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Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


B
M
X

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Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

B
M > N
X

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


C >B
M
X

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




A > B
M > N
X

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A X
B XX
C X

M XXXX
N
O
P

Z
Y
X XXXX
W






"Hey, do you know what I do when I'm confused, or when I want something explained?" says Rinley excitedly. "I go ask my parents! Where are yours?"

"Oh, they're er, off on a, er, trip somewhere. Or something like that."

"Oh? When are they going to be back?"

"Um... I don't remember when I last saw them... So they must have been gone a while... So it must be that they're going to be back soon."

(Chuubo gains 1 Bonus XP for invoking 'Face-Palming'!)

Rinley looks baffled. "Are you sure?"

"...No." Chuubo's mind is churning for a way to change the subject, but nothing occurs to him. This discussion is making him deeply uncomfortable.

"...Can you remember anything about where they might be?"

Chuubo is starting to feel overwhelmed. He has to sit down. Rinley stares at him, concerned.

(Chuubo gains 1 Bonus XP for 'Foreshadowing'!)
(Chuubo gains a point of Mystery!)







"So..." says Miramie. "I think we should be able to find some books about Fortitude in the Archive that'll be relevant to this issue. From there, we might be able to work out a good way to set up a bus service without causing any great trouble."

"...Mm. Yes, that seems like a reasonable notion."

***

At the Archive Miramie and Natalia quietly read through books of legal history.

(Natalia Koutolika gains 1 Quest XP for 'Peaceful Moments'!)

They start to jot down pages of notes and pass them back and forth between them.

(Miramie Mesmer gains 1 Bonus XP for a 'Shared Action'!)
(Natalia Koutolika gains 1 Bonus XP for sharing the moment!)










"Okay-" says Seizhi. "I really think we need to go and see Jade Irinka. I mean, now."


Chapter 10
Scene 4


"I can't believe this! You really won't let us in?"

Jasper Irinka and the Prince of Cats are talking with the guards at the House of the Sun. They are proving to be recalcitrant.

"The 'final stage' is beginning. We've been instructed that no-one can be allowed in, not even the Headmaster's daughter, or graduates."

Jasper glares at the speaker. She remembers how he froze Leonardo. The Prince of Cats reveals nothing, his eyes flicking back and forth as he stands silently.

"All right. Fine!"

Jasper turns away and walks back through the Bleak Academy buildings, arriving at the nook where the others are concealing themselves.

"It didn't work! They won't let anyone in! Something's happening in there!"

Leonardo stiffens. Are they... Are they subjecting Jade Irinka to similar torments to those that I myself suffered? Is some irrevocable disaster approaching?

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 Quest XP for 'Someone's In Trouble'!)

"This will not stand! I will recite the equations I have invented, and tear through them!"

"But Monty, you tried that before, and you just ended up getting frozen!"

"But it should have worked! If I try it again, the same impossibility cannot occur again! Lightning won't strike in the same place twice!"

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 Bonus XP for invoking 'Speechlessness'!)

"Ah-" interjects Seizhi. "What would a scientist expect to occur if an experiment was repeated with the same conditions?"

"The same result, of course! That's science!"

"So, what happens if you do the same thing twice?"

"The same result will occur twice! So, as I've already been cheated by the correct result not occurring once, reality owes me, and it must give me the correct result now, with greater expediency!"

"I don't understand why you two are trying to stop him making a fool of himself." comments Entropy.

"Don't worry Jasper." adds the Prince of Cats. "I'm sure I'll be able to get him out of trouble if he goes and attacks them."

Leonardo bites his lip and glares at them.


How are they going to approach this problem?

A: Leonardo goes to engage the guards in conversation, and divines the wickedest thoughts in their minds. (Superiority)
B: Leonardo De Montreal summons a nightmare to attack the guards. (Supreme Invocation, spend 4 MP)
C: Entropy frightens them into letting the group by. (Spend 4 Will with Superior Magister 1)
D: Seizhi comes up with a story to trick them into letting the group inside. (Spend 4 Will with Know Stuff 3)
E: Jasper calls on the Sun to protect Seizhi as he walks into the House of the Sun. (Sun Lights The Path [powered up], one free use per book)
F: Jasper turns off the Sun momentarily and they sneak by while it's dark. (Spend 4 Will with Incarnation of the Sun 2)
G: Have Jasper walk in and hope that they don't actually dare to stop her.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

A > G

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A XXX
B
C
D
E
F
G









Without warning Leonardo breaks out of cover and hurries over to the guards. After a moment of paralysed horror, everyone else chases after him, all of them trying decide whether to run or simply walk briskly in an innocent manner.

"Monty, what are you-"

Leonardo reaches the House of the Sun and the two guards recognise him immediately.

"Hey, you're-"

"Tremble, fools! I, Leonardo De Montreal, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah power blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah genius beyond measure blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah-"

"That's enough!" barks one of the guards.

"Aha, afraid? But I-" Leonardo pauses. "Wait, I know you! You're the one who put me in the ice!"

"Yes, but it's not my turn this time." He gestures to the girl next to him. "Now it's her turn. Leave, or she'll demonstrate."

Leonardo can feel the wickedness squirming around in their brains as if he had it grasped in his hands. He tries to perceive its shape.

Alter...Angel...New form...Black Sun...Corruption of Hope...Mimic...

Hold on...

"I understand! You're going to-"

The girl raises one finger and Leonardo vanishes.

Jasper gasps in horror. Entropy sighs.

***

Leonardo De Montreal is in a place without location. He tries to move, but there can be no alterations of his position. He tries to look around, but there's nothing to look at. He tries to struggle, but that implies motion, and is thus impossible.

How can I be so vulnerable? Was it always thus?

Leonardo feels cold and miserable.

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 Bonus XP for 'Suffering Trauma'!)
(Leonardo De Montreal gains a point of Sickness!)

***

"BRING HIM BACK!" shouts Jasper.

Seizhi is alarmed. He's never seen her like this before.

Entropy is intrigued. He's never seen her like this before.

The guards are unmoved. "Please leave." The girl says, smiling smugly. "Causing a scene won't help."

The Prince of Cats steps into view, wiping the grins off their faces. "My pupil may need some support at this point..." He places his hand on the hilt of his sword and they tense. But then he turns to Jasper.

"Jasper Irinka, you should know that Leonardo is inevitably going to make a triumphant return. All this fretting is just a betrayal of your nature. If you can smile, and show me that you're not worried, I'll sort this out."

A: Jasper calls on the Sun to guide Leonardo back to her. (Sun Lights the Path, one free use per chapter)
B: Jasper starts slapping the Prince of Cats around the face with her Outside-Diminishing Tongue until he brings Leonardo back.
C: Jasper starts slapping the guards around the face with her Outside-Diminishing Tongue until they bring Leonardo back.
D: Jasper does as the Prince of Cats suggests.






Chuubo is still wrapped up in his own thoughts. Rinley has given up trying to talk to him and is racking her brains to think of something she could do to help.

There's a knock at the door.

Rinley opens it, and discovers, much to her disbelief, Simon Brambles, the Prince of Thorns. He's wearing what is either a cloak-like mass of vines, or a vine-like cloak.

"AGH!"

"No, no, don't worry. I'm not here to cause trouble. Rather, I'm here to make up for the trouble I've caused!"

What should Rinley do?

Z: Declare that he can't enter unless invited. (There's a Tree in the Way!)
Y: Let him in.
X: Slam the door in his face.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

A
Y

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


D

Z

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


A > C
Z > Y

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A XX
B
C
D X

Z XX
Y X
X










Jasper pictures Leonardo in her mind's eye, and opens her hands.

In Leonardo's view, something lights up. There's a moment of confusion as reality wavers, attempting to reconcile the concept of a path, with the concept of an absence of location. And then, it all breaks apart.

Quite suddenly, Leonardo is back with the others, stumbling towards Jasper. She gives a cry of joy, and Leonardo manages something of a smile.

(Jasper Irinka gains 1 Bonus XP for invoking 'Gratitude'!)

Then Jasper turns to glare at the guards.

Seizhi tenses, uncertain.

Entropy chuckles to himself.

What should they do?

A: Entropy starts on a long speech about diplomacy in order to distract them while the others walk in. (Obsession, one free use per chapter, spend 2 Will)
B: Jasper switches into Wicked Mode and induces cynicism while insisting to the guards that they aren't going to be able to stop her from entering. (Light To Encourage Hope, reversed with Wicked Mode, spend 4 Will)
C: Jasper talks to the Prince of Cats about his hopes, and consequently grows a Soul-Carving Sword Arm to attack them with. (Connect To Someone, convert one Divine Health Level)
D: Leave and try and work out a way to contact Jade Irinka remotely.






"Leave! Don't you know the universal law of reverse hospitality? You can't enter a dwelling you haven't entered!"

Simon quails. "I've done that many times already! When are the consequences going to catch up with me?"

"At any moment! Be afraid!"

She closes the door and giggles silently.

"Rinley-"

"AGH!" She spins around to find that Chuubo's come up behind her.

"I think... I think I should find my parents."

"Oh, okay. Sounds like it's time for another adventure!"

What should they do?

Z: Rinley remembers something that might help Chuubo find his parents. (A Little More to Any Tale, spend 2 MP)
Y: Go and talk to the neighbours.
X: Search the house for clues.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

C > A
X

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




A
X

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A XXX
B
C X
D

Z
Y
X XXXX









Entropy strikes a pose. "What you have failed to consider is that any unfair behaviour under these circumstances could qualify as being the cause of a diplomatic incident. You should tread carefully. Indeed, it may be that some poorly considered word or phrase has already brought about your ruin! Perhaps we should start over? Introduce yourselves!"

The two of them look at each other.

"I am Horo Kenlik." says the boy. "I wield the void of the vacuum as a test of worth. I am a Keeper of the Sun. You may not pass."

"I am Kinseis Salome." says the girl. "I expose the lies inherent in the concepts of motion and direction. I am a Keeper of the Sun. You may not pass."

(Seizhi, Leonardo and Jasper start to edge towards the entrance.)

"Haven't you considered the possibility that I might have the right of an ambassador? Can you tell me where I can and can't go?"

"Yes!" says Horo. "We can!"

"Aha! Diplomatic incident, right there!"

The Prince of Cats looks from one person to another, looking fascinated.

(Seizhi slowly eases the inner doors open.)

"Look-" says Kinseis. "I'm representative of the absence of location. Why should I care about diplomacy? I know that the concept of location is a lie, and that all places are truly one place. If you've got a problem, that because you're operating under the delusion that you disagree with me."

Entropy blinks. "Aren't you conflating the concept of physical location with that of idealogical location? That doesn't make sense."

"Hah!" says Horo. "What is your sense, out amidst the void housing the stars?"

(Seizhi, Leonardo and Jasper slip inside.)

"Irregardless of what you might preach-" Entropy continues. "-we're talking right now, which-"

"Are we talking right now?" asks Kinseis.

The Prince of Cats starts taking notes.

***

Inside, the three of them stare at Jade Irinka. For Leonardo, this is his first time meeting her, but he still seems too dazed to act intelligently.

She seems to have changed since the last visit. Instead of possessing the warm orange glow from before, she now gives off a silvery radiance which makes Seizhi think of twilight. She looks confused and somehow smaller.

"Mother?" asks Jasper nervously. "Are you all right?"

Jade focuses on Jasper. "Who are you?"

Jasper feels her body go cold. "I'm... I'm your daughter."

"Impossible. I only considered having a daughter. It never came to pass."

This can't be happening! Jasper falls to her knees.

(Jasper Irinka gains 1 Bonus XP for 'Suffering Trauma'!)
(Jasper Irinka gains a point of 'It Never Stops!')
(For gaining her third point of 'It Never Stops!', Jasper Irinka regains 1 MP!)
(Entropy's Miraculous Will refreshes!)

Jade spreads her wings. "I am the Sun. I have been away, but soon I shall return. My light will fall upon the people once again, and they will know Hope. The false idols and prophets that have emerged in my absence shall be swept away, and the correct order shall be restored." She blinks, and for a moment her eyes are black and filled with stars.

"Wait!" says Seizhi quickly. "Didn't you want to talk to me?" What's happened to her voice? It seems different...

"To you... Yes." She produces a scroll from somewhere. "I wrote it down, in case I forgot. And I think I did forget." She unrolls the scroll and starts to read, her voice changing. "Seizhi Schwan, I am writing this down in case I am unable to hold onto my thoughts for long enough. My daughter is in danger, and you are the person best qualified to help her. I had hoped that seeing you again would make it possible to confirm the conclusions I have reached regarding you, but that may not be possible at present. I believe that you have been able to trick the natural order of things in some fashion, and place yourself in an unique position to shape the future. You, who have earned a destiny, must now help my daughter hold onto hers." She frowns. "What daughter?"

"Please, is there anything more?" asks Seizhi anxiously.

"Oh yes. I understand that Jasper may not wish to part with me, but it is the burden of children to bury their parents. I need to die so that she might live. If my death is reversed and I walk out of the Bleak Academy, Jasper will no longer have a place in reality. You, who have overcome such an obstacle, need to help her hang on to her place in the world. Also, the Guar-" She shakes her head. "That's all, it just stops there. Did that mean anything to you?"

"Um, I think I need to think about it a little..."

Jasper jerks her head up and stares him forlornly.

What should Seizhi do?

A: Talk to Jade Irinka and use his essence to push out whatever influence is affecting her. (Touch the Heart, spend 1 MP)
B: Take Jade Irinka's hand and get the other two to leave the building and then call for him.
C: Hurry out before whatever Entropy's doing wears off.






Rinley and Chuubo start to go through the rooms of the house. The most obvious places to look are the various rooms that his parents actually use, such as their bedroom, the library and the study. But all of those rooms are strangely devoid of anything interesting.

Rinley comes across a strange door in the kitchen that looks out of place. It's made of white stone. Perhaps it leads down to the cellar? She opens it, and finds a set of steps leading down. "Hey Chuubo! Where do these lead?"

Hurrying up next to her, Chuubo peers down the stairs in confusion. How long have these been here? "I don't know. ...Do you think my parents might be down there?"

"Only one way to find out!"

The two of them eagerly rush down the steps-

-and find themselves emerging into an inexplicable space that couldn't possibly fit below the house. There are grecian columns, and light pouring down from above.

Rinley pauses. Hold on... "This is it! This is the Temple of the Dragon! I'm back!"

(Rinley Yatskaya gains 1 Bonus XP for a 'Discovery'!)
(Rinley Yatskaya gains a point of 'Something to Deal With'!)

Rinley breaks into a run, rushing around in excitement.

Chuubo looks around in confusion. How can this place be here? What does this mean? He looks up. Are we right below the Wish-Granting Engine?

What should Chuubo do?

Z: Change to dragon form, see if anything happens. (Kaiju Form, spend 2 MP)
Y: Go up to the back garden and make a wish for his parents to return (Wishing, one use per chapter)
X: Go and take a nap before he gets completely overwhelmed.
W: Keep searching the rest of the house.

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


A

Z

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A XXX
B
C
D

Z XXX
Y
X






Chuubo lets his mortal guise slip away from him, and allows his body to gradually expand to fill the volume of the temple.

He looks around, and gradually becomes aware of a whispering inside his head, almost too faint for him to be aware of it. He tries to make out what it's saying, but it remains too weak for him to comprehend it.

Giving up, he swirls around the room, managing to pick Rinley up and carry her on his back. He flies up into the light above.

(Chuubo gains 1 Quest XP for 'Precious Memories'!)

Chuubo finds him staring down at his house from above. But he's no longer seeing it as a physical building, but rather as some sort of conceptual growth, an idea blooming from something larger in the way that mould emerges from bread.

He looks down below it, and sees the Temple of the Dragon, immense and powerful. His house has sprouted from that temple.

It's not a real house?

Looking more closely, he can see the Wish-Granting Engine. It's somehow much bigger than his house, reaching up to snatch at the stars, with strange protusions extending in all directions.

I don't think I remember it looking like that...

Above, he can see the Outside Dust pouring down, focused on the engine.

Ah, that's what's attracting it!

(Chuubo gains 1 Bonus XP for a 'Discovery'!)
(Chuubo gains a point of Mystery!)

Chuubo tries flying higher. The house vanishes and coherency ceases. Rinley clings onto him as they vanish into swirling colours.










Seizhi remembers how it felt to free people from the Summoning-Knight. He clears his throat.

"Jade Irinka, you must know that there's something wrong. Look at this girl. Can't you see that she must be your daughter?"

Jade looks at him with an expression of bemusement. Seizhi feels a tremor of uncertainty. Is this really something a fake person can do?

No. So, when I succeed, that'll prove that I'm more than just a fake person!

(Seizhi Schwan gains 5 Quest XP for 'The Troubled Sky' for testing himself against his 'fakeness'!)

"Look, think about this message you've just read to me. Can't you see that you were a different person when you wrote it? Remember how you felt at that time. Remember the thoughts that passed through your mind."

Jade seems to be giving his words consideration.

"Why do you think they're keeping you here? What do you think this place is? You're being kept in the Outside, away from your natural habitat. Surely you must remember what true reality feels like?"

Jade rubs her hands together.

Seizhi raises his voice. "RETURN TO US, JADE IRINKA!"

Reality starts to ripple. A familiar orange glow starts to emanate from Jade's body. For the moment, Seizhi is staring into the Sun, but it doesn't burn his eyes. And then, Jade Irinka is there, just as she was during their first visits. He sighs with relief. Leonardo cheers, and Jasper covers her face, overwhelmed with emotion.

(Seizhi Schwan gains 1 Bonus XP for invoking 'Thumbs-Up!)

"I don't believe it!" Jade Irinka stares down at herself. "To have done this..." She pauses. "Ah. I can feel the change returning. You have only granted me a reprieve. Listen. During the Third Age we sometimes witnessed the emergence of unformed beings, who possessed mass, but no coherent form. These creatures had to be destroyed because of their potential to contaminate the reality around them with their confusion. I seems that you are such a creature, but you've been able to grow beyond your origins. Rather than thoughtlessly twisting events, you've taken upon yourself to repair and improve the state of affairs surrounding you. You heard me calling from far away more keenly than any other. They of the Outside tempt us with departures from reality. They offer freedom from hunger, from thirst, from time. But what can they offer you? You know the value of reality more than any other. Who else can better fight against them?" She hesitates. "I can feel the change returning! Seizhi, remember what I said in my message! Help my daughter as you've helped me! Jasper, my daughter, I love you very much! Leonardo De Montreal, thanks you for the help you have given her! But, please all of you, leave without seeing me in my stunted shape again! Oh, Seizhi, await the coming of the Guardian Bird! He comes to aid you!"

"Okay, I think we'd better be going!" says Seizhi as reality starts to twist up again.

(Seizhi Schwan gains 1 Bonus XP for a 'Discovery'!)
(Seizhi Schwan gains a point of Calling!)
(For gaining his third point of Calling, Seizhi Schwan regains 1 MP!)


Chapter 10
Scene 5


The following evening.

Seizhi is standing at the bus stop in Fortitude, waiting for transport home. They were able to get back from the Outside without any trouble, and Entropy took the other two back to Leonardo's lab for 'debriefing' accompanied by the Prince of Cats. Seizhi himself has decided it's time for a rest.

Unfortunately, two buses in a row have inexplicably failed to arrive. And it's started to rain. Exasparated, Seizhi eventually seeks out a public phonebox a short way away. By the time he's gotten there, distant thunder has started. He puts some money into the coin-slot only to discover that the lines are down.

What should Seizhi do?

A: Go back to the lab and stay the night, calling the family as soon as he's able.
B: Go back to the lab and ask Entropy for a lift home.
C: Go back to the lab and ask the Prince of Cats for a lift home.
D: Go and see Natalia's family, see if they can help.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Ultra Carp

B > C

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Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


C>B>D>A

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