.J.S.

A RECALL OF ALL AGENTS HAS BEEN INITIATED. YOUR ORDERS ARE TO RETURN TO VANDENBURG, AND COORDINATE PICKUP FOR THE GUILD MEMBERS ON THE ATTACHED LIST. IF CONTACT WITH THE CAPITAL IS IMPOSSIBLE UPON ARRIVAL, YOU ARE TO FOLLOW THE ORDERS OF THE ACTING LEADER AT TRELLIS.

G.M.Y'

The list is written on the back, in a very simple format. Town name, member name. Most of these are initiates – good for raw numbers, maybe, but not so much for real combat. A few of the agents you recognize by name, but you can't say you've ever worked with any of them before.

The capital is neatly contained within it's own walls, with only farmland immediately around the edges. You guess that, as it grew, other people decided to start up cities nearby on various rivers or railway lines. Vandenburg, for instance, lies a few miles north of the city on the only rail running in that direction, while Trellis lies on a river just a few miles west.

Interesting. You heard there was a pretty big operation going on out west; big enough, at least, that it needed a magister to head it. A bit of an odd move, since those guys usually just order agents like you around, but---

“Was that everything?”

You look up, and see the kid looking up at you.

“Yeah,” You say, reaching into your pockets, “And here, a bonus. You can go home now.”

“Oh, thanks! See you, Jack.”

You hand the lad a bit of the extra change you had in your pocket – not much for you, but a fair bit for a child out in the middle of nowhere like this. He scampers off... presumably towards his home. You head back towards your temporary home.

Chen still looks agitated, and immediately comes up to you once you enter the train yard.

“What was that?”

“My message,” You say, giving the paper in your hands a shake, “What were you saying?”

“I need to go now,” Chen says, “So, you're ready?”

“Why now?”

“'Cause the boss says so.”

Then, with the orders to wait outside the capital... it's probably beginning.

“Can you wait... twenty minutes? We need to do a bit of planning first.”

Chen fidgets a bit, looking around and counting on her fingers. “I think that's ok. It's faster if I ride with you... I think.”

“Well,” You say, “Follow me, then. We need to wake up some people.”

You slide open the door leading to the passenger car, and head up to the girls' compartment. Marisa's still out cold, but Patchouli seems to be awake.

You give a loud knock on the door regardless, and slide it open.

“What do you want?” Marisa groans.

Again, you wave the paper in your hands a bit. “We've got orders. Want to go grab that bread, Marisa?”

“Me?” She mumbles, “Why?”

“Because Patchouli and I need to do some logistics work,” You say, “Unless you want to do that.”

She finally sits up, and rubs her eyes. “Ugh. I'll go get the bread.”

You smile. “Thanks.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Logistics?” Patchouli asks, placing a mark in her book. “Perhaps we should move to the engine room.”

“That would be good,” You say, “Let's go.”

“And who is your... friend?” She asks, looking towards Chen, “Oh, is this the messenger?”

“I'm Chen, not the messenger,” It says, “So, where do I stay?”

“Uh... just come with us for now,” You say. This train is going to be cramped very fast if you can't come up with something better. “We can sort that out once we're moving.”

“Oh, ok,” she says, “I don't want to lay down right now anyway.”

The engine makes a surprisingly good planning room. There's quite a few maps lying about of various scales, and a large counter on one edge to lay them out on.

The meeting mainly consists of figuring out where all these cities are, and where you need to stop. Quickly, it's clear that there's a problem.

“Visiting all these locations is impossible within a reasonable time.”

“Yeah.”

The way the railways are set up in this region... well, its something like a very elongated diamond shape. Two almost parallel rails that split just a ways south of here, and meet just a ways north of Vandenburg.

“Well,” You sigh, “I guess we'll need to pick one and tell an agent on the other route to do our job for us.”

“Yes,” She says, “That would work. We will also need to acquire another passenger car or two.”

“That part should be simple,” You say, pointing to the northern split. “That's a pretty big trade hub, right? We should be able to find something there.”

“Big by northern standards,” She says, “But yes, that's correct.”

“Then, I'll send the agent there a telegraph and have her get us a car or two and send her down the other route.”

“That sounds reasonable.”

Still, you aren't quite sure which route to take. One route definitely has more initiates along it – but, as the saying goes, it takes two of them to equal an agent. It's a toss-up between one agent and six initiates, or three agents and two initiates. Quality or quantity, you wonder?

[ ] Quality.
[ ] Quantity.

>> No. 35358
[x] Quality.

Train will be less cramped too.
>> No. 35360
[ ] Quality.
>> No. 35361
[x] Quality.

Named mages, please. Mooks aren't wanted here.
>> No. 35362
[x] Quality.
An Elite unit with few members always work best.
>> No. 35363
[X] Quality.
>> No. 35364
[x] Quality.
obvious
>> No. 35365
[x] Quality.
>> No. 35368
[x] Quality

This one's a no-brainer.
>> No. 35369
[x] Quality.

Expect that an attack will already be underway and that you will be a relief force. In that case, food will be in short supply. Less mouths to feed, the better.
>> No. 35370
[x] Quality.
Why would people want nameless mooks who are probably going to die in the next scene?
>> No. 35371
>>35370
Because the alternative is someone we like dying? Likely unceremoniously, at that.
>> No. 35372
[x] Quality.
>> No. 35377
[X] Quality.

Quantity is good if you have reserves. We don't.
>> No. 35391
Yeah, uh... sorry about the huge delays. Turns out that EU III is like crack to me. I'll finish this update after I wake up tomorrow.
>> No. 35412
>>35391

> I'll finish this update after I wake up tomorrow.

Suuure you will...
>> No. 35413
>>35412
Hey, the day after I wake up is still after, right?

But seriously, I had about three hours of 'not doing stuff' time today and this update seems to hate me. If nothing good comes out by tomorrow night, I'll just post this miserable thing I have now and move on.
>> No. 35425
[x] Quality.

“Well, we can bring up the rear with the big guns,” You say, after thinking about it for a moment. “I'll go send the message.”

“I'll make preparations to leave,” Patchouli says, “We should be ready when you return.”

Chen frowns. “Wait, you still can't leave? Why? Just turn it on.”

“This is a steam engine, so...”

You leave before you get sucked into that discussion.

The agent you're writing to goes by Alice. She's not an agent that you've ever worked under, even though she was a lead before you joined up, but you've certainly heard things about her. Most of it along the lines of how she treats anyone under her about as well as she treats her dolls. Which is fairly good, you guess, although most everyone you've talked to says that it's a little creepy.

Also, and perhaps more beneficially, she's supposed to be incredibly good at multitasking. You don't feel bad at all pushing a good portion of the supply gathering tasks off on her in your message.

Well, you guess you won't be able to meet her until Vandenburg, anyway. When you send your message, you receive a quick response from the receiving station that they'll send a courier over to give her the message immediately.

On your way back, just outside the station, you meet up with Marisa. She's carrying a large sack over her shoulder, like she's just been looting.

“Nice,” You comment, “How much more did we pay?”

“Eh,” Marisa says, “She didn't bother too much. Something about it not being fair, since I looked half asleep.”

You laugh. “Well, you do.”

Marisa ignores you. “Well, we're only a few loaves short, so I guess it turned out well enough. So, you guys managed to get the train warmed up without me?”

The two of you head up to the platform, and over towards the train itself. “Patchouli did. I just got back from the telegraph office.”

She gives you a curious look at that. “I'll fill you in once we're moving,” You say, “Let's get out of here.”

“Fill me in after I wake up,” Marisa laughs, “Seriously, I'm going back to bed.”

By now, you've both made it to the passenger car. You slide the door open.“Sure, that's fine. Thanks for grabbing this for me.”

“No problem,” She says, “Well, not since you're letting me go back to bed.”

As soon as you close the door, you hear another one – the one near the front of the passenger car – close. Then, a few seconds later, the whole car groans a bit as it begins the next leg of its journey.

“Where do you want this?” Marisa asks, motioning to the sack of bread.

“Here, just give it to me.”

She shrugs, and lets it fall off her shoulders into her hand. Then, she passes it off to you. “Here you are, then. See you later.”

“Yeah, see you in a few hours.”

After pulling out a loaf for breakfast, and adding the rest of the bag to the stockpile, you head up to the front of the train. Much to your horror, you see that Chen is aiding the koakuma in their driving task.

“You're sure that's safe?” You ask, after entering the “It seems like, uh...”

“It's much easier than it looks,” Patchouli says, her nose burried deep in her book, “She was quite enthusiastic about it, so I saw no harm.”

“Maybe I should give it a shot,” You say, “I did mention something about shifts.”

“Here,” Chen says, “I'll show you!”

And that's how you spend your trip. Munching on bread, and pretty much standing around doing nothing.

It takes about four hours to get to your next stop - Jelbig. This place is, clearly, a center of trade for the region. If you had to guess, you'd say that it's fairly close to Rokford's former size. There seems to actually be activity in the train yard, and a fair number of people in the

Thankfully, by this point, Marisa has woken up and taken the 'wheel' from you. Neither you nor Patchouli actually knows any of the protocol here.

“Right,” Marisa says, after bringing your train to rest on one of the dozen or so extra rails running through this place, “Well, sounds like they've got a car waiting for us like you said they would. If you've got anything to do in town, now's the time.”

You shrug. “Hmm. About how long is it going to take to get hooked up?”

“Twenty minutes, maybe” Marisa says, “We're not a high priority.”

[ ] Good. You wanted to survey the car, anyway.
[ ]That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.
>> No. 35426
[x] That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.
I wonder how Sakuya is spending her time now?
>> No. 35427
[x]That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.

We should be the highest priority! And now that the vote is done, I wonder if Quantity would have meant stage 1/2 bosses and such. Probably not, as youkai are supposed to be rare.
>> No. 35432
>“It's much easier than it looks,” Patchouli says, her nose burried deep in her book, “She was quite enthusiastic about it, so I saw no harm.”

Honk honk!

[x] That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.
>> No. 35436
[x] Good. You wanted to survey the car, anyway.

Let's see if anything interesting comes up since we're stuck anyways.
>> No. 35438
[x]That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.
>> No. 35443
File 131020030534.jpg - (17.65KB , 355x400 , speed-keanu-reeves-3222278-355-400.jpg ) [iqdb]
35443
>>35438
>[x]That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.
>> No. 35447
I know that this is getting ridiculous, but I need to put today's update off until tomorrow. I got 5 hours of sleep last night and spent the day hiking (PE classes are wonderful), so I'm supertired and not thinking very well.
>> No. 35449
>>35447
>update
>tomorrow

Hooray!
>> No. 35463
> It takes about four hours to get to your next stop - Jelbig. This place is, clearly, a center of trade for the region. If you had to guess, you'd say that it's fairly close to Rokford's former size. There seems to actually be activity in the train yard, and a fair number of people in the
In the what?
>> No. 35469
[x]That's too long. See if you can't speed things up.

“We'll see about that,” You say, placing your hand on the door, “Who sets the schedule around here?”

“That guy does,” Marisa says, pointing to a rather well-dressed man a ways to the left of your engine, “Don't tick him off, though, alright? He might make us wait even longer.”

“I wasn't planning on it. I just figured I'd try to do something while we're all waiting here.”

Marisa shrugs. “Good luck.”

“Thanks.”

You exit through the side of the engine, and step outside. Seems that it's quite noisy, too, to go along with the liveliness of the place. There's quite a lot of machinery grinding away in this place, loading and unloading the various freight trains in queue.

The man in question doesn't actually seem to be busy – mainly, he seems to be standing around watching things happen. So, you approach him.

“Hello,” You say, “Are you the man who handles the loading schedule here?”

The man makes a quick glance at you, but then goes back to staring in the direction he was staring before. “Yeah. I'm busy, though, so could you make this quick?”

[ ] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
[ ] Use your wallet. You've still got a bit of money allocated for this mission.
[ ] Use (write-in).
[ ] Actually, it's probably best not to bother him.
================================================
>>35463
In the void that is my mind at the moment - or the streets, whichever you prefer.
>> No. 35471
[X] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
[X] Use your wallet. You've still got a bit of money allocated for this mission.

Use both, makes it more believable.
>> No. 35472
[x] Use blatant appeals to emotion.

Look at all these dead people. They're your fault. Yours. Because you held up our train for 20 minutes. Do you really want that on your conscience?
>> No. 35473
[x] Use your sex appeal.

This can't possibly go badly
>> No. 35477
[X] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
[X] Use your wallet. You've still got a bit of money allocated for this mission.

If logic fails (and it usually does), resort to appealing to their greed.
>> No. 35478
File 131033769213.jpg - (113.71KB , 500x313 , shut_up_and_take_my_money_fry.jpg ) [iqdb]
35478
[x] Use your wallet. You've still got a bit of money allocated for this mission.
[x] Use the threat that you can tie up his entire operation just by parking your train across a rail switch.
>> No. 35485
[X] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
>> No. 35490
[X] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
[X] Use your wallet. You've still got a bit of money allocated for this mission.
EVERYONE'S GONNA DIE IF YOU DON'T HURRY UP
>> No. 35493
[ ] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.
Threaten him with your status. Why pay, when you can get for free?
>> No. 35505
[x] Use logic. Your train is more valuable than any cargo that could be passing through here.

“I'd like to discuss the schedule,” You tell him, “See, I believe that---”

“That you've got more important cargo than everyone else, right?” The man asks, interrupting, “Buddy, I've heard it all... oh.”

At this point he turns around, and makes no attempt to hide his gaze. He seems to have noticed that you're with the Guild.

“Well,” He says, seeming a bit humbled by the revelation, “You should have said you were Guild in the first place. I'll hear you out.”

You nod. This man seems reasonable, so you'll try to reason with him. “As I was saying, I believe that we should get priority. We're on a tight schedule, and our mission has massive repercussions.”

“Mind filling me in?” He asks, “Some blond said the same thing earlier, but she was pretty tight lipped about whatever it was.”

“It's, uh... let's just say that there's tens of thousands of lives on the line,” You say, “You'll hear about it in a few days, regardless of the outcome. I think that that's worth more than whatever these freight trains might be carrying.”

“Really. Tens of thousands of lives? What, is someone going to bomb the capital, and you're the only one that can stop it?”

“No,” You say, “Look, I really can't talk about it much. We're expected as reinforcements, and an extra half hour might make all the difference.”

The man sighs. “When one of the big shipping moguls has my boss talk to me about late shipments, I can't just tell him I'm delaying shipments for secret missions. At least, not more than a few times in a day. I need something solid.”

Off in the distance, you see a train that had been loading previously begin to move out.

“Let me put it this way,” You say, “This is big. If I told you, and you told someone else, and they told other people... it wouldn't be so good. So, I can't say much.”

“Hey,” He says, “You've got my word. I won't tell anyone.”

You just give him a sad grin. “Do you know anyone in the capital? Any good friends?”

“Yeah,” He says offhandedly, “Who doesn't?”

“It's not a bomb,” You say, “But it's similar, I suppose.”

He laughs. “Really. You're saying that something's going down in the capital?”

“Yes.”

It takes him a moment to realize that you're deadly serious. “... nah, you're just crazy,” He says, “Maybe somewhere else, but not the capital.”

“The capital,” You reaffirm, “Now, we can stay here and chat about how unlikely that is, or you can put me in the front of the queue?”

The man looks hesitant, unsure of whether or not to trust you. It takes you nearly a minute to get your response. “I guess I can do that,” He quitely admits after a while, “I get the feeling that you're not lying. What should I tell the other drivers? We haven't gotten any orders to cut shipping, but most of these trains are bound for the capital.”

“Then tell them nothing,” You shrug, “There's going to be a blockade set up at Vandenburg that'll prevent them from heading any further, and I'd like to prevent any unnecessary panic.”

The man sighs. “You can get in after this train,” He says, motioning for someone off in the distance to come over to him, “I'll let my guys know. You'd better not be pulling my leg.”

“I wish I was,” You say, “Thank you.”

You head back over to your dilapidated old thing, and head back into the front. The first thing you notice is that it's a bit less crowded than it was before.

“Hey,” You say, “Where'd, uh... Chen go?”

“The cat?” Marisa asks, “She's in the passenger car peeking out windows. How'd it go?”

“Well,” You say, “We're next.”

“Really?” Marisa asks, “Awesome. How much did you pay him?”

“Nothing. I just told him the truth,” You say, “I hope he doesn't go spreading the information around, but I guess there's not much I can do about that. I really don't want a train full of civilians streaming in while we're trying to retake the place.”

Marisa nods. “I guess he wouldn't let you through without a reason, then.”

“Maybe if Alice hadn't used the excuse earlier,” You shrug, “It would have worked. Not twice, though.”

Out of habit, you go to check the time.

“... shit.”

“What?”

“The watch,” You say, checking for a second and third time, “It's gone.”

“What watch?”

“That maid's pocket watch.”

“Shit,” Marisa agrees, “Think she took it back?”

“No,” Patchouli says, “I would have heard about it. The koakuma have been keeping a close watch on her.”

[ ] Not close enough. Where else could it have gone?
[ ] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
>> No. 35506
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.

I don't wanna accuse Sakuya.
>> No. 35507
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
>> No. 35508
[X] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
>> No. 35509
[x] Not close enough. Where else could it have gone?
>> No. 35511
[x] Chen has it.
>> No. 35512
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
CHEEEEEEEEEEN
>> No. 35513
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
>> No. 35514
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.

Honkers gonna honk.
>> No. 35515
[x] Not close enough. Where else could it have gone?

I'm no idiot. I can read the writing on the wall.
>> No. 35516
>>35515
What's it say?
>> No. 35517
[X] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
If Sakuya wanted to escape, she would already have.
>> No. 35520
>>35516
They want our bodies.
>> No. 35523
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.
>> No. 35524
[x] Let's get searching, then. It must be around somewhere.

“Me either,” You say, turning back to Marisa, “I bet it just fell out of my pocket when I was sleeping or something.”

She shrugs. “Well, I'll look around up here while we're waiting if you want.”

“I'll check in the passenger car,” You say, “It's probably on the train somewhere. I can't remember the last time something fell out of my pockets when I was walking around.”

“Shall I form a search party?” Patchouli asks, casting a sideways glance to the two koakuma sitting in the window frame, “These two seem bored.”

“Nah,” You say, sliding open the rear door, “I should be fine on my own.”

The first thing you notice upon entering the passenger car is that Chen character, peeking out one of the windows intently. Heh. She really does look like a cat, with that stare and the way her tails are swishing like that. These youkai are so much more amusing when they aren't trying to eat your face off.

A survey of your tiny room turns up nothing - as you'd expect. You simply don't lose things. It's your business to keep these pockets loaded to the point of almost ripping, so to lose something is really strange. And annoying.

“Hey,” You say, trying to get Chen's attention, “Have you seen a watch around?”

It seems startled, swinging around a little too quickly to be just answering a question. “Nya? Oh,” She says, with a little laugh, “You scared me! What is it?”

“I seem to have lost a pocket watch that I was holding on to,” You say, “You haven't seen one, have you?”

“I think,” She says, “Maybe one of those bats had one?”

“Bats?”

“Yeah, the little bat things,” She says, “Like, the ones with the maid.”

… what? Why would one of them have it? Patchouli said none of them reported anything strange.

“Where did it take it?”

“Uh... in there?” She says, pointing towards Sakuya's room. “Maybe? I wasn't watching really hard.”

“Thanks,” You say. What sort of bullshit is going on here? Only one way to find out, you guess. Using your best stealth skills, you peek into Sakuya's compartment.

Indeed, the watch is there. The maid is dangling the watch by it's golden chain, looking back and forth between it and a koakuma floating a few feet in front of her. The other two are perched on the door's window frame, just off to the right of your little view port.

… three koakuma? Shouldn't there only be two?

The maid and the koakuma talking about something, but it's impossible to hear through this damned door. And, even more frustrating, you can't read any of their faces. Those koakuma are forever playful, while Sakuya is forever stoic. It's impossible to tell what's going on in there.

[ ] Something demonic, no doubt. Get ready for a fight.
[ ] Head back to the engine while you still can. You'll need assistance dealing with this.
[ ] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
>> No. 35525
[ ] Head back to the engine while you still can. You'll need assistance dealing with this.

Lets talk with patchy..it might just be the Koakuma being too playful..
>> No. 35526
[x] Something demonic, no doubt. Get ready for a fight.
-[x] The watch is missing and the Koakuma might have it. Prepare yourself to face a time-stopping maid... again.
>> No. 35527
[x] Head back to the engine while you still can. You'll need assistance dealing with this.
>> No. 35528
>>35526
> Indeed, the watch is there. The maid is dangling the watch by it's golden chain
So. No, the Koakuma doesn't have the watch. Sakuya has it.
>> No. 35529
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.

Worst-case scenario, we're fighting Sakuya in enclosed quarters with nowhere for her to run. Exactly the sort of battle she's likely to lose. Or she gets spirited away by Hell-magic or a gap or something. If that's going to happen, why is she hesitant? Something doesn't add up.
>> No. 35530
>>35528
Sorry, didn't read that part right.
Wait, that's even worse! Demonic deals, all around!
>> No. 35531
[X] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
>> No. 35532
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
>> No. 35533
[x] Something demonic, no doubt. Get ready for a fight.

I hate to be the faggot who says I told you so, but goddamn guys. This shit was obvious from the beginning.
>> No. 35536
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
Knowledge is power. *cough*
>> No. 35537
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
No use to overreact.
>The maid is dangling the watch by it's golden chain, looking back and forth between it and a koakuma floating a few feet in front of her.
Seems like they gave it to her or want something. Might as well find out.
>> No. 35538
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.
>> No. 35539
[ ] Something demonic, no doubt. Get ready for a fight.
>> No. 35542
[x] Something demonic, no doubt. Get ready for a fight.

I know everyone wants to see Sakuya hand the watch back and prove she's secretly a pillar of morality, but the fact is that she's shown herself to be an easily influenced woman with little internal drive, no conscience, and recently on the edge of suicide.

In Jack's own words:
>“When someone breaks like that,” You say, “Sometimes, they can be reshaped.

You aren't doing her any favors by letting the demon continue to drip poison in her ear. And it's not like you won't find out what's going on when you confront her about it.

Right now you specialize in barrier magic and would be blocking the only entrance. It's much more of a danger for Sakuya to simply take the watch and leave while you're hiding or getting Patchouli.

>>35529
>If that's going to happen, why is she hesitant? Something doesn't add up.

The koakuma might be asking her to join forces with the demons in the name of her former mistress' goals. She did say at least she owed it to Remilia to tell her side of the story, so she might feel she similarly owes it to Remilia to make the demons' attack a success.

Or it could be Yukari doing the asking, seeking to use Sakuya as an independent agent in her schemes, maybe promising to clear Remilia's name when all is said or done. That wouldn't be nearly as bad, but I'd still rather be the one keeping an eye on her.

>>35533
>I hate to be the faggot who says I told you so, but goddamn guys. This shit was obvious from the beginning.

Yukari has already gone so far as possessing one right in front of us, so it's not a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.
>> No. 35543
>>35542
I want Sakuya to remain relevant to the plot. I really don't give a damn how this is accomplished.

just don't kill her, basically
>> No. 35544
[x] However, maybe if you continue to watch, you'll get a better idea.

However, if you continue to watch, you can probably get a better idea.

Chronomages can't open doors or do anything of the sort while in their time-bubbles, so you're in no real danger yet. And, honestly, you'd rather not fight her again if you can at all avoid it. That wasn't a pleasant battle.

The current scene, with the maid and the alone koakuma having a conversation and the other two off to the side, continues for another minute. At the end, there's a very large break. A bit of staring, and then...

… you blink, and find that the third koakuma – the one doing a talking – now finds itself in a grapple. Sakuya's got it around the waist with one arm, and a knife to it's throat with her other one. Damn. Is she going to try breaking free? Where the hell did she get that knife?

In either case, the two koakuma near the window flutter into action. She stops them with a few words, however, and motions for the door. And turns towards the door... just a little too quickly for you to move out of the way. Your eyes meet.

And she motions for you to enter with her usual stare. You're a bit hesitant, of course---

---but there's nothing to worry about. If it comes to blows, you're confident that you'll win like you did last time. Assistance is only a car away, and, as long as she doesn't get outside somehow, this is far too narrow for her to be of much use. She's good, but she need a hefty dose of surprise to be really effective.

So, you stand up and open the door.

“You seem to have a thief and a spy,” Sakuya says, with a quick motion to the koakuma, “And she is very irritating.”

A thief and a spy?

“W-w-what?” The grappled koakuma yells, looking between you and the other koakuma, “Come on, stop her! She's trying to escape!”

This whole scene is bizarre.

“None of your lies,” Sakuya says, “As I said, I'm not interested.”

She looks dangerously close to killing the tiny creature, so you decide to jump in.

“Hold it,” You say, “All of you. Don't make a move. What's going on here?”

“A rather half-hearted attempt from Makai to---”

“--- let her escape! They just gave her the watch and she want's to kill---”

“Silence,” Sakuya says, rather forcefully, “I have had enough of your slander.”

At that very moment, many things happen. The train begins to move, but the jolt is enough to knock your unbraced self off balance. Sakuya, too. The koakuma breaks free. The other koakuma begin to move, making a beeline for the maid. And, right on cue, a time distortion begins to form.

[ ] Enter it. You'll battle her on her own turf, as you did last time.
[ ] Disrupt it. Stepping outside and sealing the door is the best idea.
[ ] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.
>> No. 35545
[x] Enter it. Stepping outside and sealing the door is the best idea.

Punches first, questions later.
>> No. 35551
[x] Enter it. You'll battle her on her own turf, as you did last time.
>> No. 35552
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

She didn't want to escape earlier, because it would be a disservice to Remilia. We suddenly have an extra devil, and demons are our enemies at the moment. Sakuya has no reason to try to escape right now.

This whole thing reeks of a deal Sakuya refused to take.
>> No. 35553
[X] Enter it. You'll battle her on her own turf, as you did last time.
>> No. 35555
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

I trust Sakuya in light of dealing with Makai as perhaps she might blame them for what's happened to everyone.
>> No. 35556
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

This situation was the result of chance. That means Sakuya is telling the truth.
>> No. 35557
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

I wanna believe in her.
>> No. 35558
[x] Enter it and assist her
>> No. 35559
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

>This whole thing reeks of a deal Sakuya refused to take.
This. I believe this.
Besides, she never came over to be fanatical loyal to her dead master. She was made to be a servant but never went on to swear eternal revenge. It was more like her reason of being got taken away from her and she just had no other idea what else to do.

She wanted to kill herself, he saved her, showed her there is something else so there should be a basis for the two of them.
>> No. 35561
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

This third devil is just too suspicious, and if Sakuya were trying to make an excuse, she would have come up with something a lot more believable (or desperate-sounding). This has to be true because she's not even trying to sound reasonable.

...I realize this sounds like a very shady train of logic, but it makes perfect sense in my head. It's not as bad as it sounds, is it?

>>35520
General creepiness, or a reference to something?
>> No. 35566
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

I'll bet on the maido.
>> No. 35569
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.
>> No. 35570
[x] Disrupt it. Stepping outside and sealing the door is the best idea.

No matter their words, something funny is going down here. The prudent course of action would be to seal them inside and deal with it later.
>> No. 35572
[ ] Enter it. You'll battle her on her own turf, as you did last time.
>> No. 35577
[x] This isn't worth your effort. She's just trying to recapture the spy.

… however, the only action you take is to steady yourself. You know exactly what she's doing, and it's not worth your effort to get involved. You give the bubble a little tug, though – just a little nudge – to let her know that you're aware of what's going on.

Of course, since you don't enter it, you aren't allowed to see what happens. But in no time at all, the scene shifts again. The maid, now much closer to the door than she was before, has the fleeing koakuma again. The other two take a second to react, and, in that time, you call them off.

“Ahhh, save me!” The caught koakuma yells, “Save me!”

Sakuya doesn't even flinch. Instead, she looks at you. “Will you tell it to be quiet? It seems to think that it's ruse isn't over.”

“Be quiet,” You tell the squirming demon. Then, you peek into the room at the other two koakuma, who seem to be completely lost as to what to do, “You two. What's going on here?”

“Patchy sent her, because she found out that the maid had her watch back.”

“It was placed on my person,” Sakuya offers, “Presumably by this one.”

“No, she totally---!”

“Everyone,” You say, sighing, “Quiet. Don't speak unless I ask you to. Now,” You say, looking back to the koakuma pair, “Continue.”

“So, so, we tried to get it back. And then she attacked!”

“And your side?” You ask, turning back to Sakuya.

“As I said, this one gave the watch to me,” Sakuya states, “Then attempted to use it as goodwill to buy my allegiance.”

“That's not-”

“What did I say?” You interrupt, causing the caught little imp to scowl a bit, “Is that true, you two?”

“No, that's not right!” They say, “She said she was going to escape and we tried to stop her. We swear!”

“You,” You say, pointing to the one on the left, “Go get Patchouli to come back here.”

“R-right away!”

You turn to watch her leave, and notice that Chen seems to have taken to watching this whole ordeal instead of looking out the window. Damn... even that smile is somehow catlike. This must be more interesting than a train yard, you guess.

“Bad guys?”

You shrug. “Probably.”

It doesn't take long for you to see that familiar blue-black robe making it's way towards your position. All the while there's various nudges and things from what's presumably the second car being attached.

“You called for me?” Patchouli asks, hardly looking up from her book. She seems to be intent on finishing whatever bit she's currently on.

“Yeah,” You say, “Is there anything funny about this koakuma?”

“Hmm?” She asks, finally taking a glance up from her book. “... oh, my, what happened here?”

“That's what I'm asking,” You say, “Someone here is lying, and I have the feeling that it's this koakuma.”

After placing a bookmark in her book, she moves closer to the captured one and leans in close.

“Interesting,” Patchouli says, “This is not one of mine.”

The little imp spits in Patchouli's face. “Yeah, I'm no slave! Makai's gonna kill you guys, you know. You're all dead!”

Sakuya tightens her grip a bit, and moves the knife a bit closer. Patchouli, on the other hand, doesn't hardly seems to notice. “Ah, this is not a koakuma,” She says, reaching up to poke at the things forehead. Her finger brushes the red hair off to the side, revealing small obsidian-like lumps. “See? It has horns.”

“What's that mean?”

Patchouli backs away, seemingly satisfied with her find. “It aquires a small bit of illusion magic. You said that these two were giving odd accounts of what happened?”

You nod. “They're claiming that Sakuya tried to escape, while Sakuya's claiming that she wasn't.”

“Pretty slick, huh?” The not-koakuma speaks up, “I duped those little idiots pretty good!”

Patchouli looks up to the koakuma remaining in the room, and then to the one over her shoulder. “Both of you, come here.”

They do. And Patchouli gives them both a rather firm swat.

“Ow!” “Ow!”

“You should know better,” She says, “It's simple for you two to avoid this type of magic if you are paying attention.”

“Sorry...”

The captured one, on the other hand, lets out a little laugh. “Yeah, stupids.”

“My deepest apologies,” Patchouli says, turning to you, “This is quite embarrassing.”

“Yeah, well,” You say, “Remind them to be more vigilant next time. Maybe we should mark them or something, too. This could have been a lot worse.”

“Yeah, maybe if this servant actually cared about her master's wishes at---ack!”

That knife of Sakuya's is now pressed firmly against the imp's throat, and her grip seems dangerously close to crushing the beast. “You know nothing,” She says, in a voice that manages to send chills down your spine. “Do not speak as if you do.”

That... seems to have shut it up, at least for now. You wonder what you should do with the thing.

“Patchouli,” You say, “If this imp were to die, what would happen to it?”

“It would return to Makai, weakened,” She says, finally bothering to wipe the imp spit off of her face, “And... bodiless, if that knife is the method used. Its memory would be intact, but it would be mostly useless for a few days. ”

[ ] Somehow, you think interrogating this thing would be a waste of time. Send it home.
[ ] Somehow, you think interrogating this thing would be a waste of time. Send it home with a message (write-in).
[ ] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.
>> No. 35578
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.
Why not?
>> No. 35579
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

I'd like to send it back with some misinformation, but... what misinformation could we give? I can't think of anything useful.
>> No. 35580
How about confirming that this train will arrive with reinforcements, then abandoning the train and completing the last leg on foot? We really shouldn't use the train anyway, since they obviously know it's coming and will probably be prepared.

Does this seem like a good idea to anyone else?
>> No. 35581
[ ] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

>>35580

And take longer for the reinforcements to arrive? Not a good idea.

Besides, Makai probably isn't worried about a small group of extra mages, if they are indeed going full force. If they are, however, then that would only serve to hasten them, making the invasion happen earlier.
>> No. 35582
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

Not sure what would happen. Probably something like the... torture earlier. Still, Sakuya earned my trust, thus she joined the party and can keep the watch.
>> No. 35583
>>35582
I'm not sure if it will be the same type as Sakuya got. This imp isn't human after all.

[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.
>> No. 35584
[x] Trap the Sou...
Oops, wrong paradigm. In that case:
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here. Under oversight.
>> No. 35591
[X] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

Before they know it more ImpsPinkies/Hellknights,Barons of Hell/Mancubi/Cacodemons/Revenants are coming out of the goddamnedwalls unless they figure out how it got there in the first place.
>> No. 35592
Taking a break today to take care of some other things. I'll resume tomorrow.
>> No. 35594
>>35581
I'm assuming the invasion already happened. Cause Yukari recalled Chen. But I guess that isn't a given.

Fuck, if I were them, I'd blow up the railroad on the way in if I couldn't spare forces for an ambush. Surely they have the resources to do at least that much? And, considering that a minor demon just showed off some illusion magic, I don't think it's farfetched to assume we wouldn't see the derailing coming.
>> No. 35595
>“You should know better,” She says, “It's simple for you two to avoid this type of magic if you are paying attention.”
Oh, right.

Arguing with myself, fuck yeah.
>> No. 35609
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

>>35580
>How about confirming that this train will arrive with reinforcements, then abandoning the train and completing the last leg on foot?

The train is carries valuable foodstuffs right now, and probably more by the time we actually get to the Capitol.
>> No. 35614
[x] Have your own demons work on it. You'd like to know how it got here.

“I think I have a better idea, then,” You say, “Sakuya, could you let it live a bit longer?”

She seems extremely hesitant to lessen her grip. This could be a problem. It's going to be difficult to get through to her after an insult like that, you think

“Sakuya?”

“... what do you have in mind?”

“A bit of persuasion,” You say, “I want to know how it got here, among other things. After that, I don't particularly care what happens to it.”

She thinks about it, long and hard. And then, after a few more moments, she lets her knife from the imp's throat.

“... very well.”

“If that's your intention,” Patchouli says, “Perhaps I could be of assistance. I am quite versed in such things.”

You nod. “That'd be great. You're not going to let the koakuma take care of it?”

“No,” She says, casting a sideways glance at the two nearby, “It would be unacceptable for them to mess up again.”

“We can do it,” One whines, “Please?”

“I wanna pay her back~”

“... you may watch,” Patchouli says, again moving closer to the imp. She's making an odd motion with her fingers as she speaks – almost like writing, but in the air. “I may let you help with some parts, but it's not likely.”

The imp watches her air-writing for a while with curiosity, and then, after a little bit, horror. “Aw, shit!”

Patchouli... my god, is that a smile? It might be, but it's very faint – maybe your mind is playing tricks on you. The imp squirms a bit, and then, after realizing that it's quite stuck, begins hurling insults. It could almost be cute if it wasn't, you know, hellspawn.

“H-hey,” It says to you, “What're you looking at, pig face?” Then, it looks up, and grins the best mocking grin it can manage at Sakuya. “Couldn't even kill him like your master wished, eh? Well, that's ok, we all know you're just a coward. Couldn't even kill me.”

Sakuya returns the smile, although hers is absolutely cold. “The least I can give you is a few hours of torment beforehand. You are already dead.”

It attempts to go for another spit, but at that moment, Patchouli gives it a flick to the forehead. A ridiculously loud flick, complete with a flash and a puff of smoke. The imp's body goes limp.

“Pass it here,” Patchouli says, reaching out for the thing. Noticing your confusion, she adds “It's completely conscious, although it's also completely paralyzed..”

“Neat,” You say, watching as the maid lets go of that disgusting thing, “Get everything you can out of the thing. Any information is helpful.”

“Yes,” Patchouli nods, “I will let you know when I'm finished. Come, you two.”

You watch as Patchouli and her koakuma brigade head off into her passenger cabin, slide the door shut, and draw the shades.

“... you know, I'm going to need that watch back,” You say, sighing a bit as you turn back around to face the maid, “Marisa would kill me if she found out I let you keep it.”

“...I suppose I can't refuse,” Sakuya says, before producing the watch from a pocket in her skirt. “Here.”

“Thanks,” You say, placing the watch back where it belongs. “I'll take better care of it this time.”

“Why didn't you attempt to stop me?”

The question sort of comes from nowhere, and catches you a bit off guard.

“Huh?”

“You were clearly in danger,” She says, “And yet, you didn't attempt to defend yourself.”

“Ah, that. What can I say? I believed you. The imp seemed a little too desperate.”

“And if I was lying?”

You shrug. “I'd have to admit to misjudging your character while bleeding to death, I guess.”

“Foolish,” She says, “But, I suppose I should expect that by now.”

There's a second, less dramatic jolt as the train again begins to accelerate. Looking out the window, it seems like you're on the iron road again. You guess it doesn't take much time to attach a single car.

“I'm still curious as to why you didn't take their deal, though. It seems like you had a pretty good chance to do me in, and then help Makai out.”

She smiles a sad smile. “The Lady never thought that the Empire would lose. It would be a bloody battle for both sides, but Makai would not succeed in the end. A broken Empire would much more readily accept my Lady as a ruler of a town, as they would have no other option. We would only act against them in defense, and, if that were still the case, I would have taken the deal. You should be dead, and I would gladly kill you if I could. However, things have changed.”

“Changed?”

“To preserve the Lady's legacy,” Sakuya says, “None of you must die yet. You are the only ones that can give an account of her last moments.”

… you let that sink in. She's definitely serious, and, although that's some of the most twisted logic for forming an alliance that you've ever heard, there's something admirable in it. That sort of dedication is incredible.

No, she probably will never join forces with you. She'll serve her master until she dies. But for now, at least, you think you can count her as on your side. At least until your account is safely recorded in the Guild archives somewhere. Then, maybe, you might need to watch yourself.

[ ] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.
[ ] Continue.
>> No. 35615
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.

Now or later she will get the watch. For now there are no worries of her betraying. After everything is over, depending on how much affection points you can get with her, there will be a battle with her.

Still, it is not impossible to get her on his side. Couldn't ask for a better companion than her.
>> No. 35616
[X] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.

I'm willing to give her a chance.
>> No. 35617
[x] Continue.

It's cool that she's honest and all, but honesty alone doesn't get you trust. Especially when you outright state that your reason for alliance is temporary and that you want your partner dead.

And logic aside, Marisa would disapprove. That's enough for me.
>> No. 35618
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.
>> No. 35620
[X] Continue.

Too soon for now, perhaps after we've reached back to HQ; assuming things haven't gone horribly wrong just yet.
>> No. 35621
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.
>> No. 35622
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.

I think this would be the first step on convincing her to join us.
>> No. 35623
[x] Continue.

She's never going to join us, and we're weary allies of circumstance at best. I maintain that we should kill her, but I suppose it can wait till she's answered for her crimes.
>> No. 35624
File 131088496210.png - (433.11KB , 407x582 , Sakuya Hokuto.png ) [iqdb]
35624
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.

>Sakuya "You are already dead.”

Pic related.
>> No. 35625
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.
We know she isn't going to kill us. So we might as well give her a method of self-defense, just in case.
>> No. 35626
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.
>> No. 35627
It may be a while before we get to the Captial, so it might be possible to change Sakuya's mind by then.
>> No. 35628
[x] Continue.

We knew from the start that reversing her brainwashing was not going to be easy. It's not time yet.

Aside from that, she has a knife to defend herself.
>> No. 35629
[x] … on second thought, letting her keep the watch might be a good thing.

“... actually,” You say, reaching back into your pocket, “If that's the case, I think I want you to hold on to this.”

She eyes the watch, and then you. “I should kill you for being so brazen. Do not mistake me for an ally.”

“Well,” You shrug, “You don't have to take it if you don't want to, I guess. Who knows what we'll run into next, though? It might be good for you to be able to take care of yourself, given how incompetent I am.”

“... hmph. I suppose that's true,” She says, finally reaching out to take the thing, “Now then, I'm sure you have other things to attend to.”

'Get lost'. Well, you can understand that.

“Yeah, I guess I do. Would you like me to send some more koakuma your way?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Right. How about Chen?” You ask, catching a glance at the cat. She seems to have gone back to looking out the window.

She gives you one last glance before returning to her compartment.

“You said Chen?” Chen asks, after a fairly delayed reaction, “Right?”

“It's nothing,” You say, with a laugh, “Sorry.”

“Oh, ok!”

Phew. With that taken care of, you make your way up to the engine... after steeling yourself a bit, first. This is going to be unpleasant.

“Hey,” Marisa says, greeting you after you shut the door behind you, “What's going on? That little imp you sent up here looked positively frightened.”

Looking out the windows, you can see that you've left town. Good. That was pretty good time that you made, although checking exactly how much is now impossible. You really need a new watch.

“Nothing major,” You say, “Just, you know, pickpocket agents from Makai and stuff.”

She laughs. “You're kidding, right?”

“No, actually. It was some sort of super-koakuma with smalltime illusion magic. Patchouli's interrogating it right now.”

“... shit,” Marisa says, “What did it want with the watch?”

“It gave it back to Sakuya, on the hopes that she's use it to go kill us and help Makai out. Sakuya used it to capture the thing instead.”

“She must have given it back without a fight, then,” Marisa says, “That, or you've gotten a lot better at fighting time maids.”

“Actually,” You say, bracing for impact, “I let her keep it.”

There's a moment of silence. Marisa continues to stare straight ahead, and it's difficult to tell if she heard you or not. The only indication is this extremely ominous feeling that's hanging in the air. “You... what?”

“I let her keep it,” You say again.

“Huh?” Marisa asks, “HOW could you possibly think that was a good idea?”

[ ] You need to shut her down, before her fury gains too much momentum.
[ ] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.
[ ] You'll need to use your wits to diffuse this (write-in).
>> No. 35632
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.

Fuck yeah. Show me your angry face.
>> No. 35636
[x] You need to shut her down, before her fury gains too much momentum.
>> No. 35639
[x] You need to shut her down, before her fury gains too much momentum.
I suppose look whats there and fast running away is out of question.
>> No. 35641
Why don't you guys post why you thought it was a good idea? Maybe I'm reading the vote's intention wrong, but shutting her down seems like it means pulling rank on her.

oh, by the way
>diffuse
defuse
Unless you mean spreading the blame. I'd love to see that write-in win. "Patchy said it was a good idea!"

I think about decisions in this story way too much.
>> No. 35643
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.
>> No. 35644
[X] You'll need to use your wits to diffuse this.
-[x]"I'd know at least if I have to fight another chronomage it'd most likely be Sakuya in the general vicinity. I've already had lost her focaii once by an demon who managed to fool us all except Sakuya seemingly. I'd rather fight some one with a face I'd know rather than someone or something I have no clue about capable of using that watch."

Not as great as I'd like it to be but maybe some one else could word it better or have a better explanation.
>> No. 35648
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.

In yelling at Jack now, Marisa will unload any of her previous gripes and grievances she's been bottling up. Additionally, some of her distaste for Sakuya will redirected toward Jack, who is now responsible for her actions. These are good things that will improve group cohesion in the long run, ensuring Marisa doesn't storm off during pre-fight preparation or 'accidentally' catch Sakuya in the radius of one of her sparks.

Oppositely, taking a 'my way or the highway' approach with Marisa might really cause her to leave the party. She has less riding on this than Jack or Patch, and she could use her assignment in Rokford as an excuse. I have to imagine the reason Jack outranks her is not a matter of skill or magical power, and more that she doesn't play well with others.

But mostly I want to see Marisa call Jack a crazy sonuvabitch.
>> No. 35652
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.

Works for me~!
>> No. 35655
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.

Sakuya is a bad person and is completely untrustworthy. I don't know how much more this needs to be beat into your guys' head before it sticks. Marisa is completely justified in ranting at Jack for being a fucking retard.
>> No. 35661
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.
>> No. 35662
>>35655
Sure she's not a 100% ally, but as of the time being she will not go after us. It's only after we tell the tale that we have to worry.
>> No. 35665
>>35662
>It's only after we tell the tale that we have to worry.
I don't think you understand. This is a story. Interesting things that happen after a story are called sequels.
>> No. 35666
[x] You'll be here for a while. Prepare for a beating.

“Well, you see...”

“No,” She says, “Do I really need to spell this out? Have you completely lost it?”

This is going to take a while, you realize – assuming she doesn't kill you halfway through. Well, that's ok. You would have rather done something else, but... truth be told, you might do the same if Patchouli had done something like this without telling you first.

“Can I explain?”

“Explain what?” She asks, “Maybe I do need to spell it out. Sakuya? She's a prisoner. She wanted to kill us a few days ago. She couldn't, because she didn't have that watch thing. And you just gave it back.”

“She's committed to keeping us alive,” You say, trying to keep your cool. It's rather difficult in all the heat that she's putting on. “Or, at the very least, not killing us. At least until our statements about Rokford are on record.”

“How do you know that?”

“She told me.”

“Seriously? She told you? Well, that's good enough then, isn't it? What am I getting all worked up for? It's not like people can lie or anything.”

The two koakuma left in the engine take over driving, since it doesn't take very long for Marisa to become too animated to continue. For the next hour or so, the two of you go on like this.

Today's 'mistake' is only a small bit of the issue. She's leery of your leadership in general. Leery that you'll make some kind of deal with the attackers that you're currently in transit to fight off. Leery that you'll make some deal with that Yukari woman. There's even a few decidedly empty threats to put in for a Guild inquiry into your actions.

It's odd; usually, in situations like this, you're the one arguing from her side albeit with less fury. You really have little in the way of options to counter her points. Feelings and hunches are not very concrete, and are easily ripped to shreds by common sense and logic. There is no way to win this battle. It must be hell to have to... ah. That's it.

“You know,” You finally admit, “This side of the argument really sucks.”

“Huh?”

She wasn't expecting that, and clearly doesn't get what you mean. “Trying to defend yourself from completely solid, reasonable arguments, when all you have to go on is hunches.”

“I can't say I'm keen on playing this side either,” Marisa sighs, “But this shit should be so obvious that I don't need to, you know? I can't just stand by and let everything go to hell because you can't get something through your thick skull,” then, with a slight groan, she adds, “No pun intended.”

You manage a weary smile. “Yeah.”

The argument finally cools down a little. There's a break where neither of you are trying to explain yourself.

“I guess the question now is: what are we going to do about the watch? That's the big thing right now,” Marisa finally asks, sounding about as weary as you probably look. “I know I said I'd blast you if you messed up again, but that's probably not the best idea in this train. And I'm not backing down on this.”

[ ] Well, there's nothing saying you can't go take the watch back.
[ ] Get the watch back, but let Marisa hold onto it.
[ ] Perhaps there's something to satisfy everyone (write-in).
================================================
I actually tried to think about the write-in, but came up empty handed. Good luck coming up with something that fits Jack, if you bother to try.
>> No. 35667
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?

I don't know what he's capable of.
>> No. 35668
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?

I'm down with this. Preferably something Sakuya won't notice.

Sakuya already thought giving her the watch was foolish. Taking it back hours later... man, she'd probably try to kill us on the spot for being so goddamn dumb.
>> No. 35669
Oh, add this to the above
[x] Ask Patchouli for input.

She doesn't know Sakuya has the watch yet. I want to see her thoughts.
>> No. 35672
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
[x] Do it the next time Sakuya is out cold, or maybe put her out.

[x] Ask Patchouli for input.
>> No. 35673
[X] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
-[x] Ask Patchouli for input.

Works for me~!
>> No. 35674
[x] Ask Patchouli for input.

Just this. Marisa will like it, asking the Youkai and Demon summoner.
>> No. 35675
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
-[x] Ask Patchouli for input.

This kind of thing is right up Patchouli's alley. It's imperative that Sakuya doesn't realize the ruse or she might decide to simply not help us in a time of need.
>> No. 35677
>>35675
>It's imperative that Sakuya doesn't realize the ruse or she might decide to simply not help us in a time of need.

Tie whatever enchantment gets slapped onto the watch to Jack's life. He dies and the watch goes boom.

[X] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
-[X] Ask Patchouli for input.
>> No. 35678
[x] Stand your ground, let Sakuya keep the watch.

Look, the bed was made with the earlier decision. Be stubborn jackasses and lay in it.
>> No. 35679
[x] Stand your ground. Let Sakuya keep the watch.

Look, you guys made your bed. At least have the balls to stand your ground. Let Marisa blast you/punch you/whatever.
>> No. 35680
>>35678
>>35679

Hmmm...
>> No. 35681
>>35679
We are going to let her keep the watch. After using magic in some way to ensure her compliance. Because that is probably a thing we can (and should) do.
>>35680
Good call dude. We'd be lost without you.
>> No. 35682
[X] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
[x] Tie it to Marisa's life
>> No. 35683
[x] Stand your ground. Let Sakuya keep the watch.

I am allright with this. If he were to suddenly change his opinion he is a full retard. Besides, if we choose to mistrust it would not help to bring her on our side. And if she still does not want there is always the option for a fight to beat her again and finish off for good.
>> No. 35684
>>35683
>I am allright with this. If he were to suddenly change his opinion he is a full retard. Besides, if we choose to mistrust it would not help to bring her on our side.

I think it's more important under the circumstances to reaffirm ties with allies we already have, like Marisa, by making concessions for their peace of mind.

It doesn't have to mean that Jack is changing his mind. He doesn't give any indication of that in the update, even though he admits he's relying on hunches.
>> No. 35685
>>35683
[x] Stand your ground. Let Sakuya keep the watch.
I can dig this
>> No. 35688
>>35684
Who says he can't convince her that it is the right thing to do? There are many ways that old enemies could become allies and friends. This could very well be an opportunity for the future. Besides, if Marisa really chooses to drop him or mistrust him because of that then she is a poor ally and friend. He probably did much shit and things that could be considered risky so why not convince her or try it? At the moment he did try neither and just sat there and take it.

As i see it, you couldn't ask for a better ally as Sakuya at the moment. She put all her cards on the table and decided not to backstab him when there was a chance. We put faith in her and now we go against that very thing?

True, she said she would kill him when she gets what she wants, but there is still time to drag her on our side. Otherwise it might not be possible and all the things we did were just wasted.

And even if she still is against him, i doubt he would lose against her and kill her off for good in the end. She comes over as someone who would say something like: Now i got what i wanted, it is time to die.

Or if you want to have it otherwise: A possible new ally instead of, another, possible enemy to fight off when there are too many already.
>> No. 35689
So, uh, I have to say that I'm a bit lost over the write-in.

What sort of ward are you suggesting here? Does it just basically make the watch worthless without her knowledge? Is it somehow selective?

I also play too much DnD to know how a geas would make sense here, and you certainly wouldn't put it on a watch... unless those are two separate thoughts?

I'll commence writing as soon as someone fills me in.
>> No. 35690
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?
[x] Ask Patchouli for input.
>> No. 35691
File 131109608644.jpg - (16.39KB , 300x300 , silver_skeleton_pw.jpg ) [iqdb]
35691
>>35689
>I also play too much DnD to know how a geas would make sense here, and you certainly wouldn't put it on a watch... unless those are two separate thoughts?

Probably had the idea of "geas" mixed up with a ward or simply something of a fail-safe "switch" on the pocket-watch to where should Sakuya even act upon harming Jack & CO (either by own will or demonic possession) the watch would simply teleport to Jack or whom ever it's instructed to reach to.

This is how I'd interpret it at least.
>> No. 35692
>>35689
The Geas would go on Sakuya, not on the watch. You can't 'geas' an unanimate object. Something in the lines of 'Don't kill us until the invasion is over' I can guess.

And the write in is fucking vague yes, it just means 'find a way, author, to use a spell that matches with the MC's personality, to put Marisa at ease by stopping Sakuya's ability to kill us without warning'
>> No. 35693
>>35692
I just wanted to make sure I was working off of the right vague idea. I wasn't sure if that was one suggestion, or multiple ones rolled up into a single vote.
>> No. 35696
[x] A geas? A ward on the watch? A teleportation spell that directs the watch to you as soon as someone tries to remove the spell or the maker of the spell wants? Are we mages or are we farmers?

“We're at an impasse, then,” You say, with a sigh, “I'm not, either. Maybe there's some middle ground that we can reach.”

“It better be a damn convincing one,” She says, “Because I'm about to go back there, take that watch, and throw it out the window.”

“Let's... I don't know,” You say, thinking for a moment about ---

--- what sort's of paradigms you might have for this situation. “Would it be fine if there was no way she could possibly attack us with it? I can probably come up with something.”

“How are you going to manage that?”

“Not sure,” You say, with a slight laugh, “I'm just curious if that counts as backing down or not.”

“... yeah,” She says, after a slight pause, “I guess that's close enough. I'm sick of arguing, anyway.”

“Really?” You ask, honestly surprised that she'd give up.

“Well, if whatever you pull is half-assed or you don't have it done by the time we reach the next town,” She says, “I'll take care of it myself. How does that sound?”

[ ] Sounds good.
[ ] Sounds terrible.
================================================
Seemed like kind of a dick move to auto-accept here, so I apologize for the shortness. Tomorrow's update will be a little more beefy.
>> No. 35697
[x] Sounds terrible.

No, Marisa, you do not get to throw a tantrum if the concession is not to your liking.
>> No. 35698
[x] Sounds terrible.
Sounds horrible.
>> No. 35699
[x] Sounds terrible.
The demons laughing as the two mages start blasting each other. Somewhere, Yagokoro is hiding her face under his right palm.
>> No. 35700
[x] Sounds terrible.

I am pretty sure were the mission leader here, and Marisa's constant temper tantrums over things not going as she would like is getting rather annoying. Criticism is welcomed, not insubordination.
>> No. 35701
[x] Sounds good.
[x] Provided that she explain why she believes it to be half-assed
>> No. 35702
>>35701
her proposition is only if Jack's version isn't done or half-assed by the time they get to the next town, not an automatic thing.
>> No. 35703
[x] Sounds good.

Yeah, no. Being the leader is not an infallible position with gilded stars shining out of our assholes. Jack is a person just like anyone else, and it is entirely reasonable to admit he done fucked up. This is that time.

While he may be attempting to fix his mistakes, there is no harm in admitting wrong or needing help.
>> No. 35704
>>35699
>The demons laughing as the two mages start blasting each other. Somewhere, Yagokoro is hiding her face under his right palm.

Which is funny because that's exactly what this will lead to if Jack tells her off now.

[x] Sounds good.

If she's only acting in the case that Jack isn't doing his job, it can hardly be called insubordination.
>> No. 35705
>Which is funny because that's exactly what this will lead to if Jack tells her off now.
Yeah... no. Marisa won't flip out if ordered to stay put. She doesn't seem the type.
>> No. 35706
[x] Sounds good.
>> No. 35708
[X] Sounds good.

Works for me~!
>> No. 35709
[x] Sounds terrible.
-[x] I'll have Patchouli help.

I wouldn't trust anything Marisa makes, given her opinion on the matter. She might make something that might just explode and kill Sakuya as opposed to merely disabling her.
>> No. 35710
[x] Sounds terrible.

Throw Marisa off the train.
>> No. 35711
[x] Sounds good.

Marisa does have a point.
>> No. 35712
>>35710
So i am not the only one who thinks she is annoying as hell.
>> No. 35713
>>35710
I lol'd.

But really, she's not that bad. She's worried about us/and risked her neck for our really stupid approach against Remilia.
>> No. 35714
>>35713
That's putting it lightly. Jack sold the souls of the town she was protecting to the enemies he is now fighting, and is now treating one of the people that brought the situation about as something more than a criminal for flimsy reasons at best.

And chances are very high that we're going to end up making a deal with Yukari (or, given our stellar track record, maybe even Makai). Why does Yukari need deals? Why doesn't she simply help? Marisa is simply helping. Marisa doesn't ask for much in return, and yet her wishes get trampled on anyway.

he says as he votes to trample on her wishes
>> No. 35720
[x] Sounds meh.

Since when does she get to make the orders? Damn it, you're mission lead here, not her. The Guild knows about your profile – what sorts of things you will and won't do – and they choose to put you in charge of this operation. They trust your judgment.

Yet, she won't. And you're not sure that she ever will. What she's asking isn't unreasonable, you admit – what good would a half-assed ward be? - but the way she presents it is a bit abrasive.

“Fine, I'll take it,” You say, with a sigh, “I'm getting kind of sick of this constant bickering, though. Look, maybe in Rokford I wasn't, but I'm your mission lead now.”

She scoffs. “You're going to pull rank?”

“No,” You say, shaking your head, “Just... tone it down a little, ok? This is frustrating enough without having people question my judgment at every turn. I mean, how many times have I gotten you killed so far?”

She sighs, taking a seat nearby. “Probably more than once, if I'm allowed to add up near misses. But, alright. I see your point. This thing has us both on edge.”

“You're not going to shoot each other?”
“Haha, told you! They just like chewing each other out.”

The koakuma near the front pique up, now that it looks like the conflict has finally subsided.

“I might shoot you,” Marisa growls, before turning back to you, “Think you can take them with you, Jack?”

“What?” You laugh, “That wasn't part of the deal!”

“Well, I can throw them out the window if you want,” She says, “Somehow, I don't think anyone would mind.”

“Come on, you two,” You say, “Let's go see Patchouli.”

As you go to slide open the door, Marisa calls out to you.

“Jack?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for listening to me bitch,” She says, “Good luck coming up with something.”

You can't think of anything but parting shots, so you just nod and continue on your way. It's good that a mission like this only happens once in a lifetime. You'll probably lose half your life dealing with all this, anyway.

By the time you make it to Patchouli's room, the shade is already open. She must be done with whatever she was doing. Still, to be safe, you knock and wait for her to motion you in.

“This one didn't know much,” Patchouli says, immediately beginning to talk about her interrogation. “Enough to accomplish its mission, but that was about all.”

You see the subject, still paralyzed, sitting on the table you and Marisa were playing cards on the other day. It's probably best not to mention that to her, you decide.

“I'll, uh, have to ask you to fill me in later,” You say, “Unless it spit up something incredibly important.”

“It did not,” She says, “There is something more pressing?”

“I need an enchantment school,” You say, “But I'm drawing a blank.”

“What for?”

“I let Sakuya keep the watch,” You say, “Marisa... wasn't too thrilled, so I agreed to either come up with a way to ensure that the maid isn't going to attack us, or let her take the watch back.”

“Not too thrilled? They were fighting for the last hour!” One of the koakuma next to you notes, “It was nuts!”

Patchouli casts a glance to the koakuma, causing it to immediately fall silent. “A bold move. I would not have done it personally.”

You nod. She's so much easier to deal with than Marisa is. Well, unless she's got a book in her hand. “It's a bit of a gamble, but I think it'll pay off. She mentioned that she's going to keep us alive long enough to give our statements. Makai's probably not interested in keeping the Guild archives around, so she's got only one choice of sides.”

“Perhaps,” Patchouli says, “Or perhaps it was a ruse. That would have been a substantial gain for a small lie.”

“I don't think so. She sounded sincere, and you've seen how twisted her sense of loyalty is. I wouldn't be surprised if she thought lying would stain her Lady's name or something.”

“... then, it is not something that can be debated. What sort of enchantment?”

So, so, so much easier than dealing with Marisa. “I'm not sure, or I wouldn't be asking. It's been way too long since I've needed to do something like this.”

“I assume you would like her to be able to use her abilities,” Patchouli says, “Or else you would just take the watch back.”

“That's preferred,” You say, “I was thinking something like a geas, but I don't deal in curses.”

“Nor do I,” She says, “Perhaps it would be easier to work on the power, or the watch itself.”

There are a few ideas tugging at your mind, trying to pull you into a suitable paradigm, but they're very. Mostly, you deal in active abilities – things you apply and use immediately. Enchantments usually require at least a little commitment on the part of the caster to maintain, or a great deal of dedication and study (that is, something you can't give) to make permanent.

You can't think of anything offhand that would be useful, and that

“Can you think of anything that wouldn't take a lot of skill to place, and none to maintain?”

She pauses for a moment. “... for the former, no. That would make counter-magic much more viable than it is. Allow me to think on the latter. You would probably need to take the watch back to place it, in either case.”

More mental tugging, but it's so indecisive.

[ ] <Divination>
[ ] <Barriers>
[ ] <Energy Manipulation>
[ ] <Propose a well-defined school>
================================================
A bit of an explanation is in order. I started writing when [x] Sounds good was winning, but I made the mistake of watching the actual winner swing back and forth while I was writing. So, I tried for a good middle ground.

Also, for the write-in, give me enough to work with. It's really for flavor's sake, since I've already taken the previous write-in into consideration.
>> No. 35723
[x] <Energy Manipulation>

Haven't seen much of this one. and it's the most awesome
>> No. 35724
>>35723
That makes two of us. This school has endless possibilities.

[x] <Energy Manipulation>
>> No. 35728
[]Energy manipulation
--[]Set the watch to severely enervate the bearer if the bearer acts upon killing intent towards a Guild member.
>> No. 35730
We can't trust the Guild in this either. If you're going to do that, set it so it enervates the bearer if they act upon killing intent on Jack, Marisa, or Patchouli.
>> No. 35734
>>35728
>>35730
A fatal flaw in here. She already has killing intent against our character Double read the koakuma update.
>> No. 35736
Nothing today, had to get up early to attend to some stuff and I can't write well when tired. Update tomorrow.
>> No. 35737
>>35734
But she didn't "act upon" it.

[x] <Divination>
>> No. 35739
[x] <Energy Manipulation>
>> No. 35740
[x] <Energy Manipulation>

Your knives are now harmless danmaku.
>> No. 35757
[x] <Energy Manipulation>

--- although, you wonder why? The answer here is obvious.

“Actually,” You say, fishing around in your pockets. Now, where was that? You remember picking it up many years ago, but never using it, “I might have something.”

“Oh?”

“Hold on,” You say, reaching deeper and deeper. “I need to find it.”

Why do you keep all this junk, anyway? Most of it is worthless to you. What's a manipulator supposed to do with all this? One of these days, you really should clean these pockets out.

After about a minute, you come up with what you were looking for. Two small, silver, coin-shaped objects, relatively thin and not much bigger around than one of your fingers. The surfaces themselves are perfectly smooth, and, because of some side effect related to how they were made, don't collect dust or fingerprints.

“Here,” You say, handing them to Patchouli. “Know what these are?”

“Ah... a set of <>?”

“You know,” You say, with a shrug, “Around. Almost forgot I had these.”

Mainly, they're used by doctors with larger practices to monitor their patients. They allow for one person, while touching one of the disks, to remotely monitor another person's state. Things like heartbeat, breathing, mental state... the readings are all very vague, and not a substitute for actually being present. However, it can be useful for multitasking, as it allows for a doctor to strap one to a patient and have a general idea if they're dying or not.

“Interesting,” She says, taking a closer look, “What do you plan to do with them?”

It takes a fairly accomplished alchemist to actually craft the material needed. However, modifying the enchantment is something you can do. It's not an overly elaborate one. At their core, these things just transmit and receive various energies. They don't even care if the subject is tangible

“Pass them over here. I'm going to re-do the enchantments,” You tell Patchouli, “I think I'll be able to toggle her abilities with some creative energy manipulation. You see, if I simply set this one to leech far more energy than normal, and have it monitor temporal distortions... I'll be able to disrupt her abilities. And if I set mine to act as a transmitter toggle, it's effectively an invisible leash. The holder of this disk will be able to dictate when she can use her time abilities.”

“That,” She says, “Is not very sound. Nor what you asked for.”

You laugh. “Ok, so she could just remove it... or walk out of range. Still, I think that's the best that we're going to get. Maybe Marisa will be fine with it if I let her hold the leash.”

Patchouli shrugs. “Maybe. Are you going to test now?”

“I need to make sure this will actually work,” You say, backing out of the room. “I'll catch your report when I get back.”

“What shall I do with the prisoner?” Patchouli asks, “It is no longer useful. I have gotten out of it everything that it knows.”

“What do you recommend?”

She pauses. “I have no recommendations. However, I would like to be rid of it in one way or another.”

[ ] Send it back to Makai.
[ ] Let Sakuya decide.
[ ] … well, something needs to get tossed out the window today.
[ ] Write-in.
================================================
Managed to not get much sleep last night either, so this update might be odd. I can't tell.
>> No. 35758
[X] Let Sakuya decide.
>> No. 35759
[x] Let Sakuya decide.

Locking her up and handing her the key? I like it. And maybe Marisa will get angry again, that'd be great.
>> No. 35760
[]Send it back to Makai.

Sakuya might decide to keep the not-a-Koa around for a little bit of Revenge Fun Time, which could lead to unforseen consequences.

Also it seems >>35759 has confused this for a question about the disposition of Sakuya.
>> No. 35761
>>35760
Nah, I just think giving Sakuya a present might buy her cooperation.
>> No. 35762
[x] … well, something needs to get tossed out the window today.

Sakuya is not to be granted any concessions. Even something as simple as killing another prisoner.
>> No. 35763
[x] Send it back to Makai.

I like Sakuya but she needs no more concessions
>> No. 35764
[X] Send it back to Makai.

Works for me~!
>> No. 35765
As far as I'm concerned, demons are not people. But I'm curious as to what her choice will be though.

[x] Let Sakuya decide.
>> No. 35766
[x] Let Sakuya decide.
She caught it, let her decide.
>> No. 35771
[x] Let Sakuya decide.
[ ] … well, something needs to get tossed out the window today.
[ ] Write-in.

“I'll call Sakuya over,” You say, “She caught it. I imagine she'll also want to settle her beef with it.”

“Very well,” Patchouli says, “Shall I leave it as it is?”

“Yeah,” You say, stepping out into the hall, “I'm not sure what she'll want to do with it.”

Patchouli nods, and takes a seat. You slide the exostats into a bit more reasonable pocket. First, you'll go bother Sakuya about the imp, then you can worry about them.

“Hey,” You say, after knocking on the maid's door, “Got some news for you.”

She's staring out the window as usual, but notices you and gives you a slight nod. Good enough for you to enter, you suppose, so you slide open the door and do so.

“What is it?” She asks.

“We're through with that imp,” You say, “You can do with it as you'd like.”

She just sort of stares for a moment, and then stands up before giving a very professional nod. “Thank you.”

You nod, and back out of the room. It only takes a few steps to return to your own. Honestly, you're curious if this enchantment will even work. In theory, it already does. In practice? Well, you'll need to see.

This compartment of yours is not what you'd call ideal for this sort of thing. However, it'll do. First, you peel back the already somewhat worn and damaged carpet, exposing the wood floor beneath. Then, with your trusty bit of chalk, you draw three circles – one for each exostat, and one for yourself. It's a bit cramped, but you have just enough room for what you need.

Fifteen or so minutes later, you have what you'd call a finished product. To a non-magician, the small disks look exactly the same. To you, however, there's now a rather elaborate web of energy transfer between the two. And, in theory, you shouldn't need to do anything to maintain this.

There is the concern that, if the energy sent between them is strong enough, it might actually 'burn out' one of the exostats. Maybe, or maybe not – it's really impossible to tell at this stage. They should work, but...

… well, maybe you should see about getting them tested first.

[ ] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
[ ] Ask Sakuya to help you out. She'll need to learn about them sooner or later.
[ ] It should be fine. Just place one on the maid's watch, and keep one for yourself.
[ ] It should be fine. Just place one on the maid's watch, and hand the other to Marisa.
================================================
Replace "<>" with "exostats" in the previous update. I forgot to go back and fill that in.
>> No. 35772
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.

Power is Marisa's specialty.
>> No. 35773
[x] It should be fine. Just place one on the maid's watch, and keep one for yourself.

If she ever decides it is time to avenger her mistress he will be prepared.
>> No. 35775
>>35773
>he will be prepared.
>not testing to see if it works.

[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35776
[ ] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35783
[X] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35785
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35795
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
Seems reasonable.
>> No. 35797
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35804
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.
>> No. 35834
[x] Ask Marisa to help you out. She'll be more apt to accept it if she experiences the effect first hand.

And, who better to help with that than Marisa? That trinket of hers – the mini-hakero, was it? - should be the perfect thing to test this out on. That thing can output some serious energy, and if your modified exostat can stand up to that it should be able to stand up to anything Sakyua can manage.

First, though, you pocket the two objects and replace the carpet. Although you try to remove your circles from the wood, it's something that you'd need a damp rag to fully accomplish. Instead, you just fold the carpet back over and try to put everything back almost as it was.

You don't catch sight of Chen on your way up to the engine, and the shades to Patchouli's room have been drawn again. Although you're not sure of the time, since you're still down a watch, a quick peek out the window shows that you're not really near anything important.

Not really sure what to expect, you head up to the engine. Marisa's still driving.

“Hey.”
“... hey.”

Her reply is strained. She's certainly not excited to see you.

“I, uh, may have come up with something,” You say, “But I need a high-energy focus to test it out on. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind helping me out.”

“With the mini-hakero?” She asks, “You're not going to break it, right? What do you have in mind?”

“Basically, a toggle switch that allows a focii to work or not,” You say, retrieving the small disks from your pocket once more, “The theory is sound, but I'm worried they might burn out if the energies are too high. Here, you'll need to place this one on the surface somewhere.”

Marisa flips a few switches, sets a few levers, and finally turns back to face you. “I've never heard of something like that.”

You shrug. “Probably not. I just spent the last half hour making them.”

“Well,” She says, “This stretch is pretty flat, so it should be fine to run it on automatic for a bit. Do you need me to go all out?”

“If you could,” You say, placing one exostat in your left hand and holding the other one out to Marisa, “Here. Place this one on the hakero while I hold on to the other one.”

“Hold on,” She says, heading back to the controls, “I'm going to slow us down a bit. It's probably better if I'm out flying while firing master sparks off.”

The idea of the train suddenly being shoved to the side by the knockback of one of those blasts... hah, yeah. That's probably a good idea.

“There,” She says, before taking a closer look at the disk, “So, I just need to touch it to the hakero?”

You nod. “That's all. Try firing, then wait about a minute, then try again. I'll wait here. It'll stop working if you're around a thousand feet away, so try to stick close to the train.”

“Right. I need to grab my broom, so I'll be back in a few minutes.”

Then, you suppose you'll just lean up against the side here.

Sure enough, within a few minutes, you feel something. A slightly warm sensation – a sign that contact has been made with the hakero. Giving the button a firm squeeze, you manage to change it into the 'off' state.

Hah. Marisa's in position, it seems – you can see her out the left window, giving you a wave. She raises her arm, and---

“Ow!”

You quickly drop the now incredibly hot exostat. There's no brilliant flash as a master spark blows across the open plains however, and, after waiting a few seconds, it's cool enough to hold again. Still hot, but not unbearable. Not... exactly as you intended, but it works. Ha ha!

Now, all you need to do is give it another squeeze to place it into the 'on' state. The confirmation is very odd, almost like a hunch. Marisa swoops closer to the train once more, gives you a wave, and sends brilliant light blazing off towards some mountain in the distance.

All the enchantments seem to be holding. Good, but the heat is... a rather annoying issue. In normal operation? This will be fine. However, you think it might be possible for someone to burn one of these out if they really wanted to. A second master spark alone probably would have done it. If Sakuya wanted to try to distort time for a minute or so, she probably could as well.

However, she could also just take it off, you tell yourself. It'll let you know if or when she goes rogue, and that's really what the point is. You won't be taking a knife in your back without seeing it coming.

“Damn,” Marisa says, when she finally makes her way back to the engine, “These things really work. That was messed up.”

“What?”

“Shooting blanks,” She laughs, “Seriously, I was all ready to fire, but the energy just vanished. Did I manage to break it?”

You shake your head. “It got a bit warm over here, but no. It seems to have held. Does this count as not half-assed?” You ask, with a slight smile.

“I'm impressed,” She says, “Can't she just take it off, though?”

“This one,” You say, holding up your exostat, “Knows when that happens. She could, but you could get the jump on her.”

“Me?” She asks, “Or you?”

[ ] “I was planning on letting you hold her leash.”
[ ] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.
>> No. 35835
[x] “I was planning on letting you hold her leash.”

Marisa holding the leash is an empty threat.
>> No. 35836
[x] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.
>> No. 35837
[x] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.
>> No. 35839
[x] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.

Marisa might overreact considering how she knew some of the folks Sakuya killed.
>> No. 35840
[ ] “I was planning on letting you hold her leash.”
>> No. 35849
[x] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.
>> No. 35852
[ ] “I was planning on letting you hold her leash.”

She deserves this. And she won't screw th mission because of personal reasons.
>> No. 35853
[X] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.

It's Jack's idea and he ought to see it done right himself.
>> No. 35856
[x] You'd like to hold on to it yourself.

You shrug. “Whoever. I'd probably yell something out, and I imagine you'd be more than eager to go to town on her.”

“Yeah, that sounds about right,” Marisa says, “So, does this thing work for, uh... people not of your school?”

“It should,” You nod, “I'm not sure why that matters.”

“Because you're a schizist.”

--- oh, right.

“Good point,” You say, playing around with the button a bit in your hand. Yes. It all feels right. “Seems to work like this, though.”

“Well,” She says, “I guess this'll do, then. I'll let her keep the watch if you bind it to the back or something. ”

“I was wondering if I couldn't place it inside,” You say, “But yeah, that was the idea. How long until we reach the next town?”

“Oh, I don't know,” She says, “Maybe an hour or two. Probably closer to two.”

You nod. “Time enough for me to take care of stuff, then. I'll see you later.”

“Yeah.”

Mainly, you'd like to go check on the cargo. But, you suppose you'll need to take a bit more heat first. Sakuya'll probably accept this, but not without a few good jabs first.

Exiting the engine, you see that the shades to Patchouli's room are still drawn. What could they be doing in there? You give a light knock. After a moment, the shades open, and a koakuma motions you in. What you see is, well, nothing really strange. Just Patchouli, actually, reading a book.

Well, you suppose Sakuya can wait a bit.

“Hey,” You say, “I'm ready for that report now.”

“One minute.”

You take a seat across the room and wait. One minute later, she closes the book.

“It is nothing very interesting,” She says, “The imp's master seems to have a grudge against us, so it was sent here instead of to the capital. I was able to deduce that it was a celestial event that let Makai through, and that they will not be able to receive reinforcements without some preparation.”

“Grudge?”

“She was the one working with the Lady,” Patchouli says, simply.

You laugh. “Yeah, that would do it. How do you know about the reinforcements? Did you figure out how they're crossing over?”

“A freak celestial event,” Patchouli says, “It will not happen again for another hundred thousand years. There was a ten minute, thirteen second window last night. They would need to use traditional methods to cross over now.”

“Summoners, then.”

“Yes.”

“Was the imp alone?”

“Yes, as far as it knew.”

That's good news, you suppose. The imp was a one-time threat, and you'll only need to deal with whatever forces are topside. The amount of energy needed to summon some of the more powerful demons to this plane is far too large, so reinforcements will be almost a non-issue. Although...

“What sorts of things would that celestial event allow through?”

“Anything,” Patchouli says, flatly.

“Anything.”

“Yes.”

You sigh. “Let's hope they're not serious. We've already lost if Shinki herself is trying to tear up the capital right now, and if those two demons are going to be waiting for me... I should probably just get out here.”

“Both... are possible,” Patchouli says, “We shall need to wait and see.”

You let that sink in for a moment, give your head a good shake, and stand up. “Thanks for the information, even if it is pretty grim.”

“We do not know their motives,” Patchouli says, “It is also possible that our friend is actively fighting them.”

Ah, she must mean that woman.

“I guess that might be a fair fight,” You laugh, trying to shake the image of the demon lord herself burning down your home, “Although who knows if you could watch it without being vaporized by the energies involved.”

“Most likely,” Patchouli answers, as if you were serious, “Although it would be wise to have cover.”

“Regardless,” You say, “Thanks for taking care of that. I'll let you get back to your book.”

She gives a small nod, and opens the thing back up. Well, there's that. Now you'll go deal with the maid.

Looking into her room, you see nothing out of place. Just Sakuya looking out the window, as per usual. You knock, receive a curt acknowledgment, and enter.

“Yes?”

Fumbling around your pocket once more, you come up with the exostat that needs to go on the watch.

“I know I gave you the watch,” You say, “But, I'll also need to place this on it somewhere. As a precaution. It'll give me an effective toggle on your abilities.”

She seems amused by that, as much as someone with her demeanor can seem amused. “Having second thoughts?”

[ ] “A few.”
[ ] “It was a compromise.”
[ ] “It was Marisa's idea, not mine.”
>> No. 35857
[x] “It was a compromise.”
Let's be honest. After all, she is too.
>> No. 35862
[x] “It was a compromise.”
>> No. 35863
[X] “It was a compromise.”
>> No. 35865
[x] “It was a compromise.”
The truth and nothing more than.
>> No. 35868
[X] “It was a compromise.”

It really was one
>> No. 35870
[x] “A few.”

I am no apologist for Sakuya. I am having a whole shitload more doubts than a few.
>> No. 35873
[X] “It was a compromise.”

She'll figure Marisa's involvement easily enough.
>> No. 35879
[x] “It was a compromise.”

God's honest truth.
>> No. 35880
[X] “It was a compromise.”
Honesty is the best policy...except when it isn't.
>> No. 35885
[X] “It was a compromise.”
>> No. 35887
[x] “It was a compromise.”

“It was a compromise,” You say, simply.

“Then, the witch wasn't happy with your brash decision.”

You laugh. “Not at all. That's why we decided to meet somewhere in the middle.”

“How inefficient,” She says, producing the watch from a pocket sewn into her skirt, “Do you not have the authority to issue commands?”

“Technically, I do,” You say, with a shrug, “It wasn't really necessary.”

With the watch once more in your hand, you can see that attaching this thing is going to be difficult at best. It's incredibly smooth; a very well crafted watch.

“How, uh... how much skin contact do you need with this?” You ask, holding it up. It looks like you'll need to stick it to the back, and use some creative threading through the loop that holds the chain.

“What are you going to do?” She asks

“I was thinking of running a bunch of thread through this,” You say, pointing to said loop, “And binding it to the back.”

“That would make it cumbersome to use,” She says, “And worthless as a watch.”

“You have another idea?”

“Do you have any adhesives?”

You fish around in your coat for a while, feeling labels. There's a reason you prefer to have the letters raised a bit. “Nothing that would ever come off,” You say, finally, “Making this permanent is probably out of the question.”

“That would be unforgivable.”

That makes you smile a bit. You're already unforgiven, so it wouldn't matter much.

“Well... hmm. I guess I can try it with the thread, and see how it turns out.”

“Shall I?” Sakuya asks, watching the watch closely, “My hands are better suited to this sort of task than yours.”

It's probably the truth, sure, but that's effectively giving her a free pass to build some sort of trick into the wrapping. Still... a knife would slice through anything you could tie, anyway, so it's not like it matters. And you'll be able to feel if what she wraps up is actually the other exostat.

“I suppose that's fine,” You say, “I guess a trick knot wouldn't really matter here.”

“That wasn't my intention at all,” She says, “I am just making sure that you don't break it.”

That's understandable, you guess.

“Well, if you're going to take care of that,” You say, “I'll go take care of some of my own business. Do you have any thread?”

“No.”

Thankfully, you do. It only takes two tries to find the correct pocket. “Here. This'll work, right?”

She pulls a bit off of the spool, and looks at it in the light. “It's rather crude thread, but it will work.”

“Alright,” You say, backing out of the room, “I'll be back in a while to check out the work.”

“Of course.”

With one last nod, you exit the room. Now, you'll need to place this other exostat in contact with your own skin... ah. No, in this case, it'll be fairly easy. A bit of cloth wrap with a safety pin is all you need. It looks like you've got a bandage over your left hand now, but it doesn't really matter.

The second car is something much better suited to your mission, you decide, after stepping aboard. It's set up in the army style – open, but with both walls lined with bunks. You count 16, although the last six or so are stuffed with various crates.

Chen seems to have taken up space on one of the closer bunks. This thing sure likes its catnaps.

“Hey,” You say, after you notice her, “Bored?”

“Uh-huh,” She says, “Trains are boring after a while. It's still easier though.”

“Easier than running?”

“Yeah.”

You laugh. “I'd imagine. Say, do you want to help me move some boxes?”

“That's boring, too,” Chen says, “Do I have to?”

“No,” You say, “There might be a reward if you do.”

That seems to get her interest. “Hmm? Like what?”

“Smell anything good in here?” You ask, motioning to the crates, “I could pull something out for you.”

“Really?” She asks, rolling out of the bunk and assuming a more attentive state. She gives the air a good sniff. “Well... ok. I'll do it!”

“Great,” You say, thinking about how much easier this will be for you. Wonderful, actually. You'd really rather not lift those crates again.

The inventory for all this stuff is pinned near the rear of the car. Honestly, this is a much better selection than what you had before. Much more balanced than what you took from Rokford. There's meat, tea, fruit, more bread, butter, coffee... this Alice sure knows how to set up an army.

For the rest of the ride, which ends up being an hour and a half, you pen in your own stock with what's already written down and do a bit of organizing. Chen's service ends up costing you a bit of smoked fish, but both of you think it was worth it.

Before you even disembark, you can tell that this town's even smaller than the one you were just at. Pulling out the last telegram you received from Yagokoro, you check the name of the agent here:

Konpaku, Youmu. Not the Konpaku, but his daughter if memory serves. Much older than she looks, deadly with a sword, and not much of a mage – really, that's all you know about her. Like her father, she's usually acting as a bodyguard to some bigwig somewhere. Not the Guildmaster, but some industrial head or politician or something.

A knocking on the front door to the car draws you out of thought. It's Marisa.

“Hey,” she says, entering the car, “We're here.” Then, laughing, she adds, “Damn, that's a lot of food. Anything good?”

“The inventory's back here,” You say, pointing to the list, “Run it by me before you start taking stuff, though.”

“Sure, sure,” She says, “So, let's go get that agent, yeah?”

Select teams (Staying or Going):
[ ] Jack
[ ] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Chen
================================================
Right, just let me know who's going where. List off everyone, and what team they should be part of, something like this:

[x] Jack(going)
[x] Patchouli(staying)
etc.

Also, don't plan on an update tomorrow. I might manage something, but I'll likely be too tired.
>> No. 35888
[ ] Jack (going)
[ ] Patchouli (staying)
[ ] Marisa (staying)
[ ] Sakuya (staying)
[ ] Chen (going)

Chen is bored.
>> No. 35890
[x] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (going)

[x] Marisa (staying)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[x] Chen (staying)

Just the two.
>> No. 35891
[x] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (staying)
[x] Marisa (going)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[x] Chen (going)

I'd rather save Patchouli and Sakuya as the backup and Marisa might know some people there.
>> No. 35893
[X] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (staying)
[X] Marisa (going)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[X] Chen (going)

Works for me~!
>> No. 35894
[X] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (staying)
[X] Marisa (going)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[X] Chen (going)
Although I am not so sure about having Marisa and Chen together.
>> No. 35896
[x] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (going)

[x] Marisa (staying)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[x] Chen (staying)
>> No. 35901
Marisa seems to want to go, and we recently had a spat with her.

Bringing along non-Guild parties would not make a good impression on Youmu, so Sakuya and Chen are out, even though the latter would probably enjoy it.

I'd like to bring Patchouli, but it will be hard enough explaining the prisoner and youkai stowaway without also having left them with our supplies, unguarded.

I'd like to bring Patchouli along, but it's going to be hard to explain

[x] Jack (going)
[x] Patchouli (staying)
[x] Marisa (going)
[x] Sakuya (staying)
[x] Chen (staying)
>> No. 35902
>>35901
I get the impression the guild isn't as strict (considering how they often recruit from all walks of life) and Youmu might have heard of Yukari and her servants.
>> No. 35906
Going to take today off. I should have something tomorrow, although it might be later in the day.
>> No. 35919
[x] Jack (Going)
[x] Marisa (Going)
[x] Chen (Going)

[x] Patchouli (Staying)
[x] Sakuya (Staying)

“Yeah,” You say, with a nod. “Want to come with me?”

“Uh... sure,” She says, after a bit of a pause, “I didn't really mean 'us' let's, but I kinda want to stretch my legs.”

“How about you?” You ask, turning to Chen.

“Huh?”

“Do you want to get out and stretch your legs?”

“Oh, sure!”

Marisa sighs. “Really?”

“It'll be fine,” You say, “You're not afraid she's going to stab you, right?”

Marisa looks to the youkai, stares for a moment, then looks back. “It's just, uh... aw, hell. Don't cause any trouble, ok?”

Chen nods. “If I did, I'd be stuck here.”

“That's right,” Marisa nods, “So, should I round up anyone else?”

“Just meet me outside,” You say, “Everyone else can stay here and watch the train.”

“Sounds good,” Marisa says, “Patchouli can toast any robbers that drop by. I'll see you outside.”

Right. You make an exit into the forward car, while everyone else following behind you just heads out into the yard. If you can even call something this small a train yard, that is. It's really just a switch. Enough for their needs, you'd imagine, but small nonetheless.

First in line is Sakuya's door, so you stop by there first. You knock, receive that nod, and enter.

“I see we've arrived,” She says, “Do you need something?”

“No,” You say, shaking your head, “I just wanted to let you know that we'd be gone for a bit. Patchouli will be here if you need anything.”

She gives you a small nod, and looks towards your hand. “Are you wounded?”

“No, that's just where I keep the exostat,” You say, “It's easier than trying to fish it out of my pocket in the middle of a fight.”

“Ah.”

Speaking of that, you realize that you left it set to 'off'. Part of you wonders if it wouldn't be better to switch it to 'on' if she's going to be watching over the train for you.

[ ] On.
[ ] Off.
[ ] Take it up with Patchouli.
>> No. 35920
[x] Take it up with Patchouli.

Let's see what she has to say about it.
>> No. 35921
[x] On.
That was the idea.
>> No. 35925
[x] On.
>> No. 35927
[x] On.
Nothing personal, mind you.
>> No. 35929
[x] On.

He'd be utterly moronic not to have this thing set to "on" at all times, and there is no need to bring it up with Patchy. We're the teamleader here, we should act like it.
>> No. 35932
[x] On.

The enchantment serves two major purposes:

1) It's an insurance policy for when Sakuya has already gotten what she needs from us; i.e., to clarify in the public record Scarlet's side of the Rokford affair.

2) It's visual reassurance to Marisa that Sakuya is under our control.

Letting her use her powers only when she's under our direct supervision reinforces the master-servitor brainwashing that we're trying to correct.
>> No. 35943
[x] On.

Well, that's an easy enough fix. You give the exostat a firm squeeze, and through that bizarre enchantment you placed on it you feel something 'click'. Not physically, but... well, it's an odd sensation to say the least. That should do it.

“Well,” You say, taking a few steps back, “That's that, then. We shouldn't be long.”

You back out of the room, and head two doors down. Patchouli's doing as she usually does, although she seems to have reduced the number of koakuma around to two.

You knock, and enter.

“Hey,” You say, “Marisa, Chen, and I are going... why are they wearing ribbons?”

Indeed, both of the koakuma seem to have blue ribbons tied to the little bat wings sticking out of their heads.

“Identification,” Patchouli says curtly, not bothering to remove herself from her studies. “And Sakuya?”

“She'll be here,” You say, “Able to fight, if you need her to.”

“Noted.”

Ha... and that's all you're going to get out of her, you think. “Make sure no one loots the places while we're gone,” You say, with a bit of a laugh. “We'll be back in a bit.”

No response, but you're fairly certain she heard you. Time to get going, then. You exit through the side door and quickly spot Marisa and Chen.

“Right,” You say to Marisa, “Have you ever been to this town before?”

She shakes her head. “Never.”

“We need to end up at some mansion,” You say, again taking a look at the telegram you received earlier in the morning, “Konpaku's an acting bodyguard there. This doesn't really look like the kind of town that would have a mansion, though.”

“Eh, you'd be surprised how many rich, paranoid guys live out in the sticks like this,” Marisa says with a shrug, “Let's go ask someone.”

“Yeah, that's what I was thinking. How about that guy?”

By now, the three of you have entered into the town proper. There's quite a bit of pedestrian traffic, so it doesn't take long for you to find someone to ask.

“Excuse me,” You say, after closing in on a random man, “Could you help us? We're looking for the Takuni estate.”

“Guild?” The man asks, looking at your badge before looking towards your face, “You guys must be. Going to help that geezer out?”

“With what?”

The man laughs. “Guess not, then. He's got a pretty serious problem with youkai over there.”

You and Marisa share a look. “And here I thought this was going to be easy,” She sighs, “Where's 'over there'?”

The man points to a nearby street. “Just take that street there. You should be able to see it when you hit the end. It's pretty obvious.”

You give the man a nod. “Thanks.”

“Sure, no problem.”

He does give Chen a rather strange look as he leaves, but that's about all.

“Bad youkai?” Chen asks, “Are you gonna beat them up?”

“I hope not,” You sigh, “I don't want to spend all day here.”

“Were there any more details on her assignment?” Marisa asks as you guys walk.

“No,” You say, “I've only got a name and a location. She should have gotten a notice to expect someone, though.”

It only takes around fifteen minutes to reach the end of the street. The man, it seems, was right; the building is definitely out of place here. Although you've reach the edge of town, peering across the grasslands reveals a sizable white building planted in the middle of circle carved into a nearby forest. It's larger than the wall around it.

“See?” Marisa says, “Told you.”

“It sounds like he's not just paranoid,” You point out, “Well, unless that guy was just joking with us.”

The walk to reach the building is almost as long as the walk you took down the street. The path leading to it is paved, while the streets in the town are dirt. Rich, indeed. You wonder how much building something like this would cost?

Well, it matters not. You reach the gate to the mansion.

“Locked,” You say, putting your weight into it. “And I don't see a bell or anything.”

“Heh,” Marisa says, holding a piece of paper out to you, “Check this out.”

It looks like gibberish to you, but the first line signifies that it's a coded Guild message.

“Where was this?”

“In the letterbox,” She says, motioning off to the side. “Guess he hasn't checked his mail yet. Or in weeks, probably.”

Hah. You see what she means. The box is pretty full of whatever sorts of letters a man like this would get. You return the telegram, look at the gate, and sigh.

“Great.”

“What's the problem?” Chen asks, from... the top of the wall. When the hell did she get up there?

[ ] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.
[ ] Maybe there's a side gate or something. Take a walk around the perimeter.
[ ] Wait for a bit near the gate.
>> No. 35944
[x] Wait for a bit near the gate.
>> No. 35950
[x] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.

No need to do something rash yet. I still hold some small measure of hope that we can accomplish this without violence or any sort of duress.
>> No. 35952
[x] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.
>> No. 35953
[x] Wait for a bit near the gate.

Chen is going to get attacked if we aren't careful.
>> No. 35954
[x] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.

The best way to stop Chen from finding out whether or not she's next to none is by being next to her, visible, in your Guild uniform.
>> No. 35955
[x] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.
>> No. 35956
[X] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.

Works for me~!
>> No. 35960
[x] She has the right idea, though. Just go over.

You put on a slight grin, and start looking along the wall for a good foothold of your own. “I guess there really isn't one. Well, besides how we're going to get over the wall.”

“Hah,” Marisa laughs, “I would have brought my broom if I knew we were going to break into the place.”

“Do you have any rope or anything?” You ask, “I don't have---”

“Hey,” Chen says, “Just let me pull you up!”

The wall is short enough that, if you jump a bit, you'd be able to reach her dangling hand. And... well, she should be stronger than she looks, being a youkai and all.

“Sure,” You say, walking over to the spot on the wall where she is, “Easier than climbing.”

Seems that you thought correctly. Very strong. She has no trouble at all keeping herself anchored to the wall with one hand, while lifting you up with the other. Marisa opts to use the edge of the gate to climb up, making use of footholds that you never would have concidered.

“Impressive,” You say, after she finally makes it to the top of the wall with you two, “Have you done this before?”

“Maybe once or twice,” She laughs, “Come on.”

She jumps straight down, landing without much difficulty on the other side. You follow. Your landing is a little rough, since you catch an edge, but you manage to stabalize yourself before falling over. Chen outdoes both of you, landing a good 10 feet from the wall.

“Let's go introduce ourselves before they get too nervous,” Marisa says, “I think I saw someone at the window.”

You nod. The path that led up to the gate continues straight up to what looks like the front door, so you follow that. Again, you find that there's no bell – however, your knocking doesn't go unanswerd. It only takes a few raps for the door to swing open.

Behind it, you see an ancient man. He's bent over slightly, bald, and obviously very wealthy. Is that silk? Either way, he doesn't seem like he's living out his days happily. It's been a while since you've seen a scowl like that.

It takes you a few moments to notice that he's not the only one behind the door. There's a girl as well; Youmu Konpaku, if you had to make a guess. She's in Guild colors, a black outfit with a dark blue undershirt, with a Guild insignia worn proudly near her heart.

The thing that really catches your eye, though, is the fact that she's armed to the teeth. It's not every day that you see someone of her stature carrying around multiple swords.

“Hello,” You say, trying to start off on the right foot, “Is this the Takuni estate?”

“Yeah,” The man says, “And you're trespassing. Take your youkai and get out of here.”

[ ] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.
[ ] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35961
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

Was the youkai problem decided before or after we chose to take Chen? Cause pulling rank with Patchy would have been neat.
>> No. 35962
[x] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35964
[ ] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

We don't owe any explanations or other pleasantries to this rude old coot.
>> No. 35965
[x] Explain yourself.

We might gain party members. His youkai problem could be our youkai profit.
>> No. 35970
[x] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35971
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.
>> No. 35972
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.
>> No. 35975
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

First impressions huh
>> No. 35978
[X] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

Probably for the best.
>> No. 35979
[X] Explain yourself.
Well we are trespassing.
>> No. 35980
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

Screw it, not worth the time.
>> No. 35981
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.

This is an emergency situation of the highest order. We don't have time for this shit, well deserved or not.
>> No. 35982
[x] Good thing you don't actually need to deal with this man. Pull rank, and get out of here.
>> No. 35985
[x] Explain yourself.

On one hand, I really wish to just say fuck you to this guy. However, this is an opportunity in disguise. I'm sure if we decide to stay and help or whatever, that urgent and impending attack on the HQ will be stalled just until we get done here. This will give us more time to increase brownie points with the local populace, and/or recruit more people.
>> No. 35986
[X] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35988
[X] Explain yourself.

You'd think as soon as he sees them as guild members he;d change his tune.
>> No. 35989
[x] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35991
[X] Explain yourself.
>> No. 35998
I'd really hate to do a coin flip for this, so I'm going to take care of some of tomorrow's business tonight. I'll write one way or another tomorrow.
>> No. 36009
New thread, see >>36008