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[LP CYOA] Epic

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
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    Codex 2012
    Questions for a Bookstore Manager

    Track 16

    This man is definitely not what he seems to be. I understand that everyone has their secrets, but my curiosity has been piqued; I won't be able to let it go without trying to satisfy it at least a little bit.

    “Maybe we should get to know each other a bit better first, Mr. Shulgi.”

    “I told you Shulgi will do, boy. Well, it's not like I mind getting to chat a bit more with Erika's friends. This is the first time that girl has brought anyone home.” Shulgi is proud, like a father watching his daughter take her first baby steps.

    “She's been very helpful. Thank you for allowing her to join my club, by the way. I really appreciate it.”

    The grizzled man laughs loudly, leaning back in his chair. “There's no need to thank me! To be honest, she surprised me when she asked. Erika's never shown any interest in social activities before. I should be grateful that you've caused her to join a club... well, even though it is run by that Islington kid.”

    “I know what you mean.” I look away – and meet Kyrie's eye. She had been quiet all this while, and yet at the mention of the club that smile crept its way back onto her face. Being reminded that she has given me a source of perpetual annoyance seems to please her for some reason.

    “Boy.” Shulgi fixes me with his one good eye.

    “Yes?”

    “If I hear the word desu out of Erika I will be having a chat with you.”

    I cough and nod. “Agreed. You've been raising her a long time, I suppose? You seem more like father and daughter.”

    “Aye. Took her in when her parents died. That was when she was a brat of about five, I think.”

    “When I was acquiring the object of our trade, I heard mention of her brother.”

    “Yeah, she has an older brother. He runs the Dunamis private security group, which you've had the pleasure of meeting.” Shulgi takes another swig from the bottle. I can tell he doesn't seem to have much fondness for said brother. “He is content to leave her in my care and out of his hair, if that is what you want to know.”

    “I was wondering why she didn't live with him. Erika said you are unrelated to them.”

    “We have no direct relation, that is true enough.” There is a slightly wistful smile on his lips. “I knew their parents well, back when I was running a mercenary outfit of my own. I became Erika's guardian as per their dying wish, but the brother was old enough – and strong enough - to take over the group.”

    “That explains all your scars. They really don't look like they belong on a guy who runs a bookstore.” I laugh.

    Shulgi laughs together with me. “I know, right? Most people get really quiet when they see me manning the store. That's why I usually keep to the back and let Erika or the cashier girl, Tomi, handle things.”

    “How did you get into this business anyway? I mean, you were working with guns and bombs, right? I think this is one of the least likely jobs you could have chosen for retirement.”

    “Huh, I've always loved books. My parents named me Shulgi after an ancient Sumerian king who was renowned for his knowledge. I guess I just took to the name – I might not look it now, but I read a lot when I was younger. Books are my first love; I just got into combat as a side-effect of my poor choices. Knowledge is important, boy. In the battlefield it is the difference between getting out of there with all your limbs intact and... well, this.” He jabs a thumb at his missing eye, grinning. “I will say, I never made that mistake again.”

    “There must be an interesting story behind those wounds.” I glance at the scars adorning his arm. The newer, fresher ones are mostly bullet scars, but the much older and faded ones were too misshapen for me to tell.

    “Of course! I have plenty of stories about my mercenary days. You should ask Erika; she's bored of them by now.”

    “With such a peaceful world nowadays, you don't seem to have any place to apply your skills any more. Do you miss those days?”

    “I can't say I do, honestly. A life of action is thrilling but it is not all it is cracked up to be, boy. Trust me on that. Books are better.”

    “I understand. How long has it been since the last real armed conflict... 50 years? Sixty? I recall the last deployment of mercenaries in a battle was during the Tamurian Crisis about fifty years back. Most of the mercenary outfits retired after that, some of them turning to bodyguard duties like the Dunamis group.”

    “Well, my outfit was attacked very frequently. You can look up our job history – we called ourselves the Cuetlachtli. I think it's still active nowadays.” grinned Shulgi. “Sure, there are no more hotspots nowadays, but violence is still alive and well. It just means that instead of a known enemy we can shoot at, we have to be on our guard against threats surfacing from the shadows.”

    “I'm just a bit curious about those scars, though.” I had just received confirmation on Yua on the history of rejuvenation technology. “Fresh wounds can be healed without leaving behind any scars nowadays. Most battlefield kits have utilized that technology for at least twenty years or more.”

    Shulgi laughs. “You really have never been in a fight before, have you? Sometimes you don't manage to get to a kit in time. Hell, sometimes there are no kits and you're lying on the ground waiting to bleed to death, gasping for air. You might even get thrown into a river by the enemy and left for dead. Battles aren't neat, boy.”

    It's no use. There seems to be possible explanations for most of the things I can think of. I'm not convinced yet, but I won't get anywhere for now without devoting time to a thorough investigation. “I'm sorry for demonstrating my inexperience. I guess nothing beats first-hand knowledge.” I laugh embarrassedly, but Shulgi just reaches over and claps my back cheerfully with one big hand.

    “Don't worry about it. I would be quite upset if you were experienced. You should enjoy your peaceful life as much as you can. Don't waste your youth wading through blood. Besides, it is better you reveal your inexperience to friends now instead of letting your enemies have a good show out of it later on.”

    Friend, huh?

    Track 21

    As Shulgi settles back in his chair, he scratches his head, ruffling his black mop of hair. He looks at me with his piercing grey eye, and I sense a shift in the mood. There is a slight coldness to his gaze that was not there before. “Well, that is enough probing for one day. You'll need to do a bit more homework before your next visit, boy. Now, about the data...”

    Since I'm not really any closer to fully trusting him than I was when I first walked through the door, already ready to make the exchange, I don't see any reason not to do so at this point. A gut feeling that he is hiding something doesn't give me any concrete proof to distrust him. Certainly, there are also indications that he is - despite his rough appearance - on my side. I make the decision to complete the deal.

    “I have it here. What are you going to do with it?” I ask as I hand the drive containing the copy to him.

    “My friends might be interested. By the way, did you keep a copy for yourself?”

    “I...”

    “The truth, boy.”

    “Yes.” He seems to have been expecting this answer.

    “No doubt you plan to use it to advance your own influence and network. Am I right?”

    “You are. Were you a mercenary or a politician?” At this point there is probably not much point in lying to him.

    A feral grin spreads across Shulgi's face. “When you're on the field, in order to live on you develop instincts that are akin to any political animal's. They stem from the same source. No man ever survived by being needlessly upright and noble. Well, in your case I can't say I find it smart.”

    “Would you do the same?”

    “I probably would, but what is smart for me isn't necessarily smart for you. On one hand it is good that you have ambition, but on the other you may be getting into things you don't want to be involved in.”

    “I'm afraid it's a bit too late for that since the night your niece almost cut my throat.”

    “Ha, I suppose it is!” Despite his cheerful tone, I could hear a hint of regret. “I don't know everything that's going on, but seeing as you're the sort to probe and try to get ahead whenever you can, I will tell you something different from what I had wanted to say.”

    I look at him, waiting for him to continue. He takes yet another swig from the bottle and his eyes dart to Kyrie, who had been strangely removed from our conversation. When he speaks, however, his words are directed at me.

    “Stretch out your arm.”

    I do so, and immediately his hand clamps down on my forearm hard.

    “Show it to me.” he commands.

    I know what he is talking about. Giving Kyrie a nervous glance – she still doesn't know, and would probably be icked out by the slimy black things – I call on the tendrils. They emerge dutifully, waving from my wrist. I hear a slight gasp from Kyrie.

    “Hmmm,” goes Shulgi. “It is similar to what the cultists use, but not quite. I can't say I've seen its sort before.”

    “Wait, you've seen these things before?”

    “When you hang around the Dunamis group you tend to encounter these sooner or later. Since then I've been in contact with plenty of people who know a lot about this stuff. They don't corrode or eat away at things, do they?”

    “No. I can drain heat with them and change their shape, but that is all.”

    “What else do you have?”

    I debate slightly about showing him my other trump card, and decide for it. It won't impair me too much if I just use it for a brief second. I concentrate, and the world stills. When I open my eyes again, the familiar fuzziness has set in. “It's not a very obvious skill, but I seem to able to heighten my senses and thought processes.”

    Shulgi is quiet, his expression serious and deep in thought. It is a look that I would never have expected to see on him. His face now looked like a mask of some sort, hiding his thoughts. Finally, he breaks his silence “This is interesting.”

    “You've seen this before too?”

    “No, not exactly, but I've heard of a similar ability from a friend of mine who's well-versed in these weird powers. Here is what I can tell you; if you can heighten your senses, keep an eye out for strange flaws the next time you use it.”

    “I already do. I know structural weaknesses when I see them.”

    “These are... different. You will know it when you see it. How do you feel when you activate your ability?”

    “My brain freezes, pretty much.”

    “Take that cold and concentrate it in your eyes.” says Shulgi matter-of-factly. It seems to be the same thing I had done while summoning the tendrils for the first time, but I'm not sure if doing what he says will just cause tentacles to burst out of my eyeballs. I raise that concern, and he laughs.

    “That would be a sight indeed! Well, if that happens I will get Erika to guide you here. I've read plenty about surgery and I'm sure I can do something about it.”

    “I hope not.”

    “We will see about that, boy.” grins Shulgi. “In the meantime, I think that is all I have to impart for the day. It'll help keep you safe when your natural curiosity lands you in places and events where you are not meant to be. Now, time to scoot. Adults need their private time too.”

    ***

    Track 6

    Erika nods at me as I leave the bookstore, but doesn't say anything else. It is a short walk back to my house, and I begin walking with Kyrie.

    “You were uncharacteristically quiet back there.” I say. “I thought you'd have tried to take charge of the conversation.”

    “Hm. Well, he was there to talk to you. I could tell that he wasn't interested in me at all, even though I am prettier than you are.”

    “If you put it that way... jealous?” I grin.

    “Of course not, idiot. I merely deigned to allow him to speak to my dog. A good owner knows when to use her pet to its maximum potential. That was the best course of action to gain more information.”

    So I'm a dog now? I think my rank is moving up in her world... maybe?

    “Speaking of which,” she continues, as she grabs my arm. “Let me see it.”

    “See what?”

    “That... thing you showed to him. Let me see it.” repeats Kyrie with a nasty smile.

    “We're out in public. Don't-”

    She begins pulling at my arm, causing me to stumble around. Sadly, she's still a bit stronger than I am. A short laugh escapes her mouth before being drowned out by the longest stretch-limousine I have ever seen coming to a halt in front of us. A frown settles on Kyrie's face and she lets go of my arm. The door opens, and a man I can only describe as an old butler steps out. He even has a monocle on his face. Though his well-groomed hair and moustache are entirely white, he is almost as tough-looking as Shulgi, and probably even taller. I could just imagine his white gloved fists being stained with blood as he pummels some hoodlum with ease.

    “Your Highness, it is not seemly for you to consort with a commoner in public.”

    Kyrie sighs. “Yes, fine, Butterfield. Did I ask you to pick me up?”

    “No, your Highness, but you do have an appointment with the mayor at 7 pm. Your maids will need to prepare you for that. We should return to the manor now.”

    “I forgot,” grimaced Kyrie. “I suppose that is it for now. I will see you at school tomorrow.”

    I do a half bow. “Of course, your Highness. Do enjoy your meeting with the mayor.”

    “Hm. You should be polite more often. By the way, don't think you're getting off that easily. I'll just have you show it to me in private.” With that, she sweeps into the car. The butler closes the door after her, glaring at me as if I'm some sort of filthy vermin. I just smile and nod at him.

    ***

    School comes again, but the classes have started to feel alien to me. The events over the weekend and all that has happened so far have turned the school itself into a dreary activity. School does not seem like my life anymore; not now that I have stumbled into strange happenings beyond my understanding...

    ***

    A. Kyrie has asked me to meet her in the student council room after school. Though it could be about the investigation, it could just as easily be about pushing me down and forcing me to show her my tendrils.

    B. An uncharacteristically withdrawn Keiko, with bags under her eyes, had come up to me, asking me to go to the rooftop with her after school, where we wouldn't be overheard. She mentioned the name Julius Gallardo in relation to her investigation... this should be important.

    C. There's been too much excitement lately. I'll just go home and tinker around with Yua. I think I might have really been neglecting her recently. I'll examine that book Shulgi gave me while I'm at it.

    D. After school time is club time! I spend time with Erika and Michael to practice the way of the warrior.
     
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  2. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Yeah. Tentacle rape coming up for sure. :roll:
     
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  3. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    I'm tempted to go C. That book is interesting, and boosting the relationship with our AI seems a worthy use of time.

    I'm sure Kyrie will get a good closer look at the tendrils soon enough. :roll:

    It's a difficult choice though. D and B seem to have their merit as well. Will ponder, vote later.
     
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  4. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Holding off on a spoiled tsundere princess might make her even more intensely curious. It could actually end up in rape (yours) one day. :lol:
     
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  5. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Oh, but didn't it almost? When that limo pulled up, I expected our character to be dragged inside where she'd insist on studying the tendrils closer.
    Instead the butler appeared and spoiled that train of thought.
    ...
    My thanks to the butler. :salute:
     
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  6. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    You will find that if you get to know him, Butterfield is a true gentleman and protector of honour. :obviously:

    Indeed, I had plans for him to be sipping tea with Shulgi in his initial appearance, though sadly I rejected that draft in favour of doing things the easy way.
     
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  7. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Going to vote later. I do want to prioritise Kyrie relationship boost, and I think she needs an explanation for everything. That said, I would like to study that book Shulgi gave us, and we really should do a training session one of these days. There's probably something important going on with Keiko as well. Damn it, all of the options are appealing to me.
     
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  8. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
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    :decline:

    Anyhow, B
     
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  9. TOME Cuckmaster General

    TOME
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    B

    Although it could be smart to read the book asap.
     
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  10. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    C - I'm willing to flop to anything if anyone can make a convincing enough argument. However, I want to read that book (And accumulate Shulgi points for super secret Shulgi romance!)
     
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  11. ScubaV Prophet

    ScubaV
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    I like all the options, but as written B sounds the most urgent.
     
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Hmm... will it be tasteful? More tasteful than Gamilsin?
     
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  13. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    It would be extremely painful.
     
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  14. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Pfft, we have tentacles ergo we win. That, or we run away. Either way, she can't really do much to us unless she comes up with a paralytic agent which our brilliant mind would find a way to counter then and there.

    Alright, serious question: can we take Kyrie to meet Keiko on the rooftop? It sounds like it's important. That and inquisitive journos don't have a history of staying alive too long. Goddammit guys, I told you we should've been open from the start.
     
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  15. Bloodshifter Educated

    Bloodshifter
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    Not very Pragmatic are we...
    C the Book is a gift from Ean Shulgi to our Shulgi to us. He Knows that book is more then a simple book.
     
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  16. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    For you guys to read.

    *checks Kyrie points*

    That's a maybe, though her presence won't change the outcome too much. Means I need a clear majority of people stating they want to tell her about it and ask her to come.
     
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  17. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    I was thinking more of "killing two birds with one stone, in one day": Kyrie heads up there with us, since this is related to the investigation and she should know, and then we explain the whole tentacle thing to her after we're done with the journo (we also should persuade Kyrie to have some extra security attached to her, last thing I want is for Senya to get more wangst from having his friend killed, however wangst-free he was in the last updates; besides, she's a useful resource).

    I dub this option E.
    Edit: this should be Shulgi's theme
     
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  18. Stygian Lurker Scholar

    Stygian Lurker
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    Voting C

    I'm interested in the book...
     
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  19. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    D.

    We don't do much with the club, and Keiko appears to be a lost cause for our hyper-weapon by this point anyway. This will boost our strength, probably Erika points, as well as contributing to grett success in tournament for positive Kyrie such.

    B.
     
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  20. Zwist Learned

    Zwist
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    E.

    Because it really does sound rather urgent. And having Kyrie bitching along is just a bonus.

    Even though in dating sim-terms this is wasting point allocation on a dead horse.
     
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  21. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    [​IMG]

    C - the book. Time to bring our boy up on the real history of the world.

    edit: btw, the name of Shulgi's merc group means "wolf".

    edit: Esquilax is right. We can read the book any time. Not sure if it's a good idea to involve Kyrie, Baltika. If everyone knows she's helping us, that could make her a target.

    B - for now, but willing to consider a flop to E.
     
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  22. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
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    Question, when we don't take an option, did the framing event for it still occur? For example, does rejecting B mean that we rejected Keiko, or that she never came to us? I guess this one would really depend on the option, too.
     
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  23. m4davis Scholar

    m4davis
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  24. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    Guys, I think we ought to talk to Keiko and see how that Julian kid is connected to all of this - and how he might potentially fuck us over in the near future if our cover is blown. Stay one step ahead of these motherfuckers. In addition to that, remember that Senya can process information extremely well, I believe that he can zip right through Shulgi's special edition of the Epic of Ean very quickly given his mental acuity and abilities. The real downside would be not building up our relationship with Yua, but given how worried Keiko is, things seem to be kind of urgent.

    B
     
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  25. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Which is why I'm proposing E:we do two things at once and involve Kyrie in the investigation, maybe we'll even be able to persuade her for extra security.Besides, I don't think it's a good idea to delay the explanation any longer or we may lose her trust.
     
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