3 3 1

[14:23] <Sachiko> It was near-dark by the time they exited the team exited their Metaverse following the encounter with Krishna. It was typical for Sachiko to be quiet amidst the group, but she'd also seemed visibly distracted on their way back to the real world. When the time came to head back to the dorm she headed in a different direction, citing plans back elsewhere.-
[14:23] <Sachiko> She walked slowly. She wasn't going to hurt herself just to disguise she was walking back to the Academy proper.-
[14:23] <Sachiko> The Academy was still officially open, but it was evening on a Sunday so those present were both rare and less than enthused to be there. It wasn't all that difficult to get where she needed to be to enter Asaka's theater, although it required testing a few doors to find one that was unlocked.
[14:29] <PersonaGM> [The school building felt eerie. Most of the lights were off or on power-saving mode, and the emptiness meant that her footsteps, slow as they were, felt extra loud in the empty spaces. There was no one here, and so Sachiko had nowhere to hide.-
[14:31] <PersonaGM> [But perhaps it was more than an empty building and a spooky atmosphere. There was a distortion in the building, after all, a bizarre gateway. Miasma was seeping into the real world- affecting perceptions, making monsters out of shadows.-
[14:31] <PersonaGM> [Maybe Sachiko sensed that in some way.-
[14:31] <PersonaGM> [Nonetheless, she would move undetected throughout the school building, until coming to the hallway in which the distortion sat.]
[14:44] <Sachiko> Maybe she did. She was definitely watching her surroundings in a way she hadn't been back at the temple-school.-
[14:44] <Sachiko> The distortion didn't pose much of a problem as barriers went, but she was careful to scan the area for watchers before she started crossing it.
[14:53] <PersonaGM> [She didn't see any, at least on her first sweep.-
[14:54] <PersonaGM> [On her second sweep, however, she'd suddenly see, sitting in a classroom window, staring at her- a black cat. He quickly leapt down and crossed the distance with a speed only cats could really pull off.-
[14:54] <PersonaGM> ["Going somewhere?"]
[15:00] * Sachiko made a noise that was equal parts surprise and annoyance, but she didn't let it slow her down for long. "Testing a hypothesis," she said, pulling her tomephone from her pocket.
[15:01] <PersonaGM> ["And this hypothesis can't wait?"]
[15:04] <Sachiko> "Not if I felt like sleeping tonight."
[15:09] <PersonaGM> ["Not really that definitive, judging by your eyes." Said Roy, who slowly walked between her and the distortion. "This venture's gonna have to be a no from me, dog. It's unsafe."]
[15:36] <Sachiko> She didn't try to stop him getting in her way yet, but her foot started tapping in a rhythm that quickly resolved into 7/8 time. "I need contact with the theater, but I'm not intending to go much further than the saferoom."
[15:41] <PersonaGM> ["And if that doesn't produce results? What if you decide it's okay to go a little inside the theatre?"]
[15:45] <Sachiko> "Then come along and make sure I don't," she shrugged.
[15:47] <PersonaGM> […-
[15:48] <PersonaGM> [The saferoom. Roy was conspicuously sitting in front of this door too. "Explain your hypothesis."]
[15:56] <Sachiko> "Adrien's hypothesis," she admitted, though doing so seemed to pain her considerably.-
[15:56] <Sachiko> "Not the terms he described it in, but if the Dream Theater flowers from the flawed perception of reality that defines an Archetype, there might be a root below that which forms the pre-Archetype personality of the Theater's owner. If that's the case, we might be able to use that as a basis for reformation rather than relying on our own perception of how they should be."
[16:04] <PersonaGM> ["You're looking for a backup."]
[16:05] <Sachiko> "Yeah."
[16:09] <PersonaGM> ["Good thinking on Adrien's part, but you won't find anything." Said Roy.]
[16:10] * Sachiko frowned. "Why not?"
[16:11] <PersonaGM> ["We never did." Said Roy. "What, you thought you were the first one to think of a backup? We had the same idea, but we never found squat."]
[16:22] <Sachiko> More of the tapping. "Using what methods?"
[16:25] <PersonaGM> ["Lots of methods. What were you gonna do? Scan it?"]
[16:29] <Sachiko> "Yes, Roy, I was going to scan it."
[16:33] <PersonaGM> ["Well go on, then. Scan away."]
[16:57] <Sachiko> Sachiko shut her eyes, but not before giving Roy the kind of disgusted look she'd normally reserve for Adrien. Faust's cloak swallowed her up a moment later.-
[16:59] <Sachiko> Using her persona to scan the metaverse was not an act of observation so much as comprehension. In describing the warped logic that defined the Theater she could naturally reveal the structure itself, both physical and metaphysical, like gradually lighting up a darkened room. This time she pushed the process further, seeing if she could push that light out all the way to the edges.
[17:06] <PersonaGM> ["Because we looked. Explored theatres, cracked open Shadows, nothing. Dug into the deepest parts of the psyche, nothing…"-
[17:09] <PersonaGM> [Sachiko's scan was an act of comprehension, but there was a lot here she struggled to comprehend. The Sea of Chaos was called a Sea for a reason; the structure of the Theatre was mutable by nature, but made solid by will, and it was this will that she was bouncing off with her scans as much as off the substance. It shone in the Sea like a lighthouse beacon, drawing the eye with ease. The presence of Asaka, singular, unique.-
[17:11] <PersonaGM> ["What form would it even take? A Shadow? A special room? What would a backup hard drive look like in the sea of Chaos? That was our question. We never really found answers."-
[17:13] <PersonaGM> [Asaka's will burned outwards, a steady, rasping rhythm that had a beat all its own. There was nothing else in the Theatre that shared its melody, its beat.-
[17:15] <PersonaGM> [Then for a second, Sachiko felt something- a twinge leading to a sensation- a rhythmic chime that was not at odds, but yet discordant with Asaka's theme- discordant not because of a clash but because the two should've been similar, but were not. Like someone playing an instrument in defiance of their metronome.-
[17:15] <PersonaGM> [But it quickly, fleetingly passed, replaced almost instantly by a wave of exhaustion that nearly punched her out of Faust's cloak entirely.-
[17:15] <PersonaGM> ["We had a navi like you, you know. Scanning so hard, didn't find a thing. Super frustrating, let me tell you-"]
[17:26] * Sachiko sagged suddenly, the steadiness of her legs more suggestion than certainty. The shadows inside Faust's boughs reached out to steady her, chittering encouragement, and when she looked down she found "her" chair - the black piano stool - had moved out of line with the others and now waited behind her like a loyal puppy.-
[17:26] <Sachiko> She sat down rather than questioning it, Faust disappearing as she did. "There's something else in there."
[17:42] <PersonaGM> ["… Eh?"]
[17:50] <Sachiko> She held her voice steady as she tried to catch her breath. "I'm not sure Asaka Archetype's the only element dictating the Theater. It's the biggest, but it's like the sun disguising the signature of a flashlight."-
[17:50] <Sachiko> "… I think," she added, momentarily uncertain.
[17:56] <PersonaGM> ["But that doesn't make any sense." Said Roy. "No Archetype would willingly share that power with something else. It'd try to destroy it, and if it's too small to go unnoticed then it can't be influencing it, so-"-
[17:56] <PersonaGM> ["Ugh, I don't know. I don't know what that is."]
[17:58] <Sachiko> "Your old Navigator didn't ever see anything similar…?"
[18:02] <PersonaGM> ["No. And she was good at it."]
[18:05] * Sachiko turned that over for a while. "Could be a false report, or confirmation bias," she allowed. "I definitely felt something, but it's possible I'm drawing the wrong conclusions."
[18:06] <PersonaGM> ["Something to sleep on." Said Roy.]
[18:16] <Sachiko> Sachiko chuckled, but sounded more tired than amused. "Yeah…"-
[18:16] <Sachiko> "So what was your Navigator like?" she asked after a moment. "I thought she might've been the one writing the reports. Chanteuse?"
[18:32] <PersonaGM> ["Chanson, and nah, she didn't do the reports." Said Roy. "Chanson was doing them from the start and we didn't feel like stopping that. Our Navigator was Consult. She was great. Smarter than she thought she would, and more trusting than she should've been."]
[18:45] * Sachiko nodded carefully. "You alright with me asking more questions?"
[19:16] <PersonaGM> ["Mind if we do it outside? I know I come off as paranoid, but I don't like having personal talks in the Sea."]
[19:18] <Sachiko> "Makes sense." She stood up slowly, testing her legs and finding them fit for purpose again. As an afterthought she moved her chair back to its original position.
[19:20] <PersonaGM> [They were out a few seconds later. "Ask away."]
[19:51] <Sachiko> "Did Consult ever have an idea on why she could navigate and others couldn't?"
[19:58] <PersonaGM> ["She had theories, really. Same way we had theories on why some people became wild cards and some don't." Said Roy.-
[20:01] <PersonaGM> ["It's… Kind of a weird dynamic, in a team where everyone is different to the rest of humanity." Said Roy. "Then you have a handful of people who were more special than others. Like, is there something intrinsic to Adrien's nature that makes him more deserving of all that power over, say, Hideki?"]
[20:08] <Sachiko> "None of the answers I've come up with to that are flattering."
[20:13] <PersonaGM> ["He ain't that bad."]
[20:24] <Sachiko> "I'm glad you think so."
[20:27] <PersonaGM> ["I mean he has problems. But y'all have problems. You're teenagers. Teens are dumb."-
[20:28] <PersonaGM> ["Consult's favourite theory was that our powers broadly related to the types of stories we used to like. She loved mystery and detective stories, so she became a navigator. It was a neat little theory because our wild cards were pretty eclectic… But I don't feel like it ever really got verified or stuck."]
[20:47] <Sachiko> "It's an interesting idea. Hard to verify, of course."
[20:48] <PersonaGM> ["Yep. Still, the power of… Favourites, I suppose… Can be extremely real in this place."]
[20:59] <Sachiko> "Yeah," she nodded. "I guess I've been thinking about it a lot. I can feel there's more to my power than what I've understood. Yoshino thought it meant I had some sort of instinctual understanding of how all this worked, but really it's more like that story about blind men trying to describe an elephant."-
[21:00] <Sachiko> "It's frustrating."
[21:00] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah, well. You'll learn more in time." Said Roy, his tone a little dejected.]
[21:02] * Sachiko looked over at him for the first time in a while. "You ok?"
[21:03] <PersonaGM> [He nudged her shoe with his paw. "Yeah, I'm okay."-
[21:05] <PersonaGM> ["It just takes me back to when we'd started out. We weren't smart or clever about it, but there was something untouched in all of us before we started. Consult was… Well, none of us were really innocent in most senses of the word, but she was a little more innocent than the rest of us. It's just kind of painful territory."]
[21:11] * Sachiko nodded, somewhat subdued. "I know this is painful ground. Thanks for letting me ask questions anyway."
[21:12] <PersonaGM> ["S'cool."-
[21:12] <PersonaGM> [He sighed. "A promise is a promise. I guess I need to answer one of your older ones. Said I'd tell you about the Fairy Queen."]
[21:14] <Sachiko> She did her best to hide it, but this clearly perked Sachiko up a little. "Oh yeah?"
[21:15] <PersonaGM> ["God, look at you. Geez, okay."-
[21:15] <PersonaGM> [They left the school building, the slightly humid, stale air of the inside giving way to the warm fragrance of plum that permeated the school grounds.-
[21:17] <PersonaGM> ["The power to shape Miasma is simply an extension of will. Archetypes do it because their will is empowered. When we cast spells or whatever in the Sea, we're really just doing the same thing. Exerting our will on the space. The power of the Persona and the Shadow is fundamentally the same thing, manifesting in different ways."-
[21:18] <PersonaGM> ["If you extend that fact long enough, you reach a pretty obvious conclusion: that there's nothing stopping an Evoker from consciously deciding to do the same thing an Archetype does."]
[21:34] <Sachiko> "… oh," Sachiko said. She looked properly taken aback. "Goddamn, ok."
[21:35] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah." Said Roy. "That's who the Fairy Queen is. She was an Evoker who decided to stay in the Sea… Forever."-
[21:39] <PersonaGM> ["She was here long before we were. I dunno how long. Could be a few decades. Could be centuries. But she's powerful, and like an Archetype she attracts and binds Shadows, and shapes some of her own. Fairies, sprites… Elves, too. The fantasy kind, which is to say, the worst kind."-
[21:39] <PersonaGM> ["We call these guys 'Barons', and there's more than one of them. None of them are inherently hostile to us. They can even make for allies, but at least Shadows are predictable. Evokers… Are not."-
[21:40] <PersonaGM> ["The Fairy Queen is by far the most dangerous. I've been to her Theatre only once, and I never, ever want to go back."]
[21:49] <Sachiko> "I'm thinking retiring in a reality you control wholesale is not a great way to keep your mental health."
[21:51] <PersonaGM> ["Probably not. But whoever she was, she decided it was better than reality." Said Roy.-
[21:53] <PersonaGM> ["Well. She would've found out about us eventually. No use dwelling on it now."]
[21:54] <Sachiko> "She'd really get in our way…?"
[21:56] <PersonaGM> ["I don't know. She tried to play hardball with us in the past, but even she knew better than to push two wild cards in their prime."-
[21:56] <PersonaGM> ["But for us…?"]
[22:08] <Sachiko> "What does she want? Seems weird to threaten the only people equipped to pose a threat to you."
[22:08] <PersonaGM> ["No idea."]
[22:11] * Sachiko walked for a while. "… I still would've felt weird about leaving that pixie in a jail cell," she admitted. "Wasn't expecting it to earn the attention of a mad evoker, but here we are."
[22:14] <PersonaGM> ["A lot of the time, I really wish I could be the one to feel like the hardass who doesn't do all that naive bullshit, but I woulda felt weird too. It didn't seem like a good place to leave a creature that had a place to go home to."]
[22:15] <Sachiko> "Yeah."
[22:16] <PersonaGM> ["Speaking of, best we head home right and quick. You have to get some rest, so you can validate Adrien tomorrow."]
[22:17] <Sachiko> "I thought you said he was wrong."
[22:20] <PersonaGM> ["I'm not convinced." Said Roy stubbornly. "But any answer you give him that isn't an uncompromising no will count as validation to him."]
[22:21] <Sachiko> "Yeah, see? This is why I went alone."
[22:24] <PersonaGM> ["C'mon, the rest of us aren't Adrien."]
[22:27] <Sachiko> "Yeah but if I exclude all of you I just get to call myself private."
[22:29] <PersonaGM> ["To be frank, we call you that anyway."]
[22:29] <Sachiko> "Hell yes, it's working."
[22:29] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah yeah. Dumbass."]

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License