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The world is full of obvious things.


Current GM of World of Light. When it comes to writing, there's nothing I love more than imagination, engagement, and commitment. I'm always open to talk, suggestion, criticism, and collaboration. While I try to be as obliging, helpful, and courteous as possible, I have very little sympathy for ghosts, and anyone who'd like to string me along. Straightforwardness is all I ask for.

Looking for more personal details? I'm just some dude from the American south; software development is my job but games, writing, and helping others enjoy life are great joys. Been RPing for over a decade, so I know a thing or two, though I won't pretend to be an expert. Ready for some fun? Let's make something spectacular together.

Like my words? Maybe you'll like my pictures. I'm pretty new, but I hear the exchange rate's good.

Most Recent Posts

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (14/40)
Location: Bottomless Sea
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: 1328

If anything united the assorted odd assortment of heroes and hero adjacents split between the airship and the living ship, it was a unilateral dislike for sharks. Even though they were just animals and couldn’t possibly pose a threat to anyone from down in the water, or even to the vessel’s metallic outer hull, Nadia loathed the overgrown fish. After finally escaping the pitched battle in Black Bay the last thing they needed was another run-in with bloodthirsty, vicious, fang-toothed sea monsters that had no right to be as fast as they were.

Out of all of them, the newcomer without so much as a taste of Abyssal gunsmoke spoke up in favor of shark annihilation first. His bravado lasted just a moment though, replaced by worry for Shippy’s wellbeing if subjected to his doohickey’s electrical discharge. While only able to boast a few hours more experience with the vessel than Mirage, Nadia did her best to picture how the ship would react. “Before I give my ‘boat’ of confidence, how big a zap are we talkin’? Must be a heck of a jolt if it could take ‘em all out.” Her attention then got distracted by Rika’s seaplanes flying out from the belly of Atomos, zipping overhead to survey the ocean that lay before them. Another batch of ships, rounder and redder, deployed from Bella’s tail, but rather than sally forth they flanked the Atomos. Since those in the airship did their compatriots the courtesy of keeping pace with Shippy, the Water Princess’s bombers encountered no trouble. It made sense to Nadia; as good as the same sort of bombers used by the Midway Princess had been at finding things, their tendency to blow themselves up on them afterward prevented the retrieval of intel.

The cool air brought on by the storm made Nadia shiver, and for the first time since arriving in the Edge of the Blue she regretted her pragmatically minimal choice of attire. She was glad for the distraction provided be the others, which for the moment entailed using the cannons to dispatch the sharks. With one of the emplacements healed over but not restored, rather like a lost finger, Shippy featured only three cannon batteries, but Nadia figured it would be more than enough to fillet some fish. Why Link felt the need to make her imagine them with mounted guns, she couldn’t say. The hero changed the subject, asking about the storm. “I’m purr-etty sure,” she told him, pointing up at the clouds with a clawlike nail. “Check out that mew-vement. They’re not blowin’ in one direction, they’re swirlin’ around a central point. I’d be shocked if it suddenly shifted our way.”

Peach ruminated on the possibility of retreat, as disappointing as that might be, but waited until the vessel herself could think over the proposed course of action. “I can get there,” Shippy told the crew. “These waves are manageable, as is this wind. If things don’t intensify drastically, I won’t have an issue. If we run into an emergency, I can seal you all inside me and dive underwater for as long as you have air.”

After another moment of thinking, Peach spoke up. “We must tread carefully to prevent further loss of life, and I’m open to the option of retreating when faced with extreme danger. Although taking risks is part of our job, the ocean itself is a totally different foe, and can easily do more damage to our team than either of the Guardians we’ve faced. That said, we can’t run at the first sight of danger. We need to get an idea of what we’re facing out here. Then we can think about alternatives.”

Sakura’s short-range receiver picked up Peach’s loud and clear, relaying what she thought to those aboard the Atomos. Down on Shippy, Nadia felt that the princess point of view was justified. “Yeah, we can make it. We’ll check out that rig or whatever, and see how things pan out.” She started stretching, trying to both limber and warm herself up. That also meant extending her muscles between her segments.elongating her limbs to disproportionate levels as she tried to loosen up. At about that time, Mirage opted to take Link’s advice and accept one of his collected spirits. Nadia snuck a glance as the two made the exchange and saw that the colorful mote held the image of an Abyssal, specifically those nasty, three-in-one pests, the imps. As Mirage took the spirit in and the lightshow began, Nadia could only hope that he didn’t end up growing extra heads.

No extra heads it would appear, but Mirage did shrink a little. Other than that it seemed mostly equipment-based, as if the spirit he’d picked didn’t have a lot of power. Nadia took note that taking in spirits of a different size always seemed to have an impact on one’s own stature. She herself wouldn’t mind being a little taller, since longer reach and more meat to work with would be fine advantages, but scraping the clouds like Geralt? Psh, no way. Not even a little jealous.

Since nobody elected to pulverize the sharks just yet, Shippy retained her hungry escort, but continued onward without issue. When the odd shark drew too close to her prow her giant maw spat a cannonball or two to hurry it on its way. Once she left the shore behind the waves got rougher, moving the whole vessel up and down with each pass. Nadia grabbed hold of the railing, hoping she wouldn’t have any trouble keeping her early lunch down. When she noticed tall crags of rock rising from the ocean ahead, she furrowed her eyebrows. “Wait, I thought this was bottomless? How’s that stuff pokin’ up?”

“Well, when we come across bottomless pits, the sides of the pit extend all the way down, don’t they?” Peach remarked.

Nadia looked confused. “Wait, there’s no such thing as a bottomless pit. Just really, really deep pits.” She flicked a bead of seaspray from her ear. “Then again, this ocean’s probably the same way. Just deeper than anyone’s ever gone.”

The ships were almost halfway to the source of the beacon when Rika’s seaplanes picked something up ahead near where the crags of rock loomed like misshapen monoliths. They discovered the movement of large shapes, then the large shapes themselves. In good time they reported back and allowed the information to circulate, giving the ships a chance to steer around if they so chose, and Peach definitely chose. In due course the Seekers got a good look as the gargantuan territorial dispute unfolding before them. A purple sea monster bigger than both ships combined with just its visible part, sporting a single hateful eye and a head of writhing tentacles, had risen from the depths to challenge the ruler of the precipice. Though much smaller, the monstrosity that lurked upon the crags was far more vicious, lashing out with the hideous deep sea eels that stretched like nightmarish limbs from beneath her dress of fins. No matter how the tentacled one roared and pounded, the nimble horror twisted out of the way and wrenched out another couple chunks of flabby flesh. It had a lot to work through though, and its opponent seemed quite intent on toppling its stony dominion.

As the titans clashed, Nadia watched with wide eyes. Only after a few moments had gone by did she find her words. “Guys. Do you see that thing? The big one. has moobs…” She broke down, unable to hold a straight face any longer, into a giggle fit. Still, for her lack of seriousness she was quite content to not get involved in the awesome struggle, and spectate from a distance instead. Even the sharks took note of it, drawn away from Shippy by the scent of monster blood, but for the most part Nadia missed of the traffic of dark shapes beneath the salty swells.

Just the sight of someone interested in his wares seemed to put Sal in a good mood, so when Linkle requested permission to get hands-on, the salamander gave her the universal go nuts gesture with a nod and waved hand. With only a moment spent glancing at the other items she went straight for the crossbows, savoring every square inch of their elegant, lavish craft. She handled them as if she’d held them all her life, revealing their alternate-fire motion with a casualness that suggested it was quite familiar. It seemed tough to put them back down.

He could tell immediately that she didn’t have enough money, but she launched into negotiations straightaway. If this girl was trying to curb her enthusiasm for the sake of a deal, she was doing a terrible job. Any salesman worth his salt could put her through the wringer, but her genuine appreciation put a toothy smile on Sal’s face, and he laced his scaly fingers together. “Hmm. Well, it’sss not exactly a bargain on my end, given both sssets’ craft and level of wear. I won’t sssay no to ssseeing what else you have, but...I’ll tell you what. It’sss not like they’re doing any good sssitting in my bag. Ssso I’ll make the trade, ssso long as you owe me...a favor.”

Edge of the Blue - Atlantis Temple


Without so much as changing his facial expression the poolside snail attendant at the base of the stairs stamped Sephiroth’s card, filling out all four squares in no particular hurry. He handed the card back, then as the red-haired philanderer from earlier splashed down from the big slide, lifted his walkie-talkie to his mouth. “Clear.” Though he spoke to his opposite number at the top of the slide, Sephiroth took the word to heart, and cleared out before that infuriatingly handsome ginger could make eyes at her again.

Next up on her whirlwind tour of Atlantis Temple was Making Waves, which took place in a circular pool by one wall. This one, it gladdened her to see, had a visible bottom, with neither frogs nor jellyfish obscuring her vision of a spotless floor. She arrived a few moments after a game wrapped up and thus didn’t manage to sneak a peek at what lay in store, but instead needed to wait a minute or two for more guests to gather. She did not raise her hackles when the white-haired surfer man reappeared, nor the bespectacled, maroon-braided woman in her black and orange two-piece, but another familiar face warranted at least an inward groan. Syndra, it seemed, hadn’t had her fill of opposing her. ”Making Waves, huh? You might by two for two so far, but your lucky streak’s finished the moment you’re on the water!”

The snail attendant glanced between the two riled-up women with her eyestalks, nonplussed. “Ahem? May I have your attention?” Once all four were looking her way, she laid out the groundwork. “As you appear to be aware, this is Making Waves. Our most competitive game, a three-on-one slugfest. Take a look.” She pointed at the pool. A shallow bowl a few feet in diameter floated in the center, and three colorful rubber floats surrounded it in a triangle formation. “It’s three against one. The three stay at the edges of the pool, working together to make waves from different angles to try and knock the one off, and the one must stay out of the water for thirty seconds. One stamp for playing, one stamp for winning as the three, one stamp for winning as the one, and one…” she pointed upward, to where a fishing net dangled above the pool. Sand Dollars hung on rubber hooks. “For grabbing a Sand Dollar from up above. Will you risk dunking yourself for the bonus? Who knows…” Sounding less than enthusiastic, the snail held up straws, and Syndra drew the short one. “Alright Miss Lavendar, you’re in the middle. The rest of you, grab a float and get ready to make some waves!”

At that time, the doors of the Temple of Atlantis slid open to admit a small group. The snail receptionist turned their way, saying, “Welcome to the…!”

He was cut off as the frontrunner, a huge, fat man with a blonde mohawk, expelled a loud sigh of relief. “Ahhhhhhhh!” He proceeded to stretch his sweaty arms and air out his pits. “That’s more bloody like it! Air conditionin’, at last. Got a bit dodgy crossin’ that jungle, believe you me! A packet’a crisps’n I can die ‘appy.” Rounding on the snail receptionist, he smacked both hands down on the counter. “Oi, got any food? ‘Ow ‘bout yer bog? I’ve gotta take a real...!”

The young lady behind him gave him and his pits a wide berth, her disdain evident on her features. “Can’t you have even a little decorum?” the elegant girl reproached him, bouncing her blonde curls. “We’re not here to ‘faff about’ as you so often put it, you know. This is a serious matter, Birdie.”

“I know, I know!” Birdie protested. “But I weren’t lyin’, I’ve really gotta…!”

Karin averted her eyes as she held up a hand. “I don’t want to know! If you must, then be quick about it!”

All the while the snail looked dumbfounded, and a little intimidated. “Uh, excuse me…? If you’re not here for the water park...?”

“Afraid not,” another girl added to the reel of interruptions, shaking her giant purple ponytail from side to side. Although already dressed well enough for a day of fun in the pools, her pretty face bore a solemn expression.

The snail glanced at the fourth member of the group hanging back from the other to see a sunken-eyed police officer scanning the water park, then back at Shantae. Anyone who was anyone who lived within a stone’s throw of the Blue knew Limsa Lominscuttle Town’s Half-Genie Hero, so when she came knocking about serious matters, it paid to pay attention. “What is it?”

“We’re looking for an escaped criminal Potentially dangerous,” Shantae told her. “A woman, a little above average height. Long, lilac-white hair. Eyepatch, dark clothing, potentially carrying a longsword. Her trail led near here.”

Shantae could tell by the snail’s fearful expression that she was barking up the right tree. “Oh my gosh, she’s here! She came in about an hour ago. Didn’t come through here or use the emergency exit in the back.” He twiddled his thumbs nervously. “Her clothes were filthy, so she probably changed into a swimsuit. Be careful!”

“Oh?” Shantae crossed her arms, putting on a brave face. Birdie stomped back over, looking more even relieved than before, fixing up his hair with a switchblade comb. One nod from Shantae, however, and he cracked a leering grin. Karin was doing some warm-up stretches, and Officer Nanu looked as grim as he was ready. “You don’t need to worry about us.”

The snail remained quiet for a moment. "Um, okay, but I'm going to notify the fish guards anyway. A few extra eyes won't hurt, right?" The newcomers agreed, and after a quick conversation dispersed in pairs to begin their search of the premises.
Tora & Poppi

Level 8 Tora (3/80) and Level 8 Poppi (56/80)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Hollow Heights
Primrose's @Yankee, Fox's @Dawnrider, Sectonia's @Archmage MC Midna's @DracoLunaris, Yoshitsune's @Rockin Strings, Red’s @TheDemonHound, Laharl’s @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 1673

Gnorbu seemed more terrified by Yoshitsune’s prostration than anything, totally unprepared for the passion the man attached to his broken blade. “O-oh, uh…” Suddenly put on the spot, he racked his brains trying to remember if the desert city featured a foundry that might suit the pleading man’s needs. The residents of Parnasse, after all, never needed weapons or armor, but even if he didn’t frequent such an establishment Gnorbu felt he knew the lay of the land well enough to say. When Midna opened up the subject of money she and those that chimed in bought Gnorbu a little time to think, and in that period he did manage to recollect a pertinent location. “Yes, I think there was a place. On the thoroughfare, by the guardhouse. Open-air, with lots of weapons lying around. Can’t miss it!” He certainly hoped that Yoshitsune would be able to deal with whatever left him so distraught.

While his comrades talked about money and shopping, Tora had more of a mind for machines. Until today he had never seen a train, but after arriving in this station the Nopon just about found himself overwhelmed by choice. There were trains of all sorts arrayed between the platforms, from boxy green to brightly lit to actually just wood, but he quickly fixated on just one--one that made the rest look like toys. “Mehmehmeh!?” With wide eyes he waddled toward the central platform, alongside which rested an utter monstrosity of a locomotive. Though housed snugly within the bright, glass-domed atrium of the station, it boasted a height greater than most buildings, and its raw metal made for a sharp contrast against the checkered tile and intricately-carved sandstone around it. The hulking central chassis, from which a massive cannon protruded with singular menace, lay behind not one but two locomotives on two different tracks and spanned the gap between them. Suddenly, the tracks running in parallel across the desert took on a new meaning in Tora’s mind; he’d assumed that they merely facilitated traffic in both directions simultaneously. Of course, the tracks interested him far less than the gun. As rusted and disused as the behemoth engine seemed to be, he could think of no better weapon to put to use against the equally massive boss of the Sandswept Sky.

As such, he pitter-pattered over to an officious-looking person with palpable excitement. At first the stranger seemed to be a sort of yellow bird in a black uniform and hat, but when he spoke into his handheld radio and revealed a wide, jagged mouth in the process, Tora was less certain, and the not-bird spoke with a thick accent to boot that almost reminded him of Nia’s. Nevertheless he waited for his soon-to-be friend to finish his conversation, bouncing with energy all the while. “Hello, hello!” Tora called as soon as the Conductor looked his way. “Tora new here. What is super wow-wow amazing machine!?”

“Oh, this?” The Conductor waved his hand at the locomotive. “Sure this Railway Gun might look impressive, but it’s nothin’ but a bloody eyesore. Just a mountain of ugly metal, ‘eavier than the palace itself most like. Can’t run it, can’t even move it. ‘Ad to put a cork in just to make the wee babies happy.”

Sure enough, the aptly-named Railway Gun’s main cannon featured a comically large cork wedged in its barrel, which Tora guessed came from one of the milk-jug towers. Though the sight made him giggle, it was the least of his concerns. “Why?” he asked.

Shrugging, the Conductor told him, “It’s just peckin’ broken, is why. Not a soul in the city who can make ’eads or tails of the bleedin’ thing, with all its doohickies ‘n thingamabobs, let alone fix it. Like somethin’ straight outta science fiction.”

Tora’s eyes shone as he spoke without the slightest hesitation. “If Tora can fix it, can Tora take it?”

The Conductor released a noise of utter shock, somewhere between a laugh and a cough. “W-wot!?” he hacked out after a moment. “Ya serious?”

“Yes, yes!” The Nopon confirmed. “Tora submit as evidence: this unflinching eye contact!”

Several seconds of unflinching eye contact passed before the Conductor wilted, convinced that the round furry thing before him spoke the truth. “Bloody peck, you sure don’t beat aroun’ the bush, do ya lad? Well, uh...” As ridiculous as an offer it was to come out of the blue, he attempted to think it over. “Weeeell...I’m sure the city wants it gone, obstructin’ the tracks ‘n bein’ scary ‘n all. But it ain’t mine or anything, it’s crown property. Ya’d ‘ave to ask Her Moojesty, and I bet she ain’t gonna let people she doesn’t trust ‘ave a weapon like that.”

Still quite serious-looking, Tora ran over his options in his mind, then gave a sagacious nod. “Okay, meh. In that case, Tora start fixing while friends go get Cowlipha trust.” He turned back over to the group. “Thanks!”

“Yer...welcome?” the Conductor muttered as he waved Tora off, not entirely sure he hadn’t made some kind of serious mistake.

Tora skidded to a stop a moment later among the others. He couldn’t see Red and Midna anywhere, but that wasn’t about to stop him. “Okay, Tora have plan! Tora ask funnytalkypon Conductor man about giant gun train, meh! It belong to big queenypon, but she not want it, so Tora going to try to fix it up. If friends can convince queenypon to give it, we have both way across rest of desert and huuuuge weapon for boss fight!” He danced around like a Nopon possessed, so jazzed about the marvel of engineering that he couldn’t contain himself.

Poppi tempered her expectations. Gesturing to Primrose, Panther, and Sectonia, she told him, “That seem like good plan, but Poppi not think we just waltz in and ask permission. Plus, it probably take long time to fix train.” She said this while looking at the Railway Gun herself, noting its size. Hopefully whatever made it inoperative was small-scale, otherwise ‘long time’ was probably too generous. “Rest of us going to explore city and do shopping for now. Maybe we get more familiar with Al Mamoon during trip, figure out way to earn Cowlipha favor.” It was a simple suggestion, and not at all definitive, but she thought it sound. Tora wasted no time agreeing.

For her part Panther, currently decked out in her normal-looking but somewhat ill-fitting ‘civilian disguise’, was both happy to be going on a shopping trip and glad that it would serve another purpose toward the overall campaign. “Sa-weet!” She walked between Primrose and Poppi and put an arm around their shoulders. “Alright girls, let’s get it on!”

Finding the marketplace was easy, for it very much wanted to be found. Its clamor could be heard even over the hammers and furnaces of the foundry. The entire eastern section of Al Mamoon was an open-air forum, walled into six courts with the far-middle one dominated by a statue-topped temple. Inside its confines the most prestigious and well-to-do shops did their business in shady luxuriance, but most of the trade occurred in the rows of stalls, carts, and shops set up both within and along the sides of the courts. Poppi’s sensors observed such a profundity of color, noise, and movement in the first court alone that she struggled to take it all in, so rather than try she digested the sight one bit at a time.

If the first court was anything to go by, Al Mamoon’s marketplace was truly matchless in variety. Poppi noticed an aged adventurer’s shop along the right front wall, positioned so favorably possibly due to age. Its bearded keeper sold cloudy Spider Venom, ruby-red Rodent Blood, murky Golem Tears, a Book of the Sun, the enigmatic Feather of the Squinting Shrimp, a lopped-off Monster Toe, a paired set of katars, a slingshot, and a rapier of fine craft. Opposite him sat a humble Goron Shop, offering arrows, lamp oil, shields, and hot springwater. Close by, Rhon Ron’s Eatery offered a number of exotic foods, including jars of honey-glazed worms, loaves of mushbread, spicy sides of lizard meat, and skewers of chewy, mixed morsels. Its fluffy-tailed, beady-eyes keeper waved at the prospective shoppers, eager for their custom. Naturally the other stores in the first court wanted it just as badly, none more than Raj’s Curry Pot, a cart offering less exotic but still more than flavorful fare. Poppi also spotted an assorted items stand for conventional goods, the storefront for Hee Ho Mart with its fried food on display, and a curious stall with all sorts of commodities right by a pawn shop run by a hat-wearing man.

“!” Panther practically squealed. Her attention flew all over the place, spinning her around enough that her pigtails and new snake tail whipped back and forth. Unfortunately, reality eventually caught up with her, and her elation faded. “Oh man, it sucks having no money. We totally should have stopped at those ruins to find some treasure or something.” Her eyes landed on the pawn shop. “If we do have anything to sell, we could try that place though.”

Following that line of logic, Poppi tried to think of something to sell. Everyone left most of their random junk lying in the ruins where they sheltered yesterday evening, and the artificial blade had nothing of her own to offer. Then again… “Maybe Poppi can use elemental core to make ice. Must be valuable in desert, since climbing up Freezeezy Peak dangerous.” She tapped a finger to the side of her chin. “Or...maybe Poppi earn money cleaning away sand with wind core.” The sort of methods that Primrose might favor hadn’t so much as crossed her innocent mind, despite being more than well equipped in QT Pi form, as the stares that followed her throughout Al Mamoon could attest. There were many establishments the shoppers could visit, and after the journey they’d experienced so far, a shocking amount of people around as well.

Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (11/40)
Location: Luma Pools
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:

Fish, watermelon, pineapple, and now bananas--in these circumstances, Nadia couldn’t have asked for a better feast. A full-bodied laugh after Link hurled away his Boomerangfish had done her more good than he might have guessed, but she wasn’t about to follow his example with her own portion. Still, he seemed to have a plan in mind for the fruit, so she focused on the seafood first. She took a good look at the specimen on her skewer, the kind that sported a single giant eye that dominated its body. With only a little trepidation she sampled its roasted flesh, and as she chewed found herself unable to form a clear impression. It wasn’t bad, and it was certainly fish, but quite unlike any she’d ever tasted before. Without any preparation other than cooking it didn’t offer much in the way of flavor, but it seemed okay. Only when she sampled the protein-rich eye did she come away surprised. Turned to a flan-like consistency by the fire and given a crispy skin, it was both tasty in a meaty sort of way and surprisingly dense. In only a few more moments the Peeper was just scaly niblets on bone, and Nadia tossed the scraps into the fire.

At about that time Link finished his simmered fruit, and Nadia helped herself. True to her pronouncement, the act of cooking unlocked the fruity flavors, making each bite that much tangier and sweeter. “Ah, that’s nice,” she remarked between bites. With Sakura, Cadet, and even Peach sharing her relish, the gathering around the campfire was a jovial one full of camaraderie and good cheer, although the mood did not go uncontested. Bowser and the new guy -of the short and masked variety- seemed to know one another, and quarreled with a difficult-to-ignore viciousness. Nadia also tried to shut out the grotesque antics of Blazermate’s abominations to the best of her ability, but the medabot -no doubt bored and excluded due to her inability to eat- quickly cut in to talk business.

At the moment those enjoying the meal together were not quite done, however, so Peach answered for all of them. “We’ll sail to the Bottomless Sea naturally, but there’s no need to rush. For now, let’s enjoy this moment of peace.”

Nadia tapped her finger against her nose. “Couldn’t’ve said it better myself. Right now I’m not fin-ished, so the plan’s to try another fish.” And so she did. While she worked her way through it, pulling the meat from the bones with her teeth, the Cadet extended banana-man an invitation to join the crew. Nodding excitedly, the feral gulped down her fish and added, “Yeah, if you’re willin’ to hike for like twenty minutes to grab total strangers some grub, you’re alright! They call me Ms. Fortune.” To both her and Cadet’s delight the stranger accepted, introducing himself as Mirage. It was a mysterious nickname for a guy who seemed like a goof through and through, but no doubt even the most normal-looking fellow had some tricks up his sleeve to make it this far. Nadia wondered how he’d react when she played a card or two of her own.

Toward the end of the meal, Kamek reappeared to punctuate the shared meal with something a lot sweeter than dessert. Nadia’s face lit up when she learned that Brineybeard survived. “Hell yeah! Guess that means our crews didn’t lose a soul!” On purpose she made her sentiment as paw-sitive as could be. The others didn’t need a refresher from her about the shipgirls whose lives the battles claimed. Luckily, the positivity train didn’t end there either, because Sakura had something to say. After shooting Bowser and L a well-deserved suggestion the martial artist gave the best motivational speech she could muster, and it fit her perfectly. Straightforward, whole-hearted, and a little shortsighted--after all, Nadia noted with a wry chuckle, she spoke as if the day was over. There was a lot that could still happen today, given their ominous destination. But Sakura was right in that this was a good bunch. If anyone could do it after escaping that awful battle, it was them.

She joined the toast with a roasted banana in place of a cup. “To the good guys! Whoever the bad guys are, they’re gonna be sorry they screwed with us.”

Over the next few minutes the last portions got divided up, and everyone who felt like it got a few more moments to chat and relax. Bella in particular exhibited a radiant joy, endlessly eager to hear about the others and their lives, absorbing all these things she’d never known and happy to prompt the others for more. Nadia ended up describing her home of Little Innsmouth, that quaint port city built around the changing tides, its coral chimneys and jellyfish lanterns, and the culture of the Dagonian people who’d accepted a feral into their midst. It was a lovely time. All the same, this communal tranquility could not last forever, however much those present might want it to. Nadia knew she wasn’t alone in wishing that this moment could last just a little longer, but they’d had all the rest and food they needed, and it was time to go.

Everyone made their way back to the ships in due course. Nadia stopped to grab and re-fasten the harness-belt she’d left by the lakeside, and once she’d climbed back aboard Shippy, she reattached her rigging as well. Once back in place the mechanical arms sprang to life, extensions of her body once more, and she bade them fold back up into compact, shield-like formations along her hips. The only leftovers from the meal took the form of bananas, stowed for the journey ahead in Shippy’s hold. They would travel easily and keep well, provided that their foray into the Bottomless Sea didn’t compare to actual sailing trips in terms of time. Without Brineybeard to steer the ship, Peach took the helm. “All aboard!” she called, despite that being something said for trains. “Okay Shippy, let’s go!”

“Yes, ma’am!” The vessel said, and she heaved into motion. Shippy cut through the lake, giving both the Ukazeer and the geyser both a suitably wide berth, and made for the opposite river. The moment that Shippy hit it she began to accelerate, since the river flowed downhill. With a wild grin Nadia tightened her grip on the forward railing, and like a log in a flume Shippy sped downward through the Luma pools. As the fantastical scenery sped by, Nadia did her best to etch it into her memory. When this was all over, she’d have to come back here someday.

The cruise through the Luma Pools passed without incident. Though plenty of animals appeared throughout water, tree, land, and sky, none troubled the vessel that so fleetingly traversed their domain. All too soon, the paradise started to give way. As Shippy forged onward the vivid aquamarine blue that suffused the place started to turn darker and darker, and overhead the sparse altocumuluses visible through the pink-palm canopy turned into a moody cloud cover. When at last the forest came to an end and the river turned into a delta of black sand, the heroes drifted across a beach strewn with the carcasses of sea creatures from crabs to whales, and those of things they couldn’t identify. When they looked ahead, they saw a dark sky over a stormy sea.

Thunder rolled across the ocean as the heavens swirled in a monumental vortex. Nadia swinted, trying to make out the pivotal point of the incomprehensible storm, but it lay too far to the north. Even from this distance, she could tell that the sea tossed and turned every bit as feverishly as the sky. Though details were difficult to make out in the general atmospheric haze, she imagined horrifying waves, walls of water many times higher than Shippy herself. Suddenly she doubted that the shrunken craft could make the trip, but everyone couldn’t exactly cram aboard the Atomos, either. Minute one in the Bottomless Sea, and they already had a problem.

Rather than get too distracted by that Nadia gazed out over the water again, and this time she could also make out some sort of greenish structure rising from the sea a few miles out, from which a yellow beacon emanated to light up the surrounding clouds. “Hey, maybe we should sail for that thing? We can probably reach it before the storm!” she called. A moment later the ship passed the end of the beach, and the ocean floor abruptly ended. Taken aback, Nadia ran to the back of the boat and peered into the water. “No way…” A sheer face of rock stared back at her from below the surface. As best she could tell, the land just ended, whether as beach or cliff, and infinite water began. While looking into the sea she also happened to see and audibly scoff at the sight of sharks forming up around the ship already. “Come on, already!?” She shook her head and warned the others, pointing down. “We’ve already made some new chums. Wouldn’t go for a swim right about now if I were you.” As choppy waves began to rock the boat she retreated from the railing and moved back to the front. In just a few moments it felt like all the inner peace and serenity gained during the Luma Pools had already been squandered, and Nadia wore a grim smile as the Seekers entered the Bottomless Sea.

As Linkle drew near, the ‘lizalfos’ sized her up from where she lay. Though those red irises with skull halves and her overall paleness gave her a somewhat disquieting aura, her behavior in Morshu’s store thus far had been that of a regular, earnest girl. Even before he examined her Sal had pretty much decided she was a good egg, and her choice to approach the hooded reptile before her without a second thought solidified it. Between the two of them, neither would be judging by appearances.

“That’sss right,” he confirmed, although his exchange with Morshu already said as much. He was a peddler without a roof to call his own, relying on the generosity of the Snowdin townsfolk to avoid freezing his cold blood out in the winter wonderland. “I’m from the desert, but sssomehow ended up here. Trapped in this awful climate.” Sal wasn’t shy about expressing his dissatisfaction. “I’d be dead long before I reached warmer weather, even if I sssold everything for firewood, ssso here I am. A place where nobody needs what I’ve got.” To satiate his visitor’s curiosity he opened his sack and produced a few items from within. “I’m an arms dealer. Weapons are my trade, but monsters sssteer clear of Sssnowdin.” He licked his teeth with a long, forked tongue, and added a clarifying distinction. “Real monsters, I mean.” At his feet he laid down a scrap gun, some kind of machine gauntlet, a set of lovely paired crossbows, and a blasting wand.

“My products are the best, trust me,” Sal told her. “For the right price, their power is yoursss.”

Edge of the Blue - Atlantis Temple


The end of the game of Jump Club left everyone soaked, but not everyone a loser. With everyone who’d already fallen off taken care of, the snail waved over the last couple of participants. “Hey, over here! My arms are only so long!” He handed back the card he’d taken from Syndra for safekeeping, then Sephiroth’s. “One for playing, one for lasting two minutes, one for winning! Good job out there,” he told her.

By omission, however, he revealed something that the one-eyed swordswoman had forgotten: the Sand Dollar. Had she not been so absorbed in her rivalry she might have remembered, but as it was the little tokens remained attached to the end of the green club, with the only one missing in the palm of her diminutive competitor. He’d nabbed it as he tumbled off the platform, his level head allowed him to snatch a little victory from the jaws of defeat. Or...had that been his objective the whole time? His positioning near the edge and relatively early exit may not have been coincidence. “Hah!” he exclaimed. “Finally, my last one! No more stinkin’ Jump Club for me!” He waved his stamp card around proudly for the others to see, showing off a fully completed row under Jump Club, although only one of the stamps was new. If Sephiroth wanted to fill out her own card, she would need to try again.

Once she finished with Jump Club, however many attempts that took her, she set her sights on yet another attraction. The tangle of enormous, multicolored plastic tubes over the central pool formed one of Atlantis Temple’s most iconic features, and it was as good a time as ever to try her luck. She made her way over, narrowly dodging a pack of squids having a whale of a time with elaborate water guns, and past where a large, teal-furred fuzzball lounged in an appropriately-sized inner tube. A girl in a baseball hat about to dive in paused to give Sephiroth a strange look, but shook her head after a moment and jumped. A good climb stood between the swordswoman and the top of the slides, either via stairs or the rock wall over water, but either way it took only a few moments. At the hub on high where all the slides originated, a very tired and bored-looking snail waited to tell the guests when to go. A sign attached to the railing gave the safety rules including minimum height, as well as the scoring criteria. Try every slide, score high enough, complete at least three of the five slides under par time, and find the Sand Dollar. Evidently every slide featured a number of holographic arrows that could be passed through with a little maneuvering, each of which contributed to both score and speed. Simple and without interpersonal competition, the attraction nevertheless promised to be an enjoyable one.
Considering the update is tomorrow,, it may be a little late to start a new collab, but by all means have Frog talk to whoever you feel like and the targets can respond in their next posts.
@Lugubrious I definitely will, as I'm feeling less stressed out. Anyways could you or (if you don't have time) someone else summarize what has happened thus far?

Well, the naval battle ended and we went to the Luma Pools. Yellow Team went through a crazy sandstorm tornado vortex, then reached Al Mamoon. For further details I would recommend reading, as it's quality stuff.
@Lugubrious Good news, I'm back and my life is less hectic.

That's good to hear! I hope you'll enjoy your time back with us.
I also like Jojo, and I'll say that's a novel premise for a Jojo RP. That synopsis looks like it's setting up a battle royale in an almost Death Stranding-esque situation.
I just needed to get the this off of my chest. Sheet formed because babby.

It'll be a bit before this sheet can be used, but it seems alright to me.
Ms Fortune

Level 4 Nadia (11/40)
Location: Luma Pools
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:

As Nadia chilled, she tuned out the noise in the background bit by bit, until the argumentative chatter between Mr. L and Bowser rose no louder than the buzz of bees, and the report of naval armaments in the distance could be mistaken for, faraway thunder, the sort that heralded a soothing summer storm. A dragonfly hovered by her, close enough to make her ear twitch, but she did not stir from her reverie. Like soap, peace and company had dislodged the muck of war that clung to her, and now a thorough rinse let it seep away. Maybe it was just the juxtaposition to the nightmarish battlefield the heroes escaped, but this place truly seemed like a paradise.

Still, nothing gold could stay. All too soon the water grew too cool against her skin, and with a sigh Nadia pulled herself from the lake. She stretched herself out by where she laid her belt of pouches and soaked up the sun, watching Link dart around beneath the water’s surface. With those new changes he could really move, and even though she sported some extra mobility herself, she found herself impressed when he managed to leverage it to catch fish through virtue of speed alone. He managed to snare quite the selection of bizarre yet edible specimens. How he carried them all she couldn’t see--only blue flashes now and again after brief chases. At one point he went deeper than before, until Nadia couldn’t make out any details through the distortion except a roughly conical dark mass.

Link’s patience paid off; after a few moments of waiting the pressure inside the formation came once again to a boiling point, and a torrent of superheated gas burst from its top. He was close enough to feel the force in his chest and a momentary jump in temperature, but nowhere near enough to suffer any injury. When the resulting pillar of bubbles died out, he zoomed close to prize the crystals from the formation’s grasp, then ascended.

He emerged to find Nadia on her knees at the edge of the lake, peering at him. “Phew, there you are! I only saw the bubbles so I thought somethin’ mighta happened, but I guess I shoulda known better.” When he brought up his loot for a better look, Nadia’s locked on. She leaned as far out over the water as she dared, eyes sparkling almost as bright as the gemstone. The crystal sulphides were gorgeous, brilliant green things stained in places with a rich turquoise. “Whoa,” the cat burglar breathed. “What a beaut! I betcha could sell those for thousands!” After a moment, she composed herself with a slight laugh. With no jeweler around she knew she ought to curb her enthusiasm. She extended Link a hand to help him out of the lake“Ahem. That said, your fish are more important right now. Need a hand?” She stood and took off one forearm, which she reached down toward Link to help him out of the lake with.

A moment later the two made their way back toward the others. Nadia stretched as she walked over, noting that she felt rather more limber than before, and opened her eyes to see a giant walking right toward her with arms full of freshly-cut firewood. She almost jumped, having forgotten for a moment about Geralt’s new upgrade, but calmed herself the next moment. Gonna take me a minute to get used to that. He’d taken care of his hair just as she suggested, and didn’t seem to mind the new claws either, so everything seemed fine. In no time the Witcher had a fire going. “Ooh, nice. I’ve fried a fish or two in my time. Better let me try a bite of each one first, in case they’re poisonous or somethin’.” She was only half serious, but would certainly not object if others saw the wisdom in her joke.

“I’m doing fine,” Peach told Rika. “Inland...well, it’s hard to really summarize. The land is so varied. Some if it’s pretty rough, but it can be very nice, super pretty, basically everything. I guess what I mean is, compared to the ocean, where everything’s the same no matter where you go, you never know what you’ll get on land.”

While the others spoke and made their preparations, Peach, Sakura, and Rika had ventured off into the enchanting forest. Bella wanted to come too, but was still too weak on land to avoid being a burden, so she wished the others good luck in their search for extra food. The schoolgirl’s bag, however, turned out to be quite insufficient for what they found.

After pushing through some plantlife and hopping over narrow streams, Peach noticed a blue glow from the top of a pink grass knoll that overlooked what appeared to be a little shrine. A quick descent brought the trio to the edge of another pool. Peach narrowed her eyes. “Well, we could go around, or try swimming, or...wait.” Embarrassed, she stepped out onto the water, and of course floated on its surface. “...Right.” She led the way onto the pond, trying to reconsider the way she looked at the area. Now that she could move across water, rivers and ponds weren’t obstacles, but roads. With that in mind the three moved easily across the winding waterways, and in less than a minute rounded a river bend to a second lake, its elevation lower than the first, where they could clearly see the source of the glow.

A few hundred feet ahead lay a little floating island, and in it stood a twisted tree. Its leaves beamed a brilliant, pure white, and in the atmosphere of the Luma Pools the entire area shone a glorious azure. Peach had the thought that it seemed like a blessed place, and when her eyes wandered from the landmark she found only more evidence to back up her theory. Floating in the water on the other side of the lake, between a couple of sandbars, were a pair of unreasonably huge fruits.

The enormous pineapple and watermelon halves were a fantastical sight, but it was recognition rather than wonder that took hold of Peach. “Oh...oh! I remember these, I think. We played Mario Party here, a long time ago. Well, not here. Just on that fruit.” She glanced at the others with one half-lidded eye, anticipating that they thought she was weird. “Um. Well, I guess we’ve found what we need. Let’s carry back what we can.” Luckily for the three portions of the fruits already appeared to be carved into blocks, albeit a little bigger than Peach herself could carry. She worked to break a hunk of pineapple down to a more manageable size with her new fan.

Mirage, meanwhile, took a different route. He returned to where his simian companion from before still lounged, the ape’s bananas long since finished, to request Lanky’s aid. Although common sense would have laughed at the scene of a man talking to an orangutan as though the animal could understand him, Elliot’s impulse proved to be well-founded. Obligingly, Lanky stretched out one of his long arms toward the northwest, where the other river out of the lake flowed. He declined to move from his comfortable position himself, but should Elliot follow the graceless ape’s direction, he would stumble upon a banana tree grove about a half-mile upriver, situated on a branch from the main river that any travelers would have been unlikely to see from their ships. Predictably the grove featured its fair share of animals, the most bizarre of which appeared to be a cross between a banana split and a giant water bug that just would not stop saying ‘Scoopy Banoopy’. That particular specimen did not shy away from a fight, and possessed a chilling touch that made the other creatures stay away from it. Still, so long as he didn’t get into trouble the gunman could gather the bunches he desired.

By the time the searchers returned with their bounty, they found a cozy little fish fry in progress. Makeshift kebabs and the Cadet’s spit made the process quite practical. More than that, the gathering possessed a renewed atmosphere. Nadia herself was in high spirits, thanks to her time spent relaxing, the anticipation of a good meal, and the Cadet’s much-appreciated punniness. Anyone not just willing to indulge her but also respond in kind was more than okay in her book, and now he’d gone and shown off some serious survival skills, too! He even went out of his way to comfort Shippy too, which left Nadia feeling a little guilty she hadn’t tried. It seemed to work, with the living vessel content to trust in the possibility of her captain being rescued. As it turned out she didn’t need to eat either, so things seemed more or less sorted on that front.

The feral’s brows shot up when Peach arrived with a piece of pineapple as big as a barrel, but only for a moment. “You know, I’m not even surprised any more. Hang on a minute, I’ll grab something to put it on.” She ran over to a nearby tree to tear free another couple giant, vivid leaves. A quick dip in the lake cleaned up the leaves, and then she arranged them on the ground to provide somewhere to set the fruit. “Ooh, let’s roast the pineapple too! It’ll be super flavorful.”

As the food got cooking, a tantalizing smell filled the air. Whatever they’d been through, they were still alive, and if that wasn’t cause enough to enjoy a feast, Nadia didn’t know what was. She hadn’t realized how hungry she was until that aroma hit her, which left her wondering exactly what time it was. She’d lost track of time in the fight and the canopy made it difficult to see the sun, but Nadia guessed it was about midday. A perfect time for lunch, especially with friends. “Well,” she began, happy to set the mood for everyone. “‘Water’ we waiting for? Let’s dig in!”

Morshu didn’t take his customer’s lack of affiliation with Harkinian too hard, figuring it had been a long shot anyway, but instead listened to what she did have to say with a passing interest. Different times, legendary heroes...all a bit high-minded for a simple shopkeeper, he felt. All the same the mention of a town called Lumbridge tickled his ears, since more settlements meant more prospective business, and until today the wintry village called Snowdin was all he’d known. Still, neither Morshu nor his client favored chit-chat, so the girl sorted through his wares while he stared off into space, bored.

Luckily for him someone else strolled in while Linkle rummaged around, a reptile in a yellow coat. Carrying a patchy maroon sack about as big as he was, the newcomer exchanged a wave with the shopkeeper as he waltzed right up to the counter. “Mornin’, Mr. Morshu. Got any room on those shelves for new weapons?”

“Afraid not, Sal,” the ponderous man sighed, with the air of one who said it often. “Demand is low, so mine is too. Nobody needs weapons, but if you want to sit down, feel free.”

Sal shrugged. “Ah well. Thanks as always.” The disappointed arms dealer made his way to a rug not far from the door and put down his sack, then laid himself down on it like a beanbag chair.

At about that time Linkle returned to Morshu with a question. “Lamp oil? Certainly!” he replied with gusto. “My featured product, the first I always mention. Nobody’s got it in store but me, but don’t think I price it too high! Every drop is of, mmmmm, delectably high purity, guaranteed to last. And my wrapping paper is a best-seller, very affordable, here!” He presented Linkle the rolls and accepted her rubees in return. When she inquired about paper money, he rubbed his chin. “Hmm, those greenish notes? I think I just might. It’s all a few town residents have, so we trade using it from time to time.” He turned and left for a moment. There came the sound of clanking and jingling from the back room, and after a short while he returned with three dollar bills in hand. “This what you wanted?” With a smile he completed the exchanges. “Pleasure doing business with you! Come again!”

Edge of the Blue - Atlantis Temple


Happy to leave Froggy Diver and its hideous depths behind, and hoping for no more unpleasant surprises, Sephiroth made for the next diversion. A look at her stamp card confirmed that she’d managed to fill up two out of the seven rows, indicating the presence of five more big-name attractions before the coveted platinum prize was hers. The listings on the card after ‘Froggy Diver’ and ‘Paddleboat Palooza’ provided her with clues for the rest: Floating Follies, Crazy Slides, Jump Club, Roll Out, and Making Waves. For a mind that prized efficiency, of course, there was nothing to do but head to the nearest untouched pool.

This next one was much larger than the last, and hexagonal in shape. From its corners rose tall, inflatable orange pylons, and they surrounded a rubbery donut-shaped platform elevated a good dozen feet above the water’s surface. From the center of the donut rose an axle with thick, padded arms attached, and when Sephiroth arrived the great clubs were already in motion. Everyone was hard at work jumping, ducking, diving, and dodging, all made a little more difficult by the bulbous, inflatable gloves and boots that seemed mandatory. The green spun far faster than the double-sided pink one, forcing the guests to both time their jumps and do it quickly to avoid being batted off. Anyone who timed or positioned themselves poorly might happen to find the green and pink arms aligned, presenting an unbeatable wall. Before the newcomer’s eyes that exact unlucky circumstance claimed another victim, sending a young woman with a great reddish-purple braid plummeted downward into the drink.

A few moments of frantic running and jumping later, the current round came to an abrupt end. One boy got flung by the green bar and smacked a friend along the way, sending both into the pool and leaving a sole survivor, who celebrated with an unusual dance move. “Oh yeah! Who’s the man?!” The platform started to lower, signalling the end of the game. Before jumping in himself, however, he waited for the bar to come around one last time. He leaped just before it hit and twisted midair to snatch a Sand Dollar that was stuck to the bar’s end, then hit the water with a splash.

“Alright, come over and get stamped!” the snail attendant called, beckoning the soaked participants over. With a practiced hand he took care of all the cards in just a few moments, then turned to the next bunch -including Sephiroth- to give them a quick rundown. “Okay, welcome to Jump Club! Here are your floats, put ‘em on. The rules are simple: don’t get knocked off, and while you can push and shove a little with your floats, don’t try anything funny. Sound like a plan?”

Once everyone swam or jumped to the platform, a cranked level elevated the platform back to its full height. Sephiroth got a good look at her eight opponents, which included the white-haired man from earlier, as well as a purple-haired woman with horns, a burly dwarf, an girl cheered on by little dragons, and four very blocky people. A horn sounded out, and the clubs began to spin.
Tora & Poppi

Level 8 Tora (80/80) and Level 8 Poppi (53/80)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Hollow Heights
Primrose's @Yankee, Fox's @Dawnrider, Sectonia's @Archmage MC Midna's @DracoLunaris, Yoshitsune's @Rockin Strings, Red’s @TheDemonHound, Laharl’s @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 1721

Nothing relieved Tora more than finding out that his choice garnered no blowback, and he felt an instant wave of gratitude for the votes of approval from Fox, Red and Primrose, however vocal. For a moment it seemed like Sectonia was going to agree with Yoshitsune, and in so doing squander any rapport built up between her and Tora that morning, but instead the insect queen took a different tact.

Tora watched, intrigued, as she summoned a crystal followed by a pack of underlings. The former would serve as a waypoint, she declared, and the later as a disposable search team to take the risks that level heads had deemed ill advised. In one decisive strike she had struck a compromise between the opposing viewpoints. “Ah!” Tora exclaimed when she was done, flapping his wings in excitement. “Sectonia is genius! Thank you!” At the same time Poppi, just as pleased as her Masterpon that a dangerous party split would no longer be necessary, showed her appreciation with a bow.

When Yoshitsune asked the Thieves if they could provide some help of their own, Skull answered for all of them. “Nah, that won’t fly. Our Personas can’t separate from us. We’re kinda like a package deal.” Necronomicon stood out as the exception, since her own user was nowhere to be found, but it had already been made clear how she would fare inside the storm.

Extra help ended up coming from Midna instead, who lent her own minions to the cause to further solidify the plan, and after that everything seemed to be sorted. While the two royals hashed out the last few details, including reiteration of the point that Sectonia’s antlions needed neither food nor water, the rest of the party returned to the train. Mixed feelings about the situation remained, but for the most part everyone could be confident in the knowledge that they were doing all they reasonably could, without risking their own necks. Out of everyone the chocolate neopets seemed perhaps the most relieved; neither had failed to realize that the blame for the heroes’ lost comrades could be heaped on them, and considering that neither Gnorbu nor Ruki possessed any strength of their own, they feared what their passengers might do if they felt angry enough to take it out on them. After just a few moments the two got the train fired up once more, and Gnorbu called out, “All aboard!”

Though the harrowing experience over Hollow Heights made him think twice about the middle train car, Tora couldn’t imagine a second sandstorm appearing to assail the group, and even if it did he and Poppi would be better prepared this time. Besides, it would probably be cramped in there. So he and Poppi returned to the second car to climb atop the honeypot once again, while the Thieves piled inside. Braum took a seat on the pie-slice caboose, his icy shield a comfortable shelter against the late morning sun. As the heat beat down on Tora, however, he came up with his own plan. “Poppi, please keep Tora cool with ice core,” he requested, to which his companion gave a nod. Converting a small amount of her ether to cold over time would still allow her to recuperate her reserves after her time in the cyclone. Just a short time after the all-call went out, Parnasse Express was ready to roll. It lurched once, creaking a little from the sand lodged into its innards, then chugged into full motion. It took just a few moments to catch up with Fox, and with him back on board it was full steam ahead.

The remainder of the ride to Yellow Team’s destination proved to be about as interesting as the first. Every now and then a distant landmark appeared for the train passengers to peer at and wonder about, but otherwise the locomotive just rattled onward through the vast, barren waste. From their perch atop the honeypot Tora and Poppi were vigilant lookouts, but as the miles slid by neither detected any more danger laying in wait among the wildly varying elevations or branching railway paths. They did see desert ruins poking out here and there, some fairly impressive, some suggestive of far greater destruction. One ancient edifice featured a boxy vehicle nearby that would have impressively large if not for the pair’s exposure to Vah Naboris yesterday. Strange creatures could be glimpsed here and there, all engaged in their endless search for food and water.

After a good while the train took a small detour from the otherwise more or less straight line across the desert toward a high, lonely mesa shrouded in mist, so tall that snow and ice blanketed its top, and at the mesa’s feet lay an oasis. And still, one look to the north was all it took to confirm that the split mountain put this plateau to shame. In the middle of the oasis the train came to a brief stop so that everyone could refill their water. Tora took the chance both to splash some of the refreshing glacial runoff into his face and bask in the majestic monolith’s shade. The camels spotted in the vicinity, whether Dromedary and Bactrian, gave the railway a very wide berth, and Tora felt no urge to disturb them. Instead he fixated on the white, utterly round birds that hung around the oasis in small groups. He approached one slowly, and to his delight the creature bobbed right over to be pet. As Tora cooed over it, Gnorbu explained, “This is Sherbert Pools. Fresh water flows all the way down from Freezeezy Peak. Since the city’s built on an oasis, Sherbert Pools isn’t a super popular excursion, but it’s free so we always stop here to fill up.”

Panther looked around, her hands on her hips. “This is nice and all, this isn’t a tour. Are there any other stops we should be aware of?” she asked him.

“Oh, no,” Gnorbu told her. “This is the last one before the city, I swear. Just a little pit stop after that nasty storm to refresh. And the Downy Crakes here are all very friendly, as you can see.”

In fact, one particularly friendly crake had seated itself on Tora’s head, making a nest of his mohawk. It was tough for Poppi to hide her smile, but she tugged on Tora’s shoulder gently. “We’re not here on vacation, Masterpon. Everyone else waiting, let’s go.”

“Aww…” Tora looked crestfallen, but he hurried back to the train nevertheless. His new Crake friend did not seem inclined to leave, however, so Tora happily took it with him as the train got rolling once again. “So soft!” he sang as he stroked the little bird’s feathers. “Tora name him Pufi.”

He continued to lavish attention on his new pet as the train made its way across the final stretch. Compared to the previous chapters of the journey this one passed with merciful speed, and it wasn’t that long before they could see the red bricks and blue-green domes of a fortress city rising from the desert sands amid scattered greenery. Like a farm animal hurrying to its barn at nighttime the Parnasse Express raced through the last few miles of wasteland, until the main gates towered above them in all their glory. Its ramparts almost resembled two colossal milk jars, and were adorned with both enormous horns and a glittering golden bell. Together they heralded a city of riches, power, and just a little bit of whimsy. Gnorbu’s intercom crackled to life once more. “Welcome, my friends, to the Court of the Cowlipha, the jewel of the desert. Al Mamoon!”

The train hooked a left and entered the city from the side, sliding into a shady station. Ruki steered the train to a stop in a small corner of the facility, well out of the way of the larger and more important locomotives. Gnorbu hopped down from the engine and turned to face the heroes. “This is as far as our train can take you, but I’m happy to show you around the city,” Gnorbu told them as the Express let off some steam.

Tora jumped down, bounced once, and came to a stop. For a moment he’d been practically dumbfounded by this place, and only just figured out why. It was just so normal. Sure, the architecture was foreign to him, and he didn’t know any of the people minding their own business in the station, but he compared it to where he’d been so far. An isolated castle with an idle princess, a podunk medieval town in a regenerating land, a bizarrely futuristic fighting facility, ruins, a village made from candy...compared to that, this place was downright ordinary. He could see through the station’s grand entryway arch into the city, and he got a good view of marketplace stalls, haggling, stern-faced guards, chatty housewives, beasts of burden, and much more. This was a place with laws, an economy, citizens that had jobs and responsibilities and worked for a living, public infrastructure! Its bustle and atmosphere rather reminded him of Alba Cavanich, although charming rather than industrial. In a way the reality of it all intimidated him, and he found himself glad that Gnorbu volunteered himself as a guide.

It was a lot for Poppi to take in at once too, but the artificial blade kept her head on straight. She strode through the station and out into the sunlight that shone down on the thoroughfare. Ahead lay a splendid palace, but behind the city loomed the split mountain, closer and taller than ever. “So,” she began, processing aloud. “Friends need to find what lay ahead. What between here and mountain, what on mountain, so on. Everything between us and top.” She pointed a finger at the peak. “Second is find way to get there.” She put her hands on her hips just like Panther had done earlier, trying to look determined.

Her statement brought a chuckle out of Tora as he patted Pufi, since it made everything sound easy, but just as with everything on this adventure so far he assumed it would be easier said than done. With a final stroke he returned his new pet to his shoulder and rested his wings. “So, where start?”

Ms Fortune

Level 3 Nadia (26/30)
Location: Luma Pools
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: 1175

As she tried to make out who it was that now splashed furiously around in the lake, Nadia almost didn’t register that the strange sea serpent now bore down on the new arrival with nebulous intent. When she did, helped a little by Blazermate’s questions, her eyebrows shot up. “Oh. That’s not great, huh?” She took a step toward the water only to remember that she left her rigging on the ship. Sure, she could just swim over, and a peaceful dip did sound nice, but that would just leave her in the same exact situation as the stranger: at the sharp-eyed creature’s mercy. That didn’t apply to Link, however, and the boy jumped right in. Nadia watched him make his way through the water, pausing only when he noticed the crystal-dotted outcrop sitting at the lowest point of the lakebed.

Bowser, meanwhile, seemed to recognize the newcomer at least a little, and while Nadia pondered her options he stepped forward with a plan in mind. His new rigging unfurled, the sight of which certainly took Nadia by surprise, and then aimed such a comical overabundance of cannons at the beast that the feral couldn’t help but wince as took a tentative step back. “Oof, doncha think that’s a little, uh...overkill?” She looked back to see that the Ukazeer had turned its attention to Link as he made a scene. Her gaze followed him as he tried to lead her away, but in so doing she happened to see the larger, showier creature that had presented itself, and she rounded on Bowser with a hiss. Rather blast the beast to kingdom come, however, Bowser sprayed it with jets of water. Instinctively his target averted her face from the stream, but she neither scurried like a wet cat nor pounced like a poked tiger. Instead the Ukazeer, evidently a reptile that loved the water, merely enjoyed the unexpected wash. Since by that time Mr. L was far enough to rouse neither her alarm nor curiosity and longer, she allowed herself to drift back toward her offspring, and as Bowser’s hosing tapered off the two creatures headed for the far side of the lake.

Nadia let out her breath, happy that things seemed to work out peacefully for a change. After so much slaughter it was a welcome change of pace, and it would have been a shame so destroy such a cool-looking creature anyway, let alone one with a child. “Good on ya, turtle man,” she told the kingly koopa. Peach crouched at the side of the lake to lend L a hand getting out of the water, neither of them burdened by recognition of the other. As such Nadia’s attention returned to the stranger, since she’d heard the name ‘Bottomless Sea’ tossed around and he might know something, but he seemed more interested in rekindling his chat with Bowser so she turned her attention elsewhere.

Geralt, whose sodden attire suggested that he could still use a towel, had accosted the Cadet. When he threw Nadia a complement she responded in kind, albeit with a little cheek. “Thanks, Uncle G! You weren’t so bad yourself. Gives ‘flip the bird’ a whole new meaning!” Rather than give her the chance to come up with a decent pun, however, the Witcher asked the Cadet for the spirit of the Harbor Demon. Nadia tried to picture it. “Whoa, you’re down for that? Aren’t you afraid you’ll end up with enormous...” Arms already halfway up, she paused for a moment. “Uh...hands?” She side-eyed the spirit of the fallen Abyssal. Although she did not want to be either big or slow, which the Harbor Demon practically epitomized, she couldn’t help but feel as if she’d missed an opportunity. “I mean, your call. If it were me I wouldn’t, I mean, psh, quick ‘n nimble’s like my whole shtick, but you…” she trailed off weakly. Geralt, however, neither quibbled nor quavered, and accepted the Harbor Demon’s spirit into his heart.

The prismatic light’s evanescence left Nadia blinking, dazzled, but after she shook her head she found herself staring upward with mouth agape at a transformed Witcher. “Goodness...nyeow that’s what I call tall.” As best she could tell, Geralt stood at only a little less than double her height. Her ears just about reached the level of his belly button, and she needed to reach a little to bat at his waist-length hair. “Jeez, I’d slice it right off if this happened to me. Some hanging in front of my eye after I fused was annoying enough. ‘Hair today, gone tomorrow’, right gramps?”

She was pretty pleased with herself for that one, but as always it didn’t last, so she looked around again. She watched Bella wave back to Sakura, then Blazermate play with her horrific zombies, then finally settled on a sunny patch of riverbank. She just about said something like Oh, if we’re gonna be here another moment, I’m gonna take a load off!, but at the same time, everyone could just see her do it and they probably didn’t need the extra chatter. With that in mind she jogged over to the water’s edge and lowered herself in. “Ah…” she sighed as she felt the refreshing cool seep through her lower body, while her upper half soaked in the warm rays. Once she washed away the gunsmoke and tiny wood chips on her face she allowed her eyes to slide closed, and relaxed.

In the peaceful moments that followed Nadia remembered something important. Not just that she’d fused, but what it meant. She’d taken in the essence of a whole different person who’d lived her own whole life. But she didn’t really feel that different. No voice in her head, no foreign memories, no inner turmoil. In fact, beneath the battle scars, she felt fine. Nothing more than a sort of even-keeled placidity. When she glanced down at the water’s surface, she saw a familiar face, and it was her. She was surprised to realize that her clothes were even any different. Did she even act any different since fusing? Nadia couldn’t remember doing anything weird. At the very least, she hoped that the original her would have offered the others encouragement.

In the end, she really didn’t have much of an idea of who the girl she absorbed had been. Not even so much as her name. Just that she liked sports, went on dates, and was unafraid to fight and die for what she believed in. It was sad, in a way. Hopefully, she thought, This existence brings you some kind of honor, whoever you were. Since there was nowhere else to go with that line of thought, Nadia let herself drift away once more.

Meanwhile, Peach had walked a little further away from the lake to peer deeper into the forest. “Maybe we should try to collect some fruit for the road ahead,” she remarked to nobody in particular. If anywhere was going to have food for the taking, it would be a lush place like this.

Quite unable to discern the inner workings of Linkle’s mind as she considered the situation, Albedo followed her around as she sorted through the available clothes. Were he on his own he very well might have gone with the yellow behemoth he first sighted, since it would do the job and could be secured with his newly-gained funds. Yellow was also the color most associated with Geo, the element of his Vision, so it seemed fitting. That said, he knew his limits when it came to certain subjects, and if Linkle knew better he was more than willing to trust her judgment.

They looked over coat after coat, all under the rather bored scrutiny of Morshu. Rather than insert himself into his customers’ affairs to hawk some item or another he allowed them to go over the goods at their own pace, and it turned out to be a good thing he did. Together the archer and the alchemist examined mismatch after mismatch, until after a number of attempts Albedo’s new friend turned up a fine yet affordable piece of garb that exhibited no apparent flaws. It was comfortable, warm, and sufficiently stylish, though to Albedo that meant little more than ‘not ghastly’. “Yes, that should do nicely. I would not have ended up with this were I alone.” Above all it was affordable, and after he handed Morshu back a copious majority of his own rubees he found himself with just a handful remaining. “Here,” he said as he offered the little gems to Linkle. “Your find, after all. I’m sure he has something else you might want.”

“I should hope so!” The shopkeeper exclaimed. “I’ve got more odds and ends than half the monsters in town, combined! Surely something will catch your eye.”

Albedo pulled the winter coat on over his current jacket and fastened the belt over his chest. “I’ll get us a table at Grillby’s. Come by when you’re done.” With that he turned to go, and providing that Linkle did indeed feel like spending the remainder of her windfall, left his new friend with Morshu.”

Without a moment’s delay he gave a wide smile and rubbed his hands together. “So, anything you’re looking for? Or would you rather browse?” He paused for a moment, and for the first time seemed to notice her long ears sticking out behind her bang-braids, rather than just the floppy rabbit ears atop her head. “Oho! Pardon me, it’s been so long since I’ve laid eyes on a Hylian, I just about didn’t...mmmmm, recognize you!” He leaned forward on the counter, his tone turning confidential for a moment. “A sight for sore eyes, let me tell you! I was beginning to think I was totally on my own with the monsters out here.” Straightening back up, he adjusted his hat “I don’t suppose you bring news from King Harkinian?”

Edge of the Blue - Atlantis Temple


After managing to conquer the paddleboat game in a single attempt, Sephiroth set her sights on something a little more challenging. As it turned out, the very next pool over advertised its difficulty front and center on its sign. The snail in charge of Froggy Diver, as the attraction seemed to be called, was only too happy to explain the rules. “You’ve got five minutes to get as high a score as possible before surfacing! To do that, there are three things you gotta know,” he told the new group, which included Sephiroth. He stood in front of a diagram of the pool which took the shape of a very deep cylinder.

“But first, take these. You’ll need them.” For a moment the snail busied himself distributing masks as well as plastic bags to everyone, then held up a finger. “All along the walls are ledges with miniature treasure chests on them. Some just lie there, some under rocks, some as puzzle rewards. Every chest you grab and put in your bag will earn you points when you surface. The deeper you go, the better the chests are, and the best ones of all are lying on the bottom, around this hole!”

He pointed to a dark circle in the center of the pool floor, then held up a second finger. “There are also frogs swimming around in the tank. If you send one to the surface, you also get a point! However…” A third finger appeared, and the attendant’s voice took on a menacing quality. “There are also little water moose, so beware! They’ll try and grab the frogs and drag them through the hole, robbing you of points. If they grab you, they’ll drain the air from your mask, forcing you to return to the surface sooner, so make sure you push ‘em away when they come near.”

He spread his arms wide. “You might be asking yourself, how am I going to stay down there? Well, oxygen bubbles will be rising from the hole the entire time, which your mask can pick up for you. Split your time between earning points and getting air, avoiding moose all the while, and you’ll be just fine. And don’t mess with the other divers!” Two fingers came up on each hand as he wrapped up his explanation. “To earn all the stamps, you’ll need to do four things. First, just finish the challenge. Second, bring at least ten chests with you at the end. Third, save three frogs. Fourth, find a Sand Dollar.”

With a serious expression, he crossed his arms. “Now, the reason why this challenge is the hardest is not just because it’s physically demanding. You’re also competing for the same rewards with everyone else, but even that’s not it. The Sand Dollars are at the bottom, not of the cylinder, but the area below the cylinder, where all the moose hang out. Its dark and creepy, not for the faint of heart. So don’t feel bad about missing that one! You ready?”

The five guests set to partake in the attraction were both varying degrees of ready and varying degrees of paying attention. The white-haired man in a full-body suit listened with rapt attention, while a guy rocking sunglasses indoors seemed more relaxed. The blonde girl in seafoam-green and the muscular redhead seemed to know one another, but the ginger made no bones about his admiration of Sephiroth, to his friend’s express annoyance. “Hey, pay attention!” she whispered angrily to him. “We’re never going to be able to afford a way out of here if we don’t focus on earning stamps.”

With a shrug and an easy smile, the redhead snuck Sephiroth another glance. “Hey, maybe I just like it here, who knows.”

Everyone zeroed back in as the snail attendant raised his horn. “I’ll take it to mean you’re all ready! On your marks, get set…”

I think that's acceptable.
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