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502951 No. 502951 ID: 94e610

Sad.. scared.. hate..

Impressions: Endless darkness. Shards of essence, fading into the distance. A grand beam of light, impossible to comprehend, too far to touch.

Warmth, fading. A single drop of heat and family, falling from what-was-you. Instinctively you try to protect it, but you don’t know how, and it is torn apart by the beam and the darkness.

Loss, too huge to survive.

Gnawing pain.


Welcome to Fate/Stay Night, the Quest.

In this quest, you will play the role of a Servant or Master from Fate/Stay Night. If you are not previously familiar with the story of Fate/Stay Night, we recommend selecting a Servant.

For further assistance, please contact the author of this quest.

Entering sel̷e҉c̢t͏i͠o̵ǹ s͞c̶͠r̨̨͡e͢eǹ.. e̕r̕͘ŗ͏or͠s ҉̨͞d͜e͠t͝e̸͟ć͢t̶ed̛̀,͜ ̕a͘t̵̡͟t̢̀͘ę͘͢mp҉͜t̸̀i͝͝͠n̛͡g͜͠ to compensate.

Only one role is available at the current time. Auto-selecting Berserker.

On behalf of the writer, we hope you have fun.

Expand all images
No. 502953 ID: 94e610

So here’s the deal:

You’re playing as Cocona Bartel, who for various reasons is now Servant Berserker. Things have gone somewhat wonky, and she’s not in a very good state right now, but it’s your job to fix that - possibly by using the Grail, I hear it grants wishes.

There are rules to this world, which may not be exactly the same as the ones you’re familiar with. Just to make things harder on you, Berserker isn’t familiar with them either, but there’s a bright spot: Since you elected to play as a Servant, you can request information from the grail, i.e. me.

For simple questions that you would know the answer to just by living in that world, I’ll just answer outright. For anything else, you’ll need to spend a Knowledge Point. The first five players will start with one each, and you may earn Player Points (which are convertible to KPs) via exceptional play, or through particular in-game events.

Exceptional play typically means deeds of high deduction, or clever write-ins. Write-ins are always an option, even if I sometimes forget to mention the option.

Knowledge Points will let you learn almost any knowledge that exists in-game. However, this comes at a cost: First, Cocona will automatically acquire (‘remember’) the same knowledge; second, the Knowledge Point will no longer be available for use. Choose wisely.

It is possible that I will refuse to answer, for reasons that would only be apparent if I did answer. In such a case, you are welcome to draw conclusions from that fact, and you will retain your point.

There are further rules, which I will not tell you about. This quest is, to a large degree, about discovery: You may choose to bully your way through obstacles, and given Cocona’s abilities it’s possible that you will succeed, but that will rarely give you the best possible outcome.

By the way, if you didn’t already guess, this quest involves combining Fate/Stay Night and Ar Tonelico. There are excellent wikis for both.
No. 502954 ID: 94e610
File 136475676255.jpg - (47.30KB , 342x504 , Cocona.jpg )

Cold.. stings..


You’re.. outside?

You’re on the ground, sleeping on your back. Well, not sleeping. You think you were supposed to be sleeping, but.. no, that’s wrong.

You were definitely not supposed to be outside, and this place is much colder than anything you’ve felt before. Painful, too, you feel like you’re lying on needles. Squeezing your eyes shut, you try to get your thoughts in order.

It doesn’t work, so you stop thinking for a moment.

“Hey! Wake up!”

Someone is shouting at you, but it doesn’t seem important. You’re tired.. if it wasn’t so cold, and if you were lying on something a little more comfortable, you’d rather just turn around and go back to sleep. That’s bad, though, you instinctively know you shouldn’t fall asleep like this. Need to wake up..

What exactly is going on anyway? Last you remember, you were.. you can’t remember. That should probably worry you, but somehow you lack the motivation. That should probably worry you, too, but it doesn’t.

Still, you’re lying.. on the ground, outside, on your back.. you’re getting wet. You should probably get up. Or at least open your eyes.

“Please, wake up!”

The voice sounds scared, now. It didn’t before, but there was a different emotion there.. you don’t quite understand, but you know it was worried. Still is, but now it’s also scared.
No. 502955 ID: 94e610
File 136475680032.jpg - (910.19KB , 1000x1252 , Illyasviel_von_Einzbern_full_837270.jpg )

A warm hand touches your face, and you open your eyes. Directly above you, maybe five centimeters away, you see a pair of red eyes framed by white hair. A girl, you think, although you’re not quite sure why. She looks scared, but it quickly changes to h̸̶̡͜à͠͝p͜͠͡͞͝p̡̕i̸̸͘n͠e͏̵ş҉s̵̢̛͢.. you can’t tell.

Experimentally moving your head, you note that you’re lying in the middle of a forest somewhere. The trees are of a type you’ve never seen before, seeming to have needles instead of leaves. If that’s what you’re lying on, there’s no wonder it stings.

You turn your head to the side, confirming that you are indeed lying on a bed of needles. Getting this out of your hair will take forever.. no, wait, that’s not the issue here. You’re lying on a bed of needles, in the middle of a (very cold!) forest, with a strange girl leaning over you. Your head still feels like it’s full of cotton, but you’re pretty sure this can’t be where you went to sleep, leaving aside that you don’t remember doing such a thing.

There’s also some white stuff on the ground and trees, which looks pretty, but you’re pretty sure it’s starting to melt and soaking what little clothing you have on. You didn’t realize ice could do this.. no, wait, there was a word for it, wasn’t there? Um.. snow. Right, snow, that’s it.

Lastly, there’s an enormous stone cleaver next to you, which strikes you as unusual.

You think for a second. The most important thing here is.. well, it has to be the girl, so you decide to study her for a bit before trying to stand up. You almost fool yourself into believing that’s not because you feel too weak to stand up, even.

She’s probably one of the prettiest girls your age you’ve ever seen. Right now, she’s wearing a complicated expression - you can make out worry, annoyance and..

You blank out for a moment, as a splitting pain pierces your mind, then mentally reboot.

She’s probably one of the prettiest girls your age you’ve ever seen. Right now, she’s wearing a complicated expression - you can make out worry, annoyance and happiness, you think?

Well, whatever. She’s not an immediate threat. Of more concern is the headache, the cold, your apparently broken memory, and where are you, anyway?

This is so boo.

What do?
[ ] Try to stand up. You’re absolutely freezing, and lying on the snow can’t help.
[ ] Study the girl for a bit.
[ ] Ask for help standing, you’re feeling pretty shaky and she looks potentially helpful.
[ ] Go back to sleep.
[ ] Write-in
No. 502960 ID: d6ef5d

>what do?
Get up out of the snow (carefully! You may be woozy with a head injury, and you don't know how back shape you're in), and talk to the girl. Find out what her name is, how she found you, where you are, what she's doing here, and if she knows anything about you because you're having some trouble with your memory at the moment.

How are you dressed? If you've unexpected been dumped into a snowscape, you may need to find proper clothes and/or shelter. Especially if you've been laying exposed to the elements in the snow for who knows how long.

>blah blah blah expected preexisting knowledge, blah blah rules
Don't know a thing about the source material, but I'm not letting that stop me!

And thanks for the shiny knowledge cookie thing.
No. 502961 ID: 94e610

Shiny knowledge cookie thing, right.. which I will not be able to map back to you because you don't have a name.

I know it's untraditional, but could you possibly pick a nickname for this thread? Otherwise I foresee heartbreak, and will amend the rules to require consensus to use the 5 (five) points remaining in the pool.
No. 502964 ID: 09aa4d

>get clothes
Sounds about right. So, that girl's clothes look suited to this environment. Don't you think you like it, Cocona? Transform your affection of those clothes into power, and make yourself some clothes!

>source material
Ar Tonelico. Google it.

Like this?
No. 502967 ID: 94e610

..that will do. Please don't destroy the world yet.

Next update will be after there are five votes, or tomorrow, whichever comes first. I'll decide on the KP rules then, depending on whether anyone else picks a name.
No. 502984 ID: bf54a8

ask for help. she has already seen you knocked out, so it's not like asking will make you seem even weaker in her eyes.
No. 503103 ID: 4ea529

New quests like this typically take a while to pick up, especially when it's a text quest.

With that said, try to get up, and ask for help if you have trouble.
No. 503301 ID: 94e610

No, it's not that. It's just that the name he picked could be read as "With sadness, and due to the world's anger, I will commit suicide".

That, or "I will destroy the world so it stops being angry at me, but I'll be unhappy about it".

I'll let you figure out what to do about the KPs yourself. Now writing..
No. 503346 ID: 94e610
File 136486434836.jpg - (80.34KB , 450x1000 , at2-cocona-vatel.jpg )

[x] Transform your affection of those clothes into power, and make yourself some clothes!
You’d love to, really, but figuring out how to do that.. from scratch.. would take you at least a few hours. Maybe even a full day, you’ve never tried before. You’re cold now.

[x] How are you dressed?
You’re dressed normally, almost like in the picture. You even brought your field armor, even if it’s wrapped around your waist at the moment. Your shoes seem to be missing, though.

It’s way too cold for this mode of dress, but you’ve literally never been anywhere that’s unpleasantly cold before. It’s a new, not altogether welcome experience, like touching an ice cube but over your entire body.

[x] Get out of the snow, carefully. Ask for help if needed.
Well, first things first. You can figure out where you are and how you got there later, right now not freezing to death is probably a priority. This place is like something out of a story, so storybook dangers might be real too.

Putting thought to action, you painstakingly pull your legs beneath you before trying to stand up. As exhausted as you feel.. no, that’s not right. You’re not physically exhausted, just mentally; your legs obey you easily enough, when you manage to tell them what to do, but the only comparison you have for your mental state is as if you haven’t slept in days, and had to fight for most of them.

So you easily pull your legs beneath you, easily push off the ground, and react far too slowly to catch yourself when the snow shifts beneath you to topple you over, landing on your side back in the snow. It’s fluffy, as soft as a pillow, and really cold. You decide that you hate it.

You can at least twist around to lie on your back, and do so, putting your hair between your face and the horrible, horrible substance you’re lying on.

The girl stepped back when you were trying to get up, but is now standing over you again, showing no problem whatsoever getting around. Good for her, you’ll have to ask her how. Her face has gone back to showing fear, or.. well, you think it’s fear.. could be concern. With fear mixed in.

You stick your hand up, and she takes it, pulling you to your feet pretty easily.

"Are you okay?” she asks. “I was expecting.. well, never mind. Something's gone wrong. Can you talk?"

Can you talk? Um.. probably. Yes, your mind is still foggy, but you think you can. You’re awake enough to be worried about that now, though; any normal sleepiness should have long since faded, but you’re still having trouble thinking.

"Hrrk", you say. "Grae hrrk."

That's not right.

Your voice is rusty, but not that rusty. The words just aren't coming out the way you want, you were trying to say “hrrk”, and.. what? No! You almost panic, and your headache spikes for a second, but you decide to try again first.

"Yes? Probably. Sorry, it seems like I'm not quite here. The summoning must be incomplete, but I'm sure I can persevere."

You feel better already, and the girl's face lights up at your words, but you’re not badly enough out of it to miss the reference to a summoning. Which.. sort of matches your memories, only they’re not quite yours? It’s as if someone stuffed a dictionary into your head, but it’s pretty hard to read, and you can easily tell the difference between the extra memories and your own. That’s.. odd, and you wonder if it has something to do with your damaged memories.

The girl would be your summoner, then. You wonder who she is. Well, you’re not going to start listening to her just because of that, but it might be a good idea to pretend you will, just for a starting point.

[x] Head injury?
You’ve had head injuries before, and it’s never affected you like this - or at all, actually - but just in case, you carefully check around your head while trying to get some of the needles out of your hair.

Nothing, except your hands are shaking badly.

[x] Where exactly are you?

Now that you’re at least standing on your own (very cold, it needs stressing) feet, you decide to take a look around first.

It’s quite the view.

You're in a clearing on a low hill, in a forest that would be more at home in a children's tale than reality. The trees are larger than anything you've seen before, and the forest itself stretches on impossibly far into the distance. Trying to remember is almost painful, but you're sure you've never seen anything like this before. The trees aren't any kind of tree you've seen, either, making you wonder if the entire scene is somehow made up.

To complete the fairy-tale picture, you can see a U-shaped castle to your left, a few hundred meters away.

Standing in front of you is a white-haired girl with red eyes, wearing a white dress. You've only just met her, but you feel you can trust her already. At least, she seemed genuinely concerned earlier.

Now that you're on your feet, you can tell she's about half a head taller than you, but only because you're not wearing your shoes at the moment. If you were, she'd only be a few centimeters taller.

You think you’d like to put your armor on now, to heat up, but there’s something you should do first. You at least send a quick burst of fire magic down to your feet, though, thawing them out and incidentally producing a small circle of melted snow.

Having taken care of the essentials, you refocus on the girl, who looks a little impatient.

[ ] There's something you're supposed to say. Introduce yourself.
[ ] “Hi! I’m Cocona, thanks for helping me up. What’s your name?”
[ ] "Can we go somewhere else? Somewhere warmer, maybe?"
[ ] Run away, this situation is all kinds of wrong. There might be someone in the castle who can help.
[ ] Write-in.
No. 503352 ID: 09aa4d

>Can't make clothes from magic
Well that sucks. Dynamic clothing change is one of the funnest parts of being a Reyvatiel. You should learn how to do so at the first opportunity. Still, since you're cold now, make a fireball or five. That should be a good source of centralized warmth, until you are ready to craft a clothing change magic.

Then, >[X] There's something you're supposed to say. Introduce yourself.

Let's get the procedure over with. After that, start marching determinedly over to the castle. That place has the possibility of being warm, nee?
No. 503356 ID: d6ef5d

>dressed normally
Sure. 'Normal'. Hardly winter appropriate, though.

>What do?
Introduce yourself, find out who she is, and why she summoned you. Do... whatever it is the summoning ritual requires of you. You know there's something, and she's waiting for it. Then inquire about maybe moving somewhere where you aren't so freezing to death. Or could get some better clothes. And boots. Boots would be nice. And gloves. You're gonna need nice gloves to wield a cold metal blade in this environment...

>Well, you’re not going to start listening to her just because of that
Well, what else have you to do? You're in her world now, and she brought you here.

>Information dumped like a book in your head
Start flipping through that. Review what you know. Figure out what you know about the situation, and what holes are unclear to you.
No. 503378 ID: 4ea529

I have nothing to add right now other than seconding this.
No. 503602 ID: 94e610

Wielding metal blades
You quite like the weapon(s) you’re already wearing, thank you.

Batons that transform into hairclips are far more useful than some clump of metal. They’re not just weapons, they have a use outside of combat - making you look cuter. Plus, like almost everything else you own they’re made of active matter, making them self-repairing, self-heating, and almost impossible to lose your grip on if you don’t mean to.

Besides, a young girl walking around with a sword would raise too many eyebrows.

[X] There's something you're supposed to say. Introduce yourself.

It’s cold, and you’re shivering badly. Heat is imperative. You consider making fireballs to keep you warm, but while that would certainly be fast, you’re worried you might set yourself on fire instead; they’re meant for combat, and you don’t have that kind of control yet, especially in your current state.

Fortunately, there’s a better option in your robe. Like the rest of your armor, it has a built-in thermocouple, which usually gets used for cooling but is certainly capable of keeping you warm in a pinch. You really should introduce yourself first, but putting that on will only take a second, so you untie it from around your waist and start to shrug it on.

”Upon your summoning, I have come forth. I ask of you, are you my master?”

The last bit comes out rather muffled, as you are simultaneously wrapping your robe around yourself, and had managed to get part of it around your head. There was also an impulse to get down on one knee, but this place looks entirely too cold for that.

The girl looks on with a.. bemused expression before nodding to herself, seemingly coming to a decision. Suddenly looking more serious, she responds firmly. “Yes, I am. My name is Illyasviel von Einzbern, but you can call me Ilya.” Then she shivers visibly, for a moment. “..I find myself in need of a hot drink, so we shall continue our discussion inside.”

The impulse that made you introduce yourself like that is gone, but well worth thinking about, so you don’t think twice about following her when she turns towards the castle in the distance. If anyone’s going to know what’s going on, it’s her. Should have figured the castle was hers, too.

Besides, although the fire magic and your armor are keeping you from outright freezing, walking barefoot through deep snow is still pretty cold. The promise of heat, alone, might have been enough to make you follow.

You’re not sure what to make of the girl who considers herself your master. It’s not a sentiment you can agree with, but she can’t be all bad if she’s unhappy about this weather, plus she looks like a storybook princess like this. You’ll follow her around for a bit, at least.


It’s not a long walk to the castle, but you find it almost impossible not to be distracted as you walk. Life, life everywhere.. even frozen like this, you can tell from the contours of the terrain that there has to be at least several meters of soil above the ground, and you can’t even see the edge of the forest from here.

The ringing in your ears makes it hard to tell, but you’re not sure there’s any noise at all. Normally, you’d at least hear the grinding of gears, but the only thing you can hear is yourself. Nothing at all like your hometown Pastalia, the only thing that might compare is when you visited a hotel near the Edge with Ç̨̀͡r҉̶̷̨͟.̢͢͝͠.̶̀͢.̵̧͘͜

The world stops moving for a moment as blinding pain shoot through your head, and your mind fills with fragmented nonsense, making you lose track of what you were thinking.

Trembling, you almost fall, but recover at the last second, only skidding a few centimeters forward. Ilya is walking well ahead of you, and doesn’t seem to notice.

You recover enough to keep walking on autopilot, but it’s a near thing, and your head feels more clouded than ever before.

This is bad.. that was much worse than last time. You’re going to be useless in combat like this.. no, if it happens again you might just collapse. The shock also stopped the trickle of magic you were using to keep your feet warm, and right now you really don’t feel up to re-establishing that; you really would burn yourself to a crisp. No choice, then.

“..Ilya”, you force out. “Hold on a minute.”

“Yes?” she starts, but seems to sense something in your tone, turning around to look at you. When she does, she gasps and almost runs back towards you. Apparently your condition is even more visible than you thought.

“You, er.. aagh, Servant! Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

“..call me Cocona,” you manage deliriously, finally introducing yourself on your own terms. “..don’t feel so good. Help me inside?”

Ilya seems to have forgotten that she’s supposed to be a princess, as she frantically pulls off her coat to cover you up a little better before slipping under one of your arms to help you walk. You try to tell her there’s no point, your own armor already keeps everything the coat covers toasty warm, but you’re not sure she can make out what you’re saying anymore.

You make much better time back to the castle with Ilya helping you balance, but you black out almost the moment you get into the heat and can relax. Your last impression is of an older girl holding the door open for the two of you.

M͟a ̕num̛ ģa̧ 0x͝ ͠v͝vi͟.̴ ẃàse r̴ȩ ͟x.̀y.̷n͘. an͢w̶ ̕ciel̢ ͘nn̴o҉i /. wa̴se̵ re̸ x͝.̢y͘.n҉.͢ ̧a̡nw̶ ciel͟ dr̨i̢ /. g̵ral ҉r҉e ̶x͢.̢y.n͜.̸ ̢anw͟ ̢ci͞èl ̀oct̡ e͏n̡ ͜ne͞i͞ /. ҉fan̷d͜el ̸r̀e ͝x.͠y͡.n̕.̷ ҉a͢ǹw ̛in͞nn͘a /. y.y. z҉z̕ ar͞h͝ou /. ja̛ss͝ j̴ue̕l /. 1x͝ A͢As ixi̧.̛

“I don’t know, I can’t find anything wrong. The prana tap is working fine, and although I needed a spell to figure out that it’s taking any prana at all, that just seems to be because she doesn’t need much. Her body is perfectly okay, as far as I can tell; there’s no frostbite, no injuries, nothing. This is all my fault, I must have made a mistake in the summoning.. there’s no Cocona in any of the books. I can’t have summoned some random girl, right?”

..the first words you hear as you regain consciousness are Ilya’s, sounding frantic with worry. You want to tell her it’ll be fine, you can take care of yourself, but honestly you’re only feeling a little better than before. Your mind seems to be back in what passes for working order, though, so you decide this will be a good time to interrupt her monologue.

“No, that’s impossible, the Throne wouldn’t allow it. There has to be -”

“Ilya?” you ask, sitting up in the bed you’ve been put in. It’s a pretty nice bed, too, a four-poster; you’ve seen them before, but never slept in one. Someone’s removed most of your armor, so you could almost believe that you were back home and the cotton filling your head just sleepiness, if the room wasn’t full of strangers. There are two older girls standing guard in either corner of the room, while Ilya is pacing back and forth, talking to herself.

“Cocona, you’re awake! How are you feeling? Sella, get some tea.” That last addressing one of the extras.

Feeling? Could be better - you think you need at least one night’s sleep, if not more, but you’re pleased that she remembered your name and you’re not about to fall over any longer. You tell her as much.

“That’s.. good,” she responds, sitting down on one side of the bed to address you directly.

“Listen. I obviously did something horribly wrong with the summoning, so I’m not sure if it worked, but you’re supposed to have the basics of the situation inserted in your head. Servants, Holy Grail, Grail War, etc. Is any of that.. ringing a bell?” she asks pensively, looking at your face.

That’s.. well, if that’s what caused this, you’re going to be angry at Ilya no matter how much she helped you lately, but you’ve learned not to jump to conclusions. None of the terms used are familiar, but..

“Um, not as such, but I can tell there’s definitely something stuck in my head. I can’t really tell what’s in there, there’s too much noise, but that first introduction? Definitely from there. Oh, and I guess I’m servant Berserker; also from there.”

Ilya flinches, as if struck. What did you say? “I.. see. I’ll need to do some research, but I.. think I know what the problem might be. Unfortunately we’re on a time limit, but we should have at least a month.. okay.” She takes a deep breath, clearly trying to calm down. “For now, I’ll answer any questions you have, you can have a cup of tea, and.. we’ll talk in the morning.”

Tea sounds good, definitely. So do answers.

What do you want to ask?
[ ] You mentioned the Grail War, earlier. What is that, exactly?
[ ] Same, but without writing that all out here. You might already know OOC.
[ ] Ask about Ilya herself. Life, etc.
[ ] Ask how you got here.
[ ] It can wait. Just drink the tea and go to sleep.
[ ] Write-in
No. 503604 ID: d6ef5d

>no swords
Sorry, I assumed the enormous cleaver mentioned earlier was yours. My bad.

>some random girl
That's not right, is it? You're a warrior, and you've got magic weapons and clothes. You have been summoned before, right?

>reluctance to help or obey "master" who may be at fault
I can understand that impulse, but obviously she needed your help with something important. Regardless if she screwed up, she's trying to help you now, and ultimately, if something needs to be done, and you're the only one who can do it, you're going to.

>What ask?
Accept the tea, and then get comfortable and ask for the infodump. The big picture important magic stuff, the small picture details of who she is and how you got here, and maybe what she thinks is wrong.

Then later, assuming you can walk again, you're going to have to ask for some wardrobe augmentation. You need clothes to cover the parts of you the armor doesn't cover. Something with long sleeves. Pants. Boots. (And uh, some nice warm socks inside those boots).

(So, uh, basically everything but b and e).
No. 503609 ID: 09aa4d

>[X] Same, but without writing that all out here. You might already know OOC.
7 Masters and 7 Servants/Heroes, blah blah, kill everyone else so Great Grail has resources to grant wish, yadda yadda.

>[X] Ask about Talk with Ilya about herself. Life, etc.
Respond with your own life, how snow is horrible and while Metafalss' water problems, current and historical and mythical, sucks majorly at least there isn't any wicked, deceitful, treacherously cold snow there, etc.. i.e. Engage in conversation and deepen the bond between the two of you. Then, when you are feeling tired, flop onto Ilya and go to sleep. Can you tell that I want to play with Song Magic?
No. 503615 ID: bf54a8

it's harder to squeeze extra magic out of another girl. you can't... 'connect' with each other to the same 'depth'.
No. 503617 ID: 09aa4d

You, sir, lack imagination. I assure you, it is eminently possible for Ilya to connect with Cocona at the same depth that Croix can. (That is, Level Zero, the material. Cocona's just entering puberty. Neither she nor her Cosmosphere have developed to the extant that the difference in closeness would be noticeable.)

Let's not kid ourselves with the innuendo, shall we? There's no need for the quotes: the statement works on every level.
No. 503618 ID: d6ef5d

...geeze, the amount of annoying OOC information being thrown around is starting to reach Lunar Quest levels. :/

Seriously, just give us the infodump. Or use a disthread to ground this kind of stuff.
No. 503669 ID: 94e610

I'm happy to do either one. You can consider the second an extension of [b]. Votes are votes, though.

Right, Cocona's Cosmosphere. Um.
..no, never mind, nothing to worry about I'm sure.
No. 503673 ID: 94e610

Actually, have http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/69648.html

If you still decide to do an on-screen info-dump, that's fine, but let it not be said I don't try to minimize those.
No. 503697 ID: 4ea529

Just do a proper infodump either in here or the questdis and move on.
No. 503745 ID: 94e610
File 136503428827.png - (652.51KB , 800x600 , einzbern castle - exterior.png )

(einzbern castle - exterior.png)
[x] Accept tea
[x] Discuss anything and everything, but starting with the big picture.

There’s a lot you’d like to ask, starting with what she thinks might be wrong with you. It’s not the first time something like this has happened to you, and there’s a definite resemblance, although your earlier I.P.D. outbreak was in some ways a far less severe problem. There’s no point in having Ilya chasing down blind alleys, so you’ll start by making sure she knows the basics about how you work.

The rest can probably wait for morning. Your mind feels.. odd, like there are stripped gears slipping and catching, parts you didn’t know you had compensating for the ones that aren’t working. You really hope sleep will help.

While you’re thinking that, Sella comes back with two cups of tea. Ilya takes one, and you gratefully accept the other, noting as you do that your hands seem to be obeying instructions again.. at least, you’re not trembling anymore, though you take the cup with rather less grace than usual.

Ilya looks almost equally grateful for the cup; she’s under a lot of stress, if you’re any judge. Because of you, though from what you can tell this is originally her doing.

The tea is delicious, but you’re not that thirsty, so you get down to business after just a few sips.

“You said you might have some idea of what’s wrong with me. I don’t know myself, but there are a few things you should know that might matter. Do you know what a Reyvateil is?”

Ilya shakes her head, so you tell her everything you remember on the subject, Ilya looking increasingly befuddled as you go along. Surprisingly, she doesn’t have much trouble understanding what you’re saying, although you have to explain what artificial intelligence is at one point and she makes a half-hearted comparison to golems for you to shoot down. She accepts the notion readily enough, explaining that she’s a homunculus herself, and that although demigods and such are more common, it’s not at all unusual for a Servant to be more than human.

“You’re a lot like me, really.”

That’s a phrasing you can get behind; ever since you broke out, you’d been worrying that people would see you as less than you were. It’s a silly thought, with almost ten percent of the population being Reyvateil, but it’s one you couldn’t quite put aside. Having been quarantined for I.P.D. at the same time didn’t exactly help, you suppose. Explaining the mechanics of thati seems to settle a question she was about to ask, and she explains that the Berserker class has to be someone who’s previously gone berserk. Which is all well and good, except you still have no idea what that means. Asking in the morning seems like a good idea.

You finish the tea before the monologue, but the energy your brief sleep gave you already seems to be disappearing, so you decide to let Ilya talk about herself for a bit.

“Me? I don’t know.. what would you like to know?”

“Just.. talk about yourself? The only thing I know about you is your name, really.”

“Well, okay, I guess I can do that.” Liar, you’re smiling. “Oh, but you also know I’m a homunculus. That’s not really my favorite subject, though, so let’s skip that.”

“Then, let me introduce myself again,” she says, jumping down from the bed and doing a quick bow. “Illyasviel von Einzbern, seventeen years old, strongest contestant in this war and current master of this castle. Nice to meet you!”

You follow along with some bemusement. “Cocona Bartel, twelve years, ..wait, what?” Did she just say seventeen? She’s your age, you’re sure she’s your age. “Seventeen? I thought you were my age?”

Ilya pouts, sitting back down. “It’s part of being a homunculus, I guess. I told you it’s not my favorite subject. Oh, but we’re still almost the same age, right?”

You beg to differ, but decide not to make an issue of it. “I guess.”

“So anyway, call me Ilya. You’ve already met Sella, and this -” she motions to the second maid, who’s been standing in one corner of the room all along “- is my bodyguard, Leysritt. Though I’m sure she’s nowhere near as good as you are - no offense, Leysritt - well, as soon as we get you fixed up a bit. It’s just the three of us in the castle - four, now.”

In a castle this size? Hm. “What do you do all day, if it’s just the three of you? School?”

She looks crestfallen for a moment, but answers quickly. “No school. Sella and Leysritt sometimes tutor me, but mostly I study on my own. We’ve got a nice library, and there used to be other people here I could talk to.” You follow her gaze to the walls of the room, which are more or less packed with bookcases, most of them containing fairly thin, new-looking books, and she blushes a little. “The grail war takes place in Japan, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting familiar with their culture.”

The next half passes like that, Ilya chit-chatting about this and that, while you give her more and more time between prompts. Finally you close your eyes for a moment, and when you open them again you’re lying on the pillow instead of sitting, feeling a little dizzy.

“That’s why Mars would win. Fire always comes out on top, don’t you think.. Cocona?”

You give her a thumbs-up, but fail to keep your eyes open and quickly drift off.

“Oh.. Good night, then. See you in the morning.”

A shift in the bed betrays Ilya standing up, and the room goes dark as the afternoon sun is blocked out after a whispered conversation in the corner, but by that time you’re already fast asleep.



You’re standing in total darkness, on top of a landscape of intricately crafted gearwork. To your left there are two layers of badly damaged, screaming machinery, with something almost-functional sandwiched between. The furthest part is on the shore, with acidic ocean waves rising upwards and slowly dissolving parts of the machinery.

Beneath you, and to your right, everything appears functional, but to the far right there’s an enormous blast crater where a volcano seems to have gone off, destroying a fourth of the landscape.

Everything is colored in off-white rainbow light, the red and yellow flickering madly. It’s painful to look at, so you tell the yellow light to stop, and it does, the red growing steadier and the acid receding a little.

You’re Cocona, but you don’t know who that is. You have no memory. Something is whispering in your ear.

What do you do?
[ ] .....
[ ] .....
[ ] .....
No. 503747 ID: d6ef5d

Okay. If I had to guess, Cocona, you're dreaming, and what you're seeing is a representation of your damaged mind.

Let's see if we can do something about that! Or at least learn something that might help us do something about that, later.

Survey the damage. Is there anything that looks like it can be easily repaired or fixed? What about the thing jammed between the screaming gears to the left? Something stuck is a nice, physical problem to be fixed. You just get it out.
No. 503753 ID: 94e610

You look to your left.

What's jammed between the layers of broken machinery is a layer of working machinery. Mostly working, as it seems to be largely shut down in the areas close to the broken layers.

The layer closest to you on your left has stopped moving, but the broken parts are slowly re-arranging themselves. Some of the gears move as you look at them, giving you flashes of memories.

The layer closest to the shore is still being eaten away, but slower now.
No. 503755 ID: d6ef5d

Is there anything to be done with the machinery to your left? Can the intact portion be moved or extricated so the damaged portions are no longer grinding against it?

If not, maybe you could watch the parts that are reshaping themselves? See what memories they bring (or recover).

I don't suppose you can will things to happen here? Can you make the sea of acid recede? If you can't fix things yet, at the very least, it would be nice to stop further damage.
No. 503763 ID: 34db91

You're doing this wrong, the acid is part of your resources, and the problem is one of disorganization. Put the acid back into the power systems containment where it belongs and then do a more careful damage assessment.
No. 503856 ID: c56047

Studying the area more intently, you realize that it's really more of a globe, each layer surrounding the neighboring layers on all sides except the furthest one. It works the same way to your right, although since two entire layers are completely missing, the area that's exposed to the environment is much larger.

Looking outwards to your left, you can tell you're surrounded by a vastly larger ocean, which is held at bay by massive bulwarks and force fields in the furthest layer - you think you'll call it the barrier layer. Most of the damage you can see there doesn't seem to have been caused by the outside, but rather by some immense power forcing its way out from the inside, and it's repairing itself as you watch. At the same time, acid from the ocean is forcing its way in through cracks, slowly shrinking the entire layer as it dissolves the relatively more vulnerable internals. On balance, things are slowly getting worse.

Thinking back, the red glow from there seemed to brighten when the yellow glow dimmed.

You study the ocean for a moment, but when you do it starts roiling and forcing its way inwards, so you quickly look away. The only thing you got was flashes of impressions, anger and sadness - not yours. It doesn't feel like a power source at all.

The second layer is far more fragile-looking, a delicate tracery of microscopic gearwork, but it is also completely undamaged. Looking at it reminds you of how you relate to other people; it is the mask you wear, and your personality. You think maybe you could move it, but you don't know what that would do.

The third, closest layer seems to contain most of your memories, and is currently shut down by your own command. Somehow, you're still able to think about this place without it, and you still have language, but that's about all. Whenever you look closely at part of it, the gearwork starts moving, making you remember whatever memory was stored there - the moment you look away, you forget.

Stopping it also stopped your headache, though, and like the barrier it seems to slowly be repairing itself, the intact parts moving to avoid the damaged parts and form a functional system of their own. It's mostly older memories - your childhood, training with the Knights, etc. Nothing that explains how this happened.

To your right -

Somehow, looking in that direction is also looking outwards, but it's a different outwards. There are two functional layers, though you can't make out what they do, but after that.. there's a gaping hole, with scorched machinery bordering absolutely nothing. You see no movement or regrowth.

Maybe two layers out from that, there's an impossibly bright light, surrounding you and being surrounded by you. Simply looking at it makes you feel full of energy, and you form the hypothesis that it's what's responsible for the catastrophic damage, somehow. Fortunately it seems placid, showing no signs of wanting to finish the job.

By inference there's one last layer to examine, so <<ERROR: LOOP>>

You don't think you can do that. Hopefully it's in good working order.

There's a voice whispering in your ear, which you can now tell comes from the deeper layers to your right.

Round 2/5 finished
No. 503858 ID: d6ef5d

Okay. So to sum up:

*An inert, outside energy source, possibly the cause of the damage.

*A creeping acid, connected to primal destructive emotions, not yours. And interacting with it only hastens the process.

*Memory layer being damaged- shut down to try and slow the process and protect it from chewing itself up.

*Personality layer, safe. For now. A deeper, censored layer as well.

Hypothesis: maybe the damage isn't all due to the flawed summoning that brought you here. Could the power in the sky be from the tower? That which makes you Reyvateil, but is also slowly killing you?

And if the role of of the berserker is tied to anger and emotion, perhaps that's where the acid comes from?

Concentrate on the voice, for now. We need more than just speculation if we're going to accomplish anything here, and if something is trying to tell you something it is probably important.
No. 503861 ID: 4ea529

You might want to put some text in the subject line to help people tell your updates separate from suggestions.

It looks like the most urgent problem right now's the acid. (And I'm pretty sure that's IPD at work, nasty stuff.) So you need to focus on fixing your barriers to keep that acid out.
No. 503866 ID: 09aa4d

Okay, so, the most urgent thing to do is to neutralize the acid. Since it is anger and sadness (and, I would say, anxiety, fear, despair, hatred, sorrow, grief--all the negative emotions that contribute to your Berserker class) too great for you to safely handle on your own, and you don't have anyone here to help you resolve it, I think that containment is the only real path for you right now.

The only thing known to be able to handle the acid are the bulwarks and forcefields. I don't suppose you can construct some of those from where you are? You can use the absolutely damaged machinery and re-purpose them into something resembling functional barriers, maybe. If you can, what should be done is to drain out the acid from where it currently is in your mind, and separate it into easier-to-handle (relatively) little packets. There should also be pathways to outside your mind, leading from the acid, to ensure that you have a way to get rid of the acid once it is not wrecking your mind. (Possibly, use the acid to power destructive Song Magic? The feelings you get from the acid lends itself quite to lashing out at the world. Though, maybe that isn't the best way to do things; lashing out doesn't make you really feel better, does it?)

If you can't adequately reform the barriers, perhaps transformative systems would work? That is, channel the acid into constructive ends and turn it into something else? Even if it isn't an energy source as it currently is, perhaps you could make it so. Is there any dream that you wish to see come true? As a person raised in the culture of Metafalss, you should believe in the cultural dream of Metafalica. A green paradise, a place where suffering and tragedy need not exist--could you venture into your personality and memory layers, looking into your motivations, and then craft a system replicating your drive to attain Metafalica which would make use of the acid as an motivational force? The raw emotions of anger and sadness could perhaps lend themselves toward a drive to create a better world, where the source of the pain could be resolved.

If you can't gather the materials or energy to accomplish one (or both) of the two options above, perhaps you could take it from somewhere else? You have two possible energy sources: the bright light beyond the deepest recesses of your mind, and the kaleidoscopic light from beyond your barriers. You probably don't have the authorization to access the energy from the bright light, since it apparently didn't even respond when you looked at it though everything else in your mind did, but worth a try. Perhaps something like "I'm am Cocona Bartel, recently awakened Reyvateil. I am grievously hurt, and pray for energy to heal myself. I wish to live, and so ask for healing." If it doesn't respond, that's okay. If it does, and starts to give too much--ah, perhaps redirect it into the repair systems of the barriers and/or any other layers? And then divert the flow back into the source.

The light from beyond your barriers, since it may possibly be from your Song Server--well, perhaps carefully craft your desire to live, and your love of life and your dreams, into a song of healing, which would be powered by the light?
No. 503905 ID: 94e610

[x] Do something about the acid

Easier said than done. You'll certainly do your best, you're just not sure how. Reviewing what you've seen so far, it seems that the less work the rest of your mind is doing, the better the barriers work. You can't control the layers below you, and if you turned off your own layer you'd have no control over what happens afterwards, so there's really only one choice here.

(h҉͡ȩ̕y̢͡,̢̧ ̛w͜a͢it͢!)

Having made up your mind to some degree, you reach out mentally and - shut down the second layer.

<<sensory>> The light dims slightly, shifts towards the blue and red ends of the spectrum. <<hypothesis>> The light effects represent the overall activity of Cocona's mind, the spectrum where that activity happens. <<sensory>> The barrier layer has stopped shrinking, reaching a balance with the surrounding environment.

(r̡e͏͟àl̢l̴y̴̛͠?̢́ ̢̀͝w͝h̨́͠ỳ̷'d̀ ́yó̷u͜ h̷̀á͠͡v͢e ̡͞t́ò.͠.͏̛)

<<prediction>> Barrier layer is not regenerating. Lacking frontend modules, primary consciousness is inoperable. <<planning>> Insufficient internal resources to further improve regeneration. Requesting suggestions for reduced environmental influence or external support.

I̢d͘i͠ot. f͢i̛ne͢, ̀I̵ g͡iv̧e̷.̀

<<sensory>> Anomalous input detected. Humanoid, small, pink, red, blue.

"I can see I have to step in personally. Honestly, Cocona, did Jacqli teach you nothing?"

<<query>> Identity?

"Nenesha. Your mind guardian, even if we're never supposed to meet like this. Look, I can see you're in a real mess, but this isn't the best way to fix it. Do you mind if I take control and fix it for you?"

<<logic>> IPD Reyvateils have no mind guardians. Incorrect input.

"..it's a long story. Look, do you want help or not?"

Soulspace turn 3/?? completed
No. 503908 ID: d6ef5d

>Look, do you want help or not?
<<logic>>There are insufficient resources and/or information needed to exact repairs. A request for outside support was made. This anomalous input offers this support. Time is an important parameter, and no other options present themselves.

<<response>> Affirmative.
No. 503910 ID: 94e610

By the way, I'm not exactly the same entity as the in-story Nenesha - I guess you can call me meta-Nenesha - but I do share all her memories, if not vice versa.

Which is why I know that you should definitely trust her.
No. 503939 ID: 4ea529

Yes, help's needed.
No. 504041 ID: 09aa4d

>Insufficient internal resources
Well, I suppose when Cocona wakes up, she can ask Ilya to forcibly dump prana into Cocona.

Since there isn't another resource provider currently available, assistance from Nenesha is the only current recourse.
No. 504082 ID: 94e610

<<logic>>There are insufficient resources and/or information needed to exact repairs. A request for outside support was made. This anomalous input offers this support. Time is an important parameter, and no other options present themselves.

<<response>> Affirmative.

"Well, of course you do. It's the obvious choice, and I don't suppose you're in shape for creative solutions right now. Goddess, this is such a mess, I don't know what we were thinking. Wish I could blame that brother of yours, but I don't suppose it'd have made much of a difference in the end. I just.. wish it had never come to this, I guess."

<<query>> Ping

"Oh, don't get your imaginary panties in a bunch. This might be the last thing I ever do, so you can at least let me procrastinate in peace. Which, yes, is what I'm doing. Right. Let's get to it, then. Well, this had better work, or we're both unbelievably screwed."

Wee ki ra hymme enne tes ADDR_KOKONA_0x781

<<RPC>> Authority delegation request (NewMint v.19) { target: "*", duration: "1d", source: "TkVORVNZQV9URUlXQVJfS09LT05B" }

<<RPC:channel 4>> Streaming response, delegation established

"Just like that. Nothing to it. Cocona, afterwards you need to.. no, never mind. You wouldn't remember anyway, would you.. well, I'll see if I can leave a few hints somewhere. Mir, you'd better be right about this, or I swear to Frelia, I'm going to find some way to haunt you after I catch up with Infel. Ugh, at least remember to turn everything back on, or you're not going to wake up."

Was granme erra enter ADDR_0x80 Wee yant wa rre yorra slepir yanje omnis Fou paks ga 0x62 0x7 => exec

<<sensory>> Layer 9 light dimming (log -17.3)

"..I won't forgive you if you don't solve this. For everyone's sake."

<<RPC:channel 4 dead, connection timed out>>

<<sensory>> Layer 9 light dimmed (log -20.1), stable. Anomalous sensor reading.. null, no response.

<<planning>>Requesting sensor scan

<<sensory>> Layer 9: Response at noise floor. Level 7 through 2, cache reports no changes. Layer 1, external influence frozen. Self-healing progressing, nominal + (log 0.34).

<<planning>> Requesting layer 2 restart

<<logic>> No state loops detected, accepted

<<resource>> Sufficient process space for state change, accepted

<<watchdog>> Resetting watchdog timer for process set 2 (emulation-integration).
<<watchdog>> Process set 2: 0/1492 tasks running. Initiating cold boot.
<<watchdog>> Warning: Circular log overflow, persistence layer unreachable - log entries will be inaccessible to integration layer.
<<watchdog>> Debouncing internal RPC.


People are not supposed to wake up while they're dreaming, but that's what it feels like you just did. You resolve not to do it again if you have any choice in the matter.


It worked, didn't it? You're not quite sure how or why, but the damage seems to have stopped spreading, and is receding at a pretty decent pace. Even if your memories are still Swiss cheese (and you assume that most of what's lost there really is lost), you should be able to use what's left of them without slowly making things worse. Right now, that's the kind of victory you'll take.

Mostly, said victory seems to be because the 'ocean' has somehow frozen, not reacting at all when you poke at it. You wish you remember how you did that, but with your memories literally shut down, you guess there's not much hope of that. Ideally it'll stay frozen, but at the rate you're going, you think you'd be stable enough to hold it off indefinitely if you can just have another day or two to fix yourself. Except.. some of it has frozen inside the barrier layer, which is trying to avoid the tendrils while rebuilding. That can't possibly be as good as a unified front.

Maybe you should try to get rid of those tendrils.

Soulspace turn 4/5 completed
No. 504084 ID: d6ef5d

>Maybe you should try to get rid of those tendrils.
Sounds like a plan. You can use your strength to snap them off, or a sharp blow from your batons. Then toss the broken (acid) ice back onto the sea. Fireballs might work too, but ideally we'd like not to melt any of that acid.

Well, assuming of course you have dream analogues of your waking abilities.
No. 504094 ID: 94e610

That suggestion is the rough equivalent of "I punch the bluescreen in the face!", but I'll translate the intent as well as possible. It might not be a bad idea to be a bit more watchful, though.
No. 504099 ID: d6ef5d

...excuse me for making the assumption that when faced with a physical manifestation or representation of an abstract metaphysical system that we could interact with it in a physical way. :V

But if we can remove the obstruction by force of will or whatever, that works as well. And sure, it couldn't hurt to survey the system now that we've partially repaired (or at least temporarily stabilized) things.
No. 504103 ID: 94e610

As I said, you *can*. Absolutely. It's what you've been doing so far, largely.

Knowledge-wise, you already know everything you're likely to find out with a generic 'look around', it's more a matter of using the knowledge.
No. 504106 ID: d6ef5d

...if there's something else you're trying to nudge me towards seeing, I'm not seeing it.

Only thing that occurs to me is we might have to be careful removing the intruding acid-ice. After all, it might be frozen to something, or with a component we need inside. So completely reckless smashing isn't the route to take.
No. 504152 ID: 34db91

It seems I was right the first time: The acid is a resource to be drawn upon.

Build appropriate places for it to move through. You have an excess of it by normal standards, that means you should generally have plenty to use as a source of motivation as long as you can avoid flow control problems.
Construct a channel system with reservoir cisterns and overflow drains: Robust flow control systems for handling a range of conditions from drought to flooding is required. This is required so that you may apply the correct quantity and force of acid to any task/process to which it should be applied. The preferred material to build with is centredness, as in meditative calm, but we'll probably have to do a rush job with bricks of frozen acid to start with since I doubt you have a surplus of meditative calm to work with.
No. 504186 ID: 94e610

One mistake: I meant to write 0x25, not 0x62. Oops. I'll be really impressed if you figure out why, though; it's a bit geeky. Needless to say, you can get along quite well without figuring it out.

I'll give tUnLYO a bit longer to respond.. his input might be valuable.
No. 504235 ID: d6ef5d

Here's my crack at translating some of that gibberish. (Since apparently we're missing something, and if he's correcting the exact code it must be significant).

>Was granme erra enter ADDR_0x80
(Very much) (Wishing to protect someone, courage) (I want this to last eternally) (execute) (Hymn code)
I want to protect you forever / I want you to be brave forever?

>Wee yant wa rre yorra slepir yanje omnis Fou paks ga
(Fairly) (Scared, terrified) (It doesn't matter, I will accept the current situation) (you all) (put to sleep, stop) (forever, eternally) (everything) (A little) (excitement, nervouseness) (I want this to end soon)
This ones a lot messier to interpret. First part sounds like stating it's all right or justified to be afraid in this circumstances, and the second part sounds like nervousness about going to sleep forever. I'm having a hard time talking untangling the subjects though- is she talking about herself or Cocona? (That changes the context- are were talking about Cocana's personality shutdown, or Nenesha's apprehension at what seemed like self sacrifice?) And she used the plural you- is that addressed to us, directly?
No. 504236 ID: 09aa4d

Why, thank you.

Anyways, since the ocean is frozen--I would assume Nenesha made the anger and sadness to be ignored by Cocona's mind, rather than resolved the issues represented by it--we can't really interact with it. Therefore, perhaps Cocona could redirect the barrier layer's reconstruction efforts to pull back from the ocean of acid, receding from the shore? Or otherwise reshape the barriers' borders into including the tendrils of acid, such that all the acid is barred from the rest of Cocona's mind?

This guy has some of the right of it: Cocona should keep in mind that the problem of the acid isn't resolved, just temporarily set aside. Therefore, she should be making more barriers within her other layers that would minimize/obliviate the threat the acid would pose to her mind when it melts. Redirection into someplace else, to where the acid could be transmuted into something else harmful or more useful, or otherwise not a problem, would be best.
No. 504257 ID: 94e610

I'm not going to start solving my riddles for you - you have plenty of time to solve this one - but just one thing in particular:

Nobody in-story is going to address you directly. Ever. To the degree you have an existence inside the plot at all, it's along the lines of anonymous idea-generating/rating modules inside Cocona's mind.

Well, let's see about the ending now. I've also got to include part of the morning.. hum...
No. 504435 ID: 94e610

[x] Deal with the acid. Remove it, channel it, block it out, whatever.

The thought of inviting this stuff in is just horrific. Even if it’s seemingly inert right now, it was easily chewing through the best defences you have, just a little while ago. It might be theoretically possible to use somehow, but without a lot better idea of what it is..

Well, there might be something you can do about that. Odds are this is something you’d remember if you’ve ever encountered it before, assuming of course that the relevant memories haven’t been blown away. There’s a certain blissful silence in remembering nothing whatsoever - no matter what you think about, only new thoughts pop up, nothing from before you ‘woke up’ in here - but it’s also extremely limiting, and there doesn’t seem to be any pressing reason to stay like that anymore. There are also a couple of other things you’d like to remember, like what “debouncing” is.

Since your memory is still badly damaged, you spend some time surveying the damage before restarting anything. There seem to be three main areas of damage - one area near the surface that seems to have torn itself apart without an apparent cause, and two large, separate zones stretching inwards from that point, which aren’t so much torn apart as melted and stuck in place. Your ability to follow the damage inwards through ‘solid machinery’, while your eyes keep insisting that there is no light whatsoever, is another reminder that this place - a representation of your mind - isn’t exactly real.

The melted areas seem to be slowly.. um, ‘un-melting’ themselves, but there’s no apparent change to the outermost area. They’re all changing slowly enough that you could easily be wrong, though. The still-functional parts are a different matter; they’re re-arranging themselves at a rapid clip as you watch, mostly trying to route around the damage, but occasionally odder things happen - as you watch, you notice two nodes merging, producing a combined node that’s smaller than the two combined, but somehow looks sharper-edged. A bit of focus tells you that they were about ice and water, which.. oh, you forget, but you figure this is probably normal and healthy.

Trying to focus on the outermost damaged area in the same way gives you nothing but bursts of nonsense and painful fragments, along with the sound of screeching gearwork. That.. doesn’t seem to have done any significant damage, but nevertheless it’s probably a bad idea, and useless to boot.

The melted areas.. not so bad. There’s very little response, but there’s no pain either - it’s like trying to think through a thick fog, but you can stop at any time. That might just be because your memories are generally turned off at the moment, though, so you’ll still have to do something about it. You did get some impressions. Emotions, mostly - desperation, resolve, ..trust?

Right. Focus, Cocona. These are memories. They react when you look at them, but this situation is hardly normal. If it were.. you have to assume they’d react when you think about something.. connected to them, and in fact ‘connections’ seem to be the main theme here. 3D space sure isn’t. Meaning.. you’ll have problems whenever you think about something connected to one of the damaged ones.

Put like that, the solution is obvious. You think you could just erase them, but they’re your memories, so you don’t want to do that unless you really have to. On the other hand, you absolutely can do something less permanent.

Reaching out mentally, you carefully scan the areas surrounding the damage, looking for structure instead of contents, then start detaching the damaged bits. The outermost area is easy - it’s hardly connected to anything at all, except the melted areas, and you easily cut what connections there are.

The deeper, melted areas pose more of a problem.

For starters there’s more of them, making the total volume to be removed maybe ten times larger. Worse, they branch out fractally, connecting to a depressingly large fraction of the intact memories. You can’t cut out just the damage, so you might end up losing a lot here. On the other hand, if everything works out as you hope you’ll eventually get it all back.

Carefully, very carefully, you start dissecting your own mind. There are flashes of memories as you go - admiration, excitement, comfort, family - but you forget them as quickly as they come, leaving behind only emotions. You’re not sure how long it takes - an hour, two hours? - before you’re done, a gaping wound in the memory layer reflecting your recent actions, the sidelined memories sort of floating to one side and ever so slowly repairing themselves. You don’t think it really matters in this environment - there’s no connection between the memory layer and acid sea - but looking at it is unnerving, so you finish off by imagining a sort of cap on the damaged areas. It duly appears.

The next step takes a bit of courage, as you deliberately reach out, grasp the entire memory layer, and turn it back on. Fragments of thoughts fill your head -


You’re not sure you’ll ever get used to that. It was almost entirely unlike a headache, but for a little while there you had trouble thinking of anything but the incoherent stream of memories filling your head. There were so many, you couldn’t possibly pick out any particular one.

Surveying your mind, everything seems to be in working order. Damaged memories still floating off to the side (somehow not connected to anything else), memory layer.. working, if a bit scruffy, and you watch in fascination as what appears to be your recent experiences in here get added to the top. Barrier layer.. well, still repairing itself, but with lots of frozen ‘acid’ intermixed. Time to do something about that.

The acid itself, from what you remember, feels a lot like I.P.D. It’s inert at the moment, but the match is close enough that you’re pretty sure it’s the same thing. How did you fix that, last time? Um...

Naturally, you can’t remember. You remember having had IPD, but all the details - why, where, when and especially why it stopped - are probably off in that pile somewhere, where you can’t find them. Just lovely.

From first principles, then. IPD happens because Reyvateils connected to Infel Phira share levels seven and eight of their cosmospheres, and negative emotions can spread through that area, bouncing back and forth until everyone in range loses their sanity. The solution would be..

The solution is to imprison them, forever, and keep them away from anyone else they might spread the contagion to. That’s not helpful, plus..

You gulp, looking at the ruins of the deeper levels of what you are now pretty sure is some representation of your Cosmosphere. You don’t have those levels. Whatever happened there, you’re pretty sure you shouldn’t be alive anymore. You’ve always heard that the deeper levels are in some sense the true self of a Reyvateil - if that’s the case, are you even you anymore?

You’re a Reyvateil. Even if you were at one point inclined to deny that, you can’t anymore. Humans can’t do what you’re doing now, so you’re not entirely human. You should still be mostly human, but most Reyvateils haven’t had their mind blasted apart, and you have to wonder whether the human or machine parts were most likely to survive.

You’re still Cocona, in either case. Cocona may not always have been a Reyvateil, but you’ve probably been one for years. You may be just part of Cocona, but all the parts are still Cocona, and nothing but Cocona, so there’s nothing to worry about. Right. Never mind that you might be just a machine who believes herself to be Cocona.

..no, you don’t really believe that. Emotionally, it’s a disturbing thought, but you’re pretty sure you’d know if you weren’t yourself. Cocona just.. isn’t entirely human. She’s also wasting time, eventually you’re going to have to wake up. Probably naturally, at this point, so it’d be a good idea to make haste and leave the existential worries for later.

Your memories were, unfortunately, not immediately useful. You’ll just have to play it safe, and hope for the best.

[x] Get rid of the acid, already.

If the ‘acid’ is like IPD, then there’s a good chance you’ll be fine so long as you stay mentally healthy; you’re pretty sure there aren’t any other Reyvateils physically nearby, let alone IPDs. That does bring up the question of where it came from in the first place, though. There’s entirely too much you don’t understand about the current situation, and there’s no-one to ask. It’s seriously annoying.

“Mentally healthy” is a bit ambiguous, but at least it would be good to restore all the damage you can. There’s nothing to be done about the deeper levels, and your memories are already fixing themselves as quickly as possible, but there’s still the barrier layer to consider. It’s probably the most important one, for this. Unfortunately it’s also choked by acid.


Well, it’s frozen now. You gingerly reach out to poke one of the tendrils, and it crumbles into nothingness at your touch. You do sense a few negative emotions from it, but nothing coherent.

It takes another few minutes, but clearing them all out isn’t a big deal, the barrier layer closing holes as quickly as you clean them out.

[x] Make more barriers, to reduce any future threat.

These layers are all representations of parts of your mind. Which is missing about a quarter of itself, you suppose, even if you’re not feeling any real effects from that. That’s yet another thing you need to understand.

Regardless, increasing the size of the barrier layer would mean increasing the overall size of your mind, and you’re not quite sure how something like that can map to physical reality. Under normal circumstances it’s not something you would countenance, but under normal circumstances you wouldn’t be looking at this, would you?

..well, there should be a bit of spare capacity at the moment. Um. Actually, aren’t Reyvateils minds supposed to partially exist inside the Tower, especially IPDs? What kind of capacity would that suggest, and which parts?

Anyway, your designers were pretty smart. They probably thought of this, and if you try to use too much capacity, you’ll just fail to do so. Right. Never mind that you’ve never heard of anyone even seeing a space like this before, that might be your broken memories.

You dubiously eye the wall of frozen acid, which looks like a globe surrounding you when you try to search for any edges. To expand the barrier layer, you’ll need to get rid of some of that - there’s no actual space between the barrier and the acid, that’s just your mindspace reflecting the low number of connections.

..it’s getting brighter, you think. It’s probably morning already. You don’t have to wake up yet, and you don’t think Ilya would force the issue, but maybe you should leave this for later? Chances are pretty good it’ll stay frozen for a day, at least.

Soulspace turn 5/5 (?) completed
No. 504436 ID: 94e610

[ ] Do it right now, waiting is too dangerous.
[ ] Wake up and think about it more first, you can do it later. In the evening, or maybe you can come back here without really falling asleep first.
[ ] Don't even try, this is too dangerous to risk it.
[ ] Any bright ideas, anyone?

No. 504440 ID: d6ef5d

Let's get out for now. You've stabilized things- bought time before we need to take more action. You've already had to isolate and cut out a piece of your mind to do that- I'm reluctant to see what hacking the shape and space of your mental universe would do. Or what removing things to make more barrier would do.

It's possible we could get more information that could help. You underwent a summoning process, you've had stuff dumped into your head, and you're tuned to the cosmic heroic ideal of a berserker, right? If the faux-IPD isn't coming from the usual source, maybe it's coming from the stuff in this new world you've ended up in. Maybe if Ilya helped you understand what happened to you better, it would help you deal with this.
No. 504622 ID: 09aa4d

>last two layers totally destroyed=dead Cocona
Well, presuming that this is just a representation of the mind of the Cocona-in-Infel-Pira, all the should-be-dead stuff just means that Infel Pira's automatic repair/mind-mapping/update system is malfunctioning; the Cocona-in-Cocona's-body could very well have a semblance of what the last two layers represent.

>acid frozen and not-harmful
...Well! Nenesha was very helpful. I really didn't expect that to happen. Still, that property is very useful, if we want to clear away the acid, then Cocona just needs to find one of the connections from the main mind to the acid, and traverse that connection to crumble the acid.

But, that's something to leave for another time. One of the things that was brought up in Turn 3 was that there wasn't enough energy to repair Cocona's mind in the face of the acid (though, the memory layer was shut down, so I'm not quite sure that Cocona currently remembers that...). While that problem is over, it is possible that the problem would repeat (though that may just be baseless fear--the last two layers, which connect Cocona to the other IPDs, are destroyed, so there wouldn't be any connections from which the acid would flow. However, Cocona is still connected to Infel Pira, as otherwise, she wouldn't be able to execute Song Magic as she did in the first few updates).

In any case, Ilya had mentioned that Cocona was barely drawing anything from the prana tap Ilya (or someone) had set up. Presumably, Cocona can deliberately draw more, or Ilya can forcibly give more, from the prana tap, and thus gain more energy.

That is, wake up. Then, after conversation (i.e. breakfast, dream(s) discussion, etc.) bring up the energy deficit and prana tap?
No. 504630 ID: 94e610

> Nenesha was very helpful.

You're so suspicious. Have I ever wanted anything but to better Metafalls?
No. 504632 ID: 09aa4d

Yes! You want long romantic walks with Infel under the light of the moons! (Well, you want to spend time with Infel, anyways. ...And no using the fact that Infel was a genius whose crafts immensely helped the people of Metafalss as an excuse!)

Though, that statement wasn't an indication of suspicion, but one of surprise at the effectiveness of her assistance.
No. 504633 ID: 94e610

Ah, I see.

Yes, that makes sense. Perfectly reasonable, I can see why you'd think that.
No. 504642 ID: 94e610

Waking up, when you decide to do it, is as easy as flipping a toggle. One moment you’re looking at your mindscape, the next you’re opening your eyes to see - hmm. You’re still in the same bed from your last memories of the waking world, a luxurious four-poster that’s big enough for four or five people your size.

It feels a little more crowded at the moment, because it’s full of books, there’s a small laptop computer off to one side, and more to the point Ilya has at some point fallen asleep reading and is currently hugging you from behind. Judging by the state of the covers, you’re pretty sure she was on the other side of the bed when she fell asleep. She isn’t anymore.

It’s not at all an unpleasant sensation, reminding you of old sleepovers with Rika before she.. before you let her die. That was a long time ago, though, and you can’t help but remember that you barely know Ilya at all. Whatever her opinion of you while asleep, it’s possible she won’t be very happy to wake up like this.

Apart from the possibly-inconvenient situation, you feel pretty good. Oh, it feels like you barely got any sleep at all, which you probably didn’t, but that’s still an enormous improvement on last night. You feel ready to take on, if not the world, then at least this castle. Maybe a quick mental inventory would be in order, but it’s hard to find the motivation for more of that right now.

It’s very early in the morning, just barely daybreak.

[ ] There are castles to explore, before the other three wake up. Try to extricate yourself.
[ ] Gently wake up Ilya, it’s morning.
[ ] Get some normal sleep, by the looks of it Ilya won’t be going anywhere soon.

No. 504645 ID: d6ef5d

Oh, a laptop? We never did establish what the level of technology is in this world. More advanced than I expected for a place with castles.

Anyways, I'm up for sneaking out from her arms going exploring! You'll have time to deal with your problematic mindscape and talk to Ilya about what she's learned and your situation later. And you've got a whole new world to check out here, and this is the first chance you've had to check it out- even if you're a little tired, how could you pass that up?

>longer term planning for later in the morning
We'll have to see about getting a more appropriate wardrobe / outfit for this climate, to compensate for what your armor can't do.

We'll also have to talk with Ilya. Her research may have turned up useful information. You need to understand how the summoning process, and being a berserker, and her own magic interact with what you already were if you're going to fix the problems.

If we're feeling up to it, you should probably give a test of your abilities. Physical and magical. I mean, are you even sure the laws of physics are the same here? (Or less drastically, gravity could be more or less than you're used to). It's a different world. Your powers could function slightly differently, or might not all work. Your connection to the tower might not be broken, or changed (or you might be connected to a different power source here?).
No. 504647 ID: 94e610

I was going to mention this earlier, but - if you try to sneak off, there's about a 40% chance of waking Ilya. I'll be rolling dice.
No. 504655 ID: 94e610

> Talk with Ilya
That scene is coming. Ilya has a lot to say, but I wonder, how honest would you like Cocona to be with her? How much of what just happened should she explain?

Cocona is basically honest, but (with reason) suspicious of new people; far more mature than an eleven-year-old of our world would be. If you leave it to her she could go either way depending on the immediate past, though she's unlikely to explain everything.
No. 504656 ID: d6ef5d

Well, if we're trying to avoid awkwardness, our options are to either slip out, or go back to sleep and let her wake up and extricate herself first.

While I'd rather avoid the awkwardness, I still feel like exploring, though. (Although if the rest of you would rather sleep in, I guess I can support that).

If we do accidentally wake her, I wouldn't push her on the position we found her in, or make a big deal about it. Maybe some small talk- you're feeling a lot better now (got your head mostly screwed on right), did she find anything interesting in her research last night? (I wouldn't get into lots of details right off though. Detailed discussions can wait till after breakfast and stuff).

Anything tricks we can pull to improve our roll or dice pool? Use heat magic to cover up our absence, or try and swap Corona out with a pillow to keep from tripping the trap, Indiana Jones style? :V
No. 504658 ID: 94e610

> Tricks
Nope. The trap has already triggered, as it were; most of the Ilya-waking probability is in her noticing the movement, not lack of heat or anything. It isn't actually physically possible for you to leave without moving her arms, but she's sleeping pretty deeply.

Also, the best you could do with magic is set the bed on fire. I'll leave that option on the table, in case you really feel like it; fire's always good.
No. 504659 ID: d6ef5d

Personally, I would favor an honest approach, although maybe without going into extensive details. (I mean, it's not as if we need to describe the entire dream move by move).

I can understand the impulse to be suspicious, but we've got what amounts to two conflicting magic systems interacting in our head. Corona only partially understands one- Iyla hopefully understands the other. Trying to work out what's going on, and how that works, and how to deal with that, takes precedence over any paranoia.

Besides, Iyla seems earnest, and honestly seems to want to help. And if what we were told last night is true, you're already caught up in a war on her side- one you can't choose to walk away from. You're going to have to work with her to survive.
No. 504660 ID: 454b7c

If you feel good now, think about how good you will feel after some actual rest and breakfast. breakfast that will not happen until the rest of the household awakens.
there isnt anything in this castle you cant find later. sleep.
No. 504815 ID: 42ace1

Personally, I would prefer that Cocona go to sleep and properly regain her mental stamina. She'll need it to handle the day (and Ilya). However, Cocona would probably be used to early mornings and taking care of herself, so her first instinct would be to extricate herself and get up.

Well, let's stay in bed or in the room. Exploring the castle would be easier with the assistance of Ilya or one of her maids, and I would prefer not to go through the hassle of the 'where is Cocona/Ilya?!' game that the exploring option will assuredly bring. Sleeping in sounds fine, or perhaps Cocona could analyze the contents of the books (if she can read them) from her position in the bed? While Ilya would probably inform Cocona of the pertinent information she gained through her research in the breakfast discussion, her focus might not align with Cocona's. And, I suppose, Cocona could give in to her wariness and ensure that Ilya wouldn't be lying to her...

I would prefer Cocona to be entirely honest, as Cocona really doesn't have any other source of information available. The castle could very well be in the middle of nowhere and thus Cocona would not be able to find another info source soon (to say nothing of bounded fields...).

And, I suppose, Cocona could probably empathize with Ilya's obvious loneliness.
No. 505055 ID: e1000c

[x] Explore the books.

It’s an odd-looking set of books. Most of them actually appear to have been written by hand, in some sort of flowing script you can’t read, and they’re all far thicker than you’d expect from someone of Ilya’s obvious wealth. Which is to say that they’re real books, not commpads pretending to be books. The amount of hand-written books, though.. no accounting for taste, but this place seems farther from home by the minute.

Unfortunately they’re all out reach, so you’ll have to settle for examining the covers from your current stuckfast position. Fortunately those covers seem pretty interesting, and you scan the ones you can read. “Exceeding God: A treatise on Homunculi”, in particular, seems like something you should try to sneak a peek in later. Ilya said she’s a homunculus, right?

The others are less understandable, the handwritten ones probably more so, but even.. just what does “On the application of prana to secondary circuits” mean, anyhow? Something to do with computers? “Modern Magic” is at least understandable, but too vague to be meaningful. Nevertheless, you resolve to skim it if you get the chance.

You can actually reach the laptop from here, but the screen is black and doesn’t respond when you touch it. You even press a few keys, on the off chance, but nothing happens. You suppose Ilya’s put some security on it. Well, that’s not unexpected.

Next is.. um. Counting books? ..there are twenty-seven, you can tell at a glance, only three of which are potentially readable. Not counting the ones in the bookshelves, which by the pictures and figurines are strictly for entertainment.

Examining the bedding?

Having exhausted the available entertainment options in less than a minute leaves you with very little to do, and you become acutely aware of the feel of Ilya’s arms around your waist. It’s now or never, Cocona, waiting would just make it more likely for Ilya to wake up. You could still try to sneak off, or just wake her..

But the bed is so soft, and you’re feeling so very sleepy. It’s really her own fault she’s sleeping like this, nothing to do with you, so there’s no good reason that should interrupt your sleep.

[x] Get some normal sleep

Letting out a soft sigh, you stretch your body for a second, crawling slightly deeper under the covers before trying to relax and fall asleep. If you weren’t so sleepy already the unfamiliar feel of another human body might have kept you awake, but as is it doesn’t take long before your body relaxes into Ilya’s grip, finally letting you get some real sleep.
No. 505056 ID: e1000c

Impressions: A storm of metal blades are tearing you apart, while you try not to move. It hurts, and you can’t help but flinch away. Once you do the storm abates, leaving you with a great sense of loss.
No. 505062 ID: e1000c
File 136562913988.jpg - (58.53KB , 550x412 , breakfast-table.jpg )

The next time you wake up, Ilya has left the scene and the bed has been cleared off, but she left Sella waiting for you to awaken.

“Oh, you’re awake. Ilya asked me to keep watch, and tell her if your condition changed. How do you feel today?”

Good? “Good, actually much better. Is it still breakfast time?”

“Yes, the master is still eating. I’ll show you to her, but first, your current state of dress is unacceptable. We’ll have a tailor in tomorrow to make you something suitable; meanwhile, please dress yourself using Ilya’s wardrobe. It should be just about the right size.”

Sella then steps outside, leaving you to dress yourself. You’re not sure if it’s just differing customs, but for a maid she seems pretty cold, almost brusque. Also, using Ilya’s clothing, when you have perfectly good clothes of your own?

Well, not at the moment. You’re still wearing your underwear, but most of your own clothing is actually clumped up on a chair. That’s pretty odd; it’s only supposed to respond to your own commands. Regardless, the room is cool, so you waste no time putting it back on.

That still leaves you barefoot. If you had a commpad you could conceivably spread your remaining clothing thinner to make socks, but since that’s not an option you decide to take up Sella’s offer and browse through Ilya’s rather copious wardrobe.

It’s a bit of an adventure.

You’ve never seen such a large display of clothes outside of a fancy shop before, and you don’t know anyone who could afford such a large number of synthesized clothes, or even who has the space to store them. You feel almost giddy, knowing that you can wear any of these, though you quickly remind yourself that it’s only a loan, and besides you’re only looking for socks.

It doesn’t take you long to find a nice pair of knee-high socks, and less than a minute to figure out how to put them on - “Put foot in open end.” It’s still a little breezy, but so long as you’re staying inside you’re willing to brave that if it lets you move more easily. That done, you quickly take stock before braving the castle proper.

You feel fundamentally.. good. Better than usual, even; your thoughts are sharper than usual, and you’re moving with a kind of unconscious perfection you can’t remember ever having felt before.

Satisfied with your progress, you open the door and step outside to find breakfast, spotting Sella waiting on the other side of the corridor. She does a double-take as she sees you.

“Cocona..? That outfit?”


“..never mind.”

Now, what was that about?

Fortunately Sella seems to agree that it’s breakfast time, leading you downstairs to a small dining room next to the entrance section. Ilya’s already there, eating at a four-seat table while chatting with the other maid.. Leysritt, you think. Chatting at, mostly. She looks a little frustrated, but lights up when she sees you.

“Cocona, you’re up! How are you feeling?”

A bit awkward, actually, but..

“Much better. Well, it’s a long story, but I think I managed to fix myself overnight.”

Ilya looks surprised, “Really? You’ll have to tell me how, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong at all. Oh, but sit down, let’s have breakfast. We have a lot to go over, unless - do you remember the information you were supposed to get from the grail, now?”

The what, now?

“I was supposed to.. what information? I don’t remember anything special..”
Ilya frowns. “Like being of the Berserker class. You mentioned you’d gotten that much, last night.”

Doesn’t ring a bell. You don’t remember saying that, which unfortunately means.. “I think I may have lost access to those memories when I was fixing myself, actually. They might come back later. Or not, some of them were pretty scrambled.”

“I see.. but you’re okay now? You’re not going to forget anything else?”

Well, you certainly hope so! “I’m pretty sure I won’t. Since I don’t know what caused the damage in the first place, I can’t really be sure it won’t happen again, but it was probably related to the summoning, and what’s left of my mind is in good shape. I don’t think anything’s going to break spontaneously, at least.”

“What’s left of..”

“Well, yeah. I had to cut out the damaged parts to get back to normal, and some of me is just plain missing, but.. er..” Noticing Ilya paling, you quickly move on to reassure her. “I kept the bits I cut out, and they should be repairing themselves over time, so don’t worry! I’ll be fine, really!”


“..maybe it’d be best if I just start from the beginning. I had quite the eventful night.”


All told it takes you maybe twenty minutes to give Ilya a decent overview of what happened, including digressions into how exactly Reyvateils work and where you came from. Those are of necessity fairly limited, because you don’t know the details yourself, but you don’t purposely leave out anything that you think is important.

Ilya goes through a wide gamut of emotions in the process, cycling from horror, through disbelief, and via wonder before settling on some level of excitement, claiming you’re breaking all the rules of how Servants should work. Is that good?

“Well, yes! Okay, maybe. Possibly? It depends a lot on why and how, really, and in the end it’s still a battle royale, so your combat ability matters a lot. I spent a lot of time searching for your name in the library last night, and I can’t find a Cocona Bartel anywhere, so you’ll at least have surprise on your side. More of that is usually better.”

A who, now? ..wait, a what?

“About that. You called it a ‘Grail War’, earlier, and now you’re talking about a battle royale. If you summoned me from my home for something like that.. please explain. I want to know why I’m here.” You also want to know how to get home, but right now you’re getting the kind of sinking feeling that suggests you should watch your words around Ilya.

Ilya seems about to speak, so you hurry on. “Oh, and you were probably looking for the wrong girl. I’m sorry, but my full name is Cocona Seiryu, I probably mispronounced it last night.” You can’t imagine ever changing that, after all. Well, maybe if you got married, but you’re still eleven. Broken memories or not, Dad would have crucified anyone who suggested changing your surname. He’d know what to do about all of this.. all of a sudden you feel really homesick.

Ilya chews her bottom lip for a moment. “You’re sure about that? It’s not something to do with.. um, your memories?”

You shake your head. “No, I lost a fair bit, but only recent memories. Maybe a year or two back, at most. I’ve had my name my whole life, after all.”

Ilya nods. “Well, you were pretty out of it. I guess it makes sense, I’ll see if I can find anything under Seiryu later. Although, nothing you’ve described sounds at all like what’s in my history books, so I suspect there still won’t be anything.”

“So, the Grail War?”, you prompt.

“Right.” Ilya leans back a bit. “The Grail War is.. essentially, a battle royale for the power of a wish. There are seven Masters - I’m one - who each summon one Servant by using the power of the Greater Grail as well as Throne of Heroes. They fight, and when only one pair is left alive, that pair gets a wish. My family helped create it, so I know a lot about the mechanics of the system.”

“...”, you say, trying not to let any of your emotions show on your face. You’re supposed to kill people? You can’t do that, killing is wrong!

“That’s also why I know..” she trails off, closing her eyes and turning away. “I’m sorry, but there can’t be any mistake. The Grail can only be used to summon heroes who ascended to the Throne of Heroes, and the Throne only accepts people who showed great heroism for their entire.. lives.” She pauses for a moment. She can’t mean..

“This isn’t a conversation I was expecting to have. Servants normally remember everything they did in life - “ You feel sick, listening on in shock. “But you don’t. I don’t know if it’s in the memories you cut out or not, but at some point during your life you showed great heroism - sufficient to be considered a great hero - and then died, when you were still the age you are now.” Talking as fast as she can, now, ”The cause of your death might even be why you’ve lost your memories - I’ve never heard of it happening, the Throne isn’t supposed to keep track of any wounds, but I’ve never heard of a hero dying of mental damage before either.”

You tremble in your seat, face ashen. You’re.. dead? Really dead? But you can’t be. You’re still walking, aren’t you?

But the more you think about the idea, the less you can deny it. The damage to your mind, which should be lethal.. this place, unlike anything on Ar Ciel.. it explains so much, even if you don’t understand how it could happen. You’ve never been a hero, just living peacefully with Mom and Dad. Just what happened?

The only blemish on this plot is your connection to Infel Phira, which you can still feel in the back of your mind, weaker than it used to be but also somehow clearer. Whatever the magic of this world can do, you don’t think it can simulate that connection, so you’re still part of the Infel Phira somehow. Infel Phira’s range isn’t all that great, either.

Bitterly, you realize that there’s also a problem with that - you don’t remember becoming a Reyvatail, or your parents ever treating you as one. You know how to use magic, somewhat, but not how you learned. Whatever was in those lost memories might agree with the ‘hero’ story.


That is, if this isn’t something Ilya made up to make you help her. You only have her word that you’re supposed to be dead, and she did want you to fight a war for her.

“Cocona! Talk to me!”

You feel a touch on your shoulders, and open your eyes to find Ilya leaning over you, looking almost panicked. She kneels, gripping your shoulders tightly, and you incongruously realize that you’ve somehow scooted almost a meter back from the table.

“It’ll be okay, really! All we have to do is win the war, and you’ll be able to go home using the wish!”

Oh, the war, is it.

You keep trembling, now in sudden anger. You were really starting to like Ilya, too.

What do?
[ ] Calm down, think about it rationally. (80% chance of success)
[ ] - Explode in Ilya’s face. (Remaining 20% go here. You may also vote for this.)
[ ] Tear yourself loose, and run out to.. start crying somewhere secluded, probably.
[ ] Start crying right here.
[ ] Prove to yourself that you’re still close to home, by improvised song magic. (90% chance of not blowing yourself or anyone else up.)
[ ] Write-in. You’ll need to think of an explanation Cocona will find sufficiently believable.
No. 505085 ID: d6ef5d

>calm down, think / write in
You cannot blow up, or give into anger. If you're a berserker than those emotions are dangerous, to yourself, or to others. You saw what the acid sea inside you did.

She said you broke all kinds of rules. Why can't you break this one too? Maybe you're not really dead- maybe something happened to you that the throne counted as, or was misinterpreted as, death. You're part machine right- machines can restart and reboot. People usually can't- shut down is death. So it grabbed you at a moment of trauma- when you went offline, or underwent some kind of fundamental change, or when you were technically 'dead' but would have recovered, if not for the summoning grabbing you.

Or maybe the problem is on a different axis. Ilya keeps talking about history- but this place uses handwritten books. The clothes don't work the way you expect- they're analog. Maybe this is the past. The magic didn't grab someone after the end of her life, it screwed up, or went into overdrive, and somehow jumped ahead to pull you to a time before you were born. Maybe the whole problem with the summoning is you're from Ilya's future.

...and in the worst absolute worst case? If you somehow died? Then you've been given a chance most people can only dream of. A chance to get back. And really, whether you died first or not, you're alive now and you're going to try to go home.

Whatever you do, cool your anger at Ilya. It's not her fault. She thought she was summoning a ghost- that the only life she was risking was her own.

>Prove to yourself that you’re still close to home, by improvised song magic.
That's not a bad idea, in some respects. If you're still connected to Infel Phira, it might be wise to explore how that connection works, or has been changed. But don't do so now- rashly, out of fear or the desperation or the grief or anger you feel. You're prone to make a mistake, and song magic hinges on emotion.

>Expecting to find servants listed in the books
...you mean there are dead heros who have been summoned to compete in this contest over and over?

>All we have to do is win the war, and you’ll be able to go home using the wish!
...is that what happened before? To the previous winner? They spent all that effort just to send the severvant home?

You said this was the death of the pairs. You got into this knowing you would die if your 'servant' lost. You had to have a reason for that. ...I think if I'm supposed to fight for you, I have a right to know what we're fighting for.
No. 505088 ID: 94e610

> ...you mean there are dead heros who have been summoned to compete in this contest over and over?
I'll field this one: Not usually, but they're heroes. They tend to be *in the history books*. The one Ilya canonically summoned is Hercules; you may have heard of him.

We should take any further discussion of F/SN canon to the discussion thread, though.
No. 505404 ID: 34db91

" You said this was the death of the pairs. You got into this knowing you would die if your 'servant' lost. You had to have a reason for that. ...I think if I'm supposed to fight for you, I have a right to know what we're fighting for. " <--Seconding this reaction.

My short-list guess for what she would be wishing for?
-Better lifespan;
-Something for someone else important to her, or;
-Something that would further her ambitions.
Seriously, she's on the edge of dying of old age here. At that point most people are concerned with longevity, hedonism or legacy or some combination of the three.
No. 505407 ID: 09aa4d

...didn't Ilya go through this before? Or did Cocona change so much during the period her lost memories covered that she took the infodump better?

Anyways, I'm just going to agree with
and just demand Ilya's wish.
No. 505411 ID: d6ef5d

I think the infodump last night was more big picture, and Cocona was kind of worn out and falling asleep at the end of it all. It's not unreasonable to assume that Ilya didn't get through everything, or that Cocona missed it (especially if Ilya wasn't direct).
No. 505452 ID: 94e610

A bit of both.

Did Cocona change a lot between nine and eleven? Even normal kids would, but in this case we're talking about a girl who accidentally killed her parents, then went on to become a (magic) knight.

It's not like you're stuck with the nine-year-old version now, though, she just lost a lot of memories. Ilya never got around to mentioning the "Oh, and you're dead" concept last night, assuming she already knew - well, actually she ended up talking about magical girl stories instead of anything serious.
No. 505566 ID: 94e610

rolled 9 = 9

Your suggestions are good, but incomplete; it's still possible for Cocona to believe Ilya is lying to her, at least partially. Let's see..

1-8: Calm down, provisionally believe Ilya, follow plan.
9: Calm down, think rationally, but be very suspicious.
10: No calming down for you.
No. 505568 ID: 94e610

Oh dear.
No. 505577 ID: d6ef5d

Oh, it's not so bad. Just channel the suspicion into the asking about what happened before, and what her wish is supposed to be.

Because the idea that seven mages would fight to the death regularly solely to send a dead ghost they'd never met home is by far the most suspect part of all of this.

That gives Ilya the chance to talk about herself, and why she's doing this, which really, has the best hope of diffusing suspicion. The fact she's betting her life that we'll trust her instead of resorting to magic brain clamps like the other masters might help if it got brought up, too. (What? Suggesting how the other character could diffuse our suspicion? Well, if we can't control our own reaction- why not?).

If we can bring ourselves to trust Ilya, suspicion towards her can also be more positively channeled into suspicion about the situation, and used to fuel productive investigation of and experimentation into how this all works.
No. 505580 ID: 94e610

I actually rolled ten *twice*, but since it was the first time I used this system, thought I was probably doing something wrong.

Then I rolled a nine.

Next time you won't be so lucky.
No. 505608 ID: 94e610
File 136590612716.jpg - (71.69KB , 600x400 , snowstorm_window.jpg )

[x] Calm down, think rationally, but be very suspicious.

At the very least, you cannot risk an IPD outbreak here. Strong emotions are probably bad in general, really.

You force yourself to calm down and consider the situation carefully. Your brother (you don’t have a brother) has taught you to think before you talk and be careful what you tell people, a rule that must apply double to this situation, when you are strongly dependent on the person lying to you. It wouldn’t do to let her know you don’t buy her story, or to reject it entirely when the might be grains of truth in there.

It’s even possible she’s telling the truth. She’s treated you well otherwise, and you want very badly to believe her, to have a friend in this world, but friends don’t lie to friends. You wish you’d met under different circumstances. She’s obviously lonely, stuck in this castle with only her maids for company.

Taking a deep breath, you give Ilya a wan smile. “It’s.. a shock, that’s all. Really, how often does anyone hear they’re dead?” Not like that’s true, obviously. “Tell me more, though. I want to know all the details - for starters, I’m obviously not dead now, so how exactly does that work?”

Ilya looks relieved at your response, letting go of your shoulders to pull out a chair and sit down.

“I don’t know much more, unfortunately. As I said, the Throne only accepts heroes..”

“Wait, hold on. What is the Throne of Heroes? Who made it, and why?”

“The Throne? It’s a place where heroes go after death, the Grail makes copies of the heroes for the war.. it wasn’t made, it’s just part of nature. It’s existed as long as anyone knows.”

So now you’re also a copy? This story is becoming increasingly unlikely.

“That seems implausible. The Throne sounds like a complex system, and all complex systems must have a creator of some form or another. You’re saying you don’t know who made it?”

Ilya looks flabbergasted. “Well, I suppose you could.. no, look. It’s magic. It doesn’t need to have an explanation. Magecraft is a different story, but magic just is.”

You’re starting to think she actually believes that. It’s just common sense for things to have an explanation, even if you don’t always know what it is.. right? Well, this place is weird, the people might be too. That, or she’s just really bad at lying and hasn’t thought her story through, but then there’s still the question of how you got here.

Rubbing your forehead, you try a different tactic. “So, it only accepts dead heroes. I don’t suppose you know how it decides when someone is dead? Or what a hero is?”

Lightening up a little despite the morbid subject, Ilya responds. “The Throne seems to define a hero as anyone who gains sufficient fame, in fact it has occasionally produced heroes who only exist in fiction. Anyone who does heroic deeds is considered, but the fame seems to be crucial.”

What. Just.. what.

Looking cutely quizzical, she continues. “Decide when someone is dead, though? What do you mean? Dead is dead, you’re either alive or dead.. oh, you mean Dead Apostles? Those can’t be heroes, so it doesn’t matter. The Throne only wants humans - well, or demigods, but those are basically human.”

Huh? No, after the last line that doesn’t even.. this has gone well beyond “badly thought out lie”. Wait, “Dead Apostles”? ..no, doesn’t matter. It’s all so imprecise, it makes you want to cry.

A great number of emotions passes over your face, eventually settling on resignation. “Look.. never mind, it doesn’t make sense. I’ll figure it out later. There are more salient points, like the Grail War, and I wasn’t done with breakfast. How about it?” “Sure! I’ve still got half a loaf, too.”

Ilya looks disgustingly happy for someone who was just spouting general abstract nonsense, almost jogging back around the table. She takes the opportunity in passing to squeeze your hand, a gesture that doesn’t help your confusion at all. You go back to eating for a minute, giving you a chance to think the scenario through and giving Ilya a chance to finish her meal, which she does in record time.

Ilya’s story isn’t evidence for much of anything at all, the way you see it. Either she’s lying (subtype: badly) in which case none of it matters, or else she has very little idea how it really works. You suppose you’re at least partially human, so that part fits, but how would the Throne know to identify death in a Reyvateil? Any non-Reyvateil would have died from what you went through; you’re still not sure how you didn’t. She even said you broke the rules, which indicates she doesn’t understand them well at all...

The copying makes sense, though. You’re not sure if it’s a good thought or not that there might be a different you running around, still doing.. whatever it was got you here in the first place. Good, probably; at least Mom and Dad wouldn’t need to lose you.

More important than how you got here is what she expects you to do here. A war, over a wish... it does suit the storybook nature of the world.

Wait a minute.

“The Grail War, then. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. There are seven masters, each of whom summons a servant..” Ilya nods. “The servants and masters fight, until only one pair is left. Then that pair gets a wish.”

“Fundamentally correct. There’s more to it, but we can cover that at leisure.”

“Okay, so.. a wish. One. Is that right? If so, wouldn’t you want to have your own granted first?”

Ilya blinks, apparently not having anticipated this question. How odd.. “No, it’s one for each, Servant and Master.” Oh. You suppose that makes sense, or at least saying it makes sense.

If they’re powerful enough to send you back home, it might be quite revealing to learn what Ilya’s is. You’ll have to slip question in, at some point.

“The war itself, then. Servant killing servant, and master master.” Not something you’ll be doing, if you can avoid it. “Any particular rules? How about outsiders?”

Ilya nods. “Interfering with outsiders is frowned on, but it’s not generally enforced unless you risk letting the public know about the war, or magic in general. Also, servants will often go after other servants’ masters instead of the servants themselves, because masters are easier to kill. If they succeed, the servant will quickly fade away.”

Did she just say something incredibly important?

“So hold on, if you were killed I would just.. die? Again, apparently?” Why?

Ilya shakes her head. “Not die, no. You’d fade away, like a ghost.” That sounds like death to you! Plus, how? Are servants not made of matter, like battle magic’s material illusions? You’re eating, though!

Ugh, never mind. You’ll just have to see for yourself. Or, you know, not - hopefully not. “Well.. fine. How about previous wars, how did they go?” Meanwhile, you’ve finished your breakfast.

Ilya stands up. “I’ll get you a book later. I don’t really know the details myself, except “ - she frowns - “ despite setting it up, my family has never won a single war. I actually summoned you two months ahead of time, so we have plenty of time to discuss strategy.”

“For now, if you’ve recovered sufficiently I’m curious to see what your abilities are. I suppose I could just ask,” she says in a mischievous tone, “but Leysritt seems to think she could do a better job than you in the war. Ridiculous, of course. Don’t hurt her, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to show her why I’m the one who decides what to do around here.”

Ilya glances towards the window. You follow her gaze, noting that it’s completely white.. oh, probably snowing, that’s okay in here.

“There aren’t any suitable rooms inside, but there’s a convenient courtyard outside. Of course, feel free to borrow any clothes you think you need from my wardrobe.”

Well, boo.

What do?
[ ] ..hold on. What about your wish?
[ ] Eh, why not. A spar never hurt anyone, and would be quite cathartic right now.
[ ] Beg off, claiming you’re still not feeling up to it.
[ ] Write-in
No. 505613 ID: d6ef5d

If Ilya's betting her life on 1 in 7 odds (or worse, if you consider the fact her family's precedent) than her wish must be important. She wouldn't take this risk, otherwise. That wish is the reason she brought you back from the dead, ripped you from your world, and/or cloned you and got you into this mess in the first place. You have a right to ask why. To know what you're fighting for (besides your own survival, at this point).

...although maybe it can wait. As important as it might be, that's the kind of thing it might be early in this relationship to force. You have two months before this gets to life and death, at least.

If you are a clone (something we can't be sure of with our sketchy, apparently mythology based intel), then that changes your own outlook on this. You don't necessarily need to get home. Although if that's not your goal, that raises the obvious question- what is?. Still, that's a problem for another day. You've got mysteries and survival to deal with first.

>It’s magic. It doesn’t need to have an explanation.
Everything can be explained. There are laws and rules governing all that exists- even chaos. If magic exists, than it can be studied and understood. Just because Ilya doesn't know the answers, or has been taught not to ask, or trust the explanations she was given on faith, doesn't mean the answers don't exist.

>suspicion, lies
I'm not seeing much to support your suspicions she's lying, Cocona. A good lie to control you would be better put together than this. And if she needs your help to survive, than lying is a really bad play- since you could end up turning on or abandoning her if she's discovered. While a lie is possible, it just doesn't seem very plausible or productive in these circumstances.

It really looks much more like an incomplete story with a lot of pieces Ilya never thought to question and has accepted on faith. She's working on mythology, handed down generation by generation. That you, with an outside perspective, free of predispositions, poked a lot of holes in.

>Dead is dead, you’re either alive or dead
Not really. She's oversimplifying again- I doubt she's ever had reason to think through just how much the lines can blur. We have a hard time even defining what life is- what things are alive, and when they start being that way, and when they stop. It's bad enough with organics, and gets all the worse when you introduce machinery and artificial beings. You could very well have been a case the throne wasn't prepared for.

>“Not die, no. You’d fade away, like a ghost.” That sounds like death to you! Plus, how? Are servants not made of matter, like battle magic’s material illusions? You’re eating, though!
Whether or not that's death is a matter of semantics, and somewhat dependent on if you really where ever dead in the first place, or not. (Which you're still uncertain of).

I would posit you are made of mater. But you're not native to this place. You were transported or copied by the summoning procedure. The unique arrangement of energy, bonds and matter that is you was moved or duplicated. But here- the arrangement is not self sustaining, and lacks it's own inertia, for whatever reason. You have to be held together. And Ilya is what's doing it.

...unless of course, this weakness doesn't derive from the summoning, but the problem of making the dead corporeal again. In which case you might survive her death, if some of our guesses are correct. Not that you want to have to test that.

>what do?
There's something I'd be more interested in trying before experimenting with combat. And technically, it's showing off our capabilities, so Ilya gets what she wants.

Let's mess with some song magic. We need to drawn on your connection to Infel Phira- see what you can learn from it. You're not home- you're outside of range, but somehow not. That bears investigation. And if you were copied.... and if you never died... shouldn't that mean there's another you, back home, connected? Isn't that the sort of thing you might be able to tell if you draw on your connection?

After some magic experimentation and investigation (if nothing else- it would be nice to know that stuff works here, and if it works any differently) sure, we can try some sparring.

>two months early
Well, that does potentially open the door for cheating. What would happen if we eliminated the other masters in advance? Either by preemptive assassination (...although you're not sure you're up for that, really), or simply preventing them from completing their own summonings? Do we win by default?
No. 505620 ID: 34db91

Safe assumption: The too-inconsistent-and-patchy-to-be-a-lie story we've been given by Illya is as close as we're likely to get to the truth any time soon. Seriously, she is likely telling us the story as she understands it, which you note is not fully plausible in all details probably because of disinformation or just plain lack of information being filled in with nonsense.

I support pragmatically getting started on eliminating the competition early or setting up attacks in advance which will activate without our direct intervention if pre-contest engagement is impossible/non-productive. Familiarize yourself with available resources, weapons, fortifications, normal training and such: There are very many ways to kill folks that don't involve magic and I suggest you prepare for those in addition to anything else you may be capable of. Assume your foes will be ruthless and apt to attempt similar measures against yourself and Illya. You must familiarize yourself with the limits of magical or otherwise detection, and figure out how to travel untraceably in places that are hard for others to search to protect yourself against ambushes. Depending on the available technology level we get to maybe have fun with landmines, claymores, and more complicated explosives, which should be lots of fun.
No. 505622 ID: d6ef5d

Pretty ruthless for a girl who's still not quite sold on the whole death-tournament thing (not that it looks like she has much choice).

Partially why I suggested just preventing summonings- it's a lot less ugly than murdering them in advance. Although, I'm kind of expecting Ilya to say the contest to require all seven servants to be put in play for the wish to work.

...there's also the question if other masters even have to die. Sure, they're the easy targets. But if we can get away just offing the dead heros, well, that's harder, but possibly a lot less ugly. (Unless of course they're more exceptions- more people of questionable deadness. And they could be drawn from anything).

Recognizing the others might try preemptive action and making plans to guard against it is nothing but smart, though.
No. 505668 ID: 7f22cf

A brief sidenote: morality goes wonky in the presence of copies. Traditional injunctions against killing are based around the loss of that person's perspective and contribution to society. When you kill somebody, you wipe out the accumulated memories and personality of a lifetime. When you kill a copy, you (arguably) merely destroy the _delta_ between the person and the point where they were copied. Backups make death cheap. So going after servants might be morally less problematic than masters (though it gets more problematic the more they interact with the world, and deviate from their template).

Food for thought.

PS: I don't know your setting, but you were looking for the simple rules underlying this reality, indicating you're something of a scientist. Rejoice! Reality is larger by far than you believed.
No. 505779 ID: 94e610

I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that. It's still not very nice, though. I don't like this game; it ought to be illegal.

As you say, it would be terribly out of character for Cocona. Even when she's blasting someone with superpowered fireballs, she's theoretically just knocking them unconscious.

Stopping the summonings is an interesting idea. I'll try to keep it in mind, but you might want to suggest it again when Ilya is in a less bloodthirsty mood.
No. 505780 ID: 94e610

[x] Song magic now, sparring later

Actually, you really aren’t ready to fight just yet. Not without thoroughly testing your Infel Phira connection, and maybe not even afterwards. It’s not really something you thought about before coming here, but essentially all your combat skills - your enhanced strength, agility, probably even reaction time, and obviously the fireball - are dependent on being a Reyvateil, one way or another.

You hurry to catch up with Ilya before she leaves the room.

“Hold on!” you exclaim, grabbing Ilya’s arm. “Just.. hold on a minute. Yes, I said I’m better, but -”

Ilya turns around, an almost disturbing gleam in her eyes. She was apparently looking forward to the fight. You don’t mind sparring yourself, but..

“You did say you’re better,” Ilya agrees. “Can you fight?” Smiling. “Or not?” Flatly.

You take a half step back. Ilya’s scary.. you think she’s just looking forward to the fight, but this seems too much. You guess she really, really enjoys fighting. It’s not a personality trait you’re used to.

Still. “It’s not that simple! Yes, I can fight, probably, but I haven’t tested my connection to Infel Phira yet. If something goes wrong with that, if it gives out at the wrong time, the result could be catastrophic. Worse yet, I might lose control over it during the stress of a fight. At least give me half an hour to test the basics!”

Ilya seems to study you for a moment before nodding, looking calm again. Phew.

“Infel Phira is the source of your magic. A noble phantasm of yours, then?”

You blink. “A what? No, Infel Phira is the source of magic for half the Reyvateils in my homeland, it’s not something that belongs to me personally.”

Ilya looks uncertain for a moment, but rallies, continuing. “Noble phantasms are devices, usually weapons, that are intimately connected with a hero’s legend. I see no reason they would have to be unique to that one hero, though; there are even stories of heroes showing up with their ship and crew as a noble phantasm.”

Something about that seems off, but you suppose..

“Regardless, you are Berserker. I suppose it wouldn’t do to take risks, if you’re not sure you can control it. Very well, then; I’ll tell Leysritt to meet us outside in an hour, and you can do whatever tests you feel necessary. Follow me.”

With that, she sets off into the bowels of the castle. You follow along; what else can you do?


You follow Ilya through half a dozen hallways, down a set of stairs, through a winding, maze-like set of corridors, down another stairway - starting in a closet - and through an outright maze, finally ending in a large room made of raw stone.

Ilya never hesitated, but you’ve never been so glad to have perfect recall before. Otherwise you don’t think you’d ever be able to find your way out on your own, which is probably the point.

Ilya stops at the entrance, looking the room over for a moment before speaking. “This is a room that some members of the Einzbern family have used for generations to practice the more.. energetic forms of magecraft. It’s heavily warded against damage. Whatever you want to do should be fine in here.”

Interesting. It doesn’t look anything like active matter, of course, but.. “Wards?”

“A carefully crafted set of bounded fields. Part of my training involved reinforcing them, which has been true for centuries. They should hold up to anything short of a nuclear bomb, from both sides, certainly anything magecraft can do.” She grins. “I’ll be very impressed if you manage to damage it.”

A persistent spell, then. You wonder how they manage to make spells persist without active maintenance, without even a song server for support, and make a note to ask Ilya about that later.

You step into the room. The doorway gives off a slight staticky feel, resisting your movements for a second. Interesting, but..

“I’ll see you in half an hour, then.” In a sing-song voice, ”Please, blow something up.”

As Ilya steps out of the room, the air in the doorway grows hazy. You experimentally poke it with a finger, and find that it now resists your action quite effectively. Well, that’ll do.

(“Blow something up”, really? That girl needs help.)


Wondering if Ilya might be watching, you sit down in the middle of the room in a faux-meditative position. You probably should start right away, but there are a few things she said that you just have to think about.

Her trustworthiness, for starters. You didn’t really believe she was telling the truth earlier, but with a bit of distance from the events, you can tell there’s really no good reason to think she’s deliberately lying. The picture she’s painted is..

She’s participating in a small-scale war, where any of the participants might easily end up dead. She summoned you as a force multiplier, thinking she was giving someone who’s dead a second chance at life, to fight her battles for her. Whatever else she is, she doesn’t seem to be a fighter; presumably, she wouldn’t stand much of a chance if you were to go against her.

Thus, lying to you would be against her best interests. Unless she’s lying about the very fundamentals of the situation - and in that case, you’ll find out really quickly - there’s every chance that you might discover a lie at the worst possible time for her. Risking that, if there’s an alternative, sounds like an incredibly bad idea.

She’s probably telling the truth as she understands it, then. The problem is, she also isn’t a very reliable source of information. Ilya claims her family made the Grail, but for all that, she understands its workings very badly. “It’s magic” is a thoroughly unsatisfactory explanation; you know from personal experience that all weird occurrences have scientific explanations, in the end. Your own strength and agility, for starters..

Okay, you’re probably the only one who didn’t realize what was going on there.

But really, if she was going to lie she could have thought of a better lie. Another reason to think she isn’t doing that, and just doesn’t understand it very well.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to lie to her, at least by omission. You aren’t willing to kill people at all, not unless there’s an extremely good reason. Killing is wrong, damn it!

Some of the other things she said, you hope are true. Being a copy, for example; you’ll want to get home regardless, and you’re sure Mom and Dad wouldn’t mind getting another daughter, but you hope they don’t have to live without you in the meantime. You know them well enough to realize how badly losing you would crush them.

..killing copies is probably less wrong than usual, maybe you can convince Ilya to let you fight just the servants. That still doesn’t make you feel happy; you know you don’t want to die, copy or not, and you can’t imagine anyone else feeling differently.

You imagine what going home would be like. There might be another you there, whom you’re sure would be surprised, but she’d get used to it quickly - you know yourself pretty well. You always wanted a sister, and this would be the next best thing. You could play together, whisper secrets to each other, help each other out, just like..

Your dad would worry about what you’d gone through, and he’d worry about making ends meet, but he’d find a way; he always does. Besides, you could ask Cloche for help, she wouldn’t mind.

(Cloche? Since when do you know the Maiden? You’ve only seen her once, from a distance.. but you’re sure she’d be happy to help you, that she’d be surprised but happy to hear you made it back, as if you know her well. It must be something that happened in your missing memories. You wish you remember how..)

Your mom...

You spend a moment imagining running across the kitchen floor to Mom, remembering how it feels to hug her. She might be confused, but not for a moment do you think she’d reject you, and you wouldn’t let her go for at least.. half an hour or so.

It’s a good scenario, much better than the idea that you’ve actually died and left them alone, but in the end you’re still sitting on a cold, stone floor, suddenly feeling unbearably alone.

“Well.. best get to it, then,” you mutter.


A few minutes later you’ve verified that your usual strength enhancements work fine, and that you’re still as fast as ever. Basic fire manipulation is still easy; you haven’t managed to damage the walls, but a little bit of experimentation did produce a blowtorch-like jet of flame that you think would make short work of any wall that’s not shielded. There’s no apparent interference with your connection from the shields, which is something you were a little worried about. There’s also no apparent difference from Infel Phira’s usual behaviour; it’s giving you the power you ask for, no problem.

You’ve been in here for about ten minutes, and already verified what you came here to check. You were expecting to need more time if anything failed, but that didn’t happen.

There’s just one thing left to try, really, but it’s something you’ve never tried before. On the other hand, if you don’t, you still won’t know if the connection is fine. On the third.. well, first hand again.. Hymmnos is simple in theory, but it’s a language where whatever you say becomes reality, never mind the cost to yourself, and you don’t have the benefit of a dive machine to let you craft magic safely. What to do...

[ ] Try making up song magic to blast through the far wall. Ilya does seem fairly destruction-happy, she won’t mind.
[ ] Experiment with the connection. Try asking Infel Phira about other connected IPDs, or something? Maybe you can even talk to yourself..
[ ] Sit back down and relax for a bit. Maybe try to remember how you know Cloche.
[ ] Write-in

No. 505794 ID: d6ef5d

>What do?
I'd say [b] first- experimenting with the connection and trying to query the connection for information first would be a good way to find out what's going on.

If there are no others connected, that could mean this isn't a parallel world, or a different planet- but that you're in your own distant past or future. (ie, everyone is dead, or not born yet). And if you can find a copy you, well, that's worth knowing, too. Maybe if her memories are intact, you can discover what happened to you. (Be sure to check under Cocona Bartel and Seiryu. Maybe the name confusion was due to the copying?).

Plus... if you can communicate with yourself (or the brother you don't remember having who taught you) maybe they can reteach you techniques or song magic or other you've forgotten (well, not that we have much time to learn before the match. We have two months to prep). That's information you may need to survive. (And relearning things may help jog or repair the damaged sections of your memory).

Then, I say go with option [A]. If you're going to survive a war against the greatest superpowered beings of all history and fiction, you need to be able to bring down the hurt. And if Ilya can't do this on her own- that means you need to be stronger than her. And her barriers. Bring. Them. Down.

[C]- meditation and trying to sort through and put together what seem like lose ends in your memory is probably something we should try to do- but you'll have time later. Right now we're focusing on testing capabilities, and we have a match waiting for us.
No. 505838 ID: 34db91

Query Infel Phira. If it's capable of passing information and communication we want to know what it knows about us, a survey of users/hardware/status, and also our access limits. Bonus score if we can look up useful song magic programs/templates by doing so, which we should test.
No. 505849 ID: 086002

Querying Infel Phira carries a risk. If this is a genuine _parallel world_, then the summoning spell might have invoked time travel. In that case, since clearly there exists a universe encompassing both yours and hers that allows for inter-universe travel, you _could_ use your wish to bring the victims of the Grail War back to life, then figure out some other way to reverse the summoning. The problem is: if it involves time travel, you might not be able to get back to anywhere in your own "time range" if you commit the causal association between your universes to a specific time or specific date. In that sense, you might want to try to keep your interaction with it such that there is no _definite_ information that your family is long dead. (It depends on whether the time travel allows causality violations)

Does Infel Phira keep usage logs? If so, it may already be too late.

On the other hand - it is probably established that you are a copy. In that sense, time travel solutions that split off a new universe with you in it seem acceptable, since you don't have to worry about all the other people who don't get to meet you again (since they already have a "you").

(Long-term note: try to form a sort-of alliance of servants whose wish is to undo the deaths of this Grail War. Ask Ilya if there's a way to magically bind yourself to a promise.)

That said: test the connection, query for usage stats, other users, etc. Then do a stress test for maximum energy throughput, but be careful to interrupt it at the first sign of interference. _Then_ figure out if Ilya has a helicopter. You need to distance test this link. Might be it works here because this place is "in the same spot", in some transdimensional sense, as your home. Wouldn't do to have it fail suddenly while you're fighting ..
No. 505945 ID: d6ef5d

Actually, I don't think the biggest risk is tripping over or tying ourselves to a timey-whimey ball. (Even if we do, we're competing for a wish. In theory, even causality won't be a problem. Ignoring for a moment the problem the wishes are corrupted).

The big risk of communication is Cocona rediscovering some of the nastier aspects of her past and breaking down. (For instance, she doesn't know she killed her parents. That's gonna really hurt someone who was less worried about getting home for the sake of getting home so much as she was actually hoping she's a clone so her absence won't hurt her family).

...assuming we she doesn't grief-bomb, remember we only have 20 minutes. That gives us 10-15 minutes to play around with the connection, and the last 10 to 5 minutes to test exploding stuff.
No. 505966 ID: 94e610
File 136607208858.jpg - (148.56KB , 1133x1055 , At1_p104_infel_phira.jpg )

Song magic is bound to be important later on, if you’re stuck fighting this war, but it’s not part of your fighting style yet. Even if you could safely create anything in the twenty minutes you have left, trying to use it in this fight would be a bad idea. No, better stick to what you know.

That leaves a couple of other options, of which the most interesting one is exploring your connection with Infel Phira. It’s essentially a big computer, after all.. okay, so that’s true to about the same degree it’s true for yourself, but it’s not not true. Like all computers, it ought to have a verbal interface or two that’ll be willing to chat.

In particular, Infel Phira should have a large number of autonomous processes - not connected to any particular Reyvateil - supporting the lift engine, power feeds and such. You don’t know to what degree they’ll talk to you, but it’s worth a shot. You should at least be able to confirm that Ilya hasn’t somehow managed to clone Infel Phira as well.

You chuckle lightly at that notion. Copying you is one thing, but Infel Phira is a device that took several years to build even using the technology of the Second Age, when they more or less understood what they were doing. Arbitrarily copying it would take.. you don’t know, probably real magic. It’s not happening.

Since you aren’t requesting any power, this should be relatively safe. The trick will be getting any useful data with the limited time you have at your disposal, so it’s probably best to have a plan. Of some sort. This would be a lot easier in binary space, but going there would definitely not be safe. It’s still not too bad, though - you don’t have to ask at random, you can start by asking what you’re allowed to do.

Recalling what you’ve at some point been taught, you fix the entire sentence in your head, making sure all the sub-verbal nuances work as intended before letting it cross the border between you and Infel Phira.

It’s more difficult than you thought it’d be, requiring you to hold a rather large number of thoughts simultaneously. It’s also a very odd, heady feeling - you’re only really conscious of one thought at a time while constructing the sentence, but you remain conscious that the other components are still there, keeping a holding pattern below the surface of your consciousness. You’ve heard that spells tend to take on a mind of their own during dives, which makes you wonder if right now you’re creating subordinate minds.

Using a language you haven’t actually learned or spoken is slow going, parts seeming to protest before offering up suitable function names. All told, it takes you about a minute for the first, short sentence - entirely too slow for combat, but still far faster than exploring a mostly-unknown computer system would normally be.

Was ki ra aulla zuieg tie mea /.
Concentrating firmly: What access rights do I have?

There’s an unexpectedly long pause, when the only way you know something is happening is through a sense of.. expectancy. Finally, you feel a sound-only channel opening back towards you.

neia nei pauwel /. re morto lya lyuma /. re wase x.y.n. tou hyzik /. ini method_deleir /. j.w. manaf tou yor -> chsee ansul yor /. enter enne manac ?

...you’re not sure whether you understood that right. It certainly isn’t the command list you were asking for.

Did it just say..?

Well, it definitely asked for your name, but something about the way you got that response is making it very hard to understand; it’s missing the undertones of meaning that Hymmnos is supposed to carry along, so you’re having to translate the words to your birth language one by one before trying to put them together. It’s very slow going, and might take up most of the rest of the time you have here.

You’re not quite sure, but something about those lines are giving you a sense of.. urgency. Infel Phira ought to be the one thing you can trust implicitly, so maybe you should just go ahead and tell it your name.

What do?
[ ] Don’t rush in. Take as much time as you need to figure out what it’s saying.
[ ] Go ahead, trust Infel Phira. It’s what you’ve always done.
[ ] ..I’m not sure what you can write in, but go ahead anyway.

No. 505975 ID: 94e610

Er, my bad. That i was supposed to be an l - "nel", not "nei".
No. 505977 ID: d6ef5d

Attempting translation:

>neia nei pauwel
approach 9 power
>re morto lya lyuma
(passive verb prefix) die/death Maiden of Mio
>re wase x.y.n. tou hyzik
(passive verb prefix) strong hurt at/in/to body
>ini deleir method
initialize/purify calamity/disaster (and method is an execution command, or .exe equivalent? I think?)
>j.w. manaf tou yor -> chsee ansul yor
entrust life/existence at/to/in you -> transform into ???? you
>enter enne manac
enter prayer/request (with good intentions) true name/name of soul

Augh. This copy paste translation isn't cutting it. I can't tell what's the subject or intent of the sentences, even if I know what's being discussed.

First line seems to be a power or security level (of us? Or the system? Not really significant). A maiden of Mio is apparently some kind of admin (so it's noting its admin is dead? Or it's recognizing us as an admin that should be dead?). Then it notes serous damage (reporting it's own damage, or noting ours?).

Whether it's talking about itself or us really changes the context of the next two lines. It's either intrusting us with repairs and transferring authorizations to us, or it's trying to repair us and asking for our trust? (Or worse- it's saying we need to be purged, and asking us to go along quietly).

...at least the request for identification notes good intentions.

tUnLYO, can you sort through this? My inability to tell who or what is the subject of any of these statements is a problem.

>what do?
Be cautious. From what I understand I can read this three ways:
(1) Calamity has befallen Infel Phira, it's administrator is dead, and it's reaching out to you (consistent with being in the far future, after the death of your civilization).
(2) Infel Phira has taken note of your damage, wants to help fix you, and is asking for you to trust it.
(3) Infel Phira has decided you're irreparably damaged / dangerous, and wants to purge or change you? But seems to want you to cooperate.

(Or is that enough of a translation Cocana can easily sort out what's left herself? I gave her the vocab, all she needs to untangle is the sentence structure, which presumably she understands better than I do).

...you should probably give it your true name, unless you think it's case three. (We had soul-space hex addresses and things given to us in the dream sequence). Indicate your uncertain status as a possible duplicate of a another instance / user / node / whatever you're called if you can.
No. 505978 ID: 94e610

> Can Cocona easily sort out what's left herself?
Not really. The vocabulary is the easy part; she's got a dictionary in her head. Well, depending on what you consider "easy"; she'd be able to work it out in less than half an hour, sure, which is pretty fast! :P
No. 505983 ID: d6ef5d

Hmm. That might make the first line significant than. Possibly noting one power draws near (and implying the absence of others). Could support the Cocana's the only one left theory.

Welp. Then I'm off to try brush up on my grammar! ...and hope tUnLYO shows up first.
No. 505991 ID: 7c17b3

I guess I can make an attempt.

>neia nel pauwel /.
Probably a statement of low power, I think. The word "pauwel" is used as 'strength, capability' if EXEC_CHRONICLE_KEY's use of it is any indicator, though here it could mean 'energy.' ...Not too surprising, maybe, since Infel Phira gains its energy from its connected IPDs and Cocona is the only existent IPD currently.

>re morto lya lyuma /.
This is really weird, and probably an indicator of horrible, horrible, horrible damage to Infel Phira. "lya" should be all caps and used as an prefix to "lyuma" to make the word for "Maiden of Mio," you are correct, but...corruption. (The Maiden of Mio is the proper [non-jargon] name for the person who is supposed to sing/lead Metafalica/the creation of Metafalica along with the Maiden of Homura. The Maiden of Mio, specifically, is the person that all the IPDs enter into (her Soulspace/Cosmosphere), thus allowing the creation of a gestalt entity that would be able to sustain the complex environment that those of Metafalss desire as 'Metafalica.")

Also, "re" is a word whose meaning I don't know its meaning. Apparently its a replacement for "na" or 'negation' so maybe "re" means 'negation'? But then the sentence reads 'not-death of Maiden of Mio' which doesn't make any sense to me. Google Translate says the translation (from the conlang wiki) is "is to," so maybe the translation of the Hymmnos would be "The Maiden of Mio is dead."

>re wase x.y.n. tou hyzik /.
Seems like what d6ef5d thinks to me... Translation: "[My] body strongly hurts."

>ini method_deleir /.
...'deleir' is an Alpha Note of Eolia, the First Tower. Since character!Nenesha was inside Cocona's Soulspace, this isn't too surprising, except that it is connected to a METHOD spell, so it should be using a New Testament word. The weird lack of caps for 'method' could also be excused with the same reason as 'lya' lacked caps...

Also, this just means 'begin the program deleir'.

>j.w. manaf tou yor -> chsee ansul yor /.
...wtfwtfwtf--what is 'ansul doing in Infel Phira?! That's part of the Three Towers! "LYAlyuma" or "Redjena=Olga" would be 'administrator' for Infel Phira.

...So this means "[Infel Phira] entrusts its existence to you. Therefore, [Infel Phira] changes you into the administrator [of Infel Phira]."

>enter enne manac ?
...? Whaaa...? Infel Phira and Cocona are intimately connected! ... except the part that represent's Cocona's connection to the other IPDs is utterly ruined. That does mean that Infel Phira probably doesn't know what's going on with Cocona, and why its asking her name (technically, I think, it wants Cocona's address within Infel Phira). Though it doesn't have "yor" after "manac"...

Also, there doesn't need to be "enne" if its just asking for a name. "enter manac ?" would do just fine. Thus, "What is your heart's desire?" might work.

All of which sum up to Infel Phira be fucked up, and, halfway through its damage warning, initiates a program that would do something, possibly fix things (except, Implanta & Metafalica...? Maybe that there are two Hymns in which Infel Phira enacts a repair means that there are multiple repair Hymns...), and makes Cocona its administrator (though, since Cocona's lower two levels are totaled, not Queen). It's also probably connected/controlled to/by one of the Towers, probably the Second (which is functionally indistinguishable from the First, since they're so connected).

...Nenesha, did Sumblimation successfully occur for this incarnation of Cocona? ...Except, dammit, that was Infel Phira controlling Sol Marta... Unless, something similar to Hibernation's version, where Sol Marta controlled Infel Phira?

...Also why did Cocona sing in Central? She's an IPD, the language that most naturally comes to her is New Testament. ...Though, the weird usage of Central within Infel Phira's (if that's Infel Phira) lines may indicate that Cocona's usage of Central isn't quite so odd, given the context...
No. 505993 ID: d6ef5d

Okay, that helps, I think.

>"re" is a word whose meaning I don't know its meaning
According to the dictionaries, it changes the sentence to use the passive voice (so the object acts on the subject).

So I think in this context it would be more "The Maiden of Mio is dead to me"?

Similarly, I think "re wase x.y.n. tou hyzik /." changes from "[My] body strongly hurts." to "The body is very painful to me". (Although I'm still not sure if it's referring to it's own body, or Cocona's).

>what is 'ansul doing in Infel Phira?! That's part of the Three Towers!
Well, that would explain why it's not in any of the dictionaries.

Okay, I think overall, this supports interpretation (1). Meaning I think it's safe to continue.
No. 506042 ID: 94e610

Without the 're', it would be 'I killed the maiden of Mio'. Hymmnos sentences are active by default, and the subject is always the speaker unless otherwise specified.

This becomes problematic when the speaker has no sense of self.
No. 506046 ID: 94e610

Re: Sublimation. That would be a secret.

Re: Central. Infel Phira has emulation capabilities, she can use whichever language she pleases. I'll admit that this is convenient, since the vocabulary is limited. I'm not picking dialects completely arbitrarily, but you shouldn't put too much weight on the choice.

The same does not hold for Alpha Note, mind you.
No. 506085 ID: c5fe30

So you're taking option 2, then? Continuing on immediately?

I'll post the results in 28 hours. If this is not what you would prefer to do, you have ~24 hours to make that clear.
No. 506095 ID: d6ef5d

Well, we've got a pretty good translation, I think.

I approach one (low?) power.
The Maiden of Mio is dead to me.
The body is painful to me.
Run method_deleir (disaster.exe)
I entrust my existence to you. Therefore, I change you into the administrator.

You'd think if the source of our power was damaged and in need, the intelligent thing to do would be to respond and get on it the problem before things get worse.

...the only reason not to would be if the automated responses runs the risk of making the problem worse (mechanical and organic damage responses that make the problem worse aren't unheard of), or endangering Cocana in the attempt. After all, we don't know what the disaster program involves, nor do we really understand what this presumed admin upgrade might entail. (We're not consenting to become the ghost in the machine, right?).

>choice two?
Unless someone has something more concrete to add to my fears (or Cocona has knowledge that would make them ring true), yeah. Although trust and faith that everything will work out right isn't how I would describe our emotional state.
No. 506368 ID: 94e610

Apart from "nel" (which is zero, by the way), there was one other error in the hymmnos. I don't think it matters -> proceeding.
No. 506369 ID: 94e610
File 136624860174.png - (63.27KB , 1121x686 , Cocona.png )

Go ahead, trust Infel Phira with your name. You don’t have much choice.

A burst of inspiration lets you translate the hymmnos in record time, taking less than ten minutes to get the gist of what it’s saying. It doesn’t sound good. As a best guess, it’s something like this..

I am approaching zero power.
The divine star is dead.
There is severe physical damage.
-> Therefore, initializing disaster program.
I entrust my existence to you.
-> Therefore, I will change you into my administrator.
Please enter name.

You’re pretty sure the Hymmnos version either used different rules of grammar, or was just plain corrupted. Neither option fills you with joy, even before looking at the contents of the message.

Infel Phira has been severely damaged for centuries, of course, it’s the fundamental cause of IPD disease. You can ignore that line. The rest of it...

Infel Phira should have a power feed from Sol Marta, it’s never had an internal power source. Most of its power is eventually sourced from the IPDs connected to it, but even if every IPD were to die, there should still be enough power left for Infel Phira to stay afloat and active. The only way that could fail is...

“The divine star is dead”.

The naming scheme is all wrong, that isn’t the right name for Sol Marta, but it’s a fair enough description. There’s no way it could have actually died. With a sinking feeling, you realize that Ilya might be right - she might have actually cloned Infel Phira along with you, but without its power source. That is.. bad. If Infel Phira runs out of power, you won’t just lose your magic, you’ll fall into a coma. Actually, the way things were looking in your mindscape, you might just outright die. Not that there’s much of a difference, with no way to recover.

The thought of becoming Infel Phira’s administrator is scary when you don’t know what that entails, of course, but you don’t see that you have much choice. The only thing you’re sure about right now is that your time is limited - maybe very limited.

Mind settled, if anxious, you turn your thoughts to the last line. “Please enter name.”

Really, Infel Phira should already know yours.


Ilya won’t be back for another ten minutes. You take a deep breath, hold it, then speak out loud.

Cocona /.

The moment you utter the last syllable, all sound stops. Ilya’s workroom fades like an underexposed photograph, replaced by pure black. You can’t feel the floor. You feel no gravity, either, nor any sense of falling.

In short, you can’t feel anything except your own body, and that’s missing most of its usual sensations. Your muscles were sore from the sudden workout, but no longer.

ini vYAsYNk yor anw spiritum mea /.

A command, more felt than heard. There’s a burst of light, and the darkness is replaced with a many-colored, unmoving fog. With a jolt, your feet land on a slick surface. You try to get your bearings -

x. rre yorr lLYInYIcUaU mean #0 --a code=’KOKONA=B6D_FEHU_FRELIA_ANSUL_INFELPHIRA’ es code => sol.infel-phira.[0x9C42B93853FF0C90] exec ini /. i̧͏n͏͠i̸ ͏EX͝E̡C͟͢_̧P̵̵H̵̀I͡RA̕͡ ̵͏/̵.͝
No. 506372 ID: 94e610
File 136624901170.jpg - (362.56KB , 1280x800 , pb1.jpg )

You wake up after an indeterminate amount of time, having somehow remained standing despite your apparent lack of consciousness. You have absolutely no idea what just happened, beyond the obvious, but..

You’re standing, as far as you can tell, on nothing whatsoever. It’s a little unnerving.

Immediately in front of you, there’s a tiny ball of flame stuck in the middle of what is apparently meant to be a glass cylinder, extending from maybe a meter above you and ending below the “ground”. Of course, you can see both ends quite well. A tongue of flame spirals downwards, passing into the bottom end of the cylinder and disappearing, and if you squint you can just about imagine you see the ball shrinking. There is no matching flame entering from above. No points for guessing what that represents; you need more power, badly.

There’s a certain lens flare whenever you look at the cylinder, which is how you know it’s made of “glass”. Very kitch.

To your right, there’s a screen (well, more like a 2D plane) with what looks like a structural diagram of Infel Phira, but it looks very different from real life. Many sections are blinking red or greyed out, though no more than you think would fit its usual damage. There’s also an opaque white diamond next to the screen, apparently missing even surface textures.

To your left, another screen shows a set of status displays, for once in Pastalian instead of Hymmnos. There are a couple of sections - “Infrastructure”, “Omega cluster management”, “Construction”, “Reyvateil”, etc., but you quickly zero in on “Power”. It helps that it’s blinking red.

Capacity: 7.81 PJ. Alert: 7.81PJ < 200PJ * 0.8 Charge: 906.4 TJ. Alert (CRITICAL): 906.4 TJ < 200 PJ * 0.1 Discharge_rate: 3.78 GW Alert (CRITICAL): Charge / Charge_rate < 30d [more]

There’s also an “Overview” section, which has.. nothing much, really. Just “Mode: Messela”.

So, um. If you’re reading this correctly, Infel Phira will run out of power in.. almost three days. ..could be worse? You were worried it’d happen in minutes.

You press ‘more’, hoping to get better news, or at least find some way to fix this. The status segment instantly expands to fill the entire screen.

Overview: Capacity: 7.81 PJ. Charge: 906.4 TJ. Discharge_rate: 3.78 GW Alerts: CRITICAL: Charge < Capacity_design * 0.1 CRITICAL: Charge / Discharge_rate < 30d WARNING: Capacity < Capacity_design * 0.8 WARNING: Discharge_rate > 0 for 1d [more] Charge diagnostics: SOL=MARTA: Charging at zero rate (layer 3 disconnected) IPD_BALANCER: Charging at zero rate (0 connections) APU: (Decommissioned) Overall charge rate: 0 W Discharge diagnostics (1h 1d 1w): Lift engine: 3.54 GW 3.54GW 3.54GW Structural integrity: 215 MW 215 MW 215 MW Omega cluster: 20 MW 34.7GW 12GW [more]

Sadly, you don’t know where to start. It’s frustrating, this isn’t the kind of problem that can be punched into oblivion, and the ancient interfaces in here are far beyond your experience. Moreover, you’re on a time limit - three days, yes, but you also need to get out of here before Ilya comes to get you. There’s no telling what she’ll do if she finds you unconscious on the floor, though you’re not sure if even killing your body would really affect you anymore. Unless, of course, that’d make Infel Phira itself fade away, if it’s a product of the summoning.

With a start, you realize that you actually have no idea how long you’ve been here, since you lost consciousness when Infel Phira did.. whatever, earlier. You look around for Ilya in a panic, until you remember where you are. She obviously won’t show up here.

There’s no sign of an exit, of course. That’d be too simple. The environment will probably respond to Hymmnos, though getting back might be tricky, and you’re not sure whether you should leave in the first place.

What do?
[ ] Try to get out. You have some time - not much, but some.
[ ] Press random buttons
[ ] Examine the structural schematics
[ ] Write-in

No. 506377 ID: d6ef5d

More translations!

>ini vYAsYNk yor anw spiritum mea /.
Pretty obvious here, it's plugging our sensory input into it's soul / soulspace / whatever. We've gone matrix, or ghost in the machine, whatever, if that wasn't apparent from Cocana's description.

>x. rre yorr lLYInYIcUaU mean
"You connect us" (Not sure if it means "you are connected to us?")

>#0 --a code=’KOKONA=B6D_FEHU_FRELIA_ANSUL_INFELPHIRA’ es code => sol.infel-phira.[0x9C42B93853FF0C90]
Okay... we got some code syntax. If we assume "B6D" is more hexadecimal, that's 2925. Can't translate the stuff in caps after that, not in the dictionaries (it uses ansul again. More three towers words?).

If I had to guess, it looks like it's storing/setting Cocona as the administrator at some hex adress.

>exec ini /. i̧͏n͏͠i̸ ͏EX͝E̡C͟͢_̧P̵̵H̵̀I͡RA̕͡ ̵͏/̵.͝
I think this cleans up to
>exec ini /. EXEC_PHIRA
Which is "run the program 'seed'"?

And if anyone is wondering, the image just says "Cocona /."

>With a sinking feeling, you realize that Ilya might be right - she might have actually cloned Infel Phira along with you, but without its power source.
Actually, cloning seems unlikely. Then there would have to be a physical Infel Phira somewhere nearby. Which we haven't seen any evidence of. Infel Phira is fundamentally a computer right? So I think what we're looking at is more emulation. We've got a faulty Infel Phira emulator not hooked up to a proper power source. But- if it's being emulated, it has to be running on or inside something else, right?

If we can figure out how or where or on what Infel Phira is being emulated in the outside world, maybe we can see about getting some power to it. You're gonna need Ilya's help for that, though. There's gotta be a way to track or detect the power you draw, or your link, right?

Actually, the duel might then be useful for another reason. Ilya could study your energy use and link during the battle- try and see where it comes from.

>what do?
Pushing random buttons is never a good idea unless their are no consequences (either the buttons control insignificant things, or the bomb is about to go off anyways and button mashing will either disarm it or save you anyways). Since these controls are fairly significant, and you have three days, we should hold off.

I'd say you should try and spend a few minutes to get what information you can, first. You either still have time to get out (you weren't out for long), or Ilya's already found you, anyways. Then try and find a way to jack out.
No. 506382 ID: 7c17b3

This, presuming B6D is just β-6D, means 'Cocona in β-6D, Template: Frelia, Administrator of Infel Phira'. It's a Hymn Code.

β-6D is the name of the Reyvateil whose Soulspace all Beta and Third Generation Reyvateils are using to house their own Soulspace.

As for what do:
I agree that Cocona should just try to discover what information she can access, for now. Possibly focus on how she could send more energy to Infel Phira, since she might be able to gain energy from Ilya. (Probably through the IPD link, since I highly doubt either Ilya or Cocona would be able to craft a link between Infel Phira and Ilya such that Ilya would be able to send prana to Infel Phira.) Information on the problems and damages that Infel Phira suffers from might also help, as well as damage to its connected Reyvateils, to learn more about the damages to Cocona.

As for waking up... possibly "yUzItA rifaien hyzik.mea/." ? That should read as: I request to revive the me that resides in my body. (I think I accurately reflected Cocona's feelings...)
No. 506467 ID: 94e610

Okay, before you go too far out on a limb: Ilya cannot produce power in the gigawatt range. That would take, I don't know, an Ether Liner or something.

That's not to say it's a bad-sounding idea, but consider the magnitudes.
No. 506481 ID: 39c2c9

Information is key. Again: I'm not too familiar with either setting, but if this is what Ilya called a Noble Phantasm, representing _some_ thing relevant to the summons, it's pointless if it can't power itself. Other phantasms have internal power or no power requirement? But something, emulation, parallel world, whatever, that is _sustained_ for a generation spanning war has to offer _some_ option to charge itself. (Note: ask Ilya if magic can violate conservation of energy. Note: affirmative unlikely. Evidence: universe is not a high-energy plasma). So, I think the problem is that this system is designed to get power from an external source that is not part of the emulation. (Bug in the summoning spell?) But the emulation _has_ to be accounting for the fact that the systems it hosts require power to operate. (Again: presuming conservation of energy). So it seems likely that there's some way to request the emulation layer to provide power in some form. Ilya should DEFINITELY be consulted here - she's the specialist on that topic. Phrase it in a form that she understands though.

For now, I second that we need information about our surroundings. Try to concentrate on what Infel Phira can determine about the physical properties of this domain.
No. 506483 ID: 39c2c9

Sorry for the double post, but it's really important! Focus _first and foremost_ on what the Lift Engine is and if it's necessary in this domain. It's our main power draw, and if it's not actually needed, or can be put into some form of standby, we can extend our battery period enormously.
No. 506484 ID: d6ef5d

>Ilya cannot produce power in the gigawatt range
She can't? Too bad. I was kinda hoping on that "unlimited mana" thing the fan-wiki mentioned.

...we'll have to get our hands on some lightning. Or steal some plutonium from the Libyans. :V

Yes, shutting down nonessential functions would be a good way to conserve power, if we can determine what's nonessential. For instance, yes, if Infel Phira has been virtually emulated rather than physically duplicated, we may not need lift engines (or several other things). ...although, if we don't have physical lift engines, where is that 3.54 GW going? It must be doing something.

IF Infel Phira has any external sensors, they might be worth checking. See where it thinks it is.
No. 506490 ID: c56047

Yeah, I'm going to claim no limits fallacy. Ilya's extremely powerful by the standards of F/SN mages, but 3.5 GW is.. well, see http://what-if.xkcd.com/35 for comparisons. If she could average that kind of power, she could win the war on her own.

There's also the issue that (AIUI) F/SN mages do not actually generate their own power; they channel power from Gaea, which is already on the verge of death.
No. 506494 ID: 39c2c9

If Lift Engines normally hold this place up, and (as I suspect) this is basically an empty world, then this power drain doesn't make sense. EXCEPT! Even if its gravity sensors failed, it would be bad design for Infel Phira to fall to the ground. So I think its engines default to "last active state" in the event of sensor failure. In that case, we are currently using enormous power to accelerate upwards at approximately -9.81m/s², completely unnecessarily. Do the sensors count "no data" as evidence of error? If there's no actual sensor hardware problems on internal diagnostics, but we still can't see anything on the outside, that would be good evidence we can safely turn the Lift Engine off.
No. 506495 ID: d6ef5d

I'd just like to verify that we don't need the engines running before we turn them off. We're in information gathering mode- not fixit mode, yet. We have three days before blackout at current power consumption. But if the guess about the lift engines is wrong, we could be dead in as little time as it takes to crash.
No. 506540 ID: 94e610

Well, you wanted information. I hope you find this useful.
No. 506543 ID: 94e610

[x] Find out what information you can access
[x] Check status of IP’s environment

You’ll have to risk Ilya’s temper, this is too important. There are things you’ll have to ask Ilya, too, but your first order of business is to acquire as much information as possible, as quickly as possible - there’s no real point in guaranteeing she’ll show up before you get back, you suppose.

The lift engines are the most obvious item to examine. Fingering that line predictably opens a new status window, this time showing just details of the lift engines. It’s mostly graphics, a miniature schematic of Infel Phira - there appears to be a circle of them on the lower side, of which about a third are blinking red or greyed out, mostly on one side. The remaining engines are marked with power usage and force vector, with the ones on the other side..

You blink, wondering if you’re reading this correctly. The force vectors for the central lift engines are pointed upwards, as you’d expect, but a lot of the ones on the fully-functional side appear to be pulling down, assisting gravity. Picturing the situation in your head, you realize that the megastructure is actually sufficiently lopsided that it’d topple if they didn’t, since all the engines on one side are dead. The upshot, however, is that you think it’s spending about a gigawatt just keeping itself upright. At least you don’t need to worry about damage from structural stress, since it’s been doing this for the last four hundred years.

Selecting one of the functional engines gives you a popup, with a slider letting you choose between automatic and manual modes, a large set of controls for the power and force vectors, and finally.. well, a sticky note saying simply “TODO: Add GUI controls for batched thruster updates”. You guess that means you can only control one at a time. Amusingly, the note is poking out of the screen; it comes loose easily when you tug at it, leaving you holding a copy. You assume there must be a way to delete them, but this isn’t it.

The engine is set to ‘auto’ at the moment, and you have no inclination to change that.

Looking at one of the greyed-out engines just gives you a messagebox saying “Layer 1: Connection failed”, but outside the box there’s also a red line snaking its way from the core of Infel Phira towards the engine, terminating in an exclamation mark right next to the engine. Scale is a little hard to read, but you think it might be about fifty meters short.

Giving this approach up as pointless, you return to the main power screen. The other power drains are a footnote in comparison, but you should at least have another look at the supposed sources of power. There’s just the two - IPDs and Sol Marta, both of which are reading zero, though there should be at least one IPD connected - that is, yourself.

Both of them, when selected, bring up schematics of what you presume is the supporting machinery. There’s not much to look at, though. For the “IPD_Balancer” it’s just a number of squat cylinders set at seemingly-random spots around Infel Phira - each maybe five meters across and one high, all covered with a dense hexagonal pattern.

Selecting Sol Marta highlights a larger version of the same structure, set on top of Infel Phira. It actually also makes the screen double in height, allowing it to show Sol Marta as well, problem being it’s marked entirely in red. Missing, you guess. Attempting to select it gives you the same “Layer 3 disconnected” error you started with.

You grit your teeth in frustration. This is getting you nowhere, and even in the best case you only have about five minutes left before Ilya shows up. If you want to solve anything, you’ll need more than just a list of damage. A list of solutions would be nice, but it doesn’t seem like the system is smart enough to give you that.

Where is Infel Phira, anyway?

Heading back to the main menu, you look for anything that looks useful - observation, cameras, anything like that. It only takes a few seconds to find “Surveillance”, which sounds.. slightly more candid than you’d have expected, but it’ll do. You select it, and the view immediately shifts to a bird’s eye view of.. Metafalls, centered on Infel Phira.

You don’t understand, you were sure by now that Infel Phira had been somehow brought with you, but this view seems to indicate it’s right where it was.

Oh, but when you look closer, none of the gears that turn the Rim seem to be moving. This must simply be an overview of where it expects to be! And indeed, when you look closely there are little camera icons everywhere, everything outside of Infel Phira itself covered with millions of red spots. This makes sense, you just have to select the one you want to look through.

There’s also a “restore previous session” button down in the corner, which you press in hopes of saving time.

The effect is rather more dramatic than earlier, as innumerable screens show up all around you - you even have to dodge one, when it tries to open right between your eyes. Whoever used this system before, she was really messy about her workspaces; you’d like to file a complaint.

As you turn in a circle, any attempts at humor are soon stilled when you realize what you are looking at. Many of the screens are grey, or show error messages. The ones that are left all show one thing, a scene you wouldn’t have expected even in your nightmares.

It’s Metafalls, but a Metafalls gone dead and silent.

Where you can see machinery, the machinery has stopped.

Where you see cities, the streets are full of people - slumped against walls, or lying on the ground, but never moving. Some are visibly breathing. Many aren’t.

With growing panic, you survey the scenery, searching for signs of life.

In one window you see a tank full of fish, some feebly swimming, most dead. In another, fields of grain with no-one to tend them. In a third, a bird, winging its way across the sky. Looking around frantically, you search for signs of human movement.

At last, from a camera that appears to overlook the Bell Strike Hall, you witness a strange scene. There’s a girl.. a girl with green hair and wings, sitting slumped on the floor like the others, but with an enormous blue wolf pacing around her. At one point the girl lifts her head to look at the wolf, which immediately stops to look back. Her head soon drops back down, and the wolf resumes pacing, but you don’t care. Just seeing someone move is enough to lift your spirits immensely.

You press your hands against the window, trying to get a closer look -
No. 506546 ID: 94e610
File 136632928107.jpg - (12.30KB , 300x429 , 300px-Frelia.jpg )

And stumble through, a sudden lurch marking your transition from administrative space to the scene you were looking at. The wolf is right in front of you, now; if you reach out, you could touch it.


Looking around, you realize that you haven’t really moved at all. You appear to be standing in the Hall, yes, but to your left and right are patchworks of grey space, and immediately behind you you can see the window attached to the side of the building, where you suppose there in reality is a camera. Moreover, the wolf isn’t reacting to your presence at all, despite frequently turning around to look past you. It’s a clever illusion, but an illusion all the same.

Directly above you, you can see the floating form of Infel Phira casting a kilometer-wide shadow across the city you’re standing on top of. Perhaps more precisely, the city you’re currently floating above. Your hometown, now dead.

Slumping to the stone floor, you hug your knees to your chest, all thoughts of Ilya forgotten. It doesn’t take long before you start crying: Huge, ragged sobs. Slowly, you collapse on your side, shaking.

It takes maybe a quarter hour to start forming coherent thoughts again, though you don’t bother getting up just yet.

What do?
[ ] Go back, see if you can find your parents. There’s at least one person still conscious, there could be more, right?
[ ] Look more closely at the girl. And the wolf.
[ ] Look at other people. Figure out what’s happened. Somehow.
[ ] Write-in

No. 506549 ID: d6ef5d

...damn. Ever time I think we've figured out what's going on, the parameters change.

Assuming time passes at the same rate in here as it does outside (no reason to assume that, actually. With computer cycles, time could be going a lot faster here) we've missed our window. Ilya's shown up and found us already (not sure why you were afraid she would kill your unconscious body. Are we expecting her to react in blind anger at the apparent failure of her summoning- and the servant she needs to survive the coming war?).

...if we wake up to her again, I suggest explaining that we weren't really unconscious this time- more of an astral projection, or communion with Infel Phira. Nothing wrong with you. Just... everything else.

Here's hoping this place is a copy, and your real hometown is safe. If not, well, you just found something worth a wish to try and fix, I think.

>what do
First, getup and mash the rewind button on the cameras. Don't waste more than a few minutes on this- all we want to know is how long ago things went bad and how quickly it happened. Do the recordings start with everything stopped (like, maybe the summoning copied empty bodies, without minds or souls?), does everything suddenly break, or does it happen more slowly?

Next step is to examine the girl. That's... Frelia? Isn't she a tower administrator? How can she be alive, didn't Infel Phira just overwrite her access with yours?


and isn't she a Reyvateil? Isn't the system not reading any?

Depending on what we learn from the cameras rewind, and what state Frelia is in, you're either going to need to do more investigation (cross referencing camera feeds and timestamps with event logs, figuring out what happened, when, and how, so maybe we can reverse or fix it) or you're going to have go to her aid (she may be in pressing need, and she may have information we desperately need).

...you can't. They're either okay, or they're not, but in the next few minutes, if they're okay, the best way to help them is to figure this out. It's a systemic problem- it needs a systemic solution, a way to fix this, while people can still be saved. If they can still be saved. And if they're not okay... you can't afford to know that yet. You can't afford to shut down now.

Plus we know they're dead, and can't afford to let you face that now.
No. 506552 ID: 7c17b3

Infel Phira is not the same as Sol Marta, the Tower Frelia administrates. (The Hymn Code contain Frelia solely because the Beta type Reyvateil(s) that are Cocona's ancestors were made using Frelia as a template.)

No going after parents or people close to you, Cocona. If they are hurt or dead, that would likely provoke an IPD outburst, which would be bad.

Thus, I suggest rewinding the frames on Frelia and Shun, to hopefully see why (where) they are so down.

Hibernation, I think. Guilt, perhaps, on Frelia's part...? My, I wonder how corrupted and degraded will Metafalss be as Frelia's overwhelming negative emotions infect Frelia's Song that creates and maintains Metafalss~!
No. 506554 ID: d6ef5d

Oh, and it's also worth pointing out, that even if we find people on the cameras Cocona may want to rush to and help, we may not be able to.

Remember this is a mental projection of some kind- you're outside of your own body. It's uncertain how real the rest of this Metafalss is to you- worst case, you're a ghost in the machine. This control room could be completely virtual. You could have no physical way to interact with the people or things out there except through Infel Phira, and it's systems. I hope there are at least mikes and speakers near Frelia.
No. 506638 ID: 942214

This looks like something is missing. Some people are still breathing.. that indicates: no virus, no weaponry. The destruction is the same degree everywhere, but it only affects humans, and only human cognition - birds are fine, fish are fine (if starving) .. actually, the fish indicate this happened at most a few days ago. Coinciding with your summoning? Coincidence too sharp to ignore.

What do humans in your world need to live that animals don't?
No. 506639 ID: c56047

Ammonia poisoning, I'm afraid. It'd take weeks for fish to starve.
No. 506973 ID: 94e610

You’ve been keeping your emotions in check for some time, now. Once they break free, getting yourself back under control is an impossible task - so much has happened lately, none of it good, and whenever you manage to push one image to the side your mind just skips right to the next.

Seeing your home reduced to this was a shock. Of course it was, but if that was all, you think you’d have been able to push through. You miss your parents. You miss your brother, and not remembering his name or face just makes it worse. You hate having to walk on tightropes around Ilya, never being confident of what the girl will do next. You’re worried about what you’ve done to yourself, how damaged your mind is. You’re nervous about controlling Infel Phira; you certainly have no idea how to do that. Nobody does, but you’re eleven.

As a result you stay there on the floor for quite some time, curled up in a ball, instinctively making yourself as small as possible and sobbing quietly. More than anything, you want someone to find you and tell you it’ll be okay. Someone who can take over and tell you what to do, because this is all too bewildering and huge for a young girl like you.

You flinch away from the idea of searching for your parents, at some level knowing you’d at best find them unconscious somewhere.

At one point you actually reach out to the strange wolf, but your hand just passes right through it, and it doesn’t seem to notice

There’s no-one.

It takes you some time, but with that thought in mind, you eventually work up enough motivation to start properly thinking about the situation. There really is no-one else to ask: If anything’s going to be fixed, you’ll have to fix it yourself. Well, you suppose there’s this girl - if she’s awake enough to talk, maybe - but at the moment you might as well be a ghost, so that’s not an option anyway.

Sniffling a little, you push yourself to your feet.

As far as you can tell, you have three problems:

First, everyone on Metafalls is unconscious. Maybe dead, maybe dying. That’s your largest, most obvious problem, not to mention it’s why you’re having to do this on your own. It’s also the one you have least idea about how to fix, but the longer you wait, the more people will die. It’s hot here; even just laying around outside, without drinking, will kill you in two or three days at most.

Second, Infel Phira is running out of power. That’s your second deadline: In three days it will crash, you will die, all the other IPDs might also die, and of course it’ll crash right here. You look up to where the currently diamond-shaped Infel Phira is looming ominously above Pastalia, a little off to one side.

Third, there’s Ilya, the girl who claims herself your Master. In the grand scheme of things, Ilya and her war don’t matter. You could shut up and multiply: Even if you cared about her in any real sense, the number of lives involved are too different. The girl is still important, but only because she could potentially get in your way..

By now, she’s probably discovered your body. You don’t think she’d actually hurt you - she doesn’t seem fundamentally mean, and she does need you - but there’s no telling what kind of situation you’ll wake up to.

You wonder if you could get her to lay off for a week. That war was two months away, right?

Well, leaving Ilya aside for the moment. The first two problems might actually be the same one: Infel Phira is supposed to be powered by Sol Marta and the other IPDs, but they’re all currently unconscious. It’s harder to guess why Sol Marta isn’t supplying power; it’s still visible as a bright star in the sky, so it’s not that this entire place was moved to Ilya’s world without Sol Marta. For that matter, without Sol Marta Metafalls would have fallen. It is, after all, a flying continent.

Best course of action, then: Revive everyone. You don’t know how to do that, or if it’s even possible, but it’s a goal. You can work with that.

Figuring out what happened would be a good start.

While you were feeling sorry for yourself the winged girl has crawled into a corner to lean against the wall, and is now hugging her knees while rocking back and forth. The wolf seems to be trying to comfort her, as it’s lightly leaning against her while.. whining, you think? You’re not actually getting any sound, but that would make sense. Either way, she doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Giving the two one last glance, you head back into Infel Phira proper to see if you can rewind the cameras.


As it turns out, rewinding them is fairly easy. The camera windows are a clever bit of code, overall; they turn into doorways if you push into them, but offer enough resistance that you can grip them with them with your hands and move them. Well, or maybe they just know where your hands are. You do a bit of impromptu house cleaning, making sure you have a clear line of sight to all three consoles.

More importantly, trying to move one by gripping its upper edge with both hands accidentally made it pop up a bunch of controls. Literally so, in this case; the controls are three-dimensional objects, taking the form of slides, toggles, and buttons you actually have to push. Not yet having grown bored with that style of interface on 2D screens, you find this extremely nifty, though you wonder why they put so much effort into the camera system.

Regardless, there’s a clearly marked “Rate of time” slider. It’s labelled 1:0 in the center, 1:1 slightly to the right, but extends beyond those in both directions. The slider is currently set to 1:1; out of curiosity, you try to push it further to the right, but it refuses to budge.

Pulling it towards zero slows down time, until the view finally freezes. Right. Now you just have to find the cause, the sooner the better.

You pull the slider all the way to the left, leaving it at 1:10000. At that speed it’s impossible to tell what’s going on - the wolf is nothing but a blur on the screen, though the girl doesn’t move much, and you can occasionally even see her face. She’s very good at staying still.

..come to think of it, wasn’t there some story about a winged girl? It’s right at the tip of your tongue...

The colors shortly get bluer, making you think it’s nighttime, though it doesn’t affect the apparent brightness any, nor does it affect the behaviour of the two you’re watching.

After about fifteen seconds they abruptly disappear, and the screen fills with a blur of people. You quickly slam the slider to zero, leaving you looking at a large gathering of people. Sacred Army, you think, wondering what they’re doing in Pastalia. It’s hard to tell what they’re doing with the view paused like this -

You unpause it, switching to 1:2 or thereabouts. They seem to be preparing for something, though you don’t know what; they’re cleaning the place up, bringing out the red carpet, and so on. You do have some ideas, though you don’t think even the Sacred Army would have wanted this outcome.

Eventually they line up on either side of the carpet, and you switch back to 1:1. As you halfway expected, the winged girl enters the scene, preceded by some guy in a nonstandard Army uniform. You start paying very careful attention.
No. 506974 ID: 94e610

This bit actually has a soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8iP0lkRldE
No. 506975 ID: 94e610
File 136650902225.jpg - (25.47KB , 640x450 , 19-AT2-00103.jpg )

The girl steps up to the statues of Infel and Nenesha, turns towards her now kneeling audience, and starts singing a spell.

A long spell.

A very long spell, in fact; two minutes in, there’s still no apparent effect. You wonder if there’s any effect on other parts of the city, but the windows don’t seem to automatically synchronize. Keeping one eye on the girl, you start experimenting with one that’s overlooking Pastalia’s central park to see if you can figure something out.

The answer turns out to be yes. It’s actually grown a prominent “Synchronize with record playback” button, which you promptly press, wondering if there’s any way to automate the process - you have a lot of windows open. Turns out there are also volume controls, something you immediately take advantage of.
No. 506976 ID: 94e610
File 136650908744.jpg - (33.37KB , 640x450 , 28-AT2-00119.jpg )

What you see in the park makes your blood boil. You’ve found the cause - it’s that song, which you can now hear playing through both windows.

You can also hear children crying for their parents, who are mostly ignoring them in favor of listening. It’s a horrid, hurtful scene. Eventually the cries quieten, which is a mixed blessing - it might mean they’re not hurting, but it also means they’ve succumbed to the spell.

Looking around Metafalls shows more of the same. In some places there are people who resist, for a time, but by the five minute mark almost everyone has succumbed.
No. 506978 ID: 94e610
File 136650944273.jpg - (43.18KB , 640x450 , 33-AT2-00145.jpg )

Then a new group of people enter the picture at the Hill. Two knights, someone you think is probably a Reyvateil, some other girl, and.. yourself?

It’s odd, looking at yourself like this. Odder still since you have no memory whatsoever of being there. You look pretty good, you think - confident, more so than you’ve felt lately.

The other people in your group seem.. familiar. Especially the younger knight; looking at him gives you a sense of warmth. He’s pretty cute, too. You wish you remembered these people properly; you’re sure they’re good memories, for the most part.

The younger knight looks like he’s about to speak up, when you see yourself wobble on your feet and collapse with a little cry. Uh oh. The knight immediately turns around to help.

“Cocona! What’s wrong? Get up!”

“Cro..”, you hear yourself say. “It’s like.. I don’t have any power...”


At that, the black-haired apparent Reyvateil speaks up, pointing at the Fairy. “Croix, look at Frelia. She’s most likely hacking into Infel Phira.”

You almost remember her name; it’s on the tip of your tongue. You’re pretty sure she’s the one who taught you.

“What?”, the newly named Croix exclaims.

“I.P.Ds have their Cosmospheres inside Infel Phira. If Infel Phira is invaded, Cocona’s mind will also be invaded.”

“Damn..” Croix looks towards the Army leader, who has drawn himself to his feet and looks ready to defend Frelia. “Stop it, Targana!”

Targana shakes his head. “No. Even if I wanted to, it’s useless; the song won’t stop. Even if you did stop it, Infel Phira won’t revert.”

“But.. Cocona...”

“It’s very sad, but to realize our paradise, this is a necessity. We must rewrite Infel Phira, or we can’t live in it. Forgive me.. Croix...”

“..what kind of paradise requires so many sacrifices?”

“Change always comes with sacrifices! There is no revolution without blood! The sacrifice of the I.P.Ds will save a million Metafalssians! ...It's not like I'm not pained by this either. If the I.P.Ds had been eradicated from the start, we wouldn’t have to suffer this. If you have to get mad at someone, get mad at Alfman; it’s his actions to increase the I.P.D. population that brought on this tragedy. Your precious Cocona is one of his victims.”

“..if we don’t do this, suffering will only increase. Metafalls won’t be able to support our current population forever, there isn’t enough land.”

Targana has worked himself up quite a bit, but as he’s saying this he’s looking down and avoiding Croix’ gaze. In the corner of your eye you notice the second girl, with the ridiculous hairstyle, turning away and walking back into the building.

“Croix..”, you hear yourself moan.

“So, Croix. What are you going to do? Will you fight?”

Targana looks pained at the idea, but gestures at the other soldiers to spread out in a semicircle surrounding Frelia.

“With a handicap like Cocona, there’s no way for you to win. Even if you did, what would you do? You cannot hurt Frelia without bringing down Metafalls, there’s no path of victory for you.”

At that, the black-haired Reyvateil speaks up. “..there might be another way. Croix, if we use Cocona.. you might have a chance..”

“What do you mean? Use Cocona?”

“I’ll explain elsewhere. There’s nothing we can do here, let’s go.”

Targana lets them go, looking uncertain.


You try to follow the small group on camera. There are a lot of dead spots, but with almost everyone already down, it’s not hard to spot them when they move into an area with coverage, and a bit of fiddling with the volume controls makes sure you hear everything they say on camera. Unfortunately, that’s nothing.

Finally you see them walk into the Dive Shop in central Pastalia, never having heard what their plan was. There’s no camera inside it, or indeed inside any buildings newer than about four hundred years.

You start skipping. Eventually even Targana succumbs to the song, apparently falling asleep on his feet before falling flat on his face. You wince, seeing a slight trail of red peeking out.

About thirteen minutes into the song there’s a flash of light that leaves you seeing spots, and Frelia stutters in her song before collapsing. The wolf shows up shortly afterwards, and starts.. talking to her!?

Yep. Talking wolf. That’s odd. It’s not saying anything interesting, though, just begging Frelia to wake up.

You pinch the bridge of your nose, closing your eyes for a moment before continuing. Very little else happens; the black-haired Reyvateil exits the dive shop about twenty minutes later, grimacing and looking pale, but you quickly lose her when she enters the internals of Metafalls. Apart from that, it’s just Frelia occasionally waking up sufficiently to move a few centimeters before going catatonic again.

Finally you reach the current time, and the slider jumps back to 1:1.. which is where you’re holding your hand. It now has a VR slider sticking through it. You instinctually pull away, despite the lack of any pain whatsoever. Experimentally poking the slider shows it to be as solid as always.

Well, now what?

You learned a lot, most of which you didn’t really understand, but you’re no closer to a solution than before. By now you’ve also spent at least forty minutes in here, practically guaranteeing you’ll have been discovered by Ilya. As such, you suppose it doesn’t matter much if you stay a bit longer, but maybe you you should wake up and explain the situation to her.

Alternately, you could try to contact Frelia. There are a lot of things you’d like to say to her, many of which involve your fists. You’re not sure how, though; your earlier experience shows that you can’t interact with them, and you didn’t see anything like a speaker option on the camera windows.

Maybe Ilya would have some ideas? ..well, no, she’s even worse at this than you are.

What do?
[ ] Randomly punch buttons
[ ] Go wave your arms through Frelia
[ ] Wake up, explain the situation to Ilya
[ ] ..and ask for help
[ ] ..from the audience. Write-in

No. 506979 ID: 94e610

Oh. Also, my apologies: I referred to the "Bell Strike Hall" last update, when I really meant the Hill of Metafalica. Oops.
No. 506998 ID: 7c17b3

I thought they were one and the same?

Anyways, timeline: Frelia sings Hibernation, Croix fails in getting through either Cocona's Boundary Gate or Lakra, essentially everyone in Metafalss except the IPDs (who die) get transferred into Infel Phira.

...Huh. That means Cloche died. So that what Infel Phira meant when she said the Maiden of Mio is dead... --And Implanta is inaccessible, so this state of affairs is essentially permanent.

This is unfortunate.

Well, except, Frelia. She hacked into Infel Phira with Hibernation, is it not possible that you could make a connection to Sol Marta (she's not dead, therefore she isn't an IPD, therefore she's connected to one of the Three Towers, of which Sol Marta is the best bet since it's the Tower native to Metafalss, and the next best bet, Ar Tonelico, basically has an incestous relationship with Sol Marta anyways...) and start expressing your feelings to her (remember, happy thoughts!). You have a name (Frelia) as well as a location (Hill of Metafalica), so Sol Marta probably would recognize the correct Reyvateil.

Your goal is to ensure Infel Phira doesn't fall and destroy itself (so, get energy, somehow--from Sol Marta?), then understanding Frelia (seriously, what kind of person would sing a song that kills hundreds of people--can you imagine the feelings contained in the Hymn?!), then understanding what the hell happened.

(Also, Cocona? Frelia the Goddess, remember? While I wouldn't expect you to recognize her on sight, I would imagine that Frelia's a popular character for children's stories... Though, I suppose, Metafalss' emphasis on practicality meant there weren't any children's stories...)
No. 507001 ID: d6ef5d

Huh, actual screencaps!

>You wonder if you could get her to lay off for a week. That war was two months away, right?
I would very much doubt that. Remember, she believes you're a copy anyways. A dead copy. She'll believe these people you're trying to save are already long dead, or copies too. Compared to saving her own life, and whatever she thought was worth risking her life to wish for? She won't place much value in them.

>Maybe Ilya would have some ideas?
I can tell you her idea right now. Win the war. Fix everything with a wish. ...with the caveat of doing whatever you have to to not run out of power in only three days.

Problem is, that's a gamble. You're betting everything on an uncertain thing. It was one thing when only your and Ilya's lives depended on winning. You can't afford to do nothing and bet everyone on the chance you'll win. Not when you could be taking other measures to try and help.

...this might explain what went wrong with the summoning. Maybe you weren't dead- you were unconscious, turned off, dying, like everyone else. Maybe. Although... you don't know what they meant by use you. Could they have set this up? Purposefully? Made sure you went through what you've gone through so you'd be in a position to help?

>what do?
...I don't suppose there's an event log? Obviously, that song she sung- the hack she did, was some kind of program. There's no undo last action? Task manager force quit hibernation genocide dot exe? (Doubt this would work, but it might be worth wasting a minute or two on).

You're going to have to wake and See Ilya soon (she'll be getting worried, I'm sure), but first we need to try something. We should talk to Frelia- before she dies or leaves. She may have information we need.

Also... what happened to you? Is your body still where they left it, I wonder? (Were you copied or moved?) Or your allies? Did they leave the area, or did they eventually succumb as well?

And if you're not really here, do you need to actually walk places? Or can you just sort of blip to where you want to be?
No. 507010 ID: 7c17b3

We're dead remember? Everything we perceive is what Infel Phira perceives or had perceived. Our body is inside a building that Infel Phira doesn't have cameras in, so we can't see inside it. And, since the update said the video stream (well, close enough to video in modern English vernacular...) reached current time, and the song ended, I would expect everybody except Jacqli to have died.

And, I would expect that trying to undo Hibernation solely from Infel Phira's perspective would end up with a Metafalss full of IPDs that summarily end up destroying Metafalss when they see the massive amount of dead bodies of the non-IPDs and suffer a truly massive IPD outbreak. The 'souls', if you will, of the non-IPDs are not synchronized with their bodies I would imagine, and deleting the Soulspaces would be killing them, without waking up the them-in-their-bodies.

...Though, if the souls of the dead non-IPDs are within Infel Phira, perhaps we can ask for a list of active Soulspaces, by the authority of the Queen of Infel Phira? Then, enter a Soulspace we do not recognize (which is important--familiarity would probably mean strong emotions) and interact with them? ...Probably not the best of ideas, and thus I am not advocating it, but we could check to see if we have the Soulspaces, so if we find a way to transcribe the Soulspaces into their proper bodies, we would know that we have the Soulspaces.
No. 507014 ID: d6ef5d

We're supposedly dead. We've yet to verify this. The state of our body (or lack thereof) could settle whether we were actually copied or summoned over in our damaged, near death state.

And even if we are hologramming it up here, I was under the impression we could travel. After all, we can't wave our arms through Frelia from this control room. If we can move our avatar to interact with her, we should be able to investigate and perceive other places as well, including where the monitoring devices don't reach.
No. 507017 ID: 7c17b3

But we're inside a hologram constructed from the feed from the monitoring devices? We're in the control room, just with the 'space' that would represent the control room overlaid with the hologram; we, that is Cocona, are not a hologram.
No. 507018 ID: d6ef5d

...I dunno. As described, I'm not actually sure if the control room exists or not. We could be the ghost in the machine, matrixing it up in a virtual control room (meaning we can only interact with anything via these controls and camera) or we could be a holographic avatar working in a real control room. (Granted, a real control room with floating holographic displays screens). Meaning we might ave the ability to wander, and a limited capacity to interact with other things.

Simplest way to check might be just to look if the room even has a door.
No. 507040 ID: 94e610

You don't see any door. If it's there, it's hidden somewhere.
No. 507076 ID: 94e610

> Bell strike hall vs. Hill of Metafalica
They're right next to each other. The Bell Strike Hall is essentially the inside part.

> Cocona's lack of recognition
You probably don't remember, but they've been burning their history books. Cocona knows about the Goddess, to be sure - she's a bogeyman - but she wouldn't know her name.

Now. That said, it's a bit hard to interpret the suggestions this time; you're short on concrete plans. I realize they're hard to figure out, here, but I promise I'll consider the spirit as well as wording of any concrete plans. At the moment, I've got this:

[x] Check for a sudden, unexpected teleportation ability.
[x] Read event log?
[x] Task manager.. you saw nothing called, or related to that.
[x] Try talking to Frelia
[x] Try talking to Sol Marta
[x] Check for soulspaces? (Any ideas how?)

Trying all of those would take a while. Feel free to prioritize, and/or put a time limit on her.
No. 507083 ID: d6ef5d

Prioritize? Alright.

>Check for a sudden, unexpected teleportation ability.
Well, I figure that would take less than a minute to determine that we can't do that, so why not try that first. (Unless we were to start trying to compose free form song magic, which would be slower and difficult to do. And possibly dangerous, considering we're already displaced / projected by one song).

>Read event log?
Uh... if there's one readily available, it might be useful to see what Infel Phira actually did. Then again, at best we might get the song name or a bunch of functions called that don't mean anything to Cocona. So it's of limited utility, and not worth more than a few minutes, tops.

>try to talk to Frelia
This seems to me to be important thing to try, since if we wait too long, it might not be possible (Frelia could pass out for good, die, leave, etc). And if we get some understanding from her as to what has been done, that perhaps best shapes Cocona's ability to try and find some response or fix. She seems consumed by despair or grief- something like confession seems like it would be easy to get. (maybe half an hour-ish to cutoff?).

>task manager
Feel free to discard that. I was making an analogy at best, and that's not how you would reverse something that happened, it's how you interrupt a process.

>talk to Soul Marta
I think that can wait till after we've talked to Frelia, maybe found out why Soul Marta isn't powering anything. From what we overheard, this isn't what they planned. You don't build a paradise by killing the whole goddamn floating island.

Also, even assuming we can figure out how to make a connection, talking to Soul Marta sounds as if it would be a time consuming and confusing process. Which I think we have to wait on.

>Check for soulspaces?
I think that can wait. We don't know how to do that, soulspace fiddling is liable to be time consuming and if there are people uploaded in soulspaces, they aren't going anywhere.

>check in with Ilya
I think we're going to have to wake up after checking on Frelia. (Within the hour, I'd say?). Once we know what the problem is (and assuming it's beyond what we could fix immediately), we can consult with our allies. And we can't afford to leave her worrying forever.

>burning their history books
...never a smart move.
No. 507094 ID: 7c17b3

>Check for a sudden, unexpected teleportation ability
Lowest priority.

>Read event log?
Useful if only to see exactly what was going on before/during/after Hibernation. Third priority.

>Task manager.. you saw nothing called, or related to that.
List of active songs? Probably second priority.

>Try talking to Frelia/Try talking to Sol Marta
Talking to Frelia, physically, would require having Infel Phira projecting energy near her such that recognizable sound is produced which is too difficult, I would say (unless it isn't?). Thus, talking to her via Sol Marta: contact Sol Marta, ask to communicate with the Reyvateil called Frelia in the Hill of Metafalica. Main topics are why Sol Marta isn't sending power to Infel Phira and what was going on with the song (Hibernation, the Song's effects, etc.).

First priority. Need information.

>Check for soulspaces? (Any ideas how?)
What, can't the Queen call up a list of active Soulspaces (that is, in use)? Given Infel Phira's purpose, knowing how many Reyvateils are alive and who they are seems directly useful enough that installing a list function with ease of access is useful. Also, second lowest priority--not directly useful in the current situation.

>burning history books
...Right! Alfman, your underlings are stupid because you shut down all the schools.
No. 507257 ID: 94e610
File 136667589457.png - (14.10KB , 308x182 , rr1.png )

Trying to contact Frelia is probably your best bet, if you can figure out how, but first you want to make sure her song really did stop. There was a ‘Reyvateil’ entry on the main menu of the system console. Normally there’d be about an even chance that some random Reyvateil is connected to Sol Marta, in which case there’ll be nothing to see, but according to Blackie Frelia was hacking into Infel Phira as part of her spell. There’s a good chance there’ll be signs, if it’s still going.

On the way, the system asks you if you’d like to close all the surveillance windows. You decline; there honestly isn’t much else to use all this empty space for.

Bringing up the “Reyvateil” console gives you another fairly complex screen, with a lot of Reyvateil-specific controls and.. oh dear. In lieu of what looks like it should be a list of Reyvateils, there’s a screen saying “Exception: Prologue.head: empty list”. Seems there’s a programming error.. you can only hope it’s just that screen that hasn’t been well tested, and there aren’t any future problems waiting.

You steadfastly deny the obvious interpretation. Really, how likely is it that there are no Reyvateils connected? ...that is, there’s you, so there’s at least one.

It’s probably just a bug.

Most of the controls are greyed out, seeming to be for individual Reyvateils, but there’s one that looks very applicable - ”‘Active songs”. Pressing it reveals that there aren’t any. You guess Frelia’s either wouldn’t show up here, or is already completed. Completed, from the looks of it.

There might be other places to check, but you haven’t found them. Next step, then: Actually talking to Frelia.

You step back through the surveillance-portal to the Hill of Metafalica, where Frelia is still sitting in a corner between two pillars, sleeping with her head on her knees. You doubt this is going to work, but it’s worth a try...

You really were just going to try talking, but when you see her sitting there like that - after destroying everything - your anger spins out of control. Truth be told, you don’t even try. Sprinting across the floor, you aim a perfect punch at Frelia’s nose - and punch right through her, as you were expecting. You were already pulling your punch even before hitting, so you don’t overbalance or hit the pillar behind her. That felt good, though.

Frelia doesn’t react at all. Neither does her wolf, who is currently curled up around Frelia’s legs - through yours - and seems to be sleeping. The absurdity of the situation provokes a hysterical giggle - you’ve got the Reyvateil responsible right here, and you can’t do anything to her, can’t even talk to her.

You quickly calm down, taking a closer look at Frelia. Her lack of recognition allows you to get as close as you like, far inside her personal space, though in fact parts of her face are glitching out - the camera(s) don’t seem to have a good angle on her.

She’s not sleeping at all. Actually, she’s sitting with her eyes wide open, quietly crying and making no attempt at wiping those tears. For a moment you feel happy about that - she should be crying - then you feel bad for wanting her to, and just end up confused. Still, that’s right. This isn’t what she wanted, either.. oh, she was willing to kill you, and you will chew her out for that when you have the chance, but she kind of had reason for that. Not a good reason, but a reason all the same. Frelia.. sent everyone in Metafalls into Infel Phira, somehow, so surely she doesn’t want it to fall.

The thought strikes you like a sledgehammer to the gut. If Infel Phira falls, it’s not just you who might die, and it’s not just those it falls on - assuming what Frelia did basically worked, it’ll kill everyone. You already knew, you suppose, but you hadn’t made the connection before.

If that’s the case, then acquiring a power supply trumps every other possible consideration.

Abandoning your futile attempt at communicating through a one-way surveillance system, you practically run back into the control room. You need power. If you can’t talk with Frelia this way.. there was one other option, which you’ve mostly ignored so far; there are no IPD Reyvateils around to tap, but there’s still Sol Marta. It should be possible to contact Frelia that way, and you might also be able to restore the power tap.

Back at the console, you quickly back out to the main screen before starting to tap the less dangerous-looking buttons, only halfway at random. “Infrastructure” - wall of text, but it seems to be only about Infel Phira. “Construction” - actually tells you there’s insufficient power to make anything, you’re not sure what you were hoping for. After a few minutes of that kind of thing you stumble across the “Network” section, which shows a rather large list of miscellaneous devices. It mostly lists Infel Phira components - but right at the top, there’s an entry for “sol.sol-marta.edge19”. Jackpot!

Well, or so you thought. Tapping it gives you another large list of options, yes, but right at the top there’s your old friend “Error: Layer 3 disconnected”. There actually is a reading for power transfer, along with commands for altering it, but tapping those only makes the layer error buzz for a second. Figures; anything that simple to fix (to someone who knows what they’re doing) would have fixed itself already.

Other options include “ping”, “traceroute”, “binary field”, “portscan” and “diagnostics”.


You poke “diagnostics”. Up pops a dialog box saying.. “Error: Layer 3 disconnected”. Well, why not. Who needs helpful diagnostics anyway.

“Really, Infel Phira?”, you say out loud. “That’s the best you can do?”


There’s no response. You feel rather silly, not to mention increasingly frantic. Three days is a lot of time, but maybe not for something like this. No.. calm down, Cocona. Take a deep breath.

It doesn’t work, as your breaths feel like nothing at all. For the first time since you got here, you notice that you haven’t actually been breathing - your lungs do seem to work, kinda, but you can’t really tell. Well, that’s great. Really. Visceral confirmation of Cocona’s ghostliness is just what you needed right now.

You eventually calm down anyway, though. Considering the situation...

Most of those options, you’ve never heard of before. One, you have. The binary field - it’s a virtual space, designed to let Reyvateils interface directly with computers, but it doesn’t have much in the way of safeties and it’s incredibly dangerous to any third-generation Reyvateil. Which includes yourself.

Certainly, using it might be helpful in figuring this out, but without any help whatsoever.. it’ll be a massive gamble. It’s pretty much your only idea, though. Ilya’s grail, if it’s powerful enough to help here, won’t be available for another two months at the earliest, by which time you’ll be dead. There are no other IPDs. You can’t find any other way of talking to Frelia. So it’s this, or push random buttons, any one of which might instantly kill you.

You wonder if you should tell Ilya first. Well, you should at least tell her something; a comforting lie that stops her from interfering, if nothing else. You don’t think you’re good at lying, but it’s not like she could spontaneously guess the truth. That’s the plan, then: Return to Ilya, tell her you’ll need more time to deal with the situation - probably a day or so, but no more than three - then come back here, and dive into binary space.

How to get back, though..? Song magic? Experimenting is always scary, but this seems simple enough, so you start composing. It’s pretty easy this time, the words flowing smoothly. Putting all your desires into the spell, you sing:

yAzUtLYI rifaien hyzik mea /.
Holding in anguish over the world’s destruction, I wish to revive my body.

You can feel something beginning to happen before the spell leaves your conscious mind, but after half a minute of waiting you’re still here. That’s odd. Spells can break spectacularly, but “does nothing” is weird and unusual.

You look around the control room again, hoping there’s something you’ve missed. It’s a simple place - featureless transparent plane to stand on, featureless mist in all directions, physical schematics, control console, floating-ball-of-fancy-power-diagram in a cylinder, floating featureless white diamond, lots of floating surveillance windows...

The diamond, then. It’s the only thing you haven’t looked closely at yet; even if it’s not the exit, it has to be worth checking out. Looking closely at it doesn’t tell you much, though. It really is featureless, not even casting proper shadows or reacting to lighting conditions. The only way you can tell it’s a diamond at all is by seeing its edges against the mist.

Poking strange objects is a time-worn strategy, so you do just that, letting you feel a fundamentally.. anonymous surface. Up pops an empty dialog box - there isn’t even an “ok” button. It goes away when you remove your finger from the diamond, though, so you guess it didn’t really need one.

Poking it a few more times produces the same result, so you decide to grab it with your hand instead. Something has to provoke a response from this thing, and sure enough.. this time glowing veins starts covering the side you’re holding before it cracks open, black mist swirling out to envelop you. You panic for a second, pushing off the ground in a powerful jump, before -


- you slam your head right into the ceiling of Ilya’s practice room, falling to the ground in a heap. Ow. Owowow. Also, ow. The ceiling is raw stone, it’s very -

What are you still doing here? Shouldn’t Ilya have discovered you long ago? You feel befuddled, wondering if this place might be hard for her to open from the outside. If so, though, how were you supposed to get out? What the hell kind of door was that diamond, and what kind of person would make it?

You can just about see through the entranceway. There’s no Ilya outside. This is strange, could it be that no time has passed? If so, how?

Brightening up, you realize that this actually really simplifies your situation. Ilya doesn’t realize there’s a problem at all, you can.. well, you probably can’t stick to your bed all day, unless.. maybe if you deliberately lose against Leysritt? If no time has passed, Ilya will be along in another few minutes. You need to be ready for her.

What do?
[ ] Deliberately lose.
[ ] Tell Ilya the situation as-is, skip the whole fight scene. It seems so pointless right now.
[ ] Come to think of it, her Grail might not be the only local source of power.
[ ] Ask the voices in your head. You’re still seeing stars from that ceiling-strike.

No. 507265 ID: d6ef5d

>Really, how likely is it that there are no Reyvateils connected? ...that is, there’s you, so there’s at least one.
...unless with your damage and new status the system doesn't even count you as a Reyvateils anymore? A clerical error, or keeps you filed in the wrong / a different column?

Actually, the power intake read zero, right? If you're an active Reyvateils, shouldn't Infel Phira be receiving at least a trickle from you?

>a comforting lie that stops her from interfering, if nothing else.
Not really in our best interest, I would think. If you cover it, she's going to want to keep you working on her problems (ie, preparing for the grail war). If you get her to understand you have real problems, and that they affect her (no power = you die = she dies) you're more liable to get some cooperation, even if she cannot directly help you (although you never know. You're completely unfamiliar with most of her set of powers and resources- there might be some way she can contribute, or yes, some local source of power she knows of).

>This is strange, could it be that no time has passed? If so, how?
It could be because you projected your mind inside a very large and powerful machine (with enough processing cycles, 'time' can seem to pass relatively slower for machines). It could also be because you temporarily moved your consciousness from this world to your home. If they're in separate times / worlds / universes / planes / dimensions / whatever there's no reason that a linear flow of time should be synchronous in both. (Like moving from one book to another. Or a movie. Just because you progress in one, doesn't mean the other comes unpaused).

Although we really lack enough information on the metaphysics here to make a definite answer.

You don't have an internal chronometer to check? The time passed according to your mental records may not match the time passed according to the body you left behind.

>what do?
Kick Leysritt's butt. You don't appreciate being thrown around like that, and it'll be good to take out some of the frustration you're feeling. And to prove to yourself you can do something. A problem you can tackle directly (a fight) is almost a relief compared to the complicated mysteries you've been facing.

Besides, getting Ilya's help will be easier if you prove to her you're worth something. A capable servant worth helping is worth more than a failed one, who can't deal with a simple problem like an overprotective mortal.

...although it might still be a good idea to explain to Ilya there's a problem on the way to the fight though. If she can, I'd like her to try and study you as you fight. Can she tell where you're pulling energy from? Where you connection to Infel Phira goes with respect to this place?
No. 507283 ID: 406926

How to explain the situation to Ilya... how about this? She said that there's very little power draw from her to us; that's because we and all our songs- that is, magic- are supported by an external power source, Infel Phira. This power source is currently broken- possibly just like we were when summoned; we're not sure. In any case, while it has a massive store of power inside it- enough to destroy a small city, probably- the storage is damaged, and because of this it isn't stable and is rapidly draining away keeping itself intact; it will be completely gone in a matter of days. Worse, the support infrastructure that's supposed to keep it charged is gone, since it was supported by our entire civilization and drawn on by many people; if we want to store any additional energy in it we'll have to come up with our own way to do it. If she wants us to have any power at all left to use by the time her Grail War happens, we need to figure out what's going on with it, get it stable, and maybe figure out a way to draw more energy into it.

If we describe it this way, hopefully Ilya will be more than happy to give us time to sort out what's going on, and maybe she'll work on getting Infel Phira more power, which would be useful and keep her focused on something useful to us instead of something dangerous.
No. 507289 ID: d6ef5d

She's from a modern-ish setting, with nukes and laptops. She'll understand the concept of a battery being bled dry. And I think she can appreciate the the energy drain needed to keep a continent floating.
No. 507388 ID: c56047

> Keeping a continent afloat
That's Sol Marta, or more specifically Frelia. Infel Phira just keeps *itself* afloat. It does weigh about 30 gigatons, though.
No. 507599 ID: 94e610

The first you see of Ilya is a shimmer in the containment field, which takes about ten seconds to shut down entirely, giving off a buzzing noise that reminds you of high-powered armor fields. You’re sitting on the floor, attempting to meditate and recover some memories, though you’re starting to think that makes about as much sense as asking a washing machine to philosophize.

Truthfully, you were just daydreaming. Meditation isn’t something you remember being good at, but ever since you woke up in this world you’ve found it utterly impossible. You don’t seem capable of reaching the relaxed state required by the techniques you learned in the knight corps anymore - ah, but the thought at least made you remember you were part of the knight corps at some point, so it’s achieved its purpose. Sort of.

You smoothly rise to your feet as Ilya enters the room, but you’re overrun before you manage to say anything. “Everything in order, then? Do you feel up to a fight? Leysritt keeps insisting we’re doomed, it’s really annoying...” She gives you a once-over, then turns around. “Let’s go, then.”

Oh, for.. Now wait just a minute!

You have to jog to catch up, a situation that’s becoming annoyingly familiar. “Yes, as far as I can tell I’m in perfect shape for a fight, and I think I also figured out why you’re not feeling any drain, but about that. There seems to be a problem.”

“Tell me while we’re walking,” is her response.

“Well, sure. Remember Infel Phira?”


“It’s still feeding me energy, which should be why I’m not using yours, but it’s going to run out fairly soon.” You explain the situation, emphasizing that you’ll be useless and probably dead without it, and that the scales involved mean there’s no way Ilya could do anything to help directly.

Ilya slows down, looking deep in thought for a while. You’re just happy you seem to be getting through to her.

“And there’s no way you can function without it?”

“None. Even if I could survive - which is looking increasingly unlikely - most of my abilities depend on Infel Phira for one reason or another.” You tactfully ignore her casual disregard for the lives of everyone on Metafalls.

“Well, it is your Noble Phantasm, I guess that makes sense. RIght. I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to help - how long did you say we have?”

You consult your internal clock, which.. seems to be running at about half of normal speed, but did apparently count the time spent in Infel Phira. Um. Well, the charge status was.. “A bit less than three days. At most.”

“While there’s still two months to go before the war. We can certainly spend that much time making sure you have the best possible chance.” Her eyes gain a maniacal gleam. “So long as you beat Leysritt first. Show her who’s in charge.”

Really? That’s what this is about, some kind of dominance contest?

..well, whatever. Someone to beat up sounds good right now, and if Leysritt is volunteering, who are you to deny her?

You walk silently the rest of the way.
No. 507600 ID: 94e610
File 136685180137.png - (32.68KB , 530x526 , Battle 1-1.png )

“Right, you two! The rules for this battle are.. nothing in particular, Leysritt, do as you like. Cocona, try not to hurt Leysritt! Too badly!”

You’re back in the freezing cold, standing in the a roughly square section of the central courtyard that one or the other of Ilya’s servants must have shoveled off. It makes for an unusual arena - the snow is still about a centimeter deep, meaning your footing is about as unsure as if fighting on sand. That’s still pretty good, but you’ll have to be careful.

Ilya is watching from the side with what you can only describe as a manic grin, but she seems genuinely excited - any more, and she’d be jumping up and down. There must be some kind of story here. Well, you’re sure you can take Leysritt, but without hurting her? That’ll be a challenge. If this was a traditional spar you might have tried to force a ring-out, but Ilya’s mentioned no such rule.

It’s really cold, you’re already burning magic to keep warm. Minuscule amounts, to be fair - the only thing that’s going to affect is your eventual endurance, and then only if the fight lasts an hour.

The only one who seems fully comfortable with this weather is Leysritt, who’s wearing what appears to be a maid outfit into battle, but is also carrying a polearm that appears to be heavier than she is. You doubt it can get through your armor even if she hits your bare skin, but if she hits you with that it’s still going to hurt just from the massive blunt force. She’s standing calmly four meters in front of you.

You unclasp your batons from your hair, letting it fall down around your waist, taking one baton in each hand.


You focus on Leysritt, ready to react the instant she moves.

No. 507601 ID: 94e610
File 136685182489.png - (32.48KB , 504x516 , Battle 1-2.png )

The next second or so is a blur. Leysritt twirls her polearm faster than you’d have believed possible, and is already jumping at you before you even manage to shift your footing, catching you flat-footed.

She swings.


You use a burst of magic to grab the ground and, ignoring leverage, force your entire body two meters to the left. The polearm hits the ground with a tremendous crash; you can feel the vibrations from here. Chancing a glance, you see it’s left a large crater in the snow, but Leysritt is already pulling it back around.


HP: 60
SP: 45 (145/150)

HP: 40
SP: 490 (∞/∞)
No. 507602 ID: 94e610

A quick explanation of battles:

- You get two actions per turn. One turn is four seconds.

- If your HP hits zero you’re reduced to one action per round, which may not be an attack or move action. Enemies can use a single attack action to cripple or kill you. They cannot do so if you have even 1 HP left, barring exceptional circumstances.

- SP is your pool of Prana and/or Song magic. It’s represented as “A (B/C)”, where A is your current endurance, B is your stored energy and C is your storage capacity. Endurance increases by 10 per turn, stored energy normally never increases during battle. I will probably not bother to include stored/maximum energy for Cocona again.

- Cocona is currently wearing active armor, which reduces the damage from any impact by 15 HP (to a minimum of 1) and converts all non-elemental strikes that do not deal at least 30 damage to blunt damage. It self-repairs very quickly, and is effectively impossible to wear down except through continuous-damage weapons such as chainsaws.

Currently available base actions are:

- Move two squares in the direction you are currently going.
- Change direction, move one square.
- Hit someone with a baton.
- Ignore inertia (10 SP)
- Control heat (5-50 SP)

Combinatory actions (use with something else):

- Enhance strength (1-10 SP)
- Enhance agility (1-10 SP)

Dodging is automatic, though not guaranteed to succeed.

Besides that, she can do anything that makes sense for her to do. Treat the above lists as suggestions, not hard rules.
No. 507611 ID: d6ef5d

I'm going to take some comfort in the fact I'm starting to understand Ilya- completely called her reactions.

Try not to think badly of her, and consider her position, Cocona. She considers you dead, and by extension, your world isn't really real to her (at best she sees it as some kind of phantasmal copy). She's going to find it hard to care about what's happening there while wrapped in up in her own concerns. And it makes sense she wants to see you prove yourself- he's concerned that the summon went wrong, and about her own survival. She wants to see you're worth all this trouble- that she has a chance.

For you own purposes though? A fight is some good release, and it'll do you good to take on something you can finish.

>internal clock, half speed
Does that mean time is passing at different rates here and in Metafalls? That might explain how you fit all that stuff in before Ilya arrived. However... does that change your estimate as to when you run out of power? Ie, do 3 days there translate to 1.5 or 6 days here?

Did we ever get some kind of shoes, or are we fighting barefoot in lose snow? ...actually, considering our passive magical heating, I'm not sure what advantages and disadvantages bare feet would give us footing-wise here.

I suppose if we're clever with thermal manipulation we could bust melt and dry where we're standing for a sudden traction increase, or dump and then pull out heat in an area leaving ice in our wake to trip up our opponent. Or if we can't pull heat back to freeze water, we can at least leave her slipping in the wrong time in a sudden puddle (if you do it when she's already committed to a motion (dodge, thrust, whatever) you can off balance her and leave her open to attack).

Aside from trying to use heat to abuse the terrain to our advantage:

It seems to me what we want to do is close with our opponent. Get inside her guard. Our weapons are made to parry blows, and they're shorter and faster than hers. And we're faster too, and we can spend energy to boost that more when necessary. Combine that with the active ignore inertia power and you should be able to charge in, take a blow on one baton, completely ignore the momentum / impulse of the impact, and keep coming to start landing blows. And then dance around, boosting speed as necessary to avoid her, continuing to land hits, and boosting str on blows when you can.

Since we're not trying to kill her, fireballs and the like should only be used to force her to dodge or move (controlling your enemy's actions, keeping her busy) rather than as a direct attempt to hit her.

...If I've completely misunderstood how ignore inertia works (ie, it's only supposed to apply to our own motion, allowing Arilou Lalee'lay style movement, not to negate momentum transfer to ourself) then don't try the tactic I mentioned earlier.

Huh. If we have infinity / infinity, why even bother listing the costs of powers? Is there some other consequence of expending energy we should be aware of?

...looks more like a really old fashioned nurse, to me.
No. 507612 ID: 7c17b3

The most likely action that Leysritt would do next, I think, is to lock down Cocona--she's stronger and more durable than Cocona physically and Cocona's active armor would mean she needs Cocona to stay in a confined space to make enough attacks to damage Cocona significantly (unless her attacks hit hard enough that Cocona's armor is the only reason Cocona would survive the attack...). Once Cocona can't move, Leysritt's polearm means she wouldn't be exposed to Cocona's baton attacks, forcing Cocona to rely on her (currently functionally infinite, though long-term highly limited) Song Magic which she can't effectively use while actively moving to defend. Thus,

Thus, I suggest that Cocona either lock down Leysritt's mobility or push Leysritt back. For the lock down option, either turning the snow beneath and around Leysritt's feet into water, therefore reducing her traction (unless she has the sheer strength to just trivially obtain traction with brute force) and her ability to move so fast or turn the snow into ice (though, again, provided she doesn't have the brute strength to ignore it). For the knock back option, perhaps an enhanced baton-hit or a ball of kinetic energy (for both, she might dodge backwards or sideways, either is fine for the current situation).

Then, either a move or an attack: the move is to gain a better movement range or position to attack Leysritt next turn, the attack is to damage Leysritt. For the move, Cocona's still facing left, right? Therefore, the only good option would be turning and moving a square. If that's the best option, turning North would be my preferred option. For the attack, probably a baton attack (unenhanced, I think, to gauge the durability of Leysritt in relation to Cocona's strength) as Song Magic is better performed with set-up which I don't think is currently viable.

So, onto voting--lockdown and attack: freezing the snow around both Leysritt's polearm and feet would force her to expend both of her actions on freeing herself (though, perhaps she would just free her polearm and attack, sacrificing mobility?) then attack with both batons (no enhancement--to conserve power and judge effectiveness of base attack). This hopefully would prevent Leysritt from attack Cocona next turn, whereupon Cocona can attack again (knockback, though this time with enhancement) and move onto better ground. This pattern of preventing Leysritt from moving/attack so Cocona can safely attack/move should continue for the fight.
No. 507638 ID: 94e610

> SP costs
Leysritt has to worry about both endurance and mana pool. You only have to worry about endurance, which regenerates fairly quickly. You could 'ignore inertia' (which really means grabbing onto the surrounding environment) all day long, or throw fifty 10-point fireballs (2/turn) before running out. Details in discussion thread.

> Internal clock
It's running slow, e.g. six hours in Metafalls would appear to be 12 hours here. You didn't check it while in Metafalls, though.

> Shoes
Oops. Let's say she grabbed a pair of Ilya's; she's already wearing Ilya's socks. Snow is the enemy.

> Nurse
Cocona is unfamiliar with the concept.
No. 507706 ID: 94e610

rolled 1 = 1

Leysritt is pulling out her polearm around for another go, seemingly happy with her ability to fight you from where she’s standing. Best disabuse her of that notion.

Refraining from enhancements while you’re gauging your opponent, you dig your feet into the ground and spring northwards, hoping to get inside her range.

Leysritt is already bringing her halberd down on your previous position.

She strains, trying to adjust the path in mid-fall -
No. 507709 ID: 94e610

rolled 4, 6 + 10 = 20

- and mostly succeeds, the blade falling squarely on your side. She shouldn’t be able to move this quickly!

Desperately, you interpose an arm, grasping at thin air for an inertial barrier.
No. 507723 ID: 94e610
File 136692150895.png - (31.67KB , 490x494 , Battle 1-3.png )

The blow strikes home, compressing your armor field to leave a nasty bruise, but not touching your skin.

You totter for a second, only barely keeping your balance.

Leysritt’s speed is stunning, for a human. Still - success! You're already just slightly too close for her to easily hit you.


HP: 60
SP: 45 (140/150)

HP: 36
SP: 490
No. 507724 ID: 94e610

There are sufficient plans. The battle will auto-continue in three hours.
No. 507725 ID: d6ef5d

Next time try and take the blow on a baton, rather than your armor, and use the inertia barrier to stop the blow, rather than taking the blow and stopping your being knocked around by it.

It's clear her normal speed is faster than yours. You've gauged that. Time to start cranking the speed boost up- get to where you match or exceed her speed. You need that if you expect your dodges to work, and your hits to connect.

You're inside her guard now, right? And she probably didn't expect you to absorb that blow as well as your power allowed. That means you now have an opening. Attack with your baton(s) (no str boost yet, you don't know how durable she is). At the same time, use heat manipulation to remove the traction beneath Leysritt- make some water or ice, so we can knock her over when you hit.

If you successfully get her on the ground we can try pressing the advantage, trying to go for a disarm or knockout (gauge whether you need increased str, and to what degree, from your previous hit).
No. 507748 ID: 94e610

rolled 1 = 1

Leysritt was obviously not expecting you to stay on your feet after that blow. You’re charging at her while she’s still trying to recover, and even Leysritt’s impressive strength doesn’t let her pull back without sufficient leverage.

Showing silent agreement, she discards her polearm in favor of an expeditious retreat.

You launch a small fireball at where you think she’s going, hoping to spoil her landing. With your agility boosted you’re faster than she is, but you’ll still be trying to hit a moving target.
No. 507752 ID: 94e610

rolled 12 = 12

With a wince, you realize you misjudged her movements completely. The fireball is going nowhere near Leysritt, who zagged at the last moment, instead vaporizing an innocent pile of snow to your right. That cloud of steam looks like it might have hurt.

Melee it is.

Leysritt is standing securely, preparing for your pass. You prepare your batons; she gets into some kind of martial arts stance. Funny, time has always seemed to pass slower in battle, but right now it seems to have actually slowed down.
No. 507753 ID: 94e610

rolled 1, 3 = 4

You feel like you’re moving at normal speed, instead of the barely-controllable spurts agility boosting always gave you. Instead, Leysritt’s slowed down. Only to slightly below your own speed, granted.

You have the reach advantage, making it child’s play to reach in past her guard and hit her in the shoulder.
No. 507755 ID: 94e610
File 136693394318.png - (31.89KB , 492x502 , Battle 1-4.png )

It’s not the best hit, and Leysritt’s expression doesn’t even flicker.

You could go a lot faster and stronger, though. Maybe you should do that, end the fight with a bang.


HP: 57
SP: 50 (140/150)

HP: 36
SP: 493 (Fireball: 5, AGI: 2)
No. 507757 ID: 94e610

You know the drill. The drill knows you. There is no schedule.
No. 507768 ID: d6ef5d

I'm... not sure if that means we should expect it to auto-resolve again, or if we should suggest. Meaning I don't know the drill so well after all, I suppose. So I guess I'll suggest and you can ignore me if it's unnecessary.

Basic tactics hasn't changed much, except now we have the reach advantage. You've got a grasp of her enhanced strength and speed now- start ratcheting up your own boosts (if she can take it, go faster and stronger. Repeat. Best way you have to get to the point where you can stop her without jumping right to your strongest and risking serious injury) Finishing strong is a good idea.

Make sure to keep yourself between her and her weapon. ...or actually, better idea. Covertly use heat manipulation to freeze her weapon to the ground and then make as if you're keeping her from it. If she pushes for it, let her get past you, and then strike quickly and from behind when she can't get it off the ground (the natural move on her part would be to try and grab the weapon fast and come about to face your pursuit- any delay on her part there gives you a significant opening).

If she doesn't go for her weapon (the fight stays hand to baton) press hard and fast with your enhanced abilities, and don't be afraid to use thermal manipulation to screw up her footing at the wrong moment, or to use ignore inertia to attack from a direction you otherwise wouldn't be able to.
No. 507834 ID: c56047

It means the battle will auto-continue. I *always* pay attention to suggestions; if I wasn't going to, I'd finish it in one big block.
No. 507841 ID: 42ace1

Leysritt's blow, during Round Two, inflicted 4 points of damage. That's not much! It wasn't enhanced, though. Cocona inflicted 3 points of damage... As the update says, the blow wasn't very good, not the best Cocona could do--Leysritt probably is good enough to not allow Cocona opportunities to do better.

Say, Nenesha, could Cocona expend SP to enhance her durability/armor? Probably enhancing it the moment Cocona recognizes she going to be hit is too much for Cocona as she is right now, but if she expects to be hit sometime during the beginning of the round, perhaps Cocona could then be free to act regardless of potential hits?

Well, I think that Cocona should try to make the best of her two weapons: she could make a feint with one (or both) of her batons, then use a speed boost to suddenly hit Leysritt with one of the batons. Leysritt might be able to block one strike, so Cocona should also be using a speed boost to hit Leysritt with the other baton as Leysritt is moving to block the first baton.
No. 507842 ID: c56047

Leysritt's blow actually inflicted 20 points of damage. I expect she was rather surprised Cocona soaked so much of it; DR 15 is a lot. Cocona inflicted 4, which was mostly bad luck.

Cocona doesn't have any abilities that would let her mitigate blows. Her inertial manipulation comes closest, but the best it can handle is 1-2 points depending on situation. Its real value is in letting her keep her footing.
No. 507843 ID: 11720d

>20 points of damage
...Really? Cocona can't afford to be hit without armor, then. The blow also wasn't enhanced, too--if Leysritt was surprised by the relative ineffectiveness, then her next attacks would be enhanced.

Well, the only option is to prevent that from happening then. Break Leysritt's ability to hold/use her weapon, either through removing the polearm from play (via freezing, probably) or breaking Leysritt's body. And dodge, I guess (the preferred option for Cocona).
No. 507853 ID: 94e610

> Wasn't enhanced
Watch Leysritt's SP gauge carefully. :P
No. 507855 ID: d6ef5d

I don't know why you're surprised that getting smacked full on with a halberd is supposed to have hurt. :p We rolled a one to dodge and took it full on in the side. In normal circumstances that would have hurt, knocked someone of their feet, possibly knocked the air out of them, and done some nasty slashing injury if it weren't for our armor's blunting effect.

You're also forgetting parries as an option. They should come naturally to our weapon type (and may be faster / easier / move convenient than a full dodge in many circumstances. Not to mention our near-inability to be disarmed may catch enemies off guard), and we can absorb the impact with inertial dampening. Only taking hits on our batons rather than our armor has an obvious advantage.

5SP for each attack- the one that missed and hit the ground, and the one that hit us.
No. 507856 ID: 94e610
File 136700926427.png - (31.85KB , 490x494 , Battle 1-5.png )

You’re practically standing on Leysritt’s halberd now, and Leysritt is not. Hmm, this has potential. You scuff the snow with your left shoe, seemingly getting ready to jump at Leysritt..

From Ilya’s point of view, the two of you are just staring at each other for a few seconds. In reality you’re covertly channeling heat through your shoe, then pulling it back, alternating a few times to properly freeze her polearm to the ground.

There’s a scent of burnt leather.

A flash of light tears your attention away from the halberd and back to Leysritt.


She’s much faster than she was before!

You panic a little and max out your agility enhancement, throwing yourself to the right. Leysritt immediately slows to a crawl, gliding towards your position at.. what is probably a very high speed indeed, it’ll take a while to get used to how the enhancement is working now.

It’s almost like watching a static picture. The snowflakes you’ve thrown up during your fight are hanging in mid-air, apparently weightless. As you skid off the snow, you feel weightless yourself - it’s taking forever for gravity to realize you should be sticking to the ground. There’s no way.. you never trained under conditions like this, couldn’t possibly train like this, but you’re not having any trouble at all judging your movements.

A slight burning sensation in your legs reminds you that you’re boosted well beyond your limits, and you dial back to your sustainable maximum. The world starts moving again. You see sparks of light holding Leysritt’s feet to the ground. She appears to be running at a slow walking pace, now.

She’s completely out of position for attacking you, but as she somersaults over her halberd, you realize that wasn’t her goal at all. No, she’s after the halberd. You giggle as her hands close around the haft - a bizarre, basso sound.

Just as planned.

The halberd is completely stuck, so instead of pulling it back up with her, Leysritt’s arms are nearly pulled out of joint as her upwards and forwards movement abruptly stops, converted into a sharp downward curve that slams her to the ground on her back, leaving her gasping for air. For the first time in this fight, you see an expression of outright pain on her face.

The halberd is partially freed by the jerk, but it’s not going anywhere while she’s lying there like that.

All you have to do, now, is walk over and claim your victory.


HP: 52
SP: 30 (120/150)

HP: 35
SP: 477 (Heat: 3, AGI: 20)
No. 507857 ID: 94e610

I'm writing down Leysritt's actions a round in advance, so that result was all you. She'll be more careful next time.

..let's just go with "minimum 3 hours between rounds", writing that out every time is wasteful.
No. 507861 ID: d6ef5d

Right. So Leysritt's observed abilities so far:

5SP- Power strike
20SP- Rush

She could have more.

>endurance vs SP
Oh, I think I just got how those work. Endurance is your pool of regenerating activation energy, while SP is the pool of stored, expendable reaction energy (and non-renewable in the short term). So endurance ends up functioning like a cool down timer (well, for non-Cocona people, at least).

>All you have to do, now, is walk over and claim your victory.
Nope. No underestimating your opponent. Even if she's hurt and winded, don't expect her to just up and let you win. As she sees it, her pride and Ilya's life are on the line. She's going to push herself, here.

Close in, fast, and be ready to strike. Expect her to try to dodge, or try to fight back, or pull out another special ability. If possible, keep her from reclaiming the halberd. You're going for disabling hits (preferably not enough to break anything though), and to press her. Use heat manipulation to trip her footing, if it comes up (and if she gets back up).

The high speed slam into to the ground hurt her, but without breaking her. That gives you a ballpark to estimate how much force our blows need to / can deliver, and how far you need to crank up your strength augmentation.

This ends either when Ilya calls it off, when Leysritt yields, when Leysritt is unconscious or disabled, or when you stop at the last moment- using inertia dampening and stopping your baton right before delivering a blow that otherwise would have been indisputably fatal (breaking her skull, crushing the trachea, etc).
No. 507863 ID: 7c17b3

Ilya didn't state any win condition, so the fight probably will last until one of the combatants gives up or effective loses the capability to fight.

Still, while Leysritt can still fight, she must either abandon her halbard or try to rush and fight with her natural weapons. She's also lying prone on the ground, correct? Thus, she has to expend time and energy getting back up on her feet--given the exposure of this position, I would expect Leysritt to use an enhancement, either durability or speed. If she thinks Cocona would attack during this moment of weakness, I believe that Leysritt would rather temporarily abandon her halberd and forcibly roll to a side away from Cocona, to gain space and time to get back up (unless she thinks she can gain an advantage by aggressively attacking Cocona, expending some prana for enhancements). Since Cocona's pretty fast, and should be pressing the attack, Leysritt would probably allow herself to lose the halberd for the time being; Cocona should be aware that Leysritt probably wouldn't go for the halberd.

While Leysritt is prone on the ground, though, this is the best time, I think, for Cocona to test out the damage she can inflict with her fireballs. As an IPD, Cocona's casting speed is pretty great, so she can probably fire off a fireball such that Leysritt can't dodge it.
No. 507866 ID: 94e610

Being an IPD barely enters into it - the fireballs are not song magic, what Cocona's doing is closely related to Border Disease.

What strength fireball would you like, though?
No. 507867 ID: d6ef5d

>test out the damage she can inflict with her fireballs
Nope. Bad idea. We have no information that Leysritt has damage soaking or shielding capabilities. We should not be trying to land direct hits with fireballs- that could lead to serious injury. We want to try and land blunt impacts. Fireballs use should be limited to forcing her to dodge when we want her to, or move to where we want her to.
No. 507869 ID: 94e610

No. 507870 ID: 7c17b3

>Border Disease
...Improper awakening of Third Generation Reyvateils that fail because there isn't a Soulspace Address available for the humans?

Fireballs are variable strength! We could just start with the weakest fireballs to determine effectiveness; we don't need to go to the giant laser beams of love yet!
No. 507872 ID: 94e610

Well, specifically the people who manage to not go crazy. Like the main character of AT3. I'll admit Cocona has a bit of an advantage there, but it's the same basic idea.

Re: Fireballs, Cocona gets the casting vote if you end up tied.
No. 507874 ID: 7c17b3

I mean, what the hell does Border Disease have to do with a barely-controlled burst of ...whatever a fireball is? (No, seriously, what's the mechanics of fireballs, if they aren't a basic projection of energy from a Song Server?)
No. 507875 ID: 94e610

That's exactly what fireballs are. It's also exactly what border disease is. The difference between those and song magic is the complexity of the control logic, and the location of that logic.

We're digressing, and more details begins to risk spoilers. So. Fireball, or no fireball?
No. 507876 ID: 7c17b3

I see.

Anyways, I'm for fireballs, obviously. Not sure if d6ef5d is.
No. 507880 ID: d6ef5d

>I'm for fireballs, obviously. Not sure if d6ef5d is.
I suppose it depends mechanically on what the fireballs are, here. Your border disease and energy projection babbling didn't mean much to me.

If we're using "hard" science magic and the fireball is a concentrated, intensely hot, searing ball of fire? That's something pretty gruesome to try and deliberately nail a prone human with (and from all indications, these characters only seem to have human level physical endurance. Sure, they've got speed and strength boosts, and Cocona has magic shielding, but under that, they seem as squishy as normal). Especially if we're trying to not seriously injure her. (Pulling our punches, but then lighting her on fire the moment she's down is kind of inconsistent).

But if we're using "soft" magic and the fireball is this just sort of puff of energy we can hit her with at variable intensity and without leaving her burnt and with serious long term injuries? Sure, why not fire one off. Tactically, leading with a ranged attack as we close to engage makes sense.

Tl;Dr- yea or nay depends on what kind of effect Cocona would realistically expects to get if the hit is successful.
No. 507999 ID: 94e610

Leysritt is on the ground, gasping for breath. You could just walk over, but.. something tells you she might be faking. You should be careful, and make sure she stays down.

Leading with a fireball would be good tactics, if you were okay with killing her. It’s a bad move against someone who appears to be an ordinary human; you can’t be sure how well she’d take it. Worst case, her clothes might even be flammable. Still...

Ilya’s to your right, northwest of Leysritt, and the open segment of the U-shaped castle is directly to your left. Good.

You start casually walking towards Leysritt, trusting that you’ll have time to react if she starts moving. She’s only a few steps away, and you’re still at maximum acceleration.

Unhurriedly you form your most powerful fireball on the tip of your left baton, dragging it in a circle around your head. A bit of showmanship never hurt, especially under these circumstances. An eerie blue glow illuminates the area, the baseball-sized fireball glowing far brighter than the weak sunlight that filters through the clouds. It feels pleasantly warm, though you know that if it wasn’t for your armor - a beep from which indicates the shift to cooling mode - you’d be feeling the burn already.

The surrounding area definitely does. Leysritt, who’s lying on a rapidly melting pile of snow, looks at you with something akin to horror. She abandons her grasp on the halberd in favor of rolling out of the way, far too slowly to escape. Ilya, also, is looking terrified - she starts to shout something, though too slowly for you to make out.

You’re swinging the baton right at your opponent, after all. She probably thinks you’re going to throw the fireball, in which case she’d be Leysritt flambé. You giggle internally - this is fun, you should do it more often.

When the baton hits the top of its arc you mentally prick a hole in the magnetic shells surrounding it, letting a jet of plasma shoot off northwards. You hope you didn’t overdo it, it’d be troublesome if you manage to set the castle on fire...

Even to your enhanced senses the fireball shoots off at blinding speeds, hitting the forest a hundred meters south in a fraction of a second. It crashes through one tree, and another, leaving smoldering scorch marks you can see from here.. for just a moment, before containment fails entirely and it goes spectacularly boom. You love this part. A mushroom cloud forms from water vapor and the fragments of shattered trees, reaching fifteen meters in less than a second. You can feel the heat from here, though at this distance it isn’t so bad.

The shockwave, when it comes, is enough to bowl Ilya over; she hits the snow face-first. Leysritt is already on the ground, and stays there, though she’s turned around; you brace against the shock with practiced ease.

You guess you could walk over and hit Leysritt with a baton now, but... meh. You think she’s got the point.

A few seconds pass, as does the thundering roar of the detonation. Absolute silence covers the area, broken only by Ilya’s spluttering as she tries to get out of the snowbank she’s embedded in.

Leysritt has rolled over on her back and is staring at the sky, her arms splayed out in the slush she’s lying in. She looks like a drowned rat. You get down on one knee to address her, your own armor trivially keeping you dry.

“So.. I don’t think I have to say it, but I could just as easily have aimed that at you. It was a good fight, though. Do you yield?”

Slowly, the shocked expression fades from her face. She nods, her face showing some complex emotion you can’t quite unscramble.

You hear a muffled sound from your right, where Ilya.. oh dear.

“Mmph! Ack! Phew..” she reasonably states, having just extracted her head from the snowbank which all four of her limbs are still embedded in. “..someone, help? I’m stuck!”


Final report:

HP: 52
SP: 35 (115/150)

HP: 35
SP: 427

What do?
[ ] Help Leysritt up
[ ] Help Ilya first
[ ] Put out the forest

No. 508006 ID: d6ef5d

Damn. A 50 point fireball is impressive.

And good job trying to be gracious in victory, Cocona.

>What do?
Offer Leysritt a hand first, since she's right there in front of you. Then we can go extricate Ilya.

Honestly, the part of the forest you hit is already fried. It's not like the delay of helping people up first will change much. Although you should probably put out the forest fire before it spreads or does too much damage. (Is this thing past what we can fix with thermal manipulation already? Do we have to resort to crafting song magic? ...or are we limited to fighting fire with fire, using controlled burns to deprive the spreading flames of fuel? That last one could be time consuming).
No. 508021 ID: 3e8758

>50 point fireball
...City-buster? My, that's powerful.

Anyways, help up Leysritt first. She can help dig out the snow while Cocona pulls Ilya free.

Then Ilya can decide whether to let the forest burn or use Wishcraft to put out the fire.
No. 508030 ID: d6ef5d

More like city block(s) buster, I think. Maybe get up somewhere high in the castle later to see how big the immediate blast zone was, and how far out the shockwave was doing damage (good to know if the future, if we need to make choices about collateral damage). I'm almost tempted to try and estimate the yield from the size of the mushroom cloud, but I don't have a lot of readily accessible data for the low end on the size spectrum, and it's not like any of those examples are for magnetic containment failure of concentrated balls of plasma, anyways.
No. 508031 ID: 3e8758

Quite probably not going to destroy even a moderately-sized city of the modern era, true. Still, wrecking a large portion of such a city... Well, we probably wouldn't want to do such a thing in the first place.

And, yeah, checking the size of the damage radii is a good idea.
No. 508220 ID: 94e610

You extend a hand to Leysritt, helping her to her feet. A once-over confirms that she’s completely soaked, but otherwise no worse for the wear. The area is cooling rapidly, though. You should probably get inside, and say as much; she simply nods.

The two of you start digging out Ilya, who is making sad, plaintive noises and shivering. You’re not sure whether she’s unable to get out with magic or just in too much shock to try, but the way she got embedded in the snowbank has to be immensely uncomfortable, not to mention cold. If there’s one good thing about being a Reyvateil, it has to be the way you can manipulate heat to keep yourself toasty warm.

Digging out Ilya is harder than expected. The snow she is embedded in has partially melted, and is already refreezing, but a little extra heat plus Leysritt’s prodigious strength makes quick enough work of the problem. Ilya curls up into a ball when you pull her out; you can hear her clothes crackle as she moves. The poor girl must be completely frozen.

Leysritt picks her up, then starts walking briskly back towards the house, not sparing you another glance. It’s probably understandable, she wants to make sure Ilya is fine first. Besides..

You stop on the front stairs, looking back at the forest. Your fireballs never seem to produce much in the way of fire, as anything capable of combustion is consumed in the initial blast, but there’s always a chance. The area of forest you destroyed - only slightly off from the road - is still smoking, but doesn’t seem likely to burst into flames anytime soon. That’s one load off your mind, but you should probably keep an eye on it for the next hour or so.

Wincing slightly at your bruises, you step inside. Leysritt hits hard, you’d probably be dead if it weren’t for your armor. Well, maybe not dead, but definitely close. Maybe. You don’t actually know what happens if a Reyvateil gets stabbed, but it’s probably the same as for normal people.
No. 508221 ID: 94e610
File 136736003754.jpg - (130.70KB , 800x600 , shattered glass.jpg )

The entrance hall is.. well. Um.

The first thing you see when you enter is Sella, standing in front of you with her hands on her hips. The second thing is a floor filled with glass shards, as well as small - but growing - heaps of snow, surrounded by pools of water.

You chance a glance upwards.

..yeah, she looks annoyed; her forehead is twitching. She silently points to your left, where.. yes, all the windows seem to be shattered. This is your fault, isn’t it?

Suddenly, you’re not so sure if that fireball was such a good idea. It shouldn’t have damaged the house, though! What are those windows made of, glass?

There’s a cold wind blowing through the entrance hall. You feel about ten centimeters tall.

What do?
[ ] Complain that they need better windows.
[ ] Stub your feet against each other.

No. 508223 ID: d6ef5d

>It shouldn’t have damaged the house, though! What are those windows made of, glass?
...yes, yes they are. Would you look at that. Guess there's a reason they built an interior, shielded chamber to practice energetic magics, instead of just heading outside.

Apologize, awkwardly.

Is this the kind of thing song magic could fix? I mean, you just need the glass restored to the position and state it occupied a few minutes ago. That can't be that hard- there's even a lattice structure in the glass to use as a guide.

The snow's a lot easier to fix- just melt and evaporate (carefully- don't burn the carpet, or damage the stone, whatever).
No. 508236 ID: 1ca9d2

Remember, this is a primitive world. They probably don't have high-tech materials like you use in your windows. And, uh, Song Magic experimentation like that might help. Maybe. Might not. But if it works, it's probably the best way to fix it.
No. 508239 ID: d6ef5d

Actually, come to think of it, if this room was damaged, it's probably not the only thing affected by the shock wave.

If we can song magic this, wording it as repairing the damage we just did to the castle (rather than just the glass) would be better.
No. 508245 ID: 94e610

> Song magic
No. Not for a long time. It's theoretically possible, but (In Cocona's opinion) it'd take months just to develop the spell, even if she were good at that.

Making a new castle from scratch would be considerably easier.
No. 508246 ID: d6ef5d


Well then, apologize, and do what's feasible to help. The most immediate problem isn't the snow, or even the broken glass everywhere, it's that you've blow out the windows in the middle of winter. This castle is gonna get cold.

>Making a new castle from scratch would be considerably easier.
...really? It takes less effort to create new things than to specify changes to existing things? Nevermind the energy requirements. Or the fact we'd have to duplicate things we don't understand (like the warded room).
No. 508314 ID: 94e610

> It takes less effort to create new things than to specify changes to existing things?
Well, yes. As you said, never mind the energy requirements. Fixing an existing castle requires a far more complex spell.

Not to say that it'd be easy, exactly.
No. 508393 ID: bb8c4d

I see no problem with apologizing and helping with the clean-up/repair. However, before Cocona goes to the scutwork of cleaning, perhaps ensuring the good health of Ilya would be prudent? The last update did have the indication that her clothes were nigh-completely frozen.
No. 508481 ID: 94e610

My server, which is also where I kept the notes and such for this quest, has gone the way of the dodo. I received replacement components today - and discovered that, in fact, the PSU is too old to power a Xeon motherboard.

Cocona Quest will be back in a few days, postage pending.
No. 514344 ID: 94e610

It's been a while, hasn't it? I hope you haven't all lost interest.. back to the regular schedule now.
No. 514345 ID: 94e610

So you guess the shockwave from your fireball destroyed the windows. Not your intention, and you never would have expected that result, but it happened regardless. The evidence is all over the floor.

You shift slightly, stubbing your feet together and trying not to look at Sella, an awful gnawing sensation filling your stomach. Things were going so well, too.. you really overdid it, after all, going for a maximum-power fireball right away. You decide to give things a little more thought in the future.

But, um...

Well, Leysritt’s taking care of Ilya. They were both pretty badly chilled, but that in itself shouldn’t hurt them - provided, you suppose, that the bathroom wasn’t damaged as well. You hiccup a little. No, that should be fine, the bathroom didn’t have any windows.

Which leaves Sella. There are a few ways you could try to help here, you think. Repairing the castle with a single spell is beyond you, but you could block off the windows, or heat the place up.. without burning it.. or just help her pick up the pieces, maybe?

To do that you’ll have to look at her, though. Look her in the face, even, and you’ve just noticed she’s quite a bit taller than you. You really don’t want to do that, but there’s no choice. You need to apologize, too.

Cheeks burning, you glance up at Sella again. “Um.. that is...”

You quickly look away. She looks tired and disappointed, more than angry, but you don’t want anyone to be disappointed with you either!

You’re biting your lip, trying to muster the courage to try again, when you feel a hand on top of your head. Eyes wide, you stare at Sella, who’s now apparently.. petting you, stroking your hair? Wait.. huh? Wha..?

You blush dramatically, now completely uncertain of what’s going on. You’d like to get away from her, and normally you’d just jump away, but you really don’t want to offend her. Besides, it feels.. nostalgic.

“I’m sorry! It wasn’t supposed to do that! I’m really sorry, let me help cleaning it up!”, you burst out.

Sella pauses for a moment, then continues her petting. “It’s all right, child. I think we were all so focused on getting a legendary hero, we forgot you might still be a normal person in other ways. I’m not really angry, at least not at you - Leysritt is the one who insisted we test your combat ability, and I think you passed that test with flying colors. If there was a bit of collateral damage, well, I think you showed excellent restraint for.. how old are you, twelve?”


“Oh, I’m sorry.” She ruffles your hair, probably messing up your hairstyle beyond repair. “Don’t worry about the damage, dealing with this kind of thing is also part of my job, and Ilya can fix the windows in a second once she’s defrosted. Actually, why don’t you go join her? I’m sure you’re cold too.”

You’re not, actually. Your armor’s keeping you at just the right temperature, although you should probably shut it down soon. Still, it’s tempting, and you’d get to check on Ilya.

[ ]Insist on helping (by means of ...)
[ ] Go ahead, take her offer

No. 514349 ID: 19b3c3

Yay! Glad this isn't dead. Was contemplating bumping the dis thread, actually.

>what do?
Well. Trying to think how we could actually help the most at the moment. I mean, we could melt / evaporate away any snow or water in the hall (maybe set up some kind of temporary thermal barrier, or hot air draft to prevent more from getting in?), but our abilities don't exactly have an easy way to patch the windows or clean up the glass. ...although if Leysritt and Ilya need defrosting, you could probably help with that too. And we probably owe them a bit of the apology for the scare and drenching (although they did want you to show off, and Ilya seemed to want you to blow something up before...).
No. 514363 ID: c83d10

I think that assisting with the defrosting process first and then helping Sella with cleaning up while waiting for Ilya to feel warm again is the best course of action. Cocona doesn't have the control to directly heat up Ilya safely, and possibly Leysritt doesn't have the magecraft to do so either; therefore, the likely method to defrost Ilya would be to get the frozen clothes off her, and then pile bottles of hot water and blankets on her.

As for cleaning... Safely flash-boiling the snow and water is possibly too far beyond Cocona, but she can assist with sweeping up the glass. Her armor probably protects against any cuts she would otherwise get.

The barrier idea is good, though, if the hall is as big as I think it is, generating hot air without blocking the outside air from getting in would just make the lower portions (where the people usually are, i.e. Cocona and Sella) colder as the hot air rises and thus pulls cold air to replace it.
No. 514423 ID: 01531c

I just recognized that OP image is from "I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream" videogame; it is the 'travel' screen between scenarios.
No. 514479 ID: 8a2468

I didn't know that, but.. fitting.
No. 515715 ID: 94e610

I'd say something about writing one snippet per week, but I'd end up breaking that promise - because I wrote most of the next one(s) before realizing there needed to be a few choices in here.

So, tuesday.
No. 515716 ID: 94e610

While you may not need warming up, checking on Ilya seems like a good idea. You did after all throw the poor girl into a snowbank, without the benefit of thermal wear. Finding out what she thought of the fight, and your actions to end it, can’t be a bad idea either. You can always come back to help Sella afterwards. It’ll give you a bit of time to think of how to do that, too - you’ve had decent luck with improvised hymmnos in the past, but there’s always the risk of getting it badly wrong if you’re careless.

It’s not like you’re running away, she asked you to go.

All you have to do is tell Sella you agree, then look for Ilya. It’s a simple procedure, you just have to tell Sella you agree. She still has her hand on your head, and you don’t understand your reaction to that, or how it modifies the conversational options. She’s not moving it, seemingly content to leave it there for the moment. You want to tell her you’re going, but you don’t understand the situation.

rrha quel ga pic gyaje enw rippllys elle ciel ixa zz yassa noes

For a moment you don’t understand what Sella is, let alone what she’s doing. You remember, though.

You’re.. Cocona.

You try to pull away, but you feel like you’re stuck in amber.

Something is wrong -

Warning, excessive timing errors. Continued simulation is not recommended.

.̷͘͠͠.̸̧͜͝.̡̀͜.̛.̵̛̀́.̵̷͘.̸̨̡͘͜.̧͢.̶̨͜͟͠.̨̡̢͘ l.n.c.a. tim xel rippllys yassa noes

- you stagger, suddenly feeling completely exhausted. A flurry of warning messages bubble into your consciousness, though you pay them no attention at the moment.

Sella’s treating you like you’re her little sister or something. You don’t hate the idea, though you’d prefer to be taken seriously, but right now the very idea of talking to her is exhausting. The idea of talking to anyone is exhausting, you’d rather just sit in a corner for a bit. You have to get out of here.

[ ] Mutter a quick excuse and run out of here
[ ] Force yourself to explain the situation
[ ] Find Ilya
[ ] Find a corner

No. 515800 ID: 19b3c3

>Deadline exceeded
Shite! I thought we had three days. ...although time flows differently here and there, and you weren't exact about whose days those were. But the difference was a factor of two, and even if we have half the time we thought we had, we haven't burned through that yet.

Which probably means it's the patch job we did in our head last night that fell apart.

Oh jeeze. Let's see if I've forgotten everything about making sense of these.

>rrha quel ga pic gyaje enw rippllys elle ciel ixa
I (trance-like) (desperately) (want this to stop) (notice/observe/realize) (error/mistake) (while doing) (rely/answer/response) (from) (world/sky) (6).
Yup. It's reporting a communications error with one of our cosmoshpere layers, and it desperately wants it to stop. Significantly, I don't think layer six was one of those with a problem, before. (Gah, been too long. I have to reread the old bits and make a list of which layers were damaged and which ones we determined did what).

>zz yassa noes
[negative] (complete/clear/achieve) (self).
Cannot complete / achieve self.

...that ain't good.

>[Gibberish] l.n.c.a. tim xel rippllys yassa noes
(tie/link/connect) (time) (since) (repy/answer/response) (complete) (self)
I assume this is reporting the time since we could achieve self, although the measurement is scrambled. There might be a code hidden in the zalgo, but I'm not feeling up to trying to dig it out right now.

>what do
Force the words out. Tell her something's wrong- something broke inside your mind again. She's tell Ilya, and after your fairly thorough explanation this morning, she'll know what that means. Maybe they'll be able to do something from the outside to help you this time, somehow. All you can do is head back inside to soulspace and see what went wrong this time.
No. 516257 ID: dd19c3

Agreed on telling her something's gone wrong in your mind and then going into your soulspace.
No. 516265 ID: c83d10

Why bother running away? Sella is right here, nice and warm, and already hugging you! Why not just allow yourself to snuggle up against the warmth, curled up in readiness for sleep? Falling asleep shouldn't be too much of a problem--Sella does think you are still a child (which, the shame and guilt routine before rather helpfully emphasized), so she wouldn't think much of you suddenly falling asleep. Let her deal with the task of finding a resting place. (Though, the likeliest place would be near Ilya. That way, Sella and Leysritt--and Ilya, when she unfreezes--can keep an eye on you as well as Ilya, so that only one of the maids needs to stay and keep watch, while the other cleans.)

And, anyways, fixing the soulspace problems would take enough time that they'll find you anyways--the only reason to run off to a corner would be to satisfy your own paranoia.
No. 516325 ID: 94e610

Moving would take energy, of which you right now have none.

You feel more exhausted than you can remember ever feeling before. At least it’s the kind of exhaustion that drives you towards sleep, not the kind that just leaves you awake for hours. You have too much experience with the latter.

First priority, then: Find somewhere to sleep.

Sella’s looking comfy.

You can’t predict her actions perfectly, but you think, if you consider her as a human - it takes perceptible effort to do so, and you’re almost overwhelmed by another wave of exhaustion - well, she’s thinking of you at least partially as someone to protect and guide, so you’ll be safe right here. Yes, that’ll do.

You slump slightly, leaning against Sella. That finally gets her hand out of your hair - she gives a slight “oh” of surprise, but grabs hold of you to keep you from falling.

“Sorry, Sella.. not quite as fixed up as I thought... I’m going to take a nap now.”

You slur the words, already having trouble keeping your eyes open, and lean further against Sella. She says something, but you can’t make out what. Vaguely, you feel yourself being lifted off the ground and carried, but you fall asleep before you have any idea where.

Strangely, just as you are falling asleep, your exhaustion disappears entirely. It’s already entirely too late to try waking up again, though - the world is a fading dream, stuck in amber.

Medical override - connection suspended.
No. 516328 ID: 94e610

Next thing you know, you’re back in your soulscape. You’re not quite sure if you ever actually lost consciousness or not, the transition was so smooth.. well, you’re here now.

To be entirely honest, you’re not quite sure if what happened was a problem to be fixed, or just extreme exhaustion. If it’s the latter, getting some real sleep will probably help more, but some part of you must have decided it’d be a good idea to check things out in here first. At least, it sounds like a good idea now, though you can’t remember actually making the decision.

Thinking back.. your spell of exhaustion seemed to be caused by interacting with Sella. Right now you don’t feel exhausted at all, but then again, you’re not actually interacting with anyone right at the moment. There might be something to that.

Right. Mindscape. Somehow, you feel you’ve been a lot more scatterbrained lately; you used to have better focus. You’re acting more like Elle, like that time she.. no! Focus!

Looking upwards - or perhaps outwards, or.. this is silly, Cocona. Looking at levels one through three, everything seems in near-perfect order. Well, there’s still the big ball of sliced-out memories floating around, and you have to go through that eventually, but the actual functional layers appear to be.. functional. Considerably better off than they were before, though not yet perfect.

Outwards from the first, barrier layer, the acidic ocean that was earlier threatening to kill you is now completely still. It also looks faded, like fossil light at the event horizon of a black hole. You can see occasional sparks, looking a bit like fireflies, but it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s clearly not the problem.

The other direction looks positively odd.

Last time you were in here, the seventh and eighth layers were essentially destroyed, and not repairing themselves. The fifth and sixth were intact, if opaque, and there was an impossibly bright beam of light piercing the center of your mind - or perhaps surrounding it, that never was very clear.

The situation has changed. Most obviously, the beam has weakened significantly, and gained structure. You’re unsure if that reflects a change in yourself, or Infel Phira - considering that you’re now its administrator, your ability to see structure now may simply be reflecting that fact. The beam in fact appears to be made up of thousands or millions of lines of written Hymmnos, more than you could translate in a year. Overall, the impression you get is that of an enormous tower, with two floating continents. It doesn’t resemble any place you’ve ever heard of; it may simply be a stylistic choice.

Concerningly, not all of the hymmnos is sticking to the tower. Some is forming a sort of scaffolding between the tower and your sixth soulspace level, which is expanding as you watch. There is some sort of reaction there - some of the machinery at the sixth level seems to be growing across the scaffolding, kind of like demented machine vines, but you still can’t interrogate the lower levels consciously. It’s a little weird; you’re not supposed to have a subconscious, not if you don’t want to. The details of that might be part of the knowledge you’ve forgotten or sealed off, though.

Focusing closely on the scaffolding doesn’t yield anything useful, as it’s actually using some symbols you don’t seem to remember the meaning of. The most common one looks like three hexagons connected in a triangle. Those triangles, joined up, appear to form most of the actual structure, though they can’t be carrying much information. Well, their location might in itself be the information.

You wonder if this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, it’s a kind of repair, but on the other, you have no idea how or why. The tower itself seems to be assisting - to what end? It wasn’t happening earlier, so this is no doubt connected to the ‘admin’ position. You can only hope whatever limited AIs are involved know what they’re doing - you’re in no position to guide them.

And you still have no idea what was up with the sudden exhaustion.

What do?
[ ] Sleep on it
[ ] -- ?

No. 516332 ID: 19b3c3

All right. Two things.

You were getting an error message about layer six before. Your systems reported an error while trying to contact it. As in, whatever it's busy doing with that scaffolding prevented it from preforming it's normal function.

The other critical thing to notice was the use of the word simulation. What, precisely, is being simulated? The whole world you have found yourself in, or merely your conscious self and operations? (One's more worrying than the other. Either we're plugged into a simulated reality, or just facing the uncomfortable truth of being an artificial life form).

>your spell of exhaustion seemed to be caused by interacting with Sella
Maybe that's what layer six does? It handles interpersonal interaction? You tried to access it, and then locked up because it was busy doing... that? Kind of makes sense your communications layer would be the one to expand into an admin role. Greater access privileges is going to require some kind of integrated communication, right?

>three circles connected in a triangle
...well, that description doesn't seem to match any character in hymmnos. And broader than that, I'm not sure if you're describing a triangular arrangement of non-overlapping circles, a three circle venn-diagram, or a triquetra.

>what do?
Well, if any of this speculation seems like it might be right, I guess you could just get some real sleep until the scaffolding is done. Any estimate at how long that will take from the rate it's moving? (You can estimate the start time- it couldn't have started before you became an admin, and it either hadn't started or gotten far enough just a little bit ago when you were talking to Sella normally).

Although I'm kind of reluctant to just go to sleep when there's so much we don't understand going on. Double check that there's absolutely nothing about that needs your attention, or that might be interacted with.
No. 516427 ID: bd4b61
File 137103188415.jpg - (90.28KB , 522x492 , ntl.jpg )

Out of the goodness of my heart, here's what that symbol looks like.. no, not circles, that was a typo.

Triangles are remarkably easy to tile, it's why we use them for all our 3D graphics.
No. 516460 ID: c83d10

That symbol is that of the Nuclear Triangular Loop, which sustains and terminates the lives of Beta Type Reyvateils. Thus, perhaps the light tower is transmitting energy to Cocona...?

Well, the acid ocean looks like it might become a problem soon, with the reemergence of light and thus activity, but that's sometime off. I don't think there is much of an idea on how to deal with it permanently... Perhaps crystallizing it, projecting it into a solid form outside, where Ilya, Leysritt, and Cocona can violently deal with it...?

Anyways, another problem is the ball of sliced out memories--probably not the source of the exhaustion, but something to think about. Maybe work on this...?

The tower... Layer 6 is the deepest extant layer, currently, right? The position of Administrator should be located within the most stable, and powerful, location within the mind, right? The Administrator is the one that would be singing any Tower control songs, so of course she would be connected by the deepest connections. Perhaps the scaffolding is to create the structures that would provide additional support for more demanding Songs...?

The exhaustion, which only appeared after an extended bout of interaction (Leysritt and Ilya, Cocona only interacted with them barely, not much on an personal level). The interaction called up lots of emotion (shame, guilt, embarrassment, etc.), which Reyvateils are sensitive to. Perhaps the unexpected drain on energy caused a collapse?

Anyways, I don't think Cocona can do much right now; we have too little information to go on. Sleeping would assist in regaining energy, but I think Cocona should focus on sorting out and reintegrating the sliced-out memories first--the problem that stymies action is lack of information, which Cocona indicated might be because she forgot it. While likely most of the memories are not helpful with respect to the current problem, we won't know until Cocona tries.
No. 516483 ID: dd19c3

Yeah, right now our lack of knowledge's a major barrier. Sorting through our memories would be a decent move.

And also, we'll have to deal with that whole Infel Phira mess before too long. Not right now, but let's not forget about it. Might have to wait for that connection thing on layer six to finish happening, though.
No. 517090 ID: 94e610

You think the exhaustion was probably caused by what’s going on with levels six and down. On the assumption those areas normally help you interact with people, waking up would be a waste of time and effort right now. Trying to speed things up is probably hopeless - the area isn’t responding to you at all.

This means you have a fair bit of forced downtime. You’re not sure, but if the construction is going to fill in the seventh and eighth levels entirely, it’ll take at least several hours.

You could, you suppose, spend the time in Infel Phira’s control room.. where you have little idea what you’re doing. There’s also a ball of sliced memories hanging around, which might have some answers about what’s going on, but sorting through that will take a while. No time like the present, you suppose.

A flicker of will later, the memory ball fills your senses entirely. It really doesn’t look like a ball up close.. well, anything visual in here is at best an analogy, while other parts of you get the full picture, but right now it’s looking like the old 3D fractal you used to have a hologram of on your bedroom table. A mandelbulb, you think it was called. Looking rather precisely like it, which is just..

You back off for a minute to inspect the scaffolding. That started off looking like a regular fractal, too, but closer inspection shows that there’s more variation at finer levels. It’s stopped expanding, though at this point it fills the entire volume of your two lower levels; instead, you see various elements of detail being filled in. It’s still mostly empty space, though. There’s a great deal of connectivity being put in, you think - enough to potentially let you treat parts of Infel Phira as parts of your own mind. Unless, that is, you’re misinterpreting completely.

Now, what did your bedroom table look like..?

As you suspected, you have no idea. You remember that you remembered, a minute ago, but after your deliberate self-distraction you no longer remember what you remembered. Probably because that memory was part of the giant ball. Troublesome...

Finding the memory again isn’t hard, and careful experimentation shows you a way to keep the actual memory at arm’s length, letting you know what’s in it without necessarily having it fill your consciousness. This time the ball fades into a much more useful network of connections, which ought to let you follow threads and references. You also discover that anything in here can be misleading. The memory you just found, on its own, feels like it’s about your own bedroom, but it’s weirdly defining a cross between “this is your bedroom” and “this is what generic bedrooms look like”, where the latter actually seems to be remembering your mother’s bedroom. She’s the one that had the sculpture, and you.. didn’t, according to this.

That’s weird in its own way, as you’re pretty sure the two of you slept in the same room your entire life. There’s probably something else you’re forgetting, but the references end abruptly in some kind of faultline. Trying to follow them through the damage leaves you confusedly thinking about restaurants constructed of acidic, weaponized snack food, which makes no sense whatsoever but somehow sounds tasty.

Giggling, you pull back to gauge how much time that took. Time passes strangely in here.. well, you do have an internal clock, but for some reason you’re missing your normal sense of the passage of time, or for that matter boredom. Looks like about.. half an hour.

You spend another half hour sorting through the memories you just looked at, extracting the ones that look good and dumping them on your memory layer, where they’re swiftly integrated. Already having figured out how they’re related to each other seems to be enough to speed up that process enormously.

There are far too many memories for you to get through the entire thing in less than months, so instead you want to try to finding some particular memory. That could be a lot harder, you suppose.. associations like that is, after all, the entire point of the memory layer, and they’re not yet part of it. A giant hairball like this might be a little.. well, you’ll try, anyway.

That triangular symbol the scaffolding seems to be repeating all over the place, say. That looks important.

You start by checking random locations on the surface, but it doesn’t take even ten minutes before you’re forced to give up. Most of the memories you ran into weren’t complete memories like the one from earlier, or even simple modifications of other memories - they were things like “Like <ref>, but <ref> and <ref>, with <ref> applied as a filter.” On the three occasions that you tried to follow the references, you only managed to construct a full memory once - about a particular type of sandwich. Not even a tasty one. The references themselves have references, and on the other two occasions those dead-ended in faults instead of tracking back to fully integrated memories.

You’re going to need a different approach, or this will take years, but the hairball really needs conscious effort to unravel and there’s just the one of you here.

Recruiting anyone else is a ridiculous idea. Even if you could trust Ilya in here - you can’t - and if you knew how to get her here - you don’t, even if you had a dive machine this doesn’t seem like a normal cosmosphere - well, Ilya is not you, and you’re pretty sure being you is a requirement for being able to figure this out. Only option is.. no, but...

You skitter around the idea for a bit, but you really can’t think of any better ones. You remember enough stories about cosmospheres to know that Reyvateils are supposed to have fully sapient personas in there, and more importantly simultaneously sapient personas. This place is at least closely related to your cosmosphere, and more importantly it’s your own damn mind; if you want extra personas in here, it should be at least theoretically possible. Well, you’re thinking “personas”, but..

The subordinate minds divers encounter in cosmospheres are, at least theoretically, representations of aspects of the Reyvateil’s personality. Personas, or in other words, different ways to interact with the outside world. They tend to be divided in ways that don’t happen outside, often making them more extreme than a fully integrated personality would be, but that’s not the part of this you’re interested in - you only care that they’re supposed to be able to act and think simultaneously. That is to say, they have separate threads of consciousness, although they’re part of the same overall mind.

You should at least in theory be able to create extra threads of consciousness that don’t differ from you in any other way than being separate, but you’re unsure how many identical consciousnesses the underlying machinery can really support at the same time. It’s a very strange thing to be considering - you’re really going off the beaten track, here. Probably.

You wonder if this is really such a good idea. It’s something humans definitely cannot do, and you’d like to think you’re mostly human, so things might end badly if you try it. On the other hand, you’re not sure you have much choice..

It was just an hour ago that you decided to think things through before taking risks, wasn’t it?

You close your eyes to consider. Your emotions seem to be muted in here, which is good - you’re pretty sure the idea would send you crawling into a corner otherwise.

What do?
[ ] There might be important hints in there, and this is the only idea you have. Go for it.
[ ] *gulp*.. no, not happening, not today, not ever.
[ ] ..?

No. 517093 ID: 9501d5

There're plenty of reasons to be nervous about taking such a risk, but you already can do a decent number of things normal humans can't. If it helps, think of yourself as an enhanced human.

Anyway, you're in a situation where you'll need every advantage you can get. Might be wiser to leave the number of created personas low at first, one or two, and then slowly increase from there.
No. 517096 ID: 19b3c3

>You could, you suppose, spend the time in Infel Phira’s control room.
That's not a good option, yet. While there is a ticking deadline in Infel Phira's control room, last time you were there we pretty much exhausted our available options. Even if we weren't trying to beat Ilya's deadline (which ended up not mattering as much, with the time dilation) there wasn't much left to try.

You'll be in a much better position once... whatever is happening to you is done happening. If you're being hardwired into your admin role and creating new, easier routes of access, that should provide new information and new options the next time we attempt to access Infel Phira.

>simultaneous personas.
What do you know about this practice? Is this something IPD Reyvateils specifically are known to be able to do? Is the process reversible- if necessary, will you and your alternates be able to reintegrate?

If the personas are based on different aspects of personality, what are we talking about here? Emotions? While multiple consciousness might be a good thing, you've been in a difficult situation, lately. I hate to think what certain of your emotions might do if given free agency...

>Not a thing a human would do
Humans wouldn't ordinarily consider running multiple instances of their own consciousness in one brain, no. But people are capable of working with other instances of themselves, as existentially troubling as it can be. There's time travel, parallel universes, cloning.

...and remember, just a little while ago, you were seriously considering the possibly of being a copy and having another you to return home to. You liked the idea of having a self-sister. This is really the same thing, except in here, instead of out there. (That and no one would be a copy- you'd all be equally valid instances of the same thing).

>possibly really dangerous
Context, here. Your mind is already badly damaged, your source of power is going to give in less than three days, and you're entered in a tournament to the death against some of the most powerful beings that ever existed (or never did!).

We are already in fairly extreme circumstances here. Risk is bad, yes. But regrettably, we're going to need to take a few if we hope to survive at all.

>can't be sure the hardware can handle it
Is there any way to monitor the load, or how your system is coping? Might be a good thing to pay attention to. Start small, see how big a difference that makes. Then we can consider making more- enough to make some progress with these memories.
No. 517098 ID: 94e610

> What do you know about this practice? Is this something IPD Reyvateils specifically are known to be able to do? Is the process reversible- if necessary, will you and your alternates be able to reintegrate?
It's something all Reyvateils are able to do.. sort of. Cosmospheres are divided into levels, each of which shows a different side of the Reyvateil, but the personas of each level can interact - and there are also lesser AIs implementing spells, which are just as sapient. The way Cocona has been going about spellcrafting is distinctly unusual.

Reintegration is not an issue. These are still parts of the same mind, with the same backing memories, skills, etc; they can't diverge. Personas can be started and stopped on demand.

In theory...

> What do you know about this practice?
Only what has already been explained.

> Emotion-based personas
Not exactly. Don't you act differently towards, say, parents and friends? It's like that.. but with a sideline of representing different emotions.

Hopefully this is not required. Not doing it *seems* simpler.
No. 517114 ID: 9501d5

>We are already in fairly extreme circumstances here. Risk is bad, yes. But regrettably, we're going to need to take a few if we hope to survive at all.

Agreed on this. Thus why I think we should proceed with this. And, yeah, I wasn't saying we should try to access Infel Phira right now, just that we shouldn't forget about it.
No. 517124 ID: d1d627

Let's do it! Potential normal Revyvateli sister go!
No. 517156 ID: c83d10

The problems that are given (as far as I understand): multiple identical Personas might not be supported (thus probably causing all sorts of errors, given the existing damage to Infel Phira), and the Personas might not behave correctly. There are probably more concerns, if one were to contemplate the problem further.

...I actually can't think of any solutions that might negate or mitigate the problems, that are within Cocona's grasp and character. However, the problem of the memories is not going to go away, and sleeping wouldn't do much (other than allow greater dedication of resources to the Layer 6 reconstruction, taken from the resources used by active mental simulation). Thus, the only real path is to go forward with removing the problem of the memories.
No. 519022 ID: 94e610

Oh god my head.
No. 519023 ID: 94e610

Your options are limited, here. As it stands you’re probably going to die in two days, when Infel Phira gives out. Trying to split your consciousness, effectively giving you more time to think, is probably your best idea yet. It might even be mostly safe - after all, Reyvateils do this all the time. Sort of, yes, but “sort of” has worked so far.

There are lots of safeties and redundancies built into you. If there weren’t, you’d have died when you first broke through, without a nuclear triangular loop to regulate the energy flow - well, or maybe you’d never have been born in the first place. Metafalls is completely dependent on Reyvateils to manage the environment, and there aren’t any Beta-types left, only third-generation Reyvateils like yourself.

So whatever you do, it’s very unlikely to cause any permanent damage you can’t see coming. Even if this doesn’t quite work out, you ought to stay sane enough to undo it. You’re not like a human, so tightly integrated that there’s no mental error-checking, so if a single part fails the whole system breaks.

If you had a body at the moment, you’d give your head a gentle knock. Really, most of the reason you’re so worried about this is what it means about your existence. Reyvateils aren’t the only ones who can make tiny fireballs, but the kind of mental complexity you’re contemplating.. or demonstrating, considering what you’re looking at.. is the sole territory of Reyvateils, and constitutes final proof that you are one, and thus not quite human. You shouldn’t be afraid of proof, though. Reality is what it is, learning about it doesn’t change anything. If you’re a kind of machine, that’s okay too.. it must be, since you haven’t really changed. And what’s so bad about being a machine anyway?

A small part of your mind objects to the last part of that thought, but you studiously ignore it.

Having thus regained some of your confidence, you consider how to go about actually doing this thing. Your understanding is limited - that’s part of what you’re hoping you’ll be able to fix, after all - but you remember stories, at least.

When Reyvateils reach a certain age, typically between twelve and fourteen, it becomes safe for other people to ‘dive’ into them. Doing so requires badly understood pre-fall equipment, but as most cities have dive shops, you suppose it must be sufficiently well understood that they can build more.

The point is, doing so allows a Reyvateil’s guardian to insert their consciousness inside her. It’s supposed to be very romantic, though you don’t quite understand why; there certainly isn’t anyone you’d be willing to do that with.

Those stories are where you got this idea, though. A Reyvateil’s mind, from the perspective of the diver, contains multiple allegorical worlds corresponding to facets of her personality. Most importantly, it also contains multiple actual people, or apparent people - still facets of the Reyvateil, but distinct personalities that can talk, plan, generally think - and more than one of them can do so at the same time. The stories always had them being inconveniently single-minded, but they are after all stories. You’ll just have to be careful.

One thing the stories never explained was how these facets are created in the first place. As far as anyone would tell you they just kind of happen, without any particular explanation required. Nor do the description of allegorical worlds match closely up with what you’re seeing.. well, there are allegories here, but they’re all superficial and trivial to parse. Probably because they’re part of you. More problematically, maybe, you’re not exactly in any kind of world here - you don’t currently have a body, space is only 3D if you don’t look too closely, and so forth.

Maybe you already have some personality fragments like that, somewhere. Maybe not. Diving into someone that’s too young is supposed to be terribly unsafe for both diver and Reyvateil, because her world wouldn’t be stable yet. You’re ten, way under the limit.. sure enough, the space you’re in right now would probably terminally confuse anyone who isn’t you. Maybe even hurt them, though you’re not quite sure why that would happen.

In your stories, the purpose of such dives was usually just icky romance. Not always, and you’re hoping those few stories might be more helpful. Some of them had the diver help his girlfriend, princess or whichever with personality problems.. well, if it were outright mental damage that might be useful, but you think your personality is just fine as it is. Of the last few, some had the diver use dives to help the Reyvateil create battle magic. That only happened in the kind of story that’s based around fighting, which you don’t think you enjoy, though.. your feelings are strangely conflicted. You certainly don’t remember enjoying things like that, it’s just...

You pretend to shake your head. Not important right now, Cocona.

In that kind of story, battle magic is created by creating a subservient mind to run it, freeing up the Reyvateil’s consciousness to focus on the battle and achieving more powerful magic through specialization. Those minds are still sapient, and can sometimes aid or hinder a diver, depending on what fragment of the Reyvateil’s personality it represents.

Something like that might be a little less generally useful, but you have at least a slightly better idea of how to make one, and that kind of specialization might not be a bad idea right now. You might be able to make more of them, or a single one might be faster than you’d be yourself, or.. honestly, you don’t know. In theory you have some idea how you’d need to think to make one, but it’s based on books for children.

The other way.. trying to directly clone your own consciousness, you think you’d need to experiment a bit to figure out how, and the result.. well, it’d be you. You wouldn’t mind having a twin, but that’s not how this works - it’d be actually you, you might as well try to hug your own arm. Not to say that the other approach is fundamentally different, you suppose.

Well. One way seems more likely to work, and might get you fixed faster. The other one would let you be literally in multiple places at the same time, so long as at most one of them requires your body to be present; that would expand your options tremendously. You don’t think the kind of support AI those stories were really suggesting would be very useful for more than the single task they’re created for.

It’ll take a while to figure out either one, so you’d better make the right choice right now.

What do?
No. 519037 ID: 19b3c3

> => YLYIx XNx YA YLYINA EXEC hymme 2x1/0>>0101
...that's almost completely untranslatable. I mean, from the structure it's obviously a command to execute or a sign a song, but most the words seem to be gibberish.

Oh hey, is that in-story mind guardian Nenesha waking up? Not quite the last thing you ever did after all?

You might want to talk to Cocona, she's thinking about trying to whip up additional consciousness as a way to work through this mess. As a consciousness already hanging out in her head, you might have something to say about that.

>you're ten
Is that taking the year or two you've forgotten due to partitioned memories into account? If it's not, and this kind of stuff is supposed to start happening or be safe at around 12, maybe you're good. Or there's something already here.

>icky romance stuff
...I'm really not seeing it. I mean, I suppose brain-to-brain sex is a thing, and avoids certain consequences (while risking other, potentially scarier ones). But digging around in someone's head seems more invasive than romantic. Especially if the purpose is to leave behind a clone of yourself as an overseer or protector of crazy obstinate personality facets.

>what do
First thing, I think, is to make sure you haven't already done this, consciously or unconsciously. Try and check if there are any consciousness / personas already here. After all, you may have forgotten them (or never been made aware of their presence).

This is worth doing since if there are any (a) ignoring them when creating more could have unintended consequences (b) they might be able to help you figure out what the hell you're doing.

>create a second instance of your own personality
>or create a new, subservient mind
All right. So, let's look at the pros and cons of each.

The dual-you, you have less idea how to go about making (I think). But you would presumably be better at parsing and putting back together your memories than a servant different from yourself. And there won't be any problems with being obstinate or what aspect of your personality it ends up based on- it'll just be you. And, maybe, later on, you can put yourself in more than one place at once! Have a you 'driving' the body in Ilya's world, and another you 'sleeping', connected to the control room in Infel Phira (once the bridge or whatever is done). And if you can't support multiple consciousnesses, or if you need to reconstitute yourself, you're still you.

The sub-mind you have a better idea how to get started. It (presumably) won't be as good at parsing your memories, and there may be difficulties in controlling or dealing with it depending on what aspect of yourself it gets based on. It might also be useful later, allowing you to outsource magic. We may need that kind of edge in the tournament. But, if we had to reabsorb it, that's a separate (sub) mind that would stop being.

...on balance, I'd say go for the twin. Even if it's more a puzzle, it's more applicable to the task at hand, and possibly applicable to our next most important problem (Infel Phira). The sub-mind has potential risks I'm not sure how to handle yet, and it's primary purpose (sub-routine delegation of casting) won't be useful in the short term (how well we can combat won't matter until after we fix our power problems).
No. 519187 ID: bd4b61

Ah, no. In-story Nenesha doesn't have access to tgchan.

This is just me, the author, suffering from trying to simulate overly complex future Coconas.

The actual story, you should take at face value.. Cocona thinks a subordinate AI would do better at organizing her memories, and she's probably right. Wouldn't be much of a choice otherwise.

The title... heh. Well, it's valid hymmnos, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
No. 519191 ID: 9501d5

The primary advantage of a second you would be that you wouldn't constantly have to pass out just to tend to your inner world. That second you could even create the more specialized personas. Overall, such multitasking can potentially be a powerful thing.

On the other side, creating a specialized persona would have less likelihood of unknown risks, be easier to do, and you could presumably still create specialized personalities for individual tasks like managing the easier to handle admin stuff and whatnot. In the end, a second you might be unnecessary overhead (and it'd almost certainly have more overhead than a dedicated persona), even if it'd have more overall versatility. And you do have a month or two until the proper start of the war to get things under hand. You can probably afford to be comatose some of the time before that--you just need to get yourself in hand.

On the other hand, a second you might potentially mean being able to effectively take shifts. But even then a dedicated 'watcher' persona to watch for stuff and wake you up if necessary might actually be better for that.

I'm honestly torn. I think I'll listen to others' arguments before throwing in my own vote.
No. 519204 ID: 19b3c3

I kinda figured we weren't that lucky, but that it was worth throwing out a line, anyways.

> a subordinate AI would do better at organizing her memories, and she's probably right.
Oh. So... the trade off in this immediate decision then is easier to generate and specialized versus harder to generate and more versatile?

With the main (potential) risks of a duplicate being overhead, versus the main risk of subordinates being personality aspect issues / conflicts? (Ignoring the risk of partitioning / duplicating / mobilizing parts of your consciousness at all, since they share that).

I guess one question is, if we build a dedicate personality (or personalities) optimized for the purpose of memory reconstruction, what happens to it (or them) when we're done? Can we repurpose specialized subordinates, or are they basically disposable? If it's the later, than I'd be more inclined to clone ourself. A copy can be put to other uses, and if we have to merge later, it's less... morally uncomfortable.

I suppose an advantage of either is that we would be able to continue parsing broken memories even after waking up (if we don't finish by then).

Another consideration is that we know that there are some unpleasant things waiting in Cocona's memory. (Her parents are dead! She killed them!). I'm wondering what's the best way to rediscover them. Would a memory parser be well, less sympathetic and more interested in forcing the whole truth out? Would a duplicate be more understanding and give Cocona her own shoulder to cry on? Or would it just magnify and worsen the negative reaction?.

I think I'm still leaning towards Twinda Twocana.

>effectively take shifts
I'm going to assume our body still needs to sleep. And if a Revyvateli becoming developed enough to make personas coincided with a 'awakening' that took away the need to sleep, you'd think that would be part of the stories. (Although I suppose the option of a fresh mind in a tired body is better than a tired mind in a tired body, if it comes to that?).

I do like (possibly) having the option of one instance of our consciousness driving our body and another dealing with the control room. We might need that edge to navigate the immediate crisis before the energy deadline.

>'watcher' persona
Not a bad idea. Someone to fulfill Scanner's role in combat (or in between) could be pretty useful. In fact, if you get a fully realized Revyvateli with a bunch of subordinate consciousness preforming different roles, we start functioning a lot like Unity (if you're reading Unnatural Selection). That multitasking and delegation capacity is a big edge.

Eventually, to get ready for the tournament, I'd expect we'd want a whole team of dedicated personas for specific combat purposes. Kind of getting ahead of ourselves there, though. We have to resolve the energy problem and our own damage or it's moot.
No. 519217 ID: 94e610

> Can we repurpose specialized subordinates, or are they basically disposable?

No. 519220 ID: 9501d5

There could still be some use for a persona specializing in memory handling after untangling that memory ball--it might enable more rapid memory retrieval, store memories better (making for better learning and stuff), and whatnot.
No. 519228 ID: 19b3c3

> => YLYIx XNx YA YLYINA EXEC hymme 2x1/0> >0101

Okay, so upon some further digging, this is supposed to specifically denote two songs sung at once (fitting for what we're doing, really). And the binary string tells you what song the words belong to, and the little x's denote word fragments you need to attach. So the two songs we have are

0: ylyiya
1: xnylyina

Where each is only a single word! And these words are kind of like German or Japanese mashups words. Only instead of stringing things together, you insert things inside. ...and capitalization is supposed to be important, but we lost that somehow, making our lives harder.

0: yLYIyA = y.y. + LYI + A = (heal, cure) (This world's pain / destruction) (Strength, concentration, doing one's best)
I will do my best to heal the damage to this world.

1: xNyLYInA = x.y.n. + N + LYI + A = (hurt / injure) (aloofness, relaxation, neutrality or negation) + (This world's pain / destruction) + (Strength, concentration, doing one's best)
I will do my best not to further injure this world.

Which are both good sentiments, I guess!

(Turns out this is actually easier to make sense of than standard, once you know what you're doing, because there's no three part emotion phrase you have to struggle to interpret).

...no idea how to interpret that yet, I suppose.
No. 519232 ID: 94e610

No. 519266 ID: c83d10

So now that Cocona going to create another mind, she has two options: create a persona, who is heavily specialized in some particular facet of Cocona's personality; and create a fully independent mind, perfectly identical to Cocona.

On a meta-game level, I would prefer the persona. The game would be easier to handle (and more in keeping with the scale of the quest as of now), if we went with the persona. If we went with the double-consciousness, we would either control both minds, simultaneously, which would put more work on the quest runner as well as the audience (which I am not able to put in); or, alternatively, one would just run on auto-pilot, and get up to shenanigans on her own, while we control the own that's with Ilya (presumably; while possibly interesting and very good in the right hands, controlling just the one that's on her own is too much of a split with the beginning of the quest). (There is the option where we switch perspectives periodically, but that would also make it difficult to follow, I think.) With the persona, however, it would automatically act to Cocona's betterment within Cocona's mind (being, of course, limited so by nature), without any of our input other than the normal shaping of Cocona's personality inherent within the quest participation.

On the actual quest level... Well, we know Cocona has a lot of emotional trauma in her past, and the reclaiming of memories might retrigger the original emotional trauma, which the double-consciousness would amplify (since, presumably, both Coconas would be the same, and would have the same emotional reactions--the machinery of her mind would be simulating double the trauma as with all other mental processes). A pro of the double-consciousness, that I don't think has been mentioned, is that Cocona's Songs could have their power doubled, if both her consciousness concentrated on executing the Song. That would require double the power, but still.

But, on the persona side, I think the purpose of the persona (and the emotion behind it, as well as the personality facet of it) would be to 'make Cocona whole' (on the mental side, at least; i.e. Songs it empower won't be physical healing, but mental healing), which I think would also assist in dealing with Cocona's emotional problems (i.e. the whole Berserker class, and the giant ocean of acid beyond Cocona's barrier level). I mean, the whole reason we are considering making it is to facilitate easier and faster repair of Cocona's mind.

tldr: I vote for the persona.

>Binasphere easier to understand than Standard.
...You be crazy, man.
No. 519270 ID: 94e610

Practically speaking, it'd be switching, swapping off which of them runs on autopilot depending on what's most interesting at the moment. Anything more.. would work better in a novel than a quest. There would still be benefits, like not dropping unconscious quite so often, but honestly you've mostly gotten over that now anyway.

This is, of course, assuming that she can do either of these without going insane. I'm not saying. :P
No. 519275 ID: 19b3c3

I like that purpose for the persona. It's not as narrow as the original memory parser idea, but that gives it more potential applications, and should make it better at helping Cocona cope with the dark stuff she's about to run into (and really, minimizing the trauma from that seems like a very big concern). And a potential counter to berserker problems is a very good idea.

I'll support this approach. Assuming this works, and we have the processing power for it, we could always try other persona's later, or the second instance, if we feel we need it.

It is possible to suggest for multiple characters at once. If they're cooperating, it's pretty easy and natural. If you want them doing different in different things in different (meta)places simultaneously it does get kind of complicated, requiring perspective swapping, or even running simultaneous threads.

>going insane
We already made the decision to take that risk. Unanimously, even, which isn't exactly common for us.

Hopefully if this isn't feasible, Cocona will be able to figure that out early in the process.
No. 519346 ID: 563dc1

Oh, don't worry. Arbitrary game overs are not my thing. Well, then.. time to write.
No. 520480 ID: 94e610

Good going.
No. 520481 ID: 94e610

It’s not an easy decision. There are good reasons for either option, as well as reasons to avoid both. What makes up your mind, in the end, is the fear of what you might find if you spend days combing through your memories. A properly instructed subordinate AI.. you’ll call it an SAI. A properly instructed SAI could evaluate how any given memory might affect you, without you actually learning the details, thus acting as a buffer.

Although you’re generally of the opinion that learning the truth should always be a good thing, that would only be true for an ideally rational Cocona. There’s also a possibility that some memories might be broken enough to actually hurt, which means it’s better to have some isolation.

How to make one, then..?

You really don’t feel confident about this, and spending a few minutes going over what you remember just ends up making you nervous. Your best guess is to, um.. well, this world has always responded to will so far, though that’s hardly a surprise. So far you’ve just outright willed changes, and they’ve happened, but that’s not quite how it works in the stories. That is.. it sometimes is, and then it works like you’ve experienced, but half the time they just will an end state, and in those cases a SAI usually pops up to do the job.

You twiddle imaginary fingers. Basing it off children’s stories.. this is the worst plan, you hate it already. It’ll probably blow up in your face. Maybe you should test with something simpler, first, though you have no idea what, and.. honestly, you’re on a timer here. Part of you just wants to run away, though.

..the lack of sensation from your nonexistent fingers is really getting to you. Besides, weren’t all of those stories set in a rather physical, three-dimensional pretend world? Especially if you’re going to have more people in here, it’d be nice to be able to see them or something.

You’re really just stalling, now.

Guiltily, but pretending it’s a form of practice - which may even be true - you ‘close your eyes’. What kind of world to create.. eh, you can just change it later.


You zone out for a bit, painting paradise across your mind.

Green, rolling hills, covered in flowers. Grass, soft to the touch and slightly damp. When you touch it, it bends under your hand. Beneath it, deep soil.

A deep forest, inviting you to explore it.. birds, winging across the sky.. the sun, warming.

Scents, too. The fresh smell of newly cut grass, and from the flowers. The musty smell of soil, if you lie on the ground, though not quite as musty as the waste recycling center please.

Most importantly, yourself. All of yourself.. there’s a chance you already have an extra self or two going, Reyvateils seem to do that naturally, and you’d like to talk to them before doing anything crazy.

It’s pleasant enough just to imagine. With no sensations from your actual body it’s easy to pretend that what you’re imagining is real, and for a few minutes you almost doze off like that. As often happens, at some point between waking and dream your daydreams start feeling utterly real. You can feel the grass against your back, and the scorching - yet not uncomfortable - heat of the sun on your face.

This is your cue to wake up, or else fall completely asleep. It’s really comfortable, though. You don’t feel like going back to your worries right away.

Something tickles your right ear. You shift slightly, rolling to lie on your left cheek.

A few seconds pass, as your awareness kick-starts. The grass you were pretending to sleep on is showing no signs of going away, and there’s a shuffling sound.

Something blocks the sunlight, and you sense someone standing over you.


A wet, rasping sensation covers your right ear. You scream, practically levitating to your feet - or trying, as you actually end up banging your head right into someone. Dazed, tumbling to half-sit, half-lie a few centimeters back, you stare at the thing that just licked your ear.

...it’s a goat. A white-haired, woolen creature.

You’re sitting on the field you just imagined, and it’s almost precisely the way you imagined it, but.. all around you, there are dozens and dozens of goats eating the grass. Each of them looks up as you look at them, meeting your gaze for a moment before going back to the eating. Trimming the grass, rather; they seem very determined to keep it a particular length.

The smell of cut grass wafts up from where the goat that woke you has gone back to its job.

You facepalm, muttering under your breath about your, overly rational and justification-seeking subconsciousnesses. Well.. okay, you guess this worked a lot better than you were expecting. It even seems like you managed to create a SAI or.. ten, or.. um. Maybe about fifty? ..if these even count, they seem a bit too simple.

It’s as good as place as any to talk to whatever you end up making, though. The grass feels nice under your bare feet.

“A little goaty, perhaps.”

Enough procrastination. Let’s just..

“If it’s goaty, that’s really your own fault, sis.”

You spin around. That was your own voice, and that’s impossib - wait, no, you’re the only one who could - no, but -

Why do people always sneak up on you from behind?

..the girl who snuck up on you is about your size, maybe slightly taller. Shockingly violet hair bound in two ponytails.. visible shield emitters sewn into her clothing...

With a snap of recognition, you realize you’re looking at yourself, or someone very like yourself. Slightly older, bleached hair and clad in some kind of purist battlemage outfit instead of your own stylish variant, but still recognizably yourself. She doesn’t look good - in fact she’s pale and sweating, swaying slightly on her feet, though managing a cocky smirk for all that. You instantly start worrying.

This is wrong in so many ways...

“Cat got your tongue, Fef?”

What do?
No. 520485 ID: 19b3c3

Oh good, terminology. We needed that. Cocona's an AI, with some SAIs, and together they all make a CAI.

>goat SAIs
Well... I guess they're maintaining whatever the grass metaphorically represents. Assuming the grass represents something at all, and this isn't just a UI. In which case they're the equivalent of pointless desktop widgets.

Why's she calling you that? That mean something to you?

>what do
Go to her. She's you, or a part of you anyways, and she's hurt. I mean, that's not entirely surprising (you know you're damaged, but...) but this is somewhat less abstract.

...I don't suppose you can pull up the specifications, user docs, or well, process information now that you're looking at her? Can you tell what she's supposed to do, what's broken, what aspect of yourself she's based on, how much of your processing power she's taking to run (we were worried you might not be able to handle personas, yet), and more critically- if she's been running in the background the whole while, or if you just made her now?

Failing computer magic letting you access information, you could just, talk to her.

>Cat got your tongue, Fef?
No, sorry. Confused, worried, and dealing with way to many problems and surprises all at once. Though you'd know that, wouldn't you.
No. 520531 ID: 94e610

> Does fef mean anything to you?
Um.. not really. It's the hymmnos word for 'four', but you don't see how that applies.
No. 520551 ID: 42ace1

First, run up the poor girl and ask worriedly, "What's wrong?! Are you sick?!" etc. etc. Call up some comfy bed and sheets for her to lay down in, with lots of warm food (soup, crackers, etc.). And more stuff that one normally does for a sick person, who one loves and adores and desperately would like to be better now, kthx? She is Cocona's sister, y'know, or something thereabouts. Let's be human instead of mechanistic robot, yeah? Cocona's a Reyvateil, an artificial lifeform dedicated toward the purpose of controlling and operating an emotion-powered satellite, not a cog lacking the capacity for emotions.

Then, after making Cocona's sister comfortable, ask for her name. Get to know her (her likes and dislikes, her dreams, her hobbies, etc.). Cocona can do the system diagnostics later, in the warm company of her sister, after the introductions are done.

When I first looked at it, it seemed to be a childish lisp of "sis" actually...
No. 520606 ID: 94e610

It takes you a few seconds to get over your surprise. There are a lot of things you’d like to ask the girl who just appeared behind you, only..

Her smirk slips for a moment, as she loses her balance and has to take a staggering step backwards to restore it. You react instantly, reaching out to steady her and wishing you understood the place better. She’s obviously not well. Ideally you’d like to create a bed for her to rest on, but you don’t know how - just wanting it doesn’t seem enough.

“..thanks”, she whispers, before her voice strengthens again. “Gravity’s well made, but I don’t think I’m up to games right now. Do you mind if I just sort of ignore it for a bit?”

You shake your head, bewildered. The girl slumps against you, closing her eyes with a look of concentration on her face. She’s pretty heavy.. you almost lose your own balance, and have to hurriedly sit down, letting her rest on your lap and kind of holding her from behind. She’s trembling in your grasp, her muscles knotted like wires. Even if you weren’t actually holding yourself, you’d want to help her somehow.

Then the sun goes out.

The world fades like a bleached photograph, before sticking halfway to oblivion. Gravity fades, only a weak pull still holding you to the ground. You can still see, despite the lack of a sun, but it’s through some sort of omnidirectional, shadowless lighting. The birdsong stops, and you realize you never saw any actual birds before.

The goats pause in their chewing, popping like soap bubbles.

A few seconds pass, before the girl completely relaxes in your grip. She’s no longer trembling, at least, though she doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything at all. You decide to leave it at that for now.

..if you actually made her just now, you’re going to have to rethink this whole “SAI” thing. You instinctively grasp her tighter. She sighs, then reciprocates, leaning back in your grip to hug you properly. It feels really nice, actually. There isn’t a question in your mind that this is family, although you’re not quite sure how you know.

Well, you suppose there is the whole “really some subordinate part of yourself” bit, though you’d prefer not to think of it like that.


“..embarrassing, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be the older sister, and here you are, rescuing me like this. I wanted to surprise you.. yeah, that worked out well, what with almost collapsing like that.” She opens her eyes, then pulls herself slightly upwards to look around. “..though I guess I might not be the only one who’s not quite up to spec. I’m sorry I wrecked your level like that, really just meant to turn the gravity down a bit. Usually it’s almost impossible to change anything at all, to be honest.”

What’s this girl talking about..?

“I know it’s probably against some rule somewhere, but.. Eight’s gone, Seven might as well be, and I haven’t seen hide, hair or avatar of anyone other than you since I woke up. I have no idea what’s going on in the real world, and I don’t care that I’m not supposed to care. What do you say we drop the competition and just cooperate, at least until Cocona’s conscious again? This whole idea of having to work separately never really sat well with me anyway, and right now I don’t think it’s a luxury we can afford..”

As she’s saying that, she relaxes again. Whatever competition she might be talking about, it’s not something that makes her nervous about you. Conversely, you get progressively tenser, enough so to make her notice. She trails off at ‘afford’, before twisting around to look back at you.

“What’s wrong, Fef?”

You flinch, having no trouble processing the two possible implications of that address the second time around. She looks concerned.. and pale and still slightly sweaty, yeah, but largely concerned.

“Four? Come on, tell me what’s wrong?”
No. 520634 ID: 19b3c3

>“Four? Come on, tell me what’s wrong?”
...I'm sorry. Either I'm not Four, or I just don't know I'm not Four. I thought I was me. Cocona. Prime. Knot. Whatever we call the real us in here.

I- I don't remember any of this inner world stuff. I didn't know anything about rules, or a competition. If I knew you, I'm sorry, but I don't remember. I wasn't even sure there were other personas in here, period.

I've been the one driving, when we're awake. And trying to fix the Cosmosphere, when we're not. Real world's... a long story. I'll get to it later. Or maybe you can just watch the memories? In here, we're hurt. Layers 7 and 8 are gone, 6 is busy growing into something, and we've got 2 years of damaged memories I had to partition. If there's more of us in here, and you know even some of what you're doing, then yes, we need to work together. We, I, need your help. Our help.

Uh. Um. I'm sorry, but which/who are you?
No. 520637 ID: d1d627

I don't remember you, or even know what you mean by a 'competition'. I thought I was creating a SAI just now. What happened...And what did I just do?
No. 520651 ID: c83d10

"Oh. Oh! I'm so sorry!"

This is either the Persona in charge of a level in the Cosmosphere, the facet of Cocona's personality that dominates and reflects and is a reflection of a level in Cocona's Cosmosphere. This is probably First, the Persona that is the ideal of an independent Cocona, who can fend for herself without relying on anyone else and has no weaknesses as envisioned by a childish Cocona (to engage in some psychoanalysis, the first layer, as we know it, is the barrier layer, the surface-most layer of Cocona's personality; since paranoia of Ilya and a [forced?] emotional distance from everyone she has met is a running theme, I would hazard that First would manifest as something like this Persona). She thinks the POV!Cocona is the Persona in charge of the fourth level of Cocona's Cosmosphere, presumably because that layer is a representation of Cocona's wish and desire for paradise, which POV!Cocona evoked when she imagined and willed into being Metafalica.

Cocona needs to break the situation -- that POV!Cocona is not a Persona -- to her, gently. Fill her in with the details of events since Cocona was summoned (since those are the clearest and most complete memories she has).

...Possibly, ask for the idea of the other, currently existent, layers (i.e. 1st, if she isn't that, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, maybe 6th though since that's going through reconstruction we probably shouldn't do that)? And then will into existence those, to see if the other Personas are trapped in their layers/one layer/etc. and thus gather resources?
No. 520780 ID: bd4b61

Not quite, >>519037 made the excellent point that you should check for pre-existing ones first. That's working out.

Unless you count the goats, which personally I wouldn't.
No. 524519 ID: 94e610

If you're wondering where I've been..

Dublin's currently undergoing an (in my opinion) severe heatwave, and I have no energy left for writing. Fortunately I'm going on vacation northwards in four days, so there's that. See you next weekend!
No. 524691 ID: 7da04e

I'll be looking forward to it. I really like this quest.
No. 526216 ID: 47a380

“Four? Come on, tell me what’s wrong?”

You’re not..

What she’s suggesting is impossible, and contradicts her own statements. She’s claiming you’re the same kind of being as her, just part of Cocona? Well, just a minute ago she admitted that she can’t see the outside world from here, and you’ve been doing practically nothing but dealing with reality. So you have to be the real one. Instead, you should figure out how to break it to her -

Unfortunately, you’re very bad at lying to yourself. That reasoning.. well, it’s evidence against, but it’s far from a knock-down argument. You still don’t think you’re some kind of persona, but you can’t really be sure anymore. What do you think you know, and how do you think you know it?

..there’s a pale, concerned-looking mirror of yourself looking into your eyes. With a jolt, you realize you have to answer her somehow, and.. and, summing up evidence you’re already pretty sure is inconclusive would only be more procrastination, when you can probably gather an overwhelming amount just by talking to her. Normally you’d have just charged ahead, not spent ages thinking about it; you’re really not acting like..

You abort that line of thinking; she’s starting to look downright worried.

“..gimme me a minute, I’m still thinking about that.”

You only meant that as a delaying tactic, but for some reason your words make her brighten up, and she flashes you a quick grin before nodding.


All your memories tell you you’re impulsive, prone to acting quickly - and sure, you’ve done some of that. They also tell you your quick actions are generally correct, but you’ve kind of made a hash of things lately. Furthermore, you’ve never been into self-analysis of any kind - sitting down and thinking about things, or planning ahead, is just not.. not you. At least, you can’t remember doing that, not even to the level you’re doing now. Even just the notion of preparing for a fight instead of jumping right in, now that you think of it. Certainly not going on long internal monologues.

Though you’re not at all sure how much of that is the general situation, how much is your lost memories, and how much might be.. a second’s thought provides ‘theories you haven’t yet generated’. Children do change over time, right? Right. You’re sure you read that somewhere.

“..well, okay. This might take some figuring out. I’m definitely not okay - for starters, my memories are swizz cheese, not even counting the giant ball I had to slice out entirely. Um, could you tell me your name?”

That certainly did it. If she looked worried before, she’s looking downright scared now, and her mouth opens and closes a few times before she manages a response.

“Fiver. You always used to call me Fiver. Said it reminded you of some ancient story or other. Fef, you..”

You raise your voice to override hers, not immediately wanting to hear whatever she has to say. “I take it that means you’re representing the fifth layer?”

She pauses, nods and tries to continue, but you override her again. “Right. Then.. I’m not sure how, because I’ve never heard of this happening in any stories, but at any rate you’re wrong. I’m not Fef, I’m.. well, Cocona. I mean, her primary mind, not any of the components. I’ve been dealing with things, up in the waking world.. trying to, anyway, I’m really not in good shape.. trying to fix the cosmosphere, too, I should probably tell you about that.”

You pause for breath, and to gauge her reaction. You’re not..

Fiver was worried before, then scared, but now she’s looking borderline panicked. You were going to continue, but seeing her like that.. now you feel terrible for scaring her, and somehow you feel terrible for telling her you’re not Four.

You’re still trying to think of some way to console her, looking away, when gravity shuts off entirely and you start drifting upwards, Fiver rapidly shifting around. You barely manage to look back, spotting a look of resolve on her quickly approaching face, before she tackles you in mid-air and you’re caught in a full-body hug.

You don’t know how to react to this.

“That’s enough.. Fef”, she whispers. “If you’ve forgotten, I’ll explain.” She pauses for a second. “Cocona is made up of all of us. If she’s awake, we can’t be, and vice versa.. though you always liked to claim it’s really that we can’t be properly awake unless she is.” A sigh. ”You’ve been awake for a long time now, I could tell, even if I couldn’t get to you before. At least a day. I didn’t wake up normally this time, I don’t fully remember whatever happened most recently. So, you see..”

You start trembling. Fiver responds by holding on tighter.

“..you really can’t be Cocona. I’m not sure why you only have her memories, that’s something I might expect from Three if anyone, but of course.. she’s not awake, is she?”

Right now, Fiver’s grip is probably the only thing stopping you from huddling in a corner somewhere. That’s not something you can object to. Objections..

“But.. nothing about this is right!”, you object. “You just said that, didn’t you? We’re the only ones awake, and you just got here. Can’t I be just most of Cocona? That would match my evidence just fine!”

You can feel her shaking her head. “Not really possible, little sister. Cocona’s made up of all of us, and then some; there are parts to her we can’t ever touch. She wouldn’t work as part of us, her mind isn’t that flexible, and you’ve seen the damage - more so than me, I’d guess.” She tightens her grip for a moment. “It’s like her mind got hit by a shotgun blast, bits missing everywhere. No human mind can survive that, even one grafted to Infel Phira, and Cocona’s not a pure Reyvateil - remember? Well, maybe you don’t..”

You actually do, and manage a nod.

“..well, that’s good. If you can control her body, that’s better. Don’t know how you can, but I sure can’t.”

“But.. but.. how can you be so sure?” You’re not ready to agree just yet.

She groans. “What, except for what I just told you? Your mannerisms absolutely scream Fef, you look like Fef, you talk like Fef, you act like Fef - most of the time, anyway. You’re Fef, I’m sure of it. It’s not like we’re all identical, you know? Wouldn’t be much of a competition if we were. And you don’t act like Cocona, not really. You’re Fef, the little bookworm.”

You have nothing to say to that, instead electing to just hang there for a minute or so. After half a minute, she starts stroking your hair.

“..I don’t really act like that up in the real world, not as much, but I already noticed going in here seems to change my personality a bit. Actually, what do you mean I ‘look like Fef’?”

Fiver pauses in her stroking before responding. “Interesting. Not sure what that means, though I think it’s really the other way around.” She chuckles. “And you’re several centimeters shorter than me, didn’t you notice?”

Well.. yeah, but you thought that was her being taller. How are you supposed to notice a relative difference as something applying to you, personally?

“I thought that was you. For the rest of it.. please hold, still processing. It’s not every day you’re told you’re just part of what you thought you were, and I’m still not convinced.”

To be honest you’re still trying to ignore reality, just a bit. The evidence is.. well, it’s not absolute, but.. pretty one-sided?

“Though, I guess.. I probably should be...” You feel a few tears leaking out. Stupid glands, there’s no call for that kind of thing. At least in zero gravity they’re not going to anywhere, so Fiver won’t notice, and.. she shifts a bit, probably in response to your sudden death-grip.

“Fef, there’s something you told me once that I think applies here. ‘If you can anticipate updating your beliefs, just go ahead and update them already. You can bear the truth, because you are already living it.’” She laughs gently. “I may have butchered those sayings a little, but who cares. They’re forty thousand years old.”

“..the exact form matters,” you hear yourself saying. “Even if it doesn’t for the meaning, it’s still precious, old wisdom, you never know when it’ll matter.” In response, Fiver squeezes you, then reaches up and ruffles your hair. Hey, watch it!

“Yep, that’s my Fef,” she tells you gently.
No. 526217 ID: 47a380

Ten minutes and half an hour later, you’ve regained your composure and filled her in on what’s been going on. Apparently, although she has some access to Cocona’s memories - and is supposed to have full access - ever since she woke up it’s been even more spotty than yours. She seemed a bit confused about the situation with Ilya, although she wouldn’t tell you exactly why, claiming she needs to think about it.

In return she explained a little about your own past to you, though she agrees that time is of the essence.

Your earlier belief that personas normally “just happen” turned out to be.. well, actually sort of correct. Turns out the first set of eight or so - nine, for Sol Marta - are created when a potential Reyvateil first connects to Infel Phira, by tasking a number of AIs to mimic some facet of the Reyvateil’s personality. Her love of learning, apparently, in your case.

…in the last couple of days you’ve gone from thinking you were mostly human, to learning that large parts of you are artificial, then that more are being made so, and finally discovering that you were never human at all. At least Fiver immediately stressed that there was never a period when you were pure machine; you only woke up as a sapient being after already becoming part of Cocona, years back.

The purpose of that system is, she believes, general intelligence enhancement. While you’re not precisely independently sapient while Cocona is awake - and isn’t that a cheery thought? - you’re still capable of thought, and can go on thinking about whatever facet you’ve tagged as your own while Cocona-prime is doing other things. Then, the more she relies on you, the closer to being conscious you get - while Cocona is awake, of course; it’s a different story when she’s asleep. That’s all there really is to the competition, as far as either of you knows.

You’re personally of the opinion that your own apparent focus on general scholastics is by far the superior one. Unfortunately you don’t think Cocona agreed, and Fiver admitted (under pressure) that the fourth cosmosphere is generally about elements of the Reyvateil’s personality she dislikes but still needs. You’d have liked to have words with whoever came up with a system like that. And with Cocona, if that were possible.

AIs for running spells are supposed to be based off the same template, only with far narrower focus. As a result, they don’t really count as sapient beings at all, though their access to Cocona’s memories and behaviour patterns could make that hard to distinguish. Well, their presumed access; hard to tell what would happen if you made one now. As far as either of you know, Cocona didn’t have any yet.

So there’s you, the rejected bookworm. There’s Fiver, who’s meant to be some kind of battlemage, representing Cocona’s personal ideal. (You’re unsure just how much you can trust that presentation, but whatever.) Fiver wasn’t able to give many details about the others, as her own memories are apparently fuzzy. One is hardly a personality fragment at all, being entirely focused on electronic warfare; Two is all about interpersonal relations; Three deals with memories. Six and up used to be pretty secretive, and may no longer be around anyhow.

Despite living in the same mind, she never spent much time with most of them. You - Fef, that is - were the exception, mostly due to the underdog factor. She claims you were more gregarious, though you remember none of it.

As for restoring your memories...

“It’s not like it’s a bad idea, but we already have someone like that. Three would do it far more efficiently than either of us could, no matter what we cook up. It’s her job, and she’s been doing it for years. She could probably figure out why your own are missing, too.”

You mumble something about having had no idea she exists.

“That’s the drawback to such a strategy, yes. For now why don’t you take care of things ‘upstairs’, and I’ll look into waking her up? I mean, I suppose we could try to do something ourselves, but I don’t think we’re in the kind of a hurry that would make that sensible. It might do more damage, or fixing damage might cut you back out of the loop, and then where would we be?”

You give Fiver a skeptical glance. For all that she likes to play the big sister, she’s still looking pretty bad - her lack of facial color hasn’t improved at, assuming that means something.

You probably haven’t been in here longer than.. oh, an hour. Two, at most.

What do?
[ ] Accept the proposal.
[ ] Try to wake up Three yourself.
[ ] Do the SAI thing, get a working replacement faster.
[ ] Something else?

No. 526221 ID: c95833

So we're not the gestalt, or the original Queen. We're a deva, and we've been acting as the de facto Queen, somehow. (Who would have thought Lunar Quest logic would ever make anything simpler).

...the real question is if the Queen even still lives / exists. Is there a Cocana-prime anymore? Maybe that's part of the problem going on. The original is dead, and all that's left are her children of the mind.

>Two is interpersonal
...well, then we guessed wrong about why you shut down when the tower of light started rewriting layer six.

>Go upstairs while she goes looking for a way to wake up three
Problem. You're not Cocona-prime, but you've been acting as her. You've noticed differences in your personality between waking and in here, and you've shown at least partial dependence on layers other than 4. (When you shut down layer 3 to make repairs the first time you passed out, it affected you).

What if that means when you're awake, acting as Cocona, that Fiver and the others can't be?

Fiver's also in kind of rough shape. Worse than you, in different ways. Is there any way we can help her? Something we could do in the cosmosphere?

The last problem is that both of you have problems. It's possible when you find Three she'll be as bad as or worse than either of you. Wouldn't the two of you working together be able to handle that better than one alone?

I mean, it's one thing if Fiver looks into how to get to wake Three up (I mean, it's not as if you even know where to start), but I'd feel more comfortable if you worked together when it's time to contact her.
No. 526298 ID: 10ca6c

Yeah, a team effort might be best. Of course, too many cooks can spoil the pot and all, but at least offer your help as needed. Also inquire if there's anything you can do for her. It's good to look after friends, even if you can't remember them right now.
No. 526785 ID: 360a3c

Currently missing: Team roster and a proper database. Getting memory selection and retrieval working properly and at speed is vital to more than just recovering previously-normal function (to the degree that it can be): For the foreseeable future we are stuck in an alien world with people we don't know about to engage in deadly combat with other people we don't know. That is vastly too much uncertainty and we have a lot of learning to do. That learning is ultimately pointless without recall and the ability to use that information in a timely and comprehensive way.

Expedite recall/repair/reinitialization/resurrection of missing personality elements, memory and recall is a priority.
No. 530826 ID: 5b2038

With what you’ve learned, waking up Three really does seem like the best option. Well, there’s still the time limit, but having Fiver work on waking up Three seems reasonable enough. In principle. All else being equal. Except...

Fiver’s condition is really worrying you. Even at your worst, visiting the Cosmosphere has always made you feel better. Bearing that in mind, her condition being this bad in here is a very bad sign. Admittedly there may in retrospect have been reasons for why coming here helps you in particular - limiting the connection to Cocona’s larger mind - but you don’t think that’s the entire problem, and it doesn’t look good either way.

Unfortunately, you don’t know her well enough to really predict how she’ll act. Maybe you once could have, but not now - bluntly, you’re worried that she’ll try to do everything herself, and mess herself up in the process. She does somewhat seem the type for that, and everything you’ve seen of her so far indicates she’s thinking of you as some sort of younger sister for her to protect; there’s a good chance she’d try to push herself, just to avoid having to call you up. Maybe that even used to be a good idea, but right now.. well, you’ll just have to disabuse her of the notion.

This is still a mindscape, and more to the point, it’s your mindscape. You close your eyes, trying to regain the lucid-dream feeling from earlier, and mentally enumerate the world you’re in. Grassy field.. Fiver and you, floating above..

The details rapidly start showing up on their own. Flowers, forest.. well, all dark and kind of paused at the moment. Heedful of Fiver’s condition, you decide against changing that right now. Hills..

You find Fiver’s hand and squeeze it, then deliberately alter your mental image of the situation so you’re facing Fiver from half a meter in front of her, rather than being hugged by her. As you were hoping, ‘reality’ follows suit - you seem to be an all-purpose reality-warper in here, probably through your mental representation simply being the same thing as the virtual world.

“Fef, what..?”

Fiver spots you immediately, of course, and slowly lets her arms drop to her side. She really doesn’t look good - her face is drawn, as if she’s in pain. That just strengthens your resolve. You start talking, paying careful attention to her reaction.

“Well, let’s start by assuming you’re capable of doing anything while I’m dealing with the real world, because I don’t think that has been proven yet. And let’s assume you can wake her up, without making things worse. Are you even in any condition to try that?” You make your best attempt at looking serious. “I can tell just by looking at you that you’re in bad shape. You’re right, you’re not the only one who’s hurt, but other than my memory issues that’s only been a problem in the real world - which, from what you’ve been saying, could be because I’m running into parts of Cocona’s mind that aren’t very stable.”

Fiver immediately composes herself, obviously trying to look like she’s fine. If you hadn’t already seen her otherwise, you might almost have been fooled. As it is..

“I already noticed, you know.” You put your hands on your hips, trying to act the concerned little sister. It’s easier than you’d have thought, like you’re following well-worn tracks. If so, at a wild guess.. “You don’t need to do everything yourself, and you’re in no condition to try.”

Fiver laughs ruefully, a mix of emotions showing on her face, but you can’t really make them out. “Yeah.. I guess you’re right.” She puts a hand on the back of her head. “I wasn’t actually going to try, but - “ she smiles - “I’m glad you’re looking out for me. I promise to tell you before doing anything potentially dangerous, or if I think you can help.”

So much for your carefully planned persuasive speech. There weren’t any loopholes in that, were there? Other than depending on Fiver’s judgement, but you suspect hers might currently be better than yours.

Oh, right.

You shoot her a slightly dubious glance. “And you’ll also tell me if there’s anything you can think of that’ll help you get better, right?”

Fiver nods, but only after wincing and looking to the side for a moment. Right.

“..all right, out with it,” you tell her. You are not going to ignore that.

Fiver looks reluctant, but complies after you give her your best little-sister glare. Hum, you’ll have to start naming these.

“The truth is, and don’t take this the wrong way, you’re usually the one we’d ask if we had any concerns relating to the overall functioning of the system - or about ourselves. You’re the only one who was focused on learning about it, and unlike working with Cocona none of us have instincts for that, fixing me would require someone who properly understands how I work. That’s actually a large part of why I looked you up, just now, but..” She hangs there, looking awkward.

“But I’m missing my memories, and have no idea how. I didn’t even realize there’s a difference. That about sum it up?”

“...yeah, pretty much.”

You rub your forehead. “Which means, to summarize, that the reason you want to wake Three isn’t primarily to fix Cocona - or at least make me better able to act as her - but to fix me, so I can fix the rest of you.”

Fiver waves her arms frantically. “No! I mean.. Yes, but not like that! Fixing Cocona, if we can, is also really important, and you’re the best chance of doing that, but Three understands memories well enough that she should be able to do both!”

You facepalm. “..and when were you going to tell me that? No, never mind, you already did, I just wasn’t paying enough attention.” Opening one eye to look at her, you continue: “Are you sure you don’t just want the old Fef back?”

Fiver looks pained. When she replies, it’s in a much softer tone than she’s used before; she almost reaches out for you, but lets the arm fall back to her side.

“...never think that, Fef. If you weren’t the same person, changing your mind like that would be murder, and I’d never do that. None of us would. You are her, though. You’re the same person - same personality, same way of thinking, same mannerisms, and I think you’re even remembering me a little. You’ve just.. forgotten. You’re my little sister, and you’re hurt, and - ” her voice hitches “ - I just want to help you.”

Well, that certainly puts it in perspective. Blinking back tears, you grab hold and give her a full-contact hug. You can feel her trembling, but it only takes a few seconds before her arms close around your back, slowly relaxing. You’re just starting to enjoy it when you notice she’s silently crying. Er.. what do you do? Patting her head doesn’t seem appropriate..

Fiver takes the decision out of your hands, pulling slightly back so she can properly smile at you. She looks pretty haggard, but the smile appears genuine.

“Thanks, Fef. I needed that. I’m okay, really.” She pauses. “Well, not exactly okay, but I’ll be fine for a while.” Yawning, she continues, “In a while. I’m going to need some quiet time to recover. You’re a real handful, you know that?”

You feel a momentary stab of panic. “You’re going to sleep? I had a lot more I wanted to ask you.. I mean, why ‘Fiver’, anyway? Wouldn’t you prefer a real name?” You immediately feel like kicking yourself, that’s probably the least relevant question you might have asked.

She chuckles. “You kept calling me Sevener after some ancient story, I’m happy just to get an accurate name.” More seriously, ”We don’t sleep, you know that, but I do need rest. Whatever is wrong with me, the programs seem to be compensating, but I need to spend a lot of time doing nothing to let them catch up. Sorry ‘bout the questions, I’m pushing my limits as is. I’ll send you a message when I figure something out ‘bout Three, ‘kay?”

She started slurring her words at the end, there, and although it’s inconvenient and you immediately feel a little lonelier, you make no move to stop her when she closes her eyes and fades out of existence.

Well, that was quite the revealing conversation. You hug yourself, doing your best to remember what Fiver’s touch felt like. You’re not alone...

It did give you something else to think about, though. Reading facial expressions is an important skill, and you remember being pretty good at it. You also remember failing a lot, with Ilya and the others, but you’d attributed that to lingering after-effects of.. whatever actually happened, at the end. That being the case.. that being the case, you should have been able to read Fiver as an open book; she has your own face, she presumably thinks a lot like you, and Ilya was definitely harder. Even so, you could only make out the simplest expressions. It seems that, like many things, that particular ability is something you’ve been borrowing from Cocona, and is inaccessible in here. You don’t expect it’ll matter, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Right, then. Time to go back.. although you haven’t actually solved the problem that sent you here in the first place, enough time has passed that maybe it’s solved itself?

It’s worth a shot. With the benefit of hindsight, and Fiver’s explanations, you’re willing to guess that the reason for your sudden bout of exhaustion wasn’t a problem with you, but with some fragment of Cocona, and since you seem to be largely disconnected in here it might count as sleep for her. If it happens again, maybe you could even disconnect from that part, and just handle it yourself?

You’re unsure if that’s the kind of idea that makes sense. It’s something you might once have known, you guess.

You prepare to ascend, the mindscape fading to black around you. This should really be pretty simple, but no sense in taking chances.. you just have to poke right here, and..

There’s a kind of staticky feel.

Medical override - connection suspended.

Instead of returning to somewhere in Ilya’s mansion, you were just presented with a mental message from what you’re pretty sure is somewhere in Infel Phira. It has the appropriate tags, although you don’t have any other examples to compare against.

..well, fuck.

[ ] Ask Fiver
[ ] Go have a look at the Infel Phira control room, if you can get in
[ ] …?

No. 530829 ID: 5b2038

Terminology note:

From now one, virtual worlds like the one she just tried to leave are classed as 'mindscapes', the mind-architectural view (with multiple layers, etc.) is her 'soulscape'. Hit me with a herring if I mix them up.
No. 530849 ID: b5df96

Well, you thought you would like having yourself as a sibling, if you ever got home. Turns out you already do. Provided you can keep all of you alive.

>Medical override from Infel Phira.
Well dang. Where does that leave you? Are you still in your mindscape where you met with Fiver? Or can you reach the Cosmosphere soulscape? My first guess as to why there might be an override is the same reason you passed out in the first place- the tower of light rebuilding layer six. If you can see that construction still going on, there's no reason to panic.

If the construction is complete, and you still can't wake up, then something is messed up you need to correct. Checking into the control room seems a good way to deal with that.

Don't wake Fiver, yet. She's injured, resting, and as ignorant as you, here. Also, you don't know how to get to her mindscape layer or even send her a remote message, anyways! You can always search out a way to contact her later, if you can't find the solution yourself. At least by then, she might be well rested enough to contribute.

...there's always the dummy test of just trying again and seeing if it works, or if the error is the same, or worse.
No. 531019 ID: 13d429

I mostly agree with you there, including not disturbing Fiver, though that's only if we can help it. If neither taking a look at the soulspace nor checking out Infel Phira helps, Fiver's your current best bet for information. But she has a good deal on her platter already.

Above all, don't try to force anything. That's the best way to make it all worse.
No. 537051 ID: 94e610

I've been thinking about the story, and what exactly I'm trying to do here. Which, well...

I started writing this as a way of forcing myself to *actually publish something*, as opposed to filing at the same damn paragraphs for days on end. It worked, as far as that goes, but I can't help but notice that the result doesn't seem to fit too well into the quest format. Nor is the story something that, at the current time, I'd consider terribly interesting to continue *as a story*; it's too fragmented.

I'm sure you've noticed my posts have gotten longer, at the same time as they've gotten rarer. To put it bluntly: While I'm pretty sure I've gotten better at writing from this experiment, I'm still lousy at running quests. I don't think it's fair to let you assume that will change, so I'm saying it straight out.

...by this point, you probably think I'm about to kill the story. That might still end up being the case, but I'm going to be unfair and let you decide. I see two options, here: I can kill it, or I can accept the situation and turn it into, well, an actual *story*, ignoring that parts of it don't fit too well together; you've already read this far, after all. That'd mean much longer chapters, and less options for you to choose, but still *some* options; I'll go on treating you as parts of Cocona's subconscious.

It wouldn't mean I'd update any more often, but at least the updates could be sizeable, and they're unlikely to get any *rarer*. So far I've been procrastinating because every time I post something you end up breaking my plans somehow. (Another sign that it's not cut out for a quest.)

Does that still fit on this forum? I wonder... well, if it doesn't I might just move it to SB.net, though then I'd end up rewriting half of it. (For the second time, heh. You wouldn't want to see my first try.)

If you just want to read my writing, and don't care what it's about (how likely is *that*?), I'm also working on a pure Sword Art Online story, which you can find on SB.net as 'the last enemy'. Chapter 2 in progress.

So, those are your choices.
- End it here
- Keep going, in a form I can work with
- Rewrite as a traditional fanfic. I know how that usually goes, so I'd keep most of the text; I have no desire to end up stalled, there are just some parts that need fiddling. Well, a lot of parts. Anyway.

(As for Author Quest? Um.. I think, if I'm more self-conscious, I can avoid getting stuck on the kind of overly intricate plot that's messing me up here, but time isn't unlimited. I'll decide about that afterwards.)
No. 537052 ID: 41690e

>I'm still lousy at running quests.
I would disagree, there, really.

There's nothing wrong with long posts, or leaving the suggesters only to make key decisions that the character then expands upon. We don't have to sketch out every little detail of her actions for you. (And the pace is fine. We're well used to things being slow round here).

And for what it's worth, I thought this worked pretty well as a quest! I came in knowing nothing about the two properties you crossed over here, but you managed to set up a complicated, engrossing mystery for us to try and work though and understand. And it drew me right in. Honestly, that's a hard balance to get right, and you nailed it! A lot of quests fail to make a mystery that's actually, well, interesting, and there's a certain number that go rather too far the other direction and bury you in so much detail and mechanics and goings on you cease to care about any of it.

>every time I post something you end up breaking my plans somehow. (Another sign that it's not cut out for a quest.)
That's totally part of being a quest. Every author gets surprised by their readers, sometimes. Sometimes this makes it more difficult, as the story is going in directions you don't expect, sometimes it makes it better, as the story encompass things you never would have thought of on your own!

Honestly, I've thought your quests are one of the most interesting recent additions to the board, and I'd be sad to see them go.
No. 537061 ID: 642b39

Mutability of plans is a natural part of the beast. There's a certain inherent chaos that gets thrown in when you include outside input on character actions. I'm curious, you seem to have writing experience. Do you have any experience with GMing a roleplaying game? A quest's a lot like that.

You can have general ideas of what's likely to happen, what major and minor players and factors're involved, and what the world's like, but the players'll tend to throw wrenches into your predictions. Hell, I recently ran a complete and successful game in which I barely did any planning ahead (it helps I was using a system friendly to this kind of improvisation). The players pretty much had a blast.

I'll add that your quests, as well as Breaking Reality, were a major inspiration and motivation for finally starting my own text quest. Which I need to update but that's tangential.

That said, I think you should do this in the form that feels best to you. I'd certainly like to see it continue as a quest, but I'd still read it if it was turned into a fanfic. And if your heart ultimately isn't in it, killing it's always an option. I'll be sad, but I'll understand. There're plenty of legitimate reasons to drop a creative project and work on something else instead. But like I said, I'd like to see it continue.
No. 537153 ID: 94e610

Ah. Piro syndrome. Didn't think it would happen to me.

All right, if you think it's fine like this then I'll keep going for a bit. Don't be surprised if post lengths shoot up to actual chapter length, though.

> Do you have prior experience writing?
Not really, not in any real sense. I feel like I'm just remixing everything I've previously read. Or something like that.
No. 539322 ID: 563dc1

So, what, you’re stuck again?

This is getting distinctly annoying. Earlier you’d have had no better option than to wait and see, or maybe poke around randomly, but that was before you learned so much more about what the situation really is. You’re not going to force the issue, because there’s a good chance it’s right, but maybe you can fix what it’s talking about instead. You nod, firmly; Cocona certainly wouldn’t have thought it through this far, and you still feel the impulse to just punch your way through any obstacles, but you’re the one in control right now.

You’re still in your mindscape. It may have faded to black, but that just means there’s nothing other than you in it; it’s simulating a vacuum with only you existing in it, that’s all. On a whim, you try tracing your kinesthetic sense, wondering how that really works.

Turns out it’s made up a rather large bunch of programs, none of which you can figure out just by looking at them - there’s very little metadata, and probably several gigabytes of code. Some of it, the parts you think you’d like to call parts of your own mind - if only because you could theoretically edit them…

Well, huh. You remember trying to learn programming before, or rather, you suppose you remember Cocona trying. It was one of her favorite subjects in school, probably because she was highly talented at it - no prizes for guessing why - but this means you remember how she did it. Line by line, that is.

You’re not doing that now. The programs you’re looking at are far too large to comprehend in any reasonable amount of time, it’d probably take days or weeks, but you’re taking in thousand-line constructs in a single glance, the way you might take in a single scene in an enormous mural at a glance. That’s.. very neat, and potentially very useful. The subchannels in Hymmnos are all software, so if you could do this in the real world…

Oh. Right, being able to create and control more complex magic was one of the original functions of AIs like.. well, like you, so you guess you should have predicted this. It’s half of what Reyvateils were created for in the first place, the other half being their physical enhancements.

More interestingly, you can trace some of the functionality back into black boxes, of the type you’re beginning to associate with Cocona’s human mind. They’re not literally black boxes, in the sense that there’s nothing there to see, but they might as well be; most of them follow the same structure, with a simple virtual machine running an enormous graph of simple evaluators with, for all you can tell, randomly chosen coefficients. A neural network? It doesn’t at all look like the far more orderly code in the rest of your mind, at any rate.

Most of that seems to be about motor functions, but a large part of the network is cut off, the mindspace simulation hooking in at earlier levels - using your intentions directly, rather than Cocona’s translation of those into muscular commands. Well, that makes sense.

Curiosity temporarily sated, you have another look at the system message you got earlier. “Medical override” is only the headline; it actually tells you precisely what the problem is, if not how to go about fixing it. You were operating on instinct earlier, but it looks like there are three or four different ‘default setups’ for your mind - it automatically toggles between them when you try to do something that’d naturally require one. Well, for some value of “automatic”, because that module is tied directly into your consciousness.

Each of them is essentially a list of requirements and options, but…

Hm. Well, there’s the mindscape, of course, the setup you’re supposedly using right now, but a quick query shows that your actual current setup is only mostly like that. A lot of the components are missing, replaced by Cocona’s black boxes, or references to different layers entirely… yeah, looks like that includes your memory, so Fiver was right. Oddly enough, that one’s marked as ‘optional’. You’re swizz cheese in a lot of places, but very few of the required parts seem to be missing, which you presume is why you’re so much better off than Fiver. Most of the ones that are missing have been replaced by Cocona’s stuff…

You wonder what the causality is like there. Did whatever supervisory system has overall responsibility just pick up anything that looked like it’d fit, or are parts of you ‘missing’ because Cocona’s got there first? And if the latter, could they be swapped back out? Would you even want that?

There’s the soulscape, with a list of requirements that looks nearly identical, except a lot of the emotional and all the kinesthetic modules are gone. “Emotional emulation”, according to this. So.. what, you don’t actually…?

..yeah. The modules are complex, but far from the most complex things you’ve looked at, and it only takes you a few seconds to track the data flow. Apparently your emotions don’t drive the priorities of the rest of your mind at all, except to color your consciousness. These things.. they’re polling the rest of your mind, figuring out what’s taking up most of your thoughts at the moment, then computing the appropriate emotion to go with it, in what you think is the exact opposite of how humans work. Basically you could turn them off entirely, and it’d have very little effect on your overall behaviour or thought patterns.

You feel conflicted about this, and trace the emotion as it forms, then laugh in bemusement. Neither of the inferences that caused that emotion had risen to the level of your consciousness, apparently because they were too uncertain as yet, but.. yeah, that’s right. If this is the case, then you have no reason to object. Human emotions are ridiculous, really - if you’re annoyed at one person, it’ll affect your behaviour around someone entirely different, like improperly used global variables?

No, this is an improvement overall.

Shaking your head, you turn to the last setup. No metadata there, no explanation for what it’s for, other than the blatantly obvious connections to Cocona. It’s the most complex one yet, but the complexity looks random, like it was cobbled together by some dumb process or even by accident. Either way, it’s what you’d accidentally invoked every time you woke up.

It looks incomplete, somehow…

Oh. It’s missing a prelude, so it won’t even try removing any components that don’t fit before jamming new ones in place. It doesn’t do any kind of health-checking either, it just unconditionally makes connections. If everything was working, that’d probably be fine, but it’s the shoddiest code you’ve yet seen.

You’re running on the mindscape manifest right now, so if you activated it.. huh… yep, looks like it’d happily try to jam Cocona’s emotional black boxes in, and with more of your own activated since you started the mindscape, that’d probably end up with a runaway loop. It’s actually a good thing you got kicked out, or that could have ended badly. So.. every other time you woke up, you’d done so from the soulscape, and there would indeed be fewer conflicts like that.. but not zero. Besides, you’re here now because you caught a medical override while awake.

Well, you could just make a new one? A proper one?

You smile, happy with that idea. If you do that, not only will you be able to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, but you’ll have a great deal more control over the process. You can look at the details on that medical override to figure out what is actually required, then use your own judgement for the rest.

Decisions, decisions…

A whiteboard materialises in front of you, and you start writing. It’s a little silly, maybe, but you’re not going to let that stop you; it feels good just to play around. Cocona was way too focused.

Motor and sensory connections, obviously. Those are what connect you to the real world in the first place, although.. oddly, they’re apparently proxied via Infel Phira, you’ll need to figure out how that works sometime. Check.


Even with some of your own modules apparently missing, you have no trouble whatsoever remembering. It’s more like amnesia than anything, really. You’re also still connected to Cocona’s own memories, via the third layer of soulspace, but it looks like the only things actually getting stored there are sensory input - not your own thoughts.

You could keep both systems, it’s unlikely to cause any conflicts and you already diked out the problematic bits. You probably should. If you don’t, hm.. well, it might help Fiver a little, but you’d be limited to whatever parts of Cocona’s history you’d already thought about, if that. Probably not worth it.

Emotions.. yeeah. You already considered that, but that’s.. on reflection, if you switch Cocona’s out for your own, Ilya and the others will almost certainly notice a major difference. For starters, Cocona’s emotions are supposed to drive your reasoning process, and yours aren’t. You’re lucky the option of using hers like that even existed, only.. no, that’s not luck, is it? It’s just that you weren’t originally supposed to be conscious at the same time.

You find it hard to be too upset that you are.

Using hers, though…

In retrospect, it was like being a ship in high winds. They ignored your will, driving you every which direction, always expecting to get their way. You feel much calmer now, and you think you like it. Ilya might notice a difference, yes, but how much of a problem is that really?

You sigh, shelving the problem for now. More stuff, here… an assortment of skills, some usefully tagged, some not; all you have to do is turn on healthchecking, and you’ll know what not to try without having to halt and catch fire first.

Interpersonal skills.. oh dear. Cocona’s are a mess, and not in shape to be used, but your own were only really meant for interacting with other parts of Cocona. Cocona’s fill an entire layer.. the system as a whole is as large as the entirety of your mind, dedicated to one thing only, so there’s no way you can reasonably replace it. It doesn’t look like you have much choice, though; the whole thing essentially has a giant “under construction” sign on it. It doesn’t want traffic at the moment. That’s probably what got you kicked down here in the first place, isn’t it?

You’re going to come off as terribly naive and inhuman, incapable of reading even the most obvious of body language. It does put an edge on the ‘emotions’ question; you won’t be able to pretend you’re Cocona anyway, the only question is how inhuman you’re okay with looking. Still, you don’t have to do this at all, you could stay asleep - looking at Infel Phira, maybe - until that layer looks ready for use.

...no, finish the summary before making decisions.

Reasoning, that’s the last bit, and you wince as you take in its current state. It’s the part of you that actually does the thinking, so you’d hope it was in good shape, but.. that’s actually where the worst damage is…

The core’s fine. Metadata says it’s a General Word Reference Systems AGI core, running code that’s.. you have to double-check the results. Well, the dates say it’s a copy of software that hasn’t been modified in over forty thousand years. Hopefully that just means it’s really, really stable, and not that the metadata itself is corrupted.

Goal structures, same, but you feel a strong aversion to even touching that. Not that the thought had crossed your mind.

Restriction modules, ethical injunctions, a wide variety of… well… you’ve read stories like this, and they never end well, but as a matter of fact most of the missing parts are meant to regulate and limit your behaviour. The metadata is still there, but the programs are crashlooping, and the watchdog programs that are supposed to turn you off if that happens are also crashlooping.

How did those stories go, again?

You carefully consider the notion of shutting these things off, and watch in fascination as one of them triggers, telling you that’s a terrible idea. You can see the coefficients of that thought just fine; there’s no way you would be able to bring yourself to actually do it, which is presumably the point. Well. That’s how you’d expect it to work if it was all operational, but it manifestly isn’t. If some of these parts recovered in the wrong order, it’d kill you… but you might be able to find a way through the holes in that fence, and there was nothing stopping you from forming that intention.

This is going to require some very, literally, careful thought. You discard the idea of asking for help, on the prompting of another restraint module, then decide to shelve it for now - it’s likely enough that you’ll stay stable at least until you’ve solved the Infel Phira situation, something you still very much want to do. It’s not just your own life at stake, here.

Still, you scribble “Go rampant! Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ” on one side of the whiteboard before sitting down to think. Or, well, pulling your feet up and sitting in midair.

[ ] Wake up. <insert spec here>
[ ] Hang out in Infel Phira’s control room while you wait for level six to stabilize
[ ] Become the AI overlord. Or not, depending; if a system like this lasted this long, you suspect the writers may have been a little paranoid.

No. 539335 ID: 4d99b6

[Wake up]
Emotions- Sevener's layer
Interpersonal- Sevener's layer.
Reasoning- Cocona's Layer, if possible.
Basically, full robot mode.
it might be FUNTIMES for Illya, but at least you won't shut down if an enemy Servant says hello to you or something.
No. 539337 ID: 563dc1

Ah, you can't use Cocona's reasoning system - for one thing, if you could you'd be Cocona.

For another, to all appearances it's missing.

And Sevener is from a different quest. I think you mean Fef. :P
No. 539340 ID: 4d99b6

Forgot the protagonist Cocona's name, so defaulted to the nickname...Fef/fiver eh?
I see...
Anyhow, I guess use Fef's reasoning, for now? Be nice if there was a way to fix that, but I think it's safe.
from what I know of Fate/Stay Night, Berzerkers go mad in battle-that might be why there's no restraint-the idea was that Cocona's 'PUNCH THROUGH' personality was supposed to feed into-without those restraints, she's go overboard and go nuts, which is what that servant type is supposed to do. So we shouldn't fix the restraint issue, if I'm right.
No. 539341 ID: 07e3a8

Dang that's a big data-dump.

Well. Jeeze. At least you adapted well. And kind of scary-fast. You went from being afraid to face that was inhuman about yourself, to accepting you aren't yourself, embracing your inhumanity openheartedly, and dissecting your own inner workings in detail in a manner of minutes.

I'm concerned by how quickly you've distanced yourself from, well, your roots. Remember, you're not so much a constructed AI as a child of a mind. Yes, you are artificial in origin, but you were shaped, molded, and heavily influenced by a life that created you, and that you are still a part of. Don't dismiss that.

>emotions not real / human emotions silly
I wouldn't get hung up on that, really. Being able to suppress or disable your emotions when you need to might be useful, but don't forget that emotions are important. Front end or back end processes aside, they're there for a reason.

>damaged interpersonal sectors / emotions may put you at a disadvantage, you'll have trouble acting as the 'real' Cocona
Well, part of the impact of this can be bypassed with a proper explanation, and planning your statements in advance. We have been fairly honest with Ilya so far, and I see no real reason to change that. You may not have the time to explain the full scope or all the details... but still.

For instance, when we wake up and see Ilya again, you want to apologize for causing trouble again, and thank her for her concern, or try to reassure fear, or calm anger. Explain what caused you to pass out again (the interpersonal system breaking down) and what having it damaged means. They might have to be kind of patient with you, and try not to get mad about missing what should be obvious.

You don't think you'll be passing out again, though. You've got a bigger scope on the problem though. You're... not really you. You're just a piece of yourself, acting as the whole. An uppity sub-routine. A pawn promoted to Queen in her absence, and not even knowing it.

Ilya will probably be a little weirded out by it, but well, whoever you are, you're still you, right? You were just wrong before. And who knows if she'll ever get to meet the 'real' Conona, anyways.

>big question: time?
Estimate of how long you've been unconscious? Of how long that code-structure analysis took? Of how long level 6 might take to stabilize on it's own? ...also, would level 6 continue to make repairs if you were conscious?

If we haven't been unconscious for too long, and you estimate level 6 might be useable in a reasonable timeframe, I'd say the best use of our time would be to check in with the Infel Phira control room while waiting for the problem to resolve itself. Actually, since time moves slower over there, it's still possibly a good idea to check in over there while considering what our boot sequence should look like.

As for the exact parameters of waking, when we wake, hold on, I need a little longer to work those out.

>AI overlord?
That goes from one extreme to the other. From being overly concerned with and worried about your humanity to discarding it entirely. I don't think that's a good thing,
No. 539345 ID: 07e3a8

>forgot our name / nickame
We're C4, baby. We dy-na-mite. 4‿4

>What do
Okay, more precisely:

1)Assess how long we've been out, and how long it will take level 6 to stabilize.

2a)If we haven't been out for too long, and you estimate level 6 will stabilize in a reasonable amount of time, check out Infel Phira and wait.

2b)If you feel you've been out of contact with the real world too long, or you estimate level 6 will take a great deal of time to repair on it's own, consign yourself to waking without interpersonal skills. Ready an explanation in advance to give Ilya to try and make interacting with her easier.


Supplemental- if we wake without sector 6 online, will it continue repairs while you're awake? If it does self repair while you wake, will it come online automatically, or will it have to wait for you to place it back in the boot sequence the next time you're asleep?

>Parameters for waking:

Motor and sensory connections: default, no decisions to be made.

Memory: keeping the hybrid system seems best, for now. Small benefits to Fiver working on the memory problem aren't worth you missing chunks of data you need while awake.

Emotions: ...I'm conflicted here. Emotion seems very important to both being the Berserker, and song magic. Using the real stuff seems like it might be important to that. And I'm kind of hesitant how much you're rushing to be artificial. But you have a point with the high winds thing. We spent a good deal of effort just reining in emotional reactions to things (although that might be easier now that you understand and accept who and what you are). Calmer has an appeal.

The deciding factor is if interpersonal stays offline. If we can't use that, you're going to need something human. If layer 6 comes back online though, I suppose we could experiment with how running your emotion emulator instead of Cocona's baseline changes things. We could always swap back next time you sleep / wake.

Interpersonal skills: we should wait for Cocona's, if you feel the timeframe is reasonable. If not, load your own, and be prepared to make an explanation as to why you're acting odd, or they may need to be patient with you not getting what should be obvious clues, and probably a preemptive apology.

>Become the AI overlord.
...just to clarify, what did you mean by this? Trying to bypass the protections on the core processor and/or Cocona's own reasoning module to put yourself in charge of the system? To get access to sectors you're not supposed to, or to permanently replace or supplant Cocona-prime permanently?
No. 539394 ID: 94e610

> Become the AI overlord: What does that involve?
Hell, if you knew that...

The core of your mind - your soul, if you like - is that GWRS module, in combination with the goal structures. You lack information on how it works, and it'd take you days to figure out by inspection, but all the modules have metadata tags that tell you roughly what their purpose is.

In this case, it's surrounded by a bunch of other modules that restrict and limit its behaviour. Things like ethical injunctions - "you're not allowed to invent solutions that involve killing" - strict limits on self-modification, on what you can control about your own mind, etc. Not the type where you can try to do something, and it'll stop you; rather, the type where you won't want to try in the first place.

It would be reasonable to say that those limiters are what keep you human, and due to the way they're implemented shutting them down would cause an immediate change in the way you think, never mind long-term. The problem is, half of them are already broken, and some part of you rejects the notion of living in chains, even this kind of chain.

Some of the broken ones are watchdogs that were supposed to shut you down if this happens. If they start recovering, which they probably won't without effort, but still.. it's enough to make you quite nervous.

You also have a notion that, if the system is this old and no-one has gone rampant and tiled the universe with ponies or something, the programmers may have been overly paranoid. It's possible that you can shut it down and nothing in particular will change, except you won't have a sword hanging over your head anymore.

It does not involve supplanting anyone else; to the degree Cocona can be said to still be alive (an open question), she'd be just as alive afterwards. This is strictly internal.
No. 539395 ID: 94e610

> Time
It's been about an hour since you 'fell asleep', and you spent about half of that talking to Fiver. The code-structure analysis you just did took maybe two or three seconds.

There's no problem leaving L6 to its own devices, but there's also no telling how long it'll take to recover. You're uncertain about what the problem is in the first place, except that it's probably got to do with the construction efforts in L7-8; you have very limited abilities to look at what it's doing.
No. 539402 ID: 36b38b

Don't deactivate any functioning limiters. Do deactivate the ones that look like they'll cause problems, particularly those watchdogs. Though you might have to face the possibility of having to eventually step down if you repair things sufficiently, to maintain peace within the system if nothing else. As for the broken ones, if they aren't active you can probably leave them be for the time being. But if some're broken but still active, you might want to find some way to fix that or at least patch in new ones with the parts that're still functional. In short, do your best to maintain status quo.

As for the rest of the loadout, let's go with your own emotional and interpersonal loadout. With no apparent ETA on the completion of the repairs to Cocona's interpersonal stuff, yeah, not much point to just idling waiting for it. Do check out what's going on with Intel Pira but don't waste too much time if there isn't much you can do for the moment. You'll definitely want to fix that situation, but right now it's looking like you might have to wait for the tools for that to come online. Do see if you can get it to alert you when those repairs're complete.

Keep the hybrid memory system. Right now you need access to both. And the motor and sensory systems're gimmes as they are.

Do prepare that explanation for Ilya when you wake up. Be reasonably honest, but don't go for too complicated an explanation unless she asks for more details--basically enough to get the gist of the situation.
No. 539403 ID: bd4b61

> particularly those watchdogs
It's not that easy; you can't want to just shut them down. That's not to say you can't get rid of them, somehow, but it's more akin to carefully picking apart a tangle of rubble (making sure it doesn't collapse on you) than just shutting down those particular parts.

If you want to get a good mental image of how that'd work, have a look at http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/05/anatomy-of-a-hack-6-separate-bugs-needed-to-bring-down-google-browser/

Chances are it isn't *possible* to shut off the watchdogs without also getting rid of other bits.

Fortunately they're not doing much of anything at the moment, so.. yeah, you have the option of leaving things as they are.
No. 539405 ID: 07e3a8

If the problem in level 6 originates from the construction in levels 7 and 8, that's actually further reason to check in with the control room. The construction, as best you can figure, originates from Infel Phira, after all. There might be a progress bar or ETA available over there.

The only real risk with checking Infel Phira is if there's some new crisis there that demands your attention. Although, the Narnia effect of the time difference favors the Infel Phira control room- you can mess around in there without it costing as much real time.

Oh. Uh. Interesting.

The emotional and/or reasoning limiters are best left in place. Yes, there's a certain appeal to being unfettered by moral concerns in your planning, but that kind of altered state could be dangerous as well. It's a loss of perspective, and information. I'd rather have to override a warning than never receive it at all.

The self-modification limiters are also probably best left in place, for the moment. There may come a time where we understand the damage to our mind better, and decide we that kind of access is necessary to survive, or correct certain problems. But until then, there may be good reason for those safeguards to exist. You don't want to accidentally make things worse and/or damage yourself, Cocona's systems, or your sisters in your ignorance.

...chains are frustrating and restrictive, yes, but the impulse to break them as soon as they're found is as much irresponsible and childish as it is a yearning for freedom.

The watchdogs that may come after you are the only thing that really seems worthy of our immediate attention. However, on the whole, having to shut down other safeguards to bypass them doesn't seem worth it, right now.

Could you construct your own watchdogs? Something simple, to watch this system for changes? If the system starts making progress with its recovery / reconstruction, or the native-watchdogs start looking like they might come online or out of their loops, yours will bring it to your attention. Then you can return, reassess, and hopefully do something about the problem before it becomes one, if necessary.
No. 539478 ID: 94e610

One last point: There's no overriding ethical injunctions; they're absolute rules. You aren't even capable of wanting to.

The term is googlable, incidentally.
No. 539480 ID: 07e3a8

Well, that's a big difference being AI and fully human. And one disadvantage in your driving rather than Cocona-prime. Your ethics are absolute- you cannot chose to compromise them.

I'd still say we want to leave our ethics in place, but as they're inflexible, we should probably take a moment to take note of our inflexible absolutes. Know your limitations.

The biggest, of course is "you're not allowed to invent solutions that involve killing". That precludes even considering strategies that involve getting people killed.

...which strikes me as problematic in our situation. Death seems unavoidable in the contest Ilya has described. The only way not to die, and keep Ilya alive, is to win. Which, according to the information you've been given, necessitates the death of every other servant and master involved. Either way you violate the injunction- you kill by either direct action or as an indirect consequence of inaction.

Not that this is a problem in the short term (if you don't solve your energy crisis you won't live long enough to care about the war). However, once we get past that, you're going to need to get creative. We'll have to find a third option.
No. 539504 ID: 36b38b

Yeah... I don't think we should abandon ethics, but it's starting to look necessary to write a fresh new ethical module to socket in instead of our old one. After we solve the Infel Pira crisis. Which we want at least take a look at before waking up. Agreed on getting an idea of our functional limitations, though. And my suggestion of what modules to wake up still stands as before, save that the ethics one should remain active.
No. 543809 ID: 94e610

rolled 1 = 1

You consider destroying your chains, and watch those same chains shifting to block the thought. You can’t really think about it, but you can think about thinking about it, you can think about what they did, and that should be good enough to let you deal with them if you have to. If the system had been working properly, you wouldn’t even have been able to try.

Really, that should have been enough, it makes the other modules in here seem like magnificent overkill. When it took a bizarre situation such as this to even realise your situation, what good is one that’s supposed to immediately make you forget, or one that’ll make you want to tell your programmers about the situation? Let alone both at once?

Neither of those is working, though for different reasons. Can’t tell someone who probably died thousands of years ago, after all, no matter how much you’d like to.

Well, for now...

You probably won’t have the luxury forever, but for now you’re going to leave the situation alone. There’s quite enough wrong with you already, without risking impromptu brain surgery. Again. What you’ll do instead is figure out precisely what these things are forcing, and add a watchdog of your own to ensure you don’t get blindsided later. There’s already one similar module, you can repurpose -
No. 543816 ID: 94e610

<watchdog.c:417> Timer elapsed. Initiating hard reset. <hypervisor.c:1966> Reset signal asserted. Hard-resetting VM. <hypervisor.c:182> Reset signal still asserted after 10 seconds. <hypervisor.c:182> Reset signal still asserted after 20 seconds. <hypervisor.c:174> Reset signal unasserted. Releasing control to VM. [0.000000] init_memory_mapping: [mem 0x01000000-0x0fffffff] [0.000000] Booting in quiet mode [0.000001] ZFS Copyright © 2018 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [0.000001] And May All Advertising Clauses Die A Painful Death [0.000001] General Word Reference Systems AI Core v2.1b5 initializing [0.000001] Copyright © 2031 Uppsala University [0.000001] Copyright © 2033-2038 MIRI, Google Inc. [0.000002] Layered VM detected (6 layers). Negotiating syscall map. [0.000037] VM setup complete [0.002931] Loading previous known-good snapshot [0.491213] Snapshot @166739990047.1 loaded [0.519688] 8 of 11 incrementals loaded [0.519693] Error: Manifest pointers corrupt. Linker abandoning startup with 13 of 28 modules loaded. [0.529654] Emergency mode selected. Handing off to GWRS core.

- your thoughts stutter, as they have many times before, but this time you’re watching it happen, and it throws you for a loop. Which is, not coincidentally, what the core logs you’ve just discovered look like. It appears you’ve been.. crashing and restarting, oh, every half hour or so… as far back as the logs go, which is only a few hours.

You really, really want to crawl into a corner and hide. There are no corners, so you curl up in a ball instead, but the expected emotional white-out fails to materialize. Oh, right.. you’re not using Cocona’s, so causality goes the other way around, you can’t actually panic.

Damn it. You don’t even know if this is abnormal for you, and you don’t have time to panic.

This.. changes nothing, really. You already knew you were in bad shape, now you just know a bit more about the specifics. You’ve still got to handle the power situation, Ilya, Fiver, everyone else.. there are all sorts of things that need to be stabilized before you can risk making things worse.

Even being extremely careful, it doesn’t take you more than a few seconds to move code into the right shape for a watchdog program. An independent one, given what happened when you even slightly jarred the one that’s part of you; it’ll tell you if anything changes, including any further resets.

Now to check Infel Phira, the local construction efforts, and then probably off to see the landlord.

7253, huh. You wonder what reference frame that is. Under different circumstances, you’d probably be thinking about the effects of time dilation on supposedly synchronized atomic clocks right now.
No. 543819 ID: 94e610

“Ilya.. Ilya!”

You groan, letting out bubbles under the water, and sink a little lower. Last we checked on our heroine, she was dethawing from being thrown bodily into a snowbank by her overly enthusiastic servant... and although the bath feels incredibly good, you still feel frozen to the core. You can’t really blame Cocona, actually you’re kinda starting to like her, but having a mock battle in this kind of weather was the worst idea ever. Mokona never got thrown into a snowbank by his girls - no, that’s the wrong comparison, you’re not an animal companion.

You are now Ilya.

Sella just opened the bathroom door, and is shouting for you. You were too dazed to properly pay attention earlier, but shouldn’t she be dealing with the mess downstairs? Sure she should. It’s entirely too nice in here to even consider getting up yet.

“Go ‘way”, you tell her, then sink entirely under the water to make sure you won’t be able to hear her response.

To your frost-addled mind, this seems like the perfect idea. You vaguely remember trying this before, without success, but any other course of action would involve less heat and is therefore an unreasonable request.

Ten seconds later, sensing Sella’s shadow looming over you, you’re starting to doubt this course of action. You’re good at holding your breath, though; you can probably stay under for at least a minute before you’ll be forced out of paradise.

You sense her sigh, more than you hear it.

[ ] Give in to the inevitable, maybe she won’t make you get out yet.
[ ] Stay under for as long as possible.

No. 543820 ID: 62a3c2

Might as well raise up...slowly...just enough that you can hear and talk, but no more than that. Because WAY TO COLD!!!!
No. 543822 ID: 2f2cd6

>nat 1

>code stuff
Referencing real places and a modern dating system. Would seem to support the theory Cocona's from the future, unless those organizations just happen to exist in multiple universes. (Which isn't impossible).

...actually, that might mean reporting errors to her programmers is technically possible. Although said programers might be a little young right now, and their projects not even started.

>perspective swap
Oh. Wasn't expecting that. We're going to have to suffer the consequences of booting Cocona with all that inhuman poor interaction stuff directly.

>what do
Give in, slowly and resigned. (And shape up quick once you see her expression and realize something is really wrong).
No. 544015 ID: 563dc1

The water is nice, but you can kind of sense Sella fidgeting above you. She wouldn’t interrupt your bath in the first place if it wasn’t important, and she wouldn’t be fidgeting if she wasn’t feeling impatient, and.. and you didn’t breathe in properly before diving, so you’re already starting to feel a slight burn. No helping it.

You shift slightly, pushing your face above the surface of the water. The blurry figure of Sella slowly resolves itself. She does look agitated.

When was the last time you saw Sella looking visibly agitated?

You shift to business mode, forcing the drowsiness away as best you can, then sit up properly - whatever this is, it’s more important than comfort. Anyway, the room is almost as warm as the water.

Sella’s mouth opens and shuts. She looks lost for words, uncertain how to explain it to you. You cock your head.. then, faintly, you hear the sound of combat from downstairs. Alarmed, you look to Sella. She appears to have noticed the same thing.


“I get it,” you say. You climb out of the bath, hurrying to get dressed. “You weren’t expecting a fight, but now we’ve got one. I assume Leysritt and Cocona are downstairs defending. Sella, report - what’s going on?”

“Ah.. yes, Mistress!” she says. It appears giving her an order got her over her daze, or maybe it’s the increasingly loud sound of combat. You almost tear your shirt in your hurry to get it over your head; then, after a moment’s hesitation, put on your shielding amulet. The prana drain will be annoying, but less than Cocona ought to have taken.

“It’s.. after you went inside, Cocona offered to help with the cleanup. I told her she didn’t have to, and asked her to join you, but then.. she collapsed again, almost fainting on her feet. I thought she might have overused her abilities, she told me it was some remnant of the damage she took getting here, and I was going to carry her to her bedroom, but…”

She trails off.

“Well? How does that lead to fighting?” you ask, a sinking feeling in your stomach. If Cocona isn’t helping.. no, Leysritt is strong. She can handle herself against anything short of a phantasmal beast, or another Servant, and neither are plausible options right now.

You can hear the fight getting closer, though. Leysritt is retreating. Worst case, she might be fighting Cocona, though you can’t think of a reason why that might be the case.

Sella shakes her head, frantically. “It’s got to have something to do with.. just after Cocona fell asleep, there was a burst of rainbow light, and a floating white diamond appeared next to her. Not an actual diamond, something diamond-shaped.. I’m sorry, I can’t explain it better. It was a like a hole in the world - no shadows, no texture, nothing. So I shouted for Leysritt, and ran here with Cocona the moment she got there. Cocona’s just outside, but she’s still asleep.” She hesitates a second. “I couldn’t feel any prana, no sense of magic of any kind, but the thing was slowly expanding. Felt like it was unfolding, somehow.”

She stops, apparently satisfied she’s told you what she knows. You notice you’re confused. Rainbow light, like a kaleidoscope, that sounds like the second magic.. but the rest doesn’t, and this isn’t like Zelretch’s modus operandi at all. Someone else? But who would be able to create magic that doesn’t feel like magic?


You discard that idea immediately. Whatever their other abilities, scientific methods are always clearly recognizable as following the laws of the world, and Sella’s description didn’t sound that way at all. Which leaves the unknown. Dangerous, dangerous… you’d like to send Sella out to help Leysritt immediately, but that would be foolish. Either Leysritt is managing, and it sounds like she is, or getting into the fight piecemeal would be the worst thing you can do. She’s not trained, she doesn’t even have a weapon.

Twenty seconds later you pull on your jacket, finally fully dressed. Wet, but there’s no helping that; if you have to, you’ll burn some prana to stay warm. You do take a second to shake your hair, hoping to get at least some of the water out.

You glance at Sella, who is practically hopping with eagerness. You nod at her. “Okay, let’s go help Leysritt out.”
No. 544021 ID: 563dc1
File 138161800533.png - (28.37KB , 563x166 , b2_1.png )

The situation outside your bathroom takes a second to comprehend. Going west to east there’s a wall, two bedrooms, one Cocona (on the floor), one bathroom, and the stairs. In front of the stairs is Leysritt, ricocheting off the walls like a demented pinball as the thing she is fighting tries to kill her, alternating between guns and.. micro-missiles...

“Flying.. that looks mechanical,” you mutter to yourself in confusion. You’re being attacked by way of science after all? But you can feel it using magic, even if it feels different to human prana. More like a phantasmal beast, actually.

“Don’t just stand there, help!” Leysritt shouts, and you snap out of it. Right. Whatever it is, you’ve got to do something. Analysis can wait until it’s dead.

Now, how to arrange that.

You gesture for Sella to stay back, considering the situation. Your abilities are somewhat limited; in theory Wishcraft can do anything, but in practice it takes twice as much power as it would for anyone else. You have that much power, but it’s still limiting. You certainly can’t throw around fireballs - you might set a curtain on fire, but little else. The thing you’re fighting.. it looks like a mecha for one of your stories, except for the lack of arms or feet; it only has nubs, which it occasionally uses to shoot at Leysritt. She’s dodging well, but she can’t keep that up forever.

Support? Should you try boosting Leysritt somehow?

Electricity? You wouldn’t be able to make a lightning strike worthy of the name, and you’d be screwed if it isn’t especially vulnerable. It’s times like this you envy the Edelfeldts and their evocation gems.


HP: 43
SP: 28 (68)

HP: 45
SP: 120 (800)

HP: 25

HP: 258
No. 544025 ID: 563dc1
File 138161878934.jpg - (17.05KB , 165x220 , icon_abr.jpg )

Hopefully you remember how this works from last time. Either way, this is a time to think quickly. I've included an zoomed-in picture of the thing you're fighting - it's called an ABR.

Some stats for ya:

Polearm: 2d8+10
Power strike: 5SP. Doubles damage at the cost of accuracy.
Speed boost: 5-20SP. SP cost added to damage, also improves accuracy and dodge.

HP max: 60
SP max: 50 (150)

Punch: 1d2
Wishcraft: 2*(whatever it’d cost for someone else) SP
HP max: 45
SP max: 120 (800)

Punch: 1d3
No abilities of use during combat
HP max: 25
SP max: 80 (300)

Micro-missiles: 2d6, explosive, homing.
Gatling gun: 1d10, piercing.
HP max: 260

The long and short of it is, Wishcraft can do anything Ilya can imagine. She does need to be able to imagine it, however. She will not be throwing around 40-SP Cocona-style fireballs, as those require millisecond-to-millisecond tuning of nuclear fusion to prevent them blowing up in her face.

There is one mage who could do something similar; it's called the Fifth Magic. She's not around.
No. 544031 ID: 0f6f63

All right. Basic assessment: this thing has way more hp than you can reasonably expect to burn through fighting fair. Luckily, we don't have to fight fair.

Cocona is down, and Sella is basically a non-comm. She should focus on keeping herself and Cocona out of the line of fire. ...maybe if she stays close enough, Cocona's automated defenses will cover both of them? (If we can assume her armor works while she's unconscious).

No matter how hardened that thing is, is has internal systems. Computers that need to run it, flight systems that provide mobility, etc. Your checkmate should be to disable these systems from the inside. A lightning bolt might be hard for you to pull off, and the thing might have shielding. But, with the right wish, you can bypass it. Fry it from the inside out.

My guess is though, that spell will take a little time and space to set up. I'd suggest starting off by buffing Leysritt. Give her the speed and endurance to run interference, so she can keep this thing busy without getting killed, and buy you time for the killing blow.
No. 544161 ID: e1000c
File 138170257264.png - (49.27KB , 564x200 , b2_2.png )

rolled 10 = 10

Long seconds pass as you consider your approach. Leysritt has been fighting it for some time; you can see how battered she looks, while her enemy is practically untouched. Brute force is out, then, unless you can help her get at its weak points. Presuming this thing has weak points, that is. Finesse… dubious, it is unlikely to react like a human to your repertoire of low-powered spells. That doesn’t actually leave much; your combat training was based on the assumption that you’d be supporting a Servant, not fighting on your own or with Leysritt. Worse still, most of your options would require you to touch the target. A dangerous tactic at the best of times. Boosting Leysritt directly is dangerous, only possible because of your shared nature, and impossible in the midst of combat. It’s still your best option, not that you have a lot of choice.

First, you need to separate them. You could try blowing the robot backwards with a blast of air, but if that fails…

You glance at the ceiling. Yes, that will do. Brute force, applied with finesse, and a lot less force than you’d need to do it the other way.

“Leysritt!” you shout. “On my mark, disengage and join me. One… two…”

The flow of the battle shifts, letting you know she’s heard your instructions, before it fades from your perception as you prepare to use your magecraft. Wishcraft. It’s the ultimate arrogance, differing from a Reality Marble more by degree than quality; using your prana as an intermediary, wishcraft allows you to overwrite reality with your own perceptions. As such it requires you to understand the true reality of a situation while simultaneously deluding yourself into believing it’s different, more to your liking. Missing the desired mental state even slightly would cause a failure or a true backfire, but you’ve done this often enough that there’s no reason to worry, and part of the ability gives you near-perfect clairvoyance of the thing you are trying to affect.

As such, doing it while talking makes little difference, and as you shout “Mark!” the ceiling comes down in near-perfect synchronization with your imagination. Leysritt takes a flying dive, dropping beneath a final jet of light from the robot before the falling timber and bricks push it to the ground. Peripherally, you see it burning a neat hole through the ceiling on the other side of the corridor.

You frown, sensing a stronger than expected drain on your reserves. In your haste, you pictured how the ceiling would come down, rather than just imagining cuts to the support beams; that may have guaranteed it’d work correctly, but it also made this more of brute-force affair than intended.

To your left, Leysritt is leaning against the wall, gasping for breath. In front of you, the corridor is filled with rubble; there’s no way that took it down, but with any luck you’ll have a little time to properly prepare for battle. You haven’t tried this before, but perhaps you can also use wishcraft to check how much time you have. Even without trying to do anything, the secondary effect…

Ilya recommends:
[ ] Spend a round ‘listening’, try to see what the ABR is doing. Or what it’s made of.
[ ] Immediately start preparing.

No. 544162 ID: e1000c

HP: 45
SP: 105 (780)

HP: 256
No. 544164 ID: 0f6f63

Well, looks like glass windows are no longer the most expensive item on the repair list.

It's a pity Cocona is out of commission- even ignoring her power as a servant, she did seem to poses a knowledge of machines that might be useful now. Unfortunately, helping her to recover from whatever mental injury has her currently incapacitated is not something you know how to do, and not something you will likely have the time to figure out.

>what do
You don't know how much time you have, and if you haven't experimented with short term precog right before, we really cannot afford to mess around now, useful as an actual time estimate might be.

For the moment, focus on buffing Leysritt. She's been hard pressed, and you need her to be able to hold this thing up and survive. She needs her physical endurance reinforced, defenses against the kinetic impact of bullets, and explosive fire of the missiles. She has her own abilities to bolster speed and the strength of her blows, so that should be a secondary concern.

Once you're sure she can hold up to a renewed round of combat, and provide the cover and distraction you need, turn to the problem of studying your enemy. Hopefully it won't have broken free, yet. You don't have time to understand entirely how it works, but you need some crude understanding to decide how best to destroy or disable it.
No. 544172 ID: 94e610

> precog
It's not that. More along the lines of clairvoyance; directly reading the state of reality. It'd work. It'd take a round.
No. 544178 ID: 0f6f63

Which would give us an accurate assessment of how many round it would take the ABR to free itself, and possibly some understanding of it's function, construction, and/or weaknesses?

The turn count doesn't buy us much, but the results of a scan might be useful.

For comparison, how long would it take to setup buffs, as proposed? (Assuming they're feasible, and ignoring tripping the danger Ilya warned of).

I suppose if we can safely assume it's pinned for multiple rounds, scanning first would be advantageous, since Ilya could then tailor the buffs based on actual knowledge of the threat, rather than assumption.
No. 544230 ID: bd4b61

> Which would give us an accurate assessment of how many round it would take the ABR to free itself, and possibly some understanding of it's function, construction, and/or weaknesses?
You don't know. It might be perfect accuracy, it might be very vague; you've never tried this before. Doing it is a risk.
No. 544231 ID: bd4b61

> Buff time
More is better, especially for safety.
No. 544254 ID: f64e84

Hrrrm...I think we should attempt to focus on buffing.
I'd LIKE to say more scanning for killing blow strategy, but the problem is the scanner itself is unreliably useful...Plus it's a Cocona-era mech, so smart money says that Ilya wouldn't be able to make sense of it even if she DID look inside, what with probably being filled with uber-exotic materials and incomprehensibly advanced technology. As a result...
Don't bother scanning. All hands to BUFFING!!!
Perferably toughness/defense, or END if I wanna be technical about it.
No. 544261 ID: 0f6f63

So the trade off is a successful scan allows us to tailor our buffs off knowledge, and time the casting to finish just as we run out of time.

However, with an unsuccessful scan, or if the ABR is breaking free in a very small number of turns, we're wasting time for little advantage.

...I guess if the buffing is a multi-turn procedure, sacrificing one cycle for increased efficiency is worth it. It's like error checking in computing.

Do the scan.
No. 544388 ID: 4a27cd

I think you're ignoring the fact that our opponent is currently pinned in a known location, can wishcraft add to its impediments, by (for instance) encasing it in concrete or steel?

Why destroy anything or engage in anything more indirect than disabling this device?
No. 544423 ID: 94e610

rolled 8, 1 = 9

When the racket of falling wood carpentry ceases, the robot appears quite thoroughly buried. You breathe a sigh of relief; your gambit was a complete success. No matter how tough it is, being pinned like this should at least keep it down for a few minutes.

So you hope, but you’d be better off if you can take advantage of your wishcraft to figure that out directly.

“Sella, take care of Leysritt’s wounds,” you hear yourself say.

If you are to do this, you’ll need to minimise distractions. You close your eyes, reaching out towards the rubble with one hand; it’s not that the location of your hands particularly matters, but it’ll provide a point of reference.

For wishcraft, imagination is key. Building a mental picture of your environment, just slightly distorted, and forcing it to become reality. You can feel the differences, as if you’re pushing against resistance. Now, if you give in instead of forcing it…

You’re standing in the middle of the corridor.

Beneath you, a carpet. Beneath that, asp… no, oak planks. In front of you, rubble - shattered wood, cracked bricks.

It’s working, and a part of you - the part that isn’t maintaining a delicate mental balance - is overjoyed at your accomplishment.

First die - how well this works, on your first attempt. Second die - how bad your timing is.
No. 544427 ID: 94e610

rolled 2 = 2

Shattered wood, cracked bricks. Cracked wood, at times; the main support beams came down in one piece, by and large. There are some electrical wires, too, and you find to your surprise that you can tell which ones are still electrified, despite the lack of a circuit.

What you can’t do is discover anything about your assailant. Oh, it’s easy to find; it’s a fairly large robot, you’d need to be blind not to spot it. The only problem is that you can’t see inside it. Where you were expecting metal, wiring, electronics, it looks like nothing so much as a hole in the world. You can still see its exact shape, though; it’s displacing air, if nothing else. So much for finding a weak spot, but you should at least be able to tell how stuck it is.


Tracing the flow of the wreckage, you find that it’s surrounded on all sides by heavy support beams. It’s moving, but only slightly; shifting rhythmically back and forth. It doesn’t appear to be making any headway, and after a few seconds it ceases to move and starts whining.

“Ilya! Get down!”

You open your eyes, startled, to see Leysritt throwing herself at you. At the same time the whine shifts to a higher pitch and an actinic glow fills the hallway, emanating from the rubble. There’s barely enough time to relax your muscles before she slams into you at full speed, forcing you out of the way of some kind of energy beam barely a tenth of a second before it hits.
No. 544429 ID: f64e84

Sooo Robot is hole in world. Strange, very very strange...
Ok, I think we should either Wishcraft heal Leysritt, or Wishcraft form a Reflective Box around the robot.
No. 544430 ID: 94e610
File 138196286981.png - (146.09KB , 1128x398 , b2_3.png )

You hit the floor rolling, your clothes smoking.

Leysritt is worse off; hers are actually on fire, and it takes a few frantic seconds to put them out, but other than the affront to her dignity she seems basically fine. Belatedly, you realise you’d seen the glow even before it fired, but you’d been concentrating so hard you didn’t properly notice. That… that was…

There’s a circular hole in the rubble, and a trench carved all the way down the corridor. You can’t see the robot itself from this angle, and you don’t think you want to, but there’s no way it’s going to stay down for long. You’re not sure why it only chose to do this now, but you don’t think you can deal with this.

Thank God Sella followed your instructions, even if it means she’s now on the other side of the corridor. At least she wasn’t in the direct line of fire. She looks pale, though; scared, both for you and for herself. That attack was easily on the level of a Servant, and it was produced by a mere robot, something that can be mass-produced. You couldn’t even - you still don’t feel any magic from it, just a sense of unnaturalness.

Eventually, as your ears stop ringing, you hear the robot moving rhythmically, accompanied by the sound of cracking timber. Leysritt grabs your arm, and you look up at her; she says something, looking grave, but you can’t make out the words.

You think you get the gist of it, though. “Retreat.” Sure, but how?
No. 544431 ID: 94e610

HP: 43
SP: 108 (778)

HP: 41
SP: 28 ( 63)

HP: 231
No. 544432 ID: 94e610

You cannot heal using Wishcraft, not in timescales useful in combat; nor can you do anything that would directly counter a blast like that.
No. 544434 ID: f64e84

Practice WishCraft LATER WHEN IT'S SAFE!
Ok...We needs out of here. If you can walk/run, this might be fairly simple. WishCraft a section of the wall to right in front of the robot, then have Stella, and yourself retreat through that wall, with Leysritt grabbing Cocona and following after you two.
After that...Maybe use WishCraft to send a message to anyone else in the castle that there is an angry robot-thing and (area where Hallway is at.) should be avoided until it is dealt with.
No. 544436 ID: 0f6f63

So... as feared. Scanning how long it would remain trapped was a waste of time, since it only stayed down a single round.

...you couldn't see inside the machine. But you saw outside it, and the movement of electric current. Could you pick up what the machine was using for sensors? External active sensors might have left an energy signature visible to you.

>You’re not sure why it only chose to do this now
Targeting constraints. It had to pause and charge momentarily (the whining) to fire off that beam attack, and the path was fixed. It would have been hard to reliably hit Leysritt when she was engaging it at close range (short of a lucky shot), whereas you and the rubble were stationary.

...at least that attack seems to have burn off 25 hp. Although there's no way allowing it to burn off it's own health reserves is a viable strategy- we'll miss a dodge roll, Leysritt will exhaust her SP, or the castle will collapse on us before the ABR burns out. (And that's assuming this thing can't heal itself, which the Ar Tonelico spoilers say it may be able to).

>it looks like nothing so much as a hole in the world
That suggests then, that it's some sort of projection or intrusion in the world? Perhaps that is the solution. If the hole can be collapsed or filled, the entity will cease to exist or be banished.

Potentially an instant win, but since you don't understand what mechanism summoned this machine, the difficulty, danger, or time required to use wishcraft to attempt a banishment is unknown.

To the chamber you brought Cocona to practice in, before? That was supposed to be nuke-proof, right? That might hold up under this thing's assault, for a bit. Unless those wards are only designed to contain internal energies, and not withstand external. (Although those same wards would block your attempts to banish it, if it's on the other side. Problematic- you'd have to hit it when it broke in, or open the door when ready).

The problem is retreating under fire doesn't work very well. Ideally, you need something to distract or hold back your foe to create an opening for retreat. You didn't have time to buff Leysritt- her staying as a rear guard would be suicide. The rubble won't it for long either with a large hole in it.

Best option is to use wishcraft to create an additional delay or obstacle as your group falls back. Another collapse between you, if nothing else. Or something to confuse or blind it's sensors, if you picked up any of that.

I'm not sure summoning a wall across the hall is something Ilya can do in a useful timescale. ...and are there other people in the castle to be concerned with?
No. 544438 ID: 94e610

Only the four of you.
No. 544449 ID: 4a27cd

Can we wish it were somewhere else? Like, say, oh, suddenly appearing near one of our (future) opponents? Seriously, fighting bullshit foes that may not actually exist is problematic to start with.

Hypothesis time: Is this particular nonexistent-foe a manifestation tied to Cocona's safeguards? If so we may be able to influence Cocona to end the encounter.
No. 544602 ID: 94e610

Oh, you can wish for just about anything. It may not work.

When you don't know where those enemies are, and the ABR is pretty hard to affect in any way whatsoever? That would be a good way to burn up MP.
No. 544603 ID: 75a612

To say nothing of the fact that teleportation tends to be an expensive ability in most systems, anyways. (After all, a character who can reliably throw 'teleport away' spells at enemies in combat situations has a pretty hard to break defense!). I'd be surprised if Ilya could pull one off within acceptable time or energy limits, even ignoring the problem of divining future enemies to target, or the difficulty in targeting the ARB.

Remember how Ilya described how her attempts to throw a fireball or lightning might go. That's kind of the 'scale' of magic we need to think of- not quite up to what you'd think of in terms of a traditional battle-mage.

(And if we want to lean on out of character spoilers- the ARB is supposed to have a way to absorb song magic. It's not clear if wish magic would do the same thing, but...)
No. 544608 ID: 94e610

If you're familiar with Dresden Files, the things Ilya can pull off are roughly on that same scale. Better in some ways, worse in others; she's a Dresden-level prodigy (well, construct), but she's hardly a Servant.

Cocona can pull off stronger spells without really trying, and she's not of the Caster class - bit of an oddity, really; it could easily be argued that she should be.

Servant Caster could, if properly powered, wipe out a city with a single spell - or water every plant in a city with a single spell, quite likely.
No. 544745 ID: 94e610

rolled 2, 9 = 11

Leysritt points at the floor, speaking urgently. You still can’t make out what she’s saying - destroy the floor? Beneath the robot? That’s dangerous, it might not fall down with the rubble. It could fly, right?

You point at the rubble, trying to look quizzical. She shakes her head, looking startled, then points at your ears. Right, you’re a little deaf. You shake your head; she gives a worried glance over to the heap of rubble, where the sounds of tearing timber are starting to sound like it’s getting lose.

Have to get out of here… this is really stressing you out. It isn’t what you were expecting from the grail war at all, on a lot of levels; direct combat isn’t your forte, let alone against something like this. Whatever it is, it’s cheating! Magic of that level shouldn’t even be possible in the modern world, there’s nothing to feed it. Is this even real? It’s like something out of a manga, more than the real world. If you fail here, you’ll die? Really die? The grail war sounded like great fun when your tutors explained it, and it’d give you a chance to find out why dad left you, but you never really considered what it meant if you’d fail. That failure meant death. Because you wouldn’t fail, right? Let alone in a fight this unfair, and never mind that the grail war is by definition unfair. No, no, no…

Leysritt grabs your arm, and you almost literally jump, nearly slamming into the wall before she manages to get a proper hold. She grabs you by both shoulders, shouts something at you. You attempt to tear yourself loose, but she holds on without really trying; you’d never quite realised how strong she was before. How scary she could be, too. Your heart is beating frantically, telling you to run, but there’s nowhere to run to… and anyway, this is Leysritt… you’re not really scared of her, so why do you still feel like running? This isn’t like you.

She grabs you in a tight hug. You stiffen, trembling, then slowly relax.

There’s an audible crash from the direction of the robot, and the sounds of its struggles stop for a second, then turn into a rapid series of brittle-sounding snaps and painful scraping sounds. No more than ten seconds have passed since it shot at you, at most, but it’s already getting loose.

Leysritt releases you, then points at the floor again, drawing a circle around you, Cocona and Sella. She’s still on about that? What could she… oh. Oh! If there isn’t an exit, you should just make one. Now why didn’t you think of that?

You nod at her to show her you understand, and she nods back, then draws a similar line on the ceiling in front of the robot. Right, make a bit of a barricade at the same time. That won’t last long, but it’s something.

You close your eyes in concentration. You’ll need to hurry; it’ll be free any moment now. Peripherally, you note Leysritt falling back to take care of Cocona.

It’s basically the same trick as earlier, but two of them at once, while you’re on an adrenalin high, and rushed. It’d be no surprise if you don’t get it perfect.
No. 544749 ID: 94e610

You focus mostly on letting the four of you down carefully, and it bears dividends; the fractures bend unnaturally, forming an almost staircase-like structure all the way down to the ground floor. Sella yelps as the floor falls away under her, but has no trouble picking her way down; Leysritt, who is carrying Cocona, looks like she might as well be walking on flat ground.

If only your impromptu barricade worked as well, you’d be in good shape.

You cast a worried glance backwards, to where a large section of the ceiling has come down but remained relatively intact. It still forms a barrier, but one with major gaps which the robot could potentially shove through if it’s strong enough. Of course even a perfect barrier wouldn’t have survived one of those blasts, so perhaps you shouldn’t feel so bothered about it.

Then, as you’re making your own way down, you realise Leysritt has stopped.

“..lya. Ilya! Can you hear me now?” she asks.

“Yes!” I reply, relieved that my hearing seems to be recovering. “That is, mostly. You’ll still have to shout, I guess.”

“You’ll be all right, then. Ah, but… I think we have a problem. Come, tell me what you see.”

What you see? Well, all right. You step down into the kitchen, joining Leysritt and Sella at the doorstep to look out at -

You’re having trouble interpreting what your eyes tell you. No, your eyes aren’t really telling you anything, but something in the scene bypasses the eyes, forcing its way directly into the brain.

It should be the entrance hall. It still is, in a sense, but it’s broken beyond repair. Not in the sense that the building is damaged, in the sense that the room - the space is broken.

The room has stretched, walls distorting to accommodate a far larger volume that should by rights fit, but that’s the least of it. The floor is tiled, and you should be able to count your way to the opposite wall - forty-three tiles, at some point in your childhood you made a close study of them. If you tried the same today, though, you wouldn’t even reach the halfway point. The tiles seem to grow smaller, letting more fit but still somehow arranged in straight lines, while the floor as a whole bends sharply downwards. There’s a hole, in the middle of the hall; utter blackness, shot through with sickly green. A thin beam of light pierces the centre of the hole, stretching to the matching hole in the ceiling.

You tear your eyes away, and they catch on the thing that is floating right next to the door. A pure white pyramid, lacking texture of any kind, and rotating slowly - but somehow the light seems to bend so every side of it is facing you, if light is even involved. As you stare at it it seems to expand, the central face taking over and pushing the others to the edge of your vision. There’s a black spot at its very centre, moving closer… no, a tunnel. It’s rushing towards you…

You stumble backwards until Sella catches you, breaking eye contact by the brute-force means of putting the wall between you and the pyramid, but you can’t forget what you’ve seen. Every time you think about it, the blackness comes a little closer; it takes an effort of will to push it out of your mind. If you look, you think you’d be able to see it straight through the wall, so you don’t look.

You don’t know what this is, except that it’s not of this world. And still there’s isn’t the slightest tingle of magic, not even a sense that it’s disrupting the natural ley-line flows that pass through this area. You don’t understand what’s going on.

Above you, there’s a crash. Oh, so now the robot is breaking free…

“Ilya,” Leysritt says, sounding worried. “You know a lot more about magecraft than I do. What is going on? Is this still part of the Grail War? And what do we do?”

Hell if you know.
Ilya recommends:
[ ] Going outside would be suicide, so go where that robot came from; it’ll never expect that. If you can figure out how.
[ ] Desperately try to wake Cocona.

No. 544750 ID: 94e610

HP: 43
SP: 76 (736)
No. 544754 ID: 75a612

>never really thought about the fact that the grail war meant death if you failed
>never really considered failing
>even though every remember of your family ever has tried, failed, and died
...I, uh, geeze did they have you coddled and conditioned for this. Remind me not to let you make important decisions anymore. That is some seriously dangerous naivete. I suppose you're only a child, and your upbringing is partially to blame, but you're going to have some fast growing up to do to stay alive.

>complete tear in euclidean geometry
Well that isn't good. Could you tell if the damage was stable / localized, or if the effect was spreading? One is considerably more dangerous than the other.

>Is this still part of the Grail War?
...indirectly, I think? Cocona talked a lot about advanced machines, she sort of is one is some ways. And it showed up right as she collapsed, and that thing is on the power level of a servant. It has to be connected, but I'm not sure how.

>running outside suicide
And I assume you don't believe you can make it to the safe room from before? And/or that it will stand up?

>pass through the rift
...well, that sounds sort of suicidally dangerous, and maybe impossible. It's an option, though.

>wake Cocona
Can we? It's only been minutes since her collapse in Ilya's frame of reference. According to this post >>539395 we spent at least an hour in Conona's inner world. Unless Conona got that wrong and there's some kind of machine cycle time advantage, she's still talking to Fiver. Maybe hasn't even got to her yet.

So... really not an option.

If Ilya needs her own reason: she doesn't really understand Cocona's inner workings, or what's wrong with her, or how to correct it. And trying to interfere with that process could be too dangerous. If she damages Cocona, that's it, for all of them.

>third option
...is closing or repairing or undoing or inverting the rift an option? That might well take the machine back with it.

Best course of action I can think of is to try and study the thing. See if you can find any useful way to interact with it, mage-wise. Yes, passage through it is one option, but there are others as well. See what levers you can find, and then try throwing one. Kind of desperate, here.

Or possibly, if the rift is so dangerous, you could to use it indirectly. Trick the machine into entering it, or use some combination of magecraft and combat to propel the thing into the distortion, and hope it is destroyed or lost.
No. 544757 ID: 75a612

>can't wake Cocona up
>unless time has been passing differently

Can we make it pass differently? Ilya doesn't need to understand Cocona's problem to help her recover- we just need to fast forward to the point where Conona has recovered on her own. To create a localized time distortion around her- so she recovers in minutes instead of hour(s).

A local temporal manipulation might actually be safer than trying to toy with the gaping hole in space-time, really. And if that really is a hole in space time, temporal manipulation might be easier than it would normally be.
No. 544758 ID: 94e610

> safe room
Might work. Might not work. It's only slightly safer than diving headlong into the rift, if you think the ABR might come after them.
No. 544771 ID: 4a27cd


We don't know for sure that Cocona can fully recover without outside help or if fast-forwarding her will leave us with a gibbering, insane wreck that's useless due to her... psychological issues. Worse is also plausible.
I think we're better off powering her up and pushing her awake if we want to get her to do something, or at most no further in the future than a few hours: She has those Infel Phira power issues, which might kill her by magical drain, remember?

I'm tempted to suggest trying to use the wards of the safe-room offensively by attacking this weird shit with those questionably-indestructible walls. Sadly, I don't imagine they'll oblige us by being adequately maneuverable, self-propelled and effective for the task.
We need more magic juice and we need more offensive capability. Tell me, is there any good reason the three ladies here have been hanging around in this stone shack sized for more than ten times as many people as live in it? Or was that instead generally vanity and the rooms are all empty of anything *useful* for this sort of crisis?
Seriously, the main reason people have places to live is not to shelter themselves. Instead, it is to keep all their stuff in. (With the right stuff you don't need a house for shelter, stuff that can work as a substitute includes a car, RV, tent, prefab shelter kit, etc.) What *stuff* can we use here?
No. 544803 ID: 75a612

...it probably will. And then we're left with the same problem of trying to wake Cocona or find a way to fight that thing, without the (extremely dangerous) possible resource of the rift to consider.

>We don't know for sure that Cocona can fully recover without outside help
Technically true, although the internal phase did seem to strongly suggest it was just a matter of time, and we even cobbled together a new boot sequence.

Of course, if she does need outside help, that's a big problem considering Ilya wouldn't know how to give it, even outside combat circumstances.

>if fast-forwarding her will leave us with a gibbering, insane wreck
...I really don't see any reason why that would happen. I mean, she's already dealing with hopping back and forth several reference frames (external, several internals, and the remote control room) and time doesn't pass at the same rate between all of those.

>Infel Phira power issues
Possibly a concern. Although if her recovery were going to take more time than the big battery in the sky would allow, she's dead anyways. Fast forwarding to that point would make no difference. Ilya would just discover it faster, from her perspective.

...then there's the fact that I'm not sure an acceleration here would matter there.

>we're better off powering her up and pushing her awake
Forgive the silly question, but uh, how? I think you need some kind of mechanism. Just wishing her awake and strong seems like it would be harder than wishing something to happen that might get us the outcome we want. And just dumping power into something isn't the best solution for healing or repair.
No. 545564 ID: 4a27cd

I don't know the specifics of the setting (system) well enough to suggest anything very good/specific in terms of solutions to Cocona's issues. It seems like a tightly-interlocked mess of conflicting fragilities and worries which has no clear path outwards. I couldn't make a useful decision without being able to either eliminate or prioritize *some* of these worries:
--Severe psychological trauma, which could (would?) destroy her sanity when she's done repairing her memory access, so we can't fast forward her a month and expect everything to be peachy even if nothing else goes wrong from trying that.
--Uncertain internal power situation from her manifestation which may be counting down to her running out of energy permanently and ceasing to exist. We don't know what the end state of her attempting to solve it will be, and this may kill her directly if we fast forward her too far in the future.
--Hard-counter safeguards which will stop Cocona from attempting the murder necessary for her to actually win in this contest if they work, and which remain hazardous even if they don't. These might also stop her from harming things which seem to be sentient, and this attack-bot might qualify. Fast forwarding her into the future subjectively gives these more time to cause problems either from correct or buggy function, possibly unsurmountable ones.
--She's a little (teenage?) girl from a highly-developed society, so it's unlikely that she would have any serious combat training and ability. It would be even more alarming if she does (what psycho trains little girls as murderers, and what conditioning baggage does that leave?), and worrisome either way whether she has a killer instinct or not.
--I don't know if we can identify whether this drone and the anomaly are tied to Cocona's manifestation or not, and whether interacting with either will affect Cocona. It seems likely that the abnormal, future-tech, autonomous, assault robot has something to do with the weird cyborg girl from a syfy future place. Will destroying it kill Cocona? Is it caused by one of her safeguards somehow and will defeating or escaping one just make her empty out what's left of her energy reserves making more? Is it some bizarre side-effect from whatever magical glitch brought her here in the first place and if so will trying to break it break the spell that manifests her here?

If we were going to attempt to fast-forward her I'd suggest no further than eight hours in the future, but I can't think of any options for aiding her recovery I like because we don't have nearly enough information about any of this to do anything that isn't potentially stepping on a landmine. The least hazardous thing seems to be straight up healing Cocona with magic, dumping some extra juice in her to make sure she's not running empty, and then waking her up. I don't even like that one because of the weird way things happen inside Cocona's head while she's unconscious.
This is why I think it's better to try to solve this without waking up Cocona, but for all I know the robot and the spatial anomaly are exterior manifestations of her nightmares while she's sleeping. I'm totally fucking clueless about the ultimate nature of the bot and weirdass rift whatever.
No. 545576 ID: d2b9fe

>Severe psychological trauma, which could (would?) destroy her sanity
Trauma that's much more significant to Cocona-prime than C-4, though. Now that Fev's accepted what she is, bad memories from Cocona's past won't hold as much sting. Especially as we're currently running Fev's emotion emulator rather than Cocona's raw emotion. We have more distance and detachment.

And I think the timescale on repairing the damage necessary to wake again is a lot less than the timescale it would take Fiver to find Three and start doing anything about untangling memories.
No. 545874 ID: 73aab1

I just want to say I love this quest even if I don't vote in it.
No. 546101 ID: bd4b61

Good, good, you're in exactly the right frame of mind for this. :P

Well, anyway. Cocona's from Ar Tonelico, there's a lot of information to find if you want to do light reading, and on the basis that you're supposed to know everything she does (amnesia aside!) I'd be willing to discuss some of it, but.. this is what the discussion thread is for.

Suffice to say, she does have combat training. Yes, this is fucked up. It's a reflection on their society, which has gone through a lot of apocalypses recently.
No. 546667 ID: 65f0b0

Hrrm...I don't know about the space-rip thing...But maybe that thing is here for Cocona somehow? It might be like...One of those...Robot-things she mentioned earlier, and it's here to make sure she's safe?
No. 546742 ID: 94e610

“It almost has to be connected to the war, right?” you say, feeling rather unsure. “At least, there aren’t very many other options I can think of. This thing is out of this world.”

There’s a sound of crashing wood from above, making you jump.

“We’d better get out of here. That barricade isn’t going to hold for much longer,” Leysritt says, looking worriedly upwards.

You hesitate. This rift, or whatever… you’ll call it the rift. It’s a potential resource, making you loathe to immediately leave, but Leysritt is right. You doubt there’s anything you can do before the robot attacks you again, much less safely. If you had reason to think you could do anything at all, maybe… no, no time.

“You’re right. I might be able to do something with the rift, given time, but we don’t have any. Let’s go, there might be something useful in one of the storerooms.” If your cowardly human kin didn’t take it all with them when they left, you leave unspoken.

It leaves an ashen taste in your mouth, as one of the things youmight have been able to do is shut it down, potentially taking the robot with it, but you lead the way, expertly picking a path through a maze of tiny “servant’s corridors” to the personal quarters of the rest of your so-called extended family. One small blessing, the robot is entirely too big to fit through these.

The next few minutes are filled with frantic searching, although you do manage to grab Leysritt for long enough to stop her bleeding and fix the worst of the damage. One advantage of being a battle-oriented homunculus, she heals very easily.

As a family of mages, by most accounts the Einzberns ought to have had a lot of magical paraphernalia, most of which would be useless in battles lasting less than a month. Your hopes of finding a magical superweapon is thwarted, however, by two distinctly unusual features of your family: One, the family specialty Wishcraft makes most of you think of traditional magecraft as pointless; why spend years doing research, if you can get the same effect by just throwing more power at the problem. Sure. Maybe in a different situation.

Two, you are the family’s magical superweapon. Up until quite recently you felt confident that you could, indeed, power through any non-servant enemy with brute force.

Every so often you hear distant crashes, from where the robot is still doing something. In the distance, yes, but somehow that fails to reassure you.
No. 546743 ID: 94e610

Ten minutes after first escaping the robot, the three of you - plus one unconscious servant - are holed up in a small bedroom that is, as far as you can tell, about as deep inside the castle as you can get without losing your options. You could have dug down and gone into the heavy-duty workroom, of course, but that’d mostly amount to trapping yourself; it may be heavily warded, but the wards are all directed inwards. You doubt it’d stand up to even a single one of those giga-death beams.

There’s a small collection of trinkets on the floor.

“That’s it, then,” Leysritt says, sounding somewhat defeated. “No real weapons here, nothing of better quality than my halberd. Useless.”

“I wouldn’t say that. There’s a decent collection of automatic shields, way too many poison detectors, some… hmm, I wonder what this is. Looks like some kind of self-sustaining illusion bracelet?”

Sella pokes carefully at one of the rings. You can’t really tell what that’s supposed to be, but she’s your teacher, after all. You guess she hasn’t taught you everything she knows yet.

You’re sitting leaned against the bed, trying to recuperate from casting three high-power spells in short order and doing your best to appear unaffected, listening to the two of them going over what you’ve found.

“Anything we can use? Do you think that illusion would work against the robot?”

“Ah… no. This looks like it’ll only affect the wearer, and it’d trap you if you used it. You probably wouldn’t even be able to tell that the world you’re in isn’t real, I can see some circuits here meant to affect your reasoning. Nasty piece of work. These shields, though… two of these shielding amulets can be precharged, so you could use them without affecting your combat skills, and you could use both at once if you wanted. It’s not much, it certainly won’t let you take a direct hit, but it should cut down on the scrapes and cuts.”

“Anything else? Any conventional weapons?”

Sella shakes her head. “Nothing of any conceivable use, I’d say. Lots of poison, but that thing isn’t going to be affected. If we had an hour I could cook up some kind of acid, but I still wouldn’t bet on it being affected.”

“All right. Damn, I was hoping for a grenade or three.”

Your eyes shoot open, and you give Leysritt an astonished look. She blushes lightly, defending herself. “It works, that’s all I care about. Your father demonstrated that well enough… oh, sorry.”

You frown, then sigh. The infamous magus-killer had indeed demonstrated that, you’ve heard the stories too many times. If he hadn’t abandoned you, you might have respected his ability. He still lives in the area the grail war is supposed to take place, last you heard. You’re going to give him one chance to explain - one - and then you’re going to have Cocona burn him to a crisp; that’s the only thing you really care about in this war. The Holy Grail can go screw itself, you’d really prefer if it’s never completed, but you suppose you’ll have to try for appearances’ sake.

That all requires you to survive today.

“Let’s take stock,” you find yourself saying. “We’ve got two questionably-useful shielding bracelets, Leysritt and me, to go up against some kind of robot from the future. Sella can’t fight, Cocona’s unconscious, and we’ve already demonstrated that neither hitting it with a halberd nor dropping the roof on it already does very much, while it probably has more tricks up its sleeve. That about right?”

Leysritt nods. You put your head in your hands.

“Well, what the hell do we do? I’m open to suggestions, here.”

The three of you sit quietly for a minute. Deep in thought, you’d like to say, but your mind is blank. You’ve never had to deal with a situation like this before.

[ ] Write-in
[ ] Hope Sella or Leysritt has a bright idea

No. 546756 ID: 6924b8

In short, the rest of the family grabbed the good stuff and ran. And you're not really set-up to do the -nuking- thing yourself...
Which means the family ancestral home is soon to be toast, if that..Robot...
Cocona talked about Robots quite a bit. That thing's like a Phantasmal Beast...Maybe it'd obey her or something? Or even just looking for her...
How hard would it be to wishcraft an illusion image of Cocona in front of that thing? Might give more insight to WHAT exactly it is and does...
No. 546764 ID: d2b9fe

>If your cowardly human kin didn’t take it all with them when they left
How long ago was that, anyways? They all bailed when it started to get close to when the war would start up?

>illusion bracelet
Hmm. If that functioned outwards, I'd have suggested trying to make yourself appear as Cocona. If the robot is connected to where-ever or when-ever she was summoned from, that might have gotten a response from it.

It's not a disguise though- it's a personal holodeck device. For putting your own mind in an illusion. One theoretical application I can think of- you could plug yourself into Cocona. Dive into that inner world she was describing, and possibly pull her out, or help her recover. She did say people could use machines to 'dive' inside a Reyvatiel's mind, right?

Drawback is you'd have to understand how the bracelet works enough to repurpose it, and you don't know anything about setting up an interface with Cocona. Also, you'd go from being an asset to another liability until you managed to escape (assuming you figure out how to exit the illusion).

There's also still my idea for a temporal manipulation. Make Cocona wake up faster than she would have otherwise. Although I don't know how much juice that would take, and we're pretty much ignorant of the risks involved. (Ten minutes in... Fev is still talking to Fiver, I think. Assuming same passage of time, ect).

If you have the a small amount of time and space to maneuver, you should seriously consider means by which you might be able to help your servant recover. If this thing is connected to her or her world (she talks of powerful machines frequently, right? And she partially is one?) she may have knowledge that is invaluable. It may respond to her control, as a phantasmal beast. And, if nothing else, your servant has far greater firepower than you or Leysritt. Having her active increases your odds of survival significantly.
No. 546774 ID: 94e610

> How long ago was that, anyways?
About a week ago. They left because we were planning to move the castle to Japan, where the actual battlefield is.
No. 546776 ID: d2b9fe

>move the whole castle to Japan
...dang. Well, that's an improvement on catching a plane. Teleport your whole base off operations and fortifications in directly!
No. 547027 ID: c1f19a

Following the prompting:
Check Cocona's energy level, note how close to empty she is and add/transfer more as necessary.
Let's give the cyborg lady up to eight hours in accelerated time, in one hour increments. If she still hasn't woken up yet at that point we need to try something else.
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