Hidden 2 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,108 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (112/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (38/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (36/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika


”Best not do what a curse wants you to do after all” Kamek added when his advice they not eat was met with begrudging acceptance ”So if this wretched place wants us to eat, then I can only speculate doing so will have dire consequences”

That knowledge was all well and good, but it didn't make the sensation of steadily building starvation any less wretched.

There was a little more pep talking and amping up by the party, from people with both greater or lesser skill for it, before they got up and got back to the task of getting the heck out of the mess they were in, with Sakura taking the initiative on getting them moving. First thing’s first, was clearing the door so they could move on. Jr peeked Mimi through the little gap they had to work with at first to make sure there weren't any surprises behind and, once she gave the all clear, which consisted mostly of her not freaking out, the troop put their backs into helping shove the boxes aside.

Soon enough the way was clear and they entered into the room from which the watery sounds were emanating, the source of which turned out to be a fair bit more water than any of the troop had been anticipating.

”Geeze, how big is this place?” Jr complained as they all looked out at the vast expanse of water flooding the vast room before them. Rika’s brief excitement about being able to skate across that water was rapidly shut down by the Nadia’s guess that it was full of monsters

“I mean, we don’t know that...” Rika tried to suggest before sighing and, along with the others, taking a look around for any other way through. The person that succeeded at that was Peach who found a map and used it to outline a four step method of escaping their current floor. First, up to the control center, then to the submarine bay and finally down into the probably monster infested depths in some pressurized tin can or cans to the sunken water flow control and then, finally, up via a de-flooded elevator.

”Things can't ever be simple huh. Oh well, more platforming here we come. Almost like home really heh.” Bowser commenced as he started plotting a route across the sky obstacle course that would get them to the control center.

”At least we don't all need to go this time? I could just stay down here with the pigs and then you can come pick me and them up in a sub? Much less of a hassle for everyone.” Kamek suggested, having had quite enough of putting his life in other people’s hands and more than happy to sit this one out.

”Yeah that'd be a load off my back. You’re gonna so owe me for lugging you around you know” Jr told the mage

”Think of this as paying me back for carrying you around that floating spa after your run in with the giant scissors” Kamek retorted, which got a grunt of acceptance out of the boy before he turned his focus towards sizing up the platforms as the humans started making their way up them. From them they got some unsettling news.

Mirage’s comment that they’d probably not be able to navigate the rickety platforms if they were all grown up was meant to be a joke, or an attempt to make the best out of their situation, but for the two royal koopas, who, with all their scales and their shells were a fair bit heavier than the average human 4 year old, it frankly just made the whole thing more daunting.

Not that either of them were the kinds of people to be daunted.

Bowser grabbed the red half of the magnet, hung it over his back, which was apparently a thing you could do with them, and then gave the rickety platform gauntlet a go anyway, scrambling up Mirage’s pegs and then making his way onto the first platform. The way it creaked under him was not promising in the slightest.

”Urg. I think we’re gonna have to go separate ways, son. You're gonna be good? or you could stay if you want?” Bowser said back down, it been quite obvious that two of them would be far too much for some of the platforms.

”I’ll be fine, jeez. Get going. I’ll catch up” Jr retorted, getting a thumbs up from his dad before Bowser headed out, picking only the sturdiest of platforms to use, while also utilizing his magnet half to pull or push them around where he could to give other people or himself better or easier routes.

“Oh. So. I have an idea that might help you?” Rika said to jr as the boy prepped to head up too.

”I’m listening”

“So I’m using my gauntlets to lighten myself to walk and jump by making myself lighter, right, because I've got kinda weak legs still. And you’ve got strong legs but you're pretty heavy. Well...”

A few moments later, the pair had formed a (slightly precarious in the eyes of the nervously watching Kamek) looking stack, with Rika riding Jr’s shoulders piggyback, while Mimi had popped herself on Rika’s head just because she could.

”This was just an excuse to not walk wasn't it.” Jr complained as he realized he was playing people carrier again.

“Nooooo,” Rika replied convincingly “I’m still going to have to hold you up! Now give this a go. We’re gonna have so much.. Uh. ups-ness. Jumpyness? Floaty bouncy- eek!” Rika’s word fumbling was stopped as Jr moved up Mirage’s steps in rapid step and then took a leap from one platform to another. The koopa’s little legs had a lot of oomph behind them, bringing them high, at which point Rika ramped up her gauntlet’s anti grav and, with Jr gripping onto her legs and said legs gripping onto him, the three of them practically glided down across the gap and then landed far more softly than their combined weight should have allowed.

”Woo!” “yeah!” “Mimi!” went up three cheers, followed by a slight wobble before the trio looked for the target of their next great leap.

”How abooooout, there!” Jr suggested, pointing at a platform that would require an even more daring leap.

“Let's do it! But, ah, be careful with the claws this time please? Some of us aren't covered in scales” Rika asked.

”Ehh Blazermate can always fix you up” Jr insisted, getting a little kick in the chest for his efforts. ”Alright alright. I’ll go easy on you.” Jr relented ”Now let’s keep moving!”
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN
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MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

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Geralt of Rivia

The Maw- The Depths

Lvl 7 (64/70) -> Lvl 7 (65/70)

Word Count: 350 words


Geralt joined the others in pushing away the debris blocking the doorway. It took a bit of effort, but with all of them working it wasn't exceedingly difficult. As the Seekers entered the room on the other side, Geralt sighed in frustration. "Of course. Filled with water." As the others said, this water was probably filled with horrible creatures just begging to tear into their tiny little bodies with whatever fangs they had. At least everybody was in agreement that even thinking about going in there was suicide.

Peach, luckily, was able to spot a map of the place, and come up with a rudimentary plan on how to proceed. Find a submersible vehicle, drain the water, and carry on. Getting to that vehicle was going to be the hardest part, it seemed. Much like they'd done earlier, the plan was to use Mirage's dart gun to build a ladder of sorts to get higher up in the room, then cross via suspended platforms. Geralt wasn't exactly thrilled with this plan, but he didn't see much of an alternative, same as Frog.

And so, the Seekers once more climbed their way to safety from the dangers below. This time, their path was a bit more treacherous, but that could easily be overcome through careful planning and step placement. As Geralt was making his way up, though, he paused for a moment as his stomach rumbled and a sharp pang of hunger overcame his senses for a moment. It took longer than the Witcher would have liked to force the feeling down, and he groaned. "This hunger thing is fucking miserable." He swore, getting onto his platform and shaking his head to try and physically dispel the feeling.

As he started making his way across the network of catwalks, Geralt was at least glad that they could support their weight. Even Bowser and Junior were managing to hang in there, though nobody was brave-or foolish-enough to hang around the same platform that they were on at any given time.

No need to fall into the presumably monster-laden water, after all.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Gentlemanvaultboy
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Gentlemanvaultboy

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Link


Word Count: 680

Level 5 - (58/50) + 1


Location: The Bottomless Sea ~ The Maw


@Yankee@Dark Cloud@DracoLunaris




Link and the little monster had parted ways back when they had all stopped to catch their breath in the previous room, the thing looking quite pleased with itself for having discovered a cozy new territory despite not having done any of the work. It had almost dragged him down when he had leaped into Ms. Fortunes waiting fan, jumping up to grab his boot as it blew him toward freedom, and he was sure that it was only the kite on his back that had let them both glide up despite the extra weight. He was glad that it hadn't insisted on following them further.

The next room was, at least for now, free of monsters. That was the only thing batter about it. He was now all too acquainted with the idea of monsters rising unexpectedly from the depths, and he didn't even bother to try and guess what was lurking in this vast flooded room. It was lucky that they didn't have to make a swim for it. Peach had found a map and, after acting as a stepstool for the young princess, had laid out her new plan for Link and the others. It involved going for a short climb, provided by Mirage, and then a obstacle course along a series of hanging platforms. He watch the others start to go up, eagerly awaiting his own chance to explore the rafters above, at least before he noticed something.

First Mirage went up, then Sakura, but his worry started to flare up when only 2/3rds of the koopa troop and abyssal freind started their ascent. Even that might have been fine if the kid who had put the boots to the eyeball monster from the junk room hadn't followed after them. Link looked around. Not everybody was going to be headed up. He knew the turtle who looked like Kamek at least was hanging around, and looking at Glenn he couldn't imagine the boy had any intention to climb.

"I'm gonna hang around here too." He decided, looking again at the water with his hand of the racket in his belt. "Just in case something, you know, comes up. Hey Cadet, you planning on going up?" He asked, taking the kite off his back and handing it to the redheaded boy. "Here, this will help."

He took a couple of steps away from the dart platforms and put himself in the doorway to stand guard against anything that might have a taste for amphibians. He turned back to look at Kamek, thought for a bit, and then lifted his tunic up and started biting at the bottom of it. Anyone looking might have though the supernatural hunger that had afflicted everyone had driven the boy prematurely mad, but he only did it long enough to get a little rip in the hem to start. After that he took it in his hands and began to tear until he had a good sized chunk of the fabric off the blue section, which he tied into a little bandanna.

When he was done and wandered over to the koopa and presented it to him. "Here. It's just weird not seeing you in blue."

He looked over at the boy that had once been a frog that had once been a boy. He couldn't blame the boy for freaking out, as far as Glenn knew transformations like this were forever. It would probably be a good idea to get his mind off the current situation, and the hungry growling in their guts. Or maybe...

"Hey, Glenn? Kamek is a pretty powerful wizard. We all saw that during the abyssal battle earlier. Maybe, if you explained your situation to him, he'd be able to give you some insight." He didn't want to tell Glenn's story even if it was pretty obvious he hadn't originally been a frog by this point. He had promised, after all. He did wonder, though, if the frog knight had ever sought advice from another magic user. Especially one that worked for the self-proclaimed bad guys, that might know about curses like his.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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Tora, Poppi, and Big Band


Level 9 Tora (22/90) Level 8 Poppi (91/80) Level 3 Big Band (6/30)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Sectonia’s @Archmage MC, Yoshitune's @Rockin Strings, Fox’s @Dawnrider, Laharl’s @Dark Cloud, Red’s @TheDemonHound, Mao’s @Potemking
Word Count: 2079


Fox waited just long enough for Band to get out the door before making his own address to the remaining party present. “I’m not so sure we can count on any ‘signal’ from him,” he opened, managing his tone and volume short of speaking in hush. “Most of you know this already, but once he starts, he won’t be able to stop on his own.” Calling attention to his still Gleaming state, he let the inevitability of conflict emphasize itself, whilst belaboring the point of finality, should they fail to intervene in a timely fashion.

“That goes for the rest of them, however many that will be.” Tangentially, Fox came clean about his ideal, intended end he wanted to achieve. “We’ll have to snap as many of them out of it as we can. Keep casualties at zero!” Expecting possible question or protest, he preemptively began to elaborate. “They may have their own causes, but they don’t know who their real enemy is. Neither side does. We should give them the same chance we all had to learn that. That goes for the Grimleal too,” he clarified.

“I didn’t go in with them because they were too eager,” he followed from the break in his speech. “I got the feeling they thought they would talk us into blindly wiping out their competition for them without knowing better… but we know what they don’t. I’d sooner enlighten both sides than give either of them what they want; forcefully, if we have to,” he said, knowing well that they would, and recognized the irony in the prospect of bringing peace and unity between factions by force. “Like it or not, we’ll need the manpower for the end, from wherever we can get it, and if they’re as well prepared as they say they are, we can expect them to be there waiting.” The directive was implicitly clear to anyone keeping the overall campaign effort in mind: build/bolster our own army rather than siding with either of theirs; get them on the same side--ours. As difficult as he knew that would be, he would not be entertaining any notion or debating the merits of simply terminating their opposition on the assumption that it would be easier. If they could help it at all, then it couldn’t be excused, but they wouldn’t know until it came down to it.

“We may be in for a drawn-out, three-way fight… more than once. I want to make sure everyone here knows what they’re in for, because we’ll need to be ready for any and all of it.”

Despite the serious content of his speech, Poppi gave him a slight smile. “Of course! No matter what danger, heroes will save the day. Even if many foes, friends will prevail if help one another. So in way, it just business as usual!”

Tora laughed. “Well said, Poppi!”

The length of Fox’s impromptu tableside briefing passed a suitable amount of time, he assumed, to put comfortable distance between them and Big Band to follow his trail without losing him or alerting anyone else. With a moment to consider this, allowing for any responses or confirmation from the others as well, he stood up to make his leave, inviting the others along. “Let’s go.”

“Aw…” Tora could have sat for for hours in the splendidly cool, embrace of the Coffee Spoon’s wintry clouds, enjoying the climate and the various fancy drinks and refreshments, but even if he could somehow find a way to justify such dereliction of duty, he didn’t have the money to loiter around. As soon as Band disappeared from the view on the cafe’s second floor balcony, he knew it was time to bid this little refuge goodbye. As he waddled through its door and back into the afternoon heat to bake, he paused a moment to give the place one final, longing look. Then he moved on, and as he headed in the direction Band took he savored the traces of wintry delight that still clung to him, like a goodbye kiss. All too soon, though, the feeling faded, and the Nopon could do nothing but attend to his duty.

The team that set out from the Coffee Spoon relied on the assistance of Poppi, who soared above the city at a discreet height thanks to her thrusters. Up there she could get a birds-eye view of the pursuit in progress below, and with her zoom feature not each twist and turn in the path taken. As they made their way, Tora and the others craned their necks to see the artificial blade above the buildings as she guided them down the trail their detective friend blazed for them. Thanks to their positioning, neither too close nor too far, everyone could hear the saxophone note that blared through the streets and instantly heightened their heartbeat. The fight had begun, and Big Band was requesting backup.

Tora broke into a run, putting his little legs to work as he hustled in the direction of the noise. Poppi descended from above, her discretion no longer needed, and joined the rest of the team in their rush to get in on the action. Their team took them in the direction of the trade district dominated by the Bazaar, and soon terminated in a parking lot surrounded by warehouses. To the north the hubbub of the marketplace could still be heard, but the Seekers’ attention lay squarely on the fight already unfolding in front of them.

Band had walked into quite the ambush. Through the open garage door the new arrivals could see a whole collection of colorful combatants, at least eight of them, all with distinct weapons and appearances. All appeared to be inside the garage, and Midna had summoned a huge Wolfos to help pen them in, assuming the place featured no other exits. But someone in there had been chucking bombs, scattering them in the direction of the lot, and even as the wolf triggered them the culprit just kept throwing more. That made getting in tricky for anyone obliged to navigate via legs, but they hurried forward nonetheless, as they didn't exactly have other options.

Band held up admirably against the dancing blades of a pink-haired assassin and a crazy-eyed harlequin, belting out a strong tune to play over Tira’s laughter. The sound of glass shattering rang out from deeper within the warehouse, and the flash of activity could be seen, but the others did not distract themselves. After getting thrown, Sombra had spent a few moments shooting from a safe distance, but now she raised a hand and projected a strange set of keys that she tapped in quick succession. When she finished the bullet-ridden Band staggered, sparking with red energy as a purple skull floated above his head, and the next second a young man with white hair unleashed a blast of magic from his fist to blow the big man back. In the opening a recovered Koga turned his weapons on Midna, while Tira ran forward and spun her ring blade like a vertical hula hoop, catching Band several times as he struggled to pull himself up.

As the skull above him faded Tira came in with a horizontal slice that ended up trading with a double trombone thrust. As she swung again he jumped and lashed out with a giant clarinet like a scorpion tail below him, striking Tira’s shins to cause a knockdown. He managed to recover as Maeve dove for him with dagger extended, and he jumped again backward. Cymbals appeared from his jacket, and with a cry of “Head hunter!” he brought them together around Maeve. She reeled, stunned, and Band charged forward with a follow-up that got stuffed by a shoulder tackle from Baz.

“Aha! Weren’t expecting the Baz, were YOWCH!?” His boast got cut short as he took an array of pipe organs to the knees and tumbled down to take Tira’s place on the asphalt.

At that moment Yoshitsune hit the ground a little farther on. Even more rebels closed in on him, a woman with metal bird legs and a masked man with a curved sword. It was time to make a move. “Coming through!” Tora yelled, Mech Arms outstretched, as Poppi QT jetted over the field of bombs with her Masterpon held in front of her. The strange and sudden sight forced the two cyborgs to split to either side to avoid it, and Poppi pivoted her lower body forward to stop on a dime just past where Yoshitsune fell.

At that moment Band, beset on all sides, called “Impression!” and threw down another Giant Step that knocked the unwary Baz, Klee, Daemon, and Cass to the ground. They jumped up quickly, but not so fast that they could stop Tora hopping down from Poppi’s arms to help Yoshitsune up. His Nopon Rescue Service talent kicked in to restore some of the swordsman’s lost health and give him a fighting chance.

“Come on, meh! Need everyone Tora can get!”

Daemon’s glowering mask expressed his feelings perfectly. “So you did have help lurking around. No wonder.” His hands tightened around his sword’s grip as he vanished back into Stealth. With the two sides more or less even in terms of fighters, things were about to become a lot more interesting. “This’ll be one hell of a fight, then! Think fast!”

Tora did not think fast enough, and Daemon emerged from Stealth right in front of him to unleash a plume of colorful chemicals from an aerosol can.The fumes put the Nopon to sleep instantly, alarming Poppi. “Masterpon?!” As he rolled over Daemon started opening bloody gashes, but Poppi blazed forward and seized a Mech Arm along the way. Her foe jumped in time to avoid a heavy blow as Poppi smashed the metal gauntlet into the ground. Before she could catch him with an uppercut Cass came in with a spin kick that smacked her out of the air. A flurry of steel feathers flew toward her, forcing her to block, and with a vile grin Cass raised her foot and crushed Tora beneath its hydraulic might.

Or so she thought. As she pushed down she felt the Nopon’s body squish under the weight of her leg, but only to a certain point, after which she could go no further. Cass scowled, having expected the rotund creature to burst like a watermelon beneath her hydraulic might, but as try as she might he was just too dense. Tora gasped as his eyes snapped open. He brought up his remaining Mech Arm, popped open its missile silo, and unleashed a salvo that flew out and burst against Cass’s body. She stumbled backward, snarling, and Tora hopped to his feet. “Need Poppi Alpha by Tora side!”

“Roger roger!” his companion agreed, jetting back out of the way of Daemon’s spinning Shift Slash. In a storm of sparks and ribbons she shifted into her armored form, with Tora’s Mech Arm replaced by the Drill Shield. Poppi landed behind him to reunite the dynamic duo and started channeling power. As the cyborgs rushed in, Tora lifted the shield to block one, then the other, then jumped to fire a Boom Biter downward that blew all three into the air.

Cushioned by his shield, Tora extended the shield’s drill bit to pierce the ground. When he engaged the motor the shield started spinning rather than the drill, and by clinging to the handle for dear life Tora became a living meteor hammer that smashed into Daemon and Cass as they came down.”Whoa-oah-oah-oah!” he yelled, scarcely feeling the impacts, spraying blood from his cuts like a macabre sprinkler, until his grip finally failed and he went flying himself. Either by incredible calculation or sheer dumb luck he hurtled right into Cass’s head, and like she hit an exercise ball her head bounced back and hit the hard ground. Badly wounded, she could do little as Poppi rocketed into the air and dove with her full armored weight behind the Drill Shield’s extended bit. At the last moment Poppi changed her trajectory to avoid a fatal impalement and instead drove the point through Cass’s robotic waist. It tore through the metal in a shower of sparks and damaged the mechanism beyond repair, ensuring that Cass wouldn’t rise again.

“No!” Daemon snarled. As the others continued their individual or paired battles he charged toward Tora and Poppi, past where Yoshitsune had surely by now recovered.

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (58/40)
Location: The Maw - the Depths
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Hat Kid's @Dawnrider, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud, Mirage’s @Potemking, Mr. L’s @ModeGone
Word Count: 1370


After taking the not-so-subtle hint Mirage worked his magic, sticking enough darts to the wall to form a rudimentary ladder up to the nearest catwalk, of which the platform’s railing formed the bottom section. Never one to demand others go where he wouldn’t dare, he then led the way to the flooded factory’s precarious upper level. Though she felt guilty about letting Mirage be the guinea pig for the darts’ trial run, Nadia was glad he did, since she hadn’t been certain that they’d hold. Once he proved that they did, she followed in his footsteps without delay--if there was anything cats were good at, after all, it was climbing.

Not all of the kids elected to follow them, since the submarine could swing by to pick them up later, but those who did prepared to climb. One by one the intrepid tykes made their way from the sodden scaffolding to the Depths’ haunting heights, aided by boosts from their stalwart Cadet. Sakura hyped herself up before beginning on her ascent, and though her words certainly emboldened Nadia’s spirit, they didn’t seem to reach the boy who was no longer Frog, who quailed at the prospect of high-risk platforming. Understandable, Nadia thought, especially as she reached the upper section and for the first time could see the hanging labyrinth of assorted heights in full. Its sheer riskiness, coupled with the way the hunger gnawed at her guts so distractingly, did a number on her peppy spirit for the time being. The wobbliness of the suspended platforms certainly didn’t inspire confidence, and at Bowser’s suggestion the children quickly started spreading out to avoid too much stress on any one section of catwalk. Expert jumpers, the Koopas set out first, with or without hangers-on, and Nadia steeled herself before she scampered after them.

With as much inner fortitude as she could muster Nadia tackled the platforming challenge. Each footfall sent a small rattle through the metal as she ran across the catwalks, jumping across gaps between them, over missing sections of grate, and from higher platforms to promising lower ones. She couldn’t make the jumps that Bowsers Junior and Senior could, but she did have a couple tricks up her ragged sleeves. When it came to sections of bridge that dangled from chains or cables, she could use her fan to start them swinging, bringing them close enough for a daring leap to the next one. Bowser and his magnet offered some help here and there, but it wasn’t strong enough to help consistently, and in the end Nadia managed to cross an entire series of hanging platforms using just her fan.

Around the middle of the course she came upon a long section of catwalk that would have been a breath of fresh air had it not lacked every panel of grating, leaving just the railings on either side. Nadia breathed deep. “Okay. I can do this.” Not at all liking her challenge of balancing on top of the railing the whole way, she grasped the bottom rung as firmly as she could and swung out beneath it. In so doing she could wrap her legs around it as she used her arms to pull herself forward--slow but stable going. “Just...like a jungle gym,” she told herself, laughing weakly from giddiness. “Good old-fashioned monkeying around...heh, heh…” With three limbs on the bar at all times the stress didn’t mount quickly enough to put her in danger of losing her grip and falling. Still, hanging upside down over a dizzying drop to certain death weighed on her nerves, and she scooted along as quickly as she could before hauling herself up on the other side.

After that, things went more or less smoothly. More running, more jumping, more death-defying action, all in a day’s work for a hero. The children took a roughly diagonal path through the aerial maze over the dark waters, until the frontrunners finally reached the ladder above their destination. Kid proportions made climbing one a little trickier than normal, but given what everyone had been dealing with, nobody could complain. It deposited them on another red metal platform like the one they started on, with a door in front of them that appeared to be electronic but frozen half-open due to a lack of power. Squeezing through revealed a wide, industrial-looking hallway that led in both directions. Painted lettering on the walls indicated the Command Center to the left, and Maintenance to the right. Between the doors, and indeed down the length of the whole hall, lay a conveyor belt with a power cable on top of it, and aside from some ordinary-looking machines only one thing stood out as unusual, about a third of the way from the left.



A robot sat on the conveyor belt, hooked up to the cable. It bore heavy damage, with only its left claw remaining, as well as an odd sort of contamination. A dark, tarry substance that appeared to have the texture of metal, but molded in organic shapes, coagulated on the machine’s panels and back. It also protruded in a notable mass from a wall panel nearby, coating the ends of the power cables and connecting everything together. Glowing cyan nodes could be found across the mass.

Nadia just stood there for a moment, not quite sure what to make of it. During that time the robot saw her, and immediately responded. “Hey. Hey! Over here!” It raised its claw and waved it to get the kids’ attention.

The kitten looked at the others, her eyes questioning. “It seems harmless? I can’t see any weapons and it can’t move.”

Noticing the lack of response the machine called again, sounding more worried. “Hey! What are you kids doing? I’m hurt, here!”

“Hurt…?” Nadia questioned, and after a final look at the others she shrugged and pattered over.

The thing watched her as she got close, expressionless, as its joints and servos whirred and turned. It was pretty big compared to a four-year-old, so she kept away from its claw, but it made no attempt to reach for her. “Wait, what are kids doing here?” it asked, sounding confused.

A question Nadia wanted to know the answer to herself. “Wish I knew, buddy,” she told it.

Peach walked up behind her, curious and a little ill at ease. She eyes the strange substance. “What are you?”

“Are you blind?” it questioned, irate. “It’s me. Carl. Carl Semken. Wrangler? Any of this sound familiar to you?”

Taken aback, Peach could only stammer out a response. “Um. No. We’re not from around here...Carl?”

“Well, thanks for being so helpful. Not like I’m knocked out on the floor or anything,” it responded in a hard, flat tone.

Nadia was having trouble processing it too. Whatever this thing was, it acted as if nothing at all was weird or wrong, just like it was a person sitting on the floor. “Are you...human?”

The robot scoffed. “Shit, did--did my body give it away?” It raised its claw and tapped itself on the head twice as if to demonstrate its humanity. “I try hard staying a mystery. Yeah, I’m human. Are you?”

Nadia’s ears and tail went rigid. Something about this was creepy. Weirdly, intensely creepy. In her travels she’d encountered sentient machines, but nothing that claimed to be an actual person. Had someone’s mind been transferred into this thing? Peach found her voice before she could. “S-sorry, um. I’m Peach. Do you know anything about this place?”

Sighing, the robot said, “Oh, you’re new? That makes this slightly...less, weird? Look, I’m obviously hurt. If you see anyone who can help, your parents maybe, just tell them where I am. Okay?”

Nadia shivered, taking a step back. “Uh, okay. Sure.” She looked furtively left and right, toward the hallway doors. The one to the Command Center looked tightly shut, with an emergency light blinking over it. At the other end the door was open, fully powered, and the cable extended through it into the workshop. Hopefully, she reasoned, someone else could make more sense of this. Maybe Mirage. With that hologram projector of his he had to have come from a future world.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Potemking
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Potemking I'M A FOOL / I KNOW NOTHING

Member Seen 4 hrs ago


LOCATION:The Maw - The Depths
WORD COUNT: 1,031(+2 EXP)
MENTIONS:





Mirage squinted his eyes, looking back down at Cadet for a moment as he joined Sakura in pointing out the flaw of his 'positive' outlook on their situation. That was great for people who could fly, or grapple, yes. And though it had been a bit jarring at first, even Mirage himself was missing that abyssal Spirit. "I guess you guys are right. Just wouldn't change much for me!" He added his own laugh to go with Cadet's, but really, it sorta made him feel a bit insecure and pathetic in that moment. But they were used to this kind of crap, it seemed, and were much more prepared. He'd need to find that readiness too, if he wanted to survive all of this.

And as the others began jumping along, he realized he needed to get going, as well. Offering a two-finger salute to those who were staying behind, Mirage began to try and make his way across the daunting platform section with the resources he had. To cheat a little, he'd fire his darts in a straight line, one onto another, to extend the platforms and make them easier to jump across. Anyone who decided to follow him could take part in this method with him being patient and willing to help, though he kept a fairly steady pace as he didn't want to stand in one place for too long after seeing the Bowsers creak the platforms with their weight.

Speaking of creaking, some of these bridges seemed to not only be broken, but also rusty. A misstep caused Mirage to nearly plummet to his doom, foot breaking through a piece of rusty footing and only forcing his weight back to fall onto his backside was enough to keep him from getting scratched up. "This place can't stop being a death trap for five minutes," He complained as he brought himself to his feet, patching the hole with a dart before walking across and continuing his journey forward.

Which fortunately didn't last much longer, as he arrived at the end to find... A ladder. Grumbling a complaint about having to do more climbing, he was already tired to begin with and this had just made it worse. Plopping up top, he laid there for a moment before pulling himself together and standing, to go through the half-open doorway and inspect what was on the other side... Which was a bit strange, but also welcoming. A machine, something relatable compared to all the water, and trash, and weird floating fist monsters.

But it was speaking, which wasn't abnormal in Mirage's time, but what it said as they approached unnerved him. He stood behind Peach and Nadia, silently taking in the conversation and watching how 'Carl' moved. Also the strange material on him, and the wall, that seemed to be... Taking shape into something more human like. He'd say organs but he only knew the basics of how a few were supposed to look, so he wasn't going to think too hard on it. Whatever it was seemed to be keeping him functioning, or at least keeping him connected to the power. The strange material seemed to amass more from him, as it thinned out more towards the wires. Was it connecting him to keep him alive purposefully? Was it something he himself did?

He said he was human. Which again, wasn't surprising to Mirage, at least the concept of it. There were machines in his time, people who lived on for centuries through the use of their brains being preserved. Billions of dollars went into transferring data between brain and the new mechanical body, and he knew of at least one who thought he was human, and another who was programmed to think he still was. Which Carl was, Mirage wasn't sure, but he was willing to believe that at one point, the machine was flesh just like them. Well, minus Blazermate, of course.

"We'll try and get you some help, mister." Mirage said, reaffirming Carl to his humanity. He wasn't a shrink, but he was pretty sure telling a robot who thought he was human otherwise was a bad idea. He turned to address the others on the situation, starting with stating the obvious: "I think all the power is being diverted to some some other machine," His eyes darted to the side, signaling at Carl. Thankfully with Mirage's back turned, this wasn't easy for the robot to spot. "If we want to get that door open, we'd have to redirect the power. Which would probably cause damage to any machine connected, 'cause of the sudden power drain." He really was sugar-coating this to not make it sound like a potential life was in danger, but that was the key to not triggering this guy. Not to mention this was all coming out of what appeared to be basically a toddler, so, you know. It probably wasn't too hard to slip things past him.

"So that's an option, but we could look for another route. Maybe there's another way if we peek around enough. And if you're curious about that machine... I think I know a thing or two. But I gotta get to lookin', and that workshop is calling to me. So you can come along, if ya want." With that, he began to walk off to look for a secondary entrance to the Command Center. It wasn't hard to spot controls to what (he assumed) was the power close by, but he wasn't going to pull anything until he knew for sure he had to. As a precaution, he pulled out his sling and put it onto the lever as to mark it as a 'no zone' for the moment. Not that it'd actually stop anyone from pulling it, but he liked to think they could solve this without hurting this guy. That being said, considering his state... Maybe putting him out of his misery wasn't a bad idea. This place was a damn nightmare after all, but despite that, he wasn't comfortable with it. Machine or not, there was potentially a human mind connected to that body. And he deserved a chance if they could somehow give it to him.

Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey ~I'm Stone Free, do what I please~

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Level 5: 50/50
Location: The Maw: The Depths
Word Count: 586
Points Gained: 1
New EXP Balance--- Level 6 : 01/60


"You are seriously a killer with that fan, Nadia-san." Sakura said as she trailed along. Nadia pushed and pulled the various walkways with her fan and used the levers to open up a path Sakura and the others could more easily follow.

Fake it till you make it- Sakura was finding her confidence bolstered. She could make these jumps! All she needed to do was believe in herself. Fear and insecurity was holding her back. Even if she was a little kid she could still be a hero. But this hunger was seriously annoying.

"Bah. Bah! I'm not hungry. I've gone weeks without food." Sakura bragged, as if to intimidate the stabbing sensation in her belly into submission. It didn't work. The catwalks shook and groaned, complaining about being used after going undisturbed for who knows how long.

"Just a little bit more, Mr. Walkway. Just bear with us." She soothed the inanimateo object as best she could, trying not to focus too hard on the death drop beneath her. Well, she might survive the fall into the water if she landed on her feet. How durable her child body was, she wasn't sure. Either way she wasn't risking it.

A few well-timed jumps later, and Sakura's confidence in herself was reward. "Yatta! We did it!" She breathed out, relieved. "Onto Phase Two."

Once they were inside, they met a creepy looking robot guy. But it wasn't the worst robot she'd ever seen, and maybe he only looked creepy because he was hurt. People also looked pretty nasty when they were scrambled like eggs. The robot seemed convinced he was a human. As far as Sakura knew, she had no reason to disbelieve him.

"Well. Maybe he comes from a planet of robots that call themselves human." Sakura said as everyone gathered up. "And he's alive, and talking, so he's basically just a metal human. And he's all Galeemified up, probably, so he's confused as to what's going on, right? From the way he's acting he's not teamed up with that awful woman and her snake demons." Sakura looked at Mirage, concerned. He still had no idea what she was talking about.

Sakura tapped her chest and summoned forth a friendly little Friend Heart. She gave a look at Mirage who was explaining the situation. If they tried to open the door, Carl would get hurt, or worse.

"We'll have to figure out another way. Carl-san is somebody in need, trapped on this boat just like us." Sakura concluded with finality. "Maybe Carl-san himself could help us! He seems to know his way around, at least this area."

With that, Friend Heart held in both hands, she began to approach Carl Semkin. "Hello, Carl-san! My name's Sakura. The reason a bunch of kids are here is because something really weird happened and everything got all scrambled up. We're actually on a big boat right now, and we need to get out. But if we try to open the door, we might hurt you. So we're working on a work-around!" Sakura had approached Carl Semkin so that she was right next to his claw hand. She held the Friend Heart out between he and her.

"Mind if I give you this? It'll fix you right up, Carl-san." She smiled. "It's magical." While she said this with utmost earnesty and sincerity, she also probably looked like a weird lost child with an over-active imagination.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 930(+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (114/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (40/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (38/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika


”Come on already, pull you stupid thing!” Bowser yelled at the magnet half he was using to try and pull a platform dangling from chains closer, the red beam from the bar he was holding like a rifle wiggling and wobbling over a bit of rusted metal but failing to have enough heft to move it. If it was just weak he could have just ditched the thing, but the king got the impression that it could be stronger if something was different, and the fact that he had no idea what that difference needed to be was incredibly frustrating.

”You ok over there dad?” Jr called back from where he, Rika (and Mimi) were making their own way across with a fair bit more speed thanks to their cooperative method of traversing the path.

”Bah. It’s this stupid magnet. Just ain't working right” The king replied, giving a harrumph and then giving up on the route he was trying to take and then yelling ”Hey, if any of you are still coming up, grab the other half of that magnet. Maybe they work better closer together or something” down at the stragglers.

”So what you gonna now do dad?” Jr asked

”urg, guess I’m going that way” Bowser replied, pointing at a much more rickety looking platform than the one he had been trying to move closer

Jr looked skeptical, but did not question his dad’s plan, which turned out to be a mistake. The King’s claws hit the deck and immediately an awful creaking started to echo from the rusted bolts holding the platform’s supports to the ceiling.

”Ho boy, that does not-” Bowser began to say as he took a careful few steps forwards, only for a dreadful snap to resound as the back most support bucked free, causing the back of the platform to jerk down towards the water below and almost tipping the king down into it. ”-sound good” he finished after just barely managing to recover.

”Dad! Run!” Jr shouted, though Bowser really didn't need prompting. Caution was thrown to the wind as heavy clawed feet pounded along the platform, followed by creeks and snaps as the entire rusted assembly came apart behind him, rust and metal splintering apart and falling to the waters below. As the last bolt slipped free the king leaped, arm outstretched for the next. Grasping, failing, and then finding living metal instead of dead.

“Eek!” Rika cried out as the weight of the king clinging to her outstretched and offered gauntlet dragged her down, only Jr’s on grip on both her and the platform they had been using preventing all three from plummeting down from the sturdier platform they’d rushed to and Bowser had leapt for.

It was a stressful few moments as first Rika and then Bowser were slowly hauled back up onto semi solid ground, the three (plus mimi who could do little to help) flinching at every groan and shudder of metal.

”That was close” Bowser noted matter of factly.

“Mmmf” Rika agreed, too stressed and out of breath to form a proper response, an attitude shared by Jr and Mimi, who both just nodded and, down below by, Kamek, who was quite sure he’d have suffered a heart attack if he wasn't so thoroughly de-aged.

The fact that they were so close to the end, and the concern that staying on one platform to long wold invite another collapse, got them moving soon enough and in relatively short order the four of them clambered up the ladder and reached blessedly solid ground which they all took the opportunity to just sit or lie down on for a few moments.

“I really hope that's the last of the jumping. How can you live in a world where this reminds you of home?!” Rika asked the two royal Koopas from where she was lying on her back.

”You get used to it” Bowser explained, before asking them both ”You both OK?”

”Yeah, you get used to it” Jr echoed as an answer, forcing the bravado just a little.

“Yeah. I think I’ll be ok. Just give me a few more moments, ” Rika replied. She was, at the very least, doing better than Carl, the legless robot that thought it was human. Or the human that looked like a robot? None of them really got it, probably because none of them (including Rika, despite her appearance) were human, so any real psychological importance of the term went right over their heads.

”If he wants to be called a human, he can be a human” Bowser decided after mulling it over for a bit.

“So can I be a human too? Instead of an Abyssal?” Rika asked, having got something of the wrong impression of the poor man’s situation by relating it to her own identity issues.

”If you want” was the rather simple answer she got from Bowser.

”Why not be a Koopa instead, we’re way cooler” Jr suggested instead

“Hmmm. I’ll think about it?” She replied honestly.

Either way, Carl’s identity dilemma was Sakura’s problem now as she decided to see if freeing him from Galeem’s light would help him out. While she was at it, they had to find a way through that didn't kill him. To this end, the Troop had a very, very, very simple plan.

”Troop! Square up. On my mark! 3. 2. 1. Charge!” Bowser commanded, and then with a cry of ”WAAA” “YAAAH” “MIMIIIII” ”RAAH” the three + their hanger on charged the heavy metal door in a collective shoulder-barge.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

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Level 6 Sectonia (holding 1 level up) - (47/60)
Location: Al Mamoon - Warehouse Fight
Word Count: less than 750


Sectiona wasn't surprised her minions were turned down by Band, as they weren't the stealthiest of things considering. Especially considering Midna was able to hide inside someone's shadow and be nearly undetectable. So with the suggestion to just chill and relax until later where they'd only need to lazily patrol around until Band called them, Sectiona took that opportunity to do as was requested for once, and relax like a Queen should. Her Alcremie seemed to enjoy the sweets and soda that Sectonia had acquired, needing very little in the way of sustenance compared to the Queen due to their relatively small size even compared to a shorter member of the group such as Tora.

Time passed, and eventually Sectonia made her way with the others in search of Band and his little sting. Poppi was a bit more subtle about flying due to her much smaller size in comparison to Sectiona, although her jet boosters did let out a dim hum sound and emit light from the fire so perhaps the two flyers would've been even thinking about it. Still Sectiona kept lower with the rest of the group and eventually the sound of Band's horn rang out and brought the group to a warehouse where Band was being ambushed by quite the few people. Midna was helping how she could with her own power and her Wolfos, with Tora and poppi being the first to join the fight of the group and getting a bit dogpiled as well to put it lightly. Still the rest were here, and Sectonia had a strong presence about her as she came into the fight.

The first thing she did was assist the, quite frankly swarmed, Big Band by giving him a bit of haste, causing time around him to slow down but he still moved normally, at least for him. For everyone else, the big lad just started to move much quicker than before. She then added to the chaos, summoning a round of 4 green antillions to assist both Band and Tora with their electrical attacks, while the Queen herself turned to the nearest of these 'enemies' that was attacking Band.

A katty looking girl, although unlike Ms. Fortune Sectiona had seen prior, this girl was just 'pretending' to be a cat, instead of actually being one. She seemed to use throwing knives as a weapon, but didn't seem to have much else in the way of things that were apparent to the Queen. Opening her cape like wings in an attempt at intimidation, cackling while summoning her swords to deal with this lady. "You can surrender, or fall my dear. Your choice." While saying this, Sectiona activated the item she had gained in the desert that exerted some of her royal aura, the Pipe of Insight, giving herself and her other allies a green shield that absorbed magical damage. Thankfully unlike summoning her minions this was a nearly instant spell, although it seemed to have a cooldown.

Assuming Maeve didn't surrender, the first thing Sectonia noticed as she started to swing her swords was how much faster she could swing them after absorbing the essence of that moon shard. Of course her swords were all the same as they were before, so this was a noticeable increase in her personal power. An increase she was using to attack this girl with a flurry of swipes and stabs. And if Maeve did surrender, well, Sectonia had another minion to add to her collection.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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wordcount: 1,142 +2
Midna: level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (33/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon


The snapping jaws of her wolfos might not have caught anyone, but it’s shaggy hide did make excellent cover for Minda to get her groove on. The princess rapidly tapped out a duo of dragon dances to amp herself up, though she had to weave her steps to and fro to avoid the bomb lobbing punk’s indiscriminate hail of explosives.

When her dances ended the princess was pumped with power and speed. She’d need more than that to help win the day however, because when her wolf went home she immediately became the target of smg fire, forcing the princess to hunker down behind her new shield to avoid being perforated by bullets.

Acting fast before Koga could switch tactics or overwhelm her metal shield Midna summoned her shadowhand and made it grab at the sandy ground, hauled up a mass of it and hurled it at Koga. The sand and soil failed to stick together and strike him, but the disintegrating mass made him flinch as it flew at him and it also obscured his vision for long enough for Midna to dodge out of the way and slip into the shadow of the building itself to get out of his line of fire.

A quick glance from her shadowy hiding spot got her a good assessment of the situation. Band was still slugging through despite taking one hell of a beating as a result of drawing most of their foe’s attention. Fortunately his call for aid had been answered, and, though things went rather poorly for Yoshitsune as rushing in ahead of everyone else (or had he already been following them before the signal had been called?) got him a similar reception to Band but, unfortunately, unlike the big man himself the swordsman was less set up to just tough it out.

Midna winced at the sight, but also saw that it looked like Tora had that handled, and that Sectiona wasn't far behind him and ready to throw all kinds of magical aid. As the Queen added her absolute bevy of support to the mix, with elemental slinging minions, magic shields and healing auras being the least of it, Midna appeared on the side of the garage door furthest from their reinforcements. There grabbed the edge of the wall with her shadow hand and then slung herself around, using the mag-lev effect she had to slide along the floor low enough that her round shield could cover her whole body. Her unorthodox insertion into the fight was proven wise as she slid under the smg fire of Koga, who’d assigned himself to stopping her from getting the drop on them again, the lower reaches of the spread pinging off her shield and gilded helm.

When Koga paused the futile hail of fire to readjust his aim and strategy Midna lashed a hand out around her shield, hurling a spray of sand from the twilight realm at him. The Ninja guarded his eyes with a wrist, giving a moment for Minda to pivot her slide and then lash her shadow hand round in a low sweep at him. Koga’s guard had, however, prevented anything beyond a momentary blinding and so rather than flattening him Minda gasped as the Ninja pulsed with a little power and then leapt straight over the side sweep.

Dragon claws flared on her toes and gripped the sand, halting Midna’s slide and then letting her throw herself to the side as Koga took aim as he fell back down and rained fire down at her, shots clipping past her hasty dodge and ill practiced guard, and slashing at her skin, leaving a light gash on her arm and thigh.

The princess hissed with pain even as the minor wounds started to close back up thanks to Sectiona’s healing. She slid along the ground, keeping the momentum from the dodge going and portalled out her Twilight Vibrava to buy herself time and space. The enlarged bug buzzed out and tried to crunch Koga in its jaws, only for the Ninja to dash a short distance in the blink of an eye to dodge out of the way before turning and pumping the rest of his clip into the pokemon, forcing it to flee back to the twilight realm.

As the ninja dropped the clips from his now empty guns Midna rushed forwards, winding back a hand with dragon claws primed and ready to end this, only for the ninja to switch things up, dropping the dual smgs to their holsters and then flaring up three long energy claws of his own on each wrist and then counter charging her in turn.

The surprised Midna blocked the leading right hook with her shield, but the left claw slash outperformed her own, leaving the princess with an ugly bleeding gash on her right

”Goddesses” she swore, but unlike Koda she had an extra arm left. Her shadow hand slapped straight down in front of her, forcing Koga back and preventing him from finishing the job. As the Ninja backed up his claws flickered and died, whatever power had been fueling them running out for the moment. He grabbed for his empty smgs, but while he was trying to reload them Midna gripped the ground with her shadow hand where she’d slapped it down, and then hauled herself up and around and smashed both her feet into his chest in a colossa twinl kick.

The blow knocked Koga flat on his ass. The princess gave him a blast of sand as she retreated, but her shaky arm meant it went all over rather than mostly at his face, allowing the man to finish clacking two fresh magazines into his guns while he was on the ground and blaze fire after her.

Minda pulled herself behind her shadow hand, pumped up the size, and then advanced, using the magical limb as a shield this time. Koga tried to quickly push himself up in response but in doing so had to stop firing with one gun, giving Minda just enough space to shove the guarding hand forwards.

Koga got to his feet just in time and then looked and dashed to the side to avoid the backhand. Minda slid again and hauled her shadow hand after him, blocking the shots from the one still full smg with her shield again, and then finally managing to grab the slippery Ninja with her shadow hand. She gave him a crushing squeeze in her grip before hauling him round in her giant orange glowing grip and throwing the man at one of Band’s attackers.

She didn't immediately follow up the throw however, and instead moved to try and find some space to let Sectiona’s passive healing do something about the three large gashes crippling her right arm and slowly oozing her life out of them.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Potemking
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Potemking I'M A FOOL / I KNOW NOTHING

Member Seen 4 hrs ago


LOCATION:Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
WORD COUNT: 2,036(+3 EXP)
MENTIONS: Big Band...
A Collaboration With @Lugubrious




Mao's carpet bombing proved effective against the ground-bound forces entering through the entryway, at least to an extent. He had intended for the bombs to serve more as a trap for Klee to detonate, but they kept getting triggered. The wolf blowing them up was both a hindrance to his original plan and a blessing, as it meant a string of explosions the others had to run through or wait out, which would hopefully cause some decent damage. Big Band's forward progression was stopped by his Blast Finger, the wide magical blast not providing an exit and instead a one-way trip backwards to provide some space. How hard was this big man to bring down? He'd been shot, cut, and pierced and still trucked along like he was invincible. But his wounds spoke otherwise: All they had to do was push him, and he was done.

Or at least that would have been the case without a distraction: What appeared to be a flying girl carrying a fat hamster came over the explosions, soaring through the warehouse battlefield and leaving him distracted enough to almost get thrown off by Big Band's attempt to knock everyone down: Retaining his footing though he wasn't close enough to prevent the hamster from offering support to one of their fallen.

Helping pull Klee to her feet, Mao was getting uneasy with just sitting back. There was a trade between that hamster and Cass, but losing numbers on their end was really bad, considering they didn't know the exact number of reinforcements coming. "You okay?" He asked the little bomber, trying to not seem bleak despite their situation worsening.

Though a little scuffed, Klee nodded and picked herself up again. “Y-yeah, but…” she stared at all the new people coming in and the frenetic action unfolding, her eyes wide with fear. “Who are these people!? What are they doing?”

"It's like Daemon said back at the base, they're more of the Validar's goons wanting to dispose of us." Mao explained, hand resting on his blade. "They're different, though. Stronger than usual. In any other situation they'd make great specimens, but, I don't think we can afford to hold back that much."

“Um. Okay,” Klee said, not really understanding what was going on but more convinced she was right to be afraid. The little girl, however, put on a brave face. “W-well, Klee won’t give up! I’ll give them my Jumpty Dumpties and Floaty Splodies, and they won’t bother us any more!” The sight of Baz standing alone against Big Band, however, turned her from speculation to action. “Oh, no! Uncle Baz!” She ran forward, conjuring a bomb in either hand. Once close enough she started lobbing them at the giant detective, unaware that her actions might lead to just as much injury for her friend.

As much as Baz and the detective being blown to smithereens could've been a spectacle for Mao, they were already down one person and losing more wasn't optimal. "Watch where you're throwing, you could hit that meathead too!" He scolded, ignoring the potential hypocrisy of him carpet bombing the entrance earlier as he unsheathed his sword, progressing forward past Klee but being cautious of her detonating her bombs.

“Oh, sorry!” Klee cried, falling back. She hunkered down by a shelf to give Mao all the room he needed to attend to business.

Mao arrived to find the two heavyweights locked in a contest of strength. To take his foe by surprise Band had sprung back from where Klee’s bombs left him with heavy brass knuckles extended, but Baz had accepted the challenge. Like true wrestler he threw his arms wide, took the punch, and grabbed hold of his adversary’s machine arm in order to throw him to the ground. Though surprised by the man’s strength, Band refused to budge until Mao’s interdiction forced his hand. Two small mechanical arms extended from the other side of his coat, one with a trumpet and the other with a musical triangle. He inserted the trumpet over Baz’s head and struck it with the other instrument, inflicting enough sound stun to loosen the bruiser’s grip. He then pulled free, grabbed Baz, and threw him bodily at Mao to try and ward him off.

He attempted to avoid Baz, but the hulking mass of the man made the sudden predicament a bit harder than you'd think. He darted right, attempting to outstretch Band's instrument-trapped weaponized Baz but still getting his shoulder checked on Baz's bulky build. Instead of bouncing outwards however, Mao dove into it: Making a hard turn close enough to Baz that his jacket skimmed against the wrestler as he unsheathed his sword, the motion flowing into a slash away from Baz and directly in line with the musician in front of him.

The fluidity of Mao’s movement caught Band by surprised as he attempted to pre-empt the demon with a trombone from he knee. Instead he took the slash across his chest, cutting across the fabric of his tench coat and into the dark metal drum of his body. “Grgh!” he coughed as he tried to compose himself, the wounds beginning to add up. Band deployed an arm to go for a king-sized grab, but with his coat slashed Mao could see him opening up and the weapon on its way.

The element of surprise being lost gave Mao the opportunity to dodge out the way, the demon opting to jump backwards to avoid the grab through use of distance. The wounds were slowing him down, but he still had fight in him. Mao noted to finish this quickly, so he could move onto his next target.

From behind Mao came a familiar whip that wrapped around Band’s unguarded leg. Baz had recovered from his fall with a roll so he could get back in on the action, and once his weapon latched on he unleashed a stream of electricity through it. Sparks flew as Band staggered, shocked to the core. Baz, Mao, and Klee took the chance to rally and attack together. Things looked grim.

Then a power overtook the detective, and his assailants seemed to slow down. “Huh. Guess I’ll be playin’ Mr. Lucky’s theme.” Electing to not question it, he put the sudden blessing to work. He charged forward and jumped, and with his foes unable to defend themselves in time he threw out a Cymbal Clash to mush all three together and inflict Sound Stun, which dazed the little girl the most. As they struggled Band plucked the half-conscious Klee from the mix and put her aside, saying, “Take five.” He then faced the others, and from his body erupted a mess of brass beels tubing that took on took on the shape of a gigantic instrument. “Horn Crush!” Blasts of sound bulled him forward like thrusters on a rocketship and he rammed into them, hitting multiple times before flipping forward once to hurtle them away.

Huffing and puffing, Band stowed his instrumentation and glowered at the two rebels as they recovered. Sweat rolled down his forehead. To either side of him stood a bipedal insect in green armor, allies sent to bolster him against his enemies and give him a moment to breath. The Antlers moved forward to take the rebels on.

Blood trickled from Mao's forehead, and leaked out of his right ear. At least the sound would stop bothering him if he went deaf, right? Not that he had time to look for positives, as there were reinforcements in their way now. Tightly gripping his sword, his gaze went between Klee, and the incoming backup. He didn't have time for MORE fighters, there were enough as-is. But, he had no choice but to grit his teeth and bear it.

"Keep an eye on Klee and the big guy, I'll handle these second-grade minions." He spoke to Baz, charging forward. An initial swing of his sword towards one was met with sparks shooting from contact across it's shield, club coming down as retaliation but meeting nothing but the floor of the warehouse, Mao having already shifted out of the way and to the Antler's side: A second sword swing was met with the second Antler choosing it's own club for defense: Mao's sword clashing against it, only for a spark attack from the club to cause his blade to drop to the ground.

One assumed most swordsmen were useless without their blade, but Mao wasn't exactly a swordsman: He'd happily use an assortment of different weapons to hurt his opposition, including his fists. A grin crossed his face as they came upon him; Seeming to want to swing those clubs around more. Mao was happy to let them do so; Clubs coming down and meeting nothing but air as he back stepped, waiting for the weapons to collide with the ground before he leapt over them, reaching out and grabbing one by the antennae as magic pulsed in his free hand. "Learn your place!" He tugged the antler forward and slammed his fist into the minion creature, magic focusing on the individual monster and serving as an overkill for such filth, obliterating it as kicked up dirt and debris from the attack covered Mao's movements towards the second Antler, who'd been close enough to get staggered by the force of the blast.

The second Antler's shape was clear enough in the dust, but Mao's slender form darted back and forth, the form of the Antler falling to pieces as the scene cleared: Mao's sword was back in his hand, blade resting on his shoulder as the pieces of the minion behind him disappeared like the settling dust.

As the haze cleared he could see Baz and Band going toe to toe. Though Band weighed in at over two tons of body and soul, the masked ruffian was holding his own, thanks in no small part to the wide assortment of shots, smashes, and slices Band suffered already. But the detective wasn’t about to pack it in. While Mao watched Band took a whip crack and started to block with the aid of a music stand. Pages of notes flew as Baz delivered slug after slug, until finally he jumped up to deliver a dropkick. Before it connected Band unleashed a brand-new weapon, with arms coming out of either side of his body with halves of a bell that closed around Baze like an iron maiden. The bell’s heavy tolls resounded through the warehouse as the detective shook it, and when he retracted the halves of the instrument Baz crumpled to the ground.

Two down, one to go. Band heaved himself in the direction of Mao, meeting the much smaller man eye to eye. One final showdown, as the fight raged on around them. It was a good moment for a dramatic exchange, but even if Band had anything to say to this complete stranger, he needed all the wind he could get. Still, even without words he and his foe shared a sort of understanding:

This was the end of the line.

He'd left Klee stunned, and now he'd taken out Baz. Mao had wanted to stop the detective from further harming their forces, but all that ended up happening was more bodies hitting the floor. Whether it was just a jumbled mind or an actual moment of heart, seeing the two down and out drove him to sheathe his blade and light that Star magic in his fist again, and run straight for Band.

Band deployed his giant pedal again to slam the ground, then followed it up by sliding forward, his mighty arm raised.

Where the detective chose to slide, Mao went high: He took a leap over the tremor caused by Band's pedal, fist pulled back as he took a dive down the oncoming freight train of a fighter, with intent to bring his fist down upon Band with full strength. At the last moment Band adjusted his aim, and the next instant both blows struck home.

WHAM!


A shockwave expanded from the double impact, strong enough to shatter glass and throw loose items from the warehouse shelves. As they hit the ground, Band and Mao joined them, with the detective landing particularly hard. Though not unconscious they couldn’t fight or even move any longer--a double K.O.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Dark Cloud
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Dark Cloud When the spaghetti is done just right.

Member Seen 24 days ago


Level/Experience: 3 (13/30 EXP)
Location: Bottomless Sea - The Maw
Word Count: Less than 750 Words (+1 EXP)
Interaction
@Gentlemanvaultboy and @DracoLunaris


After a moments consideration the green-haired boy cleared his throat "Ill-judged I twas of mages, tis my ignorance I shalt blame." Glenn straightened his tunic collar still glancing askew at the waters surface every so often. "Alas thou arte most helpful," the boy bowed slightly to his friend "Thou arte a good friend Link." Glenn respected the other boy for keeping his promise, Link in the other boy's opinion had all the true marks of an honorable knight.

With a slight nod of his head Glenn beckoned the Koopaling over "Kamek, come hither." the boy gave the little sorcerer a quick glance "Link told me thou arte somewhat familiar with thine nature of curses," Glenn crossed his arms, ruffling the cuffs of his tunic "Dost thou thinkest thineself could mayhaps offer thy assistance?" the boy couldn't meet the Koopaling's eyes as he continued in explaining in short how he had ended up a frog, however he omitted the detail of his personal failure.

Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Dawnrider
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Dawnrider Demigod

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Level: 5 (47 -> 48 -> 50 -> 47/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Word Count: 1079 (+2 EXP)


“That’s them!” To the trumpet’s call, Fox answered, promptly drawing his sidearm and getting himself and everyone else into gear. “Move!” he called, breaking into a sprint in Poppi’s guided direction, who then joined them back at ground level on the way. The commotion, perceptive over the typical activity of the bazaar (so keeping a lid on was out), led them the rest of the way to a warehouse with the garage wide open. The sustained bombardment of the entrance might have made intervention more difficult for them if not for Midna’s pets taking hits for them, for which Fox mentally thanked her as he vaulted over the creature through a plume of flame and smoke between bombings and into the warehouse proper.

Immediately, he honed in on one of the other two firearm wielders there besides himself, opening up on the cybernized rogue among them. If nothing else, Sombra now had a new target to focus on that compulsion would force her to deal with, dividing their collective attention further. The first stream of shots that hit prompted a quick escape on her end, achieved by triggering the Translocator beacon she had tossed up onto the catwalk previously.

From on high she had an advantageous angle on the intruders, even if it meant working slightly outside of her weapon’s effective range. She made use of it by returning fire on Band, Midna and Fox, the latter of whom threw up his shield in response to the first sting of bullet spray at his back. Naturally, she ceased fire at the realization that she was riddling herself with her own shots, and before Fox could tack on more damage with his own, she vanished in a starting run with a purple shimmer, buying her a moment to recuperate and reposition.

The break in engagement set Fox’s eye to darting around for other enemies to fight/allies to aid, taking potshots periodically to keep any less occupied foes from getting too comfortable. It was then he saw the exuberant ring blade wielder make a predatory move against Yoshitsune, unprovoked, while he was down, somersaulting after him with a running start and both feet together against the inner rim of her weapon to drive it down onto him like a guillotine. After squeezing off a heavier shot to disrupt her mid-flight, Fox almost beat his own shot there in a blue, ghostly rush to tilt her drop off-axis by delivering a snapping toe kick to the bottom broad of the blade itself, followed by two rising tornado kicks meant for its wielder. Only the first caught her by the chin, as she blocked the second during her recovering backflip and threaded herself through her hoop in a descending spiral kick in retaliation to knock Fox back to the floor.

He tumbled to his feet to find her on top of him with a seamless, unrelenting string of dance-like blade slashes, both horizontal and vertical, that he was to work to dodge by the skin of his snout or the hairs of his ears and tail, at one point glancing a blow against the minimal armor of his plated glove, but not without being grazed with one or two of them. Fox interrupted her routine with a distracting shot to force her on her guard and chased it with a flurry of whirling kicks to be blocked, all save for the repelling finisher to her abdomen. Swift, agile and aggressive as both fighters were, neither could find or force a wide enough opening on the other to gain ground in their exchange.

“Don’t mind me,” Sombra taunted upon re-emerging to lopside Fox and Tira’s duel with a projective keystroke from every digit of her off-hand and more submachine gun fire to chase it with. Fox found his Reflector to be locked up, and that his other abilities were somehow disabled as well, leaving him wide open to the hacker’s counteroffensive. Only after catching the first second of sustained fire for his trouble did he evasively leap aside and return fire, but hitting nothing as she found cover. Tira took advantage of the distraction to slip her weapon around his neck from behind in a choking grapple, pressing her feet to his back as she pulled away in a gymnastic maneuver and slamming him overhead. He had to scramble to recover to avoid the successive heavy slams of her ring that followed, fragments of the concrete erupting with every impact as she aggressively growled with exertion on the last strike.

With the tie broken against him, Fox was finding more trouble dealing with the fierce dancer than was typical for him, on top of dealing with the repercussions of not finishing the first fight he started. He had contended with a number of blade wielders in the past, but none of whom matched her variable, unorthodox style or sadistic fervor. The key to beating her, perhaps, lay in the observation that her style and personality visibly flipped with the changing of her stances, from jubilance to anger and back with little in between. A break came for him during Big Band’s thunderous clash with another to rock the foundations of their place of battle, lending Fox a moment to knock her away with an advancing outward crescent kick to capitalize on a break in her guard in her less defensive ‘Gloomy’ stance.

He swiftly responded to the sneaky press of a muzzle to his back by turning and swiftly deflecting Sombra’s gun arm, wrapping his own around it to lock her down in an act of basic joint manipulation to prevent her from escaping again. He then threw two knee strikes into her chest to weaken her, drew her back by her collar, pressed the lens of his blaster to her sternum, and pulled the trigger. Her eyes constricted with a gasp as she fell limply back out of his grip, but where there should have been an entry wound was instead a fading heart symbol. Fox reached out to catch her by her open hand before she could hit the ground, clasping her arm in his own. The question now was whether or not it was enough to cure her of her Gleam, for he could only work on assumption for every case. Moreover, if it worked, would she understand the gesture upon waking, and what was her next move either way? For safety, Fox mentally prepared for a negative response regardless.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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Tora, Poppi, and Big Band

Level 9 Tora (25/90) Level 8 Poppi (94/80) Level 3 Big Band (9/30)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Sectonia’s @Archmage MC, Yoshitune's @Rockin Strings, Fox’s @Dawnrider, Mao’s @Potemking
Word Count: 1274


Things got out of hand quickly as the reinforcements joined the battle. On instinct the fighters of the two sides spread what would have been an all-out brawl into more isolated clashes, one-on-one or a couple on one, to avoid inviting absolute chaos. Nevertheless the battle began in earnest. Tora and Poppi faced off against their opposing duo of Cass and Daemon, giving Yoshitsune the moments he needed to recover. With a little help from Sectonia and a lot of grit, Band fought back against three at once, taking on Mao, Klee and Baz. The insect queen herself decided to hunt down the pink-haired assassin, while the Twilight Princess zeroed in on Koga. Without Red or Laharl around to help even the odds, that left both the stealthy Sombra and the crazed Tira to Fox.

First on the scene after Band and Midna, the dynamic duo managed to resolve their situation first, flooring Cass and enraging Daemon. The gang leader did not anticipate, however, that Yoshitsune would rise from the ground to cross blades with him a second time. Standing on near-even footing, with Kamui pitted against Stealth/Sleep, the swordsman would see their duel decided for once and all.

Despite Midna’s overwhelmingly varied magical arsenal Koga stood against her with all the cunning and savvy in his position, but in the end the ninja was outclassed. His foe laid him out just as the immense trade between Mao and Big Band rocked the warehouse, and when a dazed Baz rose to his feet to try bothering someone else Midna sent Koga flying to hit Baz squarely in the chest with his fellow man. The two fell in a heap, giving Midna the chance to nurse her wounds.

Meanwhile, the encounter between Maeve and Sectonia had gotten off to an odd start. When the wasp demanded her opponent yield, Maeve held her hands up in surrender, no knives to be found. “Okay, okay, I give! I’ll just out of here, you’ll never see my face again, promise!” So saying she turned tail to leap away into the heights of the warehouse, but halfway through her escape the assassin suddenly pivoted in the shadows. She activated Prowl to boost her speed and jump height by a noteworthy fifty percent, then Pounce to dash away in an instant and disappear from view. In midair she triggered Nine Lives to reset her cooldowns, allowing her to Pounce again at a downward angle, right at Sectonia’s back. She intended to fulfill her promise -making sure her target would never see her face again by slaying her first- but the bug queen was wilier than Maeve gave her credit for. Her backstab failed and the two began a mad scramble, dashing and teleporting faster than the typical eye could see. Maeve never seemed to run out of daggers to throw, but Sectonia’s magic more than evened the playing field. After twenty seconds passed the assassin could use Nine Lives again to restore her own health, and as a last ditch effort she unleashed her ultimate, Midnight, to blind Sectonia for an attempted instant kill.

Tira and Sombra proved to be a troublesome duo for Fox once they united against him. The mad harlequin’s unorthodox ring blade and unpredictable movement made fighting her a chore, but the pilot could keep her at bay while Sombra hounded him. Sombra could Hack him to temporarily disable his technological equipment and disappear or translocate to reposition at a moment’s notice. And whenever given an inch Tira took a mile, fighting viciously to take Fox down. If he focused on either Fox could deal with them effectively, but neither would allow him to concentrate on the other. In the end his pattern recognition allowed him to deal with her momentarily, so that he could address Sombra fully. His Friend Heart wiped Galeem’s influence from her spirit and pacified her for a few seconds, but when she met his eyes Fox could tell that something in them was still wrong.

As the fight raged on, Klee picked herself up from where Band left her. The little girl held her head and groaned, tears in her eyes, but with a glare of sunset-red determination she blinked them back. What would the boss say to her if she saw her now, after all? Or her mother, Alice? She couldn’t be beaten so easily. She wouldn’t! For her mother, for her faithful Dodoco, for her friends Mao and Baz, and the boss!

Klee stood up shakily, an angry look on her face. “Blow them all up!” She called on her magic to produce a special explosive plushie, pulled it until it glowed white with power, and tossed it into the air. Magic blossomed above her in a burst of petals and sparks. Magic circles appeared floating in the air, seemingly at random, each four red inward-facing hearts with a fiery ring. Each one spat out an explosive payload before vanishing, effectively carpet-bombing an entire section of warehouse. The battle ended in an all-consuming chaos, a maelstrom of fire and force that more or less decked everyone still on their feet.



As the smoke cleared it revealed that the blasts left nobody unaffected. Scattered across the warehouse by both their brutal struggle and then Klee’s bombing, the two sides could scarcely fight any longer, try as those under Galeem’s influence might. Toward the back of the battlefield Tora and Poppi fared perhaps the best, owing to their low sustained damage and high defense against Klee’s indiscriminate revenge. In the hazy aftermath of the bombardment they could see more figures approaching the warehouse from the parking lot, and Poppi’s keen optics recognized the man in front. “Mr. Kan-Ra!” she observed, recalling the sorcerer’s distinctive, ghoulish appearance, with all the wrappings and trinkets. She waved an armored gauntlet from across the battlefield. “We’ve made contact with Resistance!”

“So it would seem,” the Grimleal Captain grinned, arms clasped behind his back. “After your earlier indecision, you’ve put on quite the show.” Tora and Poppi shared a wary glance as Kan-Ra continued. “Some gratitude is in order for sparing us the effort of fighting them ourselves. By my count, you’ve managed to put about a third of the Resistance’s whole roster out of commission. That’s something to be proud of--indeed, you’ve done well for our fair city.”

Tora and Poppi made their way across the battle-worn ground toward the Grimleal, with the Nopon looking pretty happy. “Hooray, mehmeh! Another win in bag for hero team!” He waddled over to help Big Band up and restore him with Nopon Rescue Service, while Poppi focused on Kan-Ra.

“So...what next?”

The mummified sorcerer's grin did not falter. “We will deal with these miscreants. Regrettably their bloodlust is now awakened, so drastic measures are necessary to ensure the safety of the populace.” As Klee got up to bomb him, Kan-Ra extended bandages like tentacles to bind her, wrapping the little girl so tightly that she couldn’t move. “Regrettable, yeees...but most necessary. We will collect them for...interrogation. You, meanwhile, may receive healing from our clerics as our thanks. If by now you understand the untenable menace this so-called Resistance poses to peace, consider joining my colleagues.” He tilted his head slightly. “They are already en route with their squads to the other hideouts. Your actions forced our hand a little early, but we can and will make do. The Resistance, as we know it, is finished.” His words hung in the air like acrid smoke, stinging and powerful. Big things had been set into motion, and whatever the heroes planned to do, they could not afford to hesitate.

Museum of Vanity

Location: Al Mamoon
Primrose’s @Yankee, Jesse’s @Zoey Boey, the Phantom Thieves
Word Count: 8384 (+7 EXP)




Escapees from Vanity

Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Primrose’s @Yankee, Jesse’s @Zoey Boey


In an unprecedented turn of good fortune the Phantom Thieves and their allies found no further resistance as they fled the gallery of distortion, using the back route Necronomicon so helpfully plotted for them. Once out of danger the Thieves traded out their trademark attire for their everyday outfits, and the strange craft that accompanied them wasted no time directing the group through the streets of Al Mamoon to a hospital. Those able to move helped those who could not, aided by a few considerate citizens who spotted the bizarre procession’s struggle and could not stand idly by. Before long the whole group arrived at the desert city’s sandstone-bricked medical center, having created no small amount of spectacle on the way, and hurried inside.

The next hour passed in a blur of activity. Doctors and nurses bustled to and fro as they worked to handle the huge influx of patients and prepare proper treatment. Though wounded themselves, the Phantom Thieves elected to zonk out in the waiting room instead while Necronomicon flew off to report the whole matter to the Grimleal, the nebulous clerical organization that passed for the city’s police. Throwing dignity to the wind, the exhausted teenagers sprawled across the available chairs and dozed off in various states of consciousness. Despite all they’d been through and the relatively short time spent within, their re-run of the Museum of Vanity still managed to be one of their craziest raids to date. It really broke the mold, and whether or not that was a good thing, Joker wouldn’t be forgetting it any time soon.



That, plus their new allies. Primrose they already knew well enough to regard as an invaluable asset to the team, but even in the short time they knew Jesse she’d proved herself beyond talented. It wasn’t just her abilities, either; she possessed an unflappable demeanor, pragmatic and calculating in the face of the unknown. Though he didn’t like to admit it, Joker knew that the Phantom Thieves were still kids at the end of the day, regardless of a year’s worth of harrowing paranormal adventuring experience. They could learn a lot from her maturity.

How much time passed he couldn’t say, but eventually a reploid nurse entered the waiting room and approached the Thieves, clipboard in hand. Joker slid himself into an upright position, shifting his glasses to rub at his eyes, and then clasped his hands to await the news. “You’re the people who came in with those artists, right?” When prompted with a nod, her eyes shone. “So you’re the ones who saved them! That’s so nice of you! They were all saying the same things. Trapped on a floating island garden, a golden nightmare, forced to paint for days on end, barely eating or sleeping...you must be heroes!”

Joker shook his head. “Sorry, I think you have the wrong idea,” he told the nurse. “We only helped them get to the hospital. They were saved by the Phantom Thieves, not us.”

“The Phantom...Thieves?” The nurse’s big, shiny green eyes were filled with confusion. “But we would people who steal…? Oh, nevermind! If they helped, that’s all that matters. But oh, I’m babbling again, sorry! I meant to tell you that everyone is mostly alright. Malnourished of course, overworked, and bruised with signs of whiplash, but given enough time to recover they’ll all be okay.”

With a sigh of relief, Joker gave an affirmative nod. “Good. In that case, we should get going.” He put a hand on Ryuji’s shoulder and shook him awake.

“Bwuh? Wuzzat?”

On his other side Ann leaned back with a yawn, stretching. Even her tail uncurled, working out the cramps. When Joker looked the other way he realized Yusuke had gotten a cup of noodles at some point, and was working at them diligently to avoid any brother spattering over the curled-up form of Morgana nearby. With a cheerful farewell and a peppy wave goodbye the nurse went on her way, leaving the Thieves and their friends to pick themselves up and head outside.

Back in the sunlight they found Necronomicon hovering over the parking lot, patiently waiting to rejoin the crew. When she spotted her friends she floated down and waved with a tentacle. “Hiya! You guys ready to hear the news?” Once everyone was ready, she continued. “Well, I went to the Grimleal headquarters. It was really busy actually, with people running around everywhere getting ready for something. I spoke with a few strange people who kept saying ominous things about progress and despair and so forth. But the one who looks like a mummy said he’d file the report and take care of things. Apparently they’d been watching the museum for a while but had other priorities. Speaking of, it seems like there’s something else going down right now-ish. Maybe we should check it out?”

Ann narrowed her eyes. “Oh, yeah. I don’t remember if I told you guys, but there’s, like, a civil war going on in the city or something. These Grim guys versus the Resistance, but it sounds like the Resistance is doing all kinds of bad stuff. We were gonna play it by ear until we learned more about what’s going on. But if stuff’s already happening, the others might need our help.”

Joker nodded. “Okay, let’s do it. We’ve got some stamina back, so let’s stop by a vending machine or something on the way.”

“Even normal drinks you can buy for a couple hundred yen give you health in the Metaverse,” Morgana explained. “This should be the same way. That way we can all heal up without needing to use magic.”

The spaceship made a fist-pumping motion with her tentacles to hype herself up. “Alright, Necronomicon’s on the case! Gonna fly up and plot you a route going north, with somewhere to grab drinks on the way. Be back in a flash!”

A couple minutes later, the team was on the move once more. From the hospital in Al Mamoon’s southeast section they made their way toward the trading district, where Necronomicon’s scanning reported some sort of commotion already in progress.

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (61/40)
Location: The Maw - the Depths
Blazermate's @Archmage MC, Bowser's @DracoLunaris, Ace Cadet's @Yankee, Sakura's @Zoey Boey, Frog's @Dark Cloud, Mirage’s @Potemking
Word Count: 1850


Eager to hear a more technically-minded individual’s take on this, Nadia listened with rapt attention while Mirage gave his assessment of the situation before them. So, the door that blocked the way to their destination needed some juice to open, but by virtue of merely existing their new friend threw a wrench in the works. Either ‘Carl’ here unwittingly hogged it all to himself, or obstructed the flow. Was that how electricity behaved? Whether correct or not (and probably not) Nadia always tended to think of it like water.

Apparently the power could be redirected into the door instead, but that could spell some serious issues for Carl. Although not given to wild speculation like Sakura, she shared the girl’s overall sentiment. No matter how deluded it might be, Nadia didn’t want to just shut off what was clearly a thinking machine. Hell, she’d probably still feel bad even if given one hundred percent assurance beforehand that it was nothing more than a simulation. So finding another option sounded good, as long as there was another option to find. And since starting with the other door made sense, that was the direction she roused herself to head in.

Sakura, however, decided to give the robot another visit first. Before she could address Carl the Koopa Troop put its strategy into motion, with both Bowsers, Rika, and Mimi all thundering down the corridor as fast as their little legs could take them to throw themselves against the sealed door together. They barreled into it at full speed and came to an abrupt stop with an appropriately loud series of smacks, all four bouncing right off the solid metal surface. No luck--this door, made of interlocking halves designed to slide sideways with the aid of heavy machinery, wouldn’t crumple inward even under the pressure of the deep sea.

After wincing, Nadia turned her attention back to Sakura. She tried to be as helpful as she could without stressing him, and so played the role of an earnest child. He didn’t know what to make of the glowing mote she showed him, and though he felt rather put-upon by this kid’s antics given his condition, he didn’t protest. “O-kay. Sure thing, kiddo. Give it...uh, give it here.” He reached out his claw to take hold of Sakura’s offering.

The moment he touched it, the heart vanished, soaking into his metal frame. There came a staticky grunt, and he jerked as the power washed over him. As the children watched all the damage done to his body faded away, and the infestation of metal barnacles melted like butter. When the Friend Heart’s magic faded, it left behind a fully restored Universal Helper 3 unit, fully cleansed of structure gel contamination and good as new.

It didn’t move. Nadia blinked twice, waiting expectantly, but even after ten seconds nothing happened. She waved a hand right in front of the robot’s head to no response, then perked up her ear but heard no noise other than the dripping and sloshing of the flooded base outside. “That’s...weird.” Curious as a cat, she even knocked on its head a few times, but to no avail. The universal helper seemed to be totally inert. She turned back to the others and shrugged. “I guess Carl’s shut down? Or maybe it was a glitch? Just a...” she searched for a word or phrase to describe it, and went with the first she came up with. “Ghost in the machine?”

“No idea,” Peach murmured, her thoughts conflicted. The team could spend a while processing what just happened, making inferences and conjectures, but as Nadia pointed out earlier the kids were on the clock. They couldn’t waste time, and as the leader of Blue Team, Peach felt obligated to get everyone back on track. “Whatever it is, we’ll have to think about it later. Some of us should connect the cables while the rest double check Maintenance. Then we’ll press on and get that submarine.” She remained behind to help get everything hooked up, while Nadia followed Mirage toward the other end of the hall.



Scooting through the door brought the pair into a workroom of decent size, its tables and trolleys just low enough for an enterprising child to grab onto in order to climb up. Dingy and disused, with scattered debris, clamps, and tools, it still featured a couple notable fixtures. In the center of the far wall sat a large foundry that radiated a fiery orange from the heat within, presumably there to produce any replacement parts this former factory’s personnel might need for repairs. It looked simple enough that practically anyone could operate it, given a mold for the molten metal to pour into.

Next to the foundry glowed some kind of white board or screen with a handful of x-rays attached, all showing human bones modified extensively by the same sort of weird metal that the gang saw on the robot earlier, and that still protruded from the wall terminal beside it. A photograph lay on the desk in front of it that Nadia made the mistake of looking at. She shivered and set it down, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to expunge the memory of the creature she saw captured therein. “...That’s some trash.”

Meanwhile, Mirage found the terminal that appeared to govern the flow of power between rooms. Unfortunately some sort of lid had been fastened over its panel, nailed crudely in place, and tugging at the metal spikes wouldn’t do a lot of good. Pressing the one button that wasn’t covered caused the room’s only door to slam shut behind the last children inside. It had no handle, just a glowing red node high up on the doorframe, way out of the reach of tiny beings.

Nadia groaned. “Great.” Pressing the buttoning again didn’t seem to do anything, either. While Mirage worked at it Nadia put some distance between herself and the horrible photograph, and in so doing happened to find a strange pair of unusually large items on one of the tables. The detached head of a hammer, about as big as the average four-year-old’s torso, lay right beside a sort of bandolier with three slots in it. In one slot the bandolier held a nail large enough to be a sword in the hand of a child. Trying to lift one of the tools revealed them to be much lighter than either had any right to be, making handling them a breeze. “Huh.” Nadia murmured, looking around at the other Seekers. “Anyone want these? I’ve already got my fan, so I’m good.”

As it turned out, the tools were just what the doctor ordered. The hammerhead’s reverse side could pull the nails out of the terminal, allowing Mirage to access the power controls. At the same time, the nail flew like a javelin when hurled and had no problem piercing the power node on the door, overriding the electronic lock to let the door slide open. Even from here the freed children could see the lights on at the other end of the hallway, with just a push of the button keeping those that remained near the Universal Helper from entering the Command Center. Peach waved the others over, and once reunited, the children pressed on.



The Command Center was a large, square room. A communications array stood in front of the wide window where a factory overseer may have looked down upon and given orders to his workers back in the day, but most of the floorspace was dominated by a fenced-in hold that provided access to the water below. Over it dangled a round submarine. The wall behind the submarine featured a row of diving suits along its length, with a pilot seat in the middle.

More immediately notable, however, was the sound of static. IOn the opposite side of the room there existed some emitter of light and sound, like a broken T.V. Wary, Peach signalled for the others to be quiet, then led the way around the room. The trip provided a good look at the strange chair with its complex-looking head rig, the diving suits (which all seemed to be filled with gunk, machinery, or both), and the bottom of the submersible. Once around the central pit, Peach could more clearly see the source of the noise. In an alcove there was indeed a little television set, along with a table, a bowl, a blanket, and a few other odds and ends.

There was also a strange man, stooped, hump-backed, with ragged black clothes subjected to heavy water damage. As Nadia watched, appalled, the malformed thing gave a wet cough. “Ohh, missus Lady...if it’s for you, I’d do anything!” He lolled his head, and in a stroke of bad luck ended up looking right at the newcomers. His face was no better than the rest of him. “...Uhh?”

Nadia’s ears flattened against her head as she crouched down, teeth bared. Peach didn’t know whether to shiver in fear or reach out in pity, but she squeaked, “Look. We’re not here to cause trouble. We just want to get out of here, so leave us alone.”

“Kids? Leave…?” Moreau repeated. Peach took it as a command and started to backpedal, only for the twisted creature to take a couple plodding steps forward, pleading hands upraised. “Wait-wait-wait! What are you doing? Don’t go!”

His begging made the children pause. Though monstrous, Moreau was more pathetic than terrifying, and Nadia couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy. “If-if you make it out,” he whined, “The others will all laugh at me! B-but if I do better than them-!” Another wet cough wracked his body, forcing him to double over. A spatter of green liquid hit the metal floor.

Peach’s brows furrowed. “‘Them’? ….Maybe we can help you,” she suggested, taking a page from Sakura’s book. “If you mean other mon, I mean, other people overseeing parts of the Maw, we already defeated one. By the time we escape, you could be the only one left. Nobody to laugh at you, or do better than you! It’ll be just you...and the lady.” The princess hoped she was grasping at the right straws.

Nadia nodded emphatically. “Yeah! All you’ve gotta do is let us go. Don’t even have to lift a finger. You could just sit back and…” she glanced at the static on Moreau’s television set. “Watch T.V.?”

For a few moments Moreau kept quiet, the gears turning in his mind. His webbed fingers clenched into fists and unclenched; his indecision was palpable. “The exit’s underwater. If I let you out...” he finally garbled. “The Lady will know! This is my territory. I can’t let you leave.” His was a wretched, almost sorrowful look. Another spasm shook him and he wrenched away, throwing up as he staggered toward the pit. “Ohh...it hurts. I can’t hold it in anymore. God...Lady, why…?”

He tripped and fell into the water, and disappeared with a splash. Then he was gone, and silence reigned over the Command Center once more.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Potemking
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Potemking I'M A FOOL / I KNOW NOTHING

Member Seen 4 hrs ago


LOCATION:The Maw - The Depths
WORD COUNT:1,318(+3 EXP)
MENTIONS: Command Center Group, Moreau





Mirage paused his leave, long enough to hear Sakura out. Unfortunately, once she went into the whole Galeemification thing, he kind of spaced out. He stood there and listened, but it was more of a farce as everything went in one ear and out the other. "Oh yeah. Sounds good, kid." He offered, no actual input coming from him as he decided to leave her to whatever she thought she could do to help Carl. If he could help them too, it'd solve a few of their issues perhaps. Considering the mishmash this place was, he doubted many people understood it's entirety. Especially a robot that's stuck in place, without much around...

His plan to head out was interrupted again by a loud thud, marking the attempt the Koopa Troop made to open the door. He winced at the noise, but continued on, surely they'd be fine. Or, at least he hoped, as those doors hadn't budged at all. He noted to find a way to get them open in a hurry, before someone caved their head in hitting the door out of lack of options. Or damaged Carl by pulling the lever.




The workroom proved to be junked out too, but was their best bet for figuring out the situation outside. Mirage scanned for alternative routes that might lead to the command center, but found that the vent in the room was too small for even their child bodies, so that was out. Then he wandered, digging through scraps in an attempt to find a tool or two, perhaps something to try and help Carl a bit, or at least to work on the wiring if need be. Unfortunately, he yield zilch, and instead came across the console that seemed to be the main controls for the area's power distribution. "What the hell..." He grumbled, noting that someone had nailed in and blocked off most of the terminal access. What a brute way of doing it, but thankfully, Mirage was ready to deliver the brute force back!

With a strained growl he attempted to yank the paneling off, with no success. All he could observe and use was a single button, which, despite not being a man of science exactly, he'd use the scientific method to figure out what it did.

So he pressed it.

He jumped, the door closing startling him. He laughed at Nadia's disgruntled reaction, simply reminding her: "Ah, it's not a big deal, if this is the control for the door then surely pressing it against just opens it." He pressed the button, with no results. Panicked, he pressed it again. It then turned into Mirage mashing the button frantically, no luck whatsoever. Head ducking down and shoulders rising, his laugh was much more nervous this time. "Isn't that the darndest thing?"

Mirage decided to try and work at accessing the rest of the terminal. Picking up some scrap off the ground, he tried to find a way to pry it open to access everything internally, but his efforts were proving once again to be in vain. That is, until Nadia revealed her findings: A hammerhead, which looked heavier than it was, Mirage only believing his ability to use it once he picked it up himself. "If someone else wants it, they can have it, but I need it for a sec." He took it to the terminal and pulled out the nails, yielding full operation to the power supply of the local area. "That's weird," Mirage spoke, eyeing the power output and noting that Carl wasn't even taking up that much. Where the hell was the rest going, then? Nowhere? This was easier than he thought! With a little work, he was able to override the locked door and divert some of that spare power to the Command Center, giving them a way to move forward. "I guess I overreacted." He mused, shrugging as he went on-route back to the other Seekers. Anyone who wanted the hammer could simply ask and he'd hand it over: He wasn't one for swinging big things like that around, he'd leave that to the powerhouses.




"Annnd we have power!" Mirage called triumphantly to the others as he made his return, grin plastered on his face, at least until he looked at Carl. His expression shifted, uncertain if he should be happy, or confused. "Woah, what happened to you? You're all fixed up!" He was happy with this, but was met with silence. His ignorance from earlier meant he'd spent the time with no knowledge of Sakura's actual efforts on him, and the silence was bothersome. "How'd... He get fixed up? Hey, mister, you still there?" His knuckles tapped against the robot. No response.

Mirage was disgruntled by this. He wasn't sure how it happened, but couldn't take any blame. Carl still had power, and suddenly he was fixed. So where the voice went, he had no idea. "Must've been some program-related defect." He figured, voicing it out loud. It was a shame, he thought he'd managed to make it so Carl would be okay. But maybe things were better this way. At least they wouldn't have to leave him alone here, right? If he knew more about robots, he'd possibly try and figure out a solution, but that was out of his league. They'd have to move on.

He followed after Peach, into the Command Center. Quietly he progressed through the dark location, observing the area that seemed to be lived in somewhat, strangely enough. But since the door was locked, this perhaps felt like more of a prison cell than a home. The diving suits seemed ruined, so they wouldn't do much good. But that submarine was the ticket they came for, so that was one positive in this mess. Looking around more at the simple living space, He wondered who the inhabitant was, which didn't take long to answer as they came across a rather disfigured, nasty looking man.

The pathetic reasoning for him not wanting them to leave was surprisingly relatable for Mirage. He liked to make people laugh, but being the butt of a joke could be irritating, too. "Ah, jeez, at least if you let us go you wouldn't be like the last guy. Literally lost to party streamers and a pair of scissors." You couldn't get much more pathetic than that, right? Mirage didn't think so, but none of their words seemed to truly edge his opinion in a different direction. However, his sickly form eventually found its way into the water, leaving nothing but his odd vomit behind, which Mirage personally wanted nothing to do with.

"The optimist in me wants to say he's gone," Mirage commented on the events, glancing about. They could get the sub going, and get down into the depths below. But this was a pretty ominous situation to walk into. He seemed to buy that they were just kids though, which was a pretty good advantage in some ways, though his mind bounced back to Sakura and Cadet talking about all their powers and gear. Which he pushed away, as for the moment they were stuck in more of a thinking situation than a brute-forced one. "I feel like he's probably going to try and start some trouble for us. He probably won't expect a bunch of 'kids' in a submarine, though, so let's load up and get this job done before he has a chance to come back." Oh boy, the sub. Mirage figured he'd get to work on trying to get it lowered.

He just hoped some idiot didn't nail down the controls in this place too, or worse.

Marching forward, he took note of the Pilot Seat. A quick scan of the wiring and strange appearance of the seat made Mirage realize this wasn't just some chair. He became distracted and started looking it over, noting it seemed to be some sort of work station for controlling... Something, or other. "Hey! This looks like some sort of remote working station. If I use this, I might be able to get control of something useful. At the very least, maybe I can use it to drop the sub."

He didn't see any guides, just a few letters around, initials 'U.H' mostly. So, he'd have to apply the scientific method again. With the hope it wouldn't end up frying his brain, he hopped into the seat and tried to figure out how to hook himself in. At least long enough to see what they were working with here...
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Gentlemanvaultboy
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Gentlemanvaultboy

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Linkle


Merge Rate: 31%


Word Count: 3905


Level 9 - (37/90) + 4


Location: The Cold Monastery


Featuring @Lugubrious





“You’re right, some of these are pretty creepy.” Linkle whispered, her eyes lingering on the three skulls arranged along the top of the latest altar. Skulls or no, though, this was the first one to even come close to what they were looking for in that it prominently featured symbols. Unfortunately the symbols weren't the ones they were after. Nevertheless, something in the spooky thing had piqued Albedo’s interest. He paid far more attention to it than any of the others they had passed, so when he turned around and gave her the lead to keep looking around she held for a moment. “What’s on your mind?” She asked quietly, looking over his shoulder at the shrine. “Something about that one caught your eye. What was it?”

The alchemist looked contemplative. “There were inscriptions on the skulls, but I could not identify the language. The strange assortment of objects and figures, and intricacy of their design and layout...I suppose you could say I was interested. Even though it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with our objective. That’s all, really.” He glanced at another time, perhaps wondering what worship at the little shrine looked like, or what deity might hear the prayers made there.

They made their way to the other side of the tower, the careful eyes of the two guards following after them as they crossed the room.

The first thing they came across was a series of shrines set into the wall, each receptacle intricately carved from wood and stone. Each one contained an item, maybe an offering or some kind of icon representing the god it honored. They followed the receptacles, passing a short chain, a mirror, a still green and blooming rose, a hammer, a gear, a pinwheel, a model of a tower, the fearsome head of a bull, a branch from a tree, and a bust of a horse. As they passed, like most of the shrines they had already passed, Linkle nodded her head and offered a short prayer to each of them. It was just a simple thing, an acknowledgement and a show of respect. She didn’t even know their names so it was the most she could do, but it couldn't hurt.

At the end of the trail of shrines was another set into the corner of the room. A wooden table sat there, a red book sat on its center flanked by a pair of candles. Above the table was a depiction of a graceful winged woman. Despite its surroundings and how obviously cared for this table was Linkle couldn't actually be sure it was a shrine. Someone had brought a chair from somewhere and had placed it in front of the table, and on one of the wings they had placed a collection of bottles, rolls of bandage, and a collection of herbs beside one of the candles. Was this just somebody's desk?

Linkle stepped forward, then gasped and beconded Albedo roward. “Look, look! That’s a weird language.” She urgenty whispered.

He came up and, seeing the odd symbols written on the cover, pulled out his own notebook to compare the two. After a few moments he shook his head at her. “I don’t think this is the language we’re looking for.”

“Let’s make sure,” She said, gently opening up the book to a random page as the two of them leaned over it. They spent a few minutes comparing the language of the tattoos to the one in the book, and while they found a few symbols that looked kind of similar if you squinted and tilted your head a bit Linkle eventually had to admit she had led them to a dead end.

“Nice hardware,” came a quiet voice from down at her side. Linkle tore herself away from the book and looked down to find a man crouched at thigh height, hand cupping his chin as he examined the crossbow holstered there. As she watched him his eyes ficked up to meet hers, and Linkle let out a short yelp and tried to step away. She accidentally knocked into Albedo as she did, shoving the boy so roughly he had to catch himself on the table.

“Ah, Albedo. I’m sorry. Are you okay?” She said, helping him back up as the man rose to his full height. He was actually pretty handsome, with a shock of heroic green hair and a white coat over a burgundy undersuit not that dissimilar from hers. An alabaster white crossbow was strapped to his leg under the fold of his skirt.

“Whoa. No need to jump out of your skin.” He said. “Hey, what’s that look for?” He asked. Linkle regarded the guy testily. It wasn’t that he had gotten that close that made her uncomfortable, it was that even with the Cold Monastery being as quiet as a church mouse, she hadn’t heard him approach or sensed his presence at all. “Come on. What, are you the only one that can check out somebody's stuff without their permission?”

Linkle looked between the book and the man, putting to and to together, and stepped away from the table. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know if it was a shrine or a bench or what. The book was just sitting there, so I thought...”

“Don’t worry about it.” The man said, waving her off. “If curiosity was a sin in the eyes of Aidios, I’d know.” He extended a hand to the two of them, shaking each in turn as he introduced himself. “Father Kevin Graham, at your service.”

“You’re a priest?” Linkle asked in surprise, turning to look towards the pair that had greeted them. Those two matched her idea of holy people much more than the man standing casually before her, wearing an expression that all but screamed “Yeah, I get that a lot.” She found them looking at her too, or at least in her direction. Whether those stinkeyes were for the yelp she’d let out or at Father Graham for instigating it she couldn't tell. Father Graham didn’t seem too worried about it, waving at the pair before leaning forward to Linkle and Albedo.

“Not all of us have a stick up our ass.” he said, extra quiet. “Some of us try to shepherd the flock with smiles on our faces.” He leaned back up, throwing a thumbs up at the guards as he did. Seemingly mollified, the pair went back to what they were doing. Kevin wiped his brow in relief. “On that note, what can we humble priests help you with?” He leaned over and looked over the notebook, still open on the table. He raised an eyebrow. “You don’t seem like pilgrims.”

“We’re not.” Linkle said. The priest was odd but he didn’t feel dangerous. “I’m Linkle. This is Albedo. We came looking for information on a man we’re trying to defeat.”

“Huh.” Kevin said, flipping his book closed. “And here I was betting on naturalist and his charming bodyguard.” His gaze flicked to the gun on Linkle’s shoulder. “Hitmen was my next guess though.”

“Hitmen?” Linkle said, taken aback. “No, no, it’s not like that at all. Let us explain.” So Linkle and Albedo, at least as much as they knew the priest might believe. About the Stranger, how he had tried to kill her, his seeming invincibility, the markings on his body, and they’re theory on how he had gotten his powers. As they did, Father Graham’s expression became more and more serious and he went back to the notebook to examine the sketches in more detail. As they finished he frowned and handed the alchemist his book back.

“Sorry. It’s not anything from my neck of the woods.” he said, shaking his head sympathetically. “Where is this guy now? He’s not going to kick in the door looking for you, right?”

“I left him buried under an iceberg when nothing else worked.” Linkle replied, looking proud.

“Whew.” he said. “Good thing too. I can’t think of too many ways to protect you from a man who can’t die.” He thought for a moment, then started walking away while waving the other two to follow him.

“You wouldn't have to fight him.” Linkle said as she hurried along behind him. “I sure if he showed up I could kick him off one of these cliffs this time.”

“On the contrary. Anyone who disturbs the tranquility of the monastery answers to us. There’s a reason monks learn how to fight.” He replied confidently, looking down at her and smiling. “Besides, you remind me too much of a friend of mine for me to not get involved. It’s why I believe your crazy story. Girls like you couldn’t lie to save their lives.”

“You’ve known me for, like, a minute.” Linkle said.

“I’m an excellent judge of character.” He said as they reached the door. He laid a hand on it. “Did they give you the whole ‘you can only go in the first three towers’ spiel?”

Linkle nodded.

“You’re in luck, then. I think I’ve seen something like those symbols in tower two, where some of our gods live..”

“There are gods there?” Linkle asked, unable to contain her surprise.

“Technically.” Father Graham said. “You’ll understand once you see them.” With that he pushed the door open, causing a blast of cold wind to race into the room. It made him shiver, but he pointed across the open space to another tower. Linkle thanked him as she set out through the door and the buildup of snow.




On their way to the second tower there wasn’t much in the way of scenery, except for strings of multicolored prayer flags flying between the buildings. Along the way they got a look at the entrance to Tower Three, and Linkle spotted an odd orange lump laying on the steps beside the door. She stopped as the lump poked its head up, revealing itself to be a scarred fox with a cute pink bib wrapped around its neck. As she looked on, the fox lifted its nose to the air and took a few interested sniffs before lowering its head and staring right at her.

Linkle’s attention was torn away from the animal as Albedo called to her from up ahead, and she realized that she had stopped in the middle of the frigid yard. She hurried on to catch up with him at the door, and together they opened up and stepped inside the second tower.

The difference in atmosphere was apparent the moment they stepped inside. While it had the same decoration as the first tower, Linkle had become acutely aware by this point of the sensation of warmth on her skin. This tower was warmer than the first one, and the scent of incense wafted through.

The other main difference is that no one was there to greet them at the door. No one human, anyway. Instead what stood before them were statues. The room was positively packed with statues. Small statues, big statues, broken statues and brilliant ones. Every one meticulously cared for, no matter its state, with a collection of offerings laid out in front of each. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what they were supposed to be, and as Linkle stared in awe at the giant fin-headed statue that loomed over the entrance she whispered, “There are gods here.” She cupped her hands around her mouth and tried to whistler yell “Hello” to the fish man but his stony visage offered no response. Unperturbed, Linkle started walking down the line and trying to coax some life out of the statues with short prayers.

She got an impression from two of the initial batch that she encountered. When she approached the broken one a sudden question flashed into her mind, like a ray of sunlight breaking through an overcast sky, asking her to join...something. It wasn’t clear, but it didn’t feel like it was bad. It felt warm and helpful, and she was desperately tempted, but after a few moments she backed away. The statue, or whatever manner of being inhabited it, took this as a no and the warm impression vanished from her mind. She didn’t think it was a good idea to go pledging herself to more otherworldly beings.

The other statue was the one living the hourglass above its head. This one more wanted something from her. It felt less like a religious experience and more like a business transaction. Linkle flashed back to the Malo Mart. “Buy something already.” Yeah, that was what this felt like. A shopkeeper eyeing somebody who was obviously just there to browse. She broke away from that one too.

“There’s something in these two.” She informed Albedo, looking between the statues. As she did she noticed something else. While the normal statues just had incense and simple food offerings, the offerings for those two were more specific and at the same time more eclectic. The broken one had no food, but a collection of coins of all sorts of denominations. All gold, from the familiar mushroom kingdom one to a strange one with a bug printed on it. The other’s theme seemed to be simply “red.” A red stole, a wilted red flower, a red marble, a fresh apple, but mostly muddy dark red crystals, small and with organic shapes like amber., or scar tissue.

For his part, Albedo had been intrigued by the sensations that interacting with certain statues prompted. It didn’t seem that far-fetched to imagine that these icons held their own little sparks of power, not necessarily facilitators of direct communion with deities, but interfaces through which one might invoke their power nonetheless. “Fascinating,” he breathed. “This place is nothing short of a wonderland. One could very well spend a lifetime of experimentation and research here. It’s certainly a tempting prospect, but…” Albedo considered the attentive priests, prepared to defend this holy place if need be, and even the capable-looking monks he saw attended their rituals. “I don’t suppose they would take kindly to prying.”

The mysteries of this place could wait until the visitors solved the mystery of the Stranger. Though fewer worshippers and guards could be found throughout the second tower, Linkle and Albedo couldn’t say they felt isolated while surrounded by various statues with unknown powers. Unflinching and unfamiliar gazes plus strange interactions with them hurried the pair as they searched. Albedo progressed through the okace warily lest he awaken some kind of latent curse, but wherever symbols appeared he put them under careful scrutiny.

Eventually the pair found an object that stood out from everything else along one wall. It appeared to be a wooden cabinet, but the intricately carved logs on either side featured miniature warriors at the top, and between them lay an expanse of gold handiwork that looped and spiralled with elegance. When they swung open the cabinet doors, Albedo and Linkle were faced with a large triptych, each of its three panels painted, adorned, and carved to tell a story through image.



Though the identity and meaning of the characters, creatures, and places the triptych depicted could not be easily discerned, the work of art made one detail manifest: each section bore a caption of runes scratched into the wood by knife-point. “Aha.” By now Albedo had checked the sketched tattoos often enough to get a very good feeling just by looking at these new inscriptions, and sure enough, when he flipped open his sketchbook for comparison some of the runes on both the triptych and the skin of the Stranger were a match. “Well, there we go,” he breathed, something akin to excitement stirring in his heart. “The first step on the road to understanding.”

It took Linkle a little bit observing the scenes laid out before her before you started to get an idea of what was going on. It wasn't until she took a step back and noticed that the entire circle in the middle picture was the snake from the first and third that the picture slid into focus. “So we’ve got the lady feeding the snake, gross, and then the snake becomes the world? And then, here…” She grimaced as she noticed the two big puncture wounds in the warrior, and the simple dead bodies floating under the snake. “It killed everybody.”

“Sooooo, if she created the world by feeding the snake then maybe she’s the god we’re looking for?” Linkle said excitedly. “Albedo, do you think you could sketch her?” They may not have had a name yet, but if this was right they had a legend. A whole creation and destruction story to work with.

Her friend nodded and got to work. He seated himself before the shrine and began replicating the triptych’s depictions in miniature. “I will also copy down the runes, on the chance that we meet someone who can read them,” he said as he worked. “I doubt that translating the characters in the man’s tattoos would spell out a weakness of some kind, but recognizing the language would be a quick way to tell if anyone we meet might know.”

While he wholly busied himself with the contents of the triptych, Linkle wasn’t left with much to do, and the myriad contents of the monastery tower made it easy for her eyes to wander. There was a lot for her curiosity to discover and wonder about, but as she roved around she began to become aware of an ever-so-slight pull to a specific section of tower. It was as if something was guiding her, gently enough to be mistaken for her own instinct or intuition, without any kind of real force behind it. Should she decide to follow the soft impulse, she would soon pass a magnificent floating clock to come upon a basin with a cluster of stone pedestals in the middle, of various heights, on which a few figures rested. She spotted a twin-crickets carving, an armor or golem, and a gleaming artifact, but Linkle’s focus lay on one in particular: the modest, undecorated stone statuette of a praying goddess. Though it didn’t move, it somehow reached out to her in other ways, as if desiring a connection.

Linkle stepped closer to the pedestal holding the goddess. “Is this you?” She asked, tapping at her chest. None of the other Gods in this place had reached out like this, unprompted. For a single paranoid instant she wondered if this was a cruel Skull Heart trick, some new subtle joke whose punchline was primed to spring out of the darkness at the last moment. But, no. The figure was very simple, stylized to the point where it could be universal and yet it felt undeniably familiar.

Slowly the girl stooped down in front of the statue, falling to her knees. She bowed her head, clasped her hands in front of her, closed her eyes, and started to pray. Not a short one, not just the show of respect she had shown the other gods. She said her prayers as she had when she was a child, fervently sending her thoughts and wishes to the goddesses above.

A moment passed in serenity. Like smoke from a campfire, or a child’s precious balloon, her sincere words spiraled upward, through the heights of the tower and to the heavens. Surely this hallowed place had channeled countless such benedictions, but hers was no lesser for it. And just as with her predecessors, she held still, listening despite the odds for any trace of reply. Seconds passed, but Linkle heard nothing--neither from without, nor within. In that quiet she could feel at peace, and even a sort of lightness inside her. In that moment the nebulous weight that sat in the lowest point of her soul didn’t seem quite so heavy. It was a nice feeling.

But with that relief came a worrisome realization: that even though she’d been a Skullgirl for less than a day, she’d already started getting used to the hollowness, and begun to forget what it felt like to be well. To be normal. The whispers had been nibbling at the back of her mind so steadily that she’d stopped realizing they were there until they were gone.

She raised her head as felt the weight settle back onto her, a gasp escaping from her lips. Had things really gotten that bad so quickly? Placed next to each other the difference between how she’d felt just a few days ago and how she felt now was as stark as night and day. She gazed up at the statue, and despite everything managed a grateful smile. She had a pretty good idea of who this might be now. “Thank you.” She whispered. Whether it was an attempt to banish the heart, a warning, or just a hand of comfort she thanked her all the same.

She stood up, patting her pouches until she found the spikey round berries she had gotten from the wolf spirits. She took one out and placed it on the pedestal in front of the goddess. Not a profound offering, but it was what she had. She clasped her hands again and gave a short bow. “I won’t let you down.” With that, she walked away from the circle of pedestals.

A few seconds later she came back and clasped her hands again. “And I’m sorry we named a cucco after you. That’s just Grandma’s sense of humor, she didn’t mean anything bad by it and it was a really good girl. Yosh, off to save Hyrule now!” Nodding one last time to the goddess she turned on her heel and made her way back through the sculpture filled room.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

Member Seen 14 hrs ago


The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,430 (+3)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (117/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (43/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (41/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika


Kamek gave a sigh of relief when the troop made it to the end of the aerial obstacle course after their brus with the collapsing platform, and then shook his head saying ”ah, one of those days those two will be the death of me” to himself, but the smile on his beak chased away any gloom or doom in the statement. A reckless pair they might be, but they were also survivors. The mage assured himself they would be ok, and then also reassured an equally worried Tyrant of the same.

”Don't you worry, little one. You’ll get used to their antics sooner or later. The young master was climbing up the walls and along banisters since he could crawl after all. You have to trust them to take care of themselves eventually.” Wanton disregard for the dangers posed by gravity was an incredibly stressful habit of the young prince and, as he had said, at a certain point he’d had to just leave Jr to it and trust he knew his super-koopan limits better than the plebeian mage ever could.

While the rest of the troop busied themselves upstairs, mainly with recovering from self inflicted bruises, the mage had been expecting to just take things easy down by the water side (unless some monster came along that is, so it was safe to say the mage wasn’t spending his wait right next to the water, not by a long shot) but it turned out there was something he could do to be helpful. Somewhat. Namly answering the person who had been Frog’s question regarding his once and future curse.

”While you might say that I am familiar with curses, its more with the casting than the curing. Also I have to say this is a… rather amusingly poor time to ask about this considering you are not presently a frog and my magics are rather lacking at the moment. Nevertheless I can give you what I have in my noggin and we can think about what we can do if- no when- we are back to our old, older selves” The mage replied at length when asked if he thought he could help, before shutting up and listening to the brief tale of the former Frog’s quest against the the Fiendlord Magus and how he had been turned into a frog by said fiend.

”Ah, frog polymorph. Something of a classic that, though not really my style. Regardless, without my sorcerous power, or any lab equipment, I can't exactly offer any specific solutions to your plight right now… well, other than getting issued by a princess, I think that's the equally classic solution to the curse. Other than that, finding some magical spirit, fairy or purifying hotspring of some kind known for breaking curses is one possibility, though if any exist at all in Galeem’s new world I do not know. Then, of course, there is the bluntest solution. Find your curser and force them to undo it. Or kill them if they don't. Not exactly easy either seeing as, I assume, you have no idea where they are.” Kamek shrugged, knowing that none of this was very... Specific. But he did have one last suggestion.

”Really, when it comes down to it, your best bet isn't me (though don't worry, I will see what I can do once we are free) but the mercenaries in Alchamoth. They have a whole host of knowledge and experience from dozens of worlds between them and even if they can't solve your predicament themselves, they might just be able to track something down for you. Some magical cure all or defrogifying spell. Galeem has toyed with all realities, something along those lines must have slipped in unless we are very unlucky.” he concluded, waving his hand around in a circular etc. motion when talking about the possible solutions that might exist in Galeem’s mixed up world, just waiting to be found. Those, he thought, were the boy/man/frog’s best bet.




Up top, the rest of the troop slowly pulled themselves out of the pile they’d fallen in after their failed attempt to force the ocean pressure proof door that was sealing them out of the control room. Much grumbling was had but, fortunately, no one was seriously hurt by the attempt. Nor where the troop hurt when the door into the maintenance room sealed shut right after they stepped inside. Sealing the Koopas in at any rate. Rika had had other concerns, namely shuffling over to Sakura and asking both her and the unresponsive helper bot “Are you OK? What happened?” regarding the depersonifying effect her friend heart had of the robot. Part of her sensed that her friend might need some comforting after the unexpected effect her kindness had and so she was there to provide if need be.

Inside the machine room the Koopas got to work trying to help find a way out, which resulted in very little help actually being provided. Bowser reacted to seeing the freaky fish person hybrid thing's picture by burning it, and then claiming the hammer head (and promptly ditching the magnet half for someone else to use once he got a few practice swings with it, using the fork on the back as a pair of handles and wielding it a bit like how a wrestler would wield a folding chair) while Jr had a nose around the printing machine to see if it was usable and if there where any templates around to be used in it.

Without their help, the room was reopened and power routed to the command center. The troop regrouped and left the machine room behind for the moment to seek out the foretold submersible bay. Said bay’s singular nature turned out to be disappointingly literal. There was one bay, which contained one very small submarine. Also a bunch of wet suits too big for them would fit in and, considering the suspicious goop content, even if theory could use them it would probably have been a very, very bad idea.

The limited submersible supply presented a question of who’d be daring the deep in it, but before it could be answered the group encountered a rather sad and useless looking/sounding old man who, after floundering on whether he should try and stop them or not, tripped and fell into the water. It was only after that that Rika asked herself why she hadn’t just shot him

”So. I don't know if that was kinda a funny way for him to go or just as sad and pathetic as he was?” Jr said after a moment's silence, which was followed by Mirage speculating that they hadn't seen the last of the sick looking codger.

”Yeah... Knowing this place, odds are he only looked sick because he was in the middle of turning into some freaky sea monster or something” Bowser suggested. Still, he was gone for now, so they were free to snoop around his room without consequence. Rika and Bowser took it upon themselves to take a look down into/guard the water the old man had fallen into, just incase they could see what had become of him/he came back and also to see if theory could see what lay ahead of the sub’s journey, while Jr looked for some saner way into the sub than what Mirage was doing with the freaky looking chair.

”You sure you want to be doing... whatever it is you're doing with that? For all you know it’s some kind of mind control chair or something.” he asked, as he looked for any kind of door on the cage, or a way to break/drop the sub down into the water, or even climb up into it first. With any luck all this would be far more forcible than the metal door that had kept them out of the room in the first place. ”Like maybe we can use your scissors to just cut through the fence or something?”

“Or I can just shoot it?” Rika offered from where she was peering down into the old man’s drowning spot, after which Bowser, who was wandering off to look through the old man’s personal belongings also offered to ”give it a good hammer whack. Or burn it all down!”

”Maybe. Hey, you know, maybe we can rip up some of the posts to use as a handle for your hammer? Or melt it down in that printing thing...” before shaking his head and resuming his investigation of the cage ”No, focus. We can do other stuff after the sub’s down.”
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN
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MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

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Geralt of Rivia

The Maw- The Depths

Lvl 7 (65/70) -> Lvl 7 (67/70)

Word Count: 1,112 words


Geralt came to a stop at the top of the ladder for a moment, catching his breath. This whole 'child body, extreme hunger, lots of physical exertion' thing was getting pretty tiring, literally speaking. As the others filed past, Geralt forced himself upright and squeezed past the half-open door, only to be faced with a hallway, two doors, and...a thing. It was certainly a thing. A...rectangular box-shaped head with what appeared to be one mechanical eye, a strange arm-like device ending in two opposed 'fingers', and...lots of fluid underneath it. Was that what passed for blood for this type of creature? Or did it serve some other purpose?

What was stranger, however, was the obviously organic structure to which the mechanical creature was connected. As little as he knew about this type of machine, he knew that that was not normal. No, that was most certainly not normal, and Geralt found himself a bit off-out by the whole thing.

And then he started paying attention to what it was saying, and Geralt's hair was standing on end. It kept insisting it was human, calling itself Carl and even insulting Nadia for having the gall to ask the clearly nonliving thing if it was supposed to be a person. He scowled at that, but didn't comment, not wanting to get involved with something he simply didn't understand. Turning away and looking around, he went towards the open door and tried to see what he could figure out.

Turns out, not much. Hardly surprising, but being surrounded by this much technology he had no clue how to work was bothersome. Still, he tried to put how some of these things were laid out to memory, hoping that one day he might be able to understand it all.

When he heard the banging of the Koopa Troop trying to force down the door, he sighed and turned back to them, only to notice 'Carl' was now fully intact and...not speaking. Furrowing his brow, Geralt quickly walked out, noticing that the machine wasn't moving at all. He'd vaguely heard Sakura speaking, which lead him to surmise that she'd given the thing a Friend Heart, and it had...returned it to normal? Was normal not talking and insisting it was a human?

Geralt shook his head, way out of his depth on this. "What...no. No, I...really don't think I want to know." Geralt decided. As much time as he spent philosophizing, he wasn't in the mood to try and jam this entire new category of potentially-living creatures into his understanding of sentience and life. Still, the part of him that felt for those monsters who could be reasoned with was quite displeased that whatever Carl was, it was gone now. He'd spared enough monsters to know that just because one was difficult to talk to, didn't make it really an enemy or something that needed killing.

Sparing a weary sigh for the potentially-living creature that Sakura may have just accidentally killed, he walked back towards the Workshop door, only for it to slam shut just feet away from him. "Of course." He bluntly stated. At least he wasn't in the middle of the door as it closed. He quite liked having his limbs attached. That avenue blocked off to him, he quickly shuffled back and helped reconnect some of the cables that Peach was working on, not exactly understanding what the significance of the individual cables was, but understanding that this would help things around here work...probably.

When the lights started coming on and the door to the Command Center opened, Geralt figured that either they'd done something right, or Mirage and the others had. Either way, their path was now clear, and Geralt moved onwards with the rest of the crew.

The Command Center was a large, square-shaped room with some kind of metallic sphere hanging from the ceiling protected from the little intruders by a metal fence. There were also some kind of full-body clothing along the wall, and an extremely disconcerting chair in the middle of them.

As the group snuck around, Geralt got a good look at the mutated human waiting in the alcove, seemingly talking to himself about a "Missus Lady." He had to assume that meant the woman who had sicced those strange monsters on them before they passed out. Well, if he was working for her, he had a rough day ahead of him. Geralt felt for the man, as another mutated human (though much less...grotesquely) himself, but now wasn't the time for sympathy. Peach and Nadia accosted the man, who begged them not to leave lest he fail his 'Lady' before vomitting and stumbling into the pool and vanishing from sight.

"There's no way it's that easy." Was all Geralt could say. Call him a downer or a cynic, but this guy wouldn't be put in charge of a whole area of this place if he couldn't back it up. If anything, the nature of his mutations made it all the more likely that he'd do better in the water than they would. "He had webbed fingers and toes. Whatever we do, we had best be careful around that water." He wasn't sure how it felt that he was on the exact same wavelength as Bowser, but the guy seemed to have some sort of experience with almost everything under the sun (and other things under the ocean), so he just rolled with it.

His piece said, Geralt immediately noticed Mirage strapping himself into the terrifying chair of doom, and sighed. "Really, Mirage? Just going right for it, huh?" Shaking his head, he just motioned for the man to continue.

When Junior mentioned using his scissors, Geralt grimaced. While the pair he'd gotten were of much higher quality than he'd expect from something on the Continent, he'd seen a few pairs of scissors before, and recognized the tools as a decent improvised stabbing instrument. Sadly, they were gone, and the Witcher mentioned as much to the troop. "Stuck em in that thing's eye to keep it off our backs while we turned tail and ran." He reported with no shame. Sometimes running was smart. "Cadet stabbed it with some kind of pole, too. Not sure if it died or not. Just glad it didn't follow." He wasn't sure it could, but the sentiment was still there.

Unfortunately, he had no ideas for bringing the submarine down for them to use, but he did point to Mirage. "If that thing doesn't kill him, it might serve as a sort of control device?"

That was the hope at least. A not dead Mirage and a submarine ready for their use.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Makes the big edits

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Experience: 2 ( 9/20 EXP)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon
Word Count: 2337


As Laharl picked his way through alleys, sequestering himself away from the unfairness of it all, the noise of his aimless trash-kicking eventually found itself rivaled by a contender. Not far away the little demon could hear another sound--a shuffling and shifting among discarded items. Laharl made a beeline for the source of the disturbance, picturing some pest or ne'er-do-well that he might be able to vent some frustrations on, but after passing an electrical unit and a few dumpsters he came upon something unexpected.

A white dog with brown spots the color of cheese was sniffing around in the rubbish. With a collar on but no owner in sight it seemed more like a lost dog than a stray, and when it saw Laharl it began to wag his tail and walked right up to him. It looked dirty and hungry, which lent a little extra piteousness to its cause as it begged him for treats.

Laharl wasn't inclined to give the lost dog anything, as he had no food to give the poor animal and likely wouldn't if he even did. However something made him hesitant to just let the dog starve, he felt something sorry for it.

'Huh, why do I feel such things!?' Laharl suddenly became nauseous at the mere thought of taking pity on the animal, deep down though he wanted to help the poor dog. 'Gah, damnable dog now I must help you so I can stop feeling this disgusting emotion!' with a sigh of defeat he knelt down and let the dog sniff his hand.

"Hey boy, I'll give you some food." Laharl told the dog with some effort not to look pained while saying it "Look I'll get you some damn food." he pat the gold pouch at his side.

The mention of a familiar word made the dog's tail wag even harder. The nametag on his collar even started jingling. Now Laharl had gone and done it--the lost pet expected to be fed. That meant leaving the alley to find a nearby store and purchase a few morsels for the newfound animal. Luckily Laharl wouldn't even have to drag it; even without a leash the creature suddenly seemed quite intent on following his new friend wherever he might go.

"Ugh, hey sit still a second." not sounding very enthusiastic Laharl took a second to check the dog's name tag before leaving the alleyway.

Though the pet was a little fidgety, the demon could read his collar easily enough. Cheese Legs. The name sounded familiar; indeed, if Laharl had been paying attention at the train station earlier while the odd group went over the available jobs and bounties, he might remember a certain commission that promised a reward for the safe return of a dog by that name.

Once out of the dingy alley, the chorus of different sights, sounds, and smells confronted Laharl once again. He was spoiled for choice, since practically everywhere he looked he could see some establishment or another selling things, and even though lunchtime had passed the food stands and carts had yet to close up shop. The closest one appeared to be a multi-floor pizza joint called Pizza Install, and the aroma of sizzling hot slices of cheese and meat reached Laharl through the windows.

"What kind of moron names a dog Cheese Legs?" Laharl muttered under his breath as he and Cheese Legs stepped out from the alleyway, however upon his senses being greeted by the aroma coming from the nearest shop he forgot his questions.

Laharl's stomach instinctively growled now remembering that he hadn't eaten since he was freed by the others in Parnasse. If there was anything that the demon was known for it was his "evil" laugh and his insatiable hunger for food, especially curry.

"Alright 'Cheese Legs' let's go there, it smells good right boy?" without thinking he scratched the dog behind the ear affectionately, it took a moment to realize what he had done but for some reason he didn't feel pain.

'Huh, shouldn't I be puking right now?' he felt a tiny bit nauseous but oddly the act of petting the dog didn't seem to cripple him in any way, shrugging it off he and Cheese Legs made their way to the establishment.

Even more enticed by the delicious smell than Laharl, the dog trotted alongside him happily as he headed for Pizza Install. The demon opened the door to be greeted by a pill-shaped waiter in a blue jacket. "Welcome to Pizza Install, sir" he told Laharl. "Are you here to sit down or take out?" His eyes landed on the dog behind him. "No pets allowed inside, I'm afraid."

Laharl gritted his teeth looking between the waiter and Cheese Legs, then with a gruff sigh he said "Well actually mister pill-man, he is my service dog," he lied, the boy once heard that some human used animals as assistants but never understood why.

"I'll just have take out, since..." he waved to Cheese Legs who looked rather dirty "And uh, we'll take your finest meats and largest take out pizza. Whatever a hundred gold can buy." Laharl produced a pouch of coins from his side and tossed it to the waiter.

The rudeness on display instantly turned the waiter against Laharl, but its speedy juxtaposition to overwhelming overpayment left him confused. He could only conclude that the impetuous child before him hailed from out of town, suddenly come into a heap of gold that made him feel awfully self-important. A hundred gold was way too much for a single pizza, but if this kid wanted the finest money could buy, the waiter wasn't about to stop him, and he wasn't going to grumble about the dog, either. "...An extra-large Royal Meat Lover's it is, then," he concluded, his tone purposefully temperate. He removed fifty gold pieces from the sack and handed it back to Laharl. "Please give us ten minutes to prepare your pizza fresh from the oven. If you'll just wait outside...?" he asked with a rather resigned look, not expecting much in the way of discretion.

"Sure, come on Cheese Legs let's go," he called to the dog as he stepped outside the shop, the demon prince was glad the waiter hadn't immediately thrown him and his new companion away "We gotta wait a bit, so sit." Laharl took a seat by the door of the shop, beckoning the dog to sit with him.

Cheese Legs followed Laharl over, although either he didn't register the command or he didn't feel like listening, since he simply stood by where the demon sat. Regardless he kept close by, and since all in all the dog had been unusually cooperative thus far, there were no problems. With food on the way the two could afford to just relax and take it easy, soaking in the desert sun's rays as they watched people go by.

One thing was for sure about this place: it harbored quite the cast of colorful characters, all going about their business despite their differences as if nothing at all was wrong. As Laharl chilled he bore witness to a girl with a shark-tooth chainsaw, a purple bird, an old raptor herder, an enormous wrestler , a beast rider, a silver-furred cyborg, a purple-haired samurai, and Earl, to name just a few. With so much to catch his eye no time seemed to pass at all before there was a rap on the glass. The waiter was calling Laharl in to pick up his food.

"Foods ready Cheese Legs," Laharl told the dog, who seemed to understand him most of time "Let's go." Shortly after entering the store he wondered exactly how long he had been separated from the others, maybe they were looking for him? 'Of course not, jerks.' Laharl made his way over to the counter and shook his head slightly 'Never mind those weirdos, I'm starving.' he thought dismissively.

Dutifully the waiter delivered the pizza, and what a pizza it was. Easily two feet in diameter, it demanded not just any pizza box, but a specially made Royal Meat Lovers cardboard case with purple and white accents. Steam gushed from the slits in the side, and the pie's vivacious heat could be felt even through its container. Should Laharl dare to open it, he would be assaulted by an olfactory overload of sublime, carnivorous goodness as he beheld the smorgasbord of offerings piled on the supple, chewy crust and adorned with golden cheese. Truly it was a feast fit for a king. Or an Overlord.

If it smelled good to Laharl, it appealed to the keener nose of his canine companion even more once he got outside. That said, to let Cheese Legs chow down right now would be a cruel choice, as the heat would cause some real pain to the dog's sensitive stomach and force him to throw up. The mild-mannered pooch sat in front of Laharl, his tail swishing back and forth across the ground, his expression as pleading as could possibly be.

Looking around the demon tried his best to find a decently shaded area for Cheese Legs and himself to eat in peace away from the sun beating down on them. Laharl frowning concernedly as his red eyes shifted it's gaze from place to place.

Luckily, the street had a lot to offer for someone looking for a reprieve in public. Some stores, for instance, featured benches below their awnings or overhangs with no expectation of purchase beforehand. Other structures cast plentiful shade from their arches, or overshadowed an entire cross-section of road with a high tower. In a desert the shade could be only so much cooler than the sun, but anything was an improvement, and with no humidity the heat wouldn't cling to Laharl's skin once he found shelter.

If Laharl wanted true privacy, however, he and Cheese Legs would need to hoof it a little farther south. Moving where people weren't pointed him in the direction of a desolate church, closed to the public with shuttered windows and barred doors, but to an enterprising demon and an attentive hound it would be no trouble.

"Come on Cheese Legs." Besides being hungry Laharl was interested in the abandoned church isolated from the bustling streets of Al Mamoon, why was it all boarded up? It was too mysterious for the demon to ignore, Laharl was eager to see what could possibly be hiding in the quiet of the church.

As he made his way towards the church Laharl walked at a suitable pace as having the poor dog run after him in the hot sun would cause the pooch some distress most likely, and so they made for the church. There, in the cool and lonely stillness, the pair could enjoy a meal in contemplative solitude. Though small Laharl was no one to scoff at in terms of strength thus he made quick work of the barred entryway, letting the door swing open with the rush of cool air from within. Laharl put a hand up to tell the dog to wait as he listened for any movement in the dusty old church. Once a moment passed with no sign of threats within the boy walked in the empty church, still tentatively searching the dark corners of the room for anything.

Laharl relaxed, finally deciding to sit in a pew "Alright boy let's eat!" the demon patted beside him on the wooden pew, setting a big slice of the mouth-watering pizza next to him. And the two unlikely companions shared a feast fit for royalty together, the demon was almost sad he couldn't keep the dog as Laharl had admittedly begun to enjoy the company. Still he felt like the name 'Cheese Legs' rang a bell, if anything Laharl would need to check-in at the commissions office.

* * *


After their sumptuous meal the two had an uneventful trek further into the city and back to the commissions office, however Laharl slowed down as the office came into view. His gaze shifted to the little beagle following him, wagging his tail happily 'Why,' he sighed looking from the dog to the commissions office 'Why do I feel...Attached to this damn dog?!' it wasn't like Cheese Legs was a person, he was a dog and nothing more yet for some reason the usually overcompensating demon felt as though the creature was something more than a pet. Cheese Legs was the closest thing Laharl had to a friend.

In the end he shoved those feelings deep down and locked them away then Laharl took a deep breath and entered the commissions office with the beagle in tow, the boy walked straight up to the secretary and cleared his throat loudly. The lady on staff peered down at him through his glasses, mildly curious, but in a day full of strange occurrences, what was one more on the pile? It didn't take her long to determine that yes, Cheese Legs was a lost dog, whose return was so anticipated by his owner that she offered the demon an entire seventy-five gold in exchange. Once notified the owner came running from her workplace to pick up her dog, and the two were utterly rejoiced to see one another. The display of affection bothered Laharl a little, but after spending some time with the affectionate hound himself, he felt as though he could begin to understand. With his reward in hand he set out back into the city again, on the hunt for something else to catch his interest.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

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Level 9 Blazermate - (25/90) +1
Bottomless Sea > the Maw room 2.5
Words: less than 750


Blazermate followed the rest of the others through the whole Carl situation, although she arrived late compared to everyone else and didn't really see his 'human' tyrade, only the fact that Sakura healed him with another friend heart and while his body was reconstructed, he stopped talking and just stood there like an idle robot with no mind. "So these hearts can have adverse effects potentially..." Blazermate thought as Carl just stood there motionless but functional. If she had seen his tyrade earlier, she wouldn't have been much of a help as she'd berate him for thinking he was human. Medabots were better after all, what human could heal others with their arm instantly for example, or shoot laser beams that put military weapons to shame? Plus she had experienced being semi organic at one point and it wasn't something for her, not at all. But even with these thoughts, she wouldn't berate her friends about it, they weren't trying to pretend to be something they weren't after all.

After activating the power to the door that blocked their way, the group moved on into a new area that was just horrible. Blazermate didn't mind water as it wouldn't short circuit her or anything, all medabots were fully waterproof as they didn't run on electricity or anything, but the fact that she would just sink with little way to actually swim really bugged her. There was a round sub that seemed like it would fit either her or two others, but not the whole group. Seeing as she didn't need to breath, if they were forced to go underwater she would just hold onto the sub and ask any other of the aquatic people if they could help her move around under there.

Then there was the whole problem of a... frankly, ugly and slimy man whining about being lonely, saying something about a lady that he seemed to be the underling of. Perhaps a boss of this place? Either way, he seemed to be torn about having new friends, yet not letting them leave even with people offering friendship with the gross, slime spewing man if they all got out. He then slipped into the water, and while everyone else thought he was gone, Blazermate's sensors told her that it wasn't over. Then Bowser, either by immense perception, or dumb luck, thought the same thing Blazermate did. "The goo man isn't gone everyone, hes still very much alive in that water. Bowser might be right."

Now the issue was... how were they going to go forward with this? Some pointed out a chair that looked, frankly, like a trap. A chair that was too big for everyone except her. "So uh... do we actually need to use that chair to progress, knowing that we might have to deal with a water monster down below? I'd really prefer to progress without going in the water if I could help it... I'm not a swimmer." Blazermate said. Mirage offered up to use the chair, which well, if things went poorly and he didn't die Blazermate could heal him so there was that...

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Level 6 Sectonia (holding 1 level up) - (49/60)
Location: Al Mamoon - Warehouse Fight
Word Count: less than 750


Sectonia was right to be on guard, as this cat girl acted much like her namesake, using deception to try to get a free hit on the bee queen. She was fast, and had Sectonia not taken that moon shard, she wouldn't be able to keep up. But since she could, it was a furious fight of parrying, the occasional teleport, thrusts, knives flying everywhere, both sides getting the occasional hit in although Sectonia took more than Maeve, and all in all a fairly flashy battle. Maeve kept up her attacks, leaving Sectonia very little chance to swap away from her swords, although the Queen didn't mind all that much and she still had the ability to throw globes of darkness which gave her a ranged attack as well.

After a little while, Maeve gave it her all and darkened the area. Normally this would've blinded the bee queen, but the Moon Shard gave her a bit of vision in the darkness. Maeve, having used her ult, maneuvered behind Sectonia in an attempt to strike her when the queen gave her an opening. However as the fight had been going on and Sectonia had been passively healing, a green skull shot out of her crown and undeterred by the darkness, homed in on Maeve as she made her attempt to assassinate the Queen, giving Sectonia the angle at which Maeve was trying to attack from. While Sectonia wasn't left unscathed by the clash that happened, Maeve was in a much worse state as she had been punctured by a rapid stab barrage from Sectonia, making a wall of sorts to defend herself from the unseen attacker.

And then the fight came to an abrupt, explosive end. Literally as one of the rebels dropped a bomb that blew up the warehouse, causing damage to everyone involved. Thankfully Sectonia's magic shield from her pipe of insight protected her minions and herself from a large chunk of the blast's damage unlike the rebels who had no protection. Still, this caused some of the group to pass out, with the tankier members of the group such as Tora, Poppi, and Sectonia able to still be conscious. "Hmph Well it seems they have made the enemy of us." Sectonia said to Kan-Rah as their clerics healed up the group, some worse for wear than others. Sectonia had taken more damage than she had anticipated, and until her wounds were healed, had issues keeping her regal form, needing to grip an area that was in pain. "Very foolish of them. My wrath will be their nightmare." She said plainly, appreciating the healing.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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wordcount: 910 +2 (+6) (-3)
Midna: level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (38/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon


Minda’s tossing of her foe had the intended effect this time, with Koga hurtling through the air and bowling over the other masked ninja in the group as he tried to rise, collapsing both in a heap. Unfortunately the toss came too late to bail the big man out of his battle as he and the punk that was boxing him had both knocked each other out while trading blows in what she was sure had been an impressive bout. It was a shame she missed it trying to avoid being shot, which went for basically everything else going on.

Fortunately the others had similar or better luck as she had with their dueling opponents, and things were gradually coming to an end as Midna pulled back to nurse her wounds. Then things came to a very abrupt end as everything exploded. Fortunately for her, while Sectonia’s shield hadn't helped against the bullets or energy claws that had been involved with the fight she’d just had, it was a goddess send against the magical explosions and it being still around probably saved the princess’s life. That, and the distance she’d been putting between her and the fight due to her wounds, meant that Midna was merely blown out of the warehouse rather than to pieces, the princess landing like a ragdoll and then rolling over the sand outside. She lay there for a moment, before intentionally rolling over this time to get into a shadow she could hide in to avoid being taken down while she was, well, down.

Fortunately for them, while the blast had hurt them plenty, it had also been very indiscriminate. In fact it had hurt the rebels more than it had the seekers, some of who’s bigger and tougher members were even still up and kicking. Not that being down stopped the rebels from trying to keep up the fight, Galeem’s influence really showing its true colors to them for the first time as it seemingly prevented them from even considering surrender.

”No, stay down” Minda said, moving back out of the shadows once she saw the state of things and using her shadow hand (The only thing she trusted to use, as the rest of her body hanging rather limply in the air. She wasn't sure if she’d be able to stand if she tried, and her arms where either a bloody mess thanks to Koga’s claws or a bruised mess thanks to the pummeling her shield arm had taken. How Link had managed to keep his arm intact while blocking far heavier hits she could only wonder) to press Koga back to the ground when he tried to rise and keep fighting and then carefully bumping her feet into his dropped smgs to send them to the Twilight realm for good measure ”Give up. Its over”

She was hoping they could just wait them out, let the passive healing effect slowly stitch them back together while they decided what to do with the rebels, but unfortunately their battle, and the explosion that had ended it, had drawn the attention of the local authorities. As to be expected really, but it did complicate things. As did the fact that they’d apparently triggered the other raids by doing this, complicated things even more. The whole affair was rapidly escaping their hands and things were in motion whether they liked it or not.

Midna winced at the implications of what was going to happen to the rebels as she drifted over to where Band was, mind racing at how they should handle this. She didn't like the rebels, but she also didn't like the idea of the Grimleal being in power uncontested either, which was exactly what was about to happen. She didn't exactly like the implications of “drastic measures “ and “interrogation” being inflicted upon anyone by the cultists either.

While she was thinking, she tapped her chest and pulled out a friend heart, then moved to clap Big Band on the back with it. At the very least they could get him on board, in fighting shape and, hopefully, get some input from him on how to handle this situation.

”Here, this will help your wounds, and as a bonus it should clear up that little blind spot you’ve got” She said after the deed was done. It also gave her an idea, which she turned to propose to Kan-Ra.

”That ‘bloodlust’ you mentioned.” Midna began to say, still a little strained by her wounds even as they gradually closed back together ”I’ve seen it before. It's not natural or part of them. There’s a curse inflicted upon them by a false god that, among other things, prevents them from surrendering despite it being in their best interest. We can clear that and, in doing so, we can make sure this ends without you having to take such ‘drastic measures’. Something I think the Vizier would like considering his son’s one of them?”

It was best to try and do something to prevent unnecessary deaths first, Midna reasoned, and then, depending on how the removal of the Gleeming affected the rebels, then they could figure out what to do about the political situation and how it affected their greater cause.

”Once we’re fixed up by these clerics, we can see about helping clean up the rest of the curse at the other hideouts?” she added, more as a question/suggestion to the others this time.
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