Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/23690446/Archive:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Joker%20QuestEquipment FAQ: (UPDATED)http://pastebin.com/nQzkFRLrPlayer List:http://pastebin.com/4UystMvhTwitter: JokerQuestOPRecap: You are ANON, the RED JOKER. In our last instalment, you took control of the HOLLOW SUN - A weapon of mass destruction, with the power to create and direct constructs known as HELLIONS. Upon departing with the BLACK TRI-STARS, you found yourself surrounded by an army of CORRECTORS...And their leader, the Player known as KRAKEN.
Astride his destrier, Kraken *looms*. His form is white - The bleached, bone-white of a ocean-dwelling leviathan's exoskeleton. Ribbed, roughened plates of bone and cartilage shields him where iron flesh does not, a living armor that writhes and tightens and swarms with neon lines.Spined, thick tendrils - Each one ending in a crushing talon - bulge from his spine, twisting in his wake. They slide and rill like tame serpents, like a living cloak; Shards of Bishamon's armor still clings to one, as it withdraws with a rattling hiss of chitin.That's how you see him, through your HUD. To your sensors, however - Kraken isn't there. Your sensors slide off that pagan form - Crowned with spiraling horns - targeting systems searching for, and failing to find, a target lock.It's almost as if he isn't a Player at all... > "He fears you, you know."His voice is utterly flat, even through the speakers. Utterly without tone or infliction. > "Of all of us, he fears and hates you the most."The circle of Correctors - Mutated monsters, some with horns drooping around twisted minotaur faces, some with thick, bristling fur, some with spined, lashing stingers - shuffles a little closer, as Volt Regios cradles Bishamon. There's a gouting, fist-sized wound in his side, the vanes of his helmet twitching wildly as he makes low, gagging noises of absolute shock."...Who's 'he'?" Tyrian Edge hisses; He has a beam saber in each hand, the crossed blades casting a smoking, eerie illumination - You can't tell if he's poised to strike, or to run. "Joker, what's he talking about? You *know* this guy?"> "The wildcard. The rogue element."Pause.> "I would know why."[ ] "-I've never seen him before."[ ] "I have no idea."[ ] "He's talking about Pazuzu."[ ] "No - But I think he knows me."[ ] "How's Bishamon?"[ ] "What do you *want*?"[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23919279I've actually seen that picture before, but I have no idea where. Still awesome, though.
>>23919279Looks like we've met a heavy hitter.[X] "He's talking about Pazuzu."[X] "How's Bishamon?"[X] "What do you *want*?"
>>23919415Never mind those, the most important question is:> "Where did you find the horse from, and where can I get one?"
>>23919499It's not actually a horse, it's probably some kind of corrector-beast-thing. Seconding >>23919415
>>23919415> [X] "He's talking about Pazuzu."The words hang, flat and leaden, in the air. Behind you, Tyrian Edge stiffens - And you hear a half-choked "Oh *god*..."Kraken inclines his head, a nod of silent acknowledgement.> [X] "How's Bishamon?"In a crackling, staticky hiss - "Alive," Volt Regios growls; The gauntlet of his solitary hand pressed to the gaping rent in Bishamon's armor. Unhealthy light flickers between his fingers. "Have to get him *out*-"> [X] "What do you *want*?"Kraken's crested helmet swings towards you, the unnatural light in his eyesockets continuing to smolder. > "To know you."> [X] "Where did you find the horse from, and where can I get one?"Beneath him, his steed snorts, pawing the ground: Ghostly ichor drips from its fangs, small trails of smoke coiling upwards from the ground where it touches. > "The Correctors provide."The destrier's hooves clop on the pavement underfoot, as it turns; The amassed Correctors parting like the red sea before Moses, forming a narrow corridor. > "Follow." Kraken rasps, without looking - The beast beginning to canter away, at a slow, deliberate pace. [ ] "-Where are we going?"[ ] "What about the others?"[ ] "I'm not going anywhere."[ ] "Let them go first."[ ] Follow.[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23919279Looks like we have fans after all. Since he's not here to fight, we might as well play along. Have to sleep, so I won't be around for much longer but tell me how it all comes out.
>>23919872The motherfucker is OBVIOUSLY one of Pazie's inner circle. If not for Team Cannon Fodder here, we'd be slapping his shit.> [X] "Let them go, first."
>>23919969>>23919872(Hmmm, seems to be quite quiet today. Should I pick this up later, or would another time be better?)
>>23919826[X]"You said I took something from you... Care to elaborate?"
>>23919969> [X] "Let them go, first."> "No."The answer is immediate - Delivered in the same flat, affectless measure. > "When we're done. Not before.">>23920075There's that dull flicker again - You can almost see the gears in his head turning, wondering how much to tell you: Before Kraken shifts, slightly, with a deliberate unconcern. > "The coffin, in the Spire: The Hollow Sun's heart."His gaze goes past you, to where the entry to the Rift *was* - It's sealed itself, now, the way a smile slowly fades - To your sensors, you can still perceive the strands of code coiling around the liminal space; The silent commands you could give to open the way...> "-It should have been mine."Kraken doesn't seem inclined to elaborate further, as to what 'it' is - But you remember: The faint gleam of gold, half-glimpsed, within the Spire...The swirling liquid illumination that shrouded the Hollow Sun's core...One and the same?Then, abruptly:> "Why do you fight us?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23920012I'm game to continue if anyone else is.
>>23920344"Because you're evil motherfuckers. Because I find your actions both appalling and unconscionable. Because you're lead by a maniac bent on destruction.And, most of all, because you made it personal."
>>23920344[X] Pazuzu took something from me, I've made it my mission to destroy him and all foolish enough to follow him. The game could end -today-, this instance even. I would still hunt him to the ends of this world and the next.
>>23920344> [X] "I can't imagine why you'd need another army, you already have one."> [X] "Who WOULDN'T fight you?"
>>23920344>Why do you fight us?"Because you and every other jackass in this World keeps attacking ME."
>>23920344>[x] "Because you made the mistake of pissing me off, and taking something I held dear away from me."
>>23920417>>23920460> "But you will die."Kraken's words are monotone, matter-of-fact. > "But you will suffer in unimaginable ways, and then you will die. It will be a sad and miserable end.">>23920509He looks at you - Or maybe, right through you. It's hard to tell. Something unspoken flickers in Kraken's eyesockets. >>23920454>>23920551> "Ah."There's a change to his voice, now. His maw trembles, in something that could almost be anticipation. And then: > "Nara...Now, Nara was easy."> "All I had to tell the Correctors: Gather here. *Feed*."Kraken is watching you, now. Directly. > "They obey me, you know. Every order. Every whim." Around you, the Correctors stir, as if in echo - A hideous menagerie of mismatched beasts, scenting blood on the wind. > "It was me. My will, driving them - All me."Puffs of steam fumes from his steed's nostrils, as Kraken's gauntleted fingers tighten around the haft of his axe.> "They do as I please, and it pleased me to kill." There's a smile in his voice, now - An almost grotesque excitement, made worse by the lopsided smile etched into his carapace. > "Well, Joker?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23920771Oh, you motherfucker.
[X] "Why aid Pazuzu then?"
>>23920771>>23920771EXEC_HARROW was made for guys like this ... shit we're still all fucked up from the Hollow Sun aren't we?
>>23920878I think we're fully healed. Also, I think he wants us to go for him. He's literally waiting for it. If we oblige him, our buddies are probably dead, though.
>>23920878I wonder is Disrupt would break his control over the correctors? We don't really know if the ability is do to a Relic or not.
>>23920771[x] "That's interesting and all, but I'm kind of in the middle of something here. Are you here to kill me or not?"
>>23920771"If all you wanted to do was piss me off and have us try to kill each other in a no doubt rather cinematic fashion you could have just tried something. I'm not starting a fight right now if possible as I'd rather not have my companions die.You're a bastard and revel in it, good for you. Pazzy is scared of me because I'm dangerous, determined and have a good chance of killing him. Because of all the pieces on the board I'm the freest one there is, no obligations but those I choose, no beholden to anyone. That's why I'm scary Kraky, because he knows that if anyone is going to kill him it's going to be me.So, why are you following Pazzy? Why are you acting as his servant and lapdog?"
>>23920905Eh, disrupting his control wouldn't keep the correctors from attacking, they do that normally.He seems like a cqc fighter, and he has backup. Kinda reminds me of Abyss. We might be able to negate the numbers advantage if we via flight, but the others would still be screwed.
>>23920825>>23920878"Hatred," Kraken rasps, the violet fires in his helm burning higher. At his back, his spined tendrils squirm in serpentine motion. "Sweet.">>23920939>>23920830"Because he showed me the Truth." Kraken's gaze goes distant, reflective. "I used to spend hours, pondering the meaning of life. I had so many *theories*...Until he gave away the twist ending.""It is a beautiful thing, Joker: A paradigm shift. Your understanding of the world, of your place in it, will change. You will wonder why you ever thought the things you think: How and why they ever made any sense.">>23920929"Do you *want* me to?"The smile in his voice remains, constant as a star - The question oddly disgenuous, almost innocent, as his crested helmet cants to the side. Abruptly, he laughs. It's a grating, unpleasant sound, harsh and sickeningly self-satisfied; Enough that his steed rears up, hooves flailing, whinnying in distress. (Continued)
>>23921263Kraken's hand comes down on his destrier's neck, stroking the snorting beast, calming it. "Oh, Joker...If only we had found you early. If only I could share the truth with you."He gestures, and the Correctors - The ring widens, as they begin to shamble away, oozing and dissolving, the oppressive sensation receding at last."-Tend to your friends," he says. "They *are* your concern, are they not?" Without preamble, Kraken urges his steed into a canter; Pulling away, stride by long stride, as the street begins to empty out. [ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23921335"Thanks, I guess."Time to NOPE the fuck outta here.
I feel like we could have gotten more out of that if Wata was here.
>>23921335Heh, I've actually been more concerned about how long this all has taken. We do have a date soon after all.[X] Free.Turn to the Tri-Stars, "The three of you are leaving, now.
>>23921352Kraken waves, without looking back - The casual gesture made disturbing by the segmented chitin of his gauntlets. That's the last you see of him - Of him, and his parade of horrors, vanishing into the night.>>23921381(It's actually the next day.)> "The three of you are leaving, now.""Can't argue with that," Tyrian mutters - He's only beginning to uncurl from his defensive crouch, now, standing over Regios and Bishamon. "We're going," Volt crackles; Around them, space is beginning to draw thin and waver, their forms bleeding out into the red world around them - It's a gradual process, their diminishing, fading out together...-And so are you. You see Bishamon raise his hand, as he sits up a little straighter - He nods, gravely, a silent thank-you...Then the lights come on, bright enough to make you wince. A dull blare echoes in your ears, as the last credits roll off the projector screen - The movie marathon's over. You stand, a little stiffly. You don't know how long you've been out, not really - Time flows strangely, faster within than without. It's almost amazing, how...mundane the scene is - The shuffle of feet as people begin to file out, the white-noise babble of the crowd...Familiar. Comforting, somehow. The rest of the night is uneventful. (Continued)
>>23920012Oh hey Joker Quest's back. Neat. And a social situation! These always end well for us.
>>23921545Where were you an hour ago when it would have mattered :(
>>23921484******************"...Hey, did you know? There was *another* earthquake last night."It's lunchtime, again. It's been getting colder, recently - The season changing at last - but today feels like a reprieve; The rooftop just the right side of warm, the breeze coming at irregular intervals - The chain-link fence rattling beneath each gust, a swaying, rustling noise. Kazuya's seated on the step above you, looking out at nothing in particular: He seems a little troubled today, his brow furrowed...Though he's doing his level best to keep up his end of the conversation. With a heavy sigh, he balls up his half-eaten sandwich. "-Toppled my scooter this morning...Scratches all over the paintwork," he mutters, though it feels like his heart isn't really in it.A glance, over at you. "-Well, that's been my day so far. How 'bout you?"[ ] "-Not hungry?"[ ] "'Another' earthquake?"[ ] "You know me: Just the usual."[ ] "Actually...I'm meeting someone later."[ ] "What's bothering you?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23921591[x] "What's bothering you?"Standard tactic for living a double life is to deflect attention away from ourselves whenever possible.
>>23921604[x] "What's bothering you?"Also see if we can sneak in mention of our hot date. For fun.
>>23921604"Same old, same old. Normal, boring, somewhat depressing, haven't been sleeping right. I'm supposed to be the stoic, quiet, somewhat depressing one and you're supposed to be the excitable happy one, you're messing up our dynamic. What's wrong dude?"
>>23921581Getting home after two days of working. Speaking of, I probably shouldn't stay up anywhere NEAR as late as I plan to for this, but fuck everything I'm not working tomorrow. Let me get my pizza and my 3DS and I'll be here for the night.
>>23921610>>23921616>>23921628> "I'm supposed to be the stoic, quiet, somewhat depressing one and you're supposed to be the excitable happy one, you're messing up our dynamic. What's wrong dude?""Huh. No hiding anything from you, is there?" There's a faint crackle, as Kazuya stamps the empty carton flat. He exhales, slowly, looking troubled: "-It's Akira, yeah?" he says, at last. "...We haven't seen him in days - And now, I don't think he's coming back."He forces a smile, all the same - "He had - has - quite a mouth on him, you know? I hope he's not...He didn't get himself into...some kind of trouble."[ ] "What makes you say that?"[ ] "Cheer up - I'm sure he'll turn up eventually."[ ] "He's a big boy; He can take care of himself."[ ] "I'm sure he's all right."[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23921691[x] "He's a big boy; He can take care of himself. I'm sure he has his reasons."
>>23921691"If he got into trouble because of his mouth I'm sure he could get himself right out of it the same way.He seems like the sort who kept a lot about himself quiet, he probably had some serious stuff to take care of. I mean we were friends with him, but we didn't actually know much about him.But I think you're right, I don't think he's coming back, at least for a while, who knows he might just show up some time and act as if he's never been gone."
>>23921691"Dude, you start acting all down and depressed and making me worry that something's actually wrong, and it's over Akira? Seriously? You know him, he's probably spending his time collecting gossip like a housewife and taking candid shots of freshmen girls. He'll be back when he feels like coming back."And before you ask why he didn't tell us, ask yourself when he ever did. He's a freer spirit than anyone we know. Plus he's not dumb; if he needed help he'd get it by hook or by crook."
>>23921701"-Maybe you're right," Kazuya allows. "It's just...There's so much crazy *stuff* happening lately. I just worry..."His voice trails off, and he shakes his head - Apparently, he doesn't want to spend *too* much time dwelling on that. >>23921813>>23921765"Yeah, he *was* that kind of guy," he agrees. "Well, whatever it is...Let's hope it isn't *that* serious, you know?"> "Plus he's not dumb; if he needed help he'd get it by hook or by crook.""I just hope he'd *ask*. He's exactly the kind of guy who tries to do *everything* alone."> Also see if we can sneak in mention of our hot date. For fun."So *that's* why you've been so busy," he chuckles - His easy grin is back, by the time he glances over at you. "-It must be hard, keeping so many girls on th - *Mmmmfffffff*."Kazuya shuts up, mid-sentence, with an odd noise he turns into a warning cough; You follow his gaze, and..."Kazu-kun." Asuna's voice is as soft as ever, as she stands in the doorway: Thank god for small mercies, she doesn't seem to have heard. "And Anon-kun..." When her gaze goes to you, she smiles, just a little - The kerchief-wrapped bundle of a lunchbox in each delicate hand. "...See, I told you they'd be at the roof," Kouichi says, a moment later; His cheery voice echoing in the stairwell, footsteps clattering on the steps. He looks none the worse for wear, after all that happened last night - The door's hinges squeak as he pushes it shut behind him, leaning against it to catch his breath...Before tipping his head to you, in a little nod of acknowledgement. "Yo! Good to see you, Anon."[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23921917"Hey Kou. Hey Asuna. Come to bask in the warmth of this fine, sunny day? Or are you looking for Akira? Still don't know where he is, I'm afraid."
>>23921917"Hey Kouichi, good to see you too. So, Asuna, what brings you to our little corner of the roof? Would it have anything to do with the lunchboxes that you just happen to be carrying around?"
>>23921947>>23921970> "Or are you looking for Akira? Still don't know where he is, I'm afraid."Kouichi laughs - It's a warm, easy sound. "Just helping the Director, actually," he says - Giving Asuna an encouraging little nudge, one that makes her *start*...Taking a hesitant step forward, her eyes downcast. > "Would it have anything to do with the lunchboxes that you just happen to be carrying around?""!" she colors, slightly - Yep, she's definently been found out. "I..." Asuna begins, shuffling her feet; Her gaze flitting from you to Kazuya, then back again - Looking embarassed but oddly relieved at once. "-Imadethisforyou," she says, all at once - The words tumbling over each other, her face absolutely *red* now; Her slim fingers trembling, where they grip the sides of the lunchbox. "If, if it's not too much t-trouble..."(Continued)
"Asuna-chan, is there one for me t-" Kazuya begins - He has the good sense to fall silent, though, when Kouichi gives him a Look. "Wow, you *are* popular," he mutters, sotto voice, just loud enough to carry - Watching things unfold, with clear interest. [ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23922162Resist the urge to chuckle or laugh at the situation, it'd be rude. "I'd love some Asuna. Would you care to take a seat?"Offer her a seat, have some free lunch, complement her cooking, talk about how the play is going and so on. Now I feel bad for her, I know it's the right decision not to go out with her, first because even in her Quantum might be dead state Hecate is the best girl, and second because we'd make a horrible boyfriend what with the constant zoning out, double life, random dead people cropping up around us, all of that would get in the way.
>>23922202we'll definitely need to handle it better that we handled Kasumi. Because that was a fucking disaster.
Sweet Christ, check the Equipment FAQ. That KNIFE. We really probably should have found out about Misericorde's weapon effect sooner. Particularly if there's weird fucking shit going on with regards to Frost Cestus and the knife is a physical remnant of the armor. WFS afoot. As usual.>>23922162"I... totally wasn't expecting this. Thank you. Care to join us? Or would you prefer to ditch the worst gossips in the school? I warn you, they'll make up stories worse than anything that actually could happen if we do that."
>>23922261"T-that's all right," Asuna says, a little too quickly - She fusses with her glasses, her voice shy - "...I, I don't actually mind...">>23922202"Hey, it's just an actor's meeting," Kouichi cuts in, raising an eyebrow. "-After all, we have the leading man..." he thumps his chest, gesturing grandly - "...The scriptwriter, and the *shark*. That's the very heart of the cast!"("You wish," Kazuya mutters, rolling his eyes.)In short order, the four of you are seated in a convenient nook; Kouichi leaning against the wall, Kazuya cross-legged and smiling - He seems to find it all *really* amusing. All things considered, you can see where he's coming from.There's a soft rustle as you undo the cloth-wrapped bundle, then open the lacquered box beneath: It's an astonishingly tidy little meal, with a shallot omelette, fluffed white rice, slivers of pink salmon and slices of soft-fried tofu - All clearly arranged with exacting care. It's delicious, but incredibly delicate - You can't help but notice how Asuna keeps sneaking glances over at you, her own food untouched, as Kouichi and Kazuya keep up a rambling conversation about nothing in particular...Mostly good-natured ribbing. But Kouichi's trying to catch your eye, too, during breaks in the conversation: Like there's something he *wants* to say, but can't quite talk about...[ ] "...So, how's the play coming along?"[ ] "-I didn't think you'd be here, Kouichi."[ ] "This is really good."[ ] Enter the Red World.[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23922261A knife that's excellent at killing US. No wonder we don't bring it along.
>>23922424I think he means Megumi? Maybe?I think that went quite well, though.
>>23922424I think he means the librarian chick.
>>23922410Make a mental note to catch up with Kouichi after lunch, if what he wants to talk about involves the Red World we'll want it in private. Try to catch his eye and give a Look that indicates we'll chat after this.Then talk to Asuna. "This is really good, thank you. How did you learn to cook like this? By the way, if you don't eat your own lunch you're going to make me worry about you. If you don't eat I will be forced to feed you right in front of everyone else."
>>23922481>>23922424I think he is referring to Natsumi and the time that you can pinpoint exactly where we crushed her heart and soul in a steel vise.
>>23922410Oh, that's right. The leading man is also Bish. I guess we should see what he wants, but I don't really want to ignore Asuna either
>>23922501That's pretty good, but isn't the part about feeding her laying it on a bit thick?
>>23922545yes, NatsumiFuck this, i am not good at chingchong names
>>23922563REASON IS FOR THE WEAKHAREM ENDFUCK IT EVEN IF HECATE PULS OUT OUR WINDPIPE THROUGH OUR ANUSSTILL HAREM ENDWORTH IT
>>23922626Dude, no. Nobody likes that guy. If we try going for more than one we're gonna end up with none.
>>23922626Nah, we have enough stuff to juggle without trying for a Harem end, those end badly when you throw realism, sadness, and freaky robot fights at them.
>>23922501Right. Whatever it is, it can wait: He seems to get the message, and - With an agreeable nod - turns back to Kazuya. It's actually quite surprising, how at ease he seems...Bishamon always struck you as oddly uncomfortable in his own body. Kouichi, in contrast, *flows*; Calm, just this side of amused, never upset or wrongfooted. > "This is really good, thank you. How did you learn to cook like this?""-I've had practice," Asuna says - There's a small, but sweet smile on her lips, her gaze lingering on you. "I've never made lunch for someone *else* before, but...I cook for myself a lot, so..."Her voice trails off, as if she's said too much - Her rather-more-modest lunch still untouched, hands folded on her lap. > "By the way, if you don't eat your own lunch you're going to make me worry about you. If you don't eat, I'll be forced to feed you right in front of everyone else.""!" That makes Asuna stiffen, slightly; But then, she begins to pick at her food with chopsticks, carrying a little morsel of rice to her mouth. Her expression is faintly put-out - She *knows* you're teasing her - but that's nothing compared to Kazuya's low chuckle, which makes her go *red*."A-anyway," she says - Glancing to the side, now, as the flush fades. You sense that she's steeling herself for something significant..."Anon-kun, I was wondering...A-are you free today? I mean, after school...?"[ ] "-I am, actually."[ ] "Well, it depends..."[ ] "Actually, I'm meeting someone later..."[ ] "I'm sorry - There's something I need to do after school."[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23922659>>23922688well, we'll have to do something about Mio , Megumi (?) and Asuna.Probably fake our death, because right now it's the least painful alternative for everyone involved.
>>23922767We do have a lot of girls around us, don't we? It feels like Hecate, Mio and Asuna are the main love interests, while Kotone is a good friend. I don't know about Megumi, but she seems fun to be around.
>>23922756[X] "I'm sorry - There's something I need to do after school."Best to let her down easy, but we have a prior engagement and it'd be just plain rude to skip out on that, cute library chick or no.
>>23922756> [X] "I'm sorry - There's something I need to do after school."> [X] "Free: Would another day be okay?"
>>23922756What time are we meeting Mio? We might have time to do something with Asuna, depends on what she wants.
>>23922831>>23922836> [X] "I'm sorry - There's something I need to do after school.""Oh." Asuna seems to slump - She exhales, softly, a sound that mingles relief and disappointment. "I suppose...It can't be helped, then," she says, visibly downcast; "N, no, don't be sorry!" she goes on, hurriedly - "I...ummm, I should have asked *earlier*..."She falls silent, a trifle awkwardly - Looking down and away, at her lunch, an embarassed hush descending. > [X] "Would another day be okay?">>23922900"Well..." A faint, crinkling sound, as she produces a small card - Crinkled at the edges, but still crisp - the gold-leaf letters glinting faintly in the light. "-There's this art exhibition, at the Barendgt Gallery," Asuna explains, a little dubious, now. "If it's okay with you...Anytime during the week would be fine." You sense there's more to it than a simple interest in art - It seems important to her, somehow, from the slight emphasis she puts on the words.From the looks of it, it's a substantial event - Given the timing involved (Late afternoon/evening to night) - it seems, unfortunately, that there'd be quite a bit of overlap.[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23922951"I'll try to clear my schedule for this, it sounds lovely."
(Apologies, gentlemen, I have to step away for a few moments. Be back shortly.)
>>23922965Asuna nods; The card in your hand still faintly warm from her touch. Admittedly, you know very little about art - But you dimly recall the Barendgt Gallery being the site for modern exhibitions, and for artists of the up-and-coming kind...-The lunchtime bell chooses that moment to toll, again and again, with the electric echo that heralds the end of recess. Sooner than you'd expected, in fact: You're not sure where *all* the time goes. There's the usual, momentary flurry of activity tidying up - The brief rush to get everything in order, for the quick rush back to class. "It was fun, Anon-kun," Asuna says, softly - She's the first one to rise, with a brief but heartfelt smile; The lunchboxes nearly wrapped once more, as she takes her leave - Kou, though, seems to have other ideas..."-Hey, Anon," he says - Doing his level best to sound casual, some of Bishamon's awkwardness bleeding through at last. "The thing I owe you...Should I hand it over now, or...?"[ ] "Now's good."[ ] "-Meet me after school, outside the classroom."[ ] "I'll find you, right after class."[ ] "Whenever's good - There's no rush."[ ] "How are *you* doing? You're looking much better, I have to say."[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23923406[X] "Now's good."[X] "How are *you* doing? You're looking much better, I have to say."
[X] "Whenever's good - There's no rush."[X] "How are *you* doing? You're looking much better, I have to say."
>>23923421>>23923430Huh...Uh, guys? Kaz is still here. Might not want to talk much about the Red.[X] "Whenever's good - There's no rush."
> [X] "Whenever's good - There's no rush.""Right, right. Of course." Kouichi seems to relax, at your words; You can't be sure, but you can guess that he wasn't looking forward to the exchange, either.There's a grunt, as Kazuya stands, dusting himself off: He's not paying attention, not *really* - The casual tone of the conversation failing to hold his interest.> [X] "How are *you* doing? You're looking much better, I have to say.""I *feel* better," he says; Though you detect the slightest tremor to his fingers, as he looks down at himself. "-That's how I get through the day, you know? I tell myself; I'm not actually hurt. That I'm *fine*, like this - Absolutely fine."There's something sickly in Kouichi's smile, now - He looks a trifle green around the gills, in fact. Maybe he can't forget how he had a fist-sized hole in his torso, mere hours ago - Or how he cheated death not once, but *twice*..."-It *was* a close one, though." he admits - Forging ahead, as if eager to get it over. "I don't know who that bastard was...But I heard some of what he was saying. You did right by us, and I won't forget that - "Guys, we're going to be late," Kazuya cuts in; He's at the door, looking back - "...What's the holdup?""Yes, well-" You feel Kouichi's hand on your shoulder, just for a moment. "-It was great working with you. That's all I wanted to say."[ ] "You're pretty good yourself."[ ] "You have a good team."[ ] "Volt Regios gave plenty of support."[ ] "Well, about Tyrian Edge..."[ ] "Does that mean I'm one of you, now?"[ ] "How *did* you meet the other two, anyway?"[ ] Free.YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>23923496[X] "You're pretty good yourself."
>>23923496"It was fun working with you guys as well. You've got good friends there, even if your naming convention makes you sound like redshirts. Keep an eye on each other."
>>23923548"As their leader? I'd *better* be!" he laughs, not entirely serious; Giving you a hefty slap to the back, hard enough to send you reeling. Kouichi sobers quickly, though - "Seriously, coming from you? That means a lot.">>23923550> Even if your naming convention makes you sound like redshirts. He grimaces, at that - Just for a moment. "Yeah, not the most auspicious name, I know. In my defense, I just thought it sounded *cool*." > Keep an eye on each other."Always." Kouichi holds a hand up, in mock salute - "You, too. If you need help - Well, *now* you know where to find me." He chortles to himself, as he heads off - Taking the spiraling steps upwards, towards the third-year classrooms. Kazuya gives you a slightly befuddled look, as you catch up with him."So *that's* the Kendo Team Captain," he muses aloud - "...Quite different in person, isn't he? Less...intense than I expected..."Kazuya cocks his head to the side, looking distinctly curious: "-Since when were you guys on speaking terms?"[ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL
Oh shit, is this quest still running?I have to catch up...
>>23923606Sound like it's no big deal: "Oh, I ran into him and some friends of his at the movies and got roped in to helping them out with some stuff."
>>23923606"I get around, he's the lead at the play and I don't spend my time pretending to be a shark so I had free time there and we ended up talking. He's a nice guy, he could probably beat both of us up with a sword in his sleep, but still a nice guy."
>>23923606Oh, Kazuya. Could you have picked a less convenient time to get suspicious?
>>23923692>>23923681> I don't spend my time pretending to be a shark so I had free time there and we ended up talking.Kazuya winces: "Man, I'm never going to live *that* down, am I?" he sighs, rolling his eyes theatrically.> "Oh, I ran into him and some friends of his at the movies and got roped in to helping them out with some stuff."> He's a nice guy, he could probably beat both of us up with a sword in his sleep, but still a nice guy." "...Yeah, that's what I thought. He doesn't let it go to his head, you know? That's really rare.""Still," Kazuya goes on: "-I wonder *why* he's helping out with the play; Someone like that...You think he'd always be busy, right? Hmmmm...Maybe he's sweet on Asuna?"He sees something in your expression, and laughs."Joke! That was a joke."That's all he gets out, before you join the last of the meandering students filing back into the class; Unfortunately, there's a surprise quiz in the last period, which is anything *but* a joke. (You're not even sure what it's about, now. They all blur together.)Still, it helps time go past with remarkable aplomb - You've just managed a last, ink-stained stab at the final question, and...That's it. The bell rings, unmercifully, as the papers are gathered up - Something to worry about in the future, but for now? You're free. Besides, you have somewhere to be today... (Continued)
It's hard to believe - After all that's happened in the past twenty-four hours - that it's only been a single day. Meeting up with Megumi, then the fight against Megaera - The battle of the Hollow Sun and everything that came afterward - To put it mildly, just *thinking* about it makes you feel weary. Still, it's Mio's birthday today - And with luck, you've made all the right preparations. (On Mr. Fumito's tab, no less.) The question that remains is what to do, next...[ ] Meet Bishamon, and collect your reward.[ ] Go to the Papillion, and meet Mio. [ ] Call Mio, and tell her to meet you at La Tombala. [ ] FreeYOU HAVE CONTROL(Gentleman: I'll likely have to stop, soon. However, as I have a free day, I'll be able to start the next Chapter tomorrow - Assuming all goes well.)
>>23923810> [X] Go to the Papillion, and meet Mio.Surprise her. Who knew that place would be such a quest hub?
>>23923810Go to the maid cafe, obviously. Make sure that we bring the adorable stuffed fox with us. Does she actually know that this is for her birthday?
>>23923810[X] Meet Bishamon, and collect your reward.Bishy first, then dinner/date/birthday thing.
>>23923810>[X] Meet Bishamon, and collect your reward.
>>23923992>>23924001>>23923832>>23923864(Gentlemen: Unfortunately, I have to stop here for now. However, I should be able to pick right up from where we left off tomorrow. My apologies for the long delay between sessions - I'm still struggling to balance my schedule. As always, good night and god bless: Hope to see you all again, soon.)
>>23924022Damn, just before the date with Mio, too.