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Astrid Kim

Astrid had to admit that the suggestions that Lancer had put forth were valid, but it took a few moments of mulling both of the possibilities over to cause her to discard them. Ignoring the issue of the speed and safety of any given transmission, letters did require a return address. One slip-up, and the two of them would likely have to relocate—unless they wanted to be assaulted day and night by enemies vying for their heads.

Once her Servant had picked out a set of clothes for herself (a suit, which Astrid found oddly fitting on her frame), the young woman nodded and promptly left her room. She made sure, of course, to lock the door on her way out after her Lancer left; there was no issue in being too cautious with security.

A quick elevator ride down and a short walk away was all that the half-Valkyrie needed to find her destination—a diner that, in person, seemed a lot less flattering than it did on her phone.

"Uh... Hm. Well... We may as well buy something here, then...?" she asked to herself before walking inside. The first thing to assault her nostrils was the smell of oil in the air, and it took her a good few seconds to adjust to the atmosphere in the room. The locale felt smaller on the inside than it looked, and after a few seconds of looking around in mild curiosity, a middle-aged lady behind the nearby counter-top waved at the two of them before directing them to a table near the window.

"I hope I haven't made a poor decision this morning..." Astrid sighed to herself as she promptly took a seat where she was directed and a one-page menu (laminated, of course) was placed in front of her and her Servant by the same lady who had directed them there.

"Take your time, all right?" she said before leaving both women behind to head back behind the counter. To this, Astrid could only scratch her head before going to read the menu.

"Mmm... Coffee and a few pieces of toast should do fine for me," she remarked, glancing over the menu before handing it off to her Servant.

"So... Thus far, we've made contact with Rider and Saber, and you've already ascertained the identity of the former. What's your personal evaluation of them, Lancer?"

@KoL
Alter Ego — Meltryllis

Once her Master had made the call, the matter was settled. It wasn't as if the four of them could deliberate anything meaningful without any more information anyhow, and letting the other pair of odd ducks do their own investigations on the side meant that Meltryllis was freed from the obligation to do so herself. She had seen enough of the city to get a general gist of its layout regardless of how little her Master had shown, and with her own Skills it was a simple matter of leaving while her Master was unaware in order to scout out whatever else that she needed to.

That being said, though, there were still matters that she needed to tend to in that regard. Namely, the way her Master was treating her.

It went without saying, but the Alter Ego was rightfully indignant of how she had been treated for the last few hours, if not internally fuming at how everything had transpired. Ever since BB had 'intervened' with their search, Nanako's occasional glances over at her body only caused her more and more irritation. Melt was aware of how much of a monster she truly was—of her current state, of her warped sense of being—but being pitied downplayed almost all of that. She had made it perfectly clear of the distance between the two of them, and here she was, acting as if that sliver of information BB had given her was enough high ground to stand over her like that.

Unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable.

With those thoughts held behind her otherwise uncaring visage, the Alter Ego finally got up and made her exit, with her Master following close behind with the odd object that the Atlas girl had handed over. Something to be looked at later, if anything.



Once the pair had made it back home and Nanako had unlocked the door, Meltryllis glared at her Master with a pair of cold, unflinching eyes before she made her way past and made herself comfortable on the couch. The prosthetic limbs she had been given were switched back the second that she stepped foot inside, leading to a new set of (minor) indentation as she moved over—one to match the many that had already been made in the floor earlier that day.

"So, Master," she began to say, her anger finally seeping through the cracks, "do you have anything to say to me? Don't act like I'm a blind little marionette, because I am well aware of what you were thinking the last few hours."

@VitaVitaAR

Ruler — Sherlock Holmes

"Ahaha. Miss Obberhausen, you wound me. I am not so much a deviant so as to stalk two young women as they go about their lives in that manner," the Ruler remarked in turn, watching in relative silence otherwise as his Master handed off a Mystic Code to the pair before they left. To be frank, having this point of contact would be enough for the moment, and given the current circumstances, it wasn't like he could get much of anywhere without any further leads.

"I believe that this incident is enough to ruminate on for the rest of the night, so I do not mind simply acting as your de facto aide and bodyguard from here on out," the detective said, rising up from his seat as he placed a few paper bills down onto the table. Though the city did mostly run on credit, it didn't hurt to have hard cash to use for situations like these.

"So... Where shall we head, then? Are there any technical issues to resolve?"

@KoL




Fusang University — City Streets

"Cheap food made with the heart... Well, I can see where your opinion comes from," Gray responded, nodding her head slightly as she glanced around to find a menu... Only to see that their menu was actually just written on a giant whiteboard that was attached to the wall. "After a decade in the Clock Tower and obscure locations and everywhere in between, though, I still can't get particularly used to this sort of atmosphere. It feels more like a market restaurant in southeastern Asia than anything else."

Turning her head up to stare at the menu, the hooded woman stared at the menu options written (in three different languages, no less) before finally deciding to simply hope that whatever the chef's recommendation was wouldn't be anything too odd or unpalatable.

"So, erm... Miss Asakura, I am curious about how it's like to be living with a Servant. Given how you're the Master of the King of Heroes—if 'Master' would even be the correct term in this context—an idea on how to deal with the incoming craziness of the next while would be greatly appreciated."
@Rabidporcupine: Alternative solution: would it be okay to sideline your char until your schedule stabilizes? It'd essentially mean having your char do background stuff until them, but I think that shouldn't be an issue.
@1Charak2: Hm. Aight, well... In the interest of attempting to keep up some semblance of pace, if you don't move in, say... The next half a week, I'll be working to weave your partner back into the story without you. Please, do keep that in mind.

@clanjos: Pinging you to make sure you're still present. A post would be appreciated to move your thread along.
Ah, I mean... I guess it can't be helped, then. Best of luck to you in the future.

@1Charak2: Radioing in to check if you're still around. Call back if you're having trouble or otherwise, aight?
Alter Ego — Meltryllis
Ruler — Sherlock Holmes

"You'll accept the offer, then?" Holmes asked, quietly looking at Nanako before nodding. "Good, good. I look forward to cooperating with you in the future."

At the very least, it seemed that their offer hadn't gone without consideration. While having a person who blindly followed suggestions could be helpful at times, someone who simply accepted everything at face value would never be able to survive even with tutoring. That being said, though, it was only a matter of time before they got to see if she was truly able to keep up or not.

"As for the city's mainframe... I believe that would be too risky right now. Given that this 'BB' was able to freely tap into the networks on Fusang and contact these two, it is very likely that she could outright avoid detection or turn things back around us at this moment. I would suggest we continue to gather information; in other words, during this next week, we should see what sort of errands she sends Miss Mihama and Miss Meltryllis out on, and act in parallel."

To this, Meltryllis could only sigh and cross her arms. Having finished her own food, the Alter Ego simply stared at her Master.

"So are we done, then? It's a disappointment that my request would be rejected, but at least with some assistance you'll be slightly less of an eyesore," she said, leaning back in her seat. "So, what are we going to do instead? Continue wandering about the city until evening? Head back now? Or do you have some other course of action in mind?"

@KoL@VitaVitaAR



The Spider's Thread

Once he heard the bartender's comment, the King of Conquerors let out a small sigh of relief before leaning onto the table. The little girl from earlier had walked over to sit with them, and with her introduction as a Servant (and one of the more apparently important ones here, at that), Iskandar simply shrugged his shoulders and watched in silence as his Master took the cup from the bartender before seating himself next to him. With a slight smirk, the Rider took the bottle of wine and poured some out for Lord El-Melloi II.

"Ah... Thank you," the professor said, nodding his head in thanks as he took a small sip of the wine. The mix of acidity, sourness, and sweetness made it a bit more pleasurable than what he had expected, given the shop's decor, but given that the King of Heroes was the one to recommend this location... Well, this much was to be expected.

"A-ahem. I'm sure that I can provide what I must to the development of those present here without any issue," Lord El-Melloi II said in response to the Administrator's comment, his body straightening itself out as he continued. "I apologize, but I haven't had the pleasure of meeting any of the higher-level personnel yet. As you already know, I am Lord El-Melloi II, here from the Clock Tower to provide assistance in teaching those studying at this location's local university."

An introduction was in order here, of course; Lord El-Melloi II was already well aware of such formalities.

That didn't mean that his Servant cared much for them, though.

"Oi, bartender, why don't you join us for a cup, too?" he asked, turning his body around to stare at the old man on standby. "I'm sure a drink or two couldn't hurt, right? We're all equals in the face of good alcohol, after all!"

@DocRock@Raineh Daze

Fusang University — City Streets

There was a slight smile on Gray's face as her companion spoke, and as the two walked out of the building Add also seemed to quiet down a bit. It had definitely been a while since she had been brought out for a meal outside of business matters, seeing as how eating at home was a far more viable option otherwise.

The mention of Japanese street food, however, caused her to waver for a moment. While trying new cuisines could be an interesting experience, she had expected something a bit fancier than what was essentially a plate of fried noodles. Maybe that was just the type of city that this was...?

"I'm not particularly a fan of alcohol, but if you're recommending the food, I wouldn't mind trying some for myself," she said, following Hinami as the two of them weaved through the people and the streets milling about.

Their final destination, a small restaurant made out of a repurposed shop, gave Gray a reason to look around. Her quizzical expression as the pair walked inside only seemed to deepen once she saw the number of people present inside already. The location looked far smaller on the outside than it did otherwise, it seemed.

"Hey, welcome!" one of the chefs called out from the back, casually raising an arm before waving the pair over to a nearby table. "Kenji'll come to take your order in a sec, so just sit tight, all right?"

"A-ah... This is... A far cry from what I'm used to..." Gray said, looking around before finding the location that she and Hinami had been directed to before taking her seat. "Is this informal style of restaurant common here, or...?"
Aight, since there's still the hope to keep this alive from those I've reached out to:

@Rabidporcupine: Ping back by the end of the month on status, or we're moving on. Aight?
Alter Ego — Meltryllis
Ruler — Sherlock Holmes


Meltryllis simply glared daggers at Nanako the moment that she offered to help—or, at the very least, attempted to offer her help. Her Master, it seemed, realized the problem halfway through her sentence, but the Alter Ego didn't simply leave that as water under the bridge. The way that she was treating her was far too casual, and despite everything that had occurred and all the information she had given that would give more than enough of a reason to fear her, her Master was still acting as she had been.

All this, despite knowing that she was both an inhuman amalgamation and the equivalent of a mass murderer... It was incomprehensible. Either that girl was naive, an idiot, or both. Meltryllis' opinion, of course, was leaning towards 'both'.

Given that the Atlas girl and her Servant were still debating over a course of action, though, Meltryllis decided to instead focus her efforts towards eating the parfait. The neural degeneration had the most impact on her hands, yes, but at the very least her sense of taste was very much intact. Despite all the work she had to do to get even a single bite into her mouth without resorting to have to bring her head closer to the cup (or, maybe, because of it), the yogurt and fruits were all the sweeter. The Alter Ego refrained from smiling, though, as there was more to be gained from focusing on the conversation at hand rather than simply indulging herself in market-brand foodstuffs.

Holmes, on the other hand, had turned his attention towards Nanako once she began to respond, only to straighten his posture and look towards his Master once she began to speak. The Alter Ego's Master, it seemed, was still too busy attempting to decide if the offer was worthwhile, which likely meant that she would be stuck in limbo for a while. As such, it would be far more prudent to process other information instead.

"Might I add, Miss Obberhausen, that Miss Meltryllis also mentioned that the disappearance of atmospheric mana also occurred decades before our current era? The events leading up to such a thing are likely worth exploring as a minor experiment should we have the free time, but I do understand what you are implying. Regardless of the outcome, though, a trip to that facility would likely take time away from your duties and my investigations anyhow," the Ruler said, quietly processing more of the information he had been given as he attempted to piece together the motives of the rogue AI hovering over the duo in front of them. "Working under the assumption that this 'BB' has linked up 2030 and our 'present', and considering how she is attempting to coerce your help despite having near-omnipotent potential within the confines of the 'Moon Cell', I believe that something has occurred outside her 'domain' in that era that necessitates your summoning here. What that may be, however, is yet to be determined. So, Miss Mihama... Have you come to a conclusion yet?"

@KoL@VitaVitaAR




The Spider's Thread

"Oi, oi, Archer... Do you think I'm enough of a fool to bring a few measly bottles to satisfy a group of kings? More is by far the better option, and if I recall correctly, you didn't even drink any of it in the first place!" Rider said in response, almost as if chiding an old friend, before turning his attention back towards the bartender's table. Once the requisite bottles and cups had been handed over, though, the King of Conquerors finally removed his Master from his shoulder and planted him on the ground. Lord El-Melloi II seemed no worse for wear, oddly enough—doubly so given that the Rider had essentially carried him over all the way from the University to here. "One more glass for this one over here, all right?"

With that request settled, Iskandar grabbed the bottles and cups and brought them over to the table that Gilgamesh was seated at, flicking off the cork from the bottle of Italian wine off and causing it to fly back towards the old man's face.

"Aha, sorry about that!" Iskandar called out a second after he had realized what he had done before taking a seat and carefully filling both of the cups. "In any case, to my return!"

Without missing a beat, Iskandar calmly drained the entire glass in a single motion before letting out a large sigh of refreshment.

"Mmm... Not bad, not bad! Shame there's so little of it, though," he said, only barely turning his head to notice the girl that Gilgamesh was now calling towards. Given that she looked like a little girl, however... Well, the Rider could only give a bit of a side-eye towards the bartender.

"Oi, Goldy... Are kids usually allowed in places like these in this city...?" he asked, his voice still loud enough to be overheard by everyone in the room despite his halfhearted attempt at a whisper.

@Raineh Daze@DocRock

Fusang University

The help that Gilgamesh's Master was providing was quite useful in speeding up the cleaning process, and the mop and bucket meant that the bloodstains in the linoleum flooring wouldn't stick. The only worry was that someone would question the presence of chicken blood (or, well, blood in general) if they didn't dispose of everything properly, but the janitorial staff was likely used to that by now.

"Ah, my hood?" Gray asked, pausing for a moment as the question came up. "My hood, huh...? Well, it's a bit of a long story, but as that Heroic Spirit said, I look strikingly similar to my ancestor, the King of Knights. My mentor, Lord El-Melloi II, brought me away from where I grew up, but my face brought back too many bad memories for him. So ever since then, I've worn this hood while working around him. It's probably for the best."

"Ah, but with that loud redhead back in action, you're probably fine now, right? Hell, it's not like we didn't look at the record of summoned Servants on the flight over; Arthur—no, sorry, Arturia Pendragon and Mordred are both here, right?"

The voice that had chimed in came from under Gray's cloak, and after a few seconds of rattling as the woman placed the gathered paperwork back in its proper place, a small cage containing an odd block-shaped... Thing was brought out.

"Er... Right. Miss Asakura, this is Add. Er... To put it simply, he's... Probably something I should be returning to the King of Knights? Actually, that might be a bad idea..."

"No kidding it's a bad idea! Who knows what that girl will do to me to get you-know-what back!" the box shouted in response, to which Gray sighed before she tucked the cage away once more.

"Well, er... Thank you for your help in cleaning up. I'm more than ready to explore the town whenever you are."



With the mop and bucket (and everything else) handled, the two women left the university in short order. The afternoon rush had died down considerably, though given that the university was a campus in its own right there were still a few students milling about on the streets. Gray, outfit and all, seemed to stand out among the crowd; that didn't matter very much, though, as it seemed that most of the people were glued to their phones instead.

"Ah, so... I'm not entirely sure if Lord El-Melloi II or his Servant will be back in time for dinner, if at all, so... Would you mind if I asked where we could fine a place to dine for the night as well? I want to make sure that I learn this area while he's gone to make the most of our time right now, after all..."
Alter Ego — Meltryllis
Ruler — Sherlock Holmes

Given that she had never seen someone who could so effectively conceal their presence and status as a Servant before, Meltryllis was rightfully shocked by the "arrival" of Sherlock Holmes. Of course, as an offshoot of BB she still knew who he was, but that didn't make the reveal any less shocking. It was kind of disturbing, thinking that a man like this had been tailing them since they had left and was present for them making contact with BB. It was unlikely that the AI would press the same conditions that she had put on her Master, though; as far as she knew, those from Atlas weren't the sort to have anything to blackmail them with.

Assuming, of course, that Rani was goon enough as an indicator for how they worked.

"Well, if you've heard everything from BB, then I guess I can't exactly help it. Tell your Servant to curb his tendencies, though; I don't want to feel like an Assassin is tailing me all day, regardless of whether or not that's the truth."

"Ahaha... Miss Meltryllis, you're certainly hiding some venom behind that tongue of yours," the Ruler replied, calmly taking a seat next to his Master before assuming a more comfortable posture for his next action. "That being said, I can more or less tell what's under that mask, but for the sake of both of our Masters, I shall refrain from speaking at length about that matter for the moment. You seem to be fairly neutral about revealing this information now, likely due to my own actions, so I shall let you speak at length."

Meltryllis' gaze sharpened as she stared Holmes straight in the eyes before staring at the spoon set next to her parfait. She had seen the usual spoons meant for parfaits, and this spoon was definitely meant for bigger quantities, handle and all. She realized, of course, that it had been deliberately chosen because he knew about her condition, which itself was something that the Alter Ego couldn't help but fume internally over. Even so, she turned her eyes towards the spoon and attempted to pick it up. Her fingers fumbled again and again, causing the spoon to clatter on the table repeatedly before she finally managed to lift it more than a few inches off the table and bring it over to her food.

"This is far more embarrassing than I had expected..."

While still attempting to keep her behavior in check, Meltryllis nodded for a moment as she began to recount her history (or, at the very least, a truncated version of it) to those present. She made sure to omit some of the more important details—of Hakuno's fight against her and of her true emotions, of Shinji's suicidal sacrifice, and everything else in between—but she did not lie. It was not a matter of necessity that she decided to simply conceal that information, but one of choice. The matters regarding the Moon Cell and the importance of the year 2030, how far the world had degraded, and even of her own death... That, too, was given.

Despite how her tale sounded like facets of some odd science fiction story, Holmes listened intently, nodding every so often once a piece of information caught his fancy. It was absurd to think that a massive supercomputer was hidden within the Moon, of course, but the Ruler could find no logical flaws in the argument, save those created by a gap in information. Given how he had no other sources to cross-examine and no way to actually get onto the Moon to check the veracity of those claims, though, the only real lead that he had left to pursue now was in regards to that AI named BB.

"But to think, the concept of a 'High Servant' would even exist... And to combine the essences of three goddesses... Miss Obberhausen, I recommend that we keep this information private. It would throw the city into chaos if this sort of information was made public," he remarked, head resting on one hand as he watched Meltryllis struggle to eat her parfait. "In any case, as my Master has suggested... Should you desire our assistance, you need only continue to supply us with information regarding this mystery. This is far more intriguing than I had first anticipated, and I would be happy to assist in matters regarding this 'BB'."

@VitaVitaAR@KoL




Fusang University

"That... Would be helpful," Gray replied, glancing over at the office that she and her mentor had been cleaning up until Gilgamesh's arrival. The summoning circle would have to be cleaned up, the furniture moved back into place, all the other papers cleaned up and re-organized...

Maybe that exploration would have to wait a bit.

"Could I ask if you could go retrieve some water to help wash this blood off? A mop or some sort of cleaning cloth would be appreciated, but paper towels will work just as well."

The Spider's Thread

Gilgamesh's warning was one that made the Rider laugh. For all that had happened during the last Holy Grail War, having the one that ultimately slew him act as if he was even slightly worried about his well-being was an absurd thing to even think about, much less hear in person.

"I appreciate your words of wisdom, King of Heroes, but we came here to toast and relax, not fret about insects scuttling about!" he shouted, turning towards the bartender with a thoughtful look in his eye. He surveyed the wares arranged carefully about before walking forward and slamming the table with one arm.

"Your finest wines for the three of us, then! I trust you won't disappoint!"

Lord El-Melloi II was, of course, still draped over Iskandar's shoulder. He knew as well as anyone else how futile it was to resist at this point, so all he could do now was wait for the Rider to put him down on his own volition.

@Raineh Daze@DocRock
If you didn't have anything in mind for that, I was going to attempt to bring Jason back into relevance by having him meet those two. Gray's probably got enough experience from being with Waver for a decade and a half to be able to figure out how to fix his problems (or at least get started on that) if necessary.

Also introduce a second plot thread if possible? I know I have one lined up for the next time that the NR crew updates that Vita will get rolling, but we'll get there when we get there.
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