[x] “They're headed to the bar to celebrate.”
“They're headed to the bar,” You say, commenting on the crowd. “There's a celebration tonight.”
“... hmm,” She says, not bothering to look back. “Celebrating their victory?”
“Celebrating being alive is more likely, I'd guess,” You say, shrugging. “Aside from Marisa, I don't think any of them knew what was going on. They just knew everything went to hell, and they needed to survive.”
Sakuya gives a small nod, still watching the crowd. “We hadn't delivered our announcement yet. What do they do?”
“What, at the bar?” You ask, not really understanding the question.
“Get drunk,” You say with a laugh, “and do drunken things. Probably a lot of bad singing and cards, if this town's reputation holds.”
Thinking about it, you realize that she's probably never even been to a good bar. How does one end up as a maid in a place like that, of all things? Well, maybe you'll ask later. It's going to be a long train ride back, whenever you decide to go.
There's a bit of silence, and it seems like no one has anything more to say, so you decide to move on to the next order of business. “Well, if you don't mind, there's a few things I'd like to ask you about the basement, and the Lady's plan in general. Oh, and... do you still have that circle, Patchouli?”
“No,” She says, “But I can reproduce it quickly.”
“Do that. Anyway,” You continue, “From what I found, it looks like the Lady was banking on an assault of some kind to distract the imperial army. Do you know anything about that?”
Sakuya turns, now. “Ah... then, you found that.”
“If by that you mean the rather beefy document in the second floor study, then yes,” You say, “What can you tell me about it?”
She gives an elegant, affirmative nod. “I suppose I can tell you. There's not much you can do, now. Soon, the capital will come under siege.”
You laugh. The thought is just insane. “Really. By who?”
“The forces of Makai,” She says, “And whoever else they manage to make a deal with. We were just one of many that took it.”
You think back to the document you found. Distractions. That... would explain all the youkai activity recently. Seems like everyone you knew was either off or going off on a mission of some kind before you left. Well, not quite, but it was the busiest you'd seen the place in a long while.
“So, you did this... as part of a mass baiting scheme?”
“The Lady did this because she thought it would be amusing,” Sakuya clarifies, “Agents from Makai just provided the idea, and the opportunity.”
“And the Barrier? Or even entering our realm?”
“They've found a way around all that,” Sakuya says, “Although I am not aware of the specifics.”
You pause, and let that idea sink in. In times of serious crisis, the imperial army has been known to leave the capital completely undefended. The Great Barrier is impenetrable. They only garrison in the city because it's convenient, not out of necessity. Even if they were inside the city walls, no one would expect an attack on the capital. The surprise element alone would be enough to turn it into a slaughter.
“This... is distressing,” Patchouli says, not sounding distressed at all. She also hands you a small copy of the circle you asked her to draw. “The Barrier should be perfect, but some have speculated that there must be a flaw somewhere. Here.”
You take the circle, and show it to Sakuya. “Does this look familiar?”
“Luize,” She says, almost immediately, “Our contact. Where did you find this?”
“During my search,” You say, leaving it vague. She probably doesn't need to know that you ended up possessed by the demon. “Anything else?”
“I wasn't a part of those meetings,” Sakuya says, “I have never even seen her.”
You bring your hand to your head. This whole thing is giving you a headache. Whatever this demon wanted with those souls, it can't be good. You were inches from giving a demonic army ten thousand human souls to toy with.
… but, that Yukari woman stopped you. Or had a hand in it, anyway, if you had to guess. Flandre was actually the one who broke the device, but she definitely wasn't acting on her own will. Then, that demon... probably tried to get her to do what it had you try to do. Sort of a salvage operation.
Sakuya remains silent, not really showing emotion one way or another. Does she even realize what all of this means? There are around a million people in Aegis. To think that she participated in this, in their deaths... it makes you angry.
[ ] But, she had no choice. The Lady is at fault here.
[ ] Yes, quite angry. What a terrible woman.
Sorry for the delay. Yesterday seemed to be distraction day, so I was unable to finish it. I'll probably be distraction free for a while.
In case you're confused as to the vote choice, I called it at >>34349
Also, for anyone nervous about the trinket, it really isn't important at all. I thought it would add flavor, but I guess it only added worry. Nothing will come of it.
Also, Jack isn't in any sort of casting mode right now. He dropped his shield mage shtick back in the study, when he noticed the books of different schools. I'll try to be less subtle about that in the future.