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File: Yes, I'm the Father.jpg (765 KB, 1800x1200)
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Once upon a time, the world made sense.

You're not sure it does anymore.

There's a different set of rules the hidden side of the world runs on. Your introduction to that side of the world was finding out your daughter, Melon, was a magical girl.

Contracted to magical rats, slaughtering demons by night to meet their energy quotas, fighting over hunting territory in a world where 'attempted murder' is considered 'hello' - that's not the life you ever wanted for her.

You're not gonna take it.

No, you ain't gonna take it!

...Well, you certainly aren't taking it, but things are a bit messy now. You married a fox bride years ago (you're still trying to figure out how Liska hid it that long, but maybe she's just started letting her hair down now that she doesn't have to hide it?), you seem to have accidentally been the catalyst for your overenthusiastic in-laws attempting to 'bring the old gods back to Japan', your sister Ellie (a magical girl that cut her contract) has been systematically slaughtering her way through the leadership of Hell, apparently Bernie, the owner of the accounting firm you've been working at for years, is a dragon who's supposed to end the world, you've gotten in two dick-waving contests with Dionysus (who's declared himself your patron deity so he can patronize you), and you've brought together a whole 'concerned fathers alliance / magical PTA meeting / magic mafia' of wizards, witches, magical girls, and at least one and a half demons.

Oh, and your new assistant at work was apparently a government mole deliberately inserted into the firm, and he answers to your old Marine Corps buddy, 'Superfly' Johnson.

You invited him to your barbeque, and you're still regretting it. Superfly showed up with his own team, at least as unstable as yours.

Bernie and Dionysus showed up without invitations, but at least you got Dionysus to kindly fuck off. Not before he carpeted Fred's house in grapevines, and probably cured the guy's rumored 'frigid marriage' problems forever.

Fred's a good guy, and that might have been a lucky break for him, but he's one of the few normal people you know, and you don't want him getting dragged into all this shit too.

Hopefully his wife likes those vines.

Fred's dog's been going nuts lately, since Liska and Melon are in some sort of kitsune/hanyou heat thing. That's been really, really awkward. Supernatural violence - you can kind of get it. Supernatural sexual drives - that's a ballgame you weren't prepared for.

Liska's advances have been mostly enjoyable, but Melon's... Look, no dad would be comfortable with the idea their daughter's horny enough to jump anyone! At least she's fighting it, and keeping herself in her room tonight.

And Mary, the leader of the 'crew' of magical girls Melon's been running with suddenly ascended to goddesshood. In your backyard. Knocked everyone connected to her out.

[1/2]
>>
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>>2955728
Oh, and then there's her friend Harriet, who's been looping this year as a one-way time traveler, trying to stave off apocalypses, and thinks you might be the key, since she's never met you in a previous bad timeline.

No pressure.

What do the kids say these days? "It's complicated."

Man, you think, buttoning up the replacement shirt for the one that you ripped of during the leadup to a pro-wrestling pastiche between your magical ferret (Freebles), and Superfly's (Supermax), this was just supposed to be a nice barbeque. At least it seemed like the motley crew assembled at your house was talking through rewriting magical girl contracts somewhat amicably.

Then you hear a knock on your bedroom door.

"Come in," you call out. If someone's disturbing you in here, it's probably important.

Shelby enters, and shuts the door behind him. Huh. The redhead's probably the last person you expected to walk into your bedroom.

Well, at least he's here, not getting pinned down by Melon or something. Honestly, your estimation of the guy went up a few notches when he asked you to keep your daughter off him.

"Ok," you say, looking at him in the bedroom mirror, "you're gonna have to tell me why you're here."

"My old man sent me," Shelby says, walking toward your back with an odd look, "eldest brother. I'm here to give the readout on Superfly's team."

"I know about two magical girls and a surgical half-angel," you say, "what are the rest?"

"'Kicker' - the blonde guy, is their wizard," Shelby says, "not sure what his specialty is, but he's precise. 'Doubter' is... I don't know what he is, but he'd be damn hard to handle in a fistfight. And you already know 'Slice' is a magical girl."

"Saw her talking to your sister outside," you say, "if you're talking about who I think. Seems she does lasers, too. How'd you figure out what they were?"

"You learn a lot about people watching how they cook," Shelby says, "Kicker handles a knife like a wizard. Could probably cut a perfect circle without a compass. Doubter mashes potatoes like he's punching them. How was Slice with Einz?"

Well, seems like Superfly has definitely kept up the weird codenames tradition. You're not proud of how you earned 'Deuce', but, well, it happens.

"They seemed to be getting along," you say, "forming a Long Range Tactical Assets Club - LRTAC for short. How'd, uh, 'Slice' escape the kitchen?"

"She ran," Shelby says, a little shamefacedly, "glad to hear Einz is making friends, though," he finishes, looking away from your reflection in the mirror.

You're not surprised to hear someone ran away from a kitchen where Shelby was in charge. You've seen demons happy to get out of there.

>Why'd Kelly send you?
>Seems like you didn't run into any trouble in the hallway
>Kelly take you along for assassinations often? Heir to the family business?
>Thanks for the update, we're heading back out there
>You think 'Ace' would be solid on an op?
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2955730
>Seems like you didn't run into any trouble in the hallway
>You think 'Ace' would be solid on an op?
>>
And we're back with what I think was the highest-voted option when we left off.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Shotgun
Twitter (for runtimes and various shitposts): https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge
Character List/Notes Doc (slightly outdated, but still relevant, and don't take it too seriously): https://pastebin.com/wNzq4uun

Sorry about the spotty updates and dead threads - life's been complicated lately.

God am I glad to be running again!
>>
>>2955730
>>Why'd Kelly send you?
>>Seems like you didn't run into any trouble in the hallway


>>2955739
Glad to have you back. Don't worry about the "long" interval, I've had quests disappear out of the blue, only to pop back up like nothing happened after over a year. A few weeks is nothing.
>>
>>2955730
>Thanks for the update, we're heading back out there
>You think 'Ace' would be solid on an op?
>>
>>2955730
>Kelly take you along for assassinations often? Heir to the family business?
>Thanks for the update, we're heading back out there
>You think 'Ace' would be solid on an op?
>>
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>>2955730
You smile, a complicated train of thoughts winding through your mind. Chief among them is that this little daredevil cares about his sister.

"You remember why we're in this right?" you ask.

"So she can do that," Shelby says, then looks away, "so they can all do that."

The guy could be more subtle with a two-by-four, you think, fumbling with a collar button.

"I think 'Ace' hit the kitchen earlier," you say, and Shelby looks back at you in the mirror, "think he's solid for this sort of op?"

"I kind of like him, from what I saw," Shelby says, "the guy knows how to do collard greens. But, well..."

He pauses, and you turn away from the mirror to look him in the eyes.

"'Ace' got fucky earlier," Shelby tells you, "his boss shut him down by punching his throat in. Then one of his teammates, was it 'Mach'? I don't think she ever came into the kitchen - she almost went off on their boss. That's unstable," he continues, and he sounds a lot like Kelly now, "he might be a good..." and the kid grimaces, "it might be good to have him with us, if we need a hold on their team," he says, almost reluctantly, "but if we're taking Rob, or," and he makes an odd face, "your, uh, our, sister or her butler, I, well, I really don't like it."

Do you need a hold on Superfly? If there's something screwy going on here, it can't hurt, but you're concerned about Shelby thinking in those terms.

Although, given what sort of firepower an angel's supposed to be able to put out, you're not really sure about leaving the guy here, either. If Superfly even lets you take a military asset like that on a jaunt.

"I can see how that could be an issue," you say, "but I don't think we're taking Ellie to go find Mary. She needs to rest, and you remember how they tried baiting each other?"

"I was kind of bogged down in demon guts," Shelby says, scratching the back of his head, "but I caught a bit of that. Yeah. Look, I don't really have a clue about any of this."

"Well," you say, tucking your shirt in, "you've been helpful anyway."

The kid gives you a smile.

"So you, uh," Shelby says, "I heard you raced Dionysus?"

Geez, he probably heard about it from Melon.

[Set 1:]
>The less said about that, the better
>Yes, and I won
>You must have heard wrong
>Don't try it
>WRITE IN

[Set 2:]
>Can you help Liska hold the fort while I'm gone?
>You been learning from your dad?
>Thanks for the info - let's make sure nobody's dead at the conference table
>Put a hand on his shoulder and say something sappy about how both of you are trying to look out for your sisters
>WRITE IN

[Basically all the options here are final shot convos before heading back to the conference table.]
>>
>>2955868
>Yes, and I won
>You been learning from your dad?
>>
I think I'm going to bed now, if I want to be worth anything in the morning. Questing should resume tomorrow. I got a really late start today.

Next runtime on twitter: https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge

Jesus, I re-wrote parts of that update three times and now it's after midnight.
>>
>>2955868
>Yes, and I won

>You been learning from your dad?
>Can you help Liska hold the fort while I'm gone?
>>
>>2955872
>Yes, and I won

>You been learning from your dad?
>Can you help Liska hold the fort while I'm gone?
>>
>>2955868
>Yes, and I won
>>We should get on a track someday

>You been learning from your dad?
>>
>>2955868
>>The less said about that, the better
Guys, he's keying onto how we chewed him out for trying to race us earlier. Particularly how while the supernaturals might survive a crash, any normals nearby might not.

>You been learning from your dad?
>Thanks for the info - let's make sure nobody's dead at the conference table
>>
>>2956156
Supporting
>>
>>2955868
>Yes, and I won
>Can you help Liska hold the fort while I'm gone?
>>
>>2955868
>Yeah, I'm not sure how much of that was me and how much of that was Dionysus's little party vibe but it was still a pretty dumb thing for me to do. I guess I've not matured as much as I think I have. If you want an actual race we can probably find a different abandoned quarry somewhere and give it a shot.
>You ok with the fact that my sister's here? I heard enough from your dad to know that I shouldn't be putting you through that even if you were probably too young to remember.
>>
>>2956374
This is also good.
Though at this point I wouldn't be surprised if it gets ignored
>>
>>2955868
>The less said about that, the better
That race was a stupid thing to do, especially after we got onto him about it. Best thing we can do is own up to it.

>You been learning from your dad?
>>
>>2956386
It was, but unlike that little kid Dio and us together have more than a hundred years of driving experience and it wasn't a busy afternoon street
>>
>>2956962
It's not the context of the action but the fact that we did it at all is what Shelby is bringing up.
>>
>>2956987
He can suck it up. He was putting himself and our daughter in danger for a bit of high stakes fun, if he thinks he's getting an apology, a "go ahead" or even a rematch he's sorely mistaken.

"Do as I say, not as I do."

It's perfectly natural to be a hypocrite.
>>
>>2957010
>It's perfectly natural to be a hypocrite.
Aren't we supposed to be better than that?
>>
>>2957034
nah, we're just human
also, dyonysus is an ass, but not a murderous one, i'm pretty sure he manipulated the traffic somehow (fate magic?)
and it's night racing vs broad daylight with max traffic, with our daughter in danger, against a kid who probably doesn't have enough experience
>>
>>2957010
>He was putting himself and our daughter in danger for a bit of high stakes fun
It wasn't our daughter we got unto him for, it was all the normals. Even just out in the country you could have a head-on and vaporise some unlucky bastard. Doesn't matter when or where we are were, street racing is illegal for a reason.

>It's perfectly natural to be a hypocrite.
Erm, no, it's not. Not if you want any respect whatsoever.
>>
>>2957053
>nah, we're just human
Not good enough
We're also the supposed head of a fucking faction and the supposed heart of a magic yarnball of bullshit.

>also, Dionysus is an ass, but not a murderous one, i'm pretty sure he manipulated the traffic somehow (fate magic?)

>A Greek God
>Not a murderous one
Nigger fucking what.
>>
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>>2955868
"Yes," you say, "and I won."

"So you smoked a Greek god?" Shelby asks, looking at you with something like awe, and you put your hand on his shoulder, pulling a play from Superfly's book.

"By half a second," you tell him with a grin you can't quite control.

"Hell yeah!" he says, "figured you went in for that when I saw your car."

"I did more of that than I'm proud of when I was young and dumb," you say, leaning toward the kid, "not really these days, but that guy seems to be able to clear streets ahead of him like he's a god."

Well, that's your concession to trying to not sound like a hypocrite. Hopefully the kid realizes situations were a little different, although, well, you did get shoehorned into things a bit there. You couldn't exactly turn it down after Liska riled him up through your window.

Perhaps that's the true power of fluffy ears and tails.

Maybe it's just what a guy does for his girl, no matter how old he is. Those instincts die harder than Bruce Willis.

"We've got to go for it one of these days," Shelby says, looking up into your eyes, "but," and he pauses for a second, looking like he's thinking, "you beat a god in a race, and kicked him out of your party tonight. Does that make you a god?"

"I hope not," you say, straightening up, "gods are assholes."

"Is this a mother-in-law joke?" Shelby deadpans.

"No," you tell him, "she seems like a force of nature," you say, taking your hand off his shoulder, "more the 'rain falls on the just and the unjust' type. Dionysus is fucking around. She's just - there. And she happens to anyone she collides with, like a typhoon or something."

"I never want to see another sandbag in my life," Shelby says, with a bit of a smile. He helped with the flood cleanup too, didn't he?

"I never want to need another one," you tell him, and then you remember why he was in Japan in the first place, "so, you been learning from your dad?"

"I guess," he says, and sighs, "driving, reading people, spotting, shooting - and all the James Bond stuff. Half the time, I think - nevermind," he trails off in a near-whisper, his eyes looking deader than ever.

You don't deal with a landmine by stabbing it. You dig it out carefully, by degrees.

But now's not exactly the time for that, since you've got a table of landmines that you're hoping hasn't managed to go off yet.

"Hey," you say, slapping him on the back and heading for the bedroom door, "I respect what you said earlier tonight. Probably wouldn't have said it at your age."

Then you open the door and head out into the hallway, a set of feet following you after a few seconds.

As you pass Melon's room, you hear the unmistakable sounds of your daughter having a nightmare, groaning and whining through gritted teeth. You peek in, and see she's become a caterpillar of sheets and blankets in her bed. Seemingly asleep, if troubled.

>Continue down the hall
>Attempt to comfort night terrors
>Finishing comments on earlier discussion [WRITE IN]
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2957641
>continue down the hall
>maybe poke shelby at this problem if that becomes an option
>>
>>2957641
>watch melon from the doorway until she calms down
>DAdworry.jpg.
>>
>>2957641
>>Continue down the hall
We can't help her, not with her in the state she's in. It sucks, but we'll do more harm than good going in there.
>>
>>2957641
>Continue down the hall
Not a nightmare, I repeat, NOT a nightmare. Continue with your day.
>>
>>2957641
>Continue down the hall
yeah, definitely just a nightmare...
>>
>>2957641
>Attempt to comfort night terrors
>>
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>>2957641
There's nothing as crushing as the feeling that you can't do anything to help.

But given what you've seen, you'd only make everything worse by trying. At least she's managed to get to sleep, although an awful thought bites the back of your mind that she might have raided the bathroom medicine cabinet to get there.

And she's having a really hard time with whatever dreams she's wrestling.

You miss the days when little Melon would crawl in between you and Liska because she'd had a nightmare, and you'd both manage to hug her to sleep. She doesn't even have her ears out, from what you can see in the dim light from the hallway, reminding you even more of the little girl you remember.

You sigh, and catch a glimpse of Shelby clenching his jaw as you turn away from the ruined doorway.

If he didn't have a reaction to this, you'd have some problems with him. But he can't do anything either.

And you've got a meeting to attend, unfortunately.

So you take one last look back at Melon, then stride forward, down the hall, followed by Shelby's footsteps, after a pause. You can hear the dim rumble of a discussion from the dining room ahead.

You glance at the living room as you pass it. Empty, except for Harriet still passed out on the couch, and the kitchen only has a couple of people helping themselves to seconds out of the cooking dishes.

The dining room is PACKED, you realize, poking your head into the doorframe. Full to bursting. A fire marshall would definitely have problems with this number of people in the space.

It looks a lot like those painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, except in a cramped dining room, and it's a bunch of magicals girls, some frilly, wizards, witches, and assorted supernatural creatures bending over the document the two ferrets and W are holding up.

Why do rat contracts look like parchment?

"That's why we need a fucking bounty clause!" Ellie says, feet on the table, leaning her chair so far back you're not sure how she hasn't fallen over, "kill three demons one month, none for the next two, that's still a demon a month. There's a word for it."

"An average," you say, stepping into the room, and realize that Bernie, Butler, and Reynold are almost chorusing the word with you.

"Yeah, that," Ellie says, then looks at you, "fuck, who thought you'd be the brainy one out of the two of us?"

"I certainly didn't," you say, standing in the doorway, "I signed up to be a marine."

That gets a chuckle from Superfly, half hidden behind his hand and sunglasses. 'Ace' is on his feet against, standing behind Superfly's chair with the rest of that team.

Geez, this is standing room only.

>It seems we've made some progress
>That still sounds like they're killing for quotas
>When in the course of human events...
>Settle back into your chair with Liska
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2957752
>Settle back into your chair with Liska
>It seems we've made some progress but doesn't meeting quotas end up keeping us trapped in this circle when we're gonna be attacking them soon anyway?
>>
>>2957752
>>It seems we've made some progress
We've spent a tone of time with Liska recently, let's hang out with someone else for a while.

The quotas are unpleasant, but needed so the local rats don't get into trouble for meeting their own quotas, or other issues with management. Also, MGs need the heartbeat and normal energy from demon fights, iirc. Quotas should help provide additional motivation to not run dry.
>>
Guess I'm out for the night. I HAVE to start questing earlier in the day. This two posts per day thing is bullshit. On the plus side, I finally managed to write a scene with Shelby and the MC talking that doesn't revolve around Melon or cooking.

Twitter for next runtime: https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge

>>2956374
>You ok with the fact that my sister's here? I heard enough from your dad to know that I shouldn't be putting you through that even if you were probably too young to remember.
For what it's worth, I think the only detail we have on Shelby's situation immediately pre-adoption is 'everything was on fire'. Kelly's been a lot of places that have been extremely on fire.
>>2956156
>>2957010
>>2957034
>>2957053
>>2957402
>>2957583
I hope I worked in enough of this in that post. Writing that dialogue was weird, because Shelby getting a thirdhand account from Melon was probably triggered by Liska's comment to her about 'get a guy that will wave his dick at a god for you', so he knows it wasn't the MC's idea, but due to the framing of that information, he wouldn't mention it.
>>2957692
>Not a nightmare, I repeat, NOT a nightmare. Continue with your day.
>>2957697
>yeah, definitely just a nightmare...
She's actually just having a nightmare. Taking enough sleeping pills to knock a hanyou out will do that.
>>
>>2957803
>She's actually just having a nightmare.
Oh... yeah, sleeping pills can get funky. Hope it's not that one paste bin nightmare. The one with Harrita having the same one? I wouldn't be surprised though.
>>
>>2957752
Ellie, the rats were taking 90% of what you were getting before..After we upend the whole system you won't NEED quotas as badly as you're thinking. If the system had been remotely fair you could have retired and they'd still be making a profit off of your work right now.

We don't need bounty clauses, we need long term savings accounts so that if they ever choose to or have to retire it's possible any joint accounts to cover social services like maternity leave. Bernie, I'd like to propose that the firm be in charge of that as a relatively neutral party. Making the profit margins equal for the rats that aren't going to be in Numberg trials and the girls seems like a middle ground to start with.And obviously the firm is getting paid for this.
>>2957803
I figured Shelby had put 2+2 together by now since he's presumably not as dense as we are. Demon his dad knows. Happens to involve her rampaging in Japan around the time he was found. Oh god our daughter is attracted to a miniature version of ourselves.

I don't think they need quotas or at least the social/retirement programs essentially set the personal quotas for the girls. Having a neat little chart saying you're only going to live to 18,22, 40, and so on while barely being able to defend themselves if they were to stop fighting seems like a good motivator. We work jobs because we don't want to end out on the street or want to eat food and we don't have some giant quota hanging over our heads.
Demon hunting isn't the sort of thing you halfass either. You either kill the demon or you get no metaphorical paycheck.

Alternatively:
Teenagers work jobs because they want money to get shit. Freebles as shown the ability to enchant better weapons. We open up a shop where Magical girls can spend some of their paycheck on cool stuff and we've made our own little magical girl economy. Make a currency exchange rate with Bernie with limitations/regulations on how much of your savings you can cash in to prevent anyone from killing themselves with stupid and finding out they have no spare MG bitcoins to live until next week. You don't need the stick all the time but I guess when all you have is a weapon everything starts to look like a target.Use the carrot. It's way more effective with unruly teenagers.

Bernie is going to be making so much profit off of this if we play our cards right. The whole magical girl economy is basically a goldmine once you take the rat exploitation out of the equation.
I guess this should fit in as a WRITE IN somewhere but it seems to infodumpy for your style? I also have no idea if BernieCare fits into MC's political beliefs but let's just skip over that landmine now that I've made the crappy joke.
>>
>>2958085
>>2957752
Addendum:
>I guess if all you have is a hammer then you see everything as a nail. (that sounds better) We need a reason for them to want to earn more. Exchange anything extra they have for money if we can swing that,valuables of some sort, or even just let them stock it up for later. You're still thinking of the old ways where the girls are living paycheck to paycheck.We don't want to get them an extra month. We want them to get their entire lifetime and once they aren't being exploited by the higher ups there's plenty of room for that.
(If an MG only lives a few years then it's reasonable to think that the rats make the break even point extremely fast no matter what lies Freebles thought were true. If a girl lives her entire natural lifespan then the amount she has to pay to hit the break even point falls drastically. The rats seem like more of a danger than the demons are to the girls' lifespans.
>>
>>2957752
"Seems we've made some progress, though," you say, leaning against the doorframe, "if we're talking about bounties and averages and stuff."

"Boilerplate's basically hammered out," W says, "we're having some issues with the finer points."

"It's a profit problem," Bernie says, "as I understand it, these furry abominations," he looks at Freebles and 'Supermax', "need some amount of energy coming in to produce what supplies the girls with their... 'fix'," and his reptilian eyes dart around the room, as if he's trying to get a rise. Luckily, he doesn't, "and to sustain themselves, but the energy atop that gets sent back 'home' for a quota. Did I get it right?"

Oh hell. The dragon runs an accounting firm. Actually, he might have been one of the best people to pull in on this. Probably best he fell into it this way. Probably never would have helped without accidentally being cajoled into it at a party.

"Yeah," Freebles says, "that's how it works. And we're going to have a lot of problems if we don't meet quota. That's not averaged."

"Short-term mindset," Reynold says, mostly to himself, and gets a few stares, "look, I am a CPA! I know how this shit works."

The kid's a lot of other things, too. Most notably a mediocre spy.

"So a franchise operation that's trying to hit mandated targets," you say, "or the manager gets eaten. If they didn't have that quota overhead, how much would a rat really need to keep going and keep their girls sane?"

"You missed out on that discussion, bro," Freebles says, looking over his shoulder at you, "I'd need about a demon a month. Maybe less, if I sleep most of the time."

"Depending on their class," you barely hear Butler mutter, leaning against the wall behind Ellie's chair. You notice 'Kicker' leaning to whisper something to Superfly, and your old buddy nods.

"That would still be better than what's happening now," you say, "I like the idea of a 'retirement plan' better than a 'bounty' system, though."

Bernie grins at you.

"We could put the energy going toward the quotas aside for the rest of the girls' lifespan," you say, "savings account style. That should cover it."

"Excuse me," Kicker says, straightening up, "but if we eliminate that overhead and management structure, wouldn't we have ferrets like Max running around with their own personal, magical armies? Answering to no one? And what the hell are they collecting energy for anyway?"

You liked having a pet wizard more when you didn't know other folks who had one. 'Kicker' sounds meek, but he feels dangerous.

Well, everyone here is dangerous.

"Nobody knows," you say, "maybe upkeep on a pocket dimension? But as for the first question..."

>We'll cross that bridge when we've dismantled the rats' system
>I'm thinking about a changing of the guard, rather than outright destruction
>That's actually a damn good question. We'll figure it out later
>In fairness, are the demons in the room ok with us discussing slaughtering demons for energy?
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2959743
>>That's actually a damn good question. We'll figure it out later
Our MGs slaughtering demons is old news. Any demons with us should be well aware by now.
>>
>>2959743
>In fairness, are the demons in the room ok with us discussing slaughtering demons for energy?
>>
>>2959743
>>I'm thinking about a changing of the guard, rather than outright destruction
>>
>>2959743
>>That's actually a damn good question. Do your higher ups have an ability to pool your plug, or is it only bigger stick smacks you guys down?

>This is kinda important to know.
>>
>>2959771
>MGs slaughtering demons is old news. Any demons with us should be well aware by now
It should be pretty clear by this point that demons don't give that much of a shit about other demons dying, unless it messes with their honor/prestige or plans somehow. I offered an option to ask the question explicitly, because this seemed like a conversation where that could come up.
>>2959779
>Do your higher ups have an ability to pull your plug, or is it only bigger stick smacks you guys down?
Based on all the info the present rats/ferrets have and have given, the higher-ups can't disconnect them. That one's come up before.
>>
>>2959815
In that case then, the conventions of pulling a bigger stick on the rats woulds till work yeah?


Ellie, Bernie, Mary if we find her.... welly ou get the idea.
>>
>>2959743
> Well, the first step is to figure out how to live long enough to figure the rest of the stuff out. So your concerns come after that.

> I don't even know who the fuck YOU are, or why you're involved, so glass houses and rock mkay?
>>
>>2959743
>So you guys aren't considering any sort of terms and conditions that rat would also be beholden to? The contracts go both ways. They just generally rig them in their favor.
> We were also thinking more along the lines of a coup. Then we install some actual oversight, make a bunch of slightly adapted laws concerning financial crimes, child abuse, and labor laws and so forth that they have to agree to via contract if they want to live I'm sure you guys can debate that set of contracts while everyone is out.
>I have no idea what the old version of normal was but I'm guessing once a month is extremely low and would cause an explosion in any local pestpopulations since many girls wouldn't be bothering to deal with any local threats too often. Bernie, is the firm able to carry out that sort of currency exchange? For a small fee of course. If we can generate some sort of economy the girls would have motivation to.kill any invaders more than once a month. Maybe increase the exchange fee slightly to fund some sort of welfare for any girls that are in areas that dried up or just aren't that good at things. Maybe some sort of low power mode if we can swing it? They will have a resource surplus. We need to give them something to spend it on. It can be weapons, magic lessons, money if we can convert that without causing any currency crashes, even some silly parties
>Bernie, I assume the firm is equipped to handle the accounts of every magical girl in the world if I pull this coup off? As normal clients. I figure the fact that the rats gathered enough energy to make an artificial heaven and probably cause an apocalypse demonstrates enough prospective wealth. (I don't wanna ask him to do this for free since goodwill does not go for decades/centuries of free labor. The magical girl association properly paying Bernie for his services feels much safer imo.)

>I suppose we should put something in there as a guideline about not slaughtering the local cops for energy unless they do something stupid enough to make themselves be considered lawful combatants.

Posting now before Haiku ends up already done with his posts.
>>
>>2959972
What about the energy in that heaven being converted into the MG social security fund? Girls pay into it to make sure it never runs out and that enormous mass of mana is used to cover EVERYONE's "maintenance fees."
>>
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>>2959743
"That's actually a damn good question," you tell him, "and like most good questions," you continue, looking at the young wizard, "I don't have an easy answer for it."

He stares you down. You didn't manage to see much of the guy so far tonight (he's been spending time chained to your kitchen counter), but he looks pretty young to be a wizard.

Another blonde. Great. They're always trouble.

'Kicker' looks to the side.

They really don't make all wizards from the same mold, do they?

"But the first step to finding that answer is living long enough that we need it," you say, looking around the table, "so, while I'd love to dispense with the overhead here, is this new contract going to bring the rats down on us by itself?"

"There's actually a clause about that," Kicker says, beating several people to the punch, "current energy divisions are preserved until such time as a majority of the signatories deem it unnecessary, then it shifts to the new system. Whenever we figure out what the new system is," he says with a shrug.

"Wait," you say, glancing at a dragon and a duchess of Hell who look like they've had their thunder stolen, "signatories? Plural?"

Bernie's eyes light back up, and the dragon says "that's the largest change - we are inserting additional 'parties' into the contracts. Like executors in a will," he continues with an awful grin. You see several people in the room stiffen. Yeah, a magical girl contract might as well be a will for any girl who makes one, but the joke's in awful taste, "maybe a 'board of directors' is a better term," the lizard says, "there's no age of majority for magically binding contracts-"

[1/2]
>>
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>>2960076
"So," Ellie cuts him off, "under the new style, no girl could make a contract without at least one other person signing on as a - fuck, what's the term? Hey, guy in the tie," she continues, looking at Reynold, "this was your idea. Good one, but I can't remember what you called it."

"I'm not entirely sure there is a term," Reynold says, "now that I think about it: they're not guarantors, because they aren't at stake, but they're not not exactly executors, and they're not quite arbitrators. 'Board of directors' isn't bad, but it sounds a bit overbearing for a single contr-"

"Ok," Rosemary says, grabbing him by the shoulder, "they're something. Doesn't matter what fucking you call them as long as we know what they do."

"Guarantrarbisecutors?" someone says from the standing-room only section against the walls, and gets a couple of laughs.

"Basically," W says with a sigh, "people who also sign on to make sure everyone knows what they're getting into. And have some amount of power and responsibility in the contract to ensure the girls don't get screwed."

...That probably got a few more giggles than he's planned for. Unfortunate word choice.

"And hopefully make sure nobody else dies in a box without their limbs, bro," Freebles says.

"He deserved that," Roxy says, very flatly, from the crowd around the edges of the room.

"We're trying to stop both what he did and what was done to him," Freebles says. He did get some of that rat's memories with the contracts, if you remember correctly.

>That's not what I was expecting, but it sounds good
>See if you can pull Bernie aside - you've got a few questions for him
>Sounds a bit complicated
>Someone older than me, tell me how many times in history there's been a meeting like this one?
>>
>>2960081
>>That's not what I was expecting, but it sounds good
Let them keep working. They're making good progress, let's not derail them too badly.
>>
>>2960081
And, as always:
>WRITE IN

>>2959825
>the conventions of pulling a bigger stick on the rats woulds till work yeah?
Maybe. This post is actually where the idea for having additional signatories came from.
>>2959972
>Posting now before Haiku ends up already done with his posts
Sorry. I think I hit a couple of the things you're interested in, and put an option to talk more about them.
>>
>>2960081
>>Someone older than me, tell me how many times in history there's been a meeting like this one?
>>
>>2960081
Not sure why they're giggling when their own contracts have prima nocta on it as a standard clause. It's not so funny when considering they could have been "legally" raped by Freebles if he was so inclined.
>See if you can pull Bernie aside - you've got a few questions for him.
>If we pull this off there's no way I can audit and manage the accounts of every magical girl out there after I get home from work each night. Fortunately there seems to be an internationally acclaimed firm that has a few specialists in handling magical wealth.
>Do you have experience in making an economy from scratch? If they only have to kill once a month then the population of whatever they kill is going to explode. They need a motivation to earn more than the bare minimum and I think being able to spend whatever part of their paycheck isn't going into the retirement fund could work.
>etc
>Someone older than me, tell me how many times in history there's been a meeting like this one?
>>
1AM - punching out. Hope to be back earlier tomorrow.

Twitter for next runtime:https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge

What are folks thoughts on the 'multiple signatories' idea? It seemed to cover some of the suggestions people have been making, and like something that group might come up with.

>>2960191
>Not sure why they're giggling when their own contracts have prima nocta on it as a standard clause
That's only confirmed for two of them - Rachel and Einz. Freebles actually made the comment that their contracts were more than usually awful when he took them over (by eating their ex-rat), with that as one of his reasons, which implies Mary's group didn't have that in theirs, and he didn't make a similar comment about the ones he took from Madison's group's ex-rat, so it probably wasn't part of theirs either. Seems like certain rats might insert clauses for their own amusement. It was a cheap gag, but there are several people in that room who might be giggling about it, not all of them magical girls. It's not that funny if anyone's really thinking about it, but I'm not sure anyone was at the time.
Now that I think about it, how the hell would that even work mechanically? And suddenly I remember that bodybuilder/musclerat mode is a canonical thing, and I'm more than usually disturbed by what I've accidentally opened the door to. Ironically, assuming Butler isn't a lying asshole, that rat never took advantage of it before he got cannibalized - maybe it was just in there as one more power dynamic thing to wave around.
>>
>>2960191
Seconded
>>
>What are folks thoughts on the 'multiple signatories' idea?
Makes sense. it seems like a logical end point to the random ideas that have been rattled about.
>>2960244
It probably has to do with how Kelly treats her boyfriends. The rat never got the chance to activate the clause because there was no first night she was planning to give it up yet.
>>
RIP quest.
>>
>>2976705
I just haven't felt up to writing for days. Gonna try to get back in today.
>>
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>>2960081
Roxy's brows draw down, but he's got a point. So far, most of the interventions in the rats' contracts have focused on strong-arming the rats like a tin-pot dictator. A rat in a collar because nobody would trust him otherwise. A tortured rat in a warded shoebox, because he'd already killed one of his girls by cutting her contract as a show of force.

Even Freebles is bound by magic that seemingly forces him to injure himself on odd rules if he betrays you. He still hasn't grown that one claw back.

"The proposal isn't exactly what I was expecting," you say, hoping to head off that line of conversation, "but if we can't remove it, rewriting it like this seems like - what are folks' thoughts on this idea?"

"We did argue about it for a while," Bernie says.

"It sounds pretty good," Superfly says, with a glance at Mach and 'Slice'. Mach's eye twitches, and a few sparks ripple around her temples.

You catch a look from Ellie, the same one she always used for "let's not talk about this in front of mom and dad".

"I'm down!" Einz says, from her perch in Kelly's lap, "Dad would be my signatory, right?"

Shit. That raises a few questions - who would be the other parties on the new contracts?

"Sure," the assassin says, putting his arm around her.

Even though they've been over this all, and probably argued it to pieces and back together, there's still an odd current in the room. Maybe they didn't quite make it to this part of the argument. And Madison's missed a few chapters. You don't see her, Rob or James in the room. You can't exactly put much down solid without her input. Well, you could, but...

And that still leaves the question of how to divide up the energy. Unfortunately, there's only one dragon in town who deals in souls. Fortunately you know him.

"Seems like you've made some good progress," you say, "someone older than me - how many times in history has there been a meeting like this one?"

"Never a productive one," Bernie says.

You catch his eye as you say, "let's take a bit of a break. Everyone probably needs some time to think."

Nods from around the room. W looks grateful, and Iris shoots you a quick look of appreciation. Seems like the discussions have been a bit hard.

You pull yourself off the doorframe, and ruffle Liska's ears over the back of her chair, just as she starts talking to Alice, and the room dissolves into a comfortable hubbub.

She gives you a quick smile, then turns back to the other mother and says, "he's always like that. Just can't resist them."

You step out of the room, uncorking its occupants to get drinks, food, or whatever else they need, but there's still some tension in the air as you head for the kitchen.

As you're dishing yourself some collard greens, Bernie walks up beside you. Apparently he got your hint.

>Two-point-five thousand?
>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?
>Multiple signatories, huh?
>Seems like I have a business opportunity for you.
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2978339
>>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?
>>Multiple signatories, huh?


Glad to have you back.
>>
>>2978339
>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?
>Multiple signatories, huh?
>>
>>2978339
>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?
>Multiple signatories, huh?
>>
>>2978339
>>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?
>>Multiple signatories, huh?
>>
>>2978339
>Have any experience making an economy from scratch?

"I LIVE, I DIE, I LIVE AGAIN"
-HaikuDeluge
>>
>>2978339
>Economy- The girls work, they deserve to get paid
>Business opportunity. Carats work better than sticks with teenagers.
>>
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>>2978339
"Got experience making an economy from scratch?" you ask the dragon, as you move on to dishing barbeque onto your plate.

"Someone's thinking really far ahead," Bernie says, grinning, as he grabs - an entire rack of ribs and sets it on the paper plate in his hand. He rips one rib off and cleans the bone in a single smooth motion that betrays far too many sharp teeth.

Ok, it's better than eating princesses, you think as he swallows, and you manage not to gulp. This isn't magical pressure.

It's just the natural reaction to an apex predator beyond apex predators. Dinosaurs are chump change.

"Really wish Shelby hadn't gone over to you," the dragon says, licking his lips, "guy's a pretty good cook."

You glance over the peninsula into the living room. Alright, that's most of 'LRTAC'? they called themselves? The girls who fight with lasers are all over your couches. Karen's leaning over Harriet.

There are a couple of wary eyes in your direction.

If you scream, someone's getting St. George'd tonight.

"I thought he was keeping that job?" you ask, raised your own bite to your mouth. You will not be intimidated in your own home.

"Yeah," the dragon says, "although he's cut back on his hours a bit the past month. Starting a new economy, hmm?"

"We're already accounting for souls," you say, looking deep into his reptilian slit eyes, "so I figured there was a firm in town with experience on that side of things."

"I don't start economies," Bernie says, ripping another rib off his rack, "I ride them like the waves. Know why we left the gold standard?"

"You wanted a bigger bed?" you ask, and the dragon smiles before cleaning the second rib down to the bone.

"There was a reason I owed FDR a favor," Bernie says, then he smiles, "gold is a little heavy for hobbits to carry."

At this point, he'd better be funning you.

"Well," you say, "there is an established economy for what the girls are collecting. Exploitative, but established. And with those contractual overhauls, there's going to be a lot of it with nowhere to go."

"And we could certainly help with that," Bernie says, "although I'd need to be on the contracts - to get in on the transference."

"Multiple signatories, huh?" you ask. It was apparently Reynold who'd suggested that idea...

"I would provide benefits in enforcing the terms," Bernie says, as he eats another ribs.

>Assuming we solve the transference issue, can we bank for them?
>There's supply and demand - who'd buy what they have to sell?
>Someone else is thinking really far ahead now
>Bernie, what if I told you the world ends this year, and based on all my info, you're not involved?
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2978542
>>Someone else is thinking really far ahead now
>>Bernie, what if I told you the world ends this year, and based on all my info, you're not involved?
>>
>>2978542
>There's supply and demand - who'd buy what they have to sell?
>Someone else is thinking really far ahead now
>>
>>2978542
>>There's supply and demand - who'd buy what they have to sell?
>Assuming we solve the transference issue, can we bank for them?
>>
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>>2978542
"Someone else is thinking far ahead now," you say, tossing the dragon's words back at him.

Yes, if he signs on for the contracts, that's a lot of supernatural weight toward enforcing them. It's also a dragon with a partial hold on your girls.

"I just happen to have all the time in the world," Bernie says, "you do know who I am now."

And he thinks he has all the time in the world because he gets to end it? Jörmungandr, the serpent that's supposed to end the world?

Ironically, one of the few people you know that Harriet didn't say featured in a starring role in any of the apocalypses she's seen.

That would probably grind his gears. But it's a trump card you don't feel like playing yet.

"I'd hoped that was D. Onassis messing around," you tell him.

"And your sister," Bernie says, and savagely rips into another rib.

Well, that confirms a few things. Most notably that your soul is worth more to Ellie than your boss. ...And that the dragon was bidding on it. In Hell.

"There's supply and demand here, though," you say, trying to drag the conversation back to an earlier topic, "who'd buy what they have to sell?"

"It's not as valuable as souls," Bernie says, "but I could definitely get some takers on the magical energy they're dragging out of demons. Gods, wizards, and other things would buy. Be able to pay in," he continues, looking at you, "just about anything they'd want."

"So we can do exchanges and escrow?" you ask.

"We could," Bernie says, "transferring it is the problem. It's... inconvenient to transfer to me if I'm not signed on for the contracts."

Ok, that's a bit out of your depth. Maybe W or Freebles would know if he's right, but you can't read the dragon.

[SET 1:]
>Bernie, I know when someone's hard-selling me
>We'd potentially have hundreds or thousands of new clients - is it business plan time?
>Thanks for your help with this - I hope we can work together in the future
>How did you meet Ellie?
>WRITE IN

[SET 2: Who to talk to next?]
>Dads meeting
>Ellie
>Superfly
>Attempt to find Madison
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2978727
>Bernie, I know when someone's hard-selling me
>We'd potentially have hundreds or thousands of new clients - is it business plan time?

>Dads meeting
>>
>>2978727
>>Bernie, I know when someone's hard-selling me
>Attempt to find Madison
Need to bring her up to speed on the contract thing.
>>
I think I'm off to bed (threads seem to die around midnight anyway). Hopefully we'll continue tomorrow. At least I got three posts out tonight.

Twitter, for runtimes and various chatter: https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Shotgun
Most recent Character list / info doc: https://pastebin.com/wNzq4uun

>>2978417
>"I LIVE, I DIE, I LIVE AGAIN"
>-HaikuDeluge
This is not a real quote, and fake news.
>>
>>2978727
>It's not one product, it's two. Magical girls having no decent motivation to work means that the convenient extermination services they have provided all of this time for free may have to start being done by themselves. I don't get the impression that most of the clientele you speak of would enjoy having to get their hands dirty when somebody else could be doing it for them. I may not have known you as long as Heinrich but everyone at the office knows you when you mean business.(Hard sell)
>The other issue is we'd potentially have hundreds if not thousands of clients that we stabilize at. (I personally figured we'd make a magical girl corporation (the council we just made being the board of directors) and have that as the client which we do the bookkeeping on rather than handle them as thousands of individuals. Grouping everything together gives more negotiation power to both sides since going at it individually means a MG might be inclined to just go to some other firm and the Firm would have to negotiate for the clients all individually even if we have a general standard.) I might not know the exact value like you, but them being able to collectively earn an artificial heaven within the "short" time-frame they've existed sounds like they produce more expensive commodities than you let on. We have proof that they generate capital right there. A great deal of capital too. You're getting the chance to deal with clients that can generate a heavenly realm every few decades. It seems like something you don't want to pass up. We are accountants. As long as assets are changing hands we will profit. The alternative is a bunch of bored teenagers with a great deal of power just waiting for some rival of yours to see as a fine entrepreneurial prospect that you could have had handed to you but chose not to take.
(Bernie also seems to be trying to seal the deal right here when we have at least until we make the coup to weigh options. We aren't in a rush here. Bernie should be given time to present us with various concrete financial plans we surely have back at the office instead of rattling them off from memory)

(It occurs to me that we totally could setup a magical girl pantheon in the space the rats have made from all of the girls that can get all the way to godhood now instead but we are TRYING to make something less chaotic)
Set 2:
>Dad's meeting + Ellie (Supafly counts as honorary dad). We discuss the prospects/pitch Bernie lays out. Ellie was at that auction too. She might be a HS dropout but she's been around the block long enough to know some of the relative values.
Roxy can fill Madison in when she gets here. She's clearly been paying attention and we don't wanna personally see evidence we've been leaking love mojo all over Madison's face via walking in on something. I joke. I joke. Her and James don't seem like a couple to me so much as one of those slightly dysfunctional kid
/"irresponsible parent figure" movies.
>>
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>>2978727
"Bernie," you say, and sigh, "you hired me because I can tell when someone's hard-selling me."

You let the statement hang in the air for a bit, as the dragon stares you down. And he smiles, just a little.

"And we're not necessarily doing the deal tonight," you say, "whatever it turns out to be. We need to think about it for a bit."

The slits in his eyes narrow. Draconic pupils seem to be rather expressive.

"Someone brought up an interesting point earlier," Bernie says, shelving away from the topic, as he rips off another rib, "rat warlords. Or mercenary magical girl groups. That is what happens when a central control scheme collapses. You don't want to know how many times I've seen it."

"You're right," you tell him, in almost a whisper, "but that's on the financial side. General demon suppression. I'm sure you could get takers for it. Who wants to have to deal with marauding demons on their own? Even the local demons don't want to - they're risking escalating conflicts in Hell. Fuck, you could probably get police departments to pay for exterminations, maybe under the table."

Your understanding of Hell's politics may be imperfect, but it makes some sense.

And those last options don't give an excuse for him to be in on the contracts.

"Yes, but - I need to be in on the energy trade," Bernie says, "if I'm even going to think of setting up a business plan for this."

"I have at least four wizards and two ferrets under my roof," you say, "we can work up a way to set you up for that. Work out a full exchange. The NYSE, or the CME, of magical girls. Doesn't that have a good ring to it?"

There's really nothing like appealing to a dragon's greed. But he's probably still wondering if he can eat you and get all that himself.

"It does," Bernie says, "quite the business opportunity. I'll think about it, and then we can negotiate. By the way, I've heard some interesting rumors about the end of the world - an end where I'm not involved."

>Been listening to the junkie?
>From what I've heard, you're going to get upstaged hard
>Interesting. I'm not really into that sort of conspiracy theory thing.
>Did they damage your pride?
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2980888
>>Been listening to the junkie?
>Did they damage your pride?
>>
>>2980888
>Been listening to the junkie?
>Well we averted several by stabilizing my sister, and keeping mary from going into a supercritical magical nuclear reaction before she apotheosized. Those were the ones I know the most about. That said those rats gods have to be doing something with all that energy they are collecting, no?
>>
>>2980888
>Been listening to the junkie?
>From what I've heard, you're going to get upstaged hard
>>
>>2980888
>Been listening to the junkie?
>>2980948
Supporting.
>>
>>2980888
>I seem to have steered a few of those off track over the last month or two mostly by accident. I get the feeling that a bunch of em are just symptoms of the rats fucking around including them accidentally crashing the spheres or whatever. I'm guessing you don't like the competition?
>>
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>>2980888
"Been listening to the junkie?" you ask.

"I overheard a couple of 'visions'," Bernie says, then looks at you a little more pointedly, "'sphere crash', he said. And you had a goddess ascend in your backyard and are suddenly going on an adventure into those spheres? I can put two and two together, you know."

"Well, yes," you say, "you run an accounting firm. I've heard we managed to stave off an apocalypse where she went magically supercritical instead of ascending."

"You have a pocket prophet, too?" Bernie asks, tearing off another rib from his rack, "see," he says, dangling it in front of his face, "I'M supposed to end the world," and he strips the rib of its meat in seconds.

"I gathered that," you tell him, "so why don't you?"

"Because it's where I keep all my stuff," Bernie says, "and it's fun. I actually kind of like it. You know that one story about Thor?" he asks, gesturing at you with the beef rib bone, stripped completely bare of meat.

"The one where he did catch and release like he was on a fishing license?" you ask.

"Yeah," Bernie says, "that was the first time I got dragged up from the deep, and I slumbered and ate my own tail for a while afterwards, then realized that I could probably transform enough to go on land, and see the world I was destined to destroy. And it might be worth seeing."

"And then Fafnir kicked your ass because you weren't used to being just a dragon, or being on land?" you ask, "I though that probably wasn't just about salmon."

"I ATE THAT MOTHERFUCKER," Bernie says, the slits in his eyes going wide, "even after he tricked Siegfried. Dragons have several hearts. Dumbass didn't realize he'd only cut out the first one."

Well, that's good information to have.

Time for an appeal to pride. You've already appealed to greed.

"So, I'm not a wizard, but wouldn't it take a lot of energy to crash the spheres?" you ask, "ever wonder what the rat god is doing with all that energy?"

"How do you like someone else ending the universe?" you ask, almost innocently, "guessing you don't like competition."

"Now you're hard-selling me," Bernie says, then leans toward you with a snakelike motion of his neck to whisper, "but if that's what's happening - I'm immortal here, until the world ends. I'm giving you two motherfuckers for any harebrained escapade up the Tree. And I'll end any apocalypse that doesn't give me star billing."

>If you can (walk off)
>Only two motherfuckers?
>Well, I'm glad we should reach some sort of agreement - Enjoying your dinner? (walk off)
>You're the nicest dragon I've met (walk off)
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2981139
>>You're the nicest dragon I've met (walk off)
I wonder if mythical norse dragon is different from the classical european one.
>>
>>2981139
>It's nice that we're agreeing on something other than how wonderful the cooking is.
(I guess the two "volunteers" were to keep an eye on us because Bernie figured we would be the reason everything blew up.)
>Dadchat: Fill em in on the plans with Bernie and ask if it would be physically possible to just outright steal their heaven (or control over it) from them without breaking something.
>>
>>2981139
>>Well, I'm glad we should reach some sort of agreement - Enjoying your dinner? (walk off)
>>
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>>2981139
"Well," you say, "it's nice we agree on something other than how good the food is."

Although you're not sure if he'll be able to fend off the end of the world.

Wait a second. Bernie only picked up his junkie 'pocket prophet' because you ran over the guy first, and had a fight with him. Which only happened because you picked up Madison's team, which only happened because... Well, that's what they called the 'butterfly effect' in those science fiction time-travel pulps you read as a kid.

You just hope you're not the butterfly on Solomon's finger Kipling wrote about.

"We agree on a lot of things," Bernie says, then grins, "...during working hours."

"I'd like to sincerely say that you," you say, staring Bernie dead in the eyes, "are the nicest dragon I've ever met."

Bernie laughs, and manages to gasp out, "I'm the only dragon you've ever met!"

"How would I know?" you ask him, spreading your hands as you turn to walk out of the kitchen, then look back, "I've got a bad history of figuring out when someone's supernatural."

"Wait," Bernie says, "you mean you didn't know about Liska, or me, or your daughter, or -"

"Not until a month and a half ago or so," you tell him over your shoulder, "when I got dumped into this crazy world."

"Duck to water," Bernie mutters, as he scoops a side dish onto his paper plate. There aren't many ribs left on it.

You walk out of the kitchen, and into the hallway, back toward the dining room.

Well, that could have gone better, but it could have gone a lot worse. Bernie's still playing games, you think, but he's probably a decent ally against a world-ending threat. His pride is enough for that.

A sustainable agreement...

You look in through the dining room door, and hear a jabber of confused conversations. At least everyone seems to be getting along.

Hell, a couple of the kids are trying to pet Haru, and he's letting them. More importantly, Ellie's letting them. Or maybe she's just engrossed in her conversation with Superfly.

From what little you can hear, they're swapping rather unfortunate stories about you, and you can see Liska's ears pricked in that direction, while deep in a conversation with Iris, Alice, and Jean (who seems to have finally shaken off the last of Dionysus' mental assault).

>Attempt to catch the eyes of your sworn brothers for a meeting
>Attempt to catch the eyes of your sworn brothers and Superfly for a meeting
>Attempt to catch Ellie's eye - she looked like she had something she wanted to talk about in private
>Go join some part of the madhouse of conversation [WRITE IN a character to join (there are lots of conversations unmentioned)]
>WRITE IN
>>
>>2981336
>>Attempt to catch Ellie's eye - she looked like she had something she wanted to talk about in private
>>
>>2981336
>>Attempt to catch Ellie's eye - she looked like she had something she wanted to talk about in private
>>
>>2981336
>Attempt to catch Ellie's eye - she looked like she had something she wanted to talk about in private
>>
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Oh dear, it's 1AM again and I'm bouncing out. I've got to start posting earlier in the day.

Twitter, for the next runtime: https://twitter.com/HaikuDeluge

Wish I could respond to some of the things people have said in this thread, but many of the answers/comments feel like things the characters should probably say themselves.
>>
Kind of weird how Fafnir gets referred to as a dragon when he's not even a real one. He's actually a dwarf that can transform. For some weird reason I'm now getting the image of his dragon form as a fleshmech built via dwarven engineering in my head..
>>
>>2981406
>Fleshmech
>flesh
>mech
Do I even want to know?
>>
>>2981406
>Kind of weird how Fafnir gets referred to as a dragon when he's not even a real one. He's actually a dwarf that can transform
It's usually part of his legend that he became a dragon after exposure to (and hoarding of) cursed gold. Now that I think about it, that may be where C.S. Lewis got the idea for part of Eustace's character arc in The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader.

Oddly, that same idea of 'becoming something' is all over the place in this quest. There are probably more major characters that became a certain supernatural type than ones that were born that way.
>>
>>2981336
>>Attempt to catch Ellie's eye - she looked like she had something she wanted to talk about in private
>>
>>2981406
He's a Svartálfar (Basically dwarves, though they're called Dark Elves) that got turned into a dragon over time while hoarding cursed gold he, his brother and his father Hreidmar has received from Loki as "Ransom" for Odin and Hœnir, who they'd captured earlier for accidentally killing another of Hreidmar's sons. So I think he'd be considered a proper dragon, he just wasn't one to start with.
>>
>>2981336
>Sibling hugs are the best hugs.





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