YUKARI'S CASTLE AT MINAS ATIENWEN, MIDNIGHT
"What do you mean, I'll have to bunk down with someone?" comes a feminine voice from outside.
"There's no free room left for you, and no one willing to deal with your belligerence, citizen. Here, these are your quarters." replied the authoritative voice.
"I'm -not- belligerent, I just want to know what the hell is going on-" Youmu walks in on Rodie getting dressed, and TripleHate turning an apple into a buffalo, then into a crumpet.
"-heeeere. Rodie, I, what." she finishes.
"Hey, be grateful you walked in when you did. He sleeps in the nude, sister." cracks TripleHate.
There is a long silence. The guard takes advantage of this to close the door. "Breakfast in eight hours. You snooze, you lose."
After another beat, TripleHate turns to Rodie. "So, is there an actual objective to this game, or do we just go around interacting with/mating with/killing all these here anime jailbaits?"
Rodie buttons up his nightshirt. "At this point, you'd know more about that than me. But before we get to that, I'll bring you up to speed on the situation..."
NORMAL MODE HAS A NEW POWER: FATEWEAVING
>Normal mode players can declare "Yes" or "No" for a question, then bet on "Odd" or "Even." A two-sided die is rolled (Yes that is physically possible) and if you called it right, your answer is the one that happens. Otherwise, the GMulator does it's thing as normal, so you still might get the desired answer. You can do this three times per chapter.''
I'm still working on a way to incorporate Cards Against Humanity into the mix.
Got a redundant/irrelevant cliche that you don't really use/needs renaming/is just plain useless? Change it now. Just lemme know.
CHAPTER FOUR, COMMENCE!
----------------------"Phew, what a day."
Simirror remained silent as Remilia dragged him to her room. "You will remain at my side to serve me as much alcohol as possible until I pass out. I can't really die of alcohol poisoning anyways, so..." He only replied with a pat on her head. She was spending as much time drunk as possible. Probably to forget, more than anything.
"If you insist," he replied, entering the room and sitting cross-legged on the floor, pulling a large rucksack of various fine wines from hammerspace. "Drink as much as you wish, I can always get more for you." Honestly, despite how it was made clear this was an illusion, and their established enemy had suddenly turned to their side, this changed very little.
After all, it was under Danish's orders that so many, including Remilia's sister, were slain. One part of him burned with the desire to enact justice to its fullest extent, while the other knew that he had to at least give the despicable Danish a benefit of the doubt; a choice that was not his but everyone's. He gently squeezed the small amulet he had been given.
"Oy, Oy! Don't squeeze so hard!"
He stared blankly down at the amulet in confusion, scratching his head as he gave it another look. "Uh..."
"As I said," it repeated, "squeeze it too hard and you'll end up summoning me unnecessarily!" A small but eager grin crossed his face. "So you're almost ready?" He asked excitedly, "have you managed to gather enough fragments?" The voice came back through incredulous.
"Well obviously!" she retorted, "I'm good to go whenever you need me. I got enough in me to fire at least two a day."
Excellent. She was ready.
"Hey! Wine! Now!"
And apparently Remilia was too...to get drunk...again. While he disapproved of her habits, he would allow her the comforts of her wine. After what had happened, she had tried to be chipper, but most of her time has been spent drunk. Eventually she would have to stop and come back, but he would care for her until then. "Very well." He poured her a single glass, providing some cheeses as well. "Enjoy to your heart's content."
Vincent settles into a bedchamber in Yukari's castle, and goes through the events of the day in his head. He can't complain--some amazing things have happened already. But what truly baffles him is the possibility of something incredibly strange going on. The business with Danish was revealed as an illusion (he silently reminded himself never to trust toad fluid induced visions again), and now there are unknown evil entities to settle with.
What is more, Yukari seems off. Vincent knows little about the youkai herself, but he is certain that what is going on is being held from him and his colleagues.
He remembers Peini's teachings, as he does every night, and swears to himself to find a way to get to the bottom of this with the other heroes.
Dan is in another one of the bedchambers, practicing the unarmed combat arts that had been drilled into his subconscious from his time in the (imaginary) Core Knights. His movements are quick and precise. Upon finishing the form, he sits down, closes his eyes, and begins meditating, clearing his thoughts and trying to figure out what to do next.
Icy decides not to make any sudden moves here. Fortune is a fickle mistress, after all, and there's no need to push one's luck when it comes to Yukari and this place. But then again, he figures he should go check on what Rodie's doing while waiting for a chance to be a hero (or a total idiot).
Rodie pulls a broom from the corner, and with an application of Ghost Sound, begins to riff.
"Here's what happened:"
'Gamers of the Earth can you hear me?'
Came a voice from the sky on that magical night.
And with a step thru the gate of the white moon,
They traveled through the worlds on a silvery light.
The Heroes of the Earth stood watching,
Watching as the girls flew one by one,
Setting fire to the wellspring of Hatred,
Cursing the tyrant, Heroes Of The Sun!
Heroes Of The Sun!
All at once came a sound from the inside,
Then a beam made of light split the sky!
Everyone felt the sound of their heartbeat
Every Man - Every Woman - Every Child.
Heroes caught up in a web of illusion,
Through the door - to the world - of another time?
And on the journey of a thousand lifetimes
All the Heroes Of The Sun - they started their fight!
Heroes of the suuun...
Heroes of the Sun!
"Do you get it?"
After pondering a moment, Triplehate nods. "In other words, you and a bunch of others heeded a trans-dimensional Call that led to some standard quests in Gensokyo, right up until the point when, for reasons yet to be determined, things went terribly, terribly Inception on you, leaving you all flailing about in a Mental Labyrinth that you only just recently managed (with my aid, no less) to free your minds from. Makes sense, as much as anything makes sense in this lunatic asylum you're so fond of, and believe you me, I know asylums."
"How the heck was I supposed to get anything from that?"
Rodie: "Kids these days. If you're going to follow us around, then you've got to speak the language of deeper meaning. And I know you can't deny that joining up with us is an appealing option: you have no idea what's going on, and we're trying to get to the bottom of that."
Youmu: "I can't deny that. Well, at any rate, it seems to be the most productive thing to do around here. Better than a prison, at any rate."
"I'll have you know this is at LEAST a comfortable broomcloset." Rodie said indignantly. tossing said broom back in the corner, then going to a different corner table to pour some brandy. "Professor, this one is Youmu Konpaku, professional gardner and swordswoman for a hungry ghost princess, both residing in the Netherworld. She's also a half-phantom, though I maintain that is manifestly UNpossible. Yes, we can trust her, and she's one of two ballsy enough to go melee in a plane full of ranged combatants. Before you ask, yes, she counts as both undead and living. She's like Schrodinger's Lich."
Youmu: "You confuse me with every word out of your mouths."
Rodie: "See, look, we're already a great team."
Pulling out a journal, Rodie continues. "Let's see here... people of interest. Ah, Reimu Hakurei. She's the most recognizable one, red-white shrine maiden. Usually the one who's at the forefront when something is strange, but she's often too lazy to go without some form of provocation or greed-driven motivation. Currently missing after going berserk and attempting to take over the world before the World Shift. Her powers are pretty basic battle priest stuff, mostly anti-spiritual such as those spirit-tags that have that name that changes every damn time I look at a translation, ofuda, I think, those are her mainstays, and watch out because if she makes you a target because they'll home in on you. She has a quarterstaff-class bludgeoning weapon as well, and I observed some melee ability during our last fight with her that I think none of us expected. I'm not surprised she's absent; it's no small secret that she's the biggest on the food chain, so she'd be put "out of the way" first... unless she's behind this all. Also, her natural hair color is purple. I've checked."
"Marisa Kirisame, thief, witch, and magician. Friend of Reimu and many of the mage-type characters. She flies by way of a broomstick and wields the prison of Son Wukong as a means to fuel the spells she has stolen over the years, including a wave-motion class signature spell, Master Spark (of which many of the mage-types possess a variation, myself included.) While Reimu is lazy, Marisa is driven, and sets out to resolve incidents more on her own volition. Currently... incapacitated, as carrying twins will do that to a woman. Father unknown. Pregnancy aside, she could turn out to be our most valuable ally, as she has not only gone toe-to-toe with all antagonizing forces, she's even fought Reimu, and won, during the Concealed The Conclusion incident.""Reimu and Marisa are the ones who are always there at the forefront when trouble begins brewing. I think it's no mere 'accident' that they are missing and incapacitated respectively now."
Just then, the Icyshadow comes in.
Rodie turns mid-conspiracy, wearing nothing but a nightshirt, boxer shorts, and brandy glass. "Oh hai. We were just reading the next Harry Potter. Won't you join us?"
TripleHate regards the new arrival with a toothy leer and a handshake so vigorous that it consists less of a handshake and more of flailing Icy by the hand up and down above the floor for several seconds.
"Well howdy doo, stranger! Mister Professor Doctor TripleHate at your service! If the Rodie-monster has been keeping me properly informed, which he sometimes remembers to do, you must be the one called... Spicyshadow, I think it was."
The demented harlequin turns to Rodie.
"I do believe some proper introductions are in order here, Rodie. I've been dying to meet these friends of yours, need to see with my own eyes whether or not you ever learned to keep good company. Besides, you owe these people some explanations. So do I, for that matter."
Icy tries to take the vigorous handshake as well as he can, and then looks at Triplehate with a mixture of curiosity and wariness for a moment.
"People tend to refer to me as Icyshadow, but you can call me Icy."
He then turns his attention to Rodie, rubbing his right eye a bit while frowning.
"I never liked Harry Potter, but I assume that meant something else. So, what's in need of explaining here? Also, I thought I heard someone mention Reimu and Marisa earlier."
"I'm nothing if not flippant. But don't mistake my snark for a lack of seriousness. We need to evaluate where we stand, and think carefully on our next move, because a lot of lives are at stake. Yeah, I was filling this one in on who's-who around here. M- I mean, TripleHate here has been looking into... other things before catching up with us. I don't really understand the exact science, but I believe he was able to force open a Moongate after analyzing the ones that appeared for myself and Corey. As I was sayinggggg-"
Vincent drops his jacket on the floor and tosses his shirt over the bed's headboard. As he is securing his Firebolters, however, he has a thought.What if...What if what's going down doesn't directly involve Yukari? Or what if she's just a putting on a show for something else, like a sentient artifact or a "missing" friend or acquaintance? Or worse...what if there's even MORE time travel stupidity on the way??
He freezes.No! Don't think about time travel; it'll only make your head hurt. But if someone important is missing or there's an evil sentient item...THEY could be behind this fiasco!
Head spinning and shirtless, he comes bounding out of the room. "COMRADES! COME HERE, I WANT YOU!"
"-gggggoddam it is hard to make conjecture tonight, Professor" Rodie finishes, slapping his forehead with the suddenly shattering brandy glass. "Oh, and this is Vincent. He's secretly a British punk rock band. Hey, Vincent, if you're feeling scared, try a nightlight, you don't need interrupt us."
((RING RING, HELLO? Oh, hai Joe, calling in a question? Why don't you post anymore? University? I hardly KNOWhersity! Har har har! Shut up, I'm funny.))
((Joe also requests being stuck as an NPC following Rodie until summer break. Which is to say, what Joe usually does, but with fewer questionable decisions on his part.))
((BUT FIRST! His question.))
Joe opens his door a crack and sticks his head out. "Hey, by the way, Rodie, if Lady Danish really is your daughter from the future, have you considered asking her if any others were sent back as well?"
Rodie sucks the brandy from his fingers. "Don't be silly. That only happens in pseudo-strategy RPGs."
Joe stares blankly at Rodie. Rodie stares blankly at Joe. Rodie stares at the spilled brandy. It stared back. He thought about mexican food.
"Whiiiiich means we should probably ask her that. WHAT IS SHE WHOSE GRIEF BEARS SUCH AN EMPHASIS, whose phrase of sorrow conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand like wonder-wounded hearers? This is HER, Lady, the Cheese Danish!" Rodie blurts as he pounds loudly on Danish's door.
"...what" answers a groggy sleepyhead from the other side.
Joe: "Are there any others from the future who were sent back with you?"
((OKay, no. I have way too many questions. Time to get this out.))
"HOLD IT!" Rodie shouts at the top of his lungs.
"(Huh. That felt good to do for some reason)" he muses. Then, point blank: "Danish. Come out right now, or I'm going to cast Knock and have Uncle TripleHate here cast something on your bed."
"Pfft. What's he going to do to it?"
"I. Don't. Know. And that should scare you. Out here, NOW, young lady."
"Geez. Alright alright already."
Danish walks out into the hallway.
"Uhm." observes Joe.
"Hrm." postulates Rodie.
"What." inquires Danish.
"Something about you seems... different" Rodie sarcasms.
"Yeah, my hair's a wreck when I sleep. So?"
"No... it's not that.. it'sssss..." Joe points at Danish's face.
"Do I have something on my face or something? I... ohhhhh."
"It's what you DON'T have on your face." Rodie smirks.
"Ohhhhhhh nooooo" the unmasked Lady Danish groans.
"You dun goofed." Rodie laughs. "Well, let's see your face... you look..."
"I have no idea who the mother could be. But, you have a nice face. You shouldn't hide it."
"What kind of crappy anime dialogue is that?"
((Moar questions for the pastry-themed lady when it isn't 3 am.))
"Well, now that we see eye-to-eye instead of eye-to-mask... why did you wait to reveal yourself as our ally if you were on our side the whole time?"
"What? No! I was helping you all the time! I even tried to tell you so!"
"We didn't hear anything like that." points out Joe. "In fact, you were being all villainous and stuff towards us."
"Wait. Let's look at this from the dark side of the moon..." Rodie muses. "If you were our ally this whole time, then that would mean that Yukari and her entourage are our enemies (not a hard sell in present circumstances.) BUT!" Rodie points. "Didn't you say that it was the Yukari of the future that sent you back here? Why would you try and stop her here?"
"That's just it," Danish explains. "The Yukari of the future TOLD me to stop her plans here in the past."
"Her victory here in the past... er, your present, allowed for the creation of something... bad."
"Hm. No doubt, this has to do with the 'Consortium of Eight' the good Professor found out about? Come to think of it, why would you work with them?"
"Because as long as I was here, I needed to find out what they were up to so I could stop them, too. Duh."
((Feel free to chime in, you guys. You've all been uncharacteristically quiet.))
Simirror charges down the hallway. "And the whole massacre of the civilians was done by someone else then? If so, who?"
Danish: "Huh? Massacre?"
Danish: "You all never once thought that maybe you were being lied to, huh?"
Then who did it?Listening in on to the conversation, Icy realizes what Danish was getting at."...okay, so that cat's out of the bag. What's our next move?"He rubs his eyes a bit, feeling a wave of tiredness hit him.
Rodie: "It's all well and good to explain it away as illusions, but that's quickly becoming a tired excuse. I agree with Icy, I think we need to make our move, SOON. We need to assume that nothing is true, and everything is permitted. By that, I mean that whoever is behind this illusion- and Yukari *is* a safe bet, but that could just be us getting lead around by the nose again- is building it upon a fragile foundation. Sometimes... you just need to shake the tree. See what falls out."
"Rose, Dan, Phanny, Rilasha, I know you can hear me. I think you've heard all of this, somehow. All of you, please hear me out a sec."
"We're stuck here, in this dome, no in or out. You've got to realize, it's an entire *city* trapped in this thing. Tensions are high. It's like a can of soda. Some of us should work on spreading as much mischief and unrest as humanly possible. Shake up the can enough, and eventually it'll blow once we give it a sharp tap. Meanwhile, the rest of us should work on uncovering as much as we can here. I for one want to know just what is in Yukari's journal, for instance. We should also have a couple midfielders to run between the two teams."
"I won't lie to you. My idea is nothing short of rebellion. Rebellion against someone who could very easily crush us out of existence with but a little flexing of her power. But, I believe in each and every one of you, even if you doubt yourself, even if you hate who you are, or hate others for not giving you the respect you deserve. I know we're going to come out on top, not because we're in the right, not because we're stronger, we're going to win because we're just that damn awesome.
"Rose, for better or for worse, you changed an entire world. I think nobody else your age can say they're LITERALLY done that. What's more, you faced the consequences of your actions with a brave face and kept moving forward."
"Simirror, you got to travel around the world with a vampire and a limitless supply of wine and cheese. And, even if she won't say it, I think she looks up to you, in a weird roundabout way, because the rest of her family is gone, and you've been there for her."
"Phanny, you found the power you've always dreamed about and a stage where you can show your stuff. Even if you don't really understand what's going on, you've never let anything get you down and face it all with a smile."
"Vincent, Dan, you found the challenge you've craved, and met it head on without giving up. And even if your time and experiences with your respective mentors was illusory, isn't it actually real through you?"
"Demialc, you shot yourself into battle on a catapult, stole an organic mecha, and went on the coolest roadtrip ever in it. I think that pretty much speaks for itself."
"Icyshadow, you've found yourself in a world where you *do* have the power to make a difference. And I think you're going to do great things, so hold your head high."
"Rilasha, I don't know where you're from or why you so eagerly stepped in to join us when any casual observer could see what we are doing is more than dangerous. But you did, and even if you don't talk often, we're glad to have you with us."
"Joe, buddy, I know you love this kind of thing. Running around, kicking ass and taking names. I guess after seeing you for so long in a coma, I'm just glad you're okay and still having fun."
"TripleHate... it's.... it's good to have you."
"And Danish... I don't know if I really am your father. I don't know if this is all some elaborate ruse and you're going to totally backstab us and run off laughing. But, I want you to know, if all you've said if true, then I want to help you. Because I know what it's like to grow up without your real father."
"Hah, sorry guys. Looks like I speeched again. What do you all say? Any insight, any ideas?"Plan? Yes No? Think of something and add it to this list?
*Stoking the Powder Keg
MEMORY SYNCED: Sailor Phantom's Memories ~Adventure~ 1/1!
Memory added to Hoshi-Hen Epilogue 1!
Grinning like a loon, TripleHate gives an enormous mock salute."Ladies and androgynous anime girlie-boys, the Loremaster has spoken. Good speech, liked the part about me."Straightening his back out with a series of audible cracks, the clown sweeps everyone present with his gaze."Now then, as much as I enjoy causing widespread chaos and mayhem, at this point answers are much more important, as far as I'm concerned. Although I only just recently arrived to the party, I've been doing some semi-independent research on matters for a while now, and I do not at all like the possibilities I have uncovered. That diary is bound to hold some answers that could confirm or deny my findings. Either way would at least let us know where we stand.""Speaking of which, there is one other matter that should probably be addressed. We do posses one other potential lead as to the true goings-on around here, one that has been confirmed to be connected in some fashion to the puppeteers of this madness, and one that has been more or less ignored since entering the stage...""Slashvault."
Rodie strokes his goatee. "I nearly forgot about him. An excellent point, let's not Scooby-Gang this and overlook the briefly-appearing-then-forgotten characters. He's the only link we have right now to this 'Consortium of Eight' the Oracle implies. Wasn't he going to be installed as ruler of Nyamene after they chased out Yukari?"
---------------Sailor Phantom wakes up and joins the others in the hallway. "Oh, sorry Rodie, I was sleeping. Don't apologize for speeches, not a lot of people can give good ones. you're great at it!"
After thinking for a while, "Oh! Maybe we should explore this place a bit before we leave. It might have something helpful right?"
Finally, she looks at Danish, "Who are you?"
Danish smirks and replies "Well, you see, sometime in the future, when Rodie's libido calms down enough and he actually picks a girl with which to mate for life,
such a NOVEL concept..."
Rodie makes a plaintive gesture.
Joe is laughing.
"Nine months after that, I'm born." Danish finishes, shooting a spiteful grin at Rodie.
"Who taught you to... snark... like... that..." begins Rodie, immediately realizing how stupid that
"She's your kid, all right!" laughs Joe, barely able to contain himself.
((Ladies and ladies, looks like the GMulator approves of our keikaku-ing.))
----------Vincent's eyes widen. "Wait...my illusory time with my Peini, and Dan's with his own mentors..." He turns to Danish. "Is that one way you were helping us?"
Danish smiles warmly and uses her Daddy's Girl Cliche on Rodie's Blue Mage. "Disguise Self!
" With a Pamf!
and a small puff of smoke, Danish now has Peini's appearance and voice. "Someone had to kick your tail into high gear! Without me, you wouldn't be alive..." With another pamf,
she takes on Master Berlioz's visage and addresses Dan. "And you wouldn't be fighting. Not with cause, at any rate." She dismisses the glamer. "I don't usually cast it myself; my mask is a modified hat of disguise,
so I was able to maintain the illusion for as long as I needed. But, yes. That was me..."
"...really, though, you should thank herr doktor
TripleHate over there. It was his research notes that led me to find you, Vincent, and take a more active role in training you, Dan. It's easier when you're in the future looking back to catch these things."
Rodie has a thought for the umpteenth time that night.
"Whoever was manipulating things to make Danish appear the villain... simply had to "hack" her spell and modify it to get that result! For example, they could have changed the 'Glamer' subtype to 'Phantasm!' Uhm... Demialc, help me explain this one?"
((Stupid sleepy Rodie, you weren't done posting tonight.))Icy can't help but smile at the encouragement given to him and the others. He cracks his fingers to shake off the tired feeling, then takes a deep breath."Considering that Reimu's one of the few to stand up to Yukari in terms of power, why don't we try finding her? I'm all up for causing some havoc while doing so, though, since I haven't had time to try out my biggest spell yet..."
------Simirror: Aight, so I suggest I scatter cheese and wine across the community under the guise of 'free samples.' Get as many people drunk as possible, maybe Yukari included. You want chaos, I can give it. Remilia will agree for...her own reasons, and once everyone's drunk there will be either chaos, vomit or people passing out. Any of those outcomes could stoke the powder keg. I'm more worried about what the illusion is keeping us from. Any chance Yukari suspects anything?
Looks like she's confident enough in her designs that she's not keeping close tabs on us. If we play this right, we can catch her completely flat-footed.