Ninth Tensei: Songs
"Hey." Tetsuya walked up to me at the start of the school day, "Did you hear the news about the disappearing people? They suddenly returned. Turns out they were trapped in that hospital. They don't seem to understand why they couldn't find their way out but it's a good thing they got out."
→You don't sound too excited.
"Well just look around. Sayaka isn't back yet." Tetsuya sighed as he glanced towards Sayaka's desk next to mine, "If she isn't back it probably isn't due to what happened in that hospital. It's been way too long. I have no idea what could have happened to her."
"Sit down! Sit down!" The teacher called as he entered the classroom, "Come on, it's time for attendance!"
"Sayaka is still gone?" X frowned, "Hmmm...that's really strange. Where could she have gone then? I'll do some digging and see if there are any incidents that might lead us to her. Although, why are you so keen on finding Sayaka? Do you have a crush on her or something?"
→No, that's Tetsuya.
Of course. I'm in a middle of a boiling rivalry!
"Is that so?" X smirked, "Well, I'll let you know if I come up with anything. You just focus on your lessons and healing. Ah, speaking of healing, here."
You got the Mystic Code for Dia!
"Some healing magecraft." X grinned, "Since I can't be there to take care of you, you need to take care of yourself! Alright. I'm off to investigate!"
That night, I was drawn into the Velvet Room along with Alice.
"Welcome to the Velvet Room." Cassandra greeted us when we arrived, "It appears you have acquired new Servants. These Servants have been recorded and are available for Fusion and enhancement. But first there are some information missing from the Compendium."
"Indeed." Igor said, "Servants are strange creatures formed of Saint Graphs. Without being able to read that Saint Graph, all we can provide is combat attributes and their history. For more detailed information, I have a special Mystic Code for you to use. Yes, this here."
Igor showed an ornate machine with a stack of papers on it with a brace sticking out of it on an arm. There was a feather and inkwell crafted into the machine itself with an actually skeletal arm holding the feather in the inkwell.
"This is a Mystic Code that I have been working on that can give you more information on your Servants so that you may utilize them more effectively. Do give it a try with Alice won't you?"
"Here we go." Igor said once he attached the brace to Alice, "This will read your Servant's Saint Graph and write down any traits they might have. Of course, once they become stronger, more might be added. For now, this can give you some insight on your Servant."
The machine hummed to life, the hand pulled the feather out of the inkwell and began to write on the paper. Once it was done, Igor ripped it out and handed it to me.
True Name: Alice Pleasance Liddle
Independent Action: F
While capable of existing without her Master's mana supply for a long time, her shattered psyche makes it difficult for her to function without a Master. Without a Master's order to draw her out of her crazed mind, she will be content to stand there until her mana supply runs out and she disappears. While her inactivity is a form of conservation, it is almost impossible to snap her out of her wonderland, even when attacked by other servants.
Mad Enhancement: A
A docile girl by nature, her mind has been scarred by her adventures in Wonderland. Unable to respond to anybody other than her master, it is not far to say that she lives in her own world. However when she is forced to fight, her madness overtakes her docile nature and she fights as madly as the residents of her mind.
Presence Concealment: D
Due to her trapped psyche and unassuming nature, it is easy to overlook Alice as a servant. Those not actively attentive of servant presences may not be able to spot her among a crowd of people. However, in every other situation or against a servant with high perceptiveness, her Servant status is easily revealed.
Noble Phantasm: N/A
"Hmmm...interesting. All very interesting." Igor nodded, "As I expected, the reason for her Berserker class is due to the state of her mind. But to think that even her personal skills haven been hidden from you. Time can only tell how this may impact you. Most interesting though is her Noble Phantasm. It seems, you cannot access it yet. How peculiar for something that is tied to closely to the identity of a servant. Is this too, part of her broken mind? Regardless, it is my hope that this helps you in your future battles."
"Good Morning." Kanjo said as I walked down the stairs, "Hm? Got something you want to talk about?"
"Hmmm...A sealed Noble Phantasm?" Kanjo mused, "It's not often but it does happen. Usually it's because the name of the Noble Phantasm is unknown to the user. This probably isn't the cause but damaged Saint Graphs can cause loss of Noble Phantasm. X can't truly manifest her Noble Phantasm ever since she was damaged. But what a peculiar sheet you have here, detailing the skills of your servants. I'm sure you'll unlock Alice's Noble Phantasm in time as you participate in the Holy Grail War. Although...Berserkers have a tendency to have a trigger. Something that would case them to lose all rationale and go into a frenzy. Perhaps in finding this trigger, you can find her Noble Phantasm. ...No, this would be different than whenever she enters battle. She would be uncontrollable. Nothing short of a Command Seal would stop her.
Hm? Ah, we haven't explained Command Seals to you have you? Well, surely you've noticed the red crest on your hand. That is your Command Seal. It allows you to enforce any one command you make to your Servant. Each use will have a part of that crest fade away. In total, all Masters have 3 uses. However, it is not an absolute order. An order that is agreed upon by both you and your Servant can give your Servant great power. Likewise, an order that your Servant disagrees with can be resisted. I don't see you having to use one on a Servant like Alice though. ...Truth be told, the Command Seals were made to force your Servant to kill themselves once you obtain the Holy Grail. I could never bring myself to do that though. Ah, don't worry about it. Like I said, Alice is an abnormally obedient Servant so even if you wanted her to commit suicide, I think she would do it. I...do hope that there never comes a time where you have to give such an order, Command Seal or not."
"Yo." Tetsuya came up to me once class was over, "I know Sayaka isn't around but, you feel like going to the Murdrum Mall? I need something to get my mind off of this. Something just feels...off… Ah, Alice can come with us too! She seems to like hanging around you anyway. By the way, why is that, Alice?"
"Right, well shall we get going?"
"Here we are." Tetsuya sighed, "It's kinda hard to get into the mood but...I can't let that stop me! I just need something to keep me on track. Which is why today we're going to crack the nut that is you!"
Tetsuya pointed right at Alice who didn't notice.
"Today we are going to finally get you to hold a conversation with someone!"
"Or failing that, I'll at least get you to smile!"
"Oh? Sounds interesting. Count me in." X grinned as she suddenly walked up from behind us.
"Whoa!" Tetsuya cried, startled.
"If we're going to crack Alice like a nut then we need to think like a nut!" X nodded, "So what's the craziest thing you can think of?!"
"No, I said we were going to crack the nut that was Alice."
"Same difference!" X replied, "Now I don't know about you but the craziest thing I can think of is going to Caesar's Holy Roman Restaurant!"
"That crazy expensive fine dining restaurant?!" Tetsuya cried, "There's no way I can pay for a meal there! And how is that going to get Alice to open up?!"
"Hm? Don't tell me you don't get emotional after a good meal."
"Not really no..."
"Then why'd you bring it up?!"
"Fine, we'll go to Kintoki Ramen."
"Why is it food again?!"
"What, are you not hungry? Master, are you hungry?"
"Boo...Master is a buzzkill."
Let's go to Emiya's Grill.
"Absolutely not! We can go anywhere but there!"
"Did she just call you master?" Tetsuya blinked.
"Erm, a-anyway." X interrupted, "If we're going to try and get to know more about Alice then it's got to be a hobby!"
"A hobby?" Tetsuya repeated.
"Yep! If we learn what her interests are we'll surely learn something about her!"
"Well...at least you're starting to make sense now." Tetsuya smiled, "So what do we do to get her a hobby?"
"I know just the thing!" X said proudly, "There's this awesome cart run by an old lady near the park that sells really good fish and chips."
In the end we decided to walk around and find a gift that Alice liked.
"What do you think about this bracelet?" X asked, holding a shiny gold bracelet in front of Alice. No response.
"No go huh?"
"Check out this Swiss Army Knife!" Tetsuya said, "It's got so many different tools!"
"Why would she do with those tools?" X frowned, "Plus she already has an even better knife."
"There are tons of things you can do with a Swiss Army Knife! Wait, what do you mean she has a better knife?"
"Are necklaces more your thing?" X asked, shoving a glittering necklace in Alice's face, "Maybe a ring?"
"I thought we were looking for a hobby, not jewelry."
"I thought we were trying to get her to smile too! Plus how is a Swiss Army Knife going to do either of those?!"
"Don't you mock the multi-purpose tool that is a Swiss Army Knife!"
As the two bickered, Alice walked away. I followed her.
"Noisy." Alice muttered.
Alice quietly left the Junes and stood in front of the entrance. I quickly moved her out of the way and stood with her by the side.
"...Master. Orders?" Alice asked, looking me in the eyes.
Alice turned her gaze downward again.
Tell me what you like.
"What...I like?" Alice looked down.
We stood there for a few minutes, without moving. Finally, I decided to bring Alice along to various other stores and walk around. Our walk took us to an antique store. Surrounded by various historical trinkets, Alice suddenly looked up and walked off. Following her, she stopped herself in front of an old phonograph, moderately detailed and playing "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson.
"Interested?" The shop keeper asked, "It comes with five records for free if you buy it."
I watched Alice stand there by the phonograph, not any less stoic than she was before. I flipped through the records and picked out a new one. Putting into the phonograph, "Hanging By A Moment" by Lifehouse began to play. Alice seemed to twitch as the song began to play and turned away from the phonograph. Taking the hint, I removed the record and found a new one. Placing it on, the sounds of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire came on and Alice turned back to face the phonograph.
"You bought a phonograph?" X blinked as Alice held the phonograph in her arms, "Why?"
"I didn't even know this mall had an antique store." Tetsuya blinked, "What kind of songs did you get? Let me see."
"My Favorite Things" by the Lennon Sisters, "Under Pressure" by Queen, "Blackbird" by The Beatles, "Mr. Sandman" by Pat Ballard and "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees?" X read aloud, "Those are some really old songs!"
"You couldn't get anything more modern?" Tetsuya asked, "...She only like these songs? Are you sure? What does 'like' even mean when it comes to Alice?"
"Well, if her Master says she likes them then there's not much we can do about it." X sighed.
"There's that word again. What kind of relationship do you have with X and Alice man?"
That night, I decided to peak into Alice's room again. The phonograph had been set up on a table near the door and it was playing "My Favorite Things" by the Lennon Sisters. When I walked in, Alice looked up, still huddled up on her bed.
When I shook my head, Alice returned to staring in front of her. I decided to leave her alone for the night.