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>> No.48509792 [View]

Oh no.
Oh no no no no no.

This has become far worse, and far more intensive than you had once suspected.

Worse than that, this is borderline maddening.

You? A spy? For someone who won't even tell you their name? What could they possibly offer that would make you go along with that?

Nuh uh, you refuse.

"There's also this thing." Fritelli picks up the small lockett-looking thing. "Not sure what this is about."

Your eyes snap to it. It flips open at just the right time as your eyes manage to focus on the tiny drawn-picture inside.

It's the same drawn-picture that's on the child's lockett. The same child you found in Gallete's dungeons.
He's baiting you. He's telling you that he has information, and that you can get it in exchange for helping.

"I need alcohol."
"Yuuki, wait!" Fritelli sets the necklace down, "This is no time to be drinking!"

"Like hell it's not!" You snap back, "What do I even do?!"

Before Fritelli can react, you've hopped over to her and started shaking her by the collar.

"WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I-"
"Woh Woh woh! Yuuki! Easy! Please!

"How?! How can I be easy. I just signed up for-"

Suddenly, you have a thought in your mind.

"..I do need help."
"What?"

"I said! I need help! I thought I could do this all alone, but I can't. I'm going to go find Jack."

"Stop, wait." Fritelli grabs your shoulder. "You can't go ask Jack, now. If you start asking every hero for help, someone is going to know that you found something out."

"Then what do I do?!"
"Just.. go get a night's sleep. Come back in the morning. We'll sort this out when we're both more awake. No one can hear us in this room. We're safe. Deal?"

"...Deal."

>Cont.

>> No.46119912 [View]

"What are you getting out of this?" I take the card back from the clown.

"It's simple, I get out of the box and get another chance at-"
He eyes Mom closely.

"I mean, I get another chance at life. Is what I mean."

Yeah, I totally believe that.
Well, at least the monster seems like a decent enough guy. Maybe he can keep him in shape.

I take the card and hold it between them.

Wait.
Why isn't Asai doing anything?

"Well?"
"I don't know how to use it." Asai shrugs.

I look over toward the monster.
"I'm afraid I am no help here."

Great.

I look back toward Mom, but she's examining her shoes. The clown has turned her face away so I can't make eye contact with her.

So, I guess no one knows what they are doing in this highly experimental procedure.

Well, let me just-

"Before you begin." Asai stands up, "I would like to congratulate my counterpart."
"Congratulate?" The monster seems worried.

"Of course, I had a good run. And I got many things accomplished. Couldn't have done any of it without you."
"Don't act this way." The monster groans, "You're not dying, you're giving back what is ours. Cut the dramatics."

"Still, gotta hand it to you. You managed to hold out this long." He smiles. "C'mon, that's at least worth a handshake."
"A what."

Asai puts his hand out.
"Masami, tell us what you're going to do."

The monster's hand extends for Asai's and grabs it, he keeps focusing on me.
"Well, you see. I have a card that creates a shadow double of myself. I'm thinking I can use that to take two versions of this card and combine them into a whole. I mean, it's just as easy as using the card, right? I could just-"

Asai and the monster start to glow.

There's a loud pop. Akin to lightning striking the house. I'm thrown off my feet, and tumble to the floor.

A ball of flame seems to engulf the living room.

>EEK PUT IT OUT!
>Run!
>Everyone out of the house!
>Use the card in your hand!
>Try to get to the monster and Asai!
>Use another card!
>Other?

>> No.44139387 [View]

"Mom!" I go to grab Mom into a hug.
She reluctantly puts her hands up.
"M-Masami, I'm really glad to see you, but maybe you should take off the armor before you hug me. I might get broken."

Oh, well she does have a point.

Instead, I offer a pat on the shoulder instead. Even that seems to make her wince. I had no idea Belle was so strong compared to everyone else.

"Mom, Kaori."
Then the realization hits me, I have no idea what to do next.

"What do we do, what do we do, what do we do, what do we do?!"

"Stop that!" Kaori grabs my shoulders. "I just got some panicking, we don't need YOU panicking also!"
"B-B-B-B-B-B-"
"Sweetie, calm down. It's fine! Look!"

She points to the park, and all the upturned dirt and soil.

It's quiet.
"Asai can't hurt us now, all of the stone and concrete has been oblitherated."
"B-But what if-"
"No what ifs now, rest. Calm down. We'll think of something after everyone settles down."

Kaori jumps at her proposition, "But Mom! We can't just stop! People are in danger, what about Aiko-"
"Now not the time. We have to worry about ourselves first."

"Wait, Aiko?" I ask, uneasily. "What happened to Aiko?"
"L-Later Masami." Kaori immediately changes the subject.

She's hiding something, I don't like that!
"Sweetie, just calm down. Everything is fine."

>"I don't believe that for a second."
>"No! Tell me about Aiko! What's happening with her?!"
>"What about everyone else, everyone else is fine, right?"
>Complain some more
>J-Just try to calm down. For a minute. Small talk with family!
>Julie, Haruko, Are you two okay? You haven't said anything at all.
>Other?

>> No.43244744 [View]

I'm confused, I don't really understand the words coming out of the phone.
"Maeda?" It sure sounds like Maeda. Like if all the color was drained from her voice.

"Come.. to.. the.. gym.."

That sound, it's like a zombie is giving me this command.
EEK, A ZOMBIE!?

"Uh, OKAY! I'LL BE RIGHT THERE!"

"Come.. to-"
Click

I can feel a lump in my throat.
This is not how I expected this to go at all!
Wait, hold it.

Why did it sound a little like Maeda? Who was it? How did they get my phone number?
Could it mean..

MAEDA IS IN TROUBLE?
OH NO.

Worriedly, I take the phone back out and tap Ryouta's tile.
He's her brother, he'll know what to do!

Ring..
Ring...
Click.

He didn't answer!?

That's even worse!
That's even-

I don't know what to do.
"Oh no.."
Hello sinking feeling in my heart, my old friend. I've gone a whole hour without panicking, it seems. So you came by to pay me a visit.

That's okay, I'll just let it happen now.
"What do I do, what do I do, WHAT DO I DO!?"
I can't go to the gym, I would be stupid if I did! I can't go look for Maeda, because it sounds like something has her! I can't call Mom, because I'm not supposed to be here!

WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I-

Eek.
Something just grabbed onto my arms!
Slowly, it starts to shimmer and materialize in front of me! It's like I'm looking at the outline of a ghost!

"Masa-"

>SCREAM!
>Struggle! Try slapping it away!
>Cry
>S-stay calm, I-I'm calm!
>START RUNNING I DON'T CARE WHAT DIRECTION I'M FACING
>Other?

Roll 1d20 with your post.

>> No.41916978 [SPOILER]  [View]

"CIRRUS!" I yell, fearing that she may be wandering around the garden now. "CIIIRRUUUUSSS! I'm SORRRRRRRRY!"

I hear some birds, startled by my yelling, flap away from the trees. Some of the crickets in the underbrush stop chirping.
Then I realize that I should probably tone my voice down. I don't want to wake her up and make her even MORE panicked.

The tree she fell asleep under comes into view. I hop next to the base of it and search around.

Nothing.

Oh no! Cirrus really did wander away!
"CIIIIIIIIRRRUUUUUUUUU-"
I'm cut off by my coughing.

I just need to calm down, maybe she went home?
That's right! She doesn't think of this place as her home! Her home is still inside of the card!

I take it out and examine it, but despite my supposition, it doesn't feel like she's home. It still feels like it's missing something.

"Cirrus! This isn't funny anymore!" I yell, starting to walk around the garden. "You aren't hiding, are you?"

I spin on my heel back toward the tree, expecting to see her hiding behind the trunk.
On the tree, flapping in the wind, appears to be a note.

Does Cirrus know how to write?

I take it down and read from it, albeit it's hard because it has a lot of stylized writing.

"D-dear P-priestess."
Wait a minute, that's me!

"M-M, uh, M-D four, two. And. Wait, what is that? Some kind of serial number?"
Now I'm even more confused, what is this letter?

"MD-Something went on extended v-vacation several months back. Fortunately, she comes back to work t-today. Thank you for t-taking care of her in that time. The exp-experience you gave her will serve her well in her job.

PS: Honk Honk."

Wait a minute.

WAIT A MINUTE!

WAIT
A
MINUTE!

>AAAAAHHHHHHHHH
>NO NO NO NO NO NO
>Calm! Calm! Calm! CALMCALMCALMCALM
>Take out your phone and call Kaori despite the fact she's less than a hundred feet away.
>Call Mom!
>CALL EVERYONE
>Other?

>> No.41614728 [SPOILER]  [View]

I stare back at Mom blankly.
"I don't get it."
"Well, it's complicated." She sits down, "Cards are like the core of the monsters, it's what stores all the emotions that form them."

"So, it's like a battery?"
"..Not exactly. It's more like the card is the heart and- Wait I already said that. Let me try again. It's more like the card is the soul."

"..Do I have a card, Mom?"
She tenses up at that question, before relaxing slightly.

"You are that card, Masami. I made your card into the best daughter anyone could ever ask for."
She gets up and walks over to me, before leaning down and hugging.

"Mom, please."
"Hey! What about me?" Kaori overhears from the other room.

"I-I didn't mean it that way! You're great too!"

Kaori pouts. I can't help but laugh a little.

"..So does this mean if we can find Asai's card, we can turn him into a person?"
"Not exactly."

"Then how are we going to convert him?"
"Let me worry about that. For now, I'm going to get set up."

"Oh wait, one more thing! Can I still use Cirrus' card?"

She thinks about that question for a second before turning away.
"I don't know, why not give it a try?"

I think about what she said for a moment before taking Cirrus by the hand.
"Let's go give it a try!"

--

We step out into the garden. This is where I first tested Cirrus' card outside of Fortune.
I take out her card and feel it overtake my body. Except something is different this time.

"You look the same."
"Huh, I didn't get your clothes." I look down at my casual shorts and t-shirt. "That's weird."

I try a short hop just to see if the power is active, and it certainly is.
It doesn't feel as powerful. It feels like something is missing.

"Cirrus, how do you feel about living in the real wor-"
"OH MY GOD!" She screeches.
"What!? What?!"
"THERE'S A GIANT BALL OF FIRE IN THE SKY, RUN. RUN!"

>I don't know what I'm going to do with you.
>Let's just go back inside.
>Calm her down and assure her it's just the Sun.
>Other?

>> No.37340531 [View]

Fighting? Something seems very wrong about that.

For one, that's not what Kaori said she was going to do, at all. In fact, it seemed almost as if Kaori was homesick. Like she just wanted to say goodbye to the person who was a part of her life for years.

Which, whether he was a jerk or not, is something that I can at least sort of understand. I'm not sure how I would react if I lived with Mom for years and then suddenly wasn't able to anymore.

"Why would they be fighting?"
"Just... Trust me, Masami. I did the same thing when I first moved away from my father."

Oh right, her father. She always looks so sullen and depressed when she's talking about him. I should probably change the subject.
"Do.. Do you know something that I don't about why they would want to meet at Fortune? "

"I do, Masami. If they're meeting at Fortune, that's because Asai probably arranged the meeting. Which is why it's absolutely important that neither of them fight or cause a scene there. That's the place that Asai rules, and neither of them should let their guard down while they're there."

This is making even less sense!
"Why would the chairman of Fortune care about letting his guard down at Fortune? Aren't Dad and him friends?"
The monster chuckles, but looks back at me when he realizes that I'm being serious.
"Where did you get that idea, Prieste-Masami?"

"W-wait, you mean they aren't?"

He looks back at Mom, who turns her attention to her teacup.

"A-anyway! That doesn't really answer why Kaori would fight her own father. You said you did the same with your father?"
"T-that's right."
"I'm sorry Mom, I didn't know. I've never met your father before."

She seems really saddened, gently her fingers squeeze at the texture of her teacup. Gently, I can hear her whisper.
"That's because.. I won."

>"What? What does that mean?"
>"Uh.. UH OKAY, SEE YOU LATER MOM BYE"
>Go hug her.
>Don't say anything, I just made it worse!
>Other?

>> No.36900499 [View]

>>36900478
I hop a few steps over from where I'm standing. He's walking to the last place he saw me, swishing blindly at the air with his dominant sword as he does so.

He steadies his off-hand sword in his hand, before stabbing it deep into the ground once again. From the way his body has frozen, much like a statue, I can guess that he's holding his breath.

His hand tightens around the grounded sword. His eyes track downward toward his feet. Everything and everyone falls silent as they watch him.

I'm not sure what he's doing, so I move in for a quick strike!
With a few paces in place, I advance on him. Step by step, I move closer and closer before winding up my sword for a strike!

"AAGH"
His rapier, with no warning, popped up in my direction and sliced straight across my midriff. Fortunately it has some light armor covering it, but it still really stung!

"H-how?!"
I step back, several steps, trying to circle around him. But his rapier continues to follow me as I walk. The whole time, his breath is held steady and his voice is completely silent.

I don't know how, but he somehow knows where I am.

>Change tactics?
>How does he know where I'm at? How can I counter it?
>Maybe another card is in order
>Maybe it was a fluke! Attack!
>Stay on the defensive, see what he does
>Other?
>With your decision, roll a 1d20, best of three

>> No.36334712 [View]

No, no no no no

"They're shorts!" I say a second time, crossing my arms.
"But they're-"
"No! I refuse to believe anything else! They are comfortable shorts and not underwear!" Pout.

She looks at me with a stone face for just a moment, because bursting into full-on laughter.
"Well, either ways you look adorable in them!" She goes to pinch my cheek again, but I pull away just in time.

"I should probably get back to school, Lunch will be ending soon."
Mom pats me on the head, pulling me into a hug.

"..Thanks Mom. I really did need this."
It's fine, Masami. Just remember to come visit if you ever have a problem."

Coming HERE isn't really where I want to go if I have a problem. But it's still a nice gesture.

Mom sees me up to the roof with my new outfit on. I can make it back to school in a single bound from here, and I don't have to worry about someone seeing my skirt flip up as I land, anymore!

Oh, oh, wait, I should tell everyone that I'm coming back, so they don't worry about me.
I take out my cell phone and-

A missed text? From Kaori?
"Masami, Monsters here, we're safe, stay away from school."

Oh no.
I quickly text her back about where she is, if she's still fine, anything.

A second later, I get a reply:
"bad time, hiding in gym, don't come to school."

W- w-.
OH NO!

>What do I do!?
>"Thanks Mom, got to go, talk to you later!"
>Panic
>Cry!
>Other?



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