1. Due to issues with external spam filters, QQ is currently unable to send any mail to Microsoft E-mail addresses. This includes any account at live.com, hotmail.com or msn.com. Signing up to the forum with one of these addresses will result in your verification E-mail never arriving. For best results, please use a different E-mail provider for your QQ address.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. We have added another rule, please check the Rules post for more information.
    Dismiss Notice

yes it's wrong to dump plot almirajs in a thread (low effort Danmachi stories)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by minuseven, Feb 13, 2020.

Loading...
  1. minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Subtitle: But I Don't Care.

    This is what happens when a person decides to just actually write all the weird ideas that come to mind during a fandom's obsessive phase. And post them. Because why not. They're all plot bunnies alrmirajs, not that original, not beta'd, many variants on a theme, cliché, canon-station-y, definitely not worth all the effort and incomplete. If it's got more than 7k words, I'm tagging the cross too.

    There's:
    • an untitled dungeons and dragons 5e thing in which Bell becomes a sort of gamer with that system. [Dnd 5e][The Gamer] 2.8k
    • Mad Milk Drinker (title pending approval) in which a possibly SIOC joins Hestia post Black Goliath, having been trapped in the dungeon for years, also, dwemer. [Skyrim] 2.9k
    • Apostle (title also pending approval) in which Shinji Ikari wakes up in Orario after deciding he doesn't want 3I after all. [Evangelion] 1.9k
    • Fortuna. A SI-ish with actually random Clow Card powers, 1st draft. [Card Captor Sakura] 10.4k
    • Yggdrasil (temporary name). Freya derails Sword Oratoria's plot by accident. Sets out to correct it by saving another soul through divine inspiration... and triggering Loki Familia. [-no xover-] 1k
    • MetaPhysician. SI has the Genshin starter team in her head. Since they have time 'til the main plot they join Miach. It escalates. [Genshin Impact] 9.8k
    • Hedera. Soulmate Pain-Sharing AU, Lefiya/Filvis Edition. Lefiya suffers, Filvis suffers, and they drag people into it for a bit before it gets resolved. [-no xover-] 3.6k
    • -
    Enjoy, I suppose. Feed the Dungeon
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021 at 4:35 PM
  2. Threadmarks: untitled D&D 5e x Gamer | Part 1
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    "AAAAAAAAAAHHHH-!!" CRUNCH.

    Part 1: Game? Over?

    "Aaa?"

    Bell Cranel blinked. He was… not dead? He raised his hands and patted his skull. Still there.

    "But the minotaur…"

    His head should be… not there.

    That was fine though, wasn't it? Being alive was good. Yes, he nodded to himself, the minotaur had just been a nightmare. He was going to get up and not be afraid of the dungeon.

    He was not in the room he shared with his goddess.

    Pure darkness surrounded him except for a circle of light, which his feet rested on.

    "... I'm not dead, right? Goddess?"

    Was this the God's Realm? He leaned forward to see if there was anything under the circle and his forehead hit something.

    "Ow."

    The circle was the edge of a barrier. Now he could vaguely see it. Letters appeared in the barrier, just above his head.

    >error.
    >error.

    "What?"

    He shuffled on his feet and since nothing else happened, touched the barrier with one hand.

    >error identified.
    >rebooting.

    He barrier flashed and Bell jumped back with a yelp. His back hit the barrier too. He was trapped. The letters flashed, then innumerable words and numbers faded in and out, before it returned to its original state.

    >loading.
    >no save found.
    >loading.

    The light pulsed and with a gentle chime several lists and numbers fell around him. "Character Creation?" He read out loud. "Step 1, Choose Race?"

    > Step 1
    > Choose Race
    > Human

    The others were similar. He tried pushing on a spot without numbers but he was still stuck. Finally, curiosity won out and he touched the first step with his hand. Another list appeared under it.

    >aarakocra
    >aasimar
    >bugbear
    >dragonborn
    >dwarf
    >elf
    >firbolg
    >genasi
    >gith
    >gnome
    >goblin
    >goliath
    >grung
    >half-elf
    >half-orc
    >halfling
    >hobgoblin
    >human
    >kenku
    >kobold
    >lizardfolk
    >locathah
    >orc
    >tabaxi
    >tiefling
    >tortle
    >triton
    >verdan
    >yuan-ti

    "I'm human…" so he touched the right word. A smaller list appeared in front of the first.

    >human
    >human (variant)

    He touched 'human' again. Nothing happened. "Hmm." What if he chose the different one? He touched it and saw some numbers and words change in his periphery.

    He wondered what would happen if he touched a different race. He couldn't help it. He was curious.

    "It won't do anything bad…" he told himself. "What about, uh, like Miss Eina?"

    He touched 'half-elf'.

    >wood half-elf
    >high half-elf
    >drow half-elf
    >aquatic half-elf

    “Is Miss Eina… she’s a wood half-elf, I think?”

    > Choose Race
    > Half-elf
    > Wood Half-elf

    The circle flashed brightly and something changed. Bell blinked. He swallowed. He touched his ears.

    They were pointy.

    "Eeeeehhhhh!?!?"

    What? What?! It had actually changed his race!? Magic? Could magic do that?

    He tugged at his ears. Definitely real.

    "Aaaaahhh, human, human, human!" He went back and chose the words for human. In a flash, he was back to normal.

    > Choose Race
    > Human

    "Uff! That was scary!" He covered his ears and collapsed to his knees. This weird place actually changed his race. Thank the Gods he could change it back.

    After calming down, he warily got up and eyed the lists surrounding him. What exactly was going on?


    Weeeee. I don't even know what I was thinking. Heeeey, technically, isn't Eina a half high elf? Funny that.
     
  3. Threadmarks: untitled D&D 5e x Gamer | Part 2
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    So… Magic?

    Part 2: All the Options

    Bell Cranel took a deep breath. It looked like he was trapped in a powerful magic spell of some sort. So powerful it looked like the work of the Gods. It didn’t look like anybody was coming to help him. So the only thing he could do was maybe continue going through the lists?

    He turned around and quickly read what the lists were about. They’re steps, with choices.

    > Step 1
    > Choose Race
    > Step 2
    > Choose Class
    > Step 3
    > Determine Ability Scores
    > Step 4
    > Determine Character Details
    > Step 5
    > Choose Equipment

    Touching the steps unfurled lists, numbers, buttons and dials. “Wow.” It was a lot. Did it all affect him like changing his race had? And then, after the last step there was one final word.

    > Done

    Bell was very tempted to just touch that one and maybe get out. On the other hand, all of the options displayed around him aroused his curiosity. In the end, he couldn’t help it. The ability to see what he would be like if he’d been born a dwarf or an elf...

    > Choose Race
    > Dwarf
    > Mountain Dwarf

    A dwarf Bell was a lot like a human one, but shorter and stockier. He scratched his chin. Also, he had the beginning of a beard? He wished he had a mirror.

    Encouraged, he tried others. The dwarven choices were all, well, dwarves. The duergar one gave him nightvision and paler skin. He wondered where in the world they existed. There were many types of elves and half-elves, some as alien as the duergar. He giggled at his high elf self, imagining himself a elven prince, and gaped at the different eladrins. Halflings were pallum and gnomes weren’t spirits, strangely enough.

    He didn’t dare touch the names of monsters, like goblin and orc. Goliath was almost tempting. Would he become a titan like the monster rex? But he didn’t dare. He was afraid he’d forget what it was like to be human.

    He couldn’t find chientropes, werewolves or cat people on the list. But there were many names he didn’t know, and they were all exciting. The circle of light expanded and contracted under him as he went through the options.

    “Skree!?” Aarakocra were bird people!? Bird-shaped people? Bird monsters, harpies? Having wings was weird. Kenku were like that too, but they had no wings. Just lots of feathers. Tabaxi were either werecats or cat monsters.

    “Um?” Aasimar looked human. Genasi were magic humans. Firbolgs were dwarves? Maybe? “I don’t know.” Gith were like elves, but taller and sharper.

    “No.” Dragonborn were dragon people and he immediately chose another. Grungs were frogs. “Nope.” Locathah were fish. “No no no.”

    And tieflings were actual demons. “Errrrg! Human, human, human!”

    > Choose Race
    > Human

    He exhaled deeply. That was it, he was done. He wasn’t even going to try the rest of the races. At first it had been fun but now it was way too weird and scary. He wanted out.

    > Done

    The circle flashed red and something else popped up under the word he’d touched.

    >error.
    > Missing Fields



    In Danmachi all demi-humans are explicitly demi - human. So, like, not being even slightly human would be a very big no no for Bell. imho. Even though I kinda really want him to change race! That would be FUN. ahahah
     
    Mini_Coopa2, Nurse, Igeras and 5 others like this.
  4. Threadmarks: untitled D&D 5e x Gamer | Part 3
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    “Oh, come on!”

    Part 3: Is it Boring to Stay Human?

    Okay, there was no need to panic. Missing field? What was he missing? “Oh!” He realized. There were several steps whose lists didn’t have anything chosen. He had to go through all the steps before being done. Now he felt silly.

    “Okay, I’m human, so step two?”

    > Step 2
    > Choose Class

    >barbarian
    >bard
    >cleric
    >druid
    >fighter
    >monk
    >paladin
    >ranger
    >rogue
    >sorcerer
    >warlock
    >wizard

    Bell thought about the choices. They were all different types of adventurer, even if the names, like the races, weren’t all familiar to him. He could guess what most of them meant, but he didn’t think he fit into any in particular. Maybe rogue or fighter?

    “But Wizard sounds nice. If I get magic… that would be cool.” On the other hand, mages needed time to say their incantation, and Bell didn’t have a party to protect him. He felt like choosing something a bit different here probably wouldn’t hurt. But what?

    He thought of the heroes of the stories his grandfather told him, the ones he wanted to be like. With sword and magic, bright champions that defeated dragons and saved the girls. With that in mind, the best one was definitely: “The Paladin.”

    > Choose Class
    > Paladin

    Nothing seemed to happen. Rather, only another list appeared under his choice.

    > Choose Skill Proficiencies (2)
    >athletics
    >insight
    >intimidation
    >medicine
    >persuasion
    >religion

    “Skill proficiencies…” He scratched his head. Seemed straightforward. “Athletics is important.”

    > Choose Skill Proficiencies (1)
    >athletics
    >insight
    >intimidation
    >medicine
    >persuasion
    >religion

    “Oh! Two of them, nice! Then, medicine. That could be helpful.”

    > Choose Skill Proficiencies
    > Athletics
    > Medicine

    No more choices appeared, so he guessed he could do the next step. This one, he felt, he knew what it was. Basic Abilities. There was just one small problem. Two small problems.

    > Step 3
    > Determine Ability Scores
    >strength 14 (+2) [-][+]
    >dexterity 16 (+3) [-][+]
    >constitution 11 (+0) [-][+]
    >intelligence 9 (-1) [-][+]
    >wisdom 15 (+2) [-][+]
    >charisma 13 (+1) [-][+]
    >points 0/27

    Like everything else, the names weren’t quite right. Strength, endurance and dexterity had obvious equivalents, but he had no idea about the other three. There were only five abilities, not three. And his weren’t that low!

    “I have a rank H agility, and dexterity was almost there too.” He whined. Now it was all gone. He was going to have to raise them all over again.

    Grumbling, he fiddled with the dials set next to the scores. It turned out that increasing his abilities cost points, and decreasing gave him points. He also couldn’t get anything over sixteen. This was something he definitely wanted to change, so he did. After some time, he settled on something that felt balanced.

    > Determine Ability Scores
    >strength 14 (+2) [-][+]
    >dexterity 16 (+3) [-][+]
    >constitution 14 (+0) [-][+]
    >intelligence 11 (+0) [-][+]
    >wisdom 12 (+1) [-][+]
    >charisma 12 (+1) [-][+]
    >points 0/27

    “That’s better.” He sighed. It looked like he had a long road ahead of him.


    Maybe so, but Paladin Bell will be glorious. Hopefully. Bell chose charisma over intelligence because that's the mage ability, and he's no mage.
     
    Mini_Coopa2, Nurse, Igeras and 5 others like this.
  5. Threadmarks: Mad Milk Drinker (Skyrim xover) | First
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    First

    The Black Goliath vanished into ash and the 18th Floor collectively held its breath before erupting into cheers. Somehow, they had survived. Rivals hugged, seasoned adventurers cried in relief, and all the wine casks were open. For once, alcohol flowed in Rivira, for free! Already, the most opportunistic brewers were preparing hangover remedies for the low, low price of only mildly eye gouging values.

    Erik, the Milk-Drinker, that Crazy Elf, Rivira’s Weirdo, was very glad he didn’t drink. It was tempting to join the festivities, but really not worth it. “Mad Gods and Sane Gods,” he collapsed onto his rump, having spent most of the battle running around casting support magic to prop up the defenders, “what was that?”

    “A fucking irregular on the safe floor,” giggled a chientrope face-down on the ground.

    “No, really, I hadn’t noticed,” he snarked. “What I wanna know is how the fuck that’s possible!”

    The chientrope shrugged her shoulders helplessly in a ‘beats me’ manner. Erik wouldn’t get his answer until later in the night-cycle, as the story of what had happened finally circulated around, as is custom for adventurers, in exaggerated retellings, boasts and arguments.

    His mug crashed against the table with a deafening bang, silencing the tables in that corner of the pub. “A goddess?” Deep within his hood, his eyes shone, two points of cold light that fixed themselves onto the low-class adventurer regaling the table with the story. “Did you just say that there’s a goddess… here?”

    His gaze and words were so intense that even through the fog of alcohol the lad felt himself sweat. He gulped, eyeing the man still fully armoured figure this late into the festivities. “Y-yeah, came onna rescue mission fer those bastards Loki’s rescued- wait, where’re ya going?”

    Erik was already out of the pub and running through the streets of Rivira. He couldn’t believe it. A god in the dungeon. He’d given up years ago, but now there was a god. In the dungeon. He should feel light, but his every step seemed to drag on, his body heaved, his breaths rasped against his throat. The fact that the entrance to the 17th was blocked didn't factor anywhere in his mind. All he could think was of being late. Of missing the god, like boats passing by.

    He had never seen a boat.

    He sprinted all the way to the place where Loki’s forces had made their camp for the past days. He stumbled to a stop, only barely registering the alarmed looks that those there gave him. His mind was solely on the goddess, so he did not think of how he would be viewed. A heavily armored figure had just burst into their campsite, features and weapons concealed beneath a hood and cloak. It was no surprise that the adventurers, resting and recovering from the Goliath, jumped to attention, hands going to weapons and muscles tensing.

    In his haste, Erik also forgot what had apparently triggered the dungeon into unleashing the irregular boss on Rivira. A dispute between the record holder and some belligerents, in which said record holder’s goddess had been held hostage. As such, everybody’s reactions were understandable when he asked: “Is it true there’s a goddess here?”

    “I don’t know what you’ve heard, pal,” a red-haired young man planted himself in front of Erik, “but nobody here wants trouble. And if you’re thinking of starting some, we’ll be more than happy to put ya in your place.”

    A tall human rose from the ground with the help of a huge battleaxe. “Leave and we shall have no problems.” Behind him, Erik saw an elf in a green cloak glide with the grace of a high class adventurer, hand on the hilt of her weapons in warning.

    Before he could explain that he meant no harm, the tent in front of him rustled and a figure peeked out. “What’s going on out there? Bell is resting!” A short woman with silky black hair in twin-tails huffed.

    She was beautiful. There was something almost unearthly perfect about her features. Clad in nothing but a white dress and sandals, a blue ribbon over her arms. She didn’t have a divine aura, but Erik didn’t need it to understand what she was. Her blue eyes, sparkling yet unfathomably deep, told him everything he needed to know.

    His knees gave out and hit the ground, provoking startled gestures from the adventurers surrounding him, and tears pricked at his eyes. Then he prostrated himself, forehead against the ground and begged. “Please Goddess! I implore you, let me join your familia!”

    ““Uh!?”” Surprised exclamations rang around him.

    “Please!” He insisted. “Please… take me in.”

    He heard light footsteps approaching him amidst hushed exchanges and the rustle of armor and steel. He could only focus on those steps. “You… want to join my Familia?” Came the soft voice of the goddess from above him.

    “More than anything.” He told in truth.

    So close, he could hear her startled inhale. “Why?” The goddess asked almost warily. “Do you even know who I am? You don’t, do you.”

    Erik felt a chuckle “I don’t know who you are Goddess, who your Familia is or even what you do.” He raised his head to meet her eyes. “I only know you came into the dungeon to save someone, but not even of that I was thinking, just that you were here. Do with me as you will. Evil or good, dangerous or not, radical or mundane, I will do your bidding. Keep me forever, discard me if you wish, but please. Please give me your blessing and take me out of here.”

    The goddess’ brow furrowed sadly. She crouched down in front of Erik and, when she spoke, all those present could hear in her words the weight of her ageless existence. “Why are you so desperate, Child?”

    Her eyes bore into his and the truth leapt from his lips before he could second-guess it. “Because I don’t want to die without seeing if the sky really is that big.” He averted his gaze, suddenly self-conscious. “I. I’m cursed. My… my god abandoned me. It’s nothing dangerous to you, Goddess! I swear it.” He hurried to say. “But the only way to get rid of the curse is to join another Familia. It’s a long story. Very long. Could we, ah,” his eyes darted to the handful of very curious adventurers listening intently, “perhaps talk in private?”

    “Lady Hestia…” A long-haired eastern woman dithered, but the goddess, now identified as Hestia, raised a hand to stop her.

    “He’s not going to hurt me, are you…” She blinked and laughed. “I’m sorry, I don’t even know your name.”

    He rose to his feet and gave a shallow bow. “Erik, Lady Hestia, and I do so swear.”

    A short-haired pallum turned her head to see them enter the tent the goddess had emerged from. She’d been watching over a white-haired human on a cot, and Erik recognized him as the young man that had dealt the final and decisive blow to the Black Goliath that afternoon. In his head, several connections were finally made. This was the Little Rookie, the record-holder, and this goddess was the Hestia, from Hestia Familia. He wasn’t sure if he felt more or less nervous. Hestia’s was a single-member familia, which meant that the goddess was either still new and openly recruiting or, considering her only member, highly selective.

    Hestia interrupted the pallum before she could begin to speak, narrow eyes suspiciously watching Erik’s every movement. “It’s Familia business, Lili,” she explained, “I’m sorry but only Bell can listen.” The pallum begrudgingly stood up and left.

    She motioned him to sit down, while she perched on the cot the Rookie occupied. The young man blinked tiredly, murmured something but Hestia was quick to soothe him and he fell back to sleep. A fond smile twisted her lips.

    “I saw him,” Erik told her. “Defeating the Goliath. We might all owe him our lives today.”

    “That’s my Bell,” the goddess sighed. “A really reckless hero. I worry about him a lot.” She brushed a hair away from his forehead then turned back to him. “So. What about you, Erik? You must know I’ve noticed that that isn’t really your name.”

    He nodded, having been expecting it. “Yes. But Erik is the name I chose for myself and that I answer to.” After a moment of hesitation, he pulled down his hood, revealing pale skin of a slate colour and eerie, solid blue eyes. Elven pointed ears poked out from a pulled back mass of curly black hair. “If I have a real name, I don’t remember it.”

    “A long story, I take?” Hestia

    “Shorter than I’d like.” He chuckled without feeling it. “In essence, a God gave me his grace and some gifts, and in return he took my memories and dumped me here.”

    She was incredulous, but couldn’t deny the veracity of his words. “How- no. Why?”

    “Why do Gods do anything?” He couldn’t hide the bitterness in his voice. “For his own amusement. And, of course, that wasn’t all. Not interesting enough.” A bitter smirk twisted his lips. “So long as I possess his falna, I cannot rise above the 18th Floor.”

    It all started as a dream. He was standing in a clearing with fog by his knees, but the sky was clear above him. Constellations that he knew shone above him with pity. He had no idea where he was. He blinked. He had no idea of who he was either.

    “Yes, well, mortal minds really aren’t made for this sort of thing. I thought yours might hold up better but NOPE, I just had to scoop all the ruined parts out, so now you're like a potato puff without filling.” A man, an elf and something else at the same time clapped him on the back. “Delicious!”

    “What? Who are you? What’s going on?” He shoved himself away from the gentleman only for a claw to grab the back of his neck and reel him in.

    “Relax my friend or you’ll end up with your entrails around your neck. For once I’d actually like to avoid that. Except, you know, not really.” A pure and innocent twisted the woman’s lips into a grimace. “I’m just a normal Prince, or a God as some of those theoreticians in the Academy say. I have followers and priests, terrible annoyances, always want me to do the paperwork for them.”

    “Did you bring me here?” He very carefully didn’t struggle.

    “Yes I did, keep up, who else would it have been? The White God? Pssh.” He waved a hand. “They don’t do transmigration, only the old boring reincarnation. No fun in that. And of course you don’t understand, they usually don’t. That's part of the fun!”

    “I don’t know who you are, I don’t even know who I am.” They pleaded with the goat.

    “Hmm, lemme see.” The satyr, what was a satyr? Looked into his ear and chewed on it for a while. “Forget being a sushi roll, I think you only really have the nori after all. Sort of a wonder you can even talk, it’s probably the metaphysics of semi-planes of existence. Let’s fix that, shall we? No fun if you just die.”

    A rice ball was shoved in his hands. He ate it in a single bite. He now noticed his skin wasn’t a human shade.

    “Much better. Everything’s there now, but I don’t feel like playing Tetris so I just let it fall where it did. Know where you’re headed to?”

    “The Dungeon.” He blinked, then balked. “The Dungeon!? Under Orario? I’m going to die!”

    “Eh, try not to. I’d be doing a poor job if you ended up dead before you ended up insane.” The God of Madness he now recognized said next to him. “Now look up and choose your constellation, I need it for the rad tramp stamp I’m giving you.” His eyes fixed on a constellation he’d never seen before yet he knew intimately. “Boring choice, but whatever.”

    “Wait, I’m getting a falna? Why?” What was the catch?

    The Goddess massaging his shoulders smirked. “We’re playing a little game. I drop you in the Dungeon with my blessing and I’ll check in periodically to see how close you are to chicken soup with alphabet pasta.” That couldn’t be everything. “You can’t leave, too boring. You’re the type to run away, aren’t you? So no on going above. You’re starting at level 1 like all good pcs, so I’ll throw in your starry blessing, racial modifiers and even magic!” He tasted rainbow on the last word. “And a knife of self-mutilation updating. Should be all you need to survive by the skin of your teeth.”

    He was definitely going to die, and he couldn’t even slot everything that had just been said into the corners of his mind. He felt like he was missing the dot on the ‘i’ and it was definitely the ‘t’’s fault. “Why?”

    “I was bored. Now,” the gentleman smiled with too many teeth, “say Cheese!”

    Pain set his back on fire...

    “... and then I woke up in this forest. I walked until I saw Rivira and I knew this wasn’t a nightmare. I still tried to leave, but my feet led me astray whenever I tried to find the exit to the 17th. I tried following groups up, but somehow kept losing sight of them, and when I tried joining them, we all got lost.” His fists clenched in his lap with so much force that if it weren’t for his gloves his nails would be drawing blood. Small hands grasped his and kneaded soothing circles, prying his fingers loose one by one. “Cursed.”

    “It’s going to be okay.” The goddess told him. She looked tenderly at him, rubbing circles on the back of his hands. “We can fix this, can’t we? That’s why you want to join my Familia.”

    “Yes.” He withdrew his hands from hers, carefully, and focussed. A sphere of oblivion formed between his fingers and deposited there a letter-opener with an ornate hilt engraved with faces that changed expression depending on how you looked at them. “This is the knife He left with me. Blood drawn with it can be used to update my status.”

    “It has to be a divine item,” Hestia sucked in a breath. “How does it even work with the falna? It’s breaking all the rules.” Her fingers hovered over the blade.

    Erik shrugged. “I don’t know. It just updates itself according to my wishes. It’s unbreakable by anybody but another God. Doing it will supposedly unlock my falna and allow for conversion.”

    Hestia nodded. “Okay.” She nodded to herself again. “Okay. Let’s do it.”

    Erik gaped at her. His glowing eyes searched her face. “It can’t be this easy.” He murmured.

    “Why not?” She asked, and it wasn’t pity in her voice but something like comprehension.

    “You know scarcely anything about me. You don’t know what I am, or- or what I can do? Goddess, you don’t even know my level. I’m not...” Erik gestured at himself and laughed in her face. “I’ve had to do a lot to survive the dungeon, to keep my secrets: stolen, cheated, bullied, -” killed. The dungeon had ground him down to his core, hard, hard and merciless.

    Hestia shook her head. “I don’t need to know any of that.”

    “Then what was it?” What knowledge had convinced her? What had she devised about him that gave her such confidence? Which secrets had she sniffed out?

    “Erik,” the Goddess asked, “how long have you been trapped here?”

    “I don’t know.” He gave the rough estimate he used to keep track of major events in the surface world. “Can’t count the days in the dungeon. More than six years, maybe seven. I was almost Level 2 when the Nightmare of the 27th happened.”

    “So long.” The Goddess of the hearth, home and family smiled sadly. “Don’t you think it’s time to go home?”

    His vision inexplicably blurred and his breath hitched. He tried answering her, though he knew not what he’d say, and pathetic blubbering escaped his lips. Wet trails ran down his cheeks. Hestia kneeled down in front of Erik and let him cry into her shoulder, rubbing his back and letting him air years of desperation.

    He was one of her Children now, and if she ever met the bastard that had done this to him, she was going to kick his butt.


    and for something completely different! Started as a SI/OC-SI, now it's just an OC. I mean, memories are tetris currently and they are definitely not coming back.
     
  6. Threadmarks: untitled D&D 5e x Gamer | Part 4
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    “Part 3!”

    Part 4: Details, Schmetails

    > Step 4
    > Determine Character Details

    It was a lot of things. Most of it Bell wasn’t going to touch. Hair color, height, eye color, age… he was fine like he was! There was just one thing unchosen.

    > Choose Background
    >acolyte
    >anthropologist
    >archeologist
    >charlatan
    >city watch
    >clan crafter
    >cloistered scholar
    >courtier
    >criminal
    >entertainer
    >faction agent
    >far traveler
    >fisher
    >folk hero
    >gladiator
    >guild artisan
    >guild mer…

    And the list continued on. Farmer wasn’t there, or adventurer. There was one that caught his eye. “Aah, I wonder if I should… It can’t hurt anybody, right?” He nodded to himself. “Okay.”

    > Choose Background
    > Folk Hero

    “I can be a hero!” And get the girls just like his grandfather said. “Yeah!”

    > Choose Tool Proficiency
    >alchemist
    >brewer
    >calligrapher
    >carpenter
    >cartographer
    >cobbler
    >cook
    >glassblower
    >jeweler
    >leatherworker
    >mason
    >painter
    >potter
    >smith
    >tinker
    >weaver
    >woodcarver

    A new list popped up. They were never ending. Bell sighed and set to figure this one out too. It was a bunch of professions that didn’t fit him. He knew a bit of carpentry, cooking and basket weaving from his childhood at the farm but he wasn’t an expert by far. Actually, he slumped as he thought about it, he didn’t have many skills at all…

    “As an adventurer, eh… I suppose smith or alchemist would be the best.” But he already went to Miach’s for potions, so maybe not alchemy. “Smithing it is. Aah, I hope I’m not choosing wrong things.”

    > Choose Tool Proficiency
    > Smith’s Tools

    And then the last step was equipment. This part was easy. It was just choosing between different weapons and other things. The only complicated part was figuring out what martial weapons and simple weapons were, but after going through even more lists, he had it figured out.

    > Step 5
    > Choose Equipment
    > Longsword and Shield
    > Dagger
    > Explorer’s Pack

    Bell didn’t know how to really use a sword or a shield. He stuck to the big dagger the Guild had provided. But when he imagined a hero, a paladin… he was definitely using a sword and a shield.

    “Alright, I think that’s it. I’m done!” Now the spell wouldn’t complain, right? He turned on the spot, seeing all words he had chosen and how they glowed in the darkness. “This is right, right? I didn’t get wrong? Urrgg!” He held his head in his hands. He didn’t know! What if this was actually some prank or something terrible? Maybe he should recheck everything.

    “Can’t hurt!” He said to the darkness, delaying the inevitable.

    But as he went over everything from the beginning, he noticed something. If he changed his race to variant human, which still looked like a completely normal human, his abilities lowered, but something new opened called a feat. It was just another very long list, but there was something there that he just couldn’t ignore.

    > Determine Ability Scores
    >strength 14 (+2) [-][+]
    >dexterity 16 (+3) [-][+]
    >constitution 13 (+1) [-][+]
    >intelligence 10 (+0) [-][+]
    >wisdom 11 (+0) [-][+]
    >charisma 11 (+0) [-][+]

    > Choose Feat
    > Dungeon Delver

    > Done



    I really really wanted Bell with a feat. but damn are his stats kinda bad for a paladin lol. Also, is schmetails even acceptable?
     
    Mini_Coopa2, Nurse, Igeras and 3 others like this.
  7. Threadmarks: Apostle (Evangelion xover) | 1
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Arrival

    A dark sky rained torrents onto an unfamiliar city. Even underwater, he could hear the deep pattering of fat raindrops against roof shingles, stone and the pond itself. It was muffled, like everything, resonating curiously in his eardrums.

    Shinji blinked. His eyelashes dragged in the liquid. It was blue. Water?

    Instinct had him surge up, palms smacking down on the floor next to his hips. His head breached the water’s surface and he panted. Confused grey eyes took in his surroundings.

    He’d been laying in a long shallow tank, the water only coming to the middle of his torso now that he’d sat up. Above, a beaten roof with more than one shingle missing protected him from the rain. It was an old, public wash house, languishing in the middle of a small plaza. Decrepit stonework buildings laded the streets, wooden skeletons showing through, rubble and garbage pushed into corners. There was nobody in sight. Where was he?

    A gust of wind blew through the plaza and he shivered. Now that he was awake, the cold was very noticeable. He didn’t think he’d ever been this cold. Rain was rare, and when it came it was barely a reprieve from the humid heat. Trembling, he rose to his feet and climbed out of the tank. He was dressed in the same old school uniform as he had been before.

    “Where is this?” He asked himself, peering out from under the roof to a landscape he didn’t recognize. Cracked paved roads wound between ruins of great old buildings in old and foreign styles. Remains of pillars still as tall as buildings leaned obliquely over the architecture. It reminded him of pictures of the old cities, devastated by the post-Impact wars, irradiated by the bombs and left to decay as giant mausoleums. The buildings were all wrong for what he knew, and he thought he might have ended up somewhere in Europe or India.

    In the distance, standing tall and illuminated against the overcast sky, a great tower marked civilization. Shinji stared at it for long minutes, mulling in his head whether or not to brave the weather. There was no guarantee that there would be people willing to help him.

    And help him with what? He had no idea of what he wanted.

    Perhaps that was a lie. He didn't know what he wanted, but he did know he didn't want to be alone anymore. That decision had him step out from under his meager covering and dash across the cobblestones. He slowed down after two empty streets. There weren't any dry places to take cover that he could see and besides, it hardly mattered. He was dripping wet from being in the tank.

    As he walked towards the distant tower, the cityscape around him slowly changed. Although the architecture remained old and eclectic, some buildings were in slightly better condition while others appeared to have been completely demolished. Signs of life became more and more common. Abandoned bottles, a crumpled, dirty straw hat, broken metal utensils. Through the planks of a half-boarded up window, he thought he saw the crumpled form of a homeless person.

    He didn't approach. If there were people here, surely there would also be at the tower.

    The street he was on opened into a larger road, and there he saw more people. A few cloaked-covered forms dashed across mud and cobblestones. Briefly, Shinji was stunned by the sight. Something he hadn’t noticed was there loosened in his chest. He wasn’t alone. He turned to follow the flow of people, eyes on the closed windows and doors he could now see. The road passed under the arch of an old, crumbling european style wall. Beyond it, the city flourished.

    The buildings were no longer husks of themselves, the ruins of old disappeared, replaced by houses, stores and stalls. Light distorted rain droplets sliding down glass windows. Spherical street lamps lined the street, inert despite the gloom brought on by the weather. Foot traffic flowed, some people carrying funny little umbrellas, some nothing like Shinji, most protected by heavy cloaks and hoods in a variety of styles. It was the depressed busiwork of a city under heavy rain, but Shinji was just starting to wonder were all the cars when he saw the man steering the horse.

    His steps slowed to a stop, and he stood gaping at them in the rain. Shinji had only ever seen a horse once, the animal being on the edge of extinction after Second Impact.. He’d been eight and some farmers from his uncle’s town had managed to trap a wild horse that had been roaming near the fields. He’d watched from afar, behind all the other curious children. Apparently, they’d broken the horse’s leg while they tried to tame it to work in the fields, so it was put down and butchered. But this horse was nothing like the thin, small wild horse from years ago, or even the ones from old cowboy movies. It stood as tall as two people on top of each other, and much larger than a motorcycle.

    He was broken out of his amazement as someone slammed into his shoulder violently. He spun and fell face-down on the muddy cobblestones, stinging his elbows and palms. Shinji snapped his head up to the person who’d thrown him to the ground. “Hey-”

    Blue, slitted eyes pinned him in place and he flinched. “---- --- -- --- ---, ------!” Fangs flashed as a monster of a man snarled over his shoulder. Beneath his hood, two furry ears were turned sideways, and a striped tail curled irritably at waist level. He continued on his way with a huff.

    Shinji watched him walk away with wide eyes and a dry mouth. He tried to process what he’d just seen. The ears and the tail, they had been real. But that was impossible.

    “----, ---- ---- ---- ----.”

    “-- -- -------?”

    Voices broke through his befuddlement. There were other people on the road, and now they looked at him, kneeling in the rain. For the first time, he truly looked at them, and his heart leapt into his throat. They weren’t human. Some had pointed ears peeking out of their hoods, tails and animal ears. Other even had strange proportions, unnaturally tall or squashed short. There were weapons, on their belts, gripped in their hand. Swords, spears, staves, horns and claws.

    One of them approached, opened her mouth and “------ --, -- --- ---- --- ----?” Gibberish. Shinji stared one moment at her elongated ears, the staff she carried, caught the handle of some sort of blade sheathed at her belt, and finally succumbed to instinct.

    He ran.

    He ran like the devil itself nipped at his heels, and perhaps it did. He blindly retraced his footsteps out of the clean streets and into the ruins where he had come to. His heartbeat hammered at his ribs like a frenzied drum. His feet slipped on the mud and he caught himself on one of the broken columns scattered between buildings like teeth pointing at the sky. They were the only familiar things around him, none of the houses and buildings sparking to mind any recognition. He must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. He tried to remember which path he’d taken, but the way out of the hollowed out cityscape felt uncertain and he had no idea of which turns he’d taken when running back. He was lost.

    Shinji’s teeth chattered, shivers racking his body as the rain continued to fall and the adrenaline left his veins. It was so cold. He wondered if this was what winter what was like. He had to get out of the rain, but he didn’t know which direction the washhouse he’d come from was. He hesitated before picking a direction and continued walking.

    He walked and walked, hunched over and shivering, but he couldn’t find the basin he’d woken up in. He checked all corners of the twisting streets, walked the length of every cracked road laid before him, doubled back and tried others directions, but he couldn’t find his way. The ruined buildings changed styles, from single houses to larger structures, and he knew he was just getting himself even more lost.

    At some point, he stopped hurrying and just walked with no direction in mind. His surroundings blurred and some distant corner of his mind recognized the haze the world had become ensconced in. He’d felt like this before, after the Fifteenth. He’d been completely alone then, without anybody, lost, and the fog had settled over his thoughts. It let him be safe for a moment, cruise along the river of life, but it also blocked the sun and vista that life could offer to him. Shinji’s footsteps slowed to a stop. One way or another, he had ripped away that veil. Life could be beautiful, but for that, it had to be lived. He knew that now, and looked up.

    Did miracles exist, or fate?

    In front of him was a church, run down yet safely nested between two larger, crumbling temples. It was the first truly familiar building he saw since waking up. He knew western-style churches, a common enough sight in the city. Christianity had become more popular after Second Impact, like many religions. NERV had had a lot of christians. He flexed his hand and for the first time wondered where her cross had gone.

    The inside of the church wasn’t completely dry. It rained on some spots, dripped in several others. Yet it felt warmer than the outside. The sound of the rain was muffled, like a blanket was covering the church. Faint light shone through the remaining vitrals in the walls. He walked down the aisle, past broken, rotten and upturned pews, until he stood in front of the altar. The cross symbol on the altar wasn’t a crucifix, a half-circle connecting the bottom to the sides. The statues depicted saints in strange clothes and the vitrals unknown scenes.

    "I don't know where I am." He told the altar. "I don't know what is going on. I can't understand what those people were saying. They weren't... human, were they?" Only the sound of water answered. "Maybe that is how people came back from Third Impact." He hesitantly brought a hand to his ear, but they felt the same as always. "I didn't really understand that, either. "

    The only thing the church offered was a brief respite from the rain and more time to think. He felt cheated. What was the point of coming back if he couldn't have bonds with people? Forget who or what they were; he couldn't even speak with them! He slumped against the altar and pulled his knees to his chest. He almost wanted to go back. Instrumentality might have been death in all but name, but at least it didn’t feel this hopeless.

    He couldn’t though. Not that he even knew how to, but because it would be just more running away. It hurt just as bad and solved nothing. He had no choice but to keep going forward and hope it wouldn’t hurt him too badly.

    How predictable, he scoffed to himself as he closed his eyes to rest.


    This being actually a terrible idea. I can't possibly portrait eva characters well. They're too messed up and deep. Also, yes? I cannot originality and it's always Hestia, ahahah...
     
  8. ziozo

    ziozo Getting sticky.

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    87
    A very interesting idea that I am very much interested in, i have high expectations for this one.

    Watched.

    P.S. if you want to get more attention it might be a good idea to either post this in the nsfw forum(monster guts, blood, and 1 or 2 naughty words would allow it to be there) or SB/SV as they generally have a lot more activity.

    the reason i found this was because i was searching for 5e.
     
  9. Threadmarks: untitled D&D 5e x Gamer | Part 5
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Bell Cranel was a novice paladin.

    Part 5: Still Here

    Bell Cranel was on the 5th Floor. He blinked. He blinked again. "Eh?"

    He breathed, and choked on Evil. He felt the Evil. All around him but especially under him, deep deep under him them all. Something incredibly vast and unimaginably evil strained. It hated them all. His knees hit the ground as he struggled to keep his breathing in check and his lunch down.

    His chainmail tinkled and the weight of his shield dragged his arm down. He stared at his hands and the longsword gripped in his right fist. He knew it, was intimately familiar with how to use it… Yet he’d never… He felt different, was different. He knew things. His hand let go of his sword and grasped the medallion hanging from his neck with desperate force.

    The simple tin medallion with his goddess’ symbol engraved, that he’d never possessed before.

    “Goddess... what happened?” He asked, but nobody answered. Gods didn’t answer paladins like him, who’d barely started on their path, not even having swore their sacred oaths. It made no sense how he knew that either, because everything jived against what he’d known about gods from the stories, and his own personal experiences with the Goddess of the Hearth.

    It had to have been that magic in the darkness. After-

    That was the moment when he heard the thundering run of a monster. His head snapped up. A minotaur barrelled into the corridor he was in from an intersection ahead. The minotaur that had killed him. The monster’s yellow eyes locked on to Bell’s form and his breathing stopped.

    Bell Cranel was going to die.

    He screamed, stumbled back. The monster roared, surged forward.

    He couldn’t outrun it. He hadn’t managed it before, and that was without a heavy chainmail and shield slowing him down. There was no time to think. Training he hadn’t possessed before kicked in, and he raised his shield. The minotaur’s first thunderous blow cracked the shield straight down the middle and sent Bell flying back. It was the only thing that saved him from being gored on one of the monster’s horns. He hit the ground several yards away, coughing as he tried to draw in a single breath.

    If he stopped now, he’d die. He didn’t want to feel that ever again! He groped around for his sword, fingers scratching at the dungeon’s floor. The minotaur appeared above him, great fists raised over its head. Bell squeezed himself under his shield, bracing with both his arms against the blow that was coming.

    The impact drove more than air out of him. Bell’s head ricocheted against the ground and he spat foamy blood amidst a choked scream. He wouldn’t remember the sound of his shield splintering or of his arms being popped out of their sockets.

    The second blow was open handed, swatting a spider against the ground and then grinding it until no life remained in the mess of carapace and ichor.

    Bell was the spider. Underneath his chainmail and the slivers of wood that had been a shield, his bones cracked. His ribs squeezed his organs, then they broke and started cutting into his vitals.

    He was helpless, useless arms trapped under the minotaur’s hand, legs weakly squirming against the floor, gasping for air he couldn’t draw in, bloodshot eyes bulging. He was nothing but a bug.

    A brilliant flash cut through the dungeon’s air just before his mind faded entirely into the black.


    Well that got dark and serious fast!! : D So much for low effort...
     
  10. Flamelordytheking

    Flamelordytheking Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2020
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    2,205
    Really liking these stories so far! I hope you continue them soon.

    In particular, I like Paladin!Bell who’s going to have a much tougher time dealing with some monsters and a much easier time dealing with others. Also, Healing magic will draw way more attention that Liaris Frieze could, if only because he can affect other people.

    once again, great writing, and I hope you continue it.
     
    minuseven, HeyaUser and Augustus475 like this.
  11. Threadmarks: Fortuna (CCS xover) | proto-intoduction
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    excised from 0th draft. posting just because. 1st draft ongoing.


    The deck was in my head. I reached in there, past doubts, disbelief and the edge of panic, and took seven cards. One at a time, I laid them down on the flat rock in front of me.

    Of the Major Arcana, three, along with four minor cards. They shimmered to my eyes, and the mundane sloughed off to reveal the real bounty underneath. Magic cards, cards of magic, the Clow cards revealed themselves to me. The Sleep, The Thunder, The Snow, The Sand. The Illusion, The Arrow, The Silent. The last three slid to the side, revealing a duplicate underneath.

    So that was what the Major Arcana meant. I knew, somehow, that the major cards were worth ‘more’. Apparently it meant I straight up got more of them. I wasn’t complaining, far from it! I’d reached for seven cards and ended up with ten.

    Now I just had to decide what to do with them.

    Well, I had to decide what to do with myself, but this was a pretty good step.

    I should probably test them out, but I didn’t want to lose any of them. These weren’t actually the Clow Cards. The real things were much more powerful than these imitations. I wasn’t entirely sure of what they were. They were made of magic, probably, but was it from my magic or some other entity’s?

    What I knew, ideas entrenched in my brain in a way that was almost too obvious, and entirely horrifying to contemplate, was that I could use them. Me, and nobody else.

    I could use them as straight up spell cards. Hold a card, concentrate on a magic I’d never had before, and cast the spell. I imagined they’d work much like in the show, even if my magic chops were leagues beneath Sakura’s.

    I could use them as enchanting materials, like runes, or any other upgrade material. From what I understood, it would grant any one thing a property based on the card and my intent. Like using The Silent to make my boots stealthy, forever. The drawback to the permanence of the effects was that the magic became much, much weaker.

    And finally, I could learn them. It was about the same as using the cards as upgrades, but what I was improving was myself. I would know how to use the card’s magic, as a spell or an enchantment, but to compensate, only a little bit. The effect was even more horrendously inefficient than enchanting’s.

    All of these options, of course, consumed the cards. And, from the looks of it, getting more cards was not easy at all.

    I sighed. Alone with limited resources, absolutely no support network, and an herculean task in front of me.

    Become the Master of the cards. It was the only way I’d ever see home again. And if that wasn’t incentive enough, if I took too long the cards’ magic would rip me apart from the inside.

    I collected my brand new, shiny magic cards with a grimace. They disappeared from my hands, ready to be summoned when I had need of them again. Convenient. Testing could wait.

    Now, don’t take me wrong. This wasn’t a situation in which I had one year left to live. Probably. If I just kept regularly and steadily drawing cards, learning them and not using their power too much, I’d live a happy and long life. It would take me twenty years or so, and my mastery of the magic likely wouldn’t be good enough for me to get back home, but it was a life. Of course, that meant the plan was to draw a card every day, learning it immediately and not use magic unless absolutely necessary.

    And when did things ever go according to plan?

    What would happen when, inevitably, I would need to use magic to defend myself?

    How would I support myself, get food on the table and a roof over my head, when all I had were the clothes on my back?

    And, if I was being entirely honest with myself, who didn’t want to be a fantasy adventurer?

    Alright, fuck it. I still had a long way to walk until I reached Orario. I set off in the direction of the only skyscraper in view, and tried to not be too excited. Knock on wood.

     
  12. Threadmarks: Fortuna (CCS xover) | 1
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    When you're trying to write out a first snippet and you already have like three quarters of a miniature outline for the first half of the story... and then character interactions go BAM and now you have one other major supporting character and 2k more than expected.


    1]
    I arrived at the outskirts of Orario knowing more than I should, but less than what I needed. Rolling fields and copses of trees all around the hills surrounding the city, hiding craters from past battles. Babel, rising so far into the sky it was impossible to guess how big it was, could be seen right in front of me.

    I sat in silence for a long while, considering what I knew and trying to make plans for the future.

    Eventually, I bit the bullet. Sitting down, I tried to enter a state of focus that only sometimes came to me while drawing for hours. Inside myself, I somehow knew, lied the power that could take me home.

    It was easier than expected.

    The something inside yielded easily to my queries and I laid down the cards as they appeared in my hand. Ten of them, all of them good cards. Fourteen with the duplicates.

    The Light x2
    The Glow
    The Shadow x2
    The Return
    The Silent
    The Windy
    The Jump
    The Bubbles x2
    The Sword
    The Mirror x2


    Almost half of them under The Light, I noticed. Well, something for later. There was power in my hand, but it would be easily spent. Asides from special circumstances, I was limited to one card a day.

    I bit my lip as I considered what to do with them. I was keeping the elemental cards, of course. Too useful right now. But I needed to test how learning the cards was going to be. Between the Glow and the Bubbles, I chose the former.

    I brought the card up to my forehead and… willed it unto myself.

    Glow 1

    A shudder coursed through me as a… a glow bloomed inside myself. There was the briefest sensation of a giggle before it faded into the tiniest speck of light. But it was still there. In between my cupped hands, I called forth a tiny firefly. It was just there and the sunlight made it all but invisible, but who cared.

    I had magic. This was real. This was terrifying, but now, a little bit less.

    I got up with a laugh and dusted off my pants. I wasn’t going to enchant anything. I had nothing to enchant after all. The clothes on my back were mine, from what I could tell, but as if they’d been made several centuries and one fantasy ago. Good, sturdy, completely civilian clothes, nothing more. A tunic with a hood, a sleeveless leather vest, canvas pants and solid boots. A simple belt, a couple of pouches and a canvas backpack. No zippers, only laces.

    I did have one thing I could do. I picked The Sword, making it appear in my hand. I needed a weapon. But I needed a weapon that would stay, permanently. Please, I thought hard at it while imagining a blade similar to the one on the card. I need a sword. I need you to become a sword for me. It doesn’t have to be super sharp, or magical in any way. Just a sword. Sturdy, reliable, cutting… Like this.

    “Become a weapon, Sword!” I cried when the image felt stable in my head, slashing the card down. With a burst of light, it left my fingers, only to reform as a comforting weight, my hands wrapped around the hilt of a thin one-handed sword. Of the many ornamentations the Sword had, only the barest hints of wings remained in the crossguard, as lines etched in the metal

    I gave it a few practice swings, a wide smile in my face. Yes, this was it. Something had uncoiled in my chest. I had a tangible weapon in my hands. It felt safer.

    So, sword bare on my belt, I set off to the great city.

    The trek to Orario took me a good long hour, maybe more. I took care to pace myself, but I also wanted to arrive before it got too late. I’d been thinking, something I quite like doing while walking to places. And I’d come to the conclusion that, depending how things went, I was likely a bit… I don’t want to curse and say ‘fucked’, but they were definitely not good.

    If a certain Goddess was here. Then I was, not golden, but close enough. If she hadn’t… well, mostly it came down to money and the fact that I didn’t have any.

    I could sell my sword. That would give me enough for a few days, I hoped. But without an understanding of local prices and with no experience bargaining, I’d just be getting rid of my only reliable tool.

    I didn’t have to be an adventurer, strictly speaking. And I didn’t have to become an Adventurer right now. That thought was always in the back of my head. But. But.

    So it was that around mid afternoon, as indicated by the clocks on a few buildings, I stepped foot in the Pantheon, the Adventurer’s Guild headquarters. I waited around a bit before somebody was willing to take on a new arrival to the city. I’d been clear that I only wanted to answer several questions I had about the city, the dungeon and all that.

    I wondered how they saw me. Looking like a complete country bumpkin had gotten her hands on a sword, for which she didn’t even have a sheath.

    By the grace of whatever greater deity oversaw this world, it was a brown-haired half-elf that took pity on me. Her name was Eina Tulle, and I knew that before she introduced herself.

    “Reed,” I bowed my head. “Thank you for your time. I just have several questions I need answered before I make any decisions regarding my stay in Orario, so I would appreciate your help.”

    “Of course.”

    “Right.” I raised one finger. “So, firstly, are there any restrictions to who can enter the dungeon?”

    “No. There are no restrictions as to who can enter the dungeon. There are Ganesha Familia guards, but that’s just to ensure no fights break out between adventurers returning from the dungeon. All adventurers can enter the dungeon. There’s no level restriction or anything like that, although some Familias might have internal rules that differ from ”

    “By adventurer, you mean somebody who enters the dungeon, or somebody with a falna?”

    Now I’d caught her attention. “That’s…” Her brow furrowed and her ears, longer than a human’s but more rounded than an elf’s, twitched backwards. “While an adventurer is… technically... anybody who enters the dungeon… the Guild only registers Adventurers with the backing of a God.”

    “Hm.” I could see the system a bit better now. If the Guild registered Adventurers, which of course they did, they tracked the levels of each of them… “And I’m assuming only a registered Adventurer would get whatever benefits the Guild provides.”

    “Just so. Discount equipment for beginners, advisors, maps, the showering and infirmary facilities at Babel, and more!”

    “But otherwise, the guild doesn’t stop anybody from entering the dungeon?”

    “Well... no.” She very reluctantly said. “The Guild cannot stop people from entering the dungeon without a falna.”

    “I see.” I nodded.

    Now she was glaring at me. She enunciated every word very clearly. “The Guild does not stop people from entering the dungeon even without the blessing of the gods because entering the dungeon without the blessing of the gods is suicide.” She smiled at me without any cheer. “While somebody without a falna might -and I stress, might- be able to kill a few goblins on the first floor, but unlike adventurers, any injury, no matter how small, will take much longer to recover from. That’s what truly separates adventurers from normal people. Not their strength or agility but their endurance.”

    In other words, their ability to survive and to come back, stronger than before.

    “But if they do kill one monster or two, will the Guild accept the magic stones? How do taxes work?”

    “Are you not list-!” Eina slammed her hands on the table and visibly stopped herself from yelling at me. “Yes, we will trade all magic stones for vallis and… no, no taxes apply to individual adventurers- that doesn’t mean you can use that as a loophole or anything!” She straightened up and pointed a finger directly at my nose. “Nobody without a falna can make enough vallis to justify the danger of the dungeon! Trying it is su-i-ci-de.”

    I nodded. “So the problem eventually corrects itself.” I couldn’t help but to follow the train of reasoning out loud. “Normal people can enter, but they can’t go in any deep, so it doesn’t matter because they can’t bring up magic stones or drops that would impact the economy. If they try, they die, so… problem corrected. Bonus round, the guild actively discourages this by withholding their services.” They wouldn’t even let them rest or heal up at Babel. Effectively, the Guild washed its hands of people without a falna.

    In fact, I wasn’t even sure the Guild was equipped to deal with, say, somebody without a falna selling magic stones outside their purview. I had the distinct impression that due to the way Orario operated, the Guild levied punishments to the Familia of the offenders, not the offenders themselves. How would they do it with somebody that didn’t have a Familia? Orario had to have some form of law and… order? Who even made Orario’s civilian laws?

    I didn’t mention any of this to Eina, of course. On top of being crazy, I didn’t need her to think I was also a criminal.

    Let’s be honest, Eina had probably already classified me as an adventuring criminal, breaking a litany of Eina Approved Adventuring Rules.

    “That’s right.” Said half-elf snapped at me, and I brought my attention back to her. Oh, she was not happy.

    “Sorry, I was just thinking out loud. The dungeon is dangerous, it makes sense. I wasn’t trying to imply anything about you or your colleagues.” My sincerity must have come through, because her ears righted themselves.

    She sighed, tilted her head back and massaged the bridge of her nose. I gave her the time she needed to collect herself. “Miss Reed, you seem like somebody with her head on her shoulders so… I’m not going to pretend that unblessed adventurers don’t exist or that they don’t go into the dungeon. They are often hired as supporters for level 1 parties of smaller Familias, and later they use that experience as a drawing point to join their own Familia, or they are recruited. But, like I said, they are working with adventurers and I know it’s never anybody’s first option. First and foremost, if you really want to go into the dungeon, you should find yourself a Familia.” She gestured at me. “You… You seem like an honest person, there are gods who will take you into their Familia.”

    She had the grace to not lie and tell me I looked like somebody who was strong or smart, or even skilled. I was in relatively good shape… for a modern world. My clothes were nothing special and my sword? Without a sheath, I could even have stolen it. I definitely wouldn’t be able to demonstrate any particular swordsmanship if asked.

    “I’m sure.” I snorted. “Regardless, unless I can find a God that would accept me and my conditions before sunset, I’m sleeping on the streets. So it’s either risk that or risk the dungeon ‘til I get enough to pay me a night.”

    “I’d rather you risk sleeping out than go into the dungeon.” She grumbled, then relented. “How many vallis do you have? I might know some cheap places.”

    I curled my fingers into a circle. “Zero.”

    “Zero?”

    “Unless I sold my sword, which I’m not going to do, yep. Not a single one.”

    “Urgh.” Eina slapped her forehead. “Spent all her money to get to Orario, of course.” I could hear the sarcastic ‘adventurers’ on the tip of her tongue.

    Eina Tulle was a good egg. “Look, Miss Tulle, if it will make you feel better, I’m not completely helpless.” I cupped my hands in front of me, hiding a small, faint glowing point that I conjured into being. “Keep it a secret, hm?”

    Ironically, my magic was useless. Eina didn’t know it, but this was the most I could do. Without my cards, I was very much helpless.

    Her reaction was about what I expected. Her eyebrows shot up and she covered her mouth as she gasped. “Oh!” She leaned forward over the table to whisper to me. “You have congenital magic? I thought you were human?”

    Without a falna, only elves or half-elves had magic. I was special. “I-” Wait. Was I human? I reached up and felt the shape of my ears. Felt roundish. Normal. “I am. I am human.” Probably.

    “I- How, how do you not know your race?” She aggressively whispered to me?

    I just woke up in another world Eina. Nothing about this is normal. Couldn’t tell her that, though. “Magic?” Good job, me. A master speechcrafter. “Look, I- I just woke up with a lot missing. I don’t exactly know what’s happened to me.”

    “But your race!?”

    “Well, given I don’t even remember my own fucking nam-!” Fuck. I clicked my mouth shut and lifted a hand to massage my forehead, and to hide my scowl from Eina’s eyes.

    I hadn’t been expecting my temper to rise like that. I thought I’d gotten a good handle on my feelings on the way here. There was nothing I could do, so being angry about it was a waste of energy. Pretty words. Getting dumped into another world with holes in my grey matter was affecting me more than I was trying to pretend it didn’t.

    A name was just one of the cornerstones of a person’s identity.

    But it was fine. I was fine.

    I had far more short-term problems to worry about.

    “I’m sorry for that,” I told Eina, who’d been respectfully silent. “I should not have taken my frustrations out on you.”

    “It’s understandable. Could you… tell me what you remember? If I can help in any way, it would set me at ease.”

    I peered at her between my fingers and couldn’t help but smile. A very good egg, this one. “I doubt it, Miss Tulle. I have general knowledge, it’s just some… personal details that I can’t recollect.” Well, so I believed. It’s hard to know what your memory’s missing when you have partial amnesia and a random information dump. “It’s hardly your duty to help some hobo out of nowhere. I’m not an Adventurer.”

    “It would ease my personal consciousness.” She said with her back very straight. She was just the tiniest bit taller than me.

    “Alright... there are a couple of ways you could help me.” And they wouldn’t even interfere with her ethical “I don’t know if you keep track of all Gods in Orario, but would you be able to check if Goddess Hestia is here?”

    Eina hummed and raised a finger to her chin in thought. “Off the top of head I cannot recall any goddess with that name in Orario.” So in effect, Hestia hadn’t descended and I was out of options. “But the guild does keep a record of every God that enters Orario. I can go check it, if you’ll just wait a bit.”

    “It’s not necessary.” I stopped her before she rose out of her seat and left to search records for who knew how long. “Tell me another day. There is something else.”

    But I hesitated, unsure of how to put it into words.

    Eina sat back down. “What is it?”

    “Well, you know, the names you give people when you don’t know who they are like…” I was rambling. “Not like nicknames or titles or those weird fff-frakking aliases, but when it’s unknown. Like, a temporary name, a- you know?” My hands were already gesturing in front of me and I felt like an idiot but the word I was looking for just wasn’t… happening.

    “A… placeholder name?”

    “Yes! That!” I coughed and took a breath to calm myself. “Hm. I was wonder- well, what does Orario use as placeholder names?”

    “I… I’m not sure there’s any official ones?” My face must have done something because Eina backpedaled. “What’s generally used is Yanis and Ioanna?”

    “Ioanna. Ioanna…” I rolled the name over. It wasn’t a bad name. I’d known an Ioana, I think. I didn’t quite like it. Personally, I preferred Iona.

    I didn’t like Ioanna. It wasn’t my name, but that was the whole point of it.

    “Ioanna Reed. I can deal with that.”

    “So Reed… you remember your family name?” Eina asked, brow furrowed.

    “I’m either a Reed or related to somebody called Reed. Fairly sure of that.” I didn’t know if or how Clow Reed was involved in this mess, but I would bet he at least knew of it. I had access to his cards, or something so close it was irrelevant. Things I had to test. “Thank you for your time, Miss Tulle. You were truly helpful.”

    As I got up to leave, Eina stopped me, one hand on my arm. “You’re not going into the dungeon right now, are you.” It was more of a plea than a question.

    “I have to.”

    “Wait just a minute Miss Reed, please. You already have magic, there are dozens of familias who would take you in right now, there really is no need.” I opened my mouth but she plowed on. “I know a Familia, a very good Familia that would take you in. I have a… friend of my family there who would vouch for you. Just wait for my shift to finish and I’ll introduce you to her.”

    I sighed. “Eina. You’ve done so much already, more than enough but…” I couldn’t help but sigh again. “Your friend’s familia wouldn’t take me in. I know I don’t know them.” I interrupted her with a lie she couldn’t guess. “But I said… I won’t just join any familia. I have conditions.”

    “I’m sure-”

    “Eina. Please. I’ve thought about this very long and hard. How many gods do you know would just let their children go?”

    “Wh-what do you mean?”

    I patted the hand she still had on my arm with a smile. “I don’t remember how to get back to my home, but one day I will. And the moment I do, I will leave. Period. There is no god that will simply... rescind their blessing one day just because I want to go home. Especially with my magic being what it is. By joining a familia, I will have responsibilities to everybody in it. That’s just natural. And Eina…” I made sure she was meeting my eyes. “The moment I can go home, I will. I will leave all of that behind without a second thought.”

    “I-” Eina looked away and dropped my sleeve. Her ears had pinned back as much as they could and her shoulders were hunched.

    “You’re a good person, Eina. I’m lucky to have met you truly. Probably would have gotten laughed out of the room by anybody else. Thank you for trying.” There was really only one last thing. “I don’t think the Guild’s privacy rules apply to me, but I would ask you to please keep my magic and my name secret. Even from your friend in that Familia. Please.”

    She raised her head to say something but I? Well, I was a coward.

    “See you.” I threw over my shoulder before all but running out of the building.


    actually random cards. The Sword was a nice surprise. Eina got clocked with a bunch of stuff in one conversation and she will take her time processing it. Consider also, one protagonist who does not trust gods at all and definitely would take advantage of hestia being a nice person. she might have forgotten about miach even existing tho.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  13. Threadmarks: Fortuna (CCS xover) | 2
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    actual more accurate length of anything



    2]
    It was already late afternoon by the time I arrived at the base of Babel.

    I’d taken the time to sit on a plaza and called forth one card. I wouldn’t be able to do it again until tomorrow, and unlike the easy response that drawing my first cards had elicited, it had taken me several attempts. I’d had to focus harder than I even knew I could, and the act of drawing the card into existence had left me mentally drained. So much so that I had needed to rest for a good couple of hours.

    This was how it was going to be from now on. I’d been charged when I’d gotten here, all but primed to explode with magic. Without that spark, all the effort had come from me. It hadn’t been a Mind Down, but it had been close.

    I’d drawn another LIGHT, so I was happy.

    While I rested, I’d decided to use a few more of my cards. I’d absorbed both of my BUBBLES, and now I could make a thin froth of cleaning bubbles appear on my palms. Maybe The Bubbles could make a smokescreen, but with my inexperience, I’d rather have definite options rather than maybes. That, and I didn’t like the way they were cluttering my mental space. It just made me more anxious.

    Hopefully, I’d get used to it.

    I’d also enchanted my boots with JUMP. Eina had made a good point. If I got hit, I was done for. I couldn’t do anything for my reflexes, only hard-won experience or a falna could. The mobility boost was my only option. Moreover, boots were expensive, from what I’d seen on the vitrines around the city. I would not be replacing mine any time soon.

    It was very strange to be able to jump a good meter in height without any effort.

    The Light 3x
    The Shadow x2
    The Return
    The Silent
    The Windy
    The Mirror x2

    GLOW 0.0%
    BUBBLES 0.1%

    I was left with a good dozen cards, most of which I could directly use to great effect.

    Probably.

    The Light was either a straight up attack or a flashbang. The Shadow could immobilize monsters. The Windy was just plain broken. And The Mirror… The Mirror could protect me?

    Between them, my sword, boots and the anxiety, I couldn’t get more ready.

    I caught the rush out as the sky darkened, so I waited on the edges of the dungeon’s entrance as numerous parties of Adventurers rose back to the surface. The underground floor was as large as the base of the tower it rested on top of, which was a good couple of blocks wide at the very least.

    Babel was much more impressive up close.

    Eventually, the amount of people coming up slowed to a trickle, and several groups could be seen heading down as well. Taking the opportunity, I started down the stairs, taking care not to follow any one group. Perhaps it was prejudice, but I couldn’t help but feel like these Adventurers were rougher around the edges.

    The stairs gently led down to a roughly square cavern from which branched several hallways. Blue lights, part of the ceiling from my observations, cast a dim illumination on light-coloured walls. Visibility wasn’t great, the details washed out, and several meters ahead the darkness became near impenetrable. The ceiling was higher than I thought it would be. Using The Jump wouldn’t have been impossible. Well, what was done was done.

    The moment I stepped foot on the floor of the dungeon itself, I felt a shiver within myself. I involuntarily took a deep breath, and I felt all the hairs in my body rise. If static electricity felt like anything, it was this. Inside me, the specks of magic I’d taken in bubbled before settling down. I closed my eyes for a moment and reached for the cards. They came easily and I broke the connection. Somehow, stepping in the dungeon had charged me up again.

    Feeling confident about this sudden turn of luck, I turned to the largest hallway, drew my sword and started advancing cautiously. This was probably the Road of Beginners. I’d forgotten to ask Eina about it. I couldn’t afford to get lost.

    Slowly, very slowly, I lost view of the entrance. Every now and then I would hear a distant noise. The other Adventurers. I lost my nerves and retraced my steps back to the entrance several times. I crossed a couple of groups and avoided their eyes. I didn’t need to look at them to see what they thought of me. I swear one of them was actually laughing. I didn’t know how long this hallway was, but no monsters appeared before me. Maybe I was too close to the entrance. Maybe the other Adventurers on this floor were drawing the monsters away.

    I was on my fifth iteration, each going just a bit farther, when I heard a loud cracking noise. Finally, a monster.

    I am going to do this. LIGHT, if I need you, please come fast, blast this critter apart.

    Sword clasped tightly in my two hands, I went in the direction of the noise.

    I saw a green sized humanoid swing its head in my direction and I did the stupidest thing I could do against a goblin. I stopped and assumed a guard position. I had just enough time to realize the idiocy of it and rear back for a swing before it was jumping on me, fang-filled jaws open wide.

    My sword collided with its face, leaving a shallow cut, the edge of it otherwise missing flesh, but it was pushed back. I managed another clumsy slash, one that did score something significant on its shoulder. Then I was dodging.

    Foolishly, I tried minimizing my movements, only to get a score of scratches on my arm. A jump back carried me well outside the goblin’s range. Lesson learned.

    My breath was coming faster and faster.

    I pulled my sword back and waited for the goblin to attack.

    Monsters don’t have the same survival instincts as humans. They don’t fear, not like humans. An opponent may be armed but they keep attacking. When hurt, their first instinct is never to run, but to get revenge.

    I wailed on the goblin but at most I got a few flinches. More often than not, the flat of my blade hit it, but the hits accumulated, leaving it dazed and bleeding more and more.

    This was a first level goblin and I had magic boots. Falna or not, I had the advantage.

    After an interminable time, it stumbled visibly and I pounced on it, jumping high and landing on it heels first, sword-point last. Beneath me, it finally stopped moving.

    I panted, the sound loud in the dungeon’s relative silence. My hands were shaking and I noticed how it had dug its nails in my legs in its last moments. A queasiness rose in my and I recognized it from the handful of times a wild cat had bitten me deep enough. Shock response. I had to hurry before the adrenaline faded.

    I dug into my pouch for a miserably short pocket knife more akin to a letter opener than anything that I had found while rifling through my backpack. Cutting into the goblin was tough, horrible, and I only found the magic stone, a pebble the size of a fingertip, by pure luck.

    I got up and ran-jumped back to the entrance even as my vision started spotting. My legs lost strength and I slumped against the corner of the hallway’s entrance. I was shaking so badly breathing was hard and my teeth were clicking against each other. I knew it would be a good long ten minutes or more before I could move right again.

    I had killed a monster. A tiny stone was clenched in my fist. It was worth what? Ten vallis, twenty? Not enough for a meal, definitely not enough for a night anywhere.

    Well, the dungeon didn’t care, because as I recovered, I heard more cracking sounds.

    “O-oh f-fuck me. F-fuck, fu-uck, f-ck!”

    It had sensed weakness. Two goblins ambled out of the darkness, going straight for me despite how close I was to the entrance. I didn’t even hesitate this time. With nary a thought, The Light was in my hand, and then everything… was… LIGHT.

    It was an instant that lasted forever.

    I blinked and I was standing steady, two magic stones clinking on the floor as they fell, just a second later. I looked at my hand, mouth dry. I’d known Clow Reed and Sakura were powerful. But I hadn’t really known. The silence of the very dungeon itself seemed less oppressive.

    I pocketed the stones.

    I had two more LIGHT cards. I could survive this. I took a deep breath and stepped back into the hallway again.

    It was a long night. The moment I yawned for the first time, despite all the bursts of adrenaline and scares, I traced back my steps and started climbing up the stairs back to the surface. I’d already been ambushed twice, and my reflexes had to be slowing down.

    Day one was over, I was running a card deficit and I was ragged on my feet. All for a handful of tiny, shiny stones.

    My clothes had several rips in them, but thankfully nothing too bad, and the bloodstains were minimal. I’d had the, in my own humble opinion, brilliant idea of cleaning my wounds with BUBBLES. Time would tell if that would prevent infection.

    I prayed to Ouranos that they didn’t.

    Without my enchanted boots, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much success. Even then, I’d been forced to use cards both times I’d been confronted with a pair of monsters instead of a single opponent. Once The Shadow had immobilized them, and I’d easily cut their heads off, and the other The Mirror had led one of the kobolds in a merry chase while I engaged with the other.

    Nine goblins and three kobolds. I’d not stepped a foot out of the Road of Beginners, just going back and forth. I hoped this would be enough.

    Too tired to care, the moment the stairs ended, I beelined towards one of the Ganesha guards on the floor of Babel. “Hello ma’am. I’m sorry but would you happen to know if the Pantheon still exchanges magic stones at this hour?”

    I obviously wasn’t the only Adventurer that worked nights because it turned out that the Guild did keep one both open at both the Pantheon and Babel itself at all times. Feeling more relaxed, I politely inquired about cheap places to stay in the city, and got names and directions for a couple of places. The woman saw that I was about to crash and specifically told me about two inns that were open ‘dawn-to-dawn’.

    I thanked her, bowed and went straight to the closest booth.

    The clinking return of six coins felt both disappointing and utterly relieving. 550 vallis. I hoped that was enough.

    And it was, barely. I was down to twenty-five vallis after a meal, something I only really noticed when I woke up well after noon. I’d slept a good nine hours, considering that by my faint memories of the clock in Babel, it’d been nearly four in the morning when I’d come back.

    Alone in a small room, after my ablutions, I took stock of my situation. I could survive in Orario, even if I didn’t have enough money for my next meal. Already, I was taking stock of what I needed to somehow get. A sewing kit, if I wanted my clothes to last more than a week, a better knife, actually better clothes overall… and then my mind started spiraling.

    I had soap on demand, but what about hygienic products? How did the women of Orario deal withit, and how expensive was it? A least one potion because of the dungeon, and I knew those were more expensive than my room. And I had to put aside at least 400 every day if I wanted to sleep somewhere with some privacy. Not to mention I was carrying all my belongings with me into the dungeon. What if something happened to it? Were there storage solutions in Orario? How much was rent?

    What did it matter, rent? It wasn’t like I was even going to be able to read the contract, since the only koine I knew were the ten symbols it shared with normal alphabets, namely, its numerals!

    I sank my teeth in the flesh of my arm, using the pain to ground myself. It worked a bit. I saw that in the light of the day the scratches looked deeper than before, but at least they were starting to scab over.

    I could make plans for all of that after I left the inn. Check prices, find cheaper places, the works. But while I had a roof over my head, another hour or two, I should take advantage of it.

    I reached for the cards again. Twice I could draw cards right now. One card for today, and ten cards with the energy from yesterday. There was a distinct separation between the two in my mind. Remembering how tiring it had been to draw the singular card yesterday, I pulled on the star inside my self instead.

    Fluidly, ten cards were drawn from thin air and placed on the ground. Then, my consciousness still floating around in that vague fugue state, I drew the other card. It came easier, even if the moment I blinked myself into the real world exhaustion crashed into me.

    I flopped back into bed and contemplated my cards.

    The Light x2
    The Shadow
    The Return
    The Sweet
    The Big 3x
    The Silent
    The Dream
    The Sleep
    The Illusion x2
    The Windy
    The Rain
    The Mirror
    The Maze x2
    The Shield 3x
    The Libra x2

    GLOW 0.0%
    BUBBLES 0.1%

     
  14. Threadmarks: Yggdrasil (temp name) | 1.1
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Actually my favorite characters and Lefiya and Filvis? Aaah, reading Sword Oratoria 12... was depressing. You know what? This is the fic in which Freya derails SO, accidentally gains a new hobby kid plant? and is both the best and worst matchmaker in history.

    =====>>>1.1<<<=====
    In the balmy air of an ordinary afternoon, the sitting room at the manor of the Dionysus Familia found itself hosting an unexpectedly tense situation. Some fools would call a visit from Freya herself a joyous occasion, but most gods knew better.

    Dionusys himself kept smiling as he re-entered the room with two bottles of wine. “Ah, here we are. Pardon me for the delay. I have actually quite a few very good vintages. Almost-- divine. Unfortunately, they’re stored in a rather heavy box in a corner of my cellar… I usually have one of my children fetch them for me.” His following chuckle was patently false, a smile crinkling the lines around his eyes and obscuring his thoughts from view. “Did you really have to do that to them?”

    He took two glasses and poured them, keeping the Goddess of Beauty in his peripheral vision.

    And what a dangerous vision she was, her concealing cloak folded over the arm of her captain and escort, and herself a delight of white skin and silver hair draped over his couch. “Oh, you know how complicated it is for me to move through Orario. You needn’t worry Dionysus, they’ll only be dazed for a couple of hours.”

    But even as she spoke, her eyes never left the last person in the room, Dionysus own captain. The elf was so high strung it was a wonder she wasn’t shaking. Pinned down by the eyes of the goddess, she nevertheless kept her own strictly on her counterpart.

    The boaz and the elf stared down at each other. Breaths kept regulated, muscles ready to act, every single movement a declaration of intent. The moment any of them moved, it would be to cross swords. The King’s mere presence was a threat to any in his vicinity, and the Maenads devotion would have her meet even his blade in defense of her god.

    “So,” Dionysus spoke loudly into the thick silence, “what brings you to visit me Freya? I can’t imagine it would have been for my wine. I’m afraid I haven’t been taking the time to refine it like Soma has.”

    Freya gracefully took the glass offered to her and smelled it, eyes widening just a bit and moving from her target for the first time since she’d sat down. “Oh, I’m curious to see what your wine could be like, if this isn’t you being serious.” They moved to the smiling blonde god, inscrutable in front of her. “But if you must know, I was... getting bored.”

    “Oh, indeed?” Dionysus sighed dramatically. “And you decided to come and play with my children’s hearts and partake in my wine… Am I really nothing but cheap entertainment to you, Freya? Oh, how you wound me.” He put a hand over his heart in mock hurt.

    “Mmmh…” Freya affected an air of innocence and put her fingers in front of her mouth. “Maybe.” Her eyes glinted with mischief.

    The two deities exchanged japes as their stone-still protectors stood over them, deathly serious. It was not an exaggeration by any means, but perhaps a reflection of the truth enshrined in this world. The vast dichotomy between fleeting mortal lives and the great games the divines played among themselves.

    “Speaking truthfully,” said Freya as she swirled her wine around, “it’s really all Loki’s fault.”

    “Ah.” Dionysus’ smile became noticeably strained. “How so?”

    “Hm,” the goddess brought the glass to her lips to hide an indulgent smile. “Oh, don’t fret Dionysus. I don’t care about whatever little plots you and Loki are investigating.” Her eyes slid back to the elf behind him for a moment. “Those sorts of businesses are not my style. It’s simply that some of Loki’s children were interfering with a… project of mine… and that simply will not do.”

    “Ah.” Dionysus sighed sadly. “A man.”

    Freya smiled mysteriously and put her glass, still full, back down. “So I decided I should maybe… rile up dear old Loki a little bit.”

    “Since you were bored.” Dionysus half-lidded eyes regarded her with a hint of offense.

    “Indeed! Can you just imagine the state she’ll be in when she discovers I visited you? Loki will be climbing up walls trying to figure out how I fit into whatever puzzle you two have in front of you.” Dionysus didn’t insult her by even insinuating she was connected to it, whatever his own thoughts might have been. “Especially with her precious children on an expedition to the deep floors.”

    “My, and the Denatus was only two days ago.” Dionysus took a generous sip from his glass.

    “Hmm, I simply couldn’t wait. My project will take some time to show results now.” And behind her facade, the goddess was bubbling with impatient excitement. It was simply Dionysus' terrible luck.

    “Well, if that was all, Lady Freya, you should have sent me word. I would not be opposed to stringing along Loki for a couple of days.” He would have regretted it, but

    “Oh. I wouldn’t say that.” Freya smiled. Silver eyes narrowed at the black-haired elf that had caught her attention. “I almost can’t believe I didn’t see it before. How did you get your hands on a thing like this?”
    =====>>><<<=====
    Actually started this two weeks ago, before vol17 oh boy vol 17. And I only read selected parts of the LNs. So I'm definitely not going to be able to do justice to Freya or Ottar. But. Like. Whatever.
    next time: freya pokes dionysus, dionysus chooses death. ara ara-
     
    moon so bright likes this.
  15. Threadmarks: Fortuna (CCS xover) | 3
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    I actually had to split this up, can you believe it? Eina really does steal the show.


    3]

    It was unusually early for me when I got to the Guild. I’d been in Orario for two weeks now and finally gotten a good enough routine going. I’d found cheap enough places to sleep and to eat, and now managed to profit an average of a hundred vallis per day. It was, from what I gathered, the equivalent of a cheap but complete meal.

    An extra hundred vallis a day would be enough to survive on, if you weren’t an adventurer. As it was, I was living hand to mouth.

    My four changes of clothes were bloody and dirty no matter how I washed them, fraying at the edges and full of patches. My collection of small wounds was increasing faster than it healed. Even my sword sported several dents and a nice warping along the edge that heralded where it was going to break one of these days. There was no mirror to check, in the attic spaces I called my temporary quarters, but my ribs were definitely becoming easier to see. Muscle tone was maybe growing, I thought, because eating as I was wasn’t helping. Not enough proteins and a worrying lack of fruits.

    Lettuce was plenty, tho, if you were willing to buy the old, rubbery ones that the stalls near the southwest main street were eager to get rid of.

    My money had to go into repairing what I had or buying the essentials I was missing. A tiny sewing kit, replacement laces, good gloves and a good cloak for the rain and hail, since I’d only caught good weather on my first days by the grace of… gods or something. It was winter time, apparently, but a milder winter than my body was used to.

    SHIELD had been used to conjure me a nice shield, sort of like a kite shield in that it had a pointer lower part and a flatter upper part. My boots had been given SILENT, although at a reduced strength it only made me quieter, and my new cloak had been enchanted with RAIN twice. It was definitely keeping me protected from adverse weather conditions better than it should.

    However, I was hitting my limitations in the amount of gear I could carry with me. There were storage lockers adventurers could rent in babel, like PO boxes, but only for ‘real’, registered adventurers. Funny how the Guild, effectively the city’s banking system, also had a hand in the postal services… or not. Historically, wasn’t that normal? I didn’t remember. Orario didn’t officially have a government, as the city of the gods, but for the plebeians like me it was the Guild.

    Regardless, I needed money, and since I had plans for tonight that were going to cut into my regular ‘job’, I swung by the Pantheon to check out the quest board. Commercial and craftsmen familias, as well as their unblessed counterparts, used the Guild as a middleman when they needed resources only adventurers could get for them. Much rarer than that, sometimes lower-ranked exploration familias put up requests for items or equipment they needed quickly or in bulk.

    “Well, fuck me.” I cursed as I realized that there was a little, tiny, nearly inconsequential obstacle in my path to potentially good money. I had been an idiot.

    My self-recrimination ended rather abruptly as I heard somebody call my name. It took me a second or two to recognize it. Then a few more to relax after my whole body tensed up. How many people in Orario knew my name?

    The answer appeared from my right, walking at a fast clip towards me. “Ioanna! Ioanna Reed!” Eina Tulle waved at me, a smile on her face, her other arm struggling with a heavy load of folders and unsorted papers.

    I met her halfway with a smile of my own. “Eina, it’s good to see you.” Eina Tulle was one of the two people in this city who knew my full name, and she was the only I’d shown my magic to.

    My intuitive knowledge told me she was trustworthy, and as the person in Orario I’d spoken the most words to in two weeks, despite only meeting her once, I’d thought several times about her. There was a bond there, or well, there could be. Silly fantasies, product of a tired, sad and lonely mind during the night. To be honest, that was why I’d been avoiding her in a roundabout way. I liked her. And she definitely wanted me to shack up with a god pronto.

    But now that she was in front of me, I wanted to talk to her. Have a decent conversation for once. Any conversation. I was starting to overshare at the people I bought food from.

    “Are you checking the quest board?” She asked with a smile, adjusting the papers in her arms. “Did you find a Familia after all? I didn’t see your name in the registry forms but…”

    I grimaced. Well, there went my hopes of avoiding that particular topic. Why did I even have those up? “Well, no.”

    Her eyes widened for a moment before her face fell. “Oh.” Her eyes quickly scanned me from top to bottom and if anything her expression seemed to grow pained before she covered it up with a poor facsimile of a smile. “What are you doing here then? Oh and, I did check if Goddess Hestia was in Orario, but…”

    “No luck?”

    I’d made my own inquiries during the last two weeks. Just because I couldn’t see myself joining a familia didn’t mean I was entirely opposed to the idea. From a practical point of view, the surviving one, it was the best option. Despite my many, many reservations. I had started quietly compiling a mental list of familias for the future.

    It would have been lovely to be able to write it down, but I was so poor I didn’t have stationery.

    “I’m sorry.” Eina bowed her head.

    I waved it off. “It’s fine. There’s literally nothing that can be done.” I stuck my thumb at the board behind me, changing the subject. “I was just checking out if there were any quests worth taking.”

    Eina’s brow furrowed rather adorably. “But… you don’t have a familia. Only registered adventurers can turn in quests.”

    My face was very carefully blank. “Just considering it for the future.” And it was true.

    Eina frowned and took a step closer. “Are you planning to do something illegal?”

    “No! Of course not.” Please, at best, it would be sketchy. It’s definitely not my fault that Orario’s laws don’t consider unblessed adventurers at all. “It’d be illegal if I pretended to be part of a familia to turn in a quest, but there’s nothing wrong about going and selling the materials directly to the requesters in question.”

    Eina opened her mouth but couldn’t argue. She let out an angry sigh and glared at me. “It’s still not right.”

    I shrugged. Fact was, familias made agreements between themselves like this all the time. The Guild just provided a third-party service, advertising and convenience. They took their little share of the pie as well. “I’m not the only one doing it and… could we not talk about these things here?” I looked around the lobby. Fortunately, nobody seemed to care about us two. “It’s a little bit too conflict-of-interest-convo to be having here, isn’t it?”

    Eina jumped, bristled but her eyes darted around for one incriminating second. “I- Fine. We obviously need to have a conversation.” Oof, a conversation. “You are going to meet me at the entrance when I leave… I- Well, unless you have something important to do?” Her tone turned softer and questioning closer to the end.

    “I’m actually mostly free tonight.”

    “Great. Meet me by the entrance in… hm…” She faltered. “I usually only leave by dinner time, would that be okay?”

    So it was that by sunset, we left the Pantheon together. Dinner in Orario was at a much earlier time than I was used to. Some people even had supper a few hours later. From what I understood, there were cultural and racial differences between these customs. As a half-elf, Eina had no particular preference. But, she told me as we walked, her mother was used to early dinner and in her family her mother was the one in charge of the household.

    I was fine with talking over food, but I reminded Eina that I was, almost literally, dirt poor. In between my budget and her understandable desire to not get mugged in the less expensive but less safe parts of town, we managed to find a hole in the wall. It was near enough to the main fares that we both felt safe about her getting home, but clearly had seen better days.

    My ass had barely touched the chair when Eina leaned over the table to pin me down with the full force of her disapproval. She wanted a full report, and she wanted it now, with attached references, an index and a nice cover page. First chapter: Your Reasoning for continuing to Enter The Dungeon Without a Falna, You Moron.

    I had already raised my hands in self-defence. “Eina, please, if I could join a familia, I would, believe me.”

    “Tch.” She clearly didn’t believe me. I couldn’t exactly blame her. “Ioanna, this is your life on the line. Even if you’ve managed to survive so far, the dungeon will never get easier. It kills experienced adventurers every day, even on the first floors. I’m sure there are gods that would-”

    “Absolutely not.”

    “But-”

    “This is my red line. No.” Eina had no idea what she was talking about. The sheer novelty value of my magic would have gods hunting me down. “The moment a god sees my status, I’ll be all but a slave.”

    Somehow, this seemed to throw her off and she blinked in astonishment at me. An uncomfortable silence spread for a couple of tense moments before she asked in a small voice, “Do you… really think it’s like that? That adventurers are… slaves to gods?”

    I felt my eyes widen and tried to school my expression. Looking at her, I was reminded that this was a different world and an entirely different culture. “No,” I conceded. “I’m biased. Very biased. I’ve… heard enough horror stories and I really, really… value freedom. I want to go home one day and to be honest I don’t trust gods enough.”

    Some cosmic power had dumped me here. Please understand why I am not fond of cosmic powers at all. And that wasn't even going to get into my opinions of the afterlife and the power gods had over people’s very souls. I was trying very hard to forget about that whole shebang.

    “You would trust Goddess Hestia though.” Eina pointed out, bringing me out of my increasingly depressive thoughts.

    I chuckled. “Yeah. Hestia, for sure. Some others too, I think, maybe.”

    “So you’ll think about it?”

    “I was already thinking about it.” In a vague, nebulous way. “But I’ll start making a list of preferred familias.” Eina seemed inordinately pleased with it, as our drinks arrived, so I continued. “I was already going to do something like that. I was just trying to get my feet under me. Even coming to a place like this would have been impossible last week.”

    “About that, how have you been managing?” She fiddled with her mug. “As a Guild official I can’t tell you much…”

    “Any help is welcome.” I stopped her with an honest smile. “I’m glad, but I’ve also found people who’ve helped me. Other unblessed adventurers like me. Their help has been… well, it saved me lots of money and it might save my life in the future.”

    “Really?” She seemed surprised. “I’m sort of… why would they do that? No offense to your friends, but adventurers from different familias don’t help each other without something to gain in return and adventurers without a familia…” Her expression told me everything she thought about them.

    “I think it’s precisely because there are no godly rivalries mucking things up. We have no allegiance to any group but to ourselves.” I told her. “There’s no obligation to a greater cause. If anything, there’s like… a camaraderie, between people who have no fantastic blessing powering us up. We support each other. Besides,” I finished after sipping my mug, “it’s not like competition is fierce.” We die too often, ain't attrition rates funny?

    Eina didn’t quite pick up on that undertone, giving me a small smile instead. “That’s relieving. I’m happy you’re not adventuring alone. So many deaths happen because adventurers think they can tackle the dungeon alone. If you have the option you should definitely use it, right?” She sighed. “But then splitting the profit comes up, who gets to be the supporter, and… well.”

    “Yeah. Yeah. Don’t worry, I got it.”

    I was lying to Eina. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t support and help my fellow unblessed. Or that I didn’t want to adventure with them. Far from it. They were rough but good people who kept the assholes away. But there was no way I would be able to explain my magic or my enchanted items.

    I just couldn’t team up with anybody. The risk was too great.

    The conversation transitioned smoothly to how I’d been doing more specifically. Eina was amazed that I managed to make what I did on the Road of Beginning, since it was always full of newbies camping there. The dynamics of the dungeon were very different at night. Usually, nocturnal parties were experienced and went deeper, staying there a maximum of time at the dungeon’s emptiest hours. There was very good profit to be made if you were willing to switch up your entire circadian rhythms.

    Some types of beast-humans had it easier, but generally speaking adventurers liked the daylight. Even parties who dove deep would take time on the surface to adjust, and most people would leave the dungeon early enough to catch some sunlight. Or go into it mid-morning.

    “Can’t blame them. After I started, the hardest thing was not waking up too early. Just going in after spending some hours out before sunset makes me tired.”

    Eina nodded thoughtfully, stirring her soup lazily, yet keeping an impeccable posture. She’d latched onto my words with fascination. Clearly, the act of learning was as important to her as the one of teaching. I liked that in a person. “That’s fascinating. Hm, what about tonight. You mentioned you weren’t going into the dungeon?”

    I made a so-so gesture. “Well, I was going to do a quick dive if I still had time and energy, but today I had other plans.”

    “Checking out how to bypass the Guild’s quests?” She harped on lightly.

    “No, I mean, I just went to check the board for future reference. Today I was actually going to work on my ma- my magic.” I spoke more softly after giving our surroundings a surreptitious look. Our corner was pretty far away, but still.

    “Oh! What- No, you don’t have to tell me anything, pardon me.” Eina blushed as she quickly backpedaled. “But, is that going well for you?”

    “Yes. Going into the dungeon helped immensely. I figured out a bunch of things about my… skill.”

    How to use my cards in different situations, how much I could pull out of certain ones, and the potential uses of others. I learnt a variety of new cards, although those effects were still very weak. I figured out that killing around fifty monsters gave me enough charge to summon four cards, and that celestial objects affected my draws as well. It tracked with the influences over the Clow Cards.

    I discovered the most important card and how it would deliver me to freedom.

    “Actually…” I tapped my own soup bowl with the tip of a fingernail. It was dirty. I needed a nail cutter. Or a file. “I wanted to confirm, but, tonight is the full moon, isn’t it?”

    Eina blinked and tilted as if to check the windows before giving up. “I… think so? Maybe? I’d have to check.”

    “Hmm. Would you know where I could get that sort of information? For the whole year. What places could tell me that?”

    She furrowed her brow in thought. “That sounds like what you need is an almanac.”

    I blinked, then slapped my forehead. “An almanac, duh! Of course, that’s the thing. I totally forgot those were a thing. Do you know where I could get one?”

    “I’m not sure. Usually it’s farmers that use them, for the harvests and the like… maybe Demeter Familia?”

    “There’s got to be a shop in town who sells them.”

    “Well, I’m afraid I don’t know which one it could be. My mother is the one who buys us almanacs when the cycle changes.” She explained. “I suppose I could ask her.” She paused. “Do you want mine?”

    “Really?”

    “I don’t use it, I have my own agenda. Really, I don’t think I’ve opened it more than twice since I got it. It’ll only be useful for the rest of this year now, but if you don’t mind it, you can have it.”

    I paused to do some quick calculations. Another thing to get acclimated to, the calendar. Winter had barely properly begun, and we were in the middle of the year. Today was the fifteenth of Poseideon Two, the extra leap month. We were in the fourth and last year of this cycle, a time measurement formally called Olympiad. The name had fallen out of favor as gods from different regions settled in Orario and the power balance shifted. This year and this cycle, the 443rd since Ouranos descension, would end in about six months.

    “That would be great. Although…” It really wouldn’t be of much use to me immediately. Hopefully, it had some nice drawings and tables I could use to extrapolate things.

    “Although what?” Asked Eina.

    I hesitated for a second, but I had nothing to be ashamed of. “Well, I can’t read, so it-”

    “You can’t read?” The half-elf in front of me interrupted with a startled gasp. “How?”

    Her face was funny but it still galled. I smirked at her, spreading out my hands like a vendor or a magician. “I can’t read koine. I’m not illiterate, just foreign. Probably. Who knows?” I shrugged. “Anyway, that’s another way you could help me. Happen to know any schools where they’ll teach adults how to read?”

    “I’ll teach you.” Eina Tulle said very seriously, sitting ramrod straight in her seat in a dingy restaurant.

    “Eh?” I shook my head in disbelief. “You… will teach me?”

    “Yes.” She nodded again and pushed up her glasses. “I can’t abide illiteracy, that’s all. H-how am I supposed to have you study- when you become a proper adventurer and I your advisor?”

    I snorted a chuckle, hiding my face behind my hands. That was… sweet. Too much and… there were no words for how grateful I was. Reading, available to me again? Regular contact with another human being again? Gosh, this girl… “Eh… And I’m just a random stranger who you’re meeting for the second time ever. You must really like me.” I shot her a flirty smile, or something. “I have no pride and I am definitely not above charity, so yes. I would love reading lessons.”

    Eina blushed and stammered, so I quickly changed the topic by outright getting up and going to pay for us. Brave, me? Less likely than you’d think.

    But as I walked her back to her house, I couldn’t help but notice how downcast she looked. She’d been like that ever since we’d left our table back at the restaurant.

    I sighed. “Look, Eina. If I made you uncomfortable with anything I said, just… like tell me. Sometimes I don’t realize what I say isn’t appropriate and put the… hum, the proverbial paw in the mud-puddle.” The expression was foot-in-mouth, I remembered belatedly.

    “I… no, it’s nothing, Ioanna.” She shook her head, but still looked downcast. “Really.”

    But she was sad. “It’s not nothing though. Is something wrong?” She hesitated and I pressed, now a little worried. “Lay it on me. You’ve been nothing but helpful, let me return the favour.”

    “I don’t want to be your friend.” She blurted out and I stumbled. Oh. “Adventurers die. I don’t want to become attached to you just for you to go die in the dungeon and just-” She threw her hands up, her voice strangled. “It’s just a matter of time.”

    We stopped. My heart still beating fast, Eina keeping her face turned away from me. The full moon hung above us, silently judging.



    No cards this time, just a lot of explanations and interactions. Also. The LN author definitely has an attic calendar going on. I CALCULATED IT (roughly). Based on Elegia and the Goddess Festival from the timeline dates, which track to some of the festivals celebrated by the ancient athenians. Elegia is probably Genesia, state festival in honor of the dead, celebrated the 5 of Boedromion, and the Goddess Festival the Eleusinian Mysteries, rites for Demeter and Persephone, held during the week from the 15 to 21 of Boedromion.
    Ais saved Bell in the month of Elaphebolion of (presumably) the 999/1000th year AO (after ouranos), Bell arriving in Orario in Antheterion of the same year. Days are unknown/too much of a hassle to calculate.

    again, rough calculations, but it means most of canon is spent between March and September.
     
    moon so bright and a2znut like this.
  16. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 1
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    I've been wanting to write anything with genshin but let's be real, we still know so little about the lore. So maybe I got meta and maybe I also realised the timeline in Fortuna might need some work...

    .::1::.
    ‘All in all, fascinating but… disturbing.’ Kaeya told me. Lisa kept quiet and in the background I could still hear Amber’s high-pitched whine of distress and incomprehension.

    “You’re telling me.” I mean, they were the ones who had not only been told they were fictional characters, but also that they were stuck inside my head. On the other hand, I was the one with the voices of fictional characters inside my head.

    For a start.

    I groaned and restrained the impulse to whimper like Amber.

    “Are we… going to have problems? No offense but you’re inside my head. That’s- like- I would like to have a good relationship with the voices in my head.” I paused. “Once again, no offense meant.”

    ‘It’s alright.’ Lisa, waved it off. ‘We understand.’
    ‘It’s not alright at all!’ Amber yelled and jumped up, then wilted. ‘It’s not your fault but it’s not alright. Oooh, what are we going to do?’
    ‘That’s a good question.’ Said Kaeya and I agreed with him.

    “Well, there’s like… a 99% chance I’ve just been isekai’d.” I gestured at the forest around me then at my attire. “Unknown, seemingly random forested area? Fantasy style clothing and weapons? Bet you ten bucks this is another fantasy world. But not Teyvat.”

    ‘That does sound like the sort of thing that happens in books and stories. Wouldn’t you say so Lisa?’
    ‘Indeed. It sounds just like one of those stories the Princezin likes to read.’ She giggled airily.
    ‘Buck...ets?’ Amber questioned.

    “Hrr, another term for dollars, pounds, euros, currency. Mora. Right. What do we do now?”

    ‘Aren’t you the person who reads this sort of things?’ Asked Amber.

    “Well, yeah, but you’re the ones in the military, Miss Outrider. I’d say the first thing would be to figure out where we are, because if we get lost in the woods I only have tips from online forums. And everybody knows that’s a recipe for disaster.”

    ‘Alright, Outrider amber is here to help!’ She perked up immediately. I could feel her positivity. ‘You should climb one of these trees and see if you can determine better landmarks. Pick a really tall one.”

    I looked at the aforementioned trees. I remembered the last time I’d tried climbing a tree with that shape. Then I looked down at myself, wearing some sort of cropped shorts and some sort of shirt that lacked only the shoulders. “If I fall and break something, I hope you feel it.”

    But I did it, trying my best to climb a bloody tree, all the while muttering about the lack of handholds, the lack of skin coverage in this ridiculous get-up -and no, Kaeya, I didn’t care that it was a normal Mondstadt outfit, it was cold and just begging for me to scrape off the skin of my whole legs- the fact that I’d had to leave my weapons on the forest floor just waiting to be stolen, the fact that I didn’t have a glider and honestly Amber, gliders only worked because of the ridiculous physics in Teyvat and sure! Why not, Lisa? I will elaborate on the differences between settings!

    Regardless, I got to a respectable -read, terrifying- height and managed to get a glimpse of the world over the canopy of the woods. It wasn’t a very big forest, from what I saw, and while turning to check all the angles, I managed to catch the sight of buildings in the distance.

    I squinted, held up a hand to block off the sunlight, grabbed onto the tree trunk and softly bonked my head against it several times. “Oh come on. Really? Really!?” I yelled to the heavens.

    Knowing those assholes, if they knew about this, they were breaking out the popcorn.

    To the curious and alarmed characters in my head, I explained. “I recognize that monstrosity. That… is Babel, which makes that city Orario. Which means… we’re in Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in the Dungeon.” Which, by the way, it was. “Somewhere out there, I’m writing a self-insert fanfic.”

    Bitch.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
  17. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 2
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    and we continue and nothing really much happens really?¿?
    zyoom, transition chapter!¡!

    .::2::.
    Anyway, Orario was still, at least, an hour away. Probably something more like three, at a reasonable pace. As I walked, I gave my… team? Head-buddies? Auditory hallucinations? A quick run-down of the setting and the story itself.

    Nothing too shocking, since in between Archons and the Abyss, the Knights of Favonius could find easy parallels to Gods and the Dungeon. Even Familias could be equated to Visions, in a way. And races, well, Teyvat had its share of weird lineages.

    If anything, it was the fact that the elements weren’t present in the same way, so to say, that weirded them out. I could understand. Teyvat didn’t have a periodic table, it had magical elements. A normal person would be weirded out too. And… Danmachi-world, well, I didn’t know either.

    As an aside, I made the mistake of mentioning my pet theory about the world possibly not being round here.

    That… that led to places.

    (Places like Teyvat being a plane, Jesus Christ.)

    So now we were safely discussing my/our future moves. Obviously, Orario. It wasn’t like I had a choice. What we would do there was a bit more complicated. I had no appreciable adventuring skills. I was, at best, a novice martial artist and swordswoman. Amber and Lisa, and even Kaeya, offered to tutor me in their respective weapons.

    Well, Lisa told me she’d give me homework.

    Quick testing proved that, at best, I could spark. Like Pikachu, except not a dangerous battle mouse god. Trying to access Pyro and Cryo went even worse. Sword-wise I was, according to Mr. Eyepatch, not a lost cause. Amber was optimistic about my bow prospects. I had the upper body strength, now I just needed the technique and the evasive maneuvers!

    So back to Familias we were. Hestia was my first choice. Sticking close to the protagonist was going to be dangerous but rewarding. And if I didn’t have an incredibly cheat skill, I’d eat my hat.

    Amber proposed a Familia like the Knights of Favonius but...unless Astraea was still around, that left Ganesha and… well, it was an option. Despite the elephant in the room.

    Kaeya was actually interested in Loki. It was dangerous, since they were the protagonists of the bigger plots, and I definitely knew too much about everything and everybody’s secret, personal businesses.

    Lisa however, would rather we take a more relaxed approach to everything, read some books in this education district thing, figure out what to do over some tea and biscuits. After remembering her passive, I suggested poor Miach. I wouldn’t mind giving him a break.

    Look, I had high hopes.

    As we left the forest, we finally found a road, leading through some fields in the direction of the city. Asking a farmer confirmed we were indeed heading in the right direction. ‘Woohoo!’ Amber cheered in my head.

    While we walked and talked, my head-mates had been exploring my head-space. It was, apparently, similar to a Serenitea Pot, although they hadn’t known what that was. A big but finite space they could sorta customize. I had checked, but hitting trees hadn’t yielded wood. Kaeya had found it hilarious. Bad for swords, but hilarious.

    My feet were hurting, I was getting parched, but I could see Babel past this hill. The walls would come into view properly after I crested it. And the view did not disappoint. Walls taller than houses, buildings piled up within them, a skyscraper worthy tower dead center. Finally, long lines of people and carts slowly moving in and out through the gates. Really long lines.

    “Wait. Do I count as an illegal alien?”
     
    RomaniInfernius and a2znut like this.
  18. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 3
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    I am actually going to have a lot of fun, even if I need to find where the hell some characters appear in the LNs. Shame? If I had shame I wouldn't be writing an SI.

    .::3::.
    I groaned. “Okay, that was worse than Canada’s border.” I was far too used to the EU, and under the impression that border controls in medieval times weren’t this bad.

    To be fair, it might have been because this was Orario. After I joined the line, a guard with an elephant emblem, no doubt Ganesha’s, made its way over and noted down my name, place of origin and motive for entering the city. Thank God (Venti?) that we’d already been brainstorming my backstory. Well, I’d been brainstorming. Kaeya had been having a grand time mocking me.

    The moment I said I was there to become an adventurer, the guy had gotten this look on his face. You know, the one that said he’d seen more than his share of idiots like me but he’d keep his mouth shut, his opinions to himself and a neutral smile on his face. That was the moment I knew he was a retail worker. A retail worker that could actually shank a bitch if really necessary, but a retail worker. Ganesha Familia grunts worked retail. It was sort of fascinating in a horrifying way.

    I got put into another line, along with all the other people who entered Orario for miscellaneous/temporary/fortune-seeking reasons. It was a long line. Either prospects were very bad, or the Dungeon was that deadly. And then, when my turn finally came, I was directed to a female officer who asked me a few more questions, namely whether or not I’d been in a familia before. Then she had me show her my back so that she could put a drop of something on it. I suspected it was Status Thief. Satisfied that I wasn’t lying about my lack of falna, I’d gotten a stamped paper and a recommendation not to lose it until I found a job.

    Anyway, we’d gotten through immigration. I stared at the slip of paper with a signature and an emblem I did not recognize. Kaeya was humming thoughtfully as he looked through my eyes. Presumably so, the specifics of our shared experience were still unknown.

    Amber sighed. ‘That took such a long time. It’s way more complicated than Mondstadt! Not even during the Windblume Festival it’s this bad. All this paperwork and questions, you’d think this was Liyue!’

    ‘Mondstadt makes an effort to open its doors to whomever needs. We are the nation of freedom, after all.’ Kaeya interjected. ‘Liyue, in the meanwhile, needs to make entering and leaving its borders just easy enough that merchants won’t balk at the paperwork, but strict enough that they can tax them as they like.’

    ‘An errant merchant or a traveler needs much less paperwork that a local living in Liyue itself.’ Said Lisa. ‘If anything, this is closer to Inazuma, or Snezhnaya.’

    ‘Not sure how I would describe the culture of Orario…’ I thought back to them. ‘I mean, look at this.’ I meant the streets around us. ‘Looks like Mondstadt, but it’s the center of world trade like Liyue. There’s definitely a warrior mentality with all the adventurers but I think Rakia is closer to the nation of Pyro. And I don’t know enough about the other nations of Teyvat, but there’s such a mix and diversity of worship and non-worship that maybe Mondstadt is the closest thing.’

    We contemplate this for a while, their emotions sort of there in the back of my head.

    ‘Anyway, we shouldn’t idle. Let’s head for the local Adventurer's Guild, Miss Serenity.’ Kaeya said.

    He’d been giving me shit over my chosen pseudonym for the last thirty minutes. The immigration officer had also given me a deadpan look.

    ‘It’s just the Guild here, Mr. Alberich.’ I snarked back. ‘And it’s Sereni-Tea! If I’m going to isekai, I’m going to chuuni this up. Whenever else in life will I get this opportunity?’

    ‘Well, I’m sure you’ll have the same opinion in thirty years.’

    ‘I could accept that criticism from a lot of people, but not from a man with an eyepatch, a half-cape with a fur collar, a titty window and more bling than Jay-Z.’ Not to mention those tight, tight-ass pants.

    Plus, it was a Sailor Moon reference. How could I not?
     
    a2znut and shakeval like this.
  19. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 4
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    i honestly have nothing to say. but isn't it interesting that at least three characters in Mondstadt have severe overworking problems? must be something in the water

    .::4::.
    First minor snag: I didn’t know the timeline well enough to place ourselves, since our only reference point was post-Evilus, pre-Hestia.

    ‘Well, that’s plan A out of the window.’
    ‘So what is our next step, oh esteemed leader?’ Kaeya asked, smiling all the while. All three of them were eagerly waiting for my decision.
    I sighed. ‘... recon. Let’s call it recon.’

    Out of money, I tentatively asked people around for directions. Soon, I was freshly out of fucks too. Really, laughing in my face just because I asked for directions to Loki Familia’s headquarters? I could be doing a number of things beyond trying to join them. The fact that that particular asshole wasn’t wrong about my current intentions wasn’t a point in his favour!

    But anyways, Loki’s place was easy to find. I knew it was at the end of one of the main streets, I just hadn’t known which one of the eight it was. North, it turned out.

    ‘Now, how to go about this?’
    ‘Through the front door!’
    ‘No, Amber, we’re doing recon, not joining up yet. Besides, I thought you wanted Ganesha?’
    ‘Eheh… well…’ She chuckled sheepishly.

    Ganesha had it bad, but to be honest it was mostly his own fault. I also couldn’t fault an honest god. Be your true self without any shame. It was an earnest philosophy and attractive. I just wasn’t sure I was 100% into Ganesha’s style.

    ‘No, I get you, I get you. Any other ideas guys?’
    ‘What if we take a seat in one of these lovely cafes and have some tea?’ Suggested Lisa.
    ‘While keeping an eye on this Twilight Manor. Nothing quite like a relaxed stakeout.’ Said Kaeya. ‘Of course, perhaps a spot of wine rather than tea would be best.’
    ‘You would know. And you’d have to tell me what conclusions you got to, master detective. I don’t drink though.’ I tuned out the sudden gasp of indignation. ‘And let’s be honest, I only like tea when it has enough sugar.’ Way more sugar than a purist like Lisa would appreciate. ‘But the real problem here, guys? We’re broke. We’re broker than broke.’

    I rubbed my eyes and tried not to think about how hungry I was getting. If I ignored my stomach hard enough, maybe it would go away. Except please not, I liked eating. Everybody was conspicuously silent.

    ‘Okay, how did you guys enter the knights?’
    ‘Everybody who wants to be a Knight of Favonius has to pass the Knights of Favonius Selection Exam!’ Amber was the one to volunteer.
    ‘Or, you can get knighted directly, if the Grand Master and four captains put forward your name. That’s how our Librarian here entered the Knights.’ Said Kaeya.
    I nodded. ‘That makes sense. For somebody of Lisa’s caliber, an exam would be a mere formality, wouldn’t it?’
    ‘You flatter me.’ Lisa giggled behind a dainty hand. ‘Regardless, there were those who pretested my sudden knighting, and I was tested by them directly.’
    ‘Oh yeah, I heard about that…’ Muttered Amber.
    ‘Right, so, Loki Familia probably has… a test to weed out the chaff. Or an application day where they can choose who they want in.’ Everybody wanted to join the top familias after all. ‘The other way would be to catch the attention of somebody high up. One of the executives, or somebody like Ais or Bete.’ Even Raul and Lefiya I supposed.

    I was hmm-ing and haa-ing to myself when something caught the attention of Amber. Somebody was yelling? Then I was flying.

    The sky was blue, there were a lot of colours. And I was moving way, way too fast. Was that the waLLLL-!!!

    “Oh oops!” A cheerful voice gasped and I landed on a warm body. Rather, I was caught by somebody just before we hit the wall on the other side of the street.

    “Be more careful you idiot!” I had enough time to realize the things in front of my face were breasts before, boing, we were dropping down to the ground. “You could have hurt somebody!” Tione Hiryute snarled at her sister before letting me down from, I blinked in amazement, a princess carry.
     
    Xicree, Jamesblue and a2znut like this.
  20. Anon̦̦

    Anon̦̦ [Verified Cute]

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    7,291
    Danmachi is good Civ.
    If nothing else you caught my attention, so let's see if this goes anywhere!
     
    minuseven likes this.
  21. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 5
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Let's be real: ELVES.

    .::5::.
    Of note, Tiona Hiryute? Gender envy.

    On the same topic, but in a different direction: I was hit by a bus once. I never got the name of whoever was driving that bus, but this bus had definitely been driven by Tiona.

    I stumbled and had to hold on to Tione to keep my balance. Oh jesus, my thighs. I fought back a whimper. On second thought, I whimpered. This hurt. A lot. How the hell- What the hell?

    ‘She clipped you as she jumped past and you went-’ Kaeya started, only for Amber to interrupt.
    ‘Whoosh!’
    ‘You mean yeet, but- That was a glancing blow?! I knew adventurers were stronger but Oh My God.’
    ‘I don’t believe anything is broken, from the way it feels.’ Lisa reassured me. ‘It’s just very bruised.’

    Very bruised she said-

    “Hey.” Tiona stuck her head in my, quite diminished, field of vision. “What’s your level?”

    Tione bonked her head. “Say sorry at least, damn it!” She pushed her sister’s head down. “We didn’t mean to cause any problems, I apologize.”

    “No harm done, okay-” I wheezed when I tried to stand up straight. “Some fucking harm done, but it’s fine.” I know she didn’t mean to. “Next time, please be more considerate of normal people. You could have seriously hurt me.”

    “Sorry, sorry.” She said, but smiled sheepishly. “I thought you would dodge on time, I really didn’t mean to.”

    I snorted. “That would be difficult since I’m a Level Zero.”

    Both sisters blinked and Tiona gestured to my weapons. “But- Like, Level 1?”

    “Like, I’m not an adventurer. Yet.” I added just on time.

    “Oh.” Tiona covered her mouth, realizing how bad she could have indeed hurt me, as Tione facepalmed. “Oh nooo.” “That’s what you get when you start assuming things.”

    “Indeed.” A new voice cut over the street’s din, and Tiona’s face went from contrite to Oh Shit in 0.6 seconds flat.

    I turned in their direction and, uh, wow.
    ‘Fuck me, I’m gay.’
    ‘The term for this…’ Kaeya crooned joyfully inside my head. ‘Is useless lesbian, am I right?’
    ‘In the mouche, mon ami. In the fucking mouche.’
    ‘Gayyy.’
    ‘Gay for elves.’ I agreed.

    Riveria Ljos Alf stared sternly at the Amazon sisters. And what a sight she was. She was like a model from an advert come to life, in all of its unreal perfection. High, sharp cheekbones, well defined eyebrows and green eyes with a color that you only saw in photo manips. Her long, grass-green hair somehow wasn’t tangled. Her lips were pursed and that didn’t send my mind into imaginary spirals of fantasy, of course not. Preposterous!

    “Please accept our Familia’s apologies,” she turned to me and said. “Our young members are too energetic, but I shall appropriately discipline them. Are you hurt?”

    Now, normally I wasn’t one to stop and stare, but this time, for whatever reason, it took the voices in my head crowing for me to get my head in the game. “It’s fine. They already apologized. I’m… just bruised.” But I had to grit my teeth when I tried to shift my weight. “I trust that…” She’d beat their asses for me? “They’ll be more careful from now on.”

    “Regardless.” Her expression changed just the tiniest bit, but I couldn’t get it.
    ‘She saw you try to downplay the pain.’ Kaeya chimed in suddenly.
    “Tiona, Tione, do you have potions with you?” She said to the Amazonesses, who shook their heads. “Valis for two, then.”

    I was handed ten coins of a hundred valis and an offer to accompany me to the nearest pharmacy, just down the street, in compensation for my troubles. I had the feeling that Riveria had to do this a lot. She was very practiced. Or maybe the regal and diplomatic aura was just part of her upbringing. I’d only read summaries of that short story.

    I declined and set off. Looking over my shoulder, I saw her drag away Tiona and Tione, who, now that I paid attention to it, did not look to be in their late teens.

    That gave me a sudden idea. I knew how to pin-point the timeline now. And it was because of my gayness for elves.
     
    a2znut and Xicree like this.
  22. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 6
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    When your story gives you whiplash with that 180 turn in plot direction. I wanted a light-hearted fantasy/wish-fulfillment... how did it turn out this way? I'm the writer here?? How can my own fingers betray me???

    .::6::.
    ‘So, elves are great. I don’t know why but elves, ya know?’
    ‘Not really, actually.’
    ‘Give me a moment Amber, I’m getting there. The point is, I know way too much about the elves in Danmachi.’

    Exhibit number one, the Hostess of Fertility. I didn’t actually get near the building. I very, very carefully peeked at it from a corner across and beyond the street. Very quietly, all the while trying not to attract the attention of the many high-level adventurers that worked there.

    I saw Ryuu and I knew that I was no more than five years before canon.

    I got a glimpse of grey hair and high-tailed it.

    ‘So from there we know that Gale has had her rampage and that Astraea is no longer a Familia here. Now, I was going to use the Nightmare on the 27th Floor to gauge when I am…’
    ‘About that…’
    ‘Please let me finish Kaeya. I was going to go to the Pantheon and put on a sad face and ask about it so that I could pay my respects to fictional person I knew… but there’s a much better option.’

    So I went to the Pantheon and asked about Astraea Familia. They were famous enough that I could have heard of them outside Orario, and their reputation as law-enforcers made them an attractive choice to join. Amber was now waffling between Astraea and Artemis as the best Familias.

    The Guild staff gave me the unfortunate news that Astraea Familia had been wiped out and the goddess herself had left Orario.

    One year and two months ago.

    Roughly speaking, I had four years until Bell arrived at Orario. The protagonist was ten years old. Lefiya had just or was about to level up for the first time.

    ‘So we’re sort of in a dead water period in Danmachi history. Which isn’t bad. Look at my noodle arms. Training montages take time.’ I sighed. ‘Yeah. You can say it Kaeya.’
    The most dangerous person inside my head was silent for a few moments. ‘Why didn’t you take that opportunity to get Alf interested in you? You have very strong feelings about their part of the story. It could be your only chance at affecting them.’

    I exhaled from the bottom of my stomach as I thought about my answer. It was complicated, but at the same time, not really.

    ‘Cuz I’m a coward. I guess, in my head, I thought I could join Loki and not have it come up, the whole, how do you know these events happened this way- that this shit is coming to pass. Then I saw Riveria and Tiona and Tione and… they’re really real. I was a mess. And when I’m a gay mess I just… talk too much.’

    It was eerie how much Riveria had affected me. Never had I been that messed up by a girl. I was frigid, as they said. I hadn’t had crushes in years. And beauty in other people hadn’t phased me in many more.

    ‘Twenty-four hours and I’d be singing like a canary. Unless Loki wanted to drag it out. Which would make me miserable and paranoid.’ I scoffed. ‘No thanks. And you all remember how you reacted to your possible fictionality.’ I hadn't been pretty. ‘Either I would be crazy, which is the good option, or… I don’t know, but that’s no way to form bonds with other members of a Familia. I like my alone time, but that’s by choice. I don’t want to be the pariah.’

    ‘Darling…’ Lisa started.

    ‘And besides, there’s nothing to be done. Enyo’s already on the move and Ein is probably already strong enough to give Finn and the others a fight and have them escape.’
    ‘They will kill quite a few people in the meanwhile.’
    ‘Maybe. Yeah. They will. But… ah, fuck.’ I was a terrible person.
    ‘You… really want to save that girl, don’t you?’ Amber finally spoke.
    ‘She’s one of my favorite characters. Of course I want to. But. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s too late. The interval to save her is so short, just after the Nightmare. It’s been two years. She’s in too deep and I’m not Lefiya. It’s… too late.’

    From where I was sitting in a park, I let my head fall back and squinted at the clear blue sky. A few birds flew by. Inside my head, a wind rustled the trees as Kaeya, Lisa and Amber waited for me to continue.

    Talking to them helped. It was talking to my family. You had the one who would listen quietly and give knowledgeable advice and find me resources, the one who would support my decisions and only scold me when I was really messing up, and the one who would force me to confront reality, my true, buried feelings, and would push me in the direction they thought best.

    Who would have expected Kaeya to be the mom-friend?

    ‘I’m scared and I don’t want to die, because I’m weak. And there’s still a big chunk of me that doesn’t find this world real. It’s easy to not care about random people because it’s convenient to forget they’re real. And it’s easy to prioritize the ones I do care about, despite the… invasiveness of my knowledge. Moreover, changing the timeline and getting involved with the story, so to say, is something I’m always wary of. Because I’m a coward, again. So, objectively, my actions are wrong, negligent at the very best.’

    Kaeya was silent and letting me speak, Amber was fidgeting and biting her lips to not speak out. Lisa was the one who responded, and the scent of tea and books filled my nose. ‘So what are you planning to do then? It’s not evil of you to not care about everybody and to be scared.’ Her voice became softer. ‘I’m scared all the time. It’s okay not to know what to do or how to go about it.’

    I recalled enough of her backstory and gave her an empathic nod. ‘Thanks. Can you guys… give me a week to get my thoughts in order? I know you’re right, I do. But I need some time.’

    Their affirmative answers had me let out a huge breath of relief, and I noticed then that I was shaking lightly. Guess the voices in my head could send me into an anxiety crisis too. There was a deeply ironic twist to it all, and I made myself laugh a little bit.

    I had to or I just might start crying.
     
    a2znut likes this.
  23. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 7
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    yes, this is who I wanted to go with from the beginning.

    .::7::.
    There was something a lot more important than figuring out how to, maybe, preemptively deal with the plot of Sword Oratoria. Namely, my non-existent income.

    I’d bought a potion with the money I’d been given, and I still had 500 valis left. Maybe enough for a single night at a hotel.

    The potion had worked wonders tho, and it led me to where I was now. A larger street on a more run-down part of Orario. That is to say, it wasn’t narrow. A car could go through it, but there would be precious little space for sidewalks. It was honestly rather nice to see and it reminded me of some of the older streets back home.

    Uneven cobblestone, walls that could use a replatering, woods that definitely needed a good sanding and revarnishing or oiling. Like one of the old villages in the Inside, but without the outdated satellite dishes, rusty cars and goats.

    The one storefront I was interested in was as dark and gloomy as the rest of them, but there were hints of better times. The glass was thicker, the wood had less nicks and scratches. The sign affixed to the top of the door was held by wrought iron and the colors were still semi-vibrant.

    The Blue Pharmacy, it proclaimed.

    “Looks like it’s fallen into some rough times, doesn’t it though?” I asked the baker three stores above it as I paid for a couple of small sourdough bread.

    She sighed, a frown creasing her face, dog ears wilting. “A while ago, Lord Miach’s Familia got truly unlucky in the Dungeon. Many were killed and others crippled. That would have been bad enough, but that man…” She shook her head. “He got himself into a terrible debt to another god, to pay for high-quality prosthetics for his familia members. And on top of that, he let go of everybody who wanted to leave. Now it’s only him and a girl who can’t even go into the dungeon. He’s got no way to pay for the debt.”

    I hummed. “Pretty recent thing, I’d imagine?”

    “Oh, it hasn’t even been a year, but the business is already in that sorry state. I’m not sure for how long they’ll be able to hold on, especially while continuing to give away money like before.”

    “Yeah... But, isn’t it admirable in a way?” I pointed out. “Usually gods are pretty selfish. To let go of mortals just like that, Miach must be a really good person.”

    “That’s true, but it’s also frustrating to see. Lord Miach is very generous, but... doesn’t he realize that his business will fail if he continues like this?”

    “He’s just a good guy like that?”

    “That is true. This street used to have a lot more business with all the adventurers passing through. The Blue Pharmacy suffering is affecting all of us.” She squinted and looked me up and down. “Are you planning on joining Lord Miach?

    I nodded distractedly.
    ‘It’s not a bad choice.’
    ‘There are ways to circumvent a lack of, hm, initial resources. And this location isn’t bad at all.’
    ‘He sounds like he’d get along well with Lord Barbatos! It’s your choice tho!’
    “Yeah. Sounds like my kind of god.”

    The chientrope lady chuckled and pushed one more bread into my hands. “Well, I hope to see you more often, and that you’ll bring good fortune to Lord Miach.”

    I thanked her with a smile. “I’ll be sure to stop by.”

    Inwardly, I suddenly wondered. ‘Is this the sort of thing you do to create connections, Kaeya?’
    ‘Something like that. Usually, my targets are a bit rougher, but the principle’s the same.’
    ‘Don’t call the nice baker a target!’
    He smiled and completely ignored Amber. ‘Your charm could use some work, but there’s some potential there. We’ll work on that.’

    God gave me a high charisma build coupled with social anxiety: Great first impressions, terrible follow-ups. When I even managed to talk to another person again. Well, Miach Familia should actually be good for me in that regard.

    Only two members, less people to disappoint. And Miach sounded like a supportive parental figure with low expectations! Perfect.

    I hoped I didn’t really, truly fuck up things for him when I eventually figured out to tackle Enyo.
     
    shakeval, a2znut and Xicree like this.
  24. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 8
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Actually, writing Miach is hard!? Especially in this situation, I don't know, he doesn't have a very strong or quirky personality, so he sounds a bit bland to me.

    .::8::.
    I knocked before pushing the door open. “Hello?” A bell tinkled above me.

    It was a nice shop, if a bit dim. Very clean, its shelves displaying many, many beakers of potions. Yet, I noticed, they were fairly spaced out, as if they were trying to fill more space than they actually used. At the large wooden counter, a pretty boy smiled genially at me. He might have been even prettier than Riveria. Perfect features, a welcoming smile, silky smooth hair, it was like he'd jumped straight out of a k-pop magazine's medieval peasant cosplay special.

    And like I am bi. So I looked, yeah?
    '... but not this bi.'
    And my instinctive reaction at a second glance had nothing to do with the fact that his perfect aura marked him as a god. An otherworldly, incomprehensible entity that did not think like we mere mortals.

    T'was the first time any of us actually laid eyes on a god. Inside my head, there were mutterings of understanding and a bit of awe. Fear, too. That touch of lizard-brain fear that told us to thread carefully.

    "Welcome to the Blue Pharmacy, how may I help you?" Said the God, not merely pleasantly, but brightly. He smiled not a retail worker smile but a true, genuine smile. He was happy that we’d come by his little shop.

    I immediately felt more at ease for little to no reason. 'If Miach is this, Freya would have ruined me in a heartbeat.' I almost shuddered. In my head, Amber was still processing, but Lisa and Kaeya agreed with smiles that hid the depth of their unease. I took a deep breath and got straight to the point. "I'd like to join Miach Familia."

    Miach blinked, opened his mouth, closed it. “Ah.” There was a moment of silence in which he observed me. “Really?”

    I nodded.

    “I’m very happy that you would want to join us, but my familia isn't currently a rich or large familia. We have very little to offer, even to those who want to pursue a career in medicine or potion-making.” He said. “There are other familias out there that might be better suited for you. Not that I am declining anybody who wants to join, I am very, very pleased that you would consider us.”

    I blinked. ‘Wow, I knew he was… like that. But actually… Miach is really bad at this thing.’ This wasn’t him being suspicious of me. It was closer to insecurity, maybe. Humility and self-effacing manners to the point where they became detrimental and borderline insulting. This attitude had to be a recent enough development, because otherwise he’d never manage to even get a decent sized familia in the first place.

    “Do you… not…” I shook my head. It didn’t matter. Better to straight up tell it like it is before he can make me doubt myself. “Yes, I want to join you, Lord Miach. I plan to become an adventurer. I will have magic when you bless me with a falna and I’ve got good reason to believe I’ll be talented with potions too. I know Miach Familia is a business type familia first and foremost, and I know of the troubles that have beset it recently, but… and maybe even because of them, I chose you.”

    “How so?” The god asked, looking at me, really looking at me for the first time.

    “Business types still need ingredients and raw materials, and buying them from other familias and adventurers is expensive. Between that and basic protection, your familia needs straight up adventuring types like I want to be. Between that and your troubles… I’m not going to lie or hide this, but you have every reason to accept applications and very few to reject me.” I hurried to finnish my explanation. “But personally, I would like to join your familia because I’ve heard that you let all your former members go. Just like that. And that tells me, I think- That tells me you actually care about what we mortals want. That makes you the rare type of god I can respect and like.”

    “Thank you.” Miach smiled then, and it was even better than all the other smiles he’d shown me before. “I would be honoured to have you in my familia."

    ‘So pretty!’
    ‘Oh my, a real lady killer.’
    ‘Even our dear Librarian is blushing. I’m impressed, truly.’
    ‘Am I going to be the only one that’s not falling heads over heels for this guy? I’m the one who’s actually interacting with him!’

    Miach tapped the counter and invited me in with a wave. “Please, come to the back. We can talk more and then I will give you the falna.”

    “Wait!” I stopped him, my hands coming up and gesturing between us two. “Before you accept me, you definitely should know about the, uh, those few reasons you might have to reject me.” I wasn’t going to start this relationship on a lie.

    “... which reasons are those? Your sincerity benefits you, I can see that you are not someone planning to exploit my familia, nor I believe you are a truly evil person, the only kind of person I would reject out of hand.” He tilted his head just slightly.

    “Good sir, I have voices in my head.”
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
    Augustus475 and a2znut like this.
  25. Anon̦̦

    Anon̦̦ [Verified Cute]

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    7,291
    "I'm not crazy! I swear! It's not like I do what the voices in my head tell me to do, I just listen to their advice."
     
    minuseven likes this.
  26. a2znut

    a2znut Needs more handholding. [Forever DM]

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4,647
    Likes Received:
    8,665
    Sentence died here.
     
  27. minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Fixed. Thank you.
     
  28. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 9
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Part one of two of SI having existential conversations with a god. First I thought to have these with the GI characters, but it fits better here with Miach.

    .::9::.
    I should note that I followed my dramatic proclamation with “By some metrics I am quite insane.”

    Miach closed the shop temporarily and brought me in. His only familia member, he explained, was out on errands and would only return by dinner time. We climbed some stairs and entered a sort of parlor combined with a storage space. I could see that it used to be a place where the familia must have met in the past. There was still one large table, more chairs than needed and haf-empty bookshelves. A chess set was gaining dust in a corner and the books were dog-eared and worn. Like some common rooms in rural hotels I’d visited in the past. The windows had a nice view over the street.

    Somewhat self-conscious, I elected to put down my sword against a chair, and well as my bow. It felt impolite to be armed and ready when I was a guest. I sat down and laced my fingers on the table in front of me. I had a plan. I could explain all of… me. Us.

    “Would you like tea?”

    “Water is fine, if you have it.”

    Some time later, I had a glass of water to fiddle with, a god sitting in front of me and only a vague idea on how this conversation might go.

    “So, to start, well. My name is Serenitea Zephyrus. It’s not the name I was born with, but I decided that it was going to be my real name from now on. I can tell you my birth name, if you’d like?”

    “No, that’s alright. Many people adopt new names when coming to Orario.”

    “Right, so, I would start at the beginning, but that’s a… let’s say it’s hard to swallow. The fact that I have people in my mind is the easy part, and that’s… something.”

    Miach just nodded and I continued.

    “I have three people in my head. They can talk to me, see through me and even interact directly with my mind and body on some level. There’s even a neat little space in my mindscape where they exist. I’ll let them introduce themselves.”

    “There’s Kaeya Alberich, Cavalry Captain and Quartermaster of the Knights of Favonius. He says it’s a pleasure to meet a god, somewhat in person.” I tried to convey Kaeya’s tone, not mocking but still a bit too respectful.

    “Lisa Minci, the Knights of Favonius’ Librarian. She says it’s also very nice to meet you, and she hopes that we will be able to work together in the future.”

    “And Amber, Outrider for the Knights of Favonius. She wishes you well.” Amber was playing it safe and not invoking Barbatos’ name to bless a different god.

    Miach bowed his head slightly. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Alberich, Miss Minci, Miss Amber. I can hear the truth in your words.” He said to me, “You don’t believe they are merely voices in your head.”

    “No sir. I fully believe they are their own persons. Whether or not that means they have their own souls and are trapped inside me, or that my mind just split into different, whole people, I don’t know. And frankly, I’m not sure which one I’d prefer.” It was just a choice between existentialist horror and existentialism terror. Mind-fuck horror? “Anyway, it gets weirder, because Amber, Kaeya and Lisa were characters in a story. And now, they exist in my head.”

    Miach blinked. “Oh. I see… but, you believe that they are their own, separate existences.”

    “Yes. They know more things than I ever did, about their world and just in general. And they just… feel like they are real. It’s from them that I get my magic and everything.” I showed him the little Electro I could bring to bear, just a few purple arcs of electricity between my fingers. “This is Lisa’s elemental manipulation. She’s the mage, so that’s why I think I can access it even without a falna. But Amber’s fire and Kaeya’s ice are also there. I just can’t do more than change the temperature a bit. I think. More than that, I can almost use Elemental Sight.”

    I’d been trying to but the most I could was sort of squint and have the world get gray and weird. Lisa assured me that in one out of ten tries, I was actually using Elemental Sight and not just blinking spots from my eyes.

    “That is very strange.” Miach said between sips of tea. “I’ve never heard of anything like your situation before. Common knowledge would make one think that your companions are the products of your magic, somehow. For them to not be so…” He paused and tapped the rim of his mug. “There are mysteries beyond even the reach of us gods. The dungeon. What lies beyond the aether, if anything at all. The origin of souls themselves, and many more. More than most gods would be willing to acknowledge.”

    Did you ever think about where or what Danmachi Gods came from? Who created the creators?

    “And those last two in particular concern this.” Souls and that which lies beyond the aether. I could guess.

    Other worlds. Other realities. Other people… other gods.

    I nodded. “I didn’t know that gods didn’t know about souls… but I understand. And me… too.” I stopped and chewed on it for a few moments. Miach waited for me to restart. “This next part of the story, it’s the one that I beg you to… consider, at the very least. God Miach, do you know what isekai means?”
     
    Augustus475, Anon̦̦ and a2znut like this.
  29. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 10
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Finishing this talk. The more you think about it, the more you realize Filvis could have utterly wrecked Loki Familia at several instances in the story (i count at least 3). Orario's fate might have literally rested on Lefiya's friendship powers. *coughlesbainpowercough*

    .::10::.
    Here’s a funny little fact: Lisa actually knows a few isekai stories. According to her, she’s even seen people use those fictional books as low-powered catalysts.

    (Which begs the question, what exactly are the requirements for a book to be a catalyst?)

    Lisa’s face when, after she’d described that particular book’s story to me, I wordlessly had her check out my memories… was about the same face that Miach’s gradually set into. A face that clearly said he didn’t like where this conversation was going, didn’t like the implications of it and would rather I was wrong about it.

    “I… am somewhat familiar with the term.” For the first time, he set down his mug and very lightly rubbed at a spot in between his eyebrows. “Another world, I believe it means.”

    “Yes.” I took a sip of my own water. Delaying tactics. “So, the beginning, you could say, was that I woke up in a wood near Orario without any memory of how I’d gotten there, with weapons and clothing I did not own and three characters from a fictional story screaming inside my head. And their supposedly fictional magic available to me.”

    “That must have been upsetting.”

    “Once everybody calmed down, we had a discussion about it and got to an understanding.” Namely, it wasn’t my fault, nor any of theirs that we were in this situation and there was also little to nothing we could do about it, so best to just go with the flow. “When I saw Babel in the distance, I recognized where we were and we came to Orario.”

    There was a moment of silence.

    “You say you recognized Babel.”

    I hummed. “Yes…”

    “From a travel guide perhaps?”

    “No, it was from a completely fictional series of fantasy books I am so so sorry.”

    Miach nodded to himself. He took several sips of tea. Finally, he nodded to himself again. “Just to be clear: you didn’t read a fictional story set in Orario, you read a story set in the fictional city of Orario.”

    “That would be correct.”

    “And you now find yourself in the same fictional world as the one depicted in those books?

    “Yes.”

    “And, I presume, you have encountered fictional characters already? And would I be one of them?”

    “Yes and yes. I’m so sorry.”

    The blue-haired god exhaled, eyes closed. “That is a fantastical story but I sense no falsehoods about anything you have told me. You truly believe you are a traveler from another world.”

    Politely speaking, either I was, or I was crazy and magical enough that I believed I was so.

    There were a few more questions, just to establish the validity of my claim. Whatever knowledge I had that would help me prove my beliefs. I begged off on telling him about the future just yet, but what I knew was already enough. I knew enough about Miach Familia and their relation with Dian Cecht Familia to be at least a bit suspicious, and there were other things that could mayhaps be verified later.

    Miach was more inclined to believe me wholesale. That, however, brought us to the final sticking point in this situation.

    “The main story was set four years into the future.” I explained over my own, new mug of hot tea. “Functionally, it’s like I had a very in depth vision of a possible future. Of course, the longer I just exist, the more things might change due to tiny factors and ripples. And most of the story’s events will only happen later and there’s little to nothing to do about it. Or even that I should do anything about it. There’s, however, one notable exception.”

    “Something that must be stopped?” Miach prodded gently.

    “Evilus.”

    And like that, the very air seemed to get darker.

    “They’re not gone and, indeed, they have gained one new, terrible ally. Or rather, there’s one fu- incredibly evil god that has recently gained a powerful pawn, and he’s going to use Evilus to try and destroy Orario. And he’s going to come very, very close. It’s going to take all the might of Loki, Ganesha, Hermes and even Freya Familia’s help to stop them. And even then it’s going to be the sort of epic battle in the shadows that could have easily gone terribly wrong…”

    “If not for a few heroes being in the right place at the right time.” If Loki’s executives hadn’t stumbled upon Revis and Hashan’s murder in Rivira...

    “For a few kindnesses to turn the enemy’s blades just a couple of times…” If Lefiya had never reached out to Filvis…

    Miach just kept his eyes on me.

    “It’s going to be a story worthy of writing books about. And… disregarding the fact that my mere presence might butterfly us all into Orario becoming a hole in the ground, setting all that to the side! There’s going to be a lot of deaths in the meantime, deaths that my knowledge could stop.”

    “But it will be difficult and dangerous.” He reached over the table and made me look up. “It’s okay to be scared of that.”

    “I’ve already had this conversation with the others. We’ve agreed that I should at least try to figure out a way to stop this. There’s absolute shit I can do about it personally. The demi-spirits, the violas, they’re all small potatoes compared to Revis and Ein. We’re talking level four at the bare minimum here, level five is closer to it.” I looked the god in the eyes. “There’s nothing I or you or Naaza can do. But if I can get this information to Ouranos, he can set things up and from there we can work on something. Save people.”

    I felt the warmth of my companions fill my thoughts. They were proud. ‘That’s the spirit.’

    “There will be no guarantees. So by asking to join your familia and to help me with this, even if it’s just to deliver a few letters, I am putting you and Naaza in real danger. That’s what you really need to know, Lord Miach.”

    The god patted my clenched fists on the tabletop. “And I am grateful that you considered that. But all you have told me has only made me more sure. Welcome to our familia. Let us help you.”
     
    Augustus475, a2znut and Xicree like this.
  30. Threadmarks: MetaPhysician (Genshin Impact) | 11
    minuseven

    minuseven low effort life

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    500
    Arguably best part of danmachi: writing up status sheets. Also, a reference image for the flower that Miach is using as an example during this part. and honestly why don't indents work???
    [​IMG]

    .::11::.
    There would be time for me to tell Miach the entire story and for us to figure out the best way to proceed. Even if people were dying because of Enyo right this moment, those deaths just weren’t preventable. Even if I went straight up to Ouranos and told him everything, it would still take time, weeks or possibly months, to definitely stop them.

    Taking Enyo and Evilus down was going to be a massive operation, if only because of Knossos and that bastard’s slippery nature.

    For now, I laid down as Miach granted me his blessing. This was different from updating a falna, which inscribed new power into a blessing. That meant a god had to actively hunt in a person’s soul for excelia to bring to bear and engrave it in the falna.

    Granting a falna itself was a process gods had much less control over.

    Divine ichor infused itself into my body, bridging the gap to my soul. From then on, a God would be able to manipulate the excelia I gained. Everything that made me until this point, the excelia of my story, would be manifesting as skills or magics. Nobody started with basic abilities above zero, but that didn’t mean that a person’s combat experience didn’t influence the falna.

    Needless to say, my status was going to be funky. The only question was how funky exactly.

    Miach made a surprised noise, then hummed thoughtfully, and I felt him cutting himself and accessing my falna again just after having granted it. I restrained myself and didn’t look over my shoulder.

    “... is something wrong?...”

    “I… no, there’s nothing wrong with your status.”

    “But it’s weird.”

    “It’s… probably best if I show you.”

    Miach took not one, but two sheets of paper and copied my status into the two of them. I put my shirt back on and joined him at the table, where he laid them out side by side. The first was simple and had on it, simply:

    Serenitea Zephyrus
    Level 1
    Strength I0 Endurance I0 Dexterity I0 Agility I0 Magic I0

    Skills
    Elemental Sight

    Magic
    Lepus
    Pavo Ocellus
    Tempus Fugit


    Rather standard, if unexpected, and promising, for a level one. Glad to know I was at least a bit bullshit.

    The other sheet, however… well.

    -__A-S-__-I_C_--__T--_
    Amber Kaeya A lbe rich Lisa M inci
    Le vel 1
    Strength I0 Enduran ce I0 Dexterity I0 Agility I0 Magic I0

    S kills
    Ele me ntal S ig ht
    Wind’s Champion Hidden Strength Pharmaceuti c G eneral


    Magic
    Pyro Sho t Cryo’s Blood Electro Touch
    E xplosive Bunny Fr ostgnaw Violet Arc
    Fiery Rain G lacial Waltz Lig htning Rose


    It was all over the place. Fitting, I supposed, for… whatever was going on in my soul.

    ‘Barbatos…’ I heard dimly from within me. ‘That’s our abilities there, but it’s all messed up.’
    ‘However…’ Kaeya was quick on the uptake. ‘This proves that we do exist. Souls and all.’
    ‘Yeah.’ I agreed. ‘But what does it say about my own soul?’

    I lifted my eyes to Miach’s face again. “I suppose this proves whether or not my voices have souls… Does… Does it mean anything bad that it’s all over the place?”

    Miach shook his head. “There’s nothing wrong with your soul that I can see. It’s… certainly unlike anything I’ve seen before, but it doesn’t seem to be damaging or otherwise bad in any way. You are alright, you and Kaeya, Lisa and Amber.”

    “But what exactly is going on? Do I have one soul and three extra bits, one soul split into four, four souls in a body, three souls and one extra bit? What does this mean?” Sitting at the table with a god was precisely the time for existential conversations, so I was going to have them now.

    “Well…” Miach rubbed his chin thoughtfully before rising, going through a door, making a ruckus and returning with a long pot full with herbs. He set it down on the table, uncaring of the dirt that spilled over. “I’ll use this little plant to explain. This is the beth root. You see its flowers?” He pointed out to me the small red flowers, not yet fully open. I followed his finger as he showed me the three petals and three sepals, all joining together in a tiny calyx, and the pistil growing from its center. “Their souls are like these petals and your soul is like the central part of the flower, but also the receptacle where these, the sepals, join together.”

    Within, Lisa was leaning forward and listening with great interest.
    I nodded. “So I’m… like a hub. But I do exist, I have a soul too, right?” I didn’t whine that last part, scout’s honour.

    “You do, it’s merely different.” He tapped the second status sheet on the table. “What this status appeared to show, because their souls are viewed through you, is similar but different, or distorted, to their, your, souls’ true worth. In effect, like these sepals here. The same color as the stem, but shaped somewhat like the petals. While this status,” he tapped the cleaner status sheet, “is like looking at the whole flower from below, for example.” He pulled up one flower so that its underside was on display instead. I could see the petals, sepals and the stem, but the pistil and stamens were hidden.

    I frowned. “But, we are the whole flower, right?”

    “Exactly.” Miach gave me a grin. “More than the sum of its parts. I’m not sure how this will affect your growth. It looks like you have three spells split into three, a total of nine.” Like the elven queen Riveria herself, was left unsaid. “But I don’t know if this will affect your rate of growth, basic and developmental abilities…” He shook his hands in a so-so motion.

    Both of us were stuck thinking about the possibilities for a moment.

    ‘Well… Verdammt. I’ll take it as me having as much of a soul as you guys and save the existential crisis for when I really need it.’
    ‘Oh honey, of course you are real too.’
     
    Augustus475 and a2znut like this.
Loading...