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You are Alberich: maiden-rescuing knight, slayer of monsters, killer of men, familiar, possible relation to the Gods, and modern hero. You've seen your home destroyed, your friends and allies scattered to the winds, and yourself crippled, but you persevered through it all in the company of those who remain loyal. Today you intend to track down your sister, not so much out of a desire to see her as because she's the only person likely to be able to find your other compatriots.
On the night of November 13, 2019, you found yourself in a dimly lit stone basement, standing in the middle of a magic circle. You had been summoned as a Servant, a figure out of legend contracted after their death to fight alongside a magus for the Holy Grail. Unfortunately you are not a figure out of legend. You'd been the victim of a con, by none other than Judas Iscariot.
Since then, you've made your way through a chain of events even stranger than those you faced before becoming a Servant. You've lost one Master and gained another on the point of death. You've slain three enemy Servants and converted four to your cause. You've met, allied with, and betrayed the survivors of the last War: a family of magi dedicated to destroying the Holy Grail. You've discovered you were never really human, and have only been alive for less than a month. You've met the two others like you, formerly 'human' compatriots in the Akeldama's War who have since been transformed into Servants. You've fallen in love with Liliesviel von Einzbern, a homunculus at the center of the Holy Grail War whose desperate need and ephemeral beauty captured your heart. You've begun to walk the path of magical knowledge, and through the use of your Noble Phantasm summoned forth two impossible existences from the Reverse Side of the World: a phantasmal beast and a goddess. You've traversed the labyrinthine inner world of a former Goddess' spirit, and had your house blown up for your trouble.
Since awakening after that disaster, you've discovered the unexpected loyalty of your most recently acquired Servant, made contact with two of your scattered allies, met an old friend once more, healed yourself through a large-scale ritual utilizing the sacrifice of numerous bystanders, and finally tracked down Liliesviel just in time to save her from being killed by Assassin, who subsequently escaped.
None of the experiences on this strange, winding road have changed your goal. Whatever the purpose or origin of your life, and regardless of who stands in your way, there is only one path before you. You will take the Holy Grail with your own hands.
Four Servants remain to fall by your sword.

Archive of Previous Threads:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Sweets-Loving%20QM

Status Information:
https://pastebin.com/qsKX4p5b

QM Twitter:
https://twitter.com/SweetsQM
>>
For those of you seeing this quest for the first time, you'll find it faster to catch up on Fate/Awakening Mirror by reading the full text in this PDF than by going through the old threads. Fate/City Akeldama, the first part of the story, is still only available in the archive though.
>>
Letting yourself fall back against the pillow, you turn the matter over in your mind. Bringing everyone presently at the Koyama residence with you seems out of the question, certainly; a large group of foreigners consisting of two maids, five little girls, and a tall albino man? You'd draw the attention of everyone with the slightest chance to catch sight of you, to be sure! Of course there is the part of your mind tempted to say to Hell with what the mundanes think, you'll travel however you please, but there's little purpose in that kind of thinking. You may not have a societal reputation to worry about, but drawing that much attention is tangibly inconvenient even when dealing only with passersby; and it could bring the whole of the Church presence in the city down on you if word spreads fast enough. That certainly isn't something you want to deal with when trying to meet someone.

So, you can't travel with everyone. Should you go alone, then? It would be the least conspicuous way of going, but no, that's not practical either. With the way Liliesviel and Adelheid were butting heads last night, you don't know what might happen if you leave them together at this house while you go out to meet Kikuko and the person claiming to be Kōrakuhime. By the same token, you can't take just one of the pair and leave the other behind. That would probably only raise tensions further, with Liliesviel frustrated over you spending time with another girl and Adelheid angry over being left out of a potentially important meeting. At times like this, you reflect, it's a mercy to have one subordinate as easily managed as Medusa. In any case, to preserve the peace of your faction you'll have to take Adelheid and Liliesviel with you. There's no doubt that the three of you will still stick out, but at least it won't be as bad as if you'd traveled with Stachel, Arturia, and the Gorgon sisters as well.

With that decision made you slide out of bed, rolling onto your feet and walking over to draw open the curtains just wide enough to examine the weather without letting in sufficient light to wake Liliesviel. You may be fine on only an hour or two of sleep, but she needs more. Last night's clear skies haven't yet given way to more clouds, it seems. The sky is deep blue, still almost that of night, shot through with the strained light of a winter sun that's just risen and has yet to really make its mark. All the more reason, you think, to let Liliesviel sleep. You twitch the curtains closed once more and make your way over to the closet, surveying the rather disappointing collection of clothing formerly belonging to the Koyama family and settling on a thick navy blue bathrobe quite a bit too small for you, though it's the closest thing there to fitting. You miss the senior Vaisset's wardrobe intensely, and rather dread the moment when you'll have to put on one of Koyama's execrable suits. At least you'll have an overcoat that fits.
>>
For the moment, though, you stroll out of the bedroom in your too-short bathrobe and head to the kitchen to get some breakfast together. It only took a moment's thought, really, to decide you'd rather rely on your own admittedly limited cooking skills than pin your breakfast hopes on the dubious talents of those currently living with you. The only one you really think has a chance of being able to prepare a decent meal is Stachel, and she's a complete unknown. On which subject, you find yourself faced with her as soon as you turn the corner to head down the hall. The homunculus is standing at attention, back to the wall just to the left of the bedroom door, and bobs a curtsy to you as you make your exit.

"Well, good morning to you, Stachel," you say, a trifle taken aback. "Have you been standing guard there all night? Not satisfied with the safety offered by Arturia?"

"I would not insult you by complaining of the guard you have assigned, Lord Alberich," Stachel answers humbly, her code of decorum as a maid evidently taking precedence over her views or reasons for acting. "It is always best to be thorough, however, and without Stengel's direction I can perform no other duty." This is said in the same flat, emotionless tone as nearly all of Stachel's words, but you get the impression somehow that there's a sadness behind that impartial mask. Certainly the words themselves paint enough of a picture of a lamentable character that most would be convinced. Here Stachel is, wanting nothing out of life but to serve Liliesviel, and completely at a loss as to how to go about it without her partner.

Perhaps it's a flash of sympathy for that lostness that motivates you, or perhaps it's only the desire to make breakfast preparations easier for yourself. Certainly both emotions are present when you set a comforting hand on Stachel's shoulder and say with a paternal smile and buoying tone, "Well then, you can take instruction from me instead! I'm going to make us all some breakfast. Why don't you help me?"

"Lord Alberich," she begins, "that would be improper. As the master of the house, you should not do such-"

"No, no, no," you cut her off, brushing away the maid's argument with a dismissive wave of the hand. "Consider who else is in this house at the moment. You've just told me by your own admission that you're lost without Stengel. Medusa's cooking is abysmal, and her sisters have never so much as touched a frying pan. Liliesviel's never made a meal in her life, I'm sure of that. Adelheid is a disaster in the kitchen, and Arturia," you pause, thinking of the woman. She won't sabotage your food intentionally now, but even so you're reluctant to sample what she might make, so you conclude, "well, she's English. They aren't known for their cuisine. Now you can see it's down to my cooking or no-one's, and you're going to help me." With a joking air you add, "I'll make that an order, if it makes you feel better."
>>
Evidently it does make Stachel feel better, because she nods her assent and follows you into the kitchen with no further protest. In fact, you even think you see the shadow of a smile on her inexpressive face, though it disappears so quickly that it may well have only been your imagination. In any case, after a bit of initial fumbling the two of you manage to overcome your mutual inexperience and make a passable breakfast for eight of grilled mackerel, rice, and miso soup, with Stachel performing menial tasks while you direct affairs from a recipe pilfered out of Yumigawa's memories of his mother's cooking. To accompany the breakfast, though it generates some culture clash, you prepare the finest pot of coffee that can be managed with the Koyamas' mediocre beans and machine.

By the time breakfast is ready, the appetizing smell has obviously begin to drift through the building as Stheno and Euryale, cleaned up and dressed for the new day, come strolling into the kitchen to investigate. Predictably, they have Medusa in tow. At their arrival you send Stachel off to help her mistress to rise and dress and to collect Adelheid for breakfast. Then you turn to greet the newly awoken trio.

"Good morning, you three," you say cordially. "Did you sleep well on that couch? I imagine I'd feel rather stiff after such a night."

"Oh, well enough," Stheno answers, taking the jab with good grace, "but tell me, Alberich-sama, just what are you wearing? It looks as though you tried to find a compromise between a tunic and toga, and that blue isn't exactly..."

"Now what about this should take you aback that way?" you answer, sounding more incensed than you feel. The bathrobe really does leave a great deal to be desired where fashion is concerned, and the effect is only compounded by the fact that its ill fit leaves a decent portion of your legs, arms, and chest out in the air. Still, if she's going to poke fun at your choice of clothing to cook in, you're bound to defend it. "I may be a bit underdressed by my own standards, but to you girls from ancient Greece this should be nothing out of the ordinary."

"Perhaps so," she sighs. "Yet our homeland was never filled with humans who could distinguish or create beautiful clothing. After that market you brought us to, I rather developed the impression that you were a gentleman of better taste."

"Oh, you'll have your chance to be impressed again once I can get a proper outfit together," you counter. "Don't forget, now, my wardrobe was put to the torch a short time after we met. I'm living in what I can find here, and if I don't look quite my best for breakfast I hardly think that's the worst sin against appearance ever committed."

Before the argument can continue Euryale, who's crept around you during the exchange to examine the various breakfast items, asks curiously, "What is this stuff, Alberich-sama?" She's staring into the open rice cooker.
>>
"Why, it's rice," you say. "Have you never seen rice before? It's a grain, boiled and eaten; a staple food, here."

"No," Medusa interjects softly, "rice did not exist in our homeland. It gave me a surprise as well when I first encountered it."

"Boiled?" Euryale asks, drawing your attention back in her direction though her own gaze is still squarely focused on the contents of the cooker. "It's a grain that you don't grind into flour?"

"No indeed," you answer. "Only boil it in water 'til it's steamed off, and you can eat it. You'll get your chance to satisfy your curiosity and try it when breakfast is set out. Here, come and sit down." So saying, you usher the three girls out of the kitchen and over to the Koyamas' breakfast table, where they sit down alongside Liliesviel, Stachel, and Adelheid. Finally you call Arturia in telepathically, then bring in the food, serve it up, and sit down to eat yourself; though not before exchanging your bathrobe for the shirt and slacks Medusa dressed you in prior to your healing by Bloodfort Andromeda. Breakfast soon gets underway, and though the food is foreign to most of those here, you get no complaints. That, you suppose, is as much as one can reasonably hope for when it comes to amateur cooking. Personally you find the meal passable. The fish could have used more salt, while the flavor of the miso is slightly too strong, and the coffee is of course limited by the quality of what was available to you. Still, it's acceptable. Looking around, you consider striking up a conversation with one of the diners.

>[ ] Ask Stachel if she feels she's gained any understanding of food preparation.

>[ ] Introduce Liliesviel to the Gorgon sisters.

>[ ] Attempt to strike up a conversation with Adelheid. (What would you like to say?)

>[ ] Attempt to strike up a conversation with Arturia. (What would you like to say?)

>[ ] Attempt to strike up a conversation with Medusa and her sisters. (What would you like to say?)

>[ ] Simply finish your breakfast and call Kikuko to see if she's made any progress.

>[ ] Say something else. (Write in)
>>
>>4383106
>>[ ] Introduce Liliesviel to the Gorgon sisters.
For now may as well get the obvious out of the way, would like to add more but i'm drawing blanks right now.
>>
>>4383106
>[ ] Introduce Liliesviel to the Gorgon sisters.
>>
>>4383106
>>[ ] Introduce Liliesviel to the Gorgon sisters.
>>
>>4383106
>Tell everyone about the dream
>>
>>4383106
Been a while since i participated. I've read up on FATE lore now and i can't make heads or tails of what is canon or not. Are the machine gods canon despite the moon cell not being so, when they apparently lost their physical structure and became the olympians due to the white titan, who also attacked the moon cell but got fucked and imprisoned. Are the Lostbelts fucking canon or is it just in FATE GO? Why the fuck is the continuity so tangled?
>>
>>4383643
>Why the fuck is the continuity so tangled?
In universe: multiverse theory, in reality they just want to do whatever they want while milking the setting for all it's worth, using the multiverse to dismiss any plotholes it might cause.
Thanks to that 'canon' depends entirely on what you're looking at, at least when it comes to this quest best stick to the original VN material for lore with HF timeline being canon while the stuff from Extra/FGO isn't.
>>
>>4383643
Like Crackpot said, it's complicated by the fact that the setting is based around every entry in the franchise taking place in its own branching timeline. What you can be certain is canon in this quest is:
Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel route
...and that's pretty much it. Some things from Fate/Zero are canon, but that's an alternate timeline; lore details from Hollow Ataraxia are generally canon, like Stheno and Euryale existing.
Nothing from Fate/EXTRA is canon. Nothing from Fate/Grand Order is canon unless it's the occasional lifted detail, like Circe's design. The Lostbelts are not canon. The gods being machines is not canon. So on and so forth.
>>
>>4383675
>>4383690
Okay, that makes sense. Does that mean that the Absolute Ones aren't canon either? And what about tsukihime and the dead apostles/true ancestors?
>>
>>4383894
pretty sure they aren't. Nasu once said that tsukihime/dead apostle stuff doesn't occur in Fate universe
>>
>>4383894
Types are canon to the setting, they're referenced in the Fate world material. Dead Apostles exist in Fate as well, and I think I mentioned a DA hunt in Narvaéz's interlude. True Ancestors can't exist in a world with the Throne of Heroes, though, so the core Tsukihime stuff is out of canon.
>>
>>4383894
Think we had a similar conversation dealing with the church hunters in the mall, apostles exist but they're the bottom of the barrel, the ancestors either died long before, never existed or stay out of things so well they may as well only exist in superstition otherwise their existence would start causing problems the fate timeline, like creating a significantly stronger branch of the church to deal with them than the more 'anti-magic' focused executors
>>
>>4383690
>canon
I don't know. I can see some pretty huge discrepancies in lore, mechanics, magic, characters, abilities and generally how things work.
But that's OK because I expect this sort of stuff from a self-insert wish fulfilment fanfic like a quest.
When it comes to canon, who gives a shit anyway? Certainly not anyone here. So I don't even know why you pretend to care, Sweets.
>>
Oh I know what we should do
We can use the same method we used to extract Stheno and Euryale from Medusa to eject Judas from our soul.
>>
>>4384065
Why?
>>
I've been reading some other quests recently and I've noticed something. Whenever a QM does something stupid, unfair, or drags things out unnecessarily long there's absolute silence from the playersincluding a certain quest whose QM is very vocally critical of this quest. Whenever Sweets does that sort of thing he gets a shitstorm. Maybe it's good to get some feedback and grow as a QM but the difference is pretty amusing to see.
>>
Anons we really should tell everyone about the dream. If there's a chance to get a shortcut to Ayaka we should try it.
>>
Just letting you folks know, I plan to get the next update out tonight so I'll call the vote and write in about an hour or hour and a half.

>>4384152
I have to figure it's either because I used to have so many more readers than I do now, so a certain percentage of people are going to be disgruntled instead of just dropping the thing, or it has to do with my manner. I spent a lot of time responding to every complaint, and it doesn't seem to have done me any good.

>>4384198
If you go into some more detail on how you feel the others can help you with this or put together a more concrete plan, you might get some more interest.
>>
>>4384198
We could but I wouldn't expect too much to come of it considering how quick other characters were to dismiss the last time someone in our party started having dream premonitions when unlike with ours Tsubaki's was based on a personal skill and a bit less vague in direction.
Right now only person I can really expect to take it seriously might be Lily who'd probably try to frame it as whoever it was is clearly telling us we were 'abandoned' and not to waste time looking for her.
>>
Just had a work call, looks like I won't be able to get this done tonight after all. Sorry; I'd hoped I'd be able to get back on a daily update schedule today, but I guess it wasn't in the cards. I'll pick this up at 5:00 tomorrow, and hopefully get an update done before noon PST.
>>
>>4384638
Do you have XXIII archived or no? I want to read it too
>>
>>4383106
>[ ] Introduce Liliesviel to the Gorgon sisters.
>>
Most of your companions, none particularly comfortable with the others, eat in an uncomfortable silence. The tension between Adelheid and Liliesviel is particularly palpable, and each girl pointedly avoids the other's gaze. Stachel simply seems to have nothing to say, eating mechanically, while Arturia wolfs down her food but otherwise remains silent; presumably kept so by your order not to displease you. Even Medusa seems still plagued by the emotional malaise that came over her after the defeat of the Emiya couple, so that only Stheno and Euryale seem above it all, discussing the unusual dishes with interest. Still, two alone don't make a pleasant table, and it obviously falls to you to shift the conversation.

"Now," you begin, setting your chopsticks down as you finish eating and sweeping your eyes around the table to catch everyone's attention, giving a cordial smile to each in turn. "I believe an introduction is in order. Most of you know one another already, of course, but Liliesviel has yet to properly make the acquaintance of our newest comrades."

"Oh yes," the girl answers, perking up at the idea of meeting new mythical figures and learning more about the girls drawn from Medusa's mind. With an air of formal courtesy that seems almost rehearsed, she turns to say to the three, "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Liliesviel von Einzbern. Thank you for undertaking to serve Alberich. I am sure you will be a wonderful help to he and I, and hope we can have a cordial relationship. What are your names?" You wonder, hearing the self-introduction, if she greeted Odin when he was first summoned with largely the same words, and high-handed demeanor. You wonder how the God reacted to being spoken to in such a way. Stheno and Euryale, at any rate, don't take kindly to it. Their lips curl in almost identical haughty smiles, and they seem almost to draw back from Liliesviel at her words.

"You must have quite a high opinion of yourself indeed to speak so, human girl," Stheno replies, her gentle voice stained with soft and cutting contempt. "I am the Goddess Stheno, eldest of the Gorgons. You may call 'myself' Euryale," she adds, gesturing to her sister.

"I am Medusa," the third Gorgon cuts in, her own voice conveying only slight hostility. "We have met before, under less harmonious circumstances."

"Indeed," Liliesviel agrees, pointedly ignoring Stheno and Euryale. "It is quite the transformation you've had, since joining Alberich, isn't it? The change of heart is wonderful of course, but your body... I wonder why it is that all three of you so perfectly match-"

"Our beauty is perfect, ageless, and unsurpassed. All men would see us as the perfect idols," Stheno interjects, anticipating Liliesviel's comment about your preferences and cutting her off to boast. "You, girl, ought to watch your tongue. You have not proved yourself worthy of our company on the Shapeless Isle, as Alberich-sama has."
>>
"If you think this kind of body is every man's idea of a perfect beauty, ancient Greece must have been a very different place," Adelheid quips, inserting herself into the conversation when she spies the chance to take Stheno down a peg. "You and your sisters have a lot to learn about the modern world and what men think these days. Really, you were astonishingly lucky that the person who rescued you was someone with Alberich's proclivities."

As Adelheid begins to have a chuckle over the Gorgons' good luck and your "proclivities," you decide the conversation has gone far enough. With a set expression of muted anger you clear your throat, cutting through the building noise of the conversation and drawing all eyes back to you. "I hardly think my opinions on beauty are appropriate breakfast conversation, especially without my input," you declare. "Now, I see everyone's finished; we have no reason to linger. Stheno, Euryale, if Liliesviel's manner gave you any offense I apologize. Liliesviel, I likewise apologize for the tone of my Servants. As the one who brought you together, I suppose that any incompatibilities of personality are, to some extent, my responsibility," you add with acid sarcasm, making your irritation fully known after the apologies, "so do me a courtesy, you three, and if you find you cannot be friends at least do not antagonize one another. Now, if you'll excuse me I have a phone call to wait for. Stachel, please clear away the dishes."

With this declaration of affronted dignity made, and hopefully having its intended impact on the minds of your listeners, you rise from the table and make your way into the living room, where you drop into the armchair beside the landline and eye the phone pensively. It was perhaps not your best peacemaking speech, you suppose, but really you feel you did well not to blow up at them. Must these girls pick fights with one another at all times? It's reminding you already of the way arguments would rotate between Circe, Adelheid, Truvietianne, and Kikuko during your last days in Judas' Akeldama. You must find some way of making the girls around you, who presumably all share the common interest of your victory in the War, focus on that point of commonality instead of their petty differences. To do that, though, you suppose you'd have to understand why they're so quick to put such differences above the major fact of their alliance and jump at any chance to squabble, and the reason for that seems quite beyond you.
>>
As you're brooding on the problem of domestic discord, waiting irritably for Kikuko to return last night's phone call, Adelheid quietly follows your path into the living room and sits down in the chair opposite, pulling out her notebook and one of Vaisset's books of lab notes. Evidently she plans to spend the morning working away at deciphering the dead man's discovery. The two of you sit in silence for some time that way, her scratching in her notebook and you waiting for the phone, before a third party enters the room: Medusa.

"Master," she begins, speaking softly as she walks up to stand beside your chair, "I would like to discuss a certain matter in private. I have a concern about your future, and your plans for the War."

>[ ] Wave Medusa away. After the last thing she said to you last night, you suspect her concerns have more to do with a perceived moral decline on your part than anything meaningful. You can discuss such things later; for now you've waited too long already for Kikuko. Call her instead of waiting further.

>[ ] Accept Medusa's request and follow her into another room to discuss her concern.

>[ ] Wave Medusa away, as her concern is likely irrelevant, but strike up a conversation with Adelheid instead. Perhaps you can help her in some way with Vaisset's notes. (Write in any particular ideas)

>[ ] Find someone else in the house to discuss matters with until Kikuko calls, the place isn't big enough for you not to hear the phone. (Write in who and what you'd like to discuss with them.)
>>
>>4385022
Part XXIII is still on the board, hanging around page 10. I'll archive it once it falls off. You can also read the updates from it in the PDF.
>>
>>4385624
>[ ] Accept Medusa's request and follow her into another room to discuss her concern.
>>
>>4385624
>[X] Accept Medusa's request and follow her into another room to discuss her concern.
>>
>>4385626
I thought you're supposed to archive threads BEFORE they do that.
>>
>>4385624
>>[ ] Accept Medusa's request and follow her into another room to discuss her concern.
Despite our previous 'issues' it's rather nice of her to come to us about her concerns than waiting until they become an even bigger problem.
>>
>>4385733
The board keeps threads in its own archive for two weeks or so after they fall out of the catalog. I've just archived Part XXIII, anyway.
>>
Shit, I forgot.

>>4385624
>[ ] Accept Medusa's request and follow her into another room to discuss her concern.
>>
"Very well," you reply, getting to your feet. The fact that Medusa is proactively addressing whatever this concern of hers is strikes you as heartening, a good sign that her loyalty hasn't been diminished by the conversation you had after Emiya's defeat. If she's so quick to recover from her feelings and act in your interest, it demonstrates that Medusa at least is a subordinate you can rely on consistently. Such reliability of course ought to be rewarded, so you can hardly put off her request of a private conversation. "Lead on. I'll hear you out wherever you'd like to speak."

"Thank you, Master." Medusa dips her head in a motion somewhere between a nod and an extremely shallow bow at your words, and the two of you walk in silence from the living room back to one of the house's presently empty bedrooms. There she carefully shuts the door behind you, leaving her ear against it for a moment as if to check for any other inhabitants of the building stealthily following down the hall. It's only a moment, though, before Medusa is properly satisfied that the two of you are alone and turns to address you.

"Master," she begins respectfully, repeating the title yet again as if to drive the point of her loyalty home before making her real point, "my concern is with the relationship between you and the Lesser Grail, Liliesviel von Einzbern."

"Excuse me?" You raise an eyebrow in a restrained and semi-sardonic gesture of shock, though in truth you're quite taken aback. First Medusa complains of you killing a devoted enemy, now she finds fault in your relationship with Liliesviel? This can't be jealousy, can it? You are aware of the beauty of your own appearance, of course, and obviously you have some ability to attract women; otherwise Liliesviel surely wouldn't be as taken with you as she is; but for such emotion to come from Medusa, of all people, is just unbelievable.

Seeing your confusion, and perhaps guessing at your suspicion, Medusa is quick to make her explanations. "Do not misunderstand, please," she begins, her calm face betraying just a hint of a flustered expression. "I speak only out of a concern for your safety. When we were enemies, I did not consider it worth my time to speculate as to the exact nature of your relationship with the Einzbern family, but now that I serve you I must take an interest. From your conduct in the war, and her arrogant behavior, it seems as though you are in her power and act according to her wishes; that you are acting as a pawn of the Einzbern. I must warn you, Master, the Einzbern are not known for kindness to their pawns."
>>
"Ridiculous!" you scoff. "A pawn? I appreciate your concern, Medusa, but you've quite misread the situation. Liliesviel has no command over me, nor I over her. Why, we're working together to realize both of our goals, and it is not a partnership either of us can give up. She and I are bound together by the soul, Medusa; when one dies, so does the other, and when one becomes the Third Sorcerer, so does the other." With an inexplicable slight hesitation, you add, "We are also in love, if such a thing exists."

"I see." Medusa looks at you levelly, taking in your words with consideration, then continues, "That does not resolve my concern, Master. Liliesviel may be a pawn herself, and as much betrayed by her family as you are likely to be. You seek the Third Sorcery? Let me tell you what I know of its use."

"Its use?" you echo, surprised. "I thought the Heaven's Feel had never been completed."

As if not hearing your query, Medusa continues in the same serious, warning tone, "Emiya Shirou died once before, at the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War. I saw his sacrifice; saw him put himself last and give up hope of escape for the sake of Sakura and Rin. That he is alive now is only due to the Lesser Grail of that time, and the Third Sorcery. Apparently she was able to make use of an incomplete version of the Heaven's Feel to materialize his soul and give him new life, even as he died. It is a form of existence with flaws. He relies on puppet bodies, and like a Servant requires magical energy from another source to go on. All the same, he is alive now. She is not."

"You don't mean to tell me that the Third killed her," you reply, stunned.

"As far as I understand, it did." Medusa's answer gives no mercy, only continuing in that same solemn tone. "The one who benefits from the Third Sorcery is not the Lesser Grail. The ritual destroys her, and if you are bound as you say, it seems you shall be doomed together."

>[ ] Tell Medusa she raises a very significant point, and you'll take the issue up with Liliesviel.

>[ ] Dismiss Medusa's concern. Tell her that if the last Lesser Grail could choose to make the target of the Heaven's Feel Emiya, Liliesviel can surely direct it to herself and materialize her soul in the moment her body dies.

>[ ] Thank Medusa for bringing such a possible danger to your attention, but don't mention bringing it to Liliesviel. If the girl hasn't thought to speak to you about it until now, you'll probably have little to gain that way. Resolve to find some other expert in magic to discuss the matter with.

>[ ] Say something else. (What?)
>>
>>4387709
>[X] Tell Medusa she raises a very significant point, and you'll take the issue up with Liliesviel.
>>
>>4387709
>[ ] Dismiss Medusa's concern. Tell her that if the last Lesser Grail could choose to make the target of the Heaven's Feel Emiya, Liliesviel can surely direct it to herself and materialize her soul in the moment her body dies.
Don't need to bother with this.
We've got enough plot threads on the table already and Sweets is a total Einzbernfag so...
>>
>>4387923
This problem is integral to Alberich accomplishing anything post-war.
This would make quite a bit of sense in reference to Kourakuhime's prophecy of the prize being fake.
>>
>>4387926
>this problem
Doesn't exist.
The Einzbern in this quest are faultless super magi.
Sweets has already done stuff like having the Dress of Heaven revert to being a human, when the procedure of turning into it for Leysritt is permanent and fatal.
He's had the Einzbern just create a whole new grail with no real logic behind it. The first grail required the sacrifice of Justeaze, the Third Magician and the assistance of Zelretch, the Second Magician. It's kind of silly that we're supposed to buy that the Einzbern just made a new grail "because something might be wrong." Without anyone noticing at all.
From this evidence we can mostly conclude that in this timeline the Einzbern are superbeings that have absolutely no faults somehow.
We'll know for sure when we kill our fourth servant.
The lesser grail can't function as a human with four or more souls within her body.
Personally if it means getting out of this damn unlimited social votes, I can't wait.

Like seriously, the idea that things would go poorly for the Einzbern in the Einzbernwank quest is silly.
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>>4387709
>[ ] Tell Medusa she raises a very significant point, and you'll take the issue up with Liliesviel.
>>
>>4387932
Nobody's twisting your arm to read a quest you don't enjoy, anon.
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>>4388018
Nobody's twisting your arm to write a quest nobody enjoys, QM.
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>>4387709
>>[ ] Tell Medusa she raises a very significant point, and you'll take the issue up with Liliesviel.
>>
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>>4388021
That comparison doesn't work and you know it.
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>>4388021
Oh, you shove it too. If nobody enjoyed it it wouldn't have gone on so long, and if it ever gets to the point nobody's enjoying it I'll stop the damn thing and finally set to writing something original.
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>>4387709
>[ ] Tell Medusa she raises a very significant point, and you'll take the issue up with Liliesviel.
>Incidentally, there was another recent event worth mentioning. Was communication through dreams a technique employed by gods of your pantheon? I believe Hecate may have contacted me in a dream last night and if so that method could be a shortcut in finding my master.
Anons that dream sequence was there for a reason. Alberich should be capable of back-tracing Hecate's message or calling her back. Or calling Ayaka with the same method.
>>
Honestly I don't want to sound like i'm against investigating the dream but at the same time I don't fully trust it; on one hand the gods could send messages through dreams but why would she go through the trouble of obfuscating her appearance to us if she wanted us to trust her? Sure there is some talk of other specific gods being needed to send them or control their content but every source I can find also refers to the messengers, the Oneiros, as gods and not familiars or servants how she would be able to send one without them is beyond me but we've seen how accurate the Greek understanding of things was with the 'mirror' shield and it's up to Sweets on how true that is here. Even then the sender is under no obligation to tell the truth, they're fully capable of sending dreams full of lies to manipulate someone and, assuming it even was an Oneiros and not some third party involved, with another former Greek goddess in the picture we can't be fully certain it even was from Hecate.

>>4388190
>>4388023
I'll still give my support since without a scryer it is currently our only lead and could be worth a follow up, but only a fool trusts the words of message when they don't have complete trust in the sender.
>>
>>4387709
>>4387713
>>4388190
I'll change to this too.

>>4388410
Don't forget that Hecate had black hair when she was one of the gods of Olympus.
She made her dream appearance mirror her state of mind rather than her real appearance.
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>>4388410
>why would she go through the trouble of obfuscating her appearance to us if she wanted us to trust her?
I was thinking that's generally what she looked like before the other gods gave her bunny-ears and severe psychological trauma. Maybe in the past few days she's been recovering some of her strength? Couldn't hurt to at least ask Medusa if it's plausible. Way back when Circe said Hecate had canine features so it's not a 1-to-1 match but it might be something.
Sending messages psychically through dreams is also a groundbreaking method of communication that ought to be investigated now that we know *someone* has been doing it.
>>
>>4388475
Maybe all i'm saying is I still have my doubts about it, hair color alone isn't a strong case when dealing with someone in a format where they can appear in whatever form they wish, not when there's another AoG sorcerer and former goddess running around who could just as easily be sending it. There are others I could guess at if it's not from either of them but those're much more of a stretch.
I'll still support because Medusa and her sisters are the most unbiased help we could get on this, assuming it is from one of the former goddesses and always good to have another tool in our arsenal if we can figure out how to copy it.
>>
It's been another two days already, good lord.
My apologies, folks. This latest mini-hiatus should end tomorrow, I'll be able to write again then.
>>
So that turned out to be wrong. I'm just posting now to tell any of your folks who've stuck around that I'm still here, still trying. All apologies for the delay. This isn't a problem with writer's block or anything like that, the story should be able to move pretty well if I can just get some time to write.
>>
>>4391950
You sound overworked Sweets
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>>4393540
I do have a lot on my plate at the moment, yeah.
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>>4393747
Do you see a reprieve for yourself anytime in the future?
>>
>>4393747
Don't want to sound like i'm speaking for everyone but If you need to call a break again just keep us posted, I feel those of us who've stuck through this long we'll still be here when you get back.
>>
>>4393747
That's sad to hear, just got done reading the archives and wanted to partake on voting. Hopefully things start to look better for you
>>
>>4393922
I don't know about a general change in my situation, but I can at least write on the weekend. I should have the next update posted relatively soon.

>>4394394
Thanks for the sentiment. I don't know enough about how things are going to shape up with future work to say when or if they'll change again, so trying to schedule a break doesn't really work. All I can do at the moment is try to find time on a day-to-day basis.

>>4394974
I'm glad to have you onboard! Any thoughts on the quest now that you've just read through it all at once?
You'll have something to vote on today and tomorrow at least, and with luck maybe next week won't be as busy as this one has been.
>>
>>4395150
Not really but i did enjoy it
>>
"If you haven't made some misunderstanding of the Heaven's Feel and what you say is true," you begin, your voice and expression oppressed by grave concern, "then this is a point of very significant concern indeed, and well worth considering. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, Medusa; I'll discuss the matter with Liliesviel, and hopefully we can come to some resolution of the matter."

"You will discuss it with her?" Medusa's eyes widen a hair in surprise, but her voice carries deep trepidation. "If that girl is truly the Lesser Grail, she must know the details of this ritual in full. If she has not brought the matter to your attention before, she will surely dismiss it now out of devotion to her house. Perhaps she considers it worth the sacrifice of both of you to achieve the wish of the Einzbern."

"I've thanked you once already for your concern," you reply harshly, feeling yourself grow angry at this excessive, almost paranoiac assumption of Liliesviel's character and hardening your voice. "The same sentiment taken to such an extreme will not motivate me to warmer emotion. I've made my decision, Medusa."

The Servant gives you a strangely resigned, knowing look, and a moment of silence passes between you before she nods and tonelessly replies, "Understood." Then she turns to go, leaving you alone in the bedroom to contemplate your next course of action.

"Wait." You deliver the order quietly, before she's gone more than a step, and set your hand on her shoulder to restrain her. Softening your tone to give the impression of one promptly regretting unintended harshness toward a devoted follower, though in reality her attitude has only provoked your irritation further, you explain, "You don't know Liliesviel, Medusa. I understand the two of you have gotten off on the wrong foot, why she seems to bear you and your sisters such ill will is a mystery to me; and I don't know just how your experiences with other Einzberns have gone, perhaps they merit such suspicion. She does not. Listen to me when I say that I can trust that girl completely. She has no secrets from me, I promise you; when I discuss your concern with her, I am certain she'll be nothing but earnest."
>>
Medusa turns to face you again at this outpouring of emotion, but your words haven't changed the knowing, resigned look in those beautiful, inhuman amethyst eyes with their bizarrely shaped pupils. As she levels that gaze at you her eyes seem to be saying, "I stood by and watched the foolishness of love as all the finest youths of the world came to lay their adoration at my sisters' feet, and were driven to agonized death by the belief that they could 'trust completely' in the love they imagined they shared. Right now you look just the same. I may have sworn to call you my Master and help you, Alberich, but I can't become a mother to you and correct your naivety." If such are her thoughts, though, and not only the sentiments imputed to her expression by your own too-easily stung pride, she doesn't give voice to them. Instead, with respectful tones Medusa replies, "Very well. You do know her better than I. For your sake I hope your estimation of her character is right. Will there be anything else, Master?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," you reply, letting go of her shoulder and forcing an air of cordiality, eager to square away the previous issue in spite of your unsettled and irritable feeling at the look Medusa has been giving you. "There was another recent event I thought worth mentioning to you; or rather, asking you about. Was communication through dreams a technique commonly employed by the Gods of your pantheon? I believe Hecate may have contacted me in a dream last night, if it's within her powers to do so." You put more confidence in your identification of the dream woman into your voice than you feel, since the information would surely be useful in any case. Hecate does seem like the most likely origin of that dream, of course, being the only curvaceous female mage you know who might have reason to appear black-haired in a dream, but that's hardly conclusive. The details of the dream woman's appearance have already faded somewhat from your memory, as dreams often do, but though you can no longer call her face or voice clearly to mind you feel certain you didn't recognize her in the dream. In that light it might well be that some stranger has managed to penetrate your mind; but then you come around again to wonder what of her words about Ayaka? Hecate is the only one in a position to think of Ayaka and speak to you, isn't she? The thing is a mess, but at least by putting this question to Medusa you may be able to narrow down one possibility.
>>
At this Medusa looks thoughtful, not focusing on your eyes but turning her attention inward, to memory. After a moment's reflection she answers, "I cannot call it a common technique, exactly. If one word were used to describe the Olympians, it should be idiosyncratic. They each have their own ways, but they could certainly have done so if they wished to. Whether a God could perform old divine feats in this world of man is more doubtful." Here she briefly pauses again to think, before concluding, "With Hecate's expertise I should not think it beyond her even now."

"I see. That's quite helpful, thank you," you reply heavily, feeling no trace of the gratitude your words suggest. If communication through dreams is neither a common habit of Greek Gods nor an impossibility for Hecate, Medusa hasn't narrowed your situation down at all; your speculation is now just where it began, and you about to make your disappointed exit when another idea strikes you. "Do you imagine that it would be possible to retrace that dream connection by magic? I realize you're only theorizing, but as the only person I have with me who has some knowledge of the magic of the Age of Gods, I must rely on you."

"I suppose it could," Medusa answers uncertainly. "You have accomplished quite remarkable things with magic of the mind before, and this would be of the same kind." Despite the generally positive trend of her words, though, Medusa sounds quite reluctant to suggest that it would succeed. Understandable, you suppose, in light of the fact that she most likely knows relatively little about magic herself, but all the same she ought to have something more than this to say. Before you can press for further advice, though, your attention is caught by a loud, abrasive noise coming from the living room. The phone is ringing.

"Excuse me," you say, making your way out as you do so. "I believe that is the call I've been waiting for. Again, thank you for your advice today, Medusa." With that you make for the living room, and in a few moments have picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi there, Al-chan," comes Kikuko's bright voice. "You were in such a total hurry last night I didn't think you'd keep me waiting like that. It was ringing forever, you know?"

"Is that so?" You put a bit of a smile into your voice, matching Kikuko's cheer with mirth of your own. "How odd, my receiver only rang once or twice. Maybe there's something wrong with the line. At any rate, you have me now. How have things gone with your latest online friend?"

"All set up," Kikuko chirps. "If I thought she was normal I'd say she's, like, pretty desperate for some company with this whole thing going on, you know? She totally jumped on the chance to have me over. Since you said ASAP, I told her we'd be over in half an hour. That okay with you?"
>>
>[ ] Get the girl's address and leave right away in order to meet Kikuko at the arranged time.

>[ ] Tell Kikuko to put the meeting off. (Write in how long.) For now you want to focus on trying to replicate whatever magic the person you saw in last night's dream used to reach you.

>[ ] Do something else. (Write in)
>>
>>4395623
>[X] Get the girl's address and leave right away in order to meet Kikuko at the arranged time.
>>
>>4395623
>[ ] Get the girl's address and leave right away in order to meet Kikuko at the arranged time.



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