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Welcome back one and all into a new chapter of our adventure, the stakes have risen quite considerably. Are you ready?

Previous Threads
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Lots%20of%20Dialogues

Twitter for schedule updates
https://twitter.com/TaleOfMonsters

Perks and spells for our main character
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FFJHeWTu21_OktfrfYkJQhpV5HQw4PtFKav_QoMYjQY/edit?usp=sharing

Characters met by Arawn.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ishEn1-U1A1i3FbZ-YiQd65xk2jXpLab1XnM2hTNZvs/edit?usp=sharing

Objectives

The path to restoring your memories might not be so clear-cut anymore; the Blood and Zipangu rituals aren't your only options anymore, revelations from the Throne and reunion with a knight of your past could allow you to investigate with fewer dangers to your psyche.

The Suppression is to happen tomorrow. The Royals have opted to bring a combination of lamias and Shining Knights. You'll be able to influence this decision if you decide to attend the evening meeting.


Here are the people planning of not participating in the Suppression. Sieglinde, Elina, Martha, Klesiah, Vilma, Teruko and Hao. It's possible this group could increase or shrink with coming events.


Side activities
Your two unused privileges from gambling with Elina and Sieglinde remain available.

Daiyu granted you a ''favor'' to use at your leisure; the Demon Lord is a resourceful person.

Further activities decided in the thread will be noted here.

Happenings to remember.

Fight and triumph.
>>
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Echoes of pitter-patters traveled out of a wide corridor, the small gentle silhouette of a young girl was running toward you -no, the room you were in- with a surreal vision of a monstrous ghost following close behind. It was a combination of floating and swimming, ten tendrils exiting out of a bony humanoid torso curled inward then pushed forward in continuous momentum, propelling this glowy blue ghost with odd organic grace.

Yes, it was strangely elegant, even as it reached forward with this bony hand toward that poor girl, its semi-translucid state allowed you to gaze at a pair of men slumped on the floor near the beginning of the hallway, condemned to eternal sleep far too soon.


This memory wasn't... no, it was yours for now. Gardy awakening, his very first kindle of sentience happened in strife; this young girl burst into the room, hid under the bed then...

Direct contact with the Magritew has the unfortunate side effect of imposing a few seconds of hypnosis, where memories bubble up to wrap your consciousness with new, invasive perspective into a state of semi-stupor. Your haste to help Vilma had you strike before erecting a proper barrier against manipulations of your soul.

Another skill from Gardy.

Grabbing the creature head to violently yank it away from Vilma glossy green silhouette happened quickly enough to take your foe completely by surprise, even if it had been a rather clumsy and violent approach, it proved effective in breaking its deadly grab as each tendril was ripped away liked a yanked arrowheads. The Fascination took hold, the creature, unfortunately, slithered itself free from your hand. Crashing into a nearby column of charcoal had been enough to reestablish your mind.

Architectures inside Mother Earth realm was represented oddly inside the Red World, becoming strange shadowy shapes without defining features or entrances and exit for most buildings, they were solid enough to feel like castle walls; your impromptu flight had abruptly ended when your large body of steel simply bounced off a house wall instead of crashing right through.

Buildings manifesting into the Red World seems nigh indestructible.

The Red World wasn't a realm of sounds, noises struggled to form in this hellish dimension, always coming out as quiet and muffled yet Gardy -no yours- sensitive hearing picked a melodious plaint emanating from the glowing Magritew. Having suffered near decapitation had certainly been effective in opening hostility, a mouth that had been previously covered by a mass of flesh was visible and all of its tendrils -now dangling free- rubbed together in a harmonious melody of deadly intents coming out as rubbing steels. The creature swam toward you cautiously, carefully maneuvering around your friend's burning existence after recovering its wits.
>>
Gardy never fought one of these creatures inside the Red World, in fact, this entire realm attached to reality wasn't formed during antiquity. How did these soul eaters adapt here, where everything was food?

You'll have to find out.

The Embodiment of Protection fought three of these creatures alone during the wars of the Pretenders, each of them manifesting into the world to kill his beloved charge. These confrontations had always been particularly tricky because of these ravenous eaters natural effectiveness against everything with a soul. They fought with lunges, swipes, jabs, and slices of wicked claws going through clothes and steels, each success taking its toll on souls and memories yet physical strikes in return had somehow remained effective, even without Mother Earth influence, you could still harm the creature.

They were lethal grapplers of unprecedented dangers, each of these tendrils could easily sink deep into your essence and coil in a vice-grip of steel to choke out the very core of your existence

A jet of golden fume exited your arm as your foe made a fake attempt at charging, a clumsy bait to test your nerves. More than five meters separated the two of you, it's sight was often directed at Vilma soul protectively cocooned between your friends. Movement from the real world didn't translate fully inside this dimension, a bonfire was kindling in the middle of the road; it was doubtful they all remained here now.

A sense of loss filled your entire being when a barrier of soul spread around your body, a first and only defense against the ghostly jellyfish: filled with superfluous memories, it'll make an adequate defense... albeit without any chances of recovery unless you wish to sacrifice something precious. Nevertheless, your instincts turned into brief sadness from losing a substance so intimately related to your being - tiny pieces of souls consumed for battles.

Your foe grew much more careful. Perhaps stalling for time, waiting for the end of the Lullaby? It swam in the air, playing its eerie melody of metal produced by its vibrating tendrils. Magritew have always been ambushing predators, although perhaps it was simply waiting for you to approach and then lunge and entrap you.
>>
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Barrier Strength: 100%
By sacrificing all superfluous memories of the last two weeks (unimportant things like what you ate for suppers on a given day, casual conversations about books here and there, things like that) your nature as an Embodiment of Protection manifested this barrier against the Magritew all-consuming hunger. It will not recover unless you decide to sacrifice more parts of your soul.

Your foe is cautiously watching your every move...

Here's a reminder of what you can do.

>Attack.[Light/Medium/Hard/All-Out].
Light will favor a quick, probing strike to test or interrupt your enemy.
Medium is a careful attack, meant to react against your enemy. Think of it as an offensive-defensive.
Hard is self-explanatory. A big, damaging attack.
All-Out is a dangerous gamble where you give everything you've got. Or employ your special skill as an Embodiment (see below).
>Defense
Defensive options will open once you need it, for now, the Magritew isn't attacking.
>Observe.
Take some time to examine your foe and the area.
>Free. (Employing a peculiar strategy)

Factoring your environment into attacks and/or giving suggestions (like trying to lure your enemy into an open house or specific area) will be your measure of customization/options. Mentioning specific spells won't be possible because, despite the merging, Gardy body remains a bit of a mystery. Hence these vague options, Arawn will be operating on instincts.

Since you are accomplishing your role as Embodiment of Protection and your excellent relationship with Gardy make you're Joining perfect, you are able to consciously unleash an extremely dangerous offensive. Creating it will demand a moment of preparation and, overall, doing it can be extremely hazardous and dangerous to your health. We can call this command the [Ideal of Protection] and it is NOT to be used lightly.
>>
Good to have you back, Insert! How have you been?

>>3170467
>Light Attack
More testing the waters, maybe we can get it to commit to an attack we might use to nail a counter.

I wonder if the fight in the 'real world' translated enough into the Red World for there to be a sharp piece of debris we could impale the Magritev onto - either by flinging the soul eating filth at said piece or vice versa.
>>
>>3170497
>Good to have you back, Insert! How have you been?
A bit o nthe woozy side but I'll be good to make a few updates today. Gotta get the boss fight going!

>I wonder if the fight in the 'real world' translated enough into the Red World for there to be a sharp piece of debris we could impale the Magritev onto

There are a few fences around the houses, no debris to pick up anywhere, unfortunately.

Roll 1d100 for light attack.
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>3170507
Oh boy, I wonder how the Dice Gods feel about me tonight.
>>
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>>3170516
Good thing it's light.
>>
>>3170520
Is high good or bad here?
>>
>>3170538
Good. Only time lower is better is when I ask you to roll 1d6 for spell measurement, which isn't going to be needed in this fight.
>>
>>3170542
So that's damn near a crit then,sweet. If we somehow get it inside our friend's collective aura it'll start taking damage?
>>
>>3170557
Yes, as will you.
>>
>Big success, critical hit!

Ten tendrils, two arms, strange eyes, floating two meters above the ground... There were long moments of silences, the creatures many limbs tensed when your first step bridged a foot of distance, a second one made it braces and stop the melody of steel, tendrils curling inward like an angry spider.

You rushed forward without warning, Gardy metallic feet glowered with potent energy of soul and burst in a sudden explosion that threw you forward in unbelievable momentum. your foe reacted swiftly, all ten tendrils whipped forward to crash into your flanks of steel but a knowing reinforcement of this area had the few who touched you bounce off uselessly.

Barrier Strength: 96%

Your body was a weapon of metal, your velocity had you crash into the Magritew, one foot planted under your foe chin and the other on its torso, your hands met a wall with bone-crushing pressure that would have shattered your organic limbs. In this same momentum, you maneuvered both of your legs to ram its head into the wall below, your strength reverberating in subtle trembling around the world and without wasting a second, Gardy metallic feet glowered again and exploded in a muffled, roaring noises of chaos. A few tendrils had come swiping in your direction, your dodge was lucking indeed; momentum drove you upward yet iron grip on the dark pillar changed your direction to bash into the charcoal scenery, missing the Magritew clumsy resistance. From there, your legs of steel pushed forward one more time, jumping you toward the ground where your hands sank into the ground and directed you away from the rising monstrosity as momentum ended with a few cartwheels of distance, ending not too far from the gathered souls of your friends.

Yet, despite this dizzying success, a flash of blue heralded by noises of sharpening blades revealed your foe charge. He was fast, really damn fast!

>Defense [Evasive. Guard. Counterattack]
Evasive has you focus on trying to make distance with the Magritew, it's an option to take if you don't want to try to continue your aggression.

Guard is about bracing and enduring. Damage to your barrier is reduced.

Counterattack will have you stand your ground an attempt to harm your foe in the middle of his assault. Dangerous. Will always result in damage to your barrier

>Free

You can't spend times to observe your surrounding and/or wait.
>>
>>3170586
Are our friends behind us?
>>
>>3170635
No, they are to your side. Left, to be precise.

I've been trying pretty hard to find some easy to use mapping program in order to precisely show this information but I haven't been able to do anything.
>>
>Guard

With it being so fast, there is no way to avoid it's attack, and we aren't trying to run away, either. Let's minimize the damage, and wait for our next turn to strike big.
>>
I'll wait about 10/15 minutes for other votes.
>>
>>3170586
>Counterattack
Clothesline/Lariat, bitch!
>>
>>3170637
Damn, I was gonna say try to be a matador and try to dodge and let it get a bit toasty if we succeeded if they were. Would that have been a guard option?
>>
>>3170650
>Would that have been a guard option?

Maybe.

I might have to be a bit vague in what's possible in this fight, you guys have to try and be a little creative!

So far we have two votes. I'll wait until 18:20 then make a roll to confirm what we do.
>>
>>3170586
>Guard
>>3170638
Agreed
>>
Maybe we could try grabbing the Magritev by the tendrils at some point in the fight and swing at against the buildings or at the proverbial bonfire that is the souls of our friends... risky though, would certainly cause damage to our barrier.
>>
Guarding was the right choice, no need to roll for success.

Time to proceed.
>>
>>3170653
Do we have to dig in and meet the attack head on or can we try to dodge while also enhancing the barrier?
>>
>>3170670
Guarding is about digging in and meeting the attack, it's the only way to enhance your barrier. Can't do it while dodging.
>>
When you say the shield can only be replenished by sacrificing parts of our soul/memories, is it just for the duration of this combat?

Or will it also stay damaged in any future encounters we face in the following days?
>>
>>3170696
>Or will it also stay damaged in any future encounters we face in the following days?

It'll regenerate as you make more ''non-important'' memories and recover with time. Meaning that it will not be completely healed tomorrow if you were to go into battle as Gardy again.

Let's say we end at 30%. Tomorrow, it'll have naturally recovered to 40% or 50%.
>>
>>3170703

I see. That is good news.
>>
>>3170703
If we were to, say, sacrifice an important memory would we get an overcharge on the barrier?
>>
>>3170723
Yes.
>>
There was only enough time to raise your arms and plant your feet on the ground before contact. It's long bony arms reached for yours than gripped onto your thick shoulder of coppery obsidian; fumes of gold exited like a jet of steam, ten tendrils curled inward and stabbed into your body uselessly, bouncing against the aura of gold highlighting your silhouette.

"I say, refugee food is rather unhealthy why then ask to taste it?'' Teruko glared half-heartedly at you and Elina. ''Why, you think this a test of my motherly culinary skills? I'll have you know that Lisbeth won't be fed rat meat!''

''You trying to ditch your turn in the kitchen, teach?'' Elina snickered
and disappeared.

93%

The sheer strength inside the Magritew was beyond reasonable. Your feet peeled off traces of charcoal out of the ground as they scrapped against darkened granites, its tendrils stabbed and stabbed continuously, it's lack of grips only feeding into a maddened, frenzied rage. The Red World muffled nature still translated these wicked stabs into hollow thuds, each digging further and further into your protection...

86%

Its rage was a boon; the Magritew hadn't tried to enroll those deadly limbs around your body, nor did it realize where you had angled yourself. Now that you've taken a few feet of distances backward, the kindling bonfire of collected souls... wasn't burning quite as brightly. Where were Elina and Tuilelaith?

No matter! Klesiah, Sieglinde, Vilma, and Gwendolyn were still together! If you had lips you'd have smiled, instead the single light of your gem-eye grew a murderous red and with odd clicks, the machinery inside your body braced, struggled and muscled for dominance. A push shoved your enemy inside the burning bonfire of collected existence, the Magritew scream was no melodious song of steel. It was like a drowning man, a muffled noise of lonely agony as the contained flames simply... overwrote the Magritew existence, unfortunately, the damnable manlike jellyfish slipped from your weakening grasp, touching the girl's souls had, unfortunately, taken an unexpected tool.

78%

Necessity demanded a second of recollection after making vital distance with the bonfire. Your enemy was writhing on the ground in a blanket of limbs, holding onto half-of a forearm: its right arm had been reduced to a stump and it wasn't used to pain, you didn't know if it looked like a dying snake or a fish out of the water, flailing uselessly.

>Your foe is looking distracted!
>Attack.[Light/Medium/Hard/All-Out].
>Observe
>Free.
>>
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>>3170790
>Hard Attack
I'm tempted to give this thing the Hulk treatment but I'm not willing to risk damaging our barrier with prolonged contact.
>>
>>3170790
What kind of attack would a "Death From Above" maneuver be?
>>
>>3170820
Hard/All-Out.
>>
I believe it's time for this!

>Attack[All-Out]
>>
>>3170826
>>3170808
Hm, I'll wait 5 minutes to see how we confirm this.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>3170808
>>3170826

Alright, you guys can roll me 1d100
Neither of them was the right choice for auto-success.
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>3170848

Let's goo!

Also, dammit! I suppose the bonfire thingy will still harm us some.
>>
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>>3170853

It is the best out of 3 rolls, right?

Someone else, do better than I did!
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>3170848
Dice Gods, I beseech thee!
>>
>>3170859
Best out of three yeah. I'll wait about 20 or 30 minutes to get those rolls.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>3170848
Let's see here...
>>
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>>3170853
>>3170867
>>3170869
Tehehe.
>>
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>>3170875
Ah shite, I guess we got a little too overeager this time around.

Ah well, we'll deal with it. We always do.
>>
A 68... at least it shouldn't be an immediately critical failure thingy. I hope. >w<
>>
>>3170875
Damnit, how many degrees of failure was that?
>>
>>3170889
You'll know when I post. Shouldn't take too long, actions and battle demand shorter updates.
>>
>Small failure.

Only a few seconds of rest, scarce little moments to recover from having brushed existences with so many gathered souls. Your attention focused on Gardy hands. Both sported clawed fingers of steel rendered night unbreakable by your joined purpose; Vilma gentle, dull soul held no shine yet put between so many stronger, beautiful flames, your friend lonely face came to mind. Her anger at the injustice forced on her by her peers, her rage at seeing Mimiru mistreated, her quiet happiness when she woke up after recovering from Overcast... These precious memories gathered into your steely bosom, your purpose is to fight and protect this girl. Reestablish what was a loss, all taken by this damnable animal!

You took off running, single eye focusing on the blue writhing creature. Your arm underwent a rapid metamorphosis: fingers welded together and the metal of your limb thinned to allow one long blade to sing a deadly song of steel as a wide pommel appeared midway into your forearm but a flash of blue suddenly reverse your stride.

Something collided with your frame, it would have landed right in the middle of your face had you not spun to offer your shoulder instead.

76%

Collision made you spin wildly out of control for a second, you willingly allowed yourself to crash into a painful fall when another spark of blue appeared in the maelstrom of confusing images and it was a good thing indeed for something whizzed past your body and audibly crashed into the Red World solid architecture.

There was no time to wait around stunned, already undoing the modification of your arm, willing strength into your legs had you bounce away and -thankfully- dodge another projectile that audibly crashed into the ground where you previously lied in, peeled off pieces of charcoal colored granites.

The Magritew was off the ground again, levitating above a fence that had been destroyed inside Mother Earth dimension. It's bony, husk eyes glowered brightly, gathered energy defusing and spreading into its body, manifesting as gathered lines of darker luminosity traveling throughout its semi-transparent body.

Projectiles? It can create projectiles? This is new.
>>
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Something else was going on. Energy visibly gathered into the entity face again, it's single hand gripped the dark pillar and you braced to dodge something else yet, instead... it spat out something, a liquid of dark blue a few feet away from its position. This ball splatted unceremoniously, only to glower in blue similar to the evil creature; a sigil quickly formed, expanding out of that liquid. It was the Magritew face, except somehow even more disfigured, stretched out and dry.

Then... your foe retreated? Swiftly swimming in the air, the odd style of the Red World had nearby building fuses together. By using these as an anchor for levitating movements, the Magritew was quickly moving in the direction of the forge without touching street level, where the alley opened into a wider circle of roads.

Chasing it off wasn't going to work. The Magritew will be coming back to infest Vilma soul again once she goes to sleep, unfortunately going deeper into the Red World isn't a good idea... There's not much of a choice now. That sigil, however, is an odd thing. Glowing an ominous blue, it was radiating from the Magritew energy but seemed otherwise entirely harmless.

If you were to pursue your foe without destroying this thing, you'll have a good shot at landing a blow...

>Pursue your foe without dispelling that strange sigil. (1d100 to gauge success of harming the Magritew).

>Whatever it created is definitely harmful to you. Break that cursed thing and follow the beast afterward.

>Free

This little lull in the fighting makes a good stopping point for tonight.
>>
So our failure meant we dealt no damage, but luckily de damage we took from the projectile wasn't too high, either.

>Whatever it created is definitely harmful to you. Break that cursed thing and follow the beast afterward.

I vote for this. We can't leave things like that hanging at our back while our focus is gathered on our front.
>>
>>3171029
>Whatever it created is definitely harmful to you. Break that cursed thing and follow the beast afterward.
>>
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Real boss fight begins here.

Things sure went well so far! This might be a bit of a long fight, being the Embodiment of Protection is a hard job.
>>
>>3171029
>Whatever it created is definitely harmful to you. Break that cursed thing and follow the beast afterward
>>
>>3171091

It's a hard job, but one we will do gladly!
>>
>>3171029
>Whatever it created is definitely harmful to you. Break that cursed thing and follow the beast afterward.

Please tell me we're faster than it. We need to be or else it'll get away but this thing can't be good. Either it's summoning buddies or that's the real deal and the thing running away is an illusion meant to draw us off so it can escape.

Gardy's an expert on these things right? What's our gut sayin' about this? About how damaged is the beast?

>>3171091
>That spoiler
The heck that supposed to mean?

>being the Embodiment of Protection is a hard job.
We knew what we were getting into when we picked the fusion option. We're him and he's us, so of course we inherit his responsibilities. He gets ours too, buddy might be able to become a King and as we all know, it's good to be the King.
>>
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>>3171265
>Please tell me we're faster than it.

Speed is honestly equal. The Magritew are very agile creatures but Gardy manages to be even nimbler so that why you haven't been stuck in a deadly hold yet. In term of running speed though, you won't be able to catch up to it by taking care of the sigil first but it's not fast enough to get out of your sight.

Especially since it's very difficult to hide in the Red World as a shiny blue man-jellyfish.

>Gardy's an expert on these things right? What's our gut sayin' about this? About how damaged is the beast?

The loss of its arm was a genuine stroke of good luck, otherwise, the creature still got plenty of fight left in it.

>The heck that supposed to mean?

There's fighting to do.
>>
>>3171277
Ok a final thought before I gotta sleep. The damn thing might be heading in the direction of apostles/backup. Do they have bonuses in the red world due to the "gifts" of Lady White?

Also, it *is* the absolute last resort but say we activate that hypermode ya hinted at with a damn good reason why we did. How badly will it fuck us up? I mean, I just know it'll claim a precious-tier memory at the very least (i.e. the very name of a waifu *and* that moment that made us like her so very much that she became one) but is that it or will it leave us with something else that's rather permanent in the disability department?

Just... tryin' to gauge how far you're planning on taking this whole thing. Tui and Elina are probably planning on coming to our aid and/or preventing White's forces from helping the beast. God I hope it's the latter, that'd be the big break we'd need. Poor jellydog cries for master's aid, only for it to be denied. Poor abomination... and lucky us! The former though, well, I just hope that adds a positive modifier to our efforts. We are the embodiment of protection, and they are certainly people we wanna protect.
>>
>>3171866
>Do they have bonuses in the red world due to the "gifts" of Lady White?

Can't answer that. Lady White was a different person during antiquity so Gardy has no idea how her apostles work.

>Also, it *is* the absolute last resort but say we activate that hypermode ya hinted at with a damn good reason why we did. How badly will it fuck us up?

The thing about that super strike/Ideal of Protection is that it has more to do with feelings and situation for proper activation. You have to -really- get into the mindset of your objective and go to the point of completely disregarding your individualism and feelings of self-preservation. Necessity will be needed to activate it. The toll it'll take isn't something that can be accurately predicted. Gardy only used it at full strength once and afterward, he was in the Throne; it's possible to activate it at lesser power of course but it's still not something that can be activated like a trained spell.

Gambling on a lesser attack will drain a chunk of your soul, this could mean losing your barrier or, of course, a memory.

It's pretty vague because this type of ability only belongs to angelic Embodiment and, of course, yourself now so it function on angelic logic: feelings and emotions.
>>
>>3171884
Lemme guess, he tried to take on an actual full on "god" didn't he. Gonna need a conceptual class weapon or greater for that and while he ain't Black Barrel or the Monado, if it was gunning for his previous charge his ideal would be quite the opposition at full power even for a deity.

Good to know we have an out if my worst case scenario happens. Surrounded by apostles intent on dragging us to Lady White's most luxurious estate for some "personal" time with the mistress. A fate far worse than mere death. Even Mylen would wince...
>>
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Simple staring wasn't going to reveal whatever purpose this odd sigil could be accomplishing, unfortunately, there wasn't' any time to experiment. This thing was magical, yes, but the smoky face of your prey lingering in the air seemed to lack ambitions, nothing was happening. When you passed your arm through this manifestation, the darkened bluish smoke gave way as if you waved into a large patch of dust and the equilibrium of its magic broke down, leaving behind nothing more than a viscous patch of blue liquid.

These seconds of pauses allowed your foe to make significant headway. It's large glowing body stuck out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of solid onyx throughout the Red World but you couldn't afford being distanced like this anymore, the straight line that led toward the forge seemed twice as long inside this alternative dimension; stamina wasn't going to be a problem thankfully. Running didn't cause burning in your lungs, your limbs of steel creaked in smooth noises of steel while your feet echoed in continuous heavy stomps to keep up with your prey, no fatigue, no decrease in speed, only raw purpose to return Vilma memories so viciously toyed with and stolen by this infernal abomination!

You foe, of course, arrived first into the small square marketplace around the forge -even the poorer district of Throne Town at least enjoyed some amount of commerce- with the nimbleness of a supernatural spider the Magritew swiftly floated toward the single structure and climbed up its smooth surface of coal. In this dimension, this simple wide forge had the look of an ominous gothic temple, a wide and solid structure dedicated to some foreboding dark god without openings, surrounded by a smooth field of charcoal that ought to still have a few stalls.

Thankfully the dangerous dwellers of the Red World weren't something to worry about yet because nothing was lingering in this area, the Magritew almost looked trapped as he floated on the roof, it's expressionless bony face observed you through a pair of glowing balls of energy inserted deeply inside these dry eyesockets and remained motionless for a moment in careful study.

Back in Mother Earth realm, the militias cordon was still in effect, the two big streets used as the main artery to leave this district were filled with burning silhouettes of gorgeous unending colors representing Mamonos of all shapes and sizes

From atop its perch, the one-armed abomination raised its many tendrils in an intimidating posture, slowly moving in the direction opposite of yours as you walked around, when one of the pillars came to obstruct its pace, the Magritew simply coiled around without moving its torso. Reaching that roof would be difficult because of the smooth glass-like disposition of its walls. This forced you to aim for the ceiling itself and grip a pillar to redirect your momentum...
>>
Dangerous, it'll give the Magritew an opportunity to force you into a deadly embrace... But you don't seem to have any other options.

However, when the soul eater spat out another one of these sigils that landed unceremoniously on the dark ground and moved about the length of its perch to create more of these strange -yet harmless- spells, you observed with a measure of cautious and distance to avoid any potential violent reaction. It stopped after creating five of them in random angles that surrounded the forge, glowing a darker shade of blue with the mutated face of their creator glaring into nothingness, hovering above ground like ominous beacons. Once done, the Magritew was happy to sit, wait and cautiously observe you.

This is... odd. It couldn't be a trap given how blatant it spread these magical marking around but there weren't any hints about the purpose of these creations even now.

>Your foe is cautiously awaiting for your offensive.
>Attack.[Light/Medium/Hard/All-Out].
>Observe
>Move around dispelling these sigils.
>Free.
>>
>>3173340
>Move around dispelling these sigils.
Let's see how it reacts.

Man, if only we had some ranged option available so we could nail the Magritev in it's dumb face.
>>
>>3173387
Gardy is sorta 100% melee, it's an unfortunate reality.
>>
>>3173340
About how long will it take to dispell the sigils and can we make ourselves an X-Buster if we get high enough in magitek in the future?
>>
>>3173441
>About how long will it take to dispell the sigils
A few minutes, which would amount to something 3 rounds of combats.

>can we make ourselves an X-Buster if we get high enough in magitek in the future?

Maybe. You'll need a way to study Gardy artificial body first.
>>
Alright, it's been long enough. we'll go with dispelling these sigils.
>>
>>3173391
We could circumvent this in the future if we can get Arawn's spells working in this Joined state, I think. Using Arawn's magic to create spears for Gardy to throw would work wonders.
>>
>>3173480
That's good thinking indeed, something to remember.
>>
Fair warning that I might be unable to post further tonight, I'm having some odd problem with my internet coming and going at random.

If I end up disappearing, it'll be due to that.
>>
>>3173484
Also, don't let the goo accumlate on us. I bet it's bad news
>>
>Move around dispelling these sigils.

...I think my vote comes in late, but oh well.

I wish you luck being able to post again!
>>
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The simple act of jumping through the images of smokes was enough to disrupt these spells. Without noises or burst of power, their purpose remained a mystery but it was enough to motivate the Magritew into making more during your running around that large, darkened forge, creating a stalemate.

A few minutes of this farce made you wonder if, perhaps, your foe was trying to waste time and let the Hour of Lullaby pass, you didn't know precisely how minutes diverged between these alternate dimensions and fact remained that it was slowly but surely exhausting its magic; each sigils was a small spell with an objective that you tirelessly worked to deny, while slow, you were at a definite advantage here, locking the beast into a fight of attrition.

When things changed a dozen patch dark of slimy liquid dotted the black ground, it was enough to make your foe stop, tendrils shaking and whipping the air to translate a general state of agitation that couldn't manifest on its face, shiny liquids flowed throughout its human half to concentrate behind its eyes, both balls grew a familiar shiny, murderous blue and for a moment you braced to dodge a projectile but the Magritew settled down instead, keeping a firm hold on the pillar, eyes slowly diminishing into their usual bone sockets.

You've learned by now that noises didn't function similarly inside this realm of living souls. Here, Gardy body of steel should have caused a ruckus with each stomp of your steps and sharp movements yet these always came out muffled and tired, as if coming from inside a room at the end of a long hallway, it's why hearing a sudden loudhowl caught you completely by surprise and for a moment your plot to measure the needed burst of soul to reach the Magritew was completely thwarted.

The origin of this interruption was a mass of flesh standing on two legs on top of a house, a combination of cancerous growth, tumors, eyes, and meats with a single mouth protruding out of a shapeless face thoroughly disfigured by mutations. A familiar being indeed, it's gargled -aquatic and noisy- voice was somehow manifested without the Red World natural ushering. A gangrenous spread of diseased meat slowly oozing around its legs like a blanket of infection.

Its frame, its silhouette was familiar to something -someone- you recently saw. There was also this item hovering above its right shoulder, a meaty square attached to this monstrosity limb via a rope of flesh... This man was the strange brawny silhouette that ordered the retreat of the apostles!
>>
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Had the Magritew been trying to buy time all along!? Unfortunately, this wasn't the end of bad news. From the alley, you had been fighting in before this combat lull, a small horde of monstrosities were climbing from houses to houses or rounding corners -those thankfully were ending up consumed by the souls of your friends- nevertheless this swarm was making steady progress for this wide, empty marketplace with the odd additional fighter coming from random directions.

Hour of Lullaby be damned! These ought to be asleep!

''Ah, I get it.'' There was no speech inside this realm of souls. ''These sigils were beacons of souls, baits for the ever starved entities'' Spells made from souls, something you could easily replicate for all the good that'll do.

And you've gone through each beacons.

A flash of blue glimpsed into sight and you quickly raised your arm.
Impact.

75%

The Magritew projectile was pathetically weak but that, in of itself was a taunt, a signal to fight. Its confidence was back, the melody of steel coming from its many tendrils was a testament to victory.

Aah... Fine. There wasn't any way to get out of this cleanly.

>Fight has progressed into stage 2

>The Magritew is cautiously awaiting your offensive
>Attack.[Light/Medium/Hard/All-Out].
>Observe
>Free.

Alternatively...
>Move toward the Apostle and interrupt whatever it is doing. It seems to be spreading a bed of corruption.
>Prepare to thin the approaching swarm, there's about 30 of these monstrosities, all of them thankfully similar in sizes to human.

I'll probably have to end things here tonight. I'm feeling very woozy tonight, my writing shouldn't have taken this long so I don't think I should push it. It's possible I'll be unable to answer tomorrow as well due to life interruption, I really didn't choose the good weekend to run my quest
>>
>>3173749
How bad did we screw up?
>>
>>3173774
You didn't. This was a case of making the best out of a bad situation. You might have been able to hurt the Magritew by focusing on fighting, but that would have meant leaving the beacons...

Things are happening in the real world too.
>>
>Attack[Hard]

on the Magritew. We are immune to corruption, I believe, so whatever the apostle is doing won't affect usimmediately. If his ritual takes more than a turn to complete, we can pray to the dice gods that we finish off the magritew in one swoop and spend our next turn disrupting the apostle.

Also, did we see from where the apostle showed up? Perhaps it has rght under that spot some sort of fast travel sigil we can damage to hinder these clown's mobility.
>>
>>3173864

>Also, did we see from where the apostle showed up?

No, it's standing on top of a house neighboring the marketplace you are inside, he's about 10 meters away. How he came here is a mystery.
>>
>>3173864
We can get things rolling with a 1d100

I'll do my best to continue tomorrow.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>3173919

Let's go! Don't fail me this time dice gods!
>>
>>3174204

Gah.

Um. Someone else. Please.

This doesn't count as an insta-critical fail, does it? >w<
>>
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>>3174204
Best of three.

>>3174216
Very tempted, but no.
>>
>>3174224

I think it's fair for the next rolls to be made by other players.
>>
>>3174385
Yeah, I'll wait for their inputs. Hopefully, my bout of illness will pass after an early night so I'll be in good shape to continue tomorrow.
>>
>>3173749
Where is the apostle in regards to us and the Magritew? Is he directly behind it? Could we perhaps clothesline it on the way to the apostle? Could we also attempt a feint, look like we're gonna charge the magritew then suddenly change direction and punch that kurogiri looking motherfucker in his smug evil face or what looks to be his balls? What kind of attacks would these be? Finally, does Gardy have any "special moves" that he developed fighting Magritew and abominations in general?
>>
>>3174546
>Where is the apostle in regards to us and the Magritew?

On a house to your eastern flank, about 10 meters of distance.

>Could we also attempt a feint, look like we're gonna charge the magritew then suddenly change direction and punch that kurogiri looking motherfucker in his smug evil face or what looks to be his balls?

Yeah, that can work by quickly changing direction or using the pillar to pivot in his direction. There's too much open space to completely take him by surprise, you can't clear that many meters fast enough to catch him off guard, you'll need a pretty good roll for a successful strike.

>What kind of attacks would these be?

Nothing fancy, sword strikes, punches, grapples... if you get within range of someone, you're extremely dangerous.

>Finally, does Gardy have any "special moves" that he developed fighting Magritew and abominations in general?

Outside his special skill as an Embodiment, Gardy outlasted his foe. His existence as an artificial being actually allows him to physically harm creatures who should be extremely resistant to physical damages (like the Magritew) so that's why he's such a melee powerhouse. His very existence is an antibody against abominations and, in fact, most humans as well.
>>
Rolled 34 (1d100)

>>3173919
Too tired to give a proper plan, would laugh uproariously if we hit the Apostle with the bait though.
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>3173919
Aha! Woke up just in time to make the last roll!
>>
>>3175261
...Well, it coulda been worse.
>>
>>3174586
So we deal significant bonus damage to abominations and ignore their physical defense? One day in the future, a nice haymaker to Ama's face will be very interesting to see.

>>3175261
Well at least it's not a critical failure. Damn, wish I knew the DC on this one. Hopefully the more we just barely fail the more we learn thus start reducing the DC until we finally hit the fucker eventually.

We're probably gonna have to sacrifice a memory soon. I don't wanna find out what happens if that thing lands a hit with our shields down.
>>
>>3175642
Oh, just thought of this. The Magritew was basically spewing out raw soul material in order to draw in red world entities. Probably to line up the bastards for a blood nest ritual so they could just gate out.

Are we covered in soul goo and could we perhaps absorb it and route it towards our shields? Bit apprehensive though, it *did* come from that thing so it might be better to just shake it off.

If we could somehow gather it into the palm of our hand though we might have another option. The entities wanna eat the goo and whomever is covered in it. We could paint the apostle instead. Fastball gooball to the face!
>>
>>3176056
>Are we covered in soul goo and could we perhaps absorb it and route it towards our shields?

Nope, you went through the smoke while carefully avoiding the goo. For now, you guys are attacking, so you can't interact with the surrounding liquid anymore.

I'll try to post soonish.
>>
...I gotta ask. The Magritev has some sorta spikes/blades on it's tentacles, yes?

I'm wondering if we could perhaps pry a few of those off and use them against the Apostle. I'm admittedly curious if it would affect the Apostle enough to risk depleting our barrier.
>>
>>3176125
Anything you slice/tear off disappear quickly because he's a soul creature, anything coming off his core cannot maintain itself.
>>
>Success

Your situation was becoming a bleak one. How the apostle got here and what he was doing was something of a mystery but his presence -while far- was a menace to take into account, the small horde of thirty-some soul entities and the odd approaching stragglers will make for an unfortunate distraction once they reach your position.

There's no time to think about your options anymore.

Fears or hesitations were of no uses for protection. Something in your stance must have warned the Magritew, perhaps your single eye had turned a different color? Your blue foe braced, carefully maneuvering itself to inches backward when a loud eruption on your feet created a familiar rain of dark gravels and promptly launched you upward, aiming at the roof, specifically one of its four pillars.

Gardy solution to reach flying enemies during the wars was a true display of crude efficiency.

The sheer speed at which your single good hand grasped that shifted chimney would have been a bone-crushing agony. Metal wrist and fingers endured the shock of sudden reversal and reorientation. Your second arm -now a familiar blade- sang a short and sweet melody of steel, its sharp tip running across the blue bony torso of your foe.

It has made a very slight miscalculation about the length of your blade, having tried to twist its boneless body backward to pounce in a deadly embrace the instant you landed -for you'd inevitably need a second to reorient yourself- but it let this vital opportunity go and instead angrily thrusts two set of tendrils like spears that sank into your flanks as your metal feet dug into the solid roof of glassy onyx.

71%

Your barrier prevented purchases, a shrill yell of metal sectioned a pair of blue tendrils and without needs for breaths or moments to endure pains of awkward movements and positioning, you stepped dangerously close to the Magritew, well into his deadly range of embrace. And yours.

Noises of battles, muffled as they were in this hellish reality, rang louder than the apostle guttural screams. Swipes, slices, dice, half-moon-crescent, sidesteps, low squats, grabbing onto a pillar to adjust your balance, feints, and parries. One second was a slice, two second was a light forward step and a sideways slash, three seconds was a squat and an unnatural shift of your elbow to graze the Magritew bony skin and peel off morsels of its existence... There was no pause because you didn't need to breathe. There was no stopping because you had a need to see it dead.

When the Magritew tried to flee, you pursue and cornered it back on the roof. When ti wizened to its position and understood the four chimney weren't something you could slice through, it began a pathetic game dodging peekaboos and momentary counteroffensive by conjuring small projectiles that you didn't bother to dodge.

69%
>>
A quick metamorphosis of your blade-arm thinned the blade into a long thrusting sword and the next dozen seconds had you peel off three fingers, the Magritew quickly abandoned its position to redirect itself in the center of the roof while throwing another eye projectile that -unluckily- slammed directly on your face...

65%

...Yet your body was continuously obeying conscious thoughts and despite having your neck thrown backward with snapping violence you were already in the process of sidestepping into range, blade swinging mid-morphing, and carved out a chunk of the Magritew bony ribs.

An unfortunate interruption prevented you from closing in. A dark mass moved into your line of sight, barely registered by your peripheral vision. A creature from the Red World had somehow managed to climb up the forges slick, glassy walls and pounced toward. It was a small humanoid thing of a similar disposition to the fleshgaits; your good hand grabbed it mid-jump, your wrist twisted on itself and snapped its neck and a swipe of your arm promptly threw it off the roof like the piece of garbages these creatures were. Below, a mass of flesh had congregated into makeshift furniture, dozens upon dozens of creatures -now little more than corpses- had apparently killed themselves to make a mutated scaffolding.

Very odd. The Red World denizens are inherently chaotic, they should have been in the process of ripping themselves apart since they couldn't reach you, yet they've gone and made a collective conscious decision...? Or did they ram their heads against the wall in frenzy?

An unfortunate pause that allowed the Magritew to gain a moment of respite, a meter of distance and you could finally take proper stock of your foe state. Its wounds were beyond counting, a collection of slashes and pierced holes melded into a pathetic hole of agony. Having lost three fingers of its good remaining hand, the Magritew hold onto its newly wounded side with a little desperation, blue fumes constantly exited a few holes and odd twitches betrayed something similar to fear or nervousness.

Death by a thousand cuts was the most reliable way to kill these infernal predators because of their agility -about half of your swords strikes had missed- but Gardy anomalous state was thankfully working flawlessly.
>>
The Protector had always been the most efficient of destructors. His very essence was an abnormality.

A living soul inside an artificial body -what a soul he is- corroded the living merely by touches with only a very few somehow able to resist this harm. Souls were no exception. It's why he -you- need to be so close.

Perhaps you might have a chance to finish this. Growing frenzy in the Magritew manifested as a gathering of blue light which caused renewed fumes of blues to exits its wounds. This damnable interruption of Red World entities was, perhaps, being seen as a turn of fortune for it could undeniably feast on them and recuperate but, perhaps, it would prefer their constant presences to give it a better edge in your duel...

...Of course, there was also the apostle to worry. You couldn't spare a single glance to see what it's been doing. Not if you want to keep up your offensive.

>Your foe is preparing to attack by synchronizing with the soul entities arrivals!

The continual interferences of these aberrations will impose a permanent -5 to your rolls and prevent critical success.

Unless you guys make the conscious decision to ignore them which WILL means guaranteed damages on your barrier and potentially worsen your situation.

Meet fire with fire and go on the offensive!
>Attack.[Light/Medium/Hard/All-Out].

Take a step back and collect yourself, this option will allow you to catch of glimpse of the Apostle.
>Defense [Evasive. Guard. Counterattack]

And finally
>Free.
You can always try to run away and do something else.
>>
>Attack[Medium]

With how damaged he is, rather than focusing on doing a devastating blow in exchange for accuracy, we want to ensure the blow lands, no matter what. Let's prioritize a faster attack, which will, with a bit of luck, not give it time to finish synchronizing with the aberrations.

What I remain uncertain on is if we want to ignore the aberrations to free ourselves from that -5 to our roll, or not.

For now, I'll go with "Don't ignore them", but other users's votes and comments might make me change my mind about this.
>>
>>3176533
Mmhm, coming to a consensus about the handicap and course of action will be needed.
>>
>>3176541
Will this be our only chance to get rid of the aberrations?
>>
>>3176728
As in killing the Red World creatures coming to interrupt your fight?

You'll never be really able to get rid of them. Despite the Lullaby, numbers upon numbers of them are converging on your position. It's something you'll have to put up with.

If you mean the Magritew, the fight can continue until one of you is dead or flee.
>>
>>3176533
>>3176468
Supporting. Let's see where this ride will take us..
>>
>>3176468
Light attacks are the interruption option yes? Is it synchronizing as in just preparing to take advantage of opportunities they offer up or is he preparing to use them as fuel for a big blast?
>>
>>3176758
>Light attacks are the interruption option yes?

Yes. Counterattack work similarly but you commit much more power into it.

>Is it synchronizing as in just preparing to take advantage of opportunities they offer up or is he preparing to use them as fuel for a big blast?

There isn't enough of them available for easy consumptions, there's no way to accurately predict the Magritew true intentions so you'll have to trust your guts.

>>3176750
>>3176533

Two votes for medium with the handicap. I'll lock things in about... 15 or 20 more minutes I'd say.
>>
>>3176777

Medium with a little -5 it is. Unless we get a sudden influx of other votes quickly, let's go with that.

Roll me 1d100. this choice wasn't the fabled auto-success.
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>3176835
What could go wrong?
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>3176835

Come on now. My last two rolls were awful. Surely we deserve something better this time! >w<
>>
>>3176859
>>3176852
Not too bad but will we get a clutch?
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>3176835
Gah, Dice Gods please!

Not getting the auto-success frustrates me more than it should have any right to do so.
>>
>>3176875

We need something better!

If a while happens and no one else rolls, should we try rolling again?
>>
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>>3176882
>>3176879
It'll be fine, don't worry.
>>
>>3176892
Damnit, I knew light attack had to be right option. We could have combo'd into something else after rattling that fucker up a bit.

And oh yes, it'll be fine, fine for you that is. Then again, our foe does appear to be heavily wounded. Not like he's gonna stay that way for long now that the buffet has arrived though...
>>
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>Light Failure.

If it was awaiting reinforcement, logic dictates to pursue your advantage now. With metal feet scratching the smooth ground of obsidian you preempted the Magritew aggression in a calculated offensive, blade singing its familiar deadly croon of steel. the Magritew had grown used to its length now, so you shifted mid-battle, transforming a broadsword into a finer, thinner blade and there more morsels of skins were peeled off. your freed hand helped keep your balance; onward and onward did you go, keeping firm attention on your surrounding and the Magritew potential counterattacks, pressuring it toward a corner of this makeshift arena that was a fair distance from that flesh pyramid.

! A gathering of light behind its transparent skull heralded another projectile. Your legs retracted, your blade carved a fine line across the Magritew ribs, a flash of light and a murmur of sizzle above your head was no cause of celebration, unfortunately, a suspicious splotch of humid, heavy flesh behind you demanded attention. A pair of foe -mutated men, perhaps recently formed entities- had managed to up and bridges distance quickly enough to demand a response. What looked to be remnants of heads had fused into a throat that itself, opened into a bloody maw of moving tendrils.

Another song of steel slice apart their single-minded charge bereft of self-preservation, half a second later -before and blood even colored the dark ground- a weight on your arm heralded trouble.

Two of the Magritew tendrils were wrapped around your good arm, their energy-sucking nature inevitably taking a toll.

60%

It was fast! With all of its tendrils back and deployed, the Magritew pulled itself closer instead of trying to pull you over, tendrils deployed like the long legs of an angry spider to finally devours.

There's nothing deadly than its embrace but you haven't been caught completely off-guard.

>Defense [Evasive. Guard. Counterattack]

Things are occurring too quickly to be interrupted by aberrations in this round, so the Interruption malus isn't in effect.
>>
>Defense [Counterattack]

If it is latching to us for damage, it is exposing itself to a powerful blow from us!
>>
>>3177032
It's real risky, but could we yank it towards us by the tentacles and impale it on our sword? Or we chop most of it's tentacles off to somewhat ruin it's offensive capabilities.
>>
>>3177058
Both options enter the counterattack option, though if players insist on this options you guys can do that too.

I don't want to influence things too much so I'll remain vague.
>>
Let's see, I'll wait 20 minutes before locking things.
>>
>>3177058

I like the otions that this anon provides. I don't want to let it escape to potentially regenerate it's wounds.

So I'd lean more toward the Yank and impale strategy.
>>
>>3177077
Yeah, I feel like counterattack is the way to go. Can't really be evasive when the Magritev already has a hold on us, and guarding will most likely just let it wrap it's tentacles around us more.

Lowkey getting real anxious about going into this fight without communicating anything to Sieg, Deru and Tui. Sieg absolutely would have protested but let's be real, outside of physically knocking us unconscious how could she have stopped us?
>>
I'd say it's been long enough.

Counterattack it is, high risk, high reward...

Offering auto-success choice might be too generous.

Possible that we'll end things here tonight, I'm not sure how long the next update needs to be.
>>
>>3177032
Guarding will only allow it to envelop us completely and it's got its tendrils wrapped around our arm but good I'd imagine so evade will only delay the inevitable.

Well, unless going full Hulk on it is a good idea but you said it doesn't really take physical damage unless its from our body. Thus, our only option is meet its attack with one of our own.
>>
Look I'll have to update tomorrow. Making the right choice at this venture was... Well, things happen.
>>
>>3177272

Rest well, INH.
And thanks for an excitement filled night, as always!

Looking forward to what will happen next~
>>
>>3177104
I don't think getting impaled is gonna bother it much (unless we impale it's head that is). If we split it in half from head to balls or just straight up decapitate it though, that ought to finish the job.

So yeah, one of those three for me.
>>
The Magritew approach demanded a snap reaction -no more than half a second- and thus, you did your best to dig your feet firmly against the smooth glassy soil of obsidian, hefted your trapped arm and struck back against the floating spidery abomination with your altered blade -already in a process of mid-transformation- as the Magritew full set of regenerative tendrils wrapped behind your back into a deadly embrace, contact was simultaneous and nearly toppled you down. A chimney digging into your spine was the entire reason you didn't fall, your sword-arm was deeply embedded into the Magritew torso; not enough to be lethal, a successful gamble from the creature.

It likely thought it would either die or trap you in its unbreakable soul-sucking hold.

50%

Without your barrier you'd be in the middle of a deadly fascination, condemned to review memories after memories before their disappearance, your soul becoming nothing more than substance for the blue humanoid jellyfish. Its embrace of ribs shattering strength caused plaints of yielding metals to whine out of your body as parts of Gardy coppery material bent inward with each tendrils sliding toward your spine.

45%

In normal circumstance, cutting those limbs holding you prisoner and falling down to avoid the Magritew jump would have been a likely option of evasion but today wasn't ''normal'' by any stretch. Prudence wasn't your watchword.

Drying the tears of your little friend little sister? needed an unorthodox solution from the very beginning.

The Magritew let out a worrying sound that almost sounded like a yelp -if one could find such noises by slamming two full buckets of metal together- when your arm deep inside its slimy body grabbed onto its backbone.

40%
Your second hand wormed upward, clawing into the skull face of this dangerous predator, it`s good to hand began to slam the back of your head, it`s ten limbs constricted with desperate force trying to overcome its organic flaw; there always had been a maximum pace with its soul consumption. Water inside a gourd couldn't flow faster from its small opening after turning it upside down, even if what awaited below was scorching hot sands in a desert.

[Red]35%

''ive...take...ake it back!''

A voice, a meld of two presences now united in a single purpose, emerged from a throat of darkened iron. Yanked its spine, digging your thumb into the only eye you could reach, the Magritew yowled. Bright liquid visibly traveled the length of its transparent blue frame, coalescing behind its head and a projectile, this time heavier than normal, rammed into your face with familiar deadly strength, bending your head into an unfamiliar angle - then a force slammed into your side, your knee bent... and found emptiness.

29%
>>
You fell with your enemy but your bigger, heavier body could still wiggle in this constrict of blue. The creature incessant projectiles flew wildly off course, allowing you to regain your sight. Something on left side of your face had bent inward, obscuring a degree of vision. Your hand on its face was reaching the inside of its cerebral cortex whilst its spine bent outward like a piece of clay as you continuously pulled, imposing a concept of death unknown to its body.

24%
All of it!

The ravenous eater pressure would have killed anyone truly alive. Your body cracked and protested, your barrier weakened in flashes of gilds, your arms had pushed the creature headfirst into a deadly landing.

Vilma had been crying far, far too much these past two weeks: her resolve before fighting Elenore had been beautiful, her failure in the duel was a harsh lesson, the following Overcast had been a moment of pure despair -one you dearly regret missing- the reconciliation later that day with everyone was a souvenir of radiant, warm happiness...Then the days after where she resumed proper lesson with Teruko, shouldering new responsibilities as Sieglinde retainer then wanting to help a destitute family of undead with, perhaps, a little too much overeagerness... All of these memories were important. Her old master, her trials, triumphs, and failures needed to remain whole, to be protected.

19%

And this infernal thing stole it all away.
Deep, deep your limbs of iron went, the anomalous state of unliving -yet so intensely alive- animated by the simple wish of maintaining what was precious, smiles needed protections. If one of your precious flowers was extinguished, how many others will waste away?

14%

''Make them back!''

Magritew were consumers of souls, memories were the first -perhaps only- a manifestation of a person soul. This one had somehow altered instead of taking, changing with purpose rather than piggishly eat. Was it truly holding Vilma memories? Had it made careful, surgical cuts into her precious past and devoured them like prized fillets?

''Never''

In this precious moment in time, two souls were one, united in friendship. The Protector always was a walking anomaly, reality rejected his existence of artificial yet how intensely did he live and wish!
>>
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A violent impact on your back almost flattened your spine accompanied by a disgusting fracas of humid organic material simply... falling apart. Whatever aberration decide to jump from the roof had killed itself in doing so. Thoughts bubbled to the surface, consciousness lit up your mind again, filling you with strange euphoric lethargy as if you'd been drowning underwater seconds before.

The Magritew was a husk of blue starting to melt into an unrecognizable puddle. Life, this strangely invisible spark of existence was gone and without it, these soul entities couldn't maintain the integrity of their bodies.

Below your belly of steel was a strange item. A small statuette of dull jade had somehow appeared into this hellish dimension, crafted beautifully to represent a short-statured cowled presence.

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Another violent impact almost split your back, the last of the two intruders on the roof killed itself in trying to harm you. This immediately cleared awe and confusion out of your head. Carefully grasping this precious jewelry, nearby approaching sounds of approaching dwellers coming on your flanks force you into a sudden forward sprint already impeded by numbers of smaller mutated freaks that forced you into a zigzagging pattern.

10 seconds, 10 meters. You've gone and distanced yourself from the forge, allowing you a brief respite to re-examine your surrounding.

This damnable creature that had intruded on your duel was, beyond the shadow of a doubt, amassing an army, imposing some kind of order in this anarchic reality. Close to fifty random entities were present -all congregating on you of course- whilst the strange bed of corruption emanating out of that mutated wizard had gained some kind of semi-sentience, become a moving mass of... of flesh, mouths, and eyes. There weren't any other descriptions.

These heavier foes were making steady progress toward you, consuming anything that was in the way. A few even fused with one another to create a bulk of mutated beastly violence.

Standing on the other side of this battlefield, the strange wizard mutant hovering book was open and he continuously gestured into your direction.

He'd amassed an army, clearly not intent on letting you go...

But it didn't seem to know you could physically shift in and out of this plane at will.

Will you?

High above you saw the unique maelstrom of the Demonic Throne twisting and twirling on itself up in the red sky, as if observing these events with great interest.

>You have acquired a strange figurine of dull jade!
>Will you stay and fight the Apostle?
>Yes/No.
>>
>>3179259
>No
Hightail it! We're really beat up, and there's no telling if damage taken in the Red World transfers over once we plane shift.

We've achieved our objective here, let's not bite off more than we can chew. But make sure give the Apostle a mocking salute/rude hand gesture on the way out.

Any chance we could sprint closer to our friends before leaving? If damage does carry over from the Red World I'd rather not risk passing unconscious too far from them.
>>
>>3179259
As much as I'd like to kill this fucker here and now we both A)don't have the shields remaining for yet another boss fight and B)Can't risk damaging or losing this figurine as it may be the key to fully restoring Vilma's true memories.

Exit stage right and book it for our friends at top speed. For all we know this bastard can do the exact same trick we can only, thankfully, his attacks don't ignore defense and eat souls of those on the other side. Oh man are the rumors gonna spin after this stunt. Especially if our fusion state persists after the shift back into real space.

Also, I think you meant to say Give them back not "make" them back
>>
>Any chance we could sprint closer to our friends before leaving? If damage does carry over from the Red World I'd rather not risk passing unconscious too far from them.

That can work.

>>3179291
No no, the words were right. Arawn/Gardy was saying that all of Vilma memories will be remade if they were truly gone. By using the Magritew as clay.

Two votes for legging it.
>>
I really hope back-up arrives soon. Ideally Daiyu can enter this realm from the Throne.

>Yes.

Hoping my hunch is right, basically we have that this Apostle fights by controlling these abominations and making them attack us. So if we disrupt the Apostle, it should be possible for us to stop the aberrations. Ideally he won't be able of fighting and controlling them at the same time.

Also, if the Apostles are following Ama's orders, they will NOT harm us. We won't be killd, and likely we won't be crippled, unless they are willing to risk Ama's wrath.

They could attempt to capture us, but we have a way of replenishing our shield and buy time.

Lastly, why are we staying here and fighting if we already protected Vilma?

Well, as I see it, we're not done protecting our friends. I feel like while this all is going, Teruko is being targetted as well. If we let this person go, he'll rejoin whomever is trying to harm Teruko, and team up with them. We must not let that happen!
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I'll proceed with the current results but if people end up swayed into fighting within the next, say, 20 minutes I could accept that.
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>>3179323
There's only one itsy, bitsy problem with the shield replenishment thing. See, we already used up all the inconsequential memories. If we want more shields, then we're gonna have to start carving into the important ones.

Also, don't be so convinced about Ama's attachment to us. She wants to see us struggle. If there was no chance of us dying then the struggle was essentially meaningless. Like flipping a coin with two heads and no tails. Why even bother to flip the damn thing? It is our meaningful struggle and bitterest suffering that fill her with joy. Least we forget, she did let us die once already...
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>>3179350

You do have a point. Then again, what I propose is to keep fighting with just the current shield and build up more from an important memory in case the shield breaks.

I have the feeling the Magritew was much more of a threat than this Apostle or any of the creatures that are chipping our shield by 1% at a time.

As for the second part... there is admittedly a chance we could die here, but I don't think the apostles will be the ones behind of it, if they can help it.

The toy may break, but they'll be in deep shit if it breaks, so I don't think they'll want to let that happen. Now, the abominations in the red world? Those WILL try to kill us, most likely. That's where the risk is, if I am understanding things right.
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Alright, it'll be better for me to confirm that I'll update tomorrow now. Retreating means writing another fair chunk of text, staying and fighting would obviously lead to more quicker interactions.

How happy do you guys think the girls are?
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>>3179373

I expect them to be pretty damn pissed.

But if what we recovered ARE Vilma's memories, or at least, part of them, it will all be worth it.

Also, the Magritew is now 100% confirmed dead, right?

Let's hope the apostle can't just re-raise it with it's magic or something like that.
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>>3179373
Oh they'll be annoyed at us at best. Sieg's probably going to be angry at us - we really ought to have told them we were going into the Red World, I thinks.

We'll probably going to be put on a house arrest of some kind, and not allowed out of sight for the time being. Oh well, it'll be an opportunity to study and train, won't it?

If you're referring to their opinion of the current overall situation, they're going to be absolutely livid that White's lackeys have gone after Vilma in this manner and are making a mess in general - especially given the timing with the Suppression mission.
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>>3179373
It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission, especially if you come back in one piece and with the objective completed. Victory, after all, needs no explanation.

They are going to both curse us for making them worry themselves a shade of pale *again* and be damn near crying with joy upon noticing the fact that we're 100 percent fine and have a way to restore Vilma. Depending on the girl in question we will either be hugged, slapped, or they'll put their head on our chest and thump their fist upon it as they condemn our actions and beg us to never make them worry like that again. Perhaps all three, as I said it depends.

It's gonna be a very emotional scene. Can't wait to see it all play out.
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>>3179389
>Also, the Magritew is now 100% confirmed dead, right?

Not even necromancy can give back the spark of life. You can chalk off that problem.


>>3179394
>Oh they'll be annoyed at us at best.
I wonder what you guys will have to say with what they were about to do. We'll see tomorrow!

Boss died before stage 3, talk about working fast.
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>>3179405
There was a third stage? Thank god we killed it before that happened. What would have that have looked like, y'know, out of morbid curiosity?
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>>3179446
I think you'll be able to deduce it after reading tomorrow continuation.

If not I'll be happy to answer then.
>>
My guess is, It was going to fuse with all the aberrations to mimick what we had done with Gardy.

If we can fuse and get a power boost, so can the Magritew! Except, we kinda killed it while it was getting prepared to undergo the Magical Girl Transformation sequence.

Kinda cheating, but the magritew cheated first by breaking rule number 1: "Do NOT harm our waifus"

No playing fair against anyone who breaks that rule.
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>>3179484
Magical Girl Transformation sequences are supposed to be happy, cute/pretty, and fill those around them with hope for a brighter tomorrow.

That thing's "transformation" would have been the exact opposite of all that!
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>>3179510

Dark Magical Girl transformation. :3c

The same concept applies, though. It is bad etiquette to interrupt someone while they are transforming.
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>>3179635
Not in my book. A transformation sequence looks like an opening to me, and a wise fighter never fails to exploit an opening!

Besides, the dark transformations are more sad and tragic, not something straight outta Lovecraft.
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>>3179691

But if we don't respect peole's transforming scenes, our enemies also won't respect ours. What if Lady White slips something between Arawn and Gardy while they're in the process of doing their fusion dance/ transformation sequence?

Considering that we got a 100% successful fusion rate, it is likely to think that, at times, the fusion can go wrong.

I am scared to think what will happen when Lady White finds a way to make the fusion/power up sequence go horribly, horribly wrong.

pic attached may help illustrate what I am getting at.
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>>3179455
I had players drop a bomb under my boss that ended up cooking off the ammo their zombie minion was carrying and they forgot about. Ramped the blast up from "Next Stage!" to literally three times the damn thing's maximum health.
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>>3179405
>I wonder what you guys will have to say with what they were about to do. We'll see tomorrow!
Hm. I wonder, perhaps they were preparing to back us up somehow - in which case we need to remember to communicate more in situations like this. If we'd known about possible back up we could have used querilla tactics against the entities amassed by that Apostle to buy time.

Oh well, what's done is done.
>>
What is TOM?
>>
>>3180255
Stand for Tale of Monsters
>>
I'll be posting tomorrow, got home a tad too late today.

Writing the girls is fun.
>>
Do the girls get more anxious waiting for news on Arawn during the days where no update happens, I wonder~?
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>>3181119
It might be safe to say they'll develop some anxiety when they don't see our elf face to face due to his propensity for doing unreasonable things out of nowhere.
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>>3181080
As is being with them. I can't wait to see how they've reacted to all this but no matter if they're mad at us for yet another stunt, just glad we're OK, or miffed that we didn't bring them along for the wild ride, the most important thing is that we have results. No matter what they gotta say, they can't argue with that!

>>3181128
I wouldn't call the things we do "unreasonable", I'd call it... bringing "excitement" into their lives.

I mean, if all we did was play it safe things would be boring. Living on the edge is much more fun and stimulating!
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>>3181128

That is a valid point. Has any of the girls seen us while we were fused with Gardy? We might get attacked if they think we are an enemy.
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>>3181135
>I mean, if all we did was play it safe things would be boring. Living on the edge is much more fun and stimulating!

Disappearing right before the eyes of a lady who feel things very, very deeply and swore never to leave your side again can be a bitter pill to swallow, a responsible and far too empathetic demoness understanding the dangers of the Red World miiiight have a little something to say about adventuring in there when there's an unbelievably dangerous creature awaiting...

The girls are way too soft.

>>3181139
>That is a valid point. Has any of the girls seen us while we were fused with Gardy? We might get attacked if they think we are an enemy.

Nah. Looking into the Red World itself is extremely difficult, let alone going into out fully bodied as you did. Gardy + Soul nature really come in handy huh?
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>>3181146
Yeah, you are right about that. We'll have to find a way to make this one up to Klesiah and Sieg in particular.

We can take them shopping in Throne Town when we get a free day or something? I mean, it's not like that'd be a date or anything. Totally not a date...
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>>3181178
>Forgetting the angel and Vilma
Despicable!
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>>3181185
Oh don't worry, I didn't forget about them. It's just that if we bring them all at once we won't really be able to land intimate moments with any of em' as once it looks like one's gonna happen the jelly will kick in and compel the others to interrupt!


>>
Seconds were all you had to make a decision. Whatever dominion the apostle had within the Red World made him a complicated menace. Somehow overcoming the Hour of Lullaby and the inherent violent individualisms of all these pieces of souls and uniting them with a collective objective was... troubling. Quality, wounded quality in this case, against unending quantity wasn't going to lead into a good outcome; reaching him was possible but events are likely to worsen quickly.

For a moment Teruko features flashed into mind but the tiny weight of today objective in your hand finally motivated you into a speedy retreat, soon enough joined by running quadrupeds, pale imitations of wolves undeniably sculpted by the apostle. Red World denizen naturally grew into bulkier physiques.

Having a few meters of advance allowed you to arrive first into the familiar alley, the souls of your friends burned brightly, having moved away from their previous amalgamation of rainbow burnfire to linger into sharp humanoid lights here and there -Elina and Tuilelaith stark absences was starting to become a genuine worry- but the intrusions of your pursuers demanded immediate reaction. Forced to use a single hand, the dog jumping at your throat had its muzzle and teeth shattered when you grabbed onto its head and the second one attempting to nip at your hell was reduced into a mess of flesh when you squatted down to squash its brethren onto its back in a murderous downward thrust.

You couldn't see the apostle from this angle, perhaps you'd be able to conceal your dimensional shift with a little luck... Trying to find another way out would take far too long.

Gently wrapping the small statuette with both hands, you did your best to mentally block the noises of approaching aberrations; running steps and roars melded into a quiet echo of carnages.

Souls needed separation, Arawn body is one of flesh - your duty is done today. Worrying lethargy dimmed your consciousness, your standing legs almost buckled under invasive sleepy pressure. Sight darkened.

What was whole split into a natural two.

--

Daiyu precious capital city was a place of sounds and smells.

Winds whistled into the alley in acute flows, boots created sharp scrapping noises by carelessly touching debris, an iron perfume of blood tickled your nostril alongside lingering ozonous remnants created by Klesiah fearsome magic.

You actually missed these natural sensations during your... trial.

Mother Earth realm was a place of pain.

Flesh had replaced steel, breathing required conscious efforts on your part. Each movement of your chest caused burning lances of torment to travel right into your spine, a thick swelling on the left side of your face closed your eye, robbing you of precious peripheral vision.
>>
Back there, inside the Red World, neither Arawn Loukanos or Gardy held true dominion of their beings. Inside the realm of souls, the Embodiment of Protection had accomplished his duties, materialized by the small statue of jade in your trembling hands.

Goddess, this agony in your guts...

''You!? Y-you you!? What!?'' The same person that witnessed your disappearance had witnessed your reemergence. Klesiah truly was a healing sight, a combination of gorgeous blue, functional gray and feminine elegance that made smiling an inevitability despite her ferocious expression.

Anger, frustration, worry, happiness... All of these produced a dangerous mixture on her lovely features and -perhaps for the first time- she forgot her stubborn position. Klesiah all conquered distances with a raised hand covered in iron. Weak as you were with shattered ribs, a swollen face and enough fatigue that a simple poke would make you pass out, bracing for impact was slow, but you deserve it.

Thankfully nothing came. Klesiah swallowed audibly and you peeked a glance, her hand had balled into a fist far away from your body and she looked at her limb with a genuine expression of guilty horror, droplets of worried tears sparkling in the corner of her nice round eyes, hints of white teeth peeking out of her upper lips as she bit onto her bottom one.

Mother's Mercy! Nothing works better to make you feel terrible.

''K-Klesi-''

''You look terrible, my lord.'' The knight interrupted you, fists on her hips, she audibly sniffed and put on a terribly, terribly forced smile.

Her glaive had been left at the center of the group where Sieglinde was having an intense chat with the Overlord while glancing your way with burning red eyes of honest fury. Whatever they were talking about had the Gazer nod frantically. Then, she produced a silver necklace out of an inside pocket of her tunic and began to speak into it, eyestalks bending to look observe you in frowning disbelief. Vilma was twisting her body to look at you, the poor girl face showing honest marks of crying; you can just imagine the heartbreaking sight of her sitting there with hands covering her ears.

The crimson princess approach could have shaken the earth. Long curly red hair floated with each step of her long, dark legs, hands visibly twitching as she radiated rage with sharp mannerisms, her long deadly tail made this fascinating back and forth...

''Your majesty, wait!'' Klesiah, goddess bless her, interposed herself in the demonic princess path.
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All traces of anger vanished from Sieglinde face after a better analysis of your rather pathetic state. ''You...?'' She whispered with honest horror, that irresistible empathy dispelling anger like a cloud of dust. ''Sun isn't completely down, it's still dusk, I swore I'd... I'd make you... Mother's Mercy look at you! Is that internal hemorrhage? And that breathing!?''

That's when your knee bent, the two girls all but threw themselves to support you and feeling their hands on your sides caused such a spread of agony that your scream mixed with fluid, almost puking right on the demonic princess as both girls retreated in terror of worsening your wounds.

''I-I did it.'' You squeaked out while spewing out something. ''It's dead, smile's been protected.''

''Damn it, damn it! It was freaking dangerous but then mister had to go and play hero huh!?''

''Please lean on me milord, use the side that doesn't hurt. There's no need to walk anymore...''

You were holding the statuette hard enough to imprint it into your skin.

''Hang in there'' Buddy's voice resonated throughout your skull. ''Your wounds aren't lethal.'' He sounded drained.

A sudden luminescence of gold opened in the middle of the alley. Its swirly magnificence turned within itself; a spiral in the world conjured from nothing and from its shiny gilded depths emerged an unlikely trio.

''Where is he!? Wh-?'' Elina didn't share the blue knight and red demoness gentleness or mercy. Pale eyebrows knitted together in naked frustration and her pale red wings flapped together upon seeing you, carrying her away from the ground. Tuilelaith was thankfully more casual, although keenly interested in this little drama, she waved for Gwendolyn and Vilma. Sieglinde little sister, Deruella, stepped out of the ancient Supreme admittedly wide silhouette, her expression radiated keen interests with naked delight, undeniably fully expecting to enjoy a good show.

What had these three been doing?

''You made Vilma cry, moron.'' The angel whispered after reaching you, beautiful golden halo shining brighter with her agitation as she barely managed to speak through clenched teeth. Her anger was cold and choking, yet she looked almost serene, an unbreakable statue of porcelain garbed in blue metal, her gaze of pale green briefly hovered at the two women touching your shoulders and keeping you from falling over. You could only smile, the girls gentle hold was simply far too painful to do anything else.

''You know, letting your wounds heal slowly by using a few potions is what you deserve after that stunt.'' Said the merciless heavenly girl whilst placing her palms near your body, causing a few tremblings of excitement throughout your frame as you simply smiled in return. ''Freaking soft I what I am.''

Seriously, keeping quiet -really- is the path of wisdom.
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Sweet, sweet release came in the form of a thick white fog filtering inside of you. Alchemical healing was the refinement of the uses of simples to boost natural recovery but Holy was, just like Elina, a miracle worker; functioning for as long as Mother Earth spark of life remains within oneself, damages that hadn`t been mended would be removed as if time itself rewound.

A refreshing coldness came with Elina spell; pain dissolved, replaced by immense lethargy. ''Thank you, Elina.'' You whispered, finally able to string sentences together.

Of course, the angel spell wasn't soporific. Your first adventure inside your own soul had been a tiring one indeed, poor Martha showed what happened when oneself gets overworked in souls matter, and for a moment you feel into a state of semi-aware sleep right there on your knees, supported by Klesiah and Sieglinde.

A rough finger tapping your chest brought you back to reality. ''You really think we'd be happy that'd you'd go in that red place on your own?'' Elina growled, ired by your smile, her wings flapped. ''Throne, now two times into the Red World!''

''Aah! You irritate me! Irritate!'' Sieglinde tone had grown painfully acute and now that you were -somewhat- fine and in one piece, her tightening hold on your shoulder made it seem she was about to dislocate it. ''Going poof into a deathtrap right before our eyes should be theoretically impossible because of collective...! Aah! Angry!''

The deadly blade on her tail curved inward and stabbed into the rock yet she carefully measured her strength to avoid hurting you.

''I... I'll do what I can earn forgiveness from you all.'' You decided to look at Vilma instead of the girls, elsewise you might start feeling tears burning your eyes. Deruella had moved to stand beside the lich and gently push her forward, the purple girl had the countenance of a prisoner in her careful gait.

''Everyone...'' Saying ''girls'' here might be a little too condescending, you managed to stand on your legs with Klesiah soundless support and Sieglinde pouty mutterings, Elina glare had changed into curiosity as she finally saw the strange statuettes in your hands.

''I think I have something that'll help Vilma.'' Hearing her name made the lich nervously twitch but, instead of stopping, the three other Supremes closing in forced her forward, beside Elina.

''I wonder if you`ll pop a blood vessel if you knew what we were about to do, lad.'' Tuilelaith commented, sharing a suspicious stare with Deruella and Elina. Oh, that was a mean bait. Your frown created a light-hearted chuckle amongst the girls, besides Vilma.

''You-you didn't...'' Her pale gaze bore holes into the damaged ground.

''I did, Vilma. You're part of us, no matter what lies plagues your memories, I wanted to help.'' Getting on your knees wasn't entirely to get on her level, your legs wobbled with each step and you had to hide your face with your elbow to mask a rude yawn.
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That strange statuette nestled in your palms met with sunlight, it's dull jade color shone with tired luminosity whenever a rare ray of sunlight pierced into it. The small cowled lady on her knee provoked a collective intake of breaths amongst your companions.

''Brought that back from that there place?'' Tuilelaith frown was intense enough to sink her eyes into her face. ''Lad? Laaaaad?'' Her tails straightened, a few whipping into Deruella side, which somehow sent the (not so dirty anymore) demoness into a giggling fit. ''How'd you make it?'' How was this vixen so sharp?

''When I and Gardy killed the Magritew we... I`m not certain what happened. All I know is that we acted as the Embodiment of Protection.'' It is difficult to recall what happened during that deadly wrestle with the ghostly abomination, your emotions had been incredibly intense.

Tuilelaith clapped her hands. ''What a fucking day!'' The fox bellowed while laughing, kicking away a limb from a fleshgait.

For this moment, Elina, Klesiah and Sieglinde animosity was shelved. All three observed one another, then the statue and finally Vilma in silent realization.

''This is... there's something in there.'' Gwendolyn muttered all of her tendrils were focused on your artifact, making for a very intense stance, ten small eyestalks seemingly hypnotized by this item made would have you believe you weren't wearing anything. ''Colors, maybe images, come into my head when I look into it. I dare not try to use my Gazing, possible that I'll end up breaking something.''

''Thank you, your grace.'' You spoke and gently reached for Vilma's hand, placing it on top of the kneeling -praying- cowled silhouette.

''I-I don't... Arawn...?'' Murmured the lich.

''My, I dare say we could be witnessing a true first in magic.'' Deruella licked her lips, her tenebrous eyes shining with excitation. ''Our man with a nature of soul comes back from the chaotic dimension of rejected souls aberration with a pretty little artifact - all done in an honest spirit of protection. Necessity'' The white demoness carefully measured her tone. ''Sustain miracles.''

''I did what I had to do.'' You replied, blinking to keep your brain alert. ''Elina created the only miracle today by arriving here so quickly.''

''Don't even start, big guy.'' Replied the angel, had you looked at her she was likely rolling her eyes, but that was to conceal embarrassment. ''I was going to slip my entire body into that plane of souls and drag you back.''

''You...what?'' Now that demanded a stare and the blond looked radiant indeed, grinning in broad self-confidence. ''That place is far too dan-Ack!''

Klesiah had gently poked one of your ribs. None of them hurt anymore, but the memory of your suffering still made them sensitives. ''Milord does not have the privilege of saying this. Not today, perhaps not ever.''

It's not even known if the air can be breathed out there!
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''I-I think... I-we can help Vilma with this.'' Change the subject, quick! By gently touching this strange statue, attention thankfully shifted away from incoming elven bullying.

''By joining with Vilma, then using the energy inside...'' Deruella muttered, scratching her chin. ''...I have absolutely no clue.'' She conceded with a grumpy harrumph.

''My-My... my memories?'' A glint of hope shone inside those eyes of amethyst. ''Is... can my soul be healed?''

''You should probably think about feeding today and tomorrow, the Magritew was latched onto you tightly and... dislodging it was violent.'' It had ripped apart holes into Vilma dim green soul with the kind of dreadful brutality that would have killed anything alive.

''Of course! Of course!'' Her fingers held onto the statue tight enough to withen her knuckles.

With the use of your Battery spell and its feeble link, it could be possible to activate this strange statue and indeed, restore what was altered and lost...

Goddess, you haven't realized it yet but you had been embracing Focus all this time. Your veins bulged and glowed in steel-like color, evident hints of redness melding with the disappearing sun.

Your mana reserve is incredibly low. Perhaps enough to reach Overcast...

>Join with Vilma and try to restore her memories despite the risk.

>Use Battery and Fork to also establish a link with Overlord Gwendolyn. Her lordship is a Gazer -a monster born to interact with minds- having her present could be helpful in this sudden ritual.

Your measuring perk will not be taking effect here, Arawn is dangerously exhausted, he won't be able to embrace Focus again before sleeping.

>Leave this memory ritual for tomorrow. In your state... you might commit a mistake.

>Free.

Next few days should resume our regular session. For now, this post is everything I'll do today
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>>3183073
Ok, so the statue is permanent right? As in it won't fade away in a few hours and we could put it into the personal safe of a royal that has all the wards necessary to ensure that nobody but them even has the slightest chance of getting at it in the meantime right?

Also, the memory ritual, if a link is needed to activate it wouldn't it be better to wait and use Martha's device for a full powered one?
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>>3183094
>Ok, so the statue is permanent right?
Yes.

>As in it won't fade away in a few hours and we could put it into the personal safe of a royal that has all the wards necessary to ensure that nobody but them even has the slightest chance of getting at it in the meantime right?

It'll be somewhere even more secured: Deruella direct attention.

>Also, the memory ritual, if a link is needed to activate it wouldn't it be better to wait and use Martha's device for a full powered one?

You aren't entirely certain what you need to ensure success, this is Arawn operating on instincts. You could wait to use the device of course.
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>>3183073
>Leave this memory ritual for tomorrow. In your state... you might commit a mistake.
Yeah, let's not give the our friends even worse headaches.
How long are we gonna hear about this particular stunt?

I'm really tempted to argue with the girls that we technically were not alone in the Red World, given that Gardy is essentially a part of us but there is no sense in splitting hairs.
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>>3183104
Well then, since Deruella is the resident soul expert I say we wait and let her figure something out. We just mess with the stuff willy nilly like a kid in a chemistry lab, she's the actual authority on the subject who could actually put our gift to truly miraculous use.

On a side note, we need to find a way to reverse the battery flow in the future. The donor would still have to be willing but if only we could top off from one of the girls just enough to not suffer burnout that'd be great.
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>>3183111
A stunt that had Klesiah almost slap you will be a lifelong memory.

>I'm really tempted to argue with the girls that we technically were not alone in the Red World, given that Gardy is essentially a part of us but there is no sense in splitting hairs.

Oh, that'll be plenty of fun. Right now the girls are all primed and full of mixed emotions, fact Arawn came out half-dead and is now extremely vulnerable and tired is sorta putting a damper on that anger but if you make a spark...

>>3183112
Alright, so that's two votes for not doing anything.

Since I'll be restarting the session properly tomorrow, I'll try avoid to making comments that'll influence future votes.
>>
>Join with Vilma and try to restore her memories despite the risk.

I want to get it done with now.

I don't think Arawn will be able to endure a fork and battery here, though.

We may go into overcast, but... I feeel if we linger too long, Ama will do something to sabotage our attempt to do this. She might even try to do that the next time we fall asleep which... might be in a few minutes if Arawn's condition is any hint of our liklyhood to faint.

Vilma's memory handling needs to happen before Arawn falls asleep and Ama can try anything.

>Free

Besides that, we want to inform the party of the following:

1- Elina and Vilma's souls, along with the others, burn brightly and keep the things close to them safe, so Vilma, whose soul is weakened, needs to remain close to people whose soul can keep hers safe. No going all alone to where her weakened soul can be attacked.

2- We fear for Teruko. One of the Apostles was in the Red World, directing and gathering more of those aberrations. The onslaught likely isn't done just yet, and Teruko might also benefit from a soul-shielding from people with intene souls.

I want to convey this to them, before we all settle down thinking everything is all over now.
>>
>>3183126

That was a looong text post. Good job!

Also, I know of a surefire, foolproof way to washo our hands from the blame of this particular event.

:3c
>>
>>3183133
Do tell.
Will you use one of your gambling victories before falling unconscious?
>>
>>3183127
Oh yeah, that does remind me. We still aren't 100 percent sure that Vilma isn't infected by the White one's influence the same way we are. INH, is there a way to "scan" someone for that shit? We really gotta know, very important information.

>>3183133
Best buddies don't throw best buddies under the bus to avoid the blame. Gardy suggested it, we went along with it. We're still guilty.
>>
>>3183148
>Oh yeah, that does remind me. We still aren't 100 percent sure that Vilma isn't infected by the White one's influence the same way we are. INH, is there a way to "scan" someone for that shit? We really gotta know, very important information.

You'll need to establish a Battery and experiment from there.
>>
>>3183142


"It was all Gardy's idea. I didn't want to go, told him it was reckless and dangerous, but he insisted."

>>3183148

How did you call my bluff? :V
>>
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>>3183170
I suppose Arawn could say that if we vote on it.
>>
>>3183177

That's another way of "Protection" we can use Gardy for. :3

...Though jokes aside, I feel like it'd ither damage oour credibility among the girls if we used this, and it might even sour a bit the closeness we have with Gardy. We're bros, but not to the level where it's legit to take these kinds of blows for each other.

Besides, I think it's good for us to take responsability for this. This lesson of humblety is one Arawn needs to learn.

Also, now we get pouty girls who will want us to make it up for them.
>>
>>3183158
Well, we still have the curse aspect. It's not reacting in any way towards her is it? Is it reacting in any way at all right now?

The other anon has me spooked a bit but my gut still says waiting is the better option right now. Can we ask Deru if she has any ideas about how to foolproof this?

Now then, next question is where everyone's gonna sleep tonight? How secure are the inner sanctums of the Demonic Fortress from Red World infiltration and incursion?
>>
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>>3183195
>Also, now we get pouty girls who will want us to make it up for them.

Thinking of a way to do that could be wise.
>>
>>3183195
>This lesson of humblety is one Arawn needs to learn.
I... don't really see how 'humble' is a lesson to be taken from this, Arawn's IS being humble about this imo.

>>3183207
I too think we should wait, but I support a short discussion with our friends. Who knows, they might come with something that requires minimal interaction from Arawn, unlikely as it is.

>>3183210
I'm gonna have to leave that for other Anons because I am complete dogshit when it comes to social conflict and baggage.
*Grumble* Feelings and emotions are bullshit, we should all be Vulcans.
>>
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>>3183207
>Well, we still have the curse aspect.

You'll need to get it back after this adventure. Now that you know what you need to do, it's not going to be difficult making use of Lady White curse.

However, in our current context, you've just about one chance to do something before passing out so I can't tell you anything here.

>Can we ask Deru if she has any ideas about how to foolproof this?

I'm unsure what you mean by that.

>Now then, next question is where everyone's gonna sleep tonight?

In they're own rooms in the corridor directly facing Sieglinde.

>How secure are the inner sanctums of the Demonic Fortress from Red World infiltration and incursion?

The Demonic Altar itself? Nothing can happen inside of it due to his proximity with the Throne. It's impossible to create portals inside of it (aside from using the Throne itself, of course). The fortress you've spent all of your time in isn't any more special than Throne Town itself.

There's no real protection against ''Red World infiltration and incursion'' as you put it because it has rarely, if ever, been a malignant force up until now. People natural souls are simply that strong.
>>
>>3183210
We need to get them some presents. Cook them some meals (we probably can't cook, but Gardy might know a thing or two), mana battery always seems to get a positive reaction out of the people we use it on. We could both train and make things up to them with that option.

Still, the thing they all seem to want most is time spent with us, preferably alone. They'll probably wanna boss us around too, y'know, as punishment. They may even wanna molest our precious pointy ears!

God help us if they ask Teruko for suggestions on how we may "properly" earn forgiveness....

>>3183233
Deru foolproofing means thinking of a way to prevent outside influence and/or ensuring the restoration ritual goes smoothly.

And, wait, we gotta get the aspect back? How the heck did we lose it?
>>
>>3183270
>Deru foolproofing means thinking of a way to prevent outside influence and/or ensuring the restoration ritual goes smoothly.

Doing it somewhere inside the altar would be good security.

>And, wait, we gotta get the aspect back? How the heck did we lose it?

It's not so much losing it as having to consciously embrace it. Think of it like siding a sword out of its scabbard. It's a mental exercise you have to do while embracing Focus.
>>
>>3183210

I think, we can come up with a few plans for that, and sure enough, as >>3183270 says, we will try to get them some presents if that helps.

But I believe, letting them tell us how we can make up for it could lead to more interesting things.

>>3183232

Perhaps humblety wasn't the right choice of word. Still, we've been naughty, and we need to accept our rightful punishment, which we're doing admittedly okay.

I was saying that trying to talk our way out of it by saying "I did nothing wrong" would send the wrong message.

The girls will surely be happier knowing that we are aware that wwhat we did was bad, and that we feel bad for it. Along with a promise to try and be more careful next time things like these happen.

Not that we can actuallly guarantee we won't just jump into danger without warning, when a threat looms over our friends! But short of a guarantee, letting them know we understand why they're mad is a good step in the right direction.
>>
Alright, the majority of votes don't want to attempt doing the ritual now. We'll proceed that way.
>>
>>3183567
Good thing too. On top of everything else I just remembered/realized that the apostle's likely still within our immediate area. Ya can't tell me he wouldn't try to jinx the ritual if given the chance. Probably under White's orders to do so.

We should probably tell the girls about that little fact before we pass out. He's probably the one after Teruko.
>>
>>3183567
Can I vote to pass out after telling Vilma to keep the statue with her? Maybe roll to see who's pillows we wake up sleeping against?
>>
>>3183908
Maybe you can say whose instead.
>>
>>3183908
I'd like to but that's too risky. The figurine goes to wherever it will be safest from theft, destruction, and/or tampering. Sadly, that is not with Vilma.

>>3183933
Wait, so we can vote on whose bed/room we "mysteriously" end up in after all this?
>>
>>3183942
I was only teasing. There are too many guests for that kind of shenanigans, Arawn is going into his lonely cell of a room. Unless, maybe, you make a heartful request of the ladies here...
>>
>>3183947
"Please, I don't want to be alone." He said in a quiet voice, barely audible to those around him, vulnerable, and yearning.
>>
>>3183960
''P-p-please let me sleep in your bed...''

Guess who would like to hear this?
>>
>>3183947
We can't really do that sadly. We haven't all sleep in a pile like we'd all like to because that'd risk some scandalous rumors the royal family can't afford to have floating around in other capitals. Then again, someone really ought to be bunking with Vilma given the recent problems. She also needs to munch on a soul soon and I think ours is the most "nutritious" if ya know what I mean...

>>3183962
More than one of the girls I bet, though I think only Vilma and Klesiah would own up to and admit it.
>>
>>3183962
No one?
>>
>>3183962
>>3183969
Is it bad that I imagined Aarawn transforming into a child version of himself after tiring himself out this much?
>>
>>3183969
Anon actually was onto something by going the tried and true eloquent and vulnerable route. I was just teasing again by delivering it like that.

>>3183970
Indeed, gotta earn your bed.
>>
>>3183974
>age regressing Arawn.

Now there's a fantastic idea.

Someone better keep Klesiah very away from the lad.
>>
>>3183983
Why?
What would she do?
>>
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>>3183984
Something unsafe.
>>
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>>3183993
pic related?
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>>3183993
Define "unsafe".
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>>3184007
You could call it a journey of self-discovery for everyone.

Too bad it can't happen.
>>
>>3184013
Darn, that could have been some good smut.
>>
>>3184025
Pervert in me agree heartily.

I think we are walking a dangerous road.
>>
>>3184027
With the FBI at the end of it yeah.
>>
>>3184042
Mayyybe I could be convinced to write a weird dream for our knight, wouldn't be the first we jumped into her head...

Ah, this is dangerous alright. I need to stay focused on updating!
>>
>>3184048
Klesiah wakes up rubbing her tummy, saying something about Aarawn's baby (form), and hungry for some tasty food.
>>
I wake up, check the thread and come to *this*??
Ya'll need Talos something fierce.

OH, Insert! couple questions.

Firstly, how much could we have mitigated the girl's anger/annoyance at us had we given them a little warning about our sortie into the Red World?
Secondly, does Throne Town have changing seasons? I imagine it doesn't, but my curiosity demands I ask!

I wonder if Mamono's celebrate anything like christmas, just imagine the possible shenanigans involving mistletoe and... *cough*gift wrappings*cough*.
>>
>>3184122
Nah, I'd say she'd have dreamed of having Arawn's baby and forming a nice, wholesome and loving family with him. That's my kind of smut!
>>
>>3184234
>Firstly, how much could we have mitigated the girl's anger/annoyance at us had we given them a little warning about our sortie into the Red World?

Nothing would have worked. Nothing.

>Secondly, does Throne Town have changing seasons? I imagine it doesn't, but my curiosity demands I ask!

It does actually. Festivals are held on a few days here and there, alas all of them months away.
>>
>>3184437
>Nothing would have worked. Nothing.
...Bummer. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
>>
Well, fun times aside, I do believe sleeping alone is a dangerous situation for anyone with a weakened soul.

Vilma needs to sleep with Elina embrcing her with her wings, clearly.

INH, you said Arawn's soul shield would recover gradually during our leisure time in the real world, right?

Does that mean it currently remains at 14%?

I worry that could also count as we being weakened. Is it safe for us to sleep alone with a resistance of 14%?

...On the other hand... we did sleep at one point in a containment cell to prevent us waking up on our own, right? I know it was because of the geas, but... in our current state, couldn't Ama make us sleepwalk and make us do things to our friends as punishment?

So on one hand, it'd probably be good for us to sleep in company. On another hand, we might be more vulnerable than ever to soul-related shenanigans, and I have the feeling Ama is going to be displeased with us.
>>
>>3184502
We're safe from sleepwalking. Gardy swore he'd never let her do that.
>>
>>3184523

But, Gardy is also exhausted from the fusion.
Gardy might not be in top condition to stop Ama if she were to really try.
>>
>>3184502
A little insistence with sleeping next to someone is a possible request, of course.

Trying to be sly huh?

I'll have to remain silent about what is or isn't possible with stuff related to Ama.
>>
>>3184596

I think we can ask for Klesiah to stay next to us this evening, then. I think she's the one who would accept a plea like this the easiest Plus, I feel like she has wanted some alone time with us for a good long while.

"Klesiah, if you could stay next to me tonight, as I sleep, I'd feel much safer. I know it's a bother, but... I'd really like that."

Let's add something like that.
>>
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''I...I'm not entirely sure how it works.'' You needed to open and close your eyes continuously to avoid swaying on your feet, even then Klesiah and Sieglinde support were the only things keeping you somewhat upright. ''I don't... I'd like to start now, I think by using my Battery spell we can maybe...'' Avoiding yawning outright into everyone's face was becoming a genuine trial. The way Martha body completely shut down after finishing the long ritual of artificial links was rather worrying; you'll undeniable end up like her and there are so many things to say!

''Darling, you're barely standing.'' Deruella placed a prudent hand on Vilma shoulder, large white leathery wing curving inward as she somehow managed to make the skittish lich accept her presence without looking intimidating. ''Whatever it is that needs doing cannot be accomplished when one's mind is prone to mistakes, your magical reserve is so dangerously low you're skirting a very fine line indeed between capacity and Overcast.''

''I-My health isn't that important, we can do-'' Another finger thrust into your side produced a grave croak out of your throat. ''There was... There's an apostle out there. That creature I mentioned, after Teruko?'' Gwendolyn and Tuilelaith frowned in confusion but your friends understood this gravity. ''It was that shadowy guy. Same silhouette, that book attached on his arm was there this time and...''

Something warm gently touched your head, it took a few seconds to realize that Elina had actually put her hands on your temples, worming them deeply into your dark hair. ''Stop worrying, Arawn.'' Her demand was soft yet it only fed into panic. Father above did you feel tired.

''I-I don't know what the fox will do in response. I-I, Vilma will need to feed and it'll also be much safer if she were to remain close to people because her soul is bleaker, I mean weaker. That artifact shouldn't... I think the fox will want to do something it's too precious to...''

''Arawn.'' Was that voice coming from your left?

''I'm unsure if I'm safe against White's machination for now. I-I... Gardy, we, I... Our Red World fight drained him considerably, it's unlikely he'll be able to keep guard. Maybe if... Maybe having a stronger soul nearby will be enough to-''

''Arawn!'' Elina gently shook you, an harmless, gentle movement of your head that somehow elicited a wave of nausea that made you wince and forget to breathe in order to get this sudden spin under control. ''Arawn... stop worrying.'' Had she discarded her armor for your sake? Her palms felt warm, comfortable and... Were your eyes closed? You couldn't see anything.

''I'm fine I'll always be fine just look over little sis, please? She's in danger and Teruko... something's going on with her I can't believe that thing, the apostle was it? Can't he...''
>>
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There was no warning, darkness crept in increasing shadows as the sun steadily disappeared under the horizon your strength simply... left. Trying to see if Ama curse still surrounded Vilma had been a sparkling thought that couldn't win against simple, trampling fatigue. Two rituals of souls in a single day -one being a fusion of all things- was simply far, far too much.

--

It was inside a familiar room of stones, with a dim lamp casting elongated shades into walls and roof that you came to. Out of a dreamless sleep you awoke in a startle, body tense and painful from keeping your muscles so strained. A sudden avalanche of fatigue had you grunt; your body wanted nothing more than remaining on these pillows. Your rest felt worthless, your limbs weighted with familiar exhaustions, instinct whispered obvious truth: you've probably slept less than four hours.

Passing out from exhaustion does not make a good sleep.

Paying closer attention at the door, muffled voices of people talking combined into an unrecognizable noise whilst shadows of legs revealed two or maybe three people standing outside. Central, Zipangu and now Kreszenz guests should have combined into a rather boisterous celebration yet there weren't any sounds hinting at this reality.

Perhaps Daiyu was hosting everyone on the first floor because Zazawu was far too big to easily maneuver on these upper floors?

''Hrrm...'' You grunted, yawned and rubbed your eyes. Tiredness seemed to submerge your bones in slimes yet slumber felt like a faraway taunting imp that kept running away.

Nobody was here with you, aAma probably hasn't' done anything either; she wouldn't allow you to forget a tea party.

This room of yours really is lonely.

>Get up and work on your journal. If the girls put you here, you shouldn't be bothering them.

>Get up and walk out, if you can't sleep then you might as well see what's happening outside these small walls.

>Try and force yourself to catch up on some sleep. you'll need to be primed and ready tomorrow.

>Free

We won't be progressing for the next story day in this thread. My own mental fatigue piled quite a bit form running this long. Perhaps we can try and do a little something special instead... you guys did win a boss fight after all!
>>
>>3184962
>Get up and work on your journal. If the girls put you here, you shouldn't be bothering them.
Let's get all that's happened down on paper!

>A little something special
see gif attached
>>
>Get up and work on your journal. If the girls put you here, you shouldn't be bothering them.

Don't actually leave the room. Just write on the journal, think a bit about the things that have been going on today, and afterward if nothing else comes up, go to bed. Do pay attention to the muffled voices talking outside. We might infer some interesting conversations.

a little something special instead? I am in for it! What do you have in mind?

Also, one thing to note:

>''I'm fine I'll always be fine just look over little sis, please? She's in danger and Teruko... something's going on with her I can't believe that thing, the apostle was it? Can't he...''

It isn't the first time in the middle of other things, Arawn has briefly considered a potential little sister out of the blue. The little sister's also came up during our fight with the magritew, briefly. Perhaps part of him is remembering something? I think Arawn needs to stop and think of this little sis, see if anything else comes to mind.

It also intrigues me that he can't believe the apostle. Did the apostle said anything? Or was he in the middle of adding "I can't believe the apostle will just leave her alone" ?
>>
>>3184962
Can we try and be a sneaky git and just peak outside to see what's going on?
>>
>>3184994
...I could have sworn that was a full gif and not just a pic. Maybe Arawn's not the only one who needs sleep!

How do anons feel about Arawn learning blacksmithing? I could be biased, but something about possibly attaining a title of "smith-lord" allures me greatly.
>>
>>3184998
If not peeking, then pressing an ear against the door could work. Elf-ears and all that jazz, y'know.
>>
>>3184997
Arawn rambling could be interpreted as many things, though he was obviously losing lucidity by the seconds.

>>3184998
You'll get busted.

These sudden expectations are stressing me out fun, I'm kinda sleep deprived but I'll try to produce a few more updates before stopping tonight.

Sound like you guys wanna work on the journal and try to hear some morsels of whatever is going on, we'll go that way.
>>
>>3185013
Come now, you can't just tease us like that and expect us to just shrug you know!
>>
>>3185026
What could be happening?
>>
>>3185001
He's gonna learn some type of smithing at some point. Magitek ain't gonna build/invent itself after all.
>>
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Creeping out of bed, the sudden rush of sensation had you swallow a swear when your naked soles met with cold stones. You were still in a shirt and pants, so thankfully nobody went and... did things in your sleep. Following the path of wisdom required tiptoeing to your door, there wasn't going to be any way to conceal your shadow from appearing under the tiny space at the bottom so... you'll have to hope nobody was attentive enough. Bending your ear to touch the wood and measuring your breath, you acted like the rogue you've often dreamt to become.

''Not too tired?'' Whoever was speaking wasn't caring about being overheard, it was difficult to deduce if it was someone you knew, there must have been some distance between your room and this chat.

''I'll be fine. Feast is downstairs right? I can finish my look-out, I've got my book, I can handle another hour.'' Was it a chat between maids perhaps?

''Alright, it's not healthy to wait so long before eating, darling.'' Deruella had to be. ''I'm sure you'll be seeing a few dolls coming one by one after making adequate excuses to remove themselves from their duties.'' A low chuckle escaped the vixen. Parts of you wondered if you should open the door.

''Of course, your majesty.''

Nothing serious was going on. Restraining another jaw-dropping yawn, you tiptoed toward your bed and lifted your mattress to take that precious book of notes that was, honestly, filled with embarrassing rambling, difficult to understand summaries of events with odd precision here and there, all of it written in an odious mixture of half-cursive that, on its own, would be plenty embarrassing but if the girls saw what you were saying about them...

Better not think about that. Written what you've gone through today will take a while; everything began with Lady White dream, maybe... you'll get tired enough to sleep again afterward?

--

Putting feather to paper proved rather difficult, mostly because your tiredness had you yawn once every three minutes and you'd often daydream about the girls and the Red World. Gardy absence made for a lonely reality, your guardian was undeniably resting, continuously resisting the temptations of reading your history books was slowly but surely ruining whatever evening you had left.

Usually writing down your memories wasn't difficult, yet you couldn'T settle down at all...? Why?

''Oh...'' Your fine hearing picked up an approach of steps whose increasing patters approached your room. It wasn't often that visitors came and each time you've retreated under your sheet without anyone intruding into your personal space. This time was different, a gentle thump on your wooden door made you realize someone likely intended to open it.

>Slip under your covers and do your best fake sleep! Nobody must see this journal, nobody!

>Stand there proudly and hide your book inside a random drawer.

>Don't worry about any of that, welcome whoever decide to peek on you.

>Free.
>>
Whatever you guys choose to do... we'll find out tomorrow.

Sleep deprivation is hitting me pretty hard right now. Who could be seeing if you're still asleep?
>>
>>3185102
>Stand there proudly and hide your book inside a random drawer.
Eh, might as well let whoever is there to have an update on us - mainly that we're about to head back to sleep!

Our next project oughta be a Magitek lock for that diary of ours, lads and/or lasses. Something that opens to our unique magical flow. It's *not* that I don't trust the girls, but they have some mischievous vixens among them...
>>
>Don't worry about any of that, welcome whoever decide to peek on you.

I don't think it's a big deal if they spot our journal.
>>
>>3185102
Would it be possible to quickly hide it between our mattress or, failing that, just shove it under our bed and hope they don't drop on all fours to check that hidey hole?
>>
>>3185148
Lifting your mattress will be a little too obvious but under your bed is a good quick hiding spot.
>>
>>3185141
Hmmm. Considering you usage of the word 'patters' to describe the footsteps, I can't imagine it being someone of prodigious physique. I'm going to guess it's either Vilma, Elina or just a maid.
But then, I don't know if any of Arawn's friends are proficient in sneaking...
Did anyone of our social circle prefer walking around barefoot, i wonder?
>>
>>3185207
I think you can figure out who, actually, is pretty good at being quiet.

>Did anyone of our social circle prefer walking around barefoot, i wonder?

There is.
>>
>>3185222

my guess here is Hao being the one who likes going barefoot.

As for who might be visiting, it might be Vilma.
Though wouldn't the person standing guard say something to her?
>>
>>3185420
You're too far from the door to make out anything, but yes the person outside is speaking with them.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

Rolling for choice. Let's see what happen tomorrow.
>>
>>3185612
So the dice say stash the diary in the drawer right?
>>
>>3185686
Yup.
>>
>>3185703
Would have been my vote if I wasn't with my GF yesterday.
>>
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Subtlety was an impossibility; opening and hiding your precious journal in the highest drawer you found happened simultaneously to hearing your door creaking open and a curious head peered inside, their presence momentarily shadowed by a lamp shining brightly behind. Long dark hairs, fair height (meaning one head less than you) and long, straight dark hair momentarily left you dumbfounded but protruding side horns combined with a familiar forked tail and spotted presences of black scales immediately revealed this unusual visitor.

''Hao?'' You asked, feeling somewhat sheepish. She totally saw what you did.

Hearing her name motivated her to walk forward on naked feet and step properly inside your lonely room. Outside the white headdress, this tribal lizard-girl had changed out of the frilly maid uniform to don a pair of boyish pants and a black tunic that, combined with her almost fragile feminity, gave her an amazingly attractive allure.

''Yes, Hao is me, I came here.'' A friendly smile and a small tap on her chest accompanied a twitch of scaly tail, behind her a familiar maid peeked around your friend shoulder, it was a lady of canine disposition you remember seeing here and there.

''Her Grace asked to know if his lordship would awaken, please excuse me.'' Announced the dutiful lady and away she went after Hao gestured it'd be okay for the maid to keep the lamp.

There wasn't much activity in the corridor, downstairs was definitely the place to be. Turning to grab your lamp and feed its fire more oil, you heard the door close behind the tribal warrior and did your best to silently swallow a nervous lump in your throat.

Exhaustion still weighted your bones but thankfully there wasn't dizziness or nausea.

''Anything wrong, Hao?'' You inquired carefully. the girl had closed your door and briefly rested her back on the thick wood, your question motivated her to step closer (without locking your door, now -that- would have made you jittery.)

''Hao doesn't like groups or... civilized gatherings are called parties right?'' She asked with a strained smile, tapping a set of scales under her chin.

''I haven't seen what's happening downstairs but some festivities is to be expected, tomorrow... Will be a dangerous day for many of them.''

''Today was dangerous for Arawn.'' Hao response felt dry or maybe it was the fact you couldn't refrain a wince. Today stunts were probably common knowledge in your group now.

''I... I won't deny that. You've been told something by our friends?'' Her sharp green eyes examined you for a few moments, her hands spotted by more scales gently replaced strand of long dark brown hair out of her face.

''Nothing much, Hao... no I want know.'' Her mastery of common was improving day by day, referring to herself in the third person was, however, becoming a habit.
>>
''Ah...'' Perhaps Teruko and Daiyu felt the same. Gathering everyone wouldn't have been reasonable with such short a timeframe. ''...I'll tell you everything you want to know Hao, you're my friend and I don't want to hide anything.'' It was refreshing to be feeling some confidence again, not having to lie or be pressed for time was truly pleasant.

''Not what Hao meant, not sure what I meant.'' She winced, looked down and sat on your bed. You decided to wait for her to gather her thoughts.

''Arawn down important things. Arawn putting himself in danger, Arawn helping Vilma not cry anymore, Arawn making Teruko happy by doing instead of being, Arawn surrounded by... no not surrounded, Arawn center of things, happenings.... events, yes?''

''I'm... only doing what I can.'' Lady White took an interest in you and from there, everything began to spin wildly out of control. Thankfully... thankfully today turned out good.

''I lost, feel confused, angry... not quite screaming angry, frustrated yes? People kept saying you did something stupid.'' The flexible scale in the middle of her brows shriveled with her furrow. ''Not stupid, bravery, justice. It's Justice to protect a friend smile, everyone kept saying you were stupid even while smiling...''

Ah, it is difficult to remember that your group happened upon this girl by happenstance. She had been living in the tribals steps surrounding the empire of Zen all of her life; being brought into Daiyu capital really must have felt like a slap in the face. What do you know about Hao? She confessed to wishing the death of her mother, otherwise, she did her best to keep silent, out of everyone way with a jolly attitude and unquenchable bloodlust.

''It was stupid, you know the Red World?'' She nodded casually, interesting. ''I went in there alone to fight a... a soul eater without supports disappeared under the girls eyes. You know? It was stupidly reckless.'' Without Gardy... Better not think about that.

''Hao can go there too, dangerous and reckless yes but you had to do something, not doing, not going it's the bigger sin, greatest failure yes?'' Hao blinked in confusion on seeing your face.

What. What. The sheer intensity of your astonishment managed to stir Gardy out of his torpor and, upon realizing the situation, his presence left your consciousness to respect your privacy.

'What did you...? Hao? You can go there, inside that realm of souls?'' A gentle nod was her response. ''H-how...?''

''Tribal... ritual, subgroup, sect called, yes?'' She waited for your approval, you could only nod in disbelief. ''It's how Hao survived forest. Everything there, from air to food and water was poison; needed to consume souls, survive... endure. Hao existence unusual, witches always called her evil, nest of evil...'' She winced and scratched her head.
>>
''Hao, no I... I want to do important things too...'' Her voice had dropped to a plaintive whisper and only now did you finally recover. ''...Hao can help, I want to help but there's something a little more too.'' It was too dark to properly make out her complexion but her body wiggled in amusing embarrassment.

''H-Hao mother was a seeress of the stars you know?'' Her tail gently whipped the air and you forcefully pushed the logistic of this confession into the back of your mind. ''Hao-I explored this place at night to-to find a gift... T-to finish, promise?''

Then a gentle thump on the door had the tribal girl jump backward and nearly stumble on your bed. ''Why in the world are you even awake?'' Elina bright halo needed no lamp, three heads peeked inside your lonely place, each of them taken aback by Hao unusual presence.

''Couldn't sleep, Hao kept me company.'' You responded, feeling very awake now, although there was no removing your sluggish. Fatigue combining with nearly depleted magical reserves don't make it easy. ''Shouldn't you three be downstairs with our guest, is it fine for you Sieglinde?''

''Well, let's say folks understood there's been trouble. Can't hide it really, but since nothing happened in the fortress there hasn't been any questions outside a few inquiries about your health.'' Sieglinde grunted. ''Meaning you really need to get to bed, it's barely evening!''

''People from Zipangu did say they'd like to talk with you, milord.'' Sieglinde and Elina entering your room made for a lot of occupied space, Klesiah thus stood outside dutifully without her glaive, only the pommel of her sword jutted out of her waist. ''Siegfried-no-Mikoto and his bodyguard would like a word when you are in good health...''

''Which means not tonight you big dork.'' Hao tilted her head on hearing Elina expression for the first time. ''Look we all came together because... Huh, why did we even do it?'' All three girls shared the same perplexed stare, did they literally come here together after the maid delivered her report?

''I-I...'' Hao looked strangely shy but a loud intake of breath quieted any reproach from the three other girls. ''Hao, me, yes... There's a gift I want to give Arawn and you three, too.''

''A gift?'' Sieglinde asked Hao nodded timidly.

''It's outside. Elina can help us go aground quietly, then... Then I'll show you!'' Apprehensive trembles gently rocked her frame yet her smile was wide and honest. ''Tonight sky looks good.'' She added.

>Go with Hao? She made the effort of coming to your room it'd be... rude to let her down.

>You're healthy enough to see what Zipangu folks could need with you, insist on coming downstairs.

>You're not in the best of health right now. Perhaps you could insist on something unreasonable for tonight - why not rest inside Sieglinde giant bed? To hell with conventions!

>Free
>>
>>3187270
>Go with Hao? She made the effort of coming to your room it'd be... rude to let her down.
Insert, why'd you only give one option here?

Crappy joke's aside, Hao's a friend and talking with the Zipangu folks is something best done when we're mentally spry enough for lenghty conversations.

Not to mention I'm personally a bit apprehensive about socializing with them... bit irrationally, perhaps but that's how it is.
>>
>>3187337
Curious about the tribal foreigner huh? I'll wait for another possible vote for about 20-30 minutes. We got time.
>>
>>3187270
Go with Hao. We don't spend enough time with her. She is the most neglected waifu.

Also, good to know that Red World abominations double as emergency emergency rations. Abominations, the other other *other* white meat. I sure hope Hao isn't suffering side effects from that desperate diet.
>>
>>3187372
Let's just say her tribe didn't exactly do things in a ''safe'' or ''familiar'' way when it comes to that alternate dimension.
>>
This is another case of writing another long chunk of text, don't worry it's coming along nicely.
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp0xitgAc4A

''Why not go with her? I'm not weak enough to crumble on my feet.'' Walking closer to the smaller lizard-woman, your support earned a lighthearted nod that turned into a genuinely confident smirk.

''Ah...'' Sieglinde let out a gentle sigh. ''I guess we can make the officials wait. Hao hasn't been selfish once, are you sure you don't want to be alone with Arawn?'' Your heartbeat inevitably quickened at this implication, Hao lizard tail whipped the air.

''All four of you are linked, Hao wants... I want to let you see, maybe see for myself...'' Disquiet pinched her lips together for a small moment before being dispelled by a jovial grin that looked a little forced to you. ''Hao wants to offer a gift! Let's prepare!''

Her hand wrapped around yours for the briefest of the moment but, upon seeing your attire, Hao brows knitted together. ''Arawn needs something warmer, nights are cold. All three of you come and help me!'' Sieglinde let out a good-hearted chuckle at being ordered around so casually but clearly began to enjoy herself by going along Hao energetic flow.

Next was thirty minutes of activity. Hao time as a maid had allowed her to remember where most supplies rooms were throughout the floor alongside knowing the general area of clean sheets and miscellaneous items ending into an impromptu inventory for a camping trip. Sieglinde was the only one who put up some resistance but Hao energy, coupled with Elina and Klesiah shared amusement, made for a combination that couldn't be overcome by simple royal dislike of nature.

40 minutes after the girls arrived in your room, all five of you were outside the altar. Elina dutifully carried everyone down the high balcony into a paved road below emptied of passerbyes. Echoes of music, song and general exclamation showed the gathered soldiers of the Suppression; now a full thousand, enjoyed themselves with their gathered leaders, everything kept nicely alight with lamps of all shapes and sizes.

''Feels like were eloping.'' Elina said after her last journey had her gently release Klesiah.

''With royal blessing?'' Asked the knight, earning a small scoff from Sieglinde.

''Here-here!'' Hao gestured for the forest outside nicely maintained garden. Without sunlight, this collection of trees appear as an endless sea of oddly shaped darkness that made Sieglinde gulp in dread.

''Is her highness afraid of ghost?'' You teased, earning an immediate stomping foot in return.

''G-ghost?'' Sieglinde growled. ''There's nothing in these trees but small mammals, don't try to prank us by saying this nonsense.''

''Yes, yes! Hao went out there often, nothing bad at all.'' By her lonesome in the dead of night inside the fairly wide forest of this immense fortress?

The way she confidently strode onward made it obvious this girl wasn't spooked by odd things moving in the night.

--
>>
Getting properly move on your feet (drinking and eating your fill also helped) managed to dispell most of your malaise. Elina, Klesiah, and Sieglinde combined for a great company with the princess previous disquiet completely dispelled by the presence of the angel aureole and combination of alchemical lamps (something the redhead insisted on to prevent a fire). Soon enough discussions centered around tomorrow state of events without reviewing today rather... emotional afternoon.

Vilma was apparently deeply asleep, Deruella and Tuilelaith were fascinated by the statuette but decided to leave it alone to avoid triggering a reaction. Having Hao as your scout made the walk safe enough to avoid tripping on exposed routes but this also inevitably made her absent from the general discussion; a state of affair that began to nag at you something fierce but she was making far too perfect a job for you to distract her.

Especially since her attention seemed completely focused on the sky above. Her dark scales and shade of skin combined marvelously with all the surrounding darkness to give her a nearly natural predatory allure.

Why is it the word ''predator'' seem so prevalent with the women around you?

Sometime during the walk, you'd think about Ama. How this situation was a perfect opportunity to ambush your party...

''You can't live your life afraid of the fox potential plots.'' Gardy chided you gently.

--

''Here! Yes, Hao-I succeeded!''

It was perhaps after another half an hour of walking that your guide found her destination. Deep inside the forest was a clearing with a single tiny hill protruding outward without explanation; the general geography was completely flat, it had to be because of the fortifications.

''Huh... I never knew this was here.'' Sieglinde mused. ''Definitely manmade.'' With the nearly full moon casting its natural light, that entire segment of the forest looked surreal.

''It's here, comes and follow!'' Hao took off running and with five heavy steps, reached the grass-covered hill topside in five heavy steps. Nobody made any remarks, everyone shared the same feeling of fascination and so when all four reached Hao sides...

''This is Hao gift!'' Proclaimed the tribal with hands reaching for the sky.

Somehow, in this spot, Throne Town usual atmosphere of spotted stars had changed into a magnificent night sky. Faraway lights glinted like jewels concentrated together in perhaps a few hundred shines without places for the engulfing abyss, forming a beautiful sea of luminosity.

''No way..''Klesiah murmured and pointed toward a blue star, a difficult thing to find in this sea of luminosity. ''This the Aegis, the constellation of protection.''

''Hao tribe saw that one for only a single week each year. Folks called it The Path of Fate.'' She, too, was looking skyward with a satisfied smirk.
>>
''T-this is... this hill maybe is somehow transposing ourselves into Mother Earth realm? Or maybe a vision of the sky was imprinted...?'' Sieglinde stammered.

''Princess, it doesn't matter.'' Elina gently admonished and Sieglinde conceded after taking a long breath to calm herself down.

''Five main points.'' Klesiah continued, thoroughly entranced. ''Center shine like a stretched diamond, if you trail on an upward diagonal leaning leftward you can see that faint blue light.''

''There's a branch on the right, a red light surrounded by smaller yellows ones.'' Sieglinde continued, small tremblings of her body making her chuckle.

''I remember that one.'' Elina laughed. ''Diamond got this dim shine right next to it, easily missed.''

''I... I'm not sure where I can see that last one.'' Somehow, your legs felt weak as you continued to stare at this wondrous constellation.

''Its here, milord.'' Klesiah answered, trailing a finger (without metal this time for she had donned off her armor during your sleep) toward a desolated trail in the abyss ending with a lonely, yet courageous shine. ''Many seems to forget but this one is connected to the Aegis, it's one of Father Sky outposts.''

''Hao mother was a seeress of the stars'' Said the young tribal girl, a repeat of her previous confession but now she had something to say and her gaze of green concentrated on you, it's quiet intensity reducing your legs to feeble wobbliness that forced you to sit.

''Hao was born under the bad omen of the Path of Fate. Mother predicted many things...'' She spread her arms outward as if trying to reach that wondrous sea of stars. How did she find this place? How long did she look? ''...The Shield will walk again and lights need to remain together, else tragedy will strike and the world will continue on uncaring.'' This was delivered with a perfect mastery of language, something Hao had undeniably practiced during her learning of Commons with Teruko.

Looking into your eyes, the dark-scaled lizardwoman grinned. ''Hao had to learn how to fight because mom said leaving was inevitable. Hao needed to learn how to survive and to hunt because Hao will need to leave and go far, walk the places her father came from, else Hao will be swallowed by a heartless world.''

'Your father is a cleric of Mother Earth?'' Elina murmured, Hao didn't seem to hear.

''That's... Fate.'' Klesiah took her eyes off the sky. ''Mother Earth and Father Sky reject the concept of fate. All of their children deserve the chance to build their lives and futures without being toyed by cosmic forces.''

''Yes.'' Hao nodded. ''That's why Hao is here. Mother prepared me for a tragic fate but now, here I am. Goddess is a good person.''

This seemed to strike a sensitive chord in Klesiah who stumbled backward while taking a large gulp of air.
>>
''Hao understand what tragedy her mother spoke about.'' Her long hair seemed to float behind her as she walked closer to you -the group- with a strangely peaceful smile and sharp eyes shining with droplets of tears. ''Hao wasn't here to help Arawn today.''

''Vilma was the one under duress!'' You blurted out. ''Hao, don't even think that you're at fault! I know you...'' It might be best to avoid revealing that shocking thing about her capacity tonight. ''...You did nothing wrong, it's my fault that I forgot to ask for your help.''

''Hao wasn't here to help her mother when she was killed by her own tribe before the Naadaam.'' She was speaking gently, softly yet with such decisive inner strength that nobody could protest. Not after hearing something so personal.

''Hao wasn't here to help her friend, so he grew to hate her.'' Her neck craned upward to look into that wonderful night sky. ''Hao wasn't here to help her father, so he was banished. Hao wasn't here to help another friend during her hunt, so she died. Hao wasn't here to help her aunt, so her husband killed her. Hao wasn't here to continue making friends, so she's only had her mother. Hao wasn't here... Arawn made me understand my tragedy.'' She squatted to your level, taking a moment to observe the other girls. ''Hao fate is to be absent.''

Who could say anything here? Somehow this jovial warrior that nobody really knew, who abandon everything she knew -including her culture- was being so... so honest.

Hao care had been left to Teruko, Teruko was the only one who truly worried about Hao wellbeing who, for all intent and purpose, was her genuine friend. Despite all of her warm efforts to come forward and be a part of the group, that time she displayed her strength, that afternoon where she helped you investigate the poisonous inquisitor... Goddess! She had a direct hand in saving Klesiah yet you didn't... give her much thought!

She wasn't even here during your first foray into the Red World...! Curse of absence indeed!

''It doesn't have to be like that.'' It was a sentence that left your mouth instinctively and you found some strength to get on your feet.

''Hao learned about knights today. Zipangu has them, grandmaster gallant.'' Hao slowly rose to her feet, trying her best to conceal the rubbing of her eyes. ''Arawn is a prince, elven prince yes? Hao precious friend, man, chief. Shield.''

''This sky is my gift, only thing I can offer.'' Klesiah sharp noise betrayed a mixture of astonishment and compassion, one hand went to gently tap on the golden headdress keeping her blue locks from falling on her face.

She had described this jewelry as her only possession... and offered it to you inside that tent.

''Hao can only give this sky to Arawn, and those precious around him.'' Her arms spread sideways again and she lightly jumped on her feet. ''It's Hao only possession. Lord has to judge, right?'' Her gaze was directed toward Klesiah.
>>
''Yes... in the Allied Kingdoms, a knight gift is often judged as the depth of their character...'' There weren't any traces of negativity or hints of jealousy on the blue-haired knightly lady. A sideways glance revealed that Sieglinde, for some reason, had turned around to look into the forest whilst Elina looked completely lost in thoughts, gaze skyward and idly tracing the shiny corona above her head.

>Accept Hao as your knight. yours is a nonexistent house and your bloodline is dubious indeed... but that shouldn't stop you.

>Take some time to think it over, this is... overwhelming.

>Refuse. Gently, but refuse. Fate holds no sway wherever Mother Earth dwell, Hao should carve her own path.

>Free.
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Oh yeah, forgot to add that I'll continue tomorrow. Even if its obvious.
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>>3188045
Holy shit, another offer of knighthood from Hao of all people!? Looks like we even got a mention in a prophecy. The "shield" is indeed walking again, though not perhaps in the way the seer thought it would (i.e. fused to us).

I thought Hao was after her tribe as a whole for screwing her over royally (I assumed anyway). She can't wish for the death of her mother if she is already dead and she just said "Hao wasn't there to help her mother when she was killed by her own tribe" unless "death" means something different for her than it does to us.

She's got quite the list of grievances she just listed there so her wanting some sweet sweet vengeance on that scale is actually understandable. Plus I don't think Sieg and Co. would be cool with patricide. Tribal genocide sure, but killing one's own parents? I'm just not seeing it.

Anyway, she's been endlessly fascinated by knights and seems to earnestly want to become one. Though I worry she's hoping swearing vows of knighthood will dispel her curse. Accepting her would fit in with our stated goals of realizing Daiyu's ideals however...

I say we accept, but only after we have her confirm that it is what she really and truly wants for herself, that she understands how serious vows of knighthood are, and that, like Klesiah, we want her to see us as a friend first and a lord second.

Also, nice Serenity pics. They supposed to fit Hao somehow?
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>>3188425
Serenity fit somewhat thematically though it's mostly because I don't have enough pics of brown girls in general and Agireda has almost nothing sfw to post.

>She's got quite the list of grievances she just listed there so her wanting some sweet sweet vengeance on that scale is actually understandable. Plus I don't think Sieg and Co. would be cool with patricide. Tribal genocide sure, but killing one's own parents? I'm just not seeing it.

I might not have made it too clear, but Hao previous tribe killed her mother. Here she delivered it in a way that was just... well, culturally thematic to her old life. Her previous moment where she told you her revenge was 100% truth, a project she'd like to one day do in her life. Her previous tribe killed her mom before an event called ''Nadaam'' so Hao stole her tribe magical artifact and fled.
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>>3188436
She still has that artifact right? A kind of Magma Axe like weapon if I recall correctly...
>>
>Accept Hao as your knight. yours is a nonexistent house and your bloodline is dubious indeed... but that shouldn't stop you.

We accepted Klesiah, after considering it all. Why not accept her, too? I say we accept her, but on the same terms as we did to Klesiah.

For us, Klesiah is a friend, first and foremost. The whole knighthood thing comes later.

If Hao wishes to be our knight as well, the same will hold true to her, along with the right to reconsider in order to pursue a happier path in life, to seek their own fates, if the situation presents itself to them and they wish for it.

As for Hao's revenge, I still don't know how much we will support this. Revenge for the sake of revenge is a big no, but... odds are that if the tribe killed the mother, and the mother was trying to do something good, the tribe might be planning something bad.

As potential villains, we need to keep an eye on them. And if it turns out they have nefarious plans, they will need to be stopped. In such case, we will want to be right there, next to Hao, assisting in what she has to do.

Also, AAAGHH, I missed tonight's updates! ;w; I was busy with other things and couldn't participate. It's a shame, because it was a really beautiful set of updates.

Thankfully, the things that got voted for were exactly the ones I would have voted for, so no deep regrets on my part!
>>
>>3188490
>She still has that artifact right? A kind of Magma Axe like weapon if I recall correctly...

Yeah.

>>3188493
Hao was to be the ''healing'' moment if you ended up failing your endeavor (without dying) but instead, you got this coming outta nowhere! Well, it roused sensitives memories in out tribal lass.
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>>3188509

Healing as in, she comforting us fter our failure to save Klesiah?

Or more literally, she doing something to heal us after we were defeated in that place? I am supposing it would have been her who would have come into the red realm to save us, if Elina and the others hadn't trying going in there first?

Also, Hao was absent, that was her curse, she said. But wasn't she pretty much alone during the time she went through all this grief? She concerned herself so much on not being there for others, but who was there for her?

I think, we have a duty of not letting her feel forgotten, not letting her be lonely. Our response to her could at least to some extent go in this direction, I think.
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>>3188493
I agree with keeping an eye on them. After all, as today's festivities proved, Ama is more than OK with letting others "use" her if it screws with us and our friends.

Wanna know where Hao/That Artifact is oh betrayed tribals? Want a shot at em' both? Well, if you just sign right here on this dotted line...

>>3188509
So the damned thing did have an "escape" option if we took too long/fucked up hard enough! Damn, good thing we killed the fucker fast.
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>>3188522

I did mean to write Vilma. X3
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>>3188522
>Healing as in, she comforting us fter our failure to save Vilma?

Yeah, something like that.

>But wasn't she pretty much alone during the time she went through all this grief?

Yes

>She concerned herself so much on not being there for others, but who was there for her?

Nobody because she wasn't there for anybody else, too. What Hao told Arawn in her speech is that all of her life tragedies happened because she wasn't there to help anyone she cared about.

You've no idea how happy she was to be of use during the investigation.
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>>3188537

She has already saed the day more than once.

And now, she cheered up our night, too. Let's make her happy by granting her knighthood wish ^///^
>>
Now, I've little reason NOT to accept Hao as Arawn's knight...

But I think we should ask her if she's discussed this with Teruko. She's still pregnant people, AND we have confirmed that someone is actively gunning for her! We still need someone we can trust to watch Teruko's back, at least until her husband comes back from wherever he is currently.

We should ask Hao if she's absolutely sure that this is what she wants, and to remind her even as Arawn's knight Hao would still need to be by Teruko's side as her maid for the aforementioned reasons.

If Hao's willing, I think it'd be best for her to hold off on the knightly oaths until such a time that she can become a "full-time" knight, so to speak.
>>
>>3188045
>Accept Hao as your knight. yours is a nonexistent house and your bloodline is dubious indeed... but that shouldn't stop you.
"Knights Of The Shield" has a nice ring to it...
>>
>>3188946
Pretty sure we can trigger another fusion activation if another Magritew shows up. They seem to be Gardy's favored enemy. They caused him to awaken, they are what seems to further his cause insofar as they make him wanna kill em'. The only good soul eater is a dead one! We can leverage this if Ama wants to push it...

>>3189073
Might have the beginnings of our own Knightly order it would seem. A human kinslayer who did that with good reason, a tribal with a long past and an aim for vengeance, we're off to a good start folks.

Is there a way to test for resonance with Gardy? I mean, if we are gonna start an order he'd make a good basis and resonance with the Embodiment of Protection is a good litmus test if only to ensure Ama's apostles can't easily get in there...
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>>3189154
>Pretty sure we can trigger another fusion activation if another Magritew shows up.
While that is true, threats on the soul aren't the only way Teruko can be in danger. A knife in the dark can serve as danger enough.
>>
Accepting it is, I'll be updating in the evening. It'll be a nice way to end our thread.
>>
Updating could be a little difficult actually, I'm facing some irritating problem with my computer. I'll do my best either way, though I'll be archiving early.
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I doubt I'll be able to update today. Computer is close to being a useless brick, I need to go scrounge an alternative. Such a bummer, accepting Hao is looking heartening!
>>
Alright, I managed to scrounge up an alternative. I'll try to post one last update this evening to close our thread.
>>
Goodie :3
>>
''Hao, I... I...'' What could you say? What would be acceptable here, as someone without foundation for his lordship? If a knight gift is to be the foundation of their character... Hao offered you this sky and her emotions in total honesty instead of her pilfered weapon as her knightly ''gifts.'' Perhaps lack of sleep had done more than drain your endurance, the tribal girl seemed to radiate in this night, the brief humidity in your eyes demanded a hard grit of teeth to swallow down.

Around you stood three other women, all of them with surprisingly similar expectations. Refusing was well within your right, yet it might upset them even more than having fought the Magritew on your own; all of them did their best to subdue their emotions (Sieglinde stubbornly hid her face) and that, in of itself, was a telling prospect. Perhaps they, too, felt guilty about having forgotten Hao's existence?

''I'm hardly deserving of such loyalty, I have no lands, no foundations you know?''

''Loyalty is loyalty, milord.'' Klesiah whispered, her face was a beauteous painting of serenity. Her opinion as a knight about this was transparent indeed.

A shade of unease came over Hao beautiful face and that -finally- was the last thing you needed to completely throw away your hesitation.

''Hao.'' You rose to your feet and the girl straightened her entire body in response. ''This oath to me isn't one that I'll ever take lightly and if the time comes where I ever disrespect it - tell me- and I'll do whatever it takes to earn your forgiveness.''

''But a lord owes his knights nothing...'' Hao answer was a gentle whisper under the moonlight and you shook your head.

''None of these ''conventional lords'' matter here. When Klesiah renewed her oath of loyalty to me, I asked her to be my friend; I have no need for subservient knights afraid to say anything, I don't want people under me and above all, we met as strangers then slowly became comrades Hao, that's not something I want to stop. If a time comes that your ambition changes, I don't want you to feel beholden to me.'' Last week, you started as a complete amnesiac who broke his neck while coming out of the Demonic Throne, today a second wholesome girl -a Mamono this time- swore a knightly vow by presenting such a... gift. Yes, it really was the perfect word. Goddess, how did this young lizard...?

''Arawn is Arawn, Klesiah is Klesiah, Hao is Hao.'' Said the tribal outcast, she took a timid step closer and, upon seeing nobody raising any objection, bridged enough distances to close meters of separation into a single one. ''Elina and Sieglinde too, did you guys know? All of you look so... so close. Teruko calls it harmony, Hao tribe has no word for it but... that word is strong. If Arawn wants to continue being friends despite being Hao lord, I... What is a knight to do, Klesiah?''
>>
''An oath of loyalty, Hao, is to remain true, incorruptible and above all faithful to your lord no matter what comes.'' Answered the blue-haired woman, then her gaze was directed at you in sudden anticipation.

This ''pursue your own path'' statement of yours might not have been as poignant as you believed.

''Klesiah, you don't need my permission to speak your mind, please.''

She nodded with a bashful smile and turned to face the lizardwoman. ''As my lord first knight, you have my full blessing, Hao. This path you want to walk into is... it's hard, it's perilous but you've decided, haven't you?''

Hao grinned and nodded, tail whipping the air behind her. ''Thank you, Hao is glad for Elina and Sieglinde presence too.'' The angel blinked in surprise and the demonic princess turned around trying her best to clear her throat quietly. ''Witness to her gift, listened to her fears... Weight on shoulders gone, yes?'' Hao wobbled her upper body for emphasis.

''Trust me, I'm not going to forget this.'' Elina relaxed into a rare smile, Sieglinde followed close behind with a familiar imperious swoosh of curly red hair.

''Still, Hao.'' This newfound role as a lord will, unfortunately, need you to put a little damper on this enthusiasm. The mood amongst the girl was genuinely wonderful. Hao description really was on point; for someone with a struggle of Commons, she's a sharp lass.

''I don't think you should stop being Teruko maid in the near future, in fact, I'd be happy if you continued to protect her.'' Hao frowned in a childish pout.

''Dress too frilly, too much air.'' She groaned, yet this bad mood was clearly forced because she couldn't repress a grin. ''Teruko in danger yes? Hao will do everything -anything- to keep her safe and uphold promises -oath-. Yes, yes.'' She nodded to herself. ''Us all should sleep here.'' She continued, gesturing for the discarded backpacks on this hilltop. ''Spending first night with Arawn wives will be fun!''

It took a few seconds for everyone to register that last statement.

''Hold up.'' Elina was the first to answer, twitching wings betraying evident agitation yet she couldn't find any retort and simply stood there dumbfounded with a raised index.
>>
''W-wives...!?'' Sieglinde almost yelled, sounding far too forced to be genuinely scandalized. ''Hao, you're misunderstanding a very important thing, we're all friends here.''

''Yes, yes.'' Hao nodded. ''Friends, family, wives, Arawn lord - he is chief- and all of yous cares for him and so does he. I'll be able to feel that strongly too, for him and everyone!'' She spread her arms outward yet again, pointing skyward. ''Shield is walking and he needs all of his lights, his wives, his family! Emotions blossom, strengthen! My own in harmony with everyone!''

''T-this isn't... we're not in a harem, girl! He's...'' Sieglinde made a worrying stomp as she glared at you. ''He's your lord, not your husband!''

''A-A lord cannot quite marry his knight, Hao...'' Klesiah joined in the protest, this time Hao frowned in honest frustration.

''Arawn doesn't care about that.'' If a voice could be steel, then Hao's disposition was unbending iron. Goddess, she's bullying you. Has to be.

Elina began to laugh loudly. ''How about it Hao.'' Began the angel, gently sapping her chest to calm her hilarity. ''Arawn has yet to earn his rights for that little title.''

''But a man surrounded by women is a harem isn't it?''

''Girl.'' Sieglinde slapped her big hands together, her tail coiled on itself dangerously. ''I'll teach you a few things tonight. Yours is a true knightly heart but now's not the time to believe all of us are, well... involved.''

''Even when sleeping in the same bed?'' Hao was clearly disbelieving.

''T-that's... not important!'' Sieglinde face had blossomed into a wonderful shade of red that rivaled her hair, Klesiah covered her mouth and stared at you for reasons you couldn't fathom. Elina laughed heartily and actively joined with Hao in forcing Sieglinde to dig her tomb a little deeper.

It would take an hour to finally clear up this little confusing part of your relationship, then came preparation for sleeping under the stars...

Today has been one hell of a trial. If the belief surrounding Mother Earth protection is true, perhaps the goddess existence and your efforts combined into trumping what should have been a sad fate. From the moment you woke up, you barely caught a break yet, in the end, Vilma was saved and that's what matters.

Perhaps you could have done things better, differently, learned something important about the vampire or whatever plot Ama is doing but, in the end, you chose Vilma and that somehow led into Hao becoming your second knight.

A tribal girl cursed to suffer ''absence''. All of the tragedy of her life occurred when she was away, powerless to react, let alone stop anything...

A Tale of Monsters -25- End

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CaG7r8BJlg&index=1
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>>3191036
Thanks for running dude. So we got the good/great end, but not the best end I take it? Bah, no matter, Vilma's not an apostle who hates everyone but us and we've got Hao as a knight, that's worth whatever was lost/missed. We're gonna have to train up a team attack with her and Klesiah.

Also, how innocent and pure can Hao get? Girl didn't even know what a harem entailed! Does she even know how babies are made?

Hope other Siggy and Mylen don't get mad about being bounced on. We'll have to talk to them after the suppression mission. We should also try pointing the aspect at Ame if we get a chance and see what reaction we get. My money's on a nice big fat one.
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>>3191156

>Also, how innocent and pure can Hao get? Girl didn't even know what a harem entailed! Does she even know how babies are made?

A sharp, pure girl.
>>
Thanks for running! A great outcome for a great chapter of a Tale of Monsters! :3

I am growing fonder and fonder of Hao.
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>>3191214
Hao is an important girl. Having her tag along for today's event was a very deeply buried hidden option, but at least now she can start taking her spot too.

Thank for participating! I'm not sure when I'll be running again, Twitter will have the confirmation.
>>
Also, Act 1 is rapidly closing. Once we get through the next few updates, it's highly possible that I'll be starting a little sidequest in the world of ToM. There's a little something I'd like to do, an event going on concurrently to Arawn adventure that needs to be played...

And if you guys would like some kind of special scenes for our crew, I can try thinking of a little something. Though we've got the Suppression to get through first.
>>
A sidequest? I am intrigued!

Also, I can totally see us returning to the castle tomorrow and Hao walking up to Teruko being like "Teruko, you were wrong. You said 'Wives'. You said 'Harem'. Hao was told wrong words for Arawn and girls."

Then Sieglinde, Elina and Klesiah glare at Teruko.
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>>3191619
Teruko may or may not have had a whole lot of fun explaining important things to Hao.
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>>3191297
That sounds cool. A few questions popped into my head though. First, is Klesiah afraid of Jesters or does she just plain hate em'?

Second, our exhausted ramblings really ought to have triggered a toothache. Were we simply too tired to feel pain or does that level of exhaustion interfere with the curse?

Finally, did Sieg get a little jelly over Hao's inference of Arawn having a harem? Maybe the redhead wants the elf all to herself insofar as romance is concerned. Maybe all the girls have such designs. Any one of them would be enough for even royalty like us to be sure, but then again there's only so many men to go around so...

>>3191619
I like this idea. I like it a lot.
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>>3191901
>That sounds cool. A few questions popped into my head though. First, is Klesiah afraid of Jesters or does she just plain hate em'?

Klesiah is a quiet girl in general, she shares Hao intense dislike of parties. Even when they are 100% positive and wholesome, all that boisterousness is an aggression on the nerves of your two knights. Jester being dressed up in clashing colors and being overall annoying don't help.

>Were we simply too tired to feel pain or does that level of exhaustion interfere with the curse?

I cannot give information here, good catch though. This wasn't a mistake on my part, 100% calculated.

>Finally, did Sieg get a little jelly over Hao's inference of Arawn having a harem?

Ask her.
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>>3191901
>Maybe the redhead wants the elf all to herself insofar as romance is concerned. Maybe all the girls have such designs. Any one of them would be enough for even royalty like us to be sure, but then again there's only so many men to go around so...


I feel like the whole dating situation around Mamonos would need it's entire dedicated update to get into, but ''sharing'' is the norm due to biological necessity since girls are born 100% of the time.

I will greatly enjoy the opportunity of bullying the hell out of Arawn if you guys ask the wrong person about this.
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>>3191951

My bets are, either:

One: Now that we have a way to track down the curse and use it against her, Ama is more reluctant to yank the chain to our mouth for her own amusiement, knowing we can yank it back. ...Actually, if we can yank it back to cause her some mild discomfort, I'd love to try, random thought that just occured me.

Two: This special starry place Hao showed us is somehow isolated and away from Ama's influence. Maybe by being here we are actually in the safest possible place from her.

If that's the case, I expect her to be cross about us finding such a convenient place to retreat away from her influence, and will likely send an Apostle of hers here to taint this place eventually.
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>>3191951
We ask the Golden Butterfly then. Gardy can summon it I'd reckon. The good version I mean. Lady White is, I fear, quite capable of imitating it flawlessly. Only one thing keeps her from fooling us on that front, Gardy.

If anyone can tell the difference between Bad Fluffy and most benevolent Rainbow Lady it's him.
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>>3192359
Hold on, are you insinuating that you'd like to ask the herald of Mother Earth advices about dating?
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>>3192379
The question is not why, it's why not. I'll need more votes than my own of course but hey, I bet she wouldn't bully us for that. Or maybe she would, either way, it'd be entertaining. Just gotta be sure it's actually her and not bad fluffy, she'd troll us hard and then try to get us to touch her fluff.

Oh god, she might insist on that now. A "punishment" for foiling her plans for Vilma. "Groom my tails toy or else I go after another waifu of yours!" as she tosses us a red comb in that accursed tea house as Gardy is forced to watch is a bad enough thought as is...
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>>3192886
Feeding me ideas is good.
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>>3192886

Asking Ama for dating advice doesn't sound too bad either, desu. I bet she's had her fair share of lovers, even if she likely trolled them all to death at some point or another.
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>>3193820
I'm sure an evening dinner with candles will make for a wonderful evening with the mischievous fluff
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>>3193854

She must not misunderstand. We are not asking her out, we are asking her to give us advice on romance.
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>>3194013
Huh uh. Of course, Arawn is not attracted to his nemesis at all.

Ama hasn't been unreasonable once so far right?
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>>3194031

Ama can't prove anything! All those times sh caught Arawn's glare wandering toward her fluffy tail were nothing but coincidences.

She hasn't been unreasonable yet, but we haven't seen her mad yet, either.

Also, I do believe that if she hadn't burst out laughing at how stupid Arawn was after signing the contract, we'd still be giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Wel, more than what we already do, I mean.
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>>3194068
>we
I'm gonna have to stop you right there Anon, because I feel the only one giving White the "benefit of the doubt" here in any capacity is you.

Me? My feelings lie firmly on the SUFFER NOT THE WITCH TO LIVE spectrum.
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>>3194115
>>3194068
Taking the white fluff on a date in the future? I think so!
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>>3194126
Only if the "date" ends with Ama *burnt at the STAKE!*

I have a sudden urge to have Arawn found an organization dedicated to hunting down Ama and her Apostles in the future. A veritable Inquisition, if I dare say so.
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>>3194162
There's already four inquisitorial sects, founding another one would be... difficult. You'd have better luck trying to make a new knightly order but you'll need an actual noble title first.

Ama is a good girl.
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>>3194115

Heh, don't worry, I was only semi-joking. I know you're not a fan of her.

I do believe some others have shown some fondness for her, though. I don't thik I am the only one who finds her enjoyable to interact with, even as enemies.


And, we are still not forgetting she's our villain. Just, no reason why we can't enjoy some friendly adversary fun with our villain.

Thing is, once she gets away with more unforgivable things, we will lean more toward not playing along with her.

>>3194126
A-a date? N-nuuh!
Talking about dates, though, I do feel like we should meet with Ame and Siegfriend, soon though.

Also, how would you rate our success in this chapter, INH?
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>>3194193
You opted for the ''personal'' objective of saving Vilma. While her memories aren't returned, you've got the tools to remedy that so it'll be something to do next story day.

Your success was pretty much spot on in what you intended to do. Good end reached, one more person decided to stay here instead of going out in the Suppression.
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>>3194191
B-but my s-stake burnings...
...I'm sad now.

Acquiring a noble title... that's going to need some doing. Yes, Arawn IS of noble blood - that should grease the wheels a little - but there IS also a record of his death. Arawn might need a way to prove his lineage down the line.

>>3194193
>And, we are still not forgetting she's our villain. Just, no reason why we can't enjoy some friendly adversary fun with our villain.
Alright, I can get behind adopting a thin veil of friendly rivalry with Ame. For now.
>Talking about dates, though, I do feel like we should meet with Ame and Siegfriend, soon though.
Speaking of, will we able to chat with them in the morning come next thread, Insert? Or did we completely miss our chance to meet them?
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>>3194236
>B-but my s-stake burnings...

Not everyone is a Closed Fist!

>Acquiring a noble title... that's going to need some doing. Yes, Arawn IS of noble blood - that should grease the wheels a little - but there IS also a record of his death. Arawn might need a way to prove his lineage down the line.

You could also simply be gifted a place to rule... Humanity isn't the only civilization.

>Speaking of, will we able to chat with them in the morning come next thread, Insert? Or did we completely miss our chance to meet them?

Completely missed, troops will be going out in the morning and Arawn is likely to sleep in late despite camping out due to his exhaustion. Though, speaking with them afterward would be possible... assuming things went well of course. You'll be missing out the forest cleansing.
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>>3194236

Wait, it is Ama qho we're rivals with. Ame is the good fox queen, wife of Siegfried. Their names being similar is not a coincidence, but they are not the same person. Let's try to genuinely get along with Ame.

As for Ama, she has been Affably Evil to us so far, or maybe Faux Affably Evil. We can reply to her in kind. We probably cannot win against her in the game of staying composed in our little game of strategy against her, as she has the upper lad. But that is not to mean we can't try and maybe, give her a few surprises to remind her who she's dealing with.
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>>3194260
>Wait, it is Ama qho we're rivals with. Ame is the good fox queen, wife of Siegfried.
Ah, shite. My bad, the clock is about 2:00 for me as of writing and I'm being a bit stubborn about not going to sleep and it shows apparently.
This is why I usually refer to Ama as White, easier to tell her and Ame apart!

>>3194259
>You could also simply be gifted a place to rule... Humanity isn't the only civilization.
Ooohh riiight, Gwendolyn DID offer us lands in the aftermath of the Moot didn't she... I'm hesitant to take her up on that before Arawn gets his memory back.
>Completely missed
Dammit!
Oh well, I don't think they'll be very cross about it at all considering Arawn's state of health. Hopefully they don't find out about him sneaking out on them though!
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>>3194126
Ok, how in the hell would that even work? Not wanting to take her on a date unless it ends with her in a plasma incinerator but for the sake of curiosity how would she even attempt to pull that off?

>>3194162
Indeed. Death to all the servants of Bad Fluffy. By fire they shall be purged!

>>3194193
Interacting with her is indeed fun, but there's the element of every time we do it tends to herald bad things happening to us and our friends. Poor Vilma, and poor us next time we see her.

>>3194259
>Completely missed
Drat, I'm pretty sure what other Siggy wants from us though. Well, two things. One, an answer to the question of how we apparently came back from the dead. Secondly, our magic and how it could possibly be used to "fix" a certain angelic being. We seem to have been enemies in the past so that conversation is going to be very interesting.

I wonder, how much is an embodiment worth?
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>>3194663
>Ok, how in the hell would that even work? Not wanting to take her on a date unless it ends with her in a plasma incinerator but for the sake of curiosity how would she even attempt to pull that off?

She'll ask and you'll accept. It's that simple.

>I wonder, how much is an embodiment worth?

Gonna need some precision here, worth can be pretty broad...
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>>3194695
She'll ask and we'll refuse you mean. Then she'll make a veiled threat towards a girl we're favoring and then we'll accept. This is also how she's gonna get us to touch her fluff as well. She is, sadly, negotiating from a position of immense strength. Like trying to work out a deal where the other side has nukes, and you don't.

As for worth, the usual. Money, lands, servants, titles, and if it's really, really bad we might even be talking souls here. We do have a potential guilt free source on that last one Ama's apostles but yeah, not easy and sacrificing souls just sounds bad. Parts offered up is OK, but the whole darn thing? That's a good and proper dick move right there. Then there's the possibility that the souls needed will have to be "pure" and that rules out the guilt free source. The "blood gift" marks/taints the soul right?
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>>3194773
>As for worth, the usual. Money, lands, servants, titles, and if it's really, really bad we might even be talking souls here.

Putting material worth on an Embodiment is extremely difficult because they are Father Sky ''masterpieces'', the greatest of all angels; concepts made manifest. Gardy position as the Embodiment of Protection makes this exclusivity rather difficult to believe now but it is true there hasn't been any non-angels Embodiment. There's been four of them known throughout the age that followed the wars of the Pretender Gods: Strife, Faith, Justice and, much, much later on, Love. Out of them, Faith died during the Great Crusade, Strife died during the crusade for Zipangu, Love rejected her role as Embodiment (even if her powers remained) and nobody has a clue where Justice is.

It's not really possible to answer your question of worth here, because the concept of Embodiment stands above even Supreme monsters and heroes. They've rarely dabbled in politics.

>The "blood gift" marks/taints the soul right?

Not so much a taint as a modification. A practitioner of Blood Magic like Deruella needed to ''taint'' herself to use it.
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>>3194825
I see, so a potential spell we may learn in the future, let's call it "soul vision" for now, would enable us to detect blood mages because their souls are altered from the baseline in a specific way?

I wonder if Gardy's existence offended Father Sky. Must have seen him as a cheap knockoff of his finest works from an inferior pretender. That bestest buddy did his job so darn well must've wounded his pride a bit.
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>>3194886
>I see, so a potential spell we may learn in the future, let's call it "soul vision" for now, would enable us to detect blood mages because their souls are altered from the baseline in a specific way?

Yes. Delving into the Red World and observing souls can also give you hints.

>I wonder if Gardy's existence offended Father Sky. Must have seen him as a cheap knockoff of his finest works from an inferior pretender. That bestest buddy did his job so darn well must've wounded his pride a bit.

Gardy is technically older than all of his Embodiments, so take that as you want.
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>>3194890
Ok then, Gardy inspired Father Sky. Gotta hand it to Devona. Her pure wish spawned that whole line of thought. Though I must say, I doubt "Faith" is well and truly dead. That one is likely suffering the same state as "love" is. Pretty damn dead, but not totally. A "soul" mage could fix all that, but not easily...

It all begs one other question though. Gardy had friends beyond his charge yes? Did he ever get to know another embodiment? Is he known to the others and could thus make it easier to revive them?
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>>3195406
>It all begs one other question though. Gardy had friends beyond his charge yes? Did he ever get to know another embodiment? Is he known to the others and could thus make it easier to revive them?

That's not something I can answer. While you did have all of Gardy memories for a time, you didn't actively seek out things to learn and remember about him so I can't give you a straight answer.
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>>3194773
>She'll ask and we'll refuse you mean. Then she'll make a veiled threat towards a girl we're favoring and then we'll accept. This is also how she's gonna get us to touch her fluff as well.
See, were this to happen and if she has us groom her tails we'll be in a position to deal with tangled and knotted fur with far more strength and zeal than necessary. "Oh dear, I apologize. My hand slipped!"
>We seem to have been enemies in the past so that conversation is going to be very interesting.
Hm? What makes you say that?
I agree though - a very interesting conversation. I must wonder if popcorn is a thing in this setting, I can just imagine the more mischievous members of our social circle pulling up chairs and snacks to enjoy the show.

>>3194825
>nobody has a clue where Justice is.
Inb4 that angel that White had accompanying her in our dreams some time ago is Justice and White has *somehow* snagged him as her servant.
I'm only kidding, I *highly* doubt this is the case...
All I'm saying is that I wouldn't even be bloody surprised.



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