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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Equipment FAQ:


Player List:


Episode Guide (All credit to Watashiwa):


Yui IF scene (Adult content):


Twitter: https://twitter.com/JokerQuestOP

Recap: You are ANON, the RED JOKER. In our last instalment, your exploration of ARCADIA resulted in another meeting with CHIFFON DOLL and WHITE LICORICE - And an encounter with UTOPIA RULER.
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> [X] SOLARIS GENERATOR: Hellions now have Solaris Enhancement Arrays, boosting the firepower and recharge rate of Hollow Sun weaponry.
> [X] MYOMER HYPERTROPHY: Increases the Armory Guardian's strength and speed, as well as the weapon capacity.







- SUPERHEAVY CHASSIS research unlocked.
- ARCHANGEL CHASSIS added to Hellion Research.
- POSITRON LANCE added to Weapon Research
- SOLARIS CHARGING MATRIX I added to Leukocyte Upgrades.
So, would anyone like to have the Advent Caster, in addition to one basic Hellion research?
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>- SUPERHEAVY CHASSIS research unlocked.

>Unlocks Mastema-class Destroyer units.
Oh god my sides. Best and most trustworthy angel. We're still buying three Void Anchors, but this made me laugh.

How were exams OP?
Oh, right, Void Anchors for our strike force.

Too bad that the Terminus Scanner hasn't finished yet.
Weren't we going to tech up? Give Void Anchors to the faction heads, reap the benefits.

How was the trip?

One thing is not like the others...

(I'm glad that they're over. I'm still slightly jet-lagged, unfortunately.)


Even by the standards of the Red World, the streets of Arcadia are a curious place - Beneath a sweltering, glowering red sky, curving struts of metal grow out from the earth; Like trees of living metal, twisting towards there sky. There's something organic about the architecture, mechanical leaf-forms growing and sprouting in ordered beds, glowing fruit swinging from blossom-joints on the swaying mechanical tree-limbs.

Above, spectral shapes swim high in the upper atmosphere; Thunder rolls in the distance, as another pair of Hyades demenses collide.

The phototropic towers shift uneasily at the pulsating radiance in the heavens, rotating to track the fitful illumination - A lattice of shifting shadows cast across the white tile of the untrammelled road.

The tiles are tessellated, irregular - Yet they fit perfectly, impossibly, despite their shape.

...It's probably best not to look at them for too long.

Utopia Ruler's cane taps against the street, as he primly picks his way forward; It rattles when it hits the pavement. He's retrieved a pocketwatch from his waistcoast, the silver chain swaying lightly with each step; An intricate, baroque device, all spinning hands and steel dials: Several faces reading blank, the pointer hands ticking forward *and* backward at irregular intervals.

His mirror-mask reflects all and reveals nothing.

OP, is charging time a limit on how often Leukocyte can fire or a delay between target lock and discharge?
I would just like to be the first to say that we should totally unlock the Mastema units.

(It's the latter. It allows the Leukocyte to fire faster.)


"There'll be more broken hearts tonight," he muses aloud, his heels clicking against the floor - Head canting to regard the spectacle unfolding in the skies above. "-We're going through each other at an awful rate, you realize? In fact, by the end of the year..."

"-I'll be surprised if there's any of us *left*."

A sigh, satisfied and thready, wends it way from his speakers. "It's a very...human instinct, don't you think? A hunger, a death-urge; The kind that drives us to smash our new toys, to torch our own homes and dance in the flames."

"-Why is that, I wonder?"

[ ] "Chaos creates opportunity."
[ ] "Not all Players are like that."
[ ] "I suppose people just can't help themselves."
[ ] "There are always survivors. Always."
[ ] "You seem awfully amused by this."
[ ] "Is there a point to this?"
[ ] Free.

I'm all for as many of the models as soon as possible. The units unlock a whole lot of research options all at once, which is really good for figuring out what there is to be had.

If we arrange for the placement of four or five VAs this in-game day, we could conceivably out-tech Argent by the end of the next. If we can secure some kind of understanding with Armaros (yes I know, he's a jerk) we can just about guarantee it.

"Fear. Fear that if they do not do unto others, others will do unto them. The more you have, the more you fear its loss."

[X] "There are always survivors. Always."
[X] "You seem awfully amused by this."
>[x]"A lot of people mistake chaos and anarchy for freedom, I guess."
>[x] "Is there a point to this?"
"Some people need outlets. And sometimes this means destroying things purely because there are no repercussions."
>[X] "Not all Players are like that."
Seconding these two.
OP, I'll third the Void Anchors.

> [X] "You seem awfully amused by this."
> "Some people need outlets. And sometimes this means destroying things purely because there are no repercussions."

Ruler cocks his head to one side; "Oh, I assure you...I am. We really do bring it upon ourselves, after all - Scrabbling for the best seats, while the boat sinks. You'd think that the others would at least have a modicum of self-awareness...But no, there's been no sign of it so far."

His hand slides down the length of his wand, and a twist of his wrist sets it spinning like a conductor's baton. "-And believe me, I've tried."

> [X] "There are always survivors. Always."

"Indeed there are. Scum, after all, has a way of floating to the top."

A gloved hand tips his top-hat; "Present company included, of course," he adds, archly.

> [x]"A lot of people mistake chaos and anarchy for freedom, I guess."

"Chaos and anarchy, I've found, are just release valves. Oh, they're times of joy and release childlike play, dancing amongst the waves of new-sprung life and opportunity...A time to wonder at the irreducible strangeness of the universe."

"But the fact is - Without rules, most people can't face the world. Order, after all, serves a profound purpose; Without rules, there is no game. There is only the jungle."

"And *this* particular jungle swarms with tigers...And those who think that they're tigers, more's the pity."

> [X] "Not all Players are like that."
> [X] "Is there a point to this?"

If Utopia had eyes, he'd be rolling them.

"-It's strange; Technically, we're speaking the same language. But sometimes, all I hear is bleating. Well, at any rate - Here we are."


(Just to confirm: You've purchasing three Void Anchors?)

'Here' is a grove of platinum trees heavy with brass fruit - Bordered by a row of hedges, with broad, inlaid leaves of soft bronze. It's a marvel of architecture, but seemingly no different from the odd, ornate flora - Or the *imitation* of it - that seems to be unique to this stage.

Utopia glances down at his pocketwatch again, and his cane describes a complicated arc. The high, singing whine of power builds in your sensors - The hedgerows crackling with energized life, and-

The veil of illusion falls away. At the heart of the small grove, the fractal hedges glowing with the backwash of energy, a structure emerges; The trees shivering apart, revealing a mosaic of crystal and light - Violet gems set into the curving spiral of the floor, twisting fronds braiding together in writhing organic contrails as they *hum* with an internal life of their own, a sound that thrums through the floor, through your form...

The sight is immediately familiar. You've glimpsed it twice - Once in the oil-black Smiler rig, the final chamber that gave way to a doorway of light. And again, in Cygnus's fading memories -

...It's a teleporter.

"This," Utopia says, with a wave of his gloved hand. "...is what our gracious hosts have been keeping from us."

[ ] "...Where does it go?"
[ ] "-How did you find it?"
[ ] "How do we activate it?"
[ ] "I've seen this before..."
[ ] "So what now?"
[ ] "Why do you keep checking your watch?"
[ ] Free

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(Apologies, I forgot my image.)
>"...Where does it go?"
>"Why do you keep checking your watch?"
>[X] "-How did you find it?"
>[X] "I've seen this before..."

"Tell me, what do you think would happen were there a Hyade who isn't tucked in the Biosphere? Alura Une is at large, and Kraken is not present in either world."

>[X] "Why do you keep checking your watch?"

AFTER we ask about the watch, then:

"The girls indicated the system activated based on their presence alone. If my theory is right..." Approach the plinth, let the Joker armor do the usual thing.

>(Just to confirm: You've purchasing three Void Anchors?)
I believe so. Be interesting to see if the proposed strategy pans out.
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"Ah. A teleporter. Such a marvel of engineering. Be a shame if it were to turn up missing."

We shall gift the teleporter to ourselves.

> "...Where does it go?"

"Oh, I couldn't *begin* to tell you, Joker. But if I had to make an educated guess?"

Utopia nods, significantly, at the looming form of the Diadem - The peak overarched by the huge, translucent film of the crackling shield.

> [X] "I've seen this before..."

"-And so have I." There's a thoughtful edge to his voice, now, as Utopia's gloved hand rubs at his smooth chin. "It's almost sinister, wouldn't you say? Perhaps they were once part of a larger network...Unless I miss my guess, there are multiple sites across the city."

> "Tell me, what do you think would happen were there a Hyade who isn't tucked in the Biosphere? Alura Une is at large, and Kraken is not present in either world."

Ruler makes a noncommital sound, as he grounds his cane - With another glance at his pocketwatch. "Oh, there might just be hope for you yet, Joker."

His voice lowers, becomes conspirational. "-You've noticed the lack of Smilers, I see. Curious, isn't it...That they've chosen to absence themselves from Convergence? Why, Players of *all* stripes are flocking here, to joust for their ladies-" Utopia's voice makes the last words a sneer - "...And yet, our stalwarts have yet to show their faces."

"As to what the Lady of the Black Rose might be up to...Who knows?"

Ruler's shoulders lift, in an alarmingly casual shrug. "-I'm certain it's something horrible, of course. Another reason to contact you."

> [X] "Why do you keep checking your watch?"

He lets the pocketwatch swing on the chain, as it retracts into his sleeve; It slaps against his gloved hand, with a muffled sound.

"-Because I can hardly conceal our presence forever. Our ladies are possessive creatures - I doubt they'd take our little conversation kindly. While their attention is focused on the spectacle above...Which I'm sure they're watching intently, with heaving bosoms and bated breath - Only then can we speak freely."

"And even then, only for so long."

We can probably build one in the Hollow Sun. I'm personally more interested in building teleportation functions into Leukocyte. Make the Icons the trigger (and figure out how to lock an Icon to a Player).

Ah, but you must consider. We would require resources in order to construct one. Here, right before us, is a working example. Why build when one can receive gifts?
Transportation costs? Actually we could probably carry it with Red Comet, especially now that it's got big bulging muscles.

Hmm.... I'm all for lootin' 'n' plunderin' down to the furniture, but do we even know where this thing plugs in? Also, we know that the Smilers have at least two of these; I'd rather NOT hand them a backdoor to the Hollow Sun. Come to think of it, that's probably how they got into Holophusikon; they connected one to Siege Perilous.

By the same token, if we access the network, it opens up the possibility of using one as a backdoor to their equivalent(s)... And tossing a few cans of Haze brand pest control through.
> "Ah. A teleporter. Such a marvel of engineering. Be a shame if it were to turn up missing."
> "The girls indicated the system activated based on their presence alone. If my theory is right..." Approach the plinth, let the Joker armor do the usual thing.


A white-gloved hand settles on your wrist, locking fast. Utopia's grasp is surprisingly strong, enough to check you for a moment - Perhaps he's troubled by that reveal, because he immediately releases you, stepping back; The mirrored curve of his mask not quite a smile.

"Before you leap, dear boy, consider this: The Diadem occupies the same location as the Seisin campus - The one currently occupied by our gracious and dishonest hosts. If you travel to the Diadem now...You'll emerge right in their midst, exactly where you shouldn't be. And then, I'm afraid, they might be inclined to be a little stern with you."

He sighs.

"While - I confess - releasing the fox amongst the hens might be diverting...And I have *every* certainty you'd slaughter your way through them, never fear...It'd hardly serve the greater purpose."

[ ] "...Then what do you propose?"
[ ] "-It's not like they could stop me."
[ ] "You have a point."
[ ] "-Get out of my way."
[ ] Free

Wata, did you maybe watch too much Power Rangers?
>[x] "Admittedly, a saner reaction than I expected."
>[x] "...Then what do you propose?"

"My dear Ruler. A fox only grows wilier with age. Do you think me unprepared for the huntresses that lurk beyond this gate?"

Palm the VA.

"A fox can feast upon the hens, Ruler, yes. But only one hen. And then the fox must contend with the farmers rage. Nay, I plan to feast upon *all* of the hens. In due time, of course."

[X] "You have a point."
"But what if I didn't 'show' up? I've been considering a cloaking device for some time; now would seem a good time to invest."

[X] "...Then what do you propose?"

Not in years. I'm mostly concerned with other people using the Hollow Sun's tools against us. Space based teleporter and ID locked keys would seem to be the solution. What brought that up?
Oh lord, vetoed. We're not killing off every girl on campus.

What happened to planting the anchor to supercharge our robot production line? I distinctly remember Anon wanting more robutts.
We're offing the Hyades, not the schoolgirls.

You're confusing killing the Hyades with killing every girl on campus. Utopia is saying that if we teleport into the Diadem, we'll be face-to-face with every female Player in the area.
>What brought that up?
Remember how they entered the command center in the first season?

Wait, doesn't that mean giving up the Void Anchors?

You know why.
...Nnnnnnn wait yes I do. Huh. Kek.

Two of three. But it also lets us play Metal Gear Joker now, and gives Joker a cloaking device going forward. You can't tell me you don't see the utility there.

>you know why

But robots! ROBOTS. Feeding our doom fortress innocent girls souls is the perfect fuel source. We'd have our very own EXAM system on a large scale.
Won't we get a cloaking device anyway if we defeat the second Inox Fang?
(HOLLOW SUN: 13.4%

Void Anchors: 4 AVAILABLE)


> [X] "...Then what do you propose?"

Utopia brushes invisible specks of dust from his exquisitely tailored cuffs; Black-buckle shoes scuffing lightly against the ground.

"Patience," he says, and the word hangs in the air like a benediction.

He glances up, at the swollen skies. "When night falls, the lambs will be in their beds - Dreaming of spun-sugar and psalms, I don't doubt. Wait 'til the stroke of midnight, before you make your move; Later still, if possible."

"Oh, you'll have to forsake a good night's sleep...But in the dead of night, I doubt that there'd be *any* Players in the Diadem. That might be the best way to avoid any, ah, unfortunate incidents, shall we say?"

The faint tick-tick-tick of his pocketwatch seems to grow louder; Ruler looks down at it, and makes a sound of irritation. "-At any rate...We're nearly out of time, Joker. I'll leave you with a suitably anonymous number - Call me before you make your move, and I'll be there."

He raises an admonishing finger - "Remember, not a breath of this to another soul...But I'm sure you already knew that."

Orthrus=two heads. The Crest might be the thing that let the two entities work in tandem. I almost wonder if Shizuka is Inox. Or do you mean Relic drop, or Grinder usage? No telling if the first will happen, and who knows what the second will yield.

Well at the very least we're not picking up any Relics this thread. Still a good number of events before we raid the Hollow--er, BLACK--Moon. We might take a chance on whichever of the sound Relics we think could be a cloaking device at a later date.

His tone of voice implies he's fairly certain that you don't.

> "But what if I didn't 'show' up? I've been considering a cloaking device for some time; now would seem a good time to invest."

"Well, you're a man of substantial resource. All the same..."

Ruler looks back. "-I doubt you'd begrudge my offer of a Hand of Glory. Just to be completely sure, of course; It is, after all, the least I could do."

He bows from the waist, in a way that might almost be respectful. As he straightens, he adjusts his top-hat, perching it at a jaunty angle-

"Oh, one last thing, Joker: You're aware that time is of the essence? After all...The longer you wait, the greater the margin of error grows. The next few days look to be *especially* bloody ones - If you, or I, happen to fall before you embark upon your task..."

Utopia's shoulders lift in a little shrug.

"-Well. Then it'd all be for nothing."

[ ] "-Tonight, then."
[ ] "Tomorrow, then."
[ ] "...I'll have to think about it."
[ ] Free

Tonight then.

Although, I'm changing the vote to tomorrow if we can analyze the Hand of Glory at the Hollow Sun before we do the mission.
[ ] "-Tonight, then."
We can meet the survivors, have The Talk, and then immediately leave to D-d-drop the bomb. If we do it tonight, then nobody else has to die.

How about our date with Mio?
>[X] "-Tonight, then."

[X] "-Tonight, then."
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"Oh, no no no. There is no margins of error where I am involved. When you involved me, you insighted chaos - a wild card. Ruler, you have made things quite interesting - and limb threatening - for all Players present."

Anyone else getting Kagetane/Kerrytugu vibes from Ruler?
[X] "-Tonight, then."
"And really, concern for the Red Joker? Truly we live in a world of miracles."
"Since the Smilers are planning something, I'd rather they be the ones wrong-footed for once. Put the word out to your contacts--that is, if there is anyone of sufficient pulchritude for you to deign speak to them without our need."

Don't forget Isao. Fortunately things are spaced out just enough to fit it all in, last I can recall.

I think he's advocating the version of events where we talk with Kazuya, Natsumi and Mio all at once.

> [X] "-Tonight, then."

"Tonight!" Utopia echoes, expansively - He claps his hands together, and his wand vanishes. His gloved hands smooth down his waistcoast, though the surface shows no signs of rumpling; "-Then our business is concluded, for now. Once you arrive, I shall deliver my half of the bargain."

> "And really, concern for the Red Joker? Truly we live in a world of miracles."

"Oh, I have *every* confidence in you, Joker. It's your puling sense of right and wrong I have an issue with...Still, I'm certain you'll overcome it."

"-Don't let me down, now."

> "Since the Smilers are planning something, I'd rather they be the ones wrong-footed for once. Put the word out to your contacts--that is, if there is anyone of sufficient pulchritude for you to deign speak to them without our need."

"But of course," Utopia answers, archly. "-Between us, I'm sure we can muster a mighty host. As to whether they'll *believe* us, however...Well, I wouldn't hold my breath."


He merely snorts, at that; You get the sense he's rolling his eyes.

"-Leave the platitudes to me, dear boy. It's your proficiency with fist and cannon-shot that I need. But until tonight...Do keep an eye on your dark friend for me, will you? He has the look of a man who's turned a corner..."

"I'd watch my back, if I were you."

The grove of illusion reasserts itself, and the stage falls apart at the seams.

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The world returns in a rush of colour and sound. You blink, hard, as your vision snaps back into focus - You're in an unfamiliar classroom, the sharp edges of a box pressed against your chest; The corridor adorned with paper streamers, with balloons, with posters...Echoing the miles and miles of bright, coloured bunting outside, flapping in the stiff winds.

Through the window, you can see the open square beneath - An open square that's beginning to resemble a small anthill or a city in miniature, cluttered with emerging rows of booths and stands; The roar of background noise echoing in your ears, with a riot of flags and signs hung, tied, wrapped or otherwise suspended from every available surface across the streets - Pennants and streamers swimming in the breeze.

It's all part of the cheery, swarming process of festival prepartions: The classrooms of the abandoned school have been turned into temporary cafes, restaurants, haunted houses...With food stands, displays, shooting galleries and the like being set up below. They range from the simple to the elaborate, pastel-coloured and professional, all of it a bewildering assault on the senses - Somewhere, music is playing, in fitful on-off starts.

Somewhere else, there's...

"Anon! Wait up, man!"


Kazuya's voice is a muffled shout - He's barely visible behind the two boxes he's carrying, stacked atop each other; It's clearly playing havoc with his vision, because he nearly bangs into the wall, shuffles to the side, and *keeps going*-

There's a thump, as he sets his burden down: Wincing, as he rubs the small of his back.

"-Can't believe we're still doing the heavy lifting," he grumbles, good-naturedly. "...You'd think that they'd give the cast a break..."

[ ] "...Wait, where were we going again?"
[ ] "-They're short-handed as it is. Guess they need us to pitch in."
[ ] "Hey, I'm fine with anything that keeps me out of the shark costume."
[ ] "When *are* we performing, exactly?"
[ ] "...You all right, there?"
[ ] "Hey, you could use the exercise."
[ ] Free

>[X] "Hey, I'm fine with anything that keeps me out of the shark costume."
>[X] "When *are* we performing, exactly?"
>[ ] "Hey, I'm fine with anything that keeps me out of the shark costume."

>[ ] "...You all right, there?"

Also maybe ask him about tonight?
>[X] "...Wait, where were we going again?"
>[X] "...You all right, there?"
>[X] "Hey, you could use the exercise."

"Kazuya... I've never thanked you for covering for me these last six years, have I? I suppose I'm lucky that pretending to be homesick so we could sneak into the arcade instead of going to the station was entirely characteristic. I never told you what happened, but I DID make it back home before... Listen, Kazu, something's happening, and if I don't tell you soon I never will. Tomorrow, early, I'll tell you the whole story. Natsumi too.

"It's not going to be pretty."

"And this is totally not my way of saying I need you to cover for me tonight while I raise hell. But I need you to do that too."
Aww shit, shots fired. You sure you want to do this man?
Ahahahahaha it begins. DO IT.
You do realize that we're in a hallway full of people?
I'm not..
Say it quietly then.
We're in a classroom according to the first line. The crowd is all outside.
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> [X] "Hey, I'm fine with anything that keeps me out of the shark costume."

Kazuya makes an odd snorting noise - The sound he *always* makes when he's trying to hold back laughter.

"Yeah? But you're a *natural* at it! You were *born* to be a shar - Okay, okay."

He waves a hand in your direction - "...Yeah, I get what you mean. Can't say this is what I expected, though. I was hoping for something more, more..." Kazuya makes a face, as if words have failed - "...More *exciting*, you know? Sure it's just the first day, but man...This isn't my idea of a good time."

> [X] "When *are* we performing, exactly?"

His brow furrows, lost in thought - "...The third day, I think. We've been pushed to the second half of the competition - So that means we have two days to lay about." He ticks off the points on his fingers - "We have rehearsals tomorrow morning...But we're free in the afternoon and evening. At least our President's not *completely* heartless...I know the damn thing by heart, now."

> [X] "...You all right, there?"

Kazuya gives you an odd look. "How are *you* all right? We've been doing this for, what, an hour now?" He groans, lightly, as he stretches to work out the kinks in his back.

"...I've had jobs more fun that this."

> [X] "...Wait, where were we going again?"

"Hang on." Paper crinkles, flapping in the breeze as Kazuya unfurls an especially crumpled map - "...Okay, we're on the second floor, which means..."

"-We're going to the Kaisei High booth at 6-E, somewhere down there. I think they're setting up a shooting gallery; As it turns out, there's been some kind of mix-up...We're getting their stuff out of the way, back where it should be."

He sighs, mopping at his brow. "Well, no rest for the wicked..."


> [X] "Hey, you could use the exercise."

The crumpled-up map ricochets off your shoulder.

"Yeah, laugh it up."


There's a long silence - One that fills in with the sedate murmur of the crowds outwards, the clatter of plastic chairs and the general bustle of renovation. Kazuya flexes his shoulders, considering his burden...Then decides it can wait for a bit longer.

"You know, Anon..." he says, almost to himself - "...It's hard being your friend, sometimes."

He flashes you a smile, but it doesn't hold - Instead, he just shakes his head, and sighs again. "-You're kind of...Aaaah, I don't know...you're kind of a strange guy, you know? You're always up to something 'really important', or urgent, or...I don't know. Something."

Kazuya shrugs, making a face.

"Wait, that sounds pretty terrible. I don't mean it in a *bad* way, but..." he glances to the side - "...Only if you're sure that it's really a 'thing'." When Kazuya looks back, he seems faintly sheepish; "What I mean is...Actually, I was kinda hoping you could cover for *me*, instead."

[ ] "...Wait, what?"
[ ] "-You have plans for tonight?"
[ ] "Kazuya. This is important."
[ ] "Dude, I'm serious."
[ ] Free


Kazuya, this is important.

Peoples' lives are at stake.

That MMO me and Natsumi play? It's not an MMO.
>[X] "-You have plans for tonight?"
>[X] "Dude, I'm serious."

"If it matters so much I have a card I can play, but I really, really absolutely do not want to."

Oh god it's Shino isn't it.

Not yet.
>[X] "...Wait, what?"
"...Would this happen to involve a certain Seisin tomboy?"

Time and place man.
>[ ] "Kazuya. This is important."
Serious mode.

I get the feeling that not telling him would end up with a quarrel
>[X] "-You have plans for tonight?"

"Well, actually..." Kazuya begins - Rubbing at the back of his head, a little sheepish now.

> [X] "...Wait, what?"
> Oh god it's Shino isn't it.
> "...Would this happen to involve a certain Seisin tomboy?"

"Yessssss...?" he says, drawing it out - He winces, at being found out so easily.

"...Yeah, I'm still a little surprised herself, but - Anon, *she* asked me! It's like...I'm *still* not sure that I believe it." Kazuya looks a little embarrassed now; "I mean, this is pretty rare, you know."

He glances away, a little too fast, now. His voice is as cheerful as always, but there's the slightest note of resentment; One he probably hasn't notice.

"After all...I've never been lucky like you."

This time, his smile is slightly pained.

> "If it matters so much I have a card I can play, but I really, really absolutely do not want to."
> [X] "Kazuya. This is important."

He exhales. It's an expressive gesture, his shoulders rising and then slumping.

"Yeah, well...I'm sure it is." Kazuya sounds faintly dubious. "-It always seems to be."

His gaze is distant, for a moment, before it refocuses. A slow breath sighs from his lungs, and he shrugs again.

"I can't - I can't always be there for you, man," Kazuya says, at last. "-You're my buddy, but...Sometimes, you ask a lot. It's not just *right now*, but...Aaaah, forget it. I probably sound like an ass, anyway."

A pause, long enough for an uncomfortable silence to descend. At last, Kazuya clears his throat, deliberately.

"-Well," he says again, a little awkwardly now.

"So...This is serious, right?" He looks back at you, sidelong - "What's it about, then?"

[ ] Free

All of the "accidental" deaths recently. The graffiti. The general sense of foreboding hanging over this place. My frequent spacing out. Why Akira left.

They're all related and I need to explain it privately.
I can't really think of anything, so I'll second this.

Wow. This is uncomfortable.

Supporting this. It'll convince him that it's really important without divulging anything we shouldn't. Yet.
"It's about... Red Joker. 'Joker-kun', rather, and why every girl at this school lights up when they hear that name.

"I know that I haven't been fair to you. That's what this is about. You and Natsumi are all I have left from before. The rest of my life, the parts of me that I know are *me*, are part of Ground Zero. There's a real chance that once you hear what I have to say you'll want nothing to do with me. But if I leave it any longer I'll lose you for sure. Better to take the chance than bet against the sure thing."

"Kazuya... have you talked to Natsumi?"

That's giving away too much. I have to veto this, because it genuinely sounds a little crazy.
I'm not entirely happy with it myself. I want to impress on Kazuya that what Anon has to say is going to be painful on a personal level, and that Natsumi and Kazuya as the last remnants of his former life are basically the glue preventing him from snapping entirely.

The bit about Kazuya talking to Natsumi has to go through.

Looking at this post, this works better than what I wrote to begin with.

> "Kazuya... have you talked to Natsumi?"

He grimaces - His back stiffening, slightly.

"-Ah, you know how she can be," Kazuya says, resignedly. That's about all the answer you need.

> All of the "accidental" deaths recently. The graffiti. The general sense of foreboding hanging over this place. My frequent spacing out. Why Akira left.
> They're all related and I need to explain it privately.

Kazuya swallows. He tries for a joke:

"-I'm not going to like this, am I?"

...but it falls flat. Maybe it's something in your expression that finally convinces him; He wipes his hands on his pants, and gives a - faintly - resigned nod.

"Well. All right, then - If that's the way it has to be."

You're not sure if he believes you, but you've got his attention, all right - As Kazuya kneels to retrieves the boxes, you're aware that he's watching you out of the corner of his eye.


"Thanks for the help-!"

The Kaisei High booth - Appropriately enough, given the somber black uniform - is a darkly carnivalesque setup; A shooting gallery with ceramic mask idling on motorized tracks, and animatronic paper-mache jugglers that caper in a way that's vaguely disquieting. Even as you watch, the jaws of a rouged and greasepainted clown-face open and close, to reveal the target within - The hollow eyes of the mask have painted ping-pong balls affixed to them, but it somehow only makes the effect more disturbing.

...The fifteen-second loop of recorded music ("Haw-haw-HAW!" and the endless laughter of clowns) probably has a lot to do with it. Still, they're cheerful enough; There's a girl poking at the conveyor belt, while her classmate hovers near her shoulder and makes helpful suggestions - It hums fast, then slow, as the tiny carousel of garishly-painted horses lurch into motion once again.


Near the red curtains of the wings - At the flashing panel that actually controls the motion of things, you glimpse Izumo Suou; He's a little calmer than before, a little paler, alternating between polishing his glasses and keeping a careful eye on the rack of guns locked in their holders.

You're not sure why, but he looks resigned, somehow.

Renji, however - The perpetually-smiling student manning the booth, a rather ratty-looking ringmaster's jacket replacing his black blazer - is cheery enough to make up for his classmates; He has that kind of slightly-plastic smile that just sucks the life out of everyone around him, as if he's the lightning-rod for all the good cheer in the area.

"-Sorry for the trouble, guys; I can't thank you enough. Just getting this up and running, well..." He shrugs, apologetically. Behind him, the Number 2. track squeals as it rumbles back and forth, gears grinding audibly - "...It's been a handful."

"Yeah, I can imagine," Kazuya mutters, at your side - He seems oddly fascinated by the rather elaborate setup before him...Or is that vaguely horrified? "-Don't you think it's a little, well..."



Renji shrugs. "At any rate, thanks...Kazuya-kun, right?" His gaze settles on you, honest confusion flitting across his features. "-And you're...?"

[ ] "...If there's nothing else, we'll be heading back."
[ ] "-This is pretty impressive, but...It's also kind of creepy."
[ ] "So, uh...How does this work, anyway?"
[ ] "Anything else we can help you with?"
[ ] "Anon-kun."
[ ] Talk to Suou.
[ ] Free

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(Forgot my image.)
>[x] "-This is pretty impressive, but...It's also kind of creepy."
>[x] "...If there's nothing else, we'll be heading back."

So that's where Suou is. I was wondering when he'd turn up.

> [X] Talk to Suou.
Wait, is that Utopia Ruler?
Funny how people differ IRL.

This is basically something out of Stephen King's IT, isn't it? Do they have a Pennywise the clown, too?
>[x] "...If there's nothing else, we'll be heading back."
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> [X] "-This is pretty impressive, but...It's also kind of creepy."

"...Is that right?" Renji takes a step back - He smooths down his scarlet jacket, his contemplative gaze resting on the rotating targets. Masks, horses, masks again...Then there's a creak from above, as a paper-mache hanged man descends on a noose - The motion is abrupt enough to make Kazuya flinch back, before the limp figure retracts back into the roof.

Renji shrugs. "-I'm sure people will love it, all the same. After all-" and there's a twinkle in his eyes when he says this:

"...Everyone hates clowns."

Kazuya nudges you in the side, with an elbow - "You have to admit: He's got a point there."

> [X] "...If there's nothing else, we'll be heading back."

"-Take these with you. It's not much, but...It's the least we could do."

It's a pair of golden tickets - Each one good for a single game, each one printed with half-mask of tragedy and comedy. As you withdraw, you hear the audible *clack* as the hanging figure is lowered again - Then rises, jerking and twitching, only to descend again with a brittle sound that's a little too sharp to be comfortable.

>"...Everyone hates clowns."
>Kazuya nudges you in the side, with an elbow - "You have to admit: He's got a point there."
I think he'll have a major case of hindsight once we tell him the story.

It's only later, when you're safely out of earshot, that Kazuya muses aloud:

"What's *wrong* with those people?"

And just like that, the day's shaded to late afternoon - It's strange how quickly time passes, slipping away moment by moment; The tent-city of stands and stalls continuing to grow, the bustle unending as you thread your way through.

"What's next?" Kazuya has to yell, to make himself heard - Even then, it's a struggle, over the blare of music rising in irregular intervals from a band's warmup. He grimaces, shaking his head to clear the ringing in his ears; Pointing in the direction of the open gates, with a questioning expression.

The route's meandered a little - Taking you rather close to the Tokisaka Foundation trailer, a climate-controlled cabin so large, it looks like a spontaneous building has set down roots. It's actually fenced-off; You haven't seen anyone coming and going, though you can here the hum of individual generators, dense with electric noise.

Further down, there's a space earmarked with a Sterling Industries sign; That odd silver fox-head crest emblazoned boldly on a booth - Apparently, they're one of the sponsors, too...You vaguely recalled that they'd be hosting a lucky draw - One of those things that are *always* present at every Festival ever, year after year - among other fairly meaningless but goodwill-raising activities.

With the last delivery, your job's basically done for the day - You could likely slip away, and no-one would notice.

[ ] Return to the Dormitory.
[ ] Help Yui.
[ ] Look for Mio.
[ ] Look for Asuna.
[ ] Look for Natsumi.
[ ] Look for Shino.
[ ] Look for Kouichi.
[ ] Explore the Festival grounds.
[ ] Explore the school grounds.

Leave Seien High, and:

[ ] Visit Shuya at the clinic.
[ ] Visit the hospital.
[ ] Contact Isao, for training.
[ ] Meet with the other Players.
[ ] Free


(Gentlemen; My sincerest apologies, but I feel that I may be losing momentum here - I'll be present for a while longer, but I'm still getting back into the swing of things.

At present, the events for the rest of the day are, in the following order:

- Training Distortion Haze.
- Meeting the other Players.
- Curfew.
- Meeting Mio.
- Invading the Diadem.)
>[ ] Contact Isao, for training.
We need to do it somewhat early if we're gonna pack all the shit in we want to do today.
[ ] Contact Isao, for training

(Gentlemen; I would love to continue, but I think that exhaustion - And jet lag - are beginning to affect the quality of writing. Would you mind if I ended the episode at this juncture?

I'll keep your choices in mind, and I'll likely start the next session in two to three days for now.

Once again, I apologize for the issue of 'dead time' - I'm aware that the past few episodes have been extremely heavy on exposition, and have resulted in the Quest becoming severely decompressed in places.)
It's fine if you need some rest. Congratz that your exams are over, see you next time.
Yeah, this sounds about right.
Don't worry.
I may be disappointed, but it really wouldn't do the quest good to force yourself.
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Fucking finally caught a thread

As someone who's religiously archived binged for the past month or so I'd have to say I really enjoy this quest especially the earlier fights when you guys did some crazy and creative shit I really miss that Like with the shark man and that one time y'all smashed some guy shit in with the mag clamps

JokerOP I'm glad I finally get to participate and even though I have the strangest feeling that things are ending soon I'm glad to be here
>Like with the shark man and that one time y'all smashed some guy shit in with the mag clamps
I don't remember at all.
It was when you guys stabbed the Shark Guy with the earlier version of the tempest scrander

I think
Out of curiosity, don we have a therapist?
This is Japan.
Shamefur dispray and all.

Yeah, I remember that one! When we fought Abyss Carcharis, and Hecate was still alive.

I just realized that Hecate's actual condition was extremely, extremely heavily foreshadowed. I wasn't expecting that.
Rare to see a thread that doesnt end on the ages-old discussion of giving up on hecate for mio or keep stringing mio along while searching for hecate.

...or fighting over which weapons aremore useful.
Must resist urge to Waifu rank and invest In Interceptors
Just realized Mio = Hecate.

wat do?
Murder the Hypothenuse?

Actually, that would kinda solve everything.
Weren't we planning on using a Void Anchor inside the Diadem? Why are we buying more?

Also, archived the thread since no one else did it.
>Why are we buying more?
To give our Russian friends something to do.

>Also, archived the thread since no one else did it.
Shit, we might miss one one day.

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