>Flaming 2/7>All else at full H/W
Last time on HQ…
After shaking off a single panther-like monster with a taste for buffalo, KP, Amy, Flow and Flaming reached the great temple complex called Slipper, a towering structure long since reclaimed by the surrounding forest, deep in the clutches of vines and roots from nearby massive trees and other foliage.
Shei, Pryce and Vice and Trapper, along with their own allies, spoke with King Lininas of Zha Arlakane, negotiating for the right to wield one of the ancient superweapons held in the ancient vault, which could now be unsealed with the return of the tablets detailing the creation of a magatama, knowledge previously believed to have been lost. >>699172>>699171>>699173>>699175
The creature runs away in a fit. The nail beast can see and smell that there are other monsters like it lurking among the shadows, as can Flaming and KP. But the monsters do not pursue you, and instead slink away into the shadows.
"Right, let's put in some distance before they attack again!" Blessings shouts, whipping the Rumblers into extra quickness. The lizards pull the cart forward, swiftly putting a geat distance between you and those monsters.
After a little while, the winding path through the hill comes to an end and gradually flattens out, delivering you again into the thick and overgrown forest and away from the clutches of beasts for now. The temple of Slipper looms a short distance beyond, with the air pleasantly cool and damp, with the thundrous rhythm of the mighty river in your ears. You forage onward in the cart unto the massive temple, making out the outline and intricate design of an ancient set of doors in the outer walls.>>699174>>699173
"Enough," the King says, refusing Pupil. "I have heard all too much about this device from my son's account of his travels. I will not allow either of you into the Vault; we have had to bend our traditions copiously out of necessity in these past months, but the sacredness of that ancient earth, you will not enter. Give me the other tablet, and I shall have the royal geomancers make a new magatama from them and inspect what lies below. In the meantime, stay here with Prince Novelus."
In a rare moment of levity, the King cracks a stern smile. "After all, the lamb doesn't shut up about either of you."
Shei-Sher stands on his hooves again as he watches the King leave them. Although failing to show signs of dissapointment. Shei-Sher's resolve hasn't be broken.
He ambles over to Prince Novelus "So.. Do you often wax nostalgic with the King?" Shei says almost concerned
As they ride, Amy gives Flaming a potion.
[1d10+3] Natural Remedy
"I'm sorry for not helping sooner. I thought maybe I could get it to stop. I don't get why it attacked us. Is it really that hungry?"Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8
Flaming grunts, pulling herself up to get her bearings straight as she looks around in search for the creature after it darts back into the forest. "Darn it… stupid coward caught me off guard!" She shakes out her limbs, looking around the cart. "Is everyone else okay? All hooves still here?"
As they come through the winding path and taken away from the beasts, she lets out a huff, "Well whatever they were, they're gone now…" she turns around, looking up at the grand temple they ride into with awe once more. "Wonder if we'll find any more surprises like that in there…">>699178
As they ride on, Flaming looks on at the potion Amy passes her, happily taking it as she uncorks the bottle. "Don't worry about it, that little old thing couldn't take the likes of ME if it tried. And, I guess so. It is probably just a predator that lives in the area, I don't know if it's something you can 'talk' to or not, Amy."
"I can talk to other animals," Amy shrugs.
"We've probably come deep within its territory, and within the territory of many other monsters," Zophie says. "It's no surprise they'll try to attack us.">>699179
The others check themselves for injuries, but everyone else seems to be alright.>>699178>>699179
Flaming is fully healed.
The cart eventually rolls to a halt at the base of a set of stairs leading up to the massive temple. The great doors, coated in ancient runes and intricate illustrations of curving dragons, are slightly ajar, and you see a great deal of moss on either side of where the doors have parted, suggesting that they were only recently pried open. The doors are large enough that the cart could be taken inside, albeit with great difficulty in getting up the steps.
"Hello? Anyone home? Knock knock!" she shouts as she knocks on the door.
[1d10] for a friendly response!Roll #1 7 = 7
There is no response from inside, apart from the distant whistling of far-off winds, and only darkness looms within the temple past the point where the light from outside enters from the parted doors.
Vice and Trapper both sigh together.>>"Well piss, we came all th' way ere' just t' get shafted…">"Quite," Vice says bitterly.>>699181
Flow jolts up and lifts his hood up.
"Whu blu- what happened?"
He looks up at the temple and its open doors.
"Oh, we're here? Why's the door open?… We're gonna have company, aren't we?" he asks with a grimace.
>>699176>"Wonder what we'll find inside. Do you guys think it'll be full of more creatures like that?">>699176
Pryce bows his head at the king's decision.
Flaming's ears droop down, "Oh! I'm sorry, I kind of forgot… it's not a thing I'm used to seeing ponies doing."
She frowns, "Well, was it saying anything while it was chewing on me or did it leave too fast?">>699181
As everyone checks themselves for injuries, she lets out a sigh of relief. "Okay good. Everyone watch each other's flanks.">>699183>>699181
As the party gets to the base of the stairs, Flaming hops out of the cart, imagining they won't be able to force the Rumblers to drag the cart up them. She looks up at the great doors, leering at them as she moves up. "I think we should leave the cart out here, it'll make for a quicker escape in case we need to get out of here quickly. Something's up though, they look like someone's been here recently…" she says as she makes her way up the stairs.>>699184
As Flow wakes up, Flaming turns back towards the cart, "We are! Hope you got enough sleep, cause it's nothin' but work from here on out. And yeah, I noticed… someone's beat us here."
"Are you alright?" Tantra asks. "We were attacked by a monster, and the cart got shaken up pretty badly. Flaming threw it off, and now we're here. Did you get shaken up back there?">>699185>>699186>>699184>>699182
"Most likely a few, or the usual temple guardians," Zophie says. "You and the kids may want to stay back here and guard the cart. It'll be dangerous inside."
"I don't want to stay and guard it, we need to learn more from Flow," Spitshine protests.
"Well, unless you stay out here, someone else will have to."
>It's recommended to select at least 3 NPCs to stay and guard the cart. Optional, but highly recommended.>>699177>>699184>>699185
As the king takes the tablet, he leaves, accompanied by a few members of the royal guard. Only Amon and two other guards remain with Novelus, warily eyeing your entourage, but Novelus waves them down.
"I would say I'm more intrigued than nostalgic, but nostalgic nonetheless," Novelus says. "It seems the days grow stranger. Miracle is among your number."
"I go by Chorazin, your highness," the angel says with a deep bow.
Novelus offers a light hum. "I see. Sit, all of you. It's going to be a while for the geomancers to crack the secret. Ecclesians and their spies and shadowy minions… it's got all of us quite paranoid with them now breathing down our necks, though I cannot deny their usefulness."
"It didn't say anything…" Amy says with a frown.>>699186>>699184>>699183
"Well, nowhere to go but up," Amy says with a shrug, completely misappropriating the expression before she starts heading up the stairs.
Flaming lets out a gruff sound. "Well, it *was* pretty hungry…">>699187
Flaming looks at the door, leering at it as she looks back at the group. "Alright… Amy, Flow, and I are going in for sure. We could use whoever the biggest experts on the Sons of God are in there with us, who knows the most about their history?"
"That they have."
Pryce agrees as he takes the offer to sit.
"How have things been for you since we parted? Zha looks… quite different than what it was when we last left."
"Ah crap…I hate work.">>699187
"Yeah, I'm fine lad. Just knocked out out of the blue there…"
He smirks at Spitshine.
"Well if the kids wants to come, I don't see much of a problem with it."
>"Time is something we don't really have, with all due respect, Sir Novelus," he says, with a hint of irritation.>>"Aye, but we aven't the authority t' skip all this stuff. I'd rather not 'ave us gettin' kicked out fer bein brash, eh?"
The two clones sit down.>>699188
Flow rolls his eyes as Amy leaves for the stairs.
"Yes, King Lininas betrays my impression of Ecclessia's presence. He seems almost grateful for the spies and converts running his kingdom."
Flaming snorts, "Well then you should have stayed on the ship, buster! WE're not here to relax, you know!">>699189>>699187
"Alright, we could use Blessings for her knowledge of the Sons of God… Spitshine, you come with us in case we need some of your skills… Little Journey, Zjetya, and Zophie come with us…"
She looks to Sugar and Tantra, "Will you two be alright watching the cart out here?"
"That it is," Novelus says. "The appearance of an angel at our door hasn't deterred the demon attacks at all. The front gates cannot be opened after sunset for any reason now, as they have become only more aggressive with time. Ecclesian intelligence indicates that more demons are grouping together under a common banner by the name of the Treibheanna.">>699191
"I apologize, but deciphering that ancient ritual and employing it can't be done immediately," Novelus says. "Please, sit and relax, Sir Vice.">>699193>>699192>>699191
"In some regards, Ecclesia's presence is a load off his shoulders," Novelus says. "The leaders of the other kingdoms we have taken in are all but openly opposing us at every major decision in order to secure more rations for their own people and try to force the king to send troops to liberate their own kingdoms, which have been occupied by demons. Now the threat of Ecclesian subversion has distracted those other rulers, and their extra food, water and secured territory are saving many lives… though I am reluctant to say anything nice about them – besides that they are at least open about their desire to take control, unlike these coward royals we have allowed a seat at the council. I long for the return of unquestioned sovereignty."
He sighs. "Even now, I wonder if allowing Mudi to take control of demonkind would be worth all of this madness to end, and to be able to kick Ecclesia out.">>699189>>699192>>699191>>699194
"That would be me, I've studied these the most extensively," Blessings answers Flaming.
Tantra nods. "We'll be alright." Sugar and Spitshine talk it over, with Spitshine swearing up and down that she'll be able to take the next adventure to make it up to her. Reluctantly, she agrees.
With that out of the way, you ascend the stairs and enter the temple. There is no light within, and the air is wet and smells of exotic, unknown plantlife, and ancient stones. Roll perception, even if you have a light source.
Flaming looks back at Tantra and Sugar, nodding her heads. "Alright! Thanks you guys, I promise the next vault you guys take priority!" She shouts as she ascends the steps, chasing after Amy. "Amy, hold it already!"
As they enter through the temple doors, Flaming's nostrils are assaulted by the exotic, fragrant scents, and she takes a long whiff to to get familiar with it. "I wonder just how deep this place goes…"
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
"Whyyyyy?" Amy complains as she doesn't stop.
[1d10] for perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
Vice grumbles something and leans back in his seat.
Both of the goos don't respond to Novelus' comments, and seethe with opinions that Flow would be more than happy to convey if he was here.
Flow taps his new spear on the ground as he looks around the temple.>perception
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
"Treibheanna. I heard that name over in Fantasia. They've had hoards of ponies in terrible condition dumped on them by that same group. I'm grateful that they've been spared, but it's strange the demons are doing such a thing.">>699195
"I'm glad you feel the same about them, but I don't trust Mudi either. Any person who outwardly wants control in times like these has to have their intentions questioned."
"But we can't do anything it feels without these groups so far to make any difference in the demons.">>699195>"Keep safe you two!"
KP says to Tantra and Sugar as he heads up the stairs with the others.
"Huh, didn't think it'd be damp in here. I hope the stone isn't all crumbly.">Perception [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
"Because this place could be DANGEROUS! You shouldn't just go trotting on ahead of the rest of us, you might fall into some kind of trap."
Amy just blows a defiant raspberry at Flaming.
"Yes well the core of Ecclessia are defects from Accorsia, among them members of the Union Church. In part, they are experienced with this sort of thing. Teeding the needy, sheltering the poor just as long as they devote themselves to their cause. Yard by yard, Accorsia was griped by their influence during the bleak years. Or so I've read. It's just as apparent history is repeating itself and these remnants of the Union Church are twice as ambitious with the presence of Demons at large. Maybe I might even find myself allying with them against Mudi. I find less reasons to be against them each passing day. As I'm sure your Father did."
Shei puts a hoof to his temple and looks off a bit bashful "Why, my stubborn little tribe of 300 horns had left me for the spooks. I'm sure they're in good hooves at the very least."
As you enter the temple, you feel stone tiles shifting beneath your step, and hear the clattering of stone and plants up above. A cloud of bats descends upon you, shrieking in shock, and KP and Amy both get a faceful of the angry bats, which cut their faces and bite at them, before disentangling themselves. In the chaos, they crash into the rest of the party, scraping them as well, though not as badly. >Amy 3/5
Zophie draws a small crystal out of her bag, and it begins to glow white, illuminating this room. The wide room has three corridors leading forward, with the left and the right ones leading into deeper darkness. The middle corridor ends abruptly in a wall, which is coated in hieroglyphs. Your attention is drawn to this wall, and you notice that there are five perfectly square empty spaces in the hieroglyph mural. >>699199>>699198>>699202
"Yes… and that's something I want to discuss with you quietly," Novelus says. "I am sure none of you have any deep or lasting allegiances to Mudi, but she offers a solution to this world's current troubles nonetheless. She wants to rule over this region and enforce peace, commanding demons through sheer overwhelming power, power that even angels and their Ecclesian sycophants would cower at. But, as I discussed with Flow earlier, this is a role that anyone could fulfill, and Mudi is not a leader I would like to live under, to put it very mildly. I want an alternative to usurp her plan at the last possible moment, and fill the role of which she dreams, thereby obtaining the peace she proposes, but without fear of her tyranny."
Flaming looks out as Amy blows a raspberry in her direction, her eyes furrowing. "Oh you did NOT just…!">>699203
Flaming looks up in surprise as she feels the stones suddenly shifting under their step, giving out a hurried, "WATCH OUT!" To her friends as the cloud of bats descends. She leaps to one side to avoid them as best she can, bucking and head-butting a few of them away before they disperse.
"AGCCH! Ag… b-bats? What the heck…?" She says, looking around where they had gone. "Amy! Pryce! Are you two okay?"
As Zophie pulls out his light and showcases the middle-hall, holding the hieroglyphics, she turns to look at Blessings. "Any idea what these are…?"
[1d10+2]Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
As Blessings studies the mural, she checks a few heavily-annotated old tomes from her bag. "A lot of these symbols are also in the catalogued information we took from Yatrius and the other Apostles. It's telling some kind of old story about a monster, or possibly multiple monsters, but…" she glances at the empty square indentations, which are about one foot across each way within the surface of the mural. "Without the full picture, I don't know what it's conveying."
"Those bats are totally rude!" Amy says indignantly as they fly out the door. "They could have just flown above us!"
She takes out a potion and drinks it.
[1d10+3] Natural RemedyRoll #1 8 + 3 = 11
KP yells as the swarm descends upon him, trying to cover his face from the bloodsuckers but guarding Hopper more. He uncovers his frog, face all scratched up and mane a mess.>"You ok buddy?">>699204>"I-I'm fine."
KP says, not looking that fine.>>699203
KP looks up as the room is lit, glancing at the corridors and the empty hieroglyph.>"Do we have to find the pieces for it to open a new path, or will it tell us which one is right?"
KP look around the room for anything that'd look like it'd fit in the spaces.>Search [1d10]>>699203
"Is there anypony we could
trust with that role? Their power would be nearly unstoppable, we'd have to have a pony we could trust 100%."Roll #1 3 = 3
Flaming runs up towards Amy, puffing her cheeks out at the crystal pony. "Well you barged right into their home, Amy! I was trying to warn you not to go too far ahead of us."
She leans down to help up KP, offering a hoof to steady him. "Glad neither of you were hurt too badly.">>699206
Flaming looks to Blessings as she inspects the mural. She lets out a sigh, "A monster… that doesn't sound very comforting. Those statues didn't mention anything bout a monster."
She looks at the five missing slots, then down to the left corridor leading into darkness. "Wherever those missing pieces to the mural are, they can't be too far away I hope. Let's check down here first. Everypony watch your step."
"I knocked first!"
"Bats don't know what knocking means, Amy!" She pauses. "Do they?"
Shei-Sher breaks out into a snickering fit, his childish giggles fill the air "Gyaaah-hahah ooooh ehehe you have no idea!" Shei blurts
"She is thee absolute worst candidate for the position. Riverspring, Wireframe you might be under her spell after sharing a drink with the witch but if you just saw her when it was her, her sister, Metatron, and I floating above the ramparts of Vitral, when we came for Chorazin's core. We had both kneeled before Metatron and Mudi begged him to spare her until the day she united Huoli and demonkind and then she would happily die by his hooves. And by Ghol! I never thought a Chariot could be so risque. Metatron simply dubbed her for the narcissistic willow wishing prophet she was. Well he was denegrading both of us to be fair, beside the point. Do you know what Mudi's response was? She threw a fit. She's a psychopath willing to wear emotions for fashion, and she's damned determined to come out the most fashionable. She quite literally told us there before Metatron -And Vizsla corroborated this with me- that Mudi means to die shortly after uniting Huoli in war a against the angels with her as the starring martyr. She means to destroy the entire continent if it means she will come out of it as a God."
"Now we have a perfectly good candidate. Amy Thest is half demon, she won in the Demon Tournament bearing the red skull of Vitral's greatest. There is a way to transfer Mudi's power to her and if that's without success. Even with her reputation and Ecclessia's cooperation we could manage something."
KP eases at Flaming's consoling.>"Right, just a few scratches."
"I'll ask some bats later."
Flaming nods, "Good! A few scars will make you look tougher, you know.">>699214
"I don't know if it's really THAT important… what I mean is, just try to slow it down, the first one was just a bunch of bats but what if the next room has a pony-eating hydra in it that you wake up?"
Flow ducks and readies his spear as the bats come flying out.
He sighs with relief when they pass, and glances at Amy and Pryce with a snicker.
Flow looks down the left path, and taps his spear in thought.
“I call going down this one!” He shouts into the hallway.
Both of the goo clones look at each other, then back to Novelus, keeping their mouths shut, lest they let anything sensitive slip.
Flaming pauses, looking up in thought. "That's… a good point, getting jumped by a bunch of bats is kinda wimpy. And you don't wanna lie about it and make it sound bigger." She shrugs, "Just keep waiting, Pryce! I'm sure something bigger will come by that will give you much cooler scars to talk about.">>699217
She turns to Flow, "Yeah, I was thinking about the left path too. We should all go down together so we don't get separated."
Amy restores her minor injuries, and Hopper appears unharmed, but puts a foot on KP in concern. Clicking her tongue in annoyance, Zjetya starts to fix KP's mane as Blessings explains the mural to Flaming. (See: >>699206
There are no square tablets nearby, suggesting that they may be further within the temple.
"The way that these stones were cut out looks very natural," Spitshine comments. "This was obviously deliberate, so this is either some kind of locking mechanism, or some other kind of puzzle we need to get past."
As the others move ahead, Blessings and LJ go with them, while Spitshine and Blessings stay with you.>>699212>>699208>>699217
"Technically speaking, that match was a tie between Amy and Flow," Busta says.
"How do you know?" Mocha asks. "You hadn't joined the party by that point."
"Well, it was the talk of the city! Everyone loves chatting about Royal Wrassle matches."
Novelus ignores this talk of wrestling matches. "Amy… to tell the truth, despite all that I know of her, I'm still conflicted on the idea of handing over ultimate power to her. She is prone to moments of true and quiet maturity, clearheadedness and cleverness when others are panicking. Her simple trust and ability to bring out the best of others, and animosity for falsehood are all good qualities… but a half demon candidate still has dangers. I know she's integrated her demonic half, Ego, further into her, but what if the surge of power from defeating Mudi turns Ego against her? I don't know… Are there any alternatives?">>699209>>699210>>699217https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab60XEyA5OQ
Blessings and LJ go with you deeper into the ruins, as does Zophie. You head down the long corridor, and are subtly aware of the hallway growing wider as you proceed inside. Eventually, distant light signals the end of the tunnel, which brings you to a vast temple courtyard. Light shines from above, and you see that there is a second floor far above you, with no roof apart from a thin canopy of towering trees. A gigantic square stone structure is in the center of the courtyard, elegantly decorated with carvings. Atop the stone sits a hideous, flying monster, similar to a vulture in shape, but with dense black scales all covering its body. It doesn't seem to notice you.
A quick look around reveals a hallway on the east and west sides of the courtyard, and you cannot see the north wall because the big stone square is blocking the view.
while Spitshine and Zjetya*
Flaming moves down with Blessings, LJ, Amy, and Flow down the corridor into the large stone courtyard. She looks around her surroundings at the canopy above and the second floor. "No ceiling… it looks like it goes directly outside in some places."
Her wandering eye stops on the hideous bird creature, jumping back in fright at it despite it not moving to do anything. "Gaagh! What is that… thing? Some kind of bird?" Flaming whispers, looking on at it as it fails to acknowledge them.
"Is it some kind of guardian, or monster? Maybe we should attack it before it notices us, while we still have the drop on it…"
Shei-Sher waves his hand dismissively at Busta "Fine, fine, but the mere fact that it was talked about means her name is in the air."
"I understand the caution, but someone with both hooves planted on each side of the mortal species would make mending the relations between demons and ponykind a much smoother effort. Demon's recognize power from other demons, I hear it is like an instinct for them. We don't know if it is the same for a mortal. How many battles will have to be fought after surviving Tartarus until the demons understand the point. For all we know Mudi may just be coasting on her reputation as a Witch of Gehenna for word to spread when she claims her power."
"And erm.. by the way. It's nice talking to again Novelus, it really is, but I was hoping I could see the Geomancers at work. If I could get an escort?"
>>699218>"Well I do get that horn burn the big guy has from the Ember. That's pretty cool.">>699219>"I'm fine Hopper, just some scratches."
KP looks up as Zjetya fixes up his mane.>"Oh, thanks Zjetya.">>699219>"Maybe it's warning about the kind of things we'll run into in here."
KP comments after Spitshine, based on what Blessings interpreted.
As the others moves on, KP looks to the other corridor.>"We shouldn't split up, but let's just check this other corridor. If we gotta find 5 of these things they might be all over. But we'll stop right at the first thing we see so we don't get lost."
KP suggest to Spitshine and Zjetya, walking to the right corridor while shouting to the others.>>699218>>699214>"We're gonna take a quick peak on this other corridor then meet right back with you guys!"
He shouts towards the others before checking the right hallway.>>699219
"Our best bet would be somepony not tied to any group so they would not have any biases. Somepony who'd continue things they way they used to be, or at least naturally and not push their own will on everyone."
Amy's tattoos glow as she transforms absent-mindedly into a pony-sized white wolf.
>Mystic Animal Totem
"Hellooooo," she says in a friendly tone to the creature as she waves vigorously at it. "Wanna be friends?"
[1d10+2] Animal Mastery for friendship!Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
>>699219>“She’s the best option we have on hand…” Vice mumbles under his breath as Trapper looks increasingly nervous.
Flow rubs his chin.
“Hmm. Descisions, descisions…
He looks up at the giant vulture, and taps Zophie.
“Dya think that’s the thing that was flying overhead?”
"That is all true – even if Amy is the ideal candidate, we must have an alternative prepared if she should perish in the journey through Tartarus. I hear many things about it from Ecclesian informants, but it's hard to sift rumor from truth in this day, especially with such ancient legends and stories to guide us. I worry badly for your future."
When Shei asks for an escort, Novelus hims and haws, kicking his hind hooves as he weighs whether to disobey the king. "Oh… Shei, you know I have a hard time saying 'no' to friends. Come along, I'll walk you there. I could bring ten demons with me through the halls and the guards wouldn't even look sideways at me."
Novelus hops out of his chair and heads through the hall.>>699225
"Yeah, it's about the size that the shadow was before. This is probably its nest that we've come into, as it looks pretty comfortable sitting around this temple," Zophie says. "We'll have to tread carefully to avoi–"
Then Amy calls to it.>>699224>>699221>>699225
As Amy calls to the great vulture-like beast, it gradually raises its head, stretching out its long black wings as though it were just rising from sleep. The monster turns its attention down to you, and casually casts out its wing. One of the many massive scales slips from the beast's body, and hurtles toward you, causing Blessings and Zophie to dive for cover.
You and your allies head down the right-hand hallway, but the path in time leads you to the same great courtyard where Flaming, Amy and Flow arrived (described in last post), and you see the events of the above reply unfold.Roll #1 3 + 4 = 7
Shei-Sher chuckles bashfully "Hehe well then, maybe I should hold off on asking if we may stay for dinner. In all honesty, I had hopes to speak with your father again on the matter. Once he had cooled off."
As Amy transforms into a pony-sized wolf, Flaming smiles, looking at her hopefully. "Oooooh… good idea, maybe this one will be a little more friendly…"
However, as it shoots out massive, black scales from its wing that shoot out towards the party, Flaming gasps, swiftly pushing herself ahead to intercept them. "Or maybe not! All of you get to cover! I'll draw its fire while you strike!"
Flaming shouts as she starts running around the creature, he horns glowing blue as azure flames light them. "HEY! Over here you ugly pigeon! I've seen demons with prettier faces!">Offering on the Mountain: Automatic; Recharge 2 after effect ends; A cursed blue fire encircles your head, drawing the ire of enemies, leaving them more likely to target you over allies who have not attacked yet. Allies who score critical successes attract more ire. This effect lasts 3 turns.
KP looks around as they come out into the open courtyard, shielding his eyes from the bright light. He looks over, seeing FLaming and Amy and waves to them. He opens his mouth to shout over, but stops as he spots the giant vulture. Then he looks lowered to the cube, whispering to Spitshine.>"Hey, does that look like the same size as those empty spot in the last room you think, or maybe we need to copy those over?">>699226>>699227
"Hopefully we won't need an alternative for… that kind of outcome."
Pryce says with worry.
Pryce rises to join as they all go to be escorted.
"I couldn't imagine having this kind of lifestyle. Even guards alone being around seems strange to have in your own home."
>>699226>>699228>Pragma on Flaming (watch it be irrelevant for the fight I actually remember to do it)
"Hey!" Amy shouts angrily as they are shot at. "I'm just trying to be friendly! Fine!"
Amy Howls go resummon the Nail Beast.
[1d10+2] for Animal MasteryRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Vice and Trapper both sigh in relief as Novelus exits.>”Man, if only Flow was here…”>>”Aye lad…”
Flow groans and takes a defensice position with the Tsurugi.
“Oi! Wot’s the bleedin plan? I can’t exactly reach the thing from down here!”
He looks around to see if he can easily reach the vulture.
"No, it looked like the indentations needed to be filled," Spitshine says. "MAYBE we could make a counterfeit, but I don't think the indentations would accept that. My guess is that parts of the mural were removed, and that we'd have to find them within the temple and bring them back.">>699228>>699230>>699229
Amy summons a superior nail beast, this one with 6/6 and +1 to its attacks. (NB2, with NB1 being the one summoned the previous session). However, as Flaming runs to intercept the great scale, it collides with her, smashing her into the ground with a great weight, stunning her with severe injuries. To make things worse, as it lands, a tremendous heaviness comes upon her, signaled by the formation of a sinister dark gray aura about her. >Flaming 0/5, Marked for Ruin>Marked for Ruin; Lasts until dispelled: All attacks upon the afflicted target inflict an additional Wound in addition to their normal damage.>Pragma has activated
Horrified by the awful damage inflicted by a single attack, Blessings and Zophie run to her aid, with Zophie spreading a goo coating around her, while Blessings tries to help her up.
The black scaled vulture pulls its wing back, its eyes gleaming with a predatory arrogance as it watches them try to help her.>>699231
The weathered stone structure has been eroded somewhat, and you quickly identify a few places you could slither up using your gooey form. Idenfitying this has given you +2 to climbing it (which is instant)>>699231>>699229>>699227
"Live a little, Pryce. You've been a dreary character in the time I've known you. You would love the prince's lifestyle!"
You head through the halls with Novelus, with all guards quickly getting out of his way and bowing to you as you pass, as though you were honored guests. Through the winding halls of the palace, you reach a well-furnished workshop on the northern side, rich with the scent of incense. The room is filled with all manner of gemstones, tools and books, and populated by robed, priestly-looking geomancers. On a large marble platform in the center of the room, the king oversees as a team of geomancers, aided by Doctor Galton of the Ecclesian Choir, study the stone tablets, and prepare a geomancy ritual.
Novelus stops at the entrance of the room, and the King doesn't notice you yet. Novelus glances back at Shei. "Shall I announce our presence, or are you up to something? You can hide nothing from me, you know – I won't stop you."Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
/ Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4
"Find a way!" She shouts to Flow, "I'll keep its focus on me!">>699232
Flaming grunts as the scale impacts her hard, letting out a cry of pain as she's sent colliding back to the ground. She winces, feeling the sudden force of gravity weighing her down afterwards as the creature halts in its attack. She glares angrily at it, but stops to wonder why it does not attack again.
As Blessings tries to help her up, she grunts, powering her way through the pain, "I-it's alright, I've got it… that REALLY hurt though.."
[1d10] HugeRoll #1 8 = 8
>>699232>turn 3/4 for Wolf Form
"Hey! Don't hurt her!" Amy barks at the creature. As she does, holy flames erupt from her mouth.
She follows that up by sucking a tiny bit of the negative energy from whatever is affecting Flaming and spitting it back at the monster.>Pragma is passive, just fluffing
>NB1 attack [1d10]>NB2 attack [1d10+2]Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
/ Roll #3 1 + 2 = 3
Flaming lets out a cough, rising herself up as Zophie works her goo on her. "Man, this thing hits hard… and my whole body feels weird."
She stops a moment, focusing on a prayer as her horns glow white to keep her steady. "Just have to keep drawing its fire while the others work on a way to take it down! But why didn't it continue the attack…?"
>Prayer for Salvation: Automatic; Recharge 2; The target's next recovery from Helplessness will be an Automatic Instant action, and the target will get +1 to all future attempts to get up until the end of combat.>Mantra of Recovery: Recharge 2 after effect ends; Instant; Cannot be used at full Hits; On use, select an enemy. Every turn, you drain two Hits from that target. This effect ends when you go helpless, or after 3 turns pass, whichever comes first.
[1d10] Mantra of Recovery against the vultureRoll #1 9 = 9
>>699232>are you up to something?
"Maybe.. For now. I just want to watch the ritual. Thanks Dan- Uhm Prince Novelus, you don't have to announce our presence, we can watch the ritual from here."
Shei-Sher nudges Mocha and whispers in her ear "Doctor Galton. He's a servant of Buiwong isn't he? If things continue to not go our way, do you think would help us with the vault?"
>>699232>"Aw, thought this would've been it for sure with that big beast sitting on top of it.">>699232
As Flaming is toppled from a single scale, KP trembles in fear at the beast. His horn lights up as he levitates a rock or other bit of rubble nearby and tosses it at the bird to get it's attention away from Flaming.>Rock Toss [1d10]
He shouts to Spitshine and Zjetya as he runs along the outer edge of the wall to go to the northern corridor opposite of the others.>>699232
"I've lived plenty. I hosted a magic show just the other day at Fantasia."
Pryce retorts a tad defensively.
He looks on as they enter the geomancer's workshop, amazed by the lavish furnishing.Roll #1 1 = 1
In KP's panic, the rock tumbles from his magical grasp before it can fly far.
Zophie's goo becomes a soft, defensive barrier around Flaming's body, leaving her feeling light and energetic despite massive bruising and soreness of muscles and limbs caused by the attack and its ensuing curse. Amy's holy fireball breaks upon the monster's scales, not damaging it, but clearly angering it, as it melts the upper layer of some of its scales into a black gunk, while the needles launched by the beast sear its neck area. The monster lets out a deep and scratchy roar, and launches itself into the air, creating a mighty gust which knocks NB2 into Amy, and the two fall against a stone pillar.>Amy 2/5>NB 1/6
The monster lands on the giant stone structure, and you see dozens of black hieroglyphs gather around its body, surrounded by a cloud of gray aura like that which covers Flaming. The creature takes flight again, and as it does, the hieroglyphs and gray cloud erupt from its body, filling the whole temple complex."This is the first rule… the use of weapons, items and relics has been forbidden,"
a deep voice says in your head.
The monster flies to the western wing of the temple complex, but before it does, you could swear you see it glancing down in a display of challenge.>>699237>>699236
Novelus nods. "How has your love life been, Pryce? There is a notable difference in your demeanor from the last I've seen you. It's more square-shouldered, more confident and direct, the kind which a tad of experience of love will bring."
Mocha nods. "I know that she is, but I don't think it will come to that. She won't want to disrupt what Ecclesia has built up here in Zha."
Last time on HQ…
Amy, Flaming, Flow, KP and their companions entered the ruins of Slipper, leaving Tantra and Sugar outside to guard their cart from any monsters that might want to prey on the Rumblers. In the main area, their attention was drawn to a large hieroglyphic wall at the end of a brief hallway. The wall looked significant, given its ornate inscriptions, but was missing five deliberately carved stone chunks, seeming to be some kind of obstacle to the party's progress.
After proceeding deeper into the temple, the party entered a massive main area, where they were attacked by a towering, scale-covered vulture monster. The monster flew off after a brief skirmish, and they then heard a voice in their heads informing them that the use of relics and items was now forbidden, calling back to the warning of the golem who guarded the temple.
Shei, Pryce, Vice, Trapper and their allies spoke with Prince Novelus and King Lininas of Zha Arlakane to negotiate for some of the ancient relics stored in the royal vault. The King was highly reluctant, citing the fabled power of the relics, but seemed open to negotiation if for no other reason than that they were able to open the long-sealed vault in the first place. The King took the stone tablet for the geomancers to decipher.
In KP's panic, the rock tumbles from his magical grasp before it can fly far.
Zophie's goo becomes a soft, defensive barrier around Flaming's body, leaving her feeling light and energetic despite massive bruising and soreness of muscles and limbs caused by the attack and its ensuing curse. Amy's holy fireball breaks upon the monster's scales, not damaging it, but clearly angering it, as it melts the upper layer of some of its scales into a black gunk, while the needles launched by the beast sear its neck area. The monster lets out a deep and scratchy roar, and launches itself into the air, creating a mighty gust which knocks NB2 into Amy, and the two fall against a stone pillar.
The monster lands on the giant stone structure, and you see dozens of black hieroglyphs gather around its body, surrounded by a cloud of gray aura like that which covers Flaming. The creature takes flight again, and as it does, the hieroglyphs and gray cloud erupt from its body, filling the whole temple complex.
"This is the first rule: the use of weapons, items and relics has been forbidden," a deep voice says in your head.
The monster flies to the western wing of the temple complex, but before it does, you could swear you see it glancing down in a display of challenge.
Novelus nods. "How has your love life been, Pryce? There is a notable difference in your demeanor from the last I've seen you. It's more square-shouldered, more confident and direct, the kind which a tad of experience of love will bring."
Mocha nods. "I know that she is, but I don't think it will come to that. She won't want to disrupt what Ecclesia has built up here in Zha."
"Joke's on you," Amy says defiantly after being told to follow a rule. "THESE are spells!" she says as she pulls out a potion and drinks it.
[1d10] Natural RemedyRoll #1 7 = 7
You heal yourself without any apparent drawbacks. Blessings and Zophie look on with interest as nothing happens.
"Huh, that must not have counted as breaking the rule," Blessings comments.
"Yeah, no point in having a rule if you can't enforce it," Zophie adds. "Though, let's not tempt fate any more than we have to. The golem said we'd be dealing with rules while we're in here, but not what the consequences would be."
KP runs over to Flaming now that the monster has fled.>"Flaming! A-Are you alright?"
He shouts with worry after seeing that large scale strike her.>>699861
Pryce freezes for a half-second as Novelus asks him about his love life.
Pryce clears his throat, caught off guard."
"It's doing well."
Novelus nods approvingly. "Excellent. You're a much different pony than the one I last saw. The change was for the better. Don't tell me…"
He glances at River, who smiles and nods.
"Frankly, I am only surprised that it didn't occur sooner," Novelus comments.>>699867>>699863
You rush over with Spitshine, and see that Flaming has been coated in a protective layer of slime by Zophie. Somehow, it doesn't sink into her clothes or get into her mouth or nose, but rests just around her like an aura.
Flaming's eyes open up after she manages to recover from the creature's assault, looking around herself as she feels the goo from Flow's friend surrounding her and lifting her up. "Woah! This… I feel great…" she gives a few practice hops as she bounces around the floor with the goo, before looking to Zophie. "What is this stuff?">>699861
As the monster lands up on the giant stone structure, Flaming leers up at it, looking at the gray aura surrounding it before she feels the great voice, groaning as she closes her eyes trying to drown it out.
"Gah! W-where did that…" she asks, looking around in vain as the monster flies away. She looks to the others, "Is everyone alright? What did that thing mean, 'this is the first rule'?">>699867
Flaming looks over towards KP with a smile, nodding, "What are you kidding? Come on, you KNOW it'd take more than that to stop me!" She bounces in Zophies goo once more. "Though I gotta say, this sure helps a bit. I feel lighter than air!"
"Of course," Amy says proudly. "My potions are magic!">>699867>>699863
"So… what now?"
Flow throws his hooves up in defeat.
“Oh blast! And I was looking forward to using this damn thing…”
Flow stashes his spear away and crosses his arms.
Vice wipes his brow and looks at Trapper.>”Should we speak more? I feel like we’ll misrepresent Flow if we speak wrong.”
The clone shrugs.>>”I don’t see why not, we’re pretty much the bloke anyways.”
"I feel different as well. I'm doing much better."
"What do you mean by that?"
Pryce questions to the glance and comment, slight embarrassment as they discuss his romantic life.>>699869>"Well yea, but still! That was a huge scale!"
As Flaming boucnes around, KP 'ooo's in wonder.>"Cooool, it's like a bouncy castle!">>699870>"We have to find that missing piece of the wall back in the last room, right? So we gotta explore deeper."
Flaming groans, "Yeah… I won't lie, that DID really hurt…" she looks around at the aura surrounding her. "And I feel… off. I-I think it might have had some kind of magic on it to boot." She smiles as he admires the bounciness. "Hey, if you get hurt, then you can try it on too, right?">>699870>>699871
Flaming grumbles, pacing back and forth, "Well I only have one idea at the moment, and that's to chase that thing down! It must have something to do with those missing pieces to the mural." She stops, pondering, "Though it was weird… why did it run away instead of attacking us? Is this part of the game… that voice, it said there was a RULE: no items, and no weapons…" she pauses, looking up at her thorny crown she commonly used for combat. "I guess the Sons of God want to test how strong we are on our own power?"
"It's a protective barrier I've put around you," Zophie says. "It'll help you endure some damage, but not much else. I mostly save my goo for my own use, you understand.">>699870>>699871>>699872
"Yeah, that sounds about right: It flew to the western half of the complex, so it seems to me that if we follow it, we might find some way of getting rid of this weird rule," Spitshine points out.
"It definitely feels like some kind of test," Blessings adds. "After all, if it wanted to fight us, it could have stuck around. Instead, it flew off, kind of like a challenge."
"It was looking down on us for sure, pun intended," Zophie says.>>699872>>699871
"It was obvious!" Novelus exclaims. "Vice, Trapper, back me up here, won't you?"
"I have no idea what he's talking about, but I am inclined to agree," Mocha says.
Behind Novelus, in the workshop, you see the geomancers preparing an elaborate ritual, spreading salt and mercury into the shape of an octagram, and beginning an intricate chant, as incense begins to seep out of special ornate urns placed at the corners of the room.
"Right, I can understand: probably only have so much of it to go around. I'll use what you've given me best I can, promise."
As Spitshine suggests following behind it, she holds up a hoof, "One second… we didn't get a LOT of time to look this room over before we caught its attention. Let's look it over for any more clues on how to beat it before we try tackling it again, it 'really' packs a punch."
[1d10] Flaming looks around the room for anything of noteRoll #1 5 = 5
You see five hallways leading out of the room: Two to the south (where you came from a moment ago) and another for each of the cardinal directions. Your attention is drawn to the elaborate hieroglyphs and inscriptions on the giant stone square in the center of the room. The hieroglyphs are beautifully carved and have a certain logic, but you can't decipher what it means just yet. Roll again if desired.
>>699873>"I'd like to try it without getting hurt, but I'll leave it for you if it's helping you out.">>699874>"So what are we waiting for? Let's head west after that big bird!">>699874
"I know we had a history, but…"
Pryce looks to River.
"Was it really that obvious?"
Amy snickers childish. Then, she sighs. "It's just not as fun without Shei around.">>699873>>699874
"Well take this before the rules change," Amy says, popping a potion in Flaming's mouth.
[1d10+3] Natural RemedyRoll #1 7 + 3 = 10
Flaming looks ahead to the hieroglyphs and inscriptions in the stone center of the room, going over towards it as she smiles at Kid Pryce, "Too bad! You only get this as a reward for bravery in battle, Pryce."
She calls, "Blessings, Spitshine! Come look at this thing in the center it was sitting on, I'd like to see if we can read it."
[1d10] One more attemptRoll #1 6 = 6
"I did like you a good amount prior to all of this," River admits sheepishly. "However, I was very reluctant to act on my feelings… for obvious reasons.">>699877>>699878>>699879>Flaming 8/7
As Flaming reads the inscriptions a little more carefully, parts of it start to click for her. Running from right to left and from the bottom up, the inscriptions are telling a story about a stallion, armed only with a sword, tasked with the protection of a kingdom by the voice of some kind of god, represented by some kind of great, dark bird descending from a cloud. The hero journeys forth into a dark wood, bearing only a sword, only to be confronted by a dark clump of golden-eyed monsters with many hands.
Roll again if reading onward. Blessings checks her books to see if there are any common symbols. [1d10+2]
"Oh man, why do we always get the literary challenges?" Spitshine wonders aloud.Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
Flow rolls his eyes at Zophie's joke.
"Fine, let's kick that thing's ass so we can get what we came here for."
Both of the goos grin and nod.>"Quite.">>"Oh yeah, mate, definitely!"
They both observe the geomancers perform their ritual.>>699881
"Tell me about it," he responds.
She rubs the top of his head, leaving a little goo trapped in it. "That's the spirit!">>699878
As Amy pops the potion in Flaming's mouth, Flaming gives out a sputtered, "Mmmgrgmmh!" before downing half the potion, looking elated as she takes it out of her mouth. She has a slight look of annoyance at first, but as the healing effects kick in, she relaxes, though she still shoots one eyebrow up at Amy. "Thanks Amy but, a little warning next time?">>699881>>699882
Flaming looks at the story, "The Sons of God were smart, they use pictures for their writing sort of like my tribe does. I don't understand why ponies can't make it this easy…" she says as she reads through. She looks to Flow, and answers, "It's telling us about a stallion who, armed with only a sword, was sent to protect a kingdom by some sort of god… and that 'god' appears to be that big ugly black bird we saw not too long ago if I had to guess." She shudders, "O-oh jeez, that means I insulted AND attacked a GOD! Stupid stupid, BIG no no…"
She coughs, continuing. "S-so anyways, this stallion went to the woods and was confronted by… some kind of monster with golden eyes and many hands…"
[1d10] Reading onwardsRoll #1 9 = 9
"I feel a bit dense now, if I was the last one to pick up on it."
Pryce says with a slight awkward chuckle.>>699881>"That voice before said we couldn't use anything now. They must've wanted ponies to think here rather than fight."
"Sounds like quite the tale… Why're we learning about this now? Are we supposed to get a task from this god or something? Do we have to kill the same monster he fought?"
He scratches his head as he comes up with more questions.
"Besides, that thing didn't look anything like any "god" I've seen."
"See, you don't even GET the sex jokes!">>699883
"There's no time for that when it comes to healing!">>699883>>699881
"Go Shortyhorns! Read! Read! Read!" Amy cheers her on as Flaming tries to read.
"So, are you saying that bird thing is a god?"
"It's definitely rude enough to be a god," Amy grumbles.
KP tilts his head in confusion.>"What's funny about that?"
Roll #1 1 = 1
Flow grins and has to hold back a snicker.
[1d10] Mystery roll!Roll #1 5 = 5
"I don't think we have to KILL it, that would seem to be counter productive to the god giving us some sort of mission… but we do have to do 'something' it wants, maybe we only have to follow it to learn more.">>699886
Flaming is about to object, but pauses, realizing Amy has a point. "O-oh… hmm… a-alright, that's a good point. But, at least say something first!"
She chuckles as she reads. "Yeah, I know: usually neither of us can read all this pony stuff, it feels fun to actually be able to do it for once. And yeah, that's what it says, unless this thing is lying. Which means we shouldn't attack it anymore I don't think, that would bring us all SORTS of misfortune!">>699881
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"Don't laugh at me!" Amy says defensively.>>699881
"Wh-what happened to your arm!?" Amy suddenly blurts out, pointing to Blessing in horror.
As Flaming continues to read the mural, something catches her eye out from the corner, and she turns her head in shock to seeing Blessing's hoof begin to morph into a style like the very hieroglyphics they read, and vanish as she likewise jumps back in shock.
"Blessings! Your hoof!"
As you read onward in the hieroglyphic writings, Blessings periodically points out complex images that occur in both her text and on the stone wall, aiding in its deciphering. The hero perserveres against many kinds of monsters in his path, but not without suffering great injury. In time, he rescues a princess, who joins his quest, but the two are stopped by a great pit that zig-zags its way through the earth.
However, as Amy points out Blessings, the rest of you turn from the hieroglyphs just in time to see Blessings' arm vanish, and a strange inky smoke wafting from it into the sky. Above Blessings, you see her right arm, still holding the book, now stylized like a hieroglyph, flat and abstracted. Blessings turns white with horror as the rest of her body begins to morph into hieroglyphs and dissolve, floating upward limb by limb. She barely has time to let out a scream before her body entirely transforms. The smoky hieroglyphs fly, with one body part each flying to the west, east, north and south portions of the temple. https://youtu.be/zxjjie1Ohio
The others stare on in horror, silent before Zophie quietly gulps. "I see… I get it.">>699884>>699885>going to have to put the other half on hold, will continue Friday due to shei absence
"We have to save her!" Amy shouts in a panic. "Come on!" she says as she runs after the piece that went south.
[1d10] to keep it in sightRoll #1 5 = 5
KP looks over, frozen in shock as Blessing evaporates before them.>"Blessings?"
He mutters as she vanishes.>"Wh…What just happened?"
He's barely able to speak, visibly trembling as if it was frigid out.
"I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing at your joke. I'm not even laughing, I'm…chuckling."
He says with a pout.>>699895
Flow tilts his head in pure confusion.
"Mind giving an explaination for /that/ then?!"
"I wasn't joking…" Amy mumbles.
As Blessings horrifically tarnsforms into a 2D picture before their eyes, breaking up into several heiroglyphs that go in each direction, her terrified shout fills the chamber, "BLESSINGS!"
She looks in each of the four directions, before turning her attention to Zophie, "You get it? Get what?!">>699897>>699896>>699898>>699895
As Amy runs off, Flaming growls, "Amy's right! Zophie, explain on the way, we're going after her! Everyone this way, we'll go after one piece at a time! Come on!"
Flaming runs quickly after Amy
"She broke the rule!" LJ exclaims. "Referencing the book must have counted as using an item! I'll bet if we break any other rules, the same will happen to us!"
"Exactly, that must have been it," Zophie says. "I was quietly hoping someone would break one of the rules, just to see what would happen, but this was too big of a cost."
LJ quickly runs after Flaming as she chases after Amy.>>699896>>699900
You and LJ chase the smoky hieroglyph of her head as it flies to the south, returning through the first corridor you came down. You chase it to the end of the corridor, and it sharply turns to the left, then left again, heading down the short, middle corridor. The smoky hieroglyph then flies into the wall at the end of the middle corridor – the wall that had the five missing pieces. The hieroglyph of her head melds with the wall, and appears at the top of the wall as if it had been carved in. You notice that two other heads of ponies are also there, but you don't recognize them.
LJ squints at the heads. [1d10+2]Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12
LJ then stamps his hoof in frustration. "Oh no… Those idiots!"
"W-what?! The book COUNTED?!" She growls, "Darn it! Stupid stupid stupid, why didn't I realize that?! I should have told her to put it away!" Flaming reaches up onto her head, grabbing at her crown and pulling it off to put away in her sack. "Everyone, be sure not to use ANY of your items or weapons, not a single one! If this is really just a game then Blessings should be alright if we win!"
As they make their way into the southern corridor, winding through the halls giving chase to it, she looks up at where the hieroglyph representing Blessing's head appears near the top. "There she is! Now just need to figure out how to get her out…"
As LJ curses, she turns to him, "What idiots? Do you know the other two ponies up there?"
[1d10] Looking for clues around this end of the corridorRoll #1 1 = 1
"So, if we find the missing pieces, she'll come back together? Then, let's go!"
Amy quickly chooses a direction and hopes it's the right way.
[1d10] for right wayRoll #1 6 = 6
"They're part of Buiwong's cult," LJ says. "At the end of the One Night War, my Lord sent many of his disciples across the earth to help those who were too weak to defend themselves against demonkind, and to recruit more to give my Lord even more power through prayer. It looks like these two stumbled into this temple and broke the rules!"
Indeed, your blood runs cold as you look elsewhere on the corridor, seeing the heads of many buffalo, griffons, goats and sheep carved into the walls.
The only thing that comes to mind for fixing them are the five empty spaces in the wall.
"Oh…it sounded like a joke."
Flow throws his arms up and gives chase as well.>>699901
"Oh come on man, this rule is so stupid!"
He starts looking for anything along the walls to help searching.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
"Well we FOUND a piece of her here, Amy," she says, pointing up to the picture of her head in the wall. "The only question is… how do we get her out…?">>699905
Flaming looks around at the various pictures of buffalos, griffons, etc that adorn the wall along side ponies, her eyes widening at the thought of just how many souls have been trapped here all this time. "…we're NOT leaving Blessings to this. We're winning this game, and we're taking her out of here."
She huffs, looking around to the the others, "That god was the one who set this rule, maybe he can tell us how to undo it. I'm guessing the other parts of Blessing went into walls just like this one, let's go west and chase that bird to finish the game first."
Recalling the giant black vulture, and how it flew to the western end of the temple, Amy leads the charge down the westernmost corridor, and Zophie, LJ, Spitshine and Zjetya follow along eagerly. The long, winding corridor twists and turns before ending in a wide room with a ceiling open to the sky, about the size of a theater. It has an upper level, and two staircases on either side of the room for accessing it.
The giant black vulture sits at the bac end of the room on a stone platform, with its eyes shut. As you arrive, it opens one eye, gazing down condescendingly. On the upper level, you see about ten of the shadowy aligator-panthers, hungrily prowling about.
"Damn thing thinks he can test us…" Zjetya spits.
"No, the missing pieces of the WALL.">>699908
"So, do we fight them?" Amy asks. "I can't tell what we should and shouldn't attack."
Flaming looks up and leers at the bird-god as it looks down upon them all from its perch on the upper level, and then her eyes turning around towards the various panthers surrounding the upper level.
"There it is. Unfortunately, it has friends… it's those things that attacked us on the way here."
She looks to Amy, "Amy, did you say you were able to talk with the one that attacked us me on the cart?"
Flow pounds his hooves together as he looks up at the aligator-panthers.
"Damn…we got our work cut out for us now. I don't mind going fist-to-fist for now."
She frowns at Flow, "You sure you'll be alright? No offense but… I don't know if I've ever seen you fight without a sword."
"Trust me, I've trained just as much without weapons just as much as I've trained with em," he says with a cocky smile.
>>699901>"Why would you want somepony to do that?!"
KP shouts at Zophie, breaking from his terror and very upset.>"Why didn't you stop her! What if we can't fix what happened?!"
He continues to scold very angrily.
As the others run off, KP chases after them, not wanting to be separated after seeing what just happened.
"No, it never answered," Amy says sadly.
KP catches up, panting from running so much. He looks up at the bird and the panthators prowling around.>"Uh, maybe we can make them fight themselves? Or have them go after the bird?"
Zophie doesn't answer, her gaze steeled and darkly determined. Her presence is very much similar in feel to Flow's when he is truly in the zone during battle. >>699909>>699910>>699914>>699911
The dark vulture screeches commandingly, and the aligator-panthers leap from their perches to the ground, prowling about without so much as a sound, their gold eyes glinting hungrily. The vulture pulls back one of its great talons, revealing a square stone plate beneath it, and it appears that it's the same size as one of the empty spots in the wall down that one middle corridor.
Despite the panthers' menacing gazes, they don't charge or leap, as that one did earlier. They seem like they're waiting for you to approach or act first.
Flaming growls, "Darn… probably shouldn't put all our bets on 'that' then.">>699913
Flaming nods, "Alright… if you need help though, just let me know! I have a lot of practice working without weapons.">>699916
Flaming pauses, looking over at Pryce. "That might be something… but how? He's right there and they don't seem to mind him.">>699917
Flaming turns and looks at the vulture's cry, dropping into a battle stance as the rest of the panthers are drawn to their presence. "Uh oh… alright, everyone get ready, here they come…!"
She stands ready to fight, but looks ahead to eye the tablet under the vulture's claws. She looks back up at the panthers, eyeing them curiously. "They're not striking… they're waiting for us to make the first move. Let's make sure it's the right one."
She cautiously takes a few steps forward, seeing how agitated it makes their foes.
KP huffs as Zophie doesn't respond. Even if she's in the zone it's very rude.>>699917
KP takes a few steps back as the panthers leap down and prowl, a little more scared.>>699918>"H-Hey, Flaming. Do you remember what the rest of that pillar said? Their eyes are kinda like that creature you read off it."
"I don't know what will happen if I use my wolf form without my starlight fragment…" Amy mutters. "I mean I have the tattoos, but…"
"I'm sorry, I won't be much use. But, I can do this!"
Amy unleashes a blast of holy flames at the monsters.
>Wrath [1d10+3]>>699918>lol cautionRoll #1 8 + 3 = 11
Flaming shakes her head, "Nothing that'd help… the hero fought those monsters to save a princess, and incurred great injury in the process. From that, I'm taken to believe we're meant to do the same…">>699920
As Amy charges forth with a blast of holy flames, Flaming's eyes droop low. "Really?"
As you cross the threshold into the room, Amy's attack causes the beasts to spring forward into action. Three are burnt by the fire, but the others are deft and swift, criss-crossing around the fire in various directions, leaping at the party with jaws bared.
[1d10+2] vs Amy
[1d10+2] vs Flaming
As LJ, Zophie and Spitshine charge into battle, other panthers encircle them in a mass of shadow, gold-glowing eyes, claws and teeth. Zjetya stands protectively in front of KP, brandishing her pistol in case a panther draws near.
>their rolls coming next due to mlpg's roll limitsRoll #1 1 + 2 = 3
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #3 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #4 1 + 2 = 3
But, Zjetya quickly yelps and drops her pistol in fear, apparently remembering what just happened to Blessings. Meanwhile, LJ and Zophie are set upon by the monsters, thrashing back and forth as they exchange blows amid being bitten. Spitshine, unable to use his knives, is having a much harder time with his monster, but fights on furiously with a flurry of punches.
[1d10+2] vs [1d10+4] LJ
[1d10+2] vs [1d10+3] Zophie
[1d10+2] vs [1d10] SpitshineRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #2 1 + 4 = 5
/ Roll #3 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #4 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #5 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #6 1 = 1
Flow crouches and raises his hooves, ready for one to pounce.>>699920
And he shakes his head as Amy charges towards them.
"C'mon, we don't know how dangerous they are yet…">>699923
He charges at the panther thing targeting Spitshine.>Tackle
He also focuses on himself, hoping he's not breaking the rules somehow.>VoG on himself and Spitshine
[1d10]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
KP almost tackles Zjetya as he sees her raise her pistol, fearful over what would happen. But he stops himself as she drops it, sighing in relief.
He looks at all the panthers jumping around, unsure of how they should proceed.>"Let's try and move forward. The bird sent them at us, maybe if we reach him he'll stop them."
He says to Zjetya, running towards the staircases to the upper floor.
Flaming smiles, "Yeah, that's a way to think of it. Now let's go save our princess.">>699923>>699924
As the Panthers descend, Flaming growls indignantly, pushing herself back down into a fighting stance ready to meet the ones that jump out at her. She lets out a tiny roar, leaping up to bash her forehead into the foremost one.
[1d10+3] All or NothingRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
"Exactly!" Amy says as if you're agreeing with her.
Amy suddenly realizes she's out of things to do. She takes this moment to come up with a better plan.
>Prayer of Enlightenment for Homing Missiles
As she does, she dodges the incoming attacks. [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Battle theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJgqaPfk4xE
>Everyone please put H/W in name field>>699928
You swiftly dodge the first one's attack, sending it hurtling into the dungeon's tile, while the second one manages to scrape your side with its tail-hand, causing you to lose 2 Hits.
While the first one is stunned, the one that landed a hit peels back around, coming in with hit-and-run tactics.
[1d10+2] P2 attack>>699927
Panther 3, the one attacking you, lands several clean hits, slicing at your sides, but the goo barrier softens the impacts and dissolves. You lose only 2 Hits, and this bewilders the beast long enough for you to knock it back into Panther 4, and the two impact the wall. Panther 3 springboards off the dazed Panther 4 to attack you again.
[1d10+2] P3 attack>P4 stunned>>699925
You fail to wrestle Spitshine free of the attacking monster, losing 2 Hits as you're caught up in the thrashing. Spitshine looks badly injured, and the attacker, Panther 5, leaps off him to tear into you.
[1d10+2] P5 attack>>699930
You and Zjetya make a break for it across the battlefield, and while the panthers are too busy to attack you, you see one leap off from the pack and charge for you. You're about 1/3 of the way across the room right now.Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #3 2 + 2 = 4
Zophie and LJ are having greatly mixed luck against their attackers, with a bloody LJ being rolled onto his back after a bad fall, and Zophie wrapping her attacker in a gooey grasp, slamming him heavily against the ground as he thrashes at her.
[1d10+2] vs [1d10+4] LJ
[1d10+2] vs [1d10+3] Zophie
Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 4 + 4 = 8 / Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #4 10 + 3 = 13
KP looks back at panthator running for them, then focuses intently on running for the stairs.>"Keep going! They might not do stairs well!"
KP urges as he pushes his little legs as fast as they can go.>[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
After knocking her head into Panther 3 and sending it flying back to knock its friend and stunning it. Flaming takes a few steps back, shaking her head after the impact, before looking on smugly at the Panther that charges her once more. She grunts, turning around for it to run straight into both of her rear-hooves at once as she delivers a mean buck square to its jawline>Activating Wild Hunt:>Automatic All or Nothing (hence, a critical+3)
>Mantra of Recovery: Recharge 2 after effect ends; Instant; Cannot be used at full Hits; On use, select an enemy. Every turn, you drain two Hits from that target. This effect ends when you go helpless, or after 3 turns pass, whichever comes first.
[1d10] on Panther 4 at the same timeRoll #1 6 = 6
Amy concentrates on drawing out her own negative energy (speaking of which, Pragma on Shortyhorns).
[1d10+1] Homing MissilesRoll #1 8 + 1 = 9
Also, dodge. [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Flow rolls his arm around.
"You stay off the kid, you damn dirty animal!"
He rears back his hoof for a punch to its snout as he concentrates once more.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
You charge 4 shots as Panther 2 launches its clawed tail underneath you and slashes at your chest and stomach, leaving you dazed and woozy, losing 4 Hits, before launching itself at Flaming. Panther 1 gradually gets up and charges you as well, its form leaking black smoke.
[1d10+2] P1 attack>>699934
You bash Panther 3 so hard that the monster bursts into a puff of smoke, leaving behind no corpse save for a pair of golden gemstones, which fall from its eye sockets. You see Panther 4 dissolve as well, leaving behind the gems. You regain 2 Hits.
Panther 2, after raking its claws on Amy, tries to grab you by the throat. [1d10+2]>>699933
You hear Panther 8, the one that was chasing you, stumbling and failing to climb the stairs. You ascend the staircase and reach the second floor along with Zjetya. Panther 8 runs toward the middle of the room, turning its head up to watch you.
Zjetya looks at the stone tablet, guarded by the vulture. "We can probably grab it, but we'll need a distraction. Any ideas?">>699937
You buff yourself and strike P5 so hard that it dissolves into smoke, causing it to vanish, leaving behind two golden gemstones where its eyes once were.
P9 jumps in, trying to strike you while your back is turned. [1d10+2]Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12
LJ and Zophie both destroy their attacking monsters; LJ tries to bite P2's tail, and Zophie covers Amy with a protective goo barrier.
Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6
>>699938>"I can get the distraction. You can grab the tablet."
KP says with some pride, stepping out onto the middle of the floor as if he's in a spotlight. He picks Hopper off his head and sets him aside.
>"Hey! Hey Mister Bird!"
KP shouts, hopping up and waving his hooves.>"Look what I can do!"
He says, horn glowing as he attempts to makes a firework of embers for a show and distraction.>Firework [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Flow turns around to meet the panther's strike with an uppercut to its jaw.
[1d10+3]+1>VoG on him and Zophie
[1d10]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
/ Roll #2 10 = 10
Flaming grunts after her attack sends Panther 3 sending so far back he poofs into smoke, her eyes widening in response. "They're just smoke…?" she asks in surprise as the golden gems fall to the ground. As Panther 2 approaches, she turns in surprise, preparing her battle stance as she sees LJ sneaking up behind it to bite its tail.
She smiles as she leaps up above it to bring her head down, "What's wrong Journey? There's PLENTY to choose from, why do you have to go stealing mine?!"
[1d10+3] Attacking the Panther 2Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6
"You should just stay down," Amy says before she gathers all her negativity into her mouth. She spits them out as little balls. The balls then proceed to fly at the Panther attacking her.
>Homing Missiles [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]
She also shoots holy fire at any beasts close enough. [1d10+3]Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2
/ Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6
/ Roll #3 6 + 1 = 7
/ Roll #4 5 + 1 = 6
/ Roll #5 9 + 3 = 12
To be clear, that last roll is a wrath.
The vulture glances over at KP for a few seconds, seemingly only interested in the fireworks to see if they're some kind of precursor to a fire-based attack. Zjetya tries to use the distraction to fly toward the stone tablet, launching air from her mouth to propel herself forward.
However, Panther 8 tries to leap up at you and attack! [1d10+2]>>699941
P9 rakes its claws against you, causing you to lose 6 Hits. However, you uppercut the monster, knocking it back. Zophie tries to follow up by catching P9 in goo, but P10, the final panther, takes the chance to swipe you both with its tail.
Flaming chokes as P2 grabs her by the throat, and is only able to thrash a bit as it holds her, and she loses 4 Hits. LJ tries to bite the tail to rip it off, but only succeeds in getting himself thrown around like a ragdoll. As P1 pins Amy, she blasts it and P2 with a wave of magic and fire, annihilating them both.>Amy 0/4
LJ bends down to help up Amy. [1d10+1]Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #3 4 + 3 = 7
/ Roll #4 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #5 2 + 1 = 3
As Flaming is thrashed around by Panther 2, she grunts, trying to force her way out of its grip before Amy's fiery blast incinerates both it AND Panther 1, turning them both to smoke as she rubs at her throat, coughing to get fresh air. "T-thanks Amy! Saved our hides there!"
She turns around as she sees Panther 8 making a move on Kid Pryce, letting out a gasp as she speeds her way towards him, horns pushed out angrily, "Don't you DARE even think about attacking him, you big coward! Fight on someone your own size!!!"
[1d10+3] Angrily head-butting Panther 8 (All or Nothing)Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13
KP hesitates for a moment as the bird doesn't seem that interested.>"Ha!, Should've stopped me from charging up, now you'll pay!"
He says, trying to sound intimidating as he builds up to fire another firework, one of those multi-burst ones but this time more at teh vulture to look more aggressive.>Fireworks [1d10]
As he hears the panthator behind him, KP quickly drops to the ground, hoping it'll not see him.>Dodge [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
Flow charges at P10 as it swipes its tail, and he tries dropping a hoof on it. Really hard. And he concentrates once more.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 + 5 = 13
/ Roll #2 5 = 5
"It's what I do…" Amy says weakly as she struggles to get back up.
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Zophie whistles to Flow as she grabs P9, and throws it at him at the same time that he punches P10. The two monsters collide, their bodies breaking into smoke as they die on impact.
Flaming leaps up faster than Panther 8 did, and headbutts it up into the fireworks that KP makes to distract the vulture. The fireworks incinerate Panther 8, causing it to dissolve in a billow of smoke and gold that actually makes the fireworks more vibrant from their darkness. Meanwhile, Amy stands up, slightly leaning on LJ, who bends over to pick up Spitshine as well.
Unimpressed, the dark vulture raises its wing to attack KP, before Zjetya snatches up the stone tablet it was guarding, flying away with a triumphant cheer. The vulture lowers its wing, gazing upward before flapping its wings, lifting into the air once again.
KP looks up from the ground as the panthator is knocked right into the firework, eye widening in awe at how it makes them look much bolder.
As the vulture raises it's wings, KP quickly covers his head with his hooves in fright of the attack. With Zjetya's cheer, he peeks out, then hops up triumphantly as she holds the tablet and the bird flies off.>"Woohoo! Yea! We did it!"
KP cheers, scooping up Hopper back onto his head as he looks down to the others on the lower floor.>>699949>>699948>>699946>>699950>"You guys alright?"
"Good job, Zeta!" Amy cheers happily. "One down…"
Amy pulls out a potion and drinks it. [1d10+3] Natural RemedyRoll #1 8 + 3 = 11
Flaming grunts after her final punt puts the last Panther up into KP's fireworks show, nodding her head affirmatively as she looks around and sees that ALL of them have been reduced to nothing but smoke. She smiles, looking around the group as she stampedes in a small circle,
"WOHOOOOOOOO! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We won, we won!"
She looks up towards the vulture as it takes off into the air, looking to Zjetya happily as she gets the stone tablet. "You stole it from the god?! Amazing!">>699952>>699951
Flaming looks to KP, smiling, "Of course *I'm* fine, what about you? That last one almost got you! You hurt anywhere?"
She looks around the battlegrounds, "Everyone! Pick up those little gold things they dropped too, those might be important!"
Flow shakes his hoof as he looks around.
"Well that wasn't so hard, right?"
He picks up two of the gems that the panthers dropped.
"What the hell are these things?… Where's Observer when we need the bloke?">>699951
"Aye lad, that was great work from the lot of you," he looks around at the party.
"I think that's their eyes…" Amy says in reference to the gold things, a little grossed out.
"I wonder what they taste like…" she thinks out loud.
You heal yourself to full, but some of your allies are still looking worse for wear, particularly Spitshine, who tugs on your leg with a greedy stare at the potions.>>699951
Hopper holds up his foreleg for a few seconds. Roll perception.>>699953>>699952>>699954
The bird flies off, appearing to be heading for the northern section of the temple complex.
Zjetya lands beside you, panting as her forehooves shake. "Hoooooooooooooooly shit!" she exclaims, looking at the stone tablet. On one side, you see normal, orderly hieroglyphs like those on the walls, and on the reverse, you see many foreleg hieroglyphs, suggesting these are the sealed body parts of those who failed to follow the rules.>>699954
The gems glint with faint magical energy, and you get the feeling that they might be of some use if you can have them appraised.
Flaming turns to look at Flow, "Flow! I saw you take out two of them by yourself… I think I owe you an apology, I didn't know you could hit so hard being so… er…" she coughs, "Uh, you know… gooey. But I was wrong!">>699955
She stares at Amy, "Amy, NO. You aren't eating those. And I think they're not something you eat anyways, they look like something magical."
Flow flicks one up in the air and catches it before stowing two of them in his raincoat.
"Well, we still have some more pieces to collect. I doubt they'll be this easy to get though…">>699957
"No harm no foul, lass. It ain't hard to punch, you just gotta swing hard enough. And fast enough."
>>699953>"I'm perfectly fine. Told ya I wouldn't get hurt this fight."
KP says, holding a hoof to his chest proudly.>"And yea, see we got this tablet and didn't even get that hurt or anything like that story.">>699955>"I don't think you can eat rocks…">>699956>"Huh? What'cha got there Hopper?"
KP asks, looking at his little frog hand.>Perception [1d10]>>699956>That was great Zjetya! We could probably do that for all these tablets!"
KP looks at the tablet, checking to make sure Blessings' is on there.>"How long do you think they've been trapped, all of these ponies."
KP asks, a little quietly.Roll #1 1 = 1
Everyone gathers around the stone tablet, and sees that Blessings' hoof is there, just as there are many hooves from other beings trapped there as well.
"No way to tell, but hopefully we'll put a stop to all of it," Zophie says. "Just make sure nobody breaks any more rules!">>699960
Pryce learned at a young age of a strange celebratory ritual performed by those races with hands, known as a "high five," curiously even by those who only have four fingers. It appears Hopper is offering this gesture to KP.
Amy smiles at Spitshine. "Here you go," she says as she hands him a potion.
[1d10+3] for Natural Remedy>>699957
Amy instantly lowers her ears and droops her head down in a sad, defensive stance up hearing that horrible word being said so aggressively toward her. "M-magical stuff can taste good too…" she mutters sadly.>>699959
"That's true, rocks don't taste very good," she mutters quietly.Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4
However, Amy stops sulking as she realizes the horrible mistake she just made.
[1d3] Merryflower rootRoll #1 3 = 3
"Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait!" Amy shouts in a panic before the bottle reaches Spitshine's lips.
"N-not that one…"
You get a bad feeling about that potion and toss it, then hand him a clean one. "Ohthankthegods," Spitshine breathes quickly before chugging the potion.
Amy blushes. "D-does EVERYone know…?"
"Yyyyyyyyyyyyeahh… it was a subject of gossip behind your back," Zjetya says.
"I also knew because of the spiders on your ship," LJ adds. "However, unlike everyone else, I won't judge you for your life choices."
>>699961>"I wonder if they'll help us out when we free them. Who knows the kind of ponies who are trapped in this.">>699961>"Ooh. Wow I didn't frogs knew this."
KP holds up his hoof to slap it to Hopper's hand for the 'high five'.>"Yea, we did good little buddy.">>699962>Yea. But rock candy, that stuff is delicious."
"Why is everyone talking-" Amy objects in a high pitched tone, blushing more.
"WAIT!" she suddenly squeaks in horrible realization, turning to LJ. "H-how do the spiders know…?"
Flow rubs his chin in thought.
"Shouldn't be too hard. Unless that damn thing makes up a dumb rule, like… 'no using your front hooves' or anything like that.">>699968
"I'm sure there's a healthy mix of treasure hunters and noble adventurers trapped in here. Let's just hope we don't meet any thieves among the bunch."
Flaming moves over to Zjetya as she cries out in exclamation, moving over to look at the many forelegs among the tablet she found. Her ears flatten, knowing one of them were likely Blessing's.
"Good job Zjetya… really good job! We're one step closer to saving her."
She looks towards the direction where the vulture flew off. "Alright everyone, there's no rules against healing ourselves and no time limit, let's make sure we're all set before chasing after that thing again.">>699958
Flaming chuckles, "Still, all the same, I'm impressed! I won't doubt you any time soon again, I swear. That was some move.">>699959
Flaming nods, "And hey, you were right! Good work. But, you knooooow," she whispers, "You really won't impress anyone unless you get a 'tiny' scar out of this, you know? May want to be just a little less careful too.">>699962
Flaming's ears droop back as well in response to seeing her sister look so defeated. "Oh… I mean, YEAH! O-of course they can, I mean, I eat magical potions all the time, right? I'm just saying, hehe… maybe we should look at them first? Make sure they're safe to eat or not?">>699969>>699967
Flaming can't help but stifle a bit of laughter as Spitshine narrowly dodges a bullet with Amy's latest potion. She starts giggling louder and louder, "N-no no, that one was fine, I'm sure… just give it a try… *snort*"
"Let's hope we don't set anyone too evil free," Spitshine says now hat his injuries are healed. "Wouldn't that be ironic?">>699968
You recall that Volkama unlocked Hopper's magic potential a while back, and his rats exhibit an odd degree of intelligence, even for rats. This may be related to that.>>699969
"Spiders are extremely observant, with their patron god trapped here on this earth," LJ explains. "They are his holy agents, his eyes and ears when he had none, just as Vortigern became his voice.">>699970
"I can appreciate a challenge, but that rule would just be mean!" Zophie laughs.>>699971
LJ knocks his horns against yours eagerly. "Agreed, let's get ready as quick as we can, I have to save my allies!"
>Paused, feel free to keep talking
>>699970>"At least we'll have any bad guys outnumbered by us and however many good guys are in here too.">>699971>"Come on. A scar from being clumsy won't be cool."
KP says in jest to being less careful.
"It's not a scar from being clumsy! It's a scar from engaging in ferocious combat and coming out it with proof of your courage! Sure, a scar from falling down the stairs isn't that good of a story but, it's a *start*."
Amy's face is now pure red. She stares at LJ with shock and horror. She's not embarrassed by much, but some things should just be kept private!
"I-I don't think I'll ever feel safe again…">>699971
"He's a kid," Amy objects to Flaming insisting Spitshine drink the first potion.
"At least give him another year first!"
"Funnily enough, there was this one bloke I had to beat up with just my hooves just yesterday. Jerk kept on stealing my weapons, so I had to get my hands dirty. A true warrior can make do with anything, even with nothing.">>699973
"That as well. It shouldn't be hard to kick the crap out of anyone without any of these dumb restrictions holding us back."
Flaming is about to argue, but then pauses, thinking about her logic. "That… actually does make sense, yeah… it's not impressive if you MEANT to get it, just if it happens." She nods. "Well, alright then, *don't* try harder but, I'll keep hoping you find a scar sometime soon, Pryce!">>699976
Flaming sticks her tongue out at you, "I wasn't much older when you made *me* drink it!" She snickers, then sighs, "But, yeah… if you were wondering why I was saying Buiwong is the worst, that's a good reason why.
She gulps, "Oh, and… sorry for making you upset earlier. I just didn't wnat you to hurt yourself eating those eyes.">>699977
"Oh yeah! You weren't around the Qilin village much yesterday. Where were you fighting this foe at? You didn't think to ask anyone for backup?"
"I didn't MAKE you!" Amy objects to the wording.
"I just- Death! Death to Buiwong! He- he's seen too much!"
"Well, that's kinda secret. Let's just say I was in a little…secret arena for demons. You sign up, get in the ring, and have a good fight.">>699979
"The boy has a point, I haven't a single scar on my body," he boasts, ignoring the stitches and patches adorning his faded raincoat.
"Yeah… OR it means that he's LYING about having been in so many battles. Having no scars might be impressive for combat but, scars are also 'proof' you've been in combat, they're evidence. Not having ANY would smell kind of funny."
She looks over at Flow, scrunching her muzzle. "You KNOW you can't get scars! And your coat's all torn up so that counts.">>699980
Flaming chuckles, "FINALLY someone on the same page as me. Maybe you can help me convince Journey to get off of Buiwong's side for me, I've been trying for days with no luck."
Flaming frowns. "I wonder how much he DOES see….">>699981
"Oh! Was it back in Vitrol? Amy and I did something like that after the Metatron's attack but before we evacuated. Did you get any good prizes?"
"I don't know, maybe LJ's involved with Buiwong because he's into that sort of thing," Amy laughs.
Flow looks at his gooey body and his raincoat.
"Oh yeah…" he says, almost genuinely surprised.
Flow puts a hoof on his chin.
"Uh…I don't think I got anything good. I don't remember.">>699983
"Rumors are known to backfire from time to time though. I've had several bounties who relied on their reputation to survive, not so much their skills in combat."
"Then how do you know all those ponies talking about how awesome you are aren't lying too? Or that they weren't somehow tricked? Scars are real, physical proof you've seen combat, been hurt, and came back to tell the tale!">>699984
Flaming starts to laugh too, before she stops herself. "W-wait… into… *what* sort of things?" She blushes. "You don't think JOURNEY…?">>699985
"Well, is that where you met that goo pony Zophie? I don't think I've met Zophie before today. Or are they an old friend?"
"Oh. Yeah, ponies with actual merit to their endeavors. Those are the real challenges to fight.">>699987
"Yes, she's an old friend from before all this crap with demons happened. Met her by chance at the arena, same with ol' Gjenganger, that unicorn that was with us."
>>699987>"Lying about how awesome you are?"
KP questions.>"Well that's sorta what you want, at least for showponies. You want ponies to talk big about you so more ponies see you!"
"Oh, she's an old friend too?! That's cool! I was so excited when I finally ran into Tantra again, I'm glad you guys could catch up."
She raises an eyebrow, "Renee isn't jealous, is she?">>699989
Flaming's eye twitches, "Is that sorta what you… no, that isn't what you want! You want to talk big but only if it's *real*! At least, that's what warriors did in my clan. Any fighter who was caught lying about their feats in battle was taught a lesson."
"Don't see why she would be. I've never seen the lass like that, if I'll be honest."
Flaming smiles and shakes her head, "No, I didn't think so either. I was just trying to be funny, Renee's nice. Have to say Zophie's pretty strong, I saw her take down a few of those panthers too.">>699991
Flaming groans, "Well if they want to do that to make you sound better, that's fine, that's their thing. But what I was talking about was that having others boast for you isn't the same as having evidence on your body itself that speak stories for you. It's like, what do you ponies say… show, don't tell, you know?"
Last time on HQ…
The party cleared the first of the five trials of the temple of Slipper. They obtained the first of five stone tablets that they would need to complete the mural in the temple's entrance, where Blessings and so many others were trapped by the temple's magic after breaking one of the many rules. The giant vulture-like bird that governed the temple flew from the western to the northern wing, implying the next stage awaited the party there.
The geomancers of Zha Arlakane meanwhile began the geomancy ritual that would construct another magatama. How long this would take is unknown, but the other branch of the party was able to get a good look at the ritual from the room's entryway.
Post sheets with your response.
"Let's hope we don't set anyone too evil free," Spitshine says now hat his injuries are healed. "Wouldn't that be ironic?"
You recall that Volkama unlocked Hopper's magic potential a while back, and his rats exhibit an odd degree of intelligence, even for rats. This may be related to that.
"Spiders are extremely observant, with their patron god trapped here on this earth," LJ explains. "They are his holy agents, his eyes and ears when he had none, just as Vortigern became his voice."
"I can appreciate a challenge, but that rule would just be mean!" Zophie laughs.
LJ knocks his horns against yours eagerly. "Agreed, let's get ready as quick as we can, I have to save my allies!"
"I did like you a good amount prior to all of this," River admits sheepishly. "However, I was very reluctant to act on my feelings… for obvious reasons."
>Vice, Trapper, Shei, Pryce
Behind Novelus, in the workshop, you see the geomancers preparing an elaborate ritual, spreading salt and mercury into the shape of an octagram, and beginning an intricate chant, as incense begins to seep out of special ornate urns placed at the corners of the room.
https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM>>700277>"I don't think they'd be too evil, I did see any monsters in there or anyone too weird looking.">>700277
"I feel a bit dense now, if I was the last one to pick up on it."
Pryce says with a slight awkward chuckle.
Amy stands there with her mouth hanging open in shock. "Wh-why would they need to watch THAT?" she stammers, her face still red.>>699987
"You found yourself a real weirdo," Amy says in a genuinely congratulatory tone. "Good job."
As Journey bumps his horns against hers, Flaming grins widely, knocking back a bit as though in a challenge as she wanders over towards Amy. "Don't worry Journey, we'll save everyone… on… that… wall…"
She pauses, remembering the sheer number of victims. "You know… I wonder, if we succeed… do you think all those victims might be willing to help us for saving them?"
Flaming grunts, "HEY!" She says defensively of her totally not boy-friend. "He's not any weirder than Shei is! Worshipping Buiwong is like, the ONE weird thing about him."
"And spying on ponies in their private moments…"
Flaming blushes, "Y-you don't know that he does that! Only that the spiders do, Little Journey wouldn't do that!"
"Well he certainly KNEW about what I do," Amy mutters indignantly.
Shei-Sher leans into mocha's ear "Should circumstances come down to it. How comfortable would you be aiding in a heist. Your dark corridor would be critical to the effort."
Pupil senses Shei's curiosity and stretches from his pocket to get a look at the ritual.
[1d10] Can I appraise from here?Roll #1 7 = 7
"Hey, hey, it's not like the spiders get a choice in the matter!" LJ protests, getting embarrassed himself. "Billions of them were scattered across the world when Buiwong was defeated by the cowardly Devas. Some are bound to end up in the… darkest… corners of the world. Wait. No. Bad choice of words. NOT like that.">>700278
"You shouldn't assume that weird looking means evil," Zjetya lectures.>>700280
"I don't know who all of those victims are," LJ says. "Many were probably treasure hunters and brigands, who only want to help themselves. Others may have stumbled in here by accident and will still be shaken up. We'd have to ask them.">>700285
"I'm not going to risk angering the king when he's been so kind to me!" Mocha whispers back. "And don't ask for my power when you still haven't cleared my condition for teaching you the power in the first place."
You are unfamiliar with geomancy, but recognize the trappings of occultic ceremonialism when you see it. The incense blends are of high quality from many corners of the world, and are favorites of crystal pony ritualists. The eight-pointed star diagram is made with exquisite black-red ink and salt, and rare gemstones are put at each corner - jade, amethyst, ruby, diamond, onyx, opal, sapphire and seraphinite. The conductors, all male, are positioned at the corners, and the one at the center, the head geomancer, touches his forehead to the ground, rises, and begins a chant, which the others pick up in rhythm.>>700284>>700283>>700278>Flow
The mysterious voice from earlier flows into your minds, just as it did when it announced the first rule.The first rule is void, now that the first test is done. The second rule is thus: Attacking the enemy from the front has been forbidden.
>Holding off for this week on account of absences
https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM>>700286>"I don't mean weird weird, I meant like demon-looking weird or obvious monsters."
KP corrects.>>700286>"No attacking from the front? That doesn't sound very nice."
Flaming nods to LJ. "Well, we should. They'd probably be indebted to us for saving them, and Fantasia could use the extra muscle.">>700286>>700423
As the voice speaks once more, Flaming looks up and listens, letting out a sigh of relief. "Great, we can use items again… but no attacking from the front?!" She cringes, "Does that mean we can only attack from behind? But that's the coward's method!"
She turns to KP, nodding, "Yeah, I agree… but, we both know what'll happen if we break the rules. I don't like it, but we have to listen to it."
"Being 'nice' or 'fair' doesn't mean anything in a fight," Zophie says. "Unless you're in a duel or something, the only thing that matters is coming out alive. This place is coming across as more and more of a training grounds, in my opinion. If the Sons of God really fought with incredibly powerful demons like I've heard, they probably had to use these kinds of 'unfair' tactics and tricks or get splattered against the rocks."
Flaming growls, lowering her head. "I guess that's true… but it still feels wrong. A real warrior shouldn't have to defeat his opponent through cheap tricks, but by charging right through them head on. It's how the truly strong fight their battles." She looks around the arena, "I agree, with these 'rules' especially, it's like this bird god is just… 'testing' us. Those statues did mention some kind of game. I guess with the sort of odds they had to deal with in the past, they had to prepare for weird situations."
Zophie shrugs. "I find that approach boring, but what do I know, I'm an assassin."
Shei speaks again in hush tone to Mocha
"Consider the idea at least. I shouldn't have to mention mine and my friend's lives hang on the level of preparations we make during these last days. Furthermore, I decided shortly after you issued me the condition that I was not going to pursue it. The idea of asking someone if I'm a good person with a reward in mind is terribly disingenuous. But if you won't budge on the matter then I will have no choice than to budge myself."
"Well, at least this one won't be too difficult to get around."
He looks down at the Inheritance.
"Although I'd hate to rob those two of their fun."
"I'm telling you it isn't worth it," Mocha warns. "There's got to be some other way to get through to the king and not stick your nose into trouble you don't need!">>700429>>700428>>700423
The ritual continues in the background, and a second team of geomancers, all priestesses, come in to stand beside the priests, and the energy circulating around the stone table intensifies, swirling around in a clockwise manner.
Novelus watches the ritual quietly, deep in contemplation with glances at Shei.
"Huh…" Amy wonders out loud. "I wonder if that means the enemy also has to attack from behind…?"
"I haven't entirely disregarded convincing King Lininias. I am putting my options into consideration however."
Shei-Sher mentions to Novelus. "Novelus, wish not to disturb their ritual but when the geomancers are finished would you please announce our presence so we may proceed into the room?"
"Also, I want to choose my words carefully the next time I speak with your father. If I could conjure him acres of vegetation for his own people to own and look after would this be of any interest to him? Or is he too steeped in the considerations of Ecclessia."
Flaming looks to Amy, pondering. "That's a good question. The creatures we were fighting just now didn't use any items… but I don't know if that means they had to follow the rules too or not. I guess we'll find out when we reach the next challenge."
She turns around to everyone, nodding in the direction the bird flew off to. "If we're all done licking our wounds, let's get after him!"
>>700425>"It means plenty in a fight! How can you feel like you had a good match if you had to be cheap to do it!">>700424>"I know. Though we can always just not attack and get that next tablet super fast, so that way we won't break the rule and we'll get a new one!">>700431>"That'll be great if they do, cause then we could all stand in a circle so they would only be able to attack our fronts!">>700430
Pryce watches on to the ritual silently as to not disturb it.
Vice and Trapper both sigh.>>"Doesn't seem too exciting, eh?">"Patience is a virtue, dear Trapper. One that I know you have very little of," Vice remarks.>>"…d'ya think we could've avoided all of this?">"Very much so, although we were short-sighted at the time. Flow knows it, and I'm sure they know as well. In all honesty, I try not to dwell on it much."
The goo clone grimaces and remains silent.
"But then we'd only be able to attack THEIR fronts…"
"Flaming's probably right," Spitshine says. "After all, the enemies that attacked us just a minute ago didn't have any weapons, and we couldn't use ours either."
"In any case, shall we get going?" Zophie asks.
You head back from the western room of the temple, back to the hub area. Behind the large cube mural in the middle of the vast room, you see a long corridor, which is very dark, and you do not see the end of it.
>If you want to head inside, roll perception at -2 unless you have a light source.>>700432
"The Ecclesian exoduses from the kingdom are already alleviating the struggles that were placed on our farms," Novelus says. "Right now, the major concerns have shifted back to the threat of external attack and internal subterfuge from demon tamers and traitors. We already had an attempt on the King's life when Pausanias tried to poison him with JOY, and small instances of demon appearances have taken place in the city. I'd appeal to those worries, if I were you. I'd speak on your behalf, but I am… sympathetic to his concerns.">>700435>>700434>>700432
The ritual continues for about 30 minutes, until a great plume of smoke flows from the table and spreads through the room, and an electric crackling is heard. A pair of interlocking gemstone magatama now lay on the table. The head geomancers take the stone on a posh velvet pillow and present it to the king.
As the ritual concludes, Novelus trots into the room with an air of authority, gesturing for you to follow him. The king glances over as Novelus enters, eyebrow arched.
"Well, if they can't see me, then they can't sneak up on me!" Amy says proudly as she simply walks into the tunnel away from the party. She seems to disappear from view entirely.
>Transparency for the first time ever to provide me a -1 DC to stealth!
[1d10] to stealth in the tunnel!Roll #1 2 = 2
>>700437>"Yea! This one will be a lot easier, let's hurry on!"
When they reach the dark corridor, KP peers inside.>"I bet they're gonna try to sneak up on us. Hopefully this isn't magic dark…"
KP comments as he focuses, horn giving a spark as it glows to light up the area around them so the others can see.>Light [1d10]>>700437
Pryce looks at the magatama as it forms, such a simple thing that holds away so much power.
as Novelus gestures for them to follow, Pryce does so.
"I am glad the ritual went off without any issue."Roll #1 1 = 1
Flaming takes a moment to continue reading the inscriptions on the mural, wanting to see if any more clues await if she continues the story
As they move past it into the dark corridor ahead, she shouts after Amy as she goes down the tunnel. "Amy, for the love of Vir-can, would you slow down?! If you spring another trap, I swear I'm not pulling your butt out of it!"
[1d10-2] Perception rolls>>700440
"Darn it, you're right… we'll have to be very careful, I can't even see MY front right now, much less my enemy's."Roll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 10 - 2 = 8
"Well that's excellent! You should have told me sooner. I will find these fiends and eliminate any threads they have to Zha Arlakane."
"How funny, it'll be pretty hard to watch our backs without light. Even in a circle, we'd have to walk closely together…"
He looks around as he enters the tunnel, hooves already grasping his spear.>perception
The two goos look at each other, and shrug before following Novelus.Roll #1 6 - 2 = 4
Unable to see Amy, KP walks right into her side, with his horn poking her in between some of her ribs. The light from his horn briefly illuminates her transparent body, turning her into some kind of pony-shaped disco ball for a moment.
This causes her to briefly stumble, and as she tries to regain her footing, she steps on an elevated stone in the hallway floor – a trap! A panel above them slides open, and a pair of black slime monsters drop out onto them – bulbous, dome-shaped monsters with grotesque grimaces. They are very heavy, and the impact causes both of you to lose 1 Wound. The monsters, in a confused frenzy, snarl and flail around, wobbling like plates of jello.>>700441
Before moving on, you stop to read more of the story on the massive stone cube with the mural.
Upon approaching the great pit that wound through the earth, the warrior and the princess are stopped by hordes of monsters, monsters who then swarm from the earth and bring terror upon the peoples of the world, led by a terrible ogre who was most fearsome of all. Distraught, the two seek the help of the vulture god who set the hero on his journey in the first place. The god sends them to a temple overseen by an ancient pony goddess, who offers them magic relics - a blessed sword, impenetrable garments, and a set of boots that will bring them home safely through the labyrinth. The goddess only offers these relics if they complete the trials of the temple.
The story on the cube ends there, but you feel there may be more to it.>>700443>>700441
As you proceed onward, your path ahead is briefly illuminated by KP's light turning Amy into a disco ball (see above). You see you've got about halfway to go before a light at the end of the tunnel can be seen, and there are more elevated tiles in the floor ahead.>>700442
"Oh, all by yourself? Wow, I didn't know it was so easy," Novelus jokes. "What I mean is he's going to want to keep all of the ancient weapons as a deterrent to get them away from the kingdom. The only way I think you'll dissuade him is if you make it clear he won't need all of them… though bringing the heads of some demons will help with that.">>700443>>700442>>700440
"I will be off to the vault, then," King Lininas says. "Make yourselves comfortable and do as you like until I return. I trust Novelus civilized the lot of you while you were journeying with him."
He then departs with his guard through the far doorway, taking the magatama with him. Meanwhile, a few of the geomancers clear the table of the ritual materials, while others start to lounge about, chit-chat and arm wrestle.
KP says as he stops from bumping into Amy.>"Whooooaaaa…"
He says in awe as she glows like a giant disco ball, too amazed to notice her stumble into a trap and to see the slime creatures.
KP's shout is cut off as the slime lands on him, the little colt flailng as he tries to get out from under the goop, or at least roll off so it would technically be on his front instead of his back to see if the rule removes it for him.>Escape [1d10]>>700444
Pryce says nothing, feeling a little insulted as the King implies they are uncivilized.
"Since there's nothing more we can do with the vault for now, is there anything we can do to help around here Novelus? I'd hate to just sit around after hearing there's still troubles."Roll #1 6 = 6
Flaming walks blindly about in the darkness as they head into the hall, but her eyes are suddenly blasted by the light of KP's magic shining through Amy like bright orb. "AGGH! Okay, now that's almost too bright… Amy, Pryce, you two can DO that?"
As she marvels at the brilliantly shining Amy, she looks up above in shock as the slime monsters drop down from above, "OH NO!" She shouts, too late to get Amy and Pryce out of the way. She looks at the warbling, jello like monsters in frustration, before racing to go to the back-side of one (IF it is obviously going by the face). "Little hard to tell where the back is on these things, but I'm pretty sure this is it!" She says as she tries to make an attack on its back
[1d10+3] All or nothingRoll #1 1 + 3 = 4
"Well that's mighty convenient, I never knew Amy was a lantern," Flow jokes.
He brandishes the spear, and jabs at one while its back is turned.
Both Vice and Trapper barely manage to stifle a giggle at the king's words.>"I do suppose I've been acting fairly uncivilized of late, I guess you've been rubbing off on me," he addresses Trapper.>>"Eh. I'd rather old' me tongue than say anythin' about that."Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7
[1d10+3]Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6
"OW!" Amy yelps as the slimes fall on them.
"That was NOT on purpose," she says grumpily as she rubs her own side where she was poked. "Let's not try to fight those guys. I don't know which was is front," she says, referring to the slimes.
She then throws a potion over her shoulder which magically homes in on KP's mouth.
[1d10+3] Natural RemedyRoll #1 2 + 3 = 5
"No wait!" she shouts quickly, taking the potion back.
[1d3] Merryflower RootRoll #1 3 = 3
KP rolls Slime 1 off his back and onto the ground. >>700445>>700447>>700448>>700446>>700449
Flow cuts both slimes into pieces, each of which sprouts its own face and starts to slither away in fear, making little screeching noises. Amy heals KP's wounds. Flaming, unable to see much further in the dark, slips on some residual slime left over from one of the fleeing slimes and lands onto another raised tile. However, instead of another slime, a powerful shock comes from the tile, sending electricity searing through her body. You see an enchanted rune on the tile, glowing faintly.
>Flaming loses 1 Wound
Zophie growls, annoyed with the myriad traps in the area. "Everybody slow down and feel out the path ahead with a stick or something, we're almost through!">>700445>>700447
"There is word going around of an underground fight ring going on in Zha, with demons, owned by tamers, as participants," Novelus says. "However, there haven't been any demon sightings in the polis recently. My father believes that these fights might be going on with the assistance of some members of the royal guard, which would explain why they haven't yet been found out. We could use someone to investigate that and ensure that it's either untrue or that, if they are true, things are controlled enough there that the fights won't result in a demon breakout in the polis."
"Hah, I have tangled with far greater threats. Before I arrived in Zha Arlakane I was engaged with a chariot class angel. Why I even held my own against her by myself for a brief while. It is the reason you see Chorazin with us.">>700444
Shei enters the room then and greets Doctor Galton "Salutations Doctor Galton, My comrades and I are to thank for this ritual being possible. We have plans to venture down into Tartarus, maybe you have heard and I haven't given up persuading King Lininias to share his treasures with us. I heard there are malevolent actors in Fantasia and that Pausininas had conspired against the crown with poison. I am thinking I should bring his friend's heads to King Lininias as another gift. Pausinias included if he managed to flee his debacle."
Chorazin elbows you in the rib. "You had every advantage in the book working in your favor, don't forget that," she says with a joking tone, but the slightest pinch of annoyance.
Novelus rolls his eyes.>>700452
"Oh, there is no need," Galton says with a laugh. "Novelus and Lininas have already scheduled Pausanias' public crucifixion for his attempted betrayal. He is currently in jail, more dead than alive as it is."
KP looks up in surprise as the potion lands on his face, drinking it down.>"You know Amy I think we have some markers or something on the ship if you need to label these."
He says casually after being healed.>>700451
KP sits up after he pushes the slime off, quickly checking on Hopper to make sure his frog is ok.>"At least its better than those panthers, just a little sore rather than all scratched up."
KP tries to light his horn again, keeping an eye on Amy first to remember where she is so he doesn't walk into her again.>Light [1d10]>>700451
"A fight ring? Why would they set up demons inside a city?"
Pryce says, astonished and slightly repulsed after the kind of scenery the arena back in Mariposa had.
"I'm… not to keen on fighting, but I can help investigate this place for you."Roll #1 4 = 4
"Why would I need those?" Amy asks unironically as she slowly makes progress through the dark hallway.
[1d10-2] for perceptionRoll #1 2 - 2 = 0
"Er.. fapper and lice? Sorry, I have a hazy memory for your names, we hardly talk. Were you and Flow not just at an underground fighting pit recently?"
Flaming lets out a grunt as she slips on the goo-trail left by the slime monsters, before the buffalo finds herself sliding into another trap as she hears the 'click' of the tile being pressed down.
She lets out a cry of pain as she's electrocuted, smoking emanating from her body as she stumbles past the tile, her coat now extremely poofy and puffed up as the static electricity fills it to the brim and makes it stand on end. She shakes her head, trying to work her way through the temporary paralysis as she moves off the tile.
"I-I meant to do that… was just… keeping Amy and Pryce from falling into ANOTHER trap…"
[1d10-2] PerceptionRoll #1 8 - 2 = 6
>>700457>"Are you alright Flaming?"
KP says concerned, before snickering as he looks back at her.
"Yeah, but I get it right eventually," Amy says, satisfied with herself.>>700457
Amy giggles as she pokes Flaming's poofy coat and presumably gets little tickly zaps.
Flaming growls as she hears Kid Pryce's snickering, begrudgingly ignoring Amy's pokes. "I-I'm FINE, thanks. Barely felt it, you two should be more careful!"
As Amy pokes her and gets little zaps, she turns on a heel, "Amy, stop poking me or I'm gonna give you a BIG hug right now! And I don't think this is one you'll like."
Flow grimaces as the slimes split apart.
"Hmph…doesn't really show what this thing can do, now does it?"
He turns it around and starts tapping it on the ground to feel for any more traps.
The two goos avoid Novelus' gaze, and start conversing about survival in the woods.>>700456
Both of them squint at Shei.>"Sorry, our memory is just as hazy as yours," Vice says bluntly.>>"And it's Vice and Trapper, ye gob!"Roll #1 9 = 9
"hehehe" Shei laughs nervously as chorazin takes notice of his bragging "I did say a brief while. Of course I could not had faired it without your mariposan spirit and my wonderful girlfriend at my side.">>700453
"Well that's good, it is one more errand off the list. Well you seem very busy I won't trouble you any longer. Should any news surface on the matter I would appreciate the notice. We are of a common web after all -er I mean thread." Shei-Sher smiles and ambles back to Novelus.
"Novelus, would you be able to take us to see Pausinias in his dungeon cell?"
>>700461>"Sorry, but you look like a big animal plushie!"
KP says though his stifled chuckles.
"Those are horrible names. Who would name someone a vice or a trap for that matter.">>700454>>700462
"I want to visit Pausinias in his dungeon cell. Apparently he had plans to assasinate the king and failed. He may have leads we can follow. I might take a dark corridor to Fantasia as well to as Easy Dosit and investigate Orcus's abode. If you wish to leave to the arena be my guest, but I'll need to some directions to the arena to rejoin you later."
Hopper has turned one of his coins into a shield to protect himself from the slime, and appears just fine.>>700455>>700457>>700454>>700462
Flow guides the party safely ahead, but despite this, Amy steps on another raised tile. This one only results in more bats flying from above and crowding past her on their way to the other end of the hall - mildly annoying at worst as they cause her hair to fly into disarray. Some of those bats look vaguely familiar and they were certainly as angry as the bats in the temple's entryway.
LJ snickers at Flaming's puffball fur, poking at it alongside Amy to invoke the static electricity. "You're looking like a regular Sinking-Rain member already! Shall your new name by Lightning Shorthorns?"
You eventually reach the end of the hallway, and reach the threshold of another vast open-air arena, larger than the last one. At the far end, you see a golem, much like the ones you encountered by the river earlier. However, this one has a shield and a greataxe at its side, and instead of a head, the face of a great silver slime pokes out at the top.
On the left and right of the room are two sets of staircases heading back, indicating that there is a second level to the room that you can't see from your current angle.
At the far end of the room, just as last time, is the vulture creature, sitting with its talon protectively covering a tablet fragment. >>700462>>700456
"We were just there," Gjenganger whispers. "Actually, it's where I ran into Flow and his minions after an interminable time of separation. I can take you there if you want."
Galton winks knowingly.
"I could, but I wouldn't count on getting anything out of him," Novelus says. "He was subjected to some of the worst torture that Zha can offer. What do you intend to gain from this?">>700454
"Demon tamers have been reported to make a keen profit from organized arena violence," Novelus says. "Seeing demons rip each other apart by the command of tamers, instead of mortals, is a cathartic experience for many. To have a fighting arena hidden in a city terrorized by demons is no different than a baker setting up their shop on a crowded street."
"Information. We can use force to shut down the arena if we like but the situation is not under control if we do not know who the organizers are. Namely the undetermined guards turning a blind eye and anyone else that might be key. If the torture was so severe that Pausinias is a broken body waiting for death he could be in a hypnogogic state and then I could project myself into his dreams. And if not perhaps Chorazin will be able to do something."
>>700465>"Someone who uses grappling a lot. Supposedly.">>"Who says we'd be at the bleedin arena? We aven't a coin t' bet nor the strength to enter, lad.">>700466
Flow looks up at the golem and scratches his head.
"Well, if this thing has to follow the same rules as us, this'd be far too easy…"
He keeps his eyes on the golem as he starts making his way towards the set of stairs on the left.
Both of the goos shoot Gjen a dirty look and refrain from speaking any longer.
"Mmm, very well, if you think you can get it out of him, I'll lead you there," Novelus says. "Come along."
>>700466>"That's my frog!"
KP looks up at the big golem, ooo-ing at the size of it.>"This will be easy, we just have to stay looking at it and it won't be able to attack us!"
KP says proudly as he starts to walk along the wall towards the staircase, keeping his back to it while he keeps his gaze facing the statue.>>700466
"Keeping demons around in any sense doesn't sit right with me. It just feels like trouble waiting to happen.">>700465
"Are you sure this would be related to Orcus? He seems to be the type to do something like that himself, and we stopped him weeks ago."
Gjenganger looks back in confusion. "Something the matter?"
"There's no such thing as a hug I don't like!" Amy says, accepting the challenge.>>700466
Once again, Amy subtly walks away from the group to disappear from view.
[1d10] stealth with TransparencyRoll #1 3 = 3
You fail to vanish.
"I agree, but keeping the arena in check may be the best temporary solution we can muster until we can afford to expunge the lot of them," Novelus says. "Besides, keeping the arena around can give us ties to other demon tamers who might not be at the arena at the time of a raid by the guards."
Vice leans in.>"I figured we should be discreet about the arena," he whispers.
Trapper also leans in.>>"After all, I doubt Flow'd appreciate the arena being shut down," he whispers as well.
"Orcus mentioned Pausinias with his dieing breath. And Easy Doesit said he traded joy with Pausanias for food. It strikes me very peculiar that He would make an attempt on the king's life. Novelus would take the throne, what does he personally have to gain from it unless someone else put him up to the crime. That and he was friends with a demon. The arena is organized by demon tamers. It is a suspicion, I should address it while I am here."
Flaming growls, "Oh, DO I?! Well, maybe you would like to look like this too, huh? I bet I can find another tile around here somewhere…" she teases, but in a pretty threatening tone.>>700472>>700462
Flaming follows closely behind Flow, not wanting to step on a single trap herself as she sticks close to the goo-pony. As LJ snickers at the puff-ball fur, she huffs, snorting smoke out of her nostrils as she turns to face the young buff. "Yeah, I know… if I look THIS fluffy, imagine what YOU would look like all shocked like this!" She spits, before he mentions that name. "Lightning Shorthorns…. actually doesn't have a bad ring to it, does it?"
After they reach the end of the hallway, she looks ahead at the golem on the other side of the arena, noting the odd look it has with the silver slime poking out at the top. She stares at the vulture once more, eying its tablet. "There's our next challenge… I guess we have to try and take down that golem but, what's with the slime on top of it?">>700472
Flaming grins, "Alright then! Take this, Lightning Shorthorns Hug special!" She shouts, before wrapping her hooves around Amy to give her the full static-cling touch.
[1d10] ShockingRoll #1 6 = 6
"Well you two sure were useful. Perhaps you can put your brawn to use opening a lemonade stand."
He shrugs. "I was originally on Ichimonji's orders to have the arena shut down in the first place. Orders are orders, lads."
Amy returns the embrace with a smile. The zaps are like a mega-massage to her.
As she lets go, she twitches slightly. "That kinda hurt… but I didn't hate it. It was definitely a fun and different kind of hug.">>700473
Then, Amy drinks a potion. [1d10+3]Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6
"Thank you." He then tugs on Chorazin's sleeve "Chorazin, accompany me to the dungeon. I want to make a visit to Pausanias' jail cell before we leave the castle."
As they make the trip into the dungeon Shei inquires Novelus on Pausanias. "Novelus do you think it is odd Pausanias would make an attempt at your father's life? I do not know what he could have gained from it. You are his successor afterall."
"If I had to bet, I'd say it controls the entire golem. Unless it's just for decoration.">>700478
Vice has to put a hoof on Trapper's chest before he gets up.>"We appreciate the business idea, but I think we're better off assisting Flow in his…endeavors.">>"And aren't those bleedin things ment for little joeys like yerself, laddie?">>700479
The two goos look at each other, then back to Gjenganger.>"Eh, I'm sure he'll understand.">>"Yeah, the arena was jus' convenient fer sport anyways. I doubt the bloke'll be 'appy about it, but Flow'll get over it."
"Right, I suppose it's for the best for now. So what would need to be done, just find this arena and make sure it's secure for the time being?">>700476
"He did? I may have missed that when we were finishing him off. That's worrying if he had something to do with it all.">>700477>"Heh that would look pretty funny."
"I am only saying if you goo familiars cannot fight without your better half than I fail to see why you are here. I would have remembered something smart ever coming out of either of you."
From the southern end of the room, a crackling of arcane energy is heard, and a rushing of water. From behind, each of you are struck with a magic bolt that drenches you in heavy, viscous water as the magic blast's shockwaves ripple through you.
>All except Flow lose 5 Hits
You turn back to see what happened, and behold a second giant slime-golem, this one gold, holding a large staff with a sapphire at the top. He's standing at the southern end of the room on a platform at the top of the staircase. (If it wasn't clear earlier, the stairs are heading south, while the silver golem and the vulture are on the north end)
>Water: Targets hit by a spell with the Water Elementalist tag suffer a greater critical failure range on the next turn (2- becomes 3-, and so on). This effect does not stack. This effect also applies if the target is knocked helpless by the spell.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OqGXfDpjZA
With that attack, the silver golem picks up its axe and shield, waiting to see what you will do next.>>700484
"Speak with its leaders and offer a deal for negotiation. I will have to work out the exact details with my father, but we may be willing to offer their continued ability to live and breathe in exchange for their assurance that not a single demon or tamer will hurt Zha Arlakane, and that we will reserve the right to exterminate them should they fail in this bargain. Leave out the parts about us driving them out once we are able.">>700481
Chorazin comes along with you, while the others stay.
"Interrogation revealed that his plans were set in motion while I was still away, traveling with you in Accorsia," Novelus explains. "I assume he believed had died during the six months' travel from there to Zha, and that if I hadn't, I would be in no condition to retake the throne."
Novelus leads you north through the city, into one of the city's jails. In a complex beneath the jail lay the putrid and dark dungeons. Novelus whistles casually as the guards escort you along, heading for its deepest levels.
KP falls to the ground as the blast of water drenches him.>"Th-There was a second one?"
He gasps as the air was knocked from him on impact.>"Quick, let's all stand back to back!"
KP says, as he tries to stand back up.>Recover [1d10]>>700486
"Right. Do you have any leads or ideas on where I could find this arena, or is there anypony else that's already been on this job that I could talk to?"Roll #1 1 = 1
Before Shei leaves he says "If you do leave to negotiate at the arena, please ask about the name Mfaniyabiashara. I want to know where to find him."
Amy faces the Silver Golem and starts walking toward it curiously. She doesn't display any aggressive intentions.
"Hmm over the span of 6 months his plans were taken out. And what of the actors in his conspiracy? Is it certain that they were all dealt with?"
Flow cracks a smile as the second golem shows itself.
"Well well, seems like our second threat's shown up."
He looks up at the golden golem with a fierce gaze.
"We'll need to be careful, I'm certain they can attack us from our sides as well.">>700489
"Oi lass, mind if I get yer back while we're here?"
He trails behind Amy as she walks towards the silver slime.
Both Vice and Trapper stay put.>"I'm sure Flow's going to avoid this place like the plague from now on…">>"How do you figure?">"Well, if the arena's going to be monitored, I doubt he'll bother even showing up for sport," he grins, "Besides, he seemed more interested in the marks he could find there anyways. In fact, that's why we went there in the first place…"
Flaming grins as she hears the shock zapping her sister, but looks disappointed when it doesn't deter her in the slightest. She lets out a little frown, letting go on her end as she lets out a sigh. "Great, it was 'fun'. I was trying to teach you a lesson about not laughing at electrified buffalo, but I guess I shouldn't have expected you to dislike ANY sort of hug." She sighs, "Well, I'm glad you liked it, at least.">>700482
"I would bet on the former… that's pretty smart, using a stone golem so it doesn't have to fight directly.">>700486
Flaming lets out a cry as she's struck with the bolt, before coughing up tons of water when the sensation of being absolutely drenched has passed. What was once a very poofy buffalo is now a very wet, drippy buffalo as her mane/fur falls limp, Flaming looking on angrily from beneath the locks covering her eyes. She stares directly at the magic golem, reaching to grab her Crown of Sanat to adorn her horns once more.
"Alright. The MAGE is mine, I call dibs." Flaming growls under her breath, her anger pushing her onwards to race towards the stairs leading up to the magic user. Before engaging him however, she tries to find a way to his backside in case of any trickery that'd make her break the rules
[1d10] Trying to get behind the Mage golemRoll #1 10 = 10
Vice grins.>"It's simple. We convey what's happening to Flow when we get back. if anything, he's just making sure you lot don't get in trouble…not that he'll bother helping…" he says with a grimace.
>any rolls relating to maneuvering are instant and can be made before your action for the turn for the purposes of seeing if you'll be able to attack at all>>700487
KP stumbles, exacerbating the sear from his injury.>-1 Wound>>700491>>700489
As you take a few steps toward the silver slime, you hear a whirr as the golden slime's staff charges up energy. You suspect the only reason he hasn't yet fired is because Zophie and LJ are still standing close enough behind you and that they're facing the golden slime as they look around and assess the situation. Taking another step will put you in the line of fire.>>700492
As you blitz up the stairs and flank the golden golem, it slowly tries to wheel around to face you to cover itself.
Gjenganger steps in and taps your shoulder. "I know of the place," he whispers. "I am under orders to have it shut down, though I've much interest in that not happening for a while. Perhaps we can work something out.">>700490
"Most of his 'co-conspirators' were unwitting pawns, those who had no knowledge of what was truly happening. Couriers, doctors, messengers, even food tasters – we don't believe any of them knowingly assisted, but they are awaiting trial nonetheless while inquisitors gather evidence."
At long last, you reach the bottom of the dungeon, at the cell furthest from the staircase leading up. Through the bars at the top of the iron-sealed door, you see a lone figure, chained up from the ceiling and to the floor with magic chains, beaten and without wool, his head hung low. You barely recognize him as a living being, let alone Pausanias, his body coated in deep scars and horrific bruises. He has no reaction to your presence.Roll #1 2 = 2
Shei irks out a mock laugh "Eheheheh very funny. I was only giving you a difficult time, I am sure Flow keeps you both for a reason. I'll convene at the arena once I am done with my end. Be safe."
[can we assume flow and vice gives shei directions to the arena before they leave]
Flow is covering Amy's back along with Zophie and LJ, keeping the golden slime from being able to shoot at her.
KP tries to keep a strong face as he's too injured to rise, though it's not working out to great. He groans as he tries to stand up, trying o not think about the pain.>Recover [1d10]>>700495
"Good, it's reassuring to hear more than one source wanting the place closed. Lead the way."
Pryce says, going to follow Gjenganger.
"Would you like to come along River, or would you prefer to say here at the palace?"
He asksRoll #1 9 = 9
He keeps his spear pointed at the golden slime, and makes sure his back is covered by Amy.
"Oi lass, I hope ye've got a plan of some sort. Cause I'd like to at least know why we're moving /away/ from the one who can hit us from across the room.">>700496
Trapper glares at Shei as he leaves.>>"Are we really that useless?"
Vice chuckles in response.>"You mean in a philosophical sense, or a utilitarian one."
Trapper shakes his head.>>"Never mind, yer using big words."
Amy spins around like a dog chasing its tail to look at the two slime golems. She realizes the deviousness of the trap they are in. The ranged one being up high and in the opposite direction means that someone standing directly behind you isn't really enough. It'll just shoot over them.
Then, a funny idea comes to her.
"Hey, Zeta," Amy says with a grin. "How would you feel about taking a hit for the team? I promise I'll heal you."
"Hum.. This might not actually lead anywhere. We are already here so I may as well see what I can learn."
Shei approaches the cell to witness Pausanias' sorry state. "About as tragic as I expected. Well Chorazin, he doesn't appear to have the energy to be very lucid. I planned to investigate his dreams via projection. What do you think? I'm always open to a better plan."
If Chorazin doesn't have any suggestions then here is my astral projection roll for investigating Pausanias' dreams.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7
Flaming grins as she manages to pace herself in a good position around the mage Golem, noticing it hasn't caught up to face her head-on as she prepares one of her trade-mark headbutts. "THIS is what you get for attacking me and my friends!" She shouts, shooting up to ram head on into the Mage Golem, and attempting to send it toppling over to fall down the stair-case
[1d10+3] All or nothing
[1d10] Mantra of RecoveryRoll #1 8 + 3 = 11
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
Both Vice and Trapper get up from their seats and head for the exit.>>"So what's up? Got anywhere in mind?">"I juts figured it'd be good to get some fresh air.">>"…We don't need-">"Just…shut it. Let's just wander around.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
KP gets up.>>700500>>700499
"…How strong was that hit you took earlier?" Zjetya asks, trying to swerve from left to right to keep both golems in her line of sight. >>700498
"I'll come along," River says. "I had a decent enough time during the Splatterrock right, I should fit right in at this arena."
You recall that during that fight, River nearly went into a frenzy with the joy of battle. Kind of a wild streak, frankly.
Gjenganger nods and leads the way out the palace, followed by Busta. "It's going to be a long walk, as it's quite far," Gjenganger says. "So, why don't you tell me a bit about yourselves?">>700501
You project your spirit into his mind. When your vision clears, you are in a hazy and disorderly space, with colors and shapes vaguely moving behind thick curtains of fog. Pausanias himself is here, laying prone and semi-conscious on the ground in the foggy void, occasionally twitching with the faintest signs of life.>>700503
You smash into the golden slime's golem body, but the creature towers above you, and it is incredibly sturdy, and you hardly manage to make it move. You recover 4 Hits, but the goldem slime tries to strike you down with the butt of its staff.
After inviting Mocha and Box to come along, Vice and Trapper decide to wander around the city. After a fair bit of wandering the busy streets, you come across a young mare wandering around attempting to ask random passerby for help. However, the passerby refuse to help her, going on their way without more than a few words.Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5
Flaming grunts as her head-butt does little to move the massive golem, the buffalo staring up in surprise as it stands resolute despite a powerful blow to the back. "WOAH… okay, you're a little hardier than I thought you'd be…" she says in dismay as she tries to avoid it's downward swing, trying to think of a new plan. "Think… think… HEY!!!"
She shouts down below to the others at the bottom of the stair-case, her horns glowing white in divine protection. "Spitshine, Journey, anyone down there bring any rope!!!?">Prayer for Salvation: Automatic, target Flaming
"I didn't get hit, lass," he brags.
He's starting to get nervous at the apparent stalemate the party's reaching.
He looks up at Flaming fighting the golden golem with a fierce gaze.
"I really hope your plan works, Amy, whatever it is."
Vice and Trapper both look to each other and nod before approaching the mare.>"Do you require assistance, miss?"
Trapper does some quick thinking as Vice talks to the mare.>>"…oi Box, y'got any weapons we can use? Flow took all of his with him…cheeky prick…"
Shei-Sher clasps his hooves together and spills his aura out. He moves slowly, performing a flowing yogic dance. Working the qi of Pausanias memories to reveal information.
[1d10+1] qi working and/or PHASE AURARoll #1 1 + 1 = 2
KP stands up, wobbling a little bit. He shakes off the water to dry off a bit, feeling a bit upset at the cheap shot.>>700505>>700500>"Wait, wait, I got an idea! Quick, let's get into groups! If we all piggyback, they can't hit us since we're right on each other! I think we're even enough size and strength wise that this should work!">>700505
"Right, I remember that. Er, sorry by the way, when I hit you out that one time there."
Pryce says as he remembers back then.
"That's fine, gives us time to think out how to negotiate."
Pryce says as they follow.
"There isn't much to say about myself. I used to be a Knight for the church before the Rapture, and how we've been drifting around almost trying to help things out."
"It wasn't that bad," Amy says, waving a dismissive hoof. "Didn't even knock me down!"
"If you can take a hit in the front from an attack from that magic slime guy, that'd be awesome!"
You activate your protection spell, and manage to leap away from the heavy stone staff as it obliterates the tile where you were just standing. Undeterred, the slime strikes again, stabbing at you with the butt of its staff.
"My pet appears to have gone missing, and whatever I do, I can't seem to find it," the mare says. "Will you help me look for him?">>700508
You feel your connection to his mind drift and blur as more fog enters the void, making you feel like one about to wake from a lucid dream.>>700509
"Don't be sorry!" River says, slapping your elbow lightly. "It was a great time, I'd have been annoyed if you weren't really trying to win."
"And I'm a wandering doctor," River says. She offers a summary of your journey to Gjenganger, briefly covering the Starchart Plains, Lilane, and what happened in Mariposa, but notably leaves out everything from Fantasia and before that.
Gjenganger nods. "I'm also a medic and a mercenary. My path just happens to cross with Ecclesia's for now," he says, saying remarkably little about himself.>>700510
Zjetya appears to be mulling it over… and then flies at the golden golem.
>PausedRoll #1 7 + 3 = 10