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[12:37] <PersonaGM> [Persona: A Study in Velvet, Chapter One: The Panther, the Worm and the War Criminal, Session Four. Covering Week Four.-
[12:38] <PersonaGM> [The manikin-villagers had long since gone to ground, and the boys had scattered. Only the girls remained. In the distance, they heard the rumbling of marching oni and the mechanical clanking of primitive battle tanks. A great dust cloud was rising from the north, filtered with the murky, gory red that seemed to saturate this place. What were our girls doing?]
[12:44] * Sachiko dismissed Faust as the cloud drew closer, the silver mirror and the shadow minions she'd been using to scry vanishing with it. "… if we can finish this fast we might be able to hit a second target," she said. "I'm picking up a weird signal from further into the compound."
[12:52] * Dinah sniffed a little bit and shrugged. "I'm all for it. Sooner I can kick the shit outta these things, the better."
[12:57] * Ai was, on the other hand, standing at the fore, if, allowing Dinah to be a bit further ahead of her. But. …Her metagear had been altered somewhat, with equipment from the village improvised for it. Instead of the usual shoulder-curtain that held up her robes, there were the side-plates of Japanese lamellar armor, if done in soft pink, and most notably… her glasses had been affixed into what was essentially a delicate pink-and-white cloth
[12:57] * Ai mixture with a pair of rising golden horns that merged with the upper horn of the glasses. To complete the onna-bugeisha 'performance outfit'? …A flagpole of traditional form, strapped to her back, with a long cloth banner. Pink, with a large white lily silhouette on it in a circle. Her bow was standing at ready, and she stared ahead simply. "…You two simply need to do what you do best. I'll set the tone for the theatrics and give
[12:57] * Ai directions by telepathy. Be honorable, or brutal, and it ought work…!"
[13:02] * Dinah smirked a little, cracking her neck some and then her knuckles. "Think about who you're talkin' to here. Like I need to be told to be brutal."
[13:02] <Sachiko> "Fine by me." She drew a wicked looking knife from her belt and took up her position.
[13:10] * Ai gave a thumbs-up, and then planted the bottom of her bow softly in the ground. "Waiting time."
[13:18] <PersonaGM> [After a few more minutes of tense waiting, several figures crested the hill at the north of the village.-
[13:18] <PersonaGM> [Two of them were Oni. But not the bog-standard Oni they'd fought before.-
[13:21] <PersonaGM> [The one on the left was a dark purple, and wore simple clothing- wraps tied together with a belt. He had, however, a massive iron rod in his right hand, which he was stroking slowly with his left. Several black threads stitched his mouth together into a perpetual smirk of cruelty.-
[13:22] <PersonaGM> [The one on the right was huge, easily eight feet tall. Its skin was hard and geometric, and a bright, shining gold. His clothing was much neater and ornate than the other Oni.-
[13:31] <PersonaGM> [But square in the middle was a handsome, heroic looking human, wearing elaborate Japanese armour in the style of the medieval period, his jet black hair in a decorative set of knots and bows, with a bone-handed sword over his shoulder.-
[13:32] <PersonaGM> ["I am Lord Okuninushi." Said the human, stepping forward. "I call upon the bandits and rebels to identify themselves!"]
[13:34] <PersonaGM> heroic*
[13:36] <PersonaGM> [The one on the left was light blue, and wore a light cape, with a jacket emblazoned with black swirls and suns. Instead of a face it had a… bone canyon… And in its hand it held a finely balanced glaive.]
[13:37] * Ai stood and stared at him, for a while. The Lord, that is. Before… suddenly shifting, as if confused. She looked over to Dinah. To Sachiko. Briefly down at hersel… then back at Okuninushi. -
[13:37] <Ai> "…Okuninushi-san. I see none of those. I am a guardian, and my name is Ai Yoshino. The others' names are their right to grant."
[13:47] <Sachiko> "Sachiko Kurata," she volunteered. "One of the protectors of the village."
[13:49] <Dinah> "Dinah Sarah Schreier." She sniffed, rolling her shoulder with a grin. "I'd tell ya not to forget it but you won't be so lucky."
[13:51] <PersonaGM> [("I wouldn't mind having Dinah for dinner.") Murmured the blue-skinned oni. His horrific face contorted into a smile.-
[13:52] <PersonaGM> [("Haha, up top!") boomed the golden oni. The two shared a handshake.-
[13:52] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi sighed.-
[13:52] <PersonaGM> ["If you have chosen yourself as this village's protectors, then I charge you to proclaim your purpose. From what do you protect this hamlet?" Said Okuninushi.]
[13:57] * Ai shrugged her shoulders. "You." …But she didn't stop. -
[13:58] <PersonaGM> [("More like Ai Yoshiyes, am I right?") said Kin-Ki the Golden Idol Oni.-
[13:58] <PersonaGM> [("Haha, noice.")]
[13:59] <Sachiko> "That one goes first," Sachiko murmured to Dinah.
[14:03] <Dinah> "Usually, I'd agree." She sniffed and grinned, staring them down. "But I wanna make him see us take his buddies down first."
[14:03] <Sachiko> "Heh."
[14:05] * Ai gestured with a hand. "I, in forming us three in this defense, say this: Your Lord believes that the purpose of war is glory. The nature of honor is spilled blood and traditions not questioned." She shook her head. "Our statement of purpose is this: War's purpose is protection. Honor is loyalty. To you, we would be Ronin, but to us? The wave we ride is not aimlessness, but loyalty to an honest life. Loyalty to love, succor, and justice. Your
[14:05] * Ai lord is blind to love - rounding up any you see to execute in the name of dishonorable traditions! Your lord is blind to succor - destroying the work of honest people for glory! And your lord is blind to justice - To create a twisted story that law is tyranny but tyranny is law? …No."
[14:06] * Ai then raised her bow, gesturing forward. "Remember us should aught you survive. That the Evokers accept no sin of loveless slaughter in a land on this sea. If you intend to fight still?" She put the bow into ready, yet, bowed.
[14:06] <Ai> Then so be it.
[14:07] <PersonaGM> ["I admire your spirit." Said Okuninushi.-
[14:07] <PersonaGM> ["I admit, you may very well be right." He shot a glance at the Oni behind him. "But the world in which we live is complex and shifting, and the words we speak are artificial and crafted like the blacksmith hones a sword."-
[14:08] <PersonaGM> ["I, Lord Okuninushi of the heavenly sword, will test your spirit in the fire of battle. Let us see if your purpose is as true as you say it is, and whether it gives you the power to overcome our 'tyranny'."-
[14:08] <PersonaGM> [He drew his sword.-
[14:14] <PersonaGM> ["Forgive me, but I will fight to the death. Believe me when I say it…" His face became dark. "I am doing you a favour that I am myself not worthy of receiving."]
[15:06] * Sachiko smiled slightly. "It'd look pretty bad if the men got spooked by a couple of warrior women, huh Yoshino? I can handle that." She made a sharp slicing gesture with her knife. "Faust, show them fear."-
[15:06] <Sachiko> Faust appeared in a blur, tree limb arms reaching out and then dissapating into a blast of black mist that swallowed Okuninushi's group. It clung to them, and all of them would feel the sensation of invisible talons grasping and pulling and tearing at their skin even though no damage appeared to have occured.
[15:18] * Ai smirked. "My my. I have such violent allies. But. …A monster's true character is their soul." She raised the bow, and pointed it. …Up? An arrow, with its seal, was nocked, then fired. "Mami. He is honorable. Make it so~" -
[15:20] <Ai> The image of Mami sparkled along the arrow's arc, and… With her hands out, she gave its prayer-strip the softest of touches? …And it flashed into a shining divine shell, which crashed down RIGHT on one of the oni's heads… then exploded in a wave of concussive force! In the aftermath…
[15:21] <Ai> The blastwave blew her bangs around. "Three against three is upright. Not so sure it was ever… fair."
[16:00] <Dinah> "Well, then. Guess it's up to me to do what we do best." Pulling out a pack of cigarettes from her pocket, she flicked it to pop one out, bringing it to her lips to pull it out then. Pocketing it, it suddenly lit at the end and as she exhaled, she pointed forward with a smirk. "Montag, Light 'em up!"-
[16:01] <Dinah> Another explosion, this one purely of flame, struck the three of their foes remaining, only for the smoke to clear as another blast went off, leaving her to smirk, crossing her arms across her chest.
[16:02] <PersonaGM> [A seeming ton of munition, magic and fire fell on the heads of the incoming army.-
[16:02] <PersonaGM> [There were screams, there were shrieks. And for a moment, silence.-
[16:03] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi burst out of the cloud a few seconds later, parts of him still aflame, a panicked sweat running down his face, and strange shadowy blood oozing from bullet gashes in his side. His sprint didn't slow, however, and a moment later he was on the group, the edge of his cold, straight sword falling in an arc towards Sachiko's face.]
[16:09] <Sachiko> And then everything seemed to go wrong at once. Okuninushi found his footing slipped at the last moment, the plates of his armour somehow snagged one another, and it seemed as though the universe was somehow conspiring to turn that perfect arc into something a lot messier.-
[16:09] <Sachiko> Sachiko only had to make a slight sidestep, and her dagger came out to turn the rest of the strike away. "Unfortunate."
[16:41] <Ai> …And then while Sachiko did that, Ai… flipped into the air, an arrow nocked. She spun around Kin-Ki, hit the ground, and then dodge-rolled behind Okinushi. "Okinushi-san. I am behind you." -
[16:42] * Ai …Then. Thwip. An arrow, head made of golden light, went straight at his head, clipping into a topknot and then further.
[16:46] <Sachiko> … and the phantom shadows Okuninushi felt gripping at him became physical for a moment, yanking and pulling at the flesh Ai had grazed. At the same moment a spear of ice appeared from the folds of Faust's cloak and fired at the Oni still sitting on the back lines.
[16:55] <PersonaGM> ["OH SHIT-"-
[16:56] <PersonaGM> [The Oni practically exploded into a cloud of mist.-
[16:57] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi's expression darkened greatly as his sword was pushed aside. A moment later, Ai's arrow struck him in the head and he staggered forward, only to be clawed back by Sachiko's friends on the other side.-
[16:57] <PersonaGM> [He staggered, his knees wobbly, and almost fell-
[16:57] <PersonaGM> [But a moment later, the great golden Oni, Kin-Ki, finished jogging over. It pushed him back up. "Don't die with a clean sword, Lord Okuninushi!"-
[16:57] <PersonaGM> ["I wasn't planning to…" He coughed.]
[17:04] <Sachiko> "I know your honor will stop you from stepping down to save yourself." Sachiko was using the swordsman's brief stagger to get some scant distance. "But it might save the life of your friend. If you don't believe in what you're doing, why throw away his life?"
[17:09] <Ai> "The purpose of a samurai is to serve." Ai intoned. "We serve a principle. You, a lord." …She looked to Sachiko, from the other side of Okuninushi. "But who is that lord?" …over telepathy…
[17:09] <Ai> ["If you want to save him… Would the revelation that the Asaka he knows is not the true man that made him, be anything of meaning?"
[17:16] * Sachiko stopped shuffling backwards, but kept the knife between them. Her eyes narrowed. "It might…"
[17:24] <PersonaGM> [Kin-Ki swiped his great big mitts at Sachiko, trying to grab her, although her last few shuffles got her out of the way.-
[17:25] <PersonaGM> ["I don't ask him to follow me. He's a brute who fights for loot and greed." Said Okuninushi.-
[17:25] <PersonaGM> ["That's me!" Said Kin-Ki cheerfully.-
[17:26] <PersonaGM> ["My lord is… My lord." Said Okuninushi. "I believe… That I will one day believe in him again."-
[17:27] <PersonaGM> ["Can your power break my sense of hope?" With that, he lashed out with his sword, quicker than the eye could see- its blade came close to punching through Dinah's chest, only for Pyro Jack to manifest in front of it, absorbing most of the blow.]
[17:28] <Ai> ["…He'll listen. Shall I or shall you?"]
[17:40] <Sachiko> ["Oni goes down first. Then we can work."] she sent back, concentrating. A bolt of shadow struck Kin-ki in the chest, and while it didn't seem to hurt, the Shadow's armour turned faintly transparent everywhere the magic touched.
[17:43] * Ai then …shifted, waving the tassels of a gohei that had been at her side. "…Then we shall purify this brute. And see what the truth means without a…" She squinted.
[17:44] <Ai> "…" No. Don't Ai. Don't. -
[17:44] <Ai> "Kinky fellow like that. All out of line."
[17:44] <Ai> Goddamnit Ai.
[17:45] <PersonaGM> ["Did you just make fun of my name?" Said Kin-Ki. "How rude."-
[17:45] <PersonaGM> ["Also, your name is Ai, which is like naming an ugly person 'beautiful', because no one loves you, punk."]
[17:46] <Ai> "I'll love me. I'll love me a long time, goldie~ <3"
[17:48] * Sachiko 's grimace suggested she was suffering an almost metaphysical level of pain.
[18:27] <PersonaGM> [Unheard in the din was the sound of a door sliding open.-
[18:27] <PersonaGM> [Out of a nearby house came a manikin, a familiar woman wielding a rusty pitchfork. She charged at Kin-Ki- only for the pitchfork to break on his armoured skin.-
[18:27] <PersonaGM> [The Oni snorted, picked the manikin up by the head, and planted her into the ground several metres away with a single toss. "Har."-
[18:28] <PersonaGM> ["No!" Okuninushi barked.]
[18:31] <Dinah> Once more, Dinah concentrated, fire almost burning in her eyes as she raised a hand. But just before she was going to speak, she saw the woman running out, her own nature telling her 'No!' before Kin-Ki made short work of her. With a harsh growl then, she pointed straight at the Oni, her voice a loud roar of anger. "BURN!"
[18:32] <PersonaGM> [Now Dinah would see why he hated fire. Within seconds of being exposed to her anger made manifest, his body began glowing orange, before parts of his face and shoulders liquefied and poured down onto the ground. "Ugh! My beautiful body- it hurts-"]
[18:47] <Sachiko> And as it began to stumble backwards, a blast of magic from Sachiko finished the job.
[18:51] <PersonaGM> ["Yagh!"-
[18:52] <PersonaGM> [As Kin-Ki dissolved into a puddle of gold, Okuninushi raised his sword in front of him. He eyed them all warily. "Saving me for last?"]
[18:54] <Sachiko> "Talking to them wouldn't get us far. Talking to you might," Sachiko said simply. She stowed her knife back into her belt.
[12:12] <PersonaGM> […]
[12:44] <PersonaGM> ["Eh, crates. Who needs um?"-
[12:44] <PersonaGM> ["Who makes um is my question."-
[12:44] <PersonaGM> [The two oni stared down at the container doubtfully.-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> ["Crates make crates?" offered one.-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> ["No way."-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> ["No?"-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> ["Crates not boy or girl."-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> ["Hmmmmmmm."-
[12:45] <PersonaGM> [The two oni shuffled off, leaving the crate untouched.-
[12:46] <PersonaGM> [A moment later, the front hatch of the crate popped open, and Roy rolled out, followed by Adrien and Hideki. The coast was clear.]
[12:59] * Hideki tried to smooth the wrinkles from his cape with his fingers. It was rather difficult to do, as one hand was clutching a tape dispenser, and the other a thick roll of flyers. After a second he gave up, sighed, and approached the side of a building, where he began to sneakily fix one of the papers to it. -
[13:10] <Hideki> The flier was a repurposed wanted poster. Someone had crossed out a picture of the inauspicious Judge Yi Ji-Hu and placed a childish scribble of two oni beneath it. They had also made changes to the text as well. "Generals Sui-ki and Ongyo-ki are to be captured and executed for wasting a large amount of military funds on booze, women and gambling."
[13:13] <PersonaGM> [Adrien had stapled a clumsily photoshopped image of a generic Oni onto the snap he'd taken of the nymph in the Shadow market to several of the fliers. "Perfect. Now, let's get in position and wait."-
[13:16] <PersonaGM> [It didn't take long for an oni to start seeing the posters. "Huuuuuh. That me!"-
[13:16] <PersonaGM> ["Wait, no, that Taro. Hmmmmm… Pretty."-
[13:16] <PersonaGM> [Adrien frowned.-
[13:17] <PersonaGM> ["Ooh. Sui-Ki, Ongyo-Ki… Gamble and execute? Oho!"-
[13:17] <PersonaGM> [The oni walked away, chuckling in a self-satisfied way.-
[13:17] <PersonaGM> ["I have no idea if that worked or not."-
[13:20] <PersonaGM> ["Either way, this is my cue." Said Roy. "I'll see you boys on the other side."-
[13:20] <PersonaGM> [He removed his armour and slunk away with literally catlike tread.-
[13:20] <PersonaGM> ["So. Would you use military funds on booze, women and gambling?" Asked Adrien after a few tedious minutes.]
[13:22] <Hideki> "Only if I couldn't get caught," Hideki admitted. "If I'm gonna die in some war, I may as well live it up. Right?"
[13:35] <PersonaGM> ["Right."-
[13:40] <PersonaGM> [About ten minutes passed.-
[13:41] <PersonaGM> [Suddenly, the door slammed open.-
[13:41] <PersonaGM> [In walked an oni. He was dark purple, and wore simple clothing- wraps tied together with a belt. He had, however, a massive iron rod in his right hand, which he was stroking slowly with his left. Several black threads stitched his face together into a perpetual scowl.-
[13:41] <PersonaGM> ["VANDALISM AND SLANDER!" he roared at the walls.-
[13:43] <PersonaGM> [A second oni appeared out of the shadows, literally seeming to just… Appear. He was dressed in dark black clothing, covered in strange, mystic symbols. He wore an iron mask, the expression of which was supposed to make him look fearsome and deadly, but only served to make him look perpetually scandalised.-
[13:45] <PersonaGM> ["Rumours come from the shadows." Whispered Ongyo-Ki, the Oni of the dark. "Something sinister has crept into the minds of our soldiers. The ancients named this force… Jealousy. Now they slander us with lies. Or expose the truth…? Who can tell? One man's corruption is another man's feathering of the nest…"-
[13:45] <PersonaGM> [He paused.-
[13:45] <PersonaGM> ["But we are not men."-
[13:46] <PersonaGM> [There was a pause.-
[13:46] <PersonaGM> ["We are Oni." Finished Ongyo-Ki.-
[13:53] <PersonaGM> [Sui-Ki, the Oni of the Raging Waters, was not listening. He stamped over to the nearest poster and tore it down.-
[13:54] <PersonaGM> ["ARGH! THEY TAUNT ME!" he roared, ripping off one of the photoshopped pictures and eating it. "ASAKA HAS NOT LET ME NEAR THE HINOENMA IN MANY A MOON!"-
[13:54] <PersonaGM> ["Better you avoid their strange, dark magics." Whispered Ongyo-Ki. "Within them lies the downfall of kingdoms."-
[13:55] <PersonaGM> ["He ate my picture." Whispered Adrien. "What the hell?"]
[14:07] <Hideki> "Ha! They're totally guilty," said Hideki smugly. "But, uh… let's strike!"
[14:59] <PersonaGM> [Adrien rolled out off the stack of crates he'd been hiding on.-
[14:59] <PersonaGM> ["SURPRISE ATTACK!" yelled Adrien.-
[15:00] <PersonaGM> ["WHAT THE SH-"-
[15:00] <PersonaGM> ["The shadows turn ag-"-
[15:00] <PersonaGM> [Adrien's Persona flared to life- a Grecian woman, surrounded by fumes, her eyes glowing green. The fumes billowed outwards, smashing Sui-Ki to his knees.-
[15:01] <PersonaGM> [Adrien charged past him and swung his axe into Ongyo-Ki's chest with enough force to crack the front armour plate.-
[15:01] <PersonaGM> ["Wughhhhhh-"]
[15:06] * Hideki hopped into sight now, glowing a pale gold color, as Dorian Gray reclined behind him like a shimmering mirage. Both generals were briefly surrounded by the same pale light, and they would feel a bit of their endurace slowly start to ebb. "Holy crap, man," he laughed.
[15:07] <PersonaGM> ["Don't just sit there, get in on this!" Said Adrien as he pulled his axe out and buried it again into Ongyo-Ki's chest.-
[15:07] <PersonaGM> ["Hurrrrrk-"]
[15:12] <Hideki> "Aye aye." Hideki launched himself a good three meters forward, smacking his twirling walking stick against the side of Sui-Ki's face. He landed gracefully next to Adrien.
[16:04] <PersonaGM> ["Ow."-
[16:04] <PersonaGM> ["…"-
[16:04] <PersonaGM> [Sui-Ki leveraged his rod.-
[16:05] <PersonaGM> [He swung it down towards Hideki, only barely missing with his first swing, which caused a small crater in the ground. He tore the rod out of the ground with a great tug, smacking Adrien upside the shoulder as he did so.]
[16:20] * Hideki didn't come away unscathed either, although he took his own arm injury with a grin, ignoring the unsettling way the ground buckled around him. "Not bad. Shame you can barely hit anything with it!" He countered sharply with a few strikes with his walking stick… but they went wild. "Pah."
[16:21] <PersonaGM> ["Watch this." Adrien's Persona let another blast of wind at Sui-Ki, but he simply smashed it aside with his Big Rod. "…"]
[17:12] <PersonaGM> [Ongyo-Ki staggered back to his feet, one hand clutching his chest wound shut. His eyes glowed with black light, and blasts of darkness struck outwards at Hideki. "The shadows live…"-
[17:12] <PersonaGM> ["But you will not…"]
[17:19] * Hideki scoffed, zipping aside with a few deft steps… but he didn't make it entirely out of range.
[17:29] <PersonaGM> [A moment later, Sui-Ki's Big Rod caught Hideki square in the chest and flattened him.-
[17:30] <PersonaGM> [The blow would've crushed the chest of a normal man, but Hideki saw, at the last second- Dhruva, his new Persona, standing before him, arms raised, absorbing most of the blow. The shock caused the Persona to start crackling out of existence, parts of it glitching out, but still it remained standing…-
[17:30] <PersonaGM> [Until Sui-Ki's second blow tore through it. The Persona burst apart, and a massive wave of sheer exhaustion flooded into Hideki, almost causing him to black out.-
[17:30] <PersonaGM> ["Holy shit!" Shouted Adrien. "Are you o-"-
[17:31] <PersonaGM> [But a second later he was only barely fending off Sui-Ki's rod. "This asshole's crazy! Take this!"-
[17:31] <PersonaGM> [Another blast of wind ripped shreds of meat off of Sui-Ki. His eyes rolled into the back of his head- but he began wailing with rage, his words losing what coherency they had.]
[17:49] <Hideki> "H-" Hideki choked. The docks was spinning. He aimed some kind of an attack in Sui-Ki's general direction, but the swirl of psychedelic energry quickly fizzled out almost as soon as he manifested it. He scowled and shook his head hard.
[18:33] <PersonaGM> [Ongyo-Ki spun his halberd around his head and thrust it at Hideki. Shadow darts plunged into him- and this time there was no Persona to protect him. The attack rent his fine clothes and left cuts, gashes and numbing pain across his body.-
[18:33] <PersonaGM> ["shit shit shit shit-"-
[18:33] <PersonaGM> ["COME ON, HIT!"-
[18:33] <PersonaGM> [Adrien slammed his hands together and threw them outwards, mimicking Pythia, his Persona. A gust of powerful wind ripped through the two Oni.-
[18:34] <PersonaGM> [At the last moment it solidifed into a plane of force, slashing them across the chest. A moment passed- then the two fell apart.-
[18:34] <PersonaGM> ["Holy shit. Dude, are you okay?"]
[18:38] <Hideki> "Just. Fine." Short, quick breaths. Hideki was doubled over, gasping. "Shit. Actually…"
[18:38] <PersonaGM> ["I can't heal this, man. That's… Real injury."]
[18:41] <Hideki> "Yeah. Yup. Feels real. I'm gonna rest here for a minute…"
[18:44] <PersonaGM> ["O-Oh god. You're dying. Aren't you?"]
[18:48] <Hideki> "You're freaking out. Stop. You're gonna make me freak out." He fumbled for something he had stashed in his pocket. An energy drink?
[18:51] <PersonaGM> ["Are you going into shock!?"}
[18:54] * Hideki lifted his arm slowly, and gave Adrien a tired karate chop to the forehead. Something akin to a light bop. Then he chugged the energy drink.
[18:55] <PersonaGM> ["Hideki." Said Adrien seriously. "Blink twice if you want me to take over being Ji-Hu's boyfriend after you die."]
[18:57] * Hideki chopped him harder. Then he tossed the empty can away and eased slowly to his feet.
[10:56] <Minaplo> […]-
[11:30] <Minaplo> [The fortress was in chaos, having lost all of its main leaders in mysterious and unexpected circumstances. Ai, Sachiko and Dinah, led by Okuninushi, would slip through the disorganised squads of Oni, and into the backrooms…-
[11:30] <Minaplo> [Where they would find Adrien and a deeply battered Hideki, hiding out in a soldier's dormitory room.-
[11:30] <Minaplo> [The dorms smelled of gross, unwashed jockstraps, cigarette smoke and rotten fruit.]
[11:36] * Ai was wrinkling her nose a bit at the smell, and actually tried to sort of. Wiggle her bow as if hoping the little lily-pollen motes would improve it. They wouldn't. "Why the FRUIT, though." She said with disdain, before… before looking at Hideki with alarm. "O-oh."
[11:46] <Sachiko> Ai had stalled in the doorway, but when Sachiko managed to get a look over her shoulder she pushed past and drew closer, mask vanishing as she moved. Her attention went to the blood first, then the wounds, then finally to Adrien. "What happen-" she began, before her thoughts caught up with her. "Actually, tell me later. We need to get him out of here."
[11:51] <Hideki> "We're still waiting on Roy, aren't we?" Hideki was sitting on the edge of one of the beds. He was bleeding, but he figured that the oni assigned here could handle getting a few stains out of their sheets if it came down to it.
[11:57] <Sachiko> "Yeah," she admitted, wincing as she dropped into an awkward-looking crouch next to him. "Are you ok? Not feeling cold or faint?"
[12:01] <Hideki> "Nah. Don't look so worried! If I was going to pass out, I probably would've done it by now."
[12:02] <PersonaGM> ["He took a pretty heavy lick." Said Adrien. "One of his minor Personas broke."]
[12:04] <Ai> "Ow…" Ai said with a whiny tone. "So it … broke through to him then? But. Hmm. Yeah he isn't just passing out yet either, so…"
[12:09] * Dinah was contributing to the cigarette smoke smell at least, with one still burning in her lips, about half down. Taking it out, she tapped some ash off and glanced at them both, frowning at Adrien but then looking to Hideki. She was looking a little harried as well, though not near as bad as him. "He'll be fine."
[12:09] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah." Said Adrien. "He got some heavy hits, but he's stable. Just don't think he should be anywhere near a fight for the rest of the day."]
[12:10] <Hideki> "I do enjoy the attention, though."
[12:11] * Sachiko glowered at him. "I just don't want to have to tell Ji-Hu you kicked the bucket like an idiot."
[12:13] * Hideki smirked. "Thank Delacour for coming to my rescue, then."
[12:15] * Sachiko grumbled as she backed off.
[12:15] <Ai> "Asking a lot of hard things of people…"
[12:17] <Hideki> "Oh c'mon. He did a good job clobbering those guys. I take it you guys did pretty well too?"
[12:19] <Sachiko> "Yeah, they're done. Well…" she jerked a thumb over her shoulder, "Most of them, anyway."
[12:20] * Ai smiled. "Some guys don't need clobbering. Good that it works that way."
[12:22] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi stood in the doorway, arms folded, his expression solemn.]
[12:24] <Hideki> "Hey." Hideki waved to him. "Welcome to the team?"
[12:26] <PersonaGM> ["Thank you very much."]
[12:30] * Dinah frowned a little, finishing her smoke and dropping it to crush it under her shoe. Her own arms crossed her chest then. "How much longer's it gonna take JC?"
[12:32] * Ai frowned. "Sachiko, can't you just call him via telepathy?"
[12:32] <PersonaGM> ["I'm here, I'm here, god." Said Roy, slinking around a corner.]
[12:32] <Sachiko> "Already did," she gestured.
[12:36] <Dinah> "'Bout time."
[12:37] <Sachiko> "You find anything?"
[12:37] <PersonaGM> ["I found his room." Said Roy.]
[12:39] <Hideki> "That's good news! How far is it?"
[12:43] <PersonaGM> ["Not too far. I can take you there now. You uh, good, Hideki?"]
[12:44] <Sachiko> "Don't ask, they all get weird about it," Sachiko said quietly.
[12:44] * Ai tilted her head.
[12:46] <Hideki> "It's fine. I'm fine, Roy."
[12:46] <PersonaGM> ["Aight."-
[12:47] <PersonaGM> […-
[12:51] <PersonaGM> [The residential quarters of the palace were divided into two sections. Most of it was dormitories for the soldiers, including kitchens, mess halls and laundries.-
[12:52] <PersonaGM> [On the second floor, behind a heavy-duty wooden door, were the quarters for the officers, including the generals. At the far end of this area was a door of iron, hefty, undecorated.-
[12:53] <PersonaGM> [Roy manifested his armour and pushed it open. It scraped on the ground with a sharp-toned shriek of iron on stone.-
[12:57] <PersonaGM> [The room that lay beyond was far more luxurious than the appearance the iron door gave off. A large, sumptuous double bed took up a good deal of space on the far wall, with red silk sheets and many large, full pillows trimmed in gold cloth. The bedside tables were made of tropical wood, carved into ornate shapes. One featured mythological monsters, the other featured hundreds of highly detailed soldiers, with cannons making up the legs.-
[12:58] <PersonaGM> [The desk was similarly made and decorated, each leg a tiger, the edging of the desktop cut into waves like a woodcut painting.-
[12:59] <PersonaGM> [The walls were lined with bookshelves, some filled with books, whilst others had trophies. Trophies too lined the walls- weapons, armour, an antique rifle, flags…-
[13:02] <PersonaGM> [Amongst one of these shelves, they found a wax statuette of an Oni- specifically, the oni Kin-Ki. It had started to melt from the head down, giving it a grotesque look- especially as the inside of the statuette was hollow. Little wisps of smoke leaked out, and if one strained their ears, they could hear whispering…-
[13:03] <PersonaGM> [They found four other statuettes like this. One for each of the oni- Sui-Ki, carved out of sea salt, had started to dissolve.-
[13:03] <PersonaGM> [Fuu-Ki, the one who had nearly killed Hideki, had been hewed out of rough iron, now dented and broken.-
[13:05] <PersonaGM> [Ongyo-Ki, the shadowy, dramatic Oni, was represented by cracked onyx.-
[13:05] <PersonaGM> [And finally, Okuninushi's statuette, made of jade, undamaged and whole.]
[13:06] * Ai very very softly bit the urge to whisper something, her tongue literally bit just as softly.
[13:10] <Sachiko> Sachiko's frown was intense. Her attention didn't seem to linger anywhere for too long, flitting from object to object looking for… something.-
[13:10] <Sachiko> "This isn't-" she began, but seemed to think better of it. She went to examine the Kin-Ki statue instead - and more specifically, the smoke that was twisting out of it.
[13:12] <PersonaGM> [The smoke reacted to her, curling up towards her in an eager, barely restrained way.]
[13:12] <Hideki> "This… sure does look like the big boss' room," Hideki remarked, running a hand along one of the ornately carved tables. "Was he in here before, when you first found it?"
[13:13] <PersonaGM> ["No, it was empty." Said Roy, eyeing Sachiko warily.]
[13:17] * Ai …felt on edge almost as soon as Roy said that, yet. ..Started to slink over to where Sachiko was, straining…
[13:17] <Sachiko> "This isn't what it looks like," Sachiko said, sounding more certain this time. "It's an illusion over something bigger."
[13:25] <Ai> "Illusion…" Ai repeated, before looking at the statues.
[13:25] <Ai> "…These are the onis. Or, essentially, miasma effigies of them. They're gonna regenerate. …And then so will the real ones."
[13:34] <Dinah> "So let's smash them some more. Or move them." She sniffed as she threw out the idea before glancing over at Okuninushi, gesturing to them. "You know anything about 'em?"
[13:35] <PersonaGM> ["About these statues? No…" Said Okuninushi. He picked up the statuette of himself and looked at it. "Mine feels warm to the touch, however."]
[13:36] <Hideki> "What would happen if we took them with us when we left?" Hideki wondered aloud.
[13:38] <Ai> "…I'm not sure. Without a miasma flow, I…"
[13:38] <Sachiko> "I'll find out," Sachiko said, summoning Faust again. "Give me a moment."
[13:38] * Ai shook her head.
[13:52] <Sachiko> [… alright] she sent, defaulting to telepathy on instinct. [Think of the 'room' we're seeing like a plate of armour over Asaka's true heart. We broke the Onis and damaged that armour, and now that miasma's spilling out of the cracks. His true self is leaking through.]-
[13:52] <Sachiko> [We can destroy the statues without a problem, but we need something less literal to get through the rest of the armour.]
[13:54] <PersonaGM> ["The Heed." Said Roy. "To make the Heed reveal its location, we need to know about Asaka, why he made this Theatre and why it manifests like this. We need to learn more."]
[13:55] <Ai> "…They were brutes, so. …The effigies he made shouldn't be an issue to end in that way…" Ai muttered. "And. …Don't we already know things? What Ji-Hu showed us about him. When he was a child…" Ai said. "We might not know everything but. Something terrible happened. The whispers in the street. That. …That anger. Someone hurt him. This."
[13:55] * Ai closed her eyes.
[13:55] <Ai> "This is the shape he took to reject that person, isn't it? This entire place is that shape, that he also took on in the waking world."
[13:57] <PersonaGM> [Roy leapt up onto the bed.-
[13:59] <PersonaGM> ["The last step in revealing the Heed is going 'public'." Said Roy. "The outside world's perception shapes this Theatre. The Heed will stay hidden until the Theatre is forced to change to acknowledge how much we know."-
[14:01] <PersonaGM> ["So we need to share what we know- anonymously- with as many people as we can, to force public perception to change. The world knows about Asaka's 'shadow' personality, now we need to teach it why it was made in the first place. Can you compose what we know so far into something that'll convince people? Can you sell the story?"]
[14:04] <Sachiko> [Need a few more specifics] Faust vanished, and Sachiko stood with her mask back in place. "But yeah, I think I could."-
[14:04] <Sachiko> "… we really have to make it public?"
[14:04] <PersonaGM> ["No. That was a clever lie."]
[14:04] <PersonaGM> ["Of course we have to make it public, I said it like four times! Goddamn!"]
[14:05] <Sachiko> "Don't be an asshole," she said. "I don't love the idea of airing someone's trauma out to the world, go figure."
[14:06] <Sachiko> "… and before anyone starts, I'm not debating the necessity on this one."
[14:08] <PersonaGM> ["I'm not a fan either." Said Adrien. "We all have things we'd rather not air out in the open."-
[14:09] <PersonaGM> ["Airing things stings open wounds." Said Okuninushi. "Much better to wrap yourself up in catkins."]
[14:12] * Dinah crossed her arms again, rolling her shoulders. "If it's gotta be done, it's gotta be done. We all saw what happens when this shit gets out of control."
[14:12] * Ai nodded, shaking her head.
[14:12] <Ai> …"There's one thing we can do."
[14:14] * Ai then raised a finger, and seemed to just. Point at … nowhere. "It is, fundamentally, a story of /tragedy/. He was hurt. He hurts others. …But. We can make people /care/. Understand. If the WAY we publicize it makes people stop for a moment and feel bad for what he did, what they did to him. If it makes them understand that their pain came from his pain…"
[14:14] * Ai shook her head, lowering her finger. "Then we will not need to do any more saving. The change from the truth will start saving him itself. Empathy. Salvation…. Justice."
[14:15] * Ai took a beat, and added. "I mean we'll still need to do the theater/shadow/et cetera stuff. Just. It's … …It's a metaphor about agency." Sheepish.
[14:16] <PersonaGM> ["In a sense, we are kind of giving the Shadow what it wants- acknowledgement." Said Adrien.]
[14:19] <Hideki> "Right. So how do we do all this?" Hideki piped up. "Online posts? Anyone here have some writing chops?"
[14:21] <PersonaGM> ["I do." Said Adrien.]
[14:21] * Ai nod.
[14:22] <Ai> "And then from there. Just. …Let people know. Let it be an inescapable truth. We have a lot of friends, yanno."
[14:22] <Sachiko> "And we either do it anonymously, or one of us takes the heat." Sachiko offered. During Ai's speech she'd wandered over to the statues again, visibly restless. "Because he's going to blame someone if we don't give him a target."-
[14:22] <Sachiko> "I'd do it, if it came to that."
[14:23] <PersonaGM> ["I have a suggestion." Said Roy.]
[14:23] <Ai> "Whoever does, should be someone who not only can take it, but … might reach him for having been the one t-" …A turn to Roy.
[14:26] <PersonaGM> ["Back in the day, when we went public, we didn't use our real identities. We made one up. A sort of, heh, group persona, one with a strong theme and identity that really stuck in people's minds. We disseminated everything through this guise, so people always knew it was us, whether we did it through pamphlets, posters, phone calls… Whatever."]
[14:27] <Sachiko> "So some sort of… calling card?"
[14:28] <PersonaGM> ["Sure. We were like the Anonymous of the late eighties, localised to this one specific city."]
[14:28] <Ai> "Oh my god we're going to name ourselves as some kind of secret vigilante org." Ai said. "Like some kind of phantasmal bandits, or like a detective gang. Maybe even some kind of special evocation squad. Aaaa~"
[14:28] * Ai …She was jumping up and down.
[14:31] * Sachiko seemed a lot less thrilled, but kept her mouth shut.
[14:32] <Hideki> "Heh. Nice! I knew that someday my brainstorming team names would pay off."
[14:32] * Ai …suddenly also seemed less thrilled.
[14:34] * Dinah rubbed the bridge of her nose with a long sigh. "Let's just get this over with."
[14:34] <Ai> "Yes. What ARE we, what do we do. Summarize it and not get too… stupid."
[14:35] <PersonaGM> [Adrien was picking up one of the statues and holding it up to his ear. The miasma was curling out of it, but it remained mostly inert. "It's kind of making sound."]
[14:36] <Ai> "…Do you know what it's saying?
[14:38] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah, it's saying 'Dinah sucks'."]
[14:38] * Ai …walked over. Grabbed a different oni statue. And threw it at Adrien weakly.
[14:39] <Ai> "Try again." Huff!
[14:39] <PersonaGM> [Which statue?]
[14:40] * Ai …Sui-Ki's
[14:41] * Ai honestly just wanted a throwable object.
[14:42] <Dinah> "We just talked about how we were gonna break those things. I'm not picky about how. Your head's hard enough to crack them all, I bet."
[14:42] <PersonaGM> [It landed on the floor and cracked a little further. The miasma began to leak out at greater speed… And began flowing towards Dinah.]
[14:42] * Dinah shrugged, smirking a little. "And we lose nothing by trying anyway."
[14:43] * Ai …paused. Looked at the thing she just threw. "…Uh…"
[14:44] * Dinah found her fun was cut a little short as she looked at the Miasma, frowning and moving to back away from it with almost annoyance on her face.
[14:44] <PersonaGM> ["Uh oh." Said Adrien, also backing away, even though he wasn't Dinah.-
[14:45] * Sachiko moved towards Dinah, but not fast enough.
[14:48] <PersonaGM> [The miasma suddenly surged, and Dinah, backing away, didn't see Sachiko coming in from behind.-
[14:49] <PersonaGM> [Sachiko couldn't react in time as Dinah knocked into her, sending Sachiko sprawling and tripping Dinah up. A second later, the miasma grabbed Dinah's ankle- and turned into a translucent human hand.-
[14:50] <PersonaGM> [The rest of the miasma followed, a floating, ghostly upper human torso, sprouting out of the wisp of miasma like a genie out of its lamp. The face of a young Asaka- maybe early twenties- stared up at Dinah.-
[14:50] <PersonaGM> ["Wherever I go, it's always, yankee, yankee." Said the voice coldly.]
[14:56] * Dinah grumbled as she nearly fell over Sachiko, only really stopped by the grip at her ankle. Wariness was in her expression as the Asaka formed, turning into a harsher look as it spoke. "Yeah, tell me about it." She didn't know if she was the best person to be hearing that, considering her own heritage, though maybe that was the reason it went for her. But she didn't seem too perterbed.
[14:59] * Ai …was admittedly breathing hard a bit at the 'oh crap' here, until… she sighed out. "…There's a certain irony here. But. …It works this way."
[15:03] * Sachiko had hit the ground with a grimace, but she struggled to her feet again. "Can you hear us? Or are you like the last ghost…?"
[15:22] * Hideki too crowded closer. He had the sudden urge to poke at the apparation, but he held that at bay.
[15:57] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi watched, his eyes wide.-
[16:04] <PersonaGM> [The ghost spoke. "My grandmother, her village, so kind to a little boy. The city was cold and rough to me. I wanted the village, with the farms and the old smith and the hills. My mother, she married a man. He was of the city, cold and rough to me. When I left home, it was to a village I went. My stepfather, he would call me 'yankee, yankee', around the household, until I was large enough to punch him down. My mother visited sometimes, but she loved that cold man. That man took her when no one else would, because I made her outcast. The village was warm, until it wasn't. I missed my mother, and cursed the men who hurt her."]
[16:10] * Ai murmured quietly. "…This is what I meant, Okunushi-san, about who your lord is."
[16:11] <Ai> …She sounded regretful.
[16:16] * Sachiko tapped the toe of her boot on the ground, frowning deeply enough that it showed over her mask. She watched anyway, just in case the memory had any more to say.
[16:17] <PersonaGM> [It repeated what it said- then vanished into mist.]
[16:20] * Hideki glanced to Roy as if expecting answers.
[16:21] <Sachiko> "Well," she said. "Guess we have to break the rest. Don't really want to fight those Oni again, and the information… yeah."-
[16:21] <Sachiko> [forget the dash]
[16:34] <Hideki> "Well, in that case… why not put your plan to the test?" Hideki gestured to the remaining statues.
[16:37] * Sachiko gave him a hard look… which only served to remind her he was hurt. She sighed. "Fine, it's only fair."-
[16:38] <Sachiko> She grabbed a statue, dropped it, then stamped her boot onto the portion that remained.
[16:40] <PersonaGM> [The statue of Kin-Ki, the golden, tough Oni, flopped inward like an undercooked cake.-
[16:42] <PersonaGM> [The miasma, which had reacted so eagerly to Sachiko earlier, now flowed unabated around her, curling itself into a form of Asaka- this one the oldest yet, although younger than his real self. The foreign features that were so striking in his younger face had… Faded? Been altered, perhaps.-
[16:54] <PersonaGM> ["The rejections piled up- work, social, love, the price of a life of being deficient. She was the one, I thought, a botanist, a lover of plants. I had tried so hard to live true to myself the way my mother wanted, was it not time to give up and let the flow take over? I remembered the plants from childhood, she was so -close-, but I wasn't enough. People like me have miserable lives, you know, isn't it a responsible thing to society to dissuade us? Those days with her are gone… Young people, don't make my mistake, when you push against it, society pushes back with a hundred million hands- stay quiet, harden yourself, and follow what you have been told from childhood."]
[17:06] * Sachiko stomped the pile again for good measure. She shook her head and glanced back at the others. "I'm just gonna keep breaking these, unless someone else wants a turn. Not sure why you would, they're pretty sorry excuses for ghosts."
[17:06] <Hideki> "Feel free!"
[17:09] <PersonaGM> [The next one Sachiko smashed was Fuu-Ki, the one with the cavernous face and wind-blade sword.-
[17:09] <PersonaGM> [The ghost here was the youngest yet. He snaked out and curled around Ai, his face furious.-
[17:12] * Ai was already alarmed, jumping back! "W-w-wah! H… hey!" …Natural reaction to SNAKING and ANGER.
[17:22] <PersonaGM> ["My mother raised me as best she could by herself, because everyone was poor and doing it tough. I never knew my father- my mother said he'd been a soldier who'd gone to China during the war and never came back. Everyone was so poor back then, you had to work together to get anything done. I wanted to know so much about him as a child, but there were never any pictures in the house- so I worked extra hard to be a good boy who never picked fights and was polite to everybody. The highlight of my day was always watching the planes take off and land, big American planes from the harbours and air bases, flying all around Japan- so cool! When I first saw my grandmother, she showed me a picture, and my father looked nothing like me, and mother was very angry that I'd seen a picture. You have to grow like a tree and trees need good roots, and being a good boy means you'll be a good man, and I wanted to be a good man for my mother. As I got older, I learned that my father was an American soldier, my mother his prey. I couldn't watch the planes after that…"]
[17:24] * Ai …whimpered. "…Roots. Wh-what. …That doesn't… tree?" She shook her head. "I don't get it. He h-had to do something terrible but…"
[17:30] <Sachiko> "He wanted to know his dad to try and learn about himself," Sachiko supplied. "Or he thought he did, at least."
[17:32] <Hideki> "Learned a little more than he'd bargained for," Hideki muttered solemnly.
[17:38] <PersonaGM> ["One more left." Said Adrien, eyeing Ongyo-Ki's statue. He picked it up and broke it in half with his hands.-
[17:40] <PersonaGM> [The miasma poured out and curled around Hideki, who felt a chill in his wounds. This Asaka was older than Dinah's but younger than Sachiko's.-
[17:50] <PersonaGM> ["I was working as a clerk at the time for a shipping company, tracking inventories and routes. My mother came to visit me, she was well and my stepfather was fine, he didn't come so I didn't care. There was satisfaction to the clerk work, putting things in order, keeping everything neat, tidy, removing the unexpected. It was a good time, it was good to see her, although we started drinking. The shipping work paid well, I began saving up and was even dating. My mother admitted that she'd cheated with the American willingly, betraying the man I had grown up thinking was my father, assuming him dead- her irresponsibility and recklessness had caused so much trouble, mostly for me, and I was furious. It was good to sink into the work of numbers and routes. I never spoke to her, the liar, after that day- why couldn't things have gone back to the way they were…?"]
[17:55] <Hideki> "That's… that's rough." Hideki stared at the miasma-spirit uneasily. Of course, it wasn't real, but the things it had been saying probably were.
[18:03] <Sachiko> "Rough, definitely," Sachiko said. "It's still a bad excuse, but rough."
[18:04] <PersonaGM> ["That… Sounds like we have enough to go on, then. For a big reveal." Said Roy. "Can't say I'm looking forward to it. Even if we do get to make a team name."]
[18:06] * Sachiko nodded. "And what happens with you…?" she asked, turning to Okuninushi.
[18:09] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi looked at Sachiko, then Dinah, then finally Ai. "I believe your intent to help him is true. I do not wish to stop you. I cannot take arms against him, but I can make the way easier." He took out his statuette and handed it to Ai. "You, young lady warrior, should take this. When the time of battle comes, I will be there to aid you in whatever way I can."-
[18:10] <PersonaGM> ["He'll probably vanish after we handle Asaka." Said Roy.]
[18:11] * Sachiko gave that a small, firm nod. "Alright. Thanks for doing what you can."
[18:14] <PersonaGM> [He bowed.-
[18:15] <PersonaGM> ["Which leaves the question of what we think this room 'really' is." Said Adrien. "You were looking for that metronome signal in here, right, Sachiko? What do you all reckon…?"]
[18:25] * Sachiko tapped her toe and looked around. "… the unifying factor to this whole theater seems to be extrapolating and replicating injustices you've suffered. He's seen his problems as… I don't know, incitement to culture war?"-
[18:25] <Sachiko> "So something like a war room could make a degree of sense, I guess. Seems like it'd match the theme. Any other ideas?"
[18:32] * Dinah had been silent for a while, just frowning and watching the ghosts as they came out and said their parts with her arms crossed. But with the floor open to ideas, she sniffed.-
[18:35] <Dinah> "Just looks like a monument to what he wishes he could be to me." She shrugged a little, throwing it out off-handedly. "Explains the changes of his looks, the background. He wanted to know about his history. Liked the American stuff. Then he didn't. So he just wishes he could have all this instead. He cuts out anyone that reminds him of what he is and why he is the way he is.
[18:35] <Dinah> All so he can act like he's part of this 'great stuff' instead of the truth."-
[18:36] <Dinah> "It's his shame." She added after a moment.
[18:36] * Sachiko nodded. "Pretty apt."
[18:39] <Hideki> "So the real room would reflect the stuff the miasma folks just talked about instead of the stuff he wishes he could be?" Hideki frowned. -
[18:40] * Ai closed her eyes, having been quiet earlier, and then… went ahead and took that statuette, all the same. "It seems like reclaiming Japanese-ness. A reconquista,,,?"
[18:40] <Ai> "…Rusticness. Village. Warm. Against the… city…"
[18:41] * Ai raised a finger. "What if it's his home. From the old village."
[18:41] <Hideki> "Why not a room from his past, then? His grandmother's house, or even the classroom that he's stuck in now?"
[18:43] <PersonaGM> [The room around them rippled.-
[18:45] <PersonaGM> [Okuninushi tensed, but when nothing seemed to attack, calmed down. A few moments later, the trappings changed. The desk disappeared, replaced with a far more simple writing table. The bed was a series of mats, rustic but well-maintained, with rugged cloths for bedding. The bookshelves became smaller, and the few books there changed in content- books on plants, and warplanes, and on farms and boats…-
[18:46] <PersonaGM> [Before long it became a simple village bedroom, unexceptional except to the person who owned it, which was their everything.-
[18:48] <PersonaGM> [As the scenery changed, they saw a glimpse of something else, the armoured plate around the Heed, off in the far distance- as though part of the Theatre had fallen apart and they could see through the seams. As Dinah had said: a monument. A giant statue of bronze, reminiscent of a martial, furious Lady Liberty, bearing swords and armour- in the form of Asaka himself, so gaudy as though to be hiding something. Then the room solidifed into the little peasant bedroom and that glimpse vanished.-
[18:49] <PersonaGM> ["Fucked up." Said Adrien.-
[18:49] <PersonaGM> [At that moment, something rolled into Ai's foot.-
[18:49] <PersonaGM> [It was a little rice bowl. And sitting with it was a little samurai, no more than an inch tall, using a chopstick as a paddle and a needle as a sword.-
[18:50] <PersonaGM> [He looked up at Ai.-
[18:50] * Ai …stared down. "…Hi."
[18:51] <PersonaGM> ["Not yet, but one day I will be." He said bravely. "My name is Issun-boshi, and I ask you: are you my princess?"]

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