'Nationalistic War Stories' Is A Very Depressing Theat

[14:10] <Hideki> With a paper bag full of delicious foodstuffs in one hand, and some long-stemmed flowers in the other Hideki walked the long path from Sophia Academy to a nondescript dorm on Shoji Street. -
[14:12] <Hideki> He was in bright spirits, and he was hoping it would be contageous enough to affect Ji-Hu… who had been absent from class entirely that day. Probably for good reason. -
[14:13] <Hideki> He already knew the way to her room, so he breezed his way to her door and knocked. "Hey! 's Hideki," he called, just in case.
[14:22] <PersonaGM> [There was a delay of about a minute before the door swung open to reveal Ji-Hu.-
[14:23] <PersonaGM> [She looked… Not a mess, but definitely struggling. She looked a little paler than usual, and dark shadows ringed her eyes, which seemed to dart around constantly in alarm. She looked tense and coiled.-
[14:24] <PersonaGM> [But when she saw Hideki, something seemed to snap. Her eyes filled with silent tears.]
[14:30] * Hideki saw it coming, and he spoke quickly and quietly, before she could break down in the open. "Let me in. Let's talk for a little bit."
[14:34] <PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu stepped aside, let him in and closed the door.-
[14:35] <PersonaGM> [She flumped down onto her bed and clapped her hands over her eyes.]
[14:41] * Hideki set the food and flowers aside on her dresser and sat down next to her, rubbing her shoulder. Yeah. He'd thought she'd be like this… "It's alright." He murmured. "This has been one brutal week, huh?"
[14:43] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah." She mumbled. "Sorry. I was reckless…"]
[14:45] <Hideki> "Yeah, you were, but that doesn't justify the amount of crap you've been through. Those messages, and then the stuff yesterday… Are you… doing okay?"
[14:49] <PersonaGM> ["I'm scared is what I am. Scared for me. Scared for you. Holy crap, Hideki, that guy tried to kill me…"]
[14:58] <Hideki> "I know. You kicked his ass, but it doesn't change what happened."
[14:59] <PersonaGM> [She sniffled. "Yeah. And then you guys… I mean…" Ji-Hu frowned.-
[15:00] <PersonaGM> ["A-Anyway, what if he comes after me again? What about you?" She said. "Nevermind everything else… I think I saw someone watching my window the other day."]
[15:06] * Hideki went quiet at that. All sorts of awful sensations were churning in his gut, and that window thing just made it worse.-
[15:09] <Hideki> The least he could do was come up with a plan. After a little more silent time, one came to him, and he stood up suddenly. "I've got it!"
[15:33] <PersonaGM> ["Huh?!"]
[15:35] <Hideki> "Move into my dorm! Temporarily. Until things blow over. The building is way empty, so there's plenty of room."
[15:40] <PersonaGM> ["Huh?" Ji-Hu stared at him.-
[15:40] <PersonaGM> [The clockwork turned in her head.Then-
[15:40] <PersonaGM> [Her expression brightened. "Ah! That's genius!"]
[15:45] <Hideki> "Right?!" Hideki grinned. "Let's go one step further, too. We'll ditch your phone - temporarily - until you stop getting those threats. This is what burner phone were made for!"
[15:45] <PersonaGM> ["D-Ditch my phone?"]
[15:46] <Hideki> "Yeah. Grab the numbers and photos from it you really need, and then shut it off and stick it in a safe or something for a few weeks."
[15:52] <PersonaGM> ["I…" She looked hesitant. "What if family need to ring?"]
[15:56] <Hideki> "Call them from your temp phone when you first get it and tell them you'll be using it for a little while and give them the number. If you don't want to tell them the truth, you could make up an excuse and say you're getting it repaired or something."
[15:57] <PersonaGM> ["Right. Right." She nodded. "… Okay. I think I'll do that."-
[15:58] <PersonaGM> ["I don't want to have to read more threats…"]
[16:05] <Hideki> "I think it'd be better for you if you didn't," Hideki agreed. "And if you change your mind, well… it's not like we're throwing your old phone away or anything."
[16:06] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah. You'll keep it safe, right?"]
[16:06] <Hideki> "Of course!"
[16:07] <PersonaGM> ["Then…"-
[16:07] <PersonaGM> [She took out her phone- a white phone, with a little series of sakura charms hanging off the side. She held it out.]
[16:09] * Hideki took it and slipped it into his pocket. "Wanna pack a light bag? Oh, you should eat, too. I bought dinner."
[16:11] <PersonaGM> ["From Wild Duck?" She frowned.]
[16:12] <Hideki> "Yeah. Uh. It was close by, so…"
[16:12] <PersonaGM> [She gave him a look.]
[16:13] <Hideki> "…" -
[16:13] <Hideki> Hideki cheerfully looked around her room. "How about that bag, though?"
[16:17] <PersonaGM> [She poked at the food.-
[16:17] <PersonaGM> ["I guess there's a risotto here." Said Ji-Hu. "I can eat that. Thanks."-
[16:17] <PersonaGM> ["Sorry. I don't mean to come off as critical. You're doing so much for me…"]
[16:21] <Hideki> "No, I kind of messed up on that one." He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "I'm the one who's sorry. If I'm bringing you comfort food it should at least be stuff you like."
[16:21] <PersonaGM> ["But you've been taking risks. Getting into trouble. Taking off your clothes in class…?!"]
[16:22] <Hideki> "Yeah, I'll be honest. That was kind of liberating."
[16:25] <PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu actually giggled. "You're such a goof."]
[16:29] <Hideki> "Heh." Hideki grinned back at her. "You're in a better mood already. Things are looking up!"
[16:30] <PersonaGM> [She laugh-sniffled. "C'mere."]
[16:32] * Hideki slid closer and enveloped her in a big hug.
[16:33] <PersonaGM> [And Ji-Hu leaned into it gratefully.]

—-

[15:02] <PersonaGM> [Session One-A: Investigation.-
[15:03] <PersonaGM> [It was dusky and dark by the time the team met up at Sophia Court.-
[15:03] <PersonaGM> [The school students had all gone home, surrendering the campus to the unknowable entities known as university students.-
[15:06] <PersonaGM> [The air was still balmy and rich with the smell of plums when they arrived. Hideki and Roy came from the dorm, whilst Ai, Sachiko and Dinah likely stayed on campus and went straight here.-
[15:07] <PersonaGM> [Adrien was… Not here.]
[15:16] * Sachiko waited on a shoulder-height concrete wall that divided the path from a more elevated patch of grass, her feet dangling over the edge, occasionally giving a careless little kick. She was still dressed in her school uniform, and none of the rumours and muttering seemed to have had any effect on her choice of pants. She was on her phone when Hideki and Roy approached, but the
[15:16] * Sachiko sound of footsteps drew her attention.
[15:21] <Hideki> "Things go well?" Hideki strolled up in casual clothing. Jeans, a t-shirt, and a sports jacket. Apparently he'd had enough time to go home and change?
[15:22] <Sachiko> "Seemed to," Sachiko said. "I think we got what we needed."
[15:24] * Dinah was similarly perched on one of the walls as Sachiko was, though she had one leg crossed under the other, almost sitting on it as well. In her mouth, unsurprisingly, was a lit cigarette, as she seemed not to care about being spotted. After hours decreased that chance, or so she figured. In her hand was her phone, upon which she was playing one of her games, even as the others
[15:24] * Dinah approached. Sparing a nod without looking up, she sniffed. "Yeah. Pretty well. You?"
[15:24] <Hideki> "Pretty much the same. Also, we have a new dormmate. Surprise!"
[15:25] <PersonaGM> ["With another on the way in nine months." Said Roy.]
[15:25] <Hideki> "Ignore him."
[15:25] <Dinah> "Think Box Lady'll have a fit? I can tell you a few good things at the corner shop for breakfast if she stops making yours too."
[15:26] * Ai arrived in her uniform, prim and fairly orderly, seeming about as ready as she will. …She had been playing phone games herself, almost undoubtedly. …She looked up at Hideki. "…I can guess who it is. Well, just make sure to not get too much occultism all o- AHEM." Ai said, shaking her head. "Boys…" But, phone down. "…Also uh, Adrien kinda got himself into ultradetention but I… I was too scared to try but I think him
[15:26] * Ai pissing off Asaka so much actually gave me much better data."
[15:26] <PersonaGM> ["I'm sure Miss Asahina will be fine with it." Said Roy. "I'm the landlord, remember? What I say goes."-
[15:26] <PersonaGM> ["What. What do you mean ultradetention?!"]
[15:26] <Sachiko> "And if he says you're having a kid, that's that."
[15:26] <Sachiko> "Congratulations, by the by."
[15:27] <Dinah> Her head shot up and she glared down at JC at the mention of 'what he says, goes'. "Wait, if what you say goes, why do I still gotta walk down the road every mornin' just to get food?"
[15:28] <PersonaGM> ["Because you keep breaking the rules, dumbass."]
[15:28] <Ai> "…I don't know what, actually! He just. Really laid into him. Which I mean… Given he nearly started a fistfight with the guy… and also talked about how much 'game' he had with the '…ladies'…" Ai shook her head. "The worst thing is, I could actually see Adrien hesitate. It's like he didn't /actually/ mean to draw more aggro on Asaka than an entire yolo team of DPSes i… …didn't actually mean to be an idiot."
[15:29] * Hideki frowned. "You know, you guys should be more sensitive. Eventually you'll all be bringing dates to the dorm too. Are you gonna be okay with all this smugness when it's happening to you?"
[15:30] * Sachiko laughed a little, but didn't answer.
[15:30] <Dinah> "Pretty sure havin' a kid in the dorms is breaking some kinda rule too." She took a drag off of her cigarette to prove a point, turning her attention then to Ai as she…well, as she did her thing, pointedly ignoring the other conversation at that point. "So he pissed Asaka off real bad, basically."
[15:31] <PersonaGM> ["Not hard to do, apparently." Said Roy. "And Adrien has a talent for it…"]
[15:31] <Ai> "Super duper bad. Asaka may well have popped a blood vessel if he had had too much salt or something, today." She said with a sigh. "Still, I got good data, and it seems you guys did too?" Then she nodded! "I feel mean for doing it but wow if I ever need someone mad I can just point Adrien at them and he'll find a way automatically."
[15:33] <PersonaGM> ["Ugh. We might need to think about going without him…" Said Roy.]
[15:36] <Ai> "I'm sorrrrry I could've stopped him m…maybe probably not. W-whatever. I'm not sure I even did as much for this as Sachhi and Dinah did."
[15:36] * Ai …sighed. "…Er, let's move on…"
[15:37] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah." Roy shook his head. "So we got our theme and we have the Heed. What we need to do is take it to the place we saw in the video."]
[15:38] <Dinah> "Oh no, however will we survive without him." The tone that Dinah used was rather mocking as she pulled her cigarette and tapped the ash off. Moving to stand, she rolled her shoulders a little, making a gesture. "Ain't nothin' keeping us."
[15:39] * Sachiko smirked. "Glad we got the theme right, at least."
[15:39] <Hideki> "Fine. Going now. Yoshino, just text Adrien if you're worried. If he's able to escape in time, he'll catch up."
[15:44] <PersonaGM> [And so they went.-
[15:45] <PersonaGM> [The problem, of course, was that Lion Hall was supposed to be locked. They realised this a moment before the door actually opened.-
[15:45] <PersonaGM> ["About time." Said Adrien. "I was waiting!"]
[15:47] <Hideki> "Hm."
[15:48] * Ai breathed a sigh of relief. "…So did you … like, let us in from inside the jail? I guess that's useful, huh! I …" She paused. "I need to learn how to pick locks."
[15:49] <Sachiko> Sachiko's sigh had less relief and more… just bone-deep exhaustion.
[15:50] <PersonaGM> ["Indeed, Yoshino… I have many skills." Said Adrien.-
[15:50] <PersonaGM> ["Good work, though, everybody. I'm proud to have you on my team." He said. "Let's go!"}
[15:50] <PersonaGM> ]*
[15:51] * Ai said something vaguely sounding like 'mrgrgrrr…' before following along.
[15:51] <Dinah> "This is not your team." Dinah grumbled, mostly harmlessly at this point, though she tapped some more ash off of her smoke after letting out a puff. Regardless, she followed along as well, considering his appearance wasn't necessarily a deterrent for their cause.
[15:52] <PersonaGM> [They came…-
[15:52] <PersonaGM> [Well. It was an entirely normal corridor.-
[15:53] <PersonaGM> [There were hundreds like it…-
[15:53] <PersonaGM> [Except for one thing. As they entered the corridor and approached the scene of the altercation, the light… Became funny.-
[15:54] <PersonaGM> [One second it was just a corridor. The next it was the same corridor, but the perspective was off.-
[15:54] <PersonaGM> [Then it shimmered… Back to the corridor.-
[15:54] <PersonaGM> [Then they realised: they were staring at a mirror image of the corridor, reflected back at them. An image that was out of focus.-
[15:55] <PersonaGM> ["Alright." Said Roy. "Hideki, do you have the phone? Hold it up to that distortion… Then Sachiko, express the theme in words."]
[15:57] * Ai …stood around, maybe still a bit sulky.
[15:59] * Sachiko let Hideki move first. She focused on the reflection in the meantime, sidestepping and moving to watch how it shifted.
[16:01] * Hideki simply held it up, as instructed. The phone's case was white, with about three or so pink cherry blossom charm decorations dangling from it.
[16:02] <PersonaGM> [The distortion solidified, looking more glasslike. They couldn't see themselves in the reflection.]
[16:03] * Ai stared at the distortion, holding back an obvious urge to touch it…
[16:04] <Sachiko> "The theme is 'Nationalistic War Stories'," Sachiko said, watching the scene with utmost curiosity.
[16:04] <PersonaGM> [Nothing seemed to happen.-
[16:04] * Ai wondered out loud. "…Is this some kind of occult search engine…"
[16:05] <PersonaGM> ["Boo!gle." Whispered Adrien loudly.-
[16:05] <PersonaGM> ["Anyway, that didn't seem to-"-
[16:06] <PersonaGM> [Massive cracked ripped across the surface of the distortion.-
[16:06] <PersonaGM> [The glass exploded outwards, and a ripple of pinkish light flowed like a wave past them.-
[16:07] <PersonaGM> [When it passed…-
[16:07] <PersonaGM> [Their clothes had changed. Now they were in their metagear.-
[16:07] <PersonaGM> [And the room had changed. The corridor ahead of them now led to a flat brick wall.-
[16:08] <PersonaGM> [As they turned, they'd find themselves in a kind of lounge room. Sitting in this room were the chairs they'd had in their dreams…-
[16:09] <PersonaGM> [Hideki's fainting sofa, Dinah's gaming chair, Sachiko's piano chair, Ai's… Catpod…-
[16:09] <PersonaGM> [Roy had a big leather armchair, actually rather similar to the one in the dorm.-
[16:09] <PersonaGM> [Adrien had what appeared to be a bench taken out of a train.]
[16:10] <PersonaGM> [Beyond the chairs were double doors leading… Out?]
[16:15] <Sachiko> Sachiko definitely seemed a little surprised to see the chairs, although she hid it quickly to be replaced by her focus on the other ones. Trying to match them to their owners, maybe…?
[16:15] * Ai …gasped. "S-so it was real… …gonna be real?" She said… before hesitating, looking at the others nervously.
[16:16] * Hideki took the initiative… by plopping down on his familiar chair and stretching his legs out. "So now what? Hang around here and come up with some plan, or…" He jerked his head at the exit.
[16:17] <Sachiko> "Good question."
[16:17] <PersonaGM> ["I'm kinda in a hurry, so we should just head out and see what's actually there." Said Adrien.]
[16:17] <Ai> "In a hurry…?" Ai said, nervously.
[16:18] <Dinah> The color seemed to drain from Dinah's face as she saw 'her' chair again, though as one fist clenched firmly, she seemed to regain her appearance in a fairly common redness. Moving past the chairs, she seemed intent on heading for the doors before everyone else. "He snuck out, don't you get it? And I hate to agree but let's get this over with."
[16:20] <Ai> "…I've never been in detention…" Ai said. "And school's super over, isn't that illeg- … …Oh." Ai realized. "…He did it to you, right. …Y-yeah let's go. And clearly you can uh, hide out in chair room if it's too much heat on the ground… Wait no, that's a terrible idea." She was moving on, though, as she was talking.
[16:22] * Hideki hopped back onto his feet again and strolled for the door. "Alright. Let's not take too many turns in case we need to figure out how to get back here. This is the way back home, probably."
[16:23] <Sachiko> "I… am pretty sure I can track our path," Sachiko said as she touched her Tome, obviously testing the theory.
[16:23] <Ai> "…Ne, Sacchi, you found the way out last time. …We're gonna have to rely on you, aren't w-" …She nodded. "Right." …And she did draw her own tome over to herself, patting the book gently.
[16:24] <PersonaGM> [Adrien was already heading for the door to push it open.]
[16:25] * Sachiko was basically in step with him, rolling her shoulders as she went.
[16:26] * Ai immediately started flailing her arms…! "D-do it carefully! Please! A few seconds aren't the end of the world, as long as we keep moving." -
[16:30] * Hideki readied himself, which involved a light series of arm stretches, as he waited for the door to swing open.
[16:31] <Dinah> Dinah frowned when Adrien pushed his way in front of her, though she let him take the door, dropping her spent cigarette to the floor and stomping it out while the others went for it.
[16:32] <PersonaGM> [And so he threw it open.-
[16:33] <PersonaGM> [The door opened onto the rooftop of a modern-looking building. Perhaps a bit old-fashioned.-
[16:33] <PersonaGM> [They were in the middle of a city, again, recognisably modern if rather old in design. The sky was a bright bloody red, the sun appearing to set.-
[16:35] <PersonaGM> [The first thing they'd notice as unusual was the smell.-
[16:38] <PersonaGM> [The air was thick with the smell of strong, fruity alcohol… But it was like a perfume masking the tangy smell of gunpowder and the charnel pit.-
[16:39] <PersonaGM> [The second thing they'd notice would be a sound. A heavy, reverberating 'thud' of many, many feet moving in unison.-
[16:39] <PersonaGM> [The third thing, they'd see with their own eyes.-
[16:39] <PersonaGM> [In the street below was Asaka. Not the Asaka they knew.-
[16:40] <PersonaGM> [He was a little taller, a little more athletic. He wore a dark blue military dress uniform, covered in ribbons and gold medals. He was mounted on a horse.-
[16:40] <PersonaGM> [Behind him were…-
[16:41] <PersonaGM> [Creatures. Like ogres or trolls, standing two and a half metres tall, with bright red skin, tusked teeth and a large horn growing out of the top of their head. They wore military uniforms of navy blue, and carried rifles with massively oversized bayonets, like someone had strapped an axe to the end of a gun.-
[16:42] <PersonaGM> [Most of the team would've recognised them immediately: Oni.-
[16:43] <PersonaGM> [Dozens of them, easily.-
[16:43] <PersonaGM> [Within their ranks, here and there, were black-feathered birdmen- tengu- wearing sharper versions of the same uniform, their faces covered.-
[16:44] <PersonaGM> [Shadow Asaka looked to his left, and to his right- towards the building the team now hid in.-
[16:45] <PersonaGM> [As he turned, they felt it. The weight of his presence, pulling this place down around him. It pushed at them, too, strong enough to curl into their lungs and force some of the air out.-
[16:46] <PersonaGM> [Asaka turned back toward his army. Then down the road, toward a city square. "Let phase one of the Liberation begin!"-
[16:47] <PersonaGM> [The air, crackling with tension, snapped. The Oni roared and stampeded forth, Asaka at their head.]
[16:48] * Ai …ended up 'whispering' telepathically to the others… ("H… he thinks he's liberating people with an army of oni… S… so this is what all his stuff looks like to him.")
[16:50] <Hideki> "I bet we can guess what he's liberating it from," Hideki muttered out loud. "…why are you talking in my head?"
[16:52] * Ai blushed. "S… sorry. I … you know how Dinah can light fires? …I can do some things, that's one of 'em. That's how I did my spying on Asaka while Adrien pissed him off." She blushed deeper. "A… and I was scared."
[16:52] <Ai> "I didn't wanna talk until the shadow got further ahead."
[16:52] <Sachiko> "Those things aren't quiet," Sachiko said, not bothering to take her eyes off the scene. "We're in no danger."
[16:52] <Sachiko> "… well, not yet."
[16:53] <Hideki> "Do we follow 'em?"
[16:57] <Sachiko> "I… don't know, actually," she admitted, then glanced at Roy. "What's the process here?"
[16:58] <PersonaGM> ["The more info the better." Said Roy. "The Heed doesn't actually reveal itself to anyone. We need to understand him. Why his Shadow takes this form, this dream theatre. Once we get what makes him tick, we can get to the centre of the Theatre and take the Heed."-
[16:59] <PersonaGM> ["So we should probably try and head for what'd be the the middle of the Theatre. Its core."]
[17:01] <Ai> "…I had almost thought we somehow needed to confront him, but… we… don't explicitly need to, it's just likely to happen because he has every interest in stopping us once he finds out we're in and after the Heed." Ai said, patting down her hakama skirt. "…Sachiko, your… uh, specific powers will help us get around a lot, so you can be Map Person and guide us through, and you better believe I'll listen to your strategies." -
[17:02] <Ai> She turned to Hideki and Dinah. "…Best I can tell you two are really good at fighting and pretty fit? We'll need you to keep us safe, and you still have good ideas, so we'll need to hear 'em!" -
[17:02] <Ai> Roy. "…We've already seen your experience is super useful, so we'll be consulting you, I imagine, more for how this usually goes." -
[17:03] <Ai> Adrien. "You know wildcard lets you do all sorts of things. So just, honestly, find a gap in what the fixed-role members are up to, and do your thing. Don't be afraid to bail us out, yanno?" -
[17:04] * Ai then looked to herself. "…I'm nerd enough to know the rules of stories and fiction, so in addition to fighting, I think I can try to see what we need to do. And… so if he's invading a city with his army? And it's super traditional-japanese and militaristic?" She hummed. "…We need to find out what the battlefield looks like, what his enemies look like. A war is about beating the enemy, right? …To someone like him, that
[17:04] * Ai is."
[17:12] <Sachiko> "… No it's not," she sighed. "It's about pride. Personal, national. It's all about pride. The war and the winning is a means to an end."-
[17:12] <Sachiko> She stood. "Come on. Let's move if we're going to."
[17:13] * Ai …wilted a bit at that. "Y… yes ma'am." She said in a small voice.
[17:16] <Sachiko> "The rest made sense," she admitted, moving to check their possible exits.
[17:16] <Hideki> "Street level, then. Let's find some stairs!" Hideki proceeded to do just that.
[17:18] <PersonaGM> ["Or we can just jump to a nearby rooftop." Said Adrien.]
[17:18] <Sachiko> "No."
[17:19] <PersonaGM> […-
[17:19] <PersonaGM> ["Yoshino believes in me." Said Adrien darkly.-
[17:20] <PersonaGM> ["Shhh." Said Roy.-
[17:20] <PersonaGM> ["I'm just say-"-
[17:20] <PersonaGM> [Street level offered new visual horrors.-
[17:20] <PersonaGM> [There were posters on the walls, one every few metres.-
[17:21] <PersonaGM> [The larger poster was white and stark. It called for the capture and detainment of any soldier in order to be 'pre-emptively found guilty' of war crimes and executed immediately. It was signed 'Judge Yi Ji-Hu'.-
[17:22] <PersonaGM> [On top of this had been placed newer, darker and messier posters, demanding the location and execution of Yi.-
[17:22] <PersonaGM> [They approached the city square quietly.-
[17:24] <PersonaGM> [The Oni had breached into the area and driven whoever it was out. Bodies of humans wearing a militarised version of the Sophia uniform- many of whom were young and looked vaguely familiar- littered the ground. Around the edge of the square were other humans jubilantly celebrating Asaka's arrival. They wore the basic Sophia uniform- each one wearing it in the exact same way, with the exact same hair colour and style.-
[17:25] <PersonaGM> [In the middle of the square were a handful of Oni hanging from gallows.-
[17:25] <PersonaGM> ["Dark." Muttered Adrien.-
[17:25] <PersonaGM> [… He covered Ai's eyes.-
[17:27] <PersonaGM> [In the distance, Asaka was making a grand speech. "Look on your fallen brothers, executed by the Judge for petty reasons leaning like shaky buildings on a foundation of myth and lie. I say it ends here! For too long we've submitted to the judgment of others… Punished for simply claiming the pride owed to everyone who has ever lived."-
[17:28] <PersonaGM> [He gestured off to the side, where a huddle of humans in militarised Sophian uniforms sat. "Take them back to the Bastion of Arrogance!"-
[17:30] <PersonaGM> [A squad of Oni marched them away. As they went, the huddle broke up slightly, revealing that one of them was rather different- she was a small woman, about three or so feet tall, with light gossamer butterfly wings. They glimpsedher only a moment before the Oni marched the prisoners out of sight.]
[17:32] * Ai had, fairly early on, tried her hardest to pull Adrien's hands off her eyes, softly muttering about how "I need to see it even if it's scary… It's s-scouting…" Before… watching, staring… and almost wanting to give a hot take. Like. You could feel the disgust welling in her throat to complain and vent, but she stopped. "…Okay. I… I didn't listen to his stuff enough at all. It really is pride, but… w-who was
[17:32] * Ai that fairy?"
[17:33] <PersonaGM> ["Probably a Shadow. A very, very lost Shadow." Said Roy. You could sense the frown, even if his entire body was hidden in armour.]
[17:34] <Sachiko> "… if we save those people," Sachiko said, voice a little tighter than it had been last time she spoke, "Does it mean anything?"
[17:35] <PersonaGM> ["They're not real people." Said Roy. "We call them mannequins- they're sort of just projections or representations of people Asaka knows."-
[17:36] <PersonaGM> ["They're basically a kind of prop with a script. But they can be surprisingly useful. These places don't need to make logical sense- it's entirely in keeping that Asaka's Shadow might produce a mannequin that has information or something, and the temperament to help us."]
[17:37] <Dinah> "We could have let him try to jump." Dinah sniffed quietly as they descended to the street level of this madhouse that they were in. She looked at it all with some sort of disgust, able to feel just how unwelcome she was here, moreso than the others. The poster drew her attention and made her cross her arms as they listened to Asaka and the rest. This was a lot. That was for sure
[17:37] <Dinah> . "We could probably use them to piss him off, too."
[17:38] <PersonaGM> ["True." Said Adrien. "Good idea."-
[17:38] <PersonaGM> ["Also, thank you for believing in me."]
[17:38] * Hideki was distracted, throwing glances over his shoulder at some of the posters they'd just walked past, a dark expression flickering through his eyes.
[17:38] <Dinah> "Believing in you. Sure. Let's go with that."
[17:39] <Ai> "In fact, it gives me an idea." Ai said. "I had asked about the enemies. …And a thing is… it might even make some sense? Some…" She wiggled her hands. "Dream sense. Or story sense? …L-like okay so he assumedly thinks they represent horrible people who steal pride and stuff. …But he isn't so gone as to think all people are inhuman if they don't please him. Ssssso." Ai said. "Anyway yeah that means sometimes enemies have
[17:39] <Ai> humanization even if he still hates them, but we can use that for more than just pissing him off." -
[17:40] <Ai> She had a weak smile on her face. "…History lesson, what was France known for in world war 2 other than a puppet regime and getting hit hard by the blitzkreig?"
[17:41] <Sachiko> "The French resistance," she said absently, not really paying attention.
[17:41] <PersonaGM> ["Sexy l- the resistance." Said Adrien quickly.]
[17:41] <Sachiko> "You're an imbecile."
[17:41] <PersonaGM> ["If you knew my grandfather, you'd get it."]
[17:42] <Sachiko> "If I knew your grandfather I could have averted a horrible tragedy."
[17:43] * Ai rolled her eyes. "Strategy now, tsundere in the real world!" She said, huffing. "But exactly!"
[17:43] <PersonaGM> [Adrien remained quiet in response to that.]
[17:44] <Ai> "The resistance wasn't just morally upright and against all the militaristic pride he's so thrilled by…" Ai raised a finger. "It was romantic. And French. It was built on pride too!"
[17:45] <PersonaGM> ["Speaking of resistance." Said Adrien. "Are we going to make a decision on whether or not to reform this guy, or are we gonna wait 'til he tries to 'liberate' someone in the real world? Asking for a friend."]
[17:50] <Hideki> "The plan was to actually talk to an alternate-Asaka," Hideki pointed out. "Not just stalk one from the shadows and speculate about him."
[17:51] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah, okay." Adrien gestured to Asaka. "Be our guest?"]
[17:51] <Dinah> "No you're not. You don't have friends." She sniffed, flexing her fingers to keep them busy instead of reaching for a cigarette. It was just a small flame, a little smoke but she was not certain that it wouldn't go unnoticed, so she wasn't going to take the risk. "And we're not talking about that yet."
[17:52] <PersonaGM> ["Then if we're not talking about it, let's go home."]
[17:53] * Ai pouted really openly. "…Even if we do just do that, doing it without preparation to survive it going bad isn't just irresponsible, it's suicidal the moment it fails." She tried to explain. "And enough with the disses. We. Can. Fight. Outside."
[17:55] * Retrieving #StudyinVelvet modes…
[17:56] <Sachiko> "We should head for the centre like we planned," Sachiko said. She didn't appear to be paying the rest much mind.
[17:56] <PersonaGM> [Roy sniffed the air.-
[17:57] <PersonaGM> ["So here's the thing about dream theatres." Said Roy. "Getting to the centre isn't easy. It usually took us at least a week, usually two."-
[17:57] <PersonaGM> ["We've scouted the area and we have a better sense of what we're dealing with. I think we ought to head back, spend the week stocking up and getting our head in gear, and then come back."]
[18:00] * Ai slowly nodded, sighing visibly. "…Yeah. …If it takes that long and is that hard… Well. I guess we'll get to the fighting real soon, huh." She …couldn't hold back some of the sulking there, but was kinda obviously keeping it tamped down. "Bad prep is dead Evokers a-anyway."
[18:05] <Hideki> "We don't have a real lead about the centre yet. When we come back next time, are we just gonna keep following these guys around?"
[18:11] <PersonaGM> ["I dunno. Maybe we can beat some up and interrogate 'em." Said Adrien. He was already turning around to leave.]
[18:12] <Ai> "…W-we'll make plans for when we return." Ai said, becoming less and less happy about the situation… and actually starting to trail off after Adrien nervously, clutching her gohei as if ready to bludgeon some shadow that might jump out at her while she's distracted.
[18:13] * Disconnected
[18:13] * Attempting to rejoin channel #StudyinVelvet
[18:13] * Rejoined channel #StudyinVelvet
[18:14] <Dinah> "Interrogating is kinda one of my specialties." Dinah cracked her neck as she walked after them. Staying or leaving, she was okay with it either way. Though she wasn't going to fight for one way or another. "But if anyone gets better ideas, we can try that out."
[18:15] * Ai sort of nervously barked back in reply. "We can do like, multiple a-approaches even. It's c… cool."
[18:16] * Sachiko put her hands in her pockets and followed, mask hiding most of her expression. She did seem to look Hideki's way on the way passed, though.
[18:18] * Hideki wasn't long behind, although he did it with a sigh. A week or two, huh…

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