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Previous Thread:

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/33599793/

Archive:

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Joker%20Quest

Equipment FAQ:

http://pastebin.com/7Pf1U9vN

Player List:

http://pastebin.com/rRSM6LgW

Episode Guide (All credit to Watashiwa):

http://pastebin.com/DNGtTt04

Yui IF scene (Adult content):

http://pastebin.com/8CSEVSXB

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JokerQuestOP

Recap: You are ANON, the RED JOKER. In our last instalment, you returned to SEISIN HIGH with NATSUMI, and met with MIO in the MAIDEN'S LABYRINTH.
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>>33643691

(Gentlemen, my apologies for the delay. I had to put some things in order - But fortunately, I'm free for the rest of the night, now.)

HOLLOW SUN: 58.2%

http://pastebin.com/GxbD8pcJ

RESEARCH:

[X] TERMINUS SCANNER
[X] FALSEHOOD ARRAY
[X] RESEARCH: ASSAULT HARDSHELL
[X] DIRAC TRANSMITTER I
[X] MASS DRIVER

VOID ANCHORS:

ORIGINAL HIVE
THE TRIBUNAL

HOLDING: 0

FLARE ORIOLE: 1
SILVER CROSS: 1
TITANIUM GIGANT: 1
IRON OGRE: 1

RED COMET GUIDE:

http://pastebin.com/LJAfQmXy

UPDATES:

- Fixed the errors in the Red Comet Guide.
>>
>>33643705
Serious question: Are we going to have another thread of Hollow Sun charge before start the invasion? Knowing one way or another will change what gets voted on =this thread.
>>
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>>33643882

(Given the timeframe involved, it's likely that this will be the last 'round' of Hollow Sun charge for the night. I'm afraid that the decompressed nature of the threads mean that scale of time can be a little distorted.)

STAGE: ARCADIA

The secret heart of Arcadia - In the eternal shadow of the Diadem - is a reflecting bowl for the stars; A grove of platinum trees around a lake of liquid glass, inlaid leaves of soft bronze rustling, chiming in the faintest breeze. Fractal topiary flickers with energized life, like veils of illusions - The walls of the hedgerow maze rising in mathematical structures, steel blossoms budding from the twisting cable-vines, stiff with glittering thorns.

Around you, mechanical leaf-forms grow and sprout from the ordered beds, zigzag patterns of branches knitted into intricate tapestries. The air hums with charge, with the gravimetric suspensors of the drones that flit through the air - Impossibly delicate butterflies with wings of gems and glass, whirring through the silver stems and iron branches, alighting only briefly on swaying mechanical-tree limbs...

Beneath the great half-sphere of the Diadem's shield - The shield that extends over this closed city of towers and crystal ziggurats, crowned with spires and finials - the bruised, sullen sky is a distant memory.

But in the fathomless, depthless pool before you, you can see the distant gleam of the Hyades stars - The tiny pinpoints of demenses, held in orbit around the vast orb of the black moon.

There are less of them than before. Some have gone out; Dead and cold, their hollow shells drift through the void.

But those that remain glow brighter than ever before.

(Continued)
>>
>>33643705
>>33643932
That's no fun. Oh well.

In this case, how about Scrander Propulsion System, Gravimetric Nexus, and the Axel Grips? Research for the long run and something for the raid. Sound good to everyone?
>>
>>33644048
Works for me, at least.

>>33643932
Evening OP. How was the flight?

Out of curiosity, will charge build up behind the scenes like it did during the Hive raid? If it is, please set Cherubim and Essence Core production to medium.
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>>33644048

(Be aware that you're not currently holding any Void Anchors.)

>>33644172

(A bit turbulent. I'm just glad to be off the plane.)

As the red recedes - With the distant sound of waves against the surf - they become part of heaven.

-----------------------

"...Anon-kun?"

Mio's voice is low, soft, almost a whisper - Her slender arm, outstretched, trembling slightly; A flicker of uncertainty, of trepidation, flitting across her face - A flush blossoming just beneath her skin, her gaze turning inwards, becoming self-conscious. Silver moonlight limns her slender form, the faint motion revealing a trick of the light - A marble platform rising from the pool, almost flush with the waters; Tiny channels preventing the narrow walkways from being submerged, a second glance enough to dispel the illusion.

> [X] Jokingly: "Isn't it a bit too late at night for you to be out? Then again, I'm not one to talk, am I?"

"Ah-" Mio averts her gaze - Looking down and away, a flash of disappointment in her green eyes. She let her hand fall to her side; Her brow furrowing, ever-so-slightly, as her gloved fingers grip the hem of her flowing dress.

Then - "...It's still no good, then," she murmurs, almost to herself; There's something taut, something infinitely vulnerable in her expression, a slight hitch to her words as her breath catches.

(Continued)
>>
>>33644217
Ah damn, that could be a problem. Fine, switch out the Nexus for a VA.
>>
>>33644217

> Compliment her on her beautiful dress, ask if she is still angry at us. That question should give us enough information.

"Angry...?"

She blinks, startled - Her lips shaping an 'O' of surprise, momentarily wrong-footed - The slightest shake of her head, before she looks down again; Her gaze meeting her reflection's, in the tranquil waters of the infinitely reflective pool.

"N, no...I'm not - I..." Mio stammers, falls silent - She's fumbling to keep her composure, her hands clasping together before her; Looking everywhere but *at* you, her sleek throat working. For a moment, she looks like she's about to cry.

"Anon-kun..." It's a whisper.

"Y-you know...This is-" There's the faintest tremor to Mio's voice, so very small - She can't meet your eyes, her words hushed, muted. "...It's *really* embarrassing f-for me," Mio says, her shoulders tensing - The confession costing her.

"So please..."

"-Please say *something*..."

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33644217
>>33644270

> [X] Free
> Kiss her.
>>
>>33644270
Look at her and smile. "Mio, don't you think the moon is beautiful?"
>>
>>33644270
Kiss here
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>>33644270

Wow. I don't know who posted those suggestions in the last thread, but that was like kicking a puppy.
>>
>>33644270
"You're beautiful. Like a princess from a fairytale."
Smile a walk around the edge of the pool.
"Strangely enough, I don't think I've ever seen a more surreal scene."
>>
>>33644270
Stretch our hand out to her. "I wanted to see you."

>>33644308
A fan of the classics? Yes, this.
>>
>>33644316
>>33644292
Veto. We're here for a heavy talk, not a romantic date.
>>
>>33644332

Gee, I guess someone should've told Mio about that.
>>
>>33644332
So did we decide to tell her *everything* or are we leaving the Cybele thing out?
If we do the former, a kiss will be bad.
Tell her that we have to have an important talk first and she has to decide if she hates us after it.
>>
>>33644332
He says without a dialogue suggestion.

Still, I think we should try and salvage the mood a bit before the kiss.
>>
>>33644332
We will do both. There's an order to these things, though. Our feelings have to be clear first, or like with so many Natsumi conversations we'll say things without their significance getting across. As soon as that's done we share the secrets properly.
>>
>>33644270
"Mio, you are beautiful. If I could act according to my feelings, I'd just kiss you right now.
But I called you here to talk. And you might regret the kiss after I told you everything."
>>
>>33644347

We are not telling her about Cybele.

We are never, ever doing that. That will fuck things up with Mio forever. You guys are really, really blowing this scene, I just want to say.

> [ ] Kiss her.
>>
>>33644388
>>33644373
>>33644357
Leave the kiss for later or don't do it at all.
Don't do this stuff on the spur of the moment.
>>
>>33644406
This whole talk will likely fuck things up. We should deal with it before going any further with the romantic relationship.
>>
>>33644270
Kiss de girl.

>>33644406
Isn't that the reason so many people want to tell her about Cybele?

>>33644429
Dude, love is spontaneous. It's choking, compelling and vile, because it makes what you do to get it worthwhile. You can't plan or organize it, because then it's not real.
>>
>>33644458
Yes, that's the way to go.
Tell her to postpone the romantics for after the talk.

>>33644461
>Dude, love is spontaneous. It's choking, compelling and vile, because it makes what you do to get it worthwhile. You can't plan or organize it, because then it's not real.
We KNOW what we intend to talk about. There's nothing spontaneous about kissing her now.
Doing it is a fucking dick move. She will hate us for all of eternity for doing it despite knowing what we are about to tell her.
>>
>>33644461
Dont bring that up. It's the same thought process that has fucked us over so many times.+
>You can't plan or organize it, because then it's not real.
Joker doesn't love Mio. The whole point is that Joker isn't sure about his feelings and thus wants to let Mio know the truth before going any further.
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>>33644492
>Joker doesn't love Mio.
That's questionable, (And I'm a Hecate fan) but I agree with the rest of the sentence.
He feels that he's the asshole with too much knowledge and the upper hand in terms of emotions. He wants her to decide, because she's the vulnerable one here.
>>
People, we are about to let a girl know that we are killer with a record track record and that her own powers are the reason why her life is so fucked up. Do not kiss her unless you want to look you're purposefully manipulating her.
>>
>>33644507
>That's questionable
One of the theories is that Joker either doesn't truly feel love or can't differentiate between different forms of affection and love.
We know that Joker is fond of her but as of now Hecate was the girl he was closest to actually loving.
With Mio it's too foggy to say for sure, which is why Joker mostly treats her like an over-affectionate older brother would.
>>
>>33644510
Yeah.
Kissing her now is basically a retroactive "I don't give a fuck about your feelings" or a "I already know that you will forgive me because you are my bitch".
Both are impressions that we should avoid.
>>
>>33644532
Part of that is the Cybele thing.
We can't really show affection after we fucked Cybele. Due to guilt.

As I said: It's questionable. That doesn't mean that he loves her. But it's possible.
I mean, look at how jealous and dickish he was when he saw a possible challenger for Mio's affection. She's obviously important to him.
>>
OP when are you running digi-slut quest
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>>33644532
Unsupported by in-story material. OP wrote Anon as bitterly jealous when he saw Naoya talking with her at the cafe. He was clenching his fist so hard he reopened the stab wound.

>>33644540
I'd say it's Joker properly responding to her feelings, and the effort she went through to set up the costume and mood, and wanting to acknowledge both before moving on to the heavy stuff.
>>
>>33644574
>Unsupported by in-story material. OP wrote Anon as bitterly jealous when he saw Naoya talking with her at the cafe. He was clenching his fist so hard he reopened the stab wound.
Wasn't that because the players wrote in stuff to make Anon rather annoyed?
>>
Oh right, to bring up some bad memories of the past, did we ever decide if we wanted to stick Legion Armiger into the hat machine?
>>
>>33644574
>I'd say it's Joker properly responding to her feelings, and the effort she went through to set up the costume and mood, and wanting to acknowledge both before moving on to the heavy stuff.
And she will still hate us for it after the fact.
Not kissing her now and telling her that we need to talk first, shows her that we aren't a remorseless asshole. That we don't act like it isn't fucked up.

>>33644594
Yes.
Still, it's canon. Half of his character is based on interpreting our ridiculous acts. Like the Dating Sim arc.
>>
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>>33644574
>set up the costume and mood
Thank you anon, you just reminded me to ask why she's dressed up as she is and why she wanted to meet here. Next posting though, OP's already at work.

>>33644600
I think we decided not to in order to reach another Limiter level ASAP.
>>
>>33644574
>I'd say it's Joker properly responding to her feelings, and the effort she went through to set up the costume and mood, and wanting to acknowledge both before moving on to the heavy stuff.
Kissing her in this situation is not a proper response to her feelings. It is a dick move. Praising her and complimenting her is more fitting than going over and forcefully kissing on the spur of the moment.
>>
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>>33644330

> Stretch our hand out to her. "I wanted to see you."

Her face lights up - With the soft, sweet joy you've glimpsed before, like a radiance from within. Mio's head comes up; Her lips curving in a smile, hesitant, tentative - Her voice trembling, almost on the verge of breaking as she says-

"I - I wanted..." A deep breath, steeling herself - "...I wanted to see you too!"

She takes a step forward - Then another, forgetting herself; She's not used to walking in a gown like this, and Mio stumbles with a startled cry, nearly overbalancing-

>>33644321

...But you're there to catch her.

Two long strides, and your arms curl around her waist - Her face buried against your chest, her soft gasp revebrating through you; Mio's gloved hands resting lightly against you, the flush spreading all the way to her ears. She's blushing, now, as she finds her footing; Her face upturned towards yours, a haze to those green eyes.

> "You're beautiful. Like a princess from a fairytale."
> "Strangely enough, I don't think I've ever seen a more surreal scene."

You're not sure if she can stand on her own - Her hands coming to rest on your shoulders, her soft weight settling against you. She weighs nearly nothing; The fabric of her gown rustles against her legs, her hair almost platinum in the silver light of the moon. This close, you can almost feel her pulse as she leans against you, *into* you - Mio's fingertips tracing small circles against your coat.

"Really?" she says, in that hushed whisper - "...Anon-kun; You really think I'm beautiful?" It's the echo of your words that sends the slightest shiver through her; Her body curving against yours, as she nestles against you.

>>33644388

> "Mio, you are beautiful. If I could act according to my feelings, I'd just kiss you right now. But I called you here to talk. And you might regret the kiss after I told you everything."

(Continued)
>>
So, which items should we get?
I'm in favor of getting one relic, one VA and one research.
>>
>>33644640
VA, Scranders, and Axel Grips. Sound good?

And Wata has a point about Hellions. We going to continue charging for the duration, OP?
>>
>>33644669
I'm in favor.
>>
>>33644612
Fine with me, I just consider it a gamble, for an alternative to the Lucifer Bits, with a chance at something Hellion related. Or something else entirely, because he was a "high level" player.
But that's still just a gamble.
>>
>>33644618

Her breath catches; A sound that's not quite alarm, not quite relief. You feel the lines of her back, her shoulders tighten, as if she's been expecting this - Something complex, something fleeting, passing across her eyes like a shadow...

-And she lays a gloved finger against your lips, her touch as delicate as a butterfly's wing.

"-I know," Mio says - She's trembling, now, an odd melange of trepidation, of worry, of anticipation shading her words; Her gaze meeting yours, for the space of a moment...Before she has to look away, her heart in her eyes.

"Anon-kun...I *know*."

A slow breath, carefully composing herself.

"I know that, t-that..." But then she can't go on, her voice falling to a whisper. Overcome, Mio's eyes glisten with unshed tears -

"...That I'm not - I'm not..."

"...But please." It's a whisper, almost a plea - "Anon-kun...I just - I know it's selfish, but...I want to be with you for a *little while longer*." Her throat works, as Mio swallows, hard - Past the lump in her throat, her hand clasping yours.

"Whatever you decide - Even if you don't choose me...T-tell me on..."

"...the last day..."

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33644640
>>33644669
>>33644699

(Just to confirm: One Void Anchor, Scrander Propulsion System research, and Axel Grips?)
>>
>>33644737

Sounds about right.
>>
>>33644737
Yes.
>>
>>33644722
"It may be too late by then."
"And I didn't come here to decide. I'm here to give you a choice. If I don't tell you now, I probably never will."
>>
>>33644722

Oh god. Oh god, that poor girl.
>>
>>33644640
>>33644669
I really like the look of micro-scale suspensors, personally.
>>
>>33644722
"Mio, I'm here to let you decide before I make any decisions.
And for that, you need to know."
>>
>>33644722
Tell her about cybele
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>>33644786
>Cybele
That's the least important thing right now.
>>
>>33644786
Get out.
>>
>>33644786

I'll veto this, because that's a great way to piss her off. We can tell about the red world, but not Cybele.
>>
>>33644715
It's definitely a gamble, which is why we've only ever done it once. Then again, that gamble paid OFF; Helix Gigas is better as our right hand than he ever was in Pazuzu's hands.

>>33644722
"Mio, I want to get this right. I'm done holding back or hiding who I am. I choose you, but I want *you* to choose *me*, not who you think I am."

>>33644737
Sounds good to me.
>>
>>33644802
Vetoing your veeto.

Voting for cybele
>>
>>33644786
>"Hey, Mio, just to let you know: I fucked a moon princess behind your back."

Yeah, no. Veto.
>>
>>33644813
>I choose you,
Wata, please. Let's keep Anon's feelings out of this.
It's unfortunate, but not everyone has your opinion.
>>
>>33644813
Nice phrasing.
>>
>>33644813
>I choose you, but I want *you* to choose *me*, not who you think I am
The rest is fine, but not this. get your head out of the melodrama hole, please.
>>
>>33644752
>>33644753

HOLLOW SUN: 8.2%

VOID ANCHOR: 1

RESEARCH:

> [X] SCRANDER PROPULSION SYSTEM

RELIC UNLOCKED:

AXEL GRIPS:

> A miracle of miniaturization, the Axel Grips are hold-out weapons of masterful craftsmanship, linked to the same firing circuit: When activated, the Grips discharge twin Cobalt Lasers from their pinions, high-intensity rays with ferocious cutting power. While lasting for the span of less than a second, the azoic lasers have serious anti-armour capacity, and can shear through the target in a single scything sweep.
> The Axel Grips can only be fired once per transformation - Each use consuming the entire charge within the compact fusion cartridges. Notably, while these are weapons of great precision and accuracy, the breadth of the resulting beams are extremely narrow; It's quite possible to miss at longer ranges, or otherwise misjudge the duration of these weapons of last resort.
>>
>>33644961
Exactly what I thought. Been a while since I got an upgrade right. Is it possible to use Cobalt charge to recharge them?
>>
>>33644999
It seems like my "JQOP watched Iron Man 2" comment was right on the mark.
>>
>>33643705
>http://pastebin.com/GxbD8pcJ
Didn't we already have the Samael Circuit?
>>
>>33645070
This is the most current version of the Hollow Sun guide: http://pastebin.com/iMMCqccw

I'm guessing it wasn't copied since it was lower on the thread.
>>
>>33645070

(My apologies, I'll have to amend that.)

>>33644999

(Unfortunately, no. It functions on the same properties as your Scrander's lightning bolt.)

>>33645024

(Ironically, it's just occurred to me. The Axel Grips are actually more like digital weapons, though they can be used in much the same way - The resemblance was unintentional.)

>>33644759
>>33644768

> "It may be too late by then."

Something in your voice - The urgency of your words - reaches Mio. When she looks up, there's a new look in her eyes; A dawning worry that eclipses the imminent heartbreak, as she begins to inuit that you may be here for another reason.

Perhaps she already knows what's coming, because - For the space of a breath - you glimpse her fear. It's stark, unalloyed; The terror of the unknown, of an old nightmare recurring at last - The instinctive shudder coursing through her, as abruptly as if she's been immersed in freezing water.

> "And I didn't come here to decide. I'm here to give you a choice. If I don't tell you now, I probably never will."

"A...choice-?" Mio echoes, faintly - Her arms unfasten from yours, as she withdraws; Her footfalls clicking against the tiles underfoot, drawing a step away - Another. The silver moonlight lends an ethereal cast to her features...Accentuating, rather than diminishing, the confusion in her eyes - Confusion that's slowly shading to a kind of dread.

> "Mio, I want to get this right. I'm done holding back or hiding who I am."

Who you *are*-

Your words hang in the air, in that timeless moment; Mio's brow furrowing, her lips shaping each slow syllable-

And around you, amid the sweet scent of blossoms, the white bark of the trees shining like snow in the dimness, there's a half-voice on the very edge of perception - A whisper from the acid ocean, from the beach of black sand.

Joker, joker, *Joker*-

A memory, nothing more.

(Continued)
>>
>>33645135

> "Mio, I'm here to let you decide before I make any decisions.
> And for that, you need to know."

It's colder, somehow. Mio's breath swirls in a puff of white cloud, as she whispers, to the still air-

"What..."

Her hands rise, convulsively, to her arms. A gesture of instinctive defence, the anxiety bright in her eyes as she looks at you in a way like never before.

Then, very faintly-

"What - *choice*...?"

The hurt flickers in her eyes, as if you've betrayed her.

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33645135
>A whisper from the acid ocean, from the beach of black sand.
This sounds a lot like Hecate is still alive.
>>
>>33645166
>>33645135

> "What - *choice*...?"

Yeah, tonight just isn't going the way she expected. I don't think she's going to take it well.
>>
>>33645166
"Reality is not as it seems. And your powers are far from unusual."
Show her the NIHL sphere.
Can we do something funky with it? Like showing a glimpse of the Red or something?
>>
Do we have, by any coincidence, Asuna's sketchbook with us?
The illustrations would be useful right now. We wouldn't leave home without preparation, would we?
>>
>>33645166
"I know about your "talent" more than you do. And I can't tell you about it without revealing my own secrets."
"You have to make two choices: Do you want to hear the truth and whether you want to be by my side any longer ionce you hear it."
Whisper the next part:
"But first...does the name Hellebore tell you anything?"
>>
>>33645262
>edits post
>leaves errors
Wouldn't it flow better if you replaced the "Do" with "If"?
>>
>>33645166
"Do you remember your birthday? You told me a secret you'd never shared with anyone. I have something similar, but my story is not as pretty as your butterflies. Even so, I think it's important that you hear it, because we're connected. It's your story too.

>>33645184
That's not giving her a choice.

>>33645262
>"But first...does the name Hellebore tell you anything?"
That's how we start the story, if she accepts.
>>
>>33645300
>That's not giving her a choice.
I took the choice as "Decide how you want to handle it once you can make an informed decision, due to me telling you everything".
>>
>>33645308
We've seen what happens when you force the Red World on someone only tangentially aware of it. The only choice she'd have if we did that is what kind of mental breakdown to have. We should give her the choice of whether or not to hear the story at all.
>>
>>33645356
So the "You could have decided to take the blue pill, so stop whining" variant of perceived choice.
>>
>>33645376
If you have to be a dick about it, sure. The second part is not throwing her into the deep-end. No Red World jaunts or gory descriptions. There are ways to handle this delicately while communicating the gravity of the subject matter.
>>
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This thread is going to be some quality suffering.
>>
>>33645423
Strangely, edgefags and unfuck fags will both get what they want.
>>
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>>33645262
>>33645300

> "But first...does the name Hellebore tell you anything?"

A strange, distant expression steals over Mio's features - The word has meaning to her, quiets her; As if the surreal unreality of the scene has been momentarily banished, her lips moving slowly, shaping each word.

"-The flower..." she begins, softly - She's trembling, minutely. "My mother, she would always-" Mio's voice breaks, a little; Her wide, green eyes settling on you as she falters. Her fingertips trace against the side of her head, just beneath the silver barrette - A low shudder racking her.

"...I don't - I don't..." Mio whispers, stark confusion blossoming across her features. "Anon-kun...How did you-" There's something close to terror in her gaze, now - A gaze that is somehow beseeching. "...Who *are* you...?"

>>33645300

> "Do you remember your birthday? You told me a secret you'd never shared with anyone. I have something similar, but my story is not as pretty as your butterflies. Even so, I think it's important that you hear it, because we're connected. It's your story too.

Tautly, each word trembling with tension-

"...I remember."

> "Reality is not as it seems. And your powers are far from unusual."
> Show her the NIHL sphere.

Every motion is slow, glacial, in the frosted light. For the first time in a long, long while, you draw forth the Nihl Sphere from the depths of your coat; The violet glow, the weird unlight, is unmistakeable, here - The chill burns your fingers, but you're inured to it, now; The waters losing their quicksilver gleam, as if oil-black darkness is spreading within the pool.

Not weird. Wyrd.

A gloom descends. The secret heart of the Maiden's Labyrinth seems darker, now - Oppressive, claustrophobic, the evergreen leaves and trees glinting with hard-edged light. Even the velvet sky overhead seems to grow sullen, the colour of a bruise...The surrusation of the wind building to a moan.

(Continued)
>>
>>33645460
>"My mother, she would always-"
Wait, was I right about that one? Mio is Old Joker's daughter?
>>
>>33645460
>"My mother, she would always-"
What if her mother was Hellebore?
>>
>>33645488
The old joker is a WOMAN?
>>
>>33645488
It's much more likely to be Hellebore.
>>
>>33645451
You don't need to be an edgefag to enjoy quality suffering.
>>
>>33645501
Or Hellebore and Joker were a couple.
There is no reason why it should only be one or the other.

This also means that Mio isn't an autopilot.
>>
>>33645490
>>33645501
Hellebore was Old Joker's partner. Throws my mental timeline for another loop, but if Hellebore is her mother then Old Joker would the father.
>>
>>33645528
How are they supposed to have a kid with magic powers if they're dykes
>>
>>33645460

The Nihl Sphere is the only light in the world, now. The fog within seems to coil, writhing like snakes, forming one shape then another, as if written in liquid flame. There's a sound - A surrusation, a purring - as the anti-radiance builds; The glow of a thousand dead suns twisted into a single source.

It ensnares Mio. Her gaze goes to it, involuntarily - Is caught and held.

It draws her forward. The hem of her gown whispers against the tiles underfoot - Stained by water, now, as the Nihl Sphere's radiance hooks into her; It drinks in the light, her hair dyed black, the polished silver of her barrette tarnished - The amethyst stones almost grey.

Her breath comes slowly, reluctantly, as she reaches out for it...As if in a trance, moving with a dull, involuntary languor-

-And she stops.

Her hand, reaching, hungering, trembles mere inches from the surface of the Nihl Sphere.

"Anon-kun..."

Mio's voice is a small, embryonic thing - A distant whisper, lost and alone. Somehow, her eyes meet yours.

"You said-"

"...You said, I never did anything bad. You said - You'd cast a spell on me-"

"-To make it all a bad dream-"

"-To make all the sadness go away..."

"That I was normal in the *way that mattered*-"

"Anon-kun-" Her expression twists, contorts - Then, brokenly - "Anon-kun, I'm *so scared*-"

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33645528
I'm guessing her mother died but managed to chain her player form to Mio in order to keep herself alive. That's why she modified her Hyades mark - she wants to take over the Chalice Queen armor to gain a new physical body by helping Joker win.
>>
>>33645550

Magic powers. Duh.

The /u/boat can do many things.
>>
>>33645558
Touch the sphere to her hand.
>>
>>33645579

No, we can't do this. The girl is utterly terrified, this will break her mind like a twig.
>>
>>33645579
This. Let's see what happens.
>>
>>33645579

Just her hand? Touch it to her FOREHEAD.
>>
>>33645558
Put the Nihl Sphere in her hand.
What could go wrong?
>>
>>33645558

Oh god.
>>
>>33645558
Hide the Nihil Sphere.
"That's fine. I don't want to show you this, I don't want to put this burden one you."
"If I tell you what I know, you will never be able to forget what happens tonight. It will probably haunt you for the rest of your life."
"Mio, if you are afraid, then forget it all. You can go back you own world if you do so. You can be safe if you do so."
"This is your first choice"
>>
>>33645558
"Don't be scared. I can protect you if necessary.
You are normal. Very normal, by the standards of this city.
The abnormal ones are me, my kin and all the girls at your school. And your powers are related to ours. They all stem from the same source, the Red World.

The people that get injured around you?
You didn't hurt them. You have a protector and this protector defends you against any danger. Sometimes, people get hurt because of it. But it never actively hurts people.
It doesn't look very fluffy, but it's loyal to you."
>>
>>33645615
>>33645622
Hello captain melodrama.
>>
>>33645558

This is making me feel bad. Really, really bad.
>>
>>33645615
>>33645622
Could you possibly cut back on the ham?
>>
>>33645579
Yeah, let's risk eating her soul.
For fuck's sake, no. This thing isn't a fucking toy.
For all we know, it might kill her or fill her with the spirit of Pazuzu or something.
>>
>>33645558

That's a giant red alert. She's not capable of doing this. If we push the point, we're going to ruin her utterly.
>>
>>33645558
jam it into her hand
>>
>>33645558
Mio, if it's too much, I understand. I want to stand here with you as my real self. I want to be with you completely. But if you don't want me, then I'll go. I don't want to hurt you, but sometimes a lesser pain prevents a bigger one and I wanted you to choose for yourself whether or not to take the risk. I'm showing you this so that you can choose, I won't make the choice for you, and if it's to not proceed with this then that's okay.

But no matter what, I won't leave you unless you tell me to go.
>>
>>33645634
>>33645630
I just figured it would be easier to make the scene seems like a fairy tale. Keep up the surrealism in the speech so that if she refuses, she can convince herself that it was all just an absurd dream.
>>
>>33645654
That's fucking stupid.
>>
>>33645652

J-J-J-JAM IT IN
>>
>>33645558
"Mio, do you trust me? Don't be afraid, I'm with you and I won't leave you. No matter what."
>>
>>33645671
>I'm with you and I won't leave you. No matter what
A bit excessive. She needs to make this choice without our support. This will just push her into accepting even if she doesn't want to.
>>
(Gentlemen, I'll give things about ten to fifteen more minutes before I close the vote.)
>>
>>33645685
No matter what she chooses, whether to accept it or turn away. This is her choice to make, and she has to feel that both are valid.
>>
>>33645670
GRAB HER HAND AND TRANSITION WITH HER WHILE HOLDING THE NIHL SPHERE
>>
>>33645705
OP, please ignore the obvious troll votes, they are not voting in good faith.
>>
>>33645718
Yes, let's build another Moratorium waifu.
A Hecate replacement goldfish.
>>
>>33645558

Back off. No way this will end well if we make her do it.
>>
>>33645714
Yeah, I feel like making it clear that it's her choice is best, and also that we will stay with her no matter WHAT she picks, and that we're telling her this because we want her to know us completely. I feel we should hit those three main points.

As a manipulative dick move, though, we could act as if she's scared of us, and as if we're not good enough for her. As someone who's gone through life feeling broken and unwanted, that would hit her right in the feels. Play up the "we know we seem like a monster" vibe.
>>
>>33645728
>Anyone who disagrees with me is a troll
>>
>>33645744
When spouting all-caps they certainly are.
>>
>>33643691

OP are you Kanji-man?
>>
>>33645718
This was me. I was hoping the all caps would convince people that I was joking. At best, if we force her hand, we end up in the red with a mightily pissed off hellbore. That's the BEST case scenario I can imagine.
>>
>>33645759

(Who is Kanji-man?)
>>
>>33645773
The tripfag who trolled Tale yesterday and today
>>
>>33645742
Oh and make sure she knows that we like HER, and that we liked her before we knew her secret, and that we're doing this to help her not because we think she's "special" that way. She was special to us long before she shared her secret.
>>
>>33645787
Joker didn't really think of her as anything other than a passing friend before then, though.
>>
>>33645777
How the fuck would you get that idea?
>>
>>33645803

Was that before or after we kissed her? Because the sexual tension could power a city for years.
>>
>>33645803
Yeah, back then he learned to love Hecate.
>>
>>33645803
Because we were the only person to befriend her at all, when everyone else avoided her?
>>
>>33645815
Different types of love, man. Agape, not necessarily eros
>>
>>33645558
"You never did anything bad. Nightmares always end. Sorrow is never forever. You have never been anything but magical, as normal or special as you want to be. You don't have to be afraid anymore. I'm here."
>>
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>>33645834
>>
>>33645824
We were about to kiss before she was murdered.
She was a woman who could stand by our side.
>>
Rolled 8, 7, 5 = 20

>>33645834
So much this.
>>
>>33645834
So much anything but this.
>>
>>33645857
Until she proved she couldn't, at least.
>>
>>33645875
Too soon
>>
>>33645834
Pls no.
>>
>>33645834
Oddly sweet. Go for it.

>>33645880
It's been two years.
>>
>>33645777

(This is the first I've heard of it, unfortunately.

Also - Gentlemen, is there a consensus?)
>>
>>33645917
Ask her if she's okay with is jamming it in
>>
>>33645917
Basically? Just let her know that this is her choice alone and that there will be no turning away from the truth if she accepts it.
>>
>>33645917

Put the sphere into her hands.
>>
>>33645917
No, but there is a tendency towards gently consoling her that whatever she chooses is right for her, along the vein of >>33645834. I actually quite like the wording, but others seem to disagree.
>>
>>33645934

This.
>>
>>33645917
Let her decide if she wants to know more.

But we might tell her a bit about her powers anyway. Just to take the edge off.
>>
>>33645917
Touch the Sphere to her.
>>
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>>33645935
>>33645932
Absolutely no.
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 2 = 9

>>33645917
Hahaha. No. People are apparently still hung up on Hecate.

Excluding those, I'd say the consensus is to let her know that it's okay if she doesn't want to do this, but it IS who we are and we just want her to have the choice of whether or not to step through the looking glass instead of making the choice for her.

Whatever she decides, we're still good with her and we're not going to leave/hate her (like everyone else does).
>>
>>33645917
Give her the Nihl Sphere.
>>
>>33645956
I could agree with this I guess.
>>
>>33645834
One more vote for this. Changing the wording a bit is ok fro me.
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 8 = 14

>>33645962
Yup. Balls in her court, but we're here to support her as someone who cares no matter what the relationship status is, or what choice she makes.
>>
>>33645956
Voting for this.
>>
>>33645963
>>33645956
How can you like that? It's right out of a poorly written YF book about vampires or something.
>>
>>33645959
>>33645947
>>33645935
>>33645932
The whole point is for her to decide for herself. We must not force anything on her.
>>
>>33645978
Meant to link to Watashiwa's post.
>>
>>33645984
It directly addresses each of her concerns. It's reassuring and confident, but doesn't push her one way or another. If anyone had posted something that did the same thing better, I'd have supported it as well.
>>
>>33645984
Yeah, same complaint on this end.
>>
>>33646009
Somehow I don't think you meant to link to Watashi's post as well.
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 6 = 13

>>33645978
My post was simply that you can't make people's hard choices for them. For once, let's not play a sociopath with no concept of basic human interaction. I mean, I know it's kind of our thing, but still.

We've given her the option, and we're not going to judge her if she chooses to walk away from it. Especially since she might change her mind later anyways. Better for her to do that and still be a friend, then to have us push it on her and then resent us.
>>
>>33646022
He meant to quote Watashis and Nears posts, not yours.
>>
>>33646022
>We've given her the option, and we're not going to judge her if she chooses to walk away from it. Especially since she might change her mind later anyways. Better for her to do that and still be a friend, then to have us push it on her and then resent us.
That's pretty much what everyone else was saying anyway. People are complaining because it's overly sugary and doesn't seem to fit the situation.
>>
Rolled 8, 2, 1 = 11

>>33646040
Fair enough. I know that I'm no good at writing, so I just wanted to state a position not actual dialogue.

I mean, either way it could horribly, so might as well let her make the choice.
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 3 = 6

>>33646042
Oh, yeah. I can agree with that.
>>
>>33645980
>>33645970
>>33645968
>>33645963
>>33645962
>>33645940

> "You never did anything bad. Nightmares always end. Sorrow is never forever. You have never been anything but magical, as normal or special as you want to be. You don't have to be afraid anymore. I'm here."

Mio reaches out. It's so close, now - A heartbeat from touching - Reaching towards the Nihl Sphere, towards the light impossibly distant, yet infinitely close. Her brow furrows, as the violet radiance fills her eyes...That strange, surreal glow casting her features into stark relief, as she-

She *tries.* You can see the internal conflict rage within her, two equal and opposite urges - There's a torment to her expression, as her fingers curl into claws; Her lips shaping a word, a breath, a thought...

The light begins to fade. It's all going away; Diminishing to nothing, shrinking away, the radiance of dead suns and alien stars giving way to the familiar silvery sheen of the moonlight - The Nihl Sphere's glow dying a little at a time, as the moment extends outwards into infinity.

It's not enough. The desperation - The desire to know - the courage to take the next step, to reach critical mass - It just won't come.

Not even for you.

Her legs fold beneath her. Her knees hit the ground, hard enough to wrench a gasp of pain from Mio's lips - She's weeping, her shoulders trembling, the first tears glistening on her cheeks...Hiding her face in her hands, too ashamed to look, too afraid to *know*-

"I can't-"

"Anon-kun, I *can't*..."

Her words come in between sobs; There's shame in her voice, shame and self-loathing, her hands falling to her sides - The enchantment of the moment, gone. All ruined, Mio's hair in disarray, her face blotchy with tears, as she cries like a little girl.

"I just - I just *can't*-"

(Continued)
>>
>>33646127

The garden is tranquil, silent - The hush easing at last, the night breeze returning. Mio's crying, without restraint, the sound desolate and utterly broken, her green eyes shining with tears.

"Please don't-"

"Please don't *hate me*-"

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33646142
Now can we jam it in?
>>
>>33646142
Just fucking force the Nihl Sphere on her already.
>>
>>33646148
Won't solve anything. We can hug/console her, I guess.
>>
>>33646164
>>33646142
Hug her, then while her guard is down touch the Sphere to her skin.
>>
>>33646142
Comfort her. Hug her.

"You should know that no one hates you because of who you are. Remember yesterday [Was it yesterday?], when I suddenly ran away?
I now know why they hate you. And it's not you.
Would you like to know this part of the story or do you want to know nothing at all?"
>>
>>33646127
>>33646142

Yeah, this explains a lot about Mio. When it comes down to it, she's not strong: She needs someone to support her. She simply can't bear to inflict any more pain on herself.
>>
>>33646142
Bring the Sphere to her head
>>
>>33646148
Nope.
>>33646142
Simply hug her and pat her head as she cries.
"That's fine. There was no correct choice. Sometimes, it's probably best not to know the truth."
"I'll just say this: It isn't your power that is dangerous. There is a guardian always standing beside you. You cannot see, you cannot hear; yet, he is loyal to you and protects you, even if sometimes he causes more trouble than he's worth. The power you have is there to protect you, so cherish it and keep it hidden. I'm sure your mother thought the same when she gave it you."
>>
>>33646162
>>33646148
>>33646178

Pls no troll.
>>
>>33646173
And that's why I prefer Hecate.
I can't see a relationship where one has to carry the other. It inevitably turns sour when the stronger person goes through a phase of weakness.
A girlfriend should be someone to stand by your side, not someone to keep as a pet.
>>
>>33646142
"I could never hate you." Pull her close.

Change the subject, get her thinking about something else. "I think you have a story to tell me about this outfit. And the ears." Run a finger along one, see if it gets a reaction out of her.

"Mio, tell me about your parents."

>>33646180
>>33646171
Say nothing about the Red World. She made her choice.
>>
>>33646162
>>33646168
>>33646178
Oh pipe down already. She refused, this is over.
>>
>>33646183
So everyone who votes for things other than what you want is a troll?
>>33646184
Yeah. I've never really been big on Mio, and I don't get why everyone else seems to be. You sum it up pretty well.
>>
So, Joker can't differentiate the forms of love.
Why should it be any different for Mio? She only knows us and no one else, after all.
>>
Rolled 6, 3, 5 = 14

>>33646173
And you know what? That's okay. If she wants it to be that way, we'll support her. We won't hate her for not going through with it. God knows we'd walk away from our own situation if we could, but too many people depend on us and we're in waaaaay too deep now.

Also, we're kind of a wrecker.

Captcha: nksongo action

Time to get Congo on some asses. Let's lock and load and raise some hell.
>>
>>33646197
>So everyone who votes for things other than what you want is a troll?
It just goes against RJ's character. He was never one to force his wishes on others and he was always terrified of bringing his friends in to his world. Hell, he's still not over the fact that Nastumi is Cypher.
>>33646197
>Yeah. I've never really been big on Mio, and I don't get why everyone else seems to be.
People like cute, sweet girls. Some also believe that she is the best choice if RJ wants to fully regain his humanity and live a normal life once everything is over.
>>
>>33646211
I'm completely okay with her being weak.
I'm not okay with our girlfriend being weak.
For me, this is the end of the potential Mio route compromise.
We care for her and she is an important friend. But she is not the one for Anon.
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 4 = 11

>>33646197
Hey, she's broken just like us. We don't have to love her like a lover, we can love her as a friend or a sibling. Still be there for her, you know?

Still, Hecate might not be coming back ever regardless. Oh well, ignore bitches get upgrades.
>>
>>33646207
>Why should it be any different for Mio? She only knows us and no one else, after all.
Because she's psychologically stable while Joker has some serious issues.
>>
>>33646228
>Hey, she's broken just like us
No, she's broken in a completely different way from us.
>>
>>33646184
Joker can make her stronger, kind of like how we made Distortion Haze better. A relationship with us can make her stronger, not just so we can have someone to cry on. Not a Miofag, btw (or a Hecatefag).
>>
>>33646234
>Mio

>Psychologically stable

You only get to pick one of those in your sentence, bub.
>>
>>33646234
Mio has a major bullying problem.
Do you know what the fuck that kind of stuff does to you?
She's emotionally unstable. She's clingy and latches on the first guy who doesn't hate her.
Just like we latched on Mio after our revenge trip or how we fucked Cybele after seeing her emotionally vulnerable and freaking out about potentially losing her support.
>>
>>33646237
You make a solid point. But we can also do that without becoming a love interest. I mean, we're not trying to bone distortion haze.

Although, maybe there's some manly love option there . . . .
>>
>>33646228
>Still, Hecate might not be coming back ever regardless
I'm honestly fine with that. HEcate was what kickstarted Joker's ambitions, what made him take action. I'm completely fine with it if we keep pursuing her only to fail, because in the end, that will still make for an interesting story and give Joker both experience in life and personal development.
>>
>>33646246
>Manly
Haze is pretty fucking feminine.
>>
>>33646246
Agreed.

Kazuya x Natsumi end is true end.
Choosing either Kazuya or Natsumi would kill our friendship. We can't risk that.
But both would be no problem.

On a more serious note, I'm now more determined to search for Hecate.


So, OP, is there some kind of training that we could do with Mio?
Like, self-defense classes or shopping tours or something?
>>
>>33646260
There is no way those two are going to end up together.
>>
>>33646237
Helping these kinds of people takes years, from my experience.
>>
>>33646260
>Anon giving self-defense lessons
Do you want to further traumatize her?
>>
>>33646260
>Kazuya x Natsumi end is true end.
Didn't read the last thread, did you? Natsumi doesn't love him, and he's moving on.
>>
>>33646266
>>33646288
...I meant "Kazuya x Natsumi end" in the sense of "Hecate end".
As in "[Character who ends up with MC] end".
>>
>>33646275
It was just a half-assed suggestion.
The basic idea is to strengthen her. To help her become more stable and get over her trauma.

We know that the hate effect only happens on school grounds to us.
But what about her? Does it happen in the Café with customers?
>>
>>33646246
>But we can also do that without becoming a love interest.
Yeah, we can. I'm not advocating for a romantic relationship, just a relationship of some kind.
>I mean, we're not trying to bone distortion haze.
o bby i'd work distortion haze's rocket if you know what i mean
>>
>>33646294
That's not what that notation means. What you wanted to say was Kazuya x Anon x Natsumi.

Wouldn't work out, for the same reason Natsumi and Kazuya didn't.
>>
>>33646321
>o bby i'd work distortion haze's rocket if you know what i mean
That would end badly.
The thing would eat our soul.
It would be a very different kind of mindbreak...
>>
>>33646248
Yeah, I'm cool with it remaining as a motivation. I'm just savouring the thought of delicious tears when it's made clear.

Honestly, we're in no position to be there for any girl. We are a fucking mess.
>>
>>33646349
I don't know what you're on, we gave up on Hecate a long time ago.
>>
>>33646260
We found Hecate. She's a vegetable in a hospital.

I suppose we could kill her and release her from being trapped somewhere as a simulation - maybe.

I think we should focus more on fist-fucking pazuzu until he either dies or produces her.
>>
>>33646349
>Honestly, we're in no position to be there for any girl. We are a fucking mess.
Kotone is worse off than we. Does that count?
>>
>>33646321
Haze confirmed for best girl.

captcha: neked Justice

>Captcha confrims Haze must be ours for neked Justice.
>>
>>33646349
>>33646358
Can't we combine that?
Make Pazuzu into a hat.
Then break into the hospital and revive Hecate.
>>
>>33646384
Her body's going to die the second it's unplugged.
>>
>>33646359
Too bad that we can't run our armor in Joker's memory.
>>
>>33646180
>>33646193

> "That's fine. There was no correct choice. Sometimes, it's probably best not to know the truth."
> "I could never hate you." Pull her close.

"But-"

"But-" Her voice is faint, when you pull her close - There's a misery to her words. She knows, on some level, that she's failed; And it brings her close to breaking. Mio's fingers curl against your chest, as she leans into you - You can feel the dew of her tears against your shoulder, as she takes what comfort she can.

When her body finally wrings itself out - When her crying becomes exhausted sobs, then diminishes to nothing - she falls silent at last.

> Change the subject, get her thinking about something else. "I think you have a story to tell me about this outfit. And the ears." Run a finger along one, see if it gets a reaction out of her.

She flinches, as if she can't bear to be held by you - Or rather, as if she can't bear for you to hold her.

"I wanted-" There's a hitch to her breath, as Mio manages a tentative smile - But it looks awful, and it falls as quickly as it takes shape. Her misery is too total, too complete for her to put a brave face on it. "-I thought..."

"...I thought you'd like it." It's the faintest of whispers. Her eyes are red, her shoulders slumped - All the animation drained from her, now. "I...I really wanted to make you happy - I thought if I waited for you...If I waited for you *here*, you'd..."

The flush returns to her cheeks, and she seems to collapse into herself.

> "Mio, tell me about your parents."

"-I never knew them." There's a soft, hushed note to her voice, as she stares down at the ground; At the carnelian tiles underfoot, her dress caressing the marble. "When I was small, my mother, she-"

Her breath catches, and the silence speaks volumes.

"My father - They weren't m-married, you see? His wife..."

The shame becomes too much, and she can't speak.

(Continued)
>>
>>33646392
A warm hole's a warm hole.
>>
>>33646355
We didn't. It's just that ever since we saw her at the hospital, we haven't gotten any new clues.
>>33646358
If we find her Player form and give her Pazuzu's second eye, she will be able to go walk around the Real like before.
Also, the doctor said that she will only recover if a miracle happens. I think we can afford miracle at least once if you try hard enough.
>>
>>33646432
Also, we have the Hyades with the healing powers.
Don't forget that.
>>
>>33646443
Not for long we don't.
>>
>>33646448
First we look at the interface options.
>>
>>33646448
It still works even after Cybele went to sleep. if we're lucky, or if she doesn't die and enters permanent coma, we may be able to keep the power.
>>
>>33646457
...Then we kill them all. Yes we went over this.
>>
>>33646466
We kill them if there is no other option.
If there's a "forced shutdown" or "standby" option, we'll select that one.
>>
>>33646485
No, we kill them all. What do you think will happen if the game shuts down and leaves the champions with their powers? Will they say "Thank you Joker, we'll wait for our ladies until after the finals" or will they take the first opportunity to attack in order to get their Hyades back?

Do you want to make Joker the demon king in a fairy tale? Because we're trying to AVOID killing every other champion.
>>
>>33646403

The shame becomes too much, and she can't speak.

"I...I'm not needed - Not *wanted*-" Mio's pale throat works. "...That's why - I've always been alone. Always, always...There's no-one who can accept me. No-one who *wants* me-"

Her words seem to echo, to linger in the air, like some universal truth.

"She was so *kind*," Mio says, her eyes distant with remembered pain. "-She loved flowers *so much*..."

A spasm of frustration flits across her face. "...I can't even remember her face..."

"-Why can't I remember?"

>>33646171

> "You should know that no one hates you because of who you are. Remember yesterday [Was it yesterday?], when I suddenly ran away?
> "I now know why they hate you. And it's not you."

"-It's because of me." Mio's bitten her lip, her face pale as death - A terrible hush to her words, as if she's no longer speaking to you, but to someone only she can see. "-The other girls, they know I'm *cursed*-"

Her hands grip your arms - Tightening, almost convulsively. "Anon-kun...Why am I alive? Everyone-" You can hear the tremble in her voice, feel it through the faintest touch. "Six years ago...Even when everyone else-"

"Somehow, I'm still-"

Her gaze locks with yours, and there's something chilling in her unfocused stare.

"-Is that why you're here? Is it because...Because you're like *me*-?"

Mio's lips begin to tremble - Her expression contracting in self-loathing, as if her very world is crumbling. "All this time...A, and I thought you were - I *thought*-"

[ ] "Mio. Mio, look at me."
[ ] "-It's all right. It's all going to be all right."
[ ] "No. Never think like that."
[ ] "Yes."
[ ] Hug her.
[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33646502
I doubt killing the Hyades will change that either way.
Our best bet is to simply keep the whole thing secret.
>>
>>33646526
Feed her to the Nihl Sphere.
>>
>>33646526
>[ ] "-It's all right. It's all going to be all right."
>>
>>33646526
"Would you hate for me to be like you? Would you prefer if I couldn't understand you? If I couldn't relate to what you are experiencing?

Mio, the other girls are the ones who are cursed. You, on the other hand, just have a guardian spirit.

Mio, do you hate *me* for not being normal?"
>>
>>33646526
"Please, never say that you're like me. You're better than that. You're innocent. You're just a victim of the circumstances."
>>
>>33646526
Obviously, Mio isn't happy with the thought that we're "like her".

Well, fuck that. Yes, we're like her. And what's wrong with that. We have friends, we have people who care even though we're all . . . fucked up. There's no reason she can't have that too, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to help her have that life because she damn well deserves it.
>>
>>33646526

Wow. Woooowwwww. This girl is messed up.
>>
>>33646526
"Mio, your "curse" saved my life.
So stop blaming yourself.

And believe me, those girls are the last ones to have any say about who is normal. This isn't just an empty phrase - Those girls have even worse powers."
>>
>>33646526
>"...I can't even remember her face..."
>"-Why can't I remember?"
"She looks like you. Whenever you want to see her face, all you have to do is look in a mirror."

>[X] "Mio. Mio, look at me."
>[X] "No. Never think like that."
>[X] Hug her.

"You have it backwards, Mio. You survived. That can never be a curse."
>>
I wish Hecate didn't die.
>>
>>33646526
>[X] "No. Never think like that."
"You aren't alone, I'm right here. Start from the beginning, tell me the whole story. I will accept you."
>>
>>33646620
> inb4 but she's still alive!

I for one hope she really is dead, because otherwise, it means we cheated on her with the cosplay maid as soon as she disappeared.
>>
>>33646581

No. That would freak her out.
>>
>>33646679
Come on dude, it's completely reasonable to jump from "my girlfriend is dead" to "let's move onto #2 on the list!".
>>
>>33646581
Yeah, no, lets stop pushing that button now.
>>
>>33646526
"I'm glad you're here. I'm happy I met you. Do you think I'm lying when I say that?"
>>
>>33646695
Well, it's more like "My girlfriend is dead and I killed the murderers. Time to let myself go.
Oh, the cosplay girl is flirting with me? I guess a friendly face isn't all that bad".
It's the result of apathy. Mio just gave us back some sanity.
I don't see her as girlfriend material, though. Not with how she's now.
>>
>>33646614

>[X] "Mio. Mio, look at me."
>[X] "No. Never think like that."
>[X] Hug her.

Before she can finish that sentence - Before she can say something she can never take back - you pull Mio close. She stiffens; Turned just enough that you can feel the motion of her lips against your skin, her gasp of surprise against your cheek - Close enough to spread softness against you, as her own hands come up...

And this time, when her arms tighten, she holds you as if she never, ever wants to let go.

> [X] "-It's all right. It's all going to be all right."

>>33646581
>>33646566
> "You have it backwards, Mio. You survived. That can never be a curse."

Her eyes meet yours - Searching, seeking - and she says, very softly...

"-You mean that?"

Some of the colour returns to her face. "You...really *mean* that..."

> "She looks like you. Whenever you want to see her face, all you have to do is look in a mirror."

A soft, shaky laugh peals from Mio's lips - But there's a relief in it, though the sadness lingers in her eyes. "You always know what to say..." she murmurs; A blush to her cheeks, as she calms.

>>33646559

She shakes her head, slowly - As if she's only half-hearing you, your words having the strangest effect. That flush, the little smile lingers, as your voice washes over her:

"Anon-kun...I could never hate you." It's heartfelt, her gaze gentle - Her slim fingers moving to cover your hand. "-I wish..."

Then, almost inaudible.

"I wish."

(Continued)
>>
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>>33646726

Mio doesn't answer - Not with words.

But you feel it in the subtle shift of her stance, the slight press of her body against yours - In the warmth of her green eyes as her hand, greatly daring, cups your cheek-

Her eyes close. Her lips part, ever-so-slightly; Mio's sweet scent mingling with the haze of the blossoms, as she leans towards you - Slowly, tentatively, a quiet peace descending across her features - belied by the warm contact of her touch, her body held so still it trembles.

[ ] Free

YOU HAVE CONTROL
>>
>>33646785
Put a finger on her lips and simply smile.
Seriously, we shouldn't keep leading her on.
>>
>>33646785
Holy shit this is bad.

>>33646794
This isn't good enough.
What can we do to ease it up?
>>
>>33646785

Man. If only we'd picked her, then we could return her affections. It's almost heartbreaking to see how much she loves us when we're ambivalent.
>>
>>33646806
>What can we do to ease it up?
Kiss her on the forehead?
>>
>>33646785
NOW PULL OUT THE NIHL SPHERE AND THRUST IT AGAINST HER LIPS
>>
>>33646816
Kiss her on the forehead and tell her "You are important to me" or something like that?
How do we not make her feel like all her effort was wasted?
>>
>>33646824
We really shouldn't say anything. She decided to answer with actions, not words. We should reply in kind.
>>
>>33646841
I guess it makes sense.
Just kiss her on the forehead.
We already did it once and now it's put into context.
>>
>>33646794
>Put a finger on her lips and simply smile.
>Seriously, we shouldn't keep leading her on.

This. Maybe even tell her that. although, the outcome of the Hyades wars is still uncertain.
>>
>>33646785
"Not yet. When you're ready to hear the whole story, but not before then. I've learned my lesson about being cruel with kindness."

>>33646817
Seriously what is wrong with you.

>>33646848
If we're right about Hellebore, wouldn't winning the war for Hellebore let her back into the world?
>>
>>33646860
I am compelled to make the least funny jokes possible.
>>
>>33646870
Well, I've certainly been there. Carry on.
>>
>>33646860
>"Not yet. When you're ready to hear the whole story, but not before then. I've learned my lesson about being cruel with kindness."
That basically forces her into forcing herself to listen.
>>
>>33646860
>"Not yet. When you're ready to hear the whole story, but not before then. I've learned my lesson about being cruel with kindness."
Veto. This will ruin everything.
>>
>>33646785

Turn your head. Let her kiss you on the cheek.
>>
>>33646886
>>33646907
This
>>
I'm taking a shower.
Try not to fuck everything up in the meantime.
I'm in favor of just silently kissing her on the forehead.
>>
>>33646907

Go with this. She's going to kiss us, it's less awkward than trying to kiss her forehead while she's doing this.
>>
>>33646886
>>33646899
I don't think so actually. She wouldn't do it for Anon before, this shouldn't change that. At the same time, it's absolutely true. There is no way we're getting involved with her or anyone who can't deal with the Red World, and we're not going to lead her on if she can't. Saying so will hurt her, but not as much as pretending everything is fine when it clearly is not.

If you want to veto it's fine, but the sentiment stands.
>>
>>33646899
Would it be ok for you if we omit the first sentence ?
>>
>>33646978
Isn't that pointless? It doesn't really have any context and will just confuse her?
I don't mind if we Anon say it as he watches Mio walk away into the night.
>>
>>33646949
I like the sentiment, but it sounds too passive-aggressive.
>>
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>>33646907
>>33646916
>>33646926

Her lips - So soft - press against your cheek, as you turn your head; Mio's surprise colours the fleeting contact, as she draws back - Her eyes quizzical, questioning, almost a little disappointed-

>>33646848
>>33646794

...But when you place your finger against her lips, she goes gentle again. There's a kind of understanding, in her gaze; With an intensity that's enough to make you pleasantly uncomfortable, the warmth spreading through your body.

Mio takes your hand in both of hers. Her gaze never leaves you, as she presses it to her chest - As if gathering something precious to herself, your touch encountering a silken smoothness, a firm yet yielding softness...And then, gradually, the pulse of her heart.

"-I'll wait for you, Anon-kun," she says - And her voice is a caress, more intimate than the warm contact. A soft breath pulses from her silky throat, her smile sweetly vulnerable; "...As long as you'll let me - I'll wait for you."

Roses bloom in her cheeks, as Mio demurely lowers her gaze; Each word meant only for you, her slim fingers clasping yours.

"So...Please wait for me."

"-Until I find my courage..."

The wind picks up. The breeze rustles the trees, stirs the water into myriad ripples. In the quiet chaos of the moment, Mio's lips move, without sound - The fading moonlight playing over her, one last time, as a cloud passes across the silver face of the moon.

Her words are lost in the night, but you can read every word - A breath, a prayer; Each slow syllable shaped by her lips, a promise to herself.

Until I can accept all of you.

JOKER QUEST

EPISODE 99

TO BE CONTINUED
>>
>>33647247
This went better than expected.
>>
>>33647247

(Gentlemen; My sincerest apologies, but I'm entirely exhausted. It's rather late on my end - Fortunately, this looks like a good place to stop.

As always, I'm always surprised by /tg/'s approach to things...But that's what makes for an interesting Quest.

Good night and God bless - You've been a wonderful audience, and I hope to see you again next time.)
>>
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>>33647281

It was a struggle to ravaging her silly, OP. You probably should know that.
>>
>>33647281
Before you're off--Cherubim and Essence cores to medium.

Night! Thanks for running!
>>
>>33647247
>Until I can accept all of you.
worry.jpg
>>
Whelp. Naoya's not going to be happy.
>>
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>>33647332

He'll get over it, he has the cripple girl.

Pic related, it's a cripple.
>>
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>>33647247
>>
>>33647281
>As always, I'm always surprised by /tg/'s approach to things...
Did you expect us to go for the Mio route?
>>
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>>33647247
That was one hell of a ride.
>>
>>33647332
Out of sheer psychopathy I'd like to dunk Naoya into a fire.
>>
>>33647401
We have, though. We managed to sink his chances without actually settling things with her. That's going to *burn*.
>>
So, next episode is the talk?
Or is it the crashing of the Hyades party?
>>
>>33648597
I hope it's the latter. Nothing more appropriate to commemorate our 100th thread by reaping everyone's waifus and causing massive suffering
>>
>>33647385

Jesus, this was a nailbiter. I kept expecting her to run away screaming when you took out the nihl sphere.

It's a little disappointing that Mio couldn't deal with the truth, actually. I thought she was made of sterner stuff.
>>
>>33648765
It is time. Cry havoc and let loose the edgefags.

>>33649040
I like it actually. Mio's always been a fragile, brittle character. She shouldn't have the strength to just plunge head first into danger like a strong person might.
>>
>>33649040

> It's a little disappointing that Mio couldn't deal with the truth, actually. I thought she was made of sterner stuff.

Not everyone is a Strong Female Character who don't need no man. More, taking the blue pill is usually the saner decision.

I'm still wondering what a relationship with Mio would be like. I keep getting the feeling that by not choosing Mio, we've derailed what would basically be a heartwarming romance. She's already so dere without prompting, being her lover would be like a basketful of puppies.
>>
>>33649527
>More, taking the blue pill is usually the saner decision.
It's generally something that will make you regret your choice whenever you feel down.
>>
Is this what you wanted? Are you content now, Hecatefags? Satisfied yet? How many more trains must be derailed in your worthless pursuit of a barely-functioning corpse?
>>
>>33649739

It is a good pain.
>>
>>33649739
At least we didnt tell her we fucked Cybele
>>
>>33649739
This is unrelated to Hecate.
It's sanity. Because you shouldn't get into a relationship with someone who simply can't comprehend you and rejects half of your existence.
>>
>>33649827

Has ANY girl reacted positively to the revelation of our other half? Natsumi was already hip-deep in the Red World, and it basically broke her. Asuna didn't even get that far.
>>
>>33650178
Hecate didnt react badly to it, once again proving she is best gril
>>
>>33650178
Hecate and Megumi come to mind.
The former was just as deep into all that shit as we are, while the latter already knew about us and RJ before she knew that we are RJ.
>>
>>33650205

The strange thing is that Megumi has faithfully kept our secret from the other smilers. We know she has, because no-one has firebombed our house yet.
>>
>>33649040
I actually spent ten minutes laughing once she refused. I was so damn nervous and on edge before that, the relief just crushed all of my self-control. I felt rather elated for the next hour or so.
>>
>>33649739
What are you talking about? As far as I can tell, most Hecate-fags were initially against this whole plan.
>>
>>33650205
Don't forget Kotone. She and Joker are basically soulmates as far as suffering and tragic pasts go.
>>
This quest man, it compels me to drink, every thread. If only to distract and keep my mind off the harsh reality unfolding on my monitor.
>>
>>33650454

I wonder if Cybele could heal Hecate's real body. She has healing powers, right?
>>
>>33650943
There was a time when I was ready to leave, because the waifu stuff made me fucking depressed as Anon will never be capable of deciding for a girl.
But by now I'm here to stay. Whenever the going gets rough, I can just focus on the flashy fights.
>>
>>33650943
I always keep something around to distract me in-between posts. Last thread it was Mushishi and today it was Chrono Trigger.
>>
>>33651017
I think it may require both Nihil Spheres.
>>
>>33651017

She probably wouldn't. She'll be insanely jealous if we revealed why we wanted her to do it.
>>
>>33651116
Depends on if we can give her a real body.
The ability to walk around in the real world permanently would likely counterbalance any disappointment at us not loving her.
>>
>>33651116
So do we put her in an Essence Grinder to get a healing relic?
>>
>>33651160
That's not how it works, Bob.
We'll need to strike a deal. Healing Hecate in exchange for the Chalice QUeen armor.
>>
Wonder if we'll ever find out what the fuck happened with Anon's family.
>>
>>33651169
Only if she dies.
>>
>>33651251

It's heavily implied they're all dead. Anon is utterly alone as a character, and even amongst other Players. There really is no-one else like him in either world.
>>
>>33651291
>There really is no-one else like him in either world.
Everyone's a special snowflake in one way or another in this setting. At least RJ has a real life, unlike Hecate and Cybele.
>It's heavily implied they're all dead.
Was his family wealthy or does he have a distant relative as a legal Guardian? He has to get money from somewhere.
>>
>>33651094
That's moving between worlds. The spheres don't heal.

>>33651017
Actually no, Cybele's power is making copies.
>>
>>33651858
>Actually no, Cybele's power is making copies.
Where did you get that idea?
>>
>>33651858
>That's moving between worlds. The spheres don't heal.
I meant for transferring both Cybele and all of her powers to the Real for healing.
>>
>>33651883
Armory.
>EXEC_VERBATIM

>An expression of CYBELE'S powers of imitation

Also during the raid, when we fixed the Scrander the power worked by making a copy of the Scrander and fusing it with the damaged version. Cybele makes copies, but it works like a healing power.

>>33651892
Don't think so, actually. For one, she's dying this arc. For another, we have no idea if her powers carry over. Lastly, we only know that her powers affect Joker. I don't think she can heal others.
>>
>>33652016
How the fuck did I miss that, considering that Accel World basically did the same thing?
In that story, the healing power turns out to be the ability to turn back time.
>>
Wait, are we planning on offing Cybele too? Or just the other Hyades?
>>
>>33652742
It's unlikely that we can be selective,
>>
>>33652742
Cybele too.
>>
>>33652835

Damn. That's pretty cold, especially since she's really given away the farm to us.
>>
>>33644618

> "I - I wanted..." A deep breath, steeling herself - "...I wanted to see you too!"

MY HEART
>>
>>33653039
Certain players consider her to be an inhuman abomination.
Don't even try to appeal to sanity.
>>
>>33653039
Why do you think I voted against getting involved with her?
>>
>>33653104

It just seems to be exceptionally cruel. She's crazy, but she's done nothing but help us. It's not like she was terrible at sex, either, though that whole scene is ambiguous.

And in return for that, we're either going to give her the big brush-off, or lock her in her prison forever.
>>
>>33653296
>It's not like she was terrible at sex
I may agree with you, but please stop this kind of retarded faggotry.

If the Hyades shut down, I intend to personally collect all their essence cores and give them to their champions.
If they die, we'll do something to honor Cybele's memory.
>>
>>33653296
It is. But this is the path we've chosen. And I for one think it will lead to fewer regrets than the alternative.

>>33653329
They don't leave essence cores behind, unfortunately. The moon absorbs them.
>>
>>33653329
How about we, you know, NOT kill Cybele? Transport her essence somewhere, probably implant into a Hellion shell?
>>
>>33653375

My theory is that the Hyades can't use player armour, for some reason. And what about the Seisin girls? They seem to be very weak players, too.
>>
>>33653375
>They don't leave essence cores behind, unfortunately. The moon absorbs them.
The Hyades absorb each other.
A system override might do all kinds of crazy stuff.
If the Hyades are real girls that live in pods, they might even re-awaken after a shutdown.

>>33653389
I actually proposed that a few times. But no one cared.
However, it might be impossible until we shut down the system. If we just make them all go inert, we can do the same thing for all the girls.
>>
Random thought:
How did Frost Caestus regenerate between battles?
>>
>>33653389
That's magical thinking. Besides, the Hollow Sun isn't going to survive the endgame. Cybele would die when the sealed environment does.

>>33653406
The Hyades aren't players, they're something else entirely. The winner becomes a Player.

The Seisin girls are odd, no idea what's going on there.

>>33653464
Some function of long excursions in the Red (?) World. At certain times everything there automatically healed up.
>>
Wait I thought Mio was asking for Joker to wait for her so that she could gather her courage and accept all of him?

I read it not so much as the end but as 'give me time' which sounds rather reasonable for a situation like this. Anon did come of as rather fatalistic and cryptic. That last one is something even /tg/ hates. So did I read it wrong?
>>
>>33653555
>Wait I thought Mio was asking for Joker to wait for her so that she could gather her courage and accept all of him?
That's correct. Hell, that was the last line of today's story content.

Wonder how Mio would react to Hellebore?
>>
>>33653505
>That's magical thinking. Besides, the Hollow Sun isn't going to survive the endgame. Cybele would die when the sealed environment does.
The Hyades have essence cores/IDs.
Don't forget: Player armor keeps Hellion equipment coherent.
This means a Hellion shell for a Hyades Essence Core would survive without the Hollow Sun.
However, there is an issue in terms of Essence upgrades and regeneration.´
On the other hand, a Hellion!Hyades might form its own form of player armor via essence collection and slowly replace the Hellion shell.

It really depends on what exactly the girls are.
There is no reason to think that the Demenses are strictly necessary.
Also, Cybele remembers the night sky. And has a real name. That makes it even more fishy.
Especially as all Hyades are created in a way that makes them physically appealing.

The Seisin girls are noted to be sleeker than normal. Which might mean "High-tech". Or "never developed any weapons or other features that stem from upgrades".
>>
Guys, can we enter the Red and ask Hellebore to show herself?
Or maybe in the Seisin space?
Because she's obviously there and watching us, as can be seen from the Armiger fight.
We might get an answer.
>>
>>33653505
>>The Hyades aren't players, they're something else entirely. The winner becomes a Player.

>The Seisin girls are odd, no idea what's going on there.

>>33653440
>A system override might do all kinds of crazy stuff.
>If the Hyades are real girls that live in pods, they might even re-awaken after a shutdown.

>>33653593
>It really depends on what exactly the girls are.
>There is no reason to think that the Demenses are strictly necessary.
>Also, Cybele remembers the night sky. And has a real name. That makes it even more fishy.
>Especially as all Hyades are created in a way that makes them physically appealing.

>The Seisin girls are noted to be sleeker than normal. Which might mean "High-tech". Or "never developed any weapons or other features that stem from upgrades".

The thing is that we're going to have the opportunity to get answers for most of this inside the Diadem if we choose to, which is why it's important that we not get tunnel visioned on Utopia Ruler's request.

We've got so many more important things to do in there than just smashing up the place.
>>
>>33653593
It's the body that keeps the core safe and keeps the weapons coherent, not the core holding the body together. Hellion armor just isn't strong enough to withstand the Red World for more than a short time; it's disposable.

And yes, there is a reason the Hyades are in the Demenses: They ARE their demenses, the human form is a tactile illusion. They change themselves to appeal to their champion, if Cybele during her freakout is any indication.

The Seisin girls are built along different lines. Same basic idea, but a later iteration. They probably would develop weapons if they fought, but they never do.

>>33653616
For whatever reason she can't--or won't--talk or help in obvious ways. If we want her help, we have to find her.
>>
>>33653813
>It's the body that keeps the core safe and keeps the weapons coherent, not the core holding the body together
What happens to a player's body if their core is absorbed?
Is it ever clarified if the body dissolves?
Because that would be the answer here.

And the Hyades girls are still way too human for being inhuman beings.
That throws me off quite a bit.
Especially as we could transport Cybele's human form into the Real, with her being conscious and capable of memorizing events.
>>
>>33653766
>We've got so many more important things to do in there than just smashing up the place.
Like steal the place or invade the moon. I don't want to wreck it, I want to use it.

>>33653900
>What happens to a player's body if their core is absorbed?
Check the thread where we drained Asura dry, or when Argent showed us his dead players. They turn into empty statues and the person inside dies.

Look, I understand that you feel horrible about the Hyades, it's an awful situation. But it's an awful situation that we do not have the power to make right, only lessen. And there are good, moral and yes, practical reasons to end them all. Do you want to leave Bishamon with a partner who wants him to attack us for power, who wants him to fight when he just wants to survive? Do you want any of the champions to be forced into loving someone, without the capacity to say no? And yes, we can't create the Chalice Queen without the essence of all the Hyades.

Also if we kill the Hyades we might be able to kill Alura, and doing that is a net positive for the universe.



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