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You pace back and forth across the sitting room.
"She's taking too long" You say.
"Saif, relax" Safi says.
"She should be here by now"
"I'm sure she's fine" Safi says. "Now will you stop pacing?"
"Why?" You ask.
"Because you're driving me nuts" Safi says.
"Then you can be like me, welcome to the-"
The doorbell rings.
"I'll get it!" Zee calls out. A few seconds pass, and you see her patter down the hall in her maid uniform. Then you hear the door open, and feel the relief wash over you as you head Abigail's voice.
"Well hello there, cutie" Abigail says. "Saif is in the sitting room?"
"I'm Zee, not cutie" Zee says.
"Sorry, Zee" Abigail says.
"Yes, Saif is in the sitting room" Zee says.
"Thank you" Abigail says.
As Abigail comes into view, something from above the doorway attacks her. A black blur strikes, causing her to stumble backward and fall over...
"Abigail, are you alright?" You ask.
"Yeah... I'm good" She says. "I should've seen this coming after last time..."
You look at her hands and see Moriarty struggling to free himself from her grip. After a few seconds he gives up and mewls at you.
"Nuh-uh" You say. "This is your fault for attacking something ten times your size"
You give Abigail a hand up, and as she gets to her feet she kisses you.
"About time you showed up" Safi says. "I thought Saif was going to have an aneurysm"
Safi puts a hand on the back of Abigail's neck and pulls her in to kiss her on the cheek... or at least that's what you assume she is going to do, before she goes for the lips. It's just a quick peck, but it's enough to weird Abigail out.
>What was that?
>I was a little worried...
"I guess I was a little worried..." You say. "But what was that?"
"What was what?" Safi asks.
"You just... uhh..." Abigail says.
Safi looks between the two of you for a moment, before she realizes what you're talking about. She takes a step back and brings a hand up to her mouth.
"Oh! I am so sorry!" Safi says. "I didn't mean to do that"
"So... what?" Abigail asks.
"Well... Saif was feeling some pretty strong things there. I guess I just got caught up in his emotions" Safi says. "I'll try to be more careful..."
"I may have to as well" You say. "I didn't know that could happen"
"It has before" Safi says. "Remember when we were in my room?"
"I was pretty sad there too" You say.
"Not until I started being sad" Safi says. "I think we both need to get used to being one again"
"Does that mean that will be happening more often?" Abigail asks.
"Probably..." Safi says. "Sorry"
"It's not a huge problem..." Abigail says. "I mean... if it becomes a habit, I might have a problem. But..."
"It won't become a habit" Safi says. "Probably"
>You run into any problems on the way here?
>Talk about the cane
>Try and figure out where Moriarty ambushed her from
"Run into any problems on the way here?" You ask.
"No" She says. "Well... there was some traffic"
"You should have seen him. Saif was ready to bolt out the front door and look for you" Safi says.
"I was not" You say.
"You were so" Safi says.
The three of you walk into the sitting room and sit down. Just like before, with Abigail on your right and Safi on your left.
Moriarty is still in Abigail's lap. Occasionally he struggles to get away, but he seems to have accepted his punishment.
"How have things been here?" Abigail asks.
"We went through our Brother's will" You say. "Some odd stuff in there"
"That's good to hear" Abigail says. "Anything important?"
"A letter, some odd objects" You say. "Other than that, not really"
"How did things go with Claire?" Abigail asks.
"She's... she seems willing to work with us" You say. "I don't look forward to having to play ball with Julia. But I'll bite back my anger for the time being"
"How is she holding up?" Abigail asks.
"Claire?" You ask.
"Sacred Mountain hit her pretty hard. She was holding herself together well enough... but..." You say.
Abigail's face becomes unreadable. "Did anything else happen?" She asks.
>Mention her real wish
>Mention the weapon
>Mention Zee being adorable
"She was pretty open about a few things" You say. "She told us her real wish"
"She has a 'real' wish?" Abigail asks.
"Claire wants to change her affinity" Safi says.
Abigail stares at Safi. "She... why?"
"The balance body-mind thing is only the tip of the iceberg..." You say. Then you relay what Claire told you about her affinity.
When you finish, Abigail is awestricken.
"I... had no idea..." Abigail says. "When we were little she was always so... lively. After she awakened, she stopped coming around as much. I didn't think..."
You reach over and hug Abigail as you see tears start to form in her eyes.
"It wasn't something she seemed very open about" You say. "I don't even think Jess knew the extent of her condition"
"How long ago did she leave?" Abigail asks.
"I texted you right after she left" You say.
"We'll talk about the cane in a minute... I..." Abigail says.
>We can call her back here
>Go talk to Claire
>Talk about the cane now
"We can call her back here" You say.
"I wouldn't want to make her go back and forth like that..." Abigail says.
"You want to make things right with her don't you?" You ask.
"I do..." Abigail says.
"Then you should do it in person" You say. "I'll be right back"
You stand up and walk out of the room, pulling out your phone and calling Claire.
"Hello?" Claire asks.
"Hey Claire" You say.
"Is somesing wrong?" She asks.
"No..." You say. "Abigail wants to talk to you"
"Abigail does..." Claire says. "Why?"
"I... told her what you told me..." You say.
"You did..." She says. "She feels sorry for me"
"Maybe a little, but that's not why she wants to talk" You say.
"Why then?" She asks.
"She wants to apologize" You say.
"For what?" She asks.
"I dunno" You say. "You'll have to ask her"
"Can you give her the phone?" Claire asks.
>She wants you here
You pop your head into the doorway and wave Abigail over.
"I will... but I think that this would be better sorted out in person" You say.
"I might..." Claire says. "I don't really 'ave much else to do until tonight..."
Abigail comes up beside you.
"I'll let you talk to her about it. Here she is" You say, as you hand Abigail the phone.
"Hello?" Abigail asks.
You give her a thumbs up, and walk back into the sitting room.
"Look at you, trying to mend friendships" Safi says.
"I'd feel better working with Claire if I knew she didn't hate my girlfriend" You say.
"Anything that'll make you feel better about Julia?" Safi asks.
"Nothing that she'll enjoy" You say. "But I'll worry abut that after I get back at Sacred Mountain for destroying my apartment"
"They attacked it. You were the one who destroyed the place" Safi says.
"Oh... shush" You say.
Abigail walks back in and hands you your phone. "She's on her way" Abigail says.
"She's coming back, huh?" Safi asks.
"Yeah... You were right, Saif. This is something we should do in person" Abigail says.
Abigail sits back down next to you and plants her head on your shoulder.
"What's up?" You ask.
"Nervous" She says. "I still hate her for killing... but she's been suffering..."
You reach up and stroke her hair.
"I understand" You say.
Abigail turns and kisses you on the cheek. "You do not" She says. "But at least you try"
"I'm glad that you have so much faith in me..." You say.
>Talk about the cane
>Ask Abigail what she's going to say to Claire
"... which. I assume, is why you're willing to surrender to me" You say.
"Yes" Abigail says. "The fight right now is making me feel a little... underpowered"
"What makes you say that?" Safi asks.
"Well we've got: the dream team, Claire, and a team of assassins" Abigail says. "Against that, I don't really match up. I know when I'm beat, and I'm not going to push my luck"
"I was being sarcastic, but that was good reasoning" Safi says.
Abigail calls out the cane and holds it out to you.
"So I surrender to you, Saif Mali-"
"Hold on" You say.
"What? Why?" Abigail asks.
"We've got a bigger team than just me" You say. "We need to think about this"
>The Cane should go to Safi
>I'll take it
You consider it for a moment, but in the end the answer is obvious.
"The cane should go to Safi" You say.
"It should?" Safi asks.
"I already have 2 items. Giving me the cane as well would be like putting all of our eggs in one basket" You say. "Plus the cane seems like more of a 'back-line' item. I don't stay still long enough to keep it touching the ground"
"He's got a point" Safi says. "So I guess... you surrender to me?"
"O-okay" Abigail says. "I surrender to you, Safi"
Safi accepts the cane, and it disappears into her hands.
"Funny" You say. "The object of a tyrant resting in the hands of an ex-slave"
Safi smiles, and summons the cane back out. In Abigail's hand it was a fancy thing with a golden head. In Safi's it's a simple, sleek rod of solid looking ebony.
"Nice" Abigail says.
Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind is a dick joke... you are still a teenager, after all...
>Resist the urge
No. You will rise above this childishness. You will-
"Safi, I didn't know you were into this kind of stuff" Abigail says.
"Well you know, if it isn't long, hard and black then I want nothing to do with it" Safi says.
You slap your palm.
"What's wrong?" Abigail asks.
"I dunno. Just pondering the fate of the world when the 'good guys' are making dick jokes..." You say.
"Don't even try to say you weren't thinking it" Safi says.
"Okay... I was" You say. "But I wasn't going to say anything, since I didn't want to sound immature"
"Pfft" Safi says. "I'm free now. I can say what I want. To hell with not wanting to sound immature"
"Yeah, I'm expected to be all proper at home" Abigail says. "To hell with being reserved. When I'm out I wanna have fun!"
"It's nice to see that you're both on the same page" You say.
"We're girls" Safi says. "We work on the same wavelength"
"I thought we were on the same wavelength" You say.
"We are" Safi says. "But we aren't... you know?"
"That could make more sense" You say.
"It's like... I know what you're thinking or feeling because we have a connection" Safi says. "But Abigail and I understand each other because we think similarly"
"That could also make more sense" You say. "But if it means that you two get along, then I'm okay with that"
You talk about various things while you wait for the second coming of Claire.
Mostly sexual innuendo on Safi and Abigail's part, but you do manage to get some business done.
You finally make your alliance with Safi official. Abigail comes to terms with the fact that you and Safi aren't going to stop holding hands anytime soon. Safi comes to terms with the fact that she might get the occasional urge to be a little gay. You come to terms with the fact that your sister and your girlfriend both have a love for sexual innuendo.
A lot gets done.
But eventually, Claire does come. Zee opens the door for her and wheels her in.
"Hello again..." Claire says.
"Yo" You say.
"Hey... Claire" Abigail says.
"Hello Abigail..." Claire says.
Well this is awkward. To see them interacting like this is strange. The only time you've ever seen them talk to each other is at school, where they seemed amicable enough.
But you know now that was a front that both of them put up.
Safi squeezes your hand and tilts her head towards the door when you look over at her...
>Leave Claire and Abigail to talk
>Pretend to leave, then eavesdrop
Fool, we and Safi are the same person. Of course Safi loves Abigail, because we do. And if course Abigail is going to find Safi attractive for many of the same reasons she finds us attractive.
Its a joke about last quest, where we had a threesome (this after our girlfriend semi-guilted us into an open relationship after she'd already lesbian cheated [with a separate person from the threesome participant]) and the two ladies involved instantly fell in love and we went "fuck it time to stop pretending"
"Well, we'll leave you two to talk things out" You say. "If you need me, just yell"
"O-okay" Abigail says.
You and Safi get up and walk out. You figure that you'll wait in the dining room while they talk things out...
At least you head to the dining room.
"What are you doing?" You whisper to Safi.
"Eavesdropping" Safi says.
"Seriously?" You ask.
"You aren't curious?" Safi asks. "I'm curious"
"Remember what I said about 'doing what I want'?" Safi asks. "You go on. If things start to sound private, I'll leave"
You don't much like the idea of Safi eavesdropping on them... but you think that she's gone long enough being told what to do...
"I know. Don't get caught" Safi says.
"That's not what I was going to say, but okay" You say, leaving her to eavesdrop.
You head into the dining room, where you find Tasha still sitting with her book...
>What are you reading?
>Have you been sitting there since lunch?
Any ideas that might appease the gods and keep humanity alive.
Much as I'd like to end the blood moon, I'd rather have some other poor schmucks deal with it than end it and face extinction.
Remember, the stacks changed when the Guardian died.
"What are you reading?" You ask.
Tasha turns the cover up to you, and on it in big, gold letters are the words "The Return of the King"
"I didn't take you for a Tolkien reader" You say.
Tasha shrugs. "Yui made me sit through the movies, and I rather enjoyed them" She says. "So I figured I'd check these out"
"Huh..." You say. "So... I need some advice"
"What?" You ask.
"You need more than advice, sweetie" She says. "But go on. On what do you need advice?"
"Everything" You say.
Tasha laughs more openly.
"It's nice to see that my problems make good comedy..." You say.
"Sorry, dear. I can't contain myself sometimes" Tasha says. "But if you need advice on everything, then my solution would be to focus on the most dire worries first"
"Okay, so how do I stop the gods from glassing this place out of fear and spite?" You ask.
"Working on that one myself" She says.
"And?" You ask.
Tasha shrugs again. "If I had an answer, neither of us would be having this issue" She says. "For now, keep doing what you're doing. Perhaps you can use the Moon's mana as a bargaining chip once you win"
"Once I win?" You ask. "Finally, someone who has faith in me"
Tasha smiles. "Out of everyone, you have the best odds" She says. "As much as I hate to admit it, Kyla's item is probably the best out of all of them. Leave it to an ex-mortal to craft an object that cover's a mortal's biggest weakness"
"None of you thought of that?" You ask.
"If we'd thought of it, then we'd have used it" Tasha says. "Its only problem thus far is that it's been handed to zealots with no regard for their own lives. You and Yui were both good choices, with a good sense of self preservation"
"I'll take that as a compliment" You say.
"Please do" Tasha says. "I meant it as one"
You talk to Tasha for about an hour, trying to come up with a solution to your most pressing issue.
"It seems that our biggest problem is Kyla" Tasha says. "Funny how everyone wanted her gone, but now her death has caused more problems than anyone could hope to solve"
You snort. "Careful what you wish for" You say.
"I never would have wished for this in a million years, but yes..." Tasha says. "The earth needs a new god"
"Could you fill those shoes?" You ask.
"Not even temporarily" Tasha says. "This place is too 'hot'. When the moon sets, I'm going to go hide"
"So what do we do?" You say. "What do -I- do? Wish to become a god like Kyla?"
"I don't think that will work twice" Tasha says. "The way they've bunched up... one of them can risk losing their immortality without dying, because they'll have other gods to watch their back"
"Can I wish for them all to go away?" You ask.
"Something so unspecific like that won't work..." Tasha says.
"What if I became a god" You say. "I'm a good fighter, and far more used to being mortal than they are"
"That might net you a few years" Tasha says. "And then this entire place gets destroyed out of spite"
You let your head fall down to the table with a 'thud'. No matter what you come up with, the Earth gets the shaft...
You turn your head to the doorway at the sound of footsteps, and look just in time to see Zee headed to the sitting room in her little cat onesie...
>Go see what's up
>Ask Tasha about the possibility of time travel
"Wh-... where is Zee going in that?" You ask.
"Oh, the girls are crying in the other room" Tasha says, as she puts down her book and pulls out her phone. "You should go to them. Zee can only hug so much with her little arms"
"Are you planning on taking pictures?" You ask.
"Only once it stops being sad and starts being adorable" Tasha says. "Now, away with you"
You consider saying something to that, but think better of it. Tasha may be your best chance of seeing this all through, and giving her attitude might not be the best idea.
So you get up and head into the other room, where you see Claire and Abigail on the couch holding each other and crying...
Safi is sitting behind Claire, with a hand on her back. Zee is walking around them, looking for a way in so she can put her comfort uniform to good use...
You don't feel like your presence is entirely necessary, but you don't really want to leave either...
>Safi and Zee have this handled
I think we would be better off wishing for the Fool to help us set things the way we want them to be.
Your assumption that we are the Fool is baseless. Nothing we've found suggests that.
Here's my theory: Tasha can't actually gain the mana, despite being our "official" patron. With no god to go to, it does what it was always supposed to do: begin The Fool's manifestation. I'm thinking that the only reason that he's not around yet is because the gods keep hijacking the energy.
You quietly walk in, lift Zee up, sit down next to Abigail, and put Zee down in your lap. Then you throw an arm over the crying ladies.
You simply sit and offer support for several minutes before the tears start to die down. You weren't expecting it to go on for so long, but it feels like it's been a long time coming.
"Thank you..." Claire says, as her tears start to dry.
Abigail squeezes her. "I... for what it's worth, I'm sorry..." She says, apparently continuing their conversation from before the tears started. "I had no idea..."
"No one did" Claire says. "No one outside my family... I've always been ashamed of my-"
"Don't!" Abigail says. "Don't be ashamed, or afraid. We're friends, remember?"
Claire smiles. "Yes..." She says.
The two of them break apart, and seem surprised and a little embarrassed, as it appears they didn't notice they weren't alone...
"Hey" Safi says. "You guys alright now?"
"Yeah... we'll be fine" Abigail says, turning to look at you. But she spots Zee, and snatches her up.
Claire stretches her arms out. "I feel good" Claire says.
"Letting out a couple years worth of pent up emotions will do that" Safi says. "Trust me"
"It's not just zat..." Claire says. "I feel... 'appy"
You feel like smiling, but it just doesn't feel right...
Claire says she's happy like it's a rare occurrence... just how bad is her home life?
>Ask if the two of them are cool now
I... Don't think that would quite match the evidence that the fo SHOULD exist. If they needed the blood moon they presumably wouldn't have a connection to the wellspring to notice.
"So... are you two cool now?" You ask
Abigail puts an arm over Claire's shoulder and pulls her in close. "Yeah" She says.
Claire doesn't answer, but the gentle smile on her face speaks volumes.
"You said you were happy..." You say to Claire. "Is it really such a rare thing for you?"
Claire tenses up, and her smile drops. "My 'ome is... strict" She says.
"Claire wasn't raised like a kid... she was built like a weapon" Abigail says, anger plain in her voice. "I may have to slap your mom"
"Me first" You say. "Safi and I got a similar treatment, back in the village"
"Before Sacred Mountain showed up and made things worse" Safi says.
You chuckle. "Everytime I hear more about this blood moon, I like it even less" You say. "People killing each other over the barest scraps, parents training their children instead of raising them, the rich gathering armies of enslaved mages..."
You clench your eyes shut, and take a deep breath.
"It has to go" Claire says.
You open your eyes and look at her in surprise. She was not the one you expected to be saying that...
"Yeah" You say. "It does"
Would she mind if we happened to kill the creator? Dude seems like a dick.
Just, you know, tossing it out there.
I mean. Kyra was kind of a different God not representing a concept or anything, so we should really try to kill another for science. I wonder if we could get the scholar in on it too. For science.
That's all for tonight!
Next thread will be tomorrow. I'll be starting pretty early and skipping a portion of this day, so leave suggestions for things you want to see addressed before tonight's arena opens and I'll work them into the first post.
As always I'll be sticking around in case anyone has questions.
Speaking truthfully, you would not have killed Claire that night. If you had decided to kill Claire, Saif would have started fighting with more lethal methods which would have put Claire on the back foot. But ultimately she would have survived.
But more importantly it would have caused a negative change in Saif's character, which means that happy moments like this would not be a possibility.
Also for those who remember Into the Aether, I dug something up from those days.
These four bonding, formalizing their kickass alliance, and such would be something you could include in the OP.
Also, Saif apologizing for leading Claire on, etc.
Looking back on it, with this new info, I think that he can at least be a man and own up to it.
Dude, we literally just learned that the gods are all grouping together and are ready to glass Earth if necessary. If we actually committed an openly hostile act against a god it'd probably finalize their decision to destroy humanity.
The only reason it didn't happen with Kyla, most likely, is because nobody liked Kyla.
Oh no, we were at fault for giving her the impression we were still in a relationship, I just think it was totally worth it to avoid her messing up what we were trying to acconplishm