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18 Jul 2023
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Reed: Immediately shoot, don't give it time to react.

  • Spirit: KHGH...!
  • Reed: You guys really suck at this, you know?
  • Spirit: HOW... HOW DID YOU KNOW...
  • Spirit: I, I HAVEN'T EVEN...
  • Reed: Like I said.
  • Reed: Because you suck at this.

Spirit Blood: Evaporate.

  • Reed: It's disappearing. That's good.
  • Reed: Means it won't get up out of nowhere like last time.
  • Aria: Are you okay, Five?
  • Five: Y-yeah... Aria, Reed, thank you for protecting!
  • Aria: There's so many spirits by the barrier... but why?
  • Reed: Who knows? God, I'm tired of them.
  • Reed: As much as I'm upset with Nino,
  • Reed: It pisses me off way more to see shitty spirits pretend to be him.
  • Aria: I wonder what that one was hoping to do.
  • Reed: Probably just more dirty trickery.
  • Aria: Still, why did it even approach us?
  • Aria: Spirits are weak to numbers.
  • Aria: So voluntarily facing a group like us is an obvious death-sentence...
  • Reed: I don't know. Maybe it's just an overconfident idiot of a spirit?
  • Reed: Either way, it's not worth paying any mind to.
  • Reed: Let's not let it delay us.

Reed and Aria: The spirit lied about where Aria was. If you're going to follow what they said, you should go in the opposite direction of what they claimed.

Onwards you go, choosing to follow the path that the spirits tried to direct you away from. It feels somewhat aimless, wandering around and hoping to detect a trace of your ability along the way... but it's the best approach you have right now.

Still, you can't stop thinking about the way these spirits are behaving, even though Reed seems adamant that it's meaningless.

First, to hear that the pair he encountered before were working together, that alone goes against everything you've known about spirits.

And second, you've often witnessed spirits show some desire for self preservation. They fight the living in order to sustain their existence, after all. Even a being as "undead" as a spirit doesn't leap into a losing battle.

Yet, despite the fact that four spirits have already died in this area...
Another one showed up, ready to enact a fake scenario again.

Aria: You'd rather not brush off something this unusual.

  • Reed: ...Ugh.
  • Aria: Is something wrong?
  • Reed: No. I just felt... a little uncomfortable, I guess.
  • Reed: I mean, good lord. That's the second "Nino" I've "killed" today.
  • Reed: Dealing with this too frequently can't be good.
  • Reed: Five, uh, sorry that you had to see such things.
  • Five: Um... i-it's okay!
  • Five: Reed is just protecting everyone, Five knows!
  • Reed: ...Still. Sorry.
  • Five: This time... Five didn't look again.
  • Five: So, don't worry...
  • Reed: Oh... that's good.
  • Aria: Are you going to be okay...?
  • Aria: It's just an illusion, don't let it get to you.
  • Reed: I'm fine. Uh, I just needed a moment.
  • Reed: God, feels like there's no end to these things.
  • Reed: On the bright side, I guess it's good practice we're getting in?
  • Aria: ...Hey, this might sound a little crazy, but...
  • Aria: I can't shake the feeling that we're being targeted purposefully.
  • Reed: Huh? You mean by that spirit?
  • Aria: Yeah. Well, this one, and also the ones before it.
  • Aria: They were all working against us. It's no coincidence, I think...
  • Reed: Uh. They did act smarter than usual, and the two working as a pair were odd.
  • Reed: But in the end, what would make this many of 'em target us specifically?
  • Reed: Spirits have never cared whether their opponent was a human or monster.
  • Reed: A soul is a soul to them.
  • Aria: That's true, but...

--/-/->

  • Aria: The spirit that pretended to be Mei tried to mislead me from reaching you.
  • Aria: So at the very least...
  • Aria: They're aware enough of you and I to want to separate us.
  • Reed: Oh. Yeah... the one that copied Nino did the same thing.
  • Reed: And uh, it's kind of weird, but that spirit was trying to goad us into following it by promising to lead us 'home', even after its cover was blown.
  • Aria: To... the human world?
  • Reed: That's what I'd assume.
  • Reed: No way in hell I was going to believe it, though.
  • Aria: Hm, I don't know what that's about, but I don't think we should ignore it.
  • Aria: Its behavior supports what I'm saying! It's like the spirits you and I faced were working together to push us even further apart, right?
  • Aria: And, them being confident enough to lead us around as Nino and Mei in the long run... makes me feel more certain that neither of the two are nearby.
  • Reed: Well, it's true that they didn't attack us right away...
  • Reed: But I don't know if I'd make all these assumptions.
  • Reed: I'm not against the idea that multiple spirits may target one person,
  • Reed: But a group working together just doesn't sound reasonable is all.
  • Reed: It's not in a spirit's best interests to coordinate with another, is it?
  • Aria: That's precisely why I'm suspecting it, though!
  • Aria: Like you said, a soul is a soul...
  • Aria: So working with another means more competition for who gets the "prey", yes?
  • Aria: But despite that, a coordinated attack is exactly what happened on your end!
  • Reed: So that means, their goal wasn't as simple as picking prey?
  • Aria: Yes, because if that's all it was, then...
  • Aria: Trying to earn your trust and push you around is overcomplicating things.
  • Reed: ...Wait. Instead, it's more like they were just trying to get rid of us?
  • Reed: Hm, I guess you might be onto something.

--/-/->

  • Reed: Problem is, why would they even want to do that, though?
  • Reed: Again, it's not like us being humans makes a difference.
  • Five: Umm... Five thinks...
  • Five: Maybe not because Reed and Aria are human...
  • Five: But because it's... Reed and Aria?
  • Reed: ...Something about us is what makes us their targets?
  • Aria: Whoa! That's a bright idea, Five!
  • Aria: Their attacks are very much tailored to us three, aren't they?
  • Reed: That's how most spirit attacks go. What would make us a special target here?
  • Five: Maybe... crossing barrier? But Five, don't really know...
  • Aria: For now, what if we simply assume we are in fact targets, just to be safe?
  • Aria: We don't need to know why it's happening in order to adapt to it.
  • Reed: ...Alright then.
  • Reed: So you propose that what we faced so far weren't just some unusual spirits,
  • Reed: Instead, it's an indication that an unknown amount of spirits are working together to trick us at every turn.
  • Aria: Wow, when you put it like that, it sounds a bit frightening...
  • Aria: But... yes, let's keep this in mind!
  • Reed: All things considered, we've been dealing with that pretty good so far.
  • Reed: But now, you've got me thinking...
  • Reed: Nino and Mei might be encountering the same thing on their end.
  • Aria: Ah, hmm... if we know the spirits' reason for coming after us here,
  • Aria: Then we'll know if the others are also being targeted for sure.
  • Reed: I hope it's not the case. Otherwise... things could be bad.
  • Reed: Those two barely know a thing about spirits.
  • Aria: Well, on the chance that it is due to the crossing, then we're all complicit.
  • Reed: ...Dammit. We really have to find them as soon as possible.
Though it's not obvious by looking at his face, Reed sounds rather worried now.
But actually... this might be something in your favor.

If you learn why you were a target, then you could confirm whether that same reasoning applies to your entire group or not. And if it does, then the very presence of spirits could be a hint to where Nino and Mei are.

--/-/->

Simply put, if more spirits show up, it may be possible to find everyone else through them. It's not a perfect lead, but it'd be better than wandering around!

Ah, thinking that you might really be targeted by multiple spirits is kind of terrifying... but if these recent encounters are any indication, you shouldn't have any trouble dealing with more of them... you think.

Now, the problem lies in how you go about this. That is...
How to play mindgames against spirits, and draw out the necessary info from them.

Aria: Thankfully, you have one idea to kick this off with.

These spirits love talking, and really want to convince you that they're harmless.

So then, what if you played along and pretended to believe them? Maybe then you'd learn why they're targeting you, and see if that applies to Nino and Mei too.

For example, you know that the ones you've seen prior had wanted to further separate you and Reed. If it turns out that another spirit wants to keep you two away from Nino and Mei as well... then that means they might know where those guys are!

If you do get any useful info, you may be able to group up sooner than anticipated.

There's an obvious problem here, though.
These very plans lay in your head, where spirits could easily peek.

But on the other hand... it is only you who knows this.

Aria: Does your ability protect against mind-peeking?
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Ashenchromatic
Ashenchromatic
10 months ago

Aria: Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss.

Lunk
Lunk
10 months ago

Reed: Monsters had used spirits in the war. If these spirits are targeting you under orders from someone, is there any way to exploit this?

Taki
Taki
10 months ago

Problem: You might be the only one who knows about this specific plan, but it is entirely possible Reed has come to similar conclusions in his own head (Even Five possibly has) and formulated similar plans. However, you cannot ask him about this because then you'd guarantee he knows.

VBrainer
VBrainer
10 months ago

Aria: Out of curiosity, do you happen to have any idea how easily they can see into one's mind and memories? If it's comically easy, then trying to trick them is a very bad idea, as one who saw the plan could simply lead you into a more dangerous position and promptly murk you.

Aria: Does your ability protect against their mind-peeking stuff or is it just for seeing through their illusions?

nevermind3476
nevermind3476
10 months ago

Aria: Execute devious scheme.
Ludwig: Ruin plan by intuiting everything Aria is thinking.

elo
elo
10 months ago

holy shit we're gettin cino 2

^