Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/22688397/Archive:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Joker%20QuestEquipment FAQ:http://pastebin.com/J4Rv3mqgPlayer List:http://pastebin.com/4UystMvhTwitter: JokerQuestOPRecap: You are ANON, the RED JOKER. In our last instalment, you intervened in the battle between the mysterious BELL ZEPHYR and MEGAERA, an especially powerful Corrector - Destroying the latter with your FUSION ANNHILATOR.Upon your return to reality, it seems MEGUMI has a few revelations of her own...
It's dark, outside. Without warning, late afternoon has merged with evening, shading inexorably into night. Tempus, as they say, is fugit; Inside WATAMI (JAPANESE CASUAL DINING), though, things are rather more pleasant. The brown-and-beige color - specifically chosen to be soothing - the soft *hiss* of the gas burner giving way to nothing, as you twist the flame down. Her food forgotten, Megumi's looking out the window - A million miles away, in her mind, her slim fingers tapping lightly against the varnished wood of the table. "...It's all different, now," she muses aloud, almost to herself - Lifting her chin, to indicate the city beyond. She's not answering you, not directly - "In just six years...It's all been rebuilt."She laughs, shortly ~ The sound a little forced, harsh even to her ears. "-But that's the way things are; People just...go on. As if nothing ever happened...Because it's easier to forget." [ ] "Not everyone."[ ] "-It's healthier, that way. Bad memories are hard to live with."[ ] "You're wrong about that. The past is all around us, just under the surface - The only question is whether we dig it up."[ ] "Well, time moves on, and all that."[ ] "I don't understand."[ ] "What happened to you? Back then, I mean?"[ ] Free. YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22985870Awww yeah, Joker Quest! Welcome back, OP...Was wondering when you'd be turning up. How are things?
>>22985956(Looking up. Was busy with work, and a persistent cold, the past few days: Feeling better now, at least. It's a relief not to be sick.)
>>22985870[X] "You're wrong about that. The past is all around us, just under the surface - The only question is whether we dig it up."
>>22985917"We never forgot, Megumi. We simply moved on with our lives and created new, happier memories. The old, painful memories are still there, but they are no longer as raw as they were all those years ago. As humans we simply must move on with our lives. It's not healthy to be wallowing in the past and thinking about what could have been."
>>22986012>>22986069Combine these, make the latter one specific to our character.
>>22986069>>22986012Yes.After all you've seen, all you've done - Always in the crumbling grandeur of the red world, the crimson sky hanging balefully over the ruins of nameless cities - you now know: The past is always nearer than you'd think, and less forgotten than you'd hope. There is a wreck in your head, part of the aftermath, and you must dismantle it; But after many years, you discover you cannot - So you move it around, and bury it beneath new memories. A hundred years, you think, and flex your stiff fingers. A hundred years, down in the dark.Scar tissue is never as strong as whole flesh - But it heals.Something in your voice must've convinced her, because Megumi nods, slowly - As if conceding the point. "-I never knew who my parents were, you know," she says - softly, as if shamed. "Kou...He always took care of me. But *after* - After, you know - he got sick."Megumi's lips press together, in a thin line; Her fingers clasped together, in her lap - So tightly, her knuckles turn white. "He'll *always* be sick, and...He's all I have. I can't - I *have* to take care of him. I have to." Her eyes are moist, when she looks away from you - Her voice gone thick with emotion. "That's why I..." she says - Her voice catching, a hitch in her throat. "-Aaaah, it's a mess. I don't even know why I'm telling you this..."[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22986323[X] Free."I know someone who can help."Because, hell, Argent Prominence already made an exception once, didn't he? If we ask really nicely, he can handle this too.
>>22986405Is that really a good idea? We don't want to be in debt to that guy.
>>22986405What? I don't think he can. How could he help?
>>22986465By throwing money at it. The dude's loaded.
>>22986323"Because I'm the idiot who decided to stick my nose into your problem. And you decided to open up about your problem. Then we got all armchair philosopher on each other and here we are, staring into each others eyes trying to gauge the other persons sincerity. I'm willing to listen if you're willing to talk about it. You gotta start somewhere, maybe this will help you build those new memories and help heal the old."
>>22986487Why is he going to help though?
>>22986405As much as it might help her out, that seems a little inappropriate. He may be rather generous, but lining up charity cases for him it a little much. Finding an organization that might make a grant to victims might be a way to go. >>22986323"But doesn't it feel better to talk about it. I might not be able to do much for you, but I could at least I could lend a listening ear."
>>22986487That's a stupid plan. Especially given suspicions that Kou might be Rust Kaiser. I don't like that plan.>>22986323"You've been carrying this burden all on your own. Sometimes talking about thing can lighten the burden."
>>22986487Yes, and the most inappropriate way to show gratitude for his generosity where we are concerned is to collect sob stories for him to rescue. I say we try to help her directly if we can, otherwise it is up to her to figure it out.
>>22986509>>22986558>>22986618"Thank you - Really, I appreciate - but...I wish it was that simple." Megumi's smile is wan and a little embarassed - But genuine, all the same. She shakes her head, slowly; "...It's not - It's not something money can help with. Not much, anyway." Megumi sits up a little straighter, now, her cheerful air restored - Canting her head to the side, her expression turning a little mischievous as she toys with her napkin - "Besides, you've always done so much...For a girl you've just met~!" She giggles, as if finding that especially amusing; "Ah, you're really an idiot - A *chivalrous* idiot, but still an idiot..." Her tone - playful, almost teasing - takes the sting out of her words...Until she subsides, again, going quiet."...Thank you," she says, very softly. "-For listening, and..." Her hand lights on the pastel-colored shopping bag at her side, just for a moment. "-For this, too. I'll treasure it."It takes you a moment to register it, but - From her slight shift, her glance over her shoulder - Megumi's saying good-bye; Or leading up to it, at least.[ ] "I'll walk you back, if you like."[ ] "Is something wrong?"[ ] "Were you waiting for someone?"[ ] "Will I see you again?"[ ] "Mind if I visit sometime?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22986744"I'll walk to back to wherever you need, please, I insist. If I am the chivalrous idiot you think I am there's no way I could let a lady walk alone at this hour. I'd lose my membership in the chivalrous idiot club and I just can't have that."
>>22986784I mean "walk you back". Damn typos.
>>22986744>[ ] "Were you waiting for someone?"...Little paranoid here.
>>22986744"'Chivalrous' you say?"Stand up."Well, I can play the Chivalrous Knight a little longer if you wish whom protects the Princess."Extend your hand."Please, allow me to walk you home.""My Lady."
>>22986784>>22986815Megumi starts, as if caught out - Biting her lip in sudden agitation. "...Well, about that-" she says, faintly; "Don't take this wrong way: It's nice of you to offer, but..."She hesitates, searching for the words - It's the same reserve you noticed before, more evident this time. Her brow furrows, slightly...As if wondering *exactly* how to tell you.>>22986806Her head comes up; There's a guilty flash to her eyes, but also a momentary relief, as she latches onto that like a lifeline. "-My boyfriend," she admits, looking down. "I wanted to tell you, but...It just didn't seem like the right time." There's the slightest edge to her voice, now - "...I was supposed to meet him today, but - He didn't show up."Megumi exhales, softly; Watching you a bit more warily, now, seeing how you're taking it. "...That's how it is, Anon-kun. So - It might give the wrong impression, you know?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22986921"Megumi, it was not my intention to get between you and your boyfriend. I'm sorry to hear that he didn't show up. I'm sure he had a good reason for it, it would take something quite serious for someone not to come and meet with you.I would still like to walk you at least part of the way, just so I'm sure you'll be okay."Make sure to give her some way to get into contact with us before we leave, just in case.
>>22986921God damn you, Op. And she was a hottie, too![ ] "I don't mind, but he didn't even call you? That's kind of mean."
>>22986921"Quite alright, Megumi. Just take care on your way back."
>>22986921>boyfriendOh boy. Ten bucks says it's Suoh.
>mfw I have no face to sum up seeing this again.>and I have a job now>and I have to wake up in seven hoursKill me. Also hi; sounds like you had "fun" in your absence.>>22986921"I knew pretending to be your boyfriend was a bad idea, but the set-up was so perfect... Oh well, I think if he cares he'd understand why I did it. I'm more worried about my girlfriend finding out, she's possessive."Still, no need to court trouble. I've got to get this wrapped anyway. But Megumi? Stay in touch. I hate it when friends disappear, and there's been way too much of that recently. Give me a call if you need help, in this world or the other one. I mean it."Anyone have a good cowboy image to go along with us walking into the mall's sunset?
>>22986985>she was a hottie, tooThey all are. And they combine that with such an attractive array of personalities.
>>22987010A though occurs to me. In previous threads it was hinted that it was possible to take a shortcut to places through the Red world. If we're heading back why don't we shift Redwards and use our jetpack to check out the rift while our body autopilots? We need to get on that dungeon raid soon. Bish said to contact them asap.
>>22987079Don't think it's actually a shortcut, your body just acts on its own. Remember too that fights in the Red World can take little enough time for someone to start taking a sip from a cup they'd already raised to their lips.It's more like things in the Red World last as long as they need to, and your body goes where it needs to go. Why else could we fight one hundred years and wind up no older than 17? Time over there is subjective even more than it is here.
>>22986982>>22986985(Apologies, but these two seem in opposition to each other - I'll go with the general 'vibe' of the majority responses.)>>22986987>>22987010> "Quite alright, Megumi. Just take care on your way back.""Mmmmnnn, I will~!" she makes a happy - And, to your mind, a rather relieved - sound, though bright spots of color appear in her cheeks.> "I knew pretending to be your boyfriend was a bad idea, but the set-up was so perfect... Oh well, I think if he cares he'd understand why I did it. I'm more worried about my girlfriend finding out, she's possessive."Ahaha, we'll *both* be in trouble if it came to that~" Megumi says, one hand behind her head; "...It'd just have to be our secret, then." She favors you with a conspirational - And rather fetching - smile, the effect spoilt (Just a little) by a dab of mustard at the corner of her mouth. > "But Megumi? Stay in touch."As if in answer, she winks - Holding up the card you've written your number on. "I will," she says, softly, but with genuine warmth; "You can count on that."Without warning, she reaches up; Using the pen tucked into the bill folder, to scribble down an address on a paper napkin - Her handwriting's neat, but rather cramped, Megumi's eyes narrowing in concentration...Before she tucks the fold into your shirt pocket. Her fingers brush lightly against the fabric - Enough that you can feel the tingling, electric warmth of her fingers against your skin, just for an instant. It's an address - For the Salvation Children's home."Take care of yourself, Anon-kun," she goes on; Stray strand of russet brown hair falling across her eyes, as she settles back down into her seat. She's still there, when you head out - The last you see of her a slender hand waving across the crowded restaurant.(Continued)
>>22987197Outside...The night air is cold, but clean. On a night light this, everything seems clear - The clouds have parted, the stars gleaming in the velvet-black sky, as if in competition with the glittering illumination of the city that stretches out before you. Your breath fumes in the air - Puffs of white smoke - as you draw your coat a little tighter; It's hardly a walk into the sunset, but strolling like this - Feeling the hard pavement beneath your shoes, the melodies of far-off music...It's actually quite pleasant. The cold air has revitalized you, but you catch yourself yawning, all the same ~ The night *is* young, however. You pause, mid-step, orientating yourself as you glance down at your watch...Bishamon, for all his uncertainty, was professional enough when it came to arranging a meeting. He laid out the time - Late evening to a hair after midnight - and the place, a movie theater in the area. You could make it, if you hurry...Or perhaps it'd be better to call it a night.You...[ ] Look for the Black Tri-Stars. No time like the present, after all.[ ] Let them wait. You have a feeling that tomorrow's going to be a long day.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22987197Jesus, the girl is stacked.
>>22987313[x ] Look for the Black Tri-Stars. No time like the present, after all.
>>22987332Hecate is still the sexiest of the girls. And I don't think she's dead.>>22987313[X] Look for the Black Tri-Stars. No time like the present, after all.May as well, we've only had to kill one horrid monstrosity against all things good in this world today, we need to keep up our quota.
>>22987313Did Anon say we'd meet this night? We want to not be hospitalized or hurt for the birthday, but Absolute Unlosing Ranger taught me that heroes can't be late or you get hit by a car and die and have to tap a scrub to take your place. God bless you N1.
>>22987313[X] Look for the Black Tri-Stars. No time like the present, after all.We can skip classes in the morning to catch up on sleep.
>>22987364And I drop my name.>>22987332Look up Tony Taka. This isn't even the most physically appealing he ever got. Didn't he also do half the art for the Shining games?
(Apologies: My internet cut out for a moment.)> [X] Look for the Black Tri-Stars. No time like the present, after all.Right. You can always follow Kazuya's example - And do your *serious* sleeping in class. Fortunately, Balestier Cinema isn't too far from the Verde - It's less popular on weeknights (Of course), but given it's location, it still does a brisk business. It's an impressive-looking place, with a faux-marble 'Hollywood walk' - Stars set in the ground, against a larger six-pointed relief. The similarity to Bishamon's insignia (Three stars backlit by a single large one) doesn't escape you. You haven't been to a cinema for some time, what with one thing or another - There *was* a class outing last year, though you can't even remember the name, now - but the ambience is really something; You join the queue for the first half of the night shows, picking something...[ ] Popular. At least if the meeting's a complete wash, you won't be bored: And there's anoymity in the crowd.[ ] Arty. Less people to worry about, if things go south...Besides, it's not like anyone would look for you *there*...[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22987524[X] Arty. Less people to worry about, if things go south...Besides, it's not like anyone would look for you *there*...
>>22987524>[ ] Popular. At least if the meeting's a complete wash, you won't be bored: And there's anoymity in the crowd.Since when were we worried about collateral damage?
>>22987524Obviously we buy a ticket for a popular movie, go into an art movie until we're done with the meeting, and once we're done we go watch the rest of the good movie. It's the best of all possible worlds!
>>22987524> [X] Arty.NO ONE MUST KNOW OUR SECRET.
>>22987561Since we found out that Nihl Sphere shenanigans could cause Red World attacks to affect the real world?
>>22987524[X] Arty. Less people to worry about, if things go south...Besides, it's not like anyone would look for you *there*...If shifting Red makes us pass out it'll look less suspicious. Just make sure to take a seat that's out of the way.
>>22987637 againActually, I just had a thought. Maybe we should [X] Free pick a boring unpopular show? Or we could try hanging at the arcade. Cinemas still have those right?
>>22987637>>22987531>>22987561>>22987582Once the short line has shuffled past the ticketing booths, you enact your cunning plan. Not entirely to your surprise, it goes off without a hitch; After all, there's very few people who'd sneak *into* an art film. The bored usherer doesn't spare you a second glance, as you palm the ticket - You know it's going to be an ordeal, but at least you have a plus-sized soda (The size of a milk carton!) to sustain you...The film - The parts you can piece together, at least - is set in the far future, where the world is a vast polar dystopia connected by an immense, unending rail network. The lonely, romantically handsome male lead is returning from the distant station of 2046, a place purportedly without loss or sadness.It sounds more exciting than it actually is - Though the gravel-voice narration keeps things interesting, at least at first. All the same, you're drowsing long before the end of the first reel...And you're deeply grateful when the world shades to red, halfway through the hero's conversation - Mostly consisting of longing looks and still shots - with a female android. STAGE: HOLOPHUSIKONMarble columns, veined with jade. A series of framed arches, like the great hall of some museum; An endless carpet underfoot, three meters wide and red as clay, running down the center of this vast space. On either side, pillars hold up panels of black glass thirty meters overhead; Suits of armor standing between them, mounted in glass cabinets.Dark drpaeries go up forever on one another, as you pad forward - Your armor footfalls making absolutely no sound. The only way is onward, it seems...(Continued)
You pause, before one of the alcoves; It holds a form - humanoid, but not human - that twists as you look upon it, shifting shape. It bends and malforms, rupturing like the skin on boiling milk, puffing out cysts, spurting like soft lava. The effect is disturbing, but harmless. Curious, you press against the glass, encountering resistance - It doesn't give. When you focus your vision, you see that the form is plasmic, like a projected image on a screen...Perhaps there's nothing beyond. The armors, too - Each one is subtly different, unique, blank of insignia or markings. There's an emptiness to them, a lack of animation; Empty shells, hollow within.One detail unites them all - Their faces are blank slates, as if all features were erased with a single stroke of an eraser. Except for that one disturbing feature, you sense that there's an odd kinship with your own armor...A common ancestry with Player armor, in general. The path goes on for an interminable distance - Strange curios and mementos, like fragments of exhausted, useless Relics (Trophies?) decorating the way forward; Some have plaques before them, but the glyphs are alien and curiously distressing, utterly incomprehensible. It's not long before you come to a stop before a grand pair of double doors: Ornately cared, brass-handled, high enough for a giant to walk through without stooping. Even from here, you can here the muted growl of voices, on the other side - Just a background murmur, your audio receptors struggling to parse their words.[ ] Push the doors open.[ ] Listen for a moment.[ ] Knock.[ ] Free. YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22987853This is an incredibly elaborate hideout. Why don't we have something like that?> [X] Knock.
>>22987853[X] Knock."Room service!"
>>22987853> You pause, before one of the alcoves; It holds a form - humanoid, but not human - that twists as you look upon it, shifting shape. It bends and malforms, rupturing like the skin on boiling milk, puffing out cysts, spurting like soft lava. Creepy.> [X] Listen for a moment.Can't hurt to eavesdrop.
>>22987963> Can't hurt to eavesdrop.Of course it can, especially if we get caught. Go straight in, we have nothing to worry about.
> [X] Knock.The sharp rap of your armored fist against the doors - It's wincingly loud. Your voice echoes in the enclosed space, all the way to the arched ceiling, coming back in mocking ghost-sounds...Abruptly, the babble of conversation stops.The doors *creak* as they swing inwards. They *grind*, as pivoting on rusty hinges - You hear a metallic *chunk* as they come to rest, their sweeping semicircle complete.There's another sound, a dry, chiming rustle...An invisible breeze stirring the spiderweb of chains overhead, setting them swaying, rattling...The room beyond...It's dim, even by the standards of the Red World - Hovering screens in faded yellow and pale blue casting their dusty illumination. There's a round table (The surface polished and smooth and absolutely empty) a half dozen baroque, antique chairs - Thrones, really, of the same black stone - rising from the ground, as if grown in some secret rock garden. Three of the seats are taken - The occupants turning towards you, trepidation, anticipation and not a little fear writ large in their forms. To your left: A figure in powder-blue plate, adorned with stark lines of golden filgree, fitful cobalt light pulsing from the horizontal slit in his horned helm - Like an echo of the great tusks sweeping from his pauldrons.Your targeting sensors tag: VOLT REGIOS.(Continued)
>>22988090Uh oh, it's Exdeath. Someone's a badass. And a tree, heh.
>>22988090A startled oath - A strangled "You-!" - snaps your head to the right; Glimpsing white steel plates over intersecting segments of royal purple armor, yellow eyes flaring beneath a perfect triangle of his crest...A surge of familiarity washes over you - You know this one, even before your sensors identify him.TYRIAN EDGE.And, of course, directly before you - The red jags of his kabuto helm canting, twin cables writhing in agitation - stands BISHAMON."I *told* you," he's saying, his voice a static crackle - Quiet at odd with his clear satisfaction. "-I *told* you he'd be coming."There's a fourth - fifth - occupant to the room. The winding chains above sketch out the silhouette of a hanging figure; A shape half again as large as you are, badged with rust - Bound tightly, inverted, the fitful light leaping across pitted metal.With the right arm severed beneath the elbow - The head sheared off, just as crudely, leaving only a ragged stump - the shape seems even more pathetic than the faceless armors outside: Once, the size might have given you pause, but the great, gaping wound gouged into the decapitated armor's torso - already nicked and dented by a thousand blows - was undoubtedly mortal.But then there's the name: PHANTOM EDGE.[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>22988243>PHANTOM EDGE"...Huh. Guess that answers what happened to him. No wait what the HELL. Does Totenaz know you've got his idol in your museum?"That's my reaction too.
>>22988243> PHANTOM EDGE.What the fuck. THAT'S his body? Did the Three Stooges murder him, or something?
Someone remind me who Phantom Edge is? Because I completely forget.
>>22988344He's one of the former finalists, along with Argent Prominence/Red Joker/Black Cardinal/Chalice Queen. He was last seen murdering and being murdered by the Black Cardinal, according to AP.The thief really wants his sword.
>>22988243[X] Free"Sorry I'm late, I had to kill one of the furies." nod towards Phantom Edge "That's an interesting choice of decor..."Check PE's left hand. Does it look anything like the new hand Totenaz had when we last saw him?
>>22988344The guy who Akira/The Thief/Totenaz thinks he's the second coming of, one of the finalists of the last game. His sword was the Fatal Abyss, that potentially evil weapon that Hecate failed to properly dispose of. Last we know he and the Cardinal were at each others throats.
>>22988243"Nice place you have here. As you've noticed I'm the Red Joker. Nice to meet all of you. Don't look so surprised I can't be a murderous legend all the time.How did you end up having Phantom Edge's body in your clubhouse?"
>>22988365>>22988387I see, thanks.Also, am I the only person who thinks this messed up shred of Red World beef can and will come alive to kick our ass if provoked?
(Gentleman: I apologize for the brevity of this session, but it's getting pretty late on my part - I'd love to continue, but I'm running short on time. Fortunately, I should be able to establish a stable schedule after the 17th; Also, I should be able to continue this weekend. Once again, I'm sorry for the disruptions - I hope to catch you again soon. As always, good night and god bless.)
>>22988400No. After all, we already fought one batch of Player-zombies, and that was from players that turned into Pyreflies. Plus, he's chained down, you don't do that to people who you don't need to hold.
>>22988443Not to mention he's probably dead. Given how he has no head and all.
>>22988439See you next time, OP. Glad you're back!
>>22988243So AP wasn't lying to us, when he said he saw Phantom get fucked up. Given that he's missing a head, an arm and has a fuckoff stab through his heart, it looks like the Cardinal did a number on him.
>>22988243>>22988090So there really are three of them. Playing an MMORPG with three fighters must be incredibly harsh.
>>22988908That's why they're springing for a DPS.
>>22988934We've already seen the speciality of the different 'classes':Swords: Melee combatants.Coins: All-rounders. Wands: Magic?Chalice: ? (Unless Hecate was one, in which case it's 'being hot'.)Red Joker: Ridiculous amounts of firepower, legacy character. Black Joker: ?
>>22988999>Chalice: ? (Unless Hecate was one, in which case it's 'being hot'.)That's the only power you really need.
Anyone up for some speculation? Topic of the moment: What the hell happened to Phantom Edge? Those are sword wounds he's packing; and the Cardinal was a caster. How'd his armor survive? And exactly how bad is it that Akira's wearing his hand? I'm getting Vecna vibes from the whole situation, which is hilarious given that PE is missing his HEAD.