What's new

Fate/No Order IC

Ana changed into the red jacket to complete her ensemble, stepping out and doing a small spin. "I don't really do clothes... Does this look alright?" She asked, smiling. "Thanks for helping... Seriously. I need it." She sighed, and looking back at her closet. "I just dunno about trusting a magazine... And all of this in general..." She sighed, taking a seat on her bed. "God, this is confusing. But I'm glad I have you, Liza... I will... Trust you on this."

In reality, she was nervous, out of her mind. This was her first time doing anything, especially for a courtship... She internally cringed at that, maybe that wasn't the best term. Talk, is what she will say for now. Hopefully that would help her out. "L-lets just do light makeup, ja?"
 
John did not really believe in Luke's tale. Luke could be telling the truth and just have been a mouse hiding from the Dutch philanthropist, or Luke was just full of himself and a chronic liar. Either way, the two servants in front him were a priority. The utterly morbid Saber who turned her nose up at John, it was as if she thought herself higher than him. In all honesty she was, she was a king, a knight, and now a super human called a servant. Though only the other half of one, the angrier and stuck up side; while his assassin was a more cheerful and carefree side of the same servant. "You are a part of the same person with different characteristics emphasised." John spoke, and looked at Luke. "Have you ever tried bacon pancakes? The quest was directed at the fallen king.

John turned and stared at Rider with his head tilted to the side, he was curious to see if the Japanese servant would do what Saber asked. "She. She is a black sheep. Though more like a black lion." John began to answer Rider's question about Saber. "Though, to tell you who she is, is also to tell you who my servant is. As they are two sides of the same die; but she comes from an island nation just like yours. One that ruled the seas for the longest of time, far after her time. She's famous for pulling a sword out of a stone, and if you make her a he you should figure out who that is. A very popular legend. She embodies the strength of the legend, but fails to compare to the wisdom that she had in the legend." John tried his best to give her the credit she deserved, but also pointed out the pitfalls she shows. "But we have many Nippon Servants here. You may know them and if you stick around longer. You will meet them soon and are all far nicer than Saber here." John commented and smiled cheerfully at both of the servants.

"You are welcome to eat with us, Saber. After all you were half of the reason why we made it out alive." John invited her, "I also want you there."

@BlightGiver @CatJones @SunRaHunter
 
Aine gave a dead stare as the servant tried to explain herself. A Master had died. They had probably relied to heavily on their servant and met a fate that befit one who was to incompetent to defend themselves. It was a blow for humanity, she knew that; she knew it deep down, another reservoir of knowledge was blown out, another star missing from the sky of the human soul. She felt a pit in her stomach, knowing that she could suffer the same fate with her hope unfinished. Something suddenly blocked the light from her face, the servant now dominating her scope of vision.

“What are you doing?” She spoke softly, taken back by the sudden warmth of Archers hand spreading quickly through her forehead and cheek; she was sure the oil and sweat on her skin was now being absorbed into the servants skin. She hadn't asked to be helped and a servant should know there place when it came to touching a master. If a dog jumps on you, it's to energetic and needs to be handled properly. Before she could formulate a weak poison to administer through the touch, nothing life threatening just a mild migraine for a few hours, the servant took her by the wrist; feeling for the pulse that was barely there. Her body was a train wreck and the last thing she wanted was for a stranger to know that. She meekly pulled her arm back, unable to break it even from this servants weak grip. Her muscles burned beneath the skin, ignoring their masters commands. She wanted to slam the door shut and go back to bed, now that the smoke was gone.

“I didn't ask for your help.” Every moment standing was leaving her legs feeling more and more like poorly stacked bricks; threatening to collapse at any moment. She swayed ever so slightly, and for a second her vision doubled. The servant held up a small napkin with a smattering of herbs on it. At this point, Aine had nothing to lose. She placed her whole hand on the pile of earthy herbs and shoveled as much into her mouth as she could. She swirled her tongue around, focusing some of the mixture under it like instructed. The effects weren't as immediate as she would have liked and voiced her complaint, though not about the taste or its effects.

“So long as that worthless thing is still walking around, this won't help. Him and his damn dreams. He's the reason I can't sleep, can't focus. I should never have summoned him.” She panted out, the spinning of her head starting to slow. The nausea was dissipating, her stomach finally settling and feeling almost natural. Her breath was still leaning on the ragged side, but it was far better then when the conversation had started. Aine didn't feel like a shining picture of health, maybe something like a near death example from a text book, but she was convalescing much quicker thanks to the herbs.

The Archer class servant. She had been a healer in life, now she was another life-imitating husk stalking the halls of this place. Another soul lost in this crypt, forced into something not unlike life. Aine could feel some remorse for the woman before her. To be a healer and now a weapon was a 180 turn that few could walk away from without some damage to their mental state. She was loath to admit it but servants did have something akin to morals. Thses could be overridden with a command seal, but they were still capable of indiscriminate thought. If something set off just a bad memory or a traumatic event, even a servant could go berserk. Archer seemed to be holding herself together fairly well though. The realization that Aine was going to have to have to dress left her guts feeling knotted. More work that she didn't want to do. The problem compounded on itself with Archers choice of words.

'You CAN change, and we WILL go'. It sounded as though Archer thought she had some kind of authority over her. She had no control over anything, not even herself if a command seal was used. Who was she to try and order a Master to do anything? Aine bit her tongue. She wasn't a fool. If Rider ever brought a weapon against her, she could force him to stop with her command seals. But Archer had no such weakness. This was a potential threat before her. She was quick to help her but how far will compassion like that carry on in the face of adversity? On the outside she was calm and collected, but mentally she was preparing a command seal to pull Rider back if this servant started to become overbearing.

Without saying a word, she slid back and closed her door in Archers face, not with a slam but a gentle click. She hadn't asked for help, so there was no gratitude to exchange. Even if she had, she didn't need to. Only a person suffering a loss of their senses thanks a lamp for its light or a bed for being comfortable. Speaking of which She made her way back to hers. The edge pain that she had been on was gone, and that was good enough. She slumped back onto the now cool mattress, never more aware of how much better she felt, nor of how much sweat and oil were soaking into her sheets. Rider was going to have to do a lot of laundry.

@Midoria



Sabers story held no answers for Rider. He had just wanted her name and was instead left with a cryptic puzzle to solve. He racked his brain trying to recall any real-life figures that matched that description. An islander who's nation would go on to become a naval power; but not until after her death. That was a few nations, depending on time period. He would need to consult with his history books about that one, in the mean time Saber would be like the shadows on the moon. Pretty to look at but mysterious at the same time. And as much as the puzzle had let his heart sink, the mention of other servants from his homeland brought it right back up. There were hundreds of people who could qualify as servant material; Date Masamune, Takade Shingen, Kenshin Uesgi, Saito Dosan, Yukimura Sanada, and that was only the ones he had read about it.

This information also left a pit in his stomach that threatened to pull him down into the floor. Could his brother be here? He was sure that John would have mentioned something like that, it was the kind of detail one doesn't forget in passing. And admitting that he had led a rebellion against him would be an obvious reason to disclose that kind of knowledge. He would let it be a pleasant surprise on who he was going to meet. Though this did draw emphasis on the last thing John had said to him, that all the other servants were nicer then saber. That didn't need to be said, especially with her in the room. Rider wanted to apologize on his behalf since Saber hadn't done anything overtly cruel or outstandingly mean to him.

She might have ignored him, but they just came back from a mission, she had to be low on mana and somewhat tired. Battle always had a way of aging the spirit to the point of exhaustion. Never mind that his initial presentation of himself had been lacking.

“Thank you for your time, John-dono. I'll make sure to acquaint myself with Sabers legend as soon as I am able.” He had a fire in his eyes as he thanked the master, excitement bouncing in his chest at the research he now had to look forward to. Scant seconds after he had offered his gratitude, Saber gave him a task; to present her with her drink. In Japan, it was customary for the young to offer elders their drinks and pour it for them. This must have been something similar. Rider did note that Saber couldn't be much older the he was. Rider was happy to help, but he had only the most basic idea what those things were.

Red wine. He knew about wine, the Christian Dutch traders brought it with them for their ceremonies, but he had never been Christian, so that did him no good. The alternative, chocolate milk was just as much a mystery. He knew that you could milk a cow, and that humans now kept it in 'plastic jugs' thanks to the grail's gift of knowledge. But how did you make it 'chocolate'? The grail had given knowledge of chocolate, and he was already yearning to try some. He excused himself quietly, deep in thought as he made his way to the kitchens refrigerators.

He pulled on the door, expecting an immediate give and was pleasantly surprised when it took another try to force the sealed door open. Cool air wrapped around his hands and lingered in his gloves, he could feel it creeping up his uniform sleeves. His hunt had begun, searching into the cold depths of the fridge for milk and chocolate. Milk was easy to find, several white jugs were lined up on side of the fridge. But chocolate, he had no idea what it looked like, what it smelled like, tasted like, felt like. He was completely blind. He scanned everything in the fridge again, still not finding it. He skulked away from the cold air, noticing how warm the kitchen was with so many people working and cooking. He quietly slid over to Luke, trying to keep out of the way of the busy staff, and having to pull his cape out of the way of several of them.

“Excuse me, Luke-dono. How do I make this 'chocolate milk?” He asked, his soft voice already a near whisper, the red in his cheeks glowing brightly; chocolate milk sounded simple, but now he was struggling to even understand what it really was.

@Syvvaris @BlightGiver @CatJones
 

BlightGiver

Professional Brick Thrower
Roman rushed to Da Vinci, keen on sharing this immediate development. "Hey. Hey!" He shouted, sliding along the linoleum floor of the lab she was using for the broken grail. "What? What?!" She shouted back, leaving the grail's containment. The doctor takes a moment to bend forward and catch his breath; all this running was certainly good exercise, but he's never had to do so much in one day. "Just like....the scorpion...." He said between pants, wiping sweat from his brow. Da Vinci didn't like this news, "Another giant bug? Keep me out of it." She pleaded. Roman shook his head to clear the misunderstanding, "Cameras say otherwise; no bugs. But the temporal readings are exactly the same."


Luke set about placing the batter on a pan and setting it ablaze, metaphorically; Saber, john and Rider were still finishing their discussion off to the side, but that wouldn't be enough to distract a Chaldean chef? John suggested bacon pancakes at one point and Rider came up to the chef with a rather pure question. "Chocolate milk is just white milk mixed with chocolate sauce or powder. You can find both in the giant fridge behind me." Luke explained, pointing to the expensive looking appliance to his right. "If you like sweets, it would be right up your alley." He added with a chuckle, giving off a 'genuine' smile. The chef hardened his grip on the pan handle, having nearly let it slip from his hand. "And those delicious treats will be up in a few minutes, my lord....lady!" Skorl heard that Freudian slip, as he was bringing his garbage up front to throw away. "What's his problem?" He asked John.

Within the next minutes, Luke had a plate full of 6 or 7 pancakes stacked inches high; he even went out of his way to present bowls of extra fruits and various syrups for Saber to customize her pancakes with, depending on her taste preferences. "And there you have it." He said, subconsciously bowing. "They don't have bacon on them," Luke stated, looking at John. "But, I'm sure you'll find them nice and sweet." The proud chef held the pan at an angle in his hand still, gripping tightly to the painted metal. "Hey, can I get some extr-" Skorl was going to inquire, before having the chef face him directly. "Didn't you just eat?" Luke politely asked, pointing the pan at the pink haired master. He felt a bit of tension from the chef, and decided to back up a bit.

@SunRaHunter @Syvvaris @CatJones


"No one is too old for time outs, young lady." Raikou talked back to lancer. "I'd even put my master in one, if he ever acted too badly." She explained, not realizing the potential for embarrassment she just set forth. Lancer had helped Ana get a suitable outfit, for sure; though she still lacked her desired makeup, as she made everyone aware again. "Allow me." Raikou barged forward, pulling out a little container from the shelf nearby and dabbing some of it on Ana's face. It wasn't a lot, but it made her face look a little brighter, easily complimenting the artificial light of the facility. "Sometimes a good foundation is all you need....in makeup and relationships." Raikou jibed, setting the now closed container back down. "That's something I could....." She cut off that last thought and shook her head. "Anyway, what else do you all think she needs?"

@AJustKnight @LoneSniper87 @TelisOldfield
 

AJustKnight

Upsetti Spaghetti
Mordred smiled at her Masters wording and how easily it could be made dirty. She had grown very accustomed to the new age way of speaking on account of constantly spending her nights in the rec-room. Video games and Youtube had been great teachers. Some of the games in the rec-room, especially on the computers were a little more risque, and explaining to the IT team why a computer needed it's entire hard drive scrubbed was never a casual task. She straightened her face, going back to serious Mordred.

“Well, you look great. You shouldn't have any trouble wowing him with your looks. Just try to do that shy thing you do with your head, where you kind of look away but don't completely. Every guy likes that.” Maybe the dating sims she had played weren't the best advice to go off of, but it was the closest to dating she had ever done and thus would be her only experience to use. She watched from behind Berserker as she started the fun process of adding makeup. This part made no sense to her. She was naturally good looking, as most female servants were.

So to watch as Berserker put powders on was strange. She remained quiet, letting Berserker and Lancer do what they needed to do to figure out the makeup portion. A few seconds of bated breath and Mordred was surprised. Ana looked better then ever. Ana was attractive, but with this makeup it made her look even better.

“Not bad Berserker. Not bad at all. You really have a knack for this.” She looked over at Lancer to see if she had anything to add. She was the youngest so maybe she would have a completely different understanding of the system.

@LoneSniper87 @BlightGiver @TelisOldfield
 
Berserkers threats feel on deaf ears, Lancer was to great to be contained in but a single corner. If only Berserker knew the danger she was charging into, she wouldn't be so calm and sure to threaten her. Though the fact that she would put her Master in a timeout was more a terrifying concern for him then anything else. Was he really that whipped that he would listen to a servant's commands to take such a pitiful punishment? Lancer literally shook her head clear, focusing back on Ana and her appearance/ Red had been the right choice, making the Master shine in much a different light, a much more delicious light.

Lancer was a little taken back by how such a small change would completely reinvigorate her appearance. If she was her older self, she would have to resist tearing into the woman with a series of torture devices. Thankfully, her younger self was far less blood thirsty then her older form. She was set to focus again, ready to do the more important part, when she was brusquely forced to move aside for Berserker. Lancer chose not to object, letting the older servant have first dibs on trying makeup. It gave Lancer a chance to see what her competitors were capable of.

Not much, apparently. Berserker applied a small amount of foundation and little else. No eye shadow, no mascara, no lipstick, no blush, no shade. Nothing but the most basic foundation. Lancer let out a sigh of relief when Shielder turned to face her and all but say 'please fix this'. Lancer was happy to oblige. It wouldn't be a lot of work to really enhance Ana to much more. She grabbed a few darker shades of blush and eye shadow.

“Alright. Let me tell you the first thing I was ever taught about makeup. Never be afraid to try something new! If it doesn't work, just wash it away and pretend it never happened! Like...so!” A few dabs and brushed later, there was a faint darkness to the bright foundation Berserker had put on, drawing attention to Ana's well formed face and striking eyes, without drawing to much away from her fine figure.

“It's all about showing off the best parts! Now that you've had the Dark Eliza Wonderful Makeup Makeover, no man can resist you!” She stood aside and put her arms out like she was showing off a new car rather then a person.

“No need to thank me. Just doing what a stars meant to do. Shine!”

@AJustKnight @BlightGiver @LoneSniper87
 
Ana managed to stay still as Beserker went over her face, applying foundation before taking a step back to admire her work. Something wasn't right, as Lancer stepped in and did some more, feeling the gentle brush strokes as Lancer spoke. She blinked a few times, trying to make sure everything was fine and wouldn't get in her eyes. None of it did, and she gave a kind smile to the two, listening to Lancer finish with no man being able to resist, causing a giggle and a bit of a blush on the normally reserved Master. "I... Thanks. Truly... You really think this'll help? If so... I may need to ask for lessons. Not that I don't mind you guys helping, just... I guess it'd be a nice skill to pick back up on." She said, finally looking at herself in the mirror. She was impressed, her eyes really stood out like this, but somehow not enough to keep her eyes locked in place in the mirror. "Wow..." She whispered, standing up and brushing herself off.

"Shall we get going? I'd rather not miss all the food... I'm suprisingly hungry..." She said, looking up and gesturing for the Servants to lead the way.
@BlightGiver @AJustKnight @TelisOldfield
 

Dragonruby

Dragon's Hoard
Lucas walked through the halls, seeming a bit more stiff than usual. It looked a bit unnatural considering his usual slouched and lazy looking posture, but with Archer’s warnings, he couldn’t help but consider his looks for once in his life when he usually couldn’t care less. Was he trying too hard, he wondered? He was sure he looked like a robot, as he mentally went over every little thing about his body, from the way his legs moved down to how his arms swang. Lucas was certain he could feel the corner of his lip twitching from standing so stiff.

Luckily for him, Lucas quickly ran into a distraction in the form of a stumbling Servant. “...Avenger?” Lucas asked questioningly as he narrowed his eyes at her. Her figure was much smaller without her armor, seeming much more like a slender woman rather than an imposing warrior general, but it was hard to mistake her for anyone else. Moving to catch up with her, Lucas have her a quick once over, surprised at her casual state of dress, though it was still very distinctly traditional and Japanese. Her hair was done up in a braid too, and... was it just him, or was her face awfully red.

He glanced down towards the bottles in her hands, which quickly confirmed his suspicions. He didn’t think Servants could even get drunk. “Yo, Tokugawa...” Lucas says in greeting, raising one hand in a lazy wave. “I, uh... I like the new clothes... Are you gonna be able to make it to the cafeteria on your own...?”

@CatJones
 

CatJones

Tap A to not die as fast.
Saber kept an uneasy on Luke and the Rider servant. Luke was familiar, though she couldn't place her finger on it. Rider, on the other hand, seemed rather unfortunate. She had listened in to him asking how to make her beverage, she didn't really give him a chance to answer, as Luke finished her meal preparation. She left Rider to struggle with her food as she responded to John. He had offered her a seat at their party. She would accept, but she wouldn't eat their food. It simply wasn't to her taste.

“I will stay for your festivities, but only as a passing curiosity, nothing more.” She took the tray of pancakes and toppings, giving them a quick inspection before moving on. “And I must warn you, Master of Assassin, the next time you compare me to that other self, I will grant you a punishment comparable to such ideas.”

She turned to Luke, looking past him to Rider, figuring he was still struggling to understand such a simple task and informing him of her level of exceptions. “If my drink is not ready soon, I will hold you as responsible as Rider.” She didn't bother mincing words, not giving thanks for her meal. She turned and left to find herself somewhere to sit and enjoy her meal. Finding an empty table to sit at and set her tray down. She would giver Rider and Luke until she was done with the first pancake before she would get unruly.

@BlightGiver @Syvvaris


Avenger was certain she was going in circles. Cheldea had a very simple layout, but when absolutely hammered, it was nearly impossibly to tell one hall from another, and every door looked exactly the same. At some point she had turned around to get something from her room, but forgot what it had been halfway there and then forgot which direction she had been facing. She wasn't a lightweight, drinking with her men had been a great past time after a castle siege and had made her very used to drinking.

She had stopped to get her bearings, waiting against a wall for a few moments to get her bearings, her mind a raging river blocking out any concrete thoughts. She took a few stumbling steps when a voice took her by surprise. She stumbled to the side, Lucas suddenly appearing to greet her and compliment her. Only to finish with asking if her could find the cafeteria on her own. Her very red face lit up with the warmest smile she had ever given, to her new savior that was about to deliver her to the party.

“LUCAS!” She stumbled towards him, wrapping her slender arms around him in a friendly hug. “What are you doing in my neck of the woods?” She asked into his shoulder, before pulling back to focus on him.

“My clothes. Oh, yeah. I'm not wearing my armor anymore. Ha. My wife made these, back when I was alive. Ya know. Before Nobunaga happened.” She reveled more then she meant to without actually revealing anything. “Are you going to the cafeteria? If you be my retainer and lead me there, I will answer two questions you may have.” She slid to stand abreast of him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and using him as both a guide and a crutch for her weaving form.

Not wanting to be a rude hostess, she offered him one some of the sake she was carrying. She wasn't exactly going to let him turn down one drink

@Dragonruby
 
"Gah!" Lucas cries out in surprise as Avenger pulls him into a sudden hug, going still from the sudden contact, his eyes wide. It wasn't like he had many women throwing themselves at him, and being pulled into a hug by a drunk Servant had been the last thing he'd expected to happen to him in the hallways.

"I think you're the one in my neck of the woods..." he countered back as she pulled away, giving her a frown. She slid around to his side, never letting go of him, and quickly wrapped an arm around his shoulders as she leaned into him as a crutch, causing him to shift a little awkwardly at the continued close physical contact. A part of him wondered what led her to think that he'd have questions to ask of her in the first place, but he supposed that most people probably would have at least a few when it came to historical figures like them. There never was any question about whether or not he'd lead her to the cafeteria or not, so he simply sighed and put up with Tokugawa, her gregarious nature seemingly only amplified by the alcohol. Better a friendly drunk than an angry one, he supposed. The hug had been nicer than he would like to admit.

Lucas quickly adjusted himself, wrapping one arm around Avenger's midsection while his other hand held the wrist of the arm around his shoulders in order to better support her though it's quickly occupied by a bottle of sake instead. "Jeeze, you get really pushy when you drink, huh?" Lucas asks her back as he takes a quick sip in order to placate her if nothing else, not planning on drinking much more, if any at all, wincing a little as the liquid slid down his throat. It was smoother compared to most other drinks, but not being a person who drank very often, the taste was enough for him to make a face at.

Of course he quickly hides the face he made, turning to give Tokugawa a smile to show how much he enjoyed it before he continued with leading her towards the cafeteria. "What do you mean by when 'Nobunaga happened'?" Lucas asks after a moment, giving her a curious glance as he decides to take advantage of the two questions she had given him. He figured it was better to go for a more serious one than to use it on some sort of joke. "Er... Sorry if it's a bit of a silly question, I'm not exactly well educated in Japanese history."

@CatJones
 

Midoria

Bad Civilization!
Archer
The door to the female Master’s room shut gently in Archer’s face, leaving her standing awkwardly in front of the barrier. She sighed as she looked down at her now empty napkin of herbs, only a few small specks remaining. While they hadn’t been expensive, apparently it had been quite hard for Lucas to acquire the right ones and have them delivered to Chaldea. She placed the napkin back in her leather hip container and thought about the sick Master’s words. She certainly hadn’t been polite and didn’t even give her a name.

Archer crossed her arms and began an angry pout. She understood the Master was suffering right now, but if she was well enough to complain she was well enough to be polite! She sighed again, less angry; the Master’s Servant seemed to be the main issue with the Od withdrawal. It was a Servant’s responsibility to be as unburdening on the Master as possible so issues like this wouldn’t happen. The Servant most be extremely powerful or just wasteful with their Master’s Od to cause such a sever depletion like this. And why was the Servant just “walking around?” The Servant needed to be in spirit form right now to limit the drain. Did the Servant truly just not care?

After a few moments in thought Archer realized the Master still hadn’t returned. She hoped the woman hadn’t collapsed or passed out. Surely the herbs had started taking effect now, they were not a cure to the Master’s ills but should had served well as a temporary remedy, especially considering how much the woman had taken. Archer knocked on the door and waited…

Nothing… she knocked again after a minute of silence… and again. Her angry pout returned. Rebecca doubted the woman had collapsed. Surely, she would have heard the woman hit the floor. Judging by the Masters attitude, she was likely just ignoring her. This was going to be harder than she thought… often performing her duties as healer was more difficult than her battles as a warrior when the injured didn’t wish to be healed.

It was rude to invade another’s personnel room or enter without invite. However, the Master’s health took priority over her privacy. Archer faded and reappeared in the Master’s room. “I apologize for entering but you must eat before sleeping again.” Archer spotted the Master, unsurprising collapsed on her bed. “Come, pretty little Master it won’t take lo-“ Rebecca stopped her gentle words as she looked around the sick woman’s room. It was a disaster. Discarded clothes littered everywhere, half eaten food on paper plates, piles of books. “T-This room is unbecoming of a lady!” She said in a raised voice before shuffling around the Master’s room.

“I know you’re sick but a lady must never let her room reach such a state of messiness...” Rebecca moaned in despair as she tried to pick up the paper plates with food; failing more often than not as they bended in half and dropped their half eaten contents on the floor. “Ooooh even your nightwear! You have to take care of your possessions. Especially pretty things!’ Rebecca groaned as she spotted the Master’s fancy undergarments on the floor, sounding like a young mother dealing with a lazy teenage daughter.

@SunRaHunter
 
Last edited:
Mordred was astounded at how much Berserker and Lancer could do. Lancers proclamations had been adorable as well, though she didn't have as much time to fantasize about the cute outbursts. Ana was happy with the overall results of the girl session, make up and dressing up. After a duly-deserved round of gratitude, Ana was ready to go. Only problem was that Mordred wasn't about to go to what was supposed to be a party dressed like a knight.

A quick sharpening of the mind, plus a little mana from her Master, and Mordreds sleek dark armor vanished, replaced with her casual clothes. Denim jeans with a long-sleeved collared shirt, and simple sneakers. She didn't have to dress up super fancy since she was just going to be mingling with the other servants. She let her mind briefly wander into the idea of her father being there. They might be on bad terms, but she still wanted to spend time with him.

“Thank you both for all your help. I'd be lost without you.” Sheilder gave another warm, toothy smile. She was excited for the party but she was even more excited for the next time they deployed on a mission, ready to prove herself to her father, her master and her new teammates.

“Well, I guess we'll get this show on the road. Berserker, Lancer, do you two need to go change or are you going as is?”

@LoneSniper87 @TelisOldfield @BlightGiver
 
A series of knocks echoed through the still room, as Aine forced her eyes closed even harder, trying to will Archer away with just the power of being annoyed. A second set of knocks permeated through the room and Aine grabbed her pillow to smash against her face, wrapping it around her head, in the vain hope that it would block out the sound. When the silence she so desired came, she let the tension back out of her body, visibly relaxing on the sweat soaked sheets. She was still in terrible shape but if she could just get some sleep, surely everything would work itself out, figuring that sleep was the best cure-all. Dreams she hadn't yet experienced were dashed against the rocks when Archers voice spoke out again. Like a horror movie protagonist, Aine propped herself up on her elbows at the realization that this meddlesome Servant was in the room.

Again, the Servant was ordering her to do something, in this case eat, but the rolling tides of her stomach couldn't handle food right now. Though the more pressing concern of Archer being in her room uninvited put her on edge, grinding her teeth in agony. Rider wasn't allowed to go into spirit form, the idea of creature disappearing into the ether like that was unnatural and unwanted. He could watch her sleep, plan her demise,and go wherever he wanted without permission. What kind of irresponsible Master would just let a killing machine roam unattended like this? Archer might have given her those herbs to sooth her mana usage, but one kind act doesn't reverse the entire nature of a person. Hypocrite, she hissed at herself.

“I didn't invite you in here, so don't complain about the state of my room. I've been busy with all the nonsense this organization puts new Mages through. You want responsibility, blame Rider. He's the useless layabout who couldn't clean a simple room.” She might have lied a little, but its not like Archer would ever know about it. Rider was spineless and would capitulate on the idea that it was his fault with just the tiniest amount of prodding. Aine derailed her thought process as Archer picked up a pair of her underwear. It was bad enough that Rider touched them and then complained about it, but to have a female Servant compliment them left a red-hot poker in her guts. Was it embarrassment or pride swelling through her? She would sort it out later.

She lunged off the bed, mumbling about her clothes not being playthings, making sure to keep her voice low enough to hide the embarrassing nature her tone had taken on. She snatched the frilled underwear from Archer and threw it into the cloth bin that Rider had half filled early. She focused her eyes on the Servant, narrowing them as best as she could in the hopes of being intimidating, though in her sleep deprived state, she wasn't sure how she appeared.

“Just throwing around the word 'pretty isn't going to make people like you. That being said, refer to me as Aine or Master of Useless Rider. I'm fine with either, but if I hear the words 'little' or 'pretty' one more time, I'll be right to do something really nasty.” She put a hand on Archers shoulder, feeling her oily, sweaty skin stick to the Servants pristine flesh. She wasn't going to poison the Servant, she lacked the necessary power to do so, far to drained already to be much of a threat. But it seemed a more managable act of spite to let her join Aine's greasy hell. She lifted her hand only a second or two after making contact.

“I take it you were some kind of healer when you were a natural part of this world?” She let out a defeated sigh, already knowing the path this was going down and seeing no reason to fight it, that war of attrition would be to taxing on her. “Fine. Let's go get something to eat. On the condition that once I'm done, you assist in cleaning this room.” She saw no reason she couldn't get something out of this. If it were two of them, they could be done quicker and one it was finished Archer would have little reason to return to her room. This seemed like the kind of Servant (she corrected herself mentally from saying person) that worries needlessly about others. Without a reason to worry, she wouldn't have a reason to bother Aine again.

“Acceptable?” She asked, sliding on what seemed to be her last pair of clean shorts, and reaching for her jacket afterwards.

@Midoria


Rider nodded his thanks to Luke before turning to face the mentioned fridge. Opening it and feeling that wonderfully cool air on his arms again, he scanned the white environment for his new target. Several brown bottles on the door were denoted with the words 'Chocolate syrup'. That's what Luke was talking about, he thought as he pulled one out to look at. He knew English, the Grail had seen to that, but what was a Hershey? He quietly mumbled the name on the bottle as he fetched a gallon of milk and a glass to use. He filled the cup a fair amount, before lifting the bottle of syrup up and holding it over the milk.

A few seconds passed with no change, nothing was coming out of the bottle. He silently panicked, wondering if he was doing it wrong. Maybe you were supposed to squeeze the bottle? He did so, and a steady stream of deep brown liquid began to flow out. A few seconds later and the glass was set to overflow, a solid two inch bedrock of chocolate syrup filled the bottom of the glass. Fetching a spoon, he stirred it slowly and methodically, making sure the motion of the spoon kept the liquid in the glass and not all over the counter space he was using.

With his task finally completed, a brimming glass of nearly black chocolate milk resting on the counter before him. He took a small amount out with his spoon and carefully guided it to his mouth for a taste test. A shiver ran up his spine at the divine sweetness of the concoction, it's rich body leaving a burning in the back of his throat and the thickness of it leaving the feeling that it was sliding down his throat of its own volition rather then having been swallowed. Perhaps her had made it to sweet? He lifted it with both hands, clamping a death grip on it, just in case. He had only tipped once so far today, but his luck always seemed to kick in when he was doing more delicate tasks.

He made his way out the kitchen with haste, finding Saber was close to finishing her first pancake. He set the drink down, and gave a slight bow. It was just being polite when bringing someone their drink to bow. “Enjoy.” He squeaked out, his mind racing with all the possible outcomes of the beverage; would she like it, would she hate it, would it be only adequate? E scurried away, making sure to not be there when she made that decision. He instead forced himself to go before John, hoping that the mild-mannered Master would be a good folly to Saber if she became upset over his interpretation of chocolate milk.

“If I may ask, John-dono, how was your mission?” He had already had quite a few day-dreams about the missions that Cheldea undertook, and was ready to hear the unbidden trunh.

@CatJones @Syvvaris
 

Midoria

Bad Civilization!
Archer
The pretty pair of undergarments was swiftly taken from Archer's hands by the risen Master. The grumpy Master gave her a glare at Archer’s intrusions, though it came off as less intimidating and more a grumpy child refusing to accept they were past their bed-time. The Master gave her name, Aine, and complained about her use of the words "pretty" and "little." What a strange thing to complain about for a woman…

Aine put an oily hand on Rebecca’s shoulder after saying if the now forbidden words were used again she would get nasty; was the Master trying to threaten her? What a silly thing for a mage to do against a Servant. The contact only lasted for a moment, and Aine ask about her role as a healer when she had been living. “Yes, I was a Kwiocosuk for my people or a shaman. In all honesty though I did more hunting and punishing than healing.” Seeing that the Master placed her nightwear in a bin with other clothes, Archer picked up the more interesting and colorful underwear; inspecting them briefly in curiosity and placing them in the bin as the Master had done.

Aine agreed (albeit reluctantly) to eat on the condition that Archer helped clean the room afterwards. Archer had no issues helping the Master clean (although she briefly thought back to her previous failed attempts at cleaning…) This Master was like a very grumpy, bossy version of Lucas. She wondered if teasing the tiny, grumpy Master would be as fun? A mischievous smirk came to Archer’s lips, “Yes, it is acceptable, however I must say you are quite bold Aine. To touch me so gently, accompanying me to dinner, and now asking me to clean your personal room! Are you trying to make a wife out of me!? Oooh, I hope Lucas doesn’t get jealous! I would hate to hurt my own Master’s sensitive feelings…”

Archer happily strolled out of the Master’s room pretending to be lost in thought at Lucas’s future reaction to her newly blossoming relationship with Aine. She waited as Aine finished changing into her clothing, to accompany her down the hallways.

@SunRaHunter
 
The relative of Nobunaga was a realitively a nice person, however subservient he seems to be. To go out of the way to get this woman chocolate milk with the way she has been treating both Luke, Rider and himself was signs of servitude or going great length to get friendly with this woman. Though admirable, and honestly John himself would do the latter, both his servant and what they had talked about early in their first mission left a bad distaste for who this woman was.

Saber seemed immovable to John with her typical threat, a very real and serious threat that John would most likely die from. "Please Saber, don't threaten me with a good time." He made a typical light hearted comment that was sure to aggravate the possible futa king. John fell silent after his comment and eyed all potential players of this exciting set of social interactions. Saber kepted being the wall of rock that very few women in his life has failed to soften at his touch. Rider showed the spirit of a young child, his eagerness to be sociable and his obediance to authority. Luke with his mysterious emergence from the kitchen and his possible bull face lie of his renown.

Rider broke John's train of thought on these people with a simple yet difficult question. How did their mission go? How much did John tell the new servant? How much sympathy should he feel for Saber's loss even though she outwardly and very well inwardly thought nothing of her former Master. Should he describe in detail the combined efforts of Saber and Assassin and what about his interaction with the pink haired Master who sat in the corner of the cafeteria?

"Simply put, it came back as a success. All of us that went were still wet behind the ears. Mistakes were made, but we manage to pull off the mission with a bit of elbow grease and teamwork. You should have seen her noble phantasm, a powerful and hypnotic one. Especially combined with my servant's, but it does worry me that the beast was felled by the combination of two noble phantasms instead of one. Oh, there was also a scary and unbelievable beast that fought real hard against use." John tried to give a short and vague answer to Rider.

"Rider. Have you invited your Master?" John asked.
 

CatJones

Tap A to not die as fast.
Saber ignored John's attempt at a jest, and focused instead on her food. Luke had done an expert job making them, fluffy and sweet, light and delicious. The king of junk food, fit for a king such as herself. To her surprise, Rider actually came by with her drink, though it was in a much different fashion then she was used to. It was usually a light brown, sweet but with a hint of the milk it originally was. This was almost black in color and slowly swirled as if it had never stopped since he originally began to make it.

She eyed it suspiciously, before lifting it and taking a mild sip. It was sweet beyond belief but tasted incredible with the far more refined sweetness of her pancakes. She continued to eat in a manner that could almost be called merry, a slight smile dashed across her face. She took intermittent glances at Luke as she ate. Something still felt off. He had a familiar feel to him, and the fact that he can't calling her by male pronouns as opposed to female. She narrowed her eyes at him, looking past John and Rider to keep an eye on him.

Something about him was off, and as soon as she finished her food, she would find it out.

@BlightGiver


Avenger smiled drunkenly, excited to watch Lucas' face bitter at the taste of her sake, before he fixed himself and tried to be polite. It was a pleasant lie, but not a needed one. She was Tokugawa Ieyasu after all, the notorious Lord of Intrigue. Her words had held more weight then a thousand swords. Once, long ago. Now she was trying her best to be content with a simple life, to try and be the modest and honorable figure her legend made her out to be. She pulled Lucas closer as he asked his question, ignoring his comment about her being pushy, and leaning her head on his shoulder. She wasn't even being pushy yet. He would be in a whole other world of surprise if she ever got demanding.

“A great question. The best kind of question when offered one. So, Nobunaga and I were best friends. Like the best you could ever hope to be. I watched his back as he set out for Kyoto, and our armies fought often together. Fought together often.” She wasn't stumbling over her words, but certain ways of saying something made it hard to keep the words in order. “So, I had a son. Nobuyasu. And Nobunaga had a daughter, Tokuhime. Well, one day, we married them to each other as a political marriage. It was normal back then, everyone married off their children to another lords children so they can't attack you. Because you're family now. Buy anyway, they married, and everything was great. Except, Tokuhime got mad one day. You see, she had only given Nobuyasu daughters, so my wife, Lady Tsukiyama, got him a concubine, also completely normal back then. She got mad about it and made up a little lie. She told her father, Nobunaga, that my son and wife were trying to ally with another clan, the Takeda. Nobunaga hated the Takeda. So, this was a very serious lie. In the end, to keep my allegiance to Nobunaga, he demanded retribution. My wife and son, or my entire clan. I had to have my wife killed. And I forced my son to commit ritual suicide.” '

Tokugawa hadn't removed herself from Lucas, but her pace had slowed and her speaking became slow and distant. She had been okay with everything that had happened when it had, focused on keeping her people alive from a foe that was far beyond something they could fight. Now, she wished for nothing more then vengeance against the Oda. Nobunaga and any other member of his family. It was her call for retribution. She had something very special when she had been alive. She and Lady Tsukiyama had been deeply in love and very happy for each other. Almost no other lord or lady could claim to have the same level of joy in their life. She didn't know how to put those feelings into words; to have what felt like part of your soul snatched away by a upset child, throwing a tantrum and becoming even more upset at the fact her anger had hurt her as well. 'When you pick up a coal to throw it at someone, you are the one who will get burnt.'

“Did you know that's why my eyes are red?” She looked him in the face, reverting back to the usual cheery smile she wore, her eyes half lidded at him, sorrow mixed with misery. “Because I'm cursed by Nobunaga. When he died, he cursed everyone who had been a part of his life. Me, his family, his retainers. All of us suffer his curse. And it's why I'm an Avenger instead of a Ruler. I exist to kill him and anyone related to him.”

Her smile intensified just before she brought another bottle of sake to her lips and took a long swallow of it. “I want to see his legacy burn, no matter the cost.”

@Dragonruby
 
"Obviously, I have to go shower and get ready, a star has to shine brighter then anybody else, after all." Lancer bounced, making her hair bounce with her. "I'll catch up as soon as I'm done. Oh, and I suppose I'll have my piggy with me, so you can meet him as well." Lancer made a face as if the idea of getting her Master to come to the party was a chore that she didn't want to commit to. Either way, she was willing to at least make him aware of the party, even if he might just choose to sleep through it. He seemed to get tired rather quickly these days.

"Ciao ciao, deerlings." She waved them off as she made her way down the halls of Cheldea, ducking into a doorway when she saw Archer exit a room and begin to loiter around outside of it, as if waiting for something. She would wait and see what Archer was doing, staying crouched and hidden. Archer was very outgoing, but for to just be standing around was strange. Maybe this would lead to a juicy secret that she could use to get even better perks from Archer...

@Midoria @AJustKnight @BlightGiver @LoneSniper87
 
Rider now had more questions then answers. John seemed to really enjoy leading Rider on, giving only enough information to give him an inkling of an idea of what had happened, but his vague 'her' left him not knowing who's Noble Phantasm had saved the day. It must have been Saber, she was the only female Servant in the room. Still, the lack of detail left Rider wanting to know more; what was the terrible beast they had fought, what was Sabers Noble Phantasm like, what had the others done during the mission? He wasn't about to bother the bust Master, about to let him focus on his cooking when he posed a question of his own.

Aine had been rather clear to him; he was not to bother her unless called upon. She hadn't called him back since she had ordered him to get food. His face shifted to a nervous smile, not entirely sure of what the correct answer was in this situation.

“I-I'm certain that she doesn't want to be disturbed right now. She was rather exhausted from her training.”

A pit had formed in his stomach, making him wonder if he should risk his Master's wrath to alert her of the party. Then again, the first time he had checked on her, she had used her magecraft on him and gave him a migraine that put him out of commission for almost two whole days. Their relationship as Master and Servant had started off rather rocky and wasn't about to make any great improvements.

Rider moved away from John, giving a quiet excuse as he backed up to a nearby seat and occupied it, figuring that maybe it would be best to wait for the food to be done. His first foray into attempting to make friends in his new life and he was already finding himself losing steam. Then again, most of the Servants didn't seem to be present, surely when they arrived he would have a better chance at acquainting himself with them.








Aine openly smirked at Archer. The equally revealing woman had stepped outside, having accepted her proposition of an escort for what essentially boiled down to a maid. Thankfully, the Servant wasn't there to see the devilish grin, if she had she would know that the frail Master would have already begun a simple plan, one that would pay just as simple dividends. Archer would assist Rider in cleaning her room and in doing so, would ensure that her room was cleaned that much quicker. This would shorten the amount of time she would have to spend with either of the two. Small rewards for small tasks. She wouldn't mind making small talk with the other Masters, it was only the Servants she was wary of.

Another fine rewards would be a clean room. The subtle odor of rotting food was slowly making itself known. She scrounged through the dresser across from her bed, having to dig around to find a pair of clean matching socks. That was the hard part of dressing. She quickly ran her hands over her body, making sure that she was suitable for being seen by other humans. Deciding there was little else she could change, she quietly slid into the hallway, spotting the waiting Servant. She wanted to openly mock the Servant, remind her that one cannot marry a rock nor a wall, let alone a Servant. Was it this common? Or was it simply a lingering want to be touched, a moth seeking a familiar flame?

Servants were strange creatures. But while she had one with her, she could probe it, understand them a little better; and use this opportunity to come to a consensus on a few details.

“Archer. Do Servants dream? And can a Master view their dreams?” The question seemed ludicrous. Dreams were just the imagination running it's course while the body was resting, and a nightmare was just the body checking its natural responses to dangerous stimuli. What could scare a Servant? Rider's dreams were confusing, and she couldn't wrap her head around why they made her wake up in a cold sweat, her heart beating out of her chest in sheer terror. She sharpened her mind on the simple act of walking, one foot, then the next, repeat. One foot, then the next. It was simple exercise to remain awake for long periods.

She had no interest in fully understanding Rider, she just wanted the dreams to end. To have sleep be her refuge from the world again. Just like Rider, she had no interest in befriending Archer. She was simply a means to an end. Maybe a few ends, Aine thought to herself, glancing at the cross tattoo that she had. Aine had never believed in God. What kind deity would let any child be born into the Johnston line, let alone three? Even worse were people who said it was test by God. What test? If God was the supreme creator, did he not create her? What was he testing? His own craftsmanship?

Her salvation would come from herself, not faith. She would focus on this later, her current questions were more important.

@Midoria
 
Were this any other time, Lucas would've worried over appearances as Avenger rested her head against his shoulder as they walked down the hallway, but at this moment, plodding on alongside her, Lucas could only listen on silently to her tale as she spilled to him the details of her life. Was it simply because she had been drinking that she was willing to go this far, he wondered?

The story Avenger told wasn't exactly an epic, what with her current state of inebriation, but at the same time she spoke clearly and concisely, a series of events that unfolded without the great pomp and circumstances that nearly any other storyteller worth their salt would give it. This was, after all, quite literally the stuff legends were based on, and Avenger's ability to simply speak of such matters gave it that much more weight. This was a tale that he could likely find in a million different novels or textbooks, and still he doubted any of them would be able to match the story as from Tokugawa herself in this very moment. There was a strong sense of gravity in her words, emotions never clearly stated but very much implied, but he hadn't quite realized just how strong they were until he looked down to match her red eyes. A deep sadness, visible even past the facade of her usual cheeriness.

Her smile was what struck fear into his heart, however. For a moment, Lucas was reminded that Avengers were very much Servants who pursued their namesake, seeking to avenge some wrong that had been done to them. Nobunaga's legacy destroyed, burnt into cinders, as the price for stealing away something precious to her. He felt a shiver run down his spine, and he quickly turned forwards again the moment she went to take another drink.

He wondered if she saw what he had felt, even if he hadn't said a single word. Lucas could feel his heart pounding in his chest after the brief meeting of their eyes, and he held himself back from placing a hand over his chest in an attempt to calm himself, instead simply taking slow and measured breaths until he felt composed again. "Your wife..." he said after a moment, hoping to change the topic, and perhaps bring Tokugawa back from her thoughts of revenge. "Tell me about her... She, er... Well, you and her-" Lucas cut himself off there. She had sounded like she was important to her, but Avenger had never quite said so, had she? All he had was a guess, one who's validity Lucas wasn't exactly quite sure of. "You cared quite deeply for your family...?" He settles on after some thought. The question of where a son came from between two women did pop into Lucas' mind... Not that he'd say that aloud at the moment.

@CatJones
 

CatJones

Tap A to not die as fast.
Avenger knew that her posture was making Lucas unsettled. There were multiple ways to get past a persons defenses, sometimes literally getting past their defenses was all that was needed. He was a bit more of an open book then he thought; not every page had legible wording, but enough of them did. She had made sure that the pain was visible for once, not hidden from the world. She was ashamed of herself for hiding such a large part of herself from the others. She needed to be more open and honest, not dance around questions and flirting with being completely forthcoming.

She took another long drink from her sake bottle, nearly finishing it off. There was still the other bottle for the others, and it would have a far more prominent effect on the other Servants. It wasn't really anything special to a human. She forced herself to relax again, keeping Lucas in the vice grip of her one armed hug. The struggles of her living life had taught her to be self reliant but she still craved human tenderness from time to time. Lucas was acting as a wonderful surrogate for the affection she desired. She had no intention to jump him, even drunk she still preferred a woman's touch.

Lucas stammered his second question, either hoping she wouldn't notice it or wouldn't focus on it, but she could hear the words he had omitted.

“What was Lady Tsukiyama like, you mean?” Avenger paused for a moment in her thoughts, trying to decide how best to describe her late wife. “She was kind. Kinder then anyone had a right to be. When we met on our wedding day, I was nervous. I had been rushed through my early life. I was a hostage to another clan for a few years, so when I was finally allowed to take control of my clan, I quickly married. Children to continue the line, and what not. But I had never bargained for Lady Tsukiyama. Gentle. She could walk on broken glass without putting enough pressure to cut herself. That makes sense, right? I never knew anyone who was more willing to love life, no matter where it was. No matter what it was. She was the opposite of us, Samurai. She was the peace of Summer and the joys of Spring. We were the quiet Fall, and ending Winter.”

Avenger grew quiet, her eyes straining to focus in the fake light of Cheldea. “I dream of her every night, and my love is gone. All I feel is the sin, crawling on my back.”

She shook her head, her braid lightly slapping into Lucas's shoulder as she again forced herself away from those thoughts. He had asked another question, after all, and she would permit him a third one for being such a good listener and a great, if transient, retainer.

“I was blessed with two families. My own with my wife, and the men I survived with. Honda Tadakatsu and Ii Naomasa. The two bravest souls in the world. I loved my children, but I drowned them in my regret. I was never brave enough to love like Date did, or as passionately as Yukimura Sanada did. I was content with my children, though I always regret that I never showed them the right level of affection.” Her answer was shorter as she began to drift in her thoughts again. She had answered his questions, and now she wanted to pose one of her own.

“Lucas. What about you? Are there any women that make you happy?”

@Dragonruby
 

Midoria

Bad Civilization!
Archer
Archer smiled at the Master as she exited her room and started asking questions. The Servant happily began leading the way to the celebration as she answered the female Master’s questions. It reminded her of answering Lucas’s curious questions when he had first summoned her. “Yes, Servants do dream. A little strange isn’t it? Why would a lingering spirit need to dream? But yes, a Master can view their Servant’s dreams. The bond between a Master and Servant is deeper than one would think at first.” Her smile fell a little at the subject. She was sure she had shared many bad dreams with Lucas.

“My dreams are mostly memories from when I was living. My Master asks me about them sometimes… at least the happy ones. I think he just pretends he doesn’t see the bad ones.” Lucas was kind. She knew he saw the bad dreams too, but he didn’t ask about what he saw. Like why she had dragged her newly found older brother into her Tribe’s problems, or why she got into fights with the boys in Jamestown, or why she had slit the throat of a Tribe member for the Church. Instead he asked her about the happy things; like what it was like jumping through the forests or learning to speak with the animals in their subtle ways or learning about a New World that her new friends had called their Old.

As the pair walked down the hallways Archer noticed the glances her companion was shooting her body’s markings and missed the pair of devilish horns stinking out from a corner behind her. Archer had noticed the Master’s eyes had been drawn to her cross marking when they had first met and now the glances seemed to be directed there as well. Her own eyes went to the cross the Master wore. “That is a lovely necklace.” She placed a hand on her own cross, colored onto her skin and smiled softly, “During my life the Church taught me many things. Although most of the faithful didn’t know how to have fun! So strict! They got mad at me quite often…” Archer turned to the Master excitedly, suddenly remembering the Japanese style bathing that was supposed to take place after the celebration. "Oh! You should join us afterwords for a bath! I believe it was going to be only the female Servants... but I'm sure they won't mind! If your lucky my friend Eliza may make you part of her fan club too! She's Lancer and likes cute women, so I'm sure she wouldn't be opposed to you joining! Although I'm still not sure where this bathing is actually going to take place..."

@SunRaHunter @TelisOldfield
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)

Top