/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!

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File: 1390241120919.jpg (37.23 KB, 720x480, midnight guard.jpg, IO Exif Google TinEye)

521373

The day draws to a close in New Silent Lake.
Supplies have been gathered, time has been spent among friends and allies, and now is the last chance to do anything before you move out to Bare Hills.
Once everyone is #ready we will skip ahead to the next day and your arrival to the Hill.

521374

>>521373
I've handled my maintenance on Primrose.

#Ready

Roll #1 7 = 7

521375

I'm ready.

521376

>>521373
Get myself good and washed up before going to bed, and I'm #ready

521377

>>521373
As long as I've got my pants.

521378

>>521377
By that I mean #ready

521379

And so with pants in hand and tender butts, our heroes left on the next leg of their journey. Good planning and preparation paid off, and the trip was mainly uneventful. Not many landmarks were passed, save for a couple of sleepy farms and a lone church near some woods. But as the terrain turned rockier and steeper, Cloudcover knew he was right on track. Bare Hill was not far now, and it seemed that the party was not the only group headed there. Not too far from you, three other ponies were walking in the same direction.
You could easily get their attention, or eavesdrop on them with a little finesse.

521380

>>521379
"Oh boy, do I love me some competition."

521381

>>521380
"You do?"

521382

>>521379
>>521380
"Should we spy on them, in that case?"

521383

>>521379
What can I tell about the group just by looking at them? '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

521384

>>521381
"No."

>>521382
"I'm not the sneakiest, but sure, go ahead."

521385

>>521384
"I'd rather not. Anyways, if they were trying to be stealthy, they wouldn't be using public roads."

I'll head off towards them, or at least try to signal them.

521386

>>521385
Follow closely.

521387

>>521383
Not a whole lot, given how you keep staring at Dulltooth.
>>521385
>>521386
They stop in their tracks to see who is coming.
One of them steps forward to protect the others

On closer inspection, two of them are Blazing Sunset and her guard from earlier. The third one is not familiar though…

521388

>>521387
"Oh look, who would have thought we'd run into some friends out here."

521389

>>521387
"Hello. Are you all doing better now?"

521390

>>521387
Stay behind the guard, looking at the approaching group.
Turn to lady Blazing, whispering.
"Do you know these ponies, milady?"

521391

>>521387
"Oh, you guys again! How's the hunt?"

521392

>>521387
Now's not the time to be thinking about that! Focus on the group so I know what's happening! '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

521393

>>521390
"It's fine, Blossom. We met them earlier."
>>521388
>>521389
>>521391
>>521392
"It's a small world, it seems."
Lady Blazing's guard lowers his shield and backs off as she steps forward
"We've come here to claim my heirloom. If you wish to help, I won't object to that. But please try to remember it is rightfully mine."

521394

>>521393
"As long as we get paid."

521395

>>521393
Nod and take a step back from the Lady.

521396

>>521393
Crap! Is Silk in disguise mode right now?

521397

>>521393
"We have our own orders, but I've no objection to working together to retrieve the object."

521398

>>521393
"Gladly! What was your plan? Does it involve ancient ruins? Maybe a crocodile pit?"

521399

>>521396
She wouldn't think of taking it off.
And she stays well behind Dulltooth like a shadow.
>>521397
>>521398
"My information came from Calming Breeze. He assured me what I sought was being stored in this mine, and permitted me and Sunsong to split from his group to come after it while he and the others went to retrieve another lost symbol of power. Indeed we already managed to obtain one of them before splitting up. While it holds no value to me, Calming says it should pay him well."
>>521394
"If it's money you're after, perhaps I can be of some assistance. If you have found one of the artifacts, I could… buy it off you and have it sent home for secure storage. You get paid and no longer need to worry about it, and Calming can later claim the reward for it in Canterlot.
Everypony wins."

521400

>>521399
"That sounds like a deal to me."

521401

>>521399
"We might be spending too much time on details. Let's work together to retrieve the object. Once we've secured it and ourselves, we can talk elsewhere."

521402

>>521399
"Will there be traps inside this mine? Like spiketraps or poison dart traps?"

521403

>>521399
>>521402
Turn to the Lady with a hint of worry and surprise in my eyes at the mention of traps.

521404

>>521399
Good, good. Fall back beside Dulltooth and keep my eyes on Lady Blazing as I whisper to Silk.
"Remember, calm and confident. They're probably going to look right at you at some point; don't flinch if they do. Just act like all of this is boring to you."

521406

>>521400
>>521401
"We can make camp and discuss payment if that is desired."
>>521402
>>521403
"For all we know, it's just a mine"
Cloudcover interjects
"That may have been converted to act as an illegal storage facility"
Blazing dismisses this
"Still, I doubt we'll be seeing traps."
>>521404
She gives a worried nod

521408

>>521406
"None of that sounds objectionable, but I'd rather not plan so far ahead when we still have to begin the operation. The other doctors referred to it as a bad thing."

521409

>>521406
Shut up and start glancing at the others from under the twill hood.
What are these newcomers like?
'1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

521410

>>521406
I look a bit disappointed.
"Not even a boulder trap?"

521411

>>521410
"Please, no traps. At all."

>>521406
"We can travel a bit more first."

521412

>>521406
"Do you recognize her? I've run into her before, so I know she goes by Blazing Sunset."

521414

>>521409
A varied lot, from ponies to goats to dogs.
Two of them are even crystal
>>521408
>>521411
"An entrance to the mine lies.."
"…Just over the horizon there, yes, we know."
It looks like Cloudcover is not too happy about this turn of events
>>521412
"Never seen her before."

521415

>>521414
"Good. That means she won't recognize you."
Do any of the members of the Lady's group particularly stand out? '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

521416

>>521414
Look at our guard for a moment, unable to decypher his expression.
Turn to the Lady, speaking in a low voice.
"If everything is in order, maybe I could suggest moving on?"

521417

>>521414
Bump into him.
"What's wrong Cloud?"

521419

>>521414
"Let's get in and do the job. Everything after that will simply be minor."

521422

>>521416
"I'm with you on this one. The sooner we get this done the sooner we can go back to civilization."

521424

>>521415
There are three.
The lady herself, her guard of few words, and the third one, a rather hesitant looking unicorn mare.
>>521416
"Very well, Blossom. Lets move."
>>521417
"I didn't expect company, that's all."

521425

>>521422
Turn around, slightly startled, but nod right after.
>>521424
Bow my head.
"Yes milady."
Off to the mines!

521426

>>521424
Yes, let's get moving. Off to the mines!

521427

>>521424
"Like Cassie always says, the more the merrier!"

521429

>>521427
"I never say that."

521430

>>521424
"Let's begin, the faster we can start, the faster we can all return."

521432

>>521429
"… Or some variation of that saying!"

521433

It takes less than half an hour from there to come in sight of the mine.
On the outside, it looks really unremarkable. Just a mineshaft entrance, a few shacks and some minecart tracks.

521434

>>521432
"Less is best, at most."

>>521433
Any tracks of other people?
Supreme Survivor to spot check.

521435

>>521429
Approach the dog.
"Your group seems large. Traveling in search of your own legacy, like the Lady?"
>>521433
Okay, what do I know about this place?

521436

>>521435
"No, travelling to get some money and make sure she-"
Point at Eira with a thumb.
"Doesn't get herself killed. Or worse."

521437

>>521435
>>521436
"What she's trying to say is that we're BFF's."

521439

>>521433
"Any thoughts, Dulltooth? Think it's safe to use this entrance?"

521440

>>521434
No signs of activity outside. Anything that may be going on, is going on inside.
>>521435
Bare Hill used to be Diamond Dog lands until they were driven off and a mine was established.
The mine dried up some years back, and was abandoned.

521441

>>521440
"We should be careful, but it looks like there isn't room for hesitation anymore."

521443

>>521437
"Definitely not."

>>521440
"Nothing suspicious I can see."
Let's grab a torch and carefully head inside.

521444

>>521436
"Oh, I see.."
Glance over at the mare.
>>521437
Then chuckle softly, bringing a hoof to cover my mouth.
>>521440
"Milady, there should be no problems entering the mine from here.
We should just be wary of potential cave ins or evil exhalations in the lower reaches.
Some times the miners dig too deep, and no pony can stand the stenches…"

521445

>>521443
"Don't be such a grump."

>>521444
I smile back.

521448

>>521444
"Don't believe a word of what she says."

>>521445
"I'm not a grump."

521449

>>521448
Still with a light chuckle, answer her.
"You do sound like a grump, in all honesty, madam."

521450

>>521448
"You're being one right now! Aren't you happy you got those new pants?"

521452

>>521449
>>521448
>>521445
"So it begins. This will be a lively trip."

521454

>>521452
Facepaw.
"This is what I have to suffer through every day."

>>521449
>>521450
"If you'd be in my place, you'd know why."

521455

>>521454
>>521452
"Ah…"
Sound a bit shocked and quickly grow silent, taking a step aside as we walk to distance me slightly.

521456

>>521454
"You have stable company. Take solace in that."

521457

>>521444
"Think you can keep an ear open for any warning signs of a cave-in while we're down there, Dulltooth?"

521458

>>521455
"Don't worry about her, she's really nice once you get to know her!"

521459

>>521456
"Sometimes I wish I didn't."

521460

>>521441
>>521443
>>521444
"Well, I suppose there isn't much we can do but head in. Shall we?"
Cloudcover grumbles but nods

521461

>>521460
Nod in agreement.

>>521459
Smile.

521463

>>521458
Shy away for a moment, but then approach her again.
"Your group seems so close knit together!"
>>521460
Nod.

521464

>>521460
Shrug.
"That's why we're here, isn't it?"

521467

Feel free to chat up the newcomer for now

NEXT TIME ON MIDBUTTS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39qZg14mgsg

521468

>>521463
"Oh yeah, definitely! We haven't been traveling together for very long, but still! Cassie and I have have been best friends for longer though."

521469

>>521468
Make mocking motions with my fingers.
" 'Best Friends' "

521470

>>521468
"Oh so you…
Knew each other befor-"
>>521469
Let out a brief chortle as soon as I notice her, but contain myself a moment later.

521472

>>521463
Guess I might as well go meet the new pony.
"Good evening, milady. How do you fare?"

521473

>>521469
>>521470
"Hey! It's the truth!"

521474

>>521470
"And with this, >>521468 and >>521469, I might advise you to turn back. But they're a lively bunch if you wish to stay."

521476

>>521473
"Maybe in your own little world."

521478

>>521476
"Our little world!"

521480

>>521472
"Oh, no, I'm just a missionary! Lady Sunset is the one you should address like that!"
>>521478
>>521476
Watch this exhange without interrupting. It'd be rude.

521481

>>521478
"It's too small for my comfort."

521483

>>521481
"Well we still make do."

521497

>>521483
"But at what cost?"

522982

And so you were all ready to enter Bare Hill.
Cloudcover goes through his maps one final time
"There are two possible entrances. The one right over there, and one more on the other side of the hill. The old mine town is not far either, and may contain maps of the place. However, odds are there are maps in the mine itself as well.
While we have no exact information on what awaits us down there, I'm guessing it's thugs and smugglers.
Any questions?"

522983

>>522982
Shake my head.

522984

>>522982
"No, everything is clear."

522985

>>522982
"I wonder if using my explosives inside that mine would be smart…"

522986

>>522982
"Has everyone made sure to take care of their 'business'? We don't need anyone deciding they can't hold it any longer in a tunnel with little to no ventilation."

522987

>>522986
Raise an eyebrow at that.

>>522985
"No, Eira, it would be dumb and probably kill us."

522988

>>522982
"The side of the hill entrance is my vote. "

522989

>>522987
"Well… You did probably grow up in a mine, so I'll trust you!"

522990

>>522986
"I don't think that will be a problem."

>>522988
"You grew up in a mine?"

522991

>>522982
"Why are we going in here again?"

522992

>>522989
Sigh.
"As you were born in a barn."

522993

>>522986
Chuckle slightly.

522994

>>522991
Lady Blazing Sunset answers that one
"My family's stolen symbol of power is in there according to the auction notes."

522995

>>522992
"I'm serious!"

522996

>>522995
"Why the hell would you think that I did?!"

522997

>>522996
"You're a diamond dog!"

522998

>>522997
"You're racist.
And an idiot too."

523000

>>522998
"Hey, I'm not racist at all! That's fact! I've seen plenty of old dog forts!"

523001

>>522994
"Lady Sunset, forgive my indiscretion…
But who will be guarding this relic?"

523002

>>523000
Facepaw.
"Just dop it."

523003

>>523002
"Okay then, where did you grow up?"

523005

>>523001
"I have sent for a courier who will see it safely back to Canterlot, along with the Mirror these… fine adventurers recovered earlier."

523009

>>523005
"Yes but…"
Sigh and bow.
"How provident of you, milady."

523011

>>523005
"We can discuss that once the relic has been retrieved. Come on, we're wasting time." Into the tunnel we go!

523013

>>523003
"Not in a mine."

>>523005
"Let's find it first."

523014

>>523013
"In a town then! A dog town?"

523015

>>523014
"What does it matter?"

523016

>>523015
"We're friends, we should know about this stuff!"

523017

>>523005
"Smart. Now let's see."

523018

>>523016
"Let's just focus right now instead of telling our life stories."

523019

>>523018
"Alright, you can tell later then!"

523020

>>523019
"Sure…"

523021

Cloudcover takes point
"The entrance looks clear from here. No sentries or even doors.
I don't like it one bit."

523024

>>523021
"I have a bad feeling about this."
Ninja Spot Check Activate '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

523025

>>523021
Stand behind him.

523026

>>523021
"Judging our luck, nothing is ever easy, is it?"

523027

>>523021
"If we're going in through the main entrance, they might just have boarded it up to discourage random passerby's but not those with a purpose."

523033

>>523021
>>523026
"Don't be so negative!"
Keep walking.

523034

>>523021
"We'll be fine as long as we stay together."
'1d10' follow him inside, look for signs of the bandit ponies.

Roll #1 7 = 7

523035

>>523021
"So, clearly they know we're coming and have set up a trap for us. What say I go and trigger it?"

523036

>>523035
"Go ahead. Primrose and I will be there to put you back together."

Try to smile.

Roll #1 10 = 10

523038

>>523024
>>523034
There is no door because the door has been bashed clean off its hinges. Someone came in here with considerable force.
As for possible sentries, it seems they all left in a hurry quite some time ago, and headed deeper into the mine. This is obvious from the fact that there is some slightly stale partially eaten food on a crate nearby, along with lanterns, but all the weapon racks are empty.
There are also hoofprints here. Many. A lot more than there were sentries.
You are not the first party to come in here.
>>523036
You are all smiles.
In fact, you look downright adorable.

523040

>>523038
Unsheathe my claymore.
"Great. I love company."
Start heading inside slowly.

523041

>>523038
Frown a bit and keep moving.
"I wonder what scared them all off…"

523042

>>523038
Trot over to the lanterns.

"We already have some, but we can take the rest and put them down as guide posts so we don't start traveling in circles."

Roll #1 2 = 2

523043

>>523038
"Looks like trouble."

523044

>>523038
Hold my breath.

523045

>>523036
>>523038
"Aw, thanks! Good to know you care about me!"
Look around for any serviceable weapons laying around. Preferably something small and light. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

523047

>>523042
Looks like these lanterns have no oil left. They were probably left on when the sentries rushed off.
>>523040
>>523041
>>523043
>>523044
"Visibility will be bad inside, but keep your ears open. Echoes can carry a lot of information."
>>523045
Not much around, save for a knife left stuck to a dartboard.

There is only a single way deeper in for now. It doesn't seem lit however. Possibly to maintain the illusion that this place is abandoned.

523048

>>523047
Trot forward.
Ear Ninja Powers ACTIVATE '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

523049

>>523047
Keep an ear out and go deeper.

523051

>>523045
"Of course, it's my job after all."

>>523047
I'm just going to take two of them on me, then put them down on any crossroads so we know where we came from.

523053

>>523047
Take the knife from the dartboard and give it to Silk.
"I know you're not a fighter, and I don't intend to let anything get near you, but… Just in case."

523057

>>523047
"then we should try not to make too much noise ourselves either."

523058

>>523047
Move silently in.
'1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

523061

>>523047
"There's our confirmation something's here. Something that can throw knives."

Put an inure shield around myself for one piercing blow.

523062

>>523061

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

523068

>>523058
Your outfit seems to be less than willing to remain silent.
>>523053
She looks at it with mild hesitation but then hides it under her cloak
>>523048
>>523049
Faint echoes of hoofsteps and shouting can be detected. From the sound of it, it's coming from deep inside the mine.

After a considerable length of pitch black darkness, you come upon a shack of some sort. Possibly a guard house or checkpoint set up by mine bandits. However, there doesn't seem to be anyone here.

523070

>>523068
Anything lying around the shack?

Roll #1 9 = 9

523072

>>523068
It's just a robe!
And some plate underneath…
Stay silent as we reach the shack.

523074

>>523068
Spot check for any clues about what we're delaing with here.

523075

>>523068
"Alright, I'm going in! If you hear screaming, you know we've got trouble inside! Wish me luck!"
I charge forward and burst through the door of the hut. '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

523076

>>523068
Look down the path available and make sure nothing surprises us from there.

523077

>>523070
A map of the mine, along with some notes
>>523072
Well maybe it was your cavernous calcified vagina then.
>>523074
Strangely, not all of these hoofprints look… normal. Indeed you can't even tell what made them.
>>523075
You bash your head on the shack door.
Nothing happens. The door is labeled [PULL]
>>523076
It seems dark and empty. In fact the noises seem to only get more distant.

523079

>>523077
"Hmmm."
Lean closer.
Pony, goat, donkey hooves? None of those?

523081

>>523077
"…Right." Pull the door open and go inside.

523082

>>523077
"Hey, it's a map!"

523083

>>523077
The joke was, plate makes a heck of noise.

523085

>>523077
Get back to the group.

>>523082
>>523081
>>523079
>>523072
"Whoever is here seems to be active. Look far what you want, but we shouldn't dally too long if they are patrolling."

523088

>>523085
"…Well if they stole things, they should at least apologize…"

523090

>>523088
"We might have to force them to do so."

523092

>>523090
"As long as they do!"

523093

>>523077
This all seems very strange.
Keep my eyes out. And ears.

523094

>>523092
"With that much determination of yours, they're sure to offer a tear filled apology and write a 100 page letter."

523095

>>523094
Smile from under the hood.
"Only if they really mean it."

523097

>>523077
How do these hoofprints not look normal?

523098

>>523079
There are no normal hooves.
In fact, they are closer to strange feet.
>>523081
>>523082
>>523093
The map indicates there is still an inner checkpoint down this tunnel before entering the main mine area.
Judging from the markings, it seems some of the tunnels have been excavated further into living quarters, while others are reserved for storage.
The rear exit features similar barricades.
"Looks like our assumption was right. This place is another storage facility."
>>523097
They seem malformed, possibly possessing toes or even claws.

523099

>>523098
"We should ask them to let us recover what's yours, milady."

523101

>>523098
"…something is up with these prints. I have no idea what left them."

523102

>>523101
"Sniff them!"

523103

>>523098
"Can I take a look at those prints?"

Roll #1 5 = 5

523109

>>523098
"Well, looks like we're not the first ones here. So, ah… guess we keep going."
>>523101
"Hmn. I'm no expert on hoofprints… Dulltooth? You, ah, notice anything about them?"

523112

>>523102
"No."

>>523109
"What I can see is that they are not normal. Almost like feet."

523118

>>523112
"…Feet? I'd ask if it might be a herd of animals, but… animals don't like tunnels. So… What could have left these tracks?"

523126

>>523118
Shrug.
"One way to find out."
Let's go deeper.

523130

>>523126
>>523098
"Agreed." Head deeper into the tunnels.

523164

>>523103
They are weird. Nothing like you've ever seen before.
>>523109
"Weird looking.
More worried about the noise. Sounds like dogs."
>>523099
"We are all on the same hunt here. I'm not about to turn back or turn down help in the face of a little unexpected adversity."
>>523130
>>523126
You head in deeper.
Worryingly, there is still no sign of anyone. No bandits, no guards, no weirdos with strange feet. Nothing.

523167

>>523164
"I m-"
Nah, just shut up.
"Very wise, milady."

523168

>>523164
No choice, keep my head down and weapons at the ready.

>>523130
>>523126
>>523102
>>523099
"Whatever we're facing isn't in my medical texts. This might be something no one has seen before."

Roll #1 9 = 9

523169

>>523168
"Oh?"
Slip closer to him.
"You a medicae?"

523171

>>523169
Whisper back.
"A surgeon. Though I'm starting to worry if they sent me and not one of their medics."

Roll #1 6 = 6

523172

>>523164
Down we go, into the unknown.

>>523168
"I can't wait."

523173

>>523171
Be taken aback.
"Worry?"

523175

>>523172
Stick close to her.

523176

>>523173
"I'm a specific type of surgeon. You'd think a mission like this would use one of their own medics, right? Not an outsider pressed into it."

523177

>>523164
Sounds like dogs? Set my jaw. "Then we'd best get moving."
>Still no sign of anyone
Keep moving at a quick pace. "Is it just me, or is this just like last time, only without the creepy mannequins?"

523178

>>523176
Stutter a moment.
"W-well if you don't mind, I do have some training in the holy arts…"

523180

>>523178
"That's nice to know. Hopefully, both of us will just write this off as a waste of time. Hopefully."

523182

>>523180
Shake my head.
"I'm glad to help Lady Sunset!
Gives me something to do. Life wandering from monastery to monastery is…"
Stop before saying something heretical.

523184

>>523182
"Well, we should both be paid for this, there is that. But going from monastery to monastery, how long have you been doing that? Why?"

523188

>>523184
"It… Just the last year.
Not uncommon amongst… Well."
Smile a bit.
"Let's say I have no where else to go."

523191

>>523188
"How about this, you come to work at our hospital? The other surgeons said it was bad to plan things to far ahead, but setting goals seems innocuous enough to me. We have a lot of patients in dire circumstances, you seem like the sort who could help them in ways I can't."

523192

>>523191
"But…"
Be taken aback for a moment.
"You are very generous, miss…?"
It is miss, right?

523196

>>523192
Laugh a little.

"They told me I should change my mane style. Male, Doctor Jonica Grey and his Assistant Primrose, ready to save any life with our surgical skills."

523210

>>523196
Fall speechless.
"I'm-
Mortified!
How stupid of me. Please. Let me be, I will not incomodate you any longer."

523211

>>523210
"It's fine. I don't always take care of myself like the nurse's advise me. Next time we're in town, I'll take heed of their advice."

523212

>>523211
Stay silent, looking away in shame.

523216

>>523196
>>523210
"Hey, don't worry about it. The exact same thing happened to me when our group first got together."

523220

>>523216
"M-milord?"

523223

>>523220
"When we first got together, Coral over there apparently mistook me for a girl."

523226

>>523223
Chuckle.
But instantly blush away and go silent.
"Milord, I cannot-
That comment made utmost joke of someone who tried to help me.
It's unforgivable of me."

523228

>>523223
"You'd look good in a skirt I think."
I snicker.

523239

>>523226
"Joking about someone can be a sign of acceptance. It means they're comfortable around you. Besides, it's an honest mistake - nothing unforgiveable about making mistakes, is there?" My face falls. "Please tell me there isn't. Otherwise, I'm in a lot of trouble."
>>523228
"H-hey!"

523244

>>523239
Blink.
"N-no, to err is pony…"

523253

>>523244
Brighten right back up. "Good! Unless I'm mistaken, you'd be 'pony' too, right? That means it'd be weird if you didn't screw up every once in a while. I'm Amber, by the way."

523254

>>523253
Bow slightly.
"Fire Blossom."

523261

>>523254
"Pleasure to meet you. Now, remember not to take a mistake so seriously next time, okay? It's never as bad as you think it is. I should know; I mess up all the time!"

523263

>>523239
"Just kidding!"

523268

>>523261
"Milord, please. I'm sure it is not as bad as you make it sound…"

523276

>>523177
>>523172
>>523168
>>523167
And so you head further down, the sense of dread only rising as you realize there is some heavy damage on the walls and floor, possibly left by some impossibly strong creature clawing at the stone.
You reach the last gate after passing numerous warnings about the dangers of cave-ins. The gate itself is an iron grid which had later been reinforced with heavy timbers.
And more recently, been nearly torn in half. Something REALLY wanted to get in there…

523278

>>523276
"No choice but to carry forth, isn't there?"

523279

>>523268
"Ugh, enough with the "milord's," I get enough of that back in the Empire! Just call me Amber-"
>>523276
"Woah. I think we're gonna need bigger swords."

523281

>>523279
>>523276
"I guess I'll just get out my explosives already after all…"

523284

>>523276
Silently follow.
>>523279
"I will remember as much, Amber."
Smile.
>>523281
And look worried at her.

523285

>>523281
>>523276
"Great idea, if whatever did this doesn't kill us, the cave in will.2

523298

Passing the destroyed gate in a hurry, you take a look on the other side.
The sight stops Cloudcover and Blazing in their tracks - what once was a solid mine dug into a mountainside has collapsed into a deep mess of tunnels leading downwards from a single crater, as if someone had undermined the entire main shaft and dropped it into a…
"…diamond dog burrow. A massive one."
"I guess the dogs that once owned this land came to take it back."

523301

>>523298
"Will we have to fight them? At least, if whatever it was that came first hasn't finished them off."

523305

>>523298
"Told you all it was probably not going to be easy."

523308

>>523298
"…Dulltooth? Do you know anything about this?"

523309

>>523305
"Maybe you and Dulltooth could go explore! They'll think you're one of them!"

523311

>>523298
"Let's look for what we came for. This seems like a bigger task than we can handle."

523314

>>523298
"That's no good news…"

523325

>>523309
"I don't want to get seperated in case that whatever shows up."

523326

>>523308
"Is dogs. From looks of tunnels, large pack. Very large. Tunnels made for many dogs to move at once, or large cargo.
If they came to reclaim this place, they did well."
>>523309
"Is unlikely. We not smell like them. After so long among ponies, we easy to pick out.
Oh good side, if they can dig here, so can we."
>>523301
>>523311
>>523314
Cloudcover nods as he peers into the tunnels below
"They have other things to worry about than just us. Whatever monster broke through those gates is somewhere down there, and there may still be bandit survivors holding out against them. That can buy us time and distractions.
However, we may need to take one alive to learn how to navigate this mess. They probably took whatever valuables were in the bandit dens, so we may need to locate the dog treasure hoard."

523327

>>523325
>>523326
"Hmmm… fine."

523333

>>523326
"Let's search on our first. We'll take prisoners if we need to."

523338

>>523326
"Can you pick up their scent? With this many options, anything that can narrow down where to search would help." Not letting my mind wander. This is business-time. Not thinking awkward thoughts about Dulltooth. Nope. '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

523344

>>523338
"Seems like most roads lead to dogs. If this anything like usual burrow, it contain some form of center all tunnels branch from.
Also, exit must exist somewhere. They came from underneath, not from door."
>>523333
>>523327
"So be it then. It seems they have set up some lights down there so we can at least see without revealing ourselves too much.
Keep your ears open and watch the shadows on the walls. I have a feeling there is more going on than is immediately apparent."

523346

>>523344
Keep those senses up. Stay focused.

Roll #1 2 = 2

523347

>>523344
Keep on keeping on.
Supreme survivor to trace any more prints that might give a lead.

523349

>>523344
Inhale deeply and try not to let the closed space get to me.
'1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

523350

>>523344
"…R-right, right…" Look away and shuffle my hooves awkwardly. "SO! Let's keep moving, and, ah… Where do we go from here?"

523364

>>523346
>>523349
These tunnels make you uneasy. It's like you're walking in the veins of some giant stone monster…
>>523347
>>523350
Many tunnels split off from the main collapse crater. And you can see clear splatters of blood from bandits around some of the tunnels. So those were probably used as attack routes. Others seem entirely undisturbed, and one has more of those strange monster prints leading into it.

523370

>>523364
"Blood means they were here and went further in. Down the tunnel of gory splatter-marks!"

523371

>>523364
"Feels like this place is alive."

"So then, each one of these is fraught with danger and any option we choose is barely more than a guess."

"The undisturbed ones might be the ones that are checked next, so they might show up behind us. We should go in one that's already been used. They might not be expecting further resistance or ignore it altogether."

523374

>>523370
"Maybe we'll get the jump on whoever is already down there."

523376

>>523374
"Or whatever is down here."

523379

>>523376
"I'd rather be on its backside that whatever it might have in front."

523395

NEXT TIME ON CAVE EXPLORER
MAZES
HAZES
AND DAZES

525138

The unknown stretches out before you.
Do you wish to follow the blood, the monster tracks, or go into the untouched tunnels?

525139

>>525138
Blood plox

525140

>>525138
"If there might be a suffering soul…
We should follow the blood and help him."

525141

>>525138
Let's go after the blood.
Supreme Survivor Spot check as we move to check for any traces of what might have been going on.

525142

>>525138
Down the viceral gory bloodtrail tunnel of doom!

525144

>>525138
"Following the blood, we know where it is. Orur best option."

525145

525146

>>525139
>>525140
>>525141
>>525142
>>525144
You pick the tunnel with clear signs of battle plastered on its rocky walls.
Simply observing the damage implies a great deal about what happened - the bandits that survived the initial fall were dragged down these tunnels to be ganged up on before more came down to aid them. The bodies you start finding soon enough confirm these assumptions.
Further down, you can hear the sounds of battle. It is possible that some of the second wave are still alive.

525148

>>525146
Get my daggers out.
Time to take a look '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

525149

>>525146
"Primrose, prepare yourself."

Pull out my weapons.

525151

>>525146
"Sounds like they started the party without us. Let's see if we can liven the festivities up a bit." Inspect my sword and shield to make sure they're still in working order.

525152

>>525146
Get my claymore ready.
"Let's see what's going on."

525154

>>525148
>>525149
>>525151
>>525152
A little deeper, illuminated by burning bodies, is what appears to be the last stand of a group of ponies. Four of them, all wounded to some degree, are holding out in a tight bottleneck in the tunnels, most routes already clogged with dead dogs, and the ponies fighting back any who still charge at them. The air smells terrible, the smoke and blood have stained the ponies beyond recognition and the angry flickering of the flames around them give the scene a truly shocking feel.

One of them looks over and leaps down to defend this exit as well, but stops as he sees fellow ponies. You can almost see tears of hope form in his bloodshot eyes as he tries to see past the smoke, brushing his mane aside to confirm his eyes do not lie to him.
"Did you come to help!?"

525155

>>525154
"Depens, whose side are you on?"

525157

>>525154
"You're wounded. Primrose, we can't leave them like this."

Primrose uses heal.

Roll #1 3 = 3

525158

>>525154
Look at the dog attackers.
How many are there?

525159

>>525154
"Well, we're not here to kill you, if that's what you mean. Mind filling us in on what the heck's going on here?"

525160

>>525154
"O-oh my!"
Rush to his side and heal him up!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

525162

>>525158
It's hard to say. But they seem slightly outnumbered.
>>525157
>>525160
He breathes a sigh of relief.
"Thank you. I was pretty sure I wouldn't survive this"
>>525159
"After the dogs undermined the mine floor, we raised an alarm and charged down to push them back. None of us expected this to happen, it took us all by surprise. They were upon us before we knew what was going on to begin with.
And this day was supposed to be so good, what with…"
>>525155
His eyes lock onto you, the hope in them swiftly changing to anger and betrayal
"DOG! THEY'RE COMING FROM THIS SIDE TOO!"

525163

>>525162
Jump near the ponies.
"We'll help. But I'd love an explanation when this is over. And that's not an attacker, she's with us."
Get ready for attack.

525164

>>525162
Grow pale and jump away.
"P-please! Be still!"

525165

>>525162
"I'm with these ponies, you jackass."

525167

>>525162
"Calm yourself, she's with us!"

Have Primrose Mend whoever else is severely hurt.

I'll attempt to use Necromachines on any pony that seems seriously hurt. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 5 = 5

525168

>>525162
Sigh. "Silk, think you can convince our paranoid host that we aren't attacking them?"
Using Silk's Smooth Talker. '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

525170

>>525168
Silk gives you a confused look, then turns to the bandit and kisses him on the mouth, softly brushing the soot from his cheek with her hoof and whispering calmingly while staring into his eyes.
"It's fine… it's going to be fine… shh… I'm here for you now."
>>525164
>>525165
>>525163
>>525167
He takes a few shallow breaths and calms down
"Alright. Lets push them back and then think about our next move."

#ENEMY
Small Diamond Dog 2/2
Medium Diamond Dog 5/3
Big Diamond Dog 1 3/4
Huge Diamond Dog 2/5
Wounded Diamond Dog 8/1
Female Diamond Dog 1/4


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 7/5
Cassie 7/5
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/5
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

525171

>>525170
Let's start this shit.
Open up with Dance of daggers
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

525172

>>525171
And here we go
'5d10'

Roll #1 5, 4, 6, 7, 7 = 29

525173

>>525172
Moar '5d10'

Roll #1 4, 5, 8, 9, 9 = 35

525174

>>525170
Gasp and back away from the aggressors.
"Stand back!"
Wrath.
'1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

525175

>>525174
Protect on this pony.
Swing at the small dog.

Roll #1 10 = 10

525176

>>525170
"Primrose, let's focus on the one we can deal with fastest."

Small Diamond Dog '2d10'

Primrose attacks the Female Diamond Dog '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 4, 1 = 5 / Roll #3 9 = 9

525178

>>525170
My face falls at that. "I… guess that works…"

Well, fine! I'm going for the Huge Diamond Dog '1d10' while Dulltooth dukes it out with the Big one.'1d10+1'

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8

525181

>>525171
>>525172
>>525173
You leap into a dance of blades, taking a couple of blows before your flurry really has a chance to shine, but once the third strike sends you to the ground, you bring the Medium Diamond Dog down as well.
>>525174
>>525175
Fire Blossom heroically hits a wall with a wide swing, but as the small dog tries to creep up on her to deal some damage, Cassie smashes him down with her sword
>>525176
However, the Small Dog manages to scamper up, bleeding and panting.
Primrose makes some cold assessments of the target, and with a single surgical strike brings her down to a pained, screaming heap on the cavern flood, her eyes rolling in agony as she tries to invent new words for the things she wants to call your assistant.
>>525178
You walk up to the huge dog, and get a face full of meaty fist as a reward for your bravery.
Dulltooth cracks his knuckles and steps in to face his equal, ducking a few of its swings before delivering a thundering double uppercut to his gut and jaw, sending the foe helpless in one strike!

The bandits also do their part
'4d10'
As do Cloudcover and Sunsong '2d10'

Roll #1 7, 6, 1, 3 = 17 / Roll #2 4, 3 = 7

525182

>>525181
The Huge dog proves to be a tough one as he mows through the ranks of defenders. Even Sunsong and Cloudcover are unable to halt him. However, two of the bandits manage to nearly kill the small dog as he attempts to flee.

#ENEMY
Small Diamond Dog 1/1
Medium Diamond Dog HELPLESS/2
Big Diamond Dog 1 HELPLESS/3
Huge Diamond Dog 2/5
Wounded Diamond Dog 8/1
Female Diamond Dog HELPLESS/2


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/5
+Dulltooth 7/5
Cassie 3/5
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/5
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper HELPLESS/3
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

525183

>>525181
>>525182
Damn!
Heal whisper.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

525184

>>525182
Cleave at three of the dogs!

Roll #1 4 = 4

525185

>>525182
Detain the Small dog hitting his legs, so he stops trying to attack us. '2d10'

Primrose goes after the Huge Diamond Dog. '1d10'

Roll #1 2, 2 = 4 / Roll #2 8 = 8

525186

>>525181
Get the fuck up '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

525187

>>525181
So it's like that, huh? Leap of Faith the Huge dog to end his rampage. '1d10'
Dulltooth Slams the Big dog to make sure he stays down. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10

525192

>>525183
>>525186
Whisper is back up and running
>>525184
Your attempt at sweeping the opposition ends with you taking several angry fists to the torso before a rock to the head sends you down for the count
>>525185
The small dog runs circles around you, even while bleeding, and manages to dislocate your knee before smacking you with a loose stone, knocking you down.
Primrose stands to face the Huge dog, halting its charge with a thundering strike
>>525187
You leap at the now helpless Huge dog, wounding it further.
Dulltooth slams his fis downt between the downed big dog's legs, ensuring it will not even consider standing up again.

The two standing bandits fight '2d10'
The helpless bandits try to stand '2d10'
And Cloudcover and Sunsong have another go at it '2d10'

Roll #1 8, 4 = 12 / Roll #2 8, 2 = 10 / Roll #3 3, 9 = 12

525195

>>525192
As one of the bandits stands up, his helpless comrade meets his end at the paws of the small dog. The little devil's victory is short lived, however, as another bandit finishes it off.
Cloudcover and Sunsong take on the wounded dog, and while Cloudcover draws its attention, Sunsong manages to land a solid blow.
One last bandit tries to go finish off the bitch, but she is too fast for him.

#ENEMY
Small Diamond Dog DEAD
Medium Diamond Dog HELPLESS/2
Big Diamond Dog 1 HELPLESS/1
Huge Diamond Dog HELPLESS/4
Wounded Diamond Dog 4/1
Female Diamond Dog 5/2


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/5
+Dulltooth 7/5
Cassie HELPLESS/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica HELPLESS/4
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

525196

>>525195
"NO! Doctor!"
Jump to Jonica's side.
Don't die on me!
'1d10+1'

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

525197

>>525192
Slap a bitch.
And I mean a dog.
And with my dagger '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

525198

>>525195
>>525192
Bah
Stand up

Roll #1 2 = 2

525199

>>525192
Hit the Huge dog again '1d10' while Dulltooth Suppresses the Female dog. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

525200

>>525196
"Thank you for your aid."

Go after the Female Diamond Dog for now. '2d10'

"Primrose, help Cassie up!" Bolster Cassie.

Roll #1 9, 10 = 19

525201

>>525200
>>525199
The good doctor bashes the bits across the knees, dropping her on all fours. Before she can so much as snarl, Dulltooth lifts her up and in a very literal sense breaks her in half while unleashing a terrifying war howl.
>>525198
Primrose sets you up with a Bolster
>>525199
You keep the pressure on the huge dog, hacking at him while he is down

Peanut gallery '3d10'
And NPCs '2d10'

Roll #1 3, 10, 10 = 23 / Roll #2 1, 1 = 2

525204

>>525201
The bandits corner the medium dog as it stands up, and kill it where it stands.
The wounded dog, seeing its brothers and sisters go down around it, finds some second wind and manages to dispatch both Sunsong AND Cloudcover in an impressive display of retaliatory blows.

#ENEMY
Small Diamond Dog DEAD
Medium Diamond Dog DEAD

Big Diamond Dog 1 HELPLESS/1
Huge Diamond Dog HELPLESS/3
Wounded Diamond Dog 4/1
Female Diamond Dog DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/5
+Dulltooth 7/5
Cassie HELPLESS/4 [bolster]
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

525207

>>525204
>>525201
Okay, now it's on!
Try to finish off one of the helpless dogs!

Roll #1 2 = 2

525210

>>525201
Keep making sure the Huge guy stays down. '1d10'
Geez, Dulltooth's on a roll today! He slams the Wounded dog into the ground. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 5 = 5

525212

>>525204
Stabby? '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

525213

>>525204
Necromachines on the Big Diamond Dog. We'll want answers. '1d10'

"Primsose, if you could." Attack him the Woonded Diamond Dog. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10

525215

>>525204
Heal up Cassie, that idiot!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

525218

>>525207
>>525215
Cassie is flung clear across the room, but is caught by Fire Blossom
>>525212
You stab at nothing for a while.
Try picking a target next time
>>525210
You cleave the huge dog's chest wide open, leaving him on the brink of death.
Dulltooth looks a little busy right now with what remains of the bitch.
>>525213
[yes]
Primrose lops the wounded dog's head off with a clean mechanical 'ping' from her joints.
You infest the thoroughly defeated big dog with Necromachines.

It seems everyone is either dead or helpless.
Not much resistance left.

Blazing goes help Sunsong, while Cloudcover gets himself back on his hooves.
Three bandits survived.

#ENEMY
Small Diamond Dog DEAD
Medium Diamond Dog DEAD

Big Diamond Dog 1 HELPLESS/1
Huge Diamond Dog HELPLESS/1
Wounded Diamond Dog DEAD
Female Diamond Dog DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/5
+Dulltooth 6/5
Cassie 5/5
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

525219

>>525218
Just practicing and looking awesome
Stab the Big Dog '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

525222

>>525218
Put the Dog down for now and let the Necromachines take over. '2d10'

"Primrose, do what you can for the Huge one." Attack '1d10'

Roll #1 6, 2 = 8 / Roll #2 4 = 4

525224

>>525218
Look around, slightly panicked.
"W-who's hurt?"

525225

>>525218
Okay, do I want to know what Dulltooth's doing to the female dog's remains?

525231

>>525219
>>525222
The necromachines kick in after the dog dies.
You can puppet him around for '1d10' turns
>>525225
Looks like whatever it was, it is over now.

Roll #1 6 = 6

525232

>>525218
"Well that went like crap."

525233

>>525225
Stick near him.
This place is kinda scary.
>>525232
"That was… Violent."

525235

>>525233
"It usually is."

525238

>>525235
"Who… Who are they?"

525239

>>525231
"You were on a roll there, Dulltooth! I take it you're feeling pretty good?"

525240

>>525238
"How should I know? I was busy trying to fight to ask them."

525241

>>525240
"R-right…"

525243

>>525239
He flexes his massive arms
"Yes. Good fight.
This pack not so tough."

525245

>>525241
"We'll get what we can from the survivors. Help me check on the wounded."

525246

>>525231
Look at the bandits.
"So…would you mind telling us what you're doing here?"

525247

>>525245
Nod and rush to him.
"Are they badly hurt?"

525248

>>525247
"Yes, they've been fighting for long. I don't know how they can stand."

525249

>>525248
>>525243
"Urgh…"
Check the wounded.

525250

>>525243
"So, I take it that, uh, 'problem' you brought up back at the inn was cleared up?" Shuffle my hoof a little as I look around.

525252

>>525246
"They better mind, since we saved their asses."

525254

>>525246
"We came to get any survivors out and drive the invading dogs back."
"Who are you lot anyway? How did you find our hideout?"
>>525249
The huge dogs is going to die in minutes if not treated.
The surviving bandits are all beat up.
Cloudcover took a few hits.
>>525250
"You make for decent temporary solution.
Besides. Is not gay if with pony. Everydog knows that."

525256

>>525254
"There was something else in here other than dogs."

525258

>>525254
>>525249
>>525250
"The Huge dog is in no condition to fight, we can stem the blood flow for now and see if we can get anything out of him."

525259

>>525258
>>525254
"…Leave this to me."
Don't Die On Me, doggie.
Stabilize him.
'1d10+4'

Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12

525260

>>525259
"I'll have my newest assistant hold him down for now."

I'll tie up the Huge dog to Primrose's weapon, so he doesn't try to get up and fight again.

525261

>>525260
Smile from under my hood.
"Thanks…"

525262

>>525254
"Alright, good to know… I guess. So, any observations about these dogs? We know they're not the only thing that came in here."

Out of the corner of my eye I notice Silk rummaging around. Can she find anything? Master Thief's instincts '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

525264

>>525261
"Sorry about messing that huge one up so badly. Had to make sure he didn't start causing trouble again, after all."

525265

>>525264
"Y-yeah, it's just your job and right, myl-"
Shut myself up.
"Amber."

525266

>>525254
"We are exploring these caves."

525268

>>525259
>>525260
The dog will live.
It is also rather big, so be on guard.
>>525262
"Local. Probably big pack, small pack rarely make such branching tunnels."
There isn't much of value on the dogs, save for a crude map of the attack plan.
>>525266
"Terribly well armed for explorers, aren't you?"
"For a moment I thought you were the buyers."

525270

>>525268
"Buyers of what exactly?"

525273

>>525268
>>525265
"Fire Blossom, check on the others. The three of us can hold him for now."

Turn to the Huge Dog.

"Can you talk well enough? We have some questions for you."

525274

>>525265
"My duty perhaps, definitely my responsibility, but not my right. Nopony has the right to end another's life except out of necessity."

525275

>>525268
Go over and check the map of the attack plan. Can we get any information from it that we can use?

525276

>>525274
"I… See, m-Amber."
>>525273
Nod.
"Yes doctor. I will."
>>525268
Anypony still hurt?

525277

>>525270
>>525268
Jab his side with my elbow.
"Of course we are the buyers."

525278

>>525277
"Oh right, buyers yes."

525279

>>525276
"I'm glad you understand. After all,- hey, what's that over there?" I point with my hoof.

525281

>>525279
Look at what he's pointing!

525282

>>525281
Wait until her eyes are focused on my hoof, then boop her on the nose. "Gotcha!"

525284

>>525270
>>525277
>>525278
"Right, well, that makes sense. I suppose you prefer some other name like 'darkeners' or whatever. Sorry lads, you're all just buyers to us. Though I thought you'd look more… I don't know. Freaky.
Anyway, the good news is the heart is still intact. The bad news is the dogs have it now."
>>525275
A lot of these tunnels seem to slowly link together into a few main passages that lead to key areas. The network is quite big, but if you take the short routes you should be able to reach the central parts with relative ease.
A few landmarks have been noted down on the map, such as digging posts, treasure rooms and living quarters.
The dog who owned the map also made small markings on it, possibly indicating personal stashes.

525285

>>525282
I was looking at what you were pointing at, not at your hoof!
Also, hood. Face almost entirely covered.

525286

>>525284
"That's great news…
Damnit."

525287

>>525273
Any response from the Huge Dog?
>>525284

525288

>>525284
"Well then….we can't buy it from you then."

525290

>>525285
So you were focused on whatever was in the direction I pointed, the concept's the same!
If a hood made it hard to see where your nose was, you wouldn't be able to see out of it.

525292

>>525284
"What do you think, Silk? Any preference on where on this map we head next?"

525294

>>525290
Nope, you can totally boop my nose from there. I just thought I was facing the opposite direction.

Recoil at the booping.
"Ah!
Mylord!
What-"

525295

>>525287
>>525273
He grumbles.
Perhaps you can get something out of him
>>525286
>>525288
"In any case, you're on your own with it. Payment or no, we have no intention of going deeper"
"I do. Our friends are still out there!"
"And probably dead by now! Look around you!"
>>525292
"Back outside?
These confined spaces leave little options if we need to run…"

525297

>>525295
Have Primrose tap him a few times.

""Wake up, you're tied up here. Why are you shaking? Are you ok? Wake up."

525298

>>525297
"Hrm. What you want?"

525299

>>525295
"Right, right, scatter off."

525301

>>525295
"Like we would pay after you lost it!"

525303

>>525294
Bust out laughing at her expression. "Hahahaha, I'd forgotten how priceless that expression always is! Oh, I used to do that to my sister all the time! Never gets old!"
>>525295
"I know, I know, but we need to get what we came for. Besides, we just survived a literal ghost town a few days ago. We should be able to handle whatever we find down here."

525304

>>525303
Turn around and shut up, crossing my hooves.

525305

>>525298
"Just the basics. What were you doing here? Why did you attack the others?"

>>525303
>>525301
>>525294
"Our 'guest' is awake if you want to ask him anything."

525306

>>525305
"Whatever Lady Sunset needs of him.."

525307

>>525305
"Ask him where his pals took the heart."

525309

>>525305
"Our land. Taking it back."
>>525303
"I just don't like it. There is no room for backup plans down here.
…but the valuables are probably in their vaults."
>>525301
>>525299
"Enjoy your bloody mess. You seem like the types who are into that."
Two of the bandits limp off back towards the exit.
The last one stays, peering into the depths of the caves

525310

>>525309
"A noble goal, but one that doesn't concern us. We are seeking a particular item."

Describe it to him and see if he'll tell us where it is.

525311

>>525309
"What, won't you go with your butt budies?"

525312

>>525309
Look at the last one.
"Yes?"

525313

>>525304
"So you are capable of getting angry! Sissy always hated it when I did it too; she'd put hot sauce in my food in retaliation! Wasn't quite as expressive as you were, though!"
>>525309
"Of course there's a backup plan! I always have a backup plan!"

525315

>>525310
"Did not see hearts. Probably with other loot in sorting room. Not your concern. We want land back."
>>525311
>>525312
"…I still have friends who need me down there."
>>525313
She gives a little smile
"…okay. I'll trust you.
Don't make me regret it."

525316

>>525315
"We aren't promising anything."

525317

>>525315
"Where is the sorting room? We are in a bit of a hurry ourselves."

525319

>>525317
"In inner tunnels. You not go there. That where homes are."
>>525316
"I know.
Which is why I'm going to go get them."

525321

>>525319
"Suit yourself."
Turn to the others.
"So, do you want to dilly dally here all day?"

525322

>>525319
"Homes? Is that where you are all living?"

525325

>>525322
"Our lands. Our homes.
Pack lives there. We came here to retake old hill. Thought it would be abandoned. Was still full of ponies. So we protect home."

525326

>>525315
"I'm not gonna say I won't screw anything up, because I do. A lot. When it matters, though, you can count on me to come through for you."

"Got any questions for the prisoner, Dulltooth?"

525327

>>525325
"Who attacked first? Many of the ponies we met coming here didn't seem willing to stay and fight for long, they've already turned tail."

525328

>>525313
"Milor-
Amber, please. It is not proper."
>>525325
"We could… Just take what we need and leave!"

525334

>>525328
"But that's the point, milady. We've not in Canterlot, we're in dirty series of tunnels in the middle of nowhere. Go ahead and relax around me.
I've got it! I, Amber Dawn of House Angelite, order you to be brutally honest and improper when interacting with me. So there!"

525335

>>525334
Nod.
"Very well sir."

525336

>>525335
"It's not very improper to call me "sir," milady."

525338

>>525336
Stay in silent contemplation.

525340

>>525326
"No.
Is not my pack. Is not somedog I need care about."
>>525327
"We come through bottom. Ponies try pushing us back. We fight."
>>525328
"No ponies in dog home.
Dangerous."

525344

>>525338
"Hey." Nudge her shoulder. "Do you want to know why I'm annoying you about this?"

>>525340
"Dangerous? That wouldn't have anything to do with those strange tracks we found in the tunnels, would it?"

525345

>>525340
"Darn it, it is never easy."

>>525338
>>525336
"We could try to sneak in. Have Cassie pretend she's from there, maybe take Primrose with her if she needs any help."

525346

>>525344
"…what track?"

525347

>>525344
"But you are not annoying me, Amber!"
>>525345
"Or bring them a word of peace?"

525348

>>525347
"By the looks of it, they've already lost a good number of their own. It wouldn't be favorable."

Point all the other bodies.

525351

>>525348
Wince.
"To war it is then…"

525352

>>525345
"Won't work. Diamond dogs tell members of their pack apart from other Diamond dogs by scent. She'd stick out like a sore thumb."
>>525347
"Pestering you, then."
>>525346
See if I can recreate the tracks we saw in the tunnels. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

525353

>>525351
"Don't jump like that. We could still try to sneak in, or even offer a trade."

>>525352
"There goes that plan."

525356

>>525352
You don't really have words to describe those twisted impossible things.

525357

>>525356
Try to trace it out on the ground, then. '1d10'
Maybe Dulltooth's a better artist than me? '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 8 = 8

525359

>>525357
He takes your hoof, slaps it on the ground, then punches the print to make it all twisted and fucked up looking
"Is ugly."
The remaining bandit turns to look at it, then at the rest of you
"…well, yes, clearly? I mean, aren't you Tirek worshipers supposed to look weird?"
This in turn makes the huge dog's eye slight up in rage
"DEMON PONIES!? KILL YOU ALL! WILL NOT LET YOU HARM PACK!"

525360

>>525359
"WHOA, HOLD ON!"

"We are here to STOP them."

525361

>>525360
The bandit looks shocked
"YOU JUST SAID YOU WERE WITH THEM!"

525362

>>525361
"Sorry! I'm trying to calm a patient down! Focus!"

525363

>>525361
"We seem to be following them around, cleaning up the messes they make, but yes, we lied about that. I'd suggest you lower the volume of your voice, though; it might get uncomfortable for you if you don't."
Motion for Dulltooth to get between him and the exit.

525364

It seems you've made enemies with the last pony down here who was on your side.
Here's hoping it was worth it.

NEXT TIME ON MIDBUTTS
PICKING SIDES
TANNING HIDES
AND ENDLESS RIDES

527313

You were about to face off against the last of the badits.
The huge (and restrained for the time being) Diamond Dog raider is also present.

The Buyers are somewhere else in these caves, and the Heart of Darkness is likely in one of the treasure vaults inside the cave complex.
Now you just have to get there.

527319

>>527313
I'll keep focusing on trying to calm the tied down Diamond Dog.

"Just relax and calm down!"

527320

527323

>>527313
Wait for the attack.

527324

>>527313
Facepaw.
What a bunch of fucking amateurs.
"Let's just move before the Heart is gone."

527325

>>527320
With escape no longer being an option, the bandit glances around and tries to gather his bravery '1d10'
>>527319
"NOT HARM PACK! NOT HARM PUPS!"
He seems very upset about the prospect of the tribe's young coming to harm in all this.
>>527324
Your comment gets a confused look from Lady Sunset
"…heart?"

Roll #1 3 = 3

527326

>>527325
>>527320
Yet his courage fails him and he just sits down
"I just wanted to get my friends out alive…"

527327

>>527325
Wave my hand around.
"The whatever thing you are looking for.
I didn't really pay attention to that. I was busy being distracted by images of the horrible things that could kill us in these caves."

527329

>>527325
"I'm a doctor, I have an oath binding me to do what I can to help people. We will not harm your family, we didn't even know you were here. We're after something, and then we leave."

527330

>>527326
"I assume by "friends" you mean the other bandits? Our fight is not with you, just those buying the heart. Convince your friends not to fight us, and you can all walk away from this."

527333

>>527329
He growls. Odds are he doesn't really trust you.
>>527327
"Hm. No need to worry. I am perfectly capable of surviving any danger."
Her guard gives a reassuring nod.
>>527330
"Mate I don't think you quite get the situation here. My friends are down there being splattered on the walls by these dogs. They don't want to be here. None of us do. If anything, they'd be glad for the rescue."

527335

>>527333
Snort amusedly.
"You weren't there at that calm lakeside village."

527337

>>527333
Step forth!
"We will save them!"

527338

>>527333
"So you'd be able to convince your friends to leave these caves and not give us any more trouble? The only ones we're here to kill are the Tirek cultists."

527340

>>527333
"I expected as much. How about you just give us time? Watch what we do and go from there?"

527344

>>527335
"Don't underestimate me. I'm far more than some… bargaining chip for noble marriages!"
>>527340
"Must keep pups safe. Keep pack safe. Is duty."
>>527338
>>527337
"If any of them are in any shape to even fight any more, I'll be amazed. Hell I'll be amazed if any of them are even alive. But… I want to be sure. I don't want to leave them to die if I can still save them."

527345

>>527344
"Then go on, don't disappoint them!"

527346

>>527344
"I'm a doctor. My oath is to save as many as I can. If any here hurt children or others, I will fight by your side. All I ask of you is that you give us some time. Please."

527348

>>527344
Look at the lady.
"But marriages are so much fun! There's food, drinks and all kinds of free stuff."

527349

>>527344
Put my paws up.
"You said it, not me."

527351

>>527344
"If you don't have a problem with us slaughtering every Tirek cultist we find, I don't see any problems with letting you tag along."

527352

>>527349
"Guess I've heard it a few times before…"
Her guard gives her a reassuring shove, and she snaps out of it.
"Right. Are me going?"
>>527346
The dog looks at his restraints
"If hear even one yelp, me come for you. Let me go."
>>527348
Lady Sunset frowns
"I am destined for more. I know it."
>>527351
>>527345
"I can come. But I don't know these tunnels any better than you do."

527353

>>527352
Look worried at the big dog, and then at the doctor.

527354

>>527352
"I'm ready."

527355

>>527351
>>527349
>>527348
>>527345
"Fair warning, I am thinking about releasing our guest. He's cooperating, and I'd rather not hear obscenities be yelled at us from behind."

527356

>>527355
"Doctor…
I know you mean well, but he tried to kill us just now…"

527358

>>527355
"I'd rather not be anthing from behind."

>>527352
"We are."

527359

>>527352
Pat her on the head.
"If you know know it, I believe in you!"

527360

>>527352
"Fine by me. Just try not to provoke the Dogs any more than they already are. This is their home, after all."
>>527355
"Go ahead. We can handle him if he starts making trouble."

527361

>>527356
"And so did we. We bring along, we'll know where he is."

>>527360
>>527359
>>527358
>>527352
"Very well."

I will release the Diamond Dog.

"Primrose, make sure he doesn't fall when I release the bindings."

527363

>>527361
Stand in the back.

527372

>>527361
The massive dog gets up and stars slowly walking down the corridor.
"Homes this way. You not go there. I go. Protect family.
You go elsewhere. Kill invaders. We not meet again. We not kill eachother."
>>527359
"Don't patronize me. My family did that quite enough."
Her guard looks like he is about to say something but decides to hold his tongue as always.
>>527360
>>527354
The bandit looks at the dog go
"I don't want to anger him to be honest. But they may have taken my friends to the… homes?"

527373

>>527372
I frown.
"I'm not patronizing you. I mean it!"

527375

>>527372
Cock my head as the dog moves out of sight.

527376

>>527372
"Why would they do that? Seems to me they'd have just killed them."

527377

>>527372
"Perhaps. Only one way to find out."

527378

>>527372
"We'll do what we can to keep that promise, but you know what we are here for."

527379

>>527376
>>527372
"We are soooooooooooooo going to find it out if we keep screwing around here. Let's just move and see what's down the other path."

527380

#Follow the huge dog to the dog homes
or
#Search one of the other tunnels
or
Some other plan?

527381

>>527379
"Yes, we've done what we can here."

>>527380
Search the other tunnels. We know what lies over there, we'll keep investigating for now.

527383

>>527380
I vouch for the second

527386

>>527380
I'm with the other tunnel plans.

527387

>>527380
Other tunnels.

527389

>>527380
Other tunnels.

527402

You turn back and head to the earlier tunnel junction. You can hear some commotion up above in the mine. The bandits you rescued are probably grabbing what they can before abandoning the place.

Before you lies an untouched tunnel, and a tunnel with strange claw markings and twisted hoofprints on the floor and walls.

527405

>>527402
"Towards danger again, I presume?"

Point towards the claw marked tunnel.

527407

>>527405
>>527402
"Sure, we had it pretty good so far. Let's ruin that."
Head down that tunnel.

527408

>>527402
"You know it!" I start down the tunnel of Imminent Death and Despair.

527411

>>527407
>>527408
"I still find it hard to believe we were recruited for this, but even my curiosity is piqued."

Head towards the trouble.

527412

>>527402
Shrudder at the sight.
>>527405
>>527407
>>527408
"Y-you ponies!"

527414

>>527402
I wish this stupid claw thing would just show already

527415

>>527412
"Think of it like this, at least we'll be certain that danger lies before us. Much better than worrying about it, don't you think?"

527417

>>527415
"…Wise."

527421

You head down the damaged tunnel. Do you wish to roll to see if you can make out any more clues along the way?

527423

>>527421
Sure, let's see what this totally unlearnt rural girl can figure out.
'1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

527425

>>527421
rollan '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

527427

>>527412
"Excuse you?"

527428

>>527421
Supreme survivor!
Spot check!

527429

>>527427
Stay silent, sulking a bit.

527430

>>527421
A good doctor always looks for ways to deliver a more appropriate diagnosis.

'1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

527432

>>527421
Yep, all three pairs of eyes of mine are looking for clues. '3d10'

Roll #1 10, 1, 5 = 16

527453

>>527423
>>527425
>>527428
>>527430
These cultists have torches with them, the ceiling is blackened. You should be able to spot the light when they are close, which can give you an advantage.
There are two distinct kinds of claw marks. Deep, wide ones left by something very very strong, and shallower, narrower ones left more chaotically along the walls and even the ceiling, implying considerable reach.
>>527432
You can make some sense of the chaos in these hoofprints. There should be roughly half a dozen of them. One clearly bigger than the others. Massive in fact. And heavy.
At least one of them also possesses immense reach, or is incredibly tall.
Dulltooth has his eyes on Silk.
Silk just tries to look for escape routes.

527455

>>527453
"About half a dozen of them. One's bigger than the other's; I assume that's the leader. Big guy, and heavy; probably means thick armor."

527462

>>527453
"He has some small friends or something… I can't say I saw anything like this before.
Oh well."

527464

>>527453
Any place we can hide to ambush them?

>>527455
"Good to know. Now we just have to prioritize our targets."

527477

>>527464
Hardly. These tunnels are barely wide enough for you to walk side by side.
Though it might be possible to trap them, or smoke them out once you locate them. In any case, they seem to have quite a head start.

527480

>>527453
>>527455
"Whoa."
Look impressed.
"That's… Very acute of you, m-
Amber!"

527498

>>527453
"Hey, let's see if a song makes this place a bit less creepy!" Inspire the group with a silly song about death and despair. '1d10+1'
>>527464
"Hit the big guy until he stops moving, same as always."
>>527480
"Why thank you, Blossom!"

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

527507

>>527498
"Great, do I really have to die with that song in my ears?"

527513

>>527498
"Honestly, how did we all come together?"

>>527507
"I'll give him that, it's better to focus on something else for a moment than devote ourselves to worry."

"Does anyone have any flammable objects, we might be able to lure them out with smoke."

527519

>>527513
"Eira has explosives."

527523

>>527519
"Yeah I do!"
Float out some bombs with my magic.

527524

>>527519
>>527523
"We can use them to soften them up, but I might recommend trying to lure them out so we can interrogate them. Even with my training, I can't get the dead to talk."

527547

As you proceed deeper, you start seeing signs of the cultists having met some resistance from the dog sentries. Unfortunately, not much remains of said sentries. The encounter was swift and fierce, but left clear proof of the cultists' power. Even the very rock on one of the walls is twisted into a strange tortured spiral by some unknown power. But it was not a victory without a cost - a trail of dark blood leads away from the battle. This may help track the cultists.

You can examine the remains more closely, or capitalize on this and pick up the pace to catch them more swiftly

527553

>>527547
I'll stay back and examine with Primrose. This is our specialty.

'2d10'

Roll #1 2, 2 = 4

527561

>>527547
I sit by some remains, and start humming a slow prayer for their souls.
'1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

527564

>>527547
Make sure to have my weapon ready, and follow the trail.

527582

>>527553
>>527561
Some of the remains near the odd looking wall show signs of rapid mutation without any real rhyme or reason. Asymmetrical and unnatural, this may be the power of Tirek's magic.
Impact marks on the walls and bodies also imply whatever the largest cultist is, it is more than capable of slamming large dents in solid rock.
>>527564
You keep heading deeper, and start catching the scent of smoke and the sounds of battle further ahead. It seems the cultists are not far now.

527585

>>527582
Wince at the sight and try to Cure the corpses of this taint.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

527586

>>527582
Turn around and lower my voice.
"They are nearby. Be careful now."

527587

>>527586
>>527585
"Focus on the big one. He's too powerful to allow to keep fighting."

527589

>>527587
Go back to reality and gasp, but nod.

527592

>>527585
The dead flesh is eased from its torment.
Perhaps this legendary corrupting magic is not as powerful as legends tell?
>>527586
>>527587
>>527589
Proceed deeper?

527594

>>527592
"No choice, time to head downward."

527595

527599

>>527592
Sigh and share a look with Lady Sunset.
"Milady, you sure this is the way?"

527600

>>527592
Proceed deeper.

527609

>>527599
"I have too much to lose to turn back now. My name depends on this. And Breeze has faith in me."
Her guard looks a little displeased at the mention of Calming Breeze, but says nothing.
>>527594
>>527595
>>527600
A little way down, the path splits. Echoes make it hard to determine which path the sounds are coming from, or are they indeed coming from both, but you can see light in both tunnels.

527610

>>527609
"Left or right?"

527611

>>527609
"I'm sure everypony who stands at your side has faith in you, milady."
Go back ahead, follow the others.

527618

>>527610
"I don't think splitting up is a good idea, so I'd consider that out. With no other leads, I'd say Right."

527621

>>527609
"Alright, let's go!" 1 I go left, 2 I go right. '1d2'

Roll #1 1 = 1

527630

>>527618
>>527621
"Right it is."
Grab the ear of Amber before he goes left.
"You heard her. Since she is more clever than you are, we are listening to her."

527631

>>527610
>>527618
>>527621
Cloudcover looks at the floor
"The blood trail from the battle we just passed leads off to the left. The wounded cultist will be there, at least."

527635

>>527631
>>527630
"And he says we should go left. Majority rules."

527639

>>527631
>>527635
Roll my eyes.
"Great, left then.
I swear if we die I will kick both your asses."

527640

>>527635
>>527631
"Uh…"
Chime in from behind.
"I can't leave a wounded pony in danger…"

527650

>>527640
"We'll head down that way now. By the same token, if he's just bandaging himself up, we don't want to deal with them getting reinforcements."

527654

>>527650
"Right, but let's try not to…
Kill him."
Wince.

527658

>>527654
"There's more of us than there are of him, and it won't be a hassle to just tie him up. We'll need answers for all these things going on, so we'll capture him."

527669

You head left.
The tunnel leads upwards, and if your sense of direction is right, it seems to be curving towards where the huge dog said his home was.
The sound of battle become clearer as you head onwards. It is obvious someone is clashing up ahead.

527674

>>527669
"Seems like we'll break the promise shortly after making it. Let's go, he said there were children there and I do not intend to bury any of them."

527675

>>527669
"Come on then! To Battle!" Hurry on forward.

527688

>>527674
>>527669
>>527675
Without a word, rush ahead.

527689

>>527669
Oh joy.
Press on, be ready for whatever terrible things we'll see.

527699

>>527674
>>527675
>>527688
>>527689
A little further up you see two of them. Ponies, but no ponies like you've ever seen. One seems to be covered in scales like a dragon, and even has tusks growing from his jaw.
The other has long tendrils coming from his back, each tipped with a curved claw, lashing out at anything nearby.
They are fighting a few dog guards, who seem to be holding them back from proceeding further towards the living quarters.
The area they are clashing in is a larger room, featuring what appears to be some kind of primitive elevator tucked off to the side.
Neither group has seen you. Yet.

527706

>>527699
Prepare our weapons. We're needed here.

527713

>>527699
I'll need more drinks after this one.
Well, those things will never be friendly I assume, so let's try to cut off some of those tendrils with my claymore.

Roll #1 1 = 1

527720

>>527699
Gasp.
"The puppies!"
Use Cure on one of the abominations.
See if it has the same effect it had on the corpse!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

527723

>>527699
Leap of Faith one of the abominations with a warcry. '1d10'
Dulltooth slams the other. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 5 = 5

527726

And so it begins.

NEXT TIME ON MIDBUTTS
MUTATION NATION
POUND PUPPIES
AND THE TOXIC AVENGER

527772

>>527699
Seeing as how the others have already left me behind, time to get to work.

I'll strike the ones closest to us. '2d10'

Primrose can hit whichever is biggest. '1d10'

If the Necromachine'd Diamond Dog is still around, he can help trying to contain the tentacled one. '1d10'

Roll #1 5, 1 = 6 / Roll #2 1 = 1 / Roll #3 1 = 1

528111

>>527713
One of the tendrils lashes out, impaling your bicep before whipping you off your feet
>>527772
The mutant pulls its tendril loose from Cassie and whips the entire lot of them at you as you charge forth, scything through your defenses and beating you down before you can even reach him
>>527723
You leap at the scaly one, pushing it back a step. However, Dulltooth has his hands full trying to deal with the tentacles of the other.
>>527720
You focus your powers of healing and purification, of easing tortured flesh and of repairing that which no other could save.
The tentacled pony shrieks as its mutations go haywire, shooting out in every direction, whipping around madly, wrapping around anything in reach, breaking its own host's neck in its madness.
As the cultist collapses, the tentacles assume the role of legs, leaving the host's corpse dangling in mid-air.

#ENEMY
Scaly Mutant 4/6
Tentacle Mutant 20/1


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 6/5
Cassie HELPLESS/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica HELPLESS/4
+Primrose HELPLESS/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

528112

>>528111
Son of of a…
Up, Get up!

528113

>>528112

Roll #1 10 = 10

528114

>>528111
Try to get ourselves up!
'2d10'

Roll #1 9, 8 = 17

528115

>>528111
"I've read enough Neighponese comics to know where this is going! Take these freaks down fast!"
AIHEAIHEAIHE SHIELD TO THE FACE '1d10'
Dulltooth tries to get the tentacles under control. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7

528116

>>528111
'1d10' Blast the tentacle mutant.
"Don't let them scare you."

Roll #1 3 = 3

528117

>>528112
>>528113
You do a cool little flip as you stand up.
The diamond dog sentries clap.
>>528114
You stand back up. The wounds are not bad, just painful.
>>528116
The tentacle thing moves rather nimbly, stepping over you and stabbing downward as it goes, raining pain upon you
>>528115
You bash the scaly one, deflecting its sharp tusks with a masterful redirect
Dulltooth takes a more direct approach to the tentacles and yanks on one of them, breaking it

#ENEMY
Scaly Mutant 1/6
Tentacle Mutant 18/1


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 6/5
Cassie 7/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 2/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

528118

>>528117
I'll try to stop the Scaly Mutant with my strikes. '2d10'

"Primrose, occupy the Tentacle Mutant!" '1d10'

Roll #1 4, 9 = 13 / Roll #2 8 = 8

528119

>>528117
Okay, swing wide toward the two mutants. cleave '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

528120

>>528117
Now it's on!
Cut at the tentacles!
Payback time!

Roll #1 2 = 2

528121

>>528117
Stab him in the neck! '1d10'
Dulltooth keeps doing what he does best. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

528124

>>528118
You clash horns to tusks, both ending up wounded.
Primrose goes help against the tentacle thing.
>>528119
You manage to catch both in one strike, further wounding the now downed scaly one
>>528120
Tentacles grasp around your limbs, hoisting you up in the air, stretching and pulling.
The sentry dogs whistle.
>>528121
You open up a massive wound in his neck by prying apart two scales and stabbing between them.
It looks like he might die soon.
Dulltooth grabs the tentacle bundle and swings it at the nearby wall like a sack of jelly.

#ENEMY
Scaly Mutant HELPLESS/2
Tentacle Mutant 8/1


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 6/5
Cassie 4/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 2/5
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

528125

>>528124
'1d10' Try to blast the tentacle mutant.

Roll #1 2 = 2

528126

>>528124
Necromachines on the Scaly Mutant. I need to study it afterward. '1d10'

Primrose takes another stac at the Tentacle Mutant. '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4

528129

>>528124
"Hah! I've had tougher fights in a nursing home!" Inspire the group with my carefree attitude. '1d10+1'
Dulltooth Slams the tentacle mutant into jelly. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

528130

>>528124
"Cut that out!"
Try to get free somehow!

Roll #1 9 = 9

528136

>>528125
The tentacles wrap around you, slamming you against the ceiling and dropping you down, helpless.
>>528126
The mutant shrugs the necromachines off and stands back up
The tentacle mutant slashes Primrose, ripping some of her protective fabric and bashing her internals.
>>528129
Amazingly, your blatant lie gives everyone #+2 to all rolls next turn
Dulltooth gets caught by the tentacles, stabbed several times and thrown aside
>>528130
You slash through a few tentacles and land on your paws

#ENEMY
Scaly Mutant 6/2
Tentacle Mutant 4/1


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 3/5
Cassie 4/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 2/4
Coral Burst HELPLESS/4
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

528140

>>528136
"Primrose, Bolster Coral!"

I'll put down the Tentacle mutant. '2d10'

Roll #1 5, 3 = 8

528141

>>528136
Leap of Faith over the scaly mutant to hit him from above and land behind him. That should be disorienting! '1d10+3'
Dulltooth suppresses the tentacle mutant so that the others can finish it off. '1d10+3'

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10

528142

>>528136
What am I some kind of weak little foal. Get back up. '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

528144

>>528142
#+2 to all rolls. Still a success, just pointing that out.

528145

>>528136
Hah!
Now let's get rid of the last of the tentacles!

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

528146

>>528144
For some reason I read that as all attack rolls instead.

528165

>>528142
You manage to stand back up for the final showdown
>>528140
>>528141
>>528145
You charge the tentacle mutant in an effort to finish the fight. Dulltooth tackles it to the ground and Grey leaps at the host, severing the tentacles at their roots.
Cassie heroically charges the final flailing tentacles, which retaliates by flying up between her legs and jamming itself in before being severed and left wriggling.
The sentry dogs are not sure how to react.
And those pants are going to need a patch.
>>528141
Amber's Leap splits the mutant's tusks, sending it stumbling and falling over, on the verge of death

#ENEMY
Scaly Mutant HELPLESS/1
Tentacle Mutant DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 3/5
Cassie HELPLESS/3
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 2/4
Coral Burst 5/4
Whisper 5/4
Hariac 5/5
Blossom 5/5

528168

>>528165
Neither am I.
"I hate everything…"
Can I still stand back up at least?
With the tentacle removed, thank you very much!

Roll #1 6 = 6

528169

>>528165
Try necromachines again on the Mutant. '1d10'

Primrose goes for the kill. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 9 = 9

528170

>>528165
Deliver the coup-de-grase. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

528172

>>528168
You plop it out and drop it on the floor as you stand back up.
>>528169
>>528170
The mutant is now Necromachined for '1d10' turns

Roll #1 4 = 4

528174

>>528172
….
"Did we win?"

528175

>>528172
>>528174
"I know I lost something… this thing called dignity, not sure you ponies have heard about it."

528176

>>528168
"I warned you!"

528177

>>528175
"Are you well? I could have Primrose give you a checkup?"

528179

>>528175
"…." give you a pat on the back.

528182

>>528176
"That did much, didn't it?"
Sigh.

>>528177
"I'm fine, I'm fine."

528185

>>528182
"Look at it this way; it could have been a lot worse. Plus, it's dead now! Never gonna happen again!"

528186

>>528182
"Very well."

"Everyone else intact for the moment?"

528188

>>528175
The sentry dogs give you a thumbs up
"Well fought"
"But who are these ponies you brought?"
>>528174
Cloudcover inspects the area
"Seems so. But this wasn't all of them. The others must have gone another way"

528190

>>528188
"We were able to catch these from behind, but the other, larger ones might be waiting for us now if these two don't join up with them."

528192

>>528185
"I'm not sure how worse it could get than that."

>>528188
"They are… travelling with me. Following me around. Can't get rid of them."

528194

>>528188
Address the Diamond dogs. "Excuse me, do you happen to know where the rest of these freaks ran off to? I'd rather not miss any and have them start causing mischief again."
>>528192
"Imagine what just happened with that one tentacle… only with all of them. It can get pretty bad."

528195

>>528192
"Rare for one dog to have so many ponies"
"Still, glad you got here when you did. We had been fighting those things for a while now."
>>528194
The dogs look a little confused
"…are ponies allowed to talk like that?"

528196

>>528194
Put my paws on my hips.
"Was that you were doing the whole fight, imagining that?"

528197

>>528195
Wave a paw.
"Yeah, they think they are people. You can talk back to them.
So, are there any more of these demons around?"

528199

>>528196
"No! I was trying to kill that tusky guy! Did a pretty good job of it too, if I do say so myself!"
>>528195
"…Why wouldn't we be? Do you have some weird set of rules about what you are and aren't allowed to say?"

528200

>>528195
Look furious at the diamond dog "Why wouldn't we be allowed to talk?!"

528201

>>528200
>>528199
Clear my throat.
"Guys, come on, you don't want to cause any trouble, right?"

528206

>>528201
Glare at you.

528207

>>528201
"Yes, of course."

>>528195
"Are you Diamond Dogs uninjured?"

528209

>>528206
Pull you closer and whisper.
"Just play along so they don't attack!"

528211

>>528196
"No ma'am"
"We had to ensure the town was not compromised, and that our wounded friends got away safely."
>>528207
"Mostly."
>>528200
Dulltooth pats you on the flank and whispers
"These dogs traditional. Think ponies as labor."
>>528201
"Your ponies mentioned there being more"
"We feared as much. They may be headed for the lower tunnels."

528212

>>528211
"Any idea what or why they are doing?
Or what they are in the first place?"

528214

>>528211
"Have your other tunnels been attacked? Other entrances into the town?"

528215

>>528211
Don't we have one of the bandits tagging along? If so, I'll whisper to him, "Is this what you were afraid happened to your friends?"

528218

>>528215
"This, or just getting executed for making trouble."
>>528214
"The town is safe."
"This was the last attack on it"
>>528212
"No ma'am."
"But they seem to attack indiscriminately. If they want something specific from us, we have not had a chance to figure it out."

528221

>>528211
Sigh and keep quiet. At least they are sharing what they know.

528223

>>528218
"Remind me why you thought setting up an operation down here was a good idea?"

528225

>>528218
"Good to know there aren't that many to deal with."

528228

>>528223
"Because there were no dogs when we started!"
>>528221
Cloudcover comes sit next to you

528232

>>528218
"Well, keep making sure noone goes into your town…"
Pause.
"And try not to attack any other ponies for a while now."

528234

Aw shit, what more did I miss?

528235

>>528228
"Any ideas on how to get your friends out if they are in there?"

528236

>>528228
Smile just slightly at that, my crystal body regulating to a 'normal' level.
"Tentacle beasts, what will we face next?"

528239

>>528232
"Ma'am?"
"Why should we not? They are a threat to our homes here."
>>528234
You finished off two mutated cultists. Cassie is chatting up two of the dog guards.
>>528235
"Charge in and kill anything in my way?
…I really don't know. I'm in no position to negotiate either."

>>528236
He nuzzles you a little
"Something worse almost certainly. But we'll defeat it all the same."

528240

>>528239
Is there anything different about these mutants? Check the corpses.

'1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

528243

>>528239
"They might have the same crap that these mutants had. Hell, if I were you, I'd release all of them. You don't want these things to attack your town from the inside and kill everyone, do you?"

528244

>>528239
>>528243
"Yeah! Listen to your fellow dog!"

528248

>>528240
Their skin seems to feature lots of burn marks for some reason
>>528243
>>528244
"Hrm. Fair point."
"We should warn the alpha."

528250

>>528239
""Looks like your friends might have to wait a little longer. Charging in headlong would just get us all killed, and a rescue attempt won't help them if we don't survive the attempt. We can always get reinforcements and come back for them."

528252

>>528248
"Yeah. Your paws won't fall off if you do your own work for a while.
If you have any ponies, I can take them over from you. At least I can deal with them if they go crazy…. and NO ONE make a joke about dealing with them and what happened, or I swear I will punch them in the face!"

528253

>>528250
>>528244
>>528243
>>528236
"Just so you're all aware, be prepared for some flames. Something burned these creatures, but I can't say what exactly. Or if it might be on our side."

528255

>>528239
"As long as we're together, we can face anything!"
>>528253
Shake my head.
"Its probably those dogs doing the burning."

528257

>>528255
>>528248
"Do any Dogs here wield any type of flamethrowing device as a weapon?"

528261

>>528257
"Fire in tunnels is a bad idea."
>>528252
"You?"
"Don't you have plenty already?"

528264

>>528261
Maybe Dulltooth can get in on the act?

528266

>>528261
Crack my fists.
"You don't really want to disagree with an angry bitch when she is in a very, very bad mood, do you?"

528268

>>528261
"I'd actually have preferred an affirmative action."

I'll check on Primrose, was she damaged severely from the fight.

528271

>>528268
Nothing that can't be fixed with a little grease and thread. Mostly just slightly misaligned gears and joints.
>>528266
>>528264
Dulltooth chimes in
"We save this place from those monsters. Now we kindly go clear out rest for you.
Payment in ponies perfectly good."
The sentries think for a moment and hesitantly nod
"Well, we agree"
"The alpha will need to decide this though."

528272

>>528271
"Call him already then!"

528274

>>528271
I'll check on those and make sure everything is covered.

"Primrose, let me know when everything is in place."

528278

>>528271
Yes! I am definitely buying Dulltooth something nice after this!

528280

>>528272
"You are one crazy bitch ma'am"
"If you want, you can argue your reward with him after the tunnels are clear."
>>528274
After a few clicks and tweaks, she signals [yes]

528281

>>528280
Sigh.
"Fine, we'll clear the tunnels then come back, but he better be out here to speak by the time we come back."

528284

>>528280
>>528281
"Yeah! Otherwise we're going to have trouble!"

528285

>>528280
"Let us know if anything else gets out of alignment."

528287

>>528284
>>528281
The dogs give a nod
"Bring proof all is clear"
"And send back any patrols you might run into. Some were lost in the lower tunnels."
"The elevator there leads to one part of the tunnels, or you can go back and take the tunnel leading down at the first fork."

528288

>>528287
Turn to the others.
"Let's not take the elevator. Make sure all the tunnels are clear."

528290

528291

>>528288
"Ma'am yes ma'am!"

528296

>>528288
"Understood."

528305

You return to the other path and begin descending.
The air grows colder and more moist down here…

NEXT TIME ON NOCTIS AETERNUM
MAZES
MONSTERS
AND PANTS

528634

>>528305
Stick close to Lady Sunset.

528635

"We'll be dealing with a fire user, so keep an eye out for places to hide behind."

528636

>>528305
"Get ready for more of those uglies."
Let's go.
Spot check on the way.
Any sings of more of these guys?

528637

>>528305
"So Dulltooth, I think I got the general idea, but… what exactly was with those diamond dogs?"

528638

>>528636
The heaviest of them came down this way at least. And from the looks of it, so did several others. No signs of blood at least up here. They were all unharmed when they came through here, unlike the previous duo.
Your nose also picks up a curious odor.
>>528637
"They traditional. Use ponies for labor. Not think much of modern comforts. Prefer tunnels, not cities.
I think they kinda stupid like that."
>>528634
"With bravery, good pilgrim! This quest nears its climax!"

528639

>>528638
Frown.
"Everyone be on your toes… hooftips, whatever. There will be a lot of them, and they are not hurt. Well, not any more hurt than what they look like."
Sniff again.
Does it resemble anything I know?

528640

>>528638
"I see. Any thoughts on those… things we killed back there? This job's taken a rather strange turn from item retrieval to pest control."

528641

>>528638
Suck through my teeth.
"Wording…"

528642

>>528639
It smells vaguely poisonous. There may be a gas leak somewhere in the deeper caves.
If the smell gets stronger, it might be a good idea to try and escape whatever room you are in.
>>528640
"Not sure. Maybe wizard did it?"
>>528641
She raises a brow
"This is no time to be thinking of those kinds of things."

528643

>>528642
"Yes, milady.."
What's the head of the group doing, exactly?

528644

>>528640
"But it is providing me with a wealth of information. Some of these changes and mutations I've never seen catalogued before."

>>528642
"I'd love to meet this wizard. Provided he's locked to a chair, under armed guard, and in the middle of an Anti-Magic Field."

528645

>>528642
>>528640
>>528643
>>528644
Snort and keep walking.
"Something bad is in the air. If it gets stronger and I tell you to leg it, then don't stop to argue, just leg it. Or not, your funeral. I will only warn you once."

528646

>>528645
"…Leg for where?"

528647

>>528646
"Run. Scurry. Bail. Escape. Get it?"

528648

>>528647
"No, I get it but…
The dogs are on the other side."

528649

>>528642
"…It's disturbing how often that's a valid answer. How about you, Silk? You holding up okay?"
>>528644
"I'm more interested with who's behind all this. At first I thought it was some kind of squabble between the houses; now I don't know what to think."
>>528645
"Right. On your signal, we charge. Got it."

528650

>>528648
"Dogs can be negotiated with, and our superiors might get curious as to where we are and send support. An exploding tunnel is far less, agreeable, in that regard."

528651

>>528648
"They didn't attack us so far, I doubt they will then."

>>528649
"Charge in the other direction. If it's a leak or something poisious, you don't want to run into that."

528652

>>528649
"This place smells. And the dogs worry me."

528653

>>528649
"We've run into quite a bit with just a cursory check so far. It might very well be a squabble that grew out of hoof and we've been brought in to stop it."

528654

>>528652
"Don't worry, I got the dogs handled."

528655

>>528651
"Ah, that kind of 'something bad in the air.'"
Can I smell anything?
>>528652
"Good. If you're worried, it means you're thinking fast. Easier to avoid trouble that way."
>>528653
"Demonic boogeypony self-mutilation for the sake of a feud between nobles? …I have to admit, the idea has merit."

Roll #1 10 = 10

528656

As you descent down further, you come across a minor cave-in that seems to have crushed a dog, and trapped another one's arm
>>528655
Probably natural gas. Poisonous if breathed for too long. There must be a pocket of it leaking somewhere in the lower corridor.
It's also very explosive.

528657

>>528655
"What else?!"

>>528656
Is the trapped one still alive?

528658

>>528655
"Grigori Gryphon, Horschei, and these are just the ones we know. These feuds could be going for a long time, wouldn't be unusual for one member to escalate and the other side to retaliate in a similar manner. Hide the funds, and eventually even they don't know what they are paying for."

528659

>>528657
Seems so.
He is struggling with trying to move the rocks, and has not seen you.

528660

>>528656
>>528657
"Okay, I smell it too. That's definitely natural gas of some kind. We should start using some filters so we don't breathe too much in, and whatever you do, NOBODY LIGHT ANY KIND OF OPEN FLAME."

528661

>>528656
Gasp and rush to his side.
"Stand still!"
Heal it.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

528662

>>528659
Sigh.
"Let's help him."
Walk over there.
"Need some help, pal?"

Try to dig him out.

>>528660
"I should have gotten a scarf."

Roll #1 9 = 9

528663

>>528659
>>528657
"Cassie, go to him first so he doesn't attack, then I can check his arm."

528664

>>528659
"Primrose, help Blossom with the wound." Heal '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

528665

>>528656
Do I have some kind of cloth or scarf to cover my mouth with? '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

528666

>>528661
The hand break off.
He falls on his ass, staring at the stump
>>528662
You move the rocks and pick up his severed hand
>>528664
The hand then explodes, making the dog faint.
>>528665
You could use Silk's dress
Or take the dog's scarf.

528667

>>528666
"Put it back on, Primrose!"

Mend '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

528668

>>528666
…The cloth wouldn't really do much to filter the gas out anyway.
"…Was all that really necessary?"

528669

>>528667
Primrose grafts the exploded mess back onto his stump.

528670

>>528666
Shake off whatever bits got on me.
"I am at a loss of words. Really."
Sigh.
"Do we just leave him here and pick him up on the way back?

528671

>>528669
We can fix it right up, just needs a few bandages and lots of anesthetic.

Heal '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

528672

>>528671
By some miracle of the healing sciences, you manage to rebuild his exploded limb and weld it back together so that it resembles what it used to be a while ago.
The dog wakes up and takes a look at it
"Huh. What a crazy nightmare I just had…"

528673

>>528672
>>528671
…impressing.
"Think you can stand and walk on your own?"

528674

>>528672
"Yes, nightmare. I recommend laying off the spicy food and getting plenty of good rest."

528675

>>528666
I… Might want to use DDOM?
'1d10'+whatever wounds he's missing.

Roll #1 7 = 7

528676

>>528672
>>528674
"Very impressive work, doctor."

528677

>>528676
"Hopefully the rest of this journey goes just as well."

528678

>>528677
"You mean explodes in a giant, ludicrous mess, then comes back together fine and dandy?"

528679

>>528678
"More of the fine and dandy part, less of the first. Then again, I presume that is why I am here in the first place, to handle the transition from the former to the latter."

528680

>>528677
"Congratulations, doc."

528681

>>528673
>>528674
>>528675
"Yeah I think I can walk.
…who are you anyway?"

528682

>>528681
"Your savior. Now run along, back to your town. Be useful and give them a message, will you?"

528683

>>528681
"Monster hunters. We hear you've got a doozy of a mutant freak infestation."

528684

>>528681
Point at Cassie.

528685

>>528682
"Uh… alright. I will."
>>528683
"Yes. A whole load of them came down this way. We were sent down here to watch the dogs working to repair that gas leak in the lower tunnels, but got jumped."

528686

>>528685
"How bad is this gas leak?"

528687

And I'm here too now.

528688

>>528685
"Can you fix the leak?"

528689

>>528685
"Gas…"
Gasp.
>>528688
"Everyone might die if we don't!"

528690

>>528686
>>528688
"I got no idea. It was reported by the crew who took a bunch of loot from that mine up top into the treasure holds.
Me and… a couple of others… stayed back to keep these tunnels secure after we heard some commotion. Thought it might have been escaped ponies.
…you lot aren't escapees are you?"

528691

>>528690
Stick closer to Cassie.

528692

>>528690
>>528685
"They're with me, don't worry.
Now, when you go back, tell your alpha or whoever that this tunnel is as good as lost already. With those weirdo uglies down here, we might just end up caving it in for good."

>>528687
"No explosives."

528693

>>528692
"But you said I could earlier!"

528694

>>528693
"Not with this gas leak."

528695

>>528690
weeeeeell shit. That's just perfect.
>>528693
"There's a gas leak. Any open flames, and the whole tunnel goes boom. With us in it."

528696

528697

>>528694
>>528695
"Not even a little one?"

528698

>>528697
"No. Not unless I say so."

528699

>>528697
"Little one becomes big one. Big one fills the tunnel. We all burn to a crisp. That sound like fun?"

528700

>>528692
"I don't think he'll like you caving the main entrance to the treasure holds…"

528701

>>528700
Snort.
"Fine… but if we clear this and make it out alive, we take what we want from there. That's a take it or leave it deal. Otherwise you are free to deal with those monsters that did a number on your town as it is."

528702

>>528701
"Bitch I ain't in no place to make deals here. But I will bring the news to the Alpha."

528703

>>528702
I just sit patiently next to Silk and try not to breathe too deeply.

528704

>>528702
"Damn straight you aren't. I am making this deal. You are just carrying the message."

528705

>>528704
"Was that all, then?"

528706

>>528705
"I guess. Now run along, the grown-ups have work to do."

528707

>>528706
Tap my hoof.

528708

>>528706
He scurries off.
Your message will be delivered, for better or worse.

528709

>>528708
Now that that's done, onward into the jaws of death!

528710

>>528708
>>528707
"Let's go. And try to make this quick."

528711

>>528710
"Don't take this the wrong way, but other dogs are kind of…
Creepy."

528712

>>528711
"And ponies are dumb, your point?"

528713

>>528712
Pout and say nothing.

528714

>>528712
"You always underestimate us!"

528715

As you proceed deeper down, you see evidence of freshly dug or started side tunnels and rooms. The rock down here must be easy to dig.
A small warning sign has been left at the door of a tunnel
#WARNING!
GAS is lower tunnels. Avoid using needlessly.

528716

>>528715
"There's always something nasty in the air on these jobs, isn't there?" Well, no helping it. Let's get going.

528717

>>528715
"If you keep your head low and a piece of blothing over your nuzzle, you should be fine, everypony!"
>>528716
Chuckle at that.

528718

>>528715
Oh boy.

528719

>>528715
"Great, as I said, let's make this quick."
Proceed down.

528720

As you head down, your eyes start to water a little. There is a visible haze in the air, and no torches to light the way.
The tunnels down here are clearly unfinished and fairly fresh, which explains why the gas leak was only found recently.
You can hear some sounds of combat in the far distance, slightly above you. There must be tunnels leading back up to the other parts of the caves here somewhere…

528721

>>528720
Look for other tunnels.
'1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

528722

>>528720
Let's see if I can find anything. '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2

528723

>>528720
>>528722
Maybe Dulltooth or Silk will have better luck? '1d10' '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 2 = 2

528724

>>528720
Speak quickly.
"Check down here, see if treasure is here, go back to fight."
Go down, no time to waste!

528725

>>528720
Steady my heart as I hear combat, trembling for the ones that might be in pain.

528726

>>528721
You poke your head up and squint your eyes, then collapse down in a fit of coughing.
Bad idea.
>>528722
>>528723
Silk is coughing violently and looks green in the face.
Dulltooth looks at a nearby wall, scratches a little X on it and punches hand, breaking the rock and revealing a tunnel
"Leads up."
>>528724
Dulltooth uncovered a parallel passageway. It should help dodge some of the gas

528727

>>528726
Am I helpless?

528728

>>528726
Hurry up the passageway!

528729

>>528727
>>528726
Pick up the pony and go through the tunnel Dulltooth found.
"Good job."

528730

>>528727
Not any more now that you got out of the gas
>>528728
>>528729
It leads upwards at a slight slant, eventually ending up at a large boulder that has been split in half.
Behind it, you can see considerable amounts of light, but you can't really hear much

528731

>>528730
Can I dig around it?

Roll #1 3 = 3

528732

>>528730
Cautiously look inside. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

528733

>>528729
I cough part of my longs out.
"Thanks."

528734

>>528731
The boulder is leaning against both outer walls of the tunnel. You will probably end up in the as tunnel again if you try.
>>528732
It's a treasure room with quite a stockpile of gems, gold and various other valuables arranged in crates, chests and shelves.
A few lanterns have been left in the room.
A moving shadow reveals someone is hiding in here.

528735

>>528734
"H-hey! Is anypony here?"

528736

>>528734
Is there any way we can squeeze through? '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

528737

>>528733
Hmm…
"Dulltooth, you're a big guy, think you might be strong enough to get rid of this rock?"

528738

>>528734
"Reveal yours-cough cough self."

528739

>>528736
>>528737
The boulder used to be a door. There is enough of a gap split into it for three of you to fit in side by side.
>>528735
>>528738
A small dog pokes its head out from behind some gold crates
"…are they gone?"

528740

>>528739
"They're not here anymore."
Sigh.
"Ponies, you're small, get in, get what we are looking for, and let's go."

528741

>>528739
Alright, we enter the room. Do I see what we're looking for, or barring that, anything valuable? '1d10'
I imagine Silk is having a field day with this. Master Thief '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 7 = 7

528742

>>528741
All of this stuff is valuable.
The problem is it's also really heavy and hard to move, especially through a tight poison maze.
Silk looks around
"Only one thing is missing from this place. It's easy to tell because it has all been arranged so neatly.
I bet it was the heart."

528743

>>528742
"That would be the most likely thing for them to take." Any tracks for us to follow? '3d10'

Roll #1 7, 6, 10 = 23

528744

>>528742
"This means those cultists are even deeper inside the caves…
How can they even survive, unless…"
Gasp.
"They might all be turned."

528745

>>528743
>>528744
The dog looks around
"I-if you're looking for those monsters, they came through here and left. Killed the rest of the repair team. I uh… happened to be hiding at the time.
From the sound of their footsteps I can only guess they headed for the lake."

528746

>>528742
"Well isn't that just dandy…grab me some gold while you're in there, will you?"

528747

>>528745
"What lake?"

528748

>>528745
"Mind pointing us in the direction of the lake? I'm getting tired of this wild goose chase."

528749

>>528747
>>528748
"It's where we get water. Down in the lowest tunnels, under the gas leak.
There's a well that leads there up in the village, but the only route by foot is down the now poisoned tunnels, past the other treasure room and expansion tunnels. You know you're close when you start feeling the moisture."

528750

>>528749
So, back the way we came?

528751

>>528749
"This will be a joyous trip, I can tell… you don't have anything against the gas, do you?"

528752

>>528750
Seems so.
But this saves a lot of time checking every single side tunnel
>>528751
"Not really. But if you can find the repair team, or, well, what remains of them, they should have some protective masks."

528753

>>528752
Right then, let's see if we can find that repair team! Silk, Dulltooth and I should be able to sniff them out. '3d10'

Roll #1 10, 6, 9 = 25

528754

>>528752
"At least that's something. Keep hiding here or whatever. We'll do actual work."
Let's roll.

528755

>>528753
>>528754
Following the massive blood smears on the walls should help. It will be a bit of a detour, but you should at least find the stuff easily.
Do you want to follow the blood or head for the lake?

528756

>>528755
Follow the blood; we don't want to pass out from gas poisoning in the middle of a fight.

528757

>>528755
Follow the blood.

528758

>>528756
>>528757
The gas grows thicker as you head for its source following the blood. Soon enough you find the firt of the repair crew. His mask looks intact but bloodied.
Beyond him, you can see a few more bodies, and deeper still, hear a stable, flat hissing.

528759

>>528758
>>528757
"Your fingers are better at grabbing than hooves. Use that first mask so you can go grab the rest."

528760

>>528759
>>528758
"Ew."
Grab the bloody mask and put it on.
"You get the masks for yourself, I'll try to see if I can stop that leak. Dulltooth can help with his paws."
Once the mask is on, head deeper.
Supreme Survivor Spot Check, how does that leak look and is there any way to easily fix it?

528761

>>528760
"Alright." Take a deep breath and go grab the other masks.

528762

>>528760
After wafting through the haze, you find the leak. It's a crack in a wall, spewing out a constant stream of gas.
A large pile of rocks might me able to at least hold it for a while, but anything short of collapsing the entire room might not be a permanent solution.
The repair crew also had some airtight sailcloth bags with them.
>>528761
You each put on masks.
The poison tunnels can now be explored freely, unless something happens to the masks.

528763

>>528762
"Alright, let's go take care of these freaks so we can get out of here."

528764

>>528762
Were they going to use those to stich it up?
Like a pair of torn pants?
Hmm…
Any other tools lying around?

528765

>>528764
Some hammer, pegs, fans and what look like a bunch of coal dust and wool cloth

528766

>>528762
Those two will need some paladin back up, put on a mask and follow them.

528767

>>528765
…I don't suppose I remember how to fix this with these tools from my good dog old days?
'1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

528768

>>528762
Give the mask a few test breaths.
Then look in determination at the poisoned tunnels.

528769

>>528767
Not really. You have some vague memory about coal dust being a good filter, but that's about it.
You can try to cobble something together or just hope there is no gas lower down.
>>528768
It smells almost as bad as the gas…

528770

>>528769
Bleargh.
Who's the loco-coco who would invent these things.
Wander off towards one of the tunnels, see if there's anything in there.
'1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

528771

>>528767
"How important is plugging the gas leak? Even if we do, the tunnels will still be filled with gas."

528772

>>528769
'1d10' travel lower. There must be something..

Roll #1 3 = 3

528773

>>528769
Try to improv something!
Surely there's at least one way I can make this work!

>>528771
"Typical pony thinking, why fix it when you can just go past it?"

Roll #1 10 = 10

528774

>>528773
"I'm not saying it doesn't need to be done, I'm just saying that the tentacled mutated tartaruspawn are a more pressing issue!"

528775

>>528770
You head down a tunnel, trip, and bash your head against a wall, ripping the mask.
>>528772
The walls get more moist as you head lower. As the dog earlier said, you must be nearing the underground lake.
>>528773
It's not exactly pretty, but after you recall some basic lessons about chemistry, make a few hasty and probably unhygienic mixtures from what you can, soak the cloth, add the coal, sow together a few bags and nail the whole mess over the leak… it seems to hold, at least for now.
It will take hours for this chain of bags to fill up with gas, more than enough to let you escape the tunnels before it starts seeping out again.

528776

>>528775
Well, fuck.
First of all, Heal myself.
'1d10+2'
Then go check for more masks.
'1d10'

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 1 = 1

528777

>>528775
>>528774
Look at my work proudly.
"That'll do it.
Now wwe have more than enough time to deal with whatever."

528778

>>528775
>>528773
"As long as you've fixed it, I guess it's fine. Now we should probably-"
>>528772
>>528770
"-Well, horseapples. Come on, they shouldn't have been able to wander too far off!" I go after them. '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9

528779

>>528775
Squint a bit. Is there any kind of slimy monster down here? '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

528780

>>528776
You seem fine on the outside.
But that was the last intact mask…
Lady Sunset looks at you with a worried face and gives you hers. This in turn prompts Sunsong to give his to the lady, giving her a stern "No." when she tries to give it back.
>>528779
"It's condensation from the underground lake. We must be close to those cultists"
>>528778
>>528777
You head down, clearing gas by flapping the fans as you go.

The air grows colder and more moist
And you start hearing sounds. Voices. Hoofsteps.
Chanting.

NEXT TIME ON TEMPORARY SIDE OF THE DAY
THE GOOD
THE BAD
AND THE HIDEOUSLY MUTATED

529056

>>528780
Oh great, lunatics.
Make sure to keep that weapon ready and advance steadily.
Keep an ear out.

529057

>>528780
What are they chanting? '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

529058

>>528780
"Sunsong…"

529059

>>529058
He turns to you, but as always, says nothing
>>529057
It's not a language you recognize. It doesn't even sound like words a pony could form.

529060

>>528780
Try to listen in, or at least find the source of the chanting.

529061

>>529059
Start looking for the source of the chanting, doing a little hop-skip dance as I do my best to imitate the chanting. '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

529062

>>529059
Stay at his side, ready to heal his pains whenever it's needed.

529064

>>529061
It is but a minor mistake in most languages to mix up a letter. Skim can become skin, bus turn to pus, gain to pain.
But in the tongue of those who scream without a mouth, to whom corruption and mutation are blessings and gifts, and to die with your prayed unanswered is far more merciful than to truly attract the eyes that stare in the abyss beyond mortal reason, such a slight can have consequences that resonate far deeper than any mere slip of the tongue should.
You have called out to the darkness. And the darkness has heard you.
It knows you now.

529065

>>529061
>>529064
look kind of confused when he starts to dance.
"Shouldn't we just smash the cultists?"

529066

>>529065
"As much as it pains me… Yes. We should."

529068

>>529065
>>529064
>>529066
"Honestly, he's less of a hassle than some of my coworkers."

Have my necromachine'd minion take the front.

529069

>>529066
>>529065
"I doubt they will play nice."

529070

>>529068
It only lasted for 4 turns, remember?

529071

>>529064
OKAY
BAD IDEA
SHUTTING UP NOW

529072

>>529070
I thought it was still here since I got it at the end?
Otherwise, I'll try to get Primrose between Amber and the cultists.

529074

>>529069
"Nice isn't what I had in mind." Smile.
>>529066
Nod firmly and draw my longsword.

529077

>>529074
"Very threatening, disco ball pony."
Whisper the last part.

>>529070
Spot check for anything weird, aside the cultists and mutants and whatever.

529078

>>529072
Non-combat turns are still turns.
>>529060
>>529065
>>529066
You head in deeper, descending into the lowest bowels of the tunnels. The gas seems to be fading, or perhaps more accurately seeping into the water that is condensed on nearly every surface. This mixture is certainly less explosive, but licking the walls is probably a bad idea.

The chanting becomes clearer and clearer. You can see torchlight up ahead.

If you have anything left you wished to ready before the battle, now is the time

529079

>>529078
Prepare my sword and shield and advance.

529081

>>529077
[glare]
>>529078
I can't think of anything. Charge!

529083

>>529078
Noting to do but head in with weapons drawn then.

529084

>>529078
I wish my pants would survive a combat just once in my life.
To battle!

529086

>>529078
Heal Sunsong to full. Take 6.

529108

>>529081
>>529083
>>529084
>>529086
You charge forth, arriving in a flooded cavern akin to an underground lake. A rocky outcrop extends over it, and atop it, you finally catch sight of the rest of the cultists.
One of them is massive. Far more massive than any pony, or even any buffalo should be. A colossal mass of twisted muscle and toughened hide, with sharp ridges lining his spine and misshapen claws growing from his hooves.
Another seems freakishly elongated, as if he had been stretched out by the neck and limbs, his legs coiling into serpent tails and his neck twisting and looking around like the head of a dragon.
The third may once have been a pegasus, or perhaps more accurately a bat pony, but his great leathery wings are a cruel mockery of the noble guards of the night. Far more worryingly, he has another pair, though without its membrane, leaving nothing but spindly hands that desperately claw at the air on its back. His eyes are sharp and fiery, and tusks grow not only from the sides of his mouth, but his chin and the back of his head.
The fourth ill even resembles a pony. Perhaps it would be more fitting to call it some unholy cross between a diamond dog and a dragon. A boar-faced monster with a armored, leathery hide, mighty claws, long fangs and a strong, muscular tail.
The final one, possibly their leader, seems the most normal of the lot. If you ignore that another pony seems to grow from where his head should be, leaving his third pair of legs high in the air and his head at an odd angle. This last one is the one chanting, holding in its hooves the Heart of Darkness above the dark, churning waters.
>>529079
Worryingly, you alone seem to be able to make sense of his chanting.
…come to us, great gate-wyrm, come to us and lead us forth
Show yourself so we may stride through the dark and cold of the lightless abyss, to stand once more before Midnight's throne, and bring this tribute to your creator
Rise, rise, let us give our flesh to you, rise, rise…

529117

>>529108
Oh fuck, what should I do, don't panic don't panic what do I do when I'm about to freak out…
…Just do what I always do and do something stupid.
"THE GATE-WYRM SHALL NOT RISE TONIGHT!"
Charge the chanter and knock him down! '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

529118

>>529108
Well, there goes sleep for a few years.
"I don't want to be a party pooper, but we are going to need that heart."
Let's rush at them.
Swing my claymore at the freaky tall pony, he seems to be the least armored.

Roll #1 7 = 7

529121

>>529108
'1d10' blast on the boar faced creature.

Roll #1 9 = 9

529122

>>529108
Open fire!
Repeating shot! Trick ammo split shot between the bat thing and the massive pony.

Roll #1 9 = 9

529124

>>529108
Paint the sign of the sister on my chest and
>>529117
Whoops.
Heal him.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

529125

>>529108
I'll see if I can occupy the buffalo-thing.

Dual attack '2d10'
Primrose's attack '1d10'

Roll #1 6, 8 = 14 / Roll #2 9 = 9

529132

>>529117
So, this is the one, then. Very well.
The cultist turns around and breathes a great torrent of black flames from his mouth. The flames engulf you, searing your flesh and forcing you down in pain, but only for a moment as >>529124 Fire Blossom helps you back up. However, something in you may have changed forever…
>>529121
Your hammer lands hard on the strange two-legged thing, exploding with devastating force that also impacts the nearby massive cultist.
>>529118
You charge the snake-like cultist, Ducking under its heavy swing and slashing one of its legs
>>529122
Your shot splits in half in mid-air, striking both the bat and the massive mutant
>>529125
With the huge cultist already taking a beating, you charge in and bring it down
Or, had it been any less Huge, you would have. Its sheer size allows it to remain standing. Barely.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist 5/5
Huge Cultist 1/10
Snake Cultist 3/7
Dragon Cultist 10/5
Winged Cultist 3/5


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 7/5
Cassie 7/5
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 5/5
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/5

529136

>>529132
Growl at the creature. "No. Today you are the ones."
'1d10' attack the dragon like one.

Roll #1 1 = 1

529138

>>529132
"Primrose, don't let up!"

Dual Attack '2d10'
Primrose '1d10'

Roll #1 5, 6 = 11 / Roll #2 8 = 8

529139

>>529132
Spin around and slash again!
Then jump to Coral's Protection!

Roll #1 7 = 7

529140

>>529132
NO! Leap of Faith the Centaur! '1d10'
Dulltooth attempts to suppress the Dragon cultist! '1d10+1'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

529146

>>529132
Good start. Keep firing repeating shot.

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

529148

>>529132
Wrath!
'1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

529150

>>529136
>>529139
Cassie takes another swing at the serpent mutant and then dives to take a crushing blow from the dragon beast for Coral
>>529138
You keep the pressure up, and though you get a little beaten up, you manage to topple the massive cultist
>>529146
You take aim and manage to shoot one of the bat thing's wings, bringing it down!
>>529148
>>529140
The Dragon is on a roll, slamming Dulltooth aside with ease and steamrolling its way through Fire Blossom.
>>529140
You leap over the battle and strike the Centaur, making him take a few steps back
Why resist Tirek's gifts? You belong to him now. You dedicated your soul to his service.

529151

>>529150
#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist 2/5
Huge Cultist HELPLESS/9
Snake Cultist 1/7
Dragon Cultist 10/5
Winged Cultist HELPLESS/4


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 4/5
Cassie 0/5
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 4/5
+Primrose 5/5
Coral Burst 5/5 Protected
Blossom 2/5

529152

>>529150
Keep them coming. I can do this all day, I got plenty of bolts.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

529155

>>529150
>>529151
"I'll regret this in the morning…"
Slash at the dragon thing!

Roll #1 5 = 5

529156

>>529150
>>529139
"Cass, worry about yourself!"
Seeing that dumb dog dive in for me.. I can't let him show me up!
"Tirek isn't here!"
'1d10+2' shatter dragon cultist, maybe I can break the scales or something.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

529157

>>529150
>>529151
"Almost there, Primrose."

Dual attack '2d10'
Primrose '1d10'

Roll #1 4, 8 = 12 / Roll #2 1 = 1

529161

>>529151
Heal Cassie up!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

529162

>>529150
"I would NEVER serve that demon! Now go back to the Hell from which you came!" Press the attack! '1d10'
Dulltooth Slams the Winged Cultist. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

529167

>>529152
Your repeating shot finally crits, ripping apart the bony hand wings of the bat thing
>>529155
The dragon punches you on the muzzle, sending you reeling, but you stay up despite the damage suffered.
>>529161
The dragon's tail whips you on the side, crushing you with its weight.
>>529156
Seeing an opportunity, you leap in as the dragon cultist is distracted. Your strike lands with the force of will that can only be born from a pure heart striking for what it believes in. A shining beacon of hope and faith in this foul, dark place, it cleaves through the dragon's scales, hide, flesh and bone with explosive force
>>529157
The Huge cultist rises up, and after taking a hit from you, it slams Primrose off the rocks and into a wall.
>>529162
Dulltooth picks up the winged cultist and swings it around before bashing its head against a rocky stalagmite, smashing it dead.
You keep the pressure on, bringing the Centaur to a knee
Tirek's black heart will beat once more. You will be there to witness it. Among the first to bow or fall before the Night that Never Ends.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist 1/5
Huge Cultist 7/9
Snake Cultist 1/7
Dragon Cultist 3/5
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 4/5
Cassie 7/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica 4/5
+Primrose HELPLESS/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom HELPLESS/4

529169

>>529167
Ouuuch!
Stand up!
'1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

529170

>>529167
Snake cultist and I have some beef we need to play out!

Roll #1 2 = 2

529171

>>529167
"I'll be there. And I'll be the one to put him down." Let's cut this psycho down. '1d10'
Dulltooth starts swinging at the Huge Cultist. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

529172

>>529167
"Primrose, get up while I hold it off!"

Dual Attack '2d10'

Primrose tries to get up. '1d10'

Roll #1 4, 4 = 8 / Roll #2 8 = 8

529173

>>529167
breath deeply. Give the dragon cultist another long cut where his scales are exposed.
'1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

529174

529184

>>529169
You almost manage it, but at the last moment your legs give in
>>529170
The first beef to be played out is you beefing it, as his neck wraps around you and he bites your side
>>529171
Your blow manages to knock him over, though he still grasps the heart
Dulltooth enters the fray with a thundering drop kick!
>>529172
[Yes]
Primrose stands up
However a swift one-two from the huge cultist sends you flying into the shallow waters of the lake shore
>>529173
>>529174
The air itself ignites into a flash of light as your weapon cleaves clean through the dragon, making it collapse.
The sheer look of shock and excitement on Cloudcover's face is quite a sight too.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist HELPLESS/4
Huge Cultist 3/9
Snake Cultist 1/7
Dragon Cultist HELPLESS/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 6/5
+Dulltooth 4/5
Cassie 3/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica HELPLESS/4
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom HELPLESS/4

529186

>>529184
Pls up!
'1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

529188

>>529184
OW!
Punch him in the face!

Roll #1 5 = 5

529190

>>529184
Let's finish him off! '1d10'
Dulltooth follows up with a tackle to Suppress the Huge Cultist! '1d10+1'

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

529192

>>529184
Oh boy, he's watching me.
Show him that I can finish a kill attack the dragon cultist once more, blast this time '1d10+1'

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

529196

>>529184
Try to get myself up.
'1d10'

Primrose keeps the buffalo creature busy. '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 7 = 7

529201

>>529186
This world needs heroes.
You will be one, now that you stand proud once more.
>>529188
Your punch mostly hurts your own fist.
>>529192
The dragon rises up once again.
>>529196
The dragon plows over your prone form, but Primrose retaliates, nearly felling it!
>>529190
Dulltooth brings the huge mutant down!
You are too late.
The lake begins to heave and boil. You can see something swimming up from the seemingly endless depths. Your head screams in agony as the darkness looks back at you.
You collapse as the Centaur rises with a triumphant cackle

It comes.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist 5/4
Huge Cultist HELPLESS/8
Snake Cultist 1/7
Dragon Cultist 15/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn HELPLESS/4
+Dulltooth 4/5
Cassie 2/4
Eira 5/5
Dr. Jonica HELPLESS/3
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/4

529202

>>529201
"No!"
First of all, help the doctor!
DDOM!
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

529203

>>529201
Primrose helps me up with Bolster while the cultist is down.

529205

>>529201
"…Not…If I…have anything…to say about it…" Power through the pain and stand back up! '1d10'
Dulltooth keeps the freak pinned! '1d10+1'

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2

529206

>>529201
Grrrrrr!
BITE IT!

Roll #1 2 = 2

529207

>>529201
Attack the snake cultist and the centaur cultist. Cleave! '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

529210

>>529201
I wish I could use my explosives…
Oh well, repeating shot on the snake guy.

Roll #1 4 = 4

529213

>>529206
Your break a tooth and fall helpless
>>529210
You probably could, if you got someone in the water and detonated them there…
The snake bashes you across the back with a tail
>>529207
You bring the snake down, and wound the Centaur, stopping its laugh short
>>529203
>>529202
The doctor is back up and running
>>529205
You stand back up, only to see Dulltooth get crushed against the cavern wall

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist 3/4
Huge Cultist HELPLESS/8
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/6
Dragon Cultist 15/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 5/4
+Dulltooth HELPLESS/4
Cassie HELPLESS/5
Eira 3/5
Dr. Jonica 5/3
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/4

529215

>>529213
"Hey! No fair if you hit back!"
Give him a telekinetic smack on the cheek.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

529216

>>529213
"AH DAMN IT!"
Stand back up!

Roll #1 2 = 2

529218

>>529213
Primrose tries to help Dulltooth. '1d10'

I'll try to help Cassie. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7

529220

>>529213
"You all want to see Tirek so bad? Just hold still."
'1d10' attack the snake cultist

Roll #1 8 = 8

529222

>>529213
Take the Centaur back down! '1d10'
Dulltooth gets back up. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 2 = 2

529223

>>529213
Now heal Cassie!

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

529231

>>529215
His smack is perhaps less telekinetic and more forceful.
He still aims for your cheek though.
>>529216
>>529218
>>529222
Dulltooth and Cassie are back up
>>529222
Your blow knocks the Centaur to the edge of the rocks
>>529220
You wound one of the snake's tails
>>529223
The Huge Cultist capitalizes on your moment of confusion and manages to get up

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist HELPLESS/3
Huge Cultist 10/8
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/5
Dragon Cultist 15/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 5/4
+Dulltooth 7/4
Cassie 7/5
Eira 2/5
Dr. Jonica 5/3
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/4

529234

>>529231
Wrath!

Roll #1 9 = 9

529235

>>529231
Knock him all the way over the rocks then. '1d10'
Dulltooth Slams the Huge Cultist. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8

529242

>>529231
'1d10+2' Shatter the Huge cultist before he can do more damage.
"Stay down."

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

529248

>>529234
You raise your hoof in the air and with a scream bring it down, exploding the rock below your and the very air around you in holy flame, searing your foes!
>>529235
>>529242
Coral and Dulltooth charge the Huge cultist as it reels, nearly bringing it down
>>529235
You charge the wounded Centaur meeting its gaze as you prepare your swing
You already belong to Him
In a mighty blow you send him flying off the rocks, launching his bloodied corpse into the center of the angry whirlpool forming in the lake. It is unlikely that he could have possibly survived such an impact.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 1/8
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/4
Dragon Cultist 11/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 5/4
+Dulltooth 7/4
Cassie 7/5
Eira 2/5
Dr. Jonica 5/3
+Primrose 5/4
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/4

529249

>>529231
Strike the Huge cultist.

Dual Attack '2d10'
Primrose '1d10'

Roll #1 6, 6 = 12 / Roll #2 2 = 2

529253

>>529248
"Nopony owns me." Leap of Faith the Dragon Cultist. '1d10+1'
Dulltooth holds the Huge cultist down for the rest of the party. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

529256

>>529248
Snake cultist!
Cut him!

Roll #1 3 = 3

529257

>>529248
'1d10' cleave on the three remaining cultists
"Come on everyone."

Roll #1 1 = 1

529260

>>529248
DDOM on the good doctor!

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

529261

>>529257
Dumb pony.
Protect her, again.

Roll #1 4 = 4

529263

>>529261
Didn't mean to roll there

529274

>>529249
The Huge cultist slaps Primrose aside, but is brought down by your strikes once again!
>>529253
Though Dulltooth fails to harm anyone but himself, your stroke deals visible damage to the Dragon
>>529256
>>529257
>>529261
Coral stumbles and slips on the wet rocks, but Cassie leaps in to take the brunt of the retaliation
>>529260
You manage to patch the doctor up better than you thought possible with such methods. Good job.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist HELPLESS/6
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/4
Dragon Cultist 7/4
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 5/4
+Dulltooth 4/4
Cassie 0/5
Eira 2/5
Dr. Jonica 5/5
+Primrose 1/4
Coral Burst 5/5 Protected
Blossom 5/4

529276

>>529274
Blink at Cassie, by love's light.. that dog is okay.
'1d10' Try a normal attack on the huge cultist.

Roll #1 6 = 6

529277

>>529274
Now heal dulltooth!

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

529278

>>529274
"Come on everyone, let's finish this!" Inspire the party to help end this fight. '1d10'
Dulltooth stops try to grab the Huge cultist and just starts punching him. '1d10+1'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

529281

>>529274
"Primrose, help Cassie!" Heal '1d10'

Dual attack on the Huge one. '2d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 3, 9 = 12

529283

>>529274
"Ow… you're welcome"
Let's beat up some cultists.

Roll #1 2 = 2

529289

>>529283
A thundering retaliation from the Dragon sends you skidding back, but you remain standing
>>529281
Primrose's leg buckles and she slams head first into some rocks
>>529276
>>529278
>>529281
A mighty volley of blows nearly kills the Huge Cultist, but it still manages to stand up for a final battle
>>529277
Dulltooth looks good to go once more
>>529278
You're winning! Just one last push and you can beat them!
#+2 to all rolls next turn!

529291

>>529289
Punch back like I mean it finally!

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

529295

>>529289
Take them down!

Dual Attack '2d10+2'
Primrose '1d10+2'

Roll #1 1, 7 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7

529297

>>529289
My rolls for the next three turns. All basic attacks.
Me '1d10+3' '2d10'
Dulltooth '1d10+2' '2d10'

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 3, 10 = 13 / Roll #3 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #4 1, 3 = 4

529299

>>529289
>>529297
I'm aimed at the dragon, Dulltooth at the Huge one.

529301

>>529289
Heal ze doc!

Roll #1 1 + 4 = 5

529307

>>529291
You manage to knock the Dragon down
>>529297
And you aid the effort, further wounding it
>>529295
The Huge cultist slams you Helpless as Primrose gets back up
>>529301
The snake cultist who Cloudcover, Lady Sunset and Sunsong had kept down for a while now finally breaks loose as you stumble into them

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 10/2
Snake Cultist 5/4
Dragon Cultist HELPLESS/2
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 5/4
+Dulltooth 6/4
Cassie 7/4
Eira 2/5
Dr. Jonica HELPLESS/4
+Primrose 5/3
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 5/4

529308

>>529307
"Sorry!"
Wrath to fix this!

Roll #1 2 = 2

529309

>>529307
Keep beating on the dragon!

Roll #1 7 = 7

529310

>>529307
Primrose will help me with Bolster if it is available. '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

529311

>>529297
Your efforts are rewarded with naught but failure as you are wounded and Dulltooth is knocked Helpless
>>529308
The only wrath here is that of a snake scorned. A wrath you feel lash all over your body in the blink of an eye as the beast slithers around you like a sentient cat 'o nine tails
>>529309
You nearly kill the Dragon
>>529310
Primrose aids you back on your hooves

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 10/2
Snake Cultist 5/4
Dragon Cultist HELPLESS/1
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth HELPLESS/3
Cassie 7/4
Eira 2/5
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/3
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4

529312

>>529311
I'll try to help Dulltooth. '1d10'
Primrose tries to take down the Huge Cultist. '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 8 = 8

529313

And I poof and I stabba stab stab '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7

529314

>>529311
Finish him!

Roll #1 4 = 4

529315

>>529297
Dulltooth fails to get up, but in a final mighty blow you sever the head of the dragon cultist, killing it.
>>529312
You aid Dulltooth, while Primrose wounds the Huge cultist
>>529313
You attack the snake, forcing it to change tactics and slither back, but it quickly turns to Cassie
>>529314
The snake surprises you from behind!

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 7/2
Snake Cultist 3/4
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie 5/4
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/3
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4

529316

>>529315
Spin around and swing my claymore with me!
"Not this time, snakey!"

Roll #1 2 = 2

529317

>>529315
Eh…stabbing more to keep it off cassie? '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

529318

>>529315
Attack the Huge One, try to keep it contained. '2d10'

Primrose will try to heal Blossom. '1d10'

Roll #1 4, 5 = 9 / Roll #2 1 = 1

529319

>>529316
Your swing hits nothing but air as the swift serpent strikes from an unexpected angle
>>529317
You capitalize on it focusing on Cassie, further wounding it
>>529318
The huge one barrels through you, slamming into Primrose

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 7/2
Snake Cultist 4/4
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie 1/4
Dr. Jonica 2/4
+Primrose HELPLESS/2
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4

529320

>>529319
Help Primrose up, quickly! '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

529321

>>529319
Time to finish this.
Get out my 2 blades and jump right into the heat of battle, Dance of Blades the Huge cultist. '1d10+2'

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

529322

>>529319
Try to wait until it makes a move, then slice it open!
And Protect that dumb pony trying to help me.

Roll #1 1 = 1

529323

>>529321
>>529322
Cassie takes the full brunt of an assault that would have killed a less prepared defender outright.
Whisper just does a less than impressive pratfall
>>529320
You help the dented Primrose back on her squeaky feet.

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 7/2
Snake Cultist 4/4
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie -6/4
Dr. Jonica 2/4
+Primrose 5/2
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4
Whisper 5/5 Protected

529324

>>529323
"Primrose, support Cassie as much as you can!" Heal '1d10'

Try and finally take down the Huge cultists with my own attacks. '2d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 6, 5 = 11

529325

>>529323
Wheeze a bit.
"I hate cultists."
Try to chop that thing's head off!

Roll #1 2 = 2

529326

>>529325
"I can handle myself."

>>529323
I get up again, duck for an attack and try to hit the huge cultist in mouth.

529327

>>529326
'1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6

529328

>>529324
>>529325
Miraculously, Primrose manages to stabilize, support and patch up Cassie from the brink of death!
The good doctor exchanges blows with the huge mutant
>>529326
>>529327
You slash the Huge mutant, slowly bringing it closer to death

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 5/2
Snake Cultist 4/4
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie 7/4
Dr. Jonica 1/4
+Primrose 5/2
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4
Whisper 5/5 Protected

529329

>>529328
That's it!
Slash his neck! '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

529330

>>529328
"Thanks!"
Yes!
Now we've got them by the balls!
Press on, slash at the snake!

Roll #1 9 = 9

529331

>>529328
Try to neutralize this Huge brute with Primrose!

Dual Attack '2d10'
Primrose '1d10'

Roll #1 1, 5 = 6 / Roll #2 1 = 1

529332

>>529329
You jam your blade in the Huge cultist's neck, nearly killing it
Just one more blow should do the trick!
>>529330
You manage to bring the Snake down!
>>529331
The Huge mutant struggles up for one final stand as you and Primrose fumble your finishing move

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 10/1
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/3
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie 7/4
Dr. Jonica 1/4
+Primrose 5/2
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4
Whisper 5/5

529333

>>529332
Grab him and slice it properly.
Let the blood squirts from his veins. '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

529334

>>529332
Finally!
Keep it down and beat the snot out of him!

Roll #1 10 = 10

529335

>>529332
Go after the Huge one again with Necromachines '1d10' while Primrose tries to patch me up '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 8 = 8

529336

>>529333
The huge thing is far harder to stop than you guessed, and it tosses you off the rocks
>>529335
The huge one then plows into you, but Primrose comes to your aid
>>529334
You punch its stupid snake teeth right out of its skull and crush its jaw against a rock for good measure

#ENEMY
Centaur Cultist DEAD
Huge Cultist 10/1
Snake Cultist HELPLESS/1
Dragon Cultist DEAD
Winged Cultist DEAD


#PARTY
Amber Dawn 2/4
+Dulltooth 8/3
Cassie 7/4
Dr. Jonica 5/4
+Primrose 5/2
Coral Burst 5/5
Blossom 1/4
Whisper 2/5

529337

>>529336
Off the rocks, but as always I land on my hooves, and jump right back on. Blades out! '1d10+2'

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

529338

>>529336
Teaming up on the Snake Cultist!

Dual Attack '2d10'
Primrose '1d10'

Roll #1 7, 5 = 12 / Roll #2 3 = 3

529339

>>529337
Follow up with another attack, and another and another.
Faster and faster. '5d10'

Roll #1 5, 10, 8, 6, 5 = 34

529340

>>529336
Haha!
FInally!
No more trouble with it!
Smash it against the rock again!

Roll #1 6 = 6

529341

>>529339
That should do it.
Flip my daggers in my hooves and turn my back to them, while the pieces that were once their bodies slowly slip apart and fall on the ground

529342

>>529336
Leap of Faith the Huge Cultist while Dulltooth Slams it! '1d10' '1d10+1'

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

529343

529344

>>529338
>>529340
You charge the Snake en masse and finish it off, leaving its corpse twitching for a moment before it stops
>>529337
>>529339
>>529341
You leap out of the water, dancing around the Huge mutant in a flurry of steel, ripping its massive body asunder faster than it can retaliate, before stopping right in front of it and letting it try and slam into you. As it does, its muscles come off its bones and its hide splits into ribbons, exploding the whole beast into a mess of unidentifiable gore.

All seems silent now.
The Heart of Darkness sits at the tip of the rocky outcrop, still and silent.

529345

>>529344
Grab the Heart. We have what we came for now.

529346

>>529344
Point at it.
"I'm not carrying that."

529347

>>529344
Rub the pieces of flesh from my tunic.
Got to keep it clean.
"That was easier then I thought it would be."

529348

>>529346
"Was there ever any doubt about who would carry it?"
Look at Amber over here: >>529345

"Is everyone okay? Nothing cracked or hurting more than it should after a battle with evil cultists?"

529349

>>529348
"I'm pretty sure my body will be stiff as a board tomorrow and sting like hell."

529350

>>529344
>>529348
Good question. Do I feel okay? '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

529351

>>529349
"After all this, be grateful. Who knows what other terrible things they could have done here, but on the moment, let's focus on retrieving this thing and getting as much rest as possible."

529352

>>529351
"Oh yes, because I won't have enough nightmares as it is."

529353

>>529348
"…Doc? …I don't… think I'm… doing so good…"

529354

>>529353
"Hey, hold on. Look at me." Can I see anything odd about him? '1d10'

"Primrose, take the Heart of Darkness from him, it could be dangerous to normal ponies."

Roll #1 2 = 2

529355

>>529345
>>529350
As you near the heart, the swirling abyss at the heart of the lake pulses, and the broken body of the centaur rises, lifted by the great fanged maw of a giant serpent, its mouth alone large enough to be considered a tunnel
The hour of twilight is here, the last day of this world will soon set, and forevermore will midnight dominate the skies. Once more power will belong to those who have earned it as the true god of the night will return to this world.
The Black Heart of Tirek stolen so long ago shall beat again!

You cannot help but stare as the massive serpent looms before you and the centaur plucks the heart from the rock. As his hooves touch it, it beats a single, weak beat.
With a smile of genuine, warm joy, the centaur allows the great worm to swallow him as it dives back down into the lake and vanishes.

As she recovers from the shock of what she just saw, Lady Sunset sits down to gather herself
"…My torch was never here… was it?
But… how? How!? Calming said it was being held here!
…I need to see him. At once!"

529356

>>529355
How did that affect me? '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10

529357

>>529355
Sigh
"Well, we're boned."

Poke the lady in the side.
"Did you not see that?
I think we have a bigger problem."

529358

>>529356
I'm doing great.
Smoke a pipe!

529359

>>529356
You noticed something far more important.
The centaur dropped a book during this whole scuffle. It may contain many answers.

529360

>>529357
"You really don't get it, do you?
What these things are actually capable of?"

529361

>>529359
Snatch the book.
Sit on a rock and read it while smoking my pipe.
What's the title? Or some kind of indication what it is about?

529362

>>529360
"I saw it just now!
And you're worried about your stupid torch?"

529363

>>529360
"Care to fill us in?"

>>529361
"Be careful with that! Anything in these caves could be toxic to the touch."

529364

>>529363
"Good thing I have you then, doctor."

529365

>>529355
"…Does anyone know what he was talking about? Why did he call Tirek the "true god of the night," and why did he say his heart was "stolen?"

529366

>>529364
"Just, let me know if you start feeling strange. I've got Amber to deal with right now, we don't need anyone else hurt."

>>529365
"Not really, and this is starting to feel so far out of my area of expertise. My prescription is we get the prisoners out, inform those that sent us here, and take a well deserved drink."

529367

>>529366
"…I think that black fire… did something to me…"

529368

>>529362
"Yes.
Because they will need that too, if the stories are true."
>>529361
The cover only contains a symbol of a great horned head.
It appears to be some sort of journal, or spellbook.
>>529363
>>529365
The lady sighs
"Grandfather often told stories about the Torch, saying it's more than just some dusty relic. That it actually houses a fragment of an imprisoned god. And as nobles, our duty was to keep it safe so that no evil force could ever gather these pieces and reunite them.
Now, my father never believed a word of that, saying it's just myth and peasant romanticism. My siblings shared his views, but I believed Grandpa. And now.. after seeing this… I think we were right all along.

These ponies seek to collect all the pieces of Tirek's power in order to resurrect their long-dead god of Midnight."

NEXT TIME ON MIDNIGHTS
CLAIM YOUR NEW REWARDS
MAKE NEW PLANS
AND HEAD ON OUT TO A NEW LOCATION

529447

>>529368
Open the book.
What does it say?

529448

>>529368
Okay, that black fire did something to me. Can I tell how bad it is? '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5

529449

>>529368
"Then no worries, because we have the mirror, right?…. that's something they need too, right?"

529466

>>529368
Gasp and take a few steps back.
"M-milady…"
With shaking voice, find a wall to stand against.

529470

>>529447
It seems to be a collection of his thoughts on Tirek and his teachings.
His writing style changes from normal to barely legible to outright strange towards the later half of the book. It's like he stopped using normal words or even normal letters.
>>529448
There is a faint whispering somewhere in the depths of your ears, or then that's just the sound of your heart.
Shadowy figures scuttle at the edges of your vision, but vanish if you turn to look at them.
And Whisper seems to be really confused by a page of perfectly normal text in that book he is reading.
>>529449
"Almost certainly. We hold the Mirror, and Calming has the Book. They now have the Heart.
This leaves my torch, as well as the Jewel unaccounted for."
>>529466
"There is no need to be dramatic, Blossom. This is the situation we are in, and the only way to change it is to go and do something about it ourselves."

529474

>>529470
"Why would such… Insanity, exist? Who would be so mad?"

529475

>>529470
>>529447
"…Do you… need some help with that?"

529477

>>529470
Hmmmm.
I motion for Amber.

>>529448
"Hey, Amber, do you make any sense of this?"

529478

>>529475
"Yes, actually."

529479

>>529477
"Let me see…" Can I read what the book says?

529483

>>529470
"Let's account for them and get them, before they do then."

529496

>>529474
"Those who believe in seniority. After all, Tirek predates our beloved princess."
She has a rather huffy tone. Sounds like someone doesn't really like her older siblings…
>>529479
The Gatewyrm swims below all seas, everywhere when called, nowhere when hidden. It alone knows the way to midnight's throne, it alone can see us home. Grant thine flesh to its care, and permit it to bring you to the new seat of power built by our brothers. Hidden under the noses of unbelievers, shrouded by the cloak of vanity, that sin the rich most freely embrace.We take their labor and stone for our own, and when the time to rise has come, the Gatewyrm will see our new home to its rightful place.

529503

>>529496
Shiver.
"Milady, I know I was only tasked to accompany you this far but…
It'd make my heart bleed not to put an end to this."

529505

>>529496
>>529478
Recite all of this to Whisper, then give him a questioning look. "This is pretty straightforward, and those cultists were talking about a gate-wyrm. What exactly were you having trouble with?"

529506

>>529505
"It's that easy to you? All of this looks like gibberish to me."
Off now.

529507

>>529505
"How did you do that,"

529510

>>529503
"I fear this silly little quest has become quite a serious affair after all.
Every bit of assistance will be required. And desired."

529511

>>529507
"Do what?"
>>529506
"You guys can't read this?.."

529514

>>529510
Bow down in gratitude.
>>529511
Then walk over.
"Read… Demonic runes?"

529515

>>529514
What do you mean, demonic runes? This is just… Writing!
…Isn't it?"

529517

>>529515
"It's some kind of… Scribbling! And it was made by heretics!"

529518

>>529515
>>529511
Narrow my eyes.
"If you're a double agent for those cultists I swear to whatever Gods that I will strangle you with your own tail."

529527

Cloudcover takes a moment to assess the situation
"It seems we have a few clear priorities here. We need to get the mirror to safety, as well as meet up with this… Calming Breeze to reclaim the artifacts he has found.
Then, we need to locate the rest of these cultists and put a stop to their actions."

529528

>>529517
"…It is? I know it was written by those cultists, and the stuff it says sounds crazy, but… maybe they just have really sloppy writing?"
>>529518
"I'm not! I… I think that black fire they breathed at me… did something to me. They started talking about me being "the one," and that Tirek "owned me now" or something. Nobody owns me!"

529533

>>529510
"We appreciate your bravery. But these are cultists, truly despicable types."
>>529527
Smile at him. "Good thinking Cloud, we get what have already secured and then go for more."

529539

>>529528
"Do not look at it! It might corrupt your soul!"
Gasp!
>>529527
"If this artifact is really so dangerous, Celestia herself should guard it!"

529545

>>529539
"Princesses don't guard, that's what guards do."

529546

>>529528
Hold up two fingers, point them to my eyes, and then at you.
"I'm watching you."

>>529527
"Do we know where to look for them?"

529550

>>529545
Zip my mouth.

529552

>>529546
Lady Sunset butts in
"I know where to find him."

529556

>>529539
"If I can read it and the rest of you can't… It might be too late for that." Still, I close the book and push it away. "On the plus side, now we know what they're up to. All that's left is to figure out a way to stop them."
>>529546
Shoot her a smirk. "Can't take your eyes off me, eh?" Flip my hair. "Unfortunately for you, my heart's already set on another."

529558

>>529556
Roll my eyes.
"I'd rather fall on my sword. You know what I mean."

>>529552
"Good. Let's get those ponies free and we can go."

529559

>>529558
"Yeah, I do. Thanks."

529564

>>529556
"I'd rather not have you lost to madness and perdition just to win us one battle!"

529570

>>529564
"Eh, I'm a pretty chill guy. Doubt you have to worry about me getting mad." Force a grin.
>>529552
"Then let's get out of here. This place feels wrong."

529573

>>529570
Scowl from hunder the hood, but say nothing.

529579

>>529558
Nod and follow Cassie.

529581

>>529573
"Hey, it's a joke." Go to poke her shoulder, then stop myself and look at my hoof. "Heh. Guess it might not be a good idea to go touching other ponies. Don't know if whatever they did to me is contagious, after all…"

529584

>>529581
"Then stop touching them!"

529586

>>529581
"Well, this worked on the cultist too, so…"
Cure him.
'1d10+2'

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

529598

>>529558
>>529570
Cloudcover looks hesitant
"You really want to save those bandits?"
>>529586
>>529581
In an incredible twist, the cure forces all the corruption causes by the black flame to shrivel and retreat to a single point, rather than trying to invade the entire body.
The ability to read and speak Dark Tongue is now perfectly under Amber's control.

529601

>>529598
What exactly do we see from the outside?

529603

>>529598
"I guess they bandits, that makes slavery A-ok. How noble of you."
Clap my paws, activate sarcasm.
"Well, you've heard him, our job here is done then."

529604

>>529586
>>529598
"I… thanks. Wow. It's not gone, but… I think I can control it now." Grin. "Those cultists are going to be in for an unpleasant surprise."

529607

>>529598
>>529603
"We shouldn't leave ponies enslaved. If we can help it."

529610

>>529604
"You…
What?!"
Sigh.
"I hope it is, milord, I hope it is."

529614

>>529601
On the book?
It's like trying to read a chocolate cake covered fudge if your eyes were teeth full of cavities.
>>529603
>>529607
"Hrm. Well. If you insist.
But we'll just be freeing a load of criminals. There is no way we can drag them all back to canterlot for trials."

529616

>>529614
Of what happens to Amber.
But no matter.

529617

>>529614
"You bet there is. We tell them they either do that or they stay and play with the dogs."

529635

>>529617
"We are over a day's walk from Canterlot, and they will outnumber us."

529642

>>529635
Point at the corpses of the cultists with a thumb.
"We handled this."

529643

>>529635
Frown in concern.
"Well.. what would their usual punishment be for the crimes?"

529648

>>529643
"That is not for guards to decide. But most often they are imprisoned, or made to work for the good of the community."
>>529642
"Overconfidence will get you killed. But go on if you insist."

529654

>>529648
"No, you ponies are going to get me killed."

529656

>>529648
"well, that sounds about the same.. we should save them if can.."

529671

>>529654
>>529656
"Guess we're heading back up then."
He points up
"They said a well leads down here. I can probably fly up there and get us a rope to skip walking all the way back."

529673

>>529610
"Hey, what did I say about the 'milords'? Besides, I know how dangerous this stuff can be. I promise I'll be careful. Just let me know if I start growing extra heads, okay?"
>>529671
"Just don't get yourself captured by dogs or something."

529674

>>529671
"That will save time."

529677

>>529673
Nod.
"Allow me to follow you then. To make sure their poison doesn't come back."

529680

>>529677
"Of course. After all, we're going after the same thing, aren't we?"

529683

>>529680
"Saving innocents?"

529686

>>529674
He takes flight and disappears into the darkness above

He will be back once everyone feels #ready

529687

>>529686
#Ready

529688

>>529683
"I was thinking "stopping the rise of a demonical Old-god before he plunges the world into eternal midnight," but it amounts to the same thing. Say, do you think it would damn my soul if I left them some rude graffiti in their own language?"

529696

>>529688
"…Perhaps?"
>>529686
#Ready

529698

>>529686
#Ready
>>529696
"Then next time we encounter them, I'm going to yell lewd insults at them in that gibberish-speak. The looks on their faces should be priceless!"

529699

>>529686
Here mobile

529700

>>529698
"You would do best to entirely forget that tongue."
Then quickly shut myself up.
"If I may suggest."

529701

Soon enough several ropes drop from the darkness above, followed by Cloudcover
"The Alpha is waiting for us. Grab a rope and hold on."

529703

>>529701
"Oh joy."
Grab a rope.

529704

>>529701
[Bites rope]

529706

>>529701
Grab a rope.

529710

529711

You are hauled up, leaving the wet caverns behind, and soon emerging from a well at the heart of the dog town.
The huge dog from before is there, a little puppy hiding behind his massive arm, taking curious peeks at you.
So is the small sentry you saved.
But more importantly, surrounded by guards who look like they have seen plenty of action, and bitched with hips that could pass a buffalo herd and not even notice, stands a dog with a build to shame a minotaur and a jaw that could split the earth. This is probably the Alpha.

529714

>>529711
Dust myself off.
"Thanks for the parade and everything, but we're just here for the ponies then we'll be on our way."

529716

>>529711
Precautionary silence is in order.

529717

>>529711
Just sit off to the side and keep quiet. I always seem to get in trouble whenever I open my mouth.
Dulltooth, however, should be backing Cassie up.

529722

>>529714
Dulltooth adds some emphasis to the statement by tossing the head of the dragon cultist on the floor.
The Alpha nods
"My dogs say these beasts were very dangerous. Your help is… appreciated.
I will reward both of you two with a pony each, of your choosing."

529723

>>529711
Aw fuck. This might scare me if I was not a paladin.

529724

>>529722
Chuckle and slap my knee.
"Hah, oh boy. You sure got a sense of humor."
Serious up.
"We're taking all of them."

529726

>>529722
Well that sounds reasonable. Turn to the bandit who was with us. "How many of your friends were down here again?"
>>529724
Oooh crap, that might not end well. Can Dulltooth try to reel her in a bit?

529730

>>529724
"Unacceptable.
You will be paid the same all the others were. You are not any more or less important."
>>529726
"I don't know how many are dead and how many already escaped…"

529735

>>529730
Kick the head Dulltooth dropped.
"Do you think this was a game? A joyride for us? These were not just your run of the mill, digging gone wrong baddies. I want a fair price."
Cross my paws.
"Oh, and patched up the gas leak too, so if you want to fix it permanently do it now while it holds."

529737

>>529730
Can we see the ponies in question?

529738

>>529737
They are probably in pens somewhere. Though a few are standing around, mostly doing chores or just carrying stuff for the dogs present.
>>529735
The small sentry you rescued raises a paw
"Alpha, if I may, she speaks truth. Give them two for killing, a third for helping with the gas. It would be fair."
The alpha thinks for a moment, rubbing his chin, then turns to one of his guards
"You fought these too. Is the reward fair?"
"…Yes. Tougher than those thief ponies, they were."
"Then so be it."
The alpha turns back to you and Dulltooth
"Three ponies each, of your choosing. For aid in felling a dangerous foe, and in helping with a dangerous leak."

529741

>>529738
"Think that'll be enough to free all of your friends?"

529743

>>529738
Narrow my eyes.
"You don't realize what we did for this town, do you? The giant serpent they summoned in the lake? Right under this well? If we didn't stop them in time, it could have destroyed everything you have."

529746

>>529741
"Probably. As I said, I don't know if any are even down here."
>>529743
He wags a finger at you
"Lies get you nowhere, bitch. Lake is barely deep enough to swim in. There is no serpent there."

529748

>>529746
"Right."
>>529743
"Look, that sounds pretty good. Maybe we shouldn't press our luck with this guy."

529749

>>529746
"If a dog told you a day ago there was a pony with hide as thick as a wal with the head of a dragon, you would have said that was a lie too, right?"
Point at the head.
"Oh, would you look at that?
They only needed the water, no matter how deep, to summon it."

>>529748
"And leave all the others for them? They would just get even more work to fill in for the ones we took."

529750

>>529749
"saving three is better than saving none"

529751

>>529749
"I don't think we're going to convince them to give up their entire free labor supply. We can always send the authorities back to finish the job, but we aren't equipped to deal with an entire angry pack."

529752

>>529749
"Tales of magic without proof will not get you far with me. Will you each take your three ponies, or will you make trouble instead?"

Dulltooth raises a paw
"I like three ponies."

529753

>>529750
>>529751
"What if you were the slaves left behind? What if I picked the others over you two and just said to you 'whoops, sorry, I guess that's all!'! How would you feel?"

529754

>>529753
"honestly I could handle myself. If some other pony that needs the rescue more gets it. That would have been fine with me. I hate this whole situation but what can we do sort of killing them all? Which by the way I am willing to try. The killing them option."

529758

>>529754
Smack the back of your head.
"Don't be stupid, I'm not willing to die for you."

529762

>>529753
>>529754
>>529758
"There is only one solution.
Let's kill the dogs and free the ponies."

529763

>>529758
Do my best to act 'timid' instead of angry '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3

529764

>>529762
"Didn't you hear what I just said?! That's suicide!"

529765

>>529763
A paladin is not a bard. [Glaring intensifies]

529767

>>529764
"We can't let them keep hurting ponies."

529768

>>529752
Dulltooth is lead off to pick his three ponies
>>529764
"Is it a deal or not!?"

529772

>>529764
>>529765
"Guuuuuuys… Big, scary Alpha right there. Now is not the time."
>>529768
Can I follow with Dulltooth?

529775

>>529768
Look at him menacingly.
Then shrug.
"Fine. It's a deal. Your loss, anyway. I have a pony that can cure whatever the cultists infected them with, you don't."

529776

>>529772
"whaaaat I did not do anything"

529777

>>529772
"Pony is with me."
Follow at will
>>529775
"To each their own. I would not dream of taking that which you treasure."
One of his guards nods towards Dulltooth
"Pens that way. Pick three."

529779

>>529777
Follow with the bandit and go to the pens. "See any of your friends?"

529783

>>529777
"Hey, it's okay. If one day your slave turns into an eight-legged meaty spider mutant and slaughters half the pups and then some because you were too stubborn to get rid of them, who am I to argue with the alpha?"

529785

>>529779
He looks around
"f-five of them."
>>529783
This causes some worry among the dogs.
Seeing his people distressed, the Alpha stops you
"I will not risk my people. So I suppose you make a point.
Pick your reward. I will have the rest executed. Thank you for warning me."

529791

>>529785
"Point them out to Dulltooth."

529792

>>529785
"I guess you didn't see what happened just outside. There was this infected pony, with tentacles growing out of his skin… when we killed it, the tentacles only got madder. You execute them and you bring all of them down on you at once. Or one by one they wear down your best warriors."
Sigh.
"These cultists, pal, they don't fuck around when it comes to slaughter."

529793

>>529785
>>529783
"now what Cassie "

529794

>>529793
"I've got this, don't worry."

529795

>>529792
"Hrm…
Fine. We bury them in the gas tunnel then.
Only five were taken from that mine anyway. The rest are older, clean stock."
>>529791
Dulltooth scratches his head, but has his eye on a rather fetching mare as well.

529798

>>529795
"And they went in the same pens, right?"
Then shake my head.
"The gas didn't phase them. They are not normal, like you or me. Those things could have fought in the gas a day and not give a damn, I bet."

529800

>>529795
Whisper to Dulltooth. "Eyeing that mare, eh? Pick her and two of this guy's friends, and Cassie should be able to pick the rest."

529806

>>529798
"Hrrrrrm. Fine.
Take the pen. That's ten ponies. Well, ten, sick ponies if you are being honest."
>>529800
Dulltooth gives a happy smile and picks out the mare and two bandits.
The bandit trio shares a hug as they are reunited, their three friends waving them goodbye.

529812

>>529806
Alright, what do the two bandits and mare look like?

529813

>>529806
So did all slaves get freed?

529814

>>529806
"They are sick, but we have ways to cure them. We just need to get them to a place in time."
Extend my paw for him. Seal the deal.

529821

>>529812
The bandits are rough types with bodies forged by a hard life. Seeing them share a teary hug is a little jarring.
The mare is pretty enough, nothing special, but she has a soft body and the eyes of someone who isn't easily shaken.
>>529813
Dulltooth got three
Cassie got ten
The dogs kept the rest
>>529814
He shakes your paw and points you to the pens
One of his guards joins you
Once you are out of earshot, the guard turns to you
"I can't believe you actually stood up to him."

529823

>>529821
Okay, this is not good.
>>529812
"Milord, we need to talk in private. Now."

529824

>>529823
"What's on your mind?"

529825

>>529821
Let's get those slaves then.
"Why wouldn't I? He's just a dog."

529829

>>529824
"We cannot allow these dogs to keep any slaves. We cannot allow them to cause pain and suffering to anypony.
They deserve to die.
"

529832

>>529825
"A fair dog. Not everyone wants to challenge his will.
Well, certainly not everyone here. To be honest it was quite… impressive."
The bandit pen only has eight ponies. Looks like Dulltooth picked the last two.

529834

>>529829
"I'm not happy about leaving ponies here either, but think for a moment. Some of us are still injured, and almost all of us are tired. What chance would we have against an entire dogpack? We are saving the ones we can. When we get back, the guard can send an entire platoon to free the rest."

529835

>>529834
Grow silent and move away from him, trotting near the back of the pack.

529839

>>529832
Pull him closer.
"You know, he is making a mistake. I think the infection might have spread into the other pens too. I don't know if you saw us fighting these mutants… they aren't good for many things, but if there is one they do, it's killing. I'd hate to know a town of dogs died to something as silly as infected pony slaves. That would be just embarassing."

529841

>>529835
Follow her.
"Look, I'm not happy about it either. We are going to save them all. We just have to be patient, wait for the right moment to strike. Otherwise, we might do more harm than good."

529842

>>529832
Wait here for the slave picking.

529844

>>529839
"I… I don't really like what you're implying here…
I think…"

529847

>>529841
"I understand, milord."

529848

>>529847
"…you're angry with me, aren't you."

529852

>>529844
"Look around. See the bitches? See the pups? Do you want them to die because you were too lazy to get your paws dirty?"

529855

>>529848
"No, milord."

529857

>>529848
"Its not your fault"

529858

>>529852
"The alpha would kill me if I let them all go…"

529866

>>529858
Shrug.
"Your family, your friends. If you don't want to save them, it's not my problem. I'll be way too far to care what happens here when crap hits the fan."

529867

>>529855
"You're calling me 'milord' again. Either you're mad at me, or you don't trust me anymore. I'd rather assume you're just angry at me."

529868

>>529867
"This is neither the moment nor the place to distrust you, milord."

529869

>>529866
"They uh…
…aren't really… my… family."

529870

>>529867
Smirk slightly at that.

529874

>>529869
Chuckle and nudge his side.
"Then what are you worrying about? It's just some random dogs getting horribly murdered!"

529876

>>529868
>>529870
"…You're doing it on purpose, aren't you?" Pretend to be hurt by that possibility. '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

529877

>>529874
"…you're kinda cold you know that?"

529879

529881

>>529877
"Me? You're the one who doesn't want to anything about the imminent destruction of your own town. At least I take care of my own."

529882

>>529879
"Blooossoooooooom… what did I do wrooooong?" Puppy dog pout! '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4

529883

>>529882
Step away.
"Nothing, milord."

529894

>>529883
"How can you expect me to fix it if you won't tell me what's wrong?"

529895

>>529881
"To be honest, I.. don't really like this place.
It's fair, yes, but it feels so… confining. You were a breath of fresh air."

529897

>>529894
"Milord, please. You did all you could."

529899

>>529895
"Then you could just release the slaves and leave before the alpha kills you."

529902

>>529897
"…No, I haven't." Brighten right up. "No I haven't! I can still do something stupid! I'm good at doing something stupid!"

529904

>>529902
Grow serious.
"In these times we could all do without something stupid."

529907

>>529904
and down in the dumps again. "Oh. Guess you can do without me then; I'm pretty stupid." Move away with my head down.

529908

>>529899
"Would you take me along?"

529909

>>529907
Chant as he leaves.
"Only one pony is saying that so far~"

529910

>>529908
"If you free the slaves? Sure. Otherwise? No."

529921

>>529910
"I can open the pens, but that's all I'm capable of."

529927

>>529921
So, what's Dulltooth up to with those ponies he picked?

529929

>>529909
Keep going, hiding my grin.

529930

>>529921
"They'd just get captured or killed by the other dogs. If you want to come with us, solve it. That's my offer, take it or leave it. Otherwise you can stay here when this ship goes down."

529935

>>529927
He actually seems to be making friends with some of the puppies.
>>529930
"…what do you want? Me inciting a riot in the middle of a town full of pups?"

529938

>>529935
How are those slaves we picked up? Do they look hurt in anyway?

529940

>>529935
"Or grow a pair and talk to your alpha. Unless you say a bitch can do it and you can't."

529957

>>529938
They look a bit beat up, but nothing more. They are just happy to be reunited with their friend.
>>529940
"For a moment there, I thought you actually understood things.
But I suppose you really are just greedy. Here."
He opens the pen
"Eight ponies, as promised. Enjoy."

529960

>>529957
Walk with them.
"Hey, did those dogs do this too you?"

529961

>>529935
Ah, Dulltooth. Despite what he says, I think he really does want to be a father.
Check on the mare he picked. "Hi there, what's your name?"

529962

>>529957
Ask one of the slaves.
"You okay?"

529964

529965

>>529957
Grab him, and pull him closer to me.
Lower my voice so others can't hear.
"No, I will not enjoy it. Ponies are one of my least favourite things. Those ponies? I don't own them. They insist that I am their 'friend'. But do you know what's below ponies on my least favourite things list? Slavery."
Release him.
"There's a reason I left home."

529988

>>529960
"Most of it. Still, it was better than the lot who died fighting."