Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
Your name is Mia Vespucci, and you're looking pretty good for a dead girl. Apparently.
That's what Petra – Eirin Petrushka, to use her real name – had to say about you. Just a little comment she threw out with the kind of casual disregard for subtlety that really rubs you up the wrong way. No, even worse was the way that she acted as though you should have known it already. Like only a fool wouldn't know about the fact that they had died in some messed up alternate universe, or past life or... or whatever she's talking about.
No, you're not going to let this lie. It doesn't matter that Petra might as well be double your size and built like someone who lifts boulders for a living, you want to know just what she's talking about. You NEED to know what she's talking about!
“Steady on now,” Elliot tries to caution you as you chase after Petra, rushing out into the squalid corridor of her slum. “Or don't, that's fine as well...” the young man sighs as you brush past him.
“In a hurry, yes?” Petra asks when you catch up to her, your chest already growing tight from the short burst of motion.
You'll be in less of a hurry, you pant, when she tells you exactly what she meant. You're not dead – how can you be dead? It's ridiculous, it's patently absurd, but...
You think it might also be right.
“You don't know?” Petra looks surprised, derisive almost, but then her expression softens, “You really don't know?”
Of course you don't know, you cry, that's what you keep saying! Is this some grand secret that everyone's been keeping from you?
Petra clears her throat, not quite able to meet your eyes. “The old world,” she begins, “We all lived our lives there. Past lives, with those memories only now filtering through, yes?”
Yes yes, you say hastily, you've heard this already. What does it have to do with you dying?
“Obvious, yes?” Petra frowns, “Or are you not as smart as you like to pretend? What do you THINK happened to you in that other world?”
...Oh. She's right – it IS obvious, now that you think about it. You really did die, you died without ever meeting any of them, while they all found you. That's why they all know you, but you don't know any of them. That's it, you ask, isn't it? Was it... bad?
“You looked peaceful,” Petra mutters eventually, “Like you were sleeping, yes? Not many people got to go that way. Maybe a stroke of luck?”
So that's it then, straight from someone who was there to witness it – or at least someone who possesses the memories of someone who was there to witness it. You died there, in that other world, and – and this realisation comes naturally to you, the various pieces of the puzzle falling neatly into place – the memories have haunted your nightmares ever since. Dreams of death, dreams of dying, it was no wonder that they always seemed so vivid and realistic. They were realistic because they were real!
Some of your morbid thoughts must have shown on your face, because you notice Petra looking down at you with sympathetic eyes.
>Why wouldn't they tell me?
>Does this mean I'm going to die in this world as well?
>I don't want to talk about it. Can we just go?
You look down at your feet, breaking the moment of eye contact between you and the tall redhead. You think about Amelia and Cassandra, how they had happily sat in your living room and talked to you about so much, yet they never thought to mention it. Why, you ask as you look back up at Petra, why wouldn't they tell you?
“Not an easy subject for polite conversation, yes?” Petra offers, shrugging slightly.
Well, she blurted it out happily enough!
“I said “polite conversation” didn't I?” the response comes swiftly enough, and you can't help but smile a little. Behind you, Elliot covers up a laugh with his hand, turning it into a discreet cough. “Ask them yourself,” Petra continues, “But I think they didn't want you to worry, yes? Not something you talk about when you've just met.”
Maybe she's right. Maybe Amelia wasn't sure how well you'd be able to take the news – or how much she could trust you. It's a little disheartening to think that she would approach you with such suspicion, but then can you really say that you've never doubted her at all? No, a little distrust is to be expected in a situation like this, sad but true. What you are concerned about, however, is another matter to dawn in your mind. If you died before, in this past life, what does that mean for this lifetime? Are you destined to die in this world as well?
“Don't say such things!” Petra snaps, her sudden anger causing you to flinch back a little, “This time, you make your own choices. You live or die by your own decisions – that's the world Amelia wanted.”
Still reeling a little, you consider Petra's words. It sound like, no matter how bitter and angry she sounded earlier, she really does have faith in what her old friend has done. It lifts your spirits somewhat, hearing it announced with such spontaneous confidence. Maybe things aren't so bad after all.
Anyone else getting Raidou vibes for this cycle? Like less apocalypse (though the threat is still there), law/chaos/neutral, standard SMT style and more solving demon incidents/'cases' with a crew away from the public eye.
“Besides, things are different this time,” Petra adds as you're leaving the building, “Last time, we never met until it was too late. When we're all together, nothing can go wrong, yes?”
Nothing can go wrong, huh? You're about to reply to that when a pain twists your guts and shoots through your head, burning like a pair of heated screws tightening around your temples. Reeling, you slump against the wall as Petra covers her eyes and cries out. Even Elliot misses a step, gasping softly as he clutches his head. This pain is familiar, one you've felt before. You know what's coming next.
True enough, the world seems to shudder and divide, your consciousness caught between two versions of the world. The moment passes quickly, balance reasserting itself as reality settles back into place, but you know better than to let your guard down. The last time you felt the world split like that, something – a demon, you tell yourself as you remember Amelia's words – came through to your side. This time though, you're prepared. You can fight back.
As the pain passes, you straighten up and look around, scanning the desolate corridor for any signs of an invading monster. Nothing – no sign of life at all, other than Petra and Elliot. As you're looking around, you meet Petra's eyes for a moment and recoil in shock. For a brief second, one of her eyes had seemed to be a vivid green colour but, when you look again, they are both the same cold blue. Strange. Strange indeed.
Still taking the occasional glance back at Petra – her eyes are normal, for now – you lead them out of the building. It seems strange, that you should be the one to lead them, but you force yourself to accept it. You're the one with the weapon, at least until Amelia can do her thing with Petra. Shouldn't she be here, you ask yourself, since she's God? Surely she can appear wherever she likes?
Putting that little matter of convenience out of your mind for now, you pause as the cold winter air hits you. Something seems different here, different from when you entered the building. You're alone – that's what it is. When you arrived, there was a loose group of youths lurking around the entrance, looking exactly like the kind of people Marco always told you to stay away from. Now, they're gone. No blood or bodies – thankfully – but no sign of them either. They must have gone inside, you tell yourself, because of the weather. Sure.
Then a chittering giggle rings out through the deserted streets, and your heart sinks. No human could make such a sound – no human that would be safe to be around, anyway. A crash of metal follows that laugh as the stack of bins you noticed on the way in collapses, tipped out onto the ground as a bloated, stunted monster emerges. It begins to rake through the spilled garbage for a moment before turning to you, snarling in hungry displeasure.
“Demon!” Petra hisses, her voice snapping you back to your senses, “Mia, you have the program, yes? Use it!”
The program? Of course, your phone! You fumble the little device out and stare at the screen. A new icon has appeared – DevilSP, it's called. One touch, some instinct tells you, and you can summon your demon to battle.
>Summon and defend yourself
>Flee. You're no fighter
>For a brief second, one of her eyes had seemed to be a vivid green colour
Ok now that is weird. Just dormant memories and a new World of Transition shouldn't bring back the eye I think. Ominous.
>Summon and defend yourself
>Summon and defend yourself
I͕̻̽̅̄̈́̐ͅ ̴͇̜̪̽̒̋̎́ͬ̈́̚A̮̠̞̜̖̒̏M̶̷̪̜̪̳̱̖̼͛̍͐ ̱͕͇̬̙̓͒̐ͯ̐̀̐̆̾͢Å̲̖̮̰̻͍̬ͧ͊̄̔͛̕͟B̌́͌̈̏́҉̙͉͈͖̖O̶̵̞͇͚͈̘̙ͦ̓̊ͣ͌ͯ̌̕V̰̰ͭ̂͢͟E͉͕̗͐̀͘ ̵̺̦͎ͯ͒Ȧ̼͉̼͎͈̮̫͌ͩ͆̀̚̕͠N̷̲͚̙̬̠̋̒̋͆̑͢D̢̜̩̮̟͇̭̮ͦ̍͆ ̨̡̻̳̄̀̇ͦ͂̚Ô̵͍͓̞̟̮̤͍̏̈͞Ų̙͍͕͓ͩ̍Tͬ͏҉̤S̨̧̻̫ͫ̅͋ͦ̎̊̀̑͢Ỉ̩́̽̉̇Ḑ̶̦̻ͤͭ́͝Ẹ̵̖͔̍̓̑͊̀̀ ̵̞̟̃͗̅̓̚͠Y̵̪̬̪͉̯̪͉̙̾̂͂̍̂͂̀̚̕Ơ͙̍ͪͣ͛̃͑ͥͯU͂̆ͦ͛̓̚͏͍̫͈̣̟̀
Just need to get everyone their complimentary cap and pointy sideburns.
Rolled 49 (1d100)
You have no idea how this is supposed to work. You have no idea what's going to happen when you push this button.
But you push it anyway.
A burst of light shoot out from the ground before you, and an unnatural wind sweeping through the air, carrying with it the vital scent of fresh grass and rain. As you watch, amazed, a human figure seemingly unfolds from the air. She is... a child, one with lithe tanned limbs and a mane of untamed hair. Bones, strung together on a necklace, rattle together as the wind stirs them into motion. Is this also a demon? If so, you sense no malice from it, from her.
“I am Nadja, the child of hope,” the demon child announces, her voice light and singsong, “I shall be your guide and your guardian, just as the Goddess wishes!”
That's... good, right? But if she's to be your guardian, you were hoping for something a little more intimidating. Having a child protecting another child seems... counterproductive.
“Then I shall prove myself!” Nadja shouts, her face set in a cheerful smile, “This lightning is yours to command!”
Then... Then use it, you shout as the bloated demon snarls again, getting ready to lunge, use the damn lightning!
>Please roll a D100, I'll take the highest of the first three.
I̯͕͈̍ͥ̌ͥ̌ ̵̧̭̙̺̮̹̳̄͟Ḣ͎̈́̅͊́A̮̙͉̓̽̀͜͠V̨̗̳̱͖͉̙̺͙ͯ͗ͣͭ̀E͕̩͛̇̔̉̅ ̡̛͕͑ͪ͋ͥŸ̴̬͕̩͎̗̥̝̅O̴͑ͣͧ҉̪͖̟U̩̤͓͙̭͇̥ͫ͂̀̉̎ͤ̂̚͜͝Ŗ͚̜͍̰̭̻̩͖͙̏̒ ̨̛͕̜̭͕̐̀ͧ̀B̰̗̀̾̀̓̓͋ͨͩ̂A̱̥̠̯͒͌͌̍̇̅̓͢C̛̙͍ͥ͑͡͞K̩̩̘̦̫̮̠͂͗́ ̵̛̮̩̺̤͍̣͍ͭ̌̈́͐̚͢T̴̢̞̳͕̠̟̱̱ͤ̌͠O͕͉̱̾̾͂͌̑ͪͪ̕ ̹̜͕̗̮͚̰̟͋̈́͞ͅT̲͉̠̀̃̄ͣ́͞H͌̄̒̓̏̀҉̥̘̩̠͈̻̫̱́E̸̶̱̜̺͈̤͈̜ͮͧ̽ͮͭͫ̋ͧ ̡̡̫̯̪̣͕̦͑́̈̂̍͛͆͌̇W̸̧̬̘͙̤̆͑ͦ̂́A͍͎̬̺͐̏̋͌ͮ́L̨̡̝͗̓̉̏ͩ̒̇L̝̦̘̳̘̜̫̮ͬͭ̓͘̕͞
The slimy, pot-bellied demon rears back and leaps, its slavering jaws hanging open in anticipation of devouring you. Even with Nadja standing between you and the attacking monster, you flinch back. As you're lurching backwards, a blinding streak of white light arc out from the demon girl's necklace of bones and strikes the vile creature with a loud crack of discharging energy.
Even with your attempts at retreating from the demon's attack, you get a good look at the results of Nadja's attack. It's just a shame that you wish you hadn't. When the lightning strikes it, the flabby demon seems to swell, bulging out at the sides as a pathetic croaking gasp escapes it. Then, before it even has the chance to collapse to the ground as its leap stumbles and dies, it explodes violently. The ground beneath it is splattered with scraps and shreds of flesh, while the air is filled with a particularly vile smell – like garbage being cooked, or something equally awful.
At least you didn't get any of the remains on your clothes – or worse, your bare skin. You can't even imagine how many washes it would take to get that out.
Still, you have to admit that the display certainly succeeded in changing your mind about Nadja. You'll be more than happy to have her as a guardian. You fumble with your phone for a moment before figuring out how to return her to whatever strange medium she is stored within, and then return the device itself to your coat pocket. Now, you've got to arrange a meeting. Your house would probably be the easiest place – after all, Marco isn't there – but...
As you're debating this to yourself, another shudder hits you, this time bad enough to send you to your knees. Gasping, your vision splits and divides, both images of the snowy ground blurring and mingling at the edge of your consciousness. Gradually, the images resolve themselves into one again, and you drag yourself back to your feet.
This isn't right. This isn't right at all. The London that you have found yourself in is an unfamiliar one, not the same one that you've spent your whole life in. This version is the bad one, twisted and corrupted by some unknown power. The snowdrifts are higher and thicker here, filling the streets and clinging to the sides of the buildings that loom crookedly over you. In the distance, skyscrapers crumble and smoulder, bright fires burning upon their roofs like giant candles. This is a vision of Hell, there's simply no other way to describe it.
And you're alone. Elliot and Petra are nowhere to be seen.
Groaning softly, the pain of your sudden transition still haunting your body, you brush the snow from your clothes and shuffle in place as you try to think. What should you do, at a time like this? What CAN you do? You didn't choose to come here, so you can't just come back the way you came in. Wait around and hope Amelia notices something is wrong? But you're not sure the deity is exactly on top of things like that at the moment...
You comfort yourself with two thoughts. First, there doesn't seem to be any demons or monsters around to make life any more difficult. Second, even if there were enemies about, you've got a capable guardian to protect you. If you do have to explore this strange other world to find a way out, you won't have to wander about defenceless.
>Take the initiative, explore a little
>Stay here and wait
>Perhaps your phone works here?
Stay calm, and consider all the resources you have available. Although your phone is now a portable means by which you can summon unearthly horrors and cute girls to your side, it is STILL a phone. Maybe it works like one? Chewing your lip nervously, you flip through it until you find Elliot's number, still lurking from when you called him earlier. Taking a deep breath to steady your nerves, you hit the call button and press the phone to your ear.
Nothing. At least, you think it's nothing – there is no ringing to suggest your call has reached its destination, but there is... something. It might be a voice, too faint for you to make out anything other than a hiss of static. It rises and falls like intermittent winds and only rarely can you hear anything that might be a word. Could it be your name you hear, whispered by some ethereal voice from the void? Maybe so, but you have no way to be sure. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, some part of your mind trying to convince yourself that somebody is looking for you.
No, you tell yourself as you end the call, standing here and listening to something that might not even be a voice is nothing but a waste of time. If you want to make some progress, you'll have to do it yourself – and that means taking a look around this bleak new world. You keep your phone close to hand as you begin to trudge through the snow, your feet sinking deep down into it with every step you take, and resign yourself to the tiring march ahead.
It doesn't take long before you're gasping for breath, every lungful of cold air you take in chilling your body from the inside out. You've not even made a lot of progress either – you made it to the end of the street, that's all. This just isn't going to work. You're considering your next move when something strikes you in the back of the head, sending you tumbling forwards to land face first in the snow.
You're dead again, that must be it. Someone just shot you in the head – that must be blood you feel, seeping down from your hair. Except... blood would be hot, wouldn't it? This is cold – so very cold. Melting ice, you realise with confusion as you touch the back of your skull with a tentative finger. No pain, not really, but there are clumps of snow sticking to your hair. Someone just hit you with a snowball?
A high girlish giggle fills the air as you, once again, drag yourself to your feet and look around. Behind you, her delicate hands busy with pressing together a new snowball, is a young girl – a good few years younger than you, you don't doubt. She's hardly dressed for the weather, clad only in a light blue dress, and yet she shows no sign of discomfort. There's something unnatural about her, and it takes you a while to place it. She's standing on top of the thick layer of snow, her feet sinking not even one inch into it. There aren't even any footsteps to mark where she came from.
“This weather is simply magnificent, isn't it?” the girl asks in a beautifully clear English accent. You study her carefully, taking note of her long golden hair and open, innocent face. Her eyes are bright, free from both guile and malice. “Doesn't it just make you want to lie down and die?”
>Can you help me? I think I'm lost
>Are you human? You look human
>You hit me, that was mean!
Lie down and die? That's pretty much the exact opposite of what you want to do right now! You don't quite trust yourself to speak just yet, so you settle for slowly shaking your head. The girl looks strangely offended by that – not quite outraged, but close – so you hastily change the subject. You think you're lost, you explain, perhaps she can help you? You'd be happy just knowing where you are at the moment.
“Lost? Are you sure?” the girl says quizzically, tilting her head to the side, “Maybe you just don't know where you are supposed to be.”
That doesn't really tell you anything. You try again, asking if she can tell you where you are. Even if she just tells you something vague like “London”, you'll take that as a hint that she has some sanity about her.
“This place is on the other side of the looking glass,” she tells you, “Humans don't normally come here.”
Humans? So, is she human? She certainly looks like a human, once you get past the aura of unnatural power that hangs about her like a cloak. It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is, but you're canny enough to take a hint. It would be a very grave mistake to cause this curious girl any trouble.
“Human...” the girl repeats, frowning cutely as she thinks to herself.
“Alice?” a sharp voice calls out, and you both gasp, looking around at the source of the noise. A tall, very thin man in a dark suit approaches you and gives you a strange look. “Oh, I see. Have you found a friend? Someone to play with you, perhaps?”
“Do you want to play with me?” the girl – Alice – asks, turning to look at you, “We can play all day, if you like.”
>I'll play with you... for a while
>Actually, I'm really very busy
>Excuse me, sir? I need your help
Alright I am taking a gamble. I am assuming 'play' just means just that as in a snowball fight or something. This might be a step maybe being able to recruit Alice down the line.
>I'll play with you... for a while
>Excuse me, sir? I need your help
Could you help me get back to the human side after we play for a little bit.
I hope you are right, seconded. She hasn't said 'Die for me' yet and I dunno if we can get out of here without Mister Black's help. If it goes tits up we can always try to run I guess. For how much good that'll do us.
You glance towards the older man – her father? No, some deference in his voice and posture suggests a far less mundane explanation. He shrugs slightly as you look for some hint, his expression carefully blank. You're on your own for this one.
You'll play with her for a while, you tell her, but you really can't stay for long. You've got to go back home... perhaps her guardian can help you with that? Once you've played for a while, maybe he can help you get back to the human side of the... the looking glass?
“We're going to play!” Alice cheers, before hurling her newly prepared snowball at your head. You duck quickly and scoop up a double handful of snow, your own competitive spirit igniting despite yourself. You've never actually had a snowball fight in your life, preferring to stay inside in the warm and dry library while other children caused havoc outside. Now, in this strange land, you'll finally have your chance to play a little.
Alice, with her delicate feet skimming neatly across the surface of the snow, is easily able to run rings around you as you stomp your way through thick drifts of the freezing white stuff. Even so, you don't embarrass yourself – you duck and weave around most of her shots and even manage to fling a few back at her. It doesn't take long before you're both laughing and shouting, your troubles forgotten for one brief moment. Her guardian watches you carefully, smiling an indulgent smile. This... isn't so bad, now you think about it.
Then you manage to hit Alice with a snowball, nailing her right in the face, and the atmosphere is painfully shattered. When she looks up, her face is set in a petulant frown, cheeks reddened by the snow. Her dress begins to flutter in some phantom wind as she glares at you, her little hands clenched into tight fists.
This... does not look good.
“I think that's enough,” the man says suddenly, appearing at Alice's side to place a hand on her shoulder. Almost immediately, the unnatural wind dies down and the girl's face clears. “That was a good game, wasn't it Alice?”
“But we're not finished yet!” Alice protests, although there's no real anger or objection in her voice, “She's still alive!”
“You can finish your game another time,” he tells her gently, “I need to talk with your new friend for a moment. Why don't you see if you can find Mister Red? I'm sure you buried him somewhere around here...”
“Fine!” Alice shouts, beaming a bright smile at the mention of this new name and racing off, her polished black shoes leaving no marks on the snow she dances across. When she's out of sight, you let out a deep breath you hadn't realised you had been holding. You came close to death, then, very close.
“She likes you,” the tall man says, faint amusement in his voice, “My name is Mister Black. Tell me, human, how did you come to be here? I was under the impression that our worlds were no longer in alignment. Has something changed, perhaps? Ah, but how selfish of me... you had questions you wanted to ask me, did you not? I'm sure we'll be able to have a nice long conversation some day, but now is not the time.”
He's got that right. You need to get out of here, before Alice changes her mind and comes back.
>Explain what you know about the situation
>Simply ask for help in returning to your world
>Ask him about Alice
Yes, you'll have a nice chat about things, you agree, but later. Much later, and when you're not standing almost knee deep in freezing cold snow. Right now, you have to focus all your energies on returning home. That's what you tell Mister Black at least. He looks a little disappointed at your comment – you're not naïve enough to believe that he really wanted to chat with you – but nods solemnly.
“I understand,” he tells you, “The natural order of things must be upheld. This is no place for a human – yet – and your world is no place for demons.”
Yet, you finish for him, and shudder a little as Mister Black laughs politely.
“Quite right. You're a rather insightful young lady, aren't you? I eagerly anticipate the time when we can talk at leisure. Still, I believe I can help send you back to your world. A simple process, but how to explain it...” Mister Black touches a long finger – the tip blackened with what looks like decay – to his chin as he thinks. “Ah yes!” he announces brightly, “All it needs is a single push, really, and gravity should do the rest.”
Gravity? He's not going to throw you off a building or anything, is he?
“Merely an example,” Mister Black shrugs, “Gravity, in this situation, would be the normal order of things. Humanity in the human world, and demons in the demonic world. It just takes a little effort for reality to take control. Now then,” he smiles coldly, “Shall we begin?”
The sooner the better, you tell him. Before you can say anything else he gives you a firm shove, pushing you backwards into a particularly large drift of snow. You would shout some kind of offended protest, but as soon as you begin to fall, the world around you shudders with a now familiar sensation. Whatever he did, it worked.
“Are you awake?” a calm voice asks, from some place deep within the dark surrounding you. It's a voice that you find familiar somehow, although the exact identity of it eludes you. Putting aside the issue of that voice, you focus on your surroundings. You feel... warm. Comfortably warm, like you're lying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning. Allowing yourself a brief moment of self-indulgent delusion, you let yourself wonder if everything had been a dream.
“Can you hear me?” the voice asks, “Can you feel your fingers and toes?”
Yes yes, you mumble, forcing the words from a dry throat. You can hear him fine. Then, finally, you crack your eyes open and look around. The room you're in is dimly lit, with row upon row of books covering the far wall. The entire atmosphere is that of a learned man's study, so much so that you almost expect to smell pipe tobacco. Groaning, you struggle to sit up from the couch you were lying on and search out the source of that curiously familiar voice. He's sitting nearby, looking down upon you with an expression of concern upon his blunt – yet not unpleasant – face.
“My name is Joseph,” he tells you gently, “I'm a doctor. At least, I will be – I'm still in training, you see. In either case, you're in safe hands.”
Joseph, you repeat his name to yourself, trying to puzzle out the significance of it. Is there a significance? It seems like there should be one, something linked with the vaguely familiar feeling that haunts you.
“You're lucky I found you,” Joseph says, “You were lying in the snow, passed out, so I brought you here – my home. Ah, but my intentions are entirely innocent!”
He found out unconscious, and he took you to his home, rather than a hospital?
“I'm not quite sure I can explain it myself,” he scratches his head, a vague smile playing around his lips, “It seemed like the right thing to do. Tell me – have we met? You seem so familiar to me.”
And he seems familiar to you, but you're not sure if you want to admit that quite yet. You're not even sure if you're safe yet – there must be something wrong with someone, if they're willing to whisk you away to his home rather than hand you over to the proper authorities. Then again,
you're more than happy to avoid a trip to the hospital. You don't have many good memories of hospitals...
“Well, we can think about it later,” Joseph tells you, rising from his seat to do something further back in the room. A few moments later, the scent of strong coffee reaches you, and he returns with a pot and two cups. As you watch, he pours a generous measure of the silky black liquid into each cup and sets one on a little table beside you. “You should drink. Something hot will do you a lot of good.”
You look dubiously at the cup. It's just coffee, you tell yourself, why should you feel so strange all of a sudden? Sure, you prefer tea, but still...
“So,” Joseph sits, taking a careful sip of his coffee, “Are you going to tell me your name? Your address perhaps? Something about you tells me you're not homeless.”
>Introduce yourself. It's only polite
>Make an excuse and leave as quickly as possible
>Deflect the issue. Ask more about Joseph
>You look dubiously at the cup. It's just coffee, you tell yourself, why should you feel so strange all of a sudden?
>Introduce yourself. It's only polite
You're Mia Vespucci, you tell him, watching closely for any flash of recognition in his eyes. You wouldn't quite call it a flash, but there is something there – a spark, maybe, to go along with the vague recollections of your own. You offer him your hand as well, which he takes in a firm grip. Some people claim to be able to learn everything from someone's handshake and, while you can't claim the same thing about yourself, something about Joseph's grip does reassure you.
As you're shaking hands, you studying him a little more. He must be a young man, but the prematurely grey hair lends him an air of wisdom and maturity. He looks more like a priest than a doctor, and you realise you said that aloud when Joseph laughs carefully.
“Actually, that's what I aspired to when I was your age. Then, as I got older, something changed,” as he lets go of your hand, a wistful look enters his eyes, “These days, people don't believe in God. They put their faith in science, in medicine. I figured I could do more good healing people's bodies, in the hope that they'd heal their own minds. Ah, but I'm rambling. Tell me, do you have any pain anywhere? Any dizziness or nausea?”
None, you tell him honestly, your limbs feel a little stiff perhaps, but that's the only issue. As you look down at your body, you realise that your coat is no longer wrapped around you. When you ask after it, Joseph points to a hanger in the corner of the room.
“It was soaked through,” he explains, “You would catch a chill, wearing that for any length of time. Ah, but that reminds me...” Again, he rises and takes something from his desk. Your phone, you realise when he returns. “This rang a few times while you were out. Don't worry – I didn't look at anything!”
You take the phone eagerly, hoping despite yourself to see your father's name on the list of missed calls. No such luck – just Elliot's number, appearing again and again. At least he hasn't given up on you – some small comfort.
“Now, perhaps you should tell me what's going on,” Joseph prompts you gently, “Why would a girl like you be sleeping rough in weather like this? You don't look the type to be wrapped up in drugs or any unsavoury business, so there must be some reason.”
No reason that he would ever believe, you think to yourself. You hardly believe it yourself – some growing crack in the barrier between worlds caused you to slip, briefly, into the demon realm. Who, in their right mind, would believe such a tale?
“And you've still not answered my question,” Joseph reminds you, his eyes twinkling with a sudden intellectual curiosity. It's a handsome look, and a strangely persuasive one – the kind of expression that makes a person want to unburden themselves. “Have we met before? Or rather, do you recognise me in some way?”
You finally take a sip of his coffee – it's strong and sweet, just the thing to lift the cobwebs off your mind – and consider the question. Is it not possible, you ask yourself, that you knew each other in the old world? This might be a piece of Amelia's grand puzzle, some revelation that might bring you one step closer to solving this problem once and for all. Can you trust him enough to tell him, though?
>We've never met, I'm afraid
>Perhaps we knew each other in a past life
>I know someone who would know. I can take you to her
>Avoid the issue
Perhaps, you joke, you knew each other in a past life. It's a cautious gambit, throwing out that little hint to see if Joseph latches onto it or not. If he knows more than he's letting on, you hope that some hint of it will show on his face.
“Sounds like some New Age nonsense to me,” he laughs, brushing the idea off without giving it a second thought. So, either he really knows nothing of the old world, or he's really very good at hiding his true reactions. The fun part is not knowing which possibility is true until it's too late. “But, well, you never know,” Joseph shrugs, “It's not something you can disprove either, is it?”
Well, you might be able to prove it one way or the other. You know somebody who would know, you explain tentatively. She might be able to shed some light on the situation – you can even take him to her. You might need a little time to arrange something, but... it can be done.
“Really?” Joseph raises his eyebrows in polite surprise, “Do you mean to tell me you've got a friend who can tell me all about my past lives?”
Maybe it would be better to wait and see, you tell him. For now though, you need to make a call. A little privacy, perhaps? Joseph merely nods, taking his coffee cup – now significantly cooler – and leaving the room. You don't hear anything to suggest a lock being closed after he's left, which can only be a good thing. Taking your phone, you dial up Elliot's now familiar number. He answers on the first ring.
“Is that you, Mia?” he asks, his voice nonchalant despite the haste with which he answered, “Gosh, you picked a nice time to take a wander. Strangest thing I ever saw!”
Huh, what was the strangest thing?
“You just dropped to your knees back there,” he explains, “Then vanished into thin air! Well, we were all quite startled.”
You can imagine.
Well, you tell him quickly, it might be better to explain things in person. It's certainly an interesting story, and you'd rather not talk about it over the phone. You'd like to see the look on his face when you tell him all about it.
“A meeting, then?” Elliot offers, “Got to say, your violent friend has been getting quite restless. Pacing all over the shop, and even my significant charms can't get her to sit still – can you imagine?”
A meeting, you confirm, neatly dodging the subject of Elliot's dubious charms. Perhaps it would be best if everyone got back together at your house? He knows the address, so he can rally everyone and get them there. You won't be long – and you'll be bringing a guest.
“Oh yes?” Elliot's voice is as light as you expect, “Shall I get the kettle on? Roll out the red carpet perhaps? Lay out the good silver?”
Considering his financial woes, you'd rather not let Elliot get his hands on the good silver. Keeping that little nugget of suspicion to yourself, you settle on a time – later tonight – and confirm your address. Then, before Elliot can launch into some other spiel, you end the call and knock lightly on the door to the study. Joseph arrives soon after – soon enough that you almost suspect he was listening in. Paranoid, you tell yourself, but you can't quite discard the idea.
“So,” Joseph begins, “I can give you a lift home, if you don't want to walk. Or, if you give me the address, I can stop by later. Do you want to meet at a particular time, the evening perhaps?”
...Just a coincidence. The evening is a logical time to meet up, there's no reason to suspect he was listening in based off that alone.
>You can come home with me
>I'd rather go alone. Meet me in the evening
>I've changed my mind. The meeting is off
>>I'd rather go alone. Meet me in the evening
If we meet him later we might be able to talk things over with Amelia. She might not want to see him yet. Also we might be able to get a few answers out of her
You'd rather return home on your own, you tell him cautiously. He can meet you in the evening, when everyone else will be there. With a strange reluctance, you write down your address and phone number, handing them across on a folded sheet of paper. With all the people you're inviting over, you start to wonder if you'll need to open up some of the spare bedrooms. Marco might not approve of you treating the place like a hotel, but you'd be the happiest girl in the world if he was there to scold you for it.
So, taking your now dry coat, you leave Joseph's home and set off back to your own place. His house is smaller than yours, but it's in the kind of area that suggests old money. Compared with the dark, ruined streets you saw in the snow covered vision of London, these ones seem positively cheerful and safe, with the street lights casting a warm glow over everything. To think, you used to hate that kind of high intensity lighting.
Returning home without incident, you let yourself in and sit down heavily on the couch, looking around the empty room with a suddenly melancholy air. Even though before, it was just you and Marco – two people in a pretty large house – it had never felt empty. Now, your childhood home feels more like an ancient shipwreck. It'd be nice to have someone – anyone – to talk to.
“Fine, I've got some time to kill,” Amelia says from behind you, causing you to leap up with a little shriek. You spin around to see the deity cackling like a lunatic, having appeared out of thin air. “So, Mia,” she says when she's recovered, “What's on your mind? I understand things got a little interesting today.”
Interesting, she says.
>I met someone today. His name is Joseph...
>I went somewhere else. Some other world.
>Never mind me, have you found Marco yet?
You went somewhere today, you tell her, some other world. You ended up, uh, having a snowball fight with a girl called Alice. Now, you're no expert, but is that really normal?
“Alice, huh?” Amelia smiles faintly, “So she's up and about again. You got lucky with that one, kid. Last time I saw her, the only game she was playing was hanging angels up on pikes and watching them die. Well, I guess she's allowed to have some innocent fun once in a while as well...”
Uh, right. But about the “travelling between worlds” thing?
“Right, that's not normal. Not even slightly normal,” Amelia nods to herself, seemingly satisfied with something, “It IS interesting though, isn't it? My theory is that it's the same mechanism that allows demons to invade this world, only working in reverse. You invaded their world, in other words. Still, you got back okay, so no harm done!”
No harm done, you nearly cry out, you could have died! Just what is she so happy about, anyway?
“This might just confirm one of my theories,” Amelia taps her chin as she thinks to herself, “It could be that your father fell through one of these cracks. Possibly when that first demon attacked you. It seems that when demons appear in this world, it thins the barrier enough for things to travel both ways. Now, I wonder if this could be harnessed...”
Your father might be trapped there, in the snowy other world. Trapped there, surrounded by demons with no hope of returning home, save for being able to find the same friendly demon you stumbled across. Right. You bite down hard on your bottom lip – hard enough to taste blood – and focus. Save those questions for later, after you've delivered your second piece of news. You met someone new today, you tell Amelia. A young doctor, called Joseph, who seemed to know you – and you felt like you knew him.
“Joseph fucking Johanssonn,” Amelia curses, her face turning dark, “I knew I'd need to deal with HIM before long, but I'd been putting it off as long as possible.”
So... you're going to assume that she knows who he is. You were right, then – he's another name on her list.
“Yeah, he's part of this,” Amelia scowls impressively, “Wish he wasn't, but I don't make the rules. Well, I DO, but you know what I mean. So you've met him then – what's your take on him?”
Well, he seemed... okay. You're not sure if you trusted him completely, but he seemed like a decent sort. He took care of you when you needed help – that has to count for something, right?
“Decent? Are you serious?” Amelia's eyes grow wide in amazement, “You are! Hell, now I'm going to laugh even harder. Look, you don't know what he did – I do. I had to clean up his damn mess. So let me tell you this, if I ever – EVER – see him with any kind of musical instrument, that asshole is going to be a pillar of salt. I'll go Old Testament on his ass, just watch me.”
“But as long as he doesn't step out of line, he's got as much right to live as anyone,” Amelia admits, frowning to herself, “So you invited him here, right? In the evening, along with everyone else – that'll be something to see.”
You'd ask how she knew that, but you can probably guess.
“Well, that means we're almost there – sooner than I expected. Fate, it seems, is on our side,” Amelia gives you a hard look for some reason, “You've got questions, right? I know that look.”
>You said Marco might be over “there”?
>I'm important to this, aren't I? Why?
>What happened between you and Petra?
>You said Marco might be over “there”?
>I'm important to this, aren't I? Why?
>What happened between you and Petra?
>What'd Joseph do with a musical instrument that requires old testament punishment?
>You said Marco might be over “there”?
>What do you need to harness this transition thing or whatever to rescue someone from our side?
>If he's over there, can you find him? You're not exactly human, right?
>Joseph doesn't seem like the musical sort, he said he was studying to be a doctor.
Damn right you've got questions. You've got all kinds of questions, and you're not going to be shy about asking them. You've got to learn, after all, and what better source of knowledge than God? First, to confirm, she said that Marco might be over “there” in that other world. That means you'll need to go over there – somehow – and find him, right?
“That's still just a theory,” Amelia warns you, “I might be wrong, but I can't see where else he might be hidden. I've been busy looking, you know, while you were off playing with small, incredibly dangerous children.” She sighs, “But yes, that means that if you want to find him, we'll need to find some way to deliberately cross over. Of course, that might be pretty easy before too long, but I'd rather not trigger the end of the world for one man.”
...Hard but fair. As much as you want Marco back, would you really be willing to do such a thing? To plunge the world into some chaotic fate for the chance of getting him back? Chewing your lip again, you ask about what she'd need to harness the transition between worlds, or to retrieve someone from that side. Some tool, or a source of power?
“I need to do some more research before I start messing around with the barrier,” Amelia murmurs, talking more to herself, “Maybe I can develop something to trigger a shift. Some new program for your phone maybe. I used to know a guy who could program that kind of stuff...”
In either case, doesn't she have more powers over there? She's not exactly human, and if that place is the non-human world, wouldn't she be able to find him easily?
“I might have burned most of my bridges on that side of things,” she answers, a little sheepishly, “I believe there are forces conspiring to limit my influence. Some old friends, you could say. Maybe it's best if we move on though.”
Right then, next question. You're important to all this, aren't you? And if so, why?
“You're all important,” Amelia replies quickly, “Cassandra, Petra, everyone. But yes, maybe you ARE more important than the rest. You see...” her voice falters, another scowl creasing her face, “You meant something to her – Amelia Bishop, the human. You were... a symbol of her failures, almost. In her eyes, you were innocent but still suffered. Everyone else she lost had earned their fates, in their own ways. Maybe if you hadn't died, she wouldn't have been so determined to “fix” things.”
So there it is. Confirmation that you died and... kind of an explanation. You can't help but feel she was missing something out, but you'll let it lie. For now. You ask, instead, what happened between Amelia and Petra. Something must have happened, to sour their relationship so badly.
“That's not the kind of question a kid should be asking,” Amelia winces, “Wait, no, you mean in this world, right? This cycle?”
...Did something happen before that?
“Of course not!” Amelia tells you hastily, “No, we had a difference of opinion, that's all. She wasn't very happy when she learned about the old world. I think, being frank, she was happier over there. There isn't much for her in this world. So we argued, and I thought it was best if I gave her some distance. Maybe – MAYBE – I lost track of time. She thinks I abandoned her, right? I suppose it could be seen that way...”
Uh, maybe you should move on. She said something about Joseph and a musical instrument. He didn't seem like the musical type when you saw him – he was training to be a doctor, he said. What on earth would require some terrible punishment?
“Now that really isn't a nice topic,” Amelia winces again, but this time out of genuine horror and regret, “Some things, as far as I'm concerned, are not so easily forgiven. He might be innocent in this world, but I can't forget what he did over there. That was just one sin among countless others. Genuine advice here – stay away from him as much as possible. Joseph is nothing but bad news.”
So she's not going to tell you, is she? Next, she'll play the “I'll tell you when you're older” card – you've had this conversation before.
“Innocent people died,” Amelia tells you – she should have snapped this, that would have been better than the weary resignation in her voice. “A lot of innocent people died,” she continues, “Is that enough, or do you really feel the need to know every gory detail?”
Well... you'd like to know what a musical instrument has to do with it. That's all.
“There was magic involved. It was a magical instrument,” a bitter smile crosses Amelia's face, “Not so magical that a boot heel couldn't smash it to bits though.”
Huh. You think about prying some more, but the grim look on Amelia's face is enough to make you hesitate. You've got your answers – maybe raking over ancient history isn't such a good idea.
“That's right,” Amelia tells you, “Not a good idea at all. Look, I'll play nice when Joseph arrives, but I don't think I'll ever like him. Not after everything that happened. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere I need to be. I'll be back in the evening, to entertain our “guests”, don't worry.”
So wait, what should you do now?
“Hell if I know,” Amelia shrugs, “Eat, sleep, that's what humans do, isn't it? I'm not here to tell you how to run your life.”
Then, before you can think of a retort, she vanishes in the blink of an eye. Gone, just like that.
>Take an early rest
>Do something else (Write in)
Get some food ready, both for the evening, and to pack.
Talk to our demon, test out dem DevilSP functions.
Check if any other stuff was messed with on the phone. Wouldn't want any demonized malware
that gets us shot.
Take a bath
'Oh so thats where Marco was. Haunting phones again, the silly trickster.'
Its this evening.
Sure, you could take a nap. Then again, there are other things that mere humans need to take care of. For one thing, you'll need to prepare some food if you're going to have guests over. It's no big deal – you've fixed cold meals for Marco before when he was working late, and you're a dab hand at making your own snacks. It might be nice to make food for more than one person, for once.
Before you settle down to sort that, you take your phone out and give it a careful look over, making sure that everything is in order. Other than the DevilSP app, nothing seems to be new or suspicious looking. Of course, you still think of the new app to be worthy of suspicion, but that's because you've never been willing to treat unearthly power with anything less than the respect it deserves. When you're certain that nothing is going to explode in your face, or sent a bullet flying into your chest – somehow – you summon Nadja. You never really had a chance to just... talk with her.
“Master,” Nadja bobs her head in a vague bow, “Greetings. What can I do for you?”
Well, first off you were wondering if she was willing to answer some questions. You could use a little guidance in certain supernatural matters.
“I might not be able to answer all of them,” Nadja admits, “I'm actually quite new, myself, but I'll give it my all!”
Cheerful. You like that.
>Do you know anything about the previous cycle?
>Can I get more of you? Demons, I mean?
>Is there anything she thinks you should know?
>>Do you know anything about the previous cycle?
>Can I get more of you? Demons, I mean?
>Is there anything she thinks you should know?
>What does she and other demon do for fun?
>The snacks taste alright?
Well, first off, it's nice to meet her, and you'd like to thank her for the battle earlier. She really... exploded that monster. You wouldn't have been able to do it without her. Then, as she allows herself a gracious smile, you ask if there's a way to get more of her kind. Demons, you mean.
“Of course!” Nadja tells you, “Most demons will serve you if you can talk them around, or offer to spare their lives in exchange for their service. Your summon program should let you communicate with them – try it next time!”
Huh. There you go. Now, is there anything she can tell you about the previous cycle, or the old world? Was it very different from this one?
“I hear it was a lot more violent. There was fighting in the streets from the very start. This cycle seems much more peaceful, but...” Nadja shivers, “I think there's just as much danger, lying beneath the surface. It's a cold war, and it could turn hot at any time.”
That does sound dangerous, you have to agree. You both lapse into a sombre silence for a moment before you awkwardly ask if there's anything else Nadja thinks you should know.
“Let me see...” Nadja thinks for a moment, “Ah yes! If you get an enchanted weapon, you can fight demons yourself, without needing one of us. I hear that if you leave a human weapon – a knife or some bullets – in demon blood for a while, it gains a small amount of power. Just don't use my blood!”
You laugh a little at that, and promise not to. Just what kind of monster would do that, spill so much blood just for the chance to do things personally? You'd need to be pretty sick in the head to even think of doing a thing like that. Still smiling a little, you ask a more frivolous question – what do demons do for fun?
“All kinds of things! Most of them are awful though...” Nadja jangles her bone necklace, “I make stuff like this! Bones are cool!”
You have to agree with her there, actually – bones ARE kinda cool. Creepy, as well, but still pretty cool. It's good to agree on something so early in your relationship. From there, the conversation meanders onwards to the topic of snacks. They certainly gain Nadja's approval – so much so that you have to return the little demon to storage before she can eat you out of house and home. Demons, she tells you, don't get the chance to eat human food much.
When the food is all packed away, ready for the evening, you settle down to a few more mundane things. You clean – although the house is fairly clean already – and draw a bath. Just the thing, you think as you soak in the hot water, after so much time spent out in the cold. If the other world is always like that, you'll need to wrap up warm in future.
Last thing you need is a cold, especially if you're going to be saving the world.
>I'll draw that to a close for tonight. Next thread on Friday, and I can lurk for a while in case of any questions.
I hadn't really planned for that kind of feel at first, but it very quickly started to develop. I plan on going deeper down that particular path as well. It's an interesting change!
So yes, pretty on base.
>is Nadja Philemon?
That wasn't an idea I had considered. No, this time Nadja is just a cute girl! Nothing suspicious here!
>Did they just run off or something?
Basically, yes. They looked around, and then they decided to wait for orders from above. Of course, they ended up getting into an argument
about fast food.
>How long did Amelia leave Petra alone for?
Oh, you know what procrastination is like. You plan on doing something as soon as possible, but then you put it off until the next day. Days turn to weeks...
Weeks turn to months...
>Did Petra lose her other eye when her one eye flipped?
>For a brief second, one of her eyes had seemed to be a vivid green colour but, when you look again, they are both the same cold blue.
I think the other was still there or else Mia probably would have commented on that too.
>Can she do anything about it?
There might be something, but it's definitely in the "long-term" department. It won't be convenient, or a quick fix.
She's been watching him, yes. Overall impression is fairly neutral. Petra's eye is another thing she overlooked - it shouldn't be possible, after all. Memories, yes, but no physical changes. Petra didn't lose her other eye, but she did lose sight in it. Another anomaly
>petra is going to be possessed by a seraph
>It won't be convenient
Wouldn't be the first time she went out her way for someone. Petra is a pretty good example of that.
If anything it'll be that unlucky Dominion that would more than likely be kicked out by Petra's will alone.
That's quite a conclusion to reach!
being best girl is difficult
>kicked out by Petra's will alone.
I'm now picturing Petra flexing and shooting an angel out of, I don't know, her ears.
I hadn't thought about that, but it sounds like it would work. Being, in essence, part demon would give her abilities beyond the human norm.
Alternatively, she'd just soak her hands in demon blood long enough for it to work that way!
Alice is, petulance aside, glad to have a new friend. Her friends tend not to live very long though! Mister B, well, he'll try to keep Mia safe for a while. She's got pluck, and he approves!
>How grumpy is Alice?
Not grumpy enough to invade the human world and commit mass slaughter
>Is Elliot a wizard?
He's far too young for that, and I'm sure some cute girl will fall for his charms eventually!
>"With one press of a button we'll rip open a crack in God's barrier so you can find your demonic soulmate!"
>"Refunds nonnegotiable, even if your soulmate tries or does eat you."
>No, Cass was very busy reading up on stories about Cu Chulainn
Oh man, maybe she shouldn't read that. It might ruin her image of him when she realizes how many woman he has been with. Still had rough and heroic life though.
>I take it she remembered him finally?
She knows about her history with him, but the emotional part hasn't quite caught up. It'll be a very strange reunion, should they ever meet. Love at first sight?
>Are we going to run into a full grown half human Oberon?
That'd be pretty weird! I can't rule out Oberon showing his face though
If we are going to be technical its been a LONG time since the last cycle. Even if they had a kid, half human mortality would probably have made him pass on already.
At least thats what I think, I might be completely wrong.
So the more I think about things, the more certain I am that Elliot has some significant role in things. I just can't figure out what though
>He seems unfazed by this supernatural stuff
>Tags along with Mia out of curiosity alone
>Has money troubles - a gambling problem?
>Seems to have an interest/obsession with luck
>Mysterious job as a "consultant"
Unfortunately, I can confirm that humans and fairies cannot produce offspring. The only freaky hybrids allowed are the ones Scathach makes!
Elliot's just a regular person!
I wonder if somebody could have their entire body replaced - piece by piece - with demon parts. You'd have to be a mad scientist to try something like that though!
>Could Carnby have changed like Cernnunnos did?
Well, there are some things that only demons can do. On the other hand, there's never really been a human living in the fairy kingdom for that long before. Things might get strange!
>And Magatama'd humans to an extent.
True! I forgot about those.
>On the other hand, there's never really been a human living in the fairy kingdom for that long before. Things might get strange!
Thats true. I wonder if Carnby's presence there changed some the standards there. Maybe for the better.
Couldn't she just infuse demon blood into a human to change them?
>On the other hand, there's never really been a human living in the fairy kingdom for that long before. Things might get strange!
Given Cernnunos' speech of men becoming god who become demons who become men once again, I had to ask.
Well, neither option is in the "impossible" category at the moment. For now, though, I fear that's all I can really say!
Well, having someone around to keep Titania from going too far might be advantageous for the kingdom at large
So you know what song I am going to link once we have the meeting with everyone.
Even though I know it will not match the atmosphere and tone of how the meeting will be. Its going to get heated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DM2X9eV9U8
Thats what I'm kind of imagining. Like if this was game Mia's house would be the 'Rest spot/HQ' where you save,rest,customize party members and while you are navigating the menus in the background you see Petra eating a pizza or something.
They have a Mastema dart board. Joseph has the high score.
The SMT games have always had top tier music, but I really liked the Raidou stuff, even though it's not my normal kind of thing.
That's it, I'm cancelling the apocalypse. Time to get comfy.
I'm not actually cancelling it. Beware