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37405 No. 37405
[x] You can't have her dying. Fetch it for her.

You think about it for a moment, not keen to spring into action immediately. On one hand, she could be lying – this could all be a ruse, somehow. But, looking at her pathetic state... gah, you wish you could read that flow. You can't even get a glimmer of what she's thinking. If this were a human, this would be an easy decision.

Still, you doubt that she could mount much of an attack as she is. Having her die is unacceptable if she is telling the truth. Maybe you'll just examine the crystal first, and see if giving it to her would be wise.

“... alright,” You sigh, “I hope you won't mind if I look it over first, though.”

Her head gives a weak shake. “... fine. Just... hurry.”

Perhaps you're imagining it, but her voice seems to be sounding more desperate. Quieter. Her vitals aren't changing much, though, so perhaps it's just something to do with her natural healing.

You come close, and kneel down beside her.

“This'll be easier if I can roll you over,” You say, not finding easy access to any pockets, or anything “Is that fine?”

Another weak nod, so that's what you do. Carefully and slowly, you roll her over onto her back.

The exit wound on the front is still open, although the bleeding seems to have stopped for the most part. This definitely would have been fatal if it had happened to you. Judging by what you saw on her back, Youmu's sword seems to have gone through her left lung, liver, and whatever other organs may have been in the way. Or, whatever passes for those in demons, at least. You have to admire her vitality, at least.

In either case, enough gawking. There isn't a pocket immediately obvious on her outfit – so you're left with your first problem.

“I can't see it,” You say, figuring that maybe it's on the inner side of her clothes, “Where is it?”

She mumbles something, but you can't hear – it's very soft, whatever it is. Her hand motions weakly for you to come closer. Again, odd. From an energy standpoint, she doesn't seem any weaker, but she's obviously getting weaker by the minute. You lean in.

You bring your ear close to her lips, to catch what she's saying, but it's so very weak. You lean closer still, until you're almost physically touching her.

“I didn't catch that,” You say, “Sorry.”

There's a short pause before she responds. Much to your surprise, the voice comes out firm. Quiet, but firm.

“...checkmate.”

All at once, a whole bunch of things happen. That limp body of hers springs to life, with a single arm being enough to hold you firm against her body. Youmu springs to life; but, she hesitates, as you're very much in the way at this point. There is no good angle. You also happen to be looking at the other arm, the one not pinning you, as the fingernails elongate into something positively nasty looking.

The flow has turned, and terribly so – there is no good way to change it at this point. You chuckle as best you can in her tight grip. At this point the battle is so entirely one-sided that you can't think of anything else to do.

“Well played,” You say, “You have me.”

A foolish move on your part, trusting a beast as chaotic as this. You are sincere, though.

“Not quite. If you try to move, demon, you will die.”

However, you blink, and suddenly the situation changes once again. Although you can't see her, because she must be on your opposite side, you can certainly feel her presence. Sakuya. You can feel the cold edge of her knife on the side of your head, too, but just barely. Somehow, she managed to fit it between you and the demon's neck.

“Tch,” The demon says, clicking her tongue. She still sounds a little pained, but nowhere near that act she was putting on before, “Stand down, dog. We're allies here.”

“My loyalty lies with my master,” Sakuya says, “We are not allies.”

“Our contract says otherwise,” The demon responds, a bit mockingly, “Or do you intend to break that, on behalf of your master? Wouldn't that be quite the stain on your house?”

Sakuya pauses for a moment, and you hope with every bone in your body that she doesn't decide that this thing is right. More than a moment, really. You experience what is probably going to be the most suspenseful moment in your entire life.

Eventually, Sakuya speaks. Her voice is quiet, but her resolve firm.

“Our contract,” She says, “Specifically referred to Rokford. We have already fulfilled that. I am acting of my own will.”

“You realize that this guy killed your master, right?” The demon again mocks, “You certainly don't owe him anything.”

Again, a pause, but this one is a bit shorter. “It is up to the victor to record history,” She says, “And your side will not be the victor. My Mistress's final battle will not be lost to history.”

That one gives the demon pause. “... fine,” She sighs, loosening her grip a bit. You still can't get free, but your chest no longer feels like it's going to collapse. “I yield. For real this time. Can you just kill me and get this over with?”

“I will let Jack decide,” Sakuya says, “I do not care either way.”

[ ] She wants a swift death? You'd be happy to oblige.
[ ] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

>> No. 37407
Since I forgot to tack this on to the end of my post, I should say that I'm going to be out of town this weekend - so Saturday's update is going to be Sunday night probably.
>> No. 37408
[x]Mentally chastise yourself for being so goddamned stupid.
-[x] Kill her. As strongly as you can. Vent off.

What the fuck.
>> No. 37409
[x] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

No. You do not get a swift death. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 souls.
>> No. 37410
[x]Mentally chastise yourself for being so goddamned stupid.
[x]Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

A trustworthy leader we aren't, i think it's about time we started changing back to the more pragmatic person that we were in the first portion of the story before we get deposed as a leader for being way too stupid.

I mean, sure take her as a prisoner, but don't be overly trusty of a being who's big on the entire deception thing.
>> No. 37412
[x] She wants a swift death? You'd be happy to oblige.

How exactly are we going to control her.
Sakuya is loyal for a reason- strange as it is.

How can we be certain about her loyalty?
>> No. 37414
>>37412
Who cares about her loyalty? I'm planning to have Patchouli torture her.
>> No. 37415
>>37414
You mean like Sakuya? I am all for that.

[x] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

Information are more valuable and we might be able to figure out a use for her later on.
>> No. 37416
>>37414
and kill her afterwards?
>> No. 37418
[x] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

Heh... it was a risk made in good judgement, pretty run about way of doing things. As satisfying as killing her would be, it'd only be A) non-final (Where else would she go? Detroit?) and B) it'd allow what she knows to get into Makai's hands.

Though she has forfeited any rights to comfort (i.e. she'd have it worse than Sakuya)
>> No. 37422
[X] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

Finishing her off will just be a free ticket back to Makai. Let's keep her away from her buddies for a while, 'kay?
>> No. 37441
>I_wonder_if_anyone_has_noticed_these_yet.jpg
[x] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.
>> No. 37446
> I_wonder_if_anyone_has_noticed_these_yet.jpg
> A slow change from a clear day to a rather nasty looking storm.

Something tells me this is what going down at the capital. Fuck, they are sending Shiki, aren't they?
>> No. 37449
[x] Maybe later. You'd still like to keep her, if able.

“I stand by my decision,” You say, “We'll kill you only if there's no way to bind you.”

“You're so soft, Jack,” The demon says almost jokingly, finally releasing you, “Now, get off me.”

“Probably not as soft as you're thinking,” You say, while getting up and dusting yourself off. “Or did you not hear back from that scout that was sent earlier? You've already squandered all my kindness.”

Even for one as good at acting as she is, you notice just a tinge of apprehension pop up. There isn't any definite response, though, so you can't tell whether it's just her imagination at work or she actually has had some contact with that imp Patchouli dealt with earlier.

“Well, I guess we'll find out,” You shrug, going back nearer towards the edge of the hill, “That, and many other things.”

“That is more reasonable,” Sakuya says, finally releasing her knife from the demon's throat, “Never trust a demon.”

“Unless it's in writing, and you've got a very specific way of writing,” You nod, “I think I've got that now.”

Youmu is still silent. She's either got nothing to say or doesn't want to say it; you'll just have to ask her later. Maybe this is just her business face. Chen is nowhere to be seen, so you'd guess that she wandered off somewhere while you weren't paying attention.

Thankfully, you do spot Patchouli lazily making her way up the hill. She'll be here in a few minutes.

“Hey, Jack,” The demon calls out, “Mind if I get off the ground? Your other dog looks like she'll slice me in two of I try.”

You don't bother to respond. It's going to take some work to keep this thing from killing everyone, and you hope Patchouli's up to the task.

“What's your name?” You ask, dodging her request.

“Luize,” The demon says, “Guess I didn't introduce myself last time we met. You know, this grass is really wet,” She says, “Real water, not that stuff we have back home. I'm still not sure if I like it yet. Look, I'm not much for torture,” she continues, “Maybe we can work something out.”

You hear the grass rustle a bit behind you. As you're looking back it rustles again. Luize is putting weight on her arms, as if she just tried to stand – but, now, Youmu has her blade drawn and ready. Luize laughs a bit, and settles back down.

“Haha, not now I guess,” She says, nervously, “Can't say this is how I wanted to spend my vacation. I figured I was done for when you broke out that scroll, but I thought I could bring one or two of you with me.”

For now, you just listen and watch Patchouli wind her way up towards you all.

“Guess my sisters are probably having fun, though,” She continues, “If that damn vampire hadn't kept such good notes, I'd be down there too. We totally had you guys.”

She seems to be treating this like some sort of game, and not a war.

“I guess we should still be alright, though,” She continues, “Plenty of payoffs all around. I wasn't the only one to bring back a boatload of souls, you know. Thanks for that, by the way, Jack,” She says, “And dog, if you ever see your younger master again, give her my thanks. She listens rather well.”

“Be glad that I don't slay you right here, demon,” Sakuya says, “You will speak no more of my deceased masters.”

She laughs. “Sure, sure. I guess that's kind of a sore spot, isn't it?”

This demon is grating on your nerves. You might have to include gagging into the binding spell. Still, you guess you'll let her talk for now.

And talk she does. “You guys are so serious,” She complains, “I guess being mortal must be frustrating, huh? Having a natural lifespan and all that.”

It only takes another minute for Patchouli to arrive, and you're thankful.

“Oh,” She says, leaning her head a bit to see the incoming mage, “I guess this is sort of round 3, huh?”

Patchouli, too, doesn't seem keen on talking to it. “My apologies,” She says to you, “It didn't seem wise for me to tail Fredrik.”

“It's fine,” You say, “Your scroll worked like a charm. I hate to keep working you like this, but what can you do for restraints on this character?”

Patchouli indifferently makes her way over towards the demon, although the two koakuma she brought with her opt to hang back after a glance from the creature.

“Ow,” Luize whines, after Patchouli gives her a solid poke on the head, “Hey, watch it.”

Patchouli pokes her a few more times around the body, and turns towards you. “With her here like this,” the elementalist says, “Petrification would be possible.”

Luize doesn't like that, “H-hey,” she says, “Do you have any idea how terrible that is?”

“However, petrification is very energy intensive,” Patchouli continues, “I would not be at one hundred percent tomorrow when we arrive at our destination. A lesser binding may be better, but she would not be immobile. A guard would be recommended.”

“What would you be at?”

She pauses for a moment, a blank look taking over her face. A response comes in a few seconds. “Approximately 82.41%, if it is raining.”

“I could act as a guard,” Youmu says, “If that is what you would like to do, Jack.”

“How complete would this lesser binding be?” You ask. “How 'not immobile' are you talking?”

“A significant reduction in speed,” Patchouli answers, “She would be too slow to pose any sort of threat to a person.”

[ ] Not that you don't trust Youmu, but... you'd sleep easier with a full binding. This doesn't sound like a one-day assault, anyway.
[ ] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37451
[x] Nah, too dangerous. Send her back instead.
>> No. 37452
[x] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.

Heh. I like you. You may continue having the ability to speak.
>> No. 37454
[x] Not that you don't trust Youmu, but... you'd sleep easier with a full binding. This doesn't sound like a one-day assault, anyway.
>> No. 37455
[X] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37456
[x] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37457
[x] Not that you don't trust Youmu, but... you'd sleep easier with a full binding. This doesn't sound like a one-day assault, anyway.
>> No. 37461
[X] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37462
[x] Not that you don't trust Youmu, but... you'd sleep easier with a full binding. This doesn't sound like a one-day assault, anyway.
>> No. 37463
[Z] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37464
[x] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.
>> No. 37465
[X] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.

This will do.
>> No. 37495
[x] The lesser binding will be enough. You'll discuss guard duty later.

“That'll be fine, then,” You say, with a nod, “We can discuss guard duty and whatnot later. I don't want to make you listen to her all night, Youmu.”

“I don't mind,” Youmu says, “She is easy enough to ignore.”

“In that case,” Patchouli answers, “I'll begin. It should only take six minutes.”

In the meantime, you scan the area for Chen. You're still not sure where she went off to, so you lazily circle the hilltop and look out in the distance. Despite the rain-mist stuff, you've got a decent view of the surroundings.

Eventually, you spot her playing around near a stream running behind the hill, perhaps another half-mile away. There's a group of deer that she seems to be having fun harassing. As you watch, you feel someone behind you – Sakuya.

“I figure I owe you my thanks,” You say, “Even though I know you don't want it.”

“I don't want it,” She agrees. “Your stupidity deserved to get you killed. It still amazes me that you were able to beat my master.”

“Your master didn't feign surrender, then pretend to be dying to take some people out with her,” You say, “I didn't realize demons were so vile.”

“They are,” Sakuya says, definitely, “My master would not stoop so low.”

“There's your answer, then,” You say, “Deceit is a powerful weapon.”

“I have a question for you, if you'd allow it,” Sakuya says, a bit hesitantly. “I didn't make my way over here for small talk.”

Why she'd ask if she can ask, when she's been hurtling insults your way the entire time is a bit beyond you, but whatever. “Go ahead. You don't need to ask.”

“The demon mentioned the little master's last moments as if she had a hand in them, and you avoided the question last time I asked,” Sakuya says, “I would like a straight answer. What, exactly, happened?”

Although you could keep dodging the question, you suppose, she's going to find out sooner or later. May as well tell her now. “When did you wake?”

“After landing on the lower floor,” Sakuya says, “Shortly before the crystal was destroyed.”

“That was the little one's doing,” You say, “I guess that she broke her way through the mansion under that demon's influence. We all got out of sight as quickly as we could, not wanting to be caught by her ability. She was talking to herself - well, no, I guess she was talking to that demon – right before she destroyed the crystal.”

Sakuya looks at you expectantly, so you continue. First, with a sigh. “From our description, we knew that she was insane, and that she could utterly destroy things in her line of sight. We'd also just slain her sister.” You pause. “You're sure that you want to hear this?”

“I do.”

“So, I decided it was best to preemptively strike. I grappled and held her while Patchouli retrieved our only stake.” Somehow, your emotional response to the event seems dulled – almost like you weren't actually there yourself, but simply watching. Just part of---

---being a schizist, you suppose. “She put up a struggle, and begged for her life. Then, we killed her.”

“After she had yielded.”

What she means by that, well... you're not sure. It's difficult to tell by her tone. It may be just an observation.

[ ] “Yes, that's right.”
[ ] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.
[ ] “Yes. And I'll hear no more of this.”
[ ] Remain silent. You've got nothing else to say.
>> No. 37496
[X] “Yes, that's right.”

Man up, take responsibility.
>> No. 37497
[x] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.
Her point is our character{s hypocrisy, along with his epic-level idiocy.
>> No. 37499
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

Hah. Funny how things can come back and bite someone in the ass.
>> No. 37500
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

I don't remember there being a vote between the begging and the killing. But hey, from Jack's perspective, that's exactly what he did.
>> No. 37501
[X] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.

Hmm
>> No. 37502
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

Stand by your action. I somehow don't remember her begging, just confused and absent-minded.
>> No. 37504
[X] “Yes, that's right.”

Gotta man up for what he did, even if it was a different situation with an entirely different level of tension.
>> No. 37505
[X] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.

Going back to it, she was rambling something incoherent and then went
> “No, wait!” The younger sister cries out, “She's so angry, hotter than her home... I'll burn! I need to cool her down with a drink first!”

At which point we had a choice of either listening to her or ignoring her.
we ignored her,
> “No! I-don't-want-to-die-yet!”
and she died.

Basically we chose to ignore the ramblings of the insane girl who had just demonstrated her power to DESTROY ANYTHING. I'd say that the choice was obvious when comparing it to a demon we can actually bind and keep in check.
>> No. 37506
[X] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.
>> No. 37507
[X] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.

Works for me~!
>> No. 37508
[x] Defend yourself. It was the right choice, and fundamentally different from this one.

Insane death-invoking vampire /= demon who might have information Jack wants.
>> No. 37509
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

He doesn't need to justify himself to Sakuya of all people.
>> No. 37510
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

And use 37505's explanation.
>> No. 37511
[X] “Yes, that's right.”
>> No. 37515
[x] "Yes, that's right."

I knew we shouldn't have killed her so fast. Now we go and spare everyone else.
>> No. 37516
[x] “Yes, that's right.”

“Yes, that's right,” You nod. If she'd like to make something out of it, she can – but, personally, you see no issue here. “Then, our group parted ways. I met up with you shortly afterward.”

“I see,” She says, as detached as ever. “That is what I wanted to know.”

Again, it's so hard to tell if there's anything behind her words. You've heard that a good servant is one that blends in so seamlessly that they almost seem not to be there, and she somehow manages to do that with her words as well. Most of the time, at least.

You've got nothing more to say, and you guess that she doesn't either. However, she doesn't leave, but instead watches Chen with... no, next to you. At least, until Patchouli taps you on your shoulder.

“I have finished the binding,” Patchouli reports, “We may return now.”

“Good,” You nod, “Could you send one of your koakuma to fetch our cat friend down there?”

Patchouli looks, and then turns to one of the remaining two by her shoulder. After whispering something, it begins the trek down the hill.

The walk back is... interesting, to say the least. You and Youmu end up carrying the demon back, as she's hardly capable of walking as she is now. She's still capable of talking, apparently, but is rather quiet. Sulking, maybe, if you had to judge by her face.

As for the train, the wards seem to be about 50% complete. The entire engine is covered, with the middle car being about half covered.

“How will this work?” You ask, by the time you're close, “With the runes, I mean.”

Patchouli shrugs. “They only work in one direction, so she can leave freely.”

“But we'll need to temporarily break them to put her back on.”

“Yes.”

“Well,” You say, “Let's get her set up in my old room, then. I'll take a bunk in the back. It should be safe to just, uh... leave her in there, right?”

“For now, a guard would be advised,” Patchouli says, “But yes.”

Remembering back to your volunteer on the hill, you look over the demon towards Youmu. She nods, and without a word you have the whole thing set up. After lying Luize down on the bed, you remove your bag from the room. Youmu takes a seat on the opposite bed, and you step out into the hall.

“I'll send a koakuma your way,” You say, “Just let it know if you'd like to switch out with someone.”

“I'll be fine,” Youmu says, “But thank you.”

With a nod, you step out into the hall with your bag. Looks like you've got some time to kill after you drop this off and go recruit a koakuma. You head towards the rear car, thinking about what you'll do next.

[ ] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.
[ ] Hang out in the back – you can pass the time with whoever is back there.
[ ] There's still some logistics that you'll need to take care of before tomorrow. Telegrams, terrain layouts, things of that nature.
>> No. 37517
[x] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.

Best to just get this out of the way and get on with the trip.
>> No. 37518
[X] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.

...yeah, currently fuming, will spark soon.
>> No. 37520
[x] There's still some logistics that you'll need to take care of before tomorrow. Telegrams, terrain layouts, things of that nature.

I'm getting the feeling that everything is going to explode at some point in the future. I love this ominous feeling. Makes everything more exciting.
>> No. 37521
[X] There's still some logistics that you'll need to take care of before tomorrow. Telegrams, terrain layouts, things of that nature.

First off we have Luize possessing a guild member, what else happened between the time it happened and then Jack & Co. finally reaching good ole Freddie. Any letters/telegrams getting through even?
>> No. 37522
[x] There's still some logistics that you'll need to take care of before tomorrow. Telegrams, terrain layouts, things of that nature.
>> No. 37523
[X] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.
Why is she angry at us again?
>> No. 37524
>>37523
Probably all of the not-killing-the-enemies that's been going on.
>> No. 37525
>>37524
This. I'm angry too. Waste of time, loss of leadership. Seen as weak, not kind. Interrogation success not likely.
Disappointing.

[X] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.
>> No. 37526
>>37525
>Interrogation success not likely.

You're assuming a bit much.
>> No. 37527
File 13203761966.jpg - (584.49KB , 1920x1080 , 1277786002155.jpg ) [iqdb]
37527
>>37525
I cannot help but think this is you when I read that.

It is, isn't it?
>> No. 37528
[x] There's still some logistics that you'll need to take care of before tomorrow. Telegrams, terrain layouts, things of that nature.

Well, allright, let's try something else.
>> No. 37529
[X] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.

We need to explain that if we killed the demon, it would have just returned to Makai and revealed stuff about us.
>> No. 37532
[x] Damage control. Marisa's probably off fuming somewhere.

Well, you suppose you'll go try to calm Marisa down. It'll need to be done sooner or later, and sooner is probably better in this kind of thing.

Upon entering the rear car, you find that things have been swapped around a bit. The two tables that were bolted to the floor up near the front of the car have been moved, somehow, and are now both lined up near one of the bunks in the back. They're now lined with a bunch of glassware, and there's a fire lit under one of the flasks. Rikako is directly across from it, with the two initiates sitting beside her.

You almost don't notice Tewi, who's lying on one of the bunks closer to the door, just sort of relaxing. She's the first one to notice you.

“Hey,” She says, “You're back.”

With that, Rikako and company notice you as well.

“I'm back,” You nod, to all of them, “What happened with you?”

“Well,” She says, “Patchouli was fine, and I figured it was less suspicious if I didn't trail the guy back. Plus, I didn't really want to be anywhere near that fight anyway.”

You suppose you should have expected something like that. Well, it all worked out in the end, and you guess that's all that matters.

“So,” She continues, “We've got a demon on board now?”

“She's in my compartment,” You say, letting your bag's shoulder strap fall off your shoulder, “I guess I'll be staying back here for the rest of the trip.”

Tewi nods, and goes back to lounging around. You make your way further back, towards where Fredrik is lying.

“How's he doing?” You ask Rikako, “It looks like you're set up, at least.”

“He's doing find, all things considered,” She answers, “I didn't have all the ingredients I wanted, so I had to substitute a few things... but it'll work fine, I think. We'll know in about an hour.”

“Great timing, then,” You say, “Sounds like that's when we'll be ready to move out.”

“Heh, good,” She says, “I wouldn't want to leave this stuff set up en-route. That never turns out well.”

You turn to Fredrik, who almost looks like he's asleep. Much different than how he looked when that thing was crawling out of his mouth. As you do, you hear a bit of whispering behind you between Kyou and Rikako.

“... go on, ask,” is the last thing that Rikako says, before the two stop.

“Um...”

You turn around to face Kyou, who seems to have a question for you from the look on her face.

“Go ahead,” You say, “What is it?”

“... is that demon really here?” She asks, “In the front car? That's... kind of scary...”

You nod. “She won't be hurting anybody, don't worry. Patchouli put some top notch bindings on her, and Youmu's watching her right now. They're both very good at what they do.”

“Youmu is really good,” She nods, “And Patchouli, too.”

“Right,” You nod, “So, there's nothing to worry about.”

Kyou gives another confident nod. “Right. Nothing to worry about.”

Rikako laughs. “That even makes me feel a little better about it. The idea made me a little uneasy when you suggested it, but I think it'll work out for the best. You're planning on pumping it for information?”

“That's the idea,” You nod, “We really don't know much, and this is definitely the demon behind the stuff at Rokford and that disease we battled. She's got to know something.”

“What makes you think she'll talk?”

“Patchouli,” You shrug, “She seems to have a way with these sort of things.”

“That's a little creepy,” Rikako says, with a nervous laugh, “Well, alright. I could cook something up if you needed it, but it sounds like you don't.”

You nod. “So, where did Marisa run off to? I don't see her back here.”

“She's... up front, I think,” Rikako said, “You're going to go talk with her?”

“I want to make sure she's not going to kill me in my sleep,” You nod, half-seriously, “How was she on the way back?”

“Quiet,” Rikako says, “We all were, though. That was a tough fight. What was up with you in the end, there?”

“Oh... hah,” You say, with a bit of a chuckle, “Sorry. I don't get to choose when I switch into different paradigms, it just kind of happens when it needs to.”

“It was really strange,” She says, nodding, “I guess I've never seen a schizist fight before, though. Your whole posture and everything changed, then, suddenly, we won.”

You shrug. “Let's just hope that I can keep up with you guys. That was a pretty fantastic display of firepower from the back row. And Makoto, were you helping out Youmu or something?”

“Ah? Oh, yes,” He says, snapping out of his stare, “That's what I was doing.”

“Well,” You nod, “Again, good work. I really should go find Marisa, though.”

“Sure,” Rikako says, “We'll be back here if you need us.”

You nod to Tewi on your way out as well, and head to the front car. Sure enough, Marisa's sitting in her cabin reading something – you can see her through the window, since she hasn't drawn the blinds. You give a knock. She doesn't exactly seem happy to see you, but gives you a nod to come in.

“Hey,” You say, stepping in and closing the door behind you, “I just figured I'd see how you were doing. Thanks for not butting heads with me in front of those two kids up there.”

“It wasn't just for them,” She says, “But yeah, sure.”

“Do you still want to argue it?”

“You've made up your mind,” She says, “I'll just have to live with it. Now isn't the time for that kind of bullshit; I mean, we've got a country to save. It's all bound and stuff, though, right?”

“Yeah,” You nod, “Patchouli took care of it. She can hardly walk right now, and I don't think she could bring enough force to bare to even swat a fly. Youmu's got her under guard, though, so that she doesn't shuffle away while we aren't looking.”

“She's really the one behind Rokford, isn't she?” Marisa asks.

“That's right,” You nod, “And all the other stuff we've come across.”

“She doesn't deserve to live,” Marisa sighs, “That's my only problem. She shouldn't get to just say 'oooh, spare me!' and have everyone listen. No one in Rokford had that option.”

[ ] Tell her that it was actually a feint.
[ ] She doesn't need any more fodder.
>> No. 37533
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.
>> No. 37536
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.

Yeah... I think she needs to know this, just so she can get a laugh in. In the end we should have been more cautious.
>> No. 37537
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.

Honesty at his own expense - at least to Marisa - seems like something he'd do.
>> No. 37538
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.
>> No. 37540
[X] Tell her that we are only keeping the demon alive for now.
>> No. 37541
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.
[x] And that we'll send it to hell, after we got all the info from it we can.
>> No. 37543
[X] Tell her that we are only keeping the demon alive to get information out of it, and to prevent it from giving information on us back to Makai.
>> No. 37557
[X] Tell her that we are only keeping the demon alive to get information out of it, and to prevent it from giving information on us back to Makai.
>> No. 37567
[X] Tell her that we are only keeping the demon alive to get information out of it, and to prevent it from giving information on us back to Makai.
>> No. 37568
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.

Bad write-in.
>> No. 37569
[x] Tell her that it was actually a feint.

“If it makes you feel any better,” You say, “She wasn't actually surrendering. The whole thing was a feint.”

“What do you mean?” Marisa asks, really not grasping what you just said, “She was just faking that whole thing?”

You nod. “After you all left, she got me to fetch something out of her front pocket. Either she wasn't as wounded as she seemed, or she healed pretty quickly, because she had me in a grapple before I could blink.”

Marisa just shakes her head. “Sometimes, I really don't know what to make of you. How come you're still alive?”

“Sakuya,” You say, “She had a knife on the demon's throat before the demon could blink, I think. Luize decided she wouldn't be able to kill me fast enough, so she let me go.”

“The maid saved you?”

“It's a good thing she came with us,” You say. Then with a bit of a laugh, you add, “I think you two feel the same way about my leadership style, though.”

Marisa makes a rather sour face. “Bleh. Not what I wanted to hear. Be more careful next time, alright? I'm going to be really pissed if you get yourself killed.”

“Knowing you,” You laugh, “The fact that I'd be dead wouldn't offer much protection. Noted.”

Marisa laughs a bit, too. Then, after a pause, she asks, “So, Sakuya, huh?”

“That's right,” You say, “I don't think Youmu had a very good angle, or maybe not the speed.”

“Maybe I should apologize for that thing, then,” She says, taking a look at the wrap around your hand, “Even though I know you're not lying, I still can't believe it. I don't get her at all.”

“She said she'd do the same for you or Patchouli,” You say, “and the others to a limited extent.”

“Maybe she's lying,” Marisa says, “That seems kind of ridiculous, though, unless she's trying to get us all killed at the same time or something.”

“And unbecoming,” You add, “I can't imagine her lying unless she was ordered to.”

“Yeah, you're probably right,” Marisa admits, shaking her head, “It still feels wrong, though. I really don't get her.”

“She's pretty open,” You suggest, “You could always go ask.”

“'Hey, what makes you tick?'?” Marisa laughs, “I don't know about you, but that's a weird thing to ask someone.”

The two of you chat about various things for a while, passing the time. You do step out for a moment, remembering that koakuma that you promised Youmu, and after that the two of you move to the rear car. Although the tables are in use, the benches that were surrounding the tables are still in place.

During the chat, the idea of letting the other northern group of Guild mages comes up. Not that you've gotten around to asking Luize what sort of other things she's had her terrible little hand in, but if your trip was anything to go by this Alice person is probably running into similar issues.

You end up authoring a short telegram, encoded specifically to her, about your arrival time and your numbers. Current timetables show you arriving at around three-thirty in the morning, while if the other team has managed to avoid any delays they'll be there within a few hours.

Although the lines to the capital are most definitely dead by now, the ones running to your meeting point are still alive, so you have no trouble getting the message out. Seems that the demons haven't spread that far north yet... or perhaps they never will – you're still not sure what their motives are. Hopefully, your recent capture will be able to shed some light on that.

By the time you get back from the telegraph office, it only takes a few minutes for things to be ready for departure. Whatever Rikako was cooking up is now finished, and although you can't tell a difference in Fredrik's condition she assures you that it's working. As she packs her glassware away, Patchouli enters and informs you that everything is finished.

At this point, you've re-taken your seat by Marisa near the front. Aside from Chen, who's sleeping, and Sakuya, who is a bit further back from everyone, most of you have gathered near the front.

“Well,” Marisa says, in response to the news that the train is now impenetrable to demon spies, “I guess that means we should get going, huh?”

“I guess so,” You say, nodding, “I can't think of anything else.”

That seems to be the general consensus, so Marisa stands up and works herself free from the sitting area. “Well, I'll run the engine for a while. We can't make those koakuma do all the work, can we?”

“We can,” Patchouli answers, “But, as you wish.”

And just like that, you're off once more. The train lurches a bit as it picks up speed, as it usually does, but things don't feel much different. Then again, you guess you shouldn't be feeling those binding runes at all.

Patchouli doesn't seem to be keen on sticking around, as once you're moving she slowly heads for the door.

“Going to take a rest?” You ask.

“Yes,” She answers, “I will interrogate the prisoner afterwords. Would you like to be involved?”

You think about that for a minute.

[ ] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.
[ ] Not particularly.
[ ] Not particularly, but you do have a few specific questions you'd like for her to ask:
- [ ] (Write-in)
>> No. 37570
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.

I mostly want to see Patchouli's interrogation method. I'm quite curious about why she was infiltrating, though. What's up with that?
>> No. 37573
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.

>>37570
I'd imagine for any of the various reasons someone ever infiltrates.
>> No. 37574
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.

Same as Sakuya? Might as well invite her too.
>> No. 37576
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.
We'll get the truth out of her
>> No. 37586
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.
>> No. 37630
[x] Yes, you've got a few things you'd like to ask.

“I suppose so,” You say, “I've got a few things I'd like to ask her myself.”

Patchouli gives you a vague nod, and heads off for her nap.

“She must be pretty beat,” Rikako notes, “Smaller circles are hard enough. I can't imagine doing something to cover a whole train.”

“Yeah,” You nod, “Not to mention the whole scroll and binding thing. I wish I knew a bit more about these sorts of things so I could help out.”

“Eh, you probably have enough other bases covered to make up for it,” She says, a bit playfully, “I mean, most of us can only do one or two things.”

“Maybe,” You say, “Still, another demon expert would be nice.”

“Heh, maybe,” She says, “Patchouli seems to be pretty top-notch, though. I think she'll be fine.”

“She does seem to know her limits,” You say, with a nod, “You're probably right.”

There's a bit of silence, as most of you just kind of sit around.

“So,” You say, turning to Tewi, “I suppose you're planning on ditching us when we get to the capital, right?”

“Ditching?” Tewi echoes, “I think it's kind of the other way around, isn't it? I'm going straight to her place when I get there.”

“Oh, that reminds me,” Rikako says, turning to Tewi “Jack was pretty tight-lipped about who you were and what you were doing here. He told me to ask you about it.”

“Oh, did he?” Tewi laughs, turning to you, “Dang. I can't say I'm much for talking about myself. How out of it is the guy back there?”

“Him?” Rikako turns, “He'll be unconscious for a while, yet. Why?”

“Well,” Tewi sighs, “I guess everyone else knows already, and I've already made up my mind about you, so... I'm an old rabbit who deals in luck. Just don't tell him yet. I like to make up my minds about people before they know what I am.”

“How old?” Rikako asks, a gleam in her eye. “You seem well-learned for a feral youkai. You are a feral youkai, aren't you?”

“Hey,” Tewi laughs, “Show some respect. Do you ask everyone you meet for their age? Much less call them an animal.”

Rikako does her best to apologize. “Sorry. I didn't mean it like that. I guess that was sort of insulting.”

“It's alright. I don't know the answer, anyway,” Tewi says, “Let's just say I've been around since the locals were first toying with the idea of these pointy sticks that they could throw at animals.”

“You've been around since spears were invented?” Rikako laughs, “You're joking, right?”

“Maybe,” Tewi grins, “But it's a good ballpark figure. I've been around for a while.”

Rikako isn't sure what to do with that kind of response, so she turns to you. You just give a nod. Not much to say, really.

“... well,” Rikako says, “That's something, isn't it? How'd you end up with Jack, here?”

Tewi turns to you. “You should probably tell that one. I'm not sure what parts you want to keep secret.”

“Sure,” You shrug, although with an introduction like that it'll be hard to keep anything secret. “If we're doing that, I may as well start at the begining. I think I promised you that, too.”

“Yeah,” Rikako says, “You did say you'd fill me in later. I guess now is a good time.”

You're still fresh from the last time you told the tale, so it goes a bit smoother this time – although, you do leave a bit of the grit out of the gritty details on account of your audience. No need to give them nightmares.

Yukari will end up in your report, anyway, so you do mention her. And Chen. And the whole affair with Tewi and the old man. For the most part, there aren't any questions or comments. You're allowed to sum things up from beginning to end without interruption.

“... so,” You conclude, “Then, we met up with you. You know the rest.”

Rikako just shakes her head. “That's quite the story you've got. Things make a bit more sense now.”

There's a clang from the rear of the car as something metal drops to the floor right about then, accompanied by a groggy “...blast.”

You can tell that Rikako has done this doctor bit before, because she spares no time in getting up to go to Fredrik's side. She picks up his watch and hands it back in the process, which you guess must have been what dropped. “My, you're awake,” She says, “How do you feel?”

You, too, begin to make your way back there as he answers. “Quite awful. Where am I? And pardon me for asking, but who are you?”

“I don't mind you asking. Rikako Asakura,” She answers, “And, we're on a train bound for the capital. Do you remember the telegram you received a few days ago?”

“Ah... yes,” He says, weakly nodding. He attempts to check his watch again, and succeeds this time. “I was supposed to meet up with a group lead by Jack Steam. It seems that I've lost a day at some point, though. What happened? How did I get here?”

“Pleased to see you're awake,” You say, stepping into the man's sight. You offer a hand out to him. “I'm Jack.”

“Fredrik Zweigesicht,” He says, looking to your outstretched hand, “Pardon me if I don't respond in kind, but my arm is not quite cooperating.”

“As for your question,” You say, “We met you under the possession of a demon trying her best to infiltrate our group. I guess the exorcism was a bit rough.”

He manages a weak chuckle. “Possession? Hmm. The last thing I remember, I was leaving a demonic shrine. I had just dealt with a group of cultists that had been plaguing the town, and...”

It's clear that he's trying hard to think, but after a few moments he gives up. “... no, I remember nothing after that.”

“If it makes you feel any better,” You say, “The same demon got me a few days ago.”

“Is she involved in this recall?” He asks, “The telegram was vague about the reasoning for it.”

“Sort of,” You say, “Maybe I should take a seat and explain the situation to you.”

“Perhaps later,” He says, “Right now, I would just like some water. I'm quite thirsty.”

“Coming right up,” Rikako answers.

By now, the two siblings have made their way towards the back.

“And who are they?” Fredrik notices when he sees them, “They seem rather young.”

“He's Makoto,” You answer, “And she's Kyou. Two initiates who happened to get swept up in this recall thing.”

Fredrik nods, deciding now to try proping himself up to get a better look around. “You seem prepared to feed an army.”

It's about then that Patchouli also makes her way to the rear car. She doesn't even bother to come back to get you, since her look is enough. She's going to begin questioning now.

“Well,” You say, “I'll be back later. I've got some other buisness to attend to up front.”

Fredrik tries to follow your gaze, but he doesn't quite manage to see all the way to the front of the car from his viewing angle. “We'll have to talk when you get back, then,” He says, “I'll try to rest myself for it.”

You nod, and head towards the front of the car.

Patchouli looks like she has seen better days – her hair is starting to look a bit frazzled, as if she just woke up and immediately headed back here – but you probably look something like that yourself.

As she leads you towards your old compartment, she lays down the rules of the interrogation.

“I will motion to you when you can ask a question,” Patchouli says, “Do not speak otherwise. Also, once we begin, you will not be able to leave the room until I am finished. Is this acceptable?”

“Yeah, that's fine,” You nod, “What about Youmu?”

“A break would be best,” Patchouli answers, “The less beings in the room, the easier it will be.”

“Is adding a second person an issue?”

“No,” She answers quickly, “A minor inconvenience at best.”

She wastes no time sliding open the door, and basically giving Youmu (along with her koakuma) the boot for the moment. Two more quickly pop out of the aether to join her at her side.

“Enter,” She says, “We will begin.”

You step into the room, which doesn't look all that much different from when you left it. Patchouli floats her way in as well, and closes the door behind her – and starts going to work with more runes, mostly on the door and ceiling in silence.

By now, there's very little emotion on Luize's face, aside from maybe a bit of uneasiness and a whole lot of fake confidence. She's doing her best to mask her fears, meeting your gaze directly and giving you a cold smile with it when she does. You, on the other hand, just meet it passively, all the while thinking of questions to ask this thing.

[ ] (Write-ins)
================================================
I'll try to write a good chunk of what votes I get, though I make not use the question word-for-word.
>> No. 37634
Ugh, I hate yawning void write-ins like this. I'll give it my best shot.

[x] Why was she infiltrating?
[x] What were her plans?
[x] Why her? Did the higher ups assign her as Jack's keeper?
[x] Does she know anything about Makai's big plan?
[x] How large are Makai's forces?
[x] Why did Makai need so many souls?
[x] Vacation? Does the rest of Makai share this view?

yadda yadda. I'm sure I'm missing some obvious stuff.
>> No. 37667
[x] Why was she infiltrating?
[x] What were her plans?
[x] Does she know anything about Makai's big plan? Size of the army? Purpose?
[x] Why did Makai need so many souls?
>> No. 37710
I'm going to be lazy and not update this weekend, due to local events, so expect something monday.
>> No. 37794
[x] Why was she infiltrating?
[x] What were her plans?
[x] Why her? Did the higher ups assign her as Jack's keeper?
[x] Does she know anything about Makai's big plan?
[x] How large are Makai's forces?
[x] Why did Makai need so many souls?
[x] Vacation? Does the rest of Makai share this view?

Patchouli's runes don't take more than five minutes to complete, since she has her little devils helping her to cover the compartment with them. You take a seat on the side of the room opposite the demon, and next to Youmu.

As the three complete the last bit of the design on the walls, something feels different with the room. Almost as if it has become hostile in some way – very creepy. Patchouli seems to stare Luize down for a minute or two before beginning.

“Sit up,” Patchouli commands.

Luize has been lying much like one would lie on a sofa. Although she isn't quick to accept the command, and she's definitely not quick to get up due to her binding, she does so without question. It's a rather odd thing to watch. She was close to Chen in terms of speed before – now, she'd have difficulty in a race against a one-hundred year old man.

“What is your name?”

“Luize,” The demon answers, “Why do--- ow!”

For a brief moment, you see the section of rune on the wall behind Luize glow bright. Some sort of enchantment to cause pain? Either way, Luize seems a little disturbed by it.

“You will ask no questions,” Patchouli says, “You will only answer them. You will also respond to any commands.”

Also, you notice that the two koakuma are participating in this. They've taken up position in the air just a little in front and off to the right of Patchouli. The one on the right seems to be talking, although it's very quiet, to the one on the left. Then, after a moment, the one on the left answers.

“True,” It says, simply. Odd.. Maybe they have some system going in order to separate the truth from lies.

Patchouli nods, and pauses for a moment. “Are you a demon?”

Luize puts on a sarcastic grin. “No, definitely not.”

The two koakuma repeat their process, and the left one speaks again. “False.”

“Yeah, I'm just helping out,” Luize says, “I know wha--- hey!”

There's another flash. “You will only answer the questions, and respond to commands,” Patchouli says, her emphasis making things a bit more clear. “Do you come from Makai?”

“Makai's a big place,” Luize answers, “But... yeah.”

“True.”

“And, yesterday night, you crossed over into our plane?”

“Actually,” She says, “It was in the morning. Just as the moon was setting.”

“True.”

“Were you also involved with the incident at Rokford, and the one in the city north of here involving a hellstone placed in a swamp?”

Luize nods, grinning. “And everything else your Guild has been dealing with up north. We've been preparing for this for years, you know. That's why you're going to lose.”

“False,” The koakuma says, “Not everything.”

“Fine,” Luize sighs, “Anything major.”

“She thinks it's true,” The koakuma says. So, that's how it works. You do wonder what the first koakuma is doing, but you suppose you can always just ask later.

“How many years?” Patchouli inquires.

“I don't know,” Luize says, “Ten? The ones you guys have run into were pretty simple, but there were some real nice ones on the western line.”

“True.”

Then, they've been at this for a while. Patchouli turns to you, and you nod.

“Speak,” She says.

“Why you?” You ask, “And why are you here, instead of somewhere more useful?”

She laughs. “I got picked because I wanted to. It's kind of a pain to deal with people in this plane while you're trapped in Makai, and not everyone is in to that. And, I'm here because that's where I wanted to be. I wanted to deal with you personally. You're a real pain, you know? I hate you.”

“True.”

… heh. You wonder if the koakuma is speaking for itself. “Why?”

“You ruined Rokford is why,” She says, “All those souls were ours. If you hadn't been so slow in turning them over, we'd have a whole lot more to eat. And, after you ruined everything there, you tried to ruin everything everywhere with that warning of yours.”

“True.”

“Why did you need the souls?”

“They're full of energy,” She says, “We get stronger when we eat them. So, if we all stuffed our faces before coming here, the Guild would be no problem. Not that you are one anyway.”

“True.”

You turn to Patchouli again, who had been watching you this time. That's all you can think to ask at the moment, so it might be better to let her continue her line of questioning.

“What is the flaw in the Great Barrier?” Patchouli asks.

“That thing around your main city?” Luize laughs, “Don't ask me, I don't know.”

“True.”

“What forces have crossed over?”

“Everyone,” Luize grins, “Well, everyone that's ever wanted to get out of Makai for a while. That's why you're going to lose. You think that a bunch of humans and youkai can beat Shinki? Because I don't.”

“True.”

… that is not what you wanted to hear. Not only will the two that you delt with earlier be here, but... Shiki herself? If dread could be fatal, that news may have killed you. Luize seems to know it, too, because she looks at you and laughs. “That's right. You should ju--- oww!”

The runes blink more than once this time, and a bit brighter than before.

“It will become more severe each time,” Patchouli warns. Somehow, she doesn't seem disturbed by the news. Maybe she had expected the worst all along. “How have you crossed over without the aid of a summoner?”

“Something about planetary alignments and cosmic forces,” Luize answers, “I don't get it, myself, but we could basically just do it. Everyone, but we only had a ten minute window to do it.”

“True.”

“Can you communicate back and forth between demons here and demons in makai?”

“Not at will,” She says, “We'd need to summon them here to do that.”

That, on the other hand, is good to know. Sending her back is of little consequence. Once more, Patchouli turns to you. Maybe she's doing the same thing as you when she's passing off. You nod, and begin to ask.

“Why w--- ow!”

The runes flash, and you can see what she means. Very painful, like being struck with lightning magic or something.

“Speak,” Patchouli says, “And please wait next time.”

Ah... you get it. Some of this zapping is automatic, then.

“Why were you infiltrating our group?” You ask, “What were your plans?”

Luize laughs. “I already said, didn't I? I hate you. Getting close to you was a good way to kill you. Plus, I could get some bonus information out of it.”

“True.”

Still, you aren't satisfied with that. “You were going through a lot of trouble to remain concealed. Surely you had more planned than that?”

“Well,” She says, “The first plan was to kill as many of you as I could in your sleep. Probably after you met up with that other group, though, since I don't know how to drive this thing. And the best way to do that was to hijack that guy after he left his back turned in a demonic shrine. Not the best plan, but I didn't have long to think of it. I guess that's probably why it turned out like this.”

“True.”

“Do you know anything about Makai's big plan? Why invade?”

“We're going to take over the world, starting with Gensokyo's capital,” She says, “It's not complicated.”

“True.”

“Why?”

“Because,” She says, “Makai is a boring place. It doesn't ever change. Can you imagine living in a place like that for millenia? Those of us that came up here wanted a change of pace. I mean, you guys summon us from time to time, but we're like slaves.”

She pauses for a moment, but continues. “Living here would suck though. What if we died or something? We'd end up back in Makai. So, we need to take over a place and build a gate back and forth. A permanent one, that anyone can use. And a city with an impenetrable border is the best spot for that, don't you think?”

“True.”

That would explain the vacation quip earlier, then. “Then, this is just because you're bored?”

“Pretty much,” She laughs, “What? Expecting something else? I'm having more fun than I've had in eons. It's been so long since I've seen anything new.”

“True.”

You don't bother answering. “How many of you share this view?”

“Everyone I talk to,” She answers, “Can't say I talk to some of the really strong demons, but all my friends agree.”

“True.”

“Then,” You ask, “Why did you ask to be sent back earlier?”

“So you couldn't question me,” She answers, “I know a lot of stuff, you know. And there wasn't much else I could do anymore, anyway.”

… you can't think of anything else to ask at the moment, so you look back to Patchouli.

“You will write down an account of all events that you have had a hand in,” She says, producing a long piece of parchment from somewhere, “Your overall plans, who you have influenced, and so on. You will also record any names you remember of demons who are present, any orders you were given, and anything you know of the assault itself.”

“All of that?” She whines, “That would take forever when I'm bound like this.”

Luize makes a feeble attempt to lift her arms, as if to demonstrate.

Patchouli nods, and lazily takes a seat next to you.

“You may dictate it,” She says, folding out the small table on the wall next to her, “And I will write.”

Luize begins to speak, but it's not like any language you've ever heard. Patchouli, however, doesn't seem to have any trouble with it, and the first koakuma seems to be listening intently to the other one still, saying 'true' every so often.

The whole of the answer takes maybe ten minutes. Honestly, to you, it seems to be a little short, but maybe the language is a little more... condensed than what you are used to. After all that, Patchouli asks one more question.

“Is that everything you know?”

“Yeah,” Luize says, with a grin, “Not like it'll help you, anyway.”

“True,” The koakuma says.

Patchouli now turns to you. “Do you have anything else?”

“No,” You answer, “I think that's everything.”

“Then, we are finished.”

There is a shift in the atmosphere of the room, and you feel a lot of that tension you noticed earlier simply drain away. A few seconds later and the runes themselves do the very same thing – the whole pattern dissolves before your eyes.

“We will return if we have anything else,” Patchouli says, after standing up. You do the same – you're rather curious as to what she ended up writing down.

[ ] Offer to swap out with Youmu on guard duty.
[ ] Follow Patchouli. You could use some more data to pour over.
================================================
>>37634
Yes, well... that's why I gave you the option to skip it. Maybe I made connections on the vote prior to this one that I shouldn't have, however. My apologies. I won't force you into another one.
>> No. 37799
>>37794
>skip it
And pass up more Luize? No thanks. If the demons cared just a liiittle more about human life, I'd switch sides in a heartbeat.

[x] Offer to swap out with Youmu on guard duty.
>> No. 37800
[X] Follow Patchouli. You could use some more data to pour over.
>> No. 37806
[X] Follow Patchouli. You could use some more data to pour over.
>> No. 37811
[X] Follow Patchouli. You could use some more data to pour over.

While it sounds bad that Shinki herself is coming, we probably do have Yukari as a counter. She has made it clear that she's monitoring the situation, after all.

Then again, Yukari is old too, wouldn't be surprised if we fought through all the hordes of demons and get to Shinki only to find her drinking tea with Yukari.
>> No. 37893
[x] Follow Patchouli. You could use some more data to pour over.

As she goes to leave, you follow behind her.

“So,” You say, after closing the door behind yourself, “What did she tell you?”

“Ah... you couldn't understand that,” Patchouli points out, as if the idea had escaped her. “Demonic. She gave me the information I asked for.”

“How thorough is it?”

Patchouli looks at the document again, although she seems to be drifting back towards her cabin as she does so. “Somewhat,” She admits, “She does not seem well informed about the assault itself, although she did know a great deal of names. Would you like a proper translation?”

You nod. “Might be good to know what we're going to be up against. Although, you should probably handle the demon names.”

“Perhaps. And, yes.”

She turns to one of the koakuma who had been in the room with you earlier – although, you can't be sure of which one. After whispering a few things, she hands the scroll off to the koakuma along with a pen.

“How long will this take?”

“Twice as long as it took to speak,” She says, “I was focused on writing.”

“Well,” you say, “I guess I'll be waiting in the rear car for it. Thanks for this.”

“It was nothing,” She says, “The demon had a loose tongue.”

There's no arguing that point. Maybe she thought that she knew nothing worthwhile, but you must admit; you thought it would be more difficult than that.

In either case, you bid Patchouli farewell and let her get to that research, while you yourself head back to the rear car.

By the time you arrive, you can see that Fredrik is looking quite a bit better. He's sitting on the edge of his bed, chatting a bit with Rikako – and although he still isn't very animated, he does seem to be a bit more... well, alive. A good sign.

No one seems all that concerned when you arrive, so you take it that nothing all that interesting has happened while you were away. You head back to your bunk, which happens to be the one that Rikako is sitting on at the moment.

“Oh, hey,” She says, noticing your return, “How'd it go?”

“Well enough,” You respond, turning to Fredrik, “How about you? How are you feeling?”

“Better,” He says, “Not great, but I'm told that that will happen tomorrow.”

“Probably,” Rikako corrects, “Your body is still re-adjusting to only having you inside of it. Some are faster than others.”

“So,” You say, “Has Rikako filled you in on the rest of our group, yet? Our mission?”

“She has,” Fredrik sighs, “Although, after hearing it I wish I hadn't.”

You nod. “Still, I'm glad to have you along. What's your specialty?”

“Illusions,” He says, confirming what the demon told you earlier, “Fatal as well as non-fatal.”

“The kind of thing where you make someone think they're drowning,” Rikako asks, “And then they actually do drown?”

He nods. “I prefer to not be so gruesome, but yes. It is of that nature.”

Rikako chuckles. “Don't see many of you types, either. Jack here is a schizist.”

“Ah... is that so?” He asks, “Interesting.”

“We've got quite a few 'interesting' people on board,” You say, trying to deflect the observation a bit. “That's what happens when a bunch of agents group up.”

“True enough,” He says, with a bit of a smile, “It's a shame that it has to be under such dire circumstances.”

You three go back and forth for a while about nothing important. Fredrik seems like a pretty gentlemen, from what you can tell. You don't get a chance to hit on his stance on youkai, but you suppose that if it doesn't come up, it may be better not to ask. He seems like he won't cause you any trouble, in either case.

About twenty five minutes later, Patchouli enters the rear car. She makes her way over to you, and hands you three large pieces of parchment – and, thankfully, these ones seem to be in a language that you can actually read.

“Thanks,” You say, taking them and setting to work immediately, “Anything I should know about before reading this?”

“Do not say this name three times aloud,” She says, pointing to a name on the second page, “And anything in red was added by myself.”

You flip to the third page to see what she is talking about. “Notes?”

“Many of these demons are well-known,” She says, “These are short descriptions.”

“I see,” You nod, “Again, thanks. I'll give this a read over.”

From just your first glance, though, you can tell that this is going to be bad. You recognize the names Gengetsu and Mugetsu, among a handful of others that you recognize just based on them being famous. It's enough to make your heart sink.

Part of you had planned to tell everyone about Shinki tonight... well, maybe not the initiates – you hadn't gotten that far – but maybe it would be best if you were the only one to lose sleep over it tonight.

[ ] Now is as good of a time as any.
[ ] You can save it until tomorrow.
>> No. 37896
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.

I think it'd be best to give them as much time as possible to adjust to the idea.

>“Do not say this name three times aloud,” She says
Goddamn Beetlegeuse.
>> No. 37898
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.
>> No. 37901
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.
>> No. 37902
[x] You can save it until tomorrow.
The demon was scary enough. Let them rest easy.
>> No. 37905
[x] You can save it until tomorrow.
>“Do not say this name three times aloud,” She says
Hastur?
>> No. 37907
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.

I hope they all lose sleep, continuing Jack's string of terrible decisions.
>> No. 37909
[X] You can save it until tomorrow.

>>37905
>Haster?

I don't recall anything regarding "Hastur" aside from one description of an avatar of "Hastur" being some monstrosity with brain-siphoning tentacles among a few other things.

Then again a rather devilish, relatively malevolent bio-exorcistpoltergeist with the ability to manipulate the environment and anybody at willthrough literal word puns could be worse than some seemingly mindlessdohoho monstrosity.
>> No. 37911
Hastur was a place, that other people thought was a monster.
>> No. 37925
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.
>> No. 37970
[x] Now is as good of a time as any.
[ ] You can save it until tomorrow.

“Maybe we should give them the news now,” You say, before Patchouli can leave, “Do you think you can send Marisa some relief?”

Patchouli casts a sideways glance to the koakuma hovering near her shoulder. Apparently that's all that needs to be said, because it quickly springs into action.

“News?” Rikako inquires, picking up on the worry you had been trying to mask in your voice, “I don't like the sound of that.”

No sense breaking it before everyone is here, so you just give a vague nod.

Your glance then shifts to the two initiates and Tewi, near the frond of the car. Hmm. You're still undecided on whether or not you should include them in this. On one hand, maybe you'll never run into the names mentioned on the list. What they don't know, and don't see, can't hurt them.

On the other... maybe it would be good to test their spirit. If they're going to break down from the idea, there's no doubt that they'll be comparably worthless when the time comes to deal with it in reality – and that would be a good thing to know.

By the time you make up your mind, you hear Marisa returning to the rear car. She nods to the group up front, and makes her way back towards you. “Hey,” She says, “You've got some kind of news, I guess?”

You nod. “Want to tell those two to come back here?” You ask, motioning to the initiates. They seem to be aware that there's something going on, but have stayed put until now.

“Yeah, sure.”

Everyone assembles, taking up the empty space on the nearby bunks. You and Patchouli take your spot in the middle of everyone, although you can't say you're sure why Patchouli is standing with you. Regardless, you welcome the company.

Youmu isn't here, but you can fill her in later. She'll be easy to break this sort of news to – you think that the things that would break her will to fight are, well, next to none. Chen... well, that news would go in one ear and out the other.

“We've questioned our new guest,” You begin, “And we've gotten a better picture of what we're up against.”

At that point, you pause. Everyone seems to be waiting expectantly, but you aren't quite sure how to---

--- “Well, I won't sugar coat it,” You say, “From the sounds of things, a good portion of Makai has spilled over into out plane. Little demons, like our little koakuma here, to Shinki herself. Everyone is coming to the party.”

Shock. That's the word you'd use to describe the looks on their faces.

“It's not pleasant, but that's how things are. Their goals? Well, it sounds like it's something fairly straightforward,” You continue, regardless, “They're trying to take the capital as a sort of stronghold, and from there, take the rest of the country.”

Marisa just shakes her head. “Is there any good news?”

“Actually,” You say, “Yes. Whatever means they used to get here---”

“A freak planetary alignment,” Patchouli interrupts, “I cannot believe I didn't see it myself.”

“... well, that alignment won't happen again soon.”

“It will be millions of years,” Patchouli comments.

“And, because of that,” You say, “They can't get reinforcements aside from what meager ones they can get cultists to summon up for them. What we see is what we get, and any one we take down is going to stay down. We've also gotten a good insight on how things have been going down up here, and maybe we'll be able to shield ourself against future attacks of the same nature.”

Marisa nods. She understands that that's all she's going to get in terms of “good”. Kyou, though, has something to add while everyone remains silent.

“... how can we fight? Can we win?” She asks, quietly. It's a good question, and you're not entirely sure of the answer yourself.

[ ] It's simple. With proper maneuvering, Shinki and any other nasties will be dealt with by people more powerful than you.
[ ] Hopefully, fate will smile upon the Guild. It won't be easy.
[ ] You're sure that Yagokoro will have something in mind.
[ ] There are strange forces at work here. Maybe you will have to trust in them.
[ ] You don't know. At this point, giving your best is all you can ask.
>> No. 37972
[x] You're sure that Yagokoro will have something in mind.

If Eirin Yagokoro is capable of anything approaching what she did in Imperishable Night... she'll definitely have some sort of plan. Definitely.
>> No. 37988
[X] You're sure that Yagokoro will have something in mind.
>> No. 37989
[x] Hopefully, fate will smile upon the Guild. It won't be easy.

This fits to him.
>> No. 38012
[x] There are strange forces at work here. Maybe you will have to trust in them.

In strange forces we trust!
>> No. 38039
[x] You're sure that Yagokoro will have something in mind.

That was the whole reason we informed her of the situation all those threads ago - so someone could come up with a plan.
>> No. 38060
I think I'm going to take this week off due to a number of factors. I'll resume next Sunday.
>> No. 38064
File 132185143553.jpg - (328.67KB , 800x864 , 4637137.jpg ) [iqdb]
38064
>>38060
Hooray!

where is Kaguya hiding in this setting
>> No. 38065
>>38064
She's around... although, I don't think you'll end up meeting her before it all ends unless something crazy happens.
>> No. 38088
>>38065

Something crazy IS happening. It's called 'Makai is invading with Shiki as their superweapon.'
>> No. 38089
>>38088
I think he means "She is nowhere near the capitol."

That's the boring answer, though. "Eirin keeps her locked deep within the Guild's secret underground basement." would be more fun. We'd never meet her without Makai unleashing a devastating attack that cracks the bunker open like an egg. A scandal-filled egg.
>> No. 38111
>>38089

Oh great I'm reminded of that last bit from Himikisha Lilia episode 6 that revealed what happened to that darkelfwoman.

ends up being turned into essentially a broodmother, though not a hideous depiction interestingly, constantly popping out demon eggs.
>> No. 38182
[x] You don't know. At this point, giving your best is all you can ask.

Fuck if I know, but World Events like this just don't happen very often.
>> No. 38184
[ ] It's simple. With proper maneuvering, Shinki and any other nasties will be dealt with by people more powerful than you.
>> No. 38186
>>38089
It's closer to the second one, actually. I just don't want to say too much about what everyone is up to until the end.
>> No. 38214
[x] You're sure that Yagokoro will have something in mind.

Still, you've got a good idea of how this will go.

“I'm sure that Yagokoro has something in mind,” You respond, in an assuring voice, “If even half the things people say about her are true... well, she'll have a plan.”

Marisa chuckles. “If all the things I've heard are true, she could just look at Shinki and send her scurrying back to Makai. Do we even need half?”

You crack an honest grin at that. Come to think of it, you've heard some pretty ridiculous tales about the Guildmaster as well. Some say that she's immortal, while others say that she's from a race of people that lives on the moon. There's really nothing that you've heard that's even slightly normal.

“I guess we'll get what we get,” You answer, “I've never met her personally. Really, the first time we've spoken was when I sent out the warning about this whole thing.”

“Yeah, I've never met her either,” Marisa nods, although she's not the only one; everyone else nods, too. “But you don't get to be in her position by being a fake.”

“You know,” Rikako says, “I've heard she can even stop the sun itself from rising. I've also heard that she can cure any disease, but only treats people in secret.”

Kyou seems to be buying into it, though. “Really?”

“Who knows?” Rikako laughs, “The first one probably isn't true, but if she does treat people she'd almost have to do it in secret. Otherwise we'd always have a line outside the academy.”

“What else can she do?” Kyou asks, “What does she look like?”

Somehow, your meeting devolves into gossip about the Guildmaster – although, you guess that you had already laid down the important points anyway. It's probably for the best. You'd not heard that the Guildmaster keeps a whole legion of rabbits hidden in the basement, or that she secretly controls the senate. Although you're not sure who is keeping up the conversation because it's something distracting, and who is doing it because they're genuinely interested, it's enough to keep even you smiling.

In the back of your mind, you realize that Youmu may have met her – given her father – but, it's certain that no one here has. That much you can agree on. Or has and won't talk, in the case of Tewi. She's exceptionally vague about whether or not she knows anything about the old Yagokoro, and manages to deflect every question asked about her.

The conversation only grows wider in topics as time goes on, and a few hours later you find yourselves quite far from where you started.

“... hey,” Marisa finally says, after a break in the current train of thought, “How about some food? Maybe a bit of sake afterwords?”

Kyou and Makoto offer to serve, and you've got no problem with that. There isn't much for dinnerware, though, so you all end up using your hands (or a handkerchief, in Fredrik's case).

As you bite into your smoked fish, Patchouli gets up to leave.

“I am going back to work,” She says, without waiting for you to ask, “I have spent too much time here already.”

You nod, and look back to the parchment she left for you. Maybe you should do the same... after eating, of course.

[ ] You'll work on it back here. Not quite an office, but it'll work.
[ ] You could relieve Youmu. The demon probably won't give you much hassle.
[ ] With Marisa back here, you could go join Patchouli up in her compartment.
================================================
Sorry if this seems a little off - they usually are after a break like that. Schedule should be every other day, now, as it was before.
>> No. 38215
[X] With Marisa back here, you could go join Patchouli up in her compartment.

Works for me~!
>> No. 38216
[x] You could relieve Youmu. The demon probably won't give you much hassle.

See Louise-related option, vote for Louise-related option.
>> No. 38220
[x] You'll work on it back here. Not quite an office, but it'll work.
Woooork.
>> No. 38224
[x] With Marisa back here, you could go join Patchouli up in her compartment.
>> No. 38231
[x] You could relieve Youmu. The demon probably won't give you much hassle.
>>38216
>> No. 38235
[X] With Marisa back here, you could go join Patchouli up in her compartment.

PEACE AND QUIET for work
>> No. 38265
[x] With Marisa back here, you could go join Patchouli up in her compartment.

“Mind if I join you?” You ask, motioning to your bunk. “This really isn't much of an office, and Marisa doesn't seem to be using her half of the room.”

Marisa laughs. “What, so you're going to take mine?”

“Only temporarily,” You respond, with a bit of a grin, “I promise I'll give it back when I'm done.”

“I guess you do have your work cut out for you, huh,” Rikako notes, “Even if you're taking orders yourself.”

You nod. “I like to be prepared.”

Patchouli seems indifferent, giving you a shrug before leaving. “If you wish.”

Dinner goes by quickly, and you quietly leave just as the alcohol is being brought out. You hope that they'll have enough sense not to get too wasted. Not that you're really worried, but battling a hangover while battling a whole hoard of demons just seems silly.

Patchouli hardly acknowledges you when you arrive in her cabin, which is fine by you. She's got her nose buried deep in a book, one with the title written in a language you've never seen, so you just take a seat on the opposite side of the compartment, near the window, and fold out a table.

The notes from that interrogation session are interesting, but not particularily useful. At most, they give you a glimpse into what sorts of things Makai is willing to do.... which is helpful in it's own right, you suppose.

Luize herself seems to be fond of long-term plans. Only one of these, the hellstone that you delt with, took place with under a year of preparation. She's been at this for a while, and you've got no reason to believe that her compatriots were rushing all their plans, either.

She also seems to have favored youkai in her plans. Only two of these ten or so incidents involve manipulating groups of cultists – you hesitate to call them humans, because more often than not they barely meet the definition – while the rest used youkai.

Thankfully, none of them seem to be as bad as Rokford was. Even if you combined all the other incidents in to one, you doubt that they'd make up half the deaths there. And it seems that, for most of them, that there wasn't much in the way of soul harvesting going on. Perhaps five hundred others, total, over the course of four years. You can empathize a bit with her on that, at least – she had one hell of an operation going on before you managed to come along and ruin it all.

Reading through her involvement in this does make you a little leary of what lies ahead. Simply trusting people isn't going to work. If they're willing to invest years setting up distractions, you'd bet that they'd be willing to do the same to set up a presence in the city that they were planning to take in the first place. You wonder how long Makoto would last if you had him working his tail off, reading everyone you met for something suspicious.

As much as you hate to stereotype like this, you'll need to be on the lookout for youkai – the ones you're traveling with aside. Chen is too simple to be up to anything sinister, Tewi is too aloof, and Patchouli... well, if she's a double agent, she's doing one hell of a job. You doubt that she is, though.

Luize's orders were to make her way to the capital “eventually”, it seems like, and join up with another group lead by some important sounding demon that you've never heard of near one of the entrances to the city. That entrance leads into the market district, if you remember correctly, and although it's not a “main” entrance it's quite large regardless.

A few of the demons on this list are noted as being in the same group, but not too many. Friends, maybe? You wish you had better information. There isn't much to read into as far as troop movements go, here.

“Hey,” You say, looking towards the elementalist across from you, “What would happen if I tried divining something now?”

“Depends on what,” Patchouli says, wholly absorbed in her book.

“I was thinking of checking out the capital.”

“Death,” She responds, calmly. “All of the demons would be able to see you, and also know that you should be killed on sight.”

You chuckle. “Well, then. How about Makoto?”

“He seems to lack the range.”

“... that's true,” You say, leaning back in your seat. “Hmm.”

It's not something you're going to get, then, it seems. You may need to scout out the old fashioned way once you reach the station in Vandenburg. The place your going does have a pretty good vantage point to look out over the capital, since the capital itself lies in a sort wide, flat depression. Aside from the mountain that makes up the southeast side of town, anyway.

“Do we have any maps?” You ask.

“They are in the engine.”

Indeed, you find quite a few once you go up to look. And, as luck would have it, there's a fairly detailed one on the capital itself. Although the emphasis seems to be in the mishmash of rail lines running in and out of the city, it'll serve as a good terrain map in a pinch.

For the next hour or so, you commit the map itself to memory. It's not particularly difficult. There's a certain power about the surrounding terrain, and the way the city is laid out. It almost reminds you of a magic circle – and, well, maybe it is.

And, for the hour after that, you spend your time coming up with various ways into and out of the city, based on different ways that the enemy might be positioned. It's not very accurate since, again, you've got no idea what the enemy is doing, but it's a good way to pass the time - to get yourself into the mood, so to speak.

“Here.”

As you're looking at the map, Patchouli drops something on the table.

“What's this?”

“Notes on members of that list,” She says, pointing to the list of demons you've set aside. “Most of them are minor demons, it seems.”

“Not much tougher than our friend back there?” You ask, motioning to the cabin behind you.

“Correct.”

That, at least, gives you some hope. At least your group is on that level. You think that, on even footing, it would probably only take two or three of you to take one of them.

The notes also contain a physical description, so you begin committing those to memory as well. It'll be helpful to identify what you're up against at a glance. There's only about ten out of the sixty or so on this list that would, under most circumstances, wipe the floor with your current group. Only five of those would absolutely win in all circumstances, by your judgment.

You're fine with those numbers. Common sense says that Luize knows most of the big-named players, but not too many of the minor ones. You doubt that you'll run into any unpleasant surprises in terms of people that can blow you around as if you were just dirt or something.

[ ] Ah... there's something you need to take care of, isn't there? (Write-in)
[ ] Continue.
================================================
I just want to know if there's something you'd like to do before bed/morning, since that's where this next update is heading otherwise.
>> No. 38266
[x] Relieve Youmu. That ship has sailed.
[x] Continue.

I can't think of anything worthwhile.
>> No. 38267
[x] Continue.

Can't think of a thing.
>> No. 38303
[x] Continue.
>> No. 38314
[X] Continue.

Proceed.
>> No. 38328
I'm pushing the update for today back to tomorrow. Didn't get nearly enough sleep last night, and I spent my productive hours today working on all the end-of-semester garbage that needs to get done.
>> No. 38342
... I guess it'll have to be tomorrow, instead. Today was much busier than I thought.
>> No. 38381
File 132297479477.jpg - (792.49KB , 1772x709 , 23196974.jpg ) [iqdb]
38381
No writer triple-posts allowed. I'm looking forward to meeting Alice. Eventually.
>> No. 38413
Yeah, this isn't working. Too much stuff going on right now. I'll be back on the 13th at the latest, with an update this week sometime if fate decides to cut me a break or two.
>> No. 38512
[x] Continue.

Memorization is always something you've been quite good at. Not necessarily fast – it takes you a few hours to etch the names, powers, and abilities of your potential foes into your mind – but, by the time you're done, you're certain that you won't forget them.

You chuckle to yourself. Hell, now all you need are a few basic summoning rituals, and you'll be a demonologist yourself. Although...

“Hey,” You say to Patchouli, “You wouldn't happen to have a book on some basic protection-from-demon spells or anything, would you?”

Although you know you won't be able to learn and fake anything complex overnight, if it's truly simple you've got a personality to handle that. Something to fend off swarms of hostile koakuma might be useful... maybe.

“... yes,” Patchouli answers, after turning around and pulling a book from wherever she pulls those from, “Here.”

A Introductory Guide to Astral Beings. Ah---

---you recognize a lot of this terminology. Although you rarely deal with astral beings on your divinitory jaunts, it does happen. Demons, though, not so much – so you're glad that this book dedicates an entire third of the pages to them. Not all of it is relevant, seeing as they're on the physical plane, but you can definitely make them work with a few tweaks.

That's how your night goes. You simply read for a few hours and, although you don't know if any of this will come in handy, it makes you feel a little better knowing it.

Eventually, you're interrupted by the door sliding open.

“Yo. You're still here, huh?”

It's Marisa. Thankfully, she doesn't seem too sloshed. You nod.

“I've been doing some reading. What's up?”

“Well,” She says, “I figured midnight was a nice round number to hit the sack at. Seems like everyone else is calling it a night, too.”

You nod, not bothering to save your place in the book. “That's a good idea. I should probably do the same,” You say, turning to Patchouli. “Here. Thanks for the loan.”

Patchouli nods, and takes the book without looking up. Marisa steps back out into the hall as you make your way out of the room. “See you in the morning,” She says, “Sounds like we'll have one hell of a day.”

You chuckle a bit. “Sure does. Goodnight.”

And, indeed, by the time you make it back to the rear car all the lights seem to be out. There's still a bit of movement, and neither Tewi nor Chen seem to be in a sleeping position, but it's otherwise quiet. The beds back here are, surprisingly, more comfortable than the one that you've slept on the last few nights. It takes a few minutes to settle your mind, but once you do it's a short order for you to fall into a deep sleep.

Not deep enough, though.

In a few hours time (or so you'd guess; you still need to find a watch, somewhere), you're woken suddenly from a rather surreal dream by some deceleration. Eventually, the train stops altogether.

A peek out through the window shades shows that it's still nighttime; it's very dark. There's one light, a hand-held lantern, bobbing around initially, but shortly after you see a second one added. This one is definitely magical – it's much too bright to be a kerosene lamp. And, shortly after that, you see Patchouli lazily floating behind it.

This is probably your stop, then. The magical light is enough for you to make out the forms of a few other trains, and other telltale features of a larger train yard. At least someone was still awake – having the guy at the station meet a train like yours, and seeing it run by tiny imps wouldn't leave a good impression.

You suppose it's only proper for you to get up and see what's going on, instead of speculating, so that's what you do. Careful not to make any more noise than you need to, you slip on your shoes and make your way up to the engine.

By the time you get there, the train has begun moving again, albeit more slowly than before. Patchouli is at the levers. Apparently, she's developed quite the touch for this – the acceleration is almost silent.

“Hey,” You say, sounding a bit more groggy than you'd like, “Is this our stop?”

“Yes,” She says, “I am bringing us into more permanent parking now.”

“I see. Good.”

You've made it, then. Finally. Probably the longest time anyone has taken to get from Rokford to here via train, but that's fine.

“Jack,” She says, “Have you decided to take your offer?”

You don't get what she means right away. “My offer?”

“From... that woman,” She says, “Yukari Yakumo. I'm curious as to what you will do.”

Ah, yes. That brings you back to reality. Hearing a name like that will wake you up in a hurry. It's quite the thing,

“Yeah, I'm probably going to head out. Chen, too.”

Seems that you've been joined by Tewi while you weren't paying attention. You suppose that that door is almost noiseless, what with the enchantment placed on the cabin.

“Now?” You ask, laughing. Then, half-seriously, you add, “If anything, I'm going back to bed.”

“Eh,” She shrugs, “Demons sleep, too. It'll be easier to get in and out of the city right now, at least as I see it. Don't want to get toasted on my way up, you know.”

You do a bit of math in your head. “She lives on the mountain, right?” You ask, “How long does that thing take to climb?”

“I wouldn't know,” She smiles, “I just follow the trail. It's pretty easy if you know the way. Maybe an hour or two.”

This... is not the kind of thing you wanted to think about right now. In theory, you could head up there, and be back by noon-ish, if you do nothing more than talk for a while. Hell, you're still not sure if this is a good idea, much less if going right now is a good idea.

“Would going later be an option?”

“I guess I can wait a few hours,” Tewi says, “Definitely smarter to go now, though, if you don't consider anything else.”

“Still,” You say, “I can't really just drop everything. Not for something this... unknown.”

“You could, however, delegate it,” Patchouli notes, “Alice has already arrived, and we have many fine leaders here.”

That is a point. “Do you know if she's awake?” You ask.

“Yes,” Patchouli says, “The man outside made a note of comparing the two of us.”

“So, you really think we can just walk in to the city?” You ask, this time to Tewi. “I mean, we haven't even seen what the siege looks like yet.”

“There's all kinds of backdoors built into the city,” Tewi laughs, “We really can just walk right in, unless they're sitting on them all by some accident.”

Physically, you suppose that you'll be fine with either way. The lack of sleep tonight won't be a huge hindrance.

[ ] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [ ] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.
- [ ] Delegate command to (Write-in) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.
- [ ] But, not now. It'll have to wait until morning.
[ ] You think you'll need to decline. It would be better to focus your efforts here, instead of dealing with that unknown.
================================================
A few notes about this vote:
1) This pretty much decides what way the rest of the story will go. It's important, so think about it a bit before voting.
2) As far as ends are concerned, don't worry about them here. Vote for which path you would rather see, not necessarily which one you think will have the "best" ending tied to it.
3) I'll provide information on the other path at the end, so you won't miss out the story-relevant details by going one way over another.

tl;dr it's important, and you should think about it, but there's no inherent benefit to picking one over the other. Pick what you, personally, would like Jack to do.

Also, because this was posted earlier than I said, my next update will be started about three days from this post (on the 14th).
>> No. 38513
[X] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [X] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.

Personally, eh? Alice~
>> No. 38514
[ ] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [ ] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.

While i'm a bit worried that we might have difficulty explaining why we're accompanying feral youkai out of the city, i still think that completely blowing alice off first thing after we arrive is also not the best of ideas.

...and can you just imagine how delegation would work? most of the crew hadn't been around since the start, and of those who have been, one is a prisoner, one is VERY conservative with words, and the last one probably still hasn't forgiven us for our actions.
>> No. 38518
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.

I want to leave now. Patchouli knows just as much as Jack about the situation, she's competent, and she's convenient.

I know, it seems like we should meet Alice, and I won't mind if that wins, but the longer we delay, the harder it will be to sneak in.
>> No. 38521
>>38518
It just occurred to me that the main purpose of that vote is the lie, not the decreased delay. I stand by it. Alice doesn't need to know that we're heading off to forge a deal with an ancient, unknown youkai. I suspect we'll end up doing something horrible, yet necessary, and the less people that know about it the better.

I wish we knew Yukari's side of the story Tewi told.
>> No. 38522
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.


I'd try to include a paradigm shift, but I can't think of a good one. Plus it will probably happen anyway.
>> No. 38525
>>38518
This guy brought what i think to a point.

[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.

Back then, in the fight with Remilia, we did not accept her help but we can at least hear what she has to say.
>> No. 38530
[X] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [X] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.

I think Alice can provide some insight on things we might not have gotten otherwise.
>> No. 38531
>>38514
Changing because I put my faith in Eirin earlier. The Guild doesn't need Yukari's help. Tide pissing~

[x] You think you'll need to decline. It would be better to focus your efforts here, instead of dealing with that unknown.
>> No. 38532
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.
>> No. 38534
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.
>> No. 38535
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.
>> No. 38536
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Still, you should meet with this Alice first. She should know what's going on.
>> No. 38538
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.
>> No. 38564
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.
>> No. 38568
[x] You may as well see what Yukari has to offer. The chance to scout the city may be useful, as well.
- [x] Delegate command to (Patchouli) for the time being. Officially, you'll be scouting.

The only thing for certain here is that you're not a fan of snap decisions like this.

Still, no matter how it plays out in your head, you can only see one real option. There are plenty of leaders here – more than enough to make up for a temporary absence on your part. And it's not like you'll be adding that much in terms of firepower.

Even if you don't take this ancient woman up on her offer, you should at least hear it out. That much is certain. And, as circumstances dictate, that must be done now. The only question is how to gracefully leave.

With a sigh, you turn towards the curious-looking Patchouli. “What would you say if I offered to turn leadership over to you for a while?”

“Me?” She asks, as if she can't believe you've just said that, “If you think that's best, then I would not refuse.”

“You know more about what's going on than almost anyone else here,” You argue, “Marisa's probably on the ball as much as you are, but I think she'd probably fight me before she'd let me leave.”

“Yes,” Patchouli nods.

With another yawn, you add, “If anyone asks, I'm out scouting. That may actually be what I end up doing. It should be pretty simple. Work with Alice, and wait for orders from... well, wherever they'll be coming from. Probably the eastern group.”

“Then, you are going?” She asks.

“I am. And you're in charge,” You confirm, before turning to Tewi, “Guess I'll be going with you.”

“Heh,” Tewi says, an amused look on her face. “Well, if you think that's best. I'll go grab Chen.”

She leaves you and Patchouli alone in the cabin for the time being.

“Here,” You say, pulling out some paper, “I'll leave you my name key. If they send anything addressed specifically to me, just send them a message back saying that you're in charge for the time being.”

“Yes,” Patchouli nods, “That would be wise. And... may I offer some advice?”

You nod as you set down your key in magical writing. “Sure.”

“She is an ancient youkai,” Patchouli notes, “Be careful in your dealings, but do not be discouraged if you can't see her intent. She will only show you what she wants you to see.”

Nodding, you finish up the little script. You also unwrap the charm that you've been using up until now to keep Sakuya in check, and pass it off to her. “I wouldn't accept anything I wasn't sure about. Here, take this too.”

“You misunderstand,” She says, “It may be impossible to be sure of the outcome.”

“Ah...” you let that sink in. Yes, that would be the kind of game someone like that would play. Unknown option A, or unknown option B? You could see where someone would enjoy watching you squirm over those two choices. “I get it, I think. Thanks.”

“Ey Jack, you ready?” Tewi calls out from the doorway, “Let's get going.”

“Right,” You say, with one final nod to Patchouli. “Do your best. I'll be back as soon as I can.”

“I will.”

“So Jack's coming after all?” Chen asks you. Then after peeking over your shoulder and seeing Patchouli, she adds, “Oh. Bye!”

“Goodbye.”

“Come on, come on,” Tewi laughs, leaping off the train and down to the ground, “Let's get moving.”

The three of you begin following the railroad tracks off into the dark night. Although it's not raining, it does sort of have that feeling in the air... a sort of weight that's hard to define. There's definitely cloud cover, because you can only see a of the moon that should be sitting brightly in the sky. Or, perhaps, smoke cover? You catch a faint whiff of burning wood every so often. You're having a hard time seeing, but artificial light wouldn't help much, you feel.

There's hardly a soul moving about in the train yard, although you suppose that that's a good thing. Less questions to answer.

By the time you're clear of town, you can feel yourself getting used to the idea of being awake at this hour. Your mind and body seem to be accepting that you're not going back to sleep any time soon, and have given up arguing. Still, though, you're quite a bit slower than Chen (and Tewi, you'd assume, although she's being polite about staying nearby), and the cat keeps running ahead and back like some sort of... well, excited cat.

Eventually, though, there's a hill where she doesn't double back. You can tell, because there's a faint red glow acting to silhouette her against the night sky. She just seems to be looking. And, by the time you catch up to her, you can see why.

This hill, it seems, is the one that you go over right before you head down into the valley containing the capital. It's very easy to make out from here, even through the night gloom. Fire tends to be very bright, and there's plenty of that now. You, too, can't help but stare.

“Damn...”

The city itself was constructed with a layered approach, due to how the border is constructed. The border can expand, but only in a circular shape. Whenever the city becomes to crowded, the border is expanded by the current empress, and a new wall is built. In that way it looks something like an archery target when seen from an angle like this.

There are around six rings in total, including the central palace as one. The outer two seem to be the only ones affected so far, as well as the patches of habitation on the outside of the city that have not yet been covered beneath the border. Fire, smoke... and lots of it.

For now, the Guild seems safe, as well as most of the older districts nearer to the center. Still, that's not where most of the people reside normally – you included. Although you keep nothing important in your home, it's still a sobering thought. You can only hope they got to safety before all of this happened.

Tewi lets out a low whistle. “Damn is right. I haven't seen something like this in a long time.”

And, behind it all, you can see the old mountain making up the southern edge of the city. Somewhere up there... that's where you're going.

It takes a bit of effort, but you manage to shake yourself of the bewilderment that seeing a sight like this can bring. “Let's keep moving,” You say, “No use gawking.”

Tewi nods. “Not for you, anyway.”

“But... it's so weird,” Chen says, “I want to watch.”

“Didn't Yukari want you back as soon as you could be back?” You point out.

“Huh? Oh, that's right,” Chen admits, “I can't watch.”

You're not sure what's worse – what you had imagined, or what the reality actually is. Your imagination was quite a bit more detached than this. Somehow, seeing it all like this has made it personal. They must be defeated.

On the way down, the smell of smoke becomes more prominent. And... something else, too. Sulfur?

“Can you smell that?” You ask Tewi, “That's not just smoke.”

“Oh, you finally noticed,” Tewi laughs, “Yeah. Demons reek, don't they?”

“I didn't notice it with the one we captured,” You say, “Odd.”

“That was only one,” Tewi shrugs, “There's a lot more than that down there.”

Like how a factory smells of sweat, then, even if the individual worker only smells a short distance away.

“Ehh...” Tewi says, sounding a little unsure about something as you're close to the bottom of the valley, perhaps a mile or so out of town. You're entering the ring of farms that surround the place, now,

“What is it?”

“Can't decide which way would be best,” She says, “But staying on the road in like this is probably stupid.”

“Probably,” You nod, “What are the options?”

“Well,” She says, “There's a spot by one of the gates that didn't look like it was on fire, that way.” She points towards the west gate. “Maybe going in through the aqueduct would be better, though? The entrance on that wall might be good, too...”

“There's that many ways to get in?”

“Probably more,” Tewi laughs, “They're obvious when you know what to look for.”

“Oh, but we could just take the back way,” Chen says, “Right?”

“Up the backside of the mountain?” Tewi asks, “I guess so. Feels kind of like cheating, though. Plus, that's a lot further of a walk.”

“Jack, why are you so slow?” Chen asks, “Can't you go faster?”

You shake your head. “Sorry. I'm just a human.”

“Eh, let's just head for the one on that wall,” Tewi finally decides, “It's got multiple exits. We can probably find a good one.”

“Sounds good.”

“It is a bit stinky,” She laughs, “Guess that's not much of a downside right now, though.”

By now, the three of you are walking across dense farmland and such, having left the road. You've made about half your distance towards the wall up. It seems that most of these buildings have already been burnt – so perhaps the push into the city itself was relatively recent. Although there was probably nothing you could have done about it, you feel a pang of guilt regardless for arriving when you did.

Chen continues her lead, while Tewi follows just slightly behind you.

“Wah! Oni?”

Then, you encounter your first patrol.

Although you've left the main road, there's still quite a few side roads fanning out from that for cart traffic to and from these farms. And, at the very instant that you decided to cross, it seems that two rather large figures were walking away from your group. That is, until Chen made a point of being startled by them.

They turn. Big, ugly things – if they aren't oni, they're probably related somehow. Red-skinned, club-wielding, seven-foot-tall monsters. They seem about as startled as Chen, as if they weren't expecting to see anyone.

“Halt!” One of them calls out in a slow, thick voice, after he realizes what's going on. Not good.

[ ] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.
[ ] No... you think running would be a better idea.
[ ] You can't risk them reporting in, in any case. Time for a battle.
================================================
Interesting choice.

Also, from now on, expect daily updates. My plate is finally emptying.
>> No. 38569
[x] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.

No time for this. Who knows what or who we will face along the way. Or later on. Best try to save up energy and avoid battle only when it is necessary.
>> No. 38570
[x] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.

He asked nicely.
>> No. 38571
[x] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.
>> No. 38572
[ ] You can't risk them reporting in, in any case. Time for a battle.
>> No. 38573
[x] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.

Ogres.
>> No. 38576
[X] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.

What could possibly go wrong?

>They seem about as startled as Chen, as if they weren't expecting to see anyone.

No worries they are merely tourists, seriously though fighting them would be bad now without some heavier/swifter support.

Running would only allow them time to squeal on Jack & Co.
>> No. 38577
[x] Try to talk your way through this. Maybe they're as dumb as they sound.

You've got no reason to refuse, so you stop dead in your tracks and face them.

As they begin their approach, you look to your left... and, much to your surprise, Tewi is still there. That, on the other hand, is a good sign. She doesn't seem all that concerned. “Why don't you take care of them,” She suggests.

“That was the plan,” You answer back.

As you oblige an itch on your neck while you wait, you notice something. Your Guild badge. It's technically illegal for you to take it off, but, well... it's probably more of a liability than anything else right now. You swiftly scoop it up in your hand and place it in a front pocket.

“You,” The larger of the two ogres says upon getting to a more reasonable talking distance, “What you doing?”

“Us?” You ask, showing about as much care as Tewi, “Should we not be here?”

“Not be here,” The other nods, “You human. This demon city now.”

“It's alright,” Tewi says, “He's our prisoner.”

You look to her. A good move---

“He talk first. Not prisoner.”

--- or, maybe not. “What do you want us to do?” You ask.

They turn to each other as if confused, and begin discussing something. It takes about a minute for them to come up with something. “Not scared, either. Strong human. Come with us, or we crush you.”

There is something resembling intelligence there, then. A logical conclusion, even if it took them far too long to come up with it. It's also interesting that they only seem to be interested in you, and not so much your company. You'll need to spin some false-truths, then, and hope they don't catch on.

[ ] Ah, but you're not a human.
[ ] It's alright. You're allowed to be here.
[ ] Actually, you're terrified. And not all that strong.
[ ] (Write-in)
[ ] (engage them)
>> No. 38579
[ ] Ah, but you're not a human.
>> No. 38580
[x] Come with them.

They seem legit.
>> No. 38582
[x] Ah, but you're not a human.
>> No. 38583
[x] Ah, but you're not a human.
-[x] As a skilled illusionist, you can easily appear youkai-like.
>> No. 38584
[x] Ah, but you're not a human.
>> No. 38585
[x] Ah, but you're not a human.
>> No. 38586
[x] Ah, but you're not a human.

“Human?” You laugh, as if you missed it the first time they said it, “I'm not human. What gave you that idea?”

They seem confused, and turn to one another. “Look,” You continue, “I shed that burden long ago.”

It takes them a few moments to discuss this. Then, the bigger one speaks. “You look human. Smell like it, too.”

“Magician type,” You respond---

--- , the irritation in your voice showing through. No one has any respect. “If I had a nickle for every time I've heard that, I'd be rich. I know it might be hard to grasp, but not all of the youkai on this plane look like beasts.”

“Smell,” He says again, “You still smell.”

You shrug. “I spend time around humans. Maybe some of the smell has rubbed off.”

“But---”

Chen starts to say something, but you shoot her a glare to be quiet. Why? … well, it doesn't matter.

The two of them once again turn to one another, and begin conversing. Tewi seems to be watching all of this with profound amusement. Frankly, you don't see what's so funny. It's just irritating.

“We think you lie,” The smaller one says with a bit of an edge in his voice, “Why you here?”

“That's our business,” You say, doing your best to remain civil. “But I assure you, we have no interest in whatever this... siege business is. This city was a blight on the earth.”

They both laugh at that. “Yes! But fun to crush.”

“If you're into that, I suppose,” You offer, “Now, may we pass?”

“No,” The larger one says, quickly sobering up from your 'joke'. “You going into city? You come with us, through gate. Boss can see you there. They let you through, if you not lying.”

[ ] Try something else. (Write-in).
[ ] Fine. If that's the only option, then you have no choice but to go with these thugs.
[ ] Perhaps you need to show them how local youkai handle this sort of insolence.
[ ] Fleeing may be the best option right now. Surely, you're faster than them.
>> No. 38587
[x] Fine. If that's the only option, then you have no choice but to go with these thugs.

Maybe Yuugi is their boss. Wanna meet that boss.
>> No. 38588
[x] Perhaps you need to show them how local youkai handle this sort of insolence.
>> No. 38589
[x] Fine. If that's the only option, then you have no choice but to go with these thugs.

Allright, time for a little detour.
>> No. 38595
[x] Perhaps you need to show them how local youkai handle this sort of insolence.
Country bumpkins threatening a city sect youkai? Not on my watch.

That, and going through with their idea is not good.
>> No. 38617
Since this tie seems to be sticking no matter how long I wait, the coin I just flipped votes for:

[x] Perhaps you need to show them how local youkai handle this sort of insolence.
>> No. 38618
[x] Perhaps you need to show them how local youkai handle this sort of insolence.

“Clearly, you don't understand how things work around here,” You sigh. “I'll save you some time, then.”

A quick glance to Chen shows that she's not really getting it. Neither are the fools in front of you. Well, you can't say that you didn't try. These two should be easy enough even if Tewi decides to bolt.

Needless to say, you strike first. Nothing flashy, just two high-intensity beams aimed at the larger one's face. He lets out a rather satisfying scream when they hit.

“Raaaghh!”

Chen gets it, now; she laughs as she springs into action. So does the second of these brutes, although you've already begun backing out of range of that club. Tewi? She's already gone. You suppose you'll see her in a few minutes.

“Die, die!”

Hah. They're as slow as they look, too. The second one begins to charge, although you've already made up some good distance. You begin preparing another set of blasts, in both hands. Odd. You seem to be a bit sluggish today, yourself – and not nearly as energetic as usual.

Chen sets to work on the largest one, although you can only see the the red lines that she's carving across his body. Those two seem content to tangle, for now.

Your second blast goes off, although your aim isn't quite as well with this one. One of the beams misses entirely, while the other manages to put a good scorch mark on his cheek. He's none too pleased about it.

“Puny thing! Die!”

Then, something you don't expect. He swings his club, even though he's well out of reach. And then, he lets it go. Your reflexes aren't completely shot, it seems, so you manage to duck the massive projectile. However, this gives him the time that he needs to come dangerously close, well within melee range.

A quick blast to the forearm causes his first punch to falter, and you dodge the second as you scramble to your feet. These little beams aren't going to be sufficient. You'll need to prepare something bigger.

“Die!”

His strategy seems to be to simply rush into your face and begin throwing his weight around. How crude – although, you admit, a solid hit would down you immediately. You dodge the next two punches, and then one last grab attempt as you put some distance between you and him.

There's a huge thud behind you as the first one falls. The vague disturbance that was surrounding the fallen brute switches directions, making a beeline for the second one – and, much to your surprise, the second one connects with a hook.

A smaller impact blows apart one of the fire-gutted building nearby, but you don't worry too much. Chen's got a whole lot more stamina than you do even on your best day.

Also to your surprise, your foe doesn't charge right away. Instead, he makes his way to a nearby fence post, pulling the whole thing out of the ground in one motion.

“Hoaaaaaahhh!”

The demonic roar is loud enough to make your ears ring. It's the sort of thing that you'd hear for miles. Just a little longer. The beast stares at you, and you stare back.

“Your move,” You say, feeling a lot better now. “Or are you too scared?”

“Die!”

He charges. You just watch. Closer. Closer, closer...

“Die, die!”

You continue to back away, down the street. Not quickly, but just enough to give you the time to put the extra juice into your blast. A little more. A little more...

“I kill you!”

He's within range now, both for you and for him – so, you fire.

This one actually has some meat to it. A brilliant flash erupts from your outstretched hand, and strikes the charging dolt square in the chest. It doesn't quite penetrate, but a good chunk of it vaporizes.

You dive out of the way, since, even with that force the beast doesn't stop. However, it also doesn't get up after it stumbles to the ground ten feet or so from where you were standing. Shortly thereafter, it begins to shrink away into nothing. They're demonic beings after all, it seems – and this one seems to be heading home.

“Ouch.”

Tewi walks out of the nearby shadows, from just off the road. You wonder if that's where she's been hiding the whole time.

“They had it coming,” You say, “Fools.”

Tewi laughs. “Sure, tough guy. Let's just get moving before anyone else comes – this place is going to be swarming after that battle cry.”

Tough guy? Wh---

---oh, right. Wow, you'd pretty much forgotten about that one.

You laugh. “Yeah, enough of that. Let's grab Chen and make our way into the city.”

Aside from some fresh scratches and a layer of soot covering her body, Chen seems perfectly fine. So, the three of you begin making haste – and, this time, doing it as stealthily as possible. You don't want to risk another encounter like that. The only plus side was that you disposed of the witnesses.

It doesn't take long to reach the outer wall of the city, or even to pass through said outer wall using Tewi's passage. A cleverly hidden thing, that. You'd have never though to look for a passage hidden inside a large boulder.

The passage itself is fairly tight, and musty, but leads you into the city without any trouble. You can tell even before reaching the surface – the border has a very distinct feel when you pass through it. The first exit to this thing pops out underneath a fireplace in the basement of a clothing shop, just on the other side of the wall.

At least, it was a clothing shop. Only the basement remains now, with charred buttons and sippers and mannequins strewn about.

“Well,” Tewi says, after getting street-side and finding no enemies in sight, “We're in. What's the best way to get to the mointain from here?”

You follow her gaze towards where the mountain should be in the skyline, however, it's not quite light enough to see it yet.

“You know how to get into the city,” You ask, “But not there?”

She shrugs. “Not when the place is on fire.”

Normally, you'd just follow the road along the outer wall until you made it there, but she does have a point. The outer areas are the ones that are on fire, and more likely than not enemy controlled.

“Know any fancy entrances into the inner circles of the city?” You ask, “Maybe it would be wise to go that route.”

She shakes her head. “Never needed them, so I've never looked.”

[ ] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.
[ ] You're sure that there's a way to slip through. Maybe you could even get them to open the gates for you.
>> No. 38619
[x] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.
Would the guild even believe that we are on their side when we have 2 youkais following us?
>> No. 38620
[x] You're sure that there's a way to slip through. Maybe you could even get them to open the gates for you.

>>38619
Eirin and Tewi seem to have met. Who knows?
>> No. 38621
[x] You're sure that there's a way to slip through. Maybe you could even get them to open the gates for you.
>> No. 38623
>>38619
You forget that some guild members, like Patchouli, are even Youkai. There certainly is prejudice and mistrust of youkai but not enough to be a hindrance.
>> No. 38625
[ ] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.
>> No. 38626
I'll begin writing tomorrow morning, since I'm not feeling too much like it right now.
>> No. 38632
[x] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.
>> No. 38636
[X] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.

Maybe we'll meet someone who knows how to get to the mointain.
>> No. 38640
[x] You'll just take the road, then, but be stealthy about it.

“Well, it's not like we're just going to be able to walk around freely with a siege going on,” You say, “Let's just take the direct route. Probably faster, too.”

Tewi nods, seemingly satisfied with that, while Chen just seems to be waiting for you both to move. Well, you can do that. “Let's try to avoid any further trouble.”

“I'll keep an ear out,” Tewi answers.

You've walked these streets before – not often, because these outer two rings are mostly residential and you don't live in this one – but, it's still happened a few times. It's hard, seeing the city like this. You never thought you'd walk through these streets and see every building burning or burnt, the smell of smoke hanging heavily in the air.

On the positive side, however, you see very few bodies. Far less than you'd expect if this army had just shown up out of nowhere and started maiming people. Maybe they were evacuated. That's what you'd like to hope, at least. Maybe everyone is just camped out in the center of the city, waiting for the rest of the Guild to save the day.

For the most part, the streets are completely deserted. It makes for easy sneaking. Along your immediate path, you come across two patrols. They're koakuma, or something similar – not like those huge ogres that you ran into outside the city walls.

However, your ease in travel comes to an abrupt stop when you get within sight of one of the main roads.

Like spokes in a wheel, the city has a few roads that connect the palace and inner districts with the outer ones. This one should be the only one you need to cross, but it seems that you were right about the place being occupied. Although by what isn't clear upon first glance.

“Bodies?” You ask. That's what they look like – just a bunch of bodies, all lying near the road. Most of them are leaning against something, but some seem to just be lying in the street.

“I think they're just sleeping,” Tewi says, squinting ahead, “They probably don't care much about the weather.”

“I can look,” Chen offers, enthusiastically, “Ok?”

You nod. “Let's find out what this is, first. We'll be hiding over here. Just, uh... be quiet.”

Both you and Tewi take to sitting in a not so badly burned building nearby, while Chen goes on ahead to do what cats do. Neither of you has much to say to each other, so it's a very quiet wait.

“I'm back~”

A few minutes later, and Chen makes her way towards your position.

“What's going on?”

“They're sleeping,” She says, “Most of them. Some are watching, though.”

You peek back out into the street, getting a better view of the 'encampment'. “Where?”

“Uh, there. And there. And there. There too. Oh, and....”

She goes through a list of about twenty locations, pointing to each one. They've got demons on the walls, demons on the street, even a few watching the side alleys leading in to the main street.

“This is going to be a huge pain to cross,” You mutter.

“Sounds like it,” Tewi laughs, joining you. “Have any idea what you're going to do?”

“How about you?” You ask. “I think it's your turn to get us out of a situation.”

“Nah, I want to hear your idea first,” She answers, grinning. “It's more fun that way.”

“Give me a minute.”

You survey the area again. Really, there's not much you can do to avoid line-of-sight as is. And, judging by the way you were treated outside, well... hmm. Simply walking up and through, after feeding them some excuse probably isn't going to work.

[ ] Perhaps a distraction is in order. See if Tewi or Chen can draw their attention while you head past.
[ ] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>
[ ] Maybe... you could get one of them to give you a ride? If you're fast enough, they'll never catch you.
[ ] (Write-in.)
>> No. 38641
[x] Maybe... you could get one of them to give you a ride? If you're fast enough, they'll never catch you.

Yeehaw, we're riding Chen~!
>> No. 38642
[x] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>

Better to pass unseen I think.
>> No. 38646
[x] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>

The commotion caused by a distraction might wake up those sleeping.
>> No. 38651
[x] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>
>> No. 38655
[x] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>

why not, it's going to alert everyone nearby but atleast we don't have to chance talking to them.
>> No. 38666
[x] <A good shield mage can shield the area from light. You'll blanket the area in darkness and pass through in the chaos.>

--- ah, yes. You still haven't had a chance to try out that idea, have you?

“Actually,” You say, “I've got something I've been meaning to try for a while. I hit on the idea a few days ago.”

You place a small barrier around your hand. Only, this barrier doesn't absorb magic or physical attacks – it reflects light. Although, you suppose that it would absorb any light-based magic, too.

The result is a sphere that, by definition, is the blackest thing that can exist. You poke it a few times for good measure.

“I could make a large-scale version of this,” You say, turning to show Tewi your new creation, “We can move across the road before they can find us in the darkness.”

Tewi nods. “Not bad. Won't that be pretty obvious, though?”

“I can't think of a good not-obvious way,” You respond, shrugging a bit, “If we're quick, and sneaky, they'll never find us.”

“Well, I'm game,” Tewi laughs, “I don't know if she's listening, though.”

“Chen?”

The cat is, indeed, not listening. “Hmm?”

“I'm going to make the road completely black, and we're going to head across. Think you can follow behind me?”

She looks at the small barrier around your hand, then the road. “Oh, ok. But maybe I should go ahead? You're slow.”

“Yeah,” Tewi says, “I mean, you're going to end up needing to hide somewhere. We can probably just outrun them.”

“And it might be easier to hide a single person,” You say, finishing that thought. “You're right. Let's meet up... well, further down the road someplace.”

“We'll just listen for you,” Tewi says, touching one of her long ears, “Even when you're being quiet, you're pretty loud.”

You grin a bit at that. “Well, I haven't been using any sonic barriers. In theory I can be soundless.”

“Well, I'm ready when you are,” She says.

“Sure. Let's do this.”

Your party of three does get quite a bit closer before doing anything first, however. From your new location you're about two buildings away from the road. A barrier of this size is going to be a bit of effort, but because light takes a lot less force to absorb you should be able to manage.

“On my mark. Three...”

You quickly plot your route in your mind. There's a fairly straight path through all this that you can see, so you should be able to avoid stepping on any random demons.

“Two...”

This is going to be quite the run. You wiggle your shoes a bit, making sure that they're not going to fly off while you're in a dead sprint.

“One...”

You prepare the barrier – although, at the moment, it's blocking nothing – and blanket the area. You wonder of they can notice it or not.

“Now!”

In an instant, the whole area goes black as your barrier does what you've told it to. You run. Tewi and Chen, too, although they're as fast at they are quiet when sprinting like this. Someone on the top of the wall yells something in demonic, or so you'd guess, as the sentries on the ground also respond.

Before they can finish sorting out a plan of action, you've already cleared the other side of the light barrier. A very quick glance shows no one looking from the tops of the walls.

The buildings on the sides of the road are a bit more destroyed, on average, than what you've encountered so far. Pretty much everything for the next two blocks is burnt down to the foundation, if not still burning. Not the best for hiding. But, if they catch you...

[ ] Duck into a nearby building. You can hide here for the time being.
[ ] Keep running, for something a bit less... open. They won't spot you before you make it.
================================================
Sorry, internet gave out before I thought to check votes yesterday.
>> No. 38669
[x] Keep running, for something a bit less... open. They won't spot you before you make it.

I want me some distance.
>> No. 38671
[x] Keep running, for something a bit less... open. They won't spot you before you make it.
>> No. 38673
[x] Duck into a nearby building. You can hide here for the time being.

There's no way any of these demons have superhuman smelling or hearing.
>> No. 38675
[x] Duck into a nearby building. You can hide here for the time being.
>> No. 38682
[x] Keep running, for something a bit less... open. They won't spot you before you make it.

Hiding in the building simply makes you trapped.
>> No. 38687
[x] Keep running, for something a bit less... open. They won't spot you before you make it.

… you keep running, no matter how much your legs protest. Hiding here isn't an option – not out in the open like this, anyway. Behind you the demons continue to yell to, or maybe at, each other. They continue to get further away as you run, so perhaps they haven't thought to follow you yet.

Soon, the buildings are back to what you've been seeing so far; looted and smashed up, but only the occasional totally destroyed one. You... can tell you haven't been keeping yourself in shape. This is going to be where you need to hide.

Since you don't really have that much time to analyze your choices, you just pick something. Upon entering, it's pretty clear that this was someone's home – at broken and chaotic as the inside looks now. You lower your barrier as well, to remove that strain.

Still, this place seems to have a wide array of places to hide. You feel positively terrible after that little sprint, so you're eager to rest for a moment.

[ ] Find a spot next to a window. You'll want to see the street.
[ ] Cellar. You'll use the darkness to your advantage.
[ ] Somewhere near an exit. If they come for you, you don't want to be stuck in a corner.
>> No. 38689
[x] Cellar. You'll use the darkness to your advantage.

That shadow-user persona was pretty cool.
>> No. 38690
>>38689
That was the Shield Mage.
>> No. 38691
>>38690
We can switch. That's Jack's thing.
>> No. 38692
>>38691
I'm aware of the whole Schizist thing. I've been reading from thread one. I don't recall ever seeing a specific "shadow-user".
>> No. 38693
>>38692
When we met Chen, we saw a shadowmancer for a couple paragraphs. It's not surprising that you forgot.

>>34795
>---you allow your shadow to erupt into a bubble of darkness, absorbing all nearby light within a good radius. Now isn't a very good time for this battle. Midday, it's almost impossible to use your shadowmancy. These trees are providing sufficient shadow for a very short burst however.

We only saw it for a liiiiittle bit, but a nice, dark cellar should be a great location for that guy.
>> No. 38694
[x] Cellar. You'll use the darkness to your advantage.
>> No. 38702
>>38693
Huh. Oh well then.

[x] Cellar. You'll use the darkness to your advantage.
>> No. 38712
[x] Cellar. You'll use the darkness to your advantage.
[ ] Somewhere near an exit. If they come for you, you don't want to be stuck in a corner.

You spy a door nearby and open it. Inside, you find stairs leading downward. Perfect. This is exactly where you want to go.

As much as your legs are protesting, you manage to keep yourself moving long enough to make it into the basement. A quick party trick of a spell brings up a dim light. It's enough to see by, but only barely – and you wouldn't want to be searching for anything smaller than your hand.

It doesn't take you long to find a good spot, either. The staircase leading down is made of wood, and is mostly empty space underneath. There's a few trunks, too, for you to hide behind.

You sit down, giving your legs a well deserved rest. Hopefully, you won't need to move them for a while. It's been a long time since you've felt them burn like this.

Ten minutes or so later, and you're feeling a bit better. You probably couldn't pull off a sprint like that again, but this is enough to get you moving. Still, your gut is saying that you should stay down here for a bit longer yet. It sounded like you stirred up quite the beehive with your little trick, and you're sure that they'd spot you in an instant if you tried to leave now.

So, you wait. It's very boring for the next ten minutes or so. Eventually, however, you hear something that you had not wanted to hear – creaking from the wood flooring upstairs.

They seem to have come in from the front door, and sound like they don't have a clue as to what they're doing. Lots of banging and such, too, so maybe they're doing an even better job of trashing the place.

Then, they come downstairs. Two of them. Pretty typical builds, as well. These are more like the common demons you'd expect from Makai. Womanly, human-like, and with that slightly unsettling tone in their voices... much like your prisoner back at the train. They both seem to have lamps, as well.

“Check over in that corner,” One of them says, “I'll check over here.”

“So, we still don't know what we're even looking for, right?” The other responds, doing as she's told, “Human, youkai...?”

“Whoever it is, they're probably the only non-demon around,” The first answers, heading in your general direction. “Just look.”

The second one yawns. “I still think they went into the next ring. I mean, why do all that if you just want to cross the street?”

“Because we'd just catch them if they tried to cross the street without doing all that.”

“Yeah, I guess. What's with all this black stuff?”

The first one turns. “Humans need to keep their homes warm. They burn that to keep the temperature up.”

“Weird.”

They continue talking about nothing for a while, while you do your best to stay out of sight. With the way that they're looking, you'll probably be safe here. Maybe. You just need to be quiet – they aren't doing a very thorough.

But... they are leaving themselves quite open. You wouldn't have much of a chance if they knew where you were, but with them clueless like this you'd say that your chances of taking them both out are pretty good.

[ ] Stay hidden. You'll just stay put down here until the situation calms down.
[ ] Stay hidden for now. But, after they leave, you'll want to head upstairs and reassess the situation.
[ ] Better to take them out now than to have them find you on accident.
>> No. 38713
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention: I'm going to be busy for the next two days, so no updates until the 26th. Happy holidays, everyone.
>> No. 38725
[x] Stay hidden for now. But, after they leave, you'll want to head upstairs and reassess the situation.
>> No. 38726
[x] Stay hidden. You'll just stay put down here until the situation calms down.
>> No. 38743
[equis] Stay hidden for now. But, after they leave, you'll want to head upstairs and reassess the situation.

I misread part of the demons' description as:
>Pretty typical builds, as well. These are more like the common demons you'd expect from Makai. Womanly, human-like, and wide hips

Best demon army ever.
>> No. 38744
[X] Better to take them out now than to have them find you on accident.
>> No. 38746
[x] Stay hidden. You'll just stay put down here until the situation calms down.
>> No. 38772
[x] Better to take them out now than to have them find you on accident.

Gotcha~!
>> No. 38778
[ ] Better to take them out now than to have them find you on accident.
>> No. 38805
[x] Better to take them out now, than to have them find you on accident.

Sometimes, to shield yourself, you need to act with a bit of foresight. In this case, a preemptive attack may make a better defensive maneuver than staying completely hidden. So, that's what you do. It's a simple matter of waiting until your first target is nearby, setting up a sound barrier around the area, and using a physical barrier around your hands.

It's a little unorthodox, using barriers offensively, but by expanding them at the right time you can generate some serious force. Enough to snap a demon's neck without making much noise, it turns out. The second demon meets a similar fate, and you're soon left alone in the basement with two piles of ash.

“Are you two still alive?”

While you're running through your options in the basement, you hear something that turns your blood to ice. A voice, from upstairs – perhaps calling in from the doorway? Either way, it seems like they've got a third member of their little search party, and she's quite out of reach at the moment with the way the stairs leading up creak.

[ ] Wait it out down here. If need be, you'll take her out as well.
[ ] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.
================================================
Sorry for taking so long. My internet keeps going out for extended periods.
>> No. 38809
[X] Quickly enclose the ashes in barriers, compact them to be pocket size and take them with you for now.
[X] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.
-[X] Leave the door open.

Damn...shield mages are like ninjas yo.
>> No. 38810
[x] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.

Cool.
>> No. 38812
[x] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.

The better part of valor.
>> No. 38814
[x] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.
>> No. 38816
[x] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.

This is an untenable position. You need to get out of this house, this neighborhood, as soon as you can. Sooner or later they will find out that their people are missing, and you'll need to be well on your way up the mountain by then.

The stairs are the only obvious way out of the basement, but they're very loud. You'll need to absorb the sound waves with another barrier, and then make a run for it once you've exited out the rear of the building. If this part of town is anything like what you've been traveling in all along, there will be plenty of alleys and side streets to lose any pursuers in.

So, you project your barrier and slowly make your way upstairs as to not generate any creaking outside your personal bubble. Hopefully that demon isn't heading for the basement right now, since your barrier goes both ways.

Upon reaching the top, you see that she has not. However, she's in the next room over. You make all due haste towards the rear exit, but one last look before closing the door shows that you've been spotted.

Your gaze meets with another demon, her gold eyes showing surprise more than anything else. She doesn't seem to be anyone of importance. Somehow, you manage a half-assed grin before slamming the door and bolting down the alley that you now find yourself in.

By now, you've dropped your shield – hearing is just so much more useful than silence. For instance, you can tell that they've begun looking for you. There's a whole lot more shouting now, and all the sources seem to be moving around.

And boy, are there a lot of sources. They've probably got thirty or so of them out looking for you, all of them running about.

“Found him!”

… and an extra one, with huge bat-like wings, shrieking from a good hundred feet above your head. Too far for you to deal with, even if you did have some sort of binding spells at the ready. It might not even be a demon – your intuition is telling you that it's actually a vampire of some sort, though you don't have any solid proof behind it.

You try to lose it by ducking inside buildings, but she's quite the persistent thing. The demonic yelling keeps getting closer with each passing moment, as you continue to try your best to outrun them.

It all ends with a duck down an alley – they seem to be positioning directly ahead of you, so you try to be clever and cut around them before they can intercept you. However, you find the exit to the alley blocked by a demon just as you almost reach it; a quick check behind you shows the entrance blocked, too.

“Stop running! We've got you, mage.”

The one in front of you calls out, sounding completely confident in her assessment as three more step in place behind her. There---

---has to be something you can do, but not as a shield mage. Or anything else you can think of subconsciously, you guess, seeing as how you're yourself again. No windows on the nearby walls, and they're all too tall to scale. No splits in the alley. That damned vampire still flying above you. Not good. There has to be something.

[ ] Punch through the back guard. If you stop moving now, you'll never escape.
[ ] There isn't. You have no choice but to surrender.
[ ] Maybe you can try a feint. Surrender, but try to take them by surprise when they think they've got you beat.
>> No. 38817
[X] Now... would be a good time to bolt out the back.

Should have known there were more upstairs.

I think that if we tried and waited it out she would call for reinforcements before we could neutralise her. And there may be more than one demon waiting upstairs still.
Running runs the risk of there being demons just outside the chosen exit, but if we prepared ourselves for that possibility then we have the surprise on our side and can use it to incapacitate/run away.

Our existence and position are known either way, may as well just try and get as much distance as possible between us and here.
>> No. 38818
>>38817 here, got slowpoked. Should have refreshed before posting.

No idea what to vote for this one, I will leave it to someone else to come up with arguments this time.
>> No. 38819
[x] There isn't. You have no choice but to surrender.

Gibu appu.
>> No. 38820
[ ] "Punch Through" - A.K.A Demon Bitches Haven't Heard About My Chronomancy.

Alternately:

Elementalism - Earth pulls down walls, drop into sewers. Fire blast + Smokescreen. Flight + Lightning.

Laser Mage - LASER.

Magic Hulk - Smash.

Shadow Mage - Shadow Walk? Darkness effect + Shadow Conjuration. Shadow Bindings. More than the others, this is a vague one.

Etc, etc.

Other stuff, all less likely as he has never used it yet:

If he can use Chronomancy, I think it reasonable to assume he can use a Teleport school (they are pretty closely tied in some ways)

Illusions are awesome and very conceptually close to the whole Schizoid Mage shtick.

Transmuter - turn into ye Hummingbird, yon mage and flit away most fast. Or Acid Fog.
>> No. 38821
>>38819

Our character is "Jack of All Trades, Master of One At A Time" - it's just a matter of creative application of a wide range of powersets. There is never a situation where he has no power to succeed. The darkness bubble was a bad choice in the first place though, because Chronomancy.

A Barrier Mage could escape this as well.

Expand a bubble out to break the walls.
Use mobile planes of force to make a corridor - they can exert force.
Darkness Bubble again. .
Expand a pillar-barrier to lift yourself out of the alley, Crush the vampire.

I don't know exactly what he can do with his barriers, but I can certainly think of potentials.
>> No. 38822
I kinda assumed bolt out the back meant there was an exit in the basement, and we wouldn't be running straight up the same stairs the demon was obviously on.
>> No. 38823
[X] Punch through the back guard. If you stop moving now, you'll never escape.

>>38822
Funny thing that, what got us was not the demon inside the house, but the vampiresque thing flying above the city. No matter how and where we got out of the house, the moment we hit the streets the flying boogieman would have noticed us.
>> No. 38824
Going to take today off because I'm being lazy, and there doesn't seem to be a clear decision yet.

>>38820 >>38821
To prevent any later confusion, I figure I should respond to these. If he were a real shield mage (or chronomancer/elementalist/whatever), you'd be spot on. He'd have an easy way out.

However, he's not. He's just pretending, so anything he does takes more energy and time than it would take for a genuine mage of the respective school. That's why he gets tired so easily, and needs to end fights quickly. Sustained, powerful things just aren't in his playbook because of how hard and draining they are to execute.

A barrier that just stops air vibrations in a personal radius, or fist sized ones that stop flesh - these are easy. One that blows out neighboring brick walls, or has a custom shape to propel him a hundred feet into the air without dropping him?

Well, maybe if you gave him a bit of time to prepare, since this is one of his more comfortable schools - but it's definitely not something he can set up in an instant. Especially not at four in the morning after running all over the place.

I hope this makes more sense.

I'll type up a major school listing while I'm not writing for clarity, since I guess I've been avoiding laying it out. Expect it sometime tomorrow with how my internet is being lately.
>> No. 38825
[x] Punch through the back guard. If you stop moving now, you'll never escape.

Surrender? What's that.
>> No. 38826
[x] Punch through the back guard. If you stop moving now, you'll never escape.

Kind of wish Tewi & Chen would hurry the hell up. There's no way they couldn't be hearing this.
>> No. 38829
[x] Punch through the back guard. If you stop moving now, you'll never escape.

Three vs one or one vs one... even without much of a plan, your choice is clear. You turn around, and start charging.

A few things happen all at once. You---

---begin preparing that binding ritual that you learned last night. Not exactly the best time to try it for the first time, but it's your only option with your major divination abilities locked down. Also, the three demons who are now to your back begin running after you. Incidentally, they seem to be in better shape... and gaining.

Although you have a plan now, you'll admit that it's not very good. You'll bind them, one at a time, and hope that you can get off four bindings before one of them can catch you. If you can't manage, well, you'll deal with that then.

The binding spell goes off without a hitch. It takes you the length of the alley to prepare it, but it's quite effective. The rear guard freezes like a statue, everything except for the eyes, and you simply run past.

However, it seems that they've been busy on this end too. Two more demons come streaming in from an alley further up the sidestreet, leaving you with only one option; backtrack. You drop another, and manage to slow your pursuers a bit by knocking over some empty streetside barrels as you pass.

And then, you notice something strange - a large quantity of fog spilling out of a nearby alley, like some sort of slow motion tidal wave.

“Hey! Over here!”

An unfamiliar, female voice calls out to you from the alley, as the wave of the thickest fog you've ever seen washes over you. It's impossible to see anything now. Well, given your options currently, it's probably not a bad idea. It's not like you can run when you can hardly see more than a few feet.

As you do, someone grabs your arm.

“Come on!”

And then, they begin running. You don't have much choice but to follow, which is fairly difficult when you can't see the ground directly below you much less where you're going to step next. Even the fires still smoldering aren't enough to cut through it. Either this part of the city is fairly flat, or perhaps your savior is exceptionally good at leading the blind, but you manage to keep up.

You make three turns altogether, although it's impossible to tell where you're going. Eventually whoever this is comes to a stop. The fog is clearing a little now, enough for you to make out that a nearby lightsource is a lamp and that there's a large iron door in front of you. Also, that your savior is a bit shorter than you.

“Could you help me with this?” She asks, “We're almost safe.”

“What's going on?” You ask, moving for the large handle on the door. She was right – this thing is heavy.

“We'll explain later,” She says, sounding a bit strained as she pulls open the door with you. “But we're fighting those guys you're running from.”

“A local resistance then?” You ask, “Or are you Guild?”

“Not Guild,” She clarifies, as the door finally swings open enough for you to slip inside. “Go on.”

She extinguishes the lamp outside before closing the door behind her. And now, you find yourself... huh.

“What is this place?” You ask, trying to make heads or tails of this brick tunnel. All you can see from here is that it leads down, but to where you don't know.

You can make out your rescuer now, as well. A blue-haired lass, wearing some sort of aqua-colored outfit. Non-demon, and no Guild badge, so... a local youkai, then?

“We don't know, actually,” She shrugs, “We've just been using it.”

“Well,” You say, extending a hand, “I appreciate whatever that was. I'm Jack.”

“Nitori,” She answers, extending her hand a bit hesitantly. “We, ah... oh boy, where should I start?”

“What just happened would be nice,” You say, following behind her as she leads you deeper into the tunnel, “I mean, one minute I'm running from a bunch of demons, and the next this huge fog bank sweeps in and you whisk me away.”

“We're saving people,” She says, proudly. “There's a lot of poor humans and youkai still trapped by those demons.”

“I just happened to run into you?” You ask. What luck.

She nods. “Funny how things work sometimes. Are you alright?”

“Well enough, but I'm pretty tired,” You answer, with a weak laugh. “I've been trying to shake them for a while. Crossing the street isn't what it used to be.”

“Oh,” She says, sounding surprised, “That was you? With the big blackout thing?”

You nod. “That was me. You were watching?”

“Not me,” She says, “But one of the others saw it. We figured it was a good distraction. If, ah, you'll let me ask... what were you doing out there? I thought the Guild had left us to fend for ourselves when the demons attacked.”

She's cute, but you're not sure if you trust her yet. Best to be vague. “There's someone I need to see in town,” You say, “I'm not acting with the Guild at the moment.”

“Huh,” She says, sounding disappointed. “And I thought for sure...”

“Sorry I can't be more clear,” You say, “But, it is an ongoing military operation.”

She nods. “You're right. Sorry.”

[ ] As much as you'd like to stick around, you need to meet that person as soon as possible. Ask about other exits.
[ ] As much as you'd like to stick around, Tewi and Chen are waiting. You'll need to find them as soon as you can.
[ ] You'll welcome the rest, but someone will need to find your traveling companions for you.
[ ] You'll welcome the rest, but you can't stay for long.
================================================
Well, maybe Monday on that extra thing I said I'd write. No updates tomorrow, because I'm moving again.
>> No. 38830
>>38829

[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, you need to meet that person as soon as possible. Ask about other exits.

Or:

[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, Tewi and Chen are waiting. You'll need to find them as soon as you can.

Yukari is the priority - the entire reason for this "infiltration" - but he'll probably end up needing their help to find her. Solo isn't working out very well.
>> No. 38831
[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, you need to meet that person as soon as possible. Ask about other exits.
[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, Tewi and Chen are waiting. You'll need to find them as soon as you can.

These two options aren't mutually exclusive and both seem like good ideas.
>> No. 38832
File 132538031683.jpg - (16.13KB , 400x276 , no time.jpg ) [iqdb]
38832
Followin random people.

[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, you need to meet that person as soon as possible. Ask about other exits.
[X] As much as you'd like to stick around, Tewi and Chen are waiting. You'll need to find them as soon as you can.
>> No. 38837
[x] You'll welcome the rest, but someone will need to find your traveling companions for you.

Jack's only human after all, trying to push him too hard won't end well.
>> No. 38873
Writing has commenced, but I'm not able to finish it right now. Since my apartment doesn't have internet yet, if I update it'll have to be on some public wifi somewhere... and unless I'm feeling really ambitious that probably won't happen. I'll have it tomorrow at the latest.
>> No. 38913
>>38873

Hoorayanon sure has been slackin off lately. It's been like...10 hours since this guy made this post saying he started writing.
>> No. 38920
>>38837

Nobody would barricade themselves into a room in the Scarlet Devil Mansion to catch up on their sleep, so why stop in the middle of enemy territory?
>> No. 38921
As much as I'm kicking myself for it, it's not done because taking care of other business ends up taking longer than I'd like.

So, last delay. Update tomorrow.
>> No. 38937
>>38920
IT's not completely in enemy territory as it's in a resistance base. Try using your brain next time or you'd rather see Jack screw up due to lack of rest I bet.
>> No. 38986
[x] As much as you'd like to stick around, you need to meet that person as soon as possible. Also, your companions are waiting. Ask about other exits, and possible assistance.

“It's alright,” You say, “But, it's very important that I have that meeting as soon as I can. I don't mean to turn down your hospitality, and I'm sure I owe you more than one, but I can't go to wherever you're taking me. I need to hit the streets again.”

She stops, and slowly turns around. “You're sure? They're probably still looking for you, you know. And I'm sure our leader wants to meet you.”

“I'm sorry,” You apologize, “Yes, I'm sure.”

“Well, I guess I can't keep you. If you take that exit,” she says, pointing to something like a sidestreet in this underground roadway, “It'll take you up about ten blocks away from where we were.”

“I'll let the Guild know that you're down here,” You say, “Next time I'm in a position to do that. I just wish the circumstances weren't so dire. If you hold on a while longer, I'm sure we'll be able to help.”

She nods. “We'll be fine, but... this siege isn't good for anyone. Hurry, if you can.”

“I'll do my best,” You say, “You have my word. But, ah...”

A thought comes to mind as she's turning to head down another path. “Hmm? What is it?”

“You haven't seen any rabbit or cat youkai around, have you?” You ask, “I was with some others, but we split up before all those demons tuned in on me.”

She shakes her head. “I haven't. Maybe someone else has, but you'd have to come with me to ask them.”

“That's alright. Thanks anyway,” You say, “I'm sure they'll be able to spot me before I could even come close to finding them. Take care.”

“You, too... Jack?”

“Jack,” You nod.

And with that, you two part ways. At the very least, this will be good to know. You'd consider this a success as far as scouting goes. Any local resistance, especially youkai, will help in retaking the city itself when the time comes.

Sure enough, this tunnel comes out in a similar place to where the other one went in, only much further away from the action than the last one. The lock to the door itself is, strangely, on the inside – leading you to believe that this was originally some kind of emergency exit for... someone.

Whatever the case, the demons don't seem to have come down this far. You can't hear them, at least. And, after a little bit further of a walk, you decide that it's probably safe to discreetly stick to the main street. After heading forward for a few more blocks, you feel a light tap on your arm.

“Hey, you finally made it.”

Tewi, you find out, as you turn around to face her. Chen, too; both of them are on the side-street to your left. Well, it's good to see that they weren't held up anywhere like you were.

“Yeah,” You nod, “Sorry it took so long. I stirred up a bit more trouble than I intended to.”

“Was it fun?” Chen asks, “It was boring here.”

“Well, maybe if running for your life is fun,” You say, with a bit of a chuckle. “Some local resistance group ended up saving me... on accident.”

“Sounds great,” Tewi says, “Let's keep moving though, yeah?”

You have no objections to that, so that's what you do. Ever onward.

By the time you reach the cliffs that mark the start of the mountain, the sky is already beginning to lighten. It won't be long until sunrise – though, you're making better time than you expected. Makai really doesn't seem interested in occupying most of the city, only burning it.

Before all of this, you never really had any reason to come out to this part of town. There are a few shrines carved into the cliffside, you suppose, but you're not really the religious type. For you, it's the sort of thing that just blends into the city – a tourist attraction.

“So, how do we get up?” You ask, gazing on the rock face, “I can't climb something like this.”

“A little further yet,” Tewi answers, “We can't get up here.”

So, further you go, to the part where the city plan breaks down as it squashes against the cliffs. There's only a few buildings in this layer of the city here, because for the most part the road takes up all the remaining space between the wall to the next layer and the cliff.

“Yeah,” Tewi says, stopping, “I think this is it.”

“What is?” You ask, “I don't see anything.”

“It's right here,” Chen says, “Come on! I'll race you to the top!”

She seems to be tired of going slowly, so as to not lose you, and takes off running. Not down the street, mind you – but straight into the mountain itself, as if it weren't there.

You don't really know what to say, but Tewi has an answer anyway.

“It's like the great barrier around the city,” She says, “If you're not allowed in, you'll just smack into the cliff.”

You're still not at ease with the idea. “After you.”

She laughs. “Sure.”

And sure enough, both of you simply pass through the cliffside, revealing the true mountain behind. It's still cliffs, but there is a narrow path leading upward at a barely manageable slope.

“Jeez,” You say, “This isn't going to be an easy climb.”

“Easier than really climbing the thing,” Tewi says, “I tried that once. It's not worth it.”

“Yeah, I don't think anyone in recorded history has ever made it,” You nod, “Or, if they have, they've never come back down.”

“They can't make it,” She answers, as you both make your way along the path, “There's a pretty strong curse that always makes you choose the wrong path, so no matter what you do you'll get lost. Well, unless you're really, really lucky, or Yukari lifts it for you. She doesn't let everyone just use the path.”

You're still not comfortable with that name, so hearing it makes you a bit uneasy. “This is going to be one hell of a mission report.”

The hike up, is... grueling – you're really wishing you had grabbed something to eat before leaving, and the walk back to camp is going to be absolutely brutal. Hopefully, there will be no fighting today, since you'll be pretty much worthless. Even with all the stops you made, the “acting leader” will be coming from the west. You've only been out that way a few times, but you remember the journey taking quite a while.

About a fourth of the way up, you need to rest. Although you're on the wrong side of the mountain to appreciate it, as the trail seems to be winding around the west side, you do get to watch the sunrise sweep across the landscape. The sky is quite cloudy, though, so it doesn't last for long. Still, not many have seen it from this vantage point.

Up, and up, and up... until, perhaps half way up, you stop. The path isn't winding for once, leading along a cliff edge, and you can see two figures at the distant end of the stretch.

“Who're they?” You ask, “Or maybe I should say what.”

“Dunno,” Tewi answers, “I don't see Chen, though, so she must have gone by them.”

“Good point,” You nod, relaxing a bit. “I'm just seeing demons everywhere.”

You continue on, along the path, until you can make out that these two are indeed humanoid. They notice you, too.

“Hey,” Tewi calls out, heading on ahead, “What's up with you two? This isn't a great place to hang out.”

“Master Shinki has asked us to watch for travelers,” one of them answers, “So, that's what we're doing.”

“Huh. Well, at least you've got a good view.”

“That's true,” The other agrees, “There are worse jobs.”

Tewi nods, and continues past them. However, you're not so eager. Shinki isn't a name you're fond of hearing, either. Demons, and here? Just what is going on? You pause again, and give them a good look over to assess the situation.

They decide to return the look, and the first one smiles. It's not a nice smile.

“Guild?” She asks, noticing your badge, “Shouldn't we shove him off?”

“Heh,” The second one grins another sinister grin, “We're just watching, remember? It'd be a shame if you fell, though. It's a long way down.”

Two of them, similar to the ones you faced down in town. Easy enough if you were well rested, but maybe not so much now. You could probably manage, though.

[ ] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.
[ ] They're not worth your time. Simply continue on.
[ ] Well, if they want a fight... you can show them just how far down it is.
================================================
Still working on that school listing, and by working I mean forgetting to do it until I'm already updating.
>> No. 38989
Hold on...Hold the fuck on...enemies super high up somewhere? I know EXACTLY how to handle this.

[X] FUS ROH DAH.
-[X] shield mage style
>> No. 39001
[X] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.
>> No. 39004
>>38937

Ah, I see, one of those completely impregnable, utterly safe and not at all vulnerable to the riled-up enemy, resistance bases?

Well, the more you know.
>> No. 39005
[X] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.
>> No. 39006
[X] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.
>> No. 39009
[X] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.

Works for me~!
>> No. 39020
[x] Well, if they want a fight... you can show them just how far down it is.
>> No. 39022
[x] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.

No way this won't work out. No way at all.
>> No. 39023
File 132585525275.jpg - (91.32KB , 1024x742 , nice.jpg ) [iqdb]
39023
Tried, and failed, to check votes yesterday at some place that wasn't a two mile walk away - pic related - so I didn't manage to get any writing done. Called, but don't expect anything until tomorrow.

And since it's pretty clear that daily updates aren't going to work, it's back to the every other day schedule.
>> No. 39068
>Blocked by Fortinet

I once felt that pain myself, sir. Good luck.
>> No. 39071
[x] Return a bit of the banter, and continue past. They won't do anything.

But, even so, it's not worth trying. If Luize is correct, they're not here out of some deep seated malice towards humanity or anything – they're just here because it's something to do. Engaging them in their fun is probably the best option here.

“It is, isn't it?” You ask, continuing forward with a sort of arrogance, “Why, I bet you two are weak enough that the fall would kill either one of you, too.”

“Oho,” The first laughs, “How tough, human. Perhaps you'd like to try to knock me off yourself?”

“I would,” you respond, bumping her a bit as you pass, “But, not now. I have more important things to deal with.”

“You should feel lucky that we're under orders to leave you alone,” The second says, “After I'm relieved here, I'll hunt you down myself.”

Maybe you can pry out a little more.

“I look forward to it,” You laugh, “Bring your master, too. I'll show you all what the Guild can do.”

“Ha!” The first one scoffs, “Shinki herself placed us here! Didn't you hear us the first time? You would be dead before your tiny brain could even begin to understand what was happening.”

Shinki again. You don't get it. If Shinki knows about this mountain, she presumably knows who lives on top – and that that person is an enemy to her. Why would she just have a few troops watching the path, instead of marching up here herself and taking the gap demon out herself?

Maybe Yukari really is that powerful, and this is the best that she can do. But why wouldn't Yukari just stop Shinki herself, then? Why play in the shadows as she's been doing? It could just be her way, but... well, no, you shouldn't make any guesses. You'll just ask her yourself when you reach the summit.

“That'll be difficult, then,” You say, “She'll be back in Makai soon enough. Well, you can just bring yourself... if you can manage to avoid the wrath of the Guild for long enough.”

They both laugh. “Go on, human. Perhaps we will have different orders when you return.”

“Nice bunch, eh?” Tewi snickers, as you catch up to her, “Seems like they're having fun, at least.”

“Loads of fun,” You confirm, “They're going to be so disappointed when they end up back in Makai.”

“Sure, sure,” Tewi laughs, this time at you, “Let's just keep going.”

You continue on, and up. And up. It really seems like this path will never end but, eventually, it begins to level off near a rock overhang. You see why, as the path finally comes to an end.

“Wow,” You muse, upon seeing the sight, “This is it, isn't it?”

There's a small village tucked underneath the overhang to your left, and a cliff overlooking the city to your right. Not just the city, mind you, but the countryside as far as you can see. It's an amazing view – you can see why someone would choose to live up here.

“Yep,” Tewi answers, “Hell of a view, huh?”

“It's amazing.”

The village itself isn't made of more than five buildings, but three of them are in disrepair. The architecture is... very old, to say the least. Pre-empire, at least. You've visited shrines that were put up before recorded history that look like this.

“Hey, there's the slow guys!”

Chen seems to have been far ahead of you, since she's waiting on the porch of the larger of the two buildings. Beside her, there's someone you don't recognize. She's wearing a blue-and-white outfit, but her striking feature is the tails – nine of them – sticking out from behind her. A kitsune?

“Ah, so this is Jack. And Tewi, as well.”

“Hey, Ran,” Tewi answer, seemingly familiar with the creature, “How's it going?”

Tewi heads over to the two, so you follow.

“The same as always,” Ran answers, “Not much changes in Mayohiga. It's been a while.”

“Yeah,” Tewi nods, “So, Chen probably already filled you in, huh?”

“That's right,” Ran answers, turning to you, “But, my Master is currently entertaining another guest. I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait outside until they are finished.”

“Who is it?” Tewi asks, “Someone I know?”

“I'm not sure,” Ran answers, “I didn't ask her name.”

There's a bit of silence, as you consider your options. “Would you like some tea?” Ran offers, “It may be a while. Take a seat; you must be tired after your climb.”

[ ] No. You're not going to wait outside and drink tea while people are dying below.
[ ] If you must. Barging in would be unwise.
[ ] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.
>> No. 39072
[x] No. You're not going to wait outside and drink tea while people are dying below.

Please let it be Shinki please please please. Or Eirin.
>> No. 39074
[x] No. You're not going to wait outside and drink tea while people are dying below.
>> No. 39075
[x] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.
WE need to bring our A game to this meeting. The people dying are gonna be much more numerous if this meeting doesn't go well.
>> No. 39076
[x] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.

Because trying to barge in on a meeting between two undoubtedly more powerful beings is the greatest of ideas.
>> No. 39078
[x] If you must. Barging in would be unwise.

I'm very uncertain about this meeting. Who's to say that it won't just turnout like it did in Tewi's story? I really wish we got Yukari's side of the story instead of just snubbing her. We lost out on some valuable information that was extremely pertinent to the future.

Regardless. We're here now, let's not make a fool of Jack. Let's handle it appropriately.
>> No. 39085
>>39078
All we can do is hope for the best and that anon doesn't turn retarded again.

[x] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.
>> No. 39096
[ ] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.

We're here already, let's be polite.
>> No. 39097
>>39085

"In time, Anonymous makes a fool of all MCs."

I don't know who said that (it was me) but I agree (with myself).

[x] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.
>> No. 39107
[x] She's got that right. You wouldn't mind catching your breath before this meeting.

“Very,” You nod, moving towards the porch yourself, “But, do you have something stronger than tea? I'd prefer some coffee, if you have some. Black.”

It's worth a shot, at least. If you're going to sit around gathering your mind and body, you may as well have all the help you can get.

“Hmm. I'll have to check,” She answers, kindly, “I'll be back in a moment. Would you also like something to drink, Tewi?”

“I'm fine,” Tewi responds, “It's ok.”

“Thanks,” You reply, as she gets up to head inside the old house, “Tea is fine if you have no coffee, though.”

She nods, and Tewi gets up to follow her. However, your host turns to the rabbit before heading inside. “You'll need to wait outside as well.”

“Tch,” Tewi answers, backing away a bit, “Must be some guest.”

With the kitsune gone, Tewi takes a seat next to you. Chen has gone off... somewhere – you weren't paying enough attention to see her leave – so it's just the two of you waiting outside. You loosen your shoes a bit, to give your burning feet a bit of room to breathe.

“So,” Tewi says, trying to start a bit of conversation, “What do you think of Ran?”

“Ran?” You ask, before the earlier comment clicks, “Oh, that kitsune?”

“Yeah.”

“She seems nice,” You shrug, “It's hard to judge someone based on a few words, though. Especially older youkai... not that I mean anything by that, of course.”

“Nice save,” She laughs, “I get you, though.”

You're a bit too tired to come up with anything else, and Tewi doesn't seem to want to bother, so you wait by staring out into the sky. From here, you can't see the landscape itself – just the vast, gray, fall sky. You can't help but wonder how Patchouli is handling your absence, either... but, you think that she's doing fine. You wouldn't have picked her otherwise.

It doesn't take long for your thoughts to be interrupted by a sliding door, however, as Ran returns with a cup of something.

“The beans were a little old,” She apologizes, handing you a cup of black liquid, “I don't drink coffee myself, and my Master only does so occasionally.”

Tewi laughs, turning to you. “That means they could have been sitting there for years, you know. Watch yourself.”

Ran shakes her head. “Not that long. Besides, I keep them vacuum-sealed.”

“Vacuum-sealed?” You ask, not familiar with the term.

“Ah...” She pauses, as you take a sip. “Are you familiar with canning? It's a similar process, only all of the air is removed.”

“I see,” You nod, “This is very good. Thank you.”

It's an honest complement. “I'm glad you like it,” She answers, “By the way, I don't think we've been introduced properly. I'm Ran, of the Yakumo house.”

“And I'm Jack,” You say, “Although, you already seem to know me.”

“Yukari has been expecting you,” She admits, “Or, at least, expecting that you may come. I'd also like to thank you for taking care of Chen for me. You too, Tewi.”

You shake your head. “She was more of an asset than something to take care of.”

“Yeah,” Tewi laughs, “Chen's always great to be around. What was she doing all the way out there, anyway?”

“I... shouldn't say,” Ran says, “Not to Jack, at least.”

“Oh,” Tewi nods, “I get it.”

“You must have gone through the city below to get here,” Ran points out, “I hope it wasn't too difficult for you both.”

You almost laugh, but then realize that she's being serious. Tewi answers before you can. “Not for me. Jack had a bit of trouble, though.”

“Only a bit,” You chuckle, “It turned out almost as planned in the end, though.”

“I bet they're still looking for you, you know,” Tewi laughs, “Getting back is going to be pretty tough.”

You groan a little, leaning back. “I'd rather not think about that right now,” You say, “It really is.”

“Where are you from, Jack?” Ran asks, after a bit of silence. “If you don't mind me asking. I like to learn about our guests.”

“West side of the capital, the second ring away from the outer wall,” You answer, “I've pretty much always lived here.”

“This whole business must be terrible for you, then,” She says, “I'm sorry you have to endure it.”

“The attack itself, I could do nothing about,” You say, “I'll wait until the Guild has failed completely to feel terrible.”

She smiles. “Then, I hope you can avoid it altogether.”

That's how the three of you pass the time. Although it's mostly meaningless conversation, the sorts of things you talk about when you don't know what else to talk about, Ran seems to be genuinely interested.

Two cups of coffee and an hour later, and the door behind you slides open once more.

“Perhaps I'll visit tomorrow, to collect my winnings.”

Standing in the doorway are two figures, and both fill you with a sort of primal dread... even though you only recognize one of them. Yukari, well, there's no mistaking that dress or presence. The second? You don't know. She's wearing a red coat, unlike you've ever seen.

Yukari just laughs. “Perhaps. Or perhaps I'll visit you in Makai to collect mine.”

Makai? That couldn't be...?

The second being looks in your direction, as if noticing you for the first time. “Oh, it seems as if your pawn is here,” She says, albeit as more of a fact than a derogatory remark. “Maybe I'll stay a while longer, then.”

“He's nearing his promotion,” Yukari grins, “But, I'm afraid I can't let you sit in on this one. It just wouldn't be fair.”

The second being chuckles, turning away. “I suppose it wouldn't. Goodbye for now.”

Then, a third figure appears from the doorway. A maid. What's up with demons and maids? You can't really help yourself, and watch them begin their path down the mountain.

“That's enough awe for today,” Yukari finally says, sounding amused, “Perhaps I'll properly introduce you two some time. But yes, that is who you think it is. Now, we have business to discuss, yes? Come inside, Jack.”

Then, that was the queen of all demons. Shinki herself. Meeting with the same person that you intend to meet with. This is going to be one hell of a meeting.

Having come this far, you decide that despite every instinct in your body telling you to turn back, you need to at least hear what she has to say. So, you get up.

“Have fun, you two,” Tewi says, “Try not to be too hard on him, ey Yukari?”

Yukari just laughs. “My, and Tewi, too. Who's side are you on, my dear?”

“I don't know what the sides are,” Tewi responds, “That's why I dropped by. It's not every day that the human capital burns, and I figured you'd be involved in some way.”

“In some ways,” She answers, vaguely, “However, as good as it is to see you again, I need to deal with Jack first.” She sighs. “I'm so overworked lately.”

Tewi laughs. “I bet, you old hag. Sure, I'll wait.”

You follow behind Yukari, heading into the house. You're not sure what sorts of horrors you thought would await you inside, but all in all, it's fairly normal. Perhaps a few more random baubles than you're used to, but it's surprisingly devoid of any sorts of soul eating gaps.

She leads you into a fairly normal, if a bit dated, living room, and takes a seat at the far side of the table there, on the floor.

“I don't bite... go on, take a seat,” She says, as you hesitate, “Oh, and could you fetch me a cup of what he's been drinking?”

Her gaze isn't set on you, but instead behind you – and you turn to find Ran standing in the doorway. She nods. “Would you like anything else, Jack?”

“No,” You say, shaking your head. “I've had enough.”

With a bow, Ran leaves both you and Yukari truly alone in the room. You're still standing.

[ ] Take a seat. You may be here a while.
[ ] And, you'll remain that way. You want to get this over with as quickly as possible.
>> No. 39108
[X] And, you'll remain that way. You want to get this over with as quickly as possible.

She's treating this as nothing more than a game. It's a good thing we didn't let her get any souls.

Let's just get this over and done with as soon as possible.
>> No. 39110
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.
>> No. 39111
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.
>> No. 39112
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.
>> No. 39114
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.

Let's not assume anything as she's likely working in her own ways.
>> No. 39115
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.

Are they playing shogi? Jack on Shinki's side~
>> No. 39118
[x] Take a seat. You may be here a while.
>> No. 39119
[X] Take a seat. You may be here a while.

Honestly it's more comforting than irritating that Yukari is being amiable with Shinki.

Them throwing down in the middle of the Capital wouldn't leave much behind.

Besides - the demons just want a reprieve from their boredom right? There're probably ways to work that out peacefully, even if they've done a bad job of it so far.
>> No. 39138
[x] And, you'll remain that way. You want to get this over with as quickly as possible.
>> No. 39152
Oh right, since people might be watching this thread. New thread at >>39146