For The Love Of Life 1 5d

[02:10] <@Minaplo> [Sera saw.-
[02:11] <@Minaplo> [He sat by himself, in his own body- two human arms, two human legs, the rest- naked, resting on a stool.-
[02:12] <@Minaplo> [In front of him was a railing, steel bars attached to a short concrete wall, merging seamlessly with the concrete beneath.-
[02:13] <@Minaplo> [beyond the railing was a gap, a long fall down into- a city street. Beyond this lay- Paris-2, the city in all of its glory, EVA-01 in the centre, the grand finale of a parade.-
[02:15] <@Minaplo> [Paris-2… His home. A fragmented, damaged home, a lesser facsimile of a greater and more glorious entity, always striving but never quite reaching that same height, its buildings many, but its people few. The city, despite its people, was empty. Hollow. Too little substance spread over too wide a field.-
[02:15] <@Minaplo> [Battered, almost broken, yet still- his home.-
[02:16] <@Minaplo> [He was not as alone as perhaps he first thought. Behind him, arms folded, just as naked, was Armin, his expression serious.]
[02:21] * Sept looked over the scene, just as serious. "Clothes are a pretty big part of human civilization," he still noted.
[02:23] <@Minaplo> ["Lack thereof is more important to the overall proceeding, I think."]
[02:27] <Sept> "Sure."
[02:28] <@Minaplo> [The light tap-tap of a solid object against metal.-
[02:29] <@Minaplo> [Over a nearby railing, via pipe, came- Freya, leaping over the side, a rope full of colourful buntings in her hand.-
[02:29] <@Minaplo> [She landed on the concrete roof easily, lightly.-
[02:29] <@Minaplo> [She stared at them both impassively. She didn't say anything.]
[02:30] <Sept> "Hello, Freya."
[02:31] <@Minaplo> ["Hi."-
[02:31] <@Minaplo> [Armin turned, his eyes narrowed.]
[02:35] <Sept> The silence stayed for a while. "Can you help us get out of here alive?"
[02:35] <@Minaplo> ["Yep."]
[02:37] <Sept> "Is there something you want from us?"
[02:37] <@Minaplo> ["Careful, Sera." Murmured Armin.-
[02:38] <@Minaplo> ["There could be things we want." Said Freya, walking over to Sera's side of the roof.]
[02:39] <Sept> "You don't say," he said drily to them both.
[02:39] <@Minaplo> ["We do say." Said Freya.]
[02:41] <Sept> "Your terms?"
[02:43] <@Minaplo> [Freya shook her head. She gestured out into the city.]
[02:46] * Sept took a couple steps closer to the railing again.
[02:48] <@Minaplo> ["We have many terms." Said Freya. "And we have not decided on which to press yet. Some suggest one term, some suggest another. The outcome will be the best possible outcome."]
[02:51] <Sept> "I don't understand. You want us to wait?"
[02:53] <@Minaplo> ["We want you to enter us and listen." Said Freya. "To give your voice to the many to find the best possible outcome."]
[02:57] <Sept> "I'm probably not the one you want for that. I just carry the lance."
[02:58] <@Minaplo> [Freya shrugged. She grabbed the railing and leapt off- easily landing in the street below.]
[03:00] * Sept looked at Armin. "Doubt we have a choice," he said, hoping to be contradicted.
[03:01] <@Minaplo> ["This is part of the problem." Said Armin. He stepped forward and gestured at the city.-
[03:04] <@Minaplo> ["Longinus is not like me or the Emissary." He said. "I am a single spirit, but Longinus is many. A hundred thousand spirits at least. Each one presents a course of action, and the worthy proposals spread amongst them like a virus, until the entirety of them are unified in single consensus. It resolves quickly, but not as quickly as I would like in this situation."-
[03:05] <@Minaplo> ["I think that one wants you to help spread one such course of action." Said Armin. "Or it is a trap. Either way, we probably could just beat them into submission. Ten thousand should be enough. It requires more time than we have, though."]
[03:08] <Sept> "Hm." There were worse places to die. "I'll be fine, then. Maybe I'll surprise them with how 'many' I am. Arguing with myself is one of my many talents, you know."
[03:10] <@Minaplo> ["Do you ever reach consensus?"]
[03:13] * Sept thought about it. "Nah."
[03:14] <@Minaplo> ["Then this will be a learning experience." Armin walked over to the edge of the railing. "Take the lead."]
[03:18] <Sept> "Right." Sera peered over. "Just jump off."
[03:19] <@Minaplo> [And so Armin did.]
[03:20] * Sept shook his head and followed.
[08:25] <Minaplo> [The street rushed up to meet him- but this time, unlike other times, it did not result in massive injury. His feet hit the ground first, and apart from some light impact in his feet he went unarmed.-
[08:30] <Minaplo> [There were people around him, maybe a dozen, and most of these he did not recognise, although a few he did. Their images were- bizarre.-
[08:31] <Minaplo> [It was as though people had made manikins of human beings but weren't quite sure on what they wore. He saw Malachi, wearing a neon green baker's apron and skirt, holding a tray of sausage rolls. He saw - Amelia Chevalier, Edgar's older sister, but she wore an orange suit and red tie. They all approached, crowding towards Sera, forming a ring around him…]
[08:39] <Sept> The odd physics of the 'place' were evident before he hit the ground, and the figures down there were much more jarring. Sera took a more defensive stance. "Look, you invaded me once already, just fuck off."
[08:45] <Minaplo> ["You do not wish to speak to us?" Asked one- a fat man wearing a stretchy black sweater.]
[08:54] <Sept> "You look threatening. I'm aware we're at a dead end without your help, so it's unnecessary."-
[08:55] <Sept> "What is this, then? What do you expect from me?"
[09:02] <Minaplo> ["Proposal: annihilate him." Came one voice- from Amelia Chevalier.-
[09:02] <Minaplo> ["Why annihilate?" Asked the fat man.-
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["He endeavours against our ultimate goal." Said Amelia.-
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["Proposal: release him without cost." Said the fat man.-
[09:04] <Minaplo> ["Counter: That does not bring benefit to us." Said Amelia.-
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["It could grant goodwill." Said the fat man.-
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["Goodwill is not a valid benefit." Said Amelia.-
[09:07] <Minaplo> ["No, of course you would say that." Muttered Armin.]
06[09:13] * Sept cast a glare at Armin. "Our goodwill doesn't help you, and our death even less. If we go down with this ship, Mary will have everything. Metatron's gone. You'll have to actively pick a side."
[09:16] <Minaplo> ["You could choose -ours-." Said Malachi. He walked over to the group, picked up a sausage roll, and threw it at Sera.-
[09:16] <Minaplo> [It didn't even seem to be a hostile thing.-
[09:17] <Minaplo> ["Proposal: we take his resources in exchange for salvation, and use it to fulfill the Master's revival." Said Malachi.]
06[09:20] * Sept tried to catch it, trying his best not to let his rhetoric be disturbed by made-up meat. "You're -being dumb-! We'd go right back to annihilating all lilim!"
[09:20] <Minaplo> [Malachi blinked once.-
[09:21] <Minaplo> ["That is one of the benefits, obviously."]
06[09:26] * Sept decided to start over, addressing Malachi as if he were a child. "We're -not- going to kill either seed for no good reason. It's -for the best- if we don't do that. There will be bigger wars to be fought. No lilim is going to just blow up Adam and erase them from history. Not that they could even get away with it! The other Seeds would just kick their asses for it later!"
[09:27] <Minaplo> ["Counter is reasonable." Said Malachi. "Could destroy -current- Lilim, create more later?"-
[09:28] <Minaplo> ["Lilim resources may outstrip proposed capabilities." Said Amelia.-
[09:29] <Minaplo> ["Not so!" Said Malachi, throwing a sausage roll at her. "The Master's halves are both here."-
[09:29] <Minaplo> ["Oh, shit." Muttered Armin.]
06[09:32] * Sept sighed. "But you"
[09:33] <Sept> *"But you're not resurrecting anyone in some kind of grand re-apotheosis. That'd, again, lead to genocide and idiocy down the line."
[09:37] <Minaplo> ["Proposal." Came a voice behind Sera.]
06[09:39] * Sept turned towards the voice, still visibly uncomfortable with the setup.
[09:49] <Minaplo> [Before him stood- Tsubaki, pale, white-haired Tsubaki, dressed in some utterly unsuitable fashionable outfit that reminded him of Yanmei- ruffled skirts, multi-striped high socks, a white jacket.-
[09:51] <Minaplo> [She was standing close- less than a foot away- and within half a second, she had leapt forward, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.]
06[09:58] * Sept didn't make much of a noise in surprise or outrage — maybe, with time, he could learn to love a thought construct dressed up as the girl who called him big brother — but he still found the situation ridiculous in every conceivable way. He seized her arms and held them in front of him.
[09:59] <Minaplo> [She stared at him, and didn't try to pull away. "You have space inside." Said Tsubaki. "We could free us from this place in exchnge for space inside you."]
[10:03] <Sept> "That space is important to me. What's wrong with your Lance?"
[10:03] <Minaplo> ["You will seal us after you are done with us." Said Tsubaki.]
[10:06] <Sept> "Right. You want assurances you won't be thrown away afterwards, either." He let go of her hands and took a step away, addressing the group as a whole again. "What else do your 'ultimate goals' include?"
[10:07] <Minaplo> ["Our ultimate goal is ensuring that no one Seed can become whole by devouring another." Said Tsubaki. "A subordinate goal is ensuring that no two Seeds share the same world."-
[10:08] <Minaplo> ["We are still tasked with the revival of our Seed." Said Amelia.-
[10:08] <Minaplo> ["Yes. We must revive our Seed." Said Tsubaki.]
[10:08] <Sept> "And how're you gonna do that?"
[10:11] <Minaplo> ["Our resources have been spent. The last of our Seed's chosen inheritors has been slain." Said Tsubaki. "But you said that we are not going to kill either Seed for no good reason. Proposal: You want to see both Seeds revived?"]
[10:17] <Sept> "Yeah, that would the best way. We may not be able to end the wars on Earth fast enough for it to be feasible."
[10:17] <Minaplo> [She nodded.-
[10:18] <Minaplo> ["Your space inside is limitless, like an inheritor. You could hold many of us." Said Tsubaki. "We could lend you power, strengthen you, rebuild you from within."]
[10:22] <Sept> "I've sold my soul to enough devils. Why would I want your bloodthirsty mob of souls inside me? How much permanent independence could I possibly have from you lot?"
[10:23] <Minaplo> [Tsubaki paused, turning to look at the towering figure of EVA-01.-
[10:24] <Minaplo> [Then she turned to look back at Sera meaningfully.-
[10:24] <Minaplo> ["We will be inside your space, not you inside ours."]
[10:25] <Sept> "Armin? How's 'the space inside EVA-01'?"
[10:26] <Minaplo> ["Cramped, damp." Said Armin.-
[10:27] <Minaplo> ["Oh, right, yes. You have control of it."]
[10:30] <Sept> "Or that's what you'd say if you were really just a phantom conjured up by Longinus."-
[10:30] <Minaplo> ["Rude."]
[10:31] <Sept> Turning back to the unfashionable apparitions again, "Acceptable. But that guarantees you little more than a seat in the stands. What if I fail to realise that best case scenario?"
[10:36] <Minaplo> ["This is why the proposal is for the greater good." Said Tsubaki. "With your empty space filled with our heat, we can improve your- and our- chances. If you fail, then it will be our failure together, but you are still the best chance for us."]
[10:40] <Sept> "Yeah, you're pretty desperate, aren't you?"
[10:40] <Minaplo> ["Desperation is mutual." Said Tsubaki. "If it weren't, we would both be using force."]
06[10:42] * Sept looked at them for a while longer, trying to affirm which end of the stick they were getting here — but no human could've read emotion off those faces. "We'll do it, then. Let's hurry."
[10:43] <Minaplo> ["You're sure?" Muttered Armin. "It's your call, but… Mmmg."]
[10:46] <Sept> "A fully independent, cooperative Lance would be fantastic. We're not getting one. Maybe they won't even bother me outside the plug."
[10:47] <Minaplo> [Tsubaki smiled. She held her arms out. "Let us seal our alliance and reach consensus within each other's space."-
[10:47] <Minaplo> [Armin's hands tightened into fists.]
06[10:51] * Sept pulled her in for a hug. Armin's emotions were absolutely a bonus for them, and the only reason for this. "Let's figure this shit out."
[10:53] <Minaplo> [He felt her teeth pressing against his cheek.-
[10:54] <Minaplo> [When she pulled away…-
[10:55] <Minaplo> [It was still Tsubaki. But the clothes had changed; a bright red coat was now the centre of her chaotic outfit, and an ostentatous hat sat on her head, a feather sticking out of the top.-
[10:55] <Minaplo> [She turned on her feel as though Sera weren't even there- and began speaking to one of the others, repeating the same arguments.-
[10:56] <Minaplo> [Within a minute the other was wearing the same coat and hat, and now they spread out, speaking to each person one by one, converting them then they spread onwards…-
[10:59] <Minaplo> [Within ten minutes the entire street wore the same 'uniform', and were spreading out, gaining momentum. Gaining- consensus.-
[11:00] <Minaplo> [Everywhere he went, however, he could see the white haired Tsubaki, always the swiftest, the surest. Always knowing when she was seen, always turning to look at only him.-
[11:00] <Minaplo> [He was led- by a coated Freya- back to their building, permitted to climb up to the top, to see Paris-2 before them now.-
[11:01] <Minaplo> [It was changed. Great areas of it shone with red and white light, glimmering like reflections off the serried ranks of those bearing consensus with him. All of them marching towards EVA-01, all of them reaching its legs- all of them climbing up towards its body and mouth…]
[11:06] <Sept> It was the best way out with the time they had, he told himself. But he still felt sick — maybe it was a direct side effect of what he'd agreed to, or maybe it was just the feeling of dread. "Guh. Make sure to kick my ass for this once it-" The rest of the words weren't intelligible, or perhaps they never existed, assuming the landscape when Sera's consciousness did.
[11:06] <Sept> collapsed when*

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