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Welcome back one and all into a new part of our adventure.
Last time, our long-awaited reunion heralded plenty of news. We've also met with new comrades who, predictably, were lukewarm to Ama existence but you've managed to avoid a breakdown of communication. Now we set out for lands unknown to meet with a goddess and yet more new people who, hopefully, can help against that evil Pharaoh. Exciting! You made a binding promise to Ama however, that's not so nice.

Previous Threads
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Lots%20of%20Dialogues

Twitter for schedule updates
https://twitter.com/TaleOfMonsters

Perks and spells for our main character
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FFJHeWTu21_OktfrfYkJQhpV5HQw4PtFKav_QoMYjQY/edit?usp=sharing

Characters met by Arawn.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ishEn1-U1A1i3FbZ-YiQd65xk2jXpLab1XnM2hTNZvs/edit?usp=sharing

People from Muribel.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1u4hEEmOuqHF7cNUloB7Rw79JGVIEqJddOANDbmFrxI8/edit?usp=sharing

Bath smut
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rCnN1tcTnqUuIodJchGFVVnBAMVYDK-cFWbrsSOG32w/edit?usp=sharing
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''Okay, we all on the same page?'' Siegfried asked one last time, giving the assembled group a broad glance.

Naveed squad, Deruella and her posse, your group of friends, Zipangu folks, Kreszenz wayward Prince-Marshall, everyone was here in a various amount of nervousness, packing the hall with enough people to make it awkward.

''If things go wrong and our portals get shut down fast, we try our best to maintain cohesion and make our way into the smuggling road to get out. If things -really- go wrong, we'll bust out with magic toward our fall back position: the hidden boat.'' You reply, the hearts of your links steeled themselves. Even Ama looked wary. Morning lights meant a diminishing of her strength, making her unable to stand outside her anchor, so half of her body (and all of her tails) hovered above Shereen like the evil ghost she was.

Siegfried nodded toward Kyorn who returned the gesture. The dark-winged elven man held onto another portal scroll and opened it without embracing Focus, the last element needed to activate it. Inside was the drawing of a portal opening into a flat land impossible to identify.

''I've warned my wife last night, they'll be prepared on their side, all we need to do is run in two at a time, portals can't transport more people at once. Also, no mention of the cursed fox, I'll be the one breaking that new.'' Siegfried said, and with a clearing of his throat (while glaring toward Ama), embraced Focus. His body shone in gorgeous bright blue and a breath later the paper in his hands consumed itself as if a fire had lit within its core, causing the mage limbs to glower with soft golden luminescences. He clapped them together and formed an oval shape with his fingers then directed his flow outward whereupon the familiar sight of a golden portal emerged into reality, looking pretty and geometric instead of the tearing shape you've seen from people using the Demonic Throne.

For a second everyone held their breaths...

''Okay.'' Siegfried breathed out. ''It'll be safe on the other side, you'll be in Zipangu.'' He nodded to Naveed.

He and his group were the weakest combat-wise and that, inevitably, made the veteran warriors treat them like civilians despite their capabilities.

''Holy, now! Don't let those things touch the portal!'' Ama suddenly screamed.

Elina hesitated. Hadraniel didn't.

The Embodiment of love destroyed her disguise, her long white wings deployed fully with her golden embrace of Focus, making her glower almost divinely in the gloomy obscurity of Muribel early dawn. A golden shield appeared above the portal, impeding the progress of strange dark tendrils that had appeared from the ether of the world, reaching down from the roof.
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Kyorn promptly activated the second scroll as more tendrils speared out of the wall separating the hall from the dining room. The Hero showed his might, a short, thick blade of glass -a machete- manifested in his hand midswing to cut the roots momentum the instant he finished his brief ritual.

A sudden surge of aggression heralded Klesiah entry in this impromptu foray. Having foregone the usual camouflage of her glaive(a makeshift provision stick), your blue knight promptly ran toward the first portal to chop off more of ethereal vines with an expert chopping motion: new groups had burst out of the floor. A second afterward, the breach was sealed by a layer of thick magical ice.

''Her web is physical, it's fucking physical!'' Ama cackled excitedly.

The slime girl -Francine- jumped toward another breach near the second portal. Additional limbs sprouted out of her back and whipped into the invading dark tendrils in a frenzy of sharp violence, looking almost like spider legs. New golden shields and blurs of a blue halberd revealed Elina joining this defense.

''Let's go! We can keep things secured for now! In the portals, two at a time! Go!'' Siegfried waved for the rest of the party. Once Naveed and his girls went through, you grabbed Shereen's hand (prompting Ama's disappearance) and ran toward one of the portals. Hildegarde and Sieglinde rushed for the other one.

The last sight of your friends and comrades had you witness Kyorn tossing a magical blade of glass to Waltier; your world changed completely when you grabbed your yelping little sun and entered the golden entrance...

...to emerge into a large open space behind Naveed who was shielding the lamia of his group because standing atop battlements behind you and on a high castle gate directly in front were dozens of archers and the place of your emergence, which at first glance looked to be a marketplace or a mustering ground, had some very mean looking warrior species lined up roughly fifty meters away.

''We're good!'' Sieglinde screamed, rushing to stand in front of the young man, waving her arms. ''Only friends following us!''

Standing dangerously close to what was the unknown menace of your arrival was a lady with nine dreadfully familiar white tails, each tip burned with ominous pale blue power. All of them together cast a strong light in the dim morning of this new land, highlighting her regal feature, even her dark hair seemed to glow.

If Ama had dark hair, then this regal fox would look identical. How...?

''Run behind me!'' She yelled and Sieglinde rushed toward Naveed to usher his group forward as more people emerged out of the portals.
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Calling your arrival stressful was an understatement. Once everyone safely made it out of the portals you could start breathing: arrows were lowered, weapons returned to their sheets, prepared spells stopped gathering power...

''Good. Good.'' The fox woman hadn't responded to Sieglinde right away, she only relaxed once the golden intrusions were gone, a sign that sent a calming wave throughout the gathered soldiers. Her pale ears perked atop her head after she gave your group a proper look over. ''My word, if circumstance allowed I'd have prepared something much better for all of my royal guests. At ease friends, nobody wants you dead in this land.'' If Deruella presence bothered her, she didn't show any hints. Siegfried must have warned her beforehand.

With a twirl rivaling the best of dancers, the vixen joined her glowing tails in a twisting movement that, added with the vibrant red and gold colors of her long kimono, gave her the allure of a painting.

''I hope not, I've invited them.'' Siegfried spoke as the vixen gathered all nine balls magical balls around her head once her grandiose movement ended. ''Come on Ame, we could use some breakfast, we've just escaped some nasty tentacles.''

The blond man bridging the distance with the queen lifting the lingering tension from the soldiers. The foxy lady nearly leaped into his arm and stopped midway, ending in a comical near-collision by rubbing his body with her fluffy tails.

''Everyone's healthy?'' She asked, peeking around his shoulder after inspecting him. While a tad shook by having just fled from ever-reaching, infinite magical vines, everyone responded positively. ''Good. You must be Arawn Loukanos.'' Her golden gaze was made of vertical, feline iris. ''And Shereen Roshanak. You will be glad to know the interesting visitors you've sent my way are healthy, I've left them in good hands... unfortunately their quest carried them up north so you won't be able to meet.''

''Leena isn't cured?'' Concern for the young girl she met a few days ago superseded any intimidation your little sun could have felt.

''Necessity can create small miracles.'' Answered the vixen. ''All we can do is pray they put in enough efforts to reach it. Now, it's still very early, anyone is free to take a little nap until the sun properly rises. You'll find Zipangu accommodation more than adequate, though please excuse all the activity.'' She gave the man next to her a playful glance. ''I've had to make some quick preparations.''

Stepping closer and shoving Siegfried sideway with her many tails, the fox lady rested her hands on her hips, her smile, adding with the radiance of her magic and Focus, made a heartwarming sight. ''I am Ame-no-Uzume, queen of central Zipangu. Ame will suit us all fine, are you all hale enough to walk?''
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On the way, you had to keep to yourself from gawking at all the different races of Mamonos. In Muribel, lizards of all kinds and bovine type Mamonos were a majority, closely followed by canine and dangerous scorpions as warrior races. In this part of Zipangu, foxes made up all the archers you saw, while the majority of workers were insects type, a rarity because of their bad reputation. Tengus (subrace of harpies) had also been flying over the area when the portals opened and what constituted as warrior species... Were two meters tall giant spiders.

You never saw anything like them. ''Ushi-Onis'' is what they were called, they mixed mammalian physique like fur and claws with eight legs, the bulbous body was protected by hard natural leathers whilst each tip was sharpened into an exoskeleton spear. The women's hands were bred for conflict, each of their fingers was big and clumsy with natural thick claws but the presence of thumbs allowed them to hold weapons, although each one must have been carefully forged to suit their anatomy because wicked two-handers and axes had chains linking them to gauntlets.

Each of these Mamonos possessed natural regenerative capabilities quick enough to make a difference in combat, they were a genuine contender for being the strongest warrior race in the entire world... and a hundred of them had been gathered here.

The queen spent some time lavishing praises on these women behemoths and all the ones you saw (being clad in heavy armors) preened under the praises... though you didn't like the many, many looks sent your way. Siegfried and Kyorn were known quantities, Naveed wasn't fully grown yet and Waltier intense aggressiveness was enough to make anyone avoid him, meaning... It could be dangerous to stumble on a group of these gals alone.

You'd be lying if you claimed they didn't leave a strong impression, something that had everyone but Hao radiate intense disapproval.

--
Different country, different people, different atmosphere. The monarch of the land herself had not only come to greet your party arrival and stood on the frontline but also became a guide as she led everyone into what she called the ''inner sanctum''. It was the inner parts of her fortress, the living area of the royal family, and their close retinue.

It was a stretch of land big enough for a hundred families. A large garden in the middle took the majority of space there was even enough space for a small lake next to a quaint chapel, one of the three buildings. There was a proper church surrounded by healthy flowers and a few servants taking care of the gardens, the last construction was an archery range full of overgrown bamboos. Administrative buildings and rooms surrounded this living area in a square, all the space here undoubtedly rivaled Muribel palace. If you combined the mustering ground outside, then Zipangu ''royal palace'' exceeded the space of Muribel entire little divine town.
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The tour had to end inside the church. The queen did it as politely as she could but it was obvious that is where you and your links will be staying because of the circumstance of your arm... still, it was comfortable. There was more than enough space for everyone, even a few beds, sofas, and some alchemical appliances to cook everything you'd need, right there in the middle of Mother Earth sacred ground.

--

''Mgh?''

Sunlight glaring through the window... you must have passed out during the visit when you took a seat on a couch.

It was still dark when your party opened the portal whilst Zipangu was in the middle of dawn, you must have slept for... three, four hours?

Not good. Can't go wasting time.

Something warm was resting on your forehead, preventing you from rising.

''Heyo sleepyhead.'' That was Zhu, your head was on her legs. Rather, her lap... lap pillow!? ''Didn't expect me huh?'' She chuckled, you must have stiffened a little too much.

''I, huh...'' Damn, you needed that nap. ''Morning, Zhu.''

''Mh. Hao made breakfast, a mixture of eggs wrapped around a meatball, it's surprisingly good. They had the right spice to make it ''taste like home'' as she put it.'' Zhu singular chromatic eye can't move so she has to crane her entire neck downward to look at you. The way her white hair fell around her face... She's really pretty, in this wild, untamed way. ''You can warm it up without a fire, those machine alchemy things are handy.''

''Is she still glowing?''

''Yeah.'' Zhu made an awkward smile and closed her eye. ''Bright as the sun, wish it wasn't literal cause she got the metaphor part.'' Waking up on Zhu lap must have made you a little too positive. Of course, Hao wouldn't improve overnight.

''Our two evil masterminds have secluded themselves in a room, Deru posses have also stuck around here, they got a bad rep around here apparently.'' Zhu continues, her hand gently change from its horizontal position into a vertical one to cover most of your face, forcing you to close your eyes. ''Mina went to fetch Big Mom, ain't nothing else to do but wait.''

Not quite. You've got pearls to fetch. Ama is upholding her end of the bargain, now you've gotta uphold yours if you want to keep this strenuous alliance going. Or rather... that fox is the type who'd sabotage you out of pettiness.

''I'm feeling good.'' You say once Zhu removes her hand but she stops you with gentle pressure on your forehead. Her face suddenly closes in and you feel something warm and soft touching your lips, her long white hair tickle your skin.
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''Ah...Ah?'' What did... Huh?
''Oh man, I understand why people hesitate so much with doing this kind of love stuff.'' She's blushing. Zhu is blushing! Pinching her lips too but she's blushing.
''Come here.'' You insist and with a hand behind her head, she allows you to be a little more forceful in sharing a new kiss. It's... a nice sensation. Warm, humid, her taste and smell... all of it combine into making you keenly aware how alive Zhu feels in a way that cannot be replicated by the link.

''That's good.'' You remark, grinning.
''Would be a fun new habit.'' The swordswoman reply and with a gentle pinch of your sharp ears, she gently insists you get off her legs. ''Oh yeah, I wanna have a little chat with you alter tonight. It's important.''

''Why not now?'' You couldn't even hear the brouhaha that must be going on outside, the view outside led to a small cemetery. It was so peaceful... you had time.

''Nah, there's stuff to do now my dude.'' She waves and finishes the movement by grabbing her sword. ''Just a little something for this evening.''

As you fiddled with the alchemical stove, Zhu remained with you, prompting you to speak a little bit about your time in Throne Town... And you slowly became aware of your links. All four of them were close, healthy, and feeling peaceable, which transferred into you.

A good morning.

This day in Zipangu is relatively open. While you're confined into the church, nothing forces you to stay.

>Work on accomplishing your promise. The sooner it's done, the less chance Ama has to change her mind about figuring out Zerase ritual. Morning is a good occasion to take care of business.

>Break the news of Hao situation to the rest of your group. Gathering some of Zipangu experts on souls is the first step in finding a cure...

>Take it easy for once. All of your friends are together, Deruella maidens are also here, it's one big occasion to mingle and simply enjoy each other company. Isn't that what you've always wanted? (I'll give more choices afterward if this is chosen.)

>Free
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>>4828853
Thank the lord the portals actually worked! Welp, Zerase knows we was there now and she probably has an idea as to where we went. That means she knows we're about to go full Tukayyid on her ass only, unlike the clanners, we're going to actually try to *win* over show off for honor's sake. That mass of Ushi-Onis ought to be quite useful very soon. As would any relics within Zipangu's armories. We need to get a hold of that Shiki knife. That will be very, very useful if those red world princes or Floofy not-Nyarlathotep enter the fray

How long were we out and how much longer until the big ME herself shows up? We're here with all our linked girls and Zhu yes? Who currently has possession of the pearls and how would we go about summoning them here? Would it be better to wait until after we've seen a god before we try to negotiate anything? Hao still has a few days left to live right? Would it be worse to wait to find her cure or let it fester until after we've dealt with the bitch about to activate her version of an Aetherophasic engine?
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>>4828893
>We need to get a hold of that Shiki knife. That will be very, very useful if those red world princes or Floofy not-Nyarlathotep enter the fray

Reminder that knowledge of the old quest isn't needed here, since that's a fairly well-guarded secret I'll veto any attempt at getting it unless Arawn hears about it during the day.

>How long were we out and how much longer until the big ME herself shows up?
It's about 10 am, Arawn slept for a good 4 hours. ME is expected to arrive in the evening, possibly during the Hour of Lullaby, if not later.
>We're here with all our linked girls and Zhu yes?
Shereen, Banu, Hildegarde and all three of Deruella maidens are also here. Getting to know who Deruella ladies are in better detail is also an option.
>Who currently has possession of the pearls and how would we go about summoning them here?
Siegfried got them. You can impose yourself and directly demand to be led to wherever he is or make a request you need to see him urgently and wait in the church. There are a few guards keeping watch near the big doors but it's not oppressive. You can request anything you want from them and they'll help.
>Would it be better to wait until after we've seen a god before we try to negotiate anything?
Depend entirely if you believe Ama will uphold her end of the bargain. She and Deruella have sequestered themselves inside a room to work out the mystery of Zerase capabilities.
>Hao still has a few days left to live right?
Depend entirely on how she acts in the coming days. The Whitening is consuming her soul and right now she's an existence similar to an angel: belief and emotions will strengthen her a great deal at the cost of burning her existence... If she remains calm, she'll have around 6 months of life without treatment.
>Would it be worse to wait to find her cure or let it fester until after we've dealt with the bitch about to activate her version of an Aetherophasic engine?
You're the one who has to make that call.
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>>4828910
>Can't go for the Shiki knife
Damn. Well, Old Siggy knows about the red world princes and their presence there right? If he doesn't request the authorization to use it I'm sure Mylen will. She'd actually be the best one to use it truth be told. I'm pretty sure existences like angles and other immortals have trouble holding it or otherwise making use of it much like the item that likely inspired it, Black Barrel, which can only be used by 100 percent certified unmodified all beef humans/mortals. And while I do love our blueberry and respect her combat potential, I think the half-succubus would beat her in a fair fight (as if the latter would fight fair if something she cared about was on the line).

How long do we have to make good on that promise we made to that accursed witch? Can she spy on us while she's sequestered with Deru? She already did when Zhu and Klesiah had their fight over us. Any way to find out about that? If she is we should probably work on getting those pearls. If she isn't and we got some time I'm not opposed to either trying to fix Hao or getting to know Deru's flunkies/take it easy.
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>>4828940
Oh, also, the soul experts. If we do gather them could they help us learn a new spell or otherwise give us a bonus in regards to refining/leveling up one of our own?
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>>4828940
>Well, Old Siggy knows about the red world princes and their presence there right?
I can`t answer what people possibly know or not unless they are very close to you and in this case, Siggy isn`t.
>How long do we have to make good on that promise we made to that accursed witch?
The promise itself didn't have a time limit so you can tell Ama that you're ''working on it'' if she starts to confront you about taking too long. She wants those two death pearls today. Sooner is better, of course.
>Can she spy on us while she's sequestered with Deru?
She has some influence on your soul because of her contracts, otherwise, you have no idea if she can.
>Any way to find out about that?
You haven't been able to catch any hints as to how she's able to do that. Only way to do that would be to keep yourself vigilant and perhaps embrace Focus to sense any potential movements inside your soul, but that would need you to stay in it for pretty much the entire day.
>>4828948
>If we do gather them could they help us learn a new spell or otherwise give us a bonus in regards to refining/leveling up one of our own?
Potentially, yes.
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>>4828959
How long would each option take? Like, could we summon the experts and then try to get the pearls as they work something out or could we spend an hour taking it easy before getting down to business in one form or another?
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>>4828965
Oh, Kyorn went into the red world to expunge that mark on Shereen didn't he? I'm sure one of our party members and Ama went with and I think I remember her telling everyone that both the Mountain and Virtra or whatever was there in Marleon so somebody high up in Zipangu knows about it right?

Also, Old Siggy said he'd be the one to break the bad news about Ama's presence right? How likely is Ame to tell him to not give in to any request or demands from her "dear" mother? Also, would the soul experts be able to fix Tsu if they had our help? I think I recall mentioning that possibility last thread. We fix Tsu we can request anything we want and get it. Including the pearls.
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>>4828965
>How long would each option take?
Hm, I'm not too sure myself honestly. Gathering the expert will involve telling Hao situation to everyone before they arrive, the entire thing will likely take an hour or two...

I'd say each option besides hanging out will be 2 hours. Taking some well-deserved time off will probably have only 30 minutes between options, maybe.

I honestly don't like giving an exact timeframe about this because even I can't be certain how things will develop.

>Oh, Kyorn went into the red world to expunge that mark on Shereen didn't he?
That was Ama. He went in the Red World to scout.
>I'm sure one of our party members and Ama went with
Hildegarde did.
>so somebody high up in Zipangu knows about it right?
It's a logical thing to believe, yes.
>Also, Old Siggy said he'd be the one to break the bad news about Ama's presence right?
Yup.
>How likely is Ame to tell him to not give in to any request or demands from her "dear" mother?
That isn't something I can answer.
> Also, would the soul experts be able to fix Tsu if they had our help?
You remember that she's afflicted by the Immortal Syndrome? Impressive. As for that, I can only say ''You'll need to find out''.

I hate to be cryptic, but I can't give straight answers due to Arawn and the people around him not really knowing what's up. Deru and Sieglinde aren't exactly close friends with Zipangu royalty.
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>>4828984
I believe we were informed about it when we met up with Old Siggy's party. We know about it in character, though I don't think it'd be wise to try anything until that accursed parasite is removed from our arm (and possibly from our linked girls and Shereen as it may have taken the chance to multiply/spread when we rejuvenated Mina).

If it'll take a few hours to gather the experts could we simply do that and "relax" as we wait for them to show up? That would also tie into revealing what kind of mage we are and if we could fix Tsu. Again, we fix her, we get those pearls guaranteed *and*, if I remember correctly, gain access to something rather broken and stupidly powerful. Tsu is a summoner on par with a certain albino prince. She can "summon" people. People who have a hell of a lot of power if memory serves.

We don't know this in character of course, we only know that fixing her likely means we can get anything we want out of Zipangu, but if we can field Tsu in the coming battle, well, Zerase certainly won't see that one coming.
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>>4829010
>If it'll take a few hours to gather the experts could we simply do that and "relax" as we wait for them to show up?
Sure, though people's reaction to Hao's deadly disease could make relaxing a bit difficult there'll be some time to wait before people gather.
>She can "summon" people.
There are a great many rumors about the Queen-Mother of Zipangu magical power but all of them unite with the subject of summoning, a definite contender for the ''strongest in the world'' but that's likely just people hyping up the royal bloodline.

So the choice is to
>Break the news of Hao situation to the rest of your group. Gathering some of Zipangu experts on souls is the first step in finding a cure...

I'll give this about 30 minutes of waiting before I work on it, I want to see if anyone else wants something different.
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>>4829019
I can agree to this. This is really killing two birds with one stone. Try to fix Hao, inquire as to how to fix Tsu and if we can and then do it the pearls are in the bag and it nets us another major asset. Hell, just us swearing to aid those experts in their research might secure it.

We're basically a walking talking STC in front of salivating techpriests. If they have any political clout (and I'd bet they do) they're gonna leverage it to get at us. Give him the pearls, give them to the soul mage. We want to use him and he'll let us if he gets the pearls so give them to him. We're not asking. Give. Him. The. Pearls. Now. Right now. As in, as I'm finishing this sentence. Put them in his hands. Why are they not already in his hands? Put them there now. Yes? In his hands now? Good. Now make sure he comes back alive. Oh, the things we can do with him...
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''I'm really worried about Hao.'' You confess during breakfast. ''I don't know much about her disease but she oughta at least take it easy and avoid getting emotional to keep this burning in check, that'll mean not coming with us tomorrow.''

''She'll need to be tied to a chair to prevent that.'' Zhu responded. ''Hell, she'll break the thing. Keeping her calm ain't gonna be easy.''

''We might be in the best place to do something about her disease.'' The more you think about it, the stronger your kindle of hope is growing. ''Zipangu got a reputation when it comes to rituals of souls, that Whitening isn't an unknown disease at least, Sieglinde knew about it.''

''Only one way to find out yeah?'' Zhu says while gently stabbing into your breakfast and gently hover the fork in front of your mouth. ''For now, get your fill of Hao homeland.''

--

''You got me? I need you to fetch Siegfried, ask him to gather the best of the best when it comes to matters of souls, and meet us here in the church. It is an urgent matter.''

''Will do sir!'' The guard -a fox lady with only a sword on her hip- saluted you and took off running with reinforced speed. There were two more in the immediate vicinity lingering about awkwardly. You gave them a friendly wave before returning inside, these two had apologized about the entire sequestration situation and looked genuine about it, too.

Now came the hard part...

The main hall of the church was a cozy place of worship, showing yet again how casual Mamono took to worship instead of humanity's very, very serious disposition. Two wooden benches lingered in the center, a few sofas were put throughout the hall, chairs and tables for games could almost make one mistake this hall as a tavern playroom. Albeit one with a -very- serious ban on gambling.

The altar was the real deal, the icon of the sun resting on a hand was made of solid gold and placed where it belonged. Stained glasses representing Mother Earth, Father Sky, and beautiful natural landscape enforced a proper atmosphere despite all the ''casual'' furniture that'd send an inquisitor frothing about heresy.

This situation in the church was yet another application of Monstrous childish logic. Surrounding Mother Earth with positive energy was one way to worship her due to her origin: not every day should be serious.

You weren't in any place to force judgment when it came to religious practice but something so simple and relaxed wasn't... bad. The lack of dedicated a priest was rather odd, but this church was also in the middle of Zipangu royal living space, they probably did things differently here.

''It's time?'' Sieglinde asked you. She immediately went to your side after you emerged out of the backroom.

Klesiah, Shereen, Zhu, Elina, Sieglinde, Banu, even Hildegarde were here. (Waltier had demanded she stays away from him) Mina's presence, unfortunately, had disappeared inside the altar but your blueberry knight was confident in her return.
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Deruella maidens were also slowly but surely mingling with your friends. Meruse Taskaros, the warrior lamia. Sonja Meril, a fearsome Manticore, and of course the mysterious slimegirl Francine. These three weren't part of what you'd call your close group of friends but their ties to Deruella will undeniably make it impossible to avoid them in the future, you might as well do your best to think of them as close allies.

And right now you'd like to have the entire world as your witness if it meant helping Hao.

''Girls.'' Your voice resonates, everyone looks at you. ''I have something very important to discuss.'' You do your best not to look at Hao but she knows. Her face is serene, even her emotion, she knows that you know... It's that simple.

When you reveal her situation, you do it next to Mother Earth altar in some vain hope the goddess would hear.

You don't need to speak for long. The Whitening is easy to explain.

Sympathies and worries floods toward Hao, the girl doesn't seem to acknowledge it. She stands with interlocked fingers on her belly, smiling back at the group in simple contentment, the link was equally transparent. No anger, no worry, only... peaceful acceptance.

''I've been meaning to ask you, Hao, when? When did you realize your condition?''

''Hm...'' Your short-statured foreign knight put a finger on her bottom lip. ''Hao realized it shortly after getting on the boat. Perhaps it began after we woke up?''

''You've forgotten many things, right?'' Sieglinde continues, her concern and worries make her press on.

Hao nods. She's so amiable -peaceful;- about this that it genuinely squeeze your heart. ''Many things about childhood are murky, can't remember mom name and face anymore.'' Gods! ''That's okay. Feelings are still there, the emotions of those memories haven't left, context can be remade...reconstructed?''

''That's not okay at all!'' Klesiah voice resonates with her outburst. ''You're my comrade now Hao, you're Arawn second Knight. Taking care of your body and health is of utmost importance!''

''Strength will matter more tomorrow.'' Hao emotions are not only controlled but peaceful. ''Everyone knows this. Many will die, not only will Hao lord put himself in danger, but Hao family too. Even families from foreign lands might die... Strength will matter.'' Her scaly hand closes into a fist, yet she does so gently because she doesn't need to show the intensity of her conviction. ''It is not the answer to life, nor should it be the sole purpose of a knight but tomorrow... Strength will be the answer. For now, Hao is strong.''

Nobody could reply. Hao green gaze held an inner strength that was almost infectious. This short girl plucked from a foreign land, encountered entirely by chance... might genuinely be the wisest amongst you. At least, in her way. Hao silently walks beside one of the benches, grab one of the metallic handrails and bend it toward her like one would a piece of cloth.
>>
''Oi, you aren't even reinforced!?'' The manticore stammer, Hao simply nod. Such a feat wouldn't be particularly impressive from a reinforced body... but Hao wasn't. Her natural strength was exceeding all expectations.

''Strength.'' She taps her bicep. ''Strength.'' She gently taps her heart. ''Holding a blade means walking beside death.''

''No, death is to be rejected!'' The peaceful acceptance filling Hao heart makes you lash out. ''Hao, I know you want to help, I know you want to protect everyone here... I understand that feeling, but I won't accept it if it takes your life!''

''Hao...'' Elina looks surprised when she speaks out. ''...That disease makes you similar to an angel and I'll tell you from experience. Emotions can be very invasive, they are a source of power, yeah, but you don't have the body to control em, to keep em from completely burning you out. There's a reason I have those wings.'' She gently touches one of those rosy-red appendages. ''These are an extension of my soul, they'll regrow even if they get cut. They act as a controlling force, without them, angels would burn out like you're doing now.''

Hao says nothing, she just nods, smiling.

''I've asked for souls expert to come, I'm they'll be able to help you...''

''...Will Hao be forced to stay if the cure cannot allow her to follow her lord tomorrow?''

You wince, that was the answer she expected. She's analyzing your emotions through your soul link better than you ever could.

''Then fight me, my lord.'' That was the last thing anyone expected to hear, the wave of surprise is unanimous. ''Force Hao to stay.''

She's serious. She might have the look of a peaceful priestess inside the church now, but you can feel the intensity of her emotions... and with that you come to a realization.

The lifestyle you had in Throne Town might come to an end tomorrow. One of the driving forces that kept you walking in Muribel was the hope of returning to it, or at the very least, adapt to changes with the people precious to you.

Unlike everyone else, Hao had to deal with completely changing her world. All the roots she had in the tribal homeland had been purged, not only by her escape while stealing the heirloom of her tribe but coming to Throne Town itself. New culture, new language, new expectations... she never complained once, she opened her heart to the people around her and was rewarded with Sieglinde's little bubble.

Tomorrow, all of this could end. Again. Hao rejected such a reality with so much intensity that... might be the source of the disease itself. Your knight is an open book without secrets, it's why she isn't saddened by the loss of her memories because those were part of an old life she, ultimately, left behind. Everything that surrounded her mother was precious beyond words, but she was willing to sacrifice that.
>>
You almost feel like crying. Almost. She's always been a quiet, warm girl but the sheer conviction she holds with protecting you and everyone else... Might have been the cause of the Whitening emergence. If you were a poet, you'd make a verse about calling that bending reality.

''Arawn?'' Klesiah gently shake you. All of your links felt unified concern. Damn, your emotions must have jumped all over the place.

''We have a few wooden swords and shields for exercise.'' Meruse idly says.

Your shield had been taken for repair, thought it might be impossible to have it by tomorrow.

>''If that is how you want to see your lord conviction, Hao, let's do it.'' Start a duel with your knight immediately.

>''Let's wait and see what the expert will say, okay?'' Strong emotions only feed the disease of the soul. For Hao health, hold yourself back...

>Free.
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>>4829313
Wasn't the plan to leave her as is until after the operation anyway because this condition ironically increases her survival odds in the short term? Can't we assure her that we're taking her with us no matter what the experts say? I really don't wanna fight her right now. Will any of that calm her down?
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>>4829497
>Wasn't the plan to leave her as is until after the operation anyway because this condition ironically increases her survival odds in the short term?
Was it? The disease is highly likely to kill her in combat if she gets too emotional. It does increase her survival odds a great bit but there is a big price to pay. She's genuinely risking burning out her soul, which is what had Arawn (and Siggy) so worried.
> Can't we assure her that we're taking her with us no matter what the experts say?
Of course. Hao dragged everyone at her pace because nobody could expect that sudden charisma to come out of her. Doing that will tie into the second choice.
>Will any of that calm her down?
She's actually calm. Almost eerily so. Arawn doesn`t sense anything aggressive or even negative coming out of Hao, a duel won't be inherently bad. Impossible to tell how, or what exactly, she wants by doing that. Hao isn't good with words
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>>4829512
Does she know about getting emotional=death in combat? After all, if you die in the middle of a fight you can't protect anyone.

I say we wait for the experts. Given how strong she is now she might accidentally hit us too hard and seriously injure us. I fear strong guilt would also burn her up faster.
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>>4829528
Oh, can the burnout chances be lessened because of our link with her? Could we act like a "heat sink" to keep her from "overheating" as it were? It might cost us memories but hey, what's a few of those lost and gone if it means the preservation of a wonderful waifu's life?
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>>4829528
>Does she know about getting emotional=death in combat?
Now she knows thank to Elina. It hasn't changed her disposition.
>I say we wait for the experts.
Do you also promise to take her with you no matter what?
I'd like another anon vote if possible, this is a fairly important moment with Hao.
>Oh, can the burnout chances be lessened because of our link with her? Could we act like a "heat sink" to keep her from "overheating" as it were?
You have honestly no idea but it's a trail of thoughts you could possibly exercise on.
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>>4829542
I'd like to say no, but then again she's another legendary hero tier combatant right now and even if she's risking her life even if we're victorious. Plus any losses we incur will leave emotional scars of guilt. Do we have to promise now or can we wait for what the experts have to say before making a promise? We haven't broken one yet and I'd hate to start with Hao.
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>>4829562
>Do we have to promise now or can we wait for what the experts have to say before making a promise?
You can wait. Though, Arawn is compelled to promise right now.

No promise will just be the second choice
>''Let's wait and see what the expert will say, okay?'' Strong emotions only feed the disease of the soul. For Hao health, hold yourself back...
>>
>>4829569
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viDKam_hmGM

I don't like it, but it'd also be in character for us to promise Hao right now. Plus, again, she is a major force we'd be leaving behind and even if it guarantees her survival it lessens our own chances and any losses we incur will weigh upon her for the remainder of her days.

Thought this song would be rather fitting right now. You a fan of that series? Yoko Taro likes suffering as much as you do, I'm sure you'd like it.
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>>4829609
So...
>Wait for the expert to come but promise Hao to take her on the battle no matter what.
I'd like to work on this update tonight so I'll give a whole hour of waiting for any other players to make their voices known. Update will happen tomorrow.

That I am. I got hooked on Drakengard and followed Yoko insanity from there. Nier and Automata are strong contenders for best videogame ost I ever heard, I can only think of Umineko being equal.
>>
>>4829621
I thought you would be. I kind of felt a bit of his potential influence here. Good point on the music too. Keiichi Okabe is criminally unknown by many people. Dude is right up there with Nobuo Uematsu and Daisuke Ishiwatari in my book for best video game music and he ought to be just as famous, but isn't. Hopefully Automata's popularity and the remaster of NieR:Replicant will remedy that.

Also, gonna be way late to tomorrow's thread. Wagie cagie finally starting to get in the way of me stopping you from getting us on the suffering train.
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>>4829650
That's okay, it always takes a few days for our friends to show up and this thread will be going for a while as usual.
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>>4829663
Oh, we should ask her if she thinks she can remain calm in battle. If she says yes we promise to take her with. Again, if she gets emotional she'll die and a dead knight cannot protect anyone.
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>>4829764
Unfortunately, Arawn makes that promise before that little precision can happen.
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>>4829771
Why? It sounds like something we'd ask. Oh well, we should ask it anyway. Impress upon her that grim reality. Dead knights protect/save no one and if she dies it might mean we die too.

For her sake and ours, she must not give into her emotions for a power boost as it'll certainly kill her right afterwards.
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>>4829781
>Why? It sounds like something we'd ask.
The more time Arawn spends with people, the less cold and calculating he becomes. It'd be a bit too impersonal to impress that right now.
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>>4829793
So long as it gets impressed before the operation begins it's cool. She needs to hear and know that. She does us no favors in dying in a blaze of glory.
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>>4829800
Of course, the coming people will make that clear.
>>
''I've no intention of forcing anything on you.'' You respond, resisting the influence -nay insistence- of Hao will. The more she wanted that duel, the more nagging the thought that it was a bad idea reinforced itself. ''I think people here can help you, Hao, but no matter what, you're free to come and fight tomorrow. Do not believe for a second that I will hesitate to trade my life for yours if it comes to it.''

You bridge the distance as you speak. Hao stands still, hands behind her back, having to increasingly crane her neck upward as you get closer to keep eye contact. There's a distinct tinge of sadness flowing out of the peaceful prairie that is her emotion and that motivates you to do something rash.

''Mwee!?'' She squeaks when you lift her off her feet. Her small scaly tail taps your thighs in vain protests. Not so composed anymore, Hao?

''We'll find something that works with your condition soon.'' You continue, walking to sit on one of the couches, your voice and steps resonate throughout the church. ''Come here girls! Hao doesn't need to be treated with velvet gloves!''

Without the link, you doubt you'd have ever been able to figure out this little fear of your delightful knight. She might honestly have the strongest emotional center out of every one of your links but even she isn't immune to being influenced by feelings despite trying so very hard not to. Being treated differently because of a disease... was something Hao was very afraid of and in turn, thinking you were doing just that had caused that eruption of sadness.

Soul links are amazing. To understand so much so quickly without talking, without hurting one another.

''Sound good to me.'' Elina chuckled. ''I want more group hugs.''

''We'll find a way to keep you healthy.'' Sieglinde had nearly run to your side, Hao blinked in surprise when the princess put one of her large hands on her shoulder.

''You girls!'' You heard Klesiah, she was waving toward a group on the left. ''Get here, come on!''

Standing, or rather loitering far behind, were Banu, Hildegarde, Shereen, and Zhu. The maid and the older chaperone promptly shoved the hesitant women forward. ''Nothing to worry about!'' Klesiah encouraged them. Zhu groaned something about ''sappiness'' and forced a blushing Shereen to insert herself into what was, clearly, your ''family bubble'' of monsters.

To think Sieglinde was afraid of being the outsider. Klesiah might not know the significance of what she did, you'll have to thank her later.
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Slowly, Hao allowed her arms to roll around your neck and embrace you properly. You positioned your body so her face wasn't shoved on the couch, Sieglinde tried her best to envelop one half of Hao back in a hug whilst Elina took the remaining space. Someone gently petted her tomboyish dark hair. Hao strange horn for ears scratched your face as she completely lost herself in the overwhelming warmth that was this precious family bubble, tear openly ran down her face as she couldn't keep her composure anymore... and her feelings steeled into something incredibly familiar.

A certainty reinforced by the Whitening itself.

''Hao will protect everyone. Always. Always. Not just her lord.''

You might be an amnesiac but that feeling, that desire, was something so core to yourself... Hao would undeniably make full use of the boons granted by her disease no matter the consequence.

''You won't do it alone.'' You whispered to her quietly and she nodded, sniffling and giggling.

To paraphrase the queen: necessity can create small miracles. If you can't do anything on your own, surely the unanimous resonance going on throughout your links would be the foundation for what is needed to counteract Hao affliction... You don't need something permanent. Just enough to keep her soul intact tomorrow.

Once your group began to peel off, Hao refused to stop her hug and you didn't have the heart to stop her indulgence (rather, you felt that doing so would displease all the women here, instinct alone made you understand that!). The warrior made herself comfortable, shifting from a hug to sit on your lap, whispering something that left you speechless.

''Hao love you lots.''

She interrupted your reply by placing a finger on your lips and gently tapping her heart. Gentle peaceable warmth flowed out of her like a summer breeze... A new pair of arms wrapping around your neck awakened you to reality.

''If you keep feeling so warm I think I'm going to cry.'' Klesiah joked and, caught in the atmosphere, extended a hand to cup Hao cheek, trailing the semy-dry path of a bygone tear with her thumb. ''You know, Hao, I'm not sure what it means to be a knight anymore.''

That sudden statement was answered by a confused blink.

''Arawn doesn't want the knights you see in the books or the more real, boring ones you find throughout the Allied Kingdoms.'' You feel the soft hair and warm cheek of your blueberry as she rubs her face against yours like a cat.

''What is a lord without knights I wonder?'' Sieglinde commented.

''Dunno, what is chivalry amongst monsters?'' You reply. You've yet to see any Mamonos calling themselves knights. You did come across a bunch of self-titled paladins... not exactly a good memory. ''I've no intention of robbing you two of what you want to be, but I made my stance clear on this whole ''perfect image'' and ''self-sacrifice'' thing. Zhu had the guts to say what I wasn't willing to.''
>>
Sometimes, someone needs to get punched in the face by their best friend.

''Suppose it'll be up to us to figure out this whole knight business huh, Hao? Maybe we oughta start with helping distressed men.''

Hao still felt confused but her eager agreement annoyed you.

''Start with dames.'' Your grumble earned many chuckles. From the corner of your eye, you saw Shereen looking lonely, eyes downcast. Your worry was acknowledged by Elina and the angel walked next to her to give her some company. Further back, Banu stony disposition looked even more serious than usual.

--

''She called herself Jab and told me I was her rival or something, pretty stupid stuff lemme tell ya. I got no clue what she looked like so I can only tell you guys how Adam described her, but that bitch was a shapeshifter supreme.'' Zhu paused to take a drink.

''What you described sounds much more like a chimera.'' Meruse commented, one of the few people genuinely interested in Zhu tale. ''Yet she called herself a... Jabbersomething?''

''Jabberwock.'' Zhu affirm, wiggling a finger. ''Bitch kept regrowing what I was cutting, vomiting ice and fire at the same time, also changing her body to throw me off. Honestly without that dude ranged support fight would have been a total coin toss.'' Zhu continued to relate her battle against that monster that nearly killed you.

In a quiet spot, Banu and the manticore were playing a game of chess and from a cursory glance, they seemed to be taking the game seriously.

''I think its a bad idea to believe the Whitening as being a temporary angel because Hao doesn't have my natural limiters here.'' Elina wings flapped. ''And while angels bodies might change with their belief, it doesn't result in shapeshifting as you see in monsters. I'm not sure how, or even if you can keep control of the... cascade of emotions that'll reinforce you but I think it'll be a bad idea to see some familiarity in the Whitening just because I'm here. I don't like it, anyway.''

''Perhaps you can describe those moments where your emotions truly did bend Mother Earth reality?'' Klesiah asked. ''That -is- one of the effects of that Whitening right?''

Your close friends were openly discussing Hao disease, the girl in question wasn't feeling awkward about it. After the excitement, the atmosphere had settled into a peaceful one... Your guests were taking their damnably sweet time.

A knock on the door finally happened.
>>
''I'll get it.'' Sieglinde said, prompting everyone in the church to regain some form of decorum. When the princess opened the door... a hand suddenly grabbed her jaw and pushed her back!

''You! YOU!'' A feminine voice screamed and resonated throughout the church. ''Did you REALLY think I wouldn't find out about your awakening!? And your eloping!?''

Daiyu Jawahir, Demon Lord in the flesh, pushed the heavy church doors with the wings on her hips, nearly crashing them on the walls.

''Muribel! Fucking Muribel! The one country ruled by the most determined psychopathic bitch in the world! The one person who wouldn't be afraid of my vengeance! You went in there with a fucking warparty! Do you have any idea about the barrel of shit we avoided!? One of the Demon Lord important guests being kidnapped, all the others going to war!? Where's your little sister!? Where's Deruella?''

''I-I had no...!'' Sieglinde managed to pry her cheeks off her mom hand. ''How did you even get here!?''

''By flying.'' Daiyu let go of her daughter. ''King Gil Rosario of the Commonwealth arrived with the church Matriarch in the Allied Kingdoms earlier this week so I left Belphegor and your GOOD sister in charge.'' Behind Daiyu, you saw a nervous Siegfried next to someone you couldn't identify because of Daiyu wings. The only hint of this individual was the thick blond tails dancing in the wind.

''Sis... I mean Deru is here but she's busy!''

''Oh, she'll feel busy once I land my hand on her ass!'' Daiyu began to stomp her way into the church, thoroughly intimidating anyone that breathed.

A mother justice inside this church might be weirdly holy.

>One does not stop a Demon Lord. Let things happen, keep your skin intact.

>Interpose yourself on Daiyu warpath. Disciplining Deruella is one thing... Daiyu might level the entire church if she sees Ama! Also, interrupting the mastermind think tank sounds like a bad idea. You -need- answers for Zerase ritual.

>Free.
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>>4831193
Looks like we made a good choice with Hao. That's 4 confessions now. Truly, we're becoming a harem protag.

As for Daiyu, damn, this is both potentially very good and very bad. Good, because if we can convince her to join the party that tips the odds well into our favor. Daiyu *should* be able to handle at least one red world prince. Bad, because, well, this current situation.

I say we interpose. "Daiyu, your grace, please stay your wrath and give us all a chance to explain. We've discovered something in Muribel that could endanger you, your family, and every nation on the planet. Deru is currently working on a solution and we can't afford to interrupt her now."

Spill the beans about the Apotheosis ritual and our collective intent to stop it. Millions of innocent lives, not to mention her and her family, are on the line here. I think old Siggy might have tried to but there's a rather significant grudge there and she's pissed already so she likely ignored all attempts at dialogue. Don't mention Ama or any dealings with her or who Shereen is until after she's calmed down. If she hears about either of those in this state she's likely to blow the church up or simply decapitate our precious princess with a flick of her wrist.

Also, if it looks like she's too pissed to listen to reason call in our favor. We're not kidding or exaggerating. It's the last resort though. I would have rather used it to get state funding for our magitek revolution but maybe she can be convinced to do it conventionally.
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>>4831687
It's a bit too late for me to update today, I'll let your option simmer for an hour before locking it and working on it tonight.
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>>4831193
Just for posterity, since that hour has already elapsed. I should manage to catch the start of things tomorrow assuming it starts at around the same time

I think >>4831687 has a good method, though I'm not sure that it will halt her completely.
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>>4831694
Oh, one little tweek. Daiyu's likely going to ask us how we know about that ritual and that it's what Zerase's going for. I don't think we'd be able to avoid saying "Ama told us" in response. Fortunately, Hilde's testimony on what she saw in the red world and our party's experience in Solemnval and the shit that happened when we activated the portals would count as us "independently verifying" the words of the witch over just blindly trusting her. Something very, very bad is about to happen in Muribel.

Still don't mention anything after the Solemnval encounter in regards to Ama until she has calmed down. Hell, she'll probably detect that we're hiding something but I think we've gained enough good will with her to at least manage to calm her down before we reveal the shit that will... well, it's good that we've gotten on her good side let's just say that.

Since this is essentially a negotiation will we get more choices as they develop?
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>>4832193
Oh, also, it's too bad we can't ask him but we still possess his memory core. Once that damned parasite is dealt with we should scan it for info on the ascended pretender. Gardy might have knowledge of the ritual they used in antiquity. Might be the missing piece if Ama and Deru still can't figure it out.
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>>4832193
Oh, just remembered the logic chain that led to the discovery of the ritual. Fortune (i.e. Deru) prophesied that Muribel would perish in somnolence and that Solemnval was involved. Once Anais got kidnapped we saved Hilde and booked it with our party to go save Klesiah as attempting to rescue Anais as we were was suicidal both to us and her. On the road to Myrtidal we met Armin (curse that fucker) who told us more about it. After a ton of shit with Leena and killing the shard of a lesser god we got into Solemnval with her and met Ama. We demanded answers and Ama told us about the curse of that place, Anais, the death pearls and the ritual and how it was all connected.

Further issues like the appearance of that fog that was prophesied as well as the Red World BS pretty much confirmed what Ama said. Not sure if this helps but anything to try to get Daiyu to calm down.
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''...Arawn.'' Daiyu green gaze sharpened into a spearpoint when you stood in front of her.

''Good morning Daiyu.'' You greeted back, hiding your clenched fists behind your back. An angry Demon Lord was intimidating but compared with that time she cornered you inside an empty room, looking straight into her dangerous eyes wasn't making you squirm. ''I'm speaking out of turn here but please don't do anything rash.'' The way her face crunch in displeasure does make you tremble. ''We've uncovered a very dangerous menace in Muribel, something that might endanger our whole star and Deruella is trying her best, right now, to figure out the enemy plan... Please punish her afterward.''

''That's what I've been telling you.'' You hear Siegfried say, causing the tall angry green-haired mother to whip back and glare at him, shutting down any other words coming out of him.

Sheesh, the enmity. Anger and the Demon Lord don't mix well.

''Arawn is right mom!'' Sieglinde runs beside you. ''Cool off, okay? Zerase is planning some kind of apotheosis, we've sent a messenger to commune with Mother Earth and one of my confidants needs the help of souls expert...''

That word seems to surprise her mother. Daiyu's head wings flaps at the same time as those extending out of her hips. She takes a proper look at the small crowd that was your circle of comrades.

''To think you were all in a coma last time I visited...'' Daiyu whisper. ''...confidant, huh?'' A playful edge comes into her voice as she put her palms on your and Sieglinde heads. ''Did you fuck my little girl, Arawn?''

''Mom!?'' Sieglinde is loud enough to spare you making any reaction. All of your joints have locked down.
Ow.

''I bet he want to!''

Sieglinde's tail snap and nearly spear into the ground. ''Not now, Zhu! Shut up!'' Either that reaction satisfied the Demon Lord or the long, hard glare she gave you calmed her down, Daiyu doesn't press on the issue.

She steps back to properly identify the small crowd and her gaze settles on someone in particular. ''You?'' She asks, tilting her head at Shereen whose expression immediately turns into that familiar agony. Throw me in a hole and bury me! you can hear her mental voice.

''I-I am Shereen Roshanak, your grace!''

''Zerase youngest...'' Daiyu lingering resentment evaporate. ''...You've struggled a whole lot, haven't you?''

Still unable to meet Daiyu eyes, your little sun shakes her head. ''I would rather call myself fortunate, despite everything.''

''There's a whole lot to unpack, mom. I'll tell you everything but I need you to promise me that you won't freak out, okay?''

''And I shall take this time to introduce myself.'' An imperious womanly voice imposes itself as the new Mamono walks into the church.
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It was the individual you glimpsed earlier, the second fabled ninetailed kitsune of Zipangu. Where Ame and Ama tails showed lean, brilliant fur, this woman's tails were thick enough to rival the outside gardens. Her fur projected a healthy organic golden color reminiscent of a wheat field that carried into her entire person in a way you could describe with one word: abundance. Puffy blond hair cut shorter than you'd expect for anyone of royal blood, golden eyes, large clothes...

''I am Tsukiyomi, queen-mother of Zipangu.'' The lady announces. You've read a few books mentioning her, many attribute the nation of Zipangu creation to her.

''Thank you for coming, your grace.'' You bow.

''Everyone here fought with my husband, we stand amongst friends, sir Loukanos. Above all, I have to apologize.'' Grasping her hands, Tsukiyomi bowed when you raised yourself. ''You and your links were the honored guests of my nation and all this trouble still befell your party... But now isn't the time to dwell on the past. You've called for experts on souls?''

You nod.

''Normally, we'd send you in the college of souls up north for the real, in-depth experts but all of our capacity with portals is being used to muster soldiers and gather equipment.'' Siegfried walks beside his wife, pushing himself through her abundant fluff. Must be nice... ''We're expecting the matriarch of the tengu soon'' Daiyu choked noise briefly interrupt him. ''And she has an excellent grasp with spiritual manipulation, so that's another professional. I've been the anchor for many wonderful ladies for quite a few years now, I think my experience could help you.''

Sieglinde dragged her mother toward a couch to begin an intimate briefing of all the upheaval that befell Muribel.

''Thank you both.'' Sensing your intention, Hao walks beside you and a surge of affection have you grasp her shoulders. ''My knight here is afflicted by the Whitening.''

Siegfried and Tsukiyomi exchange a hard look. The queen-mother gesture for a couch. ''Would you like intimacy?'' Ask the vixen.

''No, everyone knows, everyone can hear now.'' Hao answers.

''Okay, then I'll tell you right now there is a cure for your affliction... One that needs time. Months, upward of a year. You intend to fight tomorrow don't you?'' By the time Tsukiyomi had taken a seat she had already reached for the most important subject. She only needs to look into Hao's eyes for an answer. ''I'll tell you the usual cure nonetheless, so you can at least embrace a little optimism with the reality your situation isn't hopeless.'' She nods to her husband.
>>
''The Whitening is an infection of the soul that results in general atrophy of the barrier keeping your emotions from influencing it, it usually incubates for one month before manifesting. All souls are subjected to emotional aftereffects which strengthen bodies and magics but those are always exceptional circumstances, except for angels. Curing it is simple: A Spirit-Healer helps you rethread the holes in your soul while you are kept in a peaceful retreat to avoid stress. Meditation, reading, regular exercise, good eating... After a period of six months doing these activities, the infection will usually be healed and your barrier will have naturally regrown. The memories you've lost to the disease, unfortunately, cannot be recovered.'' Siegfried deliver a well praticed speech.

''Hao cannot accept that.'' She affirms without rancor or nervousness. ''Strength will be needed tomorrow.''

''Hm... Now that I think about it.'' Tsukiyomi briefly covered her mouth, her large fluffy ears twitched. ''I can't recall any cases of an enduring Whitening for people sharing a link.''

''Huh.'' Siegfried frowns and leans back on his wife's fluff. ''That's true.''

''Oddities make no cure.'' Tsukiyomi ends. ''Help is what you're truly after, that is what matters most. Time, as always, is the enemy of necessity.'' She stifles a small yawn. ''Doing anything but the proven method could be dangerous or carry unforeseen side-effects, I trust that is understood?''

>Keep the discussion on this oddity. If Hao condition is outside the norm... it could lead to an equally unorthodox solution.
>Keep yourself on track. You asked for expert helps in matters of souls, you need something tangible to help Hao.
>Free
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>>4833434
>Keep yourself on track. You asked for expert helps in matters of souls, you need something tangible to help Hao.

We should focus on getting her past the current crisis, so we can focus on fixing her after the current situation is resolved.

We will probably still suffer without her support, but it shouldn't be something we can handle.
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>>4833510
Giving it the usual 30 minutes
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>>4833434
Ok, what option is more likely to get us the "heat sink" solution? She only needs to survive the coming battle. After that, 6 month vacation.

>>4833510
We already promised to take her with. It'd be a real dick move to go back on our word.
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>>4833533
>Ok, what option is more likely to get us the "heat sink" solution?
That is ultimately up to your judgment.
The first option is to explore the disease at length and identify all of its potential oddity with how it normally acts. When it first appeared, why it's even there in the first place when a soul link should have prevented it.
The second option is to move onto finding a cure that'd let her fight tomorrow asap.
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>>4833434
Couldn't we do a little bit of both? I mean, we have that link and it should be the key to something, but we also want to ensure her survival tomorrow. Any risk to our life if hers is extinguished by the disease? What category does that question fall under?
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>>4833543
>Couldn't we do a little bit of both?
Hm, not quite, this is mostly about how to first breach the subject of that disease. You can try to identify all the odd potential oddness going on or move onto a tangible solution asap.
> Any risk to our life if hers is extinguished by the disease?
As the anchor of many souls, you're actually fairly safe against the death of a link.
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>>4833550
So we could try for a solution now, and then if we hit a wall go for the oddities? Or would it be more efficient to go for oddities first and then solutions?
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>>4833557
Going for oddities first will be safer but more time-consuming.
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>>4833560
If oddities first is the safer play in regards to finding something that'll work to keep Hao alive (that is, we're more guaranteed to actually find a solution that'll work) then that's the play. Otherwise time's of the essence.
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I'll go with my given option in ten more minutes.
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Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>4833594
Alright, that means we have 1-1.
>>4833510
Rolling to break the tie and leaving a 10 minutes margin.
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>>4833600
I fucked up the order, as usual, I should have linked in reverse.

The ''safe'' option is what the dice landed on.
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>>4833603
How much more time we talking and how long until the tengu gets here. Given Daiyu's reaction it would seem the two of them don't get along very well.

Also, wasn't Tsu supposed to be screwed up? Not complaining if she's using a lucid episode to help us but still, wasn't she suffering from Immortal Syndrome?

Finally, is Sieg spilling *all* the beans to her dear mother? If so god I hope we bled off all her remaining hostility. She is *not* gonna be happy that we (well, Shereen, but still) made a deal with the fluffy devil and that a "shard" of her is here! Though, hopefully, she knows that killing that shard won't do much to actually hurt her nemesis, just annoy her. Daiyu's many things, but petty doesn't seem to be one of them.
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>>4833620
>Also, wasn't Tsu supposed to be screwed up? Not complaining if she's using a lucid episode to help us but still, wasn't she suffering from Immortal Syndrome?
That's the rumor. The Syndrome causes endless fatigue and makes someone sleep much more than usual (often upward of 18 hours a day) before falling into a long hibernation. It doesn't cause a change of personality or things like that. Tsu might have taken some stimulants or maybe she's in a good phase right now. Or she's not sick at all.
>Finally, is Sieg spilling *all* the beans to her dear mother?
She's doing her best to be delicate.
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>>4833600
Wait, so that's oddities winning? I'm just catching up on everything after three weeks without internet so I'm behind.
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>>4833744
Yeah, I fucked up the ordering when linking. One was for the first vote made by anon, Two was for pursuing a more thorough investigation of the disease.

Sorry for starting so late, I had a busy month! Things have settled down thankfully.
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>>4833744
Short version of what's going on right now: Ama has petrified her ghoul apostle Mimiru (that ghoul girl we met way back) and Anais to keep them at a known location and prevent Zerase from just killing her if things go badly for her. We got two days before Ama reckons the wannabe god snek will be able to break the curse and continue with her plans. This being day one. Thus, if we don't get in there and save her by tomorrow's end Anais and Mimiru are likely going to die during the assault.

On Zerase's part, she's already started to activate the ritual of Apotheosis. If completed, everyone in Muribel will die and she will become a god. To make things even more complicated, there is at least one and possibly two red world princes in/near Marleon. That thing that was inside Shereen we killed? Yeah, like that only these two are much worse. Thankfully Shereen still seems to be a critical component but we've sworn to get her a confrontation with her mother and Ama really wants to see that too. Hence the pearls, to ensure that if Zerase tries something drastic she'll have a chance to counter it.

We decided to bug out for Zipangu so we could gather a more substantial force and hit Zerase like the fist of an angry god among other considerations like removing a soul parasite in our left/shield arm (that makes red world trips and fusion activations a very bad idea) and finding out a way to save Hao.

Also, In exchange for Ama cooperating with Deru to fully figure out Zerase's plans and the ritual so as to minimize casualties and maximize success odds on all fronts, we need to get a hold of two of the death pearls in Old Siggy's possession and hand them to Ama. This is a promise we made she's holding us to, but she'll cooperate in good faith for now. We better have those pearls by the time we launch the assault though or else Ama will probably screw things up because she's like that.
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''Could we go into details about what you said, your grace?'' You speak gently. ''I know this is redirecting the subject but... how is it possible for Hao to have the Whitening if, by your own words, you haven't seen any cases where someone suffered from that affliction despite having tied her soul to another person?''

A nervous sentiment starts to spread amongst your friends, even Sieglinde has stopped talking to listen.

''A body naturally fights diseases and infection, the soul is no different.'' Tsukiyomi begins, pinching her chin. ''Soul-Links create an anchor of strength, a pool of raw power that helps all the souls reinforce one another against such diseases. The Whitening is a fairly common illness, it ought to have been extinguished in infancy before anyone realized it was taking roots.''

''We were separated before awakening from our comas, could that be the root cause?'' Your question is first answered by the shaking head of the queen-mother.

''Distance muddle and weaken links but you were still side by side for a long time; The Whitening needs a month to incubate. Hadraniel was housing all of your souls, she'd have noticed something odd during the year. All of you were also joined in Throne Town...''

''Ah!'' Shereen gasps, causing all eyes to turn to her and in her nervousness, she immediately spills what crept into her mind. ''I-I had to use a blood ritual to re-energize Arawn soul! Since he's Hao anchor, could that have... done... something?'' Her voice quieted to a whisper by the end of her sentence due to Tsukiyomi's hard stare.

The short body of the queen-mother went rigid. ''Did anybody die?'' She asked in a cold, steely voice.

''Absolutely not!'' All traces of weakness disappeared from your little sun. ''I demanded hearty donors, they were tested for illness and fitness!''

''Phew.'' Like that, all intensity evaporated out of Tsukiyomi's short body. ''Then it is no cause of concern.''

''That ritual not only reenergized my soul and that of my links but also finished Hadraniel healing.'' You comment.

''Indeed, the nation of Zipangu has a debt, good princess.'' Tsukiyomi bow caused Shereen to fluster, it takes Banu stepping beside her for her tail to calm down.

''Madame Tsukiyomi, did you not inspect all of our souls when we awakened?'' Elina question seems to kindle a flame of passion inside the queen-mother, the vixen almost glares outright at the angel.

''Indeed... I wasn't the only one either.'' Tsukiyomi acknowledge calmly, the fire in her eyes was purely intellectual. ''This means The Whitening occurred after you all left. When did you begin to notice changes in your memories, dear Hao?''

This isn't an easy question. Hao take a full minute to think before answering. ''Before the day we went into Marleon, yes.''
>>
''That's when Arawn reached Myrtidal!'' Elina snapped her fingers. ''It was one hell of an ordeal. The day after wasn't any better since we got ambushed by a freaking soul eater! It didn't touch anyone at least.'' Anyone that matters. Is the silent thought flowing out of the angel.

''Okay, let me summarize.'' Klesiah, who had spent her entire time behind you, speaks while holding out her fingers.

''The Whitening has a month of incubation and can be detected. Everyone had their souls inspected after their awakening, so Hao's soul was fine during her stay in Zipangu.
Soul Link is an automatic cure no matter the distance.
Shereen blood ritual of rejuvenation -cannot- have caused this disease.
Hao began to notice her memory trouble the day Arawn reached me in Myrtidal. It likely began a little earlier than that.
Zhu noticed Hao's highly unusual soul after first seeing her, which by all means, shows signs of a fairly advanced case of Whitening.''

There was a long silence, everyone's expectation was directed on the queen-mother. Tsukiyomi eyes remained closed, people waited... and waited.

''Tsu.'' Siegfried gently shook her, causing her entire body to jump.

''Ah!'' she gasped, a faint blush settling on her lips. ''Apologies, I spaced out.'' She coughed and nodded at Klesiah. ''An apt summary, young lady.''

''Hrm. Putting it that way, it's like your gal got worse the closer she got to you.'' Redness crept onto Sonja cheeks when she realized she spoke louder than intended. She proceeded to hide behind Meruse.

'That seems to be the case.'' Tsukiyomi yawned. ''I'm not so confident in the solution I was going to propose now, all these oddities are making me doubtful.'' She cleared her throat, exchanged a glance with Siegfried, and continued. ''My eldest daughter has a nature of soul, I've had some experience with this wonderful esotery.''

She stops to take a sip of warm tea. Throughout the discussion, Hildegarde went back and forth between the kitchen and the hall to satisfy anyone's needs. Truly perfect maid.

''Soul and blood magic have a natural synchrony. They meld together harmoniously and rarely cause problems with Mother Earth reality.'' Impressive, if her daughter has your origin, they must have explored it thoroughly. ''I was thinking of reinforcing Hao soul with the help of gentle Shereen and all three of you links.'' One tail point to each mentioned individual. ''With Arawn as the filter and anchor, his magic could create a finely attuned thread to reinforce Hao barrier, leading to the natural extinguishing of the fire consuming her.'' Yet the queen-mother shook her head. ''I'm not so sure about that anymore, I've imagined this solution by assuming she suffered from a regular case.''
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A bolt of thunderous inspiration nearly makes you jump. ''Your grace Tsukiyomi, could it be possible to spread the effect of that disease to me and perhaps of my links? Could its potency be diluted?'' You can nearly feel disapproval wrapping around your neck. You were insinuating infecting yourself and potentially three more people with the Whitening. No worse insult for someone looking to heal! ''Only for tomorrow. Strength will be needed, after that, we can stay a year in a monastery if we need to.''

''Do you think it's possible?'' Siegfried asks of his wife who covers her mouth with a hand, radiating silent objections.

''What a wonderfully awful idea!'' A voice echo from the church entrance.

''Guh!'' Daiyu leap to her feet and bolt toward the backroom yet the individual rush forward in a loud cascade of wind.

''No no no not now my dearest bachelorette!'' Her accent and mannerisms make it seem like she's in the middle of a play. ''I need you to stop rejecting all of my offers!''

''Worry about your eggs, sweet Mother Mercy!'' Daiyu whines and shakes off the bird-woman hold on her arm. ''Whatever, shut up! We've got important things to worry about. Keep your horny head together cause one of my daughter confidants needs serious help!''

''I've heard.'' Is that... her friend? Is that woman a friend of the Demon Lord?

The person who steps back from the (much) taller green-haired succubus could be mistaken for an angel because of the dark raven wings coming out of her back and her gorgeous, exotic beauty but a closer inspection revealed proper monstrous disposition. The peek of naked legs coming out of her low-cut kimonos showed natural mutation with the ruggedness of birds and her fingers were a little too thin and long to look normal.

''Tomiko.'' Siegfried acknowledge the bird-woman.

''Of the Umeno clan, yes. This crowd is so much more interesting than little old me. Scion of the Loukanos next to a descendent of the wild tribe of outer Zen...'' You feel trapped inside a glass jar under her scrutiny. Thankfully her attention is short. ''...would you allow me to pet your tail one day, dear princess?''

Shereen's only response is a squeaky ''huh?'' when the matriarch makes a deep bow in her direction.

''You understand what's happening, Tomiko?'' Tsukiyomi ask sternly.

''I've accomplished my eavesdropping duty.'' The winged woman rise, hips sashaying as she walks toward the couch you're sitting in. Flying, or rather bolting, out of some random corner of the church is a small dark bird. The animal land on her hand and she give it a quick kiss on its belly, prompting it to fly out before the doors fully close. ''My specialty is in the manipulation of spirits and summoning and over the years I've learned this talent can be applied to souls... albeit willing ones, of course. Consent is a magical thing.''

''What do you think of Arawn idea?'' The queen-mother continues, completely ignoring Tomiko exhausting energy.
>>
''Awful.'' She comments while giggling. ''Still better than yours. My instincts do resonate with you, dearest Tsu. The Whitening is a well-documented phenomenon, we'd have caught its first sign when we inspected her, for it to have progressed so quickly...'' She brings the red fan she was holding onto near her face. ''...Make me feel like someone did something naughty instead of what ought to be a proper disease. Anyway, what this manly elf said is doable.''

''Hao, what do you think?'' Klesiah reaches for her fellow knight, grabbing her shoulders in support. ''You're the one who has the final say.''

''Anything is fine.'' She responds firmly, looking up while grabbing one of her friend's hands. ''Hao will fight tomorrow. Hao wants to see the day after, whatever is needed for that, Hao trusts everyone here to do the right thing.''

''Good girl, you honor me beyond words.'' Tomiko makes another deep bow toward your knight whose plain confusion almost turns into embarrassment.

Hao doesn't understand the intricacies of souls, thus she leaves her fate in your hands.

>Tsukiyomi first solution makes sense. A mixture of blood and soul ritual will create a physical pathway directly into Hao soul. With slow, careful ministration, you could reinforce her natural barrier and her disease will take care of itself during the day, like a cold, she'll be fine tomorrow.

>Proceed with your idea. Absorbing the disease into your soul, perhaps spreading it into all of your links is... stupidly rash but it -will- grant further strengths for the coming battle. Hao won't have to worry about burning out by herself, at least.

>Wait. You still have a parasite inside your arm. Who knows what will happen if you commit to doing a deep diving into Hao soul. Such an operation will weaken your consciousness, you'll have to retreat into your mindscape, Hao will lower what remains of her barriers... Surely Mother Earth herself could help you?

>Free.

Will continue tomorrow. I had an awful night of sleep today so progress was slow.
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>>4833923
How much time did this take? Looks like Tomiko is rather... infatuated with Daiyu it would seem. Also, didn't Armin visit us all while we were collectively comatose? If so than we are *definitely* waiting until after the parasite issue is resolved one way or another. He made a pretty obvious deduction, we care about those girls. He could only do the dirty deed to one of them least it get detected and nipped in the bud and he certainly couldn't have put the parasite in us within the inner sanctum of Zipangu. So he picked one at random. Or perhaps, the one most likely to be vulnerable and not undergo as much scrutiny (i.e. Hao over Sieg and Elina).

When he bumped into us on the way to Myrtidal all the pieces for his little Greek Tragedy were finally in place and, by shaking his hand, almost sealed our fate. Shook our hand, activated the proximity whitening curse upon Hao, and then likely hoped we'd try something. The parasite takes advantage of the opening and the final piece of his sick, sadistic plan falls into place. What would have happened? Who knows, but we know it would have been extremely bad for us all!

Damn that bastard! Damn him to hell! Fucking not-Nyarlathotep struck on multiple levels!
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>>4833940
>Also, didn't Armin visit us all while we were collectively comatose?
That he did, that he did... Do remember people tend to forget him.

One vote for waiting.
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>>4833946
Other people do, we and Ama don't. Mention him, remind everyone here of the floofy fucker. Didn't he touch Old Siggy's scaly daughteru as well? She needs to be scanned thoroughly for parasites and soul infections as well. Though I wouldn't bring her in until the parasite is dealt with. Plots within plots, Armin's playing 4D suffering chess with the planet. If it makes people suffer it makes him happy. Much like you it would seem.
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>>4833955
One vote for waiting and mentioning Armin.
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>>4833960
Waiting and mentioning Armin, sounds like the best course of action.
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>>4833992
Duly noted, guess it's time to talk about best boy
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>>4833960
Don't forget to warn Old Siggy. Hopefully his sense of honor will make him feel like he owes us one. One we'll promply collect on in regards to the pearls. I'm pretty sure when we reminded Deru she said the Scaly daughter got touched but the fluffy one wouldn't allow it. That means tragedy for the scaled one but not the fluffy one.

Also, fluffy one's also a soul mage? Damn, there goes our "unique" card. Then again, I think you said mages need to get past puberty to achieve their full power and she's still but a little girl. That means we got more "oomph" to work with. Time preference is a hell of a thing. Soul researchers would rather get to experimenting now rather than in 6-8 years. As would any potential fixing of Tsu. Immortal sickness eventually leads to hibernation eh? How long do they hibernate? I'm guessing immortals feel it coming on and find a good nice hidey hole to spend years, decades, or even centuries in torpor. Otherwise their enemies could just, well, wait em' out if ya catch my meaning. Then, once they're fully in hibernation, blow em' the fuck up in their sleep! Guess there are advantages to being mortal...

Aw fuck, we technically ain't. Are we in any danger of that happening to us? I don't think we've even been around more than a century. 20-30 something I think is our actual age? I'd imagine we don't start rolling checks until after the 100 year mark so hopefully we good for a long time.

>>4834038
Best boy to suffer from an "accidental" meteor strike or random portal into the sun you mean yes? This guy's quickly becoming more hateable than Ama and that takes quite a lot!
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>>4834049
>I think you said mages need to get past puberty to achieve their full power and she's still but a little girl.
Peak magical potential settle in adulthood yes, the kid is 12 years old.
>How long do they hibernate?
Varies. The lucky one sleeps for 5 years, the average is a decade. Others can take an entire lifetime...
> I'm guessing immortals feel it coming on and find a good nice hidey hole to spend years, decades, or even centuries in torpor. Otherwise their enemies could just, well, wait em' out if ya catch my meaning
Exactly. The syndrome can be triggered early if the immortal live through too many traumas, having a happy life matter!
>Aw fuck, we technically ain't. Are we in any danger of that happening to us?
Elves only suffer the smaller effect of the syndrome, needing only 2-3 years of rest for something like 100 years of activity. You are technically liable to get it, but that's a concern for much later.
>>4834049
>This guy's quickly becoming more hateable than Ama and that takes quite a lot!
B-but how? He only shook your hand... and you had such a great time discussing Muribel folklore with him!
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>>4834075
Ok then, so we probably won't end up needing a hidey hole until the epilogue (provided we live through everything including the ending). Leaving a girl all alone for 2-3 years sucks, but it sounds like we'll be getting the rawer end of the deal if we get with Sieg, Elina, or any other immortal girl. They will leave us alone for a decade, perhaps several.

Also, Armin's evil seems to be more for its own sake. Like, he did it because he could and that's it. Ama's evil is more "This would make for a more interesting story so yeah screw/help this person" or "I feel this is hilarious so have a malicious prank because I need a laugh right now". Still dickish and evil, but at least there's a consistent logic to it.

Granted, Armin could be the exact same way, but it's all in the presentation and the means. Even if we fix everything, for instance, Armin has cost Hao almost the entirety of her memories. Well, unless this curse functions differently from an actual whitening and will actually restore lost memories over time once healed or once some other condition is met. I'm not comfortable revealing Ama's presence until Sieg has broken the news to Daiyu though. She might know something given all this info, but if she just shows up cold Daiyu's liable to just instantly assume a warform and attempt to pulp Ama's shard.

Daiyu killed an Embodiment tier angel with an origin tied directly to combat. Ain't much she can't pulp given that fact.
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>>4834111
>They will leave us alone for a decade, perhaps several.
A sad reality, one you can't afford to worry about for now.
>Daiyu killed an Embodiment tier angel with an origin tied directly to combat. Ain't much she can't pulp given that fact.
At least she'll be here for tomorrow's showdown. Lady literally flew over countries and plopped down right in the middle of Zipangu royal ground!
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>>4834123
So she's going to join the assault? Ho boy, I cannot wait to see her in action. I almost feel sorry for those mooks in Marleon. Almost.

I'm pretty sure Daiyu's not a sadist so it'll be quick. Gruesome, messy, but quick. Like getting hit in the chest or face by a 150mm High Explosive shell. You don't feel a thing, but you do end up a goopy red stain upon the terrain.
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>>4834140
>So she's going to join the assault?
Her original objective was to give her daughters a spanking but the barrel of shit that is Muribel will convince her to tag along. Anais being kidnapped by a monstrous liege is a big deal, especially with all the tension in the Allied Kingdoms. She might have her own agents feeding her info (it's why she knew Siggy set sail after all), but even she couldn't find out about the princess's situation. Kreszenz queen is suppressing the new super hard.
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Just to clarify why I'm not participating, I've got a lot to do still here, I'll pop in when I can.
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>>4834147
>Kreszenz queen is suppressing the news super hard.
Political shit show is why. It makes you look hella weak and incompetent if your own daughter and heir to the throne gets kidnapped by some two bit backwater power/tinhorn dictatorship like Muribel. Allies might reconsider their loyalties and enemies would smell blood in the water if that got out.

Probably why she may have even sent Waltier. Three can keep a secret if two are dead and when it matters this much family is about all you could trust absolutely. Bet he's absolutely kitted out in the best gear his nation can muster. If they possibly had anything that'd give him an edge, he's got it. State secrets though, so can't tell us what he has unless we need to know.

And hey, if he can resolve this and rescue her without the news getting out all the better. Then it's an easy spin. Yeah, they *tried* to kidnap her, and then they *all* died horribly. wink wink nudge nudge what do you think will happen to you if you try it fuck around and find out.
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>>4834218
Just checked a previous thread. Deru did see Armin touch Agathe, the scaly daughteru of Old Siggy but Kin, the fluffy one, instinctively hated him and would have none of it. He's also skilled in glamour and can hypnotize people in ways that, according to Ama, ought to be impossible, gets off on causing tragedies (preferably ones that unfold over an extended period of time), and was in Zipangu for six whole months while we and our party were in a coma.

I think memories of Armin come flooding back if one bothers to remind people of him, but then quickly fade away again shortly afterwards. Damnit, if only we had voice recording devices. Paper will do though. Tell people to write all of this down and then put it someplace they'll see and read it in the morning. Fucking hell, the dude's like Jack from Fate/Apocrypha in this regard. Unless you get reminded somehow or deduce his involvement through hard evidence, you just forget. Damn that ability is more powerful than you'd think! Perfect for mass murderers, criminals of all kinds, and suffering addicted eldritch abominations.

If we can, mention all of this. Probably won't be able to hide the source of this information (i.e. spill that Ama told us), but the implications are worth it. The highest echelons of Zipangu society may have been collectively marked for tragedy by the floofy fucker. Or he could have gone for infecting the commoners. Either way, we need more info on where he went during that six months and who he mingled with. Anyone he did needs to be quarantined and scanned for anomalies and infections. Fucking hell, as if we didn't have enough bad shit to deal within this brutal time crunch...
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The lively church grows silent. The discussion was over, the options have been judged and weighted, Hao was consenting with intrusting her life to others. She had to choose between two paths...

Your hands came together in an intimate handhold, the urge was instinctive from both for you. You took a moment to observe her arm, the odd patch of black scales added with her naturally brown skin made your pale complexion stand out.

''Armin.'' That name flows out of your mouth before you realize it.

Of fucking course!

''Anything I can help with will have to wait until the Mother's arrival.'' You turn at the queen-mother whose intense gaze glared at you silently, you understood now that was an entirely harmless expression. ''Does an elf called Armin raise any memories?''

''Ah!'' Siegfried sudden yell mirror everyone else general feelings. You're the only one who remembered that man.

''That name... that man...?''

''Tsu, he's the elf Kin kept being wary off. Don't you remember how angry she got when he patted Agathe?'' Siegfried says the exact thing she needed to hear for dispelling that man irritating cloud of forgetfulness.

Not letting go of Hao hand, you push your afflicted limb forward. ''That man infected me with some kind of parasite that may or may not be able to afflict my soul. I haven't dared to find out.''

''He was in our company for a while.'' Siegfried continues. ''He, amongst others, was one of the people we allowed to inspect our sleeping guests.''

''I remember.'' Tsu golden eyes close, her entire body grows tense. ''So he's responsible... Kin was right after all. Agathe...''

''Now that's a name I didn't expect to hear again.'' With everyone becoming increasingly confused and grim, Daiyu attracts the collective attention with that comment, and the Demon Lord rises to her full height. ''Armin White, a rather handsome elven man who looks something like a living flower, right Arawn?''

You nod. ''You know him?''

''No.'' Daiyu shakes her head and crosses her arms under her breasts. ''My predecessor did.'' She didn't wait for the atmosphere to get poisoned because of such a mention. ''I don't know when Damian encountered that elf but when he did... he unleashed the most ambitious manhunt I've ever seen, going far enough to wait one more year before unleashing his crusade. My role back then was to keep Throne Town stable so I wasn't part of any hunting units... but Zerase was one of his direct aides.''

''That is old history.'' The bird-woman comment, fanning herself.

''It was before my Long Sleep.'' An amused smirk settle on Daiyu features. ''I don't think I'll ever be able to recall the proper details... Still, it is an ominous coincidence.''
>>
''When you revealed that guy existence yesterday, I wrote that bastard name on a paper and kept it in on me.'' Siegfried has to lean a little awkwardly to be seen through his wife thick fluffy tails. He makes a visible show of rummaging his pocket. ''Nothing. I wouldn't say it vanished into thin air, I must have discarded it without thinking after waking up.''

''Goodness! How awfully irritable!'' Tomiko huff, moving her feathered fan upward to cover half of her face. ''However, I do have an idea to remedy this... Remember the solution the college came up to alleviate dementia, mister spymaster?''

Siegfried blink twice. Once in confusion, then realization. ''Think you could do it?''

''Given what's happening, I fetched a few empty rings, couldn't hurt to be prepared!'' Putting her fan on a table, Tomiko took out a small pouch from the only pocket of her kimono and extracted three rings out of it. They were simple circles of silvers with an embedded pearl in the middle. ''It is possible to replicate memories artificially and insert them inside these handy little things. Replicating their feelings and essences is still impossible... But the college had great luck with alleviating the stress of seniors. Even cases of advanced dementias can be alleviated by inserting the precious memories their children inside one of these gems.'' She soundlessly rests the rings on the table. ''An unorthodox solution to be sure, we can still catch this man awful, fleeting existence!''

''That would need us to do some kind of soul ritual, right?'' Your question has the tengu woman point to you playfully.

''But of course! It'll be an exercise between you and me, dearest Arawn... Given your situation, it could still be dangerous but the operation will not be anywhere near as, hm... let's say ''deep'' compared to curing your darling. We won't need to delve into the deeper layers of souls or even involve your links.''

''It could still provoke that parasite.''

''If manipulating your soul is the trigger, it definitely will. Also, it has to be you my good man. You're the one whose memory of that mirage elf isn't fleeting.'' The matriarch sentence causes a long silence to spread throughout the church. Slowly, all eyes toward Tsukiyomi, the second expert in souls.

The vixen silently leaned on her husband to rest her head on his shoulder, eyes closed and breathing deeply, the queen-mother had fallen into a deep sleep.

''Ah...'' Siegfried exhaled bitterly. ''She doesn't like when I speak about it but that's inevitable now.'' With the gentleness befitting his relationship, Siegfried carefully maneuvered Tsukiyomi body to grab her in a princess hold. He didn't even struggle with her tails, just squeezed them on her back like a bundle of fluff.
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''My wife Immortal Syndrome began five years ago and she's been resisting its calling every day. It's been getting much more difficult as of late, the time she can keep herself active is... sporadic. All the activity going on right now has helped in keeping her awake at least, she should awake once our important visitor arrives.''

''Can anything be done to help her?'' Hao is the one to ask.

''The syndrome is a natural consequence of a long life. With time and piling memories, exhaustion is inevitable... Tsu participated in the Great Crusade and didn't go in the Long Sleep for the entirety of Daiyu reign. She has more than two hundred years of activity.''

''She can be helped, right?'' Siegfried grimace under Hao pressure.

''Maybe.'' The matriarch answer. ''Our only hypothesis was to find an adult mage of souls. Kin is a brave darling but she's only twelve years old, taking her first steps into puberty and that make her magic a little unstable.''

''She does try her best.'' There's a warm hint of pride and love coming into Siegfried's tone. ''But trying anything with an inexperienced mage is far too risky. Anyway, Arawn, I'd like to tell you something. Would you like to accompany me?'' The man effortlessly lifts his wife and stands.

''Whatever you say to me will be shared, you know that?''

''I know.'' He nods. ''I've been wanting to speak with you since the Suppression, it's about your past.''

Hao gently squeezes your hand and lets you go.

>''Another time, Siegfried. I want to put Tomiko suggestion into practice. We... need to assume your daughter, Agathe, could be suffering from something to what I have, too. I can't be the only one remembering that rainbow bastard.'' (While risky because of the sheer unknown factor that is the parasite, putting Armin memory into rings is far, far less dangerous compared with repairing Hao soul.)

>''Lead the way.'' (You will not tempt fate. Trying any kind of soul ritual is not going to happen for as long as that parasite is inside your body.)

>Free.

Possible that I'll only do one update today. It's stormy in my area, might lose internet.
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>>4835880
>>''Lead the way.'' (You will not tempt fate. Trying any kind of soul ritual is not going to happen for as long as that parasite is inside your body.)
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>>4835880
>>''Lead the way.'' (You will not tempt fate. Trying any kind of soul ritual is not going to happen for as long as that parasite is inside your body.)
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>>4835880
How pressed are we for time in regards to Agathe's health and life now? If we have time we allow Old Siggy to regale us of our past. If we're pressed though:

>free
"Sieg, have you gotten to the part of my party's adventures in Muribel most likely to set your mother off yet?"

See, we have a "both" option because we have one other person whose memory of Armin isn't subject to his little ability, Ama. Old Siggy and everyone else knows about her presence, only Daiyu, the Matriarch, and Tsu potentially don't. Thus, while I am loathe to disrupt Deru and Ama's meeting this would give an alternative to who has to undergo the soul ritual and might secure the favor needed to gain her those pearls. It does interrupt them though and could cause undue stress on Deru as she'll then know mommy dearest is in the house and she has to know that ho boy, she *ain't* happy with her right now. A most terrifying sword of Damocles would now be over her head psychologically. Still, if pressed for time we can't risk losing someone so young to the predations of Old Narly!
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>>4835930
>How pressed are we for time in regards to Agathe's health and life now?
In all honestly, impossible to tell. Neither Sieg nor Tsukiyomi made any comment about Agathe so it's safe to assume she's healthy at least.
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>>4835930
Oh, and have Old Siggy plug Tsu's ears when we utter the name. That might wake her up with an auto-nuke command executable.

>>4835932
When's the last time anyone saw her? Damnit, this might be why Ama and Armin are interested in us. We're a calamity trigger! Misfortune and suffering follow wherever we go!
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>>4835938
>When's the last time anyone saw her?
Not that long ago. The royal grounds are very busy right now but the princesses are at least easy to spot.
I'll go with the choices I've got.
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>>4835947
Tell them to issue an order to the guards then. "If Agathe looks ill, in pain, or starts to act really strange bring her near the church"

If she's suffering something bad from Armin too her only chance will be Divine Intervention. Unlike us she's got the body of a mere mortal, not the mythical steel of an Embodiment.

Don't bring her "in" the church nor allow her to enter it until the goddess arrives though. I fear there's a resonance effect that'll happen if she gets too close to us. Then we're both really fucked.
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>>4835959
Parents have things covered. Don't worry too much for now.
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>>4835962
>that spoiler
You really, really like to make me worry. I'm afraid I'll keep worrying because if we miss something a cute and innocent little girl dies or worse!

Change of topic: Damien was the Demon Lord that damn near took out the races of man right? The "worst" one they ever suffered under correct? You'd think he'd be a fan of not-Nyarlathotep fucking with everyone. Then again, one must plan for the future. If he succeeded in wiping out the races of man than the only "people" left for him to fuck with would be him and his. After seeing some of his handiwork, perhaps even suffering some of it personally... Yeah, yeah fuck Armin White. In fact, because he might fuck up my plans for shits and giggles, he ought to die before I launch my grand genocide scheme! Minions! Find and murderize that floofy knife eared bastard!

Also, he appointed Daiyu as the general administrator/governor of Throne Town during his reign? I guess back then she couldn't say no or otherwise directly oppose him because Demon Lord Mind Control was still a thing but still, interesting. I guess that's another reason she went for her little solution. Diplomacy and governing was one of her strong suits it seems. At least, in comparison to other sentient monsters at the time. Must have figured she'd have a shot once all the monsters weren't trying to kill and eat all other humanoids and showed signs of sentience.
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>>4835987
>Damien was the Demon Lord that damn near took out the races of man right? The "worst" one they ever suffered under correct?
Yup. He was the only actual human Demon Lord, too.
>Also, he appointed Daiyu as the general administrator/governor of Throne Town during his reign?
Yup.
> I guess back then she couldn't say no or otherwise directly oppose him because Demon Lord Mind Control was still a thing but still, interesting.
Intelligent races of monsters (vampires, demons, some individuals warrior-races, the majority of Supreme Monsters) couldn't be directly controlled. Damien had to force them to obey via good old threats and blackmail. One could argue monsters always had a ''seed'' of humanity.
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>>4836010
Well, assuming becoming the Demon Lord gives you a massive power boost and access to a vast and extensive intelligence and surveillance network, I can see how he could cow the other Supremes like the nine-tailed foxes, elder dragons, and the like.

Still, a human became a demon lord? And he wanted to murderize his own people into oblivion? Sounds like you gender flipped someone I might know about. Though her desire was ultimately worse than that.
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The church doesn't have any second floor, it is built wide, finding an empty room is easy and its immaculateness revealed the silent importance of this cozy place of worship. There might not be a dedicated priest living here but people still slept here from time to time.

Siegfried gently laid down his wife and opened the window toward a peaceful, albeit sad view. There was a small cemetery adjacent to this room, with a maintained hedge wall keeping it isolated from the outside world. Two graves were there with more than enough space for more.

''One of the women I was linked with died during the crusade, she's resting there now.'' He glanced at you, you couldn't say anything back. ''The risk of tomorrow is a reality we must accept... I'll tell you now that when it happened, I didn't feel much. The true hell come afterward, the emptiness, the void was... hard enough to make me establish a new link right away.''

''I'll have more fights, I'll need all of my links then.'' Is your firm response. Siegfried brilliant blue eyes linger for a moment and he nods, turning his back on the small cemetery, he rolls one strand of curly blond hair around a finger as he begins talking.

''You've already deduced that you're the best hope Tsukiyomi has to avoid decades of sleep. Me, Ame, even Daiyu spent a long time trying to find a mage of souls but Kin was the only one that seemed to exist in our part of the world... It was ultimately Mother Earth herself who gave us the news of your existence, ten... no, eleven years ago.'' He frowns, letting go of his hair. ''I'll need to reread my journal about when exactly, please forgive my vagueness.''

''Ten years ago... I was still a teenager back then, I think? I know that my body underwent a different growth once Gardy saved me.''

''You were in the court of queen Eliauslawa in the Iron Kingdom of Eliaures, a place that continues a non-ending purge of monsters to this day. Not at all a good place to be for people like us. I've discovered plenty of things after the crisis... To keep it simple, I went with a party -accompanied by Tuilelaith- to fetch you and bring you here to Zipangu. Back then, Tsu had more than enough strength to wait until you completely grew up and mastered your magic... That was our hope, anyway.''

''A crisis?'' Cold dread sneak into your heart. Your memories are always shrouded in fog but, to take an expression of Zipangu, the soul remained. Something sad and violent lurked inside the mist of your mind.

''The witch and her posse were after you.'' Siegfried glared at the wall, the direction that eventually led into Ama and Deruella rooms. ''Now that you've mentioned Armin, I remember discovering that he was holding a high position in the kingdom... though at the time I didn't dwell on it. People described the court wizard as a fantastically handsome man, calling him the ''Flower Mage''. Sounds familiar?''
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''Definitely.'' The mist cleared ever so slightly, just enough to imprint certainty. Armin was in contact with you during your childhood... He might have been someone you could have called a teacher! ''I knew were going off-topic but Siegfried, can you tell me if you've heard anything back then a dark elf?''

''Yes, she wasn't one of Ama apostles, nor did I uncover her name. I found more than enough people remembering her as your chaperone. Many believed her to be your mother or older sister, unfortunately, she vanished without a trace two years before I even reached the capital.''

''Myr...'' She's being hamstrung by a geas that Ama cannot remove, she also revealed that Gwendolyn, that pretty Gazer you met last year and who rule the only country of Monsters in the Allied Kingdoms, was somehow your sister.

''Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry, Arawn. What we were doing back then was pretty much kidnapping and since Ama was lurking around, we ended up concentrating on her apostles instead of the danger surrounding you...''

''...I only know how things ended.'' Siegfried continues as you remain silent. ''You see, the young princess of Eliaures was openly opposing the kingdom policy and prevented several bonfires of monsters, and every time that happened you were by her side.''

It feels... familiar, what he's saying. Her name is on the tip of your tongue. A bright girl with long brown hair she constantly fusses with, she liked to keep them in a pair of long braid... Right, she had an infatuation with Batrion, going far enough to train with mace and shield despite the impropriety.

''That was not a popular move.'' He continues. ''There was a murderer on the loose in the capital too. The corpses left by that bastard were gruesome, little more than misshapen flesh, like an animal attack. People were quick to blame monsters of course so the persecution increase, there weren't any Mamonos left alive when my party made it inside the capital, so the queen knights were bringing captives from all over the country.'' Siegfried pause to heave a heavy sigh.

That murderer isn't Ama style. She has the decency to give whoever she toys with the freedom to avoid ruining themselves. One of her apostles maybe?
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''I made the mistake of grasping too much. Mamonos being brought into a city to be tortured and killed to appease a populace bloodlust made me... blind to what I was originally supposed to do, so I ended up operating independently with Tuilelaith who, unlike me, didn't forget why we were here in the first place. I did try to reach out to you and the princess several times, but you never trusted anyone... and I think our effort only made you more paranoid. In the end, I concentrated too much on saving people and countering the witch movements.'' Siegfried brilliant blue eyes became grave. ''The princess confronted another crowd with you and saved a pair of moth monsters -a mother and child- and escaped with them. We lost track when your group got into the castle and the next day, princess Celestyna was dead and you had disappeared. The next time I saw Tuilelaith was during the Suppression.''

A sharp pain ground between your eyebrows. When you rubbed the sensitive point, that sensation erupted like thunder throughout your brain. ''Agh!?''

In a flash, Siegfred got up to support you. ''You're remembering something aren't you?'' He was right. Something was clearing up. Something awful. ''Let it happen, I've lost my memories once. The past can only hurt you.'' He looked at the door, which nearly burst open when Klesiah rushed inside.
Will try to update tomorrow. Time for tragedy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af31XPreXSk
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>>4836160
I think I remember something about this when we went inside the throne. Someone we failed to protect and a man who wasn't too happy about that.

So, the incoming tragedy, it's one of our memories and not something happening right now yes? Looks like we're about to learn how we got the second member of our old party. The moth girl who might also be a horrible blood mutant of some kind. Damn, seems like I wasn't wrong. Tragedy and suffering really do follow in our wake. 2 out of 3 of our old party was encountered in the context of something horrible happening.

This also seems to be a hole in Armin's ability. It stops working if he spends an extended period of time around someone. Not just any time though, it's gotta be... personal. Looks like he's been fucking with us from day one. Damn him!

Can we learn spells from memories? I think we're about to cry but that'd make the tears worth it[/spoilers].
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>>4836203
>So, the incoming tragedy, it's one of our memories and not something happening right now yes?
Haha! I'd like to make you scared even more!
It's only a memory. One I'll try my best not to take too long in writing up.
>Looks like we're about to learn how we got the second member of our old party.
Hecate was the first actually. Sure wish I could go back and edit Klesiah little tale if that wasn't the case, this memory will explain how you set out on the road in the first place.
I'll think about it. Arawn doesn't wield his ability as he did in the past and what you're about to see is before he grew fairly competent in battle.
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>>4836213
You always scare me you suffering addict. I'm still afraid of a worst case scenario you might yet to pull here.

So moth girl was first eh? Damn, on the run with zero survival training or anything. At least Klesiah would have that but us in a pampered court and some peasant mothgirl? How the fuck did we survive long enough to meet our blueberry? Oh, right, Ama's thugs. Cut a deal with the devil's minions. Become her "toy" and our survival would be guaranteed... A pity we were too young to know what Faustian bargains imply and entail.

Also, though we don't wield it as we did in the past and it was before we dumped all our skill points into the "combat" branch of it, we must have known a few spells. Maybe get a discount on learning a few we used in the memory? Like, we don't immediately unlock it, but it gets like 25-75 percent unlocked. Y'know, guaranteed to learn it if we dedicate a day or two towards the endeavor.
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>>4836239
My mind is focused on writing up the memory properly, I'll think about combat gains afterward but it's true that picking up on old tricks is logical. No promises for now.
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>>4836244
Oh, just caught this. Old Siggy lost one of his waifus? The grave ought to have a name on it. What's it say? Who'd he lose?
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>>4836266
Sylphis
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>>4836271
That was the mantis girl right? Damn, I really liked her, second best girl next to Tsu from the old quest for me. Though I think that as an insect girl she didn't have long to live anyway and her combat style was that of a gambler. High risk, high reward. Plus she was basically an assassin-class operative. Only lancers have worse luck (tempts fate a bit as we got a few of those in our party). Put all that together and it's no surprise she didn't survive the war.

Damn, I had low hopes but I did want to meet her again if I was wrong. Hope she went down like a badass/hero. Dying like a bitch is worse than merely dying.
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>>4836287
Oh, I'm almost afraid to ask, but you said there was two graves. What was the name on the other one?
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>>4837157
Bletsia
I'll probably end up posting tomorrow. Was a bit busy today and I can only now sit down and write.
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>>4837519
Damn, I was afraid you'd say that. Well, I suppose it was inevitable given how bug girls aren't long for this world but I had a glimmer of hope. I really liked that Oomukade. Hope she found a loving husbando or at least went out in a blaze of glory. She was best bug daughteru.
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>>4837564
Her life was unfortunately cut short by a disease. She lived a happy life nonetheless, to think her fortune changed so much from a chance encounter in the forest... It's entirely because of her that insect types monsters have become more numerous as servants for central Zipangu royal family.
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>>4837575
At least her existence had a positive effect. Still, this means she was yet another beautiful, wonderful monstergirl who came and went without knowing the joys of family, children, and the embrace of a devoted husbando!

Truly, leaving Daiyu's wish only half-fulfilled is more cruel than you realize. The world drowns in the suffering tears of lonely monstergirls. We must fix this by completing the wish so that there will finally be enough husbands to go around!
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>>4837776
My oh my, sometimes one just needs to accept reality, however sad it is...
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>>4837800
I'll accept that particular reality only once it has proven to be absolutely unalterable by all conceivable means. I think we've had this conversation before. There are ways that have not been tried yet. Things Daiyu simply hasn't had the time or the trustworthy manpower to attempt or enact. It's more of a goal for the "epilogue" to be sure, but it is a goal nonetheless. And hey, if we somehow blunder onto the solution during our adventures and trials so much the better.

We *will* make all the monstergirls happy by making it possible for them to experience the joys I mentioned. They are just too wonderful to leave in this sorry state!
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>>4837825
Cyclops will forever be bullied!
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>>4837836
Lovingly bullied perhaps. Y'know, if they're into that sort of thing. They're underappreciated if you ask me. I do very much like them. As I do pretty much all monstergirls.
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Posting a little later today. My weekend might look busy, it's why I always prefer to run during the week. Session will probably start around 5:30 pm
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''Frideger will be fine, nobody will suspect him. Let's do what he told us and keep going straight ahead.'' The courageous girl never wavered. ''You'll finally be able to lose some of that pudge, Arawn!''

''Shut up Chest! It's big-boned, not fat!'' Right, you remember. ''Chest'' was the nickname your grumpy young self gave the princess because she was an early grower. Not exactly the wittiest of lads.

You were traveling inside dark, dreary iron tunnels. You, Celestyna, Hecate, and her mother were walking a hidden path shown to you by the old grumbler that was Eliaures court bishop... This was the iron mine that gave the kingdom its nickname. A deep, sprawling complex rumored to hold infinite riches because of the presence of Storm shards (naturally enchanted iron able to create lightning weapons), the royal castle was barely thirty minutes away.

''It's not too heavy?'' The princess asks. She kept a gentle hold of one of Hecate's pale hands, her second held your group lifeline: an alchemical lamp. On her back, you remember the familiar sight and noises of her wooden shield thumping with each movement, and the soft metallic clangs of the mace she kept hidden in the stable completed the little heroic image she tried very hard to build.

The more her mother disapproved, the more princess Celestyna loved to learn how to defend herself and, more importantly, others. Finding a teacher would have been nearly impossible but Myr hadn't been intimidated by the queen and taught the little girl how to defend herself with the harsh but fair treatment Celes craved. Her second covert teacher had been the court bishop.

''I'm fine.'' You reply, shouldering the bag carrying all of your supplies. These have been prepared by the old man who couldn't accompany you. Frideger always complained about back pains and often coughed up a storm after waking up in the morning... He didn't propose accompanying your little group.

He was also the only adult your old self trusted. He's the one who revealed a secret exit in the mine and he prepared what he could -including money- for your escape. The stinging sadness had created a deep impression of anger in your memory, that feeling must have been so much more intense back then.

The dark tunnel of rock was melding into a misshapen gray mess in your memory, you have no idea how long your small group walked. Another particular point is strangely clear: your cold self kept clutching an amulet with an icon of Mother Earth, it was something that had once belonged to your good dark elven guardian.

''Your majesty...'' Hecate mother spoke, what was her name? Unfortunately, you only came to know later, yet you still can't recall now. ''...thank you but neither of you should risk yourselves so much. You have the same age as my daughter.''

''It's fine, really.'' Celes didn't look back. ''The city can burn for all I care.''
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The princess latest exploit had lit a catastrophic spark. Hecate and her mom were one of the latest groups of captives to be...cleansed and when her little majesty protested, things devolved rapidly not only because the people were tired of her ''tyranny'' but your pursuers took this opportunity to get at her.

Now you know better but back then, Mylen emerged like a nightmare. She asked your group to follow her whilst fighting against newly risen deads... Such a sinister sight inspired no confidence. Ama had invaded your dreams during those nights, fueling you with paranoia.

Sleeping was a genuine fear, one you kept to yourself.

''Saving someone is complicated ya know?'' Celestyna continues. ''What would you two have done if all I and Arawn did was to break your chains and tell you to run? City is in chaos and I doubt you know enough of the country to reach the next town... even then, finding shelter at all is going to be very hard for monsters. Are we really saving you if the future barely improves?'' Her words are clear, you even remember her tone and each breath she took. At that time, what Celestyna said left a strong impression on your overly negative, sulky self.

''I've been waiting for an excuse for a long time.'' She confesses, eyes forward into the gloomy darkness of the earth. ''I had no idea things would just... blow up like that and were still strangers but hey, were strangers caught in the same mess. Arawn here will probably be our faces for a while. I'm kinda known in the nearest baronies and it'll be far too dangerous for you or Hecate here to like, buy stuff on the market or do business in an inn.'' She momentarily let go of one of the mothgirl four hands to give the pale, tall, lean insect-mother a thumb up. ''We'll eventually be able to part ways but for now, we're all stuck in the same mess. Let's work on keeping each other safe.''

''I see... this isn't a whimsical escape.'' The monstrous mother comment.

''We've had a whole lot of time to think, right Arawn?''

''Something like that. We've got our circumstances... but honestly, the castle wasn't any safer for me than the capital is for you girls. My death would have taken longer, that's all.'' That was your firm belief. Rather pretentious but you always saw the worst in things.

...

And then your memory advances. You don't know how long your little group proceeded through the lonesome tunnel but eventually, you emerged into an index, a square with many paths reaching outward like a spider's legs.

An instinctive fear -an outside stimulus- nearly shatter your concentration. Something ugly happened here, your soul knows and the animal part of your brain doesn't want to be hurt.

''Okay, Frid said we have to take the second left path. It's a straight shot outside after...? Armin?''
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Nobody had realized the presence of this man because he'd been standing in utter darkness, the light of the lamp is what revealed his presence. He remained as immaculate as he'd ever been, white hair with rose plumes as decoration, dreamy soft purple eyes, a white robe that shouldn't be so clean in this environment... Your old self had always been confused by this elf but he'd been a good teacher of magic.

''Dearest Devona, you want to protect the unfortunates now?''

''Who?'' His gaze was so focused on Celestyna that nobody else existence mattered. The princess momentarily looked at the monstrous adult but Hecate mother shook her head, that wasn't her name. ''What do you mean Armin?'' She faced the beautiful wizard. ''I... I mean, I told you right? Being a paladin... you're the one who told me all about Batrion so... well this is my first trial! You, you won't return us? Or... you can bring me back but Arawn can be their guardian!''

''Hell no!'' You immediately protested. ''We're all in this mess together!'' You had no idea how you could even begin surviving without her. Celestyna had the brains you didn't have... Your only talent was magic, she beat you at everything else and that was because she wasn't born with the spark.

''A paladin now? My dear, what about singing?''

A faint blush colored Celes freckled face. ''Mom didn't like it, you know how it is... A-and I didn't want Arawn to hear my bad attempts!''

''Another failure then. Gardy really might be the missing link.'' The Flower Mage snapped his fingers.

And your world changed.

''Ow?'' Hecate mom jerked. Some kind of long, thin dark-blue slug had crawled from the ceiling and bit her neck. ''Ugh!?'' She groaned when her body...

Everything became a fever dream. Now, you understand that poor monster Corruption went out of control. Mutation ravaged her body like a chaotic oil painting, dark fumes, dark blood crawled out of her eyes. Her limbs distended unnaturally, her hands fractured, those cute near translucid wings vibrated in panic, causing a reverberating buzz... The abomination suddenly rushed Celestyna with animalistic desperation: her daughter -her cub, her spawn- was next to a stranger! Or maybe her mind had already been ravaged by violence...

Despite the erosion of amnesia and time, you recall two things as clearly as Hao confession: Celestyna pushed Hecate away and the bloodcurling scream of your childhood friend when the white abomination reached her.

She... was torn apart. Pints of blood splashed across the stones. Her left arm was ripped out, a claw tore into her throat, another hand gouged out the young princess's stomach. You don't remember your younger self did, your memory blurred into a fever dream of scream, hopeless battle, slinging magic...
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''A mother love can truly be phenomenal.'' Armin statement is when you can place logic again. In the confusion of the mutation, your younger self had managed to grab Hecate who had gone catatonic, staring into space. Her mother was on the ground, holding onto Celestyna mace and the noises...

Wet, violent, hollow ''thunks'' accompanied each strike of the weapon, she was shattering her face with it and after a few more blows, went limp.

''Hm, mind your voice young master.'' You must have screamed. ''Devona is much more resilient than you think.''

Celestyna was a gory mess yet... Yet...! Her blood, her broken, strewn body moved pieces by pieces. Flesh dissolves into a pasty mess, blood coagulated, thickened, massing together into a whole, a ''slime''. Your younger self barely managed to avoid puking all over Hecate. If you could call three close holes a face, then this mass of gore had one and it moved, crawled, slowly inching to stand between you and Armin.

Insane, this was pure insanity. The world is ending, it has to.
The only thing that ended was your world.

''Interesting!'' Armin expressed with far too much joy. ''Having a childhood friend did have an influence! I'm quite sorry, I didn't make my homework about him. To think he'd have that evil, persistant fox after him... thankfully everyone assumed he was the godling.

The blood slime was making noises, an endless amount of squeaky ''sorry.'' Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.

''Hm, you have an interesting life ahead of you, maybe I sh-''

The wizard was interrupted by an explosion of color. The amulet you had always kept on yourself burst with sudden power... Back then you had no idea how something like this but now, you understand.

This icon had belonged to Myr and she passed it to you before disappeared, making you promise to go, every Sunday, to church, to ask Frideger with maintenance. This simple icon of prayer was a living rope tying you into Mother Earth great web and your state of minds, your emotions, had allowed her to find you through the violence -the fog- Eliaures capital had turned into.

What your younger self saw back then was a woman of rainbow hair bursting out of your amulet and punching the elven man hard enough to outright decapitate him, leaving behind a bloody corpse.

''So, the Good Mother finally embraced cruelty.'' Another Armin walked out of the darkness as if he'd been waiting there all along. ''I suppose it's my fault for being a little too ambitious this time.''

It wasn't just the beauty of this gorgeous woman that kept your mind whole. Despite all of her grace and strength, she was weeping. You weren't alone in this tragedy. ''I'm taking her with me.''

''That'll be a mighty shame, she can reveal so much more interesting things into what you people call souls.'' Armin clapped his hands together. ''Will a mere shard be enough?'' His smugness didn't last because another rainbow woman was running out of another tunnel.
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Your memory becomes another blur. Your younger self found an opportunity to flee where you had to go, holding onto Hecate... the only reason why you kept your bag of supply was due to it being firmly strapped on your back.

''Sorry kid, I beleived you'd all scatter if I came up the tunnel.''

When you finally tasted something fresher than acrid, bloody underground air, you came face to face with a nine-tailed fox... Tuilelaith. Unfortunately, what you saw back then were white tails and that meant evil.

''Go away!'' You screamed, crying, nearly spitting vomit. ''Go away go away away away! you won't have Hecate you won't have anything else go away!'' Magic manifested like jolts of lightning throughout your body, your skin began to crack, fumes exited your hair as strands combusted. Your soul was consuming itself.

''Okay kid.'' Tuilelaith immediately understood. ''I won't be in your hair.'' She walked off, just like that, and soon afterward, you remember seeing a golden butterfly flying down the only path, then into an adjacent forest... Without anything else to do, you began to follow it whilst holding the mute Hecate.

Now that you can look at things a little more objectively, you understand why the queen men didn't track you down. Tuilelaith had left you alone, but stalked from a distance, erasing all of your traces. Mother Earth, or one of her shards, showed you a safe path... Together they kept you silent company until you and Hecate could walk again and eventually, duty called them away from you.

The last time you saw the golden butterfly was after you met Klesiah.

--

''He's coming to.''

To wholeheartedly embrace a long-forgotten memory meant weakening all of your other senses. You hadn't quite lost consciousness but maintaining your balance had been impossible: Klesiah had been holding -if not cradling- you, sitting down with you. Sieglinde, Hao, and Elina were also here, Zhu and Shereen were outside as the door was still open. This sizeable crowd for the relatively small room didn't disturb the slumbering queen-mother.

''I'm fine.'' Your voice shook, your rubbed your face and found tears, Klesiah firm arms prevented you from peeling off.

''Reliving some memories can be very intense, especially after forgetting for a long time.'' Siegfried, sitting beside his slumbering wife, looked at you in genuine sympathy. ''I've made the mistake of putting up a strong front for too long, take the time you need.''

''I'm starting to wonder if you're a walking tragedy.'' Sieglinde hissed at him.

''I'm fine.'' That was a lot to take in but... you're okay now. Will be soon.
>>
>Take some time for some intimacy with those close to you, reveal this memory to all of them.
>a) Include Daiyu.
>b) Disturb Deruella and invite her to this little group therapy.
>Siegfried is looking vulnerable. It's disgustingly sneaky but perhaps you can take this moment to gather the pearls...
>Free

Probably will only be able to provide one answers/day for the weekend, have to take care of a few things. I'll try my best to do a smaller tidbit tonight if the chosen action doesn't need me to write too much.
>>
>>4840037
I know the moth girl in those pics. Funny, you had the concept of Hecate years ago but that one also has a "nightmare" form. Great minds think alike I guess. That the mom, Hecate, or both? That is, also Hecate when she becomes an adult?

I said Armin was getting to be more hatable than Ama. This moves him up a few notches on the hate meter. He's gaining rapidly now and will overtake the Fluffy Devil if he keeps this pace soon.

Devona was the pretender goddess of prosperity and the deity of "humanity" or rather, humans as a race themselves correct? I had suspected she may have survived that final conflict with Mother Earth and Father Sky but...

Oh that motherfucker. I was wondering how the hell our soul ended up in the throne and it looks like we have our answer. Armin put it there. Hell, probably arranged for our death so he could get a hold of it to shove in there. He hoped Gardy, being the fundamentally good and caring bro that he is, would see it and do something about it. Hate to say this, but it seems both us and bestest buddy have been...

You motherfucker! We've *all* been played! ME, Daiyu, Ama, the whole shebang! Everything was engineered to get us to call in ME who will probably bring Devona in tow and that will trigger something he wants triggered for some reason. Sadly, this is already too fargone to actually stop. ME is on the way and we can't send an abort code. Wouldn't surprise me if his ability works on shards so even though she heard the name it might not make it into big ME's cognition. Fuck. Hold on to your asses anons, I don't know what's about to happen but it involves not-Nyarlathotep so we know it can't be good.

By "taking this moment to gather the pearls" what do you mean? We don't got any thieves in the party. Do you mean broach the subject and start negotiating? What does including Daiyu mean? If we disturb Deru won't Ama insist on coming along? I know this is a story she'd be dying to hear.
>>
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>>4840072
It's how Hecate looked last time Arawn saw her. Her mom isn't well defined in his memory, unfortunately.
>He's gaining rapidly now and will overtake the Fluffy Devil if he keeps this pace soon.
What could the naughty fluff have done to be so hated!? Armin is worse!
>Devona was the pretender goddess of prosperity and the deity of "humanity" or rather, humans as a race themselves correct?
Yes.
>By "taking this moment to gather the pearls" what do you mean? We don't got any thieves in the party. Do you mean broach the subject and start negotiating?
Pretty much. Siegfried is looking guilty since he wasn't able to do anything to help you back then
>What does including Daiyu mean?
Telling her this memory, really. Sorta mean Arawn consider her a close confidant and getting her perspective on it.
>If we disturb Deru won't Ama insist on coming along?
Yes but Arawn can tell her to fuck off.
>>
>>4840037
>Take some time for some intimacy with those close to you, reveal this memory to all of them.
>a) Include Daiyu.
>b) Disturb Deruella and invite her to this little group therapy.

do both.

And we may be in a better situation to begin negotiating for the pearls after we talk things over.
>>
>>4840078
In the grand scheme of things Old Narly is worse than Ama on a conceptual level. But for us, in character, we don't know of the extent of his fuckery into our lives. Ama though, we know Ama and she's fucked with us plenty.

Could we allow Ama to sit in in lieu of getting her the pearls? Y'know, make her pick which one she wants more?
>>
>>4840096
>Could we allow Ama to sit in in lieu of getting her the pearls?
While this would take an update to answer, Ama would insist on getting the pearls.
>>
>>4840098
Damn. I don't think old Siggy is gonna cough em' up unless we give him a truly compelling reason. That is, he might give them to us, but not if he thinks we'll hand them to Ama despite the fact she's the only one in the party who can convert them into the far more useful astral pearls (and that's her intent if I recall).

Sadly, "Ama wants an extra astral pearl to ensure Shereen doesn't get fucked over by her mother's desperation and pettiness in a confrontation" probably won't cut it as he'll probably insist that Shereen not be taken anywhere near the fighting let alone along with the party meant to take out Zerase. Least we forget he hates her too.

Could we make counter-offers? If everything goes according to plan we'll have access to a *massive* trove of death and/or astral pearls. Could we promise to replenish his stock and then some upon the completion of the mission if he plays ball now? Ama doesn't care how we get the pearls, only that we get them right?

Also, doesn't telling Ama to get bent in regards to the sharing of this memory necessarily include excluding Shereen? Won't Ama hear everything she hears as well?
>>
>>4840120
>Ama doesn't care how we get the pearls, only that we get them right?
Yeah.
>Also, doesn't telling Ama to get bent in regards to the sharing of this memory necessarily include excluding Shereen? Won't Ama hear everything she hears as well?
If she really want to, yeah.
>>
>>4840123
Will we get the choice to tell Ama to fuck off or not after the next update or do we have to specify now? I am leaning towards sharing with Deru and Daiyu and while I'd rather not let Ama in this memory could serve to give them a flash of insight into what Zerase may be going for. Ama included.

After all, random, seemingly unconnected things can lead to cataclysmic breakthroughs.
>>
>>4840138
>Will we get the choice to tell Ama to fuck off or not after the next update or do we have to specify now?
Specifying now will make it easier for me to write it up so I'd like to know my players disposition now.
>>
>>4840141
Well, if we take Deru that means she's locked inside a side room *alone* with nobody to watch her. If we take Daiyu, well, we wouldn't want to leave her alone with Daiyu as it'd be a coin flip as to whether or not she'd pulp her shard. Tsu's out cold and Old Siggy is just like Daiyu. So the people who *could* keep an eye on her would kill her and if left absolutely alone she *will* spy on the proceedings just like she did with Zhu and Klesiah's little fist to heart.

Basically, I'm not seeing any way for us to prevent Ama from listening in one way or another. The only real question is if it would still be prudent to hide her presence from Daiyu or not.
>>
>>4840141
Also, I don't care what the sign says. Mothgirl gets a lamp. A non-flaming one. Fire hurts/kills moths even though they're drawn to it. Hence the saying: "Like moths to a flame".
>>
>>4840165
So you're voting for revealing this memory to... Klesiah, Hao, Sieglinde, Elina, Zhu, Daiyu, Deruella, Shereen and Ama.
>>4840175
Souls burn the brightest
>>
>>4840193
Pretty much everyone present, yes, because again, there's no reliable way to keep Ama from listening in.

My main question remains unanswered though. Would it be wise to keep Ama's presence here hidden, or would it be better to let Ama sit in in person. There's no hiding her presence from Daiyu forever, but I don't want her to do something rash upon seeing the face that was responsible for butchering so many of her innocent subjects.

No soul lamps! Totally unethical to use them for that purpose! If my soul glows like one within my still living body though I can let her nuzzle next to it. She needs a hug, possibly a husbando and I'd be willing to put a ring on it if that'd make her happy.
>>
>>4840209
>Would it be wise to keep Ama's presence here hidden, or would it be better to let Ama sit in in person.
There's no avoiding it, in the end. Daiyu will have to sit down and be a good girl while the fox is revealed!
Gonna wait an hour to see if anyone disagrees and update tomorrow.
Alas, your last childhood friend is well outside of your reach
>>
>>4840214
>That spoiler
She is for now. Zhu said she'd take us to see her once this was all over. Provided she survives, we'll have our reunion. I eagerly await the chance to be embraced by her 4 chitinous arms, dusty wings, fluffy body, and probing antennae. God I love mothgirls.

Can we see if Sieg has already done that? I assume that right up until this memory came flooding back she was spilling the beans about Muribel to her mother and one of the final bits would be "Oh, please don't flip out, but Shereen kind of allowed herself to become Ama's anchor. She saved their lives and is currently working with Sis to figure out Zerase's ritual. Please don't kill her yet. Please."
>>
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>>4840227
>Can we see if Sieg has already done that?
She did.
>>
>>4840239
Oh, that makes things much easier then. Hopefully she's braced herself so she doesn't lose herself in a blind rage upon seeing the vile visage of the Witch of Contracts.

If only we could have seen the look on Daiyu's face when Sieg broke the news. That would have been something.
>>
>>4840248
The above picture was the unfortunate status of Sieglinde face.

Arawn really doesn't keep any secrets. Interesting.
>>
>>4840257
It's not that we don't keep secrets. It's that we're shit at lying. Pretty much every time we've tried to lie it went poorly. They always see right through us!
>>
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>>4840270
Arawn sorta was pure as the driven snow after coming out of the Throne and you guys never made a point of trying to lie more... Ah well, he's our good boy protagonist.
>>
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>>4840276
Oh, just remembered. What about the Tengu Matriarch? Won't she be dying to listen in too? She's going to stick to Daiyu like glue given how she's basically the Kuroko to Daiyu's Misaka.

The dynamic between the two is similar I'd wager. Daiyu doesn't hate her, hell might even like/respect her. Or would, if she'd just try to turn down that lesbo thirst a bit! Even super sexy girls throwing themselves at men that hard would cause more than a few to run away! At least try to take her out to dinner platonically first!

A sense of irony would also strike here. Daiyu's a succubus, basically sex incarnate. And yet here we're talking levels of thirst and aggressive propositioning that gives her pause and inspires a bit of repulsion. That takes some doing.
>>
>>4840646
Oh, and Old Siggy, won't he be present as well? I mean, if we're letting Daiyu, Ama, and Deru hear it there's no reason why he and/or Mylen would be exiled from the disclosure unless they're more/rightfully worried about Agathe and would rather keep an eye on her over hear of the nightmare they failed to save us from.

Now that I think on it, Old Siggy replaced Sylphis with Mylen in regards to soul links didn't he? I mean, it'd be logical and something Mylen would welcome.
>>
>>4840646
>What about the Tengu Matriarch? Won't she be dying to listen in too?
If you're that open to sharing, yeah
>The dynamic between the two is similar I'd wager.
You might have a chance to see for yourself.
>>4840663
You might as well speak about it on church ground and let everyone hear then. It's rather big news concerning best flower boy, even if he mistook Celestyna for someone else, for some reason...

Let's see, choice will be...
>Invite everyone in the church to listen to your memory, perhaps this way Armin existence could imprint itself on a few of them.
I'll start writing tomorrow, I'd like to see if another anon agrees with this. I feel it's going beyond being merely ''open'' for Arawn to talk so openly about such a traumatic event of his past but it would make for an interesting trait.
He did but she still left a hole. He keeps crushing on all kinds of insect girls and his wives/lovers gotta keep him in line.
>>
>>4840687
I think getting everyone's input on what we saw could be useful, since if helps fill in some gaps or brings something things in to context, and may be useful in an attempt to recompartmentalize, what we have seen before we go back into combat tomorrow.
>>
>>4840687
Something tells me Armin wouldn't fuck up in that department and being able to pull coming back from the Chunk Salsa Rule could only really be done by something like a defunct pretender god or an Embodiment. The later would take longer to recover from that I'd wager so yeah, that was Devona. At least, a part of her anyway.

Also, wasn't she Gardy's former charge? The one that literally brought him into existence with a desperate wish? Ho boy, once we recover his ego I'm pretty sure he's going to insist that we find Armin and murder the fuck out of him ASAP. How dare he do that to her! He'll kill him! Fortunately for him, both literally and metaphorically, he has half a mind to kill him, and the other half (us) agrees.

I think you said that once monstergirls settle with a "harem" it's hard to expand it. They're fine with who's in it already, but inviting some other girl into it triggers mad jealousy and all kinds of other negative emotions. I get missing the exotic bits and hard yet warm embrace of insect girls but still, Old Siggy needs to control himself a bit better given that.
>>
>>4841043
>Also, wasn't she Gardy's former charge? The one that literally brought him into existence with a desperate wish?
Yup, he never considered himself her father, but his love for her is pretty much exactly that.
All the girls need to approve the potential new members. It's not -that- bad in term of negativeness, a new lover will have t obe equal to everyone else in all respect so usually a new haremette tend t obe tested by the others and spend more time with them than the man they love for a while.
My health isn't too good today, I'll take it easy and aim to continue our session tomorrow.
>>
''Hey...'' You didn't realize you completely lost your balance. Klesiah was cradling you, you could feel her constantly resisting the urge of using her legs to lock down your waist. ''...I'm okay. I'd like to share what I've just learned with everyone in the main hall.''

Siegfried slowly raised his head in genuine surprise. In the doorway, Shereen and Zhu exchanged a worried glance.

''I know it might be a bit forward.'' You didn't need to hear any ''really'' to start justifying yourself. ''I've remembered something about Armin, it might be important... and because of that I feel it'll be wise to get everyone's perspective.'' You gestured with your chin toward the room occupied by the pariahs.

''Hrm...'' Siegfried grunted and slowly rose from his wife bedside. ''Okay. At least the timing for Tsu nap isn't all that bad.''

''Arawn...'' Klesiah wasn't enthused. ''Are you sure? You've felt...''

''Do you remember what Ame said about miracles?'' Your blueberry and the angel were the most indecisive about your resolution, they wanted to hear about your memory somewhere intimate.

''I'll do anything to reach a little miracle of our own, we can't blind ourselves in thinking Zerase is our only foe.'' Klesiah let you go and you rise to your feet, taking this moment to wipe your face with your sleeve. ''Will your mother be okay?''

''Yeah, I told her about the fluff went as well as it could.'' Sieglinde felt strangely embarrassed, you didn't have time to inquire. You promptly exited the room... only for your stride to be interrupted by Shereen, your little sun stopped you with a hug.

''You-you just... you never stay still at all, you were crying in that... that trance of yours you know?'' She was so small and tiny... extremely soft, too. Those fluffy limbs of hers are pure, distilled, ambrosia for the soul. ''When will you... Will you ever stop?''

''Can I hold your hand when I speak in the hall?'' Soon enough, she'll understand that you'll never stop moving if it means protecting those around you.

''Y-you... huh...Okay.'' People began to file out of Tsukiyomi room, everyone went to prepare for the evil fluff arrival. Meaning they had to make sure there weren't going to be any impromptu visitors. ''Let's go fetch a witch I guess. She's been feeling pretty good since coming here.''

--

The room occupied by two evil tyrants was a simple guest room in the long corridor at the back. With Shereen as your only support, you gave the door two knocks and opened it.
>>
''So one thousand pearls is the magic number?''
''Quite. It's just one more piece of the puzzle, there's no official record about when the Pharaoh took power but it wasn't too long after the Demon Lord rise, and after all that time, even a single pearl per month will give her a thousand.''
''Cause of that it won't be a problem if that fog cover everything? How creepy will the necromancy going to be without ingredients?''
''Oh, darling, you forget the matter of recently slain spirits. What is one of the basic exercises of summoning?''

More than four eyes looked at you when you entered. Gathered around a big table where a large map of Muribel had been laid out (and several open books), the witch and the youngest daughter of the Demon Lord weren't alone.

''Oh! So there's the elf all the spiders have been crushing on!''

Two children... no, young teenagers were also there. The one who spoke was a one-tailed fox maiden with big, gorgeous red eyes and such luscious gold in her hair and fur that it was impossible not to assume the identity of her parents.

''I'm Kin!'' She trotted right up to you. ''Say, are you and your friend imprisoned here? Seems to be the case from what I've seen. Don't worry, I can abuse my authority as the princess to make that problem go away, you just need to sign a little agreement.''

''I'm...here by my own will.'' This kid was fairly intense. She walked right up to you, barely reaching your neck.

''...Hi.'' The youngest girl in the room croaked when you inevitably investigated her and she was just as striking as the golden princess, in a completely different way.

This second kid was heavy on the monstrous side of Mamono. Her skin was naturally pale and mixed with soft blue scales almost all over her body, only her face was spared from this phenomenon. A soft stretch of skin linked almost all of her fingers (only the space between index and thumbs were spared) and her feet reminded you of Shereen limbs by being animalistic enough to not need shoes. Her face was on the wider side, a thick tongue seemed eager to peek out of her mouth.

Is she an aquatic lizard? How did they even sneak in here!?

Oh right. This room also had a window looking into the cemetery and that place had an outside entrance.

''Good day, princesses.'' The room had an agreeable smell of food permeating it. ''Do your parents know you're there?''

''Does it matter?'' The lizardgirl responded. ''We oughta just sit in a corner for today cause they'll get mad no matter what we do.'' Oh dear, she might be a difficult one.

''Queen and marshall are busy with the army.'' Kin placed her hands on her hips and tiptoed to look around you. ''You look just like aunty Mebu! Are you her sister?''

''Huh? No, I'm Shereen, we just look alike because of our races.''

The kitsune walked up to your little sun and grabbed her hands. ''Fluff! With claws! You're so cute! Will you be my girlfriend?'' Oh dear, this one really is an intense one.
>>
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''Ama, Deru, I need you to borrow you both.'' Said women were looking far too smug for your liking as they watched you deal with Zipangu princesses. ''Go in the hall, I need to share a little something about the Mage of Flowers.''

''That sound cool, can we hear too?'' Agathe straightened her lazy posture, causing a fleshy frill around her neck to distend in a full circle.

''I'm afraid not, princess. This... You aren't old enough to hear.''

''Pfeh!'' Agathe immediately sulked. ''Same excuse!''

''Your father will be hearing me out, do you think he'd agree?'' Her bitterness changed into indecision.

After a few more minutes of coaxing, the two kids remained in the isolated room whilst Ama and Deru left to accompany you.

''Do you have any idea how thin the ice you two are standing on is?'' The only thing that stopped you from strangling the witch was Shereen holding your hand. Thankfully the hallway was empty...

''How could I not invite my dear student and her sister?'' Daiyu was in a good mood. ''We've been stumped for a while, my soul needed some walking rejuvenation.''

''From what I've seen, Agathe is looking healthy.'' The evil fox comment idly. ''It's too soon to go into the Red World but, hm... I won't claim certainty yet.''

''I hope you remember what happened in Eliaures.'' Ama widens her eyes when you speak. ''I did and I can tell you now that Armin likely ruined your little game back then.''

Hopefully... those girls won't sneak out. Rather, you might have to be mindful of your volume. The hall has a natural echo.

--

When you entered the church hall and began your tale, the Demon Lord managed to wrestle her anger by keeping her back turned on Ama (and everyone else). Her left side was occupied by the tengu matriarch who glared constant silent daggers at the witch whilst the good mother right side was occupied by Sieglinde who kept a firm hold on her hand.

Your tale wasn't a long one but it took every ounce of mental fortitude you had to keep your voice from breaking too much. Without the close proximities of the girls you were joined to and Shereen fluffy hand, you'd have faltered. That memory was still raw, the horrific slaughter of your childhood friend, and all the negative feelings born from Ama constant toying with your younger self twisted your guts into a tight ball.

You also kept a constant vigil toward the backrooms. If Siegfried daughters were trying to spy on you, they were doing a damn good job hiding.

''My, oh my. What a disgusting man.'' The way Ama managed to completely ignore collective enmity was impressive. ''I wondered how you got away so cleanly, no wonder nobody could track you down.''

Midway through your story, Zhu had put a supportive arm around Klesiah shoulders. Your knight's concern for you and her last wayward moth friend made for a choking, maelstrom of a feeling that was easily distilled with Elina, Hao and Sieglinde helps.
>>
''Why would did he call the princess by another name?'' Siegfried asked. ''It couldn't be exactly as implied, right?''

''I'm afraid it is, my dear.'' Siegfried grimaced in disgust when Ama spoke. ''I won't pretend to know all the intricacies of whatever he was aiming at... Good Celestyna might have been housing Devona soul it might not be foolish to believe Armin was forcefully reincarnating the Pretender soul. Arawn just happened to be... an interesting ingredient for this latest experiment.''

''Were most of his victim females?'' Deruella asked.

''Oh yes.'' Ama continued and gestured toward her mouth and, realizing she wasn't holding her smoking pipe, pouted. ''The good majority of the people I've seen suffering his presence were young girls.''

''Hearing such a story of injustice is boiling my blood.'' Tomiko had grabbed one of Daiyu hands and rested it on her thighs. ''How dare such an abomination call the Good Mother cruel!?''

''Would you call it cruel to hold back when you can help?'' Deruella was the one to answer. ''Dearest crow, the Good Mother must have known Armin was the court wizard for a while, yet she did nothing but wait until tragedy struck.''

''It was likely the only way to catch Armin off guard and have a reliable chance to end him outright.'' Siegfried retort, stern. His voice echoes in the hall with the strength of his feelings. The name ''Armin'' was being thrown around often, likely a way for his existence to persist in everyone's memories. ''Unfortunately, innocents were caught in the crossfire.''

''I'd wager the Good Mother had to choose between wrestling Devona away from him or end him outright.'' Ama continues. ''Unless that bastard won that fight, of course... I'd say she took the Pretender.''

Everyone knew what Mother Earth did to all the known Pretenders of the world. No way... she wouldn't have killed what remained of your childhood friend, right? Gardy didn't have any hope with Devona continued survival but you remembered very well the constant sadness that surrounded him, his beloved daughter couldn't have been killed by the goddess! Not after this tragedy!

''Arawn...'' Shereen squeezed your hand, all of your links observed you in shared concern.

Calm down. There's no proof of anything.
>>
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''Hm, since Armin was last seen in Muribel, could it be that he's... say using the Pharaoh like a puppet?'' Tomiko ventured to fill the silence.

''Impossible.'' Daiyu was the one to answer. ''I haven't spoken with Zerase for a long, long time... but she wouldn't have remained Muribel god-queen for so long if she was incompetent. The Zerase I knew was a careful perfectionist who's not afraid of a gamble if she ends up on the backfoot.''

''Is that so...'' Deruella looks interested to hear more, but her mother grows quiet.

''I don't like speaking ill of a mother in front of her daughter.'' Daiyu comment after another moment of silence.

''Your majesty, thank you, I'll be fine.'' Shereen does look content, she's grasping your hand with both of hers now. ''Tomorrow... I'd like a chance to speak with my mother, face to face. However, it might be good for everyone to know her... personality. I'm afraid to say I don't know who my mother is.''

What a sad statement. Shereen spoke calmly and frankly but there was no removing the weight of her lineage.

>Encourage Daiyu to speak about Zerase. Having a good idea about the personality of your main enemy should help... Perhaps you're being distracted by Armin shadowy menace.
>See if all these good heads joined together could theorize something concrete about Armin capabilities. What aim could he have in Muribel?
>Aim to do something else. Time will forever be your elusive enemy... you should use what you have left to prepare yourself magically, do some exercise. It might not be a bad idea for Shereen to get some coaching in blood magic, too. Let the Think Tank do its job, you've provided yet more information.
>Free.
>>
>>4844178
What time is it and how much longer until big ME gets here? At least my fears of a resonance with Agathe seem to have been ill founded for now. Hope we get to ask her what happened to Devona/Celestina.

I would encourage Daiyu to speak more of Zerase. It shouldn't take all that long and it is a critical piece of information that nobody else would have access to. Sadly the information may be a bit dated as it's likely from the era of the previous demon lord but I doubt her personality would *radically* change from then. Could be the piece Deru needs to make a breakthrough.

Also, the Ushi-onis are crushing on us? Errr, better ensure our bedroom has a strong door tonight unless we wanna roll the dice on surprise snu-snu! Seems kin is precocious yet innocent. She's a good girl. Agathe seems more introverted and morose, but also a good girl. Hope we get the chance to know them better later.
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>>4844205
>What time is it and how much longer until big ME gets here?
It's noon. ME is expected to arrive around 4 to 6 pm.

>Also, the Ushi-onis are crushing on us?
Arawn is 100% their type of favorite man because he's a naturally burly, tall man.
>>
>>4844178
>Encourage Daiyu to speak about Zerase. Having a good idea about the personality of your main enemy should help... Perhaps you're being distracted by Armin shadowy menace.

Doing magic stuff before we get cleansed is asking for something bad to happen.
>>
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Best Snek it is.
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>>4844237
Oh, do we still have Ama's pipe? Might want to hand it over to her. We will need to address the matter of the pearls after we hear how horrible a person Zerase is. Might actually help our case. If she's as nasty as I think she is it might actually get Old Siggy to get concerned for Shereen's safety.

That combined with his guilt over his failure to save/kidnap us, no doubt amplified by the horror we went through, could make it an easy negotiation. Maybe. Hopefully. Damnit I hate having to keep promises to the accursed fox but we need answers if we want to have any hope of maintaining our no party deaths streak.

Also, pretty sure that pic was basically us. We started all nice, happy, and idealistic. Then Ama and Armin happened and it was all downhill from there. From kind and happy to edgy and pessimistic. Hope we don't follow that same path.
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>>4844250
>Oh, do we still have Ama's pipe?
Shereen has it.
>Also, pretty sure that pic was basically us.
Arawn hasn't handled enough shit to be compared to the WoL yet.
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>>4844255
I'm more than a bit worried about the "yet" you threw in there. I fear we may well catch up to the likes of the Warrior of Light and Sirogane Takeru if the dice don't side with us.
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>>4844268
Damn, forgot to add the pic.
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''Zerase is our main enemy.'' Shereen ears droop at your statement, you give her as much support as you can by squeezing her fluffy hand. ''Perhaps Armin helped her, maybe she used him, or they used each other or his presence in that inn was a way to taunt my amnesia. My time in Muribel hasn't revealed anything about her... We've only had the misfortune of dealing with her firstborn.''

''She must have changed a great deal after the Great Crusade.'' Daiyu didn't move to face anyone, she straightened her back, the wings on her hips came to rest on Sieglinde and Tomiko lap (the Tengu proceeded to pet it like a puppy). ''I'll share what I remember.'' Interrupting herself with a ''thank you dear'' toward Hildegarde, Daiyu refreshed her throat and remained silent for a moment. Shereen firmly clutched your hand, even Banu looked unusually tense.

''The snake I knew back then was a cold, ruthless, pragmatic enforcer of Damien's will and one of the best ritualists I ever saw. Her talent in magic allowed her to devise long-term, physical rituals without the need for anchors, essentially enchant whole places. It was through a joint effort of myself, the Demon Lord, and her that, for example, the race of goblins was spawned and the eternal forge of the Demon Lord became autonomous.''

She shuffles gently, making herself comfortable yet still doggedly stubborn in not facing the witch and thus, keep her back to everyone listening.

''Back then we've spent a lot of time together, you could say we shared a blossoming friendship. Zerase always believed in strength, the kind of strength that allows someone to move forward no matter the odds, the kind of will that push someone to seclude themselves from others to pursue their dreams, she's someone who believed that people with grandiose visions shouldn't be afraid of consuming countless others in their ambitions.'' Daiyu paused to drink. ''That's how she put it to me back then, anyway.''

It'd take that kind of will to keep being god-queen of a country for two hundred years.

''She has always been very careful when she had to maneuver without support, she rarely risked her life during the crusade but... that doesn't mean she's a coward, she's the one responsible for the fall of the Joined Sultanates of Muribel in the opening stage of the Great Crusade. I helped her in the final stage when she had to take a gamble.''

''Every conspiracy are at their most vulnerable in the beginning and before they are accomplished.'' Daiyu continues. ''Zerase meticulously laid out the foundation of a smooth transition of the territory once all the sultans and their families were murdered, the confusions would make assaulting the entire country much easier but, back then, the three city-states surprised everyone by joining together in one country due to increased pressures from the Allied Kingdoms... so, Zerase decided to employ one of her many fallback options, because that's how she operates. A stillborn royal child...''
>>
''Fallback options?'' Deruella asked, she was the one most enthralled by her mother tale.

''Security. Once you have your conspiracy, your big plan, take it apart pieces by pieces, find the weakness and figure out what you need to do to remedy that, even if it means risking your life. Put layers upon layers depending on what you predict could happen, adapt to changes... and take a gamble when you have to. Zerase was fiercely dedicated, too. I think she was genuinely in love with Damien''

''She's that type, huh...'' Deruella head and hips wings deployed themselves completely, bothering the evil fox sitting next to her. ''...One thousand pearls is the magic number but we couldn't figure out anything safe enough but we assumed a little too much about lady apotheosis. She doesn't have the time to spread that fog throughout the entire population of her domain.''

''Mh? Oi, where are you touching!?'' Deruella hand came dangerously close to grabbing one of Ama breasts when she fetched for the vixen arm.

''Let's go, you need to tell how many pearls it'll take to kill a Red prince.'' She pulled Ama and began walking toward the backroom.

''Oi, wait up! I still have to ominously threaten Arawn about a little something here! Lemme go you... demon!''

And like that, the two white devils exited the hall, leaving a speechless silence... For a little while.

''Excuse me, your majesty?'' Shereen had left your side before you realized it and had walked next to Daiyu, looking withdrawn, like a scared puppy. ''Could you... tell me more about your relationship with Zerase.''

''It might be a difficult topic to stomach, dear.'' Daiyu replied, maneuvering to stand back up (at the Tengu matriarch great, whiny annoyance.) ''I'll share everything you want to know.''

You do have to admit that Daiyu back was... beguiling. Her Majesty the Demon Lord keeps herself in great shape.

Let's hope Sieglinde didn't catch that stray thought.

With the evil vixen departure, the atmosphere regained a liveable comfort. Zerase makes for a dreadful enemy, especially after 200 years of planning.

>Go with your little sun (and everyone she allows) to hear whatever Daiyu has to say. Her relationship before Zerase ascended as a Pharaoh sound like an interesting tale.
>Now's the time to get those pearls. Siegfried could get pulled into preparing the army at any moment. With how Daiyu described her, finding security for Shereen might be a necessity.
>Spend some leisure time with your friends for once in your life. (Will open up more choices)
>Free.
Continuing tomorrow.
>>
>>4844439
>getting turned on by Daiyu's backside
What can we say, Sieg's mom is all kinds of hot. Like I said, she's basically sex incarnate. A trait passed down to her daughters. All of them are extremely alluring.

As for what to do: "I can surmise that Ama won't be cooperating further unless I make good on that promise. Siegfried, you probably already guessed, but in order to secure her cooperation I made a deal. In exchange for helping Deruella figure out what's going on in Muribel and hopefully minimize overall casualties, I need you to give me two death pearls. She will convert them into an astral and use it to defend Shereen's soul should Zerase do something 'drastic' during or after her confrontation. I'll owe you a big one if you hand them over now."

If he doesn't: "I hate to resort to this, but I need those pearls. For the sake of your people and your wife, please, give them to me."

If he's dense and doesn't get the implications: "Two pearls for me helping you with Tsukuyomi after this is over. I don't like doing this, but I don't want people dying for nothing and in numbers that could have been mitigated and we both know what Ama is like. She won't give Deru further information until she has those pearls. Please, for her (points to the sleeping Tsu), and your people who are going to be dying tomorrow. Save as many families as you can the grief of losing their loved ones."
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>>4844587
Interesting. One vote for pearls fetching.
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>>4844598
I'm probably going to miss the next few updates so I'll ask now. What time is it now? Ama is going to make herself scarce once big ME shows up right? I don't trust her to not try and commit deicide or something with that pearl we're trying to get her. Plus I think ME would pulp her shard if she sees it on basic principle. I said it awhile back, but for the sake of the world it's in everyone's best interest to keep Ama alive for now.

For her part, big ME will be aware of Ama's likely proximity to the church right? I know Mina knows about Shereen and our overall situation. Will we have a chance to ask her a few things after she hopefully cleanses us and potentially our waifus of Armin's parasitic taint? Could she perhaps cure Hao or at least ensure she won't burn out tomorrow?
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>>4844644
Oh, and Agathe, she'll cleanse her too if something's wrong right?
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>>4844644
>What time is it now?
Huh... Maybe 12:30 pm? I'm not measuring everything by the minutes.
> Ama is going to make herself scarce once big ME shows up right?
A whole lot of people will make themselves scarce if the goddess herself show up. It's kind of a momentous occasion.
>For her part, big ME will be aware of Ama's likely proximity to the church right?
I can't answer anything concerning big ME.
>Will we have a chance to ask her a few things after she hopefully cleanses us and potentially our waifus of Armin's parasitic taint?
You should be able to, in theory.
>Could she perhaps cure Hao or at least ensure she won't burn out tomorrow?
A goddess should be able to do this... We'll see.
>Oh, and Agathe, she'll cleanse her too if something's wrong right?
Little Agathe is looking fiiine!
>>
>>4844652
Yeah, looks fine. We look fine too and unless we use fusions or go to the red world we'll continue to look fine. The instant we try either of those we will look a lot less like we're fine.

I don't know what the trigger is, but Armin definitely did something to Agathe. There's a bomb of some kind in her soul and we don't know what the trigger for its detonation is. She needs a cleansing yesterday.
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>>4844671
Oh, just thought of this, but if fixing Tsu won't take days but rather hours at most we sweeten the deal by saying we'll cure her once we're cleansed if he hands the pearls over. We obviously can't risk anything now with the damnable parasite there to potentially fuck it all up. Plus if we can fix her before tomorrow we'd gain yet another major force for the coming invasion.

Does Zipangu have combat stims? We may have to pull an all-nighter and while it's not a long term solution drugs can eliminate the downsides of missing one night of sleep. It's when you try to stay up longer than 48 hours that those side effects and handicaps really start to kick in. We've all had more than a few cups of coffee.

Also, can Tsu make a scroll for one of her summons? Given her nature I'd bet she has a stash of a few of them. Y'know, emergency plans for if it all went tits up and she ended up comatose for a few decades. I think she and Zerase might be similar in this regard, though of course Tsu would vehemently disagree with sacrificing millions for an ambition as an OK thing to do. You might have to make a hard call and order people to their deaths or something, but you don't sacrifice people merely for personal benefit and it's always and only as a last resort.
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>>4844776
>Does Zipangu have combat stims?
Yeah, alchemist came up with various stimulants.
>Also, can Tsu make a scroll for one of her summons? Given her nature I'd bet she has a stash of a few of them.
Only Siegfried can know that.
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>>4844785
I guess the ins and outs of fixing Tsu can't really be known fully either. Well, they can in theory and those theories involved a master level mature soul mage. I doubt it's a quick fix but in the event it is that's what we offer Old Siggy. It's in our best interest to have her fully operational before the beginning of the assault as well.

I mean fuck, Tsu, Daiyu, possibly big ME herself or if not her multiple shards... I pity the nation facing that onslaught. They're right and properly fucked!

Oh, from what I'm gathering it seems like Ame is preparing to hit Muribel with a full frontal "Alpha Strike" kind of assault. She seems intent to hit her like the fist of an angry and vengeful god given what's at stake. Am I correct in that assumption?
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>>4844792
>
Oh, from what I'm gathering it seems like Ame is preparing to hit Muribel with a full frontal "Alpha Strike" kind of assault. She seems intent to hit her like the fist of an angry and vengeful god given what's at stake. Am I correct in that assumption?
Getting to know how you'll be reentering Muribel will happen much later in the thread. I want to make this one the big prep, the calm before the storm so we'll be here for a while.
>>
No other votes, I'll proceed with the pearl option. I'm only going to update once today, see you guys later.
>>
''Hope I'm not being too annoying.'' You remarked after entering the queen-mother room. You asked Siegfried for privacy shortly after the exit of the two masterminds and, sensing your intention, Sieglinde wanted to accompany you but you told her to be around Shereen instead.

Your little sun was going to hear about her mother from the Demon Lord, this was equally important with your duty... And after yesterday night, Sieglinde was looking for any opportunity in getting to know Shereen.

''Don't worry about that. After what you remembered, I'm glad we're still on speaking terms.''

In all honesty, you're much angrier about his injustice toward Sieglinde... but that's a matter for later. He invited you into his home and is going to risk not only his life, but those of his loved ones tomorrow and you can only wonder how much resource Zipangu is burning right now in preparation.

''I'll be going to survey the mustering ground soon, if you need my help for something, best ask me now since you'll need to send runners otherwise.''

''Alright, there's one thing I'd like to know before I ask something unpleasant. Have your people figured out a ritual that would allow my magic to rejuvenate Tsukiyomi soul? I have no intention of trying anything until this problem is dealt with.'' For once you do not need to don your Magitek gauntlet, you hold out your arm before him with obvious implication. ''Afterward, could it be possible for me to insure your wife good health tomorrow?''

''We've been lucky with Kin, not only was she born with such a rare esoterism but she's skilled in magical manipulation despite her age.'' Siegfried crosse his arms and sit next to his slumbering nine-tailed wife, Tsu is a quiet sleeper. ''We've devised a hypothetical ritual that needs someone with a fully matured soul magic. I believe it's possible to cheat the time needed for the Immortal Syndrome, your nature could speed up what would take decades into a few weeks... months at most. Of course, doing so tonight is out of the question. With Shereen's help, you should be able to quickly build a spiritual pathway into Tsu soul and directly reinvigorate her for tomorrow's battle.''

Lifting his gaze off his wife slumbering visage, Siegfried turns to you. ''Otherwise, my wife intends to imbibe dangerous alchemical stimulants tomorrow. She'd be able to join the fight with Ame tomorrow... but would likely fall into her coma in the middle of the battle, her Long Sleep is a certainty. Tsu has kept a decade-long dogged resistance to this disease because she desperately wants to see her two daughters grow up.'' Tsukiyomi doesn't make any noises when Siegfried cup her cheek, she's giving the impression of hibernating. ''War demand sacrifice..." Siegfried grimace. ''...Thanks for asking, Arawn.''
>>
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He sounds genuine. He's keeping himself composed but you can see the smoldering fire burning inside his blue eyes; despite all the trials he's already faced, there's no trace of despondency.

This is a man who will keep himself standing, no matter what.

''Siegfried, do you still have the death pearls?''

His eyebrows raise, he nods. ''Yeah, I showed them to my wives but I still have all four, I think Ame could make use of them tomorrow.''

''I'll need to borrow two of them.'' His brows furrow into a frown. ''It's to keep Shereen safe and help Deruella figure out that ritual of apotheosis. You see, I made a deal with the witch... She wants two death pearls to protect Shereen against a potential blood curse of Zerase by transforming them into an astral one. This should ensure her full cooperation...''

''...Or give her the exact ingredients she needs to accomplish her selfish desires. We're keeping her on the shortest least we can, Ame is barely restraining herself from disemboweling the bitch. It's only because that witch is a shard that my wife held herself back.'' It might be wise not to mention his daughter's last known position. ''She's the only immortal on this island who has hands-on knowledge with these cataclysmic trinkets, giving her anything at all-''

''I will not allow Zerase and Ensan to drag Shereen into their hell. Do you think I don't resent Ama?'' Alas, your feelings aren't quite so clear-cut... That moment in the bath, that gods damned fox! ''You know I've had to endure her existence for a long time, first as a kid, then shortly after my awakening, and both times she took advantage of me.''

Siegfried disposition is impossible to predict, the man became a closed book, withdrawn within himself but he listens.

''I want to help your wife, I don't want to hold a knife to your throat and impose a disgusting deal... I think you can understand my feelings. I will do everything I can to protect those closest to me, that includes Shereen. I'll make that deal with the devil if I have to.''

''And who'll pay for it?'' His voice is measure despite the fire in his eyes.

''Who'll pay for all of your countrymen that will die tomorrow? With those pearls, Ama will at least be willing to fight or at least guide Shereen magic in battle. That's more ammunition for us, one more arrow in our arsenal.''

''...From what Daiyu said, I wouldn't expect the god-queen pharaoh to be petty but she did not reprimand her firstborn after that disgusting, torturous humiliation she imposed on your Sun. And since she had all the time in the world to prepare... it doesn't look that illogical to believe she'd curse herself to affect Shereen.''

''The sooner she gets them, the sooner she'll get motivated to help Deruella. Siegfried, if we can predict Zerase plans...''

''..more of my people survive.''
>>
With his statement, a long minute of silence falls between the two of you. You've said your piece, it`s up to him now.

''Like you, my ultimate priority is to ensure the happiness of those around me, my vital little bubble of monsters... Despite where we're going tomorrow, I'll do everything I have to do. My countrymen aren't my priority.'' Stepping away from the bed, the blond handsome man faces you with cold strength. ''Not that I should ignore them. Ama, that fox... unlike Armin, she's an evil you can influence, you do have some degrees of control over her.'' Reaching into his pocket, Siegfried extracts two small purple spheres glowing from a faint inner light. ''I don't think you're out of her game yet, Arawn. Remain vigilant and above all, it is our duty as men to bring prosperity and security to monsters. Let's keep this deal between us. My wives have enough worries.''

Despite all his doubts and his instinct telling him otherwise, Siegfried hand you the pearls while giving you a firm handshake. With everything said and done, the man makes a quiet exit from the cemetery, stopping for one brief moment to observe the pair of graves. You can only make out the names from the room.

Sylphis and Bletsia.

--

''My, you really are quite the darling aren't you?''

Alone in the hallway, you resist the urge of pushing Ama against the door when she wraps her arms around your neck. She grabbed the pearls from you like a practiced pickpocket.

''You two shouldn't indulge Zipangu princesses any longer, people are going to start asking questions soon.''

''Oh, I know. It's about time to let them go, they're quite the darlings... you should spend a little time with them.'' Ama wiggle close and press her body against your chest, her tails hover around you like snakes.

''I don't want to worsen Agathe condition, even if there's nothing now, we've been touched by Armin...''

''Will you continue cowering about what if? I'm sure you'd have felt something already with her mere presence in your vicinity now, it's been around two hours!''

''I'm waiting for being cleansed before doing anything magical, so yes I'm going to ''cower'' if it means dodging Armin trap.''

''Maybe you should let go of some of that tension.'' Ama is getting far too intimate. Her kimono is nearly dropping with the way she's hugging you, you put a hand on her shoulder. ''You still owe me a little indulgence, my dear.''

''Not now.'' You growl.

''Yes, not now, it'll be never if you had your way. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?'' She does, at least, maintain some distance. No matter how much disgust you try to impose on yourself, the vixen warm body is...titillating your senses. She's far too seductive, gods damn it all. Old hags shouldn't be so alluring!
>>
''Shereen has been feeling very useless since coming to Zipangu.'' One of her hands starts to rub the back of your neck. ''I think she's getting afraid of losing you or maybe being thrown away since you've reunited with your darlings. There are so many competent people around all of a sudden...''

''What the hell kind of poison did you whisper in her ear?'' Your anger motivates you to grab her neck, one of her tails wrap around your limb in response.

''When will you stop putting all the world evil on my shoulders?'' Her hand goes to gently squeezes your throat. ''Don't worry, I'll... limit myself.''

''...''

You guys have decided to not commit to any important activity until Mother Earth arrival, the rest of your day is effectively open to doing whatever you want. Consider this free time.

>''Be quick, you need to help Deruella more than anything.'' (Give Ama her... "indulgence''. Whatever that means)
>Get the kids away from Ama and Deruella room before people find out. Perhaps you can invite them into the church hall, or maybe you can get to know them alone.
>''Produce results and I'll let you do whatever you want.'' Hanging a bait in front of Ama should motivate her. (This will make you go back in the hall and open up more choices)
>Free
>>
\>>4848099
>Get the kids away from Ama and Deruella room before people find out. Perhaps you can invite them into the church hall, or maybe you can get to know them alone.
>>
>>4848099
Be quick, and nothing lewd. Children are watching!
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>>4848124
Oh, can we give her that indulgence then get the kids out or get the kids out then give in to her demands? Again, nothing lewd allowed!
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>>4848130
Yeah, having a little moment with Ama then taking the kids away is possible.

Although the girls might move away on their own when Ama is having her harmless fun. If another anon doesn't break the tie, I'll roll in about... 15 minutes.
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>>4848138
Is anyone keeping an eye on them that's trustworthy? If yes, my vote is unchanged. If no, we need to hand them off to someone that is before keeping our promises to fluffy Satan.
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>>4848154
Deruella is trustworthy!
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>4848114
>>4848124
>>
>>4848177
Now this is interesting.
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>>4848181
What fate have the dice decreed?
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>>4848222
The good witch will have her due.
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>>4848228
Oh... Well, we did promise her and we keep our promises. This is for not popping out of Shereen early in Muribel and fucking up the meeting with everyone to slake her thirst for drama right?

I still say nothing lewd. Especially not with children present! Old Siggy will not forgive us if we spoil their innocence. Nothing memory or soul related either. Messing with it might trigger the parasite anyway. She wouldn't want to break her favorite toy by her own direct actions would she?

My guess is that she's going to fawn over us with her whole body and make us tell her she's a good girl and that we love having her around. That we couldn't imagine life without her and that her games are ever so much fun. That we only act like we hate her but we're really just a big tsundere elf. Or perhaps groom and fluff her fluffy tails as we do that. Dear lord, the humiliation...

Also, is Agathe a Sahuagin? Her description is awfully similar. A monstergirl can spawn related types if I remember. Thus, a normal lizard girl might be able to have a girl like her. It would fit given Old Siggy's mystical nature.
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>>4848267
She's much more monstrous looking than a normal Sahuagin but that's the race people believe her to be.
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>>4848272
She's gonna make someone very, very happy in the future hopefully. They're another one of my favorites.
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>>4848284
A wee bit too soon to be thinking about that.
Can you imagine a prospective boyfriend having to deal with Siegfried, Tsukiyomi, Ame, Mylen, Athena, Hadraniel... and most importantly Kyorn the overprotective uncle? Maybe Arawn can be added to that list too.
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>>4848300
Wait, you mean we could end up as a potential influence upon Agathe and Kin's life? As in, become like "Uncle Arawn" in her eyes? I wonder what Gardy would think of that.

Anyways, all of that just means he has to be a very good man. I'm quite certain all of the girls want grandchildren and everyone wants Agathe to find happiness. A wise philosopher once said "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." Or, to put it another way, do not allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.
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>>4848320
>Wait, you mean we could end up as a potential influence upon Agathe and Kin's life? As in, become like "Uncle Arawn" in her eyes? I wonder what Gardy would think of that.
It'll be a possibility depending on how the assault plays out and how that will affect act 3. Arawn magical nature really is very precious for Zipangu, so you do have an incentive to stay o this island.

But that's not something to worry about now.
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>>4848330
Oh, just remembered this, but Siggy wants us to essentially do to Tsu what we did to Mina. Problem is Shereen has a new squatter in her soul.

Is there any way to ensure Ama doesn't do anything to Tsu while we rejuvenate her? Having her at full power for tomorrow drastically increases everyone's survival odds but Ama may not like her and thus might have a reason to sabotage her.
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>>4848384
>Is there any way to ensure Ama doesn't do anything to Tsu while we rejuvenate her?
There's no way to ensure anything when it come to Ama
>>
''Fine, just...'' You can almost see the sparks lighting up Ama evil eyes. ''...Measure yourself, you know who I'm linked with and they'll be asking questions. I'm not going to lie for your sake.''

Instead of another witty remark, the fox giddiness has her nearly leap forward and, with a firm grip on your wrist that makes it certain you wouldn't run away, she drags you into the room you first awoke in that lead directly into the small cemetery, leaving the door slightly ajar.

''Mmhm, sit my dear, sit.'' She shoves you on the couch. You're tempted to resist if that meant wiping that smug smile off her face but, ultimately, it'll be simpler to let her do whatever she wants.

You glance away to avoid the titillating sight of this kimono-wearing evil fluffy woman but Ama inevitably forces the issue by wrapping a hand under your chin and making you loop up. ''Having to stay reasonable is so very difficult right now.'' She giggles and sits on you. Her low-cut kimono opens and rides up her generous waist, revealing deep dark panties with strings attached to her sides.

''You've grown into a fine, fine man.'' She continues, circling your head with her arms. Her tails are all over your body, rubbing you like snakes, going into your shirt, wrapping around your legs.

It's a fantastic feeling, you can't even muster disgust. Gods damned fluffy tails.

''I'm not your molesting doll.'' You growl and wiggle. ama hasn't shoved you between her breasts yet, but that's coming next, right?

''No, you aren't...'' She's looking strangely glum, her smirk doesn't have its usual strength. ''...I'm quite sorry, for what happened in Eliaures.''

Your temptations rightfully evaporate, you can feel your entire body stiffen with anger.

''Mmh.'' And Ama likes it. ''That is not the kind of ending I wanted... I completely lost trace of you and thus, I thought you had a fitting victory.''

''You're not helping yourself right now.'' You grab her plump waist by a pair of tails wrap around your limbs, stopping you from applying too much force. A compulsion you aren't sure was entirely your own. ''If you were sorry, why'd you go and lie about your identity in Throne Town with that contract? Why did you allow your followers to... You know damn well what happened.''

''I've had to cast away that awful blue man from my circle because of his incompetence when it came to handling Throne Town. Now that my dear Ari'el is growing a spine and becoming independent, I don't have many people left now...''

''...Do you expect me to feel sorry for you?''

''I'd like it if you could accept the fact even I am capable of compassion. I'm not Armin, I can care you know?''
...
She does try to give whoever she toys with a fair chance. Is that compassion?
>>
''I'd love to lay on your lap, have you play with my ears, give you a few brushes to comb my tails. I'd be nice if you held me in your big, strong, protective arms and held me up for a little tour of Zipangu royal homestead.'' this time she does hug you on her chest. It's... She's warm, soft, cuddly. So very feminine. ''I want you to satisfy my curiosity instead.''

She reluctantly pulls you away and with both hands on your cheeks, she looks at you with a faint glimmer of vulnerability in her red eyes.

''Shereen has been feeling so very insignificant since coming here... it's getting intense, she's choking me without realizing.'' Shereen? ''She's afraid of losing you and seeing everything that happened today so far... She's falling into a dangerous spiral of negativity. She's convinced herself that both of you will be walking separate paths soon.''

''I'm not going to abandon her like that.''

''I think Sieglinde is doing some good too, your darling sun has been getting warmer toward her fellow princess but, alas... Shereen feels responsible for this entire mess and if anyone you care about tomorrow is hurt, well she's already one step into self-loathing.''

She's never bothered you, but she has been constantly apologizing about her lack of skills in... just about anything. Being constantly protected must have been humiliating for someone with such a potent magical nature.

''Do you love her, Arawn?''

That question strike you so intensely you nearly throw the vixen off your body.

''Oh please!'' She giggles before you can open your mouth. ''You'Ve been with her for two months, lived under the same roof, got to know one another, and then surmounted many trials together... and now you've gotten back to your precious lovers, dear Shereen kept her promise didn't she? She helped with that.''

''I... why do you care?'' You're sensing that familiar warmth invading your face, your cheeks must be red.

''Because I think it's adorable. You started as Shereen slave, the normal thing would have been for you to run away or grow some kind of resentment, instead, she's someone you consider worthy of protection like all of your linked lovers... So I want to know. I think you've had more than enough time to figure that out yourself, don't go running away with an excuse now. Take some time to think on it and give me a straight answer, that'll be my harmless little indulgence.'' Throughout her speech, Ama hands stayed on your cheeks, you couldn't look away from those brilliant red eyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diScvS_ZOpM

Having a few inputs here would be appreciated. I'll update tomorrow as this is a fairly important character moment for our elf.
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>>4848470
Love... as in like platonically or romantically? I don't suppose Ama will allow us to be a "coward" like Shereen did when she popped this question to us about the girls we're linked to will she. She wants a hard answer I fear. Is that right?
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>>4848705
Yes. It's a question about romantic love
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>>4848730
Hmmm... Well, there's definitely something there. We were a tad lewd with her in the baths after all. Does Ama know her feelings towards us? I would say there's ample evidence that she's harboring affections towards us but is worried we do not or will not reciprocate. Especially with these other amazing women that we're already linked to. Is there really enough room in our hearts for her? Would we look at her the way we look at Zhu, Sieg, Klesiah, and the others?

On a related note, there is a psychological factor in play here. Her entire situation... well, let's just say ain't no way she doesn't have issues. Issues that honestly ought to be far worse than they are at present. I suppose Banu truly does love her like she's her own blood related daughter and acted like it. It's the reason she fears us leaving her.

Fortunately, the cure for it is honestly convincing her that no, we are not and will not ever leave her.
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>>4848827
Shit, could have worded that better. She has an issue that's causing her to fear us leaving her. Banu's ministrations and motherly love are the reasons why this issue isn't *far* more pronounced.
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>>4848827
>Is there really enough room in our hearts for her? Would we look at her the way we look at Zhu, Sieg, Klesiah, and the others?
That is ultimately for you to judge. Ultimately, all of the girls also have each other with Arawn in the middle. Being immortal really does change perspectives.
Mamonos have proven that Dunbar's Numbers is bullshit
>>4848830
Without Banu, Shereen would probably be dead. Old gal did good.
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>>4848842
I doubt any dude has a harem with 150+ mamonos in it so it'd never really come up anyway. Besides, how could one man possibly satisfy that many? Not just sexually (the spirit is willing but the flesh is tired and bruised), but emotionally as well? Only so many hours in a day and days in a year...

I'll have to think on this one a bit. Like I said, there *is* something there. More than her fluffy paw pads it is her kindness and genuine empathy that are her real draw. They not only make her worth protecting, they would also likely cause us to fall for her over time. *Especially* if she started trying to get us to see her in that light.
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>>4848864
That's a very big number to be sure. Again, immortality does chance perspective... You might have a chance to talk about it later in this thread so I won't dwell on it.

I'd like other anons perspective on this too, I might wait later than usual before starting tomorrow.
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>>4848877
True. Immortality does change things. It's a sad fact for instance but Zhu and Klesiah are but mere humans whose days are numbered. Unless we find a philosopher's stone (made in an ethical way, no human sacrifices) or some other ethical means of making them immortal they will eventually leave us harem route or no. I have one idea, but it's rather drastic. It's technically already in its infancy in setting, but who knows what other issues might come up with it long term.
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>>4848897
Soul links with immortals do lengthen a normal human lifespan It's why Siegfried looks so young but ultimately, Zhu, Klesiah, Hao and Shereen are finite.
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>>4848906
What would happen if we were to, say, transfer their souls into golem bodies? The fantasy equivalent of mind uploading them into an immortal robotic body? You may know what I'm referencing which is why I'm a bit worried about that though[/spoilers].
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>>4848920
Who knows if that's even possible? Emeth is a golem with her own soul, making her similar to Gardy but injecting a soul that dwelled inside someone for years and years into a new body could prove... disastrous. Or not. Arawn never stumbled on any research papers about the topic.
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>>4848926
Eh, just throwing ideas at the wall to see if anything sticks. I hope everything goes smoothly with Leena. What Ama did with her might make the process much easier and carry few if any side effects. She did spend quite a number of pearls on her after all.

In the setting I'm referencing they did eventually figure it all out and work out all the "kinks" with the mind uploading... after a positively horrific number of failures involving real humans. How things failed were horrific too.
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>>4848984
You remind me that I'll be starting a scifie quest once act 2 wrap up. Alas, can only produce so much in one day...
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>>4849010
Might be cool. What setting you basing it off of? I like to do a bit of reading/know what I'm gonna be dealing with before I sit down at the table as it were. Hell you basically started all this with the concept of "The MGE-verse but a *bit* more serious" and that was an easy thing for me to wrap my head around.

For instance, the MGE Demon Lord's solution to the problem of the eternal war between the races of man and monsters was simple... for a succubus. Of course she'd think that lewds would solve everything! However, if you really, and I mean really think on it, it kinda would (hence why Daiyu took the same path and enacted that plan).

Sadly, like I've said many times, there's another issue that needs solving and neither version has solved it. The full solution, the "true" ending, requires that mamonos give birth to mamono girls and "human" male boys. A true fusion of the races of man (literally as that'll be the male population) and mamonos (i.e. the female population). This current state is ironically cruel as all fuck even with polygamy being acceptable to the mamonos!

As for Ama, I think I've got my version of our answer. Yes. Yes we do love Shereen. We love her because she's worth protecting. We love her because she's kind, empathetic, and compassionate in a way that cannot be explained by or hell, defies cold logic in most any way we try to cogitate. If you mistake "lust" for "love" than we cannot be sure what you're getting at. We want to make her happy and if that involves "lust" than we probably will come to lust after her in time. It's a dynamic we've had with most all the girls around us. We first wanted to know them as friends and people we could trust. Going further than that, however, requires their demonstrated desires for it.

You say that you care Ama. That you're capable of compassion. How do you define that word? What does it mean to you? Can you even comprehend the notion of a soul that "cares" without running it through some long forgotten algorithm from the pretender age that you probably think my bestest buddy ran on?

Lady White only understands the logical side of compassion-A shard of Mother Earth.
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>>4849081
>Might be cool. What setting you basing it off of?
Like Tale of Monsters, it's not based on one particular setting, it's a hodgepodge of ideas and inspirations.
Main inspirations have been Battletech, Cyberpunk Red, Traveller, Starsector, Stellaris, Mass Effect and last but not least Girls Frontline. I'm going to put them all into a blender of space opera and a galactic post societal collapse in which humanity is near extinct and your only trustworthy companions are the artificial intelligence robogirl you'll get to choose at the beginning. This entire quest was born from my ardent desire to make a Battletech quest but the fact I want aliens and sentient AI make it impossible for me to do since those two things are BIG no-no for BT, so I made my own setting and stole the mechs because fuck it, I'm doing it for free.

>This current state is ironically cruel as all fuck even with polygamy being acceptable to the mamonos!
Indeed it is but Mamonos have honestly made peace with it. Or rather, they adapted.

Hm, your big answer seems like a thinly veiled attempt at Arawn trying to dodge Ama question... cute.
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>>4849111
I don't see it as such. I am admitting that we do love Shereen, but not in the way she probably wants us to (i.e. do we wanna fuck her so bad it hurts or not). If we did we'd have fallen to Porky's temptations! We did not. Yet she seems to think that's a fluke!

We also remember what that shard said so many threads ago and are testing it. Ama says she's capable of compassion eh? Let's see if she doesn't come off as some cold logic bot in her explanations as to how she experiences compassion. After all, we'd think ME knows the "Wound of the World" pretty damn well yes?
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>>4849118
>I am admitting that we do love Shereen, but not in the way she probably wants us to
Sister-zoned? Despite the bath?
> Let's see if she doesn't come off as some cold logic bot in her explanations as to how she experiences compassion. After all, we'd think ME knows the "Wound of the World" pretty damn well yes?
Interesting way to turn it back on her. We'll see what our other players think
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>>4849128
Eh, not quite. Shereen isn't being "zoned" in any active way. We're basically in a very receptive state in regards to her. We treasure her, but how does she want to be treasured?

This links back into the issues I mentioned. The cure for them will require that she be open and honest towards us so that we can show her that value her as she is over her believing that she must "earn" our affections and attentions.

She has already earned them. She must now accept that she has and that it's OK for her to tell us of her needs and desires. She must come to understand that her fears are baseless. We do care about her. We will not leave her just because and yes, she is very deserving of being loved and we as well as many others can and will come to love her very much.
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>>4849144
>We treasure her, but how does she want to be treasured?
Ah, so your take is for Arawn feeling to indeed be romantic if Shereen wishes it so, she's just being held back by crippling self-doubt... Girl has to take a forward step. How sneaky, how cowardly!

If I still misunderstand you then I clearly need to sleep because my brain has rotten for today.
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>>4849155
Cowardly? No, it'd take an act of supreme bravery and courage given what she's been through! I wanted to avoid spelling it out but now I must.

She never knew her father. Hell, probably got the subtle implication from what few interactions from her mother that she had that humans were all shit and deserved fates worse than death. She loved Damien and Damien was not only originally a human, but desired to end the existence of the entirety of his kind. And yet she loved him as purely as Daiyu loves humanity and her daughters. Yeah, Daiyu's "curse" is just that and fuck her in particular for being the greatest and most vile of traitors in regards to the entirety of the monstrous races. She's everything Damien was not! Fuck her and her dreams and I hope to be the one who kills her and her loved ones most painfully!!!

That worked right up until she met a few of them. Banu being chief amongst them. She always had time for her. That "filthy" human never failed to dry her tears, to give her a hug, to just... be there for her. She never rejected her for any reason. Even when she blew up and lashed out at her... she just... Why isn't mommy like her? This "filthy" human clearly loves me flaws and all. Are they all really as bad as my mother says? Did daddy really deserve to die before I saw his face?

I could go on and on but I think you get my point. The "cowardice" isn't born of being a coward, but rather from the mistaken conclusion that one is not worthy of being romanced/loved! She needs to conquer her fear of rejection, her fear that she's not worthy of love of any kind. Thankfully, we can help her do just that. We will help her do just that.
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>>4849178
Hm, that's quite in-depth... Either way, I'll take that as Arawn being receptive to romantic feelings toward Shereen.
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>>4849208
Receptive, but not seeking. Again, it's not what we want on any level, but what Shereen wants.

Does she want a lover/husband, or a protector/father/friend? That's up to her. We'll likely follow her lead in that regard. Does she most desire platonic love or romantic love? We don't get to pick. That's all on her.
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Giving this choice one more hour before going with what I've got.
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Hm, having some trouble gathering my thoughts for this one. Probably will take me a while, sorry about that.
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>>4850227
It's cool. We can wait for quality. It looks like we may be on our way to confession number 5. Pretty sure Shereen feels something for us, but we'll have to coax it out of her nice and gentile. First steps on the road to happiness and sound mental health. Best doggo deserves to be happy!
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Look like this will be another long post. I'll update tomorrow since I'm getting a bit too tired to reread. We've spent a long time with Shereen...
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>>4850595
I just thought of this, but what kind of "general" would Ame, Tsu, Old Siggy, Zerase, or Ensan resemble?

I fear that Tsu and/or Zerase is like Gregory Zhukov or Anastasius Focht. The latter is basically "Space AT&T's" version of the former. That's going to be very bad for everyone. Especially if it means a "mirror match" as fighting game fans would term it. That body count is going to be absolutely horrific...
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>>4851103
Now that's one hell of a question and I honestly can't answer it because I never gave it any thought. The introduction of magical elements as a new point of logistics and military alongside the wide-ranging of Mamonos races make it pretty hard to imagine which real-world general our cast of lovely ladies would best reassemble.

If I were to give you a quick opinion... Zerase would be similar to Pyyrhus. Tsukiyomi... I'd say reassemble Robert Lee. Ame, I'll just say she knows how to be adaptive and operate very well with crack troops.

Honestly, I'm unsure about any of my answers because magic and the fact all of those Mamonos are accomplished killers and can fight on the frontline make it pretty hard to compare with real-world counterparts. I'd need to dwell on it all night to actually give a confident answer.

Consider my answer to your question as this: I have no idea!
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>>4851174
It's cool. It was just a fleeting curiosity. You are right in that things like Magic, Portals, Flying Monstergirls, and people who are basically walking talking tactical nukes (e.g. Daiyu) changes things in ways that are hard to recontextualize into anything resembling our own history in war. Don't give it much more thought unless ya want to.
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>>4851474
Oh, and I just thought of this, but if Ama does care about Shereen and how she feels than she won't fuck with Tsu's soul when we try to essentially give it an adrenaline shot later.

Old Siggy said that'd be way safer and effective than the alternative of her essentially borderline OD'ing on amphetamines and he's probably right. That is, so long as Ama keeps being a "good girl" as it were. Otherwise it'll be yet another thing she'll hate herself for as it was she who insisted that she become Ama's anchor...
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''I...I'm...'' You can't find an easy answer, nor will you ever lie on this. Even if this is nothing more than indulging Ama selfishness, being honest to yourself is the first step in being fair to Shereen.

''Don't worry now, dear. I won't be judging you, I'm not infantile.''

She's not helping. The way she's sitting on you, cradling your head. Her warmth, her softness...

''Get off me and let me think.'' You growl and grab her hips to shove her. Thankfully Ama doesn't resist and slink away to sit next to you; you're equally disappointed and relieved.

Bah!

''I'm not sure about my feelings...'' You admit after a full minute of increasingly awkward silence.

''You've been taking all the excuses you could think off to run away, haven't you?''

That is one stinging jab. You wouldn't call all the mess you had to deal with ''excuses'' but you don't want to start an argument. Rather, you feel like Ama won't allow this distraction and just sink her fangs into you even harder.

''I've never given her feelings the time they deserve.''

''Her?'' Ama tilts her head and tickles your face with a tail. She needs to stop this gods damned intimacy! ''I'm asking about your feeling, Arawn.''

''She snuck into my heart, that's for sure.'' Interlocking your fingers together, you close your eyes and lean on the couch, forcing yourself to lower your guard as you remember the last two months. ''You said it, she's someone I will do everything in my power to protect. Like Elina, Sieglinde, Hao, Zhu and Klesiah... She's part of my priority.''

''Cute, but that's still not an answer. Is it love-love or do you think she's an adorable little sister?'' Ama gently shakes your shoulder. ''Stop the indescision. I know she's precious to you but there is a distinction.''

''I feel both way, that's why I'm being so obtuse, Mother Mercy!'' you snap and swipe all the slithering tails off your person. ''I did believe for a while that she was what I'd like my little sister to be, but things have changed, especially in that bath after Myrtidal...''

Mischievous sparkles shone into her red eyes. ''That wonderful little episode made you see her as a woman, hm?''

''I feel like I could adapt my feelings to whatever she wants.'' You rubbed the back of your neck.

''Now that's a weird take.'' Ama giggled. ''One man surrounded by several women will naturally get a little greedy, is it that hard to pinpoint your feelings, Arawn? Isn't introspection a vital skill for mages? Hm, how about this... Can you imagine her kneeling in front of another man like that time in the bath?''

''That guy better be fucking wo-!'' You interrupt yourself and shake your head. ''Shut up, fox. Let me think again.''
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Thankfully, Ama doesn't annoy you and gives you all the time you need. You don't count the minutes, you simply think, investigate your links. All of them reveal combinations of worries, stress, frustration with a collective relief that felt immense. The girls -your girls- were happy to be in each other company and every time your feelings spiked by negation, gentle calm warmth flowed out of them to keep you level-headed.

''I find it difficult to stay logical when I think about Shereen.'' Maybe your thoughts have finally settled. ''She's spent her life in that palace. Despite that, she's someone with such a golden heart... She was the only one who worried about the cultists we had to fight to save Klesiah, she got attached to Leena quickly -too quickly I'd say- but that's simply who she is. The logical road would have been for her to be completely subservient to her family and not care about the people she's never seen, let alone interacted with...I want to help her achieve her happiness.''

''You like to be uselessly wordy hm? Your answer is easy!''

''Shut up. It depends entirely on what Shereen wants, what she feels... I could, no I need her to decide. My feelings could go both ways.''

''So you won't be sad if she rejects you?'' Ama rose to her feet and faced you, one hand on her hip, tails swishing around endlessly.

''I want to be part of her life, ultimately... I'd like it if she made friends with my links, they'd be able to show her better than I ever could that she's not dead weight. Rather, I don't want to become her only pillar of support... Shereen is capable of much more than she thinks.''

''Hmm... My, I do believe you have a deep crush on your little sun and you can't admit it. How cute!''

''Shut up, what even is compassion to you, Ama?'' The cushion you throw is intercepted by one of her many tails.

''You really cannot get enough of me.'' She giggles while pinching her chin, leaning forward just enough for her cleavage to open dangerously.

''Answer the damn question.'' You also rise to look at her seriously. ''Your little indulgence is over with, so try to give me some courtesy.''

''I care about people's stories.'' Sensing your seriousness, the witch straightens her stance. ''That is all, my dear. Shereen life story was headed for a disaster, Banu was just one woman in the end.''

''...She reached out to you and that made you care?''

''Well, I also wanted to see what the Pharaoh was up to... I always tried to keep an eye on her, Solemnval was no myth. You see, Shereen entire existence was... insignificant enough to make me very, very curious about her potential and so I decided to see for myself what kind of ending she'll get if she were to receive a friendly pat on the back.'' Her tails point upward like a candelabrum as she extends her arms beside her. ''Everything started when you awoke as a prized slave, now here we stand because you started to care about that adorable bundle of fluff.''
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''Shereen was also the only one who could rejuvenate my soul quickly...'' Your presence in Muribel had been carefully planned.

''Goodness!'' Ama huffed. ''Of course, Shereen had the skills I needed but am I truly so bereft of humanity? Why would I waste my precious resources on Leena? To please you? To make you less suspicious of me? You can be one arrogant bastard, Arawn.''

Before you got on speaking term with this evil witch, Mina, the shard of Mother Earth, had given a stark warning about the witch disposition. Could it be that she was wrong...?

''That's enough about me.'' With her eternal seductive gait, Ama walked to fully open the door... and drag a completely petrified Shereen into the room, the girl nearly stumbled on her foot, Ama grip was the only thing that prevented a face-plant.

''AaAau...I-I'm I Huh...'' The small anubis couldn't form a coherent thought, a deep invasive redness colored her dark cheeks. ''IlistenedtohermajestyaboutmymombutAmatoldmetocomelistenishouldn'tsorryso-pfuh''

Shereen ran out of air, choked, and began wheezing.

''Arawn need one little push, darling!'' Before you could settle any thoughts, the white fox exited and closed the door. How she managed to be so lithe despite those tails was a mystery.

''I-I...'' She gulped loudly. ''...did mean to eavesdrop.''

With flattened ears, a tail hanging low enough to rub the ground, and constant trembling, calling Shereen miserable was the biggest understatement you could think of.

''I...I'm huh, still confused about everything you said, I dunno if I should trust Ama conclusion or maybe huh, I mean... That bath was nice...''

''Shereen...'' You spoke with as much gentleness as you could but that only worked to alarm her.

''No, I'm not your little sister, I don't want... I appreciate it, I love how much you thought... I love... We've only known each other for two months...'' Her arms flailed around, claws swiping at nothing, she managed to recenter herself by taking a few big breaths. Then her fluffy hands covered her eyes and she lowered herself to a crouch, nearly kneeling on the floor.
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''I love you Arawn.'' Her voice was so crammed with emotions one could mistake this confession as a painful whine. ''I can't do anything, I don't deserve to breathe the same air as everyone here, gods I don't even deserve my blood or magic, you have so many, many things... But I don't envy you! Back In Muribel, you didn't blame me despite your situation, you immediately tried to improve yourself by training, you wanted to learn about Muribel, about me... You even convinced Banu to stop being so careful and protective of me... You shine even brighter than me, my moon. And you're surrounded by so many warm people. Sieglinde and her mother love each other so much, everyone is so worried and cares for Hao yet she remain so bright and positive, Elina and her big sister look like a real family, Klesiah and Zhu have this sisterly glow surrounding them... There's... so much warmth around you... And you're such a bedrock. You're firm, solid...''

Sniffles interrupted her words, her shoulder shooks with quiet sobbing.

''I love you, I really do.'' She ended faintly and it didn't sound forced. Could it be that... Shereen truly did want to be a part of what Sieglinde described yesterday? Your bubble?
...
>Free.
There is no right or wrong answer here, hence my leaving it free. Also, I'll be restarting Saturday, my brain needs some rest. If I can't produce as much as I want afterward, I might start part two of this thread later this week.
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>>4852181
HO boy, I was right. Confession number 5. Sounds like she wants us to see her as a woman, to treasure her as one treasures a lover. There's our answer then. Embrace her. If she's blocking her face with her paw pads Worm our way inside her arms and give her a firm hug in spite of that. Then, after that, look her in the eyes and tell her we love her too. If it looks like a kiss is in order, let it happen.

I didn't much care for a harem route but it looks like that's the only way everyone's gonna be happy. Looks like the girls actively want us to be a bit greedy.
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>>4852214
Oh, and then after that, touch fluffy tail. We haven't ever gotten to touch it I believe. If she loves us she'll have to learn to love the part of us that loves monstergirl exotic bits too!
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>>4852214
One vote for romance, how cute!
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>>4852227
I wonder where the others went. They cool with us returning Shereen's feelings and becoming her lover?

I wish I could think of something to say to Shereen to the effect of "stop being so down on yourself" but I can't think of anything good that'd work or not ruin this moment. Hopefully returning her feelings will have a positive effect. Let's not do anything lewd in the church though. A passionate kiss is one thing, but snu-snu is quite another.

Does she know we'll need her to at least temporarily fix Tsu once this accursed parasite is removed? That's being damned useful because of how much more power that gives our side. Has she been taking a few pointers from Sieg about potential healing and combat applications of blood magic and how her nature might make those easy to pull off?

It seems Ama really wants us to accept that she can be compassionate as well, but I cannot fathom as to why. If she thinks we're gonna make her a waifu she's dead wrong. She's still the fluffy devil even if she cares! Plus all the other girls and Gardy would be of one mind. No. Just. No.

Hell, it's not like she can't or won't find new apostles to replace the Blue Bastard and Ari'el and the latter didn't sound like he was going to fully break away from her anyway. (Hell, we don't even know exactly how many she actually has). He may be getting more independent, but that's not the same as cutting ties. It just means that he might refuse certain orders of hers now. That he's no longer her totally obedient pawn.
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>>4852589
>I wonder where the others went. They cool with us returning Shereen's feelings and becoming her lover?
By now I think you know the girls are quite sharp. Shereen and Zhu weren't part of what Sieglinde describe as your ''bubble'' but two months in Muribel might have changed that... and Arawn feelings are spilling into them. It's kind of a big deal, that. Having intimate knowledge of how much Arawn care make it much easier to reach the fabled harmony Mamonos try so very hard to get.

And there's no telling who'll survive the coming conflict.
>Does she know we'll need her to at least temporarily fix Tsu once this accursed parasite is removed? That's being damned useful because of how much more power that gives our side. Has she been taking a few pointers from Sieg about potential healing and combat applications of blood magic and how her nature might make those easy to pull off?
No on both accounts.
>It seems Ama really wants us to accept that she can be compassionate as well, but I cannot fathom as to why.
Aah, women... So much harder to understand without passive mind reading.
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>>4852600
I was talking about the other anons but that's good to know. God I still miss Vilma. Wish she was here.

Errr, if we do lose one of our linked girls Old Siggy did warn us of the side effects. Can that only be "cured" by replacing the link or can that heal over time?

And it's not women that are hard to understand, it's Ama that's difficult. She's a villain, she's evil, but we still have no idea as to why us? Why are we her "favorite" existence to toy with? What the hell drew her to us even when we were but a child? She said she lost track of us after Eliaures but how? She had a measure of authority over our soul by then. An authority that persisted after our death however slight (until we got dumb and signed that damned infernal contract).

She may have lost our exact location for a time, but I doubt she lost access to us through our dreams and the like. She must have found us again later and continued having her fun with us.

Say, that reminds me. We *do* have all our linked girls here and that was a prerequisite for a full memory restoration ritual. How long would that take and would it leave everyone drained afterward? Could we focus it somehow? If we could regain a few spells from our former spell list that'd help a lot. Especially if "weaponize soul" was in there and we got it back. I'm betting "soul weapons" are stupidly powerful though they may take a memory to create. The bigger/more impactful the memory, the bigger/sharper/bashier the weapon.
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>>4852640
Ah, well our friends speak their minds about this since I'll resume Saturday.
>Errr, if we do lose one of our linked girls Old Siggy did warn us of the side effects. Can that only be "cured" by replacing the link or can that heal over time?
It can be healed over time, Siegfried opted for the replacement link because it hurt him that much.
>Say, that reminds me. We *do* have all our linked girls here and that was a prerequisite for a full memory restoration ritual.
The only holes in your memories that remain are your early childhood with Myr and, possibly, how you even ended up in Eliaures in the first place. But remembering those will be very difficult and close to impossible on your own now since it's from a time Arawn was very young, making it that much harder to remember.
You can stop calling yourself an amnesiac because all the big parts of your memories have been restored.

You were childhood friend with Eliaures princess and met Klesiah a few times during your childhood when her order visited the capital.
Ama began to toy with you, leading to a huge catastrophe we saw in this thread, that's when you met with Hecate.
Eventually, you met Klesiah in the tale she spoke about in act 1
Zhu told the rest of your adventures, which didn't contain anything vital. You never encountered Ama again, you died before that.
What's missing are the details of your relationship with Myr who was your chaperone/guardian in Eliaures and if you have any memory of your blood family. (Gwendolyn is apparently your little sister).

>How long would that take and would it leave everyone drained afterward? Could we focus it somehow?
A ritual like that would take a while, you'll be forced between choosing to do that, curing Hao, and re-energizing Tsu for example.
>If we could regain a few spells from our former spell list that'd help a lot.
That is one of the murky things, true. Zhu and Klesiah could help you with that.
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>>4852665
We likely don't have time for all three of those so my vote on that front is first re-energize Tsu and then cure Hao or at least make sure she won't burn out and die easily. Hopefully we can ask ME to help with the Hao issue. It was caused by Armin so there's a good chance she would see it as her problem.

Sucks going into the big battle without our full "combat" spell list but them's the breaks. We've always been putting others before ourselves so it'd be out of character to be selfish now. Plus we only have our memories in the sense that an amnesiac reading their diary has them. Like reading about yourself as a character in a story. The emotions associated with them, how we felt and why, are still lost. Same with all the little things. They do matter as well. A moment on a sunny day that was just so beautiful it stuck with you forever afterward. A poem that moved your heart and spoke to your soul. A really good book you read. Those too are important and we still lack those.

Also, never encountered Ama again? How? Did ME somehow block Ama's access yet failed to actually close the backdoor she had into our soul? Or did we still see her in our dreams and dared not speak of it for fear of the possibility that, if we did, she would curse them as well?
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>>4852684
>Those too are important and we still lack those.
It might be genuinely impossible to regain that much, unfortunately...
>Also, never encountered Ama again?
She never showed up again. Simple as
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>>4852693
Given how much she "values" us I am confused as to how that worked. She had authority over our soul but couldn't use it unless she knew our location or otherwise couldn't use it to locate us? Big ME slapped her across the face and told her no more toying with the elf boy unless she wanted to get her shit pushed in by a swarm of angry shards? Loophole: Contract didn't say anything about what happens after he dies or becomes an adult and he did both so that deal/order was thus voided?

Or were our adventures and struggles with Zhu, Klesiah, and Hecate just so gosh darn entertaining and fascinating on their own for her that she didn't want to interfere with that "story" as it were? Whatever killed us must have come in both by chance and at a narratively fitting time. She must have thought we'd win or beat the odds but we didn't. Sad, like your favorite character in a novel getting killed off but at least he didn't go out like a bitch so you can accept it and keep reading or, it it was the ending, still feel satisfied with it.

Then we suddenly came back from the dead years later without memories or an interesting cast surrounding us. Well well well, that simply won't do now will it? Gotta kickstart a new narrative. Gotta get another interesting story going with her favorite character. It started with her interference the first time, so if she tries again she might get similar if not better results! And wouldn't ya know, that backdoor into his soul is still right where she left it...
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>>4852735
Well, you had to do this little harmless signing before her ''authority'' actually meant something...
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>>4852749
I don't suppose she'd give us a straight answer about that if we asked and even if she did, would we believe it?

And the signing wasn't harmless, it gave her a deeper authority over our soul! We'll never be rid of her now! Well, not unless we kill her actual spirit or somehow excise her taint by getting so good at soul magic we can operate on it ourselves. Both are rather tall orders sadly. And now I'm sure Shereen won't be either. Ama's gonna squat and ain't nothing we can really do to stop her either.

Plus it did mean something. A shard did try to warn us about Ama, but she managed to delete the memory. So she had some form of authority and control, but not nearly as much as she does now.
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>>4852792
Not control to leave any lasting memories after Eliaures. That's what Arawn remember anyway, he's 100% certain he hasn't encountered her after the capital
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>>4852800
Ah, not her in a direct sense, but she could have been subtly fucking with us in other ways. I just don't think she'd just up and leave us completely alone after Eliaures unless, again, our struggles entertained her so darn much she felt no need to "spice it up" with her direct involvement as it were.

Then there's the 3 years between our death and resurrection. That's three years for her to stew and contemplate how it ended and how things could have been "better" in her eyes. Chief amongst those considerations was apparently the thought that more "direct" involvement would yield better results. What is the significance of posting Abigail so much?
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>>4852813
Eeehehehehe. To make you paranoid, my dear.
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>>4852830
You already do that by merely existing you suffering addict. Part of the contract Ama stated that we signed was to "become a suitable vessel" or somesuch if I remember right and that also fits with Abigail...

She never said what we were to become a vessel for, but it can't be good.
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>>4852852
Happiness!
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>>4852870
An eldritch horror from the swamp, A kumiho at peace and fully embracing of its nature (i.e. Ama), and a myriad of other things would define and experience "happiness" in ways anathema to any rational and sane human's definition of the term.

Happiness for who/what? Directly or from a certain perspective? In what way and to what extent? We are still sadly in the dark here given those considerations...
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>>4852181
>Free.
I think it would be a tentative, Yes.

Though I do think that this may be falling into a rescue romance sort of thing, I think it would probably be best to not give the appearance of rushing things, and look into deepening our connection / spending more time with one another, once the current situation is over and we both have time to relax and not be solely focused on survival / escape.

Also it may be a good idea to get Banu's blessing / "on side" before we go further.
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>>4852897
Vessel of happiness!
>>4852907
Duly noted.
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>>4852907
I agree that we ought to take it slow. That's basically been our position from day one anyway. Still, Shereen needs a bit more than mere words now. A hug at least, a kiss if she disbelieves our honest feelings and that yes, they can and are reciprocated.

A peck on the cheek, a sweet and innocent touching of our lips, or a quick yet deep kiss as we embrace her as hard as she embraces us. So long as we don't go full lewd it's all an option.

>>4852910
Whose happiness? What entity's definition of happiness? Again, Abigail isn't exactly a "good" omen...
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I think it's safe to assume the path forward has been established.
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>>4854061
So... we're going to confess romantic feelings towards Shereen? We're going to start dating the doggo?

You said your goal was to unsettle me by posting Abigail and it's working. Why? How is this a bad thing? Did Armin do it again with Shereen and she's housing Devona's soul without anyone realizing it? Does Shereen remember ever meeting/seeing him before our trip to Myrtidal?
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>>4854173
>So... we're going to confess romantic feelings towards Shereen? We're going to start dating the doggo?
So it seems, so it seems. Happy time!
I like taking advantage of your paranoia because I'm a bully. Don't look into it too much, Abigail is cute and cuteness is justice.
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Your little sun was being preyed upon by agonizing feelings again, the sheer distress that emanated out of her clawed at your heart intensely enough to make you hold your chest. It had taken you far too much to gain some resolve, to accept your emotions. That warmth inside you spilled over completely, tingling your entire body with a sense of ecstasy that took an effort to resist... Rather, the only thing that stopped you from embracing this vulnerable, adorable fluffy anubis was a bout of self-hatred.

To reduce her to tears like that... You really are an unforgivable coward, Arawn. ''Not being sure of your feelings''? You were afraid of rejection, plain and simple. To need, nay demand that Shereen make the first step when you kept being wishy-washy... It's a wonder Ama didn't slap you. The girls have the patience of saints!

''Shereen.'' Your composed voice probably makes her misunderstand your intention, her small body tense... so you do your best to remedy her mindset by wrapping your arms around her, she's so small and vulnerable. Aaah damn it. ''I love you too.''

''Eh?'' Those adorable fluffy ears perked atop her head, her tensed-up limbs relaxed just enough to prevent muscle cramps, you felt her arms move off her face, warm paw pads and little claws clutched your shoulders, digging on your shirt.

''And I'm bloody sorry that I wasn't able to face my feelings until now. I've made you cry again... I want you to hear me out okay? I'm not asking for forgiveness, I don't deserve it.'' She's warm and fluffy. You haven't said those three precious words to anyone else yet.

''Arawn.'' Her voice is a squeak, is she happy? ''I'm not mad.''

''Thanks, I'm still sorry for waiting... I suppose I couldn't be honest with the witch around. Regardless, love -genuine love- is something that has terrified me, it's why I've kept all thoughts of romance out of my head... chased them all away with every conceivable excuse I could find and given the mess we're in, there was no shortage of that.'' You can barely think of your words before they flow out of your mouth. ''You've said it yourself. Elina, Hao, Sieglinde, Klesiah, Zhu... They're all such wonderful women while big old me came out of a creepy pillar with only his name, how am I suppose to live up to their expectations? Their brilliance?''

''Arawn...'' You rub her back, she rubs your neck.
>>
''Love is different than friendship. To be a worthy man, someone who deserves to be the center of so much love... it scares me. When I awoke in Muribel, I was so angry at being your slave that if you... if you had been cruel to me, if I couldn't take out my frustration on Banu when we practiced martial arts, I'd have done something dumb like escaping into the city. Yet now I'm scared because, for Mamonos, love means living in a bubble, in a built family... Sieglinde, Hao, Elina, Klesiah, Zhu and now Shereen... How can -I- deserve all of you? Time! I don't have the time to give the love you'll need, let alone everyone else...''

''Arawn, don't forget Hecate.'' Worming herself off your chest, the little anubis face you with eyes still wet with tears. ''We'll find her too.''

Hecate she... Shereen, at this moment, actually thought about your wayward childhood friend...?

''Agh... I...'' Romance. Love. Those things can end so badly, your relationships with the girls, what will it become? they've saved you, they've given you everything. You exist because of them, it's beyond arrogant to believe you can love them all! Delusional! They deserve so much better.

''I think I understand. Stop thinking, my Moon. Listen to your Sun.'' With strength belied by her short stature, Shereen stands up, wraps her arms around your head, and forces your face on her tanned stomach.

''Anyone who tells you... Wait no, rather... you are not the pillar around which the girls hover around, Arawn. That's not what a family is for Mamonos, humans submit to their fathers and husbands, but that's not what happens here. Having several wives, several girlfriends doesn't happen in a vacuum: the girls, that is we, have to make the love nest... Oh gods this is so embarrassing... That nest of harmony is everyone's duty.'' She giggles, giving your head a gentle squeeze. ''...I've read plenty of books you know! Seeing you being intimate with Klesiah will make me happy, not envious. That's how it is, it's that simple Arawn, you don't have to... provide, I don't need that. I don't want that. I want to help you, I want to be there, I want to love you, I want to be a part of that shiny, shiny family... And it all starts with you, my moon.''

''Shereen...'' Minutes after being overwhelmed by emotions and sobbing on her knees, your little sun had untangled your utter mess of a mindset. Her green eyes transmitted gentle harmony. Yeah, you do love her.

''I'll need to work on getting your girls approval, I'm too useless for now.''

''You're nowhere near the worthless person you believe yourself to be.''

She can't bring herself to believe you, you see it inside her green eyes. She knows too, so the only thing left is an awkward silence that she tries to mend with a forced smile.

''I should probably tell my feelings to everyone else too.'' Your comment makes her blink.
>>
''You haven't !?'' Her big hands move to clutch your cheeks. ''What are you thinking!? I've always thought I was so far behind! You're all acting like lovers anyway!''

''...'' Better to not say anything than further sink yourself in foolery.

''Oh, Mother Mercy... You're so adorable.'' She leans closer, her lips touch yours in a gentle kiss, a peck of affection.

It was far too short for your liking, unfortunately, it wasn't time to start anything... Damn it, don't start thinking about that bath now Arawn!

''We'll have to take things slow. I... I honestly don't really know what it means to be lovers.'' Your confession makes her smile.

''Yeah.'' Shereen releases you, her dark tail keep wagging behind her. ''It won't be hard to adapt, I'm optimistic!''

When you put your hand on top of her head and ruffle those ears, Shereen lean closer instead of making her usual grunts.

''Going back in the hall?''

''I'll take a little time to breath outside.'' Shereen answers your question and opens the door leading into the peaceful outside.

Dealing with Ama took much, much longer than you anticipated, damn fox must have sunk an entire hour of your day with her shenanigan! What's even more frustrating is that you can't bring yourself to hate her for this, her damnable noisiness helped...

When you step into the hallway, you end up face to face with Sieglinde who'd been waiting in dutiful silence, leaning on the wall.

''Ah...'' Oh crap.

''...You've surprised all of us.'' She says, a mischievous smirk gracing her feature. She's looking dangerously similar to Deruella.

''Witch is not to blame this time hm? You've made some of your feelings clear?''

''I'm...'' Your emotions already start jumping around, Sieglinde mere presence is igniting dangerous warmth.

''Hey, it's okay there's no need to worry.'' One of her big dark hands gently clutches your chest. ''Everything will work out, your relationships aren't a one-man job. Is it okay if I go speak with Shereen?''

''I think so, yeah. She's in a good mindset.'' Nobody in the world can replicate Sieglinde's ability to soothe your worries.

''Go enjoy yourself in the hall for once. We have a few visitors, this whole quarantine thing is just for show at this point.'' Sieglinde's thick, deadly tail slither on your thighs as she enters the room behind you.

--


The church hall is a small buzz of activity. Your quiet entrance immediately attracts the collective worries of Elina, Klesiah, and Hao but the girls don't try to disturb you... yet.

Kyorn had arrived with his wives, the anubis Mebuchednazi that accompanied him in Muribel and a particularly monstrous looking woman. With leaves for clothes, vines covering shiny green skin, and a collection of organic flowers inside bright purple hair, you immediately identified the race of this peculiar Mamono.
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It was an alraune, a flower monsters fabled as deadly ambushing huntresses and equally majestic healers. She was next to Daiyu who held what you first mistook as a big tulip. It was a tiny child enveloped in a flower similar to a cocoon, Daiyu looked almost lost to any outside stimulus as she gazed in utter adoration at the curious baby in her arms reaching for the only wings she could see. Hao waved at you when your eyes crossed, only for the Tengu matriarch to grab her hand and force her to continue listening to whatever she was saying. Instruction about the soul ritual maybe? Describing her disease in better details?

Hadraniel was also here, next to Elina and Zhu. The Embodiment was holding your friend... your sweetheart sword and examining it whilst your crow did the same to her blue halberd. The red-winged angel was trying her best not to look bored and occupied her time by petting the very odd slimegirl head. Deruella two other maidens were near this group, the Manticore was clearly interested in the swordswoman magical weapon.

Banu, Hildegarde, and the somber Mylen stood next to each other, looking stoics yet relaxed in a casual conversation.

''Are you okay Arawn?'' Klesiah snuck next to you, nearly making you jump.

''Yeah, yeah of course.'' Gods damn it, settle down. Seeing -and feeling- your blueberry concern is rattling you! ''Had to face a little truth, that's all.''

''Hm...'' An impish smile settles on her face, she's finding you adorable and fully enjoying your apparent helplessness. Bah! Women!

''Zhu wants to have a few friendly duels, Hao is thinking of joining thought because of her state it's probably best not to.'' She firmly grabbed your hand, the one that wasn't poisoned by Armin little gift. ''I feel like being alone with you for a while.''

''That's... an unfair invitation.''

''I know.'' Her blue eyes twinkle with mischief, lust, and love openly flow out of her, dragging you with temptation. ''I'm blaming you. Do you honestly think I haven't felt your love? Mother Earth will understand. I don't have to be your perfect knight anymore, right?''

You flick her forehead. ''Didn't know my blueberry was so horny for love.''

She doesn't let you go.
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This is another semi-free choice. Lots of things are open.

>Encourage Zhu to have her little playfield. Knocking some wooden weapons together oughta be the exact thing people need to handle today's frustrations.

>Because of what happened with Shereen, you oughta work as early as you can to get her -true- mother approval. Speak with Banu somewhere alone.

>You'll have plenty of time for advice after tomorrow's operation but... maybe starting soon is a good idea. Who is better than the Embodiment of Love when it comes to getting a lover advice?
>A) Alternatively, you can try asking Kyorn about this topic. Another man's perspective oughta help.

>Free
Things like magical practice and/or meditation to try and remember old spells is possible for you to do.

It is around 2pm. Plenty of free time.
Sorry for late update. I try my best but weekends always force my attention away.
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>>4855615
Ok, so this basically puts us on the "harem" romance route right? I mean, we could probably still try for monogamy but at this point I'm pretty sure the girls would *insist* on us starting a harem and putting them in it. Sieg's cool with it, Klesiah's cool with it, hell, Shereen even wants to expand it to include Hecate! If we're doing that than we should get Vilma in here too. Second best girl deserves a place at the table after all. Boy oh boy, I'm almost afraid of what Gardy would think of this. Would he be OK with us mackin' on so many girls and using his body to do so many lewd things?

Also, why are we always getting eavesdropped on? Did Ama tell them to do it? Now that her little indulgence is done and our "debts" to Fluffy Satan fully settled shouldn't she and Deru get back to work solving the Zerase problem? They've had their break now. Time for them to get back to it!

What do each of the options entail? Couldn't we let Zhu do her thing while we pursue one of the other options? Is Klesiah going to follow us wherever we go/choose to do?
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>>4856123
Oh, and where are Kin and Agathe? Did they leave or are they still here?
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>>4856123
>Ok, so this basically puts us on the "harem" romance route right?
Arawn himself is starting to accept it but making a flip and going monogamy is still possible. You'd end up hurting a whole lot of hearts but hey, that's love. Everyone sorta moved to find harmony in this situation, hence why the girls seem very close.
>Shereen even wants to expand it to include Hecate! If we're doing that than we should get Vilma in here too.
Don't go too far now, Shereen is being Shereen here and not exactly thinking things out.
>Also, why are we always getting eavesdropped on? Did Ama tell them to do it? Now that her little indulgence is done and our "debts" to Fluffy Satan fully settled shouldn't she and Deru get back to work solving the Zerase problem?
Ama told Shereen to come listen, Sieglinde didn't really eavesdrop. She waited outside the door when Arawn felt so much emotions. Arawn hasn't seen Ama anywhere, it's safe to assume she's in the think tank.
>What do each of the options entail? Couldn't we let Zhu do her thing while we pursue one of the other options
Just what they imply. Some more talk, some possible activity.
Zhu will do her thing no matter what you do yeah, the option of assisting or being a spectator is there. It'll be relaxed duels, more like training. Nothing serious.
>Is Klesiah going to follow us wherever we go/choose to do?
Klesiah is feeling horny but Arawn isn't indulging her. She'll hang around unless you fetch someone for a 1 on 1 discussion.
>>4856126
>Oh, and where are Kin and Agathe? Did they leave or are they still here?
Arawn hasn't seem them.
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>>4856150
We could flip, but there are several ways of insisting. All of them making sad faces at us as they all told us that they're honestly fine with being in our harem and would rather us allow them to have their way (i.e. have us form a harem with them in it) and that it would make them all very happy if we did would likely break any resistance we had remaining towards the idea. Contrary to what some believe men really don't like to break a woman's heart if they can help it! Especially women as beautiful and awesome as these ones are. Plus, one of them is Sieg. Breaking *her* heart is essentially a guaranteed death sentence! Daiyu won't let us survive making that "mistake" as she'd put it.

Well, we probably shouldn't participate given how doing anything magical might stir the parasite. We'd have to use reinforcement to really compete with everyone else and that's magic so nope, can't do that. How strong are we in comparison to the others if everyone forswears using reinforcement?

Could we bring Klesiah along for a chat with Hadraniel? Elina did want us to speak with her the instant we got the chance. Could we bring all the girls along? I'm sure Haddy would get a kick out of giving a group lecture on the intricacies of love. I wonder if she'd go full Flonne if we did that. That'd be funny and we could use some comic relief.
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>>4856191
>How strong are we in comparison to the others if everyone forswears using reinforcement?
You're at a disadvantage but, if you keep to your defensive strength, you have a surprisingly fair shot.
>Could we bring Klesiah along for a chat with Hadraniel?
I don't see why not. Arawn is still insecure about this whole love thing so talking to Haddy should help alleviate that.
>Elina did want us to speak with her the instant we got the chance. Could we bring all the girls along?
Sure. Zhu won't be participating but having Elina, Klesiah, and Hao tag along work.
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>>4856204
Can we drag Sieg into this. If we can I'm definitely voting for group discussion with Haddy. I'd like to see that interaction. Hope she goes full Flonne/Love Freak mode. That'd be hilarious.
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>>4856230
No, Sieg is speaking with Shereen.
Don't interrupt.
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>>4856236
Ok then, but could we do that later after they're done? If we meditate to try to remember a spell would we have to use magic? What about a little informal tournament? The winner gets to ask us for a small favor? Also, didn't Zhu want to talk with us alone about something? Could we do that now or does she want to wait until nightfall or after we've done our business with the goddess?
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>>4856246
>Ok then, but could we do that later after they're done?
Maybe is the best I can give you.
>If we meditate to try to remember a spell would we have to use magic?
Yes.
>What about a little informal tournament? The winner gets to ask us for a small favor?
Oh, could be a cool idea. Although your circle might be the only ones participating seriously.
>Also, didn't Zhu want to talk with us alone about something? Could we do that now or does she want to wait until nightfall or after we've done our business with the goddess?
She wants to talk at night, after the whole goddess deal.
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>>4856253
Ok then, I'll have to sleep on it but for now I kind of like the tournament idea. Would light fighting put Hao at risk for anything? If it risks worsening her disease, however slight, we go with the group talk with Haddy instead.

Though, could we get Hao to abstain if we gave her a small indulgence? If so I might swing back to the tournament idea.
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>>4856266
>Would light fighting put Hao at risk for anything?
She's safe as long as bodily reinforcement is avoided.
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>>4856275
Yeah, but we've just seen that without reinforcement she's pretty much the strongest person here by a country mile. Thus, she'd need to abstain because of having an unfair advantage.

Well, unless we let the others reinforce to make it fair but Hao's not the kind that knows how to hold back. If she's getting overpowered she'd reinforce because Hao refuses to lose!

Can she be convinced to abstain out of respect for our collective concern for her safety? We can't have her dying before the operation tomorrow after all.
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>>4856290
>Can she be convinced to abstain out of respect for our collective concern for her safety?
Of course she can. Don't underestimate her now, she's a dummy but she's not dumb.
I did a 5e sheet for Hao cause I was bored once and I could only settle on 16 WIS
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>>4856312
If she can be convinced than tournament it is. Hao won't be participating because of concerns for her safety.

16 WIS ain't bad. She might be able to not overheat and die tomorrow so long as the dice gods decide to not fuck us directly. That is, she has the wisdom to trust in her friends to survive a bad roll and thus not risk it, but us ourselves? Maybe not.
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>>4856324
9 INT kinda offset that but hey, pretty good for a barbarian!
So you vote for...
>Encourage a makeshift tournament with all the combatants here with a particular rule that precludes physical reinforcement, it'll all be about technique.
You'll have to see about potential wagers by committing to this choice. Gonna close this vote tomorrow.
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>>4856338
Given that, Hao would actually have a good chance of knowing what attacks may well claim the lives of us and our friends, but she'd have no way of knowing why.

That last part might bite her in the ass, but it means she wouldn't tempt the dice gods unless it was absolutely necessary. For instance, she sees someone charging a spell. She won't know what spell, but she'd know it'll likely kill one of ours if it goes off. Should she chuck her weapon, run up to them and bonk them without reinforcement, or roll the dice on her life and just delete that bastard by reinforcing and then doing one of those?

Depending on where she is and our position, she'd make a rather surprisingly good and, to us, well thought out decision. After all, we could be next to cover and she's close by. Why kill that enemy when she can just tackle us behind some cover at no risk to anyone and handily avoid death?
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>>4856376
Oh, seems it wasn't obvious but I want a tournament where Hao is not participating so that everyone else can go all out (i.e. use reinforcement). We convince Hao to recuse herself because of our collective fears over her safety and her unfair advantage if we make everyone forswear reinforcement (because her condition makes it as if she's reinforced without being so).

There is also an instant banning on anyone using shapeshifting. If Deru or Daiyu get in on this they will rape the opposition if allowed that. Base form only ladies, no becoming tactical nukes here. Plus Zhu would be in this and as a human she can't shapeshift in any way.

Oh, there is a place where there's next to no risk of damaging the church yes? Lewds and spilled blood on sacred ground are not good in regards to benevolent deities. Big ME would likely be very angry if anyone engaged in lewds or spilt innocent blood upon her altars...
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>>4856385
>Oh, seems it wasn't obvious but I want a tournament where Hao is not participating so that everyone else can go all out (i.e. use reinforcement).
Hm, the people themselves might honestly settle on a non-reinforced fight since there's is not enough space for proper reinforced duels. There'll be enough space for an arena by moving a few benches around the eastern side of the church but actually reinforced bouts will need much more space and collateral damage so close to the church is likely inevitable.

I'll have to veto that choice based on what I've written here. >>4856338
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>>4856389
Oh, so it was because of other considerations that the rule of "no reinforcement" was adopted by the likely participants yes?

Well, so long as Hao will not actively leverage her unfair advantage of suffering from the final stages of her affliction the tournament is on then. That is, she won't use her "first turn" to go all out as it were. She'll give herself some form of a handicap in the beginning.

Zhu's still a rather agile and quick opponent. I expect the final bout to be between them. Who would win? The Strong (Hao), or the quick (Zhu)? The dice will decide!
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>>4856395
>
Well, so long as Hao will not actively leverage her unfair advantage of suffering from the final stages of her affliction the tournament is on then. That is, she won't use her "first turn" to go all out as it were. She'll give herself some form of a handicap in the beginning.
She won't participate because she can't reduce her strength. Alas!

Don't forget Hadraniel and Kyorn will join, absolutely impossible to tell who will end up winning. Daiyu might also want to do a free round.
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>>4856408
I assume the "no reinforcement" rule also includes "no flying" and the like. Those that can may perhaps engage in "gliding" but that can make them sitting ducks and you can bet those that lack that capacity will punish them for using that ability if they do so stupidly.

Just because you "can" hover doesn't mean you should.
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>>4856422
Yeah, no flying, no magic. Good old natural capabilities with that handicap that entail.

We'll see if other anons agree with this.
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>>4856428
Oh, because the prize is us giving them a small reward, can we leave them a choice?

Y'know. Do they submit to us or do we submit to them if they beat us? The prize is a small indulgence, but from whom? Will they submit to us or would they rather make us submit to them? So many possibilities...
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>>4856438
We shall see.
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>>4856440
Oh, since the reward comes from us, do we actually participate as the "final boss" or do we just give the winner a choice? Y'know, do we decide upon their reward or do they?

Again, it's minor. No lewds or "major" favors like building them a magitek artifact or staying in Zipangu to help with soul research for a year. Might do those anyway, but it's not a thing at stake here.
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Alright, it's been enough time. I'll think about how to implement this one, I'll update a little later today.

>>4856725
People understand this is for fun more than anything else.
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After some thinking, I'll make tomorrow a proper session. Gonna need plenty of dice rolls, prep up those Icosahedron! My brain is obviously melting so this event will be a fitting end for this happy thread. It'll take us 2-3 more days to finish I'd say so don't go leaving yet.
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>>4857433
It's all good, but it won't be a truly happy thread until that accursed worm is out of our arm and its potential offspring out of our waifus!

What a nasty trap by not-Nyarlathotep/Merlin. A part of me wants to know how bad it could have been if we hadn't remembered, but I'm more than comfortable with never knowing how badly the parasite would have fucked us over.

Oh well, I wonder if we can also get some betting going. I bet if Belph were here she'd start a pool right up. Anybody in the vicinity a good gambler/impromptu bookie?
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>>4857473
I'll make part 2 of this thread (I want a nice round number for the explosive finale) once the friendly tourney is over.
> A part of me wants to know how bad it could have been if we hadn't remembered, but I'm more than comfortable with never knowing how badly the parasite would have fucked us over.
It's sad nobody wanted to tempt fate...
>Anybody in the vicinity a good gambler/impromptu bookie?
Unfortunately, only Ama can match Belph brokering and she's not invited.
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>>4857487
>Ama's not invited
Probably for the best. I can bet a few of the potential participants would "forget" about the no reinforcement rule if faced against her.

Besides, she has an Apotheosis ritual to decode and should be well and fully motivated now that we've paid off all our debts to her.

I fear she's trying to lull us into a false sense of security. All our deals with her are working out well save the very first. She wants us to keep making deals with her, to "trust" her to make good. Then she can exploit that trust and really, truly fuck us over. Worst part is, it'd be our fault for trusting her to begin with!
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>>4857624
Now now now, she won't try the same trick twice!
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>>4857644
Oh but I think that she will. Tricking an amnesiac is easy and was in a sense necessary as she desired a deeper and more complete authority over us than she already possessed.

However, that only gets you so far. She wanted full sysadmin access but got denied by a shard and our own subconscious firewalls suddenly getting thrown up. Then we fused with Gardy making those bulwarks virtually insurmountable unless she spent a stupidly large amount of Astral Pearls and even that would probably require a dice roll. So now she's stuck.

So we have to lower those defenses willingly, ourselves, if she ever hopes to get what she wanted originally. The instant Zerase and Ensan are dead we murder her shard if she still has that Astral pearl. That could probably enable her to brute force something in regards to our soul and lord only knows what shape it's going to be in after that encounter. If she spent it beforehand we can likely safely see if she'll keep to her bargain, leave Shereen, and relinquish whatever authority she has over her soul (which is likely even deeper and more complete than what she has over ours).

I severely doubt she'll do so as it is ever so much fun to be able to manifest in realspace and experience Shereen's emotions directly at will but hey, doing so would be a big step towards getting us to trust her and that's what she wants out of us. Too bad for her we ain't that friggin' stupid!
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Hm, my health seems to be entering a downturn, had some pretty bad insomnia yesterday so now I can't focus. I'll end our thread here and aim to start next year, around the 15th. I already got all my plans, so the only thing I need is some rest honestly. This little tournament can make a fun opening, too.

>>4858422
Now now now, you aren't the center of the world, Arawn...
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>>4858900
I meant next week what the hell.
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>>4858900
Darn. Oh well, your health's more important. I was wondering what the winner would ask of us. Kinda still hoping that a lamia hug is a thing we may yet have hope of getting. Even if it's in the context of a submission hold...
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>>4859351
My usual sickness is flaring up again, I made the right call.
Manticore are naturally stronger than any normal man so, unfortunately, two of Deruella maiden will have to sit during the tournament but there'll be a few bonus rounds afterward for fun to see if anyone can actually win against Sonja, she'll have her fun too.

Are you really sure you want a snake hug? I front of all the girls?
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>>4859365
Yes. It's not like we're actively mackin' on her, we just want to feel what a lamia hug feels like. By now the girls know of our obsession, our second vice, our obsessive compulsion to experience all the exotic bits!

In a totally non-lewd way of course. It's our curiosity over everything really. I mean, we have yet to give Sieg's tail the thorough examination it deserves if memory serves. Even within the cohort of our waifus there is still undiscovered country. Country that shall be explored ASAP!
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>>4859458
Klesiah will forgive you if you invite her in the Lamia hug.

In fact, Arawn should try his best to project his Mamono bits obsession on all of his links. Consider this a GM advice, free of charge.
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>>4859468
Errr, we've had it *bad* from day one. That projection shouldn't need any "active" effort or thought. It's a fundamental part of who we are after all.

Just merely being linked to us ought to have turbocharged any curiosity they had towards any and all types of exotic bits already. By extension, it ought to make them way more receptive towards slaking our curiosity. Sieg ought to feel severely tempted to let us feel her tail once we're alone with her for instance.
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>>4859497
>Errr, we've had it *bad* from day one. That projection shouldn't need any "active" effort or thought. It's a fundamental part of who we are after all.
I'm sure you can try actively tempting some of your precious companions... A certain blue gal is starting to really embrace her situation.
>Sieg ought to feel severely tempted to let us feel her tail once we're alone with her for instance.
Who know, you've yet to be alone wit her!
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>>4859512
Oh we won't need to tempt them. The mamonos may already know and thus don't feel it as badly but Klesiah? She's been really "pent up" as it were. She, like us, just needs an adequate excuse to just dive right into the exotic bits and make a lewd face expressing her unadulterated joy.
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>>4859925
How cute! I wonder if you'll fight her first...
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>>4860449
Wait, so we're gonna fight in the tournament? I'm not opposed to it if it means we get lamia hugs...
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>>4860664
The contenders will be.

Arawn, Elina, Klesiah, Zhu
Kyorn, Hadraniel, Meruse
Athena.
And perhaps a few exhibition matches here and there, Daiyu could have a hand-to-hands fight against Hildegarde for example.
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>>4860684
Athena...Isn't she one of Old Siggy's waifus? Oh man, hope he doesn't take it personal if we beat her. Didn't she lose a limb?
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>>4860980
She`s Agathe birth mom, One of his two very first companions who showed up when he was at his most vulnerable.
She`s got a working prosthetic, her style is very similar to Arawn
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>>4860987
We will study that prosthetic once we get a chance. I thought they didn't work too good on mamonos. Hell, magitek in general doesn't work too good with them if I remember.

How'd they get around that? If we can make our inventions work for both man and mamono, well, it's always good business practice to appeal to as wide a market as possible. Who knows? Maybe that solution will tie into solving the biggest problem in this setting: the no male births out of monstergirls!
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>>4861067
>I thought they didn't work too good on mamonos. Hell, magitek in general doesn't work too good with them if I remember.
Yes, Corruption interferes with Magitek.
>How'd they get around that?
I'll keep it simple.
Highly specialized prosthetic built by an expert (A certain blue lady)
Specialized training regiment in handling and expunging her corruption.
Pure simple luck. Lizardwomen are a race of Mamonos who are very close to humanity, body wise
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>>4861083
So Martha built it eh? Well, there's a thing we can discuss with her once we get back to throne town then.

Can't wait to get back with her and Belph and go full mad genius with them. So many things in need of inventing, so much potential profits and breakthroughs to be made. It's going to be glorious!

Looks like they're basically out of the running in the waifu contest sadly as if we're with Sieg it'd be awkward to also be "with" her sister and auntie. I can only hentai so hard and I'm sure she has her limits as well. Oh well, comrades in science is still a good relationship.
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>>4861305
>Can't wait to get back with her and Belph and go full mad genius with them. So many things in need of inventing, so much potential profits and breakthroughs to be made. It's going to be glorious!
Athena prosthesis was a proof of concept that convinced them Magitek was possible for Mamonos, just gotta figure out how. Still, it's a fairly inconvenient thing to maintain for a Mamono.
Now now, dream big! Sieg family is lonely too...
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>>4862036
Yeah, I know they are, but if we do that we're getting into some rather "cursed tags" if ya catch my meaning. Like I said, it'd make things really awkward at best and cursed at worst.

Besides, if we fix the male birth situation and/or manage to convince the world that Daiyu and her family aren't all that bad (and are actually pretty darn good people who just got put into desperate and horrible situations) they'll have worthy suitors lining up all the way around the Demonic Palace begging for a date! They're all great girls any sane man would love to make happy... It's just that they think they'll lose their soul or something else really bad if they ever tried. Damned monodominant monstergirl hating inquisitors and their relentless propaganda!
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>>4862036
Oh, and the making magitek work for mamono is also high on the priority list. Like I said, you want as wide a market as possible for your products. Mamonos make up a sizable chunk of the world population. If we don't figure out how to sell to them we're throwing money out the window and crippling the speed at which we can trigger the full on Industrial Revolution.
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>>4862099
Nobody will ever find the good in them. It took an amnesiac to give them a chance!
>>4862109
Given what one of the few Mamono who can use Magitek need to do to keep it working, good luck!
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>>4862123
So you say. I'm sure if there were men who grew up in Throne Town they'd have a different opinion on the matter. That's another reason we gotta fix the no male births from monstergirls problem. Wonderful women who aren't given a chance thanks to slander and propaganda!
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>>4862264
An impossible dream I'm afraid...
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>>4862270
We won't know until we try. There has to be a way to fix this tragic situation and we're going to find it no matter what it takes!
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>>4862276
Do you think a solution wouldn't have been found already?
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>>4862295
Daiyu hasn't had the time to delve deeper into the mysteries of the Demonic Throne nor has she had a competent and trustworthy research team. Now figure in the problem of the immortal sickness possibly kicking in right before a major breakthrough is made or could be implemented and yes, it is quite possible for a solution to not have been found yet.

Then you've got the more pressing issues. Research the Throne or research something that'll improve the living standards of those already living in your nation or develop a new weapon to make the hostile neighbors think twice about invading. You want to do the former, but the latter are a higher priority if you want to actually have a chance to study it later. Plus there's the issue of perspectives. She's only had herself and other mamono look at the damned thing. If she could get our or Gardy's perspective it could lead to a breakthrough that she literally wasn't capable of conceiving on her own. There's still hope!
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>>4862400
It'll be better if you don't hope, my dear, dear elf.
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>>4862458
Don't you know that hope is a virtue? I never said it was going to be easy to square this circle and solve this tragic problem, merely that it's possible.

It might take some literal divine assistance/intervention (or the killing of a few deities who what actively want to keep us from getting what we want), but the problem can be solved. We just need to maintain the will to see the project through to its end and the hope that we will succeed.
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>>4862486
Oh yes, it can be solved, it has to be solved, it WILL be solved, yes. Heeeheeheee
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>>4862517
>that spoiler
Yes, suffering is likely a necessary component. It'll be a great trial, a series of "labors" one could say, but they can be done and they will be done. For the future happiness of all monstergirls!
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>>4862535
You have more pressing matters at hand, my dear.
And I'll be starting a scifie quest before we get close to touching that problem too.
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>>4862535
Damn, should have posted this pic. It's better.
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>>4862546
That we do. It is more of a "postgame" goal but it is a goal we're going to work towards once we've solved the more pressing issues of Zerase Apotheosis and the Fluffy Devil's authority over our soul. That and repairing Gardy's ego core. God I miss his banter.
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>>4862555
What if your machine bro is truly gone?
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>>4862557
We don't know that for sure yet. If he is... we will mourn him but we will deal with it. He died so that we and our waifus may live, we will honor and live up to that sacrifice.

However, Embodiments have this nasty habit of not dying when they are killed. Don't know how exactly we're going to repair him, but it should still be possible. Gardy should be especially tough to fully kill given his origin is "protection".

I'm expecting to have to sacrifice the links permanently. Possibly the capacity to form them with anyone period.
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>>4862571
He wouldn't want that.
Though you're right in saying Embodiment are tough bastards and Gardy is ridiculously sturdy. Surviving in the Throne is impossible, plain and simple, yet...
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>>4862581
What, sacrifice the capacity to form soul links to bring him back? He would prefer ego death to that? Well, maybe that's what it takes to keep everyone safe. We are lacking a significant amount of strength without him. That damned pig almost got us because he wasn't there.
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>>4862596
You pulled through in the end. And now you have one hell of a challenge to overcome without him...
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>>4862617
Overcome it we shall. We have to, or else the whole world gets a "bad end" and nobody wants that.

Also, I'm betting Gardy would like very much to come back after seeing that memory we just regained. If there is even the slightest chance of Devona still existing he will have to confirm it personally.

We will allow him to do so. After all, we literally owe him everything.
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>>4862787
Well now, going after the Pretender could be complicated... Then again, who knows what happened to her.
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>>4862810
I fear that we may be playing into Armin's own plans given what he said if we do but, well, even if you know damn good and well it's a trap you still have to go for it sometimes.

Still, at least you know you're walking into a trap and that means precautions can be taken. The point of traps is essentially the same as an ambush. Catch you unaware.

If you know an ambush is coming it significantly blunts the effectiveness of it. If you know a trap is just ahead you can take steps to avoid or possibly disarm it.

Now that I think on it I can't wait for big ME to show up. She's a major variable in all of this and who knows what she's done or plans to do. She was in a prime position to acquire Devona and likely Gardy's ego core. She might have simply wasted Devona because reasons but the shard that spoke to us after we fucked up with Ama seemed almost sympathetic to Gardy. Like she knew him and kinda felt sorry for him.

I hope we get to ask her a question or two after she, hopefully, purges us and every other potential victim of Armin's machinations of whatever corruptions he's infected us all with.
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>>4863069
That should be possible. The Good Mother is a kind, loving one...

Also for some reason, I've been getting ideas about a spin-off episodic quest in this universe where you guys incarnate an exorcist and deal with some demonic threats here and there. Creepy SCP vibe galore, doing your best in either eradicating a threat or saving the victims, kind of a Witcher vibe... Could be a fun thing to do as one-off threads here and there.

I need to get a grip and focus.
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>>4863087
Focusing is better than not. Better to actually finish and publish a single novel than have the scraps of several dozen that never see the full light of day.

I wonder if that exorcist might be an doomed albino possessing a sentient soul-devouring runesword he hates to use yet keeps around to as a last resort. Y'know, for reasons.
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>>4863122
>Focusing is better than not. Better to actually finish and publish a single novel than have the scraps of several dozen that never see the full light of day.
Definitely, though doing a single project for so long is also unhealthy, doing something a little different here and there isn't unreasonable and it'll allow us to explore a new facet of ToM. Either way I did say next week is when I'll continue this thread, if my health allows, I'll keep that.
>I wonder if that exorcist might be an doomed albino possessing a sentient soul-devouring runesword he hates to use yet keeps around to as a last resort. Y'know, for reasons.
I had an explosion of creativity tonight for some reason and I can assure you Brother Nathanial is nothing like that. Using miracles and interacting with Mother Earth web could be pretty fun though. Purging Outsiders with righteous fury is my idea of a fun time.
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>>4863127
>A holy monk/paladin wondering the Earth purging Eldritch horrors with faith, zeal, and some form of sharp/blunt object and symbols of the faith
I'd read that. Sounds like an inquisitor I could get behind. So long as the not-Ordo Malleus is focused on those things instead of monstergirls I like em'.
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>>4863447
Would make for an interesting self-contained story. We'll see. Prepping part 2 for now