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/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!
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File: 1557111677940.jpg (766.09 KB, 1680x1050, 1552670385441.jpg)

 No.717203[Last 50 Posts]

Last time on HolyQuest…

Threecoins' abandoned northeastern district had become a haven to a small and eclectic group of witches. No two witches were of the same race or kingdom, evidenced by the wide variety of clothing styles, skin tones and body types; they were a cross-section of witches from all regions of the known world. One of the few things they had in common was their immediate distrust of the party. All regarded our heroes with suspicion, and few would talk to them. As the party would learn, this was not without reason. The last outsider who had entered their territory had stolen the special white powder, called Dove's Incense, that the witches were using in a ritual in the city's temples to ward off the remaining demons. That outsider, as Shei learned, was almost assuredly a member of Ecclesia, as he wore an Ecclesian jacket, with a black septagram badge attached to the lapel. The Ecclesian Choir distinguished themselves with septagram necklaces, so this badge surely indicated that this thief was someone of high rank, and its black color meant that he was a member of the Morte Legionem prior to his allegiance with Ecclesia.

As all this unfolded, Flow met with three members of the Choir: Sir Ichimonji, former Governer of Merec, Metalweave, and former Accorsian Emperor, Direnus Tibault. After delivering his report on the battle with the Lich, they looked over the items that he recovered from the laboratory: a bag of white powder that caused minor hallucinations when inhaled, research notes entitled On the Construction of a Perfect Egregore, a mysterious scroll sealed by a magic binding, and a letter that accompanied all of it, reading only "Look into this," and signed by "E.I.K." The scroll contained an illustration of a monk sitting in meditation before a tree. Its seven branches each ended in a great flower's bloom, and its eight roots each ended in a serpentine dragon's head, adorned with a crown. A single word, in an ancient script, accompanied each of these seven flowers and eight dragons. Another inscription, written below the monk, was also in this script, but it could be read: Begin in Death.

Puzzled by this cryptic diagram, Ichimonji, Metalweave and Direnus advised Flow to subtly inquire about this to Sir Einmal ist Keinmal, another member of the Choir whose initials matched those upon the letter.

 No.717204

>Amy
While all of this goes on, you scout ahead, heading down the district's streets and passing several buildings, some sparsely occupied by witches, as you can see through a window here and there, but most appaear simply to be abandoned, perhaps for no other reason than that there is simply not enough people about to occupy them. These sad buildings simply droop about, empty and lifeless.

https://youtu.be/dEGBCu9kTII

After pressing on northeast toward the end of the main street, you are a considerable distance from the temple, and it's at this point that you start to notice oddities in the environment. Although the buildings are as clustered together as they were before, you notice that several of them seem to have been blended into one another, combined in a haphzard manner in a way that suggests the creator was hoping you might not notice. Other buildings are now nonsensically small and narrow, resembling thin slices of cake or uneaten bread crusts; they have all the walls and windows and the like, but they are so small that nobody would consider living in them comfortably.

You notice a similar phenomenon with the streets. In this area, the main road has split off, snaking down in several paths between the gaps in these oddly-shaped thin buildings and giant building clusters, often times circling into one another and leading whoever walks down them in strange loops. You notice this phenomenon getting worse the deeper one goes to the northeast. In time, you start to see a high, dome-like wall to the northeast, made out of many such pieces of gothic-style architecture that it is like a massive castle's wall.

>Flow

"A zcroll, you say? Urm, may I zee it?" he asks, looking about you both. "And, ah, vaz there anything elze vith the zcroll, or juzt that? It zoundz like a magic implement, you zee, and zuch thingz often have multiple components vith them."

>Shei

There is no effect as you push on the wall.
"A velvet bag? Then that confirms it; those are the bags we keep the incense in!" one of the attendants says. "Yes, please do check in with them, and we'll take it back if they did so."

>Pryce and Flaming

Lockjaw slows his thrashing down, then looks up at the rope with curiosity. He sniffs at it, appearing puzzled by its purpose. It looks like "tug of war" doesn't come naturally to a creature such as him.

 No.717207

>>717204
Flaming looks up at the towering monstrosity that is Lockjaw, still very skittish as she slowly moves out from behind Pryce to look at him.

"S-so… this is just him at his 'natural' size? He's… wow. He's big. He's REALLY big."

"Does he still listen? I mean, he isn't out of control now or anything, right?"

 No.717209

>>717207
Volkama reaches into his saddlebag, drawing out a large and well-worn leatherbound book, and flips through a few pages. "Hmm… from all that I've seen of him running around the ship, he appears to be relatively tame."

He gestures to Lockjaw's scales, a dark rich green. "See this color? It's a sign he's a young one. Young'uns have to obey the pack's leader, or they risk bringing the leader's wrath upon them – and that usually ends in their death. So long as he sees Pryce as dominant, he won't be of much trouble… probably. We may have to keep him preoccupied until we can get him shrunk down again."

 No.717211

>>717207
"I think so, or the size he'll grow up to at least."
Pryce answers.
"He has so far. He's not different than he was when he was smaller."

 No.717213

>>717209
>>717211
"Ooooh… okay, that makes sense to me." Flaming says, stepping out from behind PRyce more confidently now as though what Volkama had just explained was elementary.

"It works the same in our clan, the biggest and strongest buffalo warriors command respect from the smaller ones. So long as he sees you as the alpha, Pryce, then I guess we're safe. Although…"

She gives the creature another look. "Are you sure you can convince him you're still the alpha with him that big? He may try and challenge you…"

She looks at the rope he plays with, eying it curiously. "What's he doing with that?"

 No.717214

>>717213
>>717211
Volkama consults the book again. "Yes, they're a nomadic species by nature; young'uns stick with their parents just long enough for them to become big enough to hunt and kill on their own. Apparently, they can eat a whole village's worth of ponies in a day, and many more times that if they are agitated and become enraged, as their bodies use inordinate amounts of energy."

"I'm not sure why that's a unit of dietary measurement," Chorazin says, as she returns to your group, carrying a slab of meat on a bone; the meat is twice her size, though she carries it over her shoulder with ease. "Nor should you be saying that too loud, considering where they are. The natives will become antsy."

"Oh, they should be used to it by now," Volkama scoffs. "They've survived this long against demonkind, something like this shouldn't be anything to worry over."

Lockjaw turns from the rope to the meat, sniffing it eagerly, but turns his head toward Pryce, looking at him with expectation.

 No.717216

>>717213
>>717209
"I'll be fine," Pryce responds to the questions of his status as alpha, "I protected him during those demon fights earlier, so he knows I'm in charge and looking over him."

Pryce wiggles the rope around a little, trying to see how Lockjaw reacts.
"I'm trying to occupy him with some tug of war while Chorazin goes and gets some meat that's his size. Though, I don't think he knows how to play…"


>>717214
Pryce looks slightly grim as Volkama says deviljho's can eat and entire village.
"Taking care of him is going to be difficult… and expensive."
He looks over as Chorazin approaches with meat in tow, relief coming over him.
"She's right, let's not say all of that out loud. …And I'd like to see that book Volkama."

Pryce is about to fly down to grab the meat, but as he sees Lockjaw sniff and not go for it, he holds up the roof again in his hoof, flying over Lockjaw.
"Alright Lockjaw, if you want your snack you need to pull this rope from me first."
He shakes the rope a little more.

 No.717217

>>717214
As Volkama points out just how many ponies a single one of Lockjaw's species can eat in a day, Flaming's nerve leaves her once again, causing her to turn her head slowly towards Volkama with a hard glare. "Really? Well, that's reassuring."

She nods as Chorazin approaches, "I agree, let's keep that to ourselves."

She walks down a few steps towards the giant creature, grabbing at the rope in her teeth and pointing at it with her hoof. "Hey! Lockjaw!" She mumbles through clenched teeth. "What's this for?"

 No.717218

>>717217
>correction, Flaming doesn't pick it up in her teeth just yet
>>717216
"Hmmm… alright, I guess that's a good point. You protected him when he was young, so he probably sees you as his Papa of sorts."

"Tug of war…?" Flaming says, unsure of what that is.

 No.717219

>>717217
>>717218
Pryce flies down, landing next to Flaming.
"Oh, you might have a different term for it. It's a game of strength and strategy, where two groups each grab onto one side of the rope, and either attempt to pull a marker on the middle over a line, or to pull the rope away from the other group."
Pryce explains, holding out part of the rope for Flaming.

 No.717220

>>717219
"Hmmm, I don't think we have a game like that, actually. Most Buffalo sports involve 'pushing', not pulling. But it sounds interesting,"

She reaches forward, grabbing it in her teeth (but still leaving enough room for Pryce to grip with his magic/hooves), "Like this?"

 No.717221

>>717220
Pryce nods, taking the end of the rope around his hoof.
"Yea, just like that. So, if we can get Lockjaw to play, we'll need to pull against him. …I suppose until the rope either pulls out of his mouth or ours."

 No.717222

>>717216
>>717217
Volkama nods. "I'm sure you'll find it more than useful, Pryce – it's a fairly exhaustive bestiary. I checked it out from Fantasia's library, and it's a fascinating read. It has entries on all manner of creatures, not just from our world, but from several other worlds that Fantasia came into contact with before our own. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our world is full of creatures that might also be found in others!"

Lockjaw seems to understand Pryce's command and backs away from the meat, giving credence to Flaming's theory. Chorazin flutters away into the air, and Lockjaw approaches the rope, eyeing it with curiosity. Seeing Flaming take one end, he bites down on the other, and pulls on it, which very easily drags Flaming along with him, grinding her hooves against the cobblestones. Volkama quickly takes a hold of her shoulders, and digs in his hooves, but still Lockjaw gently pulls them along without much trouble. From nearby, LJ runs in, and grabs onto Volkama's legs, which finally brings them to a halt.

Lockjaw raises his head up at Pryce for affirmation, which nearly lifts all three of them into the air.

 No.717226

>>717221
"Alright, sounds simple enou-"

>>717222
As Lockjaw obeys Pryce's command, Flaming relaxes a little, tension leaving her as it does appear that despite his grown size, his respect for Pryce hasn't diminished a bit. However, as he tugs up on the other side of the rope, pulling her along, she suddenly tenses up once more, grinding her hooves into the cobblestone.
"HRRRRRRRRGGGGGH-!"
She grunts, trying hard to dig herself in and not let Lockjaw take another inch, despite his impressive size. As Journey and Volkama come into help, she winces, tugging hard on her share of the rope.
"Come on… everyone… HEAVE!"
[1d10] HEAVE

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.717227

>>717222
Pryce feels like this may have been a bad decision as it takes nearly the whole group to just match even with Lockjaw's strength.
"Alright, good job Lockjaw."
Pryce walks up, joining the group and taking the end of the rope, looping it around his hoof.
"Now, you have to pull this from us to get your snack, okay?"
Pryce instructs, pulling on the roep with all his might to try and match his deviljho.
>Pull! [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.717228

>>717227
>>717226
You strain mightily, but Lockjaw's neck only budges downward by a little bit, his muscles solid like thick cords of steel. With a deep breath and a groan, Volkama and LJ join into your pulling, digging in their hooves to try to wrest the rope from Lockjaw's grasp.

[1d10] Volkama
[1d10+2] LJ

Lockjaw's tail starts to swish as you strain on the rope, his eyes brightening with curiosity. He leans back down, letting you all dig in as much as you can before he starts to pull back on his end.

[1d10+4]

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #3 5 + 4 = 9

 No.717230

>>717228
Flaming looks up at Lockjaw with strained eyes, grunting to try harder to pull against the rope as her muscles ache, struggling to pull back.
"Look at him… he's just toying with us!" She bites down harder on the rope, "Alright, let's make him EARN his snack! Everyone, HEAVE… HO!!"
As she cries out, her horns glow a bright white, empowering those pulling on the rope to work towards victory
>Commandment of Harmony: Once per combat; Automatic; For 3 turns, you and all allies may ignore all Recharge periods, and the DC for all rolls is reduced by 2.

 No.717231

>>717228
Pryce's eyes widen as he sees Lockjaw barely react to all their effort. He tightens on the rope, spreading his wings to balance himself and hoping the air resistance might make him harder to pull.
"Come on Lockjaw, you need to pull harder than that!"
He encourages his pet, acting as a nice workout.
>PULL! [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717233

>>717230
A refreshing wave of spiritual energy flows forth from your horns, invigorating you and your allies. With a single tug, Lockjaw pulls you forward, but together, you manage to pull back, causing his end of the rope to slip a little out from between his teeth, slick with saliva. Volkama and LJ strain to get it out more.

[1d10] V
[1d10+2] LJ

[1d10+4] Lockjaw

>>717231
As you spread out your wings and taunt Lockjaw, you see the spark in his eyes grow brighter. He widens his stance and growls, a sound that resonates through the streets even though it's muffled by his clenched jaw. Many witches turn and look your way with shock and interest. Lockjaw yanks on his end again, and you lose your balance, stumbling forward until you crash into LJ from behind, leaning on his shoulder in a tangle of buffalo and alicorn. Chorazin flutters down and peels you off of him, as LJ is too focused on the task at hand.

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #3 4 + 4 = 8

 No.717234

>>717233
>>717231
As Pryce is pulled down from the air, crashing into Journey, Flaming looks back with fierce determination, irritatingly shouting, "PRYCE! Stop messing around, we have to win this!"

As she notices him start to loose slight grip of the rope, she grins, biting down hard on her end. "THAT'S IT! HEAVE-!"
[1d10] "HO!"

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717235

>>717233
Pryce is thrown off balance, nearly yelping from the force that tugs him forward falling into LJ.
"Th-Thanks."
Pryce says to Chorazin as she helps pull him back to his hooves. His hooves burn a little from the tight yank, starting to get some rope burn. He tightens again, grabbing it with his other forehoof now too as he stands up on his hind hooves only with the force of the rope being his balance as he pulls on the rope with all his might!
>Outstrength the Deviljho! [1d10]

>>717234
"I'm not messing around!"

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717237

>>717235
>>717234
No sooner than Flaming chastises Pryce for getting thrown off balance does she herself lose her own hoofing from Lockjaw's mighty tug, stumbling forward into the street. LJ stumbles after her, his hooves seared by minor rope burn, leaving only Volkama and Pryce on the line. His growl growing louder, Lockjaw yanks back, which flings your end of the rope into the air. Pryce is tossed free, spinning through the sky, while Volkama, holding on only through his demon strength, comes back down, dangling off the end of the rope. Lockjaw stretches up to his full height, his tail wagging with trumph, while Volkama hangs from the end like the pendulum in a grandfather clock.

"Oh dear…" Chorazin says. "After our recent victories, I wouldn't have thought that possible. Shall I give him his reward, Pryce?" she shouts up as Pryce tumbles through the air.

>>717234
LJ reaches downward to help you up. "Are you alright? Goodness, what a pet Pryce has come by!"

 No.717238

>>717237
Pryce shouts as he's thrown into the air effortlessly, the world literally spinning around him as he tumbles in the air, starting to feel sick to his stomach. He tries to spread his wings to catch himself in the air to stop before he hits the ground.
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.717239

>>717238
In the nick of time, you manage to spread out your wings and slow yourself down, and come in for an unsteady landing a little distance away from the triumphant Lockjaw. As you do, you see an elderly alpaca, clothed in a patterned poncho and walking with a staff, heading your way with a grouchy look.

 No.717241

>>717237
As Flaming is tugged off her balance, she lets out a surprised yelp, not imagining such a sudden showing of strength from Lockjaw after they had appeared to be making such progress in pulling back.

Flaming lets out a grunt as she falls free of the rope, unwillingly forced to let go of it as she collides with the cobblestone, looking up at the mighty beast as he pulls on the remainder of the rope. "D-darn it!"

She sighs, looking up at LJ, reaching up to accept his hoof. "Yeah, I'm fine. Worst hurt is my pride… I guess he REALLY wanted that meat."

 No.717242

>>717239
>>717237
Pryce lands down, wobbling intensely from the spin as he tries to hold down the little lunch he had earlier, none of it sitting well now. And it's made even worse as his hooves re sore from the pull, making it extra difficult to stand straight.
"Y-Yea! He, ugh, h-he earned it…"
Pryce shouts back to Chorazin, nauseous and sidestepping to a nearby wall to rest against. Or rather, lay his dead weight against it as he waits for the world to stop moving. He looks over at the approaching alpaca.
"D-Don't worry, he's harmless…"

 No.717244

>>717241
>>717242
Volkama hops down from the rope, and Lockjaw then looks down, seeing that he's gotten the rope as he was instructed. The thrill of battle has clearly risen up in him, even from this simple competition, and you see lines across his body start to glow red and crackle with dark energy. He takes a deep breath and twists with ecstacy, and everyone nearby crouches and covers their ears, fearing the oncoming roar.

But as Lockjaw opens his mouth to unleash an earth-shaking cry, the alpaca that approached Pryce raises her staff and utters a rapid stream of words, sharp and staccato. A clear haze surrounds Lockjaw's head, and he bellows, but no sound or force leaves his throat. The onlookers relax once they see that his roar has been silenced.

Yet Lockjaw is still frenzied with the thrill of victory, and raises a leg to stomp, with Volkama in the danger zone below him, but the elderly alpaca grunts, raising her staff once more, and spits out another quick incantation. Rapidly, winds gather around Lockjaw, swirling like a dust devil. He rapidly shrinks, until he is once more the size that he was when you first encountered him, barely more than a foot tall. He stomps around with victory, until Chorazin flies down, presenting the meat to him. He happily starts to dig into the massive hunk of meat, while Volkama backs away, breathing heavily.

The elderly alpaca turns once more to Pryce, squinting in judgment without a word.

 No.717246

>>717244
Flaming looks up after Journey helps her, her eyes suddenly filled with concern as she sees the red streaks gather along Lockjaw's body.
"Uh… is that… normal?"

As he prepares to let out a billowing roar after stomping the ground, Flaming covers her ears in preparation, only to watch as the alpaca descends to surround Lockjaw's body in smoke, looking on as she uses her magic to shrink the massive creature down to his original size agahin.
"W-what…? Lockjaw! You're…" she looks over at him, a frown on her face. "Tiny again?"

She turns towards the Alpaca as Lockjaw digs into his proffered meat, raising an eyebrow. "ARe you the one who made him big?"

 No.717247

>>717246
Volkama pants and gulps for a moment, before LJ helps him up as well. "Yes… yes it is… they're an excitable species, and if they get themselves worked up, they grow much stronger, faster and keener in sight and smell. Physical strength aside, touching the black and red energy you just saw exuding from its body can cause severe damage in itself.

The elderly alpaca shakes her head. "That would be my apprentice, Prickly Pear. Fool of a girl went and Untied the spell that was making him small in the first place, without any notion of how she would Tie it back together again, so here I am."

 No.717248

>>717244
Pryce covers his ears as Lockjaw goes to roar, but is relieved as the alpaca silences him for the ease of the town. But then as Lockjaw raises his foot, crackling with energy with Volkama under it and remembering what Volkama said about what they can eat. He gets up to rush over, but stumbles as the world seems to slip out under his hooves.
He looks up from his fall to see Lockjaw gone, eyes scanning the town in worry until he sees how he's back to his old small size. He looks back to the alpaca, silent.
"…Thank you. You must be Prickly Pear's teacher."

 No.717249

>>717247
"It was just your apprentice who made him that big?" Flaming says in awe, "Well, thank you for helping us. I don't think Lockjaw would have done any harm, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry."

She looks over at Lockjaw, smiling at him. "He was REALLY strong. We could use someone that big on our side where we're going… hey, how do you do that?" She asks curiously, "Make him big and small again?"

 No.717250

>>717248
"That I am," she says. "I'm Fairy Castle, and I want to know what she was thinking in Untying a spell on such a creature like that, and why you thought it appropriate to let this monster get himself worked up in our city. What were we supposed to do if he levelled a building, or blew out every pane of glass in a mile's radius with that roar of his?"

 No.717251

>>717249
"All that Prickly Pear did was Untie the spell that made him small – she removed the spell's effects without actually breaking the spell itself. And I just Tied the spell back up – that is, I put the spell back together again. And before you ask, I won't do it on demand so you can weaponize that little monster. Find someone else if you want to use him against demons or something like that."

 No.717254

>>717250
"She just wanted to help show what they look like normally."
Pryce says in Prickly's defense, straightening himself back up.
"But I will admit that the game was all my fault. I wasn't aware how worked up they can get, but I assure you I would have it under control. We've handled demons worse than him."

 No.717255

>>717251
>>717251
Flaming winces as Fairy Castle reprimands her student, and then Pryce as well, before sticking up for her friend. "I-It's not his fault! He had Lockjaw under complete control, he recognized Pryce as his alpha! He wouldn't have done anything to hurt anyone here in Threecoin."

She approaches Fairy Castle, her voice a softer tone. "And, you don't have to do it for us all the time, I just… I would like you to teach one of us who can use magic to do it ourselves. We'll take care of everything, is it a hard spell to master?"

 No.717256

>>717254
Fairy Castle affixes you with another one of her withering, silent stares. Somehow, you get the feeling that Prickly Pear often finds herself subjected to these. "…See to it that you keep him under control, then. You'll find that a lot easier to do if he's tiny. Whoever put that spell on him to begin with did it for a good reason."

She looks around at the rest of the nearby witches, who have gone back to their business at a safe distance. "Looks like you didn't spook them too bad; you'd be hard pressed to, anyway, after what they've been through, crossing through the Long Shadows and the Vale of Tears on their journey from Red Thunder. Since you didn't cause any serious damage, that'll be all the scolding you'll get from me."

>>717255
"I'm not so certain about that first one," Volkama sourly mutters. "He struck me as a much different beast when he was worked up just then."

Fairy Castle's eyebrows rise. "Forward, aren't you? Come in from the outside, just after that other outsider brought in trouble, then stir up even more trouble with that pet monster of yours, now you're shaking me down to learn magic!"

She claps you on the shoulder. "I'd be happy to teach someone with zeal like yours, for the right price and favors. Have you any aptitude with magic, or other supernatural arts?"

 No.717340

Post sheets and respond to >>717204 (see above for recap)!

>Flaming

"I'm not so certain about that first one," Volkama sourly mutters. "He struck me as a much different beast when he was worked up just then."

Fairy Castle's eyebrows rise. "Forward, aren't you? Come in from the outside, just after that other outsider brought in trouble, then stir up even more trouble with that pet monster of yours, now you're shaking me down to learn magic!"

She claps you on the shoulder. "I'd be happy to teach someone with zeal like yours, for the right price and favors. Have you any aptitude with magic, or other supernatural arts?"

>Pryce

Fairy Castle affixes you with another one of her withering, silent stares. Somehow, you get the feeling that Prickly Pear often finds herself subjected to these. "…See to it that you keep him under control, then. You'll find that a lot easier to do if he's tiny. Whoever put that spell on him to begin with did it for a good reason."

She looks around at the rest of the nearby witches, who have gone back to their business at a safe distance. "Looks like you didn't spook them too bad; you'd be hard pressed to, anyway, after what they've been through, crossing through the Long Shadows and the Vale of Tears on their journey from Red Thunder. Since you didn't cause any serious damage, that'll be all the scolding you'll get from me."

 No.717341

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>717256
>>717340
"I didn't think he'd be so big. I assumed he was still young."
Pryce says in his defense.

"Could you teach me as well? It would be nice to know if he ever grows again."
Pryce asks as Flaming questions about the size magic.

 No.717342

>>717340
https://pastebin.com/p1dtY3qj

At first, Flaming is taken aback a little at Fairy Castle's words: she feels concern for having earned the witch's ire, which was not something she wanted to have, and felt her stance waver as she lists off the trouble they've caused.

Still, she stands her ground, looking up at Fairy Castle resolutely, and when she's rewarded with praise for her zeal, Flaming smiles widely, letting out a small breath she didn't know she was holding. "T-thanks. That's just how we Climbing Fire buffalo do things, is to the point."

"I have a little skill with Spheres," she pauses, illustrating with a light gathered around her horns. "Is that a good start for learning the unshrinking spell?"

 No.717343

>>717341
"As it turns out, that is the size young ones end up growing to," Volkama says, dusting himself off. "He is likely just under two years old; that's around the age when most get big enough to fend for themselves and split off from their packs, otherwise they wouldn't get enough food, sticking around the alpha."

Fairy Castle points at you accusingly with her staff. "The buffalo, I'll teach if she can demonstrate the capacity. You, I have serious doubts on. A stallion just isn't suited for witches' magic, and a stallion who runs around with a little monster he can't keep in check is just bad news."

 No.717344

>>717204
https://pastebin.com/duVrvfzG

Amy giggles slightly at the odd buildings. "What kind of skinny people live here?" she thinks out loud.

She makes her way toward the dome.

 No.717345

>>717342
Fairy Castle's eyes glow as she beholds the white light about your horns. "You might as well be asking if a warrior who fights with an axe has a good start in learning how to chop wood. A similar foundation, but different skills. What you're talking about is the Cosmic Art, sometimes called the Ancient Power – something that isn't even considered magic proper. It's a set of powers far more forceful and blunt than witches' magic – like a war club compared with an epee."

She clears her throat. "All that's a convoluted way to say, 'perhaps.'"

 No.717347

>>717204
The goos sheepishly eye each other.
>>”Nay, we left it with Ichimonji.”
>”We discovered some powder along with it.”
“Inside of a lich’s laboratory,” Flow adds.

 No.717348

>>717343
"Two years already? Camelzotz made it sound more like he was still an infant."

As Fairy points her staff at Pryce, he feels insulted.
"What do you mean not suited? I'm a knight and magician, magic is my specialty," Pryce states, "And I can Lockjaw handled just fine. He wouldn't have done anything just then."

 No.717350

>>717345
As Fairy Castle starts trying to create the axe metaphor, Flaming follows along, but just barely, her eyes blinking at several points as she gets a little lost trying to follow her analogy.
"I uh… I think I understand. So it's like magic but, not really… besides that, I have some experience in using magic items, like my crown or this brooch, but I don't know any 'magic' magic. Is it hard to pick up? I mean, Pryce makes it look so easy."

 No.717353

>>717344

[1d100]

Roll #1 70 = 70

 No.717354

>>717204
https://pastebin.com/YJFusUgn

"Well just wait one second." Shei puts his bag down to fish an arm in there. He pulls out the caller conch "We can make a collect call."

Shei-Sher recites the pass phrase into the caller conch and waits on hold. When someone answers he asks.

"-Yes, this is Shei-Sher. I accompanied the ecclessians in my group on the errand you sent them for at Threecoins. Have you recently come into possession of a pagan psychedelic called dove incense?"

 No.717357

>>717344
Onward toward the dome you go, but your progress is slowed; at a certain point, the main street comes to a halt, owing to the haphazard placing of these disorderly, misshapen buidings all across the road. You make your way through narrow streets, which often turn at bizarre sharp angles. The road starts descending downward, as if into a valley, but many houses and apartments on the sides hang above you like hill-peaks.

In time, you come to a tunnel of sorts, one that appears to have been constructed out of preexisting cathedral architecture, as the roof of the tunnel is made of many interlocking thatch outer walls and slate rooftops and even panes of glass that were once beautiful stained glass windows. Multicolored falls in through gaps in the tunnel, and you see a thick garden blooming alongside the path. Ghostly white flowers bloom from the vine, resembling orchids. The tunnel zig-zags through the cluttered city, so you cannot see the end of it, but you see a number of shorter, smaller paths extending from the main tunnel.

>>717347
Keinmal's smile widens as you reveal where you found it, and barely contained enthusiasm grows in his eyes. "Und? Vere zhere notez vith it? Research? Writingz? Diagramz? Experimentz?"

>>717348
"Really now?" Chorazin says. "I had a word with him while I browsed his wares this morning. Seemed a decent chap, so I don't think he'd lie to sell merchandise."

"It could be that he *is* that young, relatively," Volkama adds. "Like how one year of our lives is like seven years for a dog's life."

Fairy Castle shrugs. "You're a stallion. Few stallions are ever born who can handle a witch's magic. It'll be no fun for you anyway. It's all sleight and craft and cleverness. True witch's magic is about using as little raw magic power as possible. You stallions all like fireballs and explosions and earthquakes."

>>717354
The Laity member puts you into touch with Ichimonji. She makes a long sigh after hearing your voice. "…Yes. Something of the sort did turn up when Flow returned from his own mission. He discovered it in a hideout belonging to a lich. But what does it have to do with your mission?"

>>717350
"Not everyone has the same capacity to use magic, and there is little that one can do to induce magic ability in someone who doesn't have the potential," Fairy Castle admits. "But, we can go through a little aptitude testing to see where you're at. Come along with me to my hut."

 No.717358

>>717353
>>717357
Multicolored light*

 No.717361

>>717357

Amy looks up at the entrance to the tunnel as she arrives in front of it. "How weird," she comments idly.

However, instead of going in the tunnel, she elects to go above it. She takes the broom off her back and gets on it.

[1d10] to fly above the tunnel

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.717362

>>717357
As Fairy Castle makes the offer to test her aptitude for magic, Flaming shakes her head. "Of course! Even if I do not have the ability to use it, I'll never know if I don't try. I'm not afraid of failing. Is it very far though? I was telling my group earlier we should 'try' to stick close."

>>717348
She turns to Pryce, "Would you be coming along with us to her hut?"

 No.717363

>>717357
"It is possible that incense you have come into possession of belong to the commune in ThreeCoins. They have inhabited the temples here and still perform the services for the obscure gods the previous populations once carried. It is apparently effective in expelling demons and warding the city from attacks however the dove incense is essential to the ritual. After working the temple's qi I saw an ecclessian made off with the heist. He is a crystal pony, with patchy skin and a peculiar extra dimensional hat. What I have to suggest is, allow the witches to inspect the incense. If it is indeed dove incense return it to the witches of Three Coins on the condition they pass along the recipe to Doctor Galton."

 No.717364

>>717357
"Well he never mentioned it, to be fair. I just assumed he wasn't shrunk that much… since I never knew how big they get."
Pryce explains.

"Craft and cleverness are my specialties! And My sister taught me plenty of sleight."
Pryce scoffs, insulted at Fairy's dismissal.
"Here, let me show you."
Pryce says, shifting his stance to shake off the toss from Lockjaw. He spreads his wings dramatically, holding one hoof up, tucking it into his robe and then attempting to pull out Fairy's necklace.
>Hat Magic [Fairy's Necklace] [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.717366

>>717362
"I plan to, but what about Shei?"
Pryce questions, though after some thought, brushes it aside.
"He's probably fine."

 No.717368

>>717366
Flaming's ears suddenly drop. "Are you suuuuure? I mean… Shei has gotten into trouble on his own before."

 No.717369

>>717362
"I'm just up the road, it's hardly far," she says, gesturing back over her shouder. "Prickly Pear's there now, so perhaps you can read a bit over her shoulder. After what she caused, she gets to do some extra lessons on why one shoudn't cast a spell if one isn't willing and able to clean up after themselves, too."

>>717364
With a flourish, you produce Fairy Castle's necklace, and she looks down at her neck, only to find that it is gone, and that you took the genuine article. "…Oh, alright. If you had a sister to teach you, I suppose you might know a thing or two after all. Rare for a stallion."
You notice that she turns and winks at Flaming at this.
"Come along then. Will anyone else be coming?"

>>717363
Ichimonji takes a while to respond, and you hear her speaking with two others on the conch. It is only after much discussion that you hear her voice once more.
"If what you say is true, then we need to keep this here for now – first to examine the incense and possibly identify a recipe ourselves, and to question the operative you say took the incense. Your description sounds very much like one of the Spooks, Sir Einmal ist Keinmal's, to be exact. Once we've finished with this, then we will… consider this offer."

>>717361
You're still a little shaky on the broom at first, but you ease into the balance once you build up some momentum and take to the air. After soaring above the tunnel, you get a much clearer view of the area around you and between you and the dome. This entire area shows signs of structural re-arrangement; below, houses and huts, peasants' dwellings, seem to have been combined with others into mega-structures, or split apart and made into several smaller copies. Many medium-height watchtowers stand between you and the dome, and they have been adorned with beautiful liturgical art, stained glass icons of gods and demigods, appropriated from other structures of worship.

Up ahead, in the air, you see Zjetya floating about, looking quite disoriented. She's a good distance ahead of you, but you can't recall having ever seen her pass you, either above or below.

 No.717370

>>717368
"I know, but for him I believe wouldn't consider the thought of causing trouble in a temple. Though… maybe it wouldn't hurt to check in on him quickly."

 No.717375

>>717357
The three goos collectively pause out of confusion.
“Nnno…no notes.”
>”What’s with the sudden interest?”

 No.717376


 No.717377

>>717369

Amy squints when she sees Zjetya. At first, she's unsure of what she's seeing. But, when she figures it out, she's equally unsure as to why she's seeing it.

"Zeta?" Amy calls out in confusion as Amy flies toward her.

 No.717380

>>717369
Pryce doesn't read into the wink, looking back at Chorazin and Volkama, and any of the others that might be around if they're coming along.
"I know one that's coming along to be certain."
Pryce says, grabbing the large hunk of meat in his telekinesis to carry Lockjaw over, keeping an eye on his little deviljho.

 No.717381

>>717375
Keinmal then looks surprised. "Vait… really? No notez? Zhat lazy pile of bones! You give zomeone vone zimple tazk, and zhey cannot even do zhat right."

He then clears his throat. "Perhapz I'm getting too var ahead of zhings. I gave zhat zcroll, und zhat incenze, to the very lich from whom you retrieved zhem. None of the recordz of occultic lore in Ecclesia's librariez had any uzeful information on it, zo I figured, why not enlizt zomeone who would have a deeper connection the dark artz? Zhe lich vas zhe perfect candidate… or at leazt, zo I hoped. Deciphering zhat zcroll's contentz may very vell be zhe key to Ecclesia's continued survival after zhe Treibheanna attacks."

 No.717383

>>717370
"Let us do that quickly, just so the others know where we've gone, and then we'll make our way there."

>>717369
As Fairy mentions how her apprentice may be in trouble, Flaming can't help but snicker, reminded of all the times she'd get into trouble herself back with her clan. "Understood. I just need a moment to let my friends know where I'm going, then we're on our way."

 No.717387

>>717369
"Wait, wait, wait. Please reconsider. Threecoins is infested with demons. Their rank likely reaching down to Tormentors and Counts. A month has passed since their last ritual in service to the gods protecting this land. I understand there is some politcial juncture between angels and primal deities that is -put simply- not very compatible, but without that incense a couple hundred women and children will die. Let the sisters here send a few envoy to at least develop a relationship with Ecclessia, for mercy's sake."

Diplomacy roll [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.717391

>>717381
Both Vice and Trapper sheepishly inch away from Flow. ShadFlow remains as Flow’s shadow, silent and still.

“Oh. We, kinda kicked the daylights outta him.”
>”But furthermore, why go so far as to enlist the likes of that lich?”

 No.717395

>>717377
Zjetya turns with surprise upon hearing your voice, and floats your way, touching the broomstick first, as if she doubts that it's real. "Amy… it really is you! This whole area's been fucking with me. Every time I turned a corner, or went under an arch, or turned around, it was like the whole area had rearranged itself into another shape, so I kept losing my place. I came here looking for you, just to… you know. Get away from the others."

>>717383
"Mine's the last hut on this street, the one with all the dove orchids at the front," Fairy Castle says. "Once you're done, come on by."

>>717380
Chorazin shakes her head. "I've no interest, but I'll accomany Flaming and check in with the rest of our allies, wherever they've gone."
Rus Tea steps forward, next to Volkama. "If I may, I'd care to test my capacity for magic as well."
"I make no promises on the outcome," Fairy Castle warns. "I can't give you the ability if your test comes back poor."
"Very well," Rus says.

As you scoop up Lockjaw, you find that he is asleep, having devoured the large mutton chop partway. It looks like he fell asleep in the middle of eating.

>>717387
Another pause, followed by another muffled discussion on the other end of the line. "…Very well," Ichimonji says. "For their sake, we shall send it right away. Doctor Galton shall oversee the Incense's safe delivery herself. They will have it by sunset."

>>717391
"I am a ztallion who loved my homeland, Accorzia, very, very much. Zhe empire, at itz peak, spanned thousands of miles, putting dozens of major kingdomz and hundredz of minor fiefdomz under itz rule. Art flourizhed in the citiez, und zhe farmlandz bloomed vith bountiful harveztz each zeason. The lordz and noblez ruled vith fairnezz and glory, und zhe people knew zheir place in zhe vorld. Even zhough zhe people vere divided into caztez, only zhe poorezt knew vhat it vas like to be hungry, zhanks to the Union… und to zhe generous foster zystem of zhe Morte Legionem.

He sighs with nostalgia. "Ja, even vhen zhe empire began to decline, veakened by dizcontent in zhe outer kingdomz and border dizputez between zhe minor lordz, zhe vas beautiful und mighty… und zhe Rapture took it all avay from us. Now, zhe iz a zmoldering pile of rubble und blood, not even a shadow of her former glory, not even a corpze, but a bloody mezz of pointlezz death und destruction."

He sets his hooves on the desk and leans in. "But zhat zcroll… might be able to change all zhat. It might be able to revive Accorzia, not just az a kingdom, but zomething more."

 No.717399

>>717395

"Then, how did you get ahead of me?" Amy asks, cocking her head in a combination of confusion and suspicion.

[1d10] to study her reaction for any falsehood

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.717400

>>717395
Pryce smiles as she sees Lockjaw tuckered himself out, the size change must've spent up a lot of energy, but at least he'll be cooperative now. Plus there's still more of the mutton for later to keep him occupied.
"You all can head on if you like, I'll check on Shei and then catch up with you."
Pryce says to the group, setting Lockjaw on his back, carrying the chop in his magic and entering the temple.

 No.717403

>>717395
Flaming bows her head towards Fairy Castle, "Of course, I'll be right there! And thanks again!"

She looks up towards Chorazin as she offers to accompany her, "Alright then, let's go find Amy and Shei, just let them know where we'll be, then we'll get going. I can't believe… I-I might actually get to learn MAGIC like Pryce, or Shei, or Amy. Who knows how useful that'll be once we go into Tartarus."
>Seeking out Shei or Amy, whoever is closest

 No.717405

>>717399
Zjetya pauses, searching your face for a while, an uncomfortable pause, surely longer than necessary for trying to come up with an explanation. Something about it causes the fur on the back of your neck to rise in instinctual wariness.

"…The hell if know. Those witches, they said something about Regina testing spells, right? Maybe there's some kind of… space magic in place. Yeah, space magic. That's possible, right? Look, we're not gonna find out just floating here, are we? We should explore onwards."

 No.717406

>>717395
Shei-Sher releases a pleased sigh "Thank you.. The receiving party will be waiting at the Three coins Temple" Before hanging up on the line.

Shei-Sher turns back to the witches, ambling closer to them as before he was pacing the floor tense "You may be at ease. Ecclessia's chief alchemist is observing the Dove Incense's return. You can expect it by sunset."

Shei plops down onto a temple bench "Your community is quite large. It would be wise to develop some strategy for handling Ecclessia. As their influence grows, this will not be the last time they tamper with life in Threecoins."

 No.717408

>>717405

Amy narrows her eyes, but then closes them completely and smiles. "Alright. Makes sense to me. Let's check out that dome!"

Amy leads the way to the dome.

 No.717410

>>717395
The three goos remain silent.
>”You mean to tell me a simple scroll can fix all of that?”
Vice pipes up, with genuine intrigue.
>”What kind of power could restore Accorsia to its former glory?”

 No.717411

>>717408
>>717405

"Anyway, Zeta," Amy adds as they fly. "If you're going to keep running away from your problems, then you should really reconsider my offer."

 No.717414

>>717400
>>717403
Lockjaw snores and kicks his leg as he rides on Pryce's back, and with Chorazin, you head for the Temple of Lakaeum once more. The dolls standing guard have unlocked the temple, seeing as Shei has already let himself in, and allow you to enter. You see that the Temple is a long corridor, filled with rows of carpets, with cushions arranged outward in rings. They are centered around a great pit in the floor. From the ceiling hangs a constallation of incense-burners, all empty. Stained glass fills the ceiling and the walls, depicting heroic warriors and saints bearing sacred relics.

Inside, speaking with the witches, you see Shei sitting on a bench against the wall, talking with a group of robed attendants.

>>717406
"Eccesia, that's the organization that the outsider was from?" an attendant asks. "It's been so dreadfully long since we've had word from the outside world, we know little of how the world has changed since we last saw it."

>>717411
"Offer…?" Zjetya asks, looking back at you briefly with a look of confusion, before she catches herself. "Uh… yes, I did indeed give thought to that. I… will take you up on it. To go do the… what you offered."

She clears her throat.

>>717408
As you fly toward the dome, several bits of the landscape below you shift and vanish, going through the process of rearrangement and reconstitution that Zjetya just mentioned. You sense a great deal of magic energy running through the city's streets, and realize that your magic sense has been growing stronger as of late.

Eventually you reach the dome, finding that there are many deliberately placed openings in its shell, with platforms extending out, landing strips for fliers. Through the openings in the dome, you see a massive stone compound, composed of several interconnected halls, resembling a great stone palace more than a library. The compound is rich with white flowering plantlife, and water flows up around the palace like a moat.

>>717410
"The power to create a god," Keinmal says.

"Accorzia az a country might be dead, but Accorzia az a people livez on," he continues. "Godz are beholden to the beliefz und prayerz of their vorshipperz. Faith iz zheir very lifeblood. If vhat I have heard about zhis zcroll provez to be true, zhen may be possible to rezurrect Accorzia, not as as an empire, fallible, subject to decay or conquezt, but as a fierce und terrible guardian deity, through zhe faith of every Ecclezian who believez truly in the Accorzian zpirit!"

 No.717416

>>717414

"Hmm," is all Amy has to say in response to Zjetya.

Amy lands on one of the platforms and looks in through the opening. "So, Zeta, where do you think we should go from here?"

 No.717420

>>717416
"I think we should go back and get the others," 'Zjetya' says, sticking behind you, just out of sight. "We haven't faced any security yet. Guards, familiars, or even magical wards or traps or anything like that. That doesn't sit right with me. I'd have thought we'd have hit something by now, but we're already here without any resistance. Seems like a lure right into the belly of the beast, doesn't it?"

 No.717421

>>717414
While Keinmal delivers his description, ShadFlow slinks away from the room, and looks for Ichimonji’s office once more.

The three goos all lean inward, curious.
>”A god?”
>>”Yer pullin me leg right?” Trapper looks around, a little more confused than the other two.

 No.717424

>>717414
>>717400
Flaming looks up at Lockjaw as he snores, snickering to herself. "I think I like him this size. Poor Spark will get jealous if he gets that much bigger than him so soon." She reaches into her saddle bag to gently nudge the head of her infantile dragon as well, feeling affectionate.

>>717414
>>717406
As they enter the temple, Flaming takes a moment to look around, admiring the interior, remembering what the other witches had said earlier about the importance this place had to them while curious if she could see any sign of the 'new gods' they mentioned without the incense.

As she sees Shei gathered by the robed figures, Flaming coughs, trying to grab their attention. "Uh, hey Shei? Sorry if I'm interrupting, we were just coming in to check in. We were going to head a little further up the street, is everything good here?"

 No.717425

>>717414
>>717387
Pryce looks up as they enter the temple, the massive hall, ornate ceiling, and stained glass give him fond memories back in his days in the Church. He feels a bit lighter and eased with the bit of nostalgia, approaching Shei as he sees him off to the side.
"There you are Shei. We heard you came in here, and wanted to make a quick check before we went off on the town."

 No.717431

>>717420

Amy cocks her head. "I don't know why anyone would want to trap us, though. It's not like we want to hurt anyone here."

Then, Amy shrugs. "Come on, Zeta," she says, gesturing for her to follow. "If there's a trap, we should find it before everyone gets caught in it."

Amy enters the dome.

 No.717432

>>717424
Pryce chuckles.
"Lockjaw does have him outclassed in his natural size. You know, it's a good thing we found somepony who knows this size magic. I heard dragon's can get pretty large too, and Spark will grown up at some point."

 No.717433

>>717414
"I think I should speak with your village elder. Or someone resembling leadership in this fractured commune you call a society. You should be taking advantage of this opportunity to repay Ecclessia's generosity with an '''alliance'''" Shei painfully puts in quotes "You should all be made aware of the great war that is coming and be prepared for it. And in the long term, you could take husbands from the laity and mortelegion. Establish some matriarchial hold in Ecclessia's heart, -I also can't very well imagine you are at all satisfied with the scale of men around here." Shei says that last bit looking off to the side

"Your people could grow, otherwise I can't see this little world of yours surviving longer than a single generation. The heart of Ecclessia are not strangers to making concessions to pagan outliers either. Their predecessor Accorssia, made gratuitous arrangements for buffalo and other savages."

 No.717435

>>717432
"I'm sure, but I don't think it'll happen for a while. Spark is only just starting on his hoard, he needs to make it a lot bigger before he grows up. I don't even know if I have enough space for him to put a hoard."

>>717432
>"Their predecessor Accorssia, made gratuitous arrangements for buffalo and other savages."
As Flaming approaches Shei, her ears suddenly perk up, and a dark glare suddenly casts over her face.
"Buffalo and other WHAT was that now?"

 No.717436

>>717424
Shei-Sher is a bit too engrossed with the witches to pay you any mind. He does let the 'buffalo and other savages' line slip out in your presence

 No.717440

>>717435
"Well, you could shrink his hoard down to carry it in your bag," Pryce suggests, "It looks like he's settled in there enough already."

 No.717441

>>717421
ShadFlow finds Ichimonji at her desk once more. Metalweave and Direnus are gone, but now she speaks with Doctor Galton, whom you recognize from your first visit to Lilane. She has the head of a phoenix, and the body of a tiger, with a labcoat that has a black septagram stitched into it. They are in the middle of a conversation, but it pauses once they notice ShadFlow.

Galton bends down and plucks off a piece of his body with her bare talon, and puts it into her coat pocket. "Hullo. You look familiar… have we met?"

Keinmal doesn't let up his smile, his chest filling with national pride. "I don't joke about zhiz kind of zhing. I have poured endlezz hourz of rezearch into zhiz endeavor. Combing deztroyed librariez, uncovering ancient templez und conzulting all manner of zpiritz und even demons for vhat zhey know. Godz can die if zhey do not have anyvone to vorzhip, deteriorating into lesser beings, even vanizhing vrom zhe vorld altogether.

"I thought, zhen, perhapz it might be pozzible zhat zhe reverze vas true. Und zhe anzer might very vell be in zhiz zcroll, if I can only decipher it! It came not vithout great price… und it came vrom zhe Treibheanna zhemzelves, from vone ov zhese beings who vonce vas a god, und vell vhen zhe lazt of hiz worzhipperz vas killed in a crusade."

>>717424
Spark nibbles your hoof affectionately, not too hard.

>>717425
>>717424
>>717433
The attendants listen carefully to Shei's description of Ecclesia, and as he brings up the possibility of alliance, or even of assimilation through marriage, they start to get curious. "That'd be Regina's decision to make, in the end… there's little chance she'd want to just ally with them, though. She's not the type to cooperate, exactly. We stay down here and fulfill whatever demands she makes of us, and that's the most that any of us have to interact with her. We like it that way, frankly."

>>717431
Zjetya pauses again as she sees you head into the dome, alone. "Well, if you think they'll see it that way…" she says, following after you. You hear a bit of a smile in her voice.

As you fly into the dome, you feel an incredible magic presence radiating from the palace, a kind of draining feeling that doesn't affect you personally, but causes the broomstick to weaken and slow, threatening to fall right out of the air, as it gets closer, possibly some kind of anti-magic ward. There is a garden area below you, with a path connecting it to the palace grounds, and it seems to be the only place in the dome that doesn't have that magic-weakening feeling.

Beyond that, there are four main buildings that make up the compound, a guild hall in the southern section, a library in the western section, a cathedral like area in the eastern section, and the palace itself to the north.

 No.717444

>>717441

Amy makes her way down to the garden. "Helloooo?" she calls out loudly for anyone to hear in the general area.

"Any new friends around? I won't bite, I promise! Unless you want me to!"

[1d10] with compassion to call out friends!

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717447

>>717425
"Oh? Are we leaving already? Hold on just one moment this is important."

>>717441
"Well then I suppose I will have to speak with Regina then. Now which one of you will be coming with me?" Shei says that last bit with a presumptive smile. It is the least bit they can do for him in return for his help.

 No.717448

>>717436
"HEY!" Flaming stomps her hoof again, trying to grab Shei's attention. "Helloooooo, Shei, you there? I'm talking to you!"

>>717440
>>717441
Flaming snickers again, "Shrink the hoard along with him, huh? Well, I guess that would work out, it's all the same size to him either way.

She feels her hoof lightly nibbled as she pets Spark's head, reaching down to scratch underneath his chin.

>>717441
>>717436
Flaming's ears perk up, "You're trying to get the witches to make an alliance with Ecclessia? I'm sorry, we got here late, what's this all about exactly?"

 No.717449

>>717444
"Helloooo? Any new friends around? I won't bite, I promise! Unless you want me to!" a voice calls back, a toneless, muted voice answers back, sounding flat, without shape or even any variance in the pitch. It's a very uncomfortable thing to hear, but it echoes outward from the park area, not from the compound proper.

 No.717451

>>717448
>>717447
The attendants click their tongues, all hissing like someone who really really doesn't want to do something.
"We're busy."
"This place doesn't keep itself clean."
"And Regina would be very, very cross if the Temples were ever not clean, you understand."
"Perhaps another witch could help advocate for this alliance? Just not us."

 No.717452

>>717441
>>717447
"You're heading to Regina already?"
Pryce questions as he walks into the conversation, and Shei passing on filling him in.
"I know we added that to our plan, but I assumed we'd scout around more. We still don't know much about her."

>>717448
"Has he started to hoard anything yet?"

 No.717453

>>717449

Amy cocks her head and frowns a disappointed frown. She turns to 'Zjetya'. "Is that what you are?" she asks in a disappointed tone, pointing in the direction the voice is coming from.

[1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.717455

>>717448
"Ba-a-a-ah, leave us be. There isn't a chance in hell I will let you foil the witches of Threecoins hope for circumventing Ecclesia's careless bullying." Shei shoos you away like a studious uncle annoyed by his niece.

>>717441
"She's an Ecclesian." Shei nudges his head in Flaming's direction "Something to know about the outside world. Never trust an Ecclesian."

 No.717456

>>717448
Spark's back leg kicks at the air, scratching your chest-fluff quite pleasantly as he does.

 No.717457

>>717441
ShadFlow bares a smile, and offers a hoof to shake.
>"Yes…and no, Doctor. I am…an emissary…of Flow's."

The three goos keep silent, and look amongst each other.
>>"A way to make yer own bloody god, eh?"
"Crap."
>"And we just let it slip past our hooves."

 No.717458

>>717452
"No that's fine, we can reasonably stay the Regina element of our itinerary for last. I am just planning ahead."

>>717451
"Platry excuses." Shei huffs. "So be it, which one of you will help me find a suitable advocate? Bear in mind, I am very fond of this little world you have all made. I was Aliester Crow-ley's only student if that name means anything to you. Your help will go a long way in your home's preservation."

 No.717459

>>717458
>platry
Paltry

 No.717460

>>717453
"Is that what you are?" the toneless voice echoes. Zjetya doesn't offer an answer, instead looking at you as if you had just spoken nonsense syllables.

You head a little deeper into the park, past sections of carefully curated trees and flower bushes, following the sound of the voice. The plants are a deep orange and red, fiery swaths of sunset colors, made dim by their presence under the dome's shadow, with limited sunlight. You soon see a patch of white orchids, the only splash of white among the autumn colors. This is where you heard the voices from, but you don't hear them again.

 No.717461

>>717458
"What have you found so far then?"

 No.717462

>>717452
"Well… KIND of. I found out he really likes spices, he's horded a bit of the supply we use at breakfast for spicy tea and the like."

>>717451
>>717455
Flaming looks around the attendants as they voice their concerns with the alliance, "I mean, I hear you guys have plenty of reason not to trust Ecclessia right now, but besides this ONE guy they're not that bad of a group, we- WOAH!"

As Shei starts bahing and pushing at her to get out, shooing her away, Flaming grunts, running away from the ire of the goat. "A-alright, alright! I just wanted to come in to tell you I'm going to be up the street a ways. Tell Amy when you see her, okay?"

She begins to exit the Temple, willing to let Shei continue with his negotiations on his own. "Don't say anything that'll get us in trouble, we're guests here. And I'm remembering that savages comment!"

>>717456
Flaming giggles as the kicking scratches her as a result, reaching down to pull Spark out entirely (if he does not mind) from the bag to rest on her horns. "Come on Spark. We're going to learn if I have what it takes to perform magic."

 No.717463

>>717457
Galton returns the shake heartily. "So, er… what may I help you with?"
Ichimonji leans in to ShadFlow, keeping her voice low. "What'd you find out? What's Keinmal up to?"

"Ja, you have done very vell to bring zhis back to me, but it is an utter crime zhat zhe lich vas not able to provide any deeper insight into itz contentz." He sighs and leans on his hoof, clicking his tongue. "Ach, zhat'z a real pickle for me, in all honezty. I've combed zo many of zhe archivez in zhiz region… vhere am I to look now?"

 No.717465

>>717461
"Erm, well the temples here were lacking a psychoactive for their pagan rituals. Dove Incense. As it turns out Ecclesia was responsible in it's theft. I only got off the conch with Ichimonji a moment ago. Their Dove incense should arrive by sunset and the City will be protected by primal gods once more. The gesture should not be wasted however. A prime opportunity for the witches to grease elbows with our angel inclined friends."

 No.717470

>>717460

"Do you even actually understand me?" Amy asks, cocking her head to the other side.

 No.717471

>>717452
>>717458
>>717455
The attendants take time to discuss this matter among themselves, and then turn back to the two of you. "The fact that you've looked into the theft of the Dove Incense is all well and good, but you're still outsiders. You have to understand, where we're from, things are different than what you're used to. Your willingness to help is something to be regarded with suspicion. It's not just that we're against outsiders because of that one Ecclesian who stole it, we've always been at odds with those who aren't witches."

"The only witch I can think of who might be willing to sponsor you is Fairy Castle. In our homeland, Fairy Castle was always the one we relied on whenever people from the villages came by with torches and pitchforks, blaming us for a bad harvest or death of livestock. She could always get both the villagers and Regina to calm down, and de-escalate a fight."

>>717462
Spark settles into the fluff of your mane, warming the top of your head with his breath, which makes a whistling noise. You find Fairy Castle's hut at the end of the road, a quaint little house of stone and straw. Inside, it is structured much like a peasant's hovel, a one room affair with bedrolls in one corner, a firepit in the back, and cushions around a small table made out of a stone slab. Prickly Pear sits at the slab, reading a large book, while in the back, Fairy Castle waters some plants by the windowsil.

Seeing you, she smiles. "Finally free to practice?"

>>717470
"…Of course I do? Everything you've said til now has made perfect sense," Zjetya says. "Just now, though, it sounded like you had like… phlegm in your throat. Were you saying something? And what were you pointing at?"

 No.717472

>>717471

Amy deadpans at whatever she is talking to.

"What is your name?" she asks in a serious tone.

 No.717474

>>717472
"Zeta!" Zjetya shouts back, taking a step back. "What are you questioning me for all of a sudden? What's your name, huh? And how long have you been a dog?"

 No.717475

>>717471
As Flaming feels the top of her head warmed up by Spark's soft breath, she smiles, reaching up to pull a tuft of her curly auburn hair over his head to give him shade as she enters FAiry Castle's hut, curious looking around at the very humble surroundings. She raises an eyebrow, not quite expecting such a modest home for a powerful witch, and turns to look at the pony in the corner, Flaming quickly realizing it to be the punished apprentice.

When Fairy appears herself, Flaming smiles, nodding her head gently (to avoid disturbing Spark), "Absolutely! Thanks for waiting, I just had to check in on one or two of my friends."

As she moves in, she takes her saddlebag and lays it on the stone table, looking around as she asks. "So, are we doing it in here or did you have some kind of big magic library you like to practice magic in or…?"

 No.717478

>>717475
>pony
*alpaca

 No.717480

>>717463
>“The Others are still… Prodding for clues,” he replies, airy and wavery.

>”I have a qUeSTion, MiSS… hoW stRongLY do yOu belIEVe in Ecclesia?”


Flow sighs, and reaches into his jacket to retrieve what else Trapper had found from the lich’s lab.
“Well, we did find this.”
He holds up the copy of “On the Construction of a Perfect Egregore.
“I’m assuming an Egregore is similar to what you just described to us.”

 No.717481

>>717462
"Spices? I would've figured something more metallic. I wonder if he'll favor food more then."
Pryce says, then laughs.
"Lockjaw will have some competition for hunting then."

>>717465
"Ecclesia stole something from here? But… Gegenschien said none of their agents could get deep into the city."
Pryce says in confusion, then pauses for a moment.

>>717471
>>717465
Pryce slips off his bracelet, holding it in his hoof and looking to Shei and the attendants.
"How accurately can you describe this Dove Incense, and what it was held in?"


>>717471
>>717465
"Fairy Castle? That' convenient, I was just about to go learn a spell from her. Looks like our paths lined up Shei."

 No.717482

>>717474

"That's not even your real name," Amy says accusingly. "And, the real you always objects when I call her that!"

"I was hoping you were just some witch in disguise or something. Someone who would reveal who they really were when they got less shy and saw I was nice. But, now I'm not so sure."

 No.717485

>>717471
"I was raised in the occult. My ilk are anathema. I am just as much a warlock as you are a witch." Shei attests his solidarity with the witches "I will find Fairy Castle then. It was good to make your acquaintance." Shei nods his head in a bowing motion. And then takes his leave.

Assuming Pryce tells Shei how to find Fairy Castle.

>>717481
>Gegenschien said none of their agents could get deep into the city."
"Must have been bad information."

>Looks like our paths lined up Shei."

"Very good, you can introduce me to Fairy Castle."

 No.717488

>>717475
As you enter, Prickly Pair gets up from her studies with a stretch, and retrieves some earthenware cups, filling them from a nearby barrel with fresh water.

"We have everything we need right here," Fairy Castle says, gesturing to the stone slab. "Sit, get yourselves comfortable. Now earlier, you said you knew how to use those old powers, but what do you really know of magic? What do you know of the Spirit, or as some call it, Karma? And what do you know of the Soul?"
Chorazin sits at the slab, turning toward you with interest rather than answer first.

>>717480
"More than anything," Galton says resolutely. "It is the best hope for the future that the people of Accorsia have for peace. And, with all the others we have helped to recruit, the remnants of the lost kingdoms of the Old World, it may very well be what saves all memory of the Old World."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Ichimonji asks.

Keinmal turns pale as you hold up the book. "Ach… the Lich's notez, I presume. Yez, in theory. An Egregore iz a kind of 'group consciouznezz,' a being formed from zhe zhoughts of more zhan vone perzon, exizting zemi-independently of any vone individual'z thoughtz, unlike a Zervitor or a Zigil, both of which depend on a zingle perzon'z zhoughts in order to maintain zheir form. How zhen, iz an Egregore different zhan a god? Truly, zhere are very few differencez, so zhat is vhy I requested that he look into zhe concept and give me hiz findingz."

He smiles. "Zo I muzt azk, dear Flow. Did you hide zhis from me intentionally?"

>>717485
>>717481
"It's a bag of white powder, fine granules, carried in a velvet pouch, about the size of your head," the attendant says to Pryce, with hope growing on her face. "There were three that we had left. Can you get them back now?"

>>717482
'Zjetya' starts to blink rapidly, her mouth hanging open and jawing at the air, trying but unable to form a response. "I… I need to check with the others, see what they have to say. You're just not making sense."

She starts to flap her wings, but they don't cause her to lift into the air, instead moving slowly, ineffectually. She looks at them now with disbelief. "Wh-what? Why aren't…"

 No.717490

>>717488
"I might be able to. I'm quite skilled in conjuring magic, but if I know on object almost exactly, I can call it to me. I just hope that's good enough for me to pinpoint it."
Pryce says, seeing their hope grow and not wanting to dash it. He reaches one hoof through his bracelet, focusing on the image the attendant described in his mind, picturing it as if he was really seeing and then feeling it as he pull's his hoof back to show…
>Hat Magic [Dove Incense] [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.717491

>>717481
"Yeah, I thought the same thing! I don't know if it's just because he's young and he likes the smell, or if dragons make their own 'treasure' based on what they like, or if he'll like gold more later, or what… but, I figure I got to let Spark figure that out for himself. He'll know what he'll want to hoard more than anyone."

She smiles as she looks at Lockjaw again. "I think that's cheating. Spark still has to grow up, Lockjaw is already an adult!"

>>717488
Flaming does as she's instructed by the old alpaca, moving up towards the nearest chair to the stone slab and sitting herself upon it. She looks up towards Fairy as she asks her of magic, Flaming has to concentrate hard, "Well… as I said, I really only know how to use these old powers. I knew shamans in my clan who used real magic, those who would call upon the spirits of the old gods like Vir-can for power… and, come to think of it," she reaches up, pointing at her newly acquired chieftain tattoos. "I have a little experience with that too but, not enough to control it. I know how to open up Dark Corridors with it though. And I know lots of ponies in my clan who use real magic but, I have only been able to pick up on so much. A lot of it…" Flaming blushes, sheepishly mumbling. "Kind of… goes over my horns."

 No.717492

>>717490
You feel a hoof slap yours on the wrist, and hear Ichimonji rambling in the Jibayin language, followed by Doctor Galton's laugh. Your spell then ends.

 No.717494

>>717488
"A little patience. The agent I spoke to said you will have your incense by sundown. All you have to do is wait by the temple for their arrival."

 No.717495

>>717488

Amy furrows her brow. "What ARE you?"

 No.717501

>>717490
"So? Will we be leaving to Fairy Castle's now?"

 No.717503

>>717491
"He's not an adult, deviljho's just grow up really fast apparently. It'll make for good competition then, help Spark train even faster."

>>717492
Pryce pulls his hoof back, sighing.
"Sorry, looks like I can't get it now. I'll try again in a little bit though."
He apologizes to the attendants, putting his bracelet back on.

>>717492
>>717501
"Yes, let's catch up with Flaming and the others."
Pryce says, departing the temple and heading to Fairy Castle's with Shei.

 No.717504

>>717488
ShadFlow’s grin seems to widen to Galton’s response, and he turns to face Ichimonji.
“I… aPOlogize, it’s a SIMple… musing,” he says with an air of mischief.

Flow hands the book over to Trapper.
>>“Aye, when yer spelunkerin an find a note like this,” Trapper holds up the note with EIK on it, “D’ya really blame us fer not being up front?”
He hands the note back to its owner, as well as the book.
>”Does anyone else know just what you’re researching, Sir Keinmal? Tempting fate like this…” Vice sounds uneasy.

 No.717506

>>717491
"It's alright, magic can come to those who are gifted in it, and it can also come to…" she fishes for a polite way to phrase this. "…to those who need more practice. But all should at least know a little theory, to give them something to envision, something they can imagine, that can bring out their magic."

"The act of using Magic is an act of shaping, manipulating, creating or even destroying Spirit using one's Soul," Chorazin says. "The Spirit is to the Soul what breath is to the body, inextricably linked."
"Yes, that's a good foundation," Fairy Castle says. "Everything in the world has Spirit, and so everything can be affected by Magic. When you use Magic, you send out your Spirit to interact with the Spirit of another being or object. This requires knowledge, of course. Knowledge about what you intend to do, how you will do it, and to what degree you will do it.
Moreover, you must know your target, and you must know yourself – what you can and cannot do. Every act of Magic is a permanent change on the world. You cannot take anything back. Every spell must be deliberate."

>>717504
Ichimonji bops ShadFlow on the head, but lightly. "Get back in there and spy on him."

Keinmal looks at the note with wry amusement. "Perhapz I vaz ill-advized to leave mein initialz, but I had to get zhe materialz to him via dead drop, so he needed some way of knowing it vaz indeed me."

He shakes his head. "Not yet. Not until I know zhiz can be done vill I come forward vith my findingz, und my full report. Az I zaid… I didn't obtain zheze materialz vithout cozt. If und vhen I know I can bring back our glorious homeland from zhe dead vith zhiz, I zhall accept mein punishment vith nothing but a zmile on mein face."

"But you, you are in a pozition now to reveal mein planz before zhey can ever come to fruition, if you are zo inclined. Vhat vill you do, now that you have heard vhat I intend?"

>>717503
>>717501
You make your way down to Fairy Castle's cottage, down at the end of the road (see >>717471). As you enter the small one room cottage, you see Chorazin, Rus Tea and Flaming sitting with Prickly Pear and Fairy Castle, two alpaca witches, as they discuss magic. Fairy Castle nods as you enter, but doesn't let up her focus from Rus, Flaming and Chorazin.

>>717495
"I… I'm…!" 'Zjetya' says, struggling to form words, as her wings fail her. Growing angry and confused, she looks up at you and raises her hoof, as if to lash out at you with violence. "I'm…!"

https://youtu.be/S4JdsD8aC4I

Her body shudders, and her eyes widen with horror.

"…Incomplete," another female voice says, stern and icy, through 'Zjetya's' mouth.

White petals appear along her skin, like the orchids you saw earlier. They manifest until they cover the whole of her body, and then start to blow away in an unfelt breeze, causing her body to slowly, gradually vanish, piece by piece.

 No.717508

>>717506
Pryce enters the cottage, and seeing Fairy Castle in the middle of her lesson on teaching Flaming, he silently sits down and waits for her introduction to finish.

 No.717509

>>717506

"Wait, where's the real Zeta!" Amy asks desperately before she disappears.

[1d10] for answers

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717510

>>717509
"Oh. She's around. Somewhere around here, probably. I'm sure she's doing just find navigating the city, alone and disoriented, still thinking about she almost got turned into a fine paste," the icy voice continues. "She really did try to follow you after you sent on ahead. That's what gave me the inspiration to try her as a model. So. Whoop dee doo. You contributed to my experiment. It failed. Thanks.

 No.717511

>>717506
Shei follows into the hut with Pryce. He decides to lean his back onto the wall, and watch the lesson proceed with crossed arms. Sizing up Fairy Castle from where the dimmed light of the pit fire hardly reaches.

 No.717512

>>717506
Flaming nods her head (again gently so as not to disturb Spark), "Well, I certainly won't deny I'm in need of more practice. But alright, let's start off with the basics."

She listens closely as she explains how magic is utilized, but as she gets to the distinction between soul and spirit, Flaming looks confused. "Maybe this is a language thing… aren't Soul and Spirit the same thing? But, I think I'm getting an idea when you say Soul is like the body, and 'Spirit' is like the breath that flows in and out of it. The 'Spirit' is what we perceive as magic, right?"

"And, whatever we use our spirit to influence the spirit of other objects, that's the key to understanding magic itself. But, when you say I have to understand my target… do you mean everything? Rocks, trees, ponies, demons, what if I find myself fighting something I *don't* understand, or just saw for the first time?"

 No.717513

>>717510

"As long as she's safe," Amy says with a smile and a satisfied nod. "Thanks for the help! I hope your next experiment goes better! Hopefully we can meet at some point! Gotta go find my friend now before she gets into trouble!"

Amy leaves the way she came and looks for Zjetya.

 No.717514

>>717506
If a shadow could blush, Flows' would.
"Aye aye, nO NeeD for a RUSH…" he says with a wisp before returning to Flow.

>>"Pays to make an extra name outta yerself, eh?" Trapper replies with a smirk. "Makes business like this more discreet…when that ment something," he adds with a huff.


Flow shakes his head.
"Sir Keinmal, I haven't the slightest as to who's plans you're referring to."
>"Yeah, for all we know, the note was from one of the travelers he'd hit."
>>"Seems like we really did come ere' over a hunch, eh?"

 No.717515

>>717513

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717516

>>717512
Fairy Castle looks to Chorazin. "You seemed to know a little before. Can you answer this?"
"Yes, that's the idea," Chorazin adds. "Spirit is part of the Soul, but it is not the Soul itself. Spirit is not Memory, nor is it Power, nor is it the Will; all of these make up the Soul, but are not the Soul in themselves. Correct?"
"Indeed," Fairy Castle says. "Onto the next question: You do not need to understand or know everything about your target. In fact, you don't need to know anything about a particular spell, nor even about yourself or your own Soul, in order to use that spell. You can simply exert your Power and Will and cast it… and you will likely perish from the resulting Rebound effect. The less you know when using a spell, the more likely you are to make a mistake and destroy yourself or those around you. Against a target you know nothing about, you must observe and study them until you have built up enough understanding to use a spell with assurance."

>>717508
>>717511
Fairy Castle turns your way once she's done explaining the fundamentals to Flaming, Rus and Chorazin. "Ah, we're just inviting everyone to the lessons now, are we?"
"If it's getting too crowded, I can step out," Chorazin says. "I needed to check in on the rest of our companions anyway."

>>717514
"Ach, zuch things happen. Honezt miztakez. It iz no big deal," Keinmal says, though clearly relieved. "I am zo glad ve could clear zhiz all up. Zo… now that that'z out of zhe vay, I am afraid zhere iz much verk I muzt tend to by zhe end of the day. Ichimonji and zhe otherz are going to zpend all of tomorrow in meditation, in preparation for zhe battle in Tartaruz, und zhey are depending on me to zet everyzhing up."

Renee, who has bit her tongue this whole time, tugs at your arm and rises from her chair, clearly eager to leave.

>>717513
As you hop on the broomstick once more to leave, the stone dome shudders, and the landing strips seal up, cutting off the outside world. For a moment, the dome is sealed in utter blackness, for lack of a source of light, except the patches of white orchids here and there among the red and orange groves and orchards.

"Thank you. Let's get started on the next experiment. That will be the best way to ensure that future experiments go better. We can get all the failures out of the way now, all out of our system."

There is a sound of shuffling stones, like the grating of a sculptor's tools against marble, and the world around you shudders as it shapes itself. "So. Which of these should I roll out this time? Hmm… do you have a preference? Monsters, magic, sky or earth? Life, death? Darkness, light? Demons, angels? War, peace? I've run through so many of these that I could just go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…"

 No.717517

>>717516
"I should have mentioned it when I came in. This is our friend, Shei," Pryce says to Fairy, introducing the goat, "He wanted to meet you as well for some discussion."

>>717512
Pryce looks to Flaming in this brief break.
"How is your lesson going so far?"

 No.717518

>>717516

"Well, alright, if you want to play, I have some time," Amy says thoughtfully as the exits seal up. "I'm sure the others will find Zeta."

"Since you're asking what I want…" Amy screws her face up in thought. "Magic. Life. Light. Demons. Peace," she answers each question as if each one was actually an option.

"Ooooh, or if you're taking more specific requests, what about a bunch of cute little birdies that shoot tiny laser beams from their eyes that tickle when they hit you?"

 No.717520

>>717516
"Aye, I believe we have our own plans for now,"
The three goos, and shadow, are all in a clear hurry to leave as well.

As soon as the coast is clear, Flow turns to Renee.
"Whatdya make of /this/, love?"
>>"E's nuts is what he is, I tell ya. Bloody buffoon'll get himself caught again in no time."
>"But to use mass consciousness as a means to create a god? He must've been on to something, since that lich had quite the assortment of notes in that book…"

 No.717521

>>717516
"Souls are Memory, and Power, and Will, and Spirit… but Spirits are not MEmory, or Power, or Will?! T-this is all so confusing!" Flaming blurts out, already starting to feel her poor brain starting to fry. "Sorry, sorry, just slow down a little, that's a lot to memorize… okay, Soul is made up of a bunch of things besides Spirit, Spirit is just a part that you use to change the Spirit of other things… I think…"

As they move on to the next question, Flaming breathes out a sigh of relief at not having to know EVERYTHING about a target or a particular spell or Soul to use the spell. "Okay, so I just exert power and will to use my spirit to alter the spirit of another thing, that sounds eas-" she pauses, "Wait, 'rebound'? You mean, the magic could bounce back against me if I use it too quickly without planning? Is that why magic sometimes so long to charge up their spells, is studying the target?"

>>717517
As Pryce enters, she turns towards him, smiling as she reaches up to rub at her head. "Hey Pryce! It's going okay. A lot to memorize though, why didn't you tell me about any of this stuff?! You made magic sound so easy."

 No.717522

>>717521
>>717517
>A lot to memorize though, why didn't you tell me about any of this stuff?!
"Because Pryce only knows two spells. Fire and show magic." Shei is avin a giggle

 No.717523

>>717521
"Magic comes a little easier to unicorns."
Pryce says with a smile, gesturing to his horn.
"And I was trained by the Church for a good portion of my life, I didn't learn to be adept as I am overnight. It becomes much easier when you narrow down the field you want to focus on."

>>717522
"Conjuration isn't a simple field, Shei. Besides, I know plenty more than that, such as Songspinning."

 No.717524

>>717516
>"Ah, we're just inviting everyone to the lessons now, are we?"
"I was in the area documenting for signs of the world coming to an end. And then I heard a buffalo was learning magic."

>>717517
>>717516
>"He wanted to meet you as well for some discussion."
Shei raises a hoof in greeting. "It can wait." he says observing reverence for Flaming's initiation into higher learning.

 No.717525

>>717518
The darkness and shuffling persist for a time, and the sounds eventually stop, with darkness waiting in the dome for a while after that. Then, a fierce and shrill wind fills the air, and you are swept up in a storm of leaves and flowers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmRjLmtDIaY

As the leaves fly up past your vision, light fills the area once more. The compound is still there before you, but instead of being trapped in a dome, it is on a great hill overlooking a bright valley in the harvest season. The countryside is aglow in ruby, orange and brown plant life, and farmers at the base of the hill are collecting the crops, a bountiful haul. You find yourself riding in the branches of a great and wizened tree, only the tree is moving, walking steadily on its roots across the land, though the villagers show no fear of it. In the distance beyond, past a vast and swollen river, you see fields of grave markers. Though the markers are many, there is a sense of peace to it. Many of the graves have weapons laid before them, or beside them, as if to signal that they shall never be used again. Beyond that, a distant city fills the horizon, resplendent and intact, no sign of damage or destruction on its walls.

A cloud of birds flies overhead, chirping away. It is as if this world has forgotten or perhaps never known strife.

>>717519

>>717517
>>717521
Fairy Castle grunts her greeting, but looks like she appreciates the respect shown for the lesson. She then takes three tops out of her bag, and then sets them before Flaming, Chorazin and Rus. "Theory is good and all, but a practical lesson is in order now to solidify it. Let us start here."

Fairy Castle raises her staff and hums aloud, and the three tops leap upright and start to spin of their own accord. "I will set these to spin, and you must use what you've learned so far to stop them with your Spirit."

>>717520
"I hate it," Renee seethes, her expression sullen. "I've had enough of all this nonsense about gods. All my life has been nothing but an act of faith, and how did that go for me? My friends, dead, my world, shattered. And fools like him not only want to go back to that world of gods, he wants to make a new god to subject to his command? He's mad… it can't work. Surely it can't…"

She shudders. "Can we take our leave of this place now?"

>Paused

 No.717526

>>717523
"So in addition, to hat tricks you have added singing to your performance. I have to say, I am impressed." Shei fights back a smile as he says that.

 No.717527

>>717526
"Thank you Shei. It fits in well, since they work well for battle or entertainment."

 No.717625

Last time on HolyQuest…

Alone, Amy ventured forth into the northeastern district of Threecoins, finding it a tangled mess of houses, halls, bridges and towers that had been rearragned, combined with one another, and sculpted into brand new structures and shapes, like a kind of super-powered geomancy. Along the way, she encountered what at first seemed to be Zjetya, but was, as both would later discover, an imperfect copy. Amy and the Replica ventured into the dome that Regina had constructud with magic, where Amy was then trapped, and invited to participate in one of Regina's experiments. Said experiment consisted of conjuring a customized world, which Regina populated with whatever it was that Amy requested.

After Shei contacted Ecclesia over the ownership of the Dove Incense that the mysterious Ecclesian agent had stolen, Flaming, Pryce and Shei regrouped, and then went to Fairy Castle's hut. Fairy Castle had agreed to teach Flaming, Rus Tea and Pryce some simple magic, called 'Untying' that would allow them to temporarily weaken magical effects without breaking them altogether. Fairy Castle went into detail on magical theory, and then put forward a test to gauge their inherent magical prowess.

Flow questioned Sir Einmal ist Keinmal of the Choir about the scroll, incense and research notes that had been in the Lich's possession, and Keinmal was all too happy to share. Under Ecclesia's noses, Keinmal had obtained the scroll from the Treibheanna, which he believed could be used to revive Accorsia – that is, the spirit of Accorsia, not as a nation, but as a god. He had commissioned the Lich to study the scroll and provide additional insights, consisting of the notebook entitled On the Construction of a Perfect Egregore. An Egregore, as he explained, is a kind of collective thoughtform, a spirit that arises from the collective hope and imagination of those who believe in it, coincidentally quite similar to the Fairies of Fantasia, who were born from folk tales that were made real via earnest belief.

Keinmal was confident in his plans, and even asked if Flow would report this illicit research to the Choir, but Flow declined, leaving the matter to continue.

 No.717626

>Amy
The darkness and shuffling persist for a time, and the sounds eventually stop, with darkness waiting in the dome for a while after that. Then, a fierce and shrill wind fills the air, and you are swept up in a storm of leaves and flowers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmRjLmtDIaY

As the leaves fly up past your vision, light fills the area once more. The compound is still there before you, but instead of being trapped in a dome, it is on a great hill overlooking a bright valley in the harvest season. The countryside is aglow in ruby, orange and brown plant life, and farmers at the base of the hill are collecting the crops, a bountiful haul. You find yourself riding in the branches of a great and wizened tree, only the tree is moving, walking steadily on its roots across the land, though the villagers show no fear of it. In the distance beyond, past a vast and swollen river, you see fields of grave markers. Though the markers are many, there is a sense of peace to it. Many of the graves have weapons laid before them, or beside them, as if to signal that they shall never be used again. Beyond that, a distant city fills the horizon, resplendent and intact, no sign of damage or destruction on its walls.

A cloud of birds flies overhead, chirping away. It is as if this world has forgotten or perhaps never known strife.

>Flaming, Pryce, Shei

Fairy Castle grunts her greeting, but looks like she appreciates the respect shown for the lesson. She then takes three tops out of her bag, and then sets them before Flaming, Chorazin and Rus. "Theory is good and all, but a practical lesson is in order now to solidify it. Let us start here."

Fairy Castle raises her staff and hums aloud, and the three tops leap upright and start to spin of their own accord. "I will set these to spin, and you must use what you've learned so far to stop them with your Spirit."

>Flow

"I hate it," Renee seethes, her expression sullen. "I've had enough of all this nonsense about gods. All my life has been nothing but an act of faith, and how did that go for me? My friends, dead, my world, shattered. And fools like him not only want to go back to that world of gods, he wants to make a new god to subject to his command? He's mad… it can't work. Surely it can't…"

She shudders. "Can we take our leave of this place now?"

 No.717627

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>717626
Pryce sits in silence to watch the trio practice their magic affinity, mostly of Flaming to see how well she can grasp the topic. He also watches Chorazin with a little curiosity, surprised that she needs to take these lessons as an angel.

 No.717628

>>717627
As the lesson proceeds, you notice Chorazin lean back, letting Rus and Flaming progress while she waits. She turns to you, noticing your gaze, and squints at you, pursing her lips. It feels like a sarcastic glare, but the mental images of your previous clashes with her still rise up in your memory.

 No.717629

>>717523
Flaming looks up at Pryce's horn, frowning, "So? I got TWO of those, see?" Flaming says as she points at either of hers. "So shouldn't it come easy to me too?"

"But, being trained in it for all your life *does* probably help a bunch."

>>717522
>>717526
As Shei says Pryce only knows two kinds of magic, Flaming snickers along with Shei at Pryce's expense. "Yeah, I bet that makes it a lot easier too. Good thing I'm just learning a growth spell."

>>717525
Flaming looks at the three tops as they start to begin spinning, looking up at Fairy Castle as she frowns. "I guess just reaching out there and touching them would be cheating, wouldn't it? Alright…"

She looks on at the spinning top, squinting her eyes shut as she tries to reach out with whatever power she feels when she unlocks a Dark Corridor, trying to find a way to touch the top using only her fledgling magic
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717630

>>717626

https://pastebin.com/11uQn0c8

"Hey!" Amy giggles with amusement and awe at the new world around her. "This is pretty good!"

"The graveyard is a pretty neat touch. Buuuut, I DO have a question about it. Why is it there?"

 No.717631

[1d4]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.717632

>>717628
As Chorzain matches his gaze, Pryce averts his eyes. Clearly she's just going along with this for the others.

>>717629
"I would surprised if it didn't, you've picked up on things pretty quickly."

 No.717633


 No.717634

>>717626
https://pastebin.com/YJFusUgn
Shei simply watches Flaming's big moment. A small since of pride warming his heart.

 No.717635

>>717629
You focus perhaps a little too clearly upon the power you use to open the Dark Corridors, as you hear a swirling of dark energy above you. You look up just in time to see a good bit of snow fall out from above onto you, covering you from head to hoof.
"Where have you been that's been that snowy?" Chorazin asks, reaching over to help brush you off.

>>717634
>>717632
While Chorazin helps clean thes now off of Flaming, Rus Tea puts her hands above the top in a small radius, and concentrates, her eyes screwed up with focus.
[1d10]

>>717630
"Why? Why do you think?" Regina asks, her voice dull. "It is our world. Or at least, what our world might look like. Six, seven generations down the line, perhaps. The damage that the Rapture has wrought will echo out over the centuries. Many died, and many more will die. Every day, mortals and demons fight for control, for the power to shape the world to come. As I traversed across the Vale of Tears and the Long Shadows, leading the Coven of Wacachan across the lands, I made sure they witnessed this struggle, every single day, so that they knew why we could never reach out to help these mortals, these mortals who, in peaceful times, would have spat upon us at best, or tried to burn us at the stake at worst. These were mortals whose lives lead only to strife, bloodshed, death, and so that was the world they deserved. Death heaped upon death."

There is a very long pause, and the only sound is of the gentle winds. "I am tired of death."

The birds turn your way, and as you described, little lasers shoot from their eyes, tickling your sides. The farmer and his children continue to work hard at cutting down the wheat stalks with scythes, gathering them into bushels upon their sides.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.717636

>>717626
Flow grins and nods.
“Aye love, there are already enough gods around…”
>”Besides, he’d need to actually get enough people on board to achieve such a ludicrous goal such as… forming a collective consciousness.”
Trapper looks confused as ever.

 No.717637

>>717636
Mi nombré

 No.717638


 No.717639

>>717635
Pryce smiles in amusement as Flaming accidentally opens a portal to now over her head. His horn lights up as he helps pull the snow away and move it outside so it doesn't ruin Fairy's home.
>Telekinesis [1d10]
"Try focusing on the top more, rather than the magic you're already familiar with."

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.717640


 No.717641

>>717636
Renee doesn't seem convinced by Vice's words. "Perhaps, but this is still Ecclesia we're talking about. They say Accorsia was founded when Vadaharan refugees came south, conquering and pillaging all that lay before them. If he can stir up that old myth in their hearts again, then… I don't want to think about it. Come, I suppose Ichimonji will want your report. And then, once she has it, might we have the rest of the day to ourselves?"

 No.717642

>>717635
>>717639
As the snow plops down on top of her head, Flaming gasps in surprise, not nearly prepared for the change in temperature as she wails.
"AAGH! Cold cold!" She squeals, shivering as she feels Chorazin and Pryce moving in to help her get it off her head.

"P-p-p-probably Circadia, it was p-p-pretty cold there… brrr…."

As the snow is scooped off her head, she looks up at Pryce, listening closely to his advice to focus more on the top and less on magic she already knows. "But the Dark Corridor is the only magic I know, I thought if I focused on it, it'd sort of lead the way… but okay. Let me try this again…" She closes her eyes, wincing as she just tries focusing on the top, and the top alone.
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.717643

>>717641
Flow shudders at the thought.
"Well…let's go then. It'll be nice to have some time to cool off after all this mess…"
He offers a hoof to Renee, and the clones follow behind to report back in with Ichimonji.

 No.717644

>>717635
>>717629
"Flaming you do not have be so creative about it. The procedure is simple but you won't manage any spell hacking together a specifically designed cantrip."

"It's something different you will have the focus on, the feeling is original and not unlike having an additional appendage. Close your eyes and trace the top with your imagination. See the top spinning through your closed eyelids. And let your sight itself be the hoof tip pinning the spinning top to a stop."

 No.717645

>>717635

Amy frowns. "I don't think anyone can stop death. But, I'm tired of all this killing too."

"I get why you would want to just hide from it. But, personally, I like to face it. I like to make other people feel better about life. But… I guess that might just be me. I guess I'm trying to make up for all the bad things I did. I can't hid from that. I don't want to. All I can do is give people smiles for every frown I made."

Then, the laser birds start tickling her sides, and she starts rolling on the ground laughing as they continue to 'zap' her.

 No.717646

>>717644
"I DON'T have to be creative about it? I thought that was the key to magic…"

"But, alright, keeping focus… juuuust thinking about the top, tracing it… seeing it spinning… spinning… aaaaaaaand…!"

 No.717648

>>717644
>>717642
>>717639
After Flaming's all cleaned up, Pryce hucks the snow outside, allowing it to melt safely in the streets and run down into the gutter without soaking into the little hut's floor. With that done, Flaming is able to join Rus in concentrating upon the top before her, Chorazin and the others remaining silent out of respect for the attempt. As they do, Flaming feels a kind of air-like pressure before her, a faint aura or force she can, with effort, manipulate. It is as Shei described, and she is able to move the Aura to the top, causing it to halt in place, perfectly balanced. The same happens to Rus' top, and she leans back, rubbing her temple.

Chorazin smiles, and with an effortless glance, knocks her top over with magic.

Fairy Castle hums with approval. "Better than I was expecting; seems you've got decent enough magic circuits in you after all! You might need a Medium to help you direct it, but it's within your potential to learn even more magic."

Prickly Pear hums aloud a victorious tune, her ears flapping about in a kind of applause.

>>717643
Renee's grimace lifts a little after you take her hoof, and you shortly return to Ichimonji's office, on the other end of the hall. There, you see her still talking with Doctor Galton, only now the two Mariposan Princesses are with her, Laciela and Yareakh. They all turn your way as you enter, Ichimonji's eyes lighting with interest, while the princesses bow their greetings.

"Well?" Ichimonji asks. "What did Keinmal have to say for himself?"

>>717645
https://youtu.be/Zp4X28k4m-k

Regina's voice shuffles out a cold, lifeless laugh, mechanical and dry. "Who's hiding? What do I have to 'make up' for? What use do I have for trying to save anything more than what I have right here? I protected my coven. I tamed demons with a mere gesture of my power. I brought this city to its knees, while it was still a stronghold of mortals, mortals who fancied themselves crusaders and purifiers, who would've loved nothing more than to banish a witch like me. I drove them into the hands of the Treibheanna, who were all too happy to take them off my plate."

"Now I and my Coven can be here in peace. They have me for their sole guardian and keeper. They've no need for gods, angels, mortals, even demons. I can make this little world of ours into anything I want. I can experiment all day, seeing what might happen if I do this or that to my subjects. Nothing to interrupt me and my studies."

The birds slowly stop zapping you, and as you look up, you behold the farmer and his sons, having fallen to their knees in the field. A dark rot spreads along the collected wheat stalks, oozing a dark ichor-like pus. The farmer and his sons cough and choke, their bodies stained with the ichor from the process of harvesting. The farmer's wife panics and runs back to the house, carrying out every remedy and poultice she can.

 No.717650

>>717648
>>717646
Flaming thinks the word 'stop' aloud in her head as she focuses on the magical pressure of her aura, surrounding the top as she enforces her Spirit upon it. As she opens her eyes, looking on at the completely still top, standing perfectly balanced upwards.

"I… I did it. I did it!" She smiles enthusiastically, looking on at her audience. "T-that was so cool, I did that with my mind!" She looks to Fairy, bowing her head, "Thank you, Fairy Castle. What next?!"

 No.717651

>>717648

Amy listens to Regina, but continues to giggle until the zapping stops.

She sees the farmers suffering and her eyes go wide. She runs over to them in a panic, trying to find some way to help them. She looks up at the sky and shouts, "STOP!"

>Word of Power [1d10]

>DC-3 thanks to Compassion

"I know that sometimes people are mean. But, being mean back doesn't help anything! You have all this power. You could do so much good. I get why you don't want to share it. But, this is just wrong! Why would you torture people like this?"

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.717652

>>717648
>>717650
"Congratulations Flaming, you have taken the first step unto the great temple." Shei solemnly says and continues observing the lesson

 No.717654

>>717648
Flow and the three goos bow to the princesses out of curtosy.
>”We prodded him for a good while, but it seems like it was to no avail.”
>>”Aye, but the lad appreciated the bloody booze, eh?”
The goos lie through their teeth.

 No.717655

>>717652
"The great 'temple'…? Is there some sort of holy site for magic I need to enter?"

 No.717656

>>717652
>>717650
"You came here to learn how to grow that little beast you call a pet back to his original size," Fairy Castle begins. Lockjaw snores peacefully atop Pryce's back, grunting in his sleep as she calls him a beast. "Now, size changing isn't my field of study, nor is it Prickly's. I mentioned it before; we Weave magic – that is, we manipulate spells that have already been cast by someone else, or that come about naturally in the world. Some call this 'meta magic.'

"Untying lets us weaken magical effects without breaking them. Tying them lets us restore them to what they once were. Intertwining them lets us combine effects. Shredding them, the last of these arts, allows us to not only destroy magic, but to prevent it from arising again for a time."

>>717651
The scene freezes in place, as if time has halted. Jars of medicine that dropped from the panicked wife's hooves hang in mid-air; birds are immobile mid-flight, and leaves linger in the sky.

"To see what happens," Regina says, her tone one of academic boredom. "Besides, you have nothing to worry about. These aren't real people. I don't have a whole lot of those lying around anymore. No, these are just my projects."

The farmer's body starts to flake, turning into white flower petals, revealing that he too is a Replica, just as Zeta was. His body remains intact instead of disappearing. "No great discovery ever came without rigorous testing, did it?" Regina asks, her voice moving all of the family's mouths.

"Now, a question for you," she continues. "Why have you come here, invited yourself into my city, into my laboratory? What's a half-demon like you looking to find here?"

>>717654
"To no avail?" Ichimonji asks. "I don't understand… the initials, the scroll, there was nothing to that? Was it just a coincidence, a misunderstanding?"
"Yes, there was nothing more to it," Renee says. "But he recommended you keep the scroll, if for no other reason than to keep it safe from anyone who might want to misuse it."

"I see…" Ichimonji says, still clearly suspicious. She grimaces. "Never mind that. Thank you again for your assistance. I've no further requests for you. If there's nothing else, you may go."

 No.717657

>>717648
>>717650
"Congratulations Flaming! I knew you could get the hang of it."
Pryce cheers as Flaming manages to stop the top.

 No.717659

>>717656
>>717655
>>717652
>wew
"So, if you want to learn of this art, you'd best take one of these," Fairy Castle says, fishing an old codex out of a cubby in the wall, and passes it your way. It looks like an older version of the book Prickly Pear's got. "You'll find a number of exercises and methods in there for learning of these arts – I've also put in a few of my old notes. Cantrips, little tricks of illusion and sleight that I found entertaining when I was a girl. This will be for your practice and study. Of course, you can't learn them overnight – you'll have to study quite rigorously before they can come to you on demand."

 No.717660

>>717656
Flow nods vehemently.
“Aye lass, keep the thing in cold storage, yeah?”
>>”Yeah, yer right, e’ did say to keep it away from the public eye, er somethin like that.”
The three clones bow and take their leave.

 No.717661

>>717656

"But, if you are in control of these things, then you aren't learning anything from making them suffer because you're in control of their reactions. Unless you aren't in control of their reactions. In which case, they're like animals. And, I would definitely say it's wrong to torture animals. I get wanting to perfect your ability to copy people. But, why are you even bothering trying to copy people? If it's just so you can torture better… that seems kinda wrong."

[1d10] for arguing
>DC-3 for Compassion

Amy chooses not to answer the question yet.

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.717662


 No.717665

>>717657
Flaming smiles up towards Pryce as he congratulates her, "Thanks, Pryce. I just, had to focus on the right thing this time.

>>717656
>>717659
As the alpaca explains how her magic works, Flaming nods in understanding. "Oooh, okay I think I get it: you just manipulate the magic that was already on Lockjaw to begin with, but just by 'tightening' or 'loosening' the threads that were keeping the magic in-tact. That sounds really useful, being able to use that on others' spells would help us a bunch going forwards."

As she pulls out the codex from the cubby, Flaming frowns, looking down at the book as she opens it up, trying to read over its pages. "Uh… thank you, so much, but I… I sort of have a problem. I-I don't know how to read Equish." She turns towards Rus and Chorazin. "Would you two be able to help me with this?"

 No.717666

>>717655
"Its -uh more accurate to say it is a long winding metaphor inconclusive but profound and historical to the nature of the spirit an our acension from earth to heaven."

>>717659
Shei-Sher steps forward to approach Fairy Castle. "Erm, Hi, My name is Shei-Sher. I had some business with you. The temple ladies had directed me to you. I should also take the time to say I have returned the dove incense to the Temple. It should be returning by sunset."

 No.717667

>>717659
"So we'll learn to lessen magic and then to restore it?"
Pryce questions.
"An interesting field… I've only heard of mages outright cancelling spells, not going for a middle ground between the two. Could it be possible to control how much is unweaved, if I wished to make Lockjaw only a little bit bigger rather than the ull size he was earlier?"

>>717659
Pryce looks over at the book as it's handed to Flaming, a little curious at some of the tricks listed inside.
"Thank you Fairy. You've been more than generous. I wish there was something we could offer you in return."


>>717665
"That's been my trick to help practice spells. Visualization is what most spells come down to."

 No.717668

>>717661
"You've figured it out," Regina deadpans. "I'm not controlling them, merely setting up their base parameters and watching them go. Why do I do it? To see what happens. What else is there to do with power like mine?" she asks. "With a glow of my horn, I could reshape this city. I could call forth groves of any fruit I can imagine. I could raise armies from this garden. I could transfigure every living thing in this city into any number of monsters and wildlife. I fear no demon, nor mortal. Nothing comes to me with difficulty anymore… what is there to do but sit in quiet luxury? Create spells that will be tucked away in some dusty library, unread for ages? Write papers that have none to read them?

"I have no great adversary, no great quest. For all my life, I wanted nothing more than to destroy this city, this city that birthed so many crusaders and witch-hunters, who cut down my kind for no crime other than existing, for all its centuries of existence. I trained and studied and practiced and meditated, all to have my revenge against these people. And when the Rapture happened, my chance was here. I marched upon their walls, and with a word, sundered them, breaking their blessed wards to let in legions upon legions of devils, to destroy and pillage as they pleased… and then it was done. It was all gone, apart from me and my Coven.

"I sought all this power for ages, and now there is nothing to do with it but to experiment and play and to see what happens."

Her voice grows raspy, teetering on the verge of a dull, threatening madness.

>>717667
"Only with practice can you learn to use it with precision, but yes," Fairy Castle says. "Say you just want to make him about your height, just so he doesn't flatten you with a single step while still being of some use in a fight."

>>717665
"I would be glad to!" Rus Tea says. "Of course, even if you didn't want my help, I'd wager I'd be taking that book from you to study it on my own. Nobody can keep a good read from me."

>>717667
"We don't barter like your kind do," Prickly Pear adds. "Witches don't trade in coin, but items or favors. So, if you've got any of the either, you can offer that."

>>717666
"Tis good that's sorted out," Fairy Castle says. "Quite a few of the younger girls were chewing their hooves off with anxiety over what they'd do if a big old feral demon slithered over to this side without it. Alright, you've done a favor for us, what am I to do for you?"

>>717660
Ichimonji tightens her hair bun, and doesn't look comforted. "Just one of a dozen cursed items Ecclesia decides to seal away in our backyards for 'safe keeping'," she grumbles.

She waves as you leave, and the princesses do as well. Then, with that business concluded, you exit the longhouse. Renee sighs and melts with relief, slithering across the grass in slime form. "Mmm… fresh air at last. Shall we be off then?"

 No.717670

>>717666
As Shei starts using all those fancy schmancy words, Flaming turns her head to the side, squinting her eyes as though it was something you would need to draw her a picture book to follow.
"I… what? Can you try that again?"

>>717667
Flaming nods her head in agreement, "I'm in agreement, it made things much easier! I can hardly believe how natural it came the second try."

>>717668
"Thank you Rus," Flaming blushes, "Maybe, while we're going over it, I could learn to read it as well. The inability to read pony script has been kind of a pain for a while now, maybe it's time I finally got around to it."

Flaming turns towards Fairy Castle, "You mentioned I may need a medium. You mean like a catalyst? What kind should I use?"

 No.717672

>>717668
“Aye lass, that’s how it goes.”
>”At least it’s away from improper hands though…”

Flow takes his hood off and fans his messy goo hair out.
“Aye luv, let’s go.”
Flow follows Renee, with his clones right beside him.
“Well, that was fun.”
>”Yes, and we’ve reconnected with an old aquaitence.”
>>”Speaking of which, we gotta find the cap’n afore we let these two off on a date.”
“I suppose you two can go find him, we’ll catch up.”
The two clones nod and head out to look for Eligos.

 No.717673

>>717668
"I'll need to start practicing right away then. That could be very helpful, though I don't know if I'd want to risk him in a fight."

Pryce looks over to Prickly.
"I do have some items, though I imagine favors will be far more beneficial. I know an assortment of healing and conjuration magic, as well as being quite a talented show magician."

>>717670
"Looks like your two horns made it come naturally after all."

 No.717674

>>717668

Amy frowns. "You sound like how I used to think. Everything was fun… until it wasn't anymore. Then, I went on to something else. But, that would bore me eventually too. I killed and destroyed things that bored me because at least that was kinda fun. And, it motivated others to be less boring."

"But, then I met a pony who just wanted to keep me happy because he was nice. When he ran out of things to give me, he offered his own life. I realized it then… If I killed him, then he wouldn't be around to keep me happy anymore. It seems so obvious. So meaningless. But… it's like that with everything."

"If I did whatever I wanted and got whatever I wanted, then everything went away. Then, it got old. But, when I shared… when I helped people… everything was new every time. It was like every experience with every person was different, even when it was the same experience. There's a beauty to the world that I'm not really smart enough to describe. I don't know if anyone is. You can only experience it for yourself. And, you can only experience it through love and kindness."

"I'm sorry," Amy laughs, shaking her head. "I know it sounds stupid. Especially coming from a demon. But, I've never been happier since I started being nice and helping people. It's… so weird. It's the same thing over and over, but it's amazing every time. I never get bored. I just want to keep helping. I just want to keep making new friends."

Amy tears up with a smile on her face. "I know you would love having friends - real friend. Not just witches who follow you because you can protect them. Friends who follow you because they respect and love you. And you love them."

"You asked why I'm here. Well," Amy shrugs. "I guess to find more friends. That's always what I'm doing. But, right now I really need friends. We're going to Tartarus in two days. We're going to make the world better. We're going to make all the killing stop. But, we could use all the help we can get."

"My name is Amy Thest, by the way," she says with a sincere, simple smile. "I think I'd like to meet you in person. I hope you like hugs."

>Mantra of Equality [1d10+2]

>DC-3 for Compassion

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

 No.717676

>>717668
"The incense was stolen by an agent of Ecclessia and while they are just a small band of of dead nations under one church now, they are surely growing within a power vacuum. Where civilizations of Huoli have crumbled they've stood tall to welcome their survivors. Word has reached me, they have even the support of angels and although there are those of Ecclessia I can personally call my friend I cannot say I approve of their plans for this world or their operations. Neither of us should think this will be the Threecoin witches' last encounter with Ecclessia so I have a suggestion for how to manage them but I would like you to come with me as an advocate when confronting Regina on the matter. My suggestion is this, a representative of ecclessia will be arriving at the temple within the day. The witches could use this opportunity to strike an alliance with Ecclessia. Offer them a strategical staging point during the great war with Tartarus to come. And in the long term after the war is fought the witches can take husbands from the Laity and the Mortelegion to drive a matriarchal wedge into Ecclessia's heart."

 No.717677

>>717666
>>717676
Flaming turns her head towards Shei while conversing with Rus and Fairy. "Wait, you said you already returned the dove incense?! I thought that Ecclessian agent took it, how did you get it back so quickly?"

 No.717678

>>717670
"I'll have you a proper, educated young calf by the end of the year!" Rus declares. "Upon the ocean's waves, I pledge this."
"And then I can get you started upon the Mariposan classics," Chorazin says. "Poetry, history, logic, rhetoric… you've got quite a few lessons ahead of you, young miss."

"I can't prescribe any one Medium to you," she says. "A medium that works for one caster might not work for another. What matters is that your Medium evokes something meaningful when you hold it, something intimately connected with you – your personality, your desires, your drives, your essence. Some might carve a wand out of a tree associated with pleasant memories from their youth. Others might use an instrument whose sound pleases them, or a talisman that helps them focus, or a mask from their ancestral lands. Its form hardly matters. What matters is that it invigorates your Spirit when you behold it."

>>717672
"And I got to fight quite a bit, even though I had my share of troubles," Renee says, patting her wakizashi with pride.

The two goos head off, scouring the town near the eastern entrance, where they last saw Eligos. It's hard not to notice him quickly. Already he's found something to do, helping a team of laborers lug carts full of lumber from Lilane's storehouses into carriages, which are surrounded by armed guards. His great size and strength makes short work of the carrying, as you see multiple carriages have already been filled with lumber and crates of other supplies. Seems they're bound for other Ecclesian territories.

>>717674
Regina is silent all through your speech, until the end.

"Who is this 'we' who is going into Tartarus?" is all she asks. Her voice is no longer deadpan, but now cold, icily focused, and sharp as a blade.

>>717676
>>717673
Pricky Pear and Fairy Castle listen over Shei's summary of the situation so far, as well as Pryce's offerings for what he can give with his magic. After a moment, Fairy Castle taps her staff on the ground. "Well then. In exchange for the lesson and the test of magical potential, I say that Pryce should put to writing some of his magic, so that our Coven may practice and even master it. And Shei, I shall go with you to confront Regina as you request… Maimon knows that nobody else in this city would have the gumption to go up and knock on her door."

 No.717680

>>717678

Amy shrugs. "We don't really have a name. It's just my friends and me. We're gonna put Moody in some pool and cool stuff is gonna happen. I don't really get how it works. But, I'm pretty sure the plan is gonna mess up somewhere along the way. Whatever happens, though, I'm sure it's going to make the world better. The demons will have a leader that they like and respect. And, that will make them friendlier."

>[1d10+2] Mantra of Equality

>DC-3 with Compassion

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

 No.717681

>>717670
"Big spooky things! Magic go explode explode, everyone is god. Elderly wizard coughing" Shei has given up with you.

>>717677
"I made an outgoing call on the caller conch and asked them very nicely to stop bullying my pagan friends."

>>717678
>>717673
"Fantastic. I hope you are fine with accompanying us for a while. We are still not done touring Threecoins. But I am sure we are just as likely to run into Regina soon enough."

"So then- does Anyone know where Amy ran off too? Everyone's accounted for except for her."

 No.717683

>>717678
>Maimon knows
"Ah- so witches truly do pay homage to Maimon. I always wondered if that were true. my kind are from a diaspora of Occult practitioners hailing from Accorsia. Among Aliester Crow-ley's ring of associates as well as the Ring of Theon."

 No.717684

>>717678
"W-Write?"
Pryce says, a bit unsure.
"I've never really transcribed my magic down before. I mean, I can, but… what kind of spells would you prefer?"

>>717681
"I haven't seen her since we all split up when we walked into town."

 No.717685

>>717681
Flaming puffs out her cheeks, looking at Shei very sternly. "Somehow, I get the sense that you're making fun of me now. But that can't be it because you know I don't like that, right?"

>>717681
"Really? Wow… I didn't know it would be so easy as to just call Ecclessia and clear this up, I thought it was a rogue agent or something. Well, who was it that stole the Dove Incense in the first place, anyone you or I know from Ecclessia?"

>>717678
Flaming blushes a bit from all the attention offered by Chorazin and Rus, suddenly realizing that they might also now be preparing a LOT of homework ahead of her.
"Uh… m-maybe we can take it slow with just learning how to read first, h-hehhe?"

As Fairy explains how her medium should work, Flaming takes a moment to stop and think. "That's it? Just something that matters to me deeply? Hmmm…" she pauses, looking over herself. "Well… I've collected a lot of things since I left the clan, and made a lot of new memories to go with the old. I'm sure among all of them I can find something to turn into a medium. But that's all I have to do? I don't need to bring it to a mage or have it enchanted?"

 No.717687

>>717673
Flaming grins as she looks up at her horns, "Hey, I guess you're right! I wonder if this means I'll be even better than 'you', huh?" She says with a smug grin, seeming quite confident in herself.

 No.717688

>>717678
“Aye, ye did well, luv,” he pats her gooey form.
“What do ya have in mind for today, eh?”

Vice shakes his head while Trapper chuckles.
>”At least he’s helping.”
They go down to call for him.

 No.717689

>>717687
Pryce chuckles at the challenge.
"If you can master this Unweaving before I can, then you can say you're better than me."

 No.717691

>>717684
"ba-a-ah stray dogs cannot smell in the dark." Shei repeats a silly adage

>>717685
"Exactly. I would never think of doing such a thing. I was imparted secret knowledge transmitted through the ages. Guard it well."

>>717685
"Sir Einmal ist Keinmal, was the name of the spook. I never met the scoundrel."

 No.717692

>>717680
https://youtu.be/0XpgchQnaUY

Another great pause of silence follows your revelation. And then…

"I would very much like that," Regina says, a hint of life now injected into her voice. "I would very much like to be your friend. Not just for the journey into Tartarus, mind you. Friends don't simply use friends to get what they want. That's not friendship at all. What you say truly does sound wonderful… I haven't thought in that way in a long time. Helping people for its own sake. The country of my youth, Red Thunder, was a place wrought with religious war, and sectarian persecution. Everyone stuck to their own kind. Races were segregated, sects were segregated. Everyone remained in his own little corner of the world. Sticking your neck out for others, especially those who belonged another sect of the faith, was always a sure way to get yourself beaten, robbed, or even worse. I knew that from firsthand experience, and by the time I became a witch, I'd forgotten all about that way of thinking."

You hear a smile, thin and long as a knife, in her voice, slicing through the air. "Perhaps I can give helping another try."

>>717684
"What do you think our help was worth?" Fairy Castle asks. "Put down to writing what spells you consider to be worth exchanging for our spells. If you plan to interact with witches often, you'll have to get used to this kind of trading. Coin is a rare sight in our bartering."

>>717685
"You can do that, but most experienced casters prefer not to," Prickly Pear says. "If someone else's magic signature is running through your catalyst, that can make it more difficult to fill it with your own. At this moment, you won't have to worry about it. In fact, getting something that's naturally magical can be a benefit for newbies. I hear there's stuff at the Library of the Sancrosanct you can try to get."

>>717683
Fairy Castle snorts. "Oh. Crowley. How quaint. How's that little club doing?"

>>717681
>>717684
>>717685
"…Amy's been gone all this time?" Rus asks with concern.
"Oh, shit, I knew I shouldn't have let her out of my sight," Chorazin curses. "Let's go round the rest of them up and go find her."

>>717688
"Tea. Crumpets. Playing catch. Picking flowers, smelling the grass," Renee rattles off. "Truly, just anything that doesn't involve violence, or the others. A day of you and me, quiet and alone. Perhaps we could explore for a little alcove in the forests around here where we can sit and talk? Oooh, but a visit to a teahouse does sound quite nice, too…"

You notice that she seems quite wound up and anxious.

 No.717694

>>717688
The two goo clones approach Eligos, and he waves. He's still wearing his skull-shaped helmet, so as not to alarm the Ecclesians. He sets down his cart by one of the carriage, unhooks the yoke, and then heads their way, lifting the visor to let his voice through clearly.

"Well? The report go smoothly?"

 No.717695

>>717692

"Of course, I don't just USE friends," Amy says with a smile. "I want you to be happy too."

"So, if you want to be my friend, you gotta come out and give me a hug! You DO have a body, right?"

 No.717696

>>717692
Flow keeps stealing quick glances at Renee. Once he sees she’s still on edge, he gives her a soft smile.
“A little walk could do wonders…let’s look around.”

>>717694
>>”Aye, we told em about what went on in that wretched lab.”
>”Quite. Well, that was all the work we had for the day, and Flow has run off once more, what say we bring you back to the others?”
>>”Yeah, I’m sure the ol’ crew’ll be ‘appy to see ya mate!”

 No.717697

>>717692
"Alright. When you put it like that, I think I can sum up some spells that'll be equivalent."
Pryce says, thinking of which of his magic and tricks he could give out without giving up all his secrets. This is, before hearing some of the others have been gone the whole time.
"I'll get a scroll to you as soon as I can. Looks like we need to track down a few of our friends first."
He follows up, ready to head out after Chorazin and Rus.

 No.717699

>>717696
[1d4]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.717701

>>717692
"Ba-a-ah, He's always been selfish. Cut his heart out, skinned the face and scattered his members across the earth. My former master ascended to the status of god some time after the rapture occurred. A god of what I don't know but I have plans to visit him later in the evening. He's not much more than a father figure now but I surmised it wise to speak with him again before I and my friends Cross the Abyss" Crossing the Abyss would mean journeying into Tartarus for a Thelemite.

>>717692
Shei-Sher joins Chorazin in scouting for Amy's
whereabouts.

Shei reads the immediate qi of his surroundings to get whiff of Amy's direction

[1d10]qi working

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.717702

>>717689
Flaming smiles widely, "Alright, it's a contest then! May the best mage win." She offers up her hoof, offering to shake on it.

>>717691
Flaming lets out the air from her puffed up cheeks. "Oh. Well… alright then… I'll try to remember it."

As Shei tells her the name, Flaming frowns, "Einmal ist Keinmal… that sounds familiar to me, actually, I-I think I remember meeting him when we FIRST got in Lilane, way back when we fled Circadia. Did they say why they wanted him to steal it?"

>>717692
"Oooh… good point, I wouldn't want someone else's magic messing with mine. Well, in that case, I think I'll give the Library a look, that was going to be our next destination anyways when me and Amy-"

Flaming's eyes go small. "Oh."

>>717692
As everyone else starts to wonder what Amy's been up to, Flaming blushes, "Uh… oh. I-I might know where she's gone. I-is the Library open right now?"

Flaming takes a look at Fairy Castle, bowing her head again, "I might need to leave soon after we find out friend, but, I will never forget these lessons. I hope I have more time to come by soon for more! Is there anything I can do to get you back?"

 No.717704

>>717702
"Fairy Castle, if you're not too busy, would you mind coming with us to the Library? You seem like you know your way around here pretty well and I could use help looking around in there."
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.717706

>>717702
Pryce takes Flaming's hoof, shaking it.
"May the best mage win."

 No.717708

>>717702
>Did they say why they wanted him to steal it?"
"For obvious reasons. The incense has demon warding capabilities. I can't say this was all that plotted out. Sir Einmal was likely only carrying out his duties. Saw an opportunity to plunder for Ecclessias benefit and took. As much as the rest of Ecclessia plunders all their neighbors for resources. I practically begged Ichimonji to return the incense."

 No.717709

>>717708
>>717702
>>717701
>wew lad misread, Sir Einmal is not the theif, unidentified spook for now

 No.717711

>>717696
With Renee, you head out west beyond Lilane's gates, into the forested, hill-marked countryside. The afternoon air is clear and warm, and a breeze keeps you cool, easing away the exhaustion from the day's mission. You don't sense any demons about, only the rustling of grasses and branches in the winds, and the spiritual energy of the angels far behind you. You eventually enter a winding hillside path, one thick with brush and grasses. Renee seems to calm now that she's just with you and that the area seems to be quite safe. She raises her head up, enjoying the silence and your presence.

Nearby, among two trees that seem to be too close together, you note a faint shimmering in the air, like a heat wave.

>>717696
Eligos, not one to be shaken, uncharacteristically pauses when they bring up meeting the old crew. He sighs. "…Right this moment? I… feel like I could find a few other things to help out with before I do that. Yeah, I ought to keep working. With my helmet on. All day."

>>717701
"Sounds about right from when I last checked in with him. Must have been eighty or ninety years ago, wasn't it? Men are all of a kind – seeking to be at the top, even when it comes to magic. You'd not catch a witch plastering herself all across the sky. Hmm-hmm-hmm," she hum-laughs.

>>717702
She winks. "I'm getting your friend Pryce to cover the cost. Always get a stallion to foot the bill, no matter what. That's magic any lady can use, not just witches."

>>717697
>>717701
>>717702
As she's invited to come, Fairy Castle gets up off her cushion, taking her staff. "Prickly, you stay here. Make a pot of tea while I'm out, and don't get up 'til you've got that spell down pat, you hear?"
"Okay…" Prickly says.

You head outside and look for Amy and your allies. One by one, you spot LJ, Vortigern, Box, Volkama, Tantra and Wireframe all putzing about the local area, but not Amy nor Zjetya. Perhaps locals found them?

>>717695
"You'll understand if I don't come out to greet you," Regina says, her voice returning to its original cool and aloof cadence. "I'd open the doors and say hello, but I'm quite deep in the Library right now, where I've set up my catalysts and circles and wards and the like. Now if you would like to come and say hello, you're more than welcome to, there's just the matter of getting inside. You're going to want to get some friends for this one. I'm not exactly alone in here, and the other residents are far less welcoming than me, and less than likely to see things your way, no matter how many hugs or friendship talks you throw around."

 No.717713

>>717711

"Are… are you not in charge of them? Are they not your friends? Won't you be upset if they get hurt?" Amy questions, cocking her head.

 No.717714

>>717709
>>717708
"…Ichimonji approved of it?" Flaming asks, sounding slightly disappointed. "I mean, I guess I understand why in that case, if it wards demons, but, this place really needed that incense. Taking it from them doesn't seem right."

>>717711
Flaming chuckles at Fairy's advice. "This is probably going to sound really weird, but… well, let's just say I'm learning a 'lot' about boys today." She whispers, very bashfully and hushed under her breath. "I'll make sure to add that to the list."

>>717711
Flaming smiles as Fairy opts to come along with them, leading the charge out of the humble hovel towards the temple. As she looks ahead and sees the majority of the rest of the group, she waves her hooves, asking them aloud,

"HEY! Has anyone seen Amy? We're looking for her, she's the only one not accounted for."

 No.717715

>>717711
Flow takes a deep breath in as he and Renee hike along the countryside, taking joy in the brief reprieve they’re allowed after a mission.
“Peaceful, innit?”

Flow narrows his eyes as he notices the odd placement of the trees, and the shimmering wave floating around.
“Just peaceful…”
He quickly draws out The End and looses an arrow at the left tree.
[1d10]

Vice raises an eyebrow.
>”What’s the matter?”
>>”Gettin cold feet eh cap’n? I’m sure the others’d be glad t’ see ye got yer ead’ on still.”

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.717717

>>717711
Shei sighs "I can understand the desire. I suppose it must have seemed there was nothing left for him on our plane. He chose an awful convenient time to run off, one has to wonder if he wasn't simply running away shaking in his feathers."

"Hm, none of these witches are aspiring constellations? Can you say the same for Regina?"

>>717711
>>717714
Shei follows around Flaming with Fairy Castle close by as they search for Amy.

 No.717718

>>717711
Pryce thinks of what spells to write down as they go through the town, noting to get a scroll at some point to write up his payment to Fairy. But his thoughts change during their walk as they find no trace of Zjetya.
"Has anypony seen Zjetya?"
He asks the others, starting to worry. To be safe, Pryce start to ask the other witches as well, hoping they're approachable enough to help after the Lockjaw incident earlier.
>Ask Around [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.717719

>>717713
"Even I'm not quite sure where they came from. They didn't look or act like any of the residents of Threecoins, and even when I broke down the barriers and forced out the residents into the Treibheanna's possession, they held on. They were a kind of civilization unto themselves, as far as I could tell. I could've overpowered them in time, but if they weren't part of Threecoins, I had no interest in picking another fight with them. You'll really have to see them to understand. That, and this Library. There's more to it than just this building. It's… well, even I'm not sure how deep it goes."

>>717714
"You're crushing on that little buffalo, right?" Fairy Castle asks, though she clearly knows the answer, judging by her smile.

>>717715
"It's been far too long since we've been able to enjoy peace and quietude like this," Renee says. "Even in the safe areas, there's always some preparations going on. Fortifications, smithing, running drills and formations, all kinds of hubbub."

As you fire the arrow, the two trees fade, revealing a new path, one that looks to have been untrodden by a while. Along the path, you see a wooden torii, faded and without color. Renee eyes it curiously, her head tilted.

>>717715
"…I'd be loathe if I didn't see them, but like this? Downright shameful to come to them all mangled like this, turning into something I don't know what."

Still, the tone of his voice sounds subtly longing, nostalgic.

>>717717
"Witches traffic in dirt and earth, herbs and plants. Practical, everyday magic. Stars and flying? The cosmos and all that philosophical hullaballoo? That's for warlocks and the like, the kind who want to rip up reality and rearrange it like they know better than the Creator Twins. We've got our gardens to tend to down here. Even Regina understands this, I reckon."

>>717718
>>717717
>>717714
Seeing you, the rest of your allies start to gather around. It looks like they've picked up some practical supplies; saddlebags, belts, socks, boots, and all that. Nothing too magical, it seems.
Nearby witches mutter to themselves as they hear you call out for anyone who's seen Amy or Zjetya. One of them waves you down. "The two newcomers? They went to the no-go zone, northeast of here. That's where Regina's testing out her newest spells. They've been in there a while… you might want to get in after them or else forget about getting 'em back."

 No.717720

>>717719

"Huh…" Amy blinks, only slightly understanding. "That's weird."

Then, she nods. "K. Thanks. I'll go find my friends. Can't wait to see you again!" she says happily.

Then, she merrily skips back the way she came.

 No.717721

>>717719
As one witch waves them down, saying Zjetya went off to a 'no-go zone', Pryce's face drops. Without a second thought, he spreads his wings and takes off, flying out to the northeast as fast as he can to track her down before anything goes wrong in a spell testing zone. His horn glows lightly after takeoff, making sure to keep Lockjaw held tightly to him so he doesn't fall off.
>Aerial Search [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.717722

>>717719
"Phew, that takes quite the edge off. Whoever this Regina character is, I at least know she is better than that child Mudi."

>>717721

>>717719
Shei-Sher thanks the witch local for the information and follows with the party to find Amy at the no go zone
"It seems we will be having that discussion with Mudi sooner rather than later Fairy Castle. I will take to the air with Pryce."

Shei-Sher flaps up into the air with his black griffon wings, following after Pryce to help survey the area below
>Aerial Search [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.717723

>>717719
As Fairy Castle points out her crush so easily, Flaming stops dead in her tracks, almost skidding to a stop. "W-what?! H-" she whispers, trying to keep her voice low as she can.
"How could you have known that?"

>>717719
>>717721
>>717722
Flaming looks around as one of the witches waves them down. "She already went? I was afraid of that, it WAS what we were talking about before I got distracted… alright, I'm sure she's okay, Amy is pretty tough. Let's go find her before she gets into any trouble."

With that, Flaming waves towards her group, pointing her way to the north-east to make way to the Library. "Follow me, anyone who *can* fly, do so. With the Shadow Puppeteer gone, I think the skies are safe."

 No.717724

>>717719
“Aye… It’s been too long since I’ve trully immersed myself in nature… The hubub of the cities can be grating at times…”

Flow stows away the bow, and stares in awe at the faded gateway.
“This looks…familiar…”
He starts making his way to the torii, offering a hoof to guide Renee.

Both of the goos look at each other and chuckle. Eventually their chuckles turn into hearty laughter.
>”Sir Eligos, I mean not to jest, but you haven’t a thing to worry about.”
>>”Aye lad, the ol’ crew, well… Let’s just say we all look like we belong in a museum.”

 No.717725

>>717723
[1d10] Search

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.717727

>>717720
The vision gradually fades around you, the farm and the tree and the countryside returning into darkness. You hear a good deal of stone shuffling and rearranging itself, and shortly after that, light returns to the dome as the landing strips open back up, allowing you to escape once more via the broomstick. You emerge into the light of early afternoon, the sparwling northeastern district laying before you.

>>717723
"I've been taking on witchlings as my apprentices for over a hundred years, dear, I can see this sort of thing with just a sidelong glance. It's also how I got to be a great-great-great-great grandmother."
As Vortigern overhears this, she nods with approval.

>>717723
>>717721
>>717722
>Shamelessly repurposing earlier descriptions

After pressing on northeast toward the end of the main street, you are a considerable distance from the temple, and it's at this point that you start to notice oddities in the environment. Although the buildings are as clustered together as they were before, you notice that several of them seem to have been blended into one another, combined in a haphzard manner in a way that suggests the creator was hoping you might not notice. Other buildings are now nonsensically small and narrow, resembling thin slices of cake or uneaten bread crusts; they have all the walls and windows and the like, but they are so small that nobody would consider living in them comfortably.

You notice a similar phenomenon with the streets. In this area, the main road has split off, snaking down in several paths between the gaps in these oddly-shaped thin buildings and giant building clusters, often times circling into one another and leading whoever walks down them in strange loops. You notice this phenomenon getting worse the deeper one goes to the northeast. In time, you start to see a high, dome-like wall to the northeast, made out of many such pieces of gothic-style architecture that it is like a massive castle's wall.

But before you get very far within this chaotic area, you see Amy curled up beneath a cluster of trees about partway down this road, snoozing away in the afternoon heat.

>>717724
Eligos lingers there a moment, and the goos can practically hear the gears whittling away in his head. "Oh, hell, I doubt I'm the most fucked up out of all of us knowing what those two get into. Forget cleaning up. Where are those two knuckleheads?"

>>717724
Renee takes your hoof quietly, her expression one of silent curiosity. You head up along the pathway, and she pauses before the torii, then bows her head and continues upward through it.

https://youtu.be/PBLIMaofDfQ

The path is long and thin, continuing upward through the hills. The air has a light atmosphere of magic, one that results in a calming feeling. Various wind charms and talismans hang from the trees, and from multiple torii that also cover the path. They've been written over with wishes and blessings.

Renee takes the walk slowly, but not out of fear, but of calm and enjoyment, swaying a little from side to side as she accompanies you.

 No.717729

>>717727
"I expected this place to be riddled with craters and debris. But this… we'll need to be careful."
Pryce says aloud as he flies over the narrowing web of thing steets and houses, looking like a crude drawing of a town rather than a town proper from his point of view.
As they spot Amy, he lets the others care for her, continuing to fly himself to locate Zjetya and try to find her quickly.
>Continue Searching [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.717730

>>717727
At the first sight of Amy Shei-Sher Swoops down directly towards Amy. Landing just besides her and picking her up before with much labor flying outside the dome to set her down.

Shei-Sher shakes her a bit "Amy, wake up. You are asleep Amy. Wake up."
[1d10] appraise for anything weird going on with amy

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.717731

>>717727
Flaming looks down, fairly embarrassed at having been so transparent. "I-it's complicated. I definitely like him but, he hasn't said anything to me yet."

>>717727
Flaming looks around the disconcerting streets that make up the way to the Dome, looking around in confusion as she watches all the buildings turning small, narrow, and otherwise nonsensical upon approach.

"This place is even weirder than the rest of Threecoin… why does everything look like this?" She asks Fairy. "Is it the Queen doing some kind of magic?"

As they look up ahead though, looking ahead at the snoozing Amy, Flaming lets out a breath. "Amy! There she is. Only she could take a nap in a place like this."

She runs up to Amy, she runs up along side Shei, helping her to nudge her awake. "Rise and shine, Amy."

 No.717733

>>717727
The clones grin.
>”That’s the spirit, Sir Eligos!”
>>”Yeah, them blokes should be down by our airship. I think. I bloody hope so.”

Flow follows suit, and bows before passing underneath the torii. While he can’t quite know for certain, he feels as if the gate was sacred.

Flow slowly strides alongside Renee up the winding path, taking in the relaxing scenery and the soothing breeze that washes over the two goos. Slowly but surely, Flow starts swaying about in sync with Renee as they make their way up the silent path.

 No.717734

>>717727

Amy does her best to retrace her steps. Through the power of smell!

[1d10] to smell her way back!

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.717736

>>717731
"Want a love potion? A bit cliche, some think, but I say it's a classic," Fairy Castle offers.
Vortigern, Volkama and Chorazin all look over and narrow their eyes at this offer, but they seem to realize something, and make no response to it.

>>717730
>>717731
Amy gradually wakes up, groggily stretching and yawning the way most dogs will do, blinking away the sleep from her eyes. She surveys you all for a while, then looks up at Pryce as he flies overhead. "Heeeeeyyyyy handsome! You missed me! Down heeeeeeeere!"
"Beg pardon?" Wireframe asks, confused.
Amy then looks down at her, vaguely annoyed. "Yeah, hi."
She looks over at the rest of the party, and sizes them up, especially Tantra and Box. "Well… Could make do with these two…"
LJ starts getting visibly uncomfortable, as does Volkama.

>>717734
The streets below are quite confusing to navigate, having shuffled around some since you last saw them, but you are downwind, and upon the breeze, you pick up a most alarming smell: your own. You start to follow it southwest via the broomstick, flying over the rearranging city. The scent starts to fade as the breeze picks up.
>roll again, DC 4 from the 10

>>717729
You fly and fly over the convoluted, rearranged district, but fail to find Zjetya anywhere, growing confused and disoriented as you criss-cross your paths and check down too-narrow and too-wide streets, jumbled as if they were organized by a child with wooden block toys. Inside your cloak, Lockjaw starts to whine, apparently uncomfortable with this speed of flight.

>>717733
The goos then recall that the rest of the party took the airship. Eligos comes with you to hunt for Gjenganger and Zophie. You ask around, and as it turns out, they seem to have been assigned to training new recruits for the morning drills, and that Tenochtitlan, another Choir member, has taken over for the afternoon. The goos are given directions northward through the town, to an empty lot that was once a clearing for sports games in old times, and that has now been repurposed for a training ground.

>More to come next week


>>717733
This peace continues for a while as the path winds up the hill. You see little creatures in the undergrowth around you – kodama, like those you saw all that time ago on your way to Fantasia. The little creatures flit about the area, pony-like shapes made of clay and wearing masks of leaves and flowers. As you pass, Renee offers them sweets from her bag, which they eagerly take.

A little while passes after this, after which you see the plateau of the hill, still thickly enshrouded with trees. In the midst of the trees is a small inn, two stories tall but not very wide. It is styled like an old pagoda shrine that a pilgrim might encounter in one of Accorsia's small satellite island territories.

>Paused

 No.718099

Last time on HolyQuest…

Flaming finished up Fairy Castle's rudimentary magic lesson, and received a beginner's book on magic, containing the basics of four unconventional types of magic, which belonged to a school of Witchcraft called Weaving. There was Untying, Tying, Intertwining, and Shredding, all of which were concerned with the manipulation of natural, wild magic and spells cast by others. Included with the book were simple cantrips that could be used for practice or entertainment. Afterward, she, Pryce, and Shei regrouped with their nearby allies, and set off toward Regina's domain northeast through the city.

At the same time, Amy continued to speak with Regina, discovering that she had been the one to dispel the holy barriers and wards that Threecoins' citizens established to keep demons out in the months following the Rapture and One Night War. Regina had spent her life nursing a grudge against Threecoins, a city notorious among witches for producing an endless line of witch-hunters, who were responsible for the persecution and deaths of many of her kind.

Once she had fulfilled her grudge by crushing the city, she was left without purpose, stuck in a city she devoted her life to hating. Amy offered her a new purpose when she asked for Regina's aid in the party's mission to enter Tartarus with Mudi the Young and make Mudi into an all-powerful matriarch over demonkind. The fact that Mudi was involed piqued Regina's interest tremendously, and seemed to be the primary factor in her joining.

After finishing his business with Keinmal and Ichimonji, Flow departed from Lilane, leaving to tour the countryside at Renee's request so that the two of them might be able to enjoy peace and quiet in solitude before the final day. In their walk through the grassy forest hils west of the fortress-city, they discovered a hidden, torii-laden path, concealed with magic, that led up to a simple pagoda-like inn. Meanwhile, Vice and Trapper went through town in order to find Zophie and Gjenganger.

 No.718100

>Flaming
"Want a love potion? A bit cliche, some think, but I say it's a classic," Fairy Castle offers.
Vortigern, Volkama and Chorazin all look over and narrow their eyes at this offer, but they seem to realize something, and make no response to it.

>Faming, Shei

Amy gradually wakes up, groggily stretching and yawning the way most dogs will do, blinking away the sleep from her eyes. She surveys you all for a while, then looks up at Pryce as he flies overhead. "Heeeeeyyyyy handsome! You missed me! Down heeeeeeeere!"
"Beg pardon?" Wireframe asks, confused.
Amy then looks down at her, vaguely annoyed. "Yeah, hi."
She looks over at the rest of the party, and sizes them up, especially Tantra and Box. "Well… Could make do with these two…"
LJ starts getting visibly uncomfortable, as does Volkama.

>Amy

The streets below are quite confusing to navigate, having shuffled around some since you last saw them, but you are downwind, and upon the breeze, you pick up a most alarming smell: your own. You start to follow it southwest via the broomstick, flying over the rearranging city. The scent starts to fade as the breeze picks up.
>roll again, DC 4 from the 10

>Pryce

You fly and fly over the convoluted, rearranged district, but fail to find Zjetya anywhere, growing confused and disoriented as you criss-cross your paths and check down too-narrow and too-wide streets, jumbled as if they were organized by a child with wooden block toys. Inside your cloak, Lockjaw starts to whine, apparently uncomfortable with this speed of flight.

>Flow

This peace continues for a while as the path winds up the hill. You see little creatures in the undergrowth around you – kodama, like those you saw all that time ago on your way to Fantasia. The little creatures flit about the area, pony-like shapes made of clay and wearing masks of leaves and flowers. As you pass, Renee offers them sweets from her bag, which they eagerly take.

A little while passes after this, after which you see the plateau of the hill, still thickly enshrouded with trees. In the midst of the trees is a small inn, two stories tall but not very wide. It is styled like an old pagoda shrine that a pilgrim might encounter in one of Accorsia's small satellite island territories.

>Vice and Trapper

The goos then recall that the rest of the party took the airship. Eligos comes with you to hunt for Gjenganger and Zophie. The goos ask around, and as it turns out, they seem to have been assigned to training new recruits for the morning drills. Tenochtitlan, another Choir member, has taken over for the afternoon. The goos are given directions northward through the town, to an empty lot that was once a clearing for sports games in old times, and that has now been repurposed for a training ground.

In the yard, the two goos see squads of Ecclesian Congregation running training drills, overseen by a small number of higher-ranking officers, whose primary job seems to be to yell at those who use sloppy technique in battle drills, or to yell at those who fall behind while running laps, or to yell at those who take too long with water breaks. They're overseen by a squat donkey, one with heavy scarring all along his arms and legs, his head concealed by a mask that resembles a phoenix's head.

 No.718101

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>718100
Pryce pauses in their for a brief second, eyes zipping left to right, up and down the streets as he fails to spot Zjetya anywhere. He grabs Lockjaw off his back as he starts to whine, believing that holding him in his hooves rather than with magic might comfort and ease the deviljho better.
"ZJETYA! WHERE ARE YOU!"
Pryce shouts over the city, returning to his fly over to try and find her before anything bad happens.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718102

>>718101
You continue to fly over the rearranged district, met only with a sense of utter solitude. Not a soul lives in these districts, not even local birds or vermin, as one might expect; the only sign of life are clusters of white orchids sprouting from vines. They overhang from bridges, they crawl up chimneys and towers, they sprawl across streets like criss-crossing nets.

Lockjaw has no comfort from your grasp, and you sense that your anxiety for Zjetya has rubbed off on him.

 No.718103

>>718100
Flaming looks up with curiosity at Fairy, "A love potion? What's that?" She asks, having not heard of such witchcraft before. "It's not something… 'gross', is it?"

>>718100
Flaming's eyebrows raise in surprise at the way Amy acts. "Amy? Are you alright?"

"What do you mean by 'making do'? I think you're still half-asleep, what made you want to take a nap HERE of all places?" She says, reaching up to poke at her head to try and prod her awake.

 No.718104

>>717736
Shei-Sher is officially annoyed. In a sudden motion releases This Amy from the gesture of passion he held her back in his arms. Dropping her cranium down a shallow distance to impacting pavestone.

"I'm in error, Amy seems to be feeling swell."
Shei turns back to the rest of the party. "We should follow Pryce, before he flies too far ahead. Amy where was the last place you saw Zjetya you?"

 No.718105

>>718103
"It's an imprecise term, to be honest. Many different kinds of potions can be called 'love potions', some more… eye-catching than others," Fairy Castle explains.
Tantra coughs loudly. "Let's keep this family-friendly, lady."
Fairy Castle clicks her tongue. "Of course, dear. What I'm offering is a potion that, if fed to another person, makes that person fall in love with the person who fed them the potion. It would make this little buffalo of yours mad with love for you."

>>718103
Amy rolls her eyes, and then rolls along the flagstones, her paws curled up into her. "What is it that I aaaaaaaaaaaaaaalways talk about, Flaming? I got tired of wandering around these windy little streets. Too much to deal with all on my own; I'd just get lost."
Volkama squints, rubbing his chin in thought.

 No.718106

>>718104
"Iunno," Amy says, rolling around on the hot flagstones. She seems none too bothered by the little drop. "She wandered off, was all teary-eyed about something or other. All I know is she didn't want Pryce to find her anytime soon."

 No.718107

>>718100
Flow can’t help but smirk at Renee’s generous offerings, and admires the flora and fauna they pass by. He stays relaxed, yet attentive to their surroundings, and idly reaches out to grasp one of his gooey partner’s hooves as they make their way down the path.

“Hmm…odd lookin’ building,” Flow muses as they view the padoga from the clearing.
He leads her through to approach the exotic building.

The two goos follow behind Eligos’ large form, and look down at the training grounds.
>”I don’t see them here.”
>>”Or perhaps we should just get t’ training these blokes, eh?”
They go down to greet the donkey clad in the mask.

 No.718108

>>718106
Shei tilts his head at Amy "Amy you seem dramatically unconcerned about something you were dramatically concerned about just this morning." Shei says not only inquisitively but further annoyed by Amy's bipolarness deciding to come out now.

"Are you feeling alright? You appear.. challenged -more than usual."

 No.718109

>>718100

Amy follows her nose wherever it goes. [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718110

>>718103
"She's insinuating something lasvicious. And I DON'T appreciate it."

 No.718111

>>718105
"Oh… OH!" Flaming says, her jaw suddenly dropping in shock before she shakes her head, "No no, that's… that's not what I would want at all, then!" She sighs.

"Sorry but… that doesn't seem right. If Journey is going to lo… lo…" she swallows, then quietly whispers, "l-love me, I want it to be by my own doing, not a spell."

>>718105
>>718104
Flaming blinks at Amy a few times as she rolls onto the flagstones. "I… I guess, you 'do' wander off on your own a lot, but that's why we said to stick together!" She prods her muzzle into Amy's side, trying to get her to get up.

"Now come on, we have to get moving to the Library. Did you already go there? What was it like?"

She turns to Shei, nodding her head, "Right, let's catch up to Pryce."

 No.718112

>>718107
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9pVR5B7GZg
Inside, it is a small and simple tea house, one with simple floral-print walls, an interior garden, and smoky incense giving the air a sweet and subtle atmosphere. There are few patrons, but most seem to consist of aged demon hunters, members of various races, sitting and enjoying their tea. The place is silent, devoid even of simple small talk. A tall rabbit, one wearing a light blue kimono, stands at a counter, preparing tea. As he looks up at the two of you, he raises a paw to his lips for silence.

>>718107
The masked donkey slowly looks the goos' way with a silent glare, his eyes only barely visible through the slits of the phoenix mask. They are dull, devoid of color, but a burning energy can be sensed within. A white septagram necklace hanging from his neck identifies him as a member of the Choir, a former devotee of the Union.

Without a word, he gestures to a building just behind him, which appears to be a resting area for trainees. Eligos, though he doesn't show it, seems unnerved by this sudden turn.

>>718111
Fairy Castle hum-laughs a bit with approval, patting your head. "Now that's what I want to hear! Things would have gone much differently if you had said yes. I'd have fished out whatever odd poultice I have in my bag, and even I don't know what it would have done to you or him. I don't brew potions. Not my thing, you see."

>>718111
"It was soooooooo borrrrriiiiing… there was sooooooo much taaaaaalking…" 'Amy' complains, not rolling up. "I came back partway through… let's just goooo do something eeeelse… something fun… somewhere dark and secluded."

>>718108
>>718109
Around the same time that Shei asks this, a distant shadow appears in the sky, and it appears to be Amy, riding upon the two-seater broomstick. The 'Amy' laying suggestively before you upon the flagstones looks back at Amy, and stretches out. "Tch, here comes my doppelganger, just when things were getting good."
Box runs toward the Amy in the sky, looking up at her. "Hey, hold on! We've already got an Amy down here! We don't need a second!"
The rest of the party looks quite suspicious at the second Amy's arrival. "I think I'd rather have the one on the broomstick," Wireframe gripes.

 No.718113

>>718112
>>718109
Shei stares dim eyed at the next Amy arriving skyward. He looks back at the Floor Amy taking in the sight, however uncomfortable to take it in infront of company. And looks back to Broom Amy. Shei's forehead is suddenly misty.

>"I think I'd rather have the one on the broomstick,"

"I would be amendable to keeping both." Some time passes after Shei's comment, until he grabs his chin in his hoof and starts seriously thinking to himself.

 No.718114

>>718102
Pryce slowly descends to the ground, landing on one of the bridges as he feels defeat falling over him.
"I.. I don't get it. She's not here, but they said she went this way."
Pryce holds Lockjaw a little tighter, until he sees the little deviljho is still uncomfortable, and sets him down on the ground.
"She couldn't have been hit by a spell or anything, could she? There's been nothing this whole time I've flown around."
He mutters to himself, trying to ease his mind.

 No.718115

>>718112
Flaming chuckles as she pats her head, "Heh… I guess I made the right decision then. I know what it's like to drink a 'bad' poultice before. I think I'll just do with something more 'normal' if I think I need a little help. I think he liked that time I wore make-up for a play…"

>>718112
Flaming perks her ears up, even her now starting to get a little curious as to how 'Amy' is acting. "Really? I mean, yeah, I guess that can get pretty boring but you've sat through longer, haven't you? You always listen to what someone has to say." She grabs on her leg, and tugs her along. "Come on, you're just still groggy. You'll wake up before we get there."

>>718112
>>718113
>>718109
As the real Amy appears up in the sky, Flaming looks on in confusion towards 'Amy', "Your doppelganger? What?"

When Amy lands, Flaming looks at her, letting go of 'Amy's arm. "Amy? But… you…" she looks back towards 'Amy', her brain thoroughly fried.

 No.718116

>>718113
>>718112
>>718111
>>718114

"Oh, there you guys are!" Amy shouts from the sky as she swoops down to land with the party.

"Oh, and you brought everyone else with you too! Good! And, who is this?" she asks as she looks toward her own clone. She stares at her for a moment with vague recognition. Then, it clicks.

"Oh, you're me!" she says happily as if this is normal. "Hi, me! Good to see you!" she gives her clone a hug.

 No.718117

>>718112
Flow quizzically raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t protest, instead looking to Renee to nod in agreement.

The goos both seem unnerved as well, but nod in acknowledgement.
They both follow his directions to the tent.

 No.718118

>>718116
Flaming looks between the two clones, still thoroughly perplexed.

"Uhh… why are there two of you, Amy?"

 No.718119

>>718118

"Shhhh, I'm hugging myself," Amy says as she happily enjoys this moment.

 No.718121

>>718116
Shei is still holding his chin in contemplation. "Yes.. This could work -Amy refrain from hugging yourself. It's embarrassing."

>>718112
"What do you think?" Shei asks Volkama voice below its normal volume. Obviously the duplicate Amy is what's in question.

 No.718123

>>718113
"Romance is not to be cheapened by sharing it with anyone other than one's lover," Box says sagely.
"And whoever that is, that's definitely not Amy," Volkama adds. "Seldom have I heard Amy call Flaming anything other than Shorty or Shorthorns."

>>718121
"The one we've been speaking to, this copy, is but a crude parody," Volkama says with distaste.

>>718114
Lockjaw turns to you as you set him down. He sticks close, nudging you now and again with his spiky chin in a way that feels oddly comforting, like the scratch of a coarse brush. The abandoned district sits all about you, exuding a lifeless atmosphere. All the while, to the east, a stone dome looms in the distance, constructed out of countless stone buildings that have been sculpted into a megalithic dome-wall.

>>718115
"You'll have to get used to little tricks like mine," Fairy Castle instructs. "That's how we witches pass on our teachings and offer our help. Tricks, guile, traps, and all other kinds of traps are what we use to ensure that our Daughters of Magic are sharp and quick-witted. I'll wager that even if Regina takes favorably to us, we'll have to weather a few tests of hers before we're done."

>>718115
>>718116
'Amy' (Replica Amy) growls at Flaming when she grabs her leg, then rolls up to her paws, and turns to face the True Amy once she's returned. Replica Amy returns the hug a little too snugly, running her paws along True Amy's sides a bit before it's done. "Not the greeting I was expecting. Here I thought I'd be chased off while you head for the Library to go meet Regina."
Rus Tea snorts. "I was considering it even when I still thought you were the real one. Amy, this copy of yours was doing her darnedest to give you a whore's reputation."
Replica Amy shrugs. "I just did what felt natural."

>>718117
Renee nods as well, and takes a seat at the counter, where the dog bows to the both of you. He passes you both a scrap of papyrus. Upon it are listed various tea blends and their prices. A cup of tea is only 5 Bits, and various pastries are only 2 Bits apiece.

The flavors of tea, in addition to the standards like green tea, jasmine tea, and ginger tea, include Moonshadow Tea, Warm Wind Tea, and Sword's Dance Tea.

>>718117
Inside the resting area, you see trainees recovering from the day's exercise, while others are getting cleaned up in a nearby bath area. Gjenganger and Zophie are dressing the wounds on a few trainees who got bruised and scraped up during the training exercises – nothing too serious. The two look your way as you enter, at first waving out of habit, but then pausing as they see Eligos enter. They look at him with dumb shock.

 No.718124

>>718123
>>718118
"Tricks, guile, traps, and all other kinds of tests*

 No.718125

>>718123
>>718117
It's a rabbit behind the counter, not a dog. It's about a head taller than you.

 No.718126

>>718123
>"Romance is not to be cheapened by sharing it with anyone other than one's lover,"
"Yes, Yes, those are all very good lines. You should write that down for when Pryce recovers Zjetya." Shei says dismissively.

>"The one we've been speaking to, this copy, is but a crude parody,"

"Obviously, but not what I was asking. -Should we keep her? Could be -at most- twice as workload, but certainly having two girlfriends would come with its own share of advantages.. Is it worth it?" Shei-Sher asks Volkama, who in his head is a seasoned casanova.

 No.718127

>>718123
Flaming smiles up at Fairy, "So I passed the test? Does this mean I'm on my way to becoming a witch all my very own once I get the grasp of weaving magic down?"

>>718119
"But WHY are you hugging yourself?!"

>>718123
Flaming looks between the two Amy's again, sitting on her haunches, "So, wait… YOU were the fake?" She says, looking to Replica Amy. Flaming takes a few cautionary sniffs of the air around her.

"But you smell just like her, EXACTLY like her. How did Amy make a clone of herself? You're not younger like the other Pryce is."

 No.718128

>>718121

"Are you jealous?" Amy asks as she lets her clone go. "You're welcome to join us if you want," she says with a wink.

>>718123

"Actually, ever since I got these tattoos I've been calling her Flaming a lot," Amy corrects Volkama conversationally. "I'm… not very happy about it."

>>718123

Amy looks between Rus and her clone contemplatively. "Well, if she's doing what feels natural, I think she's doing a good job of being me," she says with a nod. "At least, old me. You gotta show a little more faithfulness!" she adds, bopping her clone on the head.

"I might be huggy and flirty, but I'm not a… whore!" Then, her eyes quickly dart toward Shei. "N-not that I flirt with anyone other than Shei. I-I definitely d-don't do THAT on purpose," she says unconvincingly.

>>718126

"Shei!" Amy says with a gasp. "I'm shocked at you! I thought you were more faithful than that!"

>>718127

Amy looks from Flaming to her clone. "What kind of question is that!? Why would I NOT be hugging myself!?"

 No.718129

>>718123
Instantly allured by the title, Flow smirks and nods as he points a hoof to the Sword’s Dance tea.
He cautiously inches a tendril underneath the table to poke one of Renee’s hind legs.

Vice and Trapper both nervously grin.
>>”Oi oi! We found the cap’n, ladies n’ gents.”
>”Quite. Turns out he was the one who kept our last targets busy.”

 No.718132

>>718123
Pryce looks down at Lockjaw as he gives him a nudge, smiling at his pet's comfort, reaching down to pet him.
He looks up towards the stone dome, the only place he hasn't checked yet.
"Could she have?"
Pryce looks back down to Lockjaw, and starts to walk towards the dome and gestures for him to follow.
"Let's keep an eye out along the way. I wish I read that book Volkama had, I don't know if you'd be able to track her or not."
Pryce says to Lockjaw as he heads towards hte dome, while still keepig an eye out for Zjetya or any signs of her.
>Look [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718133

>>718128
>"Are you jealous?" Amy asks as she lets her clone go. "You're welcome to join us if you want," she says with a wink.
"I think I'll decline. I was just thinking it looks a little pathetic. Just imageine if a witch trapsed by and saw you hugging a clone of yourself. Very pathetic, whats worse all your friends are watching indifferent to the spectacle."

>"I'm shocked at you! I thought you were more faithful than that!"

"But it is still you though. Does that count? And besides think of all the benefits that come with such an arrangement." Shei's enthusiasm begins to enrapture him "You would be twice as fast at preparing meals for our future children and I. Not only that, but if you are ever sick of me I can simply spend time with the other Amy. Heck, if you are ever physically sick, we can send the doppleganger to the apothecary while I tend to your bedside. This introduces a wardrobe of conveniences to our relationship."

 No.718135

>>718133

"What's wrong with looking friendly in front of new friends?" Amy objects to the notion that hugging looks 'pathetic'.

>>718133

As Shei argues his point, Amy grimaces slightly."Cooking? Shei, I make potions out of my pee. I kind of figured you were the one who cooks."

"A-also," she stammers even more uncomfortably. "Ch-children? L-like a lot…?"

 No.718136

>>718126
"…I'd be a hypocrite if I dissuaded you from picking up a second mare after I dropped that little tidbit of historical trivia on Pryce earlier," Volkama muses. "Do as thou wilt, as the members of your occultic tradition would say."

>>718127
Fairy Castle hum-laughs yet again. "Patience, patience, patience. You don't get to call yourself a witch until much later down this road. But keep at it, and perhaps someday I'll give you a necklace and a poncho much like mine, signifying you as a true bruja."

>>718128
"I quite agree," Volkama says. "Shorty befits her more as a nickname, I believe."

>>718128
>>718127
After hearing Flaming, Rus and Amy talk, Replica Amy shrugs. "Don't blame me. I'm just going off what Regina told me when she made me. She only saw so much of you through her scrying-pool, so she had to extrapolate on the rest. In any case, I just dropped out here to have a little fun before you went on your merry ways. I really wanted to see how Pryce would react."

"…Oh my god, we've lost Pryce now too," Tantra groans. "Did you happen to see Zjetya anywhere?"

"Iunno," Replica Amy says.

>>718129
The silent rabbit nods, beginning to mix tea leaves and brew hot water. While you wait, you poke Renee with your tendril. "EEE!" Renee gasps, nearly leaping out of her chair in shock. The other patrons, as well as the rabbit, leer at the two of you, and Renee covers her mouth apologetically.

In short time, he serves you your tea in a porcelain cup, a hot red swirling substance that invigorates you with just a few whiffs. Renee orders the Moonshadow Tea, which ends up being a cool, dark drink, one that smells of cool, clear nights. She has a sip, and then bows to the rabbit with gratitude. The rabbit bows back, but still looks annoyed. He gestures toward the back of the tea-house, where there are stairs leading up and downward.

>>718129
"Eligos!" both say with amazement. "What's the matter with you, why didn't you reach out to us before now?" Zophie says. "We haven't heard from you in so long, we thought that–"

Eligos lifts his helmet for a moment, revealing the extent of the mutated flesh growing across his bony face, and Zophie falls silent, her eyes wide. "…Oh. So that's why. I… I get it."

"Right," Eligos grunts, donning his helmet again. "Would've been bad for my image if I tried the old shtick with a face like this."

"In any case, you're here," Gjenganger says. "Take a seat, tell us what we've missed out on."

Eligos nods, sitting down with a loud thump on the floor, and starts from the beginning of the mission involving the knights and lich.

>>718132
You start to walk east through the districts, Lockjaw faithfully trotting along next to you as you navigate the winding streets, getting turned around more than once via the tangled roads. Along the way, the only other signs of life are the white orchids, which produce a sweet smell as you walk. Lockjaw grunts and snorts as you walk, periodically bumping into your legs with a little more force than you'd expect from a simple accident.

 No.718138

>>718128
"Because there 'shouldn't be two of you! I mean," she sighs, "You hugging yourself isn't what's shocking me, I could have seen that coming. I'm just shocked that I have to ask."

>>718135
>>718133
"Shei…." Flaming puffs up her cheeks. "I don't think that's very nice to insinuate you could just replace Amy with another Amy. You can't just snuggle up to one when the other is busy."

>>718136
"A 'bruja'?" Flaming asks, "Is that like a special kind of witch? If you would have me," Flaming bows her head, "I promise to practice every day until I'm the sort of witch you'd be proud to have as a bruja."

>>718136
"Regina made you? Did she… did she make clones of ALL of us?"
Flaming's eyes open wide. "Did she make a clone of ME too?! W-who else did she make copies of?"

As Pryce and Zjetya both appear to be missing now, Flaming lets out a grunt. "Right, they're gone now too? Then let's go looking for them. Other Amy, you're coming with us. Everyone, let's move, we have to find Pryce and Zjetya before Regina does something to them!"
[1d10] Searching for Pryce or Zjetya

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.718139

>>718136
As Pryce walks he starts to get a little frustrated as the streets wind like a labyrinth and turn him about, though the emotion comes more from his failure to navigate and potential risk of not having searched the whole city. The only thing that has seemed constant is the dome, so Pryce doubles down to head towards it in hopes that Zjetya may have as well if she got lost.

He looks down as Lockjaw continues to bump into him, chuckling.
"You're still riled up from that tug of war, aren't you? Maybeit's good we keep you small for a while."
The force isn't enough to knock him over yet, so he does nothing to stop him, letting Lockjaw work off the energy.

 No.718142

>>718136

Amy smiles at her clone in response to mentioning Pryce. "Okay, I have to know. Did he have a good reaction?"

"Oh shoot! Did he go ahead! Come on, everyone! We need to catch up to him! I met Regina already. She's super nice! Let's go talk to her!"

>>718138

"Oh…" Amy says as if she just now understands. "Regina made her," she says as she points to the clone.

 No.718143

>>718136
Flow also jumps at Renee’s sudden jump, and has to take a deep breath to keep himself from exclaiming himself.
When the tea is finished, Flow takes a long but reserved sip from his tea.
When the rabbit gestures to the back, Flow scratches his head, and looks to Renee for a suggestion.

The clones also shy away when Eligos reveals his condition to them.
>>”Smooth, Zoph,” Trapper silently teases, making sure she can’t hear.
The both fill in pieces when they can in Eligos’ story.

 No.718144

>>718142
"You met with Regina? And she was super nice? That's great! What's she like, exactly? I was expecting the worst after speaking to the first witches we met."

 No.718146

>>718139
>Walk [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718148

>>718136

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.718151

>>718136
>"Do as thou wilt, as the members of your occultic tradition would say."
Shei blushes abashed at the use of the thelematic slogan "Well that isn't -necessarily an excuse to follow one's licentious desires. More so it is an obedience to fate by following one's true will, however I do see Amy in that. Right I now I cannot help but see two Loves under will."

>>718135
"Hm, fine fair enough. I will do the cooking. And yes, lots of children. You likely produce them by the litter and I being the first of Griffonic Goat kind it would be our responsibility to populate the earth with our magical kin. And we could do that twice as fast with two Amys."

>>718136
>>718142
>>718138
>"…Oh my god, we've lost Pryce now too,"
"That entirely escaped my mind. Yes, we should all be moving now. Amy see if you can find Pryce's scent. Regina's Amy, we would appreciate you company."
Shei-Sher spreads his wings and begins taking to the air. "I will search over head."

[1d10] following the direction Pryce went and looking for him

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718154

>>718144

"She's… kinda like Shei," Amy says before nodding in satisfaction at that description. "She's like a scientist. She wants to learn all the things. She's been hurt by bad people in the past, so she can be kinda rude sometimes. But, she seems nice at her core."

>>718151

"B-by the litter…?" Amy parrots the phrase, looking and sounding mortified.

 No.718155

>>718143
Renee gestures upward with an inquisitive look.

>>718143
In time, Eligos concludes retelling the story of the mission at the point where you returned to Lilane.
"All that just today? You two've had a busy morning," Zophie says, ignoring Trapper's teasing.
Eligos grunts. "Onto the next mission. I don't intend to stay here for longer than I have to."
"Nope. You're not leaving our sight," Gjenganger says. "We still have to meet Hope tomorrow, before the five days are up."
Eligos falls silent, contemplatively.

>>718139
Lockjaw continues to bump into you, but always in an indirect fashion, never head on. You get the sense there's still some kind of dominance or rivalry ritual at play here designed to keep the deviljho hierarchy intact. Still, even though he's small, he makes an effort to bump you aside and take the lead.
[1d10]

>>718138
"In my tradition of Witchcraft, that's what we call ourselves," Fairy Castle confirms. "Every path has their own term for Witch, one that must be earned through trials unique to that path. If the path of brujeria is the one for you, I would be glad to help you walk it."

"You'll have to find out," is all that Replica Amy says to your question.

>>718142
"He ignored me!" Replica Amy says. "Can you believe the nerve?"

>>718138
>>718139
>>718142
>>718151
"You people are so hard to keep track of," Chorazin says. "Were you like this before I joined?"
"We should invest in some bell collars," Rus Tea says. "Otherwise we'll lose them in Tartarus every few minutes."

While Pryce heads east through the labyrinthian district, the rest of the party heads northeast, finding it to be the least complicated of the winding roads, made tangled and complicated by Regina's world-rearranging magic. The streets remain as lonely and desolate as they were when Amy first traversed them, the white orchids remaining the only signs of life. As she passes by them, Replica Amy trails a paw along the white orchids, touching them gingerly as if they were not flowers, but good aquaintances.

In time, both parties meet when their paths converge into a single long path that is quite close to the dome, a tunnel underneath a great bridge, one which has many branching paths ending in doorways on either side and liturgical stained glass for a roof. Amy recognizes this long tunnel from when she first came down this way. Upon seeing Pryce, the party members call out to him to get his attention.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.718158

>>718155
Flow nods, and offers a hoof to assist her in getting up.
But not before slamming the rest of his invigorating tea.

>>"Aye, we aven't much time, after all," Trapper remarks at Zophie's statement.

>"Gjen is right, Sir Eligos. Veterans like ourselves are becoming more of an asset to the ongoing effort of survival. Besides, I'm sure we'll have the resources to find out what exactly caused your condition, and perhaps, how to cure it."
>>"Besides, we needt' git the ol' crew back together anyways to kick ass, the ol' fashioned way!"

 No.718160

>>718154
"Like Shei, huh?" Flaming says, "Hmmm… I will probably need to meet her myself to get a good sense, but I think you could be a lot worse than 'like Shei'. If you say she's nice, I'm sure she's nice. Still, I have a lot of questions to ask her about this place."

>>718155
"Well, if all 'bruja' are like you, Fairy, then I think I definitely want to be a bruja. You're not just strong and disciplined, you're nice too."

>>718155
"Ooooh yeah," Flaming says to Chorazin, "We got all over the place. Mostly to cover more ground, but more so because 'some' of us are more quick to run off than others."

Flaming follows along the path of the winding streets, feeling constantly un-nerved by the odd shapes/twisting infrastructure of the area, looking on oddly at Replicamy as she touchest the flowers.

When they finally meet up at the end, Flaming looks up at the long domed roof, marveling at its size. "So this is the Library… any traps we should have to worry about?"

As she sees Pryce in the distance, she likewise cries out to get his attention. "Pryce! Down here, we found Amy! Uh… Amy's!"

 No.718161

>>718155
"I would like to point out our group was always fairly small until this year." Sheis only defense against Chorazin's criticism.

Shei take's notice of the duplicate Amy's fondness for the white orchids. And decides to examine them with Pupil.
[1d10] appraise

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718163

>>718160
>>718154
"I would like to take this moment to remind you both, you said Mudi was "nice" as well, and just as gingerly. Now look where we stand."

 No.718164

>>718155
Pryce feels Lockjaw continuing to bump him in competition. While he does feel fine in letting him keep on, he does thin back to what he heard about his species and their hierarchy. He'll need to keep himself as the alpha in Lockjaw's eyes for whenever they restore his size again.
Against better judgement, Pryce gives Lockjaw a little bump to his side to keep himself ahead to show who's in charge.
>Bump [1d10]


>>718155
>>718160
Pryce reaches the tunnel, starting to head inside until the other shout towards him.
"You guys were heading this way too?"
He asks, looking over the group and noticing a lack of a moth.
"So she didn't run into you guys then. I looked all over the city for Zjetya with no luck, so she has to be in here."
He says, before starting to turn back to head through the tunnel.

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718166

>>718155

"Yeah, that sounds like Pryce…" Amy says to her clone, sounding a little disappointed.

>>718155
>>718164

"Oh Pryce. There you are. C'mon, it's…" she trails off. "Well, last time I flew above the tunnel. But I'm sure if we go through we'll get to the same place!" she says confidently.

>>718163


"Moody IS nice!"

"And, don't think I didn't notice you changing the subject!"

 No.718167

>>718163
Flaming winces as you mention Mudi's name, and looks to Shei. "R-right… point taken. I may actually need to speak to you later about that, but for now I know what you mean. Still, we haven't even met her yet."

>>718164
"You hadn't found Zjetya yet either?!" Flaming says with concern. "Well, she has to be around here somewhere, we'll find her. We're in witch territory now, which means she shouldn't run into any wild demons or anything like that. Maybe she's with Regina right now as well."

 No.718171

>>718155
[1d10] appraise

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718172

>>718158
Renee stands, offering an embarrassed smile to the rest of the room's guests, then heads with you to the upstairs area. You enter a small lounge and balcony area, with a few rooms in the back. A few other hunters and tamers are here, sitting and sharing quiet conversations. Upon seeing you, they nod their greetings, but otherwise keep their voices down. Renee walks out to the balcony, taking in the cool air as she continues to sip her tea in silence.

>>718158
Eligos appears quite reluctant as he thinks over seeing Hope in his condition. "Yeah, yeah… I know I gotta do it. If for nothing else than to get the crew back again. The last mission we'll be able to take on together, innit?"
"We're getting old," Gjenganger agrees. "We can't keep living like this forever."
"Some of you are, anyway," Zophie scoffs.
"Being a goo's cheating," Eligos jokes.

>>718160
"Don't get used to it," Fairy Castle says, bopping you lightly with her staff. "I'm only nice to beginners."

>>718164
You fail to strike a proper balance, and in trying to bump him you nearly fall over him. Lockjaw raises his head inquisitively, and then comes in for another attempted bump, his bravado growing.
[1d10]

>>718161
Pupil has trouble identifying the orchids and their purpose, but with your magical sense, you can tell that the flowers contain a deep magical potency within them, one that indicates that they do not have a singular purpose, as many magical plants do, but the potential to be used in myriad ways, if only one has the intelligence and creativity for it.

>>718160
>>718164
>>718161
>>718166
Replica Amy looks back to the rest of you as Pryce blatantly ignores her once more. "He cares more about playing with his little gecko than me! Can you believe this?" she asks, incredulous. As he proceeds down the tunnel, she trots along after him, keeping pace with him as he walks down the long tunnel.

The tunnel is long and winding, snaking through the abandoned distrcit, and you cannot see down to the end of it for quite a while, at least until you're a good halfway through. Once you are about halfway through, though, the tunnel expands, growing larger in every direction, until it opens up to a long pathway that reaches the dome. A great magnificent metal door lays at the end of the path, ringed with a grove of white orchids. The door is presumably locked, and a powerful magical circle, likely a seal, is etched on its exterior.

Vortigern draws her spear, but Fairy Castle shakes her head. Vortigern gasps with realization, then backs off.

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.718174

>>718171
But with a second try, you are able to apprehend their powers.

>Dove's Orchids

>While this flower originated in this World, it was harvested to extinction for its leaves' high spiritual potency, which made them a catalyst for all those who wanted to amplify their spells and rituals. Its seeds were preserved in Tartarus when the Sons of God took them with them on their final expedition, and returned to the World when a demon who had devoured one of the Sons inadvertently brought them back. It contains the properties of Light, one of the Four Primordial Aspects of Existence. Light gives birth to all visual phenomena, and amplifies magical energy.
>Alas, without the presence of the other three Aspects, Light's creations are often just illusory.

 No.718175

>>718174
Replace Aspects with Spheres in this post, got them backwards

 No.718177

>>718172

"Welcome to my world," Amy says with a bit of a laugh to her clone. "Like as literally as that can mean."

Then, she looks to the door with a seal. "I don't remember this before…" she mumbles.

 No.718179

>>718166
"You flew this way? Did you see Zjetya follow you into there?"
Pryce asks with concern.

>>718167
"Regina's in this dome?!"
Pryce says, growing more worried.

>>718172
Pryce nearly trips in his worried stance, but as Lockjaw goes for another headbutt, Pryce instead of matching it reaches down to scoop him up before he can connect to set him on his back so he can run down the tunnel.
>Grab [1d10]

>>718172
Pryce rushes down the tunnel after hearing who lies inside the dome, trying not to think of what might've happened if Zjetya got inside already.
He stops as they come across the massive door, locked and sealed. Undeterred, his horn glows white as he approaches the door, putting his hoof to it as he attempts to form a barrier around it and himself to dispel the seal.
>Palisade [Self and Door] [1d10]

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

 No.718181

>>718172
Flaming grins up at Fairy. "Really? Well then, you can feel free to stop being nice the next time we meet: I'll be an expert in magic by then."

>>718172
Flaming smiles at ReplicAmy, "You 'realize' he's already got a mate, right? I don't think Pryce is going to put himself in any MORE trouble than he already is."

>>718179
Flaming nods, "Yep yep. But, apparently Amy already met with her once. She says she's nice."

>>718172
>>718177
Looking ahead at the massive door, Flaming takes a few steps forward, eying the odd orchid covered barrier. "This wasn't here last time for you? Huh… well, there has to be a away to open it."

Flaming looks up at the barrier, mumbling to herself. "Hmmm… Fairy, could I break this with the magic you've been teaching me? Or is it too strong?"

 No.718182

>>718179

"I never saw the real Zeta," Amy answers. "I met her clone, though. She was pretty lame by comparison."

"Also, yeah, this is where Regina lives. She's pretty nice. A little… hurt, though. She's pretty sensitive. Be nice."

 No.718183

>>718166
"Is she not! You can certainly tell by how she fondles her snowglobe charged with the souls of murdered children. What man can say Mudi doesn't care." The sarcasm drips delightfully, you could bottle up Shei's sarcasm and sell it to jaded goats after complaining about having enough sarcasm in their household.

>>718174
Shei-Sher begins stuff his messenger bag full of the Doves Orchids.

>>718179
"Not to worry, Now to worry. Amy mishappenly encountered Regina. And by her word she is" Shei wobbles his head left to right, like its difficult to say "..nice. If Amy is fine, I am sure Zjetya is just as well. I think the best course of action is to confront Regina in her tower and ask where our friend went."

>>718172
Shei-Sher steps forward toward the great seal. "I have an idea, hold you spears everyone." Shei takes 3 white orchids from his bag and begins chewing on. Lifting his arm up he begins to eb and weave with the surrounding key.
[1d10] qi working to find how the seal was made

>appraise

[1d10] to examine the seal

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.718184

>>718182
"Sh-She got cloned?!"
Pryce says in shock.
"So she has to be inside here then."

>>718181
>>718182
"Everypony is nice in Amy's eyes! Did you see what those witches before did in Regina's name? I don't trust her if she's trying to force everypony here to follow her like that!"

 No.718186

>>718172
Flow follows suit, and looks out past the balcony at Renee’s side. He reaches over and takes a sip of Renee’s tea, holding it in his mouth before he looks at her suggestively.

Vice and Trapper share a laugh.
>>”Aye cap’n, we never lose our masculine charms,” he says with a flex of his gooey muscles.
>”Quite…,” Vice adds with a reserved chuckle.

 No.718187

>>718184

"Does that mean I'm in there?" Amy asks slowly, confused by Pryce's logic. Then, her eyes go wide. "Am I a clone too!?"

>>718183

"Shei! Stop bringing up old wrong arguments for a second! We have an emergency! I think I might be a clone!"

 No.718188

>>718187
"…Why would you be a clone?"

 No.718189

>>718184
>>718187
"Zjetya had a clone too?!" Flaming exclaims, looking up at the barrier leading into the dome.
"By the spirits, what if we ALL got cloned? Other Amy said she was watching us, if she made one for Zjetya and Amy…"

 No.718190

>>718177
"Remember, you flew in through one of the landing platforms up in the dome's ceiling to the west," Replica Amy says. "This is the front door, which the witches have to use whenever they want to come knocking with whatever silly demand they have for Regina."

>>718181
Volkama laughs. "Oh, no no no no, he's bound for much more trouble than you could imagine."

>>718181
>>718179
Pryce scoops up Lockjaw, but he manages to wiggle out of his grasp and scurry away. Then, when Pryce stands at the door and tries to break the seal, the seal glows, and pulses with power, knocking Pryce away onto his side. Lockjaw trots over and then steps onto Pryce, as if he's pinned him to the ground. Lockjaw roars in triumph.

Fairy Castle examines the seal, then turns to Flaming. "At this stage, it's far too strong for you to weaken alone. But with you and Pryce working at it, perhaps you can put a dent in it. If all else fails, I'll get it, but I'd think this is a good start for the two of you to get in a little magic exercise."

She passes Flaming her staff. "Care to give it a try?"

>>718183
It appears to be a relatively simple magical seal, one that repels oncoming force, as demonstrated by Pryce just now. As you chew on the orchid leaves, you see that its weak point is at the edges, where there are four points of magical concentration. If those are destroyed, the seal should falter.

>>718186
Renee stares out at the forest over the balcony, her expression growing forlorn, and she shakes her head slowly. She opens her mouth several times to say something, but nothing comes out, her breath faltering.

>>718186
"Enough gab then," Eligos says. "Where's that old hawk now?"
"Last we heard, he's amassing his forces at a fortress northeast of Fantasia, pulling in every contact and favor he's ever known," Gjenganger says. "He and the rest of his staff have got every waking second planned out. They don't have a single moment to spare."
"Hmm…" Eligos looks over at the goos. "Whaddya think? We droppin' in today or tomorrow?"

 No.718191

>>718187
>>718188
"I think she may be right Pryce. She's a clone." Shei has given up

 No.718193

>>718188

"Well, you said that if Zeta had a clone, then the real one must be in there. And, I have a clone right there," she says, pointing to the clone of her among the party. "So, the real me must be in there too!"

"I mean, I didn't see the real me the last time I was in there, but I also didn't see the real Zeta…" Amy muses out loud. "So, I guess they were hidden from me."

>>718189

"What if WE are the clones!?" Amy asks in an increased panic.

>>718190

"So, how do we open it?" Amy asks her clone.

But, before she gets an answer, Amy knocks on the door. "Helloooo?" she calls out.

[1d10] for polite knocking

>>718191

"What are we going to do, Shei!? We have to save me!"

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.718194

>>718190
Shei is modestly dissapointed at colleecting the qi of a memory that occured 3 minutes ago. He must have had his head turned the other way when Pryce rammed the door.

kneeling down, Shei-Sher wraps a seal around the hammer of his staff and begins hammering the weak points of the door.
[1d10] spell breaker

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718195

>>718193
"Amy it is past your time. We can not save. Life will simply have to resume. Step into Amy's paws and live her life in accordance to her true will."

 No.718197

>>718195

"If you don't save Amy, you'll never be able to have those kids," Amy says in a combination of panic and supportiveness.

 No.718198

>>718190
Flaming looks up at Volkama as he laughs, "What does 'that' mean, exactly?"

>>718193
"S-stop thinking like that Amy! No way we're the clones! We'd know if we were clones… wouldn't we?"

>>718190
>>718184
Flaming chuckles as Lockjaw manages to 'pin' Pryce, letting out a little roar of victory. "You really are going to need to be careful with him, Pryce, he's already convinced he's top-dog."

As Fairy explains how the barrier can be faded away by a group effort, Flaming nods eagerly to Fairy. "Of course I would! We'll have this barrier down in no time, I promise."

She takes the staff in her hoof, carrying it over as close to the barrier as she can. She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes and begins visualizing the barrier in front of her, staff pointed at it as she tries to breathe out her Spirit.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718199

>>718190
>>718189
>>718188
"AS Fairy Castle said, The seal is quite robust. Albiet simple. There are four weak points where the magic forming the seal cause joints." Shei points to the weak points "They need to be broken with magical force." Shei says as he gets to hammering the door.

 No.718200

>>718198

"Wouldn't the original versions of us know the answer to that question?" Amy asks convincingly.

 No.718202

>>718190
Flow nods in understanding, and swallows the tea, opting to look out at the forest as well. He remains silent, deep in thought as well.

Vice shrugs.
>"We still have to meet back up with Flow again, so we'd best try meeting him tomorrow…"
>>"So that leaves us with the rest of the day together…How fun!"
Vice looks out at the training grounds, deep in thought.

 No.718206

>>718193
>>718191
>>718189
>>718190
"Why are all of you talking about clones now?"
Pryce asks, until he sees the second Amy that the real one points out.
"…Oh."
He says simply, before looking to Flaming.
"We'll need to practice that Unweaving quickly. It'll be our best way to figure out what things are clones or not if we run into other ponies here."

>>718190
>>718198
Pryce settles ot grab Lockjaw after he deals with the door, onto the be blasted back by the force. He groans from the impact, looking up as Lockjaw hops onto him triumphantly, already not looking good in keeping his pet's respect.
"I'll let him have this moment."
Pryce grumbles, before nudging him off so he can stand up.
Listen to Fairy, Pryce steps up to Flaming's side to help attempt with the unweaving of the seal.
"Practice already? It must be similar to your top lesson then?"
He questions, looking to the door as he closes his eyes. He focuses on the mental image of the door, focusing on the seal as a lock, and focusing his magic to act as a key to undo it with Flaming.
>[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.718209

>>718193
>>718194
Replica Amy looks blankly at the both of you as she tries, and fails, to follow your conversational thread.
"…Whuh?"

When Amy knocks on the door, the seal simply pulses again, knocking her back a few feet, though she remains standing unlike Pryce.

>>718198
Volkama shakes his head. "For his sake, I cannot say… but you will be aware of it soon enough, I am certain."

>>718202
"…I don't want to see a one of them die," Renee eventually whispers. "I can't. I… don't know if I can go with all of you. If it happens, and someone should fall… I'm not certain I'll be able to continue on."

>>718202
Eligos grunts. "Then it's settled. Since these two won't let me leave the city before then, I may as well get in a little hard labor. Keep myself busy, keep my bones from gettin' brittle."
"We'll be watching you," Zophie warns. "Don't you try and slip out to go do another mission, or I'll know."

>>718206
Lockjaw gets off, but continues to stomp and snort around, revelling in his newfound victory.

>>718198
>>718199
>>718206
Pryce and Flaming come together, and Rus Tea holds open the book that Fairy Castle gave you, opening it up to the section on Untying. It contains many magical diagrams and images to focus on, as well as instructions for focusing one's Spirit, tempering one's Power, heightening one's Will, and clearing one's Memory, all key parts of manipulating magic.

As you both join together to weaken the seal, the seal wavers, becoming dim. The four corners of the seal start to waver, losing power as you stop the flow of magical energy within them, just like with the top.

"Keep going… keep going…!" Fairy Castle encourages.

 No.718210

>>718197
"I do not care for that Amy. I must confess, though my displays of romance were to earn Amy's affections it was only so I could become closer to you clone of my Amy. I loved you, solely. I always loved you. Let us run away together, to hell with our genuine selves. We shall live our life a simulcrum of my love for you."

>>718200
>>718198
"I am afraid it's the true Ms. shorthorns. We were clones all this time. How I tried to protect you all from the truth. And now we must efface our progenitors and stand in their place if we wish to survive."

 No.718212

>>718197
Shei steps back to let them do the rest of the work. Shei is too busy entertaining a conversation about clones.

 No.718213

>>718209
Pryce takes a deep breath, trying to clear his mind of his worries for Zjetya and the loss to Lockjaw as he feels the magic of the seal start to unwind. He continues to concentrate on the door, encompassing his magic around the seal's to undo it so they can continue on.
>[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718214

>>718209
Flaming looks at Volkama curiously, "Oooookay. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that though…"

>>718200
"I don't know! This was weird enough when Pryce had his little him, I didn't know we'd have to be dealing with this situation again so soon!"

Flaming sighs, "I… I am Flaming Shorthorns. That's me. I was never anyone else. Okay, I'm not a clone, I am sure of it. One hundred percent."

>>718206
"Yeah, all the clones are getting a little weird… but then, you're no stranger to that, are you? Was it weird with little Pryce?"

>>718206
>>718209
>>718199
As Shei describes the shape of the seal, Flaming moves her concentration down to one of the four points he mentions. "Four weakpoints… got it… focusing…!"

Flaming opens her eyes as she looks at the book Fairy had offered her, looking at a few sections about strengthening her will as she re-focuses on manipulating the Spirit of the lock, tearing it apart slowly bit by bit.

"Just… thinking… about the seal… coming undone…" she strains, keeping her focus clear as water.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718215

[1d10] One more!

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.718216

>>718214
"I saw KP formed before me, and Calque mentioned it was a spell that creates a younger version of yourself. So there was nothing to worry about there, aside from his attempt to use it for blackmail when we first met."

 No.718217

>>718213
>[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718218

>>718210

Amy slowly blinks trying to process the situation. She puts her hoof-paw to her head repeatedly like Winnie the Pooh.

"If you're also a clone, then I guess we'd just be imitating what the real versions of us do. But, if clone you and clone me fall in love and have babies, will they be clone babies? What if the real us don't have babies? Then, what would they be clones of? You can't have a clone if there's no original. So, does that mean we can't have kids?"

Then, Amy nods. "I think I'm okay with that."

>>718214

"Isn't that what a clone would say?"

>>718209

If asking politely failed, then Amy is out of ideas. This is a job best left to the professionals at not asking politely.

 No.718221

>>718218
"I suppose children to an effect are clones of their parents. Why the fixation with our real selves Amy. Is my love not reall enough for you? Is this about the real Shei-Sher, Clone Amy. DO YOU LOVE HIM!" Shei grabs Amy by the shoulders, shaking her, feigning hysteria.

 No.718222

>>718209
Flow closes his eyes and takes a deep, saddened breath.
“I know. To be honest, I was hoping you’d stay here, for your own safety.”
Flow opens his eyes to absent-mindedly gaze at the ocean of green, bustling trees. For a moment, he too wishes to be as free as one, without a care in the world.
“And…if something were to happen to you…”
He shudders at the thought.

Vice and Trapper both nod with a smile.
>”We’ll accompany you for the time being as well.”

 No.718224

>>718221

"But, if we are clones of people who love each other, doesn't that mean we were made to love each other? Then, that means that our love isn't real by design," Amy reasons slowly in a calm manner. Apparently, someone else panicking calms her down.

 No.718226

>>718221
>>718218
Replica Amy shakes her head with a bit of a sad expression. "Replicas can't reproduce. We're just knockoffs, mostly made of illusions – in the Coven, they called her the Mother of Illusions, after all. A copy isn't always as good as the original."

>>718218
>>718217
>>718215
It takes quite a bit of concentration, but Flaming and Pryce manage to weaken the magical seal, and it vanishes, apart from a very faint but impotent outline now that it has been dispelled. The effort leaves the both of you tired, but Pryce less so, as he's more used to using magic.

Fairy Castle hums her approval, stomping her forehooves in applause. She then takes the staff and raises it. Suddenly, the seal returns to normal, fully restored. "Okay, now do it again!" she cackles.

Volkama, Chorazin, Box, Tantra and Wireframe gasp and shout and curse with disapproval.

Fairy Castle turns and clicks her tongue at them. "Oh, I was just kidding! You won't fit in around witches if you're not prepared for jests like that!"

She raises her staff again, and the seal vanishes once more. "No more tricks, I promise! It should be open now. Go on in."

They still glare at her for that little 'prank.'

>>718222
"…I could stay up here, watch over the children," Renee mutters. "But then you'd be down a healer. That's not something you can afford. Only water can heal you, so that's just whoever has a canteen on hand. Who knows if you'll even be able to refill that in Tartarus? You… I can't leave you to die, either."

>>718222
Eligos gets up and stretches out. "…Where's the iron? Think I'll do a little lifting before I put the yoke back on."
"They're in the yard, just make sure you share with the trainees," Gjenganger says. "Oh, and Eligos… it's really good to have you back with us. Don't disappear again, alright?"
"Wouldn't dream of it, sir," Eligos says with a laugh. "C'mon, boys. Wanna lift?"

 No.718228

>>718224
"Amy.. I wanted to avoid this, but there is no skirted the truth behind our malignant design. I am leaving you Amy. Forever, it is the only way." faux resolution in the matter reflects off of Shei like a fun house mirror.

 No.718229

>>718226
>>718228

"W-well then," Amy says as tears fill her eyes. "I guess I just have to find the real me so I can stop existing…"

Amy goes through the door.

 No.718232

>>718216
"Can you imagine if she cloned you… again? That's like, THREE Pryces running around by that point."

"I mean, what would you even do with three Pryces?"
Obvious answer is obvious

>>718218
"….no. No of course it isn't. Because I'M saying it. And I'm not a clone."

>>718226
Flaming slumps over after the seal is dispelled, feeling drained of energy from concentrating that hard. "Ooo… ooof… t-that wasn't SO bad, I-I guess I really am a natural."

As Fairy puts the seal back, Flaming's eyes open wide with shock, little tears forming at the edges of her eyes before Fairy reveals it was all just a prank.
"Hah. Hah. Hah. REAAALLY funny, Fairy." She coughs, pulling herself up the ground.
"I knew you were joking the whole time, of course, a silly little prank like THAT wouldn't get me. Now, that's enough games: time to meet Regina, and find Zjetya!"

 No.718233

>>718226
>>718229
Shei-Sher takes clone Amy's paws in his hooves. "Clone Amy I love you, it was always about becoming closer to you. I merely went along with your imposter's design to become closer to you." Shei-Sher is relentless in torturing the real Amy.

 No.718234

>>718232

"Unless you're a clone!"

 No.718235

>>718226
>>718232
Pryce exhales after the door is undone, looking over to Flaming.
"Good job with that Flaming. You might have a good chance at learning this magic before me."

>>718232
"I hope she hasn't… That'd be a bit much to see another pony exactly like me walking around."
Pryce pauses a moment.
"Though, it could make for a good magic act."

>>718226
Pryce nods as Fairy says the door is all fine now.
"Good. Let's get trough here already."
He says, scooping up Lockjaw as he stomps around and steps forward, opening hte door to head on into the dome and find Zjetya.

 No.718237

>>718233

"M-my imposter…?" Amy asks slowly. "I'm so lost…"

 No.718240

>>718226
Flow wryly grins.
“Don’t think I’ve ignored that,” he mutters to himself more than anything.
Flow tentatively puts a hoof on Renee’s back.
“I’ll be okay, trust me. Your safety comes above all else to me, okay?”


Vice and Trapper both nod,
>”Aye, and thank you.”
They both follow the hulking undead outside of the tent for some much needed fresh air.

 No.718244

>>718237
"I am sorry Amy. You were always a clone of a clone. Far more irrelevant to anyone's lives than a real clone would be. The only thing right for you to do now, is to simply walk away, exit our lives and bring a cessation to the inconvenience your presence introduces into our lives, the real clones." Shei stands there holding Clone Amy's paws in his hooves "Well go on now.. You can leave."

Shei waits for Amy to walk away.

 No.718245


 No.718246

>>718234
"But I'm NOT a clone!" Flaming persists, trying to make her case heard. "If I were a clone, I would know! Other Amy knew she was a clone."

>>718235
Flaming grins up at Pryce, still panting in exhaustion. "Thanks, Pryce. I'm glad it's starting to come to me, this magic stuff I think will be REALLY useful for us in the future."

"And, yeah, clones actually 'would' make for a good magic act: you could do some fun switching around stuff, couldn't you?"

 No.718247

>>718229
>>718233
Replica Amy looks fairly lost as all this goes on, but seems to have followed along well enough to get the gist of it. "Ah… but I have a confession of my own!" she says in a tragic voice. "It was all to get at Replica Pryce! I simply used you as a pawn to get into the group of replicas!"

>>718235
Lockjaw grumbles as you pick him up, but despite his rebellious attitude, he holds still in your grasp now that you're not flying around.

>>718232
>>718233
>>718229
>>718235
https://youtu.be/NkYxsnWj8Ds

You enter the dome, your eyes taking a moment to adjust to the deep darkness within. The dome blocks almost all light from the outside, except that which enters from the many openings around its exterior, which resemble landing strips for fliers. A compound consisting of four massive and connected marble buildings lies in the center of the dome's environment, surrounded by a landscape of red, orange and brown trees, as well as the occasional bush of white dove's orchids among the fall-colored landscape. The southern building is a guild hall, a cathedral to the east, a small palace in the north, and the library to the west.

Unlike Amy's meeting earlier, no voice greets you upon your entry. There is only the sound of the leaves and grasses rustling in the air. Your allies are on alert, forming a perimeter around you and watching out for anything that might jump out.

>>718240
"But I can't sacrifice your own," Renee says. "…I can't just separate myself from you. How are you going to come back to me unharmed?"

>>718240
Eligos heads outside, to where many weights and training equipment are stacked up in neat rows upon several sets of racks. He takes a few, experimentally testing them, checking their weight and balance.

 No.718250

>>718226
Shei-Sher simply watches Amy actually walk away. "My girlfriend is tremendously daft" Shei confesses to the clone of Amy while still holding her paws "I am honestly a little hurt she did not fight harder than that."

 No.718252

>>718232
Fairy Castle, perhaps noticing the little tears in your eyes, pauses and, making sure nobody else sees for the sake of your reputation, gives you a little hug. "You did quite a wonderful job for your first time using a serious spell. You've got more of a knack for it than you know."

 No.718253

>>718247
using this >>718250 as my reply to Clone Amy.

>but also

"Are you harboring a crush for Sir Etac?"

 No.718255

>>718247

"Hiii, Regina! I'm back," Amy says with a sort of forced happiness, the fact that she's a clone still in the back of her mind. She looks up at nothing in particular - an odd sight for those who are new here, surely.

"Or maybe I never left. I'm getting confused. Where's the real me?"

 No.718257

>>718247
Shei-Sher can't help but feel a little excited about his surroundings, also he loves autumn.

"Straight away to the tower? oooor.. shall we dilly dally?"

 No.718258

>>718246
"Huh, I didn't think of it that way. I was picturing having the clones on stage with me."

>>718247
Pryce looks around as they enter the dark dome, four choices of buildings around them to pick between. Pryce flies up into the air for a better view of the land they're now in, as well as to spot any trace of Zjetya that came through here.
>Scan [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718265

>>718252
Shorthorns gives out a small gasp of surprise as she's hugged, looking up at the alpaca with a blush as she returns the embrace (briefly, to avoid being noticed), before letting go. "T-thank you, Fairy. I really am pretty surprised myself, I never thought I'd have a talent for magic. It always seemed like something you had to be really smart to do and, well… I'm not all that smart, if I'm being honest."

>>718247
>>718255
As Flaming and the others all move into the interior of the darkened chamber, Flaming takes a look around at the many openings above, getting a feel for her surrounding area. She looks towards the Library to the west, imagining 'that' must be where Regina is as she looks to Amy.

"Amy, when you came here before, where did you find Regina? In the Library, right?"

 No.718267

>>718258
Flaming nods her head. "That'd be good too but, think about it: one of you could be on one side, and then appear on the other side? It'd be a great vanishing trick, right?"

 No.718270

>>718265

"I never actually saw her. She talked to me here."

 No.718271

>>718267
"It would, yea. And it'd get around needing to learn teleportation magic too."

 No.718272

>>718265
Fairy Castle whaps you with her staff again. "Ah-ah-ah-ah. No putting yourself down like that! There's far more kinds of smarts than just book smarts. You'd be surprised how many ponies have book smarts by the barrel-ful and not a whit of any other kinds of smarts. Strengthen the smarts you have and don't worry so much about what you don't."

>>718253
>>718250
Replica Amy shrugs. "Regina saw you and Amy together and thought it'd be amusing to see me throw that into disarray. I'm mostly just curious as to what will happen."

>>718258
>>718257
>>718255
>>718265
Regina offers no response to Amy, even when she's directly called out. Replica Amy also looks quite confused at the silence. "Hey! Heeeeeyyyyy! I brought them here like you asked!" she calls out.

Pryce gets a view of the groves surrounding the four buildings, as well as a light stream that runs through the grove, keeping the plants nice and watered.

"Is this whole compound the Library of the Sancrosanct?" Chorazin asks. "That's where those other witches said she'd be, no?"
"Mmmmmaybe she's busy?" Wireframe asks. "I mean… nothing's actively trying to kill us now that we're here… contrary to expectations. Could we just go up and have a look around?"
"That one on the west is the only one that looks library-ish," Rus Tea adds. "I'm a bit of an expert; it's got the vibe of books."

 No.718273

>>718272

"I'm sorry for barging in, but you didn't answer when we knocked!" Amy apologizes, hoping that gets Regina out of hiding.

She looks to the others. "Like I said, she's kind of shy and moody. Be nice, everyone!"

[1d10] for sincere apology to draw her out

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718275

>>718272
Pryce looks around, only seeing grooves and the stream, but no sign of anypony else. He flies on ahead of the others, continuing in his search for Zjetya as he scans the dome's terrain.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718279

>>718273
Again, there is no response. Replica Amy shrugs with a grunt. "If she won't come out, she's probably expecting us to come to her. Wouldn't make sense to send me out to collect the rest of you and then just pretend like nobody's home once you all get here."

 No.718281

>>718279

"Alright then, everyone, let's head to the library!"

 No.718288

>>718272
"Ah well I do hope Regina enjoyed herself as much as I did. And sorry for being presumptious, your pining for Pryce's attention made me assume you fancied him, like all the other mares. A bit relieving, if you did harbor such feelings and Pryce were to become familiar with the design of Amy's body.. well I would take pre-emptive action to say the least."

>>718272
Shei raises his hoof "I am a little curious about the guild. If no one minds."

 No.718289

>>718272
Flaming grunts as she's whapped on the head with the staff. "Ow!" Flaming grunts, reaching up to rub at her head. "Okay, okay, I got it! You don't gotta hit so hard." Flaming snorts air out of her nostrils, "…thanks. I picked up a bad habit somewhere along the way of making a bunch of mistakes but, you're right. I'm just still surprised, magic never occurred to me as something I could do."

>>718270
"You didn't actually meet her? Huh… but she spoke to you last time? What did she say, did you say anything to get her to come out?"

>>718272
As Regina offers no response to Amy, Flaming frowns, looking around the big empty space in confusion. "Huh… maybe she wants us to come to her?"

As Amy says she brought everyone, Flaming turns to the clone. "Wait, Regina told you to bring us all here? You never said that before! Did she want to speak with us?"

Flaming looks to the group, "If Regina won't come to us, we go to her. I say we check out the library first"

 No.718292

>>718289

"No, I just came in and she started talking. Maybe it's because I'm just a clone this time."

 No.718293

>>718275
Again, there are no other living beings in the compound's exterior – at first glance. As you get a closer look at the forested groves surrounding the four buildings, you discover trails of tracks, small, long and thin, looping around through the muddier parts of the groves. They appear to be those of some kind of vermin species, but what kind, you don't know.

>>718288
"Rest assured I'm only after my own amusement," Replica Amy says, rolling her eyes.

>>718289
"Toughen up! Buffalos have to have strong heads! You know why? To hold all their big brains!" Fairy Castle chastises, with a wink.

>>718288
"Do we have to split up again?" Wireframe asks. "We just managed to wrangle Pryce in, and if we see hide or hair of Zjetya, he's going to fly off just like last time."
"We'll want to stay together if at all possible," Rus Tea adds.
"…but if you're really set on it, take at least one or two people," Chorazin says.

>>718281
>>718275
>>718289
At the party's suggestion, the rest of your group starts to gather at the Library's steps. It is only two stories tall, of modest width, and with a quaint little watchtower on the side. Rus tries the front door, and it appears to be unlocked. She stops before it can open at all. "Alright… shall we? Shei, are you certain about the guild hall?"

 No.718295

>>718293

"Hellooooo?" Amy continues to call out as she climbs the stairs. "Reggie? Where are youuuu?"

[1d10] to get a friendly response

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718296

>>718293
"Nmmm, yes okay, on second thought I wouldn't want to you all see Regina without me."

 No.718299

>>718293
Pryce flies down to the tracks, hovering over to examine them closer for any possible clues, before flying back to the others to check the buildings.
>Examine Tracks [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718303

>>718292
"You're NOT the clone!" Flaming shouts, "You HAVE your clone right there, she even admitted to being a clone. If anyone's a clone, it's the ones who don't have their clones here right now."

Flaming sighs. "At any rate, that's weird she's not talking to you again. I wonder if she's shy with this many ponies around…"

>>718293
Flaming smirks up towards Fairy Castle. "Right, I knew THAT. When I was saying 'ow', it wasn't my head that hurt," she lies, "I-it was just my pride. But now that's all better. I'll be fine!"

>>718293
Flaming takes up the steps of the library, reaching up to knock on the front of the door before letting herself inside. "If anyone's NOT coming out in the library, let's all meet up at the entrance after we're done."

 No.718307

>>718299
They appear to belong to some kind of rodent species. There is a kind of messy gray mush among some of the trails, but it's unclear what it is or where it's from. They head toward the library, and end in a small hole at the base of the library's western wall.

 No.718311

>>718307
Pryce looks at the trail as they lead up to the library. With the rest of the party heading there, that makes things easier. And while they may not be hoofprints, it's the first sign of other life he's seen in this whole area. He thinks a moment, and tries to test how well Lockjaw can track by holding him down towards the tracks.
"Alright Lockjaw, let's see if you can pick up a scent from these and find whatever made them inside."

 No.718314

>>718303

"But, what if we're both clones!?"

 No.718316

>>718311
Lockjaw sniffs the tracks, then grunts, showing a sign of repulsion when he sniffs the gray goop surrounding some of them. He lifts his head and moves in toward the front door with the rest of the party.

>>718311
>>718303
>>718296
>>718295
You open the library door and step inside, at first finding a long hallway with a few doors on either side. There's a simple rug on the floor, floral print, and nice wooden floors beneath that. There is a pleasant smell in the air that reminds you of home. The doors are quite big, designed seemingly for a species larger than yourselves.

The front door clicks as Rus Tea closes it behind you, and she gulps. When you look back at the door, there is no longer a handle or lock upon it.

>Rus Tea touches her throat. "I didn't gulp just no–"


Yes, she did, and she shouldn't be believed if she says otherwise.

>Paused

 No.718553

Last time, on MY new quest…

By the force of some miracle, the party managed to avoid splitting up long enough to actually reach my dome as a single group. There was still the matter of that moth-pony going missing, but I'm sure they'd deal with that in due time. I didn't answer the door when called, so they invited themselves right into the Library of the Sancrosanct. Oh, and the little buffalo used a proper spell for the first time. Congratulations.

Now the only thing they had to do was come and meet me. I'm quite sure that nothing bad will happen to them along the way.

 No.718554

Flow and Renee, meanwhile, found themselves in a little pagoda teahouse. There, Renee aired her concerns about the Tartarus expedition, confessing that she wasn't sure if she could handle it. After all that she had been through with the party, seeing any of them die would have been far too much for her to handle. She contemplated staying on the surface and watch after Sugar and Spitshine and help with the defense of Fantasia… but on the other hand, the thought of leaving Flow without a specialized healer was unthinkable. Unable to choose, she turned to Flow for guidance.

 No.718555

>Pryce
Lockjaw sniffs the tracks, then grunts, showing a sign of repulsion when he sniffs the gray goop surrounding some of them. He lifts his head and moves in toward the front door with the rest of the party.

>All except Flow

You open the library door and step inside, at first finding a long hallway with a few doors on either side. There's a simple rug on the floor, floral print, and nice wooden floors beneath that. There is a pleasant smell in the air that reminds you of home. The doors are quite big, designed seemingly for a species larger than yourselves.

The front door clicks as Rus Tea closes it behind you, and she gulps. When you look back at the door, there is no longer a handle or lock upon it.

>Rus Tea touches her throat. "I didn't gulp just no–"


Yes, she did, and she shouldn't be believed if she says otherwise.

 No.718556

>Flow
"But I can't sacrifice your own," Renee says. "…I can't just separate myself from you. How are you going to come back to me unharmed?"

 No.718557

>>718555
Flaming turns towards Rus Tea, raising an eyebrow, "Huh? What are you talking about Rus, I heard you gulp." She says before turning her attention back to the door as it shuts tight behind them, and the door vanishes.

"Well… I am going to go ahead and guess she knows we're here. And it looks like she doesn't want us to leave."

Flaming steps out into the hall, shouting out loud, "Regina! I ask you show yourself, Or at least speak to us as you did to Amy?"

 No.718558

>>718316

"Sorry for barging in," Amy apologizes, looking around for Regina. "But, we DID knock. You didn't answer. I brought my friends. Don't you want to meet them?"

>[1d10+2] Mantra of Equality with Compassion


"Well… they might not be MY friends. They're Amy's friends. I'm a clone, I think… I don't know, that's getting kind of confusing."

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.718559


 No.718560

>>718557
Rus Tea looks down at you with a perplexed look. "Hmm? Oh… kay. I didn't say anything, but it is good that you can hear so well."

>>718558
>>718557
https://youtu.be/MqTYvcBEm_0

No voice answers you. There is only the soft sound of your hooves upon the carpet. Five doors, two to the west, two to the right, and one at the end of the long entrance hall, wait before you. Your friends begin walking out into the hall, cautiously feeling at the floor and walls, probably looking for traps or something.

Volkama looks like he has something on his mind, but it's probably nothing. Your attention is drawn toward Replica Amy, who sniffs her way across the floor and then pokes her head up. "Yeah, what gives? I brought my friends just like you asked."

Yes, yes. Everyone can see that.

 No.718561

>>718555
Shei-Sher gets the since we're in for a repeat of Hypnogogium shenanigans. In anticipation for this he subtlety steps closer to Volkama's side. Orienting the surrounding Qi around him. A membrane of truth envelops Shei-Sher and Volkama as he is by his side. He slides a knowing glance over to Volkama.

[1d10]qi working

Pupil slips out of Shei's pocket to appraise Regin, the Mother of Illusions, to see if this is her real person and not an illusion.
[1d10]

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

 No.718562

>>718555
Pryce pulls Lockjaw in close as the door clicks and looses all distinguishing features.
"She must be watching us, or this place is bobby trapped."
Pryce says, worry increasing a bit. A way out should be the first priority. He looks down to Lockjaw, loosening his grasp but gesturing for him to remain close.
"Lockjaw, follow that scent you picked up outside. Try and track it down."
Pryce instructs. If whatever left that track could get in, that could be an easy way for them to get back out.

 No.718563

Only Shei may read the text hidden by spoilers.

>>718561
Volkama is no longer beside you. His Qi lingers in the air, but it is a cold and empty vapor, the kind that lingers after the person has left for another locaiton.

Pupil's vision is strained, murky, shrouded by darkness. You get only a brief glance about the room, your allies hidden by a shroud of black. You briefly see, however, that this hall is, in actuality, cold and decrepit, the floods made of cold stone, and the rug a flat, old, moth-eaten thing. In truth, there are only three doors in this room, that is, the one at the end of the hall, and the two closest ones leading left and right. The vision quickly ends, and Pupil exudes a strained magical energy, suggesting that the effort exhausted it.

 No.718565

>>718560
"Wait, didn't you just say 'I didn't gulp just now'?" She asks Rus.

>>718560
As everyone gets to work investigating the floors and walls of the hall, Flaming steps forward, giving a curious glance towards Replica Amy. "Hey! Did Regina tell you why she wanted you to bring us to her? Anthing at all?

>Opening the closest door to the entrance on the west side, to investigate.

 No.718566

>>718556
Flow closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.
"Hmm… All I can ask, is that you have faith in me."
He opens his eyes and turns to Renee, placing a hoof around her shoulders.
"I can handle myself down there. As long as I know that I have you to look forward to, nothing can stop me down in Tartarus," he says with a confident, reassuring smile.

 No.718567

>>718560

Amy sighs. "Is this some kind of game? I'm kind of not really in the mood to play right now…"

She closes her eyes and focuses on removing any deception from her mind. [1d10] to be figurative!

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718569

>>718566
Renee puts her hooves around your own shoulders, and locks her gaze with yours for a long period. "I won't say that I don't have faith, but… something's telling me that we're all underestimating what's going to happen. It's just a gut feeling, but… every time we've come across something truly dangerous, I've felt this same way."

Her gaze hardens. "Are you really, really sure you want me to stay?"

 No.718570

>>718563
>>718560
>>718562
>>718565
>>718567
Shei's voice cuts through the air "I appraised the room with my Pupil and I see there are only 3 doors. The one at the end of the hall, and another two left and right" Shei points to them.

"Also, it looks as though Volkama is no longer present." Shei-Sher knocks on Volkama's forehead.

 No.718571

>>718570

"What do you mean he's no longer present?" Amy asks curiously.

 No.718572

>>718570
"Two of them are fake? Alright, point me to the one on the west wall that's real, I'll just open up that one to see what's in."

 No.718573

Only Amy may read this.

>>718567
You attempt to clear your head, and for a brief moment, Volkama disappears from your sight. Around you, you see that the hall is in fact decrepit and old, dim, dusty and unlit. Your other allies are hidden by a shroud of darkness and it is unclear whether they are here or not. The only thing that is clear is that Shei was telling the truth; Volkama's not there.

 No.718574

>>718569
Flow once again, takes a deep breath.
"Aye. I'd rather ye be safe up here."
He raises his hooves and pulls her into an embrace.

 No.718575

>>718565
Rus Tea tilts her head. "I'm… not sure what you're talking about."
She begins to look worried. "Perhaps you should listen a little more carefully. We're in a witch's territory, regardless of what Amy said about them hitting it off earlier."

>>718570
The Volkama before you is clear and solid, and backs up with surprise as you touch him. "What are you talking about?" he asks, voice rising with concern. "That's a severe accusation."

>>718562
>>718565
Lockjaw grunts, then sniffs the ground, circling around on the soft rug for a little while until he approaches the close western door around the same time that Flaming opens it up. Once Flaming opens this door, you see that it leads into a long flight of stairs, leading downward into the earth. Though there are candles in sconces on either side of the stairwell, it stretches so deeply below that you cannot see the end. Lockjaw pauses, but doesn't move, clearly intimidated.

 No.718576

>>718574
Renee shares the embrace for a moment, and for a time, there is nothing but the quiet sound of wooden talismans hanging from the balcony, tinking gently in the breeze. Reluctantly, she pulls away, her face grave. "Okay. I trust you," she whispers. She pats your shoulders and attempts to put on a brave face, but fails. "You'll need a lot more canteens then, won't you?"

 No.718577

>>718571
>>718572
>>718575
>"That's a severe accusation."
"There's only one way to be certain. I will simply dispell you. If I am correct, you will rendered into 'poof'. If I am wrong, I will buy you a bottle of wine." Shei-Sher makes the wager to Volkama and goes ahead with affixing an incantation to dispill illusions.

[1d10] spellbreaker on Volkama

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718578

>>718575
Pryce looks down the stairs with apprehension. If Lockjaw is intimidated after all his bravado earlier, then this can't be good.

>>718575
>>718572
>>718571
>>718577
"We shouldn't split up in a place like this. Lockjaw found a scent outside that lead to this stairwell. It could be a way out of here quickly. Unless anypony else has a better idea, this is our best bet."

 No.718579

>>718577
>>718578

"Huh…" Amy ponders out loud. "Volkama really ISN'T there. I wonder where he went…"

"So, I wonder where WE went…?"

 No.718582

>>718575
Flaming frowns, "You really didn't say anything just now? That's… bizarre. I could have swore…"

>>718575
>>718577
>>718578
Flaming opens up the door, looking back to Pryce, "We're not, I'm just going to check what's behind htis door, not going inside it."

She looks down at the long flight of stairs moving into the ground, and shouts back, "It's a stairwell, going down. Deep, it looks like. What's behind the other two?"

She pauses, looking at Lockjaw who's paused. "What's up?"

 No.718583

>>718576
Flow snickers.
"Aye luv, I suppose I might need a couple more."
He gently places her gooey forehead on his.
"Would ye wanna go shoppin er somethin?"

 No.718584

File: 1558925648520.png (587.65 KB, 720x480, example.png)

>>718577
The spell lands upon him, to no effect. Volkama pauses, his head poised, waiting for something, while the others watch, with Vortigern and Wireframe looking most concerned out of all of them. A few moments later, Volkama clicks his tongue and shrugs. "If you're done pestering me, Flaming has opened the first of the paths. Keep your eyes out for true illusions, boy, not tricks of paranoia."

The others look upon the two of you with apprehension, but don't press the issue further, turning instead to look down the endless hall that Flaming opened the door to moments ago.

>>718578
>>718579
>>718582
Lockjaw grunts at Flaming, and then looks back down the endless stairwell, sniffing at the ground. It seems that the scent he picked up earlier leads down this way, but Lockjaw, for whatever reason, is unwilling to head down, at least without help.

When Flaming asks what's behind the other doors, Vortigern and Rus Tea head for the door at the end of the hall and the eastern door, respectively. With apprehension, the two open the doors, then swiftly back away, prepared for an attack.

The far door leads to a much larger area, a balcony of sorts, with paths extending left and right, eventually turning around and forming a complete square. In the middle of the square appears to be an opening. On the other side of the balcony, you see rows and rows of bookshelves.

The eastern door leads to another set of stairs, only these stairs leading upward. Like the western door, these stairs continue ad infinitum, and you are unable to see where they lead.

A hungry silence waits in the air.

 No.718585

>>718583
Renee twists her mouth. "Well, yes, but it's more than just a few canteens I'll want you to have. There's no telling if the water in Tartarus will be safe to use. There are no end of folktales warning those who travel to the realm of the dead to not eat or drink their food. Usually, anyone who does ends up cursed, and they are unable to return. I've no idea whether those stories are true, but I don't think preparing for poisons or curses or the like is out of the question.

"So, I'll want you to have something to test water, and purify it if need be. Amy and Shei can help there, I suppose, but you should have your own kit for use in a pinch… and not just for natural poisons that can be mitigated through filtering it. You'll want something to ward off curses and other malicious magical effects. Though, where would we get something like that?"

 No.718586

>>718582
>>718584

"Woah! Infinite stairs!? That's awesome!"

"Weeeeee!" Amy shouts as she jumps down the infinite stairs.

[1d10] to never again touch the ground

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718588

>>718585
Flow scratches his head.
"I've heard of such purification methods before… something about chemicals and magic, I dunno. Point is, we can probably find some. Or pester Observer to make some."
He can't help but grin at Renee as she shows her concern for his well-being.

 No.718589

>>718578
>>718584
"Fine, fine I apologize." Shei excuses himself as Volkama lectures.

Shei-Sher takes a moment to sever his mental connection with his Chimera Demon. It isn't with him at the moment and he could probably use the extra focus. Where ever that demon is Shei hopes he finds a nice home.

>>718584
>>718586
"Oh Lord" Is all Shei manages to say before he sprints down the stairs after Amy "Amy! Get back here!"

 No.718590

>>718584
>>718586
"Hmm… " Flaming says with concern towards Lockjaw's odd behavior. Remembering her brooch, she activates it, hoping to gleam insight from Lockjaw.
"Hey, it's okay, you can tell me. What's wrong, why don't you want to go down there?"
She asks him using the brooch's power.

>>718586
>>718584
As Amy leaps down the infinite stairwell, Flaming gasps, then shouts down the stairs as Amy falls, "AMY! For the love of– GAAAH!"

"Okay, well, tell me on the way Lockjaw, we're going down here apparently."

 No.718591

>>718584
>>718582
"I'm not sure if he senses anything down there, or the height may be causing him issue. He didn't like flying earlier, but we can't be too cautious."

>>718584
Pryce looks over as the other doors are opened, leading to a large library and another staircase. But wit some agreement on direction, Pryce picks up Lockjaw and heads down the flight of stairs.

 No.718592

>>718590
>>718589

"You're just jealous I'm having all the fuuuuun," Amy shouts back as she falls.

 No.718593

>>718590
"Something down there very hungry. Lots of hungry," Lockjaw says in a low, grunting voice. His tail swishes about with telltale signs of animal fear. "They keep territory."

>>718586
>>718589
>>718590
>>718591
Your allies are transfixed by an all too brief moment of utter shock as Amy flings herself down the stairs. Soon, they erupt in overlapping shouts and exclamations of her foolishness, the dangers of tthose stairs really not being infinite, and so on, but most of all, it's just sheer surprise as they all file into the hallway, trying not to trip over each other as they run down after her.

Flaming, Pryce and Shei and the others run down the stairs after Amy, but the power of gravity pulls her down faster than they can run.

>>718586
You fall, and fall, and fall, and fall, and fall, the hallway speeding past you, the candles upon their sconces zooming past you in a streak of red and yellow. Perhaps now would be a good time to reconsider this. I mean really, this is turning quite dangerous and you could probably break your fall before you go too deep.

The appearance of the hallway around you starts to blur and distort, stripping away into peals of black. The sensation of falling continues, but the wind around you starts to weaken as the hallway falls away.

I mean it. Now would be a very good time to stop, if you know what's good for you.

 No.718594

>>718588
"Observer would be the pony to go to, wouldn't he?" Renee admits. "… to be frank, I've never felt at ease about him or the other Voidling. I don't like the way he gawks at all of you."

 No.718595

>>718593

"Two things you should know about Amy Thest!" Amy shouts defiantly as the universe itself seems to object to her actions.

"1. Amy NEVER knows what's good for her! 2. Not even Tartarus could contain Amy Thest!"

[1d10] to be free by combining reckless jumping with Jhana of Uprooting poison

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718596

>>718595
>>718594

[1d4] because you told me toooooo

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718598

>>718593
Shei-Sher starts to become gravely concerned if I Amy will be stuck stair sliding for the rest of eternity. He exudes his aura, flowing it out through the stair halls in an attempt to break this staircase illusion. Assume the the infinite stairs are an illusion

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.718599

>>718593
Pryce files down the stairs behind the others, concerned for Amy but also the location entirely. He pulls out the parcels of wax they found in the clock tower, using his magic and the candles lining the hallway to break off small pieces and melt them to place along the wall to mark a path.

 No.718601

>>718593
"…that's not good." Flaming grunts, before looking at Lockjaw. "Well, don't worry: we won't let anything down there eat any of us. We'll be way more than it can chew."

>>718592
"THIS ISN'T A PLACE OF FUN, AMY! You're going to get hurt, we don't know how far down those go!"

>>718593
Flaming yelps as she starts down the stairs, running down hurriedly in an attempt to catch up to Amy despite the aid of gravity on her side. "I don't know where she gets these ideas in her head! We can't make mistakes like this when we go into Tartarus, we can't just leap headlong into every death trap and expect to come out alright."

[1d10] Running really fast to catch up

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718602

>>718601
Lockjaw grunts. "Lockjaw get chewed and spit out before. Lockjaw glad not eaten but still insulted. Lockjaw think Lockjaw taste very good, and monsters have bad taste."

>>718601
>>718599
>>718598
>>718595
>As you continue to run toward Amy, something quite odd happens. Though Amy keeps falling at a rate faster than you can run, the distance between you stops increasing, and remains constant. The hallway zooming by starts to distort, becoming murky and unclear, and your hooves don't feel it underneath, making you all feel the sensation of falling even though you run stably down the hall. The hall starts to break away, giving way to a deep darkness, void and without sensation or clarity.
>As other sensations fade away, a deep feeling of venemous annoyance shakes through the air, hitting you all, feeling distinctly like a book crashing against your heads as a claw grip clenches your chests.

WELL I TRIED TO WARN YOU AND YOU DIDN'T LISTEN

NOW LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT

https://youtu.be/wvBS-vAbiQE

>With a loud crash, the hallway comes to an abrupt end, breaking away in a nonsensical fashion, the edges of the hall fraying like a sheet of torn papyrus. A black space extends from the end of the hall and where Amy has landed.


>Amy gets knocked senseless as she hurtles through a pool of thick slime, feeling a rib shatter upon impact. The area around her is quite dark, but there is stone all about, like that of a cave. There is no light source except that which comes from the hallway. She can hear the echo of her impact, suggesting she's in some large area, but without a proper light source, she can see little besides the sludge pool she's within.

 No.718603

>>718594
"Aye, I suppose so. I've uhm…gotten used to the stares."
He nervously scratches his head.
"Looks like that are odd at first, but I suppose years of gettin em…y'know," he tapers off into mumbling.

 No.718605

>>718603
Renee sighs. "Mmm, don't I know that. Makes me wonder if I should go back to shapeshifting into an Earth Pony around Ecclesia. I'd have thought, with everything else on their plate, they'd have no time to gawk at me, but they persist, same as I was afraid they would back in the days of the Union."

She boops her nose against yours. "Shall we be off, or enjoy our tea again?"

 No.718606

>>718602
Pryce picks up Lockjaw as the hallway starts to warp and the feeling of it fades, starting to regret pointing this route out for the others. Pryce shifts to a defensive stance at the annoyance filling the air, his body then tensing as the feeling of a claw grips him. His horn glows white, reflexively trying to cast the sensation off himself as the voice shouts at them.
>Mantra of Purity [Self] [1d10]

Pryce looks forward as the hallway finally comes to an end, with Amy off almost floating in space. Pryce pulls off his bracelet, attempting to pull out a lantern so they can see in the void.
>Hat Magic [Lantern] [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.718607

>>718602
>>718596

"Amy!" Shei cries out in distress. He wastes no time trudging into the slime and helping Amy out from it. "We have to go Amy. This place obivously isn't safe. What in the hell! Were you thinking!?"

[1d10] to help amy up if needed

Shei at the same time is still trying to emit his aura
[1d10] Phase aura

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

 No.718608

>>718602

"Woooo," Amy groans in a pained joy as she lays in the muck, only moving one leg in celebration. "Just like the good ol' days," she mutters to herself. Though, it's unclear how 'good' she actually thinks they were.

She reaches into her saddle bag to heal herself with a potion. [1d10+3] Natural Remedy

>>718607

"It's not like I matter. I'm not the real Amy anyway," Amy groans.

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12

 No.718611

>>718606
>Hat Magic [Lantern] [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718615

>>718602
"Well, personally Lockjaw, I would be very glad to taste bad. Buffalo aren't supposed to be for eating anyhow, us tasting bad just means we're too tough for anyone trying to eat us."

>>718602
Flaming huffs as she tries and fails to catch up to Amy as she falls, before looking around at the distorting, murky, and shifting stairway. She looks down as she starts to feel her hooves leave solid ground, gasping with fear before looking down and seeing she's still running.

"Something's happening…" she says before the massive annoyance hits at her, causing her to cry out and grit her teeth in pain, though she doesn't stop running for even a moment."R-regina… this is you, isn't it?! What's happening?!"

As the hallway comes to an abrupt end, Flaming skids to a stop before she hits the bottom, looking around at the torn reality they now find themselves in, looking around the blackened space as she tries moving around on what feels like emptiness. "Where are we now…? There's nothing here but darkness…"

[1d10] Sniffing around for the sign of the monster Lockjaw spoke of.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718617

>>718605
Flow chuckles.
"I reckon ye'll get even more stares, since you'll be with me," he says with a cheeky grin.
Her sudden boop catches Flow off guard, and he recoils as his face goes red.
"Er… l-let's get going, I guess," he says with a bashful smile.

 No.718618

>>718608
"Shut your mouth Amy!" Shei is visibly angry with Amy's behavior "I was poking fun at you. You know I would never leave you. Even if you were a clone. Not if a thousand wolves were gnawing at my back I wouldn't let go of you. And frankly, it was a little hurtful you were so pliable in the matter. Even if it was a trivial matter all along."

 No.718619

>>718618

Amy tears up a little bit. "Well, if there were a thousand wolves biting at you, I'd bite them all first," she says with a smile, still lying on the ground in pain.

 No.718621

>>718615
Lockjaw grunts. "Lockjaw can be judge of that later. Meat always good taste."

>>718615
>>718606
>>718607
>>718608
Once the rest of the party exits the hallway, Volkama and Rus Tea completely vanish the moment their hooves touch down upon the stone of the cave floor. Your allies nearly stumble to the ground as they double take at the sudden disappearances, before turning back to Amy. Once Amy has healed her injuries, Shei, Replica Amy and Vortigern help her to her hooves. The pain still echoes through her head, but her body is healed.

Pryce manages to ward off the lingering pulse of annoyance, but is still too shaken to get a lantern. Shei's aura provides a small radius of light around you, showing that you are upon a cave wall in a cavern, overlooking a cliff face. If Amy hadn't landed in this pool of goop (of which there are many in the area around you), it's likely she could have richochetted off the rocks and plunged even deeper into the cave for an assured death. The goop is of a gray substance, and Lockjaw freezes up once he sees it.

The rocky area around you, as mentioned earlier, is a cliffside, populated by little gray mushroom clumps about an inch high. There are paths along the cliffside, and appear to be made from monster tracks, all of a kind: small, long and thin, with four digits, clumped closely together in long lines. Pryce recognizes them as the ones he saw outside. Flaming also notices bits of molted scaled skin here and there, small, serpentine. From here, you can go west or east along the cliff wall, or back up into the seemingly infinite hallway.

"Rus? Rus!" Wireframe hisses into the darkness, before Box shushes her in alarm.
"Not so loud! What if we're not alone?" he asks.

 No.718622

>>718617
Renee takes your hoof and heads downstairs to the silent area, giving a tip to the rabbit server on her way out. He bows to you both quietly, putting his paws together. You head outside into the kodama woods once more, and Renee smiles, brushing her hoof against the torii. "We might as well make a list on our way there of everything else we'll need. I know Observer intends to accompany you, so I might as well request something myself before he goes."

 No.718623

>>718621

"I think Regina is just studying us. So, I don't thiiiiink she would kill us," Amy says, looking around at the dark cavern.

"I liked the tickle-birds better!" Amy shouts up at nothing in annoyance.

 No.718624

>>718621
"Ba-a-a-h" Shei shakes his head in annoyance "I knew it. I knew that Volkama was not ours.. We should make our way back upstairs. I dreadfully do not like the aura of these caves. And I doubt Regina would make such a place her living space."

 No.718626

>>718622
Flow bows in silence out of respect as the two leave

"Aye, but I aven't a thing I need, besides the canteens, I think."
He puts a hoof to his chin as he tries thinking about what he might need.

 No.718627

>>718621
Pryce turns as Volkama and Rus vanish, looking about in a panic as they vanished so quickly.
"Volkama?! Rus?!"
He exclaims as two of their group are gone. He turns back to the cliffside as it comes in view and as Lockjaw freezes, seeing the tracks. He puts his bracelet back on, readying his chakrams in his magic and spreading his wings to fly to not be ambushed.
>Flight [1d10]

>>718621
>>718623
>>718624
>>718615
"Whatever made these tracks were outside as well. But… it's hard to tell which way that is."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718628

>>718623
>>718621
"You think?" Shei-sher gripes "Amy you don't understand just how practitioners of the occult like to play. Playing a game with a witch is playing with your life. Respect is made through venomous gambits and losing your life is tantamount to losing their respect. In which case Regina would not care less for our lives. That is the way of wizards. We live in a lonely, cruel world sometimes made up in our own head where the lines between the aether and the outside world become blurry and normal life becomes trivial. And social ineptitube is heightened by magical predatorality."

Shei-Sher spells out for Amy and anyone else who cares to listen.

 No.718629

>>718628

"Just because some griffons were mean to you doesn't mean that's how everyone is," Amy objects.

 No.718630

>>718621
"Well, not if you're a buffalo it doesn't."

>>718621
>>718627
"Rus Tea?! VOlkama?" Flaming shouts in alarm, looking around in confusion as she surveys the situation and the surrounding area.
"This isn't good… where could they have gone?" She looks at one of the goo-pools that broke Amy's fall, not daring to touch it as she sniffs around the monster tracks.

"Just like Lockjaw said, there's something living down here. I wonder if Regina is testing us, seeing if we could handle a monster, but why would she need to test us after taking care of the Puppeteer outside?"

She turns to Pryce, "We shouldn't split up, it'll just pick us off. But I don't know much about tracking. Does anyone here know anything?"

>>718623
"Tickle birds?" Flaming asks. "She had those here last time?"

 No.718631

>>718630
"Like Lockjaw said? Flaming, he can't talk."

 No.718634

>>718630

"Yeah, I suggested she make some little birdies who shoot lasers out of their eyes that tickle you. And she did it! It was great!"

 No.718635

>>718630
Lockjaw gawks at you as if you said that water wasn't wet or that fire wasn't hot. "Buffalo not have good tongue then."

>>718628
>>718623
"That's witches for you; little tests and contests aren't out of the question for greetings, but Regina always has to take things to the extreme – always has and always will, I bet," Fairy Castle says grimly to confirm Shei's words. She offers a fluffy alpaca hoof to Amy. "Fairy Castle, by the way. Don't think we got a chance to get introduced earlier, when they were all fawning over your doppelganger here."
"Can you blame them for fawning over me, though?" Replica Amy asks.
"Yes."

>>718624
>>718627
>>718630
"Head BACK there?" Wireframe scoffs. "I don't think so. Am I the only one who felt that malevolent energy a moment ago?"
"No matter," Chorazin says. "We most likely lost Volkama and Rus Tea moments after entering and we can't afford to lose more. Even if it means braving her illusions again, we need to locate our allies."
"What if she ramps up the illusions after we return?" Tantra proposes. "She sure felt pissed that Amy poked a hole in her little world just now. Would she want payback?"

>>718630
>>718627
LJ turns to the tracks, looking over them and the shedded scaly skin. The tracks head east and west along the cliffside, and it looks to the east like there's a tunnel leading somewhere else, while to the west is a wide cavern where there are more traces of shedded skin.
"I think we've been dropped in some kind of nest," LJ hazards. "Let's not stay here any longer than we must. Any preference on where we go?"

 No.718636

>>718626
Renee tilts her head with disbelief. "Lanterns? A shovel? Pickaxe, rope, medicine, stones for gauging distances, a tent, a utlity knife, a compass? There's nothing that comes to mind?"

You head down the mountainous path back toward Lilane, with little kodama dancing around your hooves as you walk, winds rustling the green branches overhead.

 No.718637

>>718635

"Nice to meet you," Amy says as she shakes his hoof. She looks him up and down.

"Now, you can't blame me for wanting to do this," she says as she gives him a fluffy alpaca hug.

 No.718638

>>718637
She is incredibly fluffy, and returns the hug warmly, in spite of the goop still covering your fur. She hums and lifts her staff, and cleans the goo off herself, but not you.

 No.718639

>>718638

"I wish *I* was that fluffy," Amy says forlornly. She winces as she is let go. Without the fuzzy support, her body is reminded of the pain it is in.

 No.718640

>>718629
>>718635
Shei points to Fairy Castle's corroboration "You see, it's not a fabrication of my demented childhood."

>>718635
>"Let's not stay here any longer than we must. Any preference on where we go?"
"I vote upstairs. It may be a witch's nest but it is not a subterranean beasts nest. Additionally as Chorazin has said, we should look for Volkama and Rus Tea."

 No.718641

>>718640

"But, ticklebirds, Shei!"

 No.718644

>>718635
Pryce peers over the side of the unending cliff, feeling his stomach sink even with his wings. He looks towards the tunnel and the cavern, noting the traces of skin.
"Let's go for the tunnel. That cavern must be their nesting area and we don't want to intrude on their home."

Pryce says, heading towards the tunnel, flying along the cliff path as he holds Lockjaw, not wanting to let his pet go separately after seeing their friends fade.

 No.718645

>>718636
Flow shakes his head in mock unawareness.
"Nope. Ain't 'ave a need fer it," he says with a sarcastic smile.

He takes in a deep breath of the fresh air around them.
"Even a goo can notice how different the air is," he muses.

 No.718647

>>718631
>>718635
"Buffalo have GREAT tongue, Lockjaw!" Flaming shouts, before turning to look at Pryce. She rolls her eyes and points at her brooch.

"Remember the tigers at the tower? This brooch lets me talk to animals! Lockjaw says the reason he was skittish earlier was because he knew something was down her."

>>718634
Flaming blinks a few times as Amy explains. "That is such an idea you would come up with Amy. So she really did just make them?" She pauses. "…were they cute?"

>>718635
"…that's a good point about Regina getting mad at us for breaking her illusions. We'd best play along nicely after something like that. Don't know why she gets so mad about something so silly though…"

she turns to LJ, rubbing her chin. "Nesting area we should leave, now. The cavern that has more traces of shredded skin is more likely to have the monster, so let's go to the tunnel first, maybe Rus and Volkama were whisked away there."
>Voting on the tunnel

 No.718648

>>718647

"Thank you," Amy says with a smile and a nod. "They were ADORABLE!"

 No.718649

>>718645
Renee scrunches up her snout, and pokes you in the side with a hoof coated in ice. "I'll not allow you to enter with nothing but your plethora of weaponry. You'll need far more than just blades and a canteen."

After traveling along the roads for a time, you get back to the crossroads where you noticed the illusory trees keeping this path hidden. Renee pauses, keeping alert for demons, bandits, or the like. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718651

>>718647
"I was a bit preoccupied then," Pryce comments, looking at the brooch, "That let's you talk to animals? Where did you get it?"

 No.718656

>>718639
"We can discuss spells for personal grooming at a later time, perhaps over a little tea. Or ale, depending on what we'll need after Regina's had her fun with us."

>>718647
Lockjaw grunts. "Buffalo can believe what buffalo like."

>>718640
>>718639
>>718644
>>718647
LJ nods, and proceeds with Pryce and Lockjaw along the cliffside, keeping a careful eye on the tracks that hew the path. Your allies proceed, grouping closely together, partly for lack of space and partly out of a growing sense of paranoia among them. They start to keep contact, putting one hoof on another's shoulder or side as they group up with one another.

You proceed along the cliff face and sidle into the tunnel, a small opening in the face of dim gray rock. The light of Shei's aura casts myriad shadows upon the tunnel's walls, highlighting the many discarded skins littering the ground, which are obviously growing in number as you proceed further in. The tunnel expands once you head deeper inside, and you see a great opening above and before you.

Stone architecture of an ancient, traditional sort lies in a wreckage above you, resembling that which you saw briefly of the Library proper earlier. It looks like whatever made this tunnel caused a section of the Library to collapse into this area. The collapse has blocked off the path forward, but you can climb upward from here, albeit along a very treacherous series of climbs.

There are stacks of books littered around, and many claw marks on them, as well as other signs of wear and tear. You see that some of the books appear to have have had their pages chewed out.

 No.718657

>>718649
Flow snickers.
"Aye, I know, I know," he says between laughs.

Flow's ears and nose perk up as soon as they're no longer under the cover of the illusionary trees, and scans the area.
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718660

>>718657
The only thing amiss you note are the remains of a few corpses laying in the grass, uncovered by the wind since the last time you passed by, but they are very old, little more than sun-bleached bones at this point, with only broken armor pieces to suggest who or what they were when alive. Renee briefly says a prayer for them, before beginning to move on. Her mood is dampened from seeing them, but her face is contemplative, not as upset as she usually is upon seeing the dead.

 No.718663

>>718656
>passive; Min -1 for all climbing and agility rolls, and can use anything as food, including non-food items
"Only one way, but up." Shei begins climbing the rubble, anxious to make it back into some sort of shelter from the caverns. So anxious he forgets he could just fly over the rubble.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718665

>>718656
Pryce follows along the trail into the tunnel, growing a bit cramped in his flight, but he continues on. When the come into a ruined part of the library, Pryce feels relief as they come back into an opened area. He looks up, seeing that it returns up to the building proper.

>>718656
>>718647
>>718648
>>718640
"There might still be whatever these monsters are up ahead. At least it shows some signs of heading back outside."
Pryce takes out the rope he found also at the clock tower, flying up with Lockjaw in his hooves and rope in his telekinesis, finding a spot at the top of the section to tie it to to make it easier for the others to climb.
>Rope Tie [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718667

>>718648
"…I must see them. Can you show me?"

>>718651
"I got it from the Temple we explored just before this mission. And yeah, it lets me talk to any animal. Not all of them have much to say but, it's a LOT easier to understand than grunts or roars. I used it to talk to the tigers earlier too."

>>718656
As the group enters the tunnel together, she makes sure to keep a tight grip on the pony (or goat, or alpaca) in front of her, ensuring no one else is going to get taken away during this trip. As they reach the opening inside the tunnel and look ahead at the ancient wreckage in front of them, Flaming looks around at what appears to be a collapsed section of the library.

She moves away, very slightly, from the rest of the group, picking up a torn up book and looking at the wear and tear on them. "I wonder if the creature had been in here, lots of these books look eaten." She looks around, trying to see if Rus Tea or Volkama had been teleported here, but then looks up at Shei as he starts climbing the tower of rubble.

[1d10] Climb

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718669

>>718667
"So you can talk to any animal? That'd be handy with all the pets were gathering now. Could I use that sometime?"

 No.718670

>>718667

"You'd have to ask Regina that!"

>>718665
>>718663
>>718656

After the trauma to her head, the low lighting and skittering shadows cause Amy's vision to blur and dance. She stumbles several times and frequently shakes her head to try to regain some composure. But, it doesn't seem to help.

"Hey guys…" she mutters as she rubs her forehead. "I don't feel so good…"

Despite this, she tries to climb with the others. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718671

>>718660
Flow shrugs it off as a mere ugly sight, and moves on.
"Shame, how common this sight must be," he muses as Renee says her prayer for them.

Nevertheless, he remains wary as they make their way back down the path.

 No.718673

>>718670
>>718667
>>718665
>>718663
With caution and a few hearty leaps, you ascend the treacherous collapsed section, ascending over great blocks of dusty stone and marble rubble, avoiding stepping on any of the many unstable sections. At the top, Pryce secures a length of rope to a secure pillar, which helps LJ, Tantra, Fairy Castle, Replica Amy and Box to climb over it without need of any wings or much risk of injury.

Amy, on the other hand, begins tottering once she gets up a couple of the stone blocks, and with another wave of pain, she feels herself becoming very light and weary, and falls to the ground with a heavy thump, landing on her side. Alarmed, Chorazin leaps back down, examining her with grave concern. Amy loses another wound and is helpless. "Amy? Amy?" she asks, not touching her. "Pryce, get down here and treat her!" she hollers.

 No.718675

>>718671
"Yes…" Renee muses. "I should be used to the sight by now, but even now, it shocks me… death is never easy to watch, but I can't afford to let that distract me."

Eventually, after a long trek, you return to Lilane's great gates, guarded by the avian angels. The front gates slide open, allowing you to enter. The pace of the hustle and bustle has picked up since you last left, as the Laity busy themselves with their preparations for the coming battles.

 No.718676

>>718673

"Hey, what's it called when you hurt your head and it doesn't unhurt?" she asks in a dizzy tone to no one in particular.

 No.718678

>>718670
>>718673
Pryce looks back as Amy falls, setting down Lockjaw and quickly diving down the the bottom of the pit.
"Amy, are you alright?"
Pryce asks, seeing if she's still aware as his horn glows white, shedding light over her to heal her.
>Prayer for Deliverance [1d10+1]
>Mantra of Purity [1d10]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.718679

>>718670
>>718673
Shei-Sher stands his hold onto the rubble and watches chorazin and Amy from below, waiting for Pryce to give her the proper care she needs and observing that she is given it. There isn't much he can do to help her other than watch.

 No.718680


 No.718681

>>718678
>>718680

"I don't really feel better…" Amy says slowly. "I think I need water… And sleep…"

 No.718682

>>718675
Flow grins.
"Good. It means you're still sensitive to this kinda stuff… You get used to it eventually."

As they make it back to Lilane, Flow looks around at the hustle and bustle of the city now, and puts a hoof around Renee.
"Well then, what's first on the agenda?"

 No.718683

>>718679
>>718676
>>718678
"A migraine, or a concssion in your case, I wager," Chorazin mutters grimly. "Do you know my name? Can you name those who are with us?"
"We're going to need a stronger spell if it's a concussion," Wireframe adds, chewing the side of her hoof with growing worry.

 No.718684

>>718681
Pryce frowns as his magic fails to help Amy, the fall must've been bad if he can't fix it.
"Water. That's simple enough."
Pryce says in a calm one, pulling off his bracelet and reaching in to attempt to conjure some pure, clean water.
>Hat Magic [Water] [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.718685

>>718684
You conjure a small waterskin, full of decently cool water.

 No.718686

>>718669
"All the ones I've tried to so far anyways, yeah. The only ones who didn't really work out were the roaches we attacked at the tower, they… were pretty nasty. The tigers and Lockjaw work great though, I'd be happy to let you borrow it sometime."

>>718670
"Darn… well, hope she lets me see them. Those sound cool."

As you mention not feeling so good, Flaming shows concern, stopping in her ascent. "What's wrong? Is your head okay? You DID take a pretty bad fall back there…"

>>718673
Flaming grabs on to the rope as Pryce offers it, using it to ascend the rest of the way, reaching up the top of the pile with the others as she suddenly becomes very concerned with Amy. "Amy?! What's wrong!?" She asks, moving over to her side as she sees her topple over.

"What's wrong with her? Amy! S-show me your potion back, I'll get you a healing poultice!"

 No.718688

>>718682
"Shopping!" Renee declares, clapping her hooves once. "I haven't seen that trader with the pet monsters leave quite yet, why don't we try him before seeking out Observer? I wager Observer will be busy with something or another. Or we could try to purchase them directly from the Ecclesians."

 No.718689

>>718683
>>718684

Amy drinks the water slowly. Then, she splashes some on her face. She blinks slowly.

"Thank you, Pryce. Let me try to climb again…" she says sluggishly.

[1d10] to climb!

>>718686

"Yeah… I used to do this to myself a lot. I mean, not on purpose. Just kind of happens when you don't think. So… a pony once told me that the more often you do this to yourself, the easier it happens. That's kinda not good…"

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718690

>>718689
>>718685
"Wait, I don't think you should be moving if your injury was that bad!"
Pryce says as Amy gets up and starts to climb again. He spreads his wings, following behind her and ready to catch if she slips again.
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.718691

>>718688
Flow's lips curl into a heart-warmed smile.
"Aye luv, I'll let you lead the way."
He takes her hoof, and helps guide her, letting her take the lead throughout the city.

 No.718692

>>718686
"It'd be nice to hear what Lockjaw was saying before when he was getting out of control. Could you ask him what he thought about the tug of war game?"

 No.718694

>>718679
>>718690
>>718689
>>718686
Volkama and Chorazin cast worried looks over Amy, but as she in turn gets back up and ascends through the rubble into one of the lower levels of the Library, they sigh with relief, and turn aside, leaving her to it. With much exertion, you hoist yourselves over the small mountains of rubble and debris, until you reach a stable, flat floor of the library. Colossal stone bookshelves line the area, towering over you. Many have been knocked over, laying cracked on the floor, or propped up against balconies above you, creating makeshift stairs. Their contents, books and scrolls by the hundreds, lay scattered and torn around the floors. Some are completely blank, devoid of any writing.

The air here is stagnant, uncomfortably warm and stuffy, and humid enough to drink, certainly no place for books to be kept safely. Many books, those that haven't been torn, have their blank pages curled up from the humidity. Box opens his lid to say something, but LJ shuts it, his ears raised. "Do you hear…?"

Somewhere above you, in this ruined section of the library, you hear a great deal of wet chewing and snorting and snuffling, and the scraping of scaled skin. Your allies duck, pressing themselves low against bookshelves, as they look about for the source.

 No.718695

>>718689
Flaming puts a hoof on Amy, comforting her as she drinks the water slowly. "I can see that. Usually if you survive something once, you're more likely to do it again. Still, you can afford to take it a LITTLE easy sometimes. Just take a breather Amy, we won't move until you're ready to move. The top of this rubble might actually make a good camping spot, maybe we can rest for a bit."

>>718692
"Oh, sure of course I can. Also, good work on the water, you're a life-saver."

 No.718696

>>718691
Renee hums softly as she makes her way through the busy fortress-city, her face a little nostalgic now for the energy of Hearthome, despite her disdain against Ecclesia. Shortly, you both make it to a guarded lot, where you see a few traders' caravans parked, with merchants tending to their pack animals and taking a load off after their journeys. Among them, the one that stands out the most is easily Camelzotz's caravan, the bright red covered gypsy wagon. You see Camelzotz outside, chewing the cud as he waters some brilliant orange cacti and lets them have their sunlight.

 No.718698

>>718695
"Thank you. I'm just glad I managed to help her, my healing magic didn't seem to do anything."

>>718694
Pryce reaches the top, untying and pocketing away the rope, and ushering Lockjaw along his side now that they're in a safer environment. He gazes over the discarded books and ruined shelves, despite everything else that's happened this would've been a nice library. As they hear chewed and chomping, Pryce pulls Lockjaw in, looking around for the source. However, then in thought of preparation, he hums lightly to himself, his prism necklace glowing as he casts a song to shroud for easier movement.
>Limerick of Desert Mist [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718700

>>718689
>>718684
Shei-Sher smiles, seeing Amy is in good spirits again.

>>718694
Shei-Sher tugs his collar over his mouth, the damp air becoming difficult to breath. He wish he kept his inhaler from years ago. Shei kneels down to sort through his bag. He unravels a thin cloak from his contents and begins wearing it.

>Kitty cat astral stealth cloak equipped.

"Shhh.." Shei shushes as his body quietly hovers up into the air. He pokes his head just above the ceiling to see whats above them.
[1d10] stealth

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718702

>>718695

"No I mean, once you get one of those concussion things, it doesn't take as hard of it to the head to get another one."

"Actually, that means you should be careful, Shortyhorns! You're always hitting your head against everything!"

 No.718704

>>718696
"Oi, there's the cart. Let's go ask if he has any pets."
He takes her by the hoof and leads her to Camelzotz's decorated caravan.

 No.718709

>>718698
"It was quick thinking, good work."
>>718702
"Oooooooh. Okay, I get that… but, in that case," she grins, "I shouldn't need to worry: I've never gotten a concussion before, so I don't need to worry about them coming easier!" She pauses, "Least, I don't think so. What's a concussion feel like?"

>>718694
Flaming lets out a sigh of relief as they reach the flat top of the rubble, looking over the ruined area as she looks down at the small mountain of rubble behind them. Flaming looks around first for a safe place to rest so they can regather themselves, before LJ speaks up, turning to look at him. "Hear? I don't think…"

As the wet chewing, snorting sound occurs, Flaming likewise ducks for cover, moving in close to her allies as she starts to prop up bookshelves and the like to hide themselves.

She turns to whisper to her closest ally, "Do you hear where it's coming from?"

[1d10] Trying to get a read on its location

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718711

>>718704
You approach Camelzotz's caravan, and as he glances over, his expression brightens, and he bows his head. "To what do I owe this repeat honor?" he asks in his affected accent.
"We were wondering if you carried supplies for dungeoneering," Renee asks.
"That is a broad topic, but I've many things in my caravan," Camelzotz says. "What are you looking for in particular?"

 No.718712

>>718709
>>718698
>>718700
>>718702
While Amy and Flaming hide themselves among the bookshelves, Pryce and Shei conceal themselves and float up to the nearby balcony, the one just above you, and see a group of small gray lizard shapes with rodent faces huddled together in a pack, like a school of fish. Their bodies are bipedal and winged, with long curling tails and gray scaly skin, and viciously inquisitive yellow eyes, crowded around a pile of books. Some chew upon the pages directly, while others inhale the words, causing them to lift right off the pages and fly into their mouths. They resemble illustrations of wyrms you have seen before, only the wyrms you know of tend to be solitary, proud and noble, while these are more reminiscent of a herd of vermin than anything else.

Flaming picks up sounds vaguely like intelligent speech from their direction, but highly disjointed, as if they were coming one letter or even one syllable at a time, turning them into a soup of nonsense phonemes.

 No.718713

>>718712
Pryce leaves Lockjaw with Chorazin as he flies up to spot the sound source, looking at the ratty vermin with distaste. After all that worrying, it's only small lizards. Though, their number could be an issue, and their word inhalation could cause more problems as well. Pryce flies up a little higher, looking around the room they're in now for potential routes out, or if there's more vermin about.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718714

>>718713
From Shei-Sher's bag he produces a copied bundle of his Demon commpendium trading cards. Shei draws a black thread from his soul to the cards, imbueing them with his magical aura.

[1d10] preparing wyrm bait

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.718716

>>718712
>>718712
Flaming looks up at the ceiling alongside Amy as she watches the creatures above, wincing as she looks at their dragon like facade but vermin like nature. "What are those things? They kind of look like dragons, but… different. They're like swarm animals, rodents." She squints at one as they seem to eat the words themselves. "And.. are they eating WORDS?"

She turns towards Amy, keeping her ears propped up to listen to the conversation, before shaking their heads. "They can't even talk right. All their words are jumbled up… but maybe they can listen."

Flaming turns to Amy, "Amy, I don't know if this is a good idea, but maybe my brooch will let me talk to them. But that might also alert them to us… how are you feeling?"

 No.718717

>>718712

"Pff," Amy snickers at the visual pun. "Bookwyrms. Good job, Regina."

 No.718721

>>718717
Flaming looks at Amy, not quite getting the joke. "Huh? Book-wyrms?"

 No.718725

>>718713
As you look around, you see that, about half a dozen balcony levels up, there is a final set of double-wide stairs, leading to an opening in the ceiling, through which distant light travels through. But as you fly upward to get a better look and confirm, the edge of your wing brushes against precariously-hanging books that rest upon a nearby ledge, and they clatter to the ground near where your allies lie in wait, observing the bookwyrms. The heavy clattering sound echoes through the room, and the pack of bookwyrms all pause their meal, then look up as one in the direction of the sound.

>>718716
>>718717
>>718714
>>718713
Your allies hold in their collective breath, eyeing the wyrms as they eye the spot where they're hiding. The bookwyrms start to crawl that way as a single unit, blinking as one, breathing as one, stepping as one, as they creep across the balcony in their direction. Right now, you're hidden on the western side, where a great bookcase leans against the balcony, serving as a makeshift ramp, and it's toward this direction that the bookwyrms slowly creep, their heads darting back and forth to get a better look around.

It's at about this point that you also become aware of the several burn marks all over the floor, great melted puddles of stone and marble, probably made as territorial markings or even just for fun.

"Plans? Anyone?" Wireframe asks, anxiety crawling into her voice as the bookwyrms cometh.

>Paused

 No.718898

Last time on HolyQuest…

The party forayed into the Library of the Sancrosanct, part of a massive compound that Regina had made into her own private magical laboratory, secluded from the rest of Threecoins. Upon entry, they fell prey to Regina's illusory magic, which quickly caused Rus Tea and Volkama to vanish into thin air, replaced by illusions that faded upon simple inspection with magic.

Though, their time within the illusory world was short lived, as Amy exploited a weakness within the illusion. By throwing herself down a flight of seemingly endless stairs, she put so much strain upon the illusion that it tore and fell apart, much to Regina's consternation. From there, the party returned to the real world, finding themselves within an incredibly deep cave, one littered with the markings of some kind of strange reptillian beasts – discarded skins and trails of footprings suggesting a high volume of whatever creature made that cave their home. The cave connected to a collapsed underground portion of the Library, where they discovered the culprits: a massive pack of small wyrms that devoured the myriad books upon the shelves, eating not just the pages, but also the very words from the pages, leaving behind blank papyrus.

Meanwhile, Flow and Renee had a tough conversation regarding Renee's personal fears about the Tartarus expedition. In spite of everything she had faced with the party, she felt that the sheer danger of the Tartarus mission, particularly the possibility of her allies being wiped out, would be more than she could handle – this could prove to be a serious psychological impediment, which itself would affect what the party encountered in Tartarus. She consulted Flow on whether she should stay upon the surface with the children or accompany him, and in time, they agreed that she should remain. She agreed to this only on the condition that they find some method for Flow to heal himself safely – not just extra waterskins, but water purification tools if he should require water in Tartarus. They returned to Lilane in order to see if Camelzotz would have something of that nature.

 No.718899

>Pryce
As you look around, you see that, about half a dozen balcony levels up, there is a final set of double-wide stairs, leading to an opening in the ceiling, through which distant light travels through. But as you fly upward to get a better look and confirm, the edge of your wing brushes against precariously-hanging books that rest upon a nearby ledge, and they clatter to the ground near where your allies lie in wait, observing the bookwyrms. The heavy clattering sound echoes through the room, and the pack of bookwyrms all pause their meal, then look up as one in the direction of the sound.

>Pryce, Flaming, Shei

Your allies hold in their collective breath, eyeing the wyrms as they eye the spot where they're hiding. The bookwyrms start to crawl that way as a single unit, blinking as one, breathing as one, stepping as one, as they creep across the balcony in their direction. Right now, you're hidden on the western side, where a great bookcase leans against the balcony, serving as a makeshift ramp, and it's toward this direction that the bookwyrms slowly creep, their heads darting back and forth to get a better look around.

It's at about this point that you also become aware of the several burn marks all over the floor, great melted puddles of stone and marble, probably made as territorial markings or even just for fun.

"Plans? Anyone?" Wireframe asks, anxiety crawling into her voice as the bookwyrms cometh.

>Flow

You approach Camelzotz's caravan, and as he glances over, his expression brightens, and he bows his head. "To what do I owe this repeat honor?" he asks in his affected accent.
"We were wondering if you carried supplies for dungeoneering," Renee asks.
"That is a broad topic, but I've many things in my caravan," Camelzotz says. "What are you looking for in particular?"

 No.718900

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>718899
Pryce freezes as he knocks the book off the shelf, looking back at the wyrms as they start to sniff and move towards the sound. He looks down as they start to crawl towards the others, and then quickly pulls off his bracelet. He flies to the other side of the room, opposite of where the party is and attempts to conjure a massive book from his bracelet to drop down, a large encyclopedia that will surely draw the wyrms away.
>Hat Magic [Large Encyclopedia] [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.718901

>>718899
Flow shoots Renee a sly smile before stepping up.
"Well, tools and gadgets to survive an expedition… I also need something for water," he asks somewhat sheepishly.

 No.718905

>>718901
Camelzotz ponders this, turning back to his caravan. He gestures for you to follow into the towering crimson wagon, packed to the gills with baubles, clothes, weapons and other oddities. "You want practical, hard tools – a wise pony. Most are content when I dangle my more flashy wares before them – fools, they are, and probably dead."

With a grunt, he fishes out several crates from a back corner of the great caravan, and peels them open. Inside are racks of dungeoneering tools, as requested. "Take a look inside here. Now what's this about water?"

>Shovel: A folding shovel useful for digging tunnels and holes; 50 Bits

>Treated Saddlebag: A bag that comes with a frame for easier carrying. Treated with monster wax so as to be waterproof and more durable; 50 Bits
>Waterskin: A small waterskin that can take quite a bit of damage and hold one litre of water. One litre = three healings; 25 Bits
>Boneglass Jars: Clear jars made of a strong, clear material called boneglass. Good for preserving material that can't be stored elsewhere; 25 Bits
>Hook: A hook suitable for latching onto cracks, the edges of cliffs, or enemies' legs; 75 Bits
>Rope: Sturdy hemp rope coils; 100 Bits per 20 meters
>Pickaxe: A foldable pickaxe that can make excavating through caves far easier; 50 Bits
>Spyglass: A collapsing tube to help see far off objects, 100 Bits
>Compass: A simple compass; 50 Bits
>Whistle: A whistle made of bone, which can produce quite a loud noise. Can be helpful in a variety of situations with clever use – distractions, calls for help, or coded signals, to name a few; 30 Bits

 No.718906

>>718899
Shei-Sher continues establishing a tether between his soul and a copy of a deck of cards to transmit his aura into the deck of cards.

[1d10] prepare wyrm bait

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718907

>>718899
>"Plans? Anyone?"
"Working on one." Shei says with much difficulty as he seems to exert himself with a deck of cards.

 No.718908

>>718899
https://pastebin.com/p1dtY3qj
Flaming gulps as she watches the small swarm of bookwyrms slithering along the cieling and walls before turning their attention towards the heavy clattering. She looks towards Wireframe
("We don't know how strong these things are individually yet, I'm not eager to take on a whole swarm of them. Looks like Pryce is working on drawing them away, let's get them away from here first then we'll see if we can pick a few of them off first.")

 No.718909

>>718906
Though the growing panic from Wireframe and Box disrupts your concentration, you pour your magic energy into the cards, making a kind of magical bait out of them.

>>718900
>>718908
>>718907
Pryce's bracelet is too small to produce the encyclopedia he envisions, but he instead produces a series of scrolls and pamphlets, meaningless tracts probably from some trash heap in a forgotten corner of the world. As the pile of papyrus falls to the ground, the Bookwyrms pause and raise their heads, sniffing the air. As a unit, they start to creep toward the other end of the bridge above you, tongues darting in and out of their mouths like serpents on the hunt for prey.
"Amy…?" Chorazin mutters, turning her head.
Out of the corner of your eyes, you get a glimpse of Amy starting to wobble, her face pale, eyes glazed and confused. All at once, she goes limp, flopping to the ground with a weak groan. It's only Vortigern's quick reaction that keeps her head from slapping against the ground again. Still, the sound of her collapse is enough to attract the Bookwyrms' attention once more. With a snarl, the Bookwyrms approach the railing of the balcony, peeking out in your direction. Your allies catch their breath, pressing themselves against the debris for cover.

>Roll stealth, instant, with your actions until the end of this scene if you want to remain hidden. You do not have to make them if you don't take a normal action for the round

 No.718910

>>718909
Flaming turns her head in shock towards Amy, her eyes widening as the pony wobbles and falls over, the buffalo suppressing a squeal of shock as she races to her side. "(Amy!)"

As it catches the bookwyrms' attention, Flaming quickly presses herself against the side of the rubble with which they hide themselves, trying to avoid any detection by the bookwyrms as she keeps Amy safe. She looks to Vortigern, ("What's wrong? Is she hurt from her fall?")
[1d10+1] Stealth
>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.
>Using Prayer on Flaming so she'll be able to get up from helpless easier

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.718911

>>718909
Pryce puts his bracelet back on after conjuring the pile of scrolls, but as Amy collapses he goes to grab for it again to make another lure. But he gets another idea, horn glowing as he grabs at a bookcase on the far side of the room. He lifts every book off it in his magic, and slams them down on the floor as hard as he can with his telekinesis, hoping the sound and the swarm of books will distract them enough.
>Telekinesis [Book Slam] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718912

>>718910
>>718909
Shei's head pans over to Amy's limp body. A grimace drooping over Shei's face as there situation appears to worsen.

[1d10] stealth roll

Shei-Sher readies the deck of cards in his throwing hoof and aims it so it will tumble down the hill of rubble they climbed up here and with any luck it will catch the Wyrm's attention.
[1d10] tossing wyrm bait down the rubble hill leading out of the library.

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

 No.718913

>>718911
>>718912
>>718910
Amy's eyes are half-lowered, her expression hazy and distant – but that's not what catches your attention. Her tattoos are exuding a kind of pressure, and faintly glowing, contracting and expanding with her breath. With each breath, her paws also twitch and shake, in the same way that a dog's do when they are in an intense dream.
("What did she think was going to happen when she launched herself down the stairs!?") Wireframe hisses.
("Forget that, we'll deal with it later!") LJ adds. ("We'll treat her once we're out of harm's way!")

At that point, Pryce and Shei both try their distractions; an avalanche of books falls from the shelves, and the cacophony gets their attention once more. They start to head for the other side of the room, leaving the balcony above you clear. But, you start to hear skuttlings on the balcony levels higher up, signaling the presence of more groupings of Bookwyrms heading toward you, probably enticed by Shei's deck of cards. The stairwell is at the top of this shaft of the Library, which is five levels above you.

As the closest group of Bookwyrms scuttles away, your allies start to move, heading up the nearby collapsed bookshelf to get up to the balcony.

[1d10+1] Stealth

As they move, though, you start to feel a strange sense of uncomfortability, like a kind of shapeless, evil dread. The expressions of concern on your allies' faces suggests you aren't alone. Only Chorazin seems to be unaffected.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.718914

>>718905
Flow’s mouth curls into a stern smile.
“Ahh, perfect. Survival tools for survivalist needs.”
He starts going through Camelzotz’s array of gadgets and supplies.
>Buying:
Saddlebag, 2 waterskins, boneglass jar, hook & 40m of rope, spyglass, compass, & three whistles.
Total: 530 bits

 No.718915


 No.718916

>>718913
Pryce hovers up a bit as the bookwyrms clear out and the party moves up, keeping an eye over the group in case they turn back. When he hears more scuttling of further wyrms, he sings again to refresh his spell to keep himself hidden.
>Limerick of Desert Mist [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.718917

>>718913
The gnawing anxiety Shei and his allies share compels him to put on his safety helmet.
>vine-and-origami headdresses (from Circadia make's wearer less noticeable by Evil beings)

He also fastens his kitty cat cloak and travels along with the party, climbing up the collapses bookshelf to reach the balcony
[1d10]

Pupil takes a moment to eye one of the Bookwyrms
[1d10] appraise

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

 No.718918

>>718913
Flaming lets out a worried hush as Amy's expression causes her concern, but looks to LJ as he makes a fair poin. "R-right… nothing we can do for her here. Let's get her away from these things."

Flaming continues to try and keep crawling up the pile of ruins towards the library, keeping herself hidden as she goes along, before asking the others, "Do you think we'll find Rus Tea and Volkama up there? I would hate for them to be the other way-" Flaming gets interrupted as she suddenly feels the all-encompassing chill pass over her, her breath staggering as her hooves grow heavy and she looks around frantically for a source.

[1d10+1] Stealth movement
[1d10+1] Perception, looking for the source of the dreaded feeling

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

 No.718919

>>718914
Camelzotz counts out the money, and carefully places all your products in the saddlebag for easier carrying. With a bow, he presents it to you. "A keen eye, sir. Is there anything else I may provide?"
"Have you anything for purifying water or food?" Renee asks.
"Mmm…" Camelzotz mutters. He draws a small book from a pocket in his robe and consults it. "…I had wands that could cleanse contaminated water, but I have sold the last of those. You will have to look elsewhere, I am afraid."
Renee scrunches her nose. "Drat. Still, thank you very much."
"You are welcome anytime," Camelzotz says.

 No.718920

>>718916
You refresh your spell, remaining a translucent and quiet floating apparition.

>>718917
Pupil relays the following information:
>Bookwyrms (Small)
>200/200 HP
>Weak: Light, Distractions, Solitude
>Resist: Mind, Physical
>Immune: Fire, Water, Dark
>A Bookwyrm is a collective, hive creature, sharing a group-mind and group-senses, which gives it incredible sensory perception, offset by their feeble intelligence. They cannot live unless there is at least one other Bookwyrm in close proximity. A Bookwyrm separated from all others will quickly die. They originated in the mountains of Ornifex, descending from dragon species that are attuned to certain aspects of the world, such as the natural elements, or music, or certain species of plants. The Bookwyrm is attunted to the written word, and lives by consuming information wherever it is recorded. It can breathe fire as many other kinds of dragons can, but it primarily attacks via psychic assaults, bombardments of information that overload its enemies' sensory organs and render them unable to retaliate. Stronger bookwyrms can even force their enemies to use their own techniques and attacks.
>A group of Bookwyrms is called a club or horde.

>>718917
>>718916
>>718918
Together, you creep up the bookcase toward the first balcony, with only four more to go until you reach the top stairwell while making little noise. The first club of Bookwyrms is still on the other side of this level, investigating the collapsed books. A smaller set of stairs, leading up to the next level, is above you. From the sounds above, it sounds like there are at minimum two other clubs of Bookwyrms in total in this area. Try as you might, however, you cannot pick up whatever it is that causes you this strange dread. The dread continues to linger around you, feeling like a kind of mist that pools about your bodies, pressing in on all sides.

>>718918
>Only Flaming may read this
You, and only you, feel a set of hungry eyes resting upon you.

 No.718921

>>718920
Pryce flies up along with the party, hovering a floor above them to scout out ahead. Along the way, he slowly and quietly grabs a large clump of books in his telekinesis to carry along to prepare for the next group of wyrms. With a cluster in tow, he flies ahead to peek on the next group of bookwyrms they'd run into.
>Scout [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718922

>>718920
"I imbued a deck of cards with my aura." Shei whispers "It is still tied to my soul. I suggest laying low while I charge it. There may be a horde of these rats falling over the next ramp."

Shei-Sher finds a crevice to hide in while he focuses on filling the deck of cards with more of his aura, concentrating personal insights through his black thread into it

[1d10] Phase aura to charge the wyrm bait more

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718923

>>718920
stealth roll

 No.718924

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718925

>>718920
Flaming looks around as they continue trying to make their climb upwards, looking on at Shei and Pryce as they continue to create distractions for the wyrms. Picking up on their idea, she tries to scatter a few books as well, discreetly, so to draw the Wyrms away from them.

As she senses the hungry eyes of a predator upon them though, Flaming's hair stands on end, and she turns to whisper to her grou
("Something is WATCHING us… I can feel it, we're being hunted. I think it may even be what Lockjaw was worried about earlier.")
[1d10+1] Stealth roll
[1d10+1] Creating distracting book bait

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4

 No.718926

>>718919
Flow straddles the bags and their contents on his back with a satisfied nod.
"Many thanks, my friend…I do hope this stuff can save not just my life," he says with an unusual pause.
He starts putting his other smaller knick-knacks and tools inside of the pack as well, before turning to Renee.
"Are you sure you don't want anything for yourself, luv?"

 No.718927

>>718925
[1d10+1] Perception

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.718928

>>718921
>>718922
>>718924
>>718925
Quietly, you ascend to the second floor of the Library's underground shaft, finding it clear of Bookwyrms. Its contents are scattered, bookshelves and devoured books lying in piles all about in a precarious and unsteady sea that you could easily trip on if not careful. Among the books lie several strange skeletons, corpses that have been picked clean long ago. They are vaguely similar in shape to ponies, but longer, hunched, and with rounder skulls, and with hands and feet instead of hooves. Some of the skeletons have scraps of cloaks and other clothes lingering around them. The next set of stairs up is on the other side of the balcony, requiring that you traverse the spilled books carefully if you don't want to slip and fall.

As Pryce flies ahead, he sees that the third floor is also clear, but there are two groups of Bookwyrms in wait, one on the fourth and the other upon the fifth balcony levels. He can't get a good look at what they're up to, but he hears lots of chewing sounds and muttered nonsense syllables.

Shei takes this time to charge another deck of cards, but as he ascends to the second floor, he sets a hoof upon one of the half-eaten books, slick with saliva, and he trips, losing focus. As his focus breaks, he pours too much magic energy into the deck of cards, essentially supercharging it with magic. Both Bookwyrm groups stop and sniff the air, then Pryce sees them heading down their staircases toward your location.
("Shit… now what?" Tantra asks. "All this sneaking, I ain't good at it!")

>>718925
As you survey the second floor, your eyes begin to strain involuntarily, focusing on disparate points. Around the skeletal remains on the second floor, you see hunched clusters of figures, vaguely humanoid, but made out of different colors of overlapping lines, their forms unclear, but brilliantly, psychadellically bright and colorful. They're all watching you with big eyes that are far apart and starkly wide.

>>718926
Renee pokes around in the shop a little more, perusing the more colorful wares, perhaps to take her mind off what's to come. She then picks up an old, empty picture frame off the shelf.
"What's this cost?" she asks.
"Mmm, only five Bits for that," Camelzotz says.
"I shall take it," Renee says.

 No.718929

>>718922
>>718928
Correction, Shei is charging the deck of cards that he tossed earlier. The Bookwyrms are still heading down the stairs toward your location.

 No.718930

>>718928
Flow raises an eyebrow.
"A frame? You have a picture to put in it?"

 No.718931

>>718928
Pryce holds his books down on the third floor as to not entice the bookwyrms as he peeks his head up to the fourth floor, trying to spot what the wyrms are doing in the safety of his shroud.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718932

>>718930
Renee shakes her head as she pays Camelzotz for the picture. "Not yet."
With that, she starts to head out of the caravan, bidding Camelzotz farewell again as she does. "I want to get a portrait of us all… before the final day comes. I thought that there should be one last record of us all to leave up here."

 No.718933

>>718929
>>718928
Shei-Sher quickly hops over each shelf of the slanted bookcase. He gets ahead of the group and stalls a moment for the bookwyrms to gather closer. He wields his angel metal shield and releases a charge of solar light to deter the bookwyrms from approaching.

[1d10] sefer yad

He then waves his hoof in the air, wisps of fire coagulate just above Shei's head.
>A Vision of Thralls: Twice per combat; Instant;
[1d10] Summoning a pheonix

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.718934

>>718928
Flaming's eyes wince at the sight of the skeletons scattered around the floor of the higher levels, looking around carefully for the source of their hunter before Flaming catches a glimpse of the colorful, vague figures that watch them from around the skeletal remains.

She freezes up, looking up as she notices the two groups coming down upon them, before drawing some of the others closer to point at the bizarre shapes she sees watching them from the corpses. ("Hey! Look over there… something's watching us, I don't think they have anything to do with the book-wyrms. See? Those weird lines? Anyone recognize those?")

[1d10+1] Stealth to continue hiding
[1d10+1] Perception to get a clearer look, see if she can recognize them

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

 No.718935

Shei-Sher's eyes scan the area ahead, but he doesn't see whatever Flaming is talking about. "I see nothing Flaming. If I can save a moment, I'll scour the area with my aura."

 No.718936

>>718932
Flow grins, and chuckles.
"Well…I do suppose that'd make quite the keepsake."
He also bids farewell to Camelzotz as they leave his cart, wrapping a gooey hoof around Renee.
"Jus' as long as they get my good side, that is," he says jokingly with a smile.

 No.718937

>>718931
Lockjaw grunts and whines, wiggling about in your grasp at he floats with you. On the fourth floor, it looks like the Bookwyrms have found the largest tome in this area, a gigantic codex that is about as long as you are tall, and comes up to your chest. The massive book has been dragged down from a great pedestal, and leans precariously against the balcony railing.

>>718933
A phoenix appears above you, and youre mind briefly turns back to Pheo. Though they are of the same species and look alike, paradoxically, it looks nothing like her.

>>718934
As you observe them, it is not like when you normally see something, but it is more like a thought appearing in your mind's eye, manifesting in the world before you. They are squat, about knee height, and have multiple sets of appendages going down their sides, like caterpillar larvae. As you call them out, they laugh a low distorted laugh, and chat among themselves in low, murky tones that are like casual conversation, happy and carefree, yet totally incomprehensible. They start moving toward you slowly, leaving rippling trails and afterimages as they do, resulting in wavering lines in the air. You cannot count how many there are, and nobody else seems to react to them, aside from Tantra, who starts making cautious glances their way.

>>718934
>>718933
>>718931
The light from Sefer Yad, rather than deterring the Bookwyrms, only causes them to briefly pause and wince, before rushing further down the staircases, until they make their way to the third floor. One club stops as they reach the third floor, and look down over the railing at you. The other group makes its way partway down the stairs toward the second floor, pausing in a low crouch. They gaze at you with wide hungry eyes, the way a predator surveys a fat morsel, tongues darting in and out and making hungry nonsense noises, like blurbs of speech in foreign languages.
"How tough are these things?" LJ asks Shei. "Can we take 'em?"
"I'd rather we avoid a fight," Chorazin says, gesturing to Amy upon her back. "Don't want to risk this one."

>>718936
Renee smiles and side-hugs you once you return to the chaotic hustle and bustle of Lilane, Ecclesian soldiers and personnel rushing about to tend to various business. You pick up snippets of intel, hearing of operations across the region, and news from other territories they've captured and fortified.
"Mmm, now where to next?" Renee asks. "If I'm honest, I don't know where we'd get this portrait done."

 No.718938

>>718937
Pryce walks over to the massive tome, surely a book like that would be a feast that'd draw even the most focused of bookwyrms away. He sets the other books he collected on top of it, looking down the stairway as the wyrms leer down at the party. He doesn't have long left on his spell, but with this he shouldn't need it.

>>718937
>>718934
>>718933
"Everypony, look out!"
Pryce shouts down the stairs as he pushes the massive book, sending it and the others he had tumbling all the way down to hopefully the first floor to draw all the wyrms down.
>Shove [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718939

The appearance of Shei's pheonix makes him momentarily forlorn, his mind returns to the present.

"As Chorazin said. The wyrms are not worth it. They are weak but they also spew hot bile like dragons breath and physical attacks won't do much harm. We need light and bait."

Shei-Sher focuses his aura again, channeling it into the black thread that is still strung into his deck of cards
[1d10]

The Pheonix Shei summoned glides above the deck and releases a flash of light to further deter the bookwyrms
>Blinding Flare: Recharge 2; A dazzling display of light blinds foes, Dazing them and lowering their damage by half.
[1d10]

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

 No.718940

>>718937
As the mysterious figures start approaching her, Flaming seems entirely off guard, no longer as intimidated by the bookwyrms narrowing the gap and closing in on them from above. She looks to Pryce and Shei as they begin to summon light and distractions to disorient them, and feeling confident in her friends, focuses more on the multi-colored creatures that approach them from the side.

"Would the bookwyrms event want anything to do with us? We're not exactly books. And, is no one else seeing 'those' either?!" Flaming asks, looking ahead at the mysterious figures as they approach.
Not feeling like being intimidated anymore, Flaming stamps a hoof, and approaches the multicolored images, trying to force their laughing forms back as she snorts out of her nostrils.
[1d10+1] Intimidation

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.718941

>>718938
The book is far heavier than you had first thought, and won't budge from your shoves. Perhaps with a bit more effort it could be made to move.

>>718939
The brilliant light causes both clubs of Bookwyrms to back up, turning away to shield their eyes from the brilliance. In response, they scowl and snarl, releasing streams of incomprehensible, furious babble.

Following your lead, Tantra steps forward, and fire appears around his hoof, yet without burning him. He takes a stance and punches at the open air, trying to set fire to the books upon the far shelf.
[1d10+4]

Chorazin moves toward the back of the group, while Vortigern moves forward as well, slipping on her dragonskin cloak. She begins to morph as she does, taking on a draconic guise.

The Bookwyrms growl and continue to survey you, hissing and snarling.
[1d10+1] Nerve test

>>718940
The small figures pause as you snort and try to scare them off, waves of yellow and white spreading across their bodies, disrupting their shifting colors for a moment. The pause only lasts a brief period, before they flash red and black, and then become colorful again. One of them reaches forward to your hoof and peels some of skin right off, leaving you numb at that spot. You stumble forward, losing control and balance over that hoof.

Roll #1 5 + 4 = 9 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5

 No.718942

>>718941
Shei-Sher kills two birds with one stone and expands his aura from his body
>PHASE AURA: Your body sheds light in a small radius of 5 meters, in a color you choose when you learn this skill. All creatures in this range cannot turn invisible or become hidden, creatures already hidden or invisible are made clear, and incorporeal beings and lingering magical effects and wards manifest a visible shape. Effect persists roll minus five turns (six lasts one, seven lasts two, etc.)

He focuses on expanded the membrane of his aura to fill the room and making it as bright as possible. To scare the bookwyrms and also reveal whatever Flaming is talking about.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718943

>>718941
Pryce braces his back hooves against the floor, pushing the large tome with his shoulder to get the force of his whole body behind it. Along with using his magic to help lift it a little to make pushing it off the railing easier.
>Push [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.718944

>>718941
As the creatures grab at my hoof and peel some skin right off, Flaming's eyes open wide in shock as she suddenly feels numbness pass over the hoof, tumbling over to the side. "W-what?!"

Flaming grunts as she hits the ground after losing balance, staring at the creatures angrily as they advance on her. She takes a deep breath, looking at them angrily, defiantly, as she looks behind at the others lighting up flames to keep the Bookwryms at bay with light. She contemplates joining them, lending her own shining horns, but she looks at the creatures one more time, activating her brooch.

"Can you understand me? What ARE you?"
[1d10+1] Intimidation

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.718945

>>718937
Flow shrugs.
"I 'aven't been much of the artistic type, I don't have a clue who we could commission for a piece…"
He listens around, and looks for any stalls or ads about portraits.

He puts a hoof on his chin.
"Should we look around for something to explore later on? I have a funny feeling we should… I don't know, explore the great outdoors."

 No.718946

>>718944
>>718942
>>718943
After much strain and effort, Pryce manages to shove the precariously hanging book over the railing, causing it to tumble over down the many balcony levels toward the ground floor, where it lands with a resounding crash, scattering half-mutilated and devoured pages all over. At the same time, an orb of fire flies from Tantra's punch, setting a few books ablaze, and though the fire doesn't seem to deter them, the additional light causes them to back away. The club that occupies the bookshelf starts to mutter indecisively, but the sensory overload from the fire, the loud noise, and the overcharged deck of cards causes them to leap from the second floor balcony, landing adroitly upon the stone floor at the bottom. They make their way toward the deck of cards, leaving the path clear. The club that's on the third floor continues to back off, hissing but showing no signs of attacking.

"Let's move, let's move!" Chorazin says. Vortigern nods and leads the charge, heading up the stairs. Tantra follows, picking up the books he set on fire. Though the fire touches him, it has no effect, not even singing his fur.

>>718944
LJ looks back at you as you lay upon the ground, and starts to grab at you to pull you along. "What are you doing!? Get up, let's go!"
The larvae-like creatures start to gather around your foreleg at the sight that had been peeled right off. There's no blood from the opening, only a white vapor that remains mostly within you. The creatures turn red and black as they approach it, and start to grab at the vapor. It starts to solidify as they touch it, taking on a texture like cotton or stuffing. They start pulling out the white vapor, passing it among themselves greedily. And, as LJ approaches, they start to gather around him, grabbing at his arms and peeling at his skin. He seems totally unaware of any of this.

>>718945
You check one of the boards near the town's center, one which is stocked full of job requests, but you see nothing about any artists advertising their skills. Knowing what you do, though, you might be able to get an Ecclesian propagandist, or perhaps the princesses, to make a portrait of the party.
Renee nods to your suggestion. "I'm all for it, but I suspect it'll be dangerous to venture too far from the walls. Perhaps we could check up on some of our other allies?"

 No.718947

>>718946
Shei-Sher cuts the black thread connecting him and the deck of cards he made into wyrm bait.
He moves out with the party, continueing to expand his aura and thoroughly polishing it for brightness before letting it exude.

[1d10] phase aura, more wyrm deterrent and detect what Flaming sees.

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718948

>>718946
Flaming looks over as Chorazin shouts out the order to move, but finds herself continually distracted by the creatures as they move on her hoof, grasping at some of the white vapor coming out of her peeled skin as it manifests at their touch. "W-what are you doing?!"

As LJ approaches her, and the creatures start to move on him as well, Flaming's eyes shrink, and she growls angrily at the creatures as she focuses her Spirit through the Brooch as a make-shift catalyst, hoping it sufficient as she shouts angrily at them as she casts a 'de-weaving' magical effect on the creatures, hoping they themselves are magical.
"GET AWAY FROM HIM, NOW!"
[1d10+1] De-spell

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.718949

>>718946
Pryce looks down from above as the bookwyrms scatter from the book slam and the fire, giving the others a good opening to run past. As they run up, Pryce walks up to the fifth floor and checks what lies at the end.

 No.718950

>>718946
Flow closes his eyes and smiles.
"Aye, I suppose we should go check on our boys and girls."
He hugs her and lets her take the lead as they go back through the city.

 No.718951

>>718947
As you attempt to break the black thread connecting your soul to the deck of cards, a screaming headache erupts across your skull, and your vision floods with color, in the form of myriad fractals, swarming waves of color and black and white. You feel your grip on the black threads slipping, as if it were no longer within your control.

It feels like someone else is in your head.

>You lose 1 Wound and must roll to disable the Black Threads, any relevant roll bonuses apply.


>>718948
You see one of the larvae-like creatures bound over to Shei, landing upon his head and peeling back part of the skin, and ripping out the "cotton" inside. They begin doing the same to LJ, peeling back his own skin as he picks you up, but he doesn't seem to notice it.
Once the "cotton" inside your hoof is gone, one of the larvae hops inside.

But you then cast your Untying spell, and the strange colorful creatures vanish, your vision clearing once more.

>>718947
>>718948
>>718949
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT803dOa_TY
As you head up the stairs toward the fifth floor, you hear a sudden echoing roar from deep below you, a chaotic mess of bestial shouts, like the bookwyrms', only amplified many times over. Shei feels a sudden pang of intense pain shoot through his chest, and he knows now that something is happening to the deck of cards far below. "Sounds like Pryce woke something up down there!" Chorazin shouts.
"Forget it, keep going, keep going!" Tantra says, brandishing the burning books at the third floor's bookwyrm club to keep them away. Vortigern takes on a predator's posture to aid him in keeping the bookwyrm club at bay.

>Shei loses 5 Hits from the continued Black Threads effects.


Tantra and Vortigern Intimidation roll [1d10+2]
Bookwyrm nerve roll [1d10+1]

>>718949
Though bright light streams through the opening in the ceiling, making it hard to see through, you manage to make out, strangely enough, a body of water. Water sits upon the opening, yet does not flood through. It is like looking up at an aquarium from below, yet no pane of glass or other clear surface keeps the water at bay.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

 No.718952

>>718951
As the creatures start picking apart Shei and LJ as well, she cries out desperately trying to stop them. "No! Get off of them!"
She tries desperately to shake her numb hoof as well as the creatures start to burrow into her own hoof as well, feeling disturbed as she sees them starting to wiggle in where the cotton had been before her Untying spell takes effect, and all the creatures are gone. She looks around, startled and shaken as she sees the others running up. "What… what was that?"

As the sudden roar shouts out from below, Flaming looks back with surprise. She starts to run up along with the others towards the fifth floor while looking back at both the wyrm-swarm and the roaring darkness. "THAT must be the thing Lockjaw was talking about! I-is it really okay to just leave it down there, Rus-Tea and Volkama might run into it!"

[1d10+1] Looking for the mysterious creatures again (Perception)

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.718953

>>718951
This gnawing feeling, like being eaten from the inside. It's nearly unbearable. Shei-Sher heaves in pain. The lurking presence overshadowing his own only draws out further irritation.

She physically silks the thread between the cleft of his hoof and again, while affixing laser focus onto the near imperciptible thread Shei snips it, before his life can be drawn out.
[1d10] disable black thread

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.718954

>>718951
Pryce stares at the light, leading only to confusion as he sees it's just water floating above them, almost like the ocean was flipped overhead. He's lost as he stares at it, until the echoing roar snaps him out of it as he shakes from the volume.
"What was that?!"
He runs back to the stairs, looking down to see what it was, then to the others. As the work their way past hte last group, Pryce runs down to aid, sending out a pulse of magic from his horn to shake the bookcases and spill more books.
>Telekinesis [Book Spill] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.718955

>>718951
>>718952
"Nggghhh… There's something wrong with me.. And Flaming obviously. Regina can still see us down here. She must be haunting Flaming with some sort of phantom. This can be fixed. Flaming stay close to me. What it is that just transpired I will survey it."

>>718952
>I-is it really okay to just leave it down there
"We don't have a choice. Volkama and Rus Tea are wise enough to stay away from them. And in all liklihood, they might still be where we last saw them."

>>718951
Shei-Sher first clasps his hooves together, breathing in deeply, he lets his sense of self sink deeply into Gabby's seal, the one made as a scar on his back. It burns white hot, with the tracings of light visible underneath his clothing. In a drawn exhalation Shei-Sher becomes clear of mind and wards whatever might possibly be intruding on his psyche.

>CONTROL+1: Spell, attempts to take control of a hostile or neutral undead. More powerful undead may require a higher minimum roll. Also used to take control of a larger undead at recharge 2.

[1d10+1] Self

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.718956

>>718953
You sever the tie between yourself and the thread, and the sharp pains in your chest soon begin to fade. The headache softens, but lingers on in the back of your mind, no longer a clear pain but a dull, low throbbing.

>>718952
>>718953
>>718954
The Bookwyrms snap at Vortigern and Tantra, whose attempts at intimidating them seem to have little effect. Pryce shakes more books off the shelves, and some of them land upon the Bookwyrm club, cutting off their line of sight. Tantra drops the burning books, and runs up the stairs again with Vortigern. While the Bookwyrms on the third floor are trapped under the stack of books, you manage to blitz your way past the fourth floor, which is relatively clear, and reach the fifth floor where Pryce waits. Your allies stop to catch their breath, surveying the trapdoor opening in the ceiling, on the other side of which you see a pool of water, floating over the opening, not spilling through even though there's nothing to hold it up.
"What're we going to do about this?" Tantra asks.
"This looks like the only way up, but…" Wireframe says, looking at Amy. "Can we even take her through the water like that? Hell, I'll need some help myself."

>>718952
Those creatures are nowhere to be seen, and the feeling of being watched dwindles; it does not entirely vanish, but instead subsumes itself within the general dread you felt earlier.
Chorazin looks back down over the railing, then at Amy. "…I can remain behind and look for them, if you want, but I doubt they'd come down this way. It seems like we lost them early on. We'd have seen them by now if they were in this area, no?"
Vortigern silently nods, gesturing with her spear and spreading her wings, signaling her offer to help Chorazin keep a look out.

>>718955
You survey yourself via magic, and detect that there is indeed a presence that has taken up residence in your mind. You can tell it's not a spell, but its own unique entity, resembling a caterpillar larvae, its body an amalgam of colorful lines that continuously drift through all the colors of the rainbow. It has eyes that are far too big, stark and clear, and it watches you, making a kind of strange eye contact from within your head. It's nothing you recognize, though perhaps you have encountered something in an old text at some point about it.

 No.718957

>>718956
>>718954
>>718952
"I will keep a membrane of air around Amy and float her body in tow But please. We all need to take a moment to stop right. Either Regina or something in these cave has implanted an intangible parasite inside my mind. And from observing how Flaming has been acting, the chances are it is in each of us as well. So I am going to survey each one of you one and remove it before we proceed."

>Body Without Organs: The spirit and body are now one. Astral projection is instant/automatic and does not leave behind an unconscious body. The Spirit is unfettered and can travel any distance now. The spirit is visible and susceptible to regular combat. Traveling speed is similar to flying.

[This is still active]

>Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2: You can escape from any physical binding or grapple by moving yourself freely through space in a radius of three meters in any direction. During this time, you are considered intangible for the purposes of moving through physical obstructions, unless said obstruction is larger than your three meter radius. This ability naturally has DC - 2 and stacks with other bonuses.

in a grotesque display Shei phases his hoof into his skull, feeling for something, and focusing for the body of the larva implanted in his mind. And once he touches it Shei grabs the larva in his palm and tears out from his mind. Grunting and tearing up in a painful display.
[1d10] remove the parasite

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718958

>>718955
As Shei calls out to her, Flaming shouts, "No one could see them! T-they were these, little catepillar things that were peeling off our skin and going into our bodies! They were trying to get you and me and Journey… t-then I used that spell Fairy taught me and it all went a way, but I have no idea if that was just an illusion or if it's still happening RIGHT NOW and I can't see them!"

>>718955
>>718956
Flaming relents as Shei brings up a point. "Right, okay… but I'm only doing this because I want to get Amy out of here! If they're not up there, we're going right back in."

As they reach the top of the stairs and look up at the floating pool of water above, Flaming looks down at the ever encroaching Bookwyrm swarm, but feels relief at no longer seeing the parasitic monsters around, even though that tingling feeling of being watched hasn't subsided. As Chorazin and Vortigern offer to stay and look, Flaming shakes her head. "No, at least not yet: if we want to split up to give another look for Rus and Volkama, we can easily do so after we get back to the top of the library and come down that stair-well again, where these things aren't blocking our escape. Let's stick together until we get to a safe spot, then we can try another pass. Maybe there were somewhere else when we first arrived by the stairs."

>>718956
Looking up at the hanging pool of water, Flaming looks to everyone, "We'll just have to get Amy through it as quick as possible. Everyone here can swim, right?"

 No.718959

>>718956
As they regroup, Pryce takes Lockjaw back from Chorazin to lessen her burden.

"We'll have to go through it. It's the only way out through here."
Pryce answers Tantra. He thinks, taking off his bracelet.
"If we knew how far it went it that would make it easier, but hopefully these will help a little."
Pryce says as he attempts to conjure two plastic masks for Amy and Wireframe, something like swim goggles, but to cover their muzzles to keep the water from being inhaled by accident.
>Hat Magic [Swim Masks] [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.718960

>>718957
Flaming nods, "Yes, I agree: just in case what I saw WASN'T an illusion, I at least saw myself, Journey, and you get infected with them. Do you have a way to get them out, I-"

As Shei pushes his hoof into his skull, phasing through it looking for the foreign parasyte, Flaming retches, catching herself from hurling as she presses a hoof to her muzzle. "T-that's how you're getting them out? Your putting your whole hoof inside your head!"

 No.718961

>>718957
Pryce turns from his conjuring as Shei phases his hoof into his own head.
"Shei! What are you doing?!"
Pryce says in shock, seeing this as far for even Shei to do.

 No.718962

>>718950
You recall, during the split up earlier this morning, that River and Busta took Spitshine and Sugar on a minor mission to gather plants for the medical team. With Renee in tow, you ask around with some of the Ecclesians, until you're pointed toward one of the many scribes' offices, where you one of the Laity who oversee the logistics team. He in turn tells you that River and company went with a guard squad into the Hooktooth Swamp, one of the nearby regions of the Starchart Plains. He briefly gives you instructions to head north out of town from the western exit, and then keep heading northwest, following local signposts.

>>718957
You attempt to feel around for the larvae, but it eludes your grasp, and you lose sight of it within your vision of your spirit-body, becoming lost in the fog of your mind. Its presence doesn't dwindle, only turning invisible.

>>718958
>>718959
Your allies nod when asked if they can swim, but as they look up at the water floating in the opening, they don't look too confident, though perhaps this is owed to the bizarre circumstances. As Pryce fishes around in his bracelet, he fails to conjure anything, and the sounds of the Bookwyrms coming up the stairs, including the sounds of whatever beast is at the bottom of the shaft, get louder.
"Pryce, you gonna give us something or not?" Chorazin snaps. "Hurry it up!"
Tantra starts to ascend the stairs, preparing himself for entry by touching the water.

 No.718963

>>718962
"It takes longer to conjure things I'm not entirely sure of. I haven't seen anything that can help an unconscious pony swim!"
He looks back as the sounds get louder, putting his hoof through his bracelet once more for the masks.
"Just start moving, we don't have time to wait!"
>Hat Magic [Swim Masks] [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.718964

>>718962
Flow keeps his hood drawn as he travels near Renee, and keeps his eye out as they follow the Laity member's instructions.
"Gathering plants… how hard could it be to find that lot," Flow wonders aloud.

 No.718965

>>718960
>>718961
>>718962
"Hold on… It's hiding." Shei is apparently strained. "And after me I will do each of you"

But then Shei-Sher can hear the same beastial sounds his allies hear coming for them. Shei-Sher takes his hoof out of his head and instead readies his Cloudsmith staff toward the pool of water.
"Ba-a-h, this will have to wait."


>Cloudsmith Staff

[1d10] produce a steady gale

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

[1d10+2] to create a stable bubble of air inside the pool of water. Large enough to accomodate everyone

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12

 No.718966

>>718964
>navigating
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.718967

>>718962
>>718965
>>718963
Flaming looks on at the upcoming swarm while Shei goes fishing inside his head, and states, "I agree, we don't have time to go fishing for them yet! We'll just have to hope they can't do that much harm in a few minutes."

After Shei gets the bubbles of air working inside the water, Flaming nods, preparing to lead the charge through the floating pool as they make their way to escape. "Okay! Everyone follow me, keep up!"

[1d10+2] Flaming leaping up into the pool and swimming, trying to forge a path

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.718968

>>718965
Pryce looks displeased at Shei's mention of doing the same to everypony else.
"I don't think that' exactly safe. What are you doing anyways?"

 No.718969

>>718968
"No time to explain, but invisible parasites might be in our head! I saw them somehow when no one else did, they were crawling their way into us!"

 No.718970

>>718969
"…Are you sure they were real, and not some trick like we've seen so far?"

 No.718971

>>718970
>>718968
"They are real. I assure you. And I will show you in just a moment but for now, proceed into the bubble."

 No.718972

>>718964
You depart from Lilane once more, heading along the path north with Renee at your side. The angels watch you as you travel, but even so, there's something quite peaceful about the area, once full of demons but now relatively safe. The path here is much less clear than the western path out of town, having been overgrown quite a lot, but you still see signposts now and again indicating that the Hooktooth Swamp is to the northwest. Dragonflies flit about, filling the air with colorful buzzing.

>roll again


>>718967
>>718963
>>718965
Instead of conjuring masks, Pryce ends up getting his hoof bitten and yanked by some monster on the other side, forcing him to pull his hoof back with a nasty gash upon the inner side.
>Pryce loses 1 Wound

Fortunately, Shei produces a current of wind, molding it into a bubble shape around the party. They clump together in order to fit inside, but once they are, Shei ensures the bubble is sturdy enough to hold. With the sounds of the Bookwyrms close upon you, the party wastes no time running up into the water, with those in the bubble pushing it from within to roll it up the stairs. As you pass through the water, you feel a disorienting sense of floating, an instability that isn't quite the same as swimming. You see a trapdoor on the ground, at the bottom of the lake or ocean or whatever this is, and LJ quickly slams it shut to ensure the bookwyrms stay on their side. With that done, everyone relaxes… just a little.

The water is relatively placid, but it's still awkward to move, with everyone trapped in this air bubble. Light filters in from above, clouded by great shadows. "So… where to now?" Wireframe asks.

 No.718973

>>718972
Flow takes extra care to look for any roadsigns they happen across. He also keeps his ears perked up and alert.
Despite how peaceful it is around them, Flow still keeps his guard up nonetheless, although he takes time to look at the overgrowth that’s overtaken much of the path.
>navigating
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.718974

>H/W: 10/5

>>718972
Pryce winces as he's bitten, puling his hoof back and staring at the gash in shock.
"Th-That's never happened before…"
His horn glows white as he tries to close the wound as Shei forms the bubble around them so they can travel safely.
>Prayer for Deliverance [Self] [1d10+1]
Once formed, Pryce picks up Lockjaw and places him on his back to keep him from popping it or slipping out accidentally.

Pryce looks up as they pass through the door. While everypony else relaxes a bit, Pryce still remains focused as they still have no sign of Zjetya, or Rus and Volkama.
"We keep going up."
Pryce says, flapping his wings to fly and help push the bubble forward.
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.718975

>>718972
"I could move out into the waters and gather a sense for out surroundings. At the moment my spirit and body are one item so it is impossible for me to drown. At the same time if a whale were to swallow me I'm afraid my spirit would be digested without a chance at an afterlife. So modest anxieties aside I would like to take care of the pertinent anxiety living inside our headspace. Everyone should take a breather and relax. As long as my staff is in this bubble, there will be a continuous supply of air."

Shei looks at his hoof now and it's painfully obvious what he is about to do. And after a second of pause Shei phases his hoof into his skull again and begins wrenching out the parasite inside his mind.
[1d10] To get the fucker out

"You see Flaming.. you could observe a valuable lesson now. ngh." Shei strains to speak as spelunks his brain cavity "In the many artifices of magic.. hn- it is not all pouring over scrolls and tampering with the unknown.. Sooome-times. You simply have to jury rig things and ad hoc."




[1d10]

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

 No.718976

>>718972
>>718974
>>718975
As the group all enter into the vast water, with nothing but ocean around them in every direction, Flaming looks around, slightly disoriented, but extremely grateful to no longer be at the mercy of the monsters that are beneath the trap door.

Flaming looks around the vast ocean, and then as Pryce suggests to move forward, she holds up a hoof, "Hold on! Before we do that, we should check for the parasites. I KNOW what I saw, Pryce, and Shei seems to think something's wrong too. Better safe than sorry, as long as this air bubble holds we're not in any rush, right?"

Flaming looks to Shei as he sticks his hoof inside his own head again, wincing. "Ewww… isn't there ANY other way to get rid of them though?" She looks to Journey, "Uh… you should get looked at too, Journey, I-I'm pretty sure I saw them crawling on you."

 No.718977

>>718976
>>718975
Pryce pauses as Flaming speaks out, and Shei goes to the disturbing treatment again.
"…Alright. It wouldn't hurt to check, but let's make it quick. What exactly are these parasites?"

 No.718978

>>718977
"I will- show you. IN just a.. Second.."

 No.718979

>>718973
Great trees tower above you, obscuring the sunlight and trapping heat into the boggy environment, which quickly becomes humid and marshy under your hooves. Carefully picking the myriad vines and bushes that have obscured the path, you uncover more than one roadsign that has been upended by the growth of great tree roots and partly obscured by low hanging foliage, without which you would have surely taken a wrong route upon the myriad winding paths. The deeper you head into the swamp, the louder the drone of insects becomes, and the more red and vibrant the plants around you become, turning from green hues to orange and red as if upon a gradient.

Ahead, sitting upon the roots of a great tree, you see River Spring, but the situation seems to be one of distress. Busta is laying upon his side, his arm badly wounded, while River tends to him. The Ecclesians stand guard, guns at the ready, while Spitshine, KP and Sugar are near River's side, all of whom looking distressed.

>>718974
You heal yourself, and once you put Lockjaw upon your back, he sits there, surprisingly obediently, softly grunting now and then and swishing his tail to and fro.

>>718975
You reach into your head once more and yank out the larva, only to find that it is no longer a larva, but has rapidly grown in the brief time that it has spent in your head, now at a greater size, longer, about the size of your hoof to your shoulder, and with a longer body. Horns have sprouted from its head, and its eyes have vanished, appearing now along its body, between each of its arms, which it now has many more of. It is no longer brilliant and colorful, but now sweeping with angry shades of red and black, its form composed of dizzying fractal lines, which fray and distort and buzz like static.

Only Shei and Flaming can see this. The rest of the party looks onward, but show no signs of actually seeing it, their expressions still that of anticipation and confusion.

>>718975
>>718974
>>718976
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_QxGtXSa9E

Despite the graphic scene of Shei removing the fractcal-creature from his head, the waters are rather calm. Pryce moves the bubble upward through the waters, though it's tough to move the bubble. It's like trying to learn how to swim without being able to kick, stroke or even paddle. Distant shapes darken the water before you and above you, making you all feel quite small within it.

>Paused

 No.718980

>>718978
>>718979
Pryce patiently waits after Shei pulls his hoof out of his head.
"…So? Is there anything?"
He asks as he sees Shei fail to remove anything again.

>>718979
>>718976
Pryce looks back as Lockjaw sits still and calm despite how he acted before. He looks over to Flaming, pausing in his flight a moment.
"Flaming, could you ask Lockjaw how he's feeling?"

 No.718981

>>718980
>>718979
As Shei pulls the creature out of his head, Flaming looks at it in shock and surprise at its grown state. "W-what?!" She shakes her head, "I-it wasn't that big when it first crawled in! HOw could it get that huge that quickly?!" She freezes

"O-oh no… how big is the one inside ME right now?! Okay me next, me next, just get it out!"

Flaming looks to Pryce, "Of course it's there! You really can't see it?!"

>>718980
>>718979
Flaming takes a few deep breaths to look around the vast ocean, glad for the calmness it brings. She marvels at the distance sights of dark shadows in water, hoping they stay distant for now.

She looks at Lockjaw as Pryce asks, and nods her head. "Sure thing. Hey, Lockjaw: how are you? Are we out of danger?"

 No.718982

>>718979
Pupil takes a good look at the fractal grub
[1d10] appraise

>>718979
>>718980
>>718981
A immense sense of relief washes over Shei-Sher. He takes a look at everyone's expressions and figures

"Oh you, don't see it. O ye of little faith." Shei-Sher offers us Pupil to Pryce to use to see the thing Shei is holding in his hoof
"Take this pass it around."

>>718981
>>718979
"Calm down Flaming, it will be difficult if you're overly excited. Now give me your head."
Shei-Sher pops his hoof into Flaming's skull and fishes around for the keys to his lexis.
[1d10] pulling out another grub

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

 No.719124

https://pastebin.com/R0AXr1UU

>>718979
As he and Renee approach the clearing, Flow gestures for Renee to move, and he steps out from the swampy foliage, waving at River and the others.
"Oi oi, fancy injury for a plant-picking mission. What happened?"
He surveys the immediate area for any signs of enemies.

 No.719125

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>718979
>>719124
KP looks up as Flow shouts over to the group. He waves his hooves, hopping up and down.
"Hey, it's Flow! Flow! Over here!"
He shouts back, calling the goo over.

 No.719126

>>719124
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1O4wAxN_nU
Renee darts forward upon seeing Busta, and the Ecclesian guards, who you see are also a bit injured (though not to the severe degree that Busta is), spin and level their guns at her. She begins to evaporate into mist, reaching for her wakizashi, but when the Ecclesians recognize her, they lower their weapons once more.
"Gods above, don't scare us like that!" one shouts.
"I saw my friend injured, I'm going to come and help," Renee counters.

While Renee begins to tend to Busta, you see a few of the other Ecclesians poking at a massive, submerged bullet-ridden demon's corpse floating in the swamp's thick water. Lingering magatsuhi simmers off of its body, a pattern that causes your goo to run cold. You can't get a clear look at it from here, but it looks to be the only enemy… for now.

>>719125
The mission began peacefully enough; River Spring signed up to gather various medical herbs from the Hooktooth Swamp, a region some short distance northwest of Lilane. All reports had indicated that the Ecclesians had long since cleared the area of demonkind, and so assigned only a minimal Congregation guard to the mission. At first, the reports held true, and you completed a loop through the many narrow paths through the swamp, gathering herbs suitable for treating infectous diseases – Watertongue, Fever Lilac, Stonewart, and so on.

Yet, as you looped around to return toward Lilane, your group was ambushed by the Flagellant, a type of Fiend-class demon, resembling a massive, fleshy scorpion with myriad tails. Busta was the first to saw it, and blocked a powerful attack, but though River tried to heal him, she was unable to. The Flagellant's greatest danger is that its strikes inflict a sudden, powerful curse upon its victim, preventing them from healing any injury until either the Flagellant is dead or the curse is dispelled.

The battle that followed between the guards and the Flagellant was a haze of gunpowder and bayonet-ends. Though River guarded you, you are almost certain that the Congregation used the badly-injured Busta to bait out the Flagellant from the swamp's waters so they could shoot it.

>>719125
Now that the Flagellant is dead, River moved Busta over to the cover of a great tree's root so that she can tend to him. His arm is a pulpy mess of flesh and bone, and Spitshine and Sugar look nauseated, but hold various poultices and herbs for River's use. Renee slides in among them, silently beginning to spread her healing water over the wounds.

 No.719128

>>719126
>>719124
KP keeps close to River, shaken still from the sudden attack, but not getting in the way of her treatment of Busta.

"Careful Flow, we got ambushed around here!"
KP warns, pointing over to the corpse of the Flagellant.
"There might be more around here! Did you see anything when you were coming this way?"

 No.719130

>>719125
Flow waves back at KP.
“Pipe down son, I have eyes, y’know,” he jests.

>>719126
As soon as the Ecclesians draw their weapons to Renee, Flow puts a hoof on The End, and leaves it there, even after the situation’s diffused.
He slowly approaches the slain demon, and gulps.
“This demon…even in death, I can still sense residual magatsushi…”

He turns around to one of the guards.
“Oi, gunman. How’d you lot run into a demon of this caliber?”

 No.719131

>>719128
“Nay lad, haven’t seen a soul.”
He looks over the Flagellant’s corpse once more.
“If there were more, I’d know,” he doesn’t elaborate, but there is a hint of concern in his voice.

 No.719132

>>719130
>>719131
"So… we're safe?"
KP asks hopefully.

 No.719133

>>719131
>>719128
Busta lays before you, half-conscious and delirious from the pain, mumbling in confusion, while Renee and River communicate only in taut, fraught hisses as they try all they can to fix his wound. Though the process is slow, Busta's arm regenerates, becoming whole once more through the mares' combined magic.

All about you, the Ecclesians keep up their guard, checking behind bushes and trees in pairs of two. Their low numbers give them pause, worry written across their faces. "Is he good to move yet!?" one shouts back.

>>719130
The demon's body is hulking, two and a half times your length, its body structured like a scorpion's, but covered in slimy pink flesh and a scruffy field of grimy black hair. A dozen thin, leathery tails protrude from its back, ending in sharp bony points like the head of a whip. Long hair covers its face, but its six lifeless eyes appear to look upward at you. As an Ecclesian stabs it through the neck with the head of his bayonet,

 No.719134

>>719133
>>719131
>wew
As an Ecclesian stabs it through the neck with the head of his bayonet, the eyes appear to remain upon you, fixated on your face even as its lifeless head drifts through the water.

 No.719135

>>719132
“We’re not out of the woods yet, son. Stay on yer guard.”

>>719133
>>719134
“Let the healers do their job, sonny,” he snaps at the guard who piped up.
Flow eyes the demon’s head, and squints at it. He outs two and two together, and grins at the demon’s head.
“You’re a tough one, eh?”

Flow takes out Grimnir, and points it at the Flagellant’s head, and rams it through.
>Driven through the Devil's Head
>Instant, Recharge 3;
>Deals additional damage and effects based on how much magatsuhi has built up within the target's soul, purging a certain amount after the effect resolves. All damage is rounded up to the nearest whole number. Uses highest applicable effect.
[1d10+3]

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12

 No.719137

>>719133
"Not quite yet!"
KP shouts back to the guard, looking back to Busta as he starts to heal.

>>719135
KP nods as Flow advises him to stay alert. He watches on as Flow goes to the demon and gives it another finishing blow.

 No.719138

>>719137
Hopper has hidden in your tunic pocket this whole time, wrapped up in his lillypad, remaining quiet and fearful all through the demon's attack. He pokes his head out to watch as Busta's arm slowly regenerates. Once Busta's arm has returned to normal, River leans back with a sigh, her hair all out of place and frazzled with anxiety.
Busta groans, gradually coming to. "Did… they get it?"

>>719135
>>719137
As Flow stabs through the Flagellant's head, terrible dark energy emerges around its body, like a poisonous fog, smelling like a casket that has been opened to the world. Yet, a similar dark energy burnishes around Flow, and trills in the air. The nearby Ecclesians dive for cover, and a small explosion erupts before Flow, tossing him one way and the spear the other way, landing among the reeds.

As Flow lays there, dazed by the blast, he feels a growing sense of dread, and a feeling of being watched. Roll perception.

"Sir Flow!?" a few of the Ecclesians shout, reaching out to help you up. "Are you alright? What was that?"

 No.719140

>>719138
Flow groans as he gets up from the blast, gesturing for the soldiers to let him get up on his own.
“We’re not alone,” he announces as he goes to pick up Grimnir, and scans the area.
“I knew the magatsushi around its corpse was fishy… something else is here.”
>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.719141

>>719138
>>719140
KP looks a bit relieved as Busta manages to speak, but still is concerned.
"Y-Yea, they took it down, and Flow just showed up. So everything's all good now."

Though then KP looks over as the energy swirls around Flow. KP ducks down in the grass, curling up with his hooves over his head as all the guards jump as well.
"Wh-What was that?!"

 No.719142

>>719140
As you retrieve Grimnir, something about your feeling seems to fade – it is no longer the dread of possibly being watched, but the cold certainty of being not just watched, but scrutinized, examined.

It plays within your peripherals; the environment distorts ever so slightly. Knotholes in trees and curling blades of grass become hollow eyes, flat dull irses with no pupils within them. Any attempt to examine them directly causes them to vanish, only for others to appear in their place; all through it, the eyes merely follow you, deeply curious and studying. The dread you feel spreads out across the environment, and gain a kind of hyper awareness of the world around you; the water absorbing into your body, the weight of the earth pushing up into your hooves, the wind prickling every droplet in your goo.

>>719141
>>719140
"If he can be moved, we should get going," a Congregation gunner suggests, gesturing at Busta.
River glares death at him, protectively covering Busta with her wing. "In just a moment! Let him recover before we move again or his wounds won't heal properly. He wasn't just hurt, his arm was shattered! It takes more than just the spell to heal that."
"We need to get out of here before another can take its place!" another gunner argues.

 No.719143

>>719141
“Grimnir over there can blow demons to smithereens. It reacts violently to magatsushi, the more there is, the bigger the boom,” he explains.
He rotates his arm.
“Still not used to the recoil yet…”

 No.719144

>>719142
Flow stands still, and takes his time to try and catch glimpses of the transforming environment. He racks his brain, trying to figure out an explanation for why he’s seeing such ominous hallucinations.
The onslaught of sensory input puts him on the edge, and he keeps a tight grip on The End after he stows Grimnir away.

He turns his head slowly around, and speaks to the group.
“If we move now, this new demon is most likely not going to give up on the chase. And this is a demon you don’t want stalking around your back…”
He doesn’t mention his hallucinations to the group, to avoid panic.

 No.719145

>>719143
KP slowly stands up, looking over at where the demon was in awe.
"Wow… Where'd you get a sword like that?"

>>719142
"We can't rush!" KP adds in defensively, "If we go to scramble we'll just get more hurt. Flow is here so we'll be fine. He's one of the best swordspony I've seen!"

 No.719146

>>719144
[1d10]

>>719145
“Spear, son. Funny story, I got it in exchange for a meal,” he doesn’t elaborate, but he does grin.

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.719148

>>719146
"Cool. I should learn how to cook so I can get cool stuff too!"

 No.719149

>>719144
"A new demon?" one of the gunners asks. The others scan the area, guns at the ready, but nothing comes, nor do they seem to notice any change. The eyes appear along their bodies as well, clustering around them and in the curves of their clothing and hair and weapons, some even appearing vaguely under their skin. They show no acknowledgment of this either.

>>719146
Yet, in time, the apparition eyes slowly, gradually vanish, melting back into the environment one by one, leaving it again clear. That dread, like it, creeps away, like a beast returning to its wilderness.
"Flow?" Renee asks, creeping up. "What demon? I see nothing there."

>>719145
Hopper squeaks in your pocket, looking up to you with worry.

"Fine…" one of the guards says. "Just hurry it up so we can get back to Lilane. You still have the herbs?"
"Y-yeah," Sugar says, still shaken.
Busta gradually sits up, wringing his newly-regenerated left arm with a pained grimace. "I'm fine… really… I don't want to hold you up."

 No.719151

>>719149
KP looks into his pocket, giving Hopper a calming pet.
("Don't worry, we'll be back home soon.")

"Nonsense! We can't have that arm getting worse cause you're playing tough! You gotta heal properly with all the stuff we have coming up."
KP instructs to Busta.

 No.719152

>>719149
Flow looks like he’s seen a ghost after the sinister presence leaves. From the intensifying hallucinations to his allies’ obliviousness, Flow has to take a deep breath to calm himself down.

“There was something else here… Something evil, and sinister… It seems like it was just observing us for the time being, but…”
He shakes his head.
“I’m certain I’ll see it again,” his voice lacks some of his usual confidence when he says that.

 No.719154

>>719151
Hopper stares up at you with his usual thoughtful gaze, and presses in close to you for protection.

>>719151
>>719152
The gunners grow disturbed as Flow relays his experience, which seems to amplify the stress they held earlier from the surprise attack.
Busta grunts and holds down the bandages that River secured around his arm. "I'm fine, really… look, if Flow's feeling something's off, we'd better get going!"
"Please, let's get a move on," Sugar says to KP. "We can just go slow… but I don't want to meet whatever it is Flow's sensing."

>>719152
Renee stays by your side, keeping an arm on you, her other hoof holding her wakizashi at the ready. "And when you do, we'll cut it down," she says, though she sounds quite hesitant herself. "…but for the sake of the kids, 'tis best we get them gone before facing it."

 No.719156

>>719154
With everypony anxious to move, KP looks worried as well. He himself isn't much help if anything does happen.
"Alright… But be careful Busta!"

 No.719157

>>719154
“Aye, let’s get moving. I’ll cover the rear.”
He nods at Renee, having regained some of his confidence. He keeps a hoof on The End, and the other around Renee.

 No.719158

>>719156
>>719157
The gunners usher Busta, KP and the other children into the center, and create a phalanx about them, with Flow and Renee covering the rear. Keeping the formation tight, they forge backward onto the dry trails, creeping carefully across the landscape to not overwhelm Busta or make unnecessary sound. Sugar and Spitshine, who had been in charge of carrying the gathered herbs, inspect the haul. It's not as much as they'd hoped, owing to the sudden attack, but at least they're unharmed.

You continue onwards like this for a while, the sounds of the swamp buzzing quietly about you. "So, Flow… how has your day gone so far?" River whispers to try to break the tension.

>Paused

 No.719261

Last time on HolyQuest…

Amy unexpectedly fell unconscious, likely a result of sustaining considerable head trauma after launching herself down the infinite stairs to break Regina's illusory world. Down a healer and not wanting to risk a fight while one of their number was unconscious, the party opted to distract and scare off the Bookwyrms while they made their way up to the top level of the Library's underground shaft. They made it to the fifth balcony level, where a trapdoor in the ceiling lead to a realm full of water that floated over the opening without an apparent cause. The sounds of monsters echoed up from the caves below, revealing that they were being followed – most likely by more wyrms. Thus, Shei created a mighty air bubble, allowing them to traverse the watery realm without fear.

Flow and Renee met up again with KP, River, Busta and their Ecclesian guards, who had been assigned to gather special herbs requested by Lilane's medical team from the Hooktooth Swamp. Though the mission had gone without incident at first, they had been attacked on their return trip by a Flagellant, a man-scorpion demon whose attacks prevented those they injured from being healed. After ensuring that the demon was truly well and dead, Flow began to have strange hallucinations of myriad, pupil-less eyes, flat and dull, all around the landscape. The visions dwindled briefly as they regrouped, but the sense of intense observation from afar continued.

 No.719262

>KP, Flow
The gunners usher Busta, KP and the other children into the center, and create a phalanx about them, with Flow and Renee covering the rear. Keeping the formation tight, they forge backward onto the dry trails, creeping carefully across the landscape to not overwhelm Busta or make unnecessary sound. Sugar and Spitshine, who had been in charge of carrying the gathered herbs, inspect the haul. It's not as much as they'd hoped, owing to the sudden attack, but at least they're unharmed.

You continue onwards like this for a while, the sounds of the swamp buzzing quietly about you. "So, Flow… how has your day gone so far?" River whispers to try to break the tension.

>>718980
>>718981
Lockjaw grunts and sniffs the air. "We good. Pryce protect. He can be pack leader for now."
To Pryce and everyone else, it just sounds like Lockjaw is grunting, snorting and grumbling, but also making conversational eye contact with Flaming.

>>718981
>>718982
Shei removes another long fractal centipede, like the first, from Flaming's body – again, only the two of them can see it. The one that emerges from within Flaming is longer than Shei's, and though it is red and angry, its body has a short layering of soft, curly fur, short, and orange-red in tone. The fur is wet and slick with a strange gunk.

>>718982
All that appears when you analyze it is a layer of visual and auditory static. Muffled voices speak beneath it, but they are indistinct, deep beyond any person's speech, and gutteral, low, unrecognizable.

 No.719263

>>719262
As Lockjaw confirms they're out of the woods, she lets out a sigh of relief. "That's good. I'm sure Pryce will do a good job. You don't think anything's around here that's that dangerous?"

She turns to the others, passing along the news. "Lockjaw says we're clear of any danger. For now. He expects Pryce to lead us."

>>719262
As the centipede is extracted from her body, Flaming lets out a low retch, shaking her head, "EEWWWW! Gross, gross, gross! Get it out and stomp on it, now!" She says, practicaly prancing in place as she looks at the disgusting creature.

However, as she takes note of its fur, she leers at it (with disgust plastered on her face), "W-wait… Shei, does it look like it has my coat or is it just me…?"

 No.719264

Name fix!

 No.719265

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>719262
KP walks with the group, keeping close with Spitshine and Sugar as the others form a wall around them. He looks at the herbs, their gathering cut drastically short. He tries to peer around as they walk, hoping maybe he can spot a few more to grab with his telekinesis so they're no too short.
>Herb Search [1d10]


>>719262
>>719263
"He wants me to lead? That's a good sign, and if we're clear that gives us a moment to rest for… whatever it is Shei is doing. I still don't see what it is."

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.719268

>>719265
Flaming smirks. "Yep! He still acknowledges you as the alpha, for now. Make sure you dont mess that up."

As he comments on not being able to see the bug, she frowns. "Maybe that's for the best: whatever this big is, it is absolutely disgusting. I hope only me, Shei, and Journey got hit."

 No.719269

>>718982
>>719262
"Use it how?"
Pryce questions as Shei hoofs Pupil over. Pryce picks up the eyeball in his telekinesis, pointing it to Shei's hoof in trying to figure out how to use this thing.
>??? [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.719270

>>719269
>??? [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.719271

https://pastebin.com/YJFusUgn

>>719265
"Ba-a-h Use the Pupil, Sir Etac, Please." Shei says with moderate annoyance now at the length he has to go to prove this.

>>719262
>>719263
"Now that you mention.." Shei stares at the grub curiously "This might not be Regina's doing. The grubs appeared when Amy became unconscious -that is right Flaming? And only you and I are able to perceive these -things- this may be a result of built up magatsuchi we have accumulated from being in Amy's presence so often when Pryce's ember is not around to consolidate the flow of magatuschi."

Shei-Sher experimentally pinches the grub he pulled from Flaming to see if she feels the pain.

 No.719272

>>719265
>>719263
Lockjaw grunts. "Me."

"Oh, did he now?" Chorazin asks.
"How good of a conversationalist is he?" Wireframe asks. "Always was a fan of magic that lets you talk to stuff you normally can't."

>>719263
>>719265
>>719268
Journey panics as he overhears this conversation. "Me? There's something in me?"

Flaming indeed feels a slight pinching as Shei pinches the grub that has her fur.

>>719270
As you dangle Pupil over the space between Shei and Flaming, a vivid image blooms before you, grotesque and alien. Shei now holds a pair of fractal, colorful bugs, resembling centipedes or caterpillars with horn-like legs coming out of their sides, with eyes between each leg and horns coming out of the centers of their heads. Their forms are blurry and unclear, and their movements leave a trail of fractals in their wake. One of them, as mentioned above, has Flaming's fur on its body.

>???

>???/???
>Weak/Resist/Immune: ???
>A relatively unknown and largely unexplored phenomenon, appearing in the fringes of ancient demonological records around the world, but little understood. Those who keep close contact with demons, whether fighting or taming them, see them in time, unless they routinely purge the magatsuhi that has built up in their souls.
>Those who do not cleanse themselves have a tendency to vanish.

 No.719273

>>719268
"Glad I still have some status after that tug of war."
Pryce comments. As Flaming partially describes the thing, Pryce shudders a bit.
"I'll take your word for it."

>>719271
Pryce gives Shei a silent look as the goat bleats in annoyance.

>>719272
>>719271
Pryce lowers Pupil as the bugs suddenly come into view, cautious curiosity and disgust come to him.
"A-Are those in all of us?"
Pryce asks in shock.

 No.719274

>>719272
"Ooooh lord, they are inextricably linked to our souls. Infact, suppose these things are as if an organ of our very souls now. This- this cannot stand. Everyone file in a line, we must get this sorted out before anyone starts feeling… fuzzy."
If everyone is ready to start listening to Shei now, he begins ripping the grubs out each and everyone's psyche if they have one
[1d10] rolling to do it on everyone to save on time

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.719276

>>719273
"It ermmm is highly likely? You should file in line for examination, just in case."

 No.719277

>>719272
>>719274
[1d10] rolling again

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.719279

>>719272
Flaming turns to Wireframe, "He's surprisingly well spoken. It's very basic but, you could definitely hold a conversation."

>>719272
>>719271
"Uh, yeah, actually now that you mention it, I did only just see them after Amy collapsed. But I dont understand, what do you mean 'mahgahtsoochii' ?" She says, before pinching the creature.

"Yeow!!!" She yelps, rubbing the afflicted area. "What did you just do?!"

She turns to Journey, frowning. "I am almost sure I saw one touch you too… I'm sorry, but we should make sure."

>>719273
She shudders. "Trust me, you should. They are pretty gross… but its weird…"

 No.719280

>>719279
>>719277
>>719274
>>719273
Unease spreads through the group as now Pryce joins in to corroborate what Flaming and Shei are talking about. "What, what's inside us?" Box demands.
"Can you make them visible?" Tantra adds.
Fairy Castle looks onward silently, as does Replica Amy. Both appear calm and observant despite the growing panic.

Whilst nervous energy fills the air bubble, raising the temperature, Shei inspects each of the party members, finding that they are clean of whatever the grubs are, apart from LJ. When Shei reaches in to retrieve whatever has infected his soul (much to LJ's extreme discomfort), Shei only pulls out a tiny grub, only the length of his arm. Unlike the others, it has not morphed, and still retains its original form of a wide-eyed larva.

The grub looks to be weak, injured, bleeding furiously red light that dissipates as it hits the ground. Upon it stands a single black spider, its mouth perched over the wound, dabbed with red. LJ appears to be unaffected by the injury inflicted upon the grub that was within him.

 No.719282

>>719280
>>719279
"Buiwong!" Shei-Sher says uncharacteristically ecstatic to see a spider. Shei bends over to pick up the like arachnid, gently he places it ontop of his own magatsuchi grub. He watches to see if it will bite the grub. "I think that will do it. For now Flaming, you will have to take very good care of your grub. Be sure that no harm comes to it as it is linked to your soul. Any damage done to it will be inflicted upon you as well."

>>719273
"Pryce would you to drive this bubble? I believe we are all ready and accounted for."

>>719279
>'mahgahtsoochii' ?"
"I'm sorry to say, there is not much known on the subject. Only that demons irradiate it and prolonged contact with demons can cause corruption from the subtle energy."

 No.719287

>>719276
"Yea… That sounds like a good idea. How did you know these were inside us anyways?"

>>719279
"That's hardly describing it, yet I can't think of anything to else to say…"
Pryce responds in disgust after seeing the horrid creatures.

>>719280
>>719282
As Shei ushers the decision to move after checking over everypony, Pryce nods. He spreads his wings to fly up and push the bubble along upwards through this expanse of water and deeper into the library.
>Moving On [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.719289

>>719280
>>719282
As Shei pulls out the tiny bug from Journey, Flaming let's out a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness, it's still small… but, WHY does it look like a spider when ours dont?"

As Shei comments on needing to take care of it. Flaming gasps. "What do you mean its tied to my soul!? I dont want protect this thing. I want to squish it, how do I untie it from me?"

>>719287
"Its like a gigantic grub. At least, for me it is, a out the size of my arm. Covered in fur like mine."

 No.719290

>>719282
As you place the spider onto the grub, the grub begins to thrash and wring about within your grasp, nearly throwing off the spider. But the spider begins to mutate, growing larger, its body more pronounced and outlined in black, fangs protruding more and more from its mouth. In an imperceptible movement, the spider bites into the fractcal grub's neck, twisting and pulling back the grub with a dripping wet crunch and snap. The grub seizes and spasms, but its movement slows as the spider begins to delicately pick its way through the open wound in its back.

By the way the eyes still twitch in its sides, it's clear that the grub is still… alive, if such a being can be called that.

>>719282
>>719287
>>719289
The atmosphere doesn't change even after it's clear that that was the only one. Though the party is silent for a moment, they start to cast glances over at Amy. Though they are not here, it also looks, by their expressions, that your allies are thinking about Volkama, Busta and Deriva, too.
"When did those get into you three?" Chorazin hazards.

>>719287
As you try to move on, you press against the bubble's front, moving through the water. There are great shadows lingering before you and above you, though the shadows before you are much larger than the ones above. Yet, you quickly push a little too far out, and end up slipping right through the bubble out into the water beyond, with no time to take a breath. As you fall out, the bubble shrinks, rippling and nearly coming apart.
"Pryce!" Replica Amy shouts, running to reach out to you, before she's stopped by Fairy Castle
"Hold on, hold on!" Fairy Castle demands. "Don't break the bubble!"

Out in the water, Lockjaw starts to panic and thrash about in a panic.

 No.719291

>>719262
https://pastebin.com/R0AXr1UU

Flow remains ever vigilant, still somewhat shooken up by the vivid hallucinations he had experienced mere minutes prior.
He jumps a little when River whispers to him, but calms down just as quickly.
“It’s been…fun, lass,” he whispers back with a small grin.

 No.719292

>>719265
Your view is obscured by the tight formation of the phalanx, and what few herbs you see are too far away to reach before you are ushered along further down the path by the protective wall of bodies.
Spitshine and Sugar keep close to you, holding their satchels tight. Inside, you see Catcher and Pucchini, and the kids appear frightful of the idea of either of them coming to harm.

>>719291
"Yes, it's been quite productive," Renee adds.
River blinks, processing this, then raises her eyebrow.
"N-not like that!" Renee insists.

>>719291
>>719265
After continuing to trek through the swamp, a break in the treeline allows you to see the glimmering walls of Lilane lingering in the background, atop the great grassy hill. The Ecclesians breathe a sigh of relief as they see the great birdlike angels sitting atop its watchtowers. "Come along, hurry now, we're nearly there!" one of the gunners says.

>>719291
As you approach the city, you see the angels all turn and look at you. Not your group, but at you and only you.

 No.719293

>>719290
Pryce moves the bubble through the water, keeping his head up on the shadows lingering above. Though in his caution, Pryce forgets that he is inside a bubble, falling out into the water. He panics, flailing as he stumbles out and feeling like he's falling. The swarm of bubbles produced doesn't help him either, losing himself in the water, trying to gasp but failing and taking in a mouthful of water.
Once the panic fades, Pryce reaches out to Lockjaw, grabbing him and pulling him close to his chest so the deviljho doesn't waste too much of his own breath. Pryce's horn glows in quick response, reaching into his robe to quickly try to pull out anything to help cover them, or at the very east Lockjaw for air.
>Hat Magic [Air Helmet] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.719294

>>719290
>"When did those get into you three?"
"Just as Amy fell unconcious I gather."

>>719287
>>719290
"Pryce STOP!" Shei-Sher puts his hoof forward to halt Pryce "Do not walk back into the bubble. Stay still and let the bubble come to you."

Shei-Sher holds his staff firmly and releases a faster stream of air, to expand the bubble enough to encapsulate Pryce again, without friction being made outside the bubble.
[1d10]Cloudsmith

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.719295

>>719292
KP frowns as he barley spots anything more, and too far away to make the trip as well.
"I hope what we have is enough…"
He comments. As the others hold onto their pets, KP looks down at Hopper.
"We're on our way home. Don't worry."

>>719292
KP looks up as the gunner calls out, spotting the walls of Lilane.
"See? We're just a little walk away!"
He says, relieved. Though, he sill keeps with he group as the walk on, but with some extra hop in his step.

 No.719296

>>719292
As soon as they reach the treeline, Flow freezes in place for a brief moment.
He moves his eyes across each and every one of the angels that turn to him, and he takes a deep breath.
“Ah, it must be that, innit?”
He looks down at himself to see if he can sense his own magatsushi at all.

 No.719298

>>719290
>>719290
Flaming turns to Chorazin as she asks when they got into them, and Flaming purses, looking on with disgust as the spider is removed from Journey's grub forcibly.

"It was while we were hiding out from the book-wyrms. Right after Amy fainted, they just started appearing… out of the corner of my eye almost. They're difficult to describe it was like, creatures made up of many colored lines who tore away at my skin without ACTUALLY tearing away at it. I lost feeling in my hoof after they took out this… 'cotton' that was in it, and then put themselves in."

She shakes her head, shuddering. "I don't know what they were. But why would they only just now show up as Amy went unconscious?"

>>719294
>>719295
>>719290
As the bubble starts to shrink around them, the shadows growing as well, Flaming looks on with surprise, turning to Lockjaw as he starts to thrash in a panic.

"What's happening?! We were moving just fine a moment ago, why is the bubble shrinking?"

She looks ahead as Pryce slips out, gasping as she leaps to try and grab him before going out too far, "Hold on Pryce, I got you-!"
[1d10+1] attempting to grab Pryce

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.719299

>>719295
Hopper croaks softly, with a melancholic tone. He began the mission in his usual froggy mood, but as it's gone on, you've noticed a dip in his demeanor, even when the other pets have made attempts to play with him.

>>719296
As you focus your mind, you sense that your soul is burning with magatsuhi, positively radiating the energy. Its tendrils reach out, brushing at all those who are standing nearby. It feels like standing far too close to a fire. Soon, your concentration fades, diminishing back to normal, and you feel strained for having attempted to stare too deeply into it.

>>719295
>>719296
You continue onward, and eventually the ground beneath your hooves becomes firm and dry once more. KP and the others are visibly worn out from the day's hike through boggy land, and all are hungry and eager for a moment's rest. The gunners turn to you and gesture toward a great tent upon a flat plateau not far from the western gate. "Go and drop off what you found in the tents over there. It's not much, but it'll help."

>>719296
Roll perception

 No.719300

>>719293
Your spell produces two clear fishbowls – a strange choice at first, but you feel simple magic energy radiating from them, and see that no water has entered either of them. You throw one on yourself, and the other on Lockjaw, and as you do, you're able to breathe. It appears that these bowls have a similar enchantment to the air bubble Shei made that gives them a continuous supply of air.

Lockjaw still sputters and thrashes in the water for a moment, but once he feels he can breathe, he settles down, and starts to float.

>>719294
>>719298
"Just after Amy knocked herself out? What strange timing…" Tantra muses. "Just a coincidence? I'd imagine her being awake would get more magatsuhi into us, huh?"
"No… that makes sense," Chorazin mutters after a moment to pause and think.
"Just kill all of them!" Wireframe shouts. "Who cares what they are!"

>>719294
>>719293
>>719298
However, the discussion of the magatsuhi grubs cannot continue for much longer, when Flaming and Shei attempt to pull in Lockjaw and Pryce back into the bubble. Shei tries to expand the bubble with a stream of air, and Flaming reaches out to grab Pryce, and the combined pressure on the bubble's wall causes a sudden rupture in its side at the point where Flaming's hoof meets the wall. Suddenly, water starts leaking in, rapidly filling up at your hooves.

Everyone freezes. "Flaming… don't… move…" Tantra cautions.

 No.719302

>>719300
"Whoops…" Shei eeks out pathetically. He stamps his staff on the watery ground. Frost starts the point of his staff and begins freezing the entire bubble solid
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.719304

>>719299
KP gives Hopper a pet, and hugging him close.
"Once we're back I'll get you something nice to cheer you back up over this mess."
He promises.

As the gunner directs them, KP nods, heading off to the tent with the others to drop off the herbs.


>>719300
Pryce quickly slaps the fishbowls over Lockjaw's and his heads. He spits and coughs out the water he swallowed, not realizing until a few seconds after that they're actually breathing inside them. He pauses, looking as Lockjaw slowly steadies and calms. Pryce strokes his back, nodding at his pet.
"You said I'm leader. I'm not going to let anything happen to you."
He says to assure Lockjaw that things will be alright, even in crazy situations like this.

>>719300
Pryce looks back as the others scramble to retrieve him, only to pop the bubble slightly as Flaming's hoof is all that stands between the group drowning.
"I'm fine guys, don't move. I'll try to gently move you along, not that I can move a bit more freely."
Pryce says, horn glowing as he gently pushes the bubble along through the water, now that getting to the surface is highly urgent.
>Telekinesis [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.719307

>>719300
"I don't even understand entirely what 'magatsuhi' IS, but, if it has something to do with radiating out of demons… maybe Amy losing consciousness means it's leaking out of her demon half, 'Ego', more than usual?"

As Wireframe suggests just killing them, Flaming shouts, "I CAN'T! When Shei pinched it, it 'hurt' me! If you kill them, it might kill me, Shei, and Journey! I don't know what we're going to do with them…" she says in disgust as she looks at 'her' grub, "But we can't do that."

>>719300
>>719304
As Flaming reaches out to grab Pryce, pulling him back in, she lets out a squeal of surprise as the pressure in the bubble ruptures, Flaming keeping her hoof EXACTLY where it is as Tantra instructs.

"Oh no… what did I do?" She says, looking nervously at the water seeping in. "C-can we fix this?"

 No.719310

>>719307
"We are not squishing the grubs. Did you see that little spider eating Little Journey's grub. That was Buiwong. He is here to help and as soon as he is done eating mine you will be next. And then you will skip dinner tonight and give up a bowl of wheat and lentils to Buiwong."

"Alternatively, you can find a spider somewhere in the middle of the ocean. You will not have to wait for my grub to shrivel up."

 No.719311

>>719299
Flow is visibly shaken by the sense of heavy magatsuchi radiating from himself. He has to pause as soon as the group reaches the tents, and he looks around in a slight frenzy.
>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.719312

>>719310
"Oh… the spider is EATING Journey's grub?" Flaming asks, "And he'll be fine after it's done? That's great!"

Flaming looks weary, "Wait… if I let that spider eat MY grub too, I won't be indepted to Buiwong or anything, will I?"

 No.719313

>>719304
Lockjaw scrabbles in the water a bit as he floats towards you, and hooks his tiny foreclaws and much larger hindclaws into your robe for safety. He's trembling a little, but at least he's not panicking anymore.

>>719307
"…Can you talk to them?" Wireframe asks.

>>719307
>>719302
>>719304
Shei covers the air bubble in a light sheen of ice, giving it some much needed solidity. The ice completely disrupts the process of the bubble's collapse, preserving the air while also cooling it, much to everyone's comfort after the earlier spike in temperature. Once the freezing is complete, the bubble starts to float upward through the water, and Pryce's magic aids it in its rise as he swims alongside it. Everyone within finally relaxes, leaning against the wall or sitting to get in a moment of relaxation from after the battle with the Bookwyrms and all this business with the magatsuhi.

Flaming's hoof is noticably frozen in the ice wall, but it looks like she's just going to have to stay there in order to keep the hole plugged.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUR6RWZWrX0

As you ascend higher through the water, you see what appears to be a series of shadows high above, roughly circular, cast by whatever might be on the surface. Lines radiate from the shadows' centers, like the rays of the sun as depicted in highly abstract medieval art. But as you approach, a strong current begins to pick up in the waters, threatening to push you away from the light above and toward the darker parts of the water which are ahead of you.

"Looks like Regina's got other plans for us…" Fairy Castle muses.
"I'm good for wherever we go," Replica Amy says. "Dunno 'bout the rest of you guys. Should we just go with the flow here?"

 No.719314

>>719307
"Just hold still Flaming! I'll try to get you guys to dry land as quick as I can!"
Pryce says.

 No.719317

>>719304
Hopper doesn't seem to be comforted much by the hug. You start to get the feeling that he misses Pryce. Following the gunner's instructions, you enter the tent, finding that it's one of the more busy places in Lilane. In fact, most of Lilane appears to be far busier and anxious than it was when you left this morning.

Though it's quite busy, you and the other two kids find a series of storage-crates lined up under some tables near the tent's far wall, organized by herb type. Sugar and Spitshine open their packs, and start to pluck out the small cloth pouches they used to gather the herbs, sorting them properly.

>>719311
As you enter Lilane, you feel a sudden wooziness overtake you. Sounds and sights dim all around you, and your vision reduces to that of a small cone directly before you. Movements start to slow, and your body feels weak. Your consciousness fades momentarily, drifting in and out with each second.

Suddenly, you hear cries of pain all around you, and the ground shaking below you. As you look up, you see the world around with replaced with a dull, low resolution version, blurry and sketchy, the colors pitched out and faded. Yet even through that, you see the rising of smoke in the distance, and hear shattering wood and crushing metal. Debris flies through the air, as if propelled by an explosion.

 No.719318

>>719312
"He already does a lot for us without having to ask for it. Don't be a prude and give him your dinner tonight. That is all."

>>719313
>>719312
>>719314
>Should we just go with the flow here?"
"I'm.. Curious -in all honesty. But that may just kill us all."

Shei-Sher phases his hooves through the ice wall where the current pulls from. Conveniently he stands right next to Flaming "Hi."

A jet of firey sulphurous broom blazes out into that direction. Enabling them to swim against the current. With Pryce as the captain steering us.
>Sulphureous Brume: Recharge 2(minus 1); Ranged; Pick two targets; This effect spreads a mist around those targets which will either increase their damage received by 2 for 2 turns, or reduce their damage dealt by 2 for 2 turns. Effect is chosen when cast.
[1d10]

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6

 No.719319

>>719318
The alchemy roll is to ignite the sulphur propellant

 No.719321

>>719313
>>719313
Flaming pauses as Wireframe asks. And then, she attempts to try…
"Hey! Can you understand me?" She asks her grub, held (very carefully) in her free hoof.

>>719313
>>719314
As the entire bubble freezes over, Flaming lets out a frigid 'brrrrrrr' sound as the ice covers her hoof, but keeps it in place with a resolute nod towards Shei and Pryce.

"I-i-i-it's okay! I can t-t-t-take it… j-j-j-just hurry up to get us to land…"

She looks aroudn the frozen sphere of the bubble, staring at the shadows, and leers as she starts to pick up the rays of the sun and the strong current of water.
"When you say 'get to dry land'… do you actually see any? All *I* see is an endless ocean, I don't see any land."

 No.719322

>>719318
Flaming huffs. "I don't remember that rotten spider doing anything good for me lately. So no, I won't give him my dinner tonight. Hmmph!" She says, sticking her muzzle up in the air.

As you prepare to push the firey jet against that of the current, Flaming smiles. "That's it, Shei, make her know we're not just going to go along with her games!"

 No.719323

>>719321
"Those hooves, should be toasty right quick."
Shei says as he emits flaming propellant

 No.719324

>>719317
Flow seems almost entranced by the sudden distortions and changes in perception, although his mind recoils in horror, threatening to split into two unless he can find some stability.
He ignores the explosions and the terrible sounds of carnage around him, and tries his hardest to slog through his intense hallucinatory nightmare, unable to make much sense of what’s going on around him.

 No.719325

>>719322
>So no, I won't give him my dinner tonight. Hmmph!"
"Fine by me" Shei rolls his eyes "I know you will understand when our little spider friend may relent exorcising your grub after hearing you do not need his help."

 No.719329

>>719313
Pryce pushes the now frozen bubble along, holding Lockjaw in one hoof so he doesn't float off even with his holding, just to be safe. He looks up at the shadows, the rays of light bringing some confusion as to what could be making them, as they seem less like creatures as they draw close.
As the water kicks up to push them away, Pryce swims harder to keep on track for the surface, not getting thrown off course by Regina again since this must be something she doesn't want them to find.
>Swim [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.719330

>>719324
All about you, you see the distorted figures of Ecclesian soldiers running toward the eastern gate, and as you reach the crest of the hill, you see that a demon has breached the eastern wall and has pinned a smoking angel's corpse underneath its body.

The demon's form is indistinct in your murky vision, but you see a grotesque lower body, made of the intertwining of hundreds of massive serpents, like the limbs of an octopus, and an upper body covered in thick black fur, resulting in a freakish, apelike head, elongated into a thin tube, like an anteater's. About two dozen Ecclesians are engaged with fighting it, but each time one attacks, one of the serpents lashes out, striking the soldier with a poisonous attack, lifting them up toward the long face, which eyes it hungrily.

 No.719332

>>719317
KP sets Hopper on top of his head now that they're in safety.
"He'll be back soon. He said he wouldn't take all day to River, and he's the kind ot keep his promises."

KP dumps out the few herbs he collected, barely any, into the proper crates.
"What're we gonna do next?"
KP asks Spitshine and Sugar as they sort.

 No.719333

>>719321
"There has to be an end to this water somewhere. We're in a library afterall, so this can't go on forever."

 No.719335

>>719321
>The grub's movements slow only momentarily, before its "head" turns toward you. Though there are no eyes, it is as if it's intenly looking at you. Its head bobs back and forth, twitching, as if it were speaking, but only a low and dull sound issues forth, much like the incoherent talking you heard earlier.

>>719321
>>719318
>>719329
Together, through Pryce and Shei's efforts, you are able to push the ice bubble up through the water, fighting against the powerful current to push upward toward the surface. Though the efforts strain both Shei and Pryce, you push through the pain, racing upwards through the water until you are nearly blinded by the sweet light above…

As you emerge from the surface, you take a few moments to get your bearings as you bob on the waves. Before you lies a shore of sorts, but rather than being a shore of sand, rocks or grass, it is a great flower, floating upon the surface of the water. It is a type of lotus, a striking teal, and its roots extend out over the surface of the water. There are many of these lotuses floating about, and each is massive, perhaps the size of a large guild hall in length. Atop the lotuses are constructed wooden buildings, interconncted by bridges stretching from lotus to lotus both at the water's level and at various levels of elevation, until they make a kind of super-structure. It is easily the size of a fortress altogether.

Your allies marvel at it for a time, especially taking time to admire the architecture in a kind of confused awe at how such a large work might exist upon the lotuses without collapsing.

 No.719337

>>719335
Pryce doesn't stop pushing until he finally breaches the water with the frozen bubble, finally stopping as he treads water, looking around at the massive flowers that form platforms around them. He's sticken in awe at the beauty of them, though the others still being in the bubble keeps him from fully resting just yet.

Pryce pushes the bubble over to the nearest lotus, letting Lockjaw off on land for freedom while Pryce's horn glows, melting out a whole in the bubble for the others to walk out from.

 No.719339

>>719335
"Quite the library Regina has here.." Shei-Sher incredulous of the magnificent things before them.

He fuels the propellant long enough for the glass bubble to reach the shore. Where he then shatters then cracks the bubble open with the hammer of his staff

 No.719341

>>719332
Hopper croaks, settling down into your hair with a quiet grunt.

Sugar looks exhausted, but looks toward the training grounds to the north. "Why don't we go see if they'll teach us a thing or two over there?"
Spitshine sighs. "What? This again? Haven't we spent the better part of the day getting herbs and all that?"
"We need to train," Sugar says with quiet obstinance.

 No.719343

>>719330
Flow gazes on as the demon makes short work of the Ecclesians, frozen in place. His legs lock in place for a good few seconds before he has some semblance of reason, and turns the other way.
He stumbles onwards through the destroyed streets, not saying a single word as he observes all the damage, or at least what little his blurred vision will allow him to see.

 No.719345

>>719341
KP frowns at the disagreement.
"Spitshine's right. We've been walking all day. How about a compromise? We relax from this expedition, and then you can train this evening. Sound good?"
KP says, looking between the both of them.

 No.719347

>>719325
Flaming pauses, looking at the spider chewing away at Journey's grub as she flattens her ears in a disgruntled mood. "Hrrrrrrmph…. I REALLY hate missing dinner… is there anything else I can do besides praying to that spider?"

>>719335
Flaming looks at the little grub's head, twitching as she tries to understand what it says. "Uh… I don't think I quite got that. If you can understand ME, nod your head."

>>719333
>>719323
>>719335
As Shei mentions the jets warming up her hoof, Flaming lets out a sigh of relief, feeling the warmth of the jets wash over her frozen hoof. "That's MUCH better. AND much faster, whoo-hoooooooooo!" She says as the ice-bubble is pushed against the current up and towards the surface, cheering on PRyce and Shei both as they struggle to reach the top of the water, Flaming elated to see actual sunlight again.

As the sphere of ice breaks the surface, she looks around through the solid ice bubble towards the 'shore' ahead, appearing as a giant lotus.
"Is that… a giant flower? It's as big as an island!"
Seeing little other alternative, she pushes the ice-bubble forwards, trying to get the party to shore
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.719349

>>719343
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOVfIcahaH4
As you turn back around, the muffled and murky sounds of destruction ringing out behind you, you see that the grassy fields behind you are now flooded with larvae-like creatures, their bodies a sea of rainbow fractals. Dozens, or perhaps hundreds of them are out there around you, surrounding you on the left and right as well. They all have two gargantuan eyes, much too large for their heads, with nothing but flat irises, no pupils, deeply scrutinizing and interested in you. Talking lowly, their voices murky, they reach out toward you, as if offering a kind of embrace.

>>719345
"Fine then," Sugar says, her fur and hair looking frazzled from stress. She turns away and heads out toward Lilane's exterior again. As she does, Spitshine follows after her for a moment, but then he pauses.
"Uh… what's wrong with him?" he asks, gesturing up. You see that he's pointing toward Flow, who stands at the crest of the hill upon which Lilane was built. He's walking along slowly, with a gait as if he were badly injured. His eyes are haunted, and his body's goo is starting to coagulate, turning into a kind of thick mush. His mouth is twitching like someone about to vomit.

 No.719351

>>719347
"Giving up your dinner is the least you could do."

 No.719352

>>719349
Unfrightened by their scrutinizing eyes and grotesque form, Flow’s drifting sanity urges him to slowly face the ocean of impossibly vivid larvae, and he doesn’t move from his spot. He instead gazes out to the distance, observing the vast sea of fractals and horrifically disproportionate creatures.

 No.719355

>>719349
KP follows after the two of them, stopping as Spitshine points out Flow.
"Do you think when that demon exploded it did something to him?"
KP asks with worry, looking more intently as he sees Flow's goo thickening and looking sick.
"Go get River and Renee! Quick! I'll check to see if he's alright!"
KP says to Spitshine, quickly running off towards Flow.
"Flow! Flow are you alright!"
He shouts as he runs towards the hill.

 No.719360

>>719347
>The grub continues to twitch briefly, then grows still, its head blindly looking up at you with intense focus. And then, the claws on its side stab into your arm, holding fast and digging deep into the skin and muscle as it sets a death grip upon you.
>"If you can understand ME, nod your head," it says in a bizarre parody of your voice.

>>719337
>>719339
>>719347
Shortly, you come to the shore of the nearby lotus, and disembark from the tiny ice bubble. Your friends disembark from the vessel, climbing out eagerly, looking at least a little refreshed from the chilled fresh air after having been confined in there to escape the Bookwyrms.

Once you are upon the lotus, its scent, light and sweet, refreshes you. Now that you are closer, you can see that the wooden structures are not the only thing around. A great many plants and trees, growing upon the water's surface, without any need of soil, fill the background with mystical colors, stretching into the light teal sky.

As you get a better look at the mega-structure built upon the lotuses, the more that it strikes you as a kind of great shrine, combined with a castle. Before you is a set of stairs to get up into the shrine's main hall high above you, but there are a number of other ways of entering it, as you can see. There are ropes descending from the windows which look like they're meant for entry.

Your allies are uncharacteristically quiet.

 No.719365

>>719360
"Well then.. If we are all down gawking, I guess we should set off to the steps." Shei-Sher says leading the way up the stairs.

 No.719366

>>719352
The field of fractal larvae gather around, and start to grip your goo. At first they tug at it, but when it holds fast to your body, they start to bite at it, causing it to loosen, melting away into a soft sludge. They start to step into it, their own bodies beginning to melt, becoming part of you, quickly dissolving within your body and heading for your core.

As this goes on, you see a murky shape, which you vaguely recognize as KP, ringed in darkness, running toward you. He gets close, shouting your name, and the small fractal creatures quickly surround you. Experimentally, they start to tug at his skin.

It starts to peel back.


>>719355
Sugar and Spitshine quietly nod and run back toward the medical tent, where you last saw Renee and River as they carried Busta there earlier.

As you approach Flow, you see that his eyes are swimming with darkness, dark shadows filling his sclera and ringing his eyes from below. He slowly mutters out nonsense syllables, slowly, languidly, as he stands there. Without warning, he begins to melt, starting from the hooves and pooling out below you.

 No.719368

>>719366
For a brief moment, as KP comes into view, Flow has a small lapse of reason, and struggles with whatever strength he can muster against the larvae that have eaten away at his body.
He closes his eyes, and thinks of only moving forward, with whatever little reason he has left.
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.719371

>>719351
Flaming winces as it grabs hold of her tightly, shaking her head as she looks at the grub with her coat. She nods her head in confirmation,
"Uh, YEAH, of course I can! Grrrr…"

She turns towards Wireframe. "I don't know, all it does is copy what I say, apparently…"

>>719351
"But I have to keep my strength up!"

>>719360
As they arrive at the shore and disembark from the bubble, Flaming rushes out onto the leafy side of the flower and shakes free of any water that clung to her coat during their underwater excursion. "Aaah… it's good to finally be out of there."

She moves on closer towards the wooden structures ahead, looking at all the many trees growing from the water with wonder in her eye. "Wow… it's pretty, I'll give Regina that much."

She looks at the stairs, then to the others. "Okay… I think we should get Amy somewhere safe to rest, and then we can figure out what to do next. Should we make camp out here on the shore or see how the shrine's like?"

 No.719375

>>719360
Pryce pulls himself onto the lotus, resting on the leaf after the strenuous swim. He takes off his and Lockjaw's helmets, keeping this in telekinesis just in case there's more watery traps ahead. Once his breath and energy is back, Pryce stands up.
"It's like a forest in here. That water probably could have gone on forever…"
He looks up to the massive shrine, then to the others.
"We should get a move on. See if we can get back to the library and the others."
Pryce says, heading up the stairs.


>>719366
KP runs up to Flow, looking at him. Seeing the darkness in his eyes scares him, making the colt back up a bit. But then he steels himself, approaching the goo again.
"C-Can you speak Flow? Did that demon do this to you?"
He asks, until Flow begins to melt. KP yelps, taking a few steps back to not step in Flow as he pools around, his horn lighting as he tries to keep Flow contained into one area.
"Ahhh! H-Hold on Flow, River and Renee are coming. Th-They can fix you!"
>Telekinesis [Contain Flow] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.719380

>>719371
"This place might not be safe to camp in. What if the lotuses are carnivorous. It is better we move while we have thrown Regina off her game."

 No.719383

>>719368
>>719375
As Flow begins to black out, you hear shouts coming from the east. Flow's senses fall away from him, melting into a meaningless smear as his whole body starts to melt faster and faster. Ichimonji, though, springs toward you from the longhouse, carrying a massive pipe, a bag full of strange herbs and a scroll. "Overexposure! Overexposure! Get away from here, all of you!" she shouts at the nearby Ecclesians, who quickly start to run off.

"You!" she shouts at KP. "Take his weapons and get out of here!"

She stops by Flow's body and begins to take out the stone herb containers, mixing them together. The scroll has an illustration of fire upon it.

 No.719384

>>719380
"But we have to stop at some point, catch out breath… what if the shrine is safer, just someplace we could leave Amy and a couple of others with her and then continue through Regina's dungeon? She'll be in danger if we're always carrying her."

 No.719385

>>719371
"Well, if it was trying to turn you into its incubator earlier, shouldn't you put it somewhere it can't get you or something!?" Wireframe stammers with disgust.

>>719371
>>719375
>>719365
You ascend the shrine's steps, reaching the first great room, an entry hall of some kind. Up from the wooden floors, a thick grass grows, and vines fall from the ceiling. Many clay pots and desks fill the room along the walls and in the corners, filled to the brim with sealed scrolls, and the smell of dust, ink and paper fills the air. There is a door to the west, to the south, and to the east, with no discernable handle or other way of opening them. Each of them has a scroll covering them, upon which is written a symbol of some sort you have not seen before.

"It's so quiet…" LJ says.
"How deep's this place going to go on?" Tantra complains.
"We're almost there…" Replica Amy says cryptically.
Wireframe pauses and eyes Replica Amy with suspicion. "You know… why are we bringing this one along again? I thought we were just going to go up and talk to Regina, not go through some wild dungeon, but here we are."

 No.719391

>>719385
"ba-ah, Witches.. If only having a talk was ever so simple."

"I like the Amy Clone, and she hasn't harmed anyone."

Shei-Sher approaches the eastern door, appraising the symbol with Pupil
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.719396

>>719383
KP starts to panic as Flow only melts faster, like an ice cube in the sun. He looks up as Ichimonji runs it and casts all the others away. As she tells him to take the weapons, KP nods, sniffling bit. He picks up the weapons in his telekinesis, his magic flickering a bit in his shaken condition, also not sure where to go, running off towards the medic tent to catch River, Renee, and the others on their way to Flow.


>>719385
Pryce stops in the doorway as they reach the first room of the shrine. Looking overgrown, he can't tell if it's been abandoned or if it's grown this way on purpose. He keeps Lockjaw close, not letting him run loose with all the scrolls about.
"…I don't know. If Regina made her, she could be using her. But this Amy hasn't done anything, so there isn't an issue, yet at least."

Seeing each door covered in a scroll, Pryce checks the pots and the sealed scrolls, seeing if there's any matching symbols that could give them a clue, while not opening any of the scrolls either.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.719399

>>719383
Flow’s scrambled mind can’t process any stimuli, and he blacks out before he realizes he was awake in the first place.

 No.719400

>>719385
Flaming sticks out her tongue, "Trust me, blegh… I'd like nothing more, but where do I put it? I didn't exactly bring a cage with me, and apparently anything that happens to THIS little grub happens to me, so I have to make sure it's something SAFE."

>>719385
Flaming looks up the steps as they ascend up towards the shrine, entering its halls as she looks around at the natural, verdant surroundings within. "Yeah, VERY quiet…" she replies to Journey, looking around all the doors. "I can't help but notice this place looks kind of like the first room to the library, doesn't it? Three doors to the west, east, and south? Though these ones have symbols on them."

She looks at them, peering at the symbols, before turning her head towards Replica Amy. "What do you mean 'almost there'? Do you know what these symbols mean?"

 No.719404

>>719400
Pryce hovers over one of the fishbowl helmets he conjured after being ejected from the bubble.
"You could use this in the meantime, though you'll need something to cover it still."

 No.719408

>>719404
Flaming looks at the fishbowl helment, smiling widely. "Oh! Actually that'd work perfectly, thanks Pryce." She reaches to grab it. "I'm sure I can work up something to cover the hole. Some cloth or something I could wrap around it…"

 No.719414

>>719391
Checking the symbol on the eastern door reveals that it is the pictographic symbols for "Sky-riding Leopard," in the language of the Country of Red Thunder. Pupil notes that the syntax used on the scroll is for a title, or a name, and not a general term for the animal, Leopard.

>>719396
Most of the scrolls have some kind of seal affixed to them, keeping them rolled up, but as you examine them, it seems that there are scrolls in the barrels which look similar to those appearing upon the doors, but not exactly the same, either.

>>719400
>>719404
"Perfect," Wireframe says. "I'll make the cover with some wires… you just stuff that thing in there where it can't get me. I mean us."

>>719400
"I can't just give it away!" Replica Amy says. "I can give a lot of things away, but not that. Otherwise I'd ruin the fun of the surprise."

 No.719415

>>719396
The weapons, heavy in your grasp, nearly spill out of your magic as you sprint back to the medical tent. As you come toward the tent's flap, you nearly crash right into Renee herself. Upon seeing the weapons, Renee looks up, aghast at Flow's condition.

She starts to run toward him, but pauses – you have just enough time to look back and see a great plume of golden flame erupt upon the hilltop. The flame erupts from her pipe, which she has turned toward Flow and is using to burn him. But rather than hurt him, the fire forcefully excises the gunk that built up in his body. The burning gunk then turns into a chaotic dark smoke, swirling and shuddering like a stormcloud.

>>719399
Pain.

Piercing pain becomes the only certainty in your mind. A white hot burning, concentrated in your chest, exacting excruciating pain, a thousand needles drilling and twisting into a single spot, centered at your chest. Another wave of pain erupts from your back, something wet and disgusting, something that feels as if it's sunken its claws into you and is tearing, gouging, yanking things out of you until it has taken them from you.

It takes your skills as a weapon-master.
It takes your prowess as a grappler.
It takes the faces of your friends and allies.
It takes your name.

You feel all of these slipping through your grasp, into a void as the pain sears through you.

>Paused

 No.719647

>>719414
Shei-Sher stretches a hoof over onto the door, he's always wanted to see the country of Red thunder. But he stays his hoof. Everyone would be completely lost without him, they have only managed to evade Regina's clutches by his versatility. They are my responsibility, is the general sense that weighs over Shei's head.

He decides against going out the door alone and returns to the group

>>719414
>>719408
>>719404
"We should all stay close to one another. I am getting the sense these doors must lead to an illusory world. There is one for the Country of Red Thunder I would like to visit if there are no objections."

 No.719648

>>719414
Flaming gives Wireframe a little pout when she says 'me', but lets it slide as she stuffs the furry grub inside the bowl, quickly showing her the top for her to wrap up. "Alright, it's in, now top it off!"

>>719414
Flaming lets out a sigh at Replicamy's comment. "Okay… in that case, what CAN you give away? Is it helpful?"

 No.719649

>>719647
As Shei suggests sticking close together, she nods. "Agreed. But which door to go through? I can't understand any of these scrolls…"

 No.719650

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>719414
Pryce levitates the scrolls that appear similar to the doors out of their barrels, trying to see if there's any pattern that can help decipher what the symbols mean, and sorting them by the doors they match.

>>719647
"How are you sure it leads there?"
Pryce questions cautiously.


>>719415
KP's magic sparks out as he nearly runs into Renee, dropping the weapons to the ground. He's too distraught to apologize, head turning as she runs past him towards Flow. When he sees the golden flame shoot up from Flow, KP quickly darts inside the medical tent, startled.

 No.719803

>>719650
As you rush into the medical tent, Spitshine and Sugar follow after you, out of breath once more after the attack by the Flagellants. Upon hearing the commotion from outside, the medical tent's guards rush to the opening, peeking out at Ichimonji as the pipe's golden flame expels the darkness from Flow's body.

"Overexposure? Within the walls!?" one of the guards exclaims, then looks down at you. "Get under a table, take cover!"
Another guard rushes outside, and pulls in River and Renee, who carry Flow's weapons. Renee is frantically watching the scene back out upon the hill, aghast. She shrugs off a guard's hoof, and starts to reach for her sword.

>Flow

Pain.

Piercing pain becomes the only certainty in your mind. A white hot burning, concentrated in your chest, exacting excruciating pain, a thousand needles drilling and twisting into a single spot, centered at your chest. Another wave of pain erupts from your back, something wet and disgusting, something that feels as if it's sunken its claws into you and is tearing, gouging, yanking things out of you until it has taken them from you.

It takes your skills as a weapon-master.
It takes your prowess as a grappler.
It takes the faces of your friends and allies.
It takes your name.

You feel all of these slipping through your grasp, into a void as the pain sears through you.

 No.719805

>>719803
"Wh-What's going on, what's happening to Flow? Is he going to be alright?"
KP asks in panic as he moves under a medical table as the guard instructs, starting out at the hill where Flow burns.

 No.719806

>>719805
The medical tent's staff fly into a controlled panic, quickly moving patients under nearby tables and behind desks, setting up miniature barricades out of chairs, stools, beds, whatever they can get their hooves on. River drags Renee back into the tent, much to the latter's fury, but a quick gesture at you, Spitshine and Sugar is enough to change Renee's mind, and they both stand around you as guards.

"His soul has absorbed too much Magatsuhi," the guard explains. "That's what happens if you're around demons too long without purifying yourself. We've lost a lot of good soldiers that way. They get addicted to the rush of the fight, and stay out in the field too long, or hunt something that's far beyond their capacity to put down. If it sets in, the damage is irreperable. That idiot…"
Renee turns pale with anxiety, and watches as Ichimonji burns the demonic energy out of Flow's soul.

A wave of dark chill flows through the tent, shuddering through you. A miserable clenching feeling grips you, akin to the feeling of intense, unforgiven guilt.

 No.719813

>>719806
"I-Irresperable?! B-But Flow is like one of the best fighters I've seen!"
KP says, not wanting to believe Flow is beyond saving.

He shudders, hiding back in the hovel more as the chilling feeling washes over him. Flow looked fine until he came to finish off that demon to help them. This can't be their fault, is it?

 No.719821

>>719803
No words form in Flow’s empty head, as he desperately tries to recall who he is. Where he’s from. What he’s doing.
He tries grasping at what little he can remember. Yet nothing but shattered remains and fragmented memories play in his head. The small part of him that’s lucid tries to stabilize itself, and remember who it is.
>remembering
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.719826

>>719813
"And he's just a mortal, kid," the soldier says grimly.

>>719821
>>719813
As the goo pony lays there, a messy puddle of gunk, his body slowly reforms around his shaky core, a loose image of another goo pony, vague and blurry, comes to mind. The pony is vague and colorless, clothed in a heavy old coat of some kind, his face a mass of static. The goo pony recalls only dim sounds, muffled and vague, something ending in an… "oh" sound.

But his attention is soon grabbed by the mass of darkness swirling behind him. A chaotic storm, a dark cloud, swirling with venemous-looking purple energy, swirls behind him. The cloud is massive, heavy, dripping a dark ichor onto the ground, burning the hill's grasses away and smelling like an opened casket. A pair of glimmering golden eyes, flat and without pupils, appears in its midst, and soon, more eyes appear, swarming like a hive of insects.

Ichimonji grips one of her swords, and begins to draw it, but a low, thin, male voice comes from behind her, though you cannot see its source.

"I would hate to interrupt your work, Sir Ichimonji, but we must save your Benediction for Tartarus. May I cut in?"

Ichimonji growls. "Just come out already, don't waste time sweet-talking me if you want to have a fight, Fox."

"Shihihihihihihi," the voice laughs. "You're cruel. A retainer must keep a sense of decorum when petitioning his liege."

 No.719831

>>719826
Flow can do nothing but helplessly observe as his body is quickly hijacked by another soul.
Obviously confused by the powers at work, Flow listens on, and desperately struggles to hang on to the thin thread he’s hanging from, wordlessly listening to this new entity that’s come up.

 No.719832

>>719826
"I've seen normal ponies do plenty of crazy things and get through fine! The other me fought against gods and is still around!"
KP says defiantly, not wanting to give up hope.

>>719826
KP looks out as Flow semi-reforms, being held by a dark cloud of who knows what. KP pokes his head out from under the table.
"DON'T GIVE UP FLOW! YOU CAN BEAT THIS!"
He shouts out, the only support he can give.

 No.719836

>>719831
>>719832
>To be clear, the "goo pony" described vaguely here is in [redacted]'s mind as a result of the 10 to remember who he is, NOT the monster in the dark cloud

Ichimonji leaps backwards as the dark cloud shudders and falls to the ground with a great splatter. Venemous ichor spreads across the hill as the cloud melts into a vast puddle, one that starts to corrupt the local area. Grasses wither and die, and the soil below becomes venemously contaminated, turning black and sickening.

As the corruption spreads across the ground, a shape comes out from behind Ichimonji, as if it were passing around a corner. You see that it is a pony, though his face resembles more of a fox's, lean and predatory, with slit eyes and pointed teeth. His mane is short and messy, a deep orange, while his body is a flamelike yellow. He wears an Ecclesian coat, and has a black septagram badge on the lapel. His most distinctive feature is his long tail, which is four times the lengh of his body. At his sides are four swords.

He reaches out and grabs Flow, pulling him together before the ichor can spread to him as it hungrily consumes the ground. "Get out of here, and get those ponies in the medical tent out while you're going. There's no way this isn't going to be messy, alright?"

 No.719838

>>719836
KP watches as the new pony appears, joining Ichimonji in the fight against the dark cloud.
"How come the angels aren't helping? I thought they all flew down here to guard!"
KP asks the guard as the ichor spreads more and more.

 No.719839

>>719836
The mostly unconscious blob does not protest, and unsteadily tries to gain its footing as the new fox pony saves him from the ungodly amalgamation of negative energy.
He can barely mumble out a reply before he tries remembering how to move forwards.
>remembering
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.719843

>>719839
>>719838
KP can see that the angels are perched upon the watchtowers and ramparts of the city's walls, but while some have turned to keep their eyes on the mass, they wait there, impassively observing as the corruption spreads across the ground. The semi-conscious goo blob, vaguely remembering more of the goo pony in his vision, takes on a pony-like shape, and starts awkwardly walking toward the medical tent, his hoofsteps unsteady and weak. To KP, he looks like Flow, only gray, and dull, without a distinct form.

Meanwhile, while the ichor continues to spread across the ground, a new shape starts to rise up from its center, a hulking quadruped, low and brutal in its girth, its head massive in diameter. It opens its mouth, and the opening spreads across the whole of its wide head, splitting from end to end like some horrible salamander or bullfrog. It continues to rise up from the muck, and belches out a sickening, squealing roar, like the braying of a stuck pig. The ichor begins to boil and steam, leaping out from the puddle like frogs. Bystanders flee, abandoning any and all objects they have with them, pure animal terror spreading through them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0df6EZxtqcQ

The Fox's tail splits into four ends, drawing the four katana at his side in a flash of steel. One is blue, another white, another yellow, and the final one appears to be made of wood. The Fox grins crudely, and leaps over the ichor, blades flashing in the light. His body begins to glow from within, in the form of small streaks of fire that spread about his body.

[4d10+6]

Roll #1 7, 9, 9, 5 + 6 = 36

 No.719850

>>719843
KP looks hopefully as Flow reforms a bit. Even dulled and not solid, it's better than the puddle he saw him melt into right before him. Though it doesn't last long as the demonic beast forms out of the cloud. He overs his ears as it roars, waving a hoof to Flow.
"Come on Flow, get out of there!"

 No.719856

>>719850
>>719839
The Fox begins to shred through the demon's body, his four swords carving through its body, which rapidly regenerates in a sickening display, tendons and nerves and veins spraying from the cuts, lashing out and connecting to the rest of the body. From the Fox's swords flow the five natural elements; streams of high-powered water erupt from the blue sword, and where the white sword strikes, metal shrapnel explodes out, shrieking through the monstrosity's body. Dirt flies across the battlefield from the yellow sword, soaking up the ichor to keep it from spreading, and the wooden sword's swings cause wood to grow from the earth nearby, creating barricades to imprison the demon.

As the battle rages on, increasingly out of your sight, KP and the gray goo pony run toward the medical tent, the goo pony weakly saying something about evacuating. As the Ecclesians start to gather up their patients, Renee shrieks in horror, running toward the gray goo pony. "Flow! Flow!" she cries, running to embrace him, but the goo pony only hears her muffled shouts, not recognizing her or her words.

"Ohmygod…" Spitshine mutters. "That thing… what'd Ichimonji do to Flow?"
Sugar can only stare at Flow, dumbstruck.

 No.719859

>>719856
"Sh-She tried to get all the demon stuff out of him, I think. But I don't think Flow is doing so well. He melted and then came back but he's still all goopy."
KP says, stumbling over his words in trying to explain.

 No.719860

>>719856
The grayed and weathered goo can only stand and stre out into the open at what was once a demon.
His shattered psyche doesn’t help him recognize Renee, and her cries fall on deaf ears, as Flow continues to slowly piece himself back together.
>searching for the pieces
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.719863

>>719859
>>719860
As Renee embraces him, the broken goo pony's body suddenly lightens, a modicum of color returning to his face. A weak, distant light comes into his mind, a spark of realization. From the darkness emerges a name, a face: Smooth Flow.

Flow recalls his name, but nothing more. Yet now, he realizes a terrible emptiness within him, a sudden consciousness of the void in his mind and heart. He realizes now that something important, something incredibly important, has been stolen from him, but he knows not what it is. Renee's pleading face is on the verge of tears, and she shoves a sword, curving like the body of snake, in front of him. "Please… fight it! Y-you can protect us–"
"Forget it, we're moving!" River spring shouts, pulling along the both of you out of the medical tent's back flap.

As she does, you hear a grisly, wet splattering, and the howling of demon and the Fox alike in the gruesome melee taking place not far from the tent. A heavy wave of ichor splatters over the tent's front entrance, much to the horror of nearby Ecclesians, who scatter, carrying only the supplies they can carry.

>If desired, roll to run

 No.719865

>>719863
Flow slowly blinks his eyes as his name finally comes back to him.
He mumbles his name with a weak, strained rasp, and is unable to string any more words together before being pulled away by River.
His scrambled mind once again tries grasping at any seams it can find, trying to remember why he was here.
>picking the pieces up
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.719868

>>719863
KP follows River and the others as they go to retreat from the growing fight. As they step outside, KP quickly ducks as the splatter of ichor hits the tent.
"We gotta get out of here! Flow, hurry up and get better already!"
KP says, ushering the group along to avoid any more oncoming collateral damage.
>Run [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.719874

>>719865
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFmlU3vByfY
"Flow?" Renee repeats after you mutter your name. "Oh gods, gods… Flow! Say it again! You know who you are!"

In the void of your broken mind, a shattered stream of light and dark, shadowy pictures of events, fall through the emptiness… memories of battles, of caverns, of wildernesses and cities, seas of terrible demons, nightmares falling from the blackened sky, and those who bled and died to turn back the onslaught of horrors from beyond, a futile task that has left the earth barren and lonely.

You remember a buffalo… an alicorn… a goat… a crystal pony… another goo pony… a griffon… a pegasus… their faces all fading in the maddening dark.

>>719865
>>719868
As a wave of monstrous slime crushes the tent around you, you manage to make it out, stumbling through the back flap just as the tent collapses about you. Your flight out from the tent takes you into Lilane's back roads, the stretch of narrow grassy streets between the village's main buildings, with little room to comfortably flee. The soldiers around you are in a terrible frenzy as they attempt to carry the worst-off patients deeper into the city, but some are badly wounded, and the very act of fleeing with them exacerbates their injuries.

The angels watch dispassionately from above, perched on their towers. As the battle rages on, you hear a terrible crashing, and a creaking of wood. The Fox shouts with either pain or the ecstacy of battle, and through the gaps in the buildings, you see him suddenly explode out of the wooden walls, flung across the streets like a rocket, and crash into another house some distance away. The house crumbles under the impact, and screams for help echo through the city.

But then, you hear a cry from the distance far beyond you. "Gegenschein! It's Sir Gegenschein!"

 No.719878

>>719874
Flow mumbles some more gibberish, only to be rattled around by the others as they run for shelter. He stumbles around as visions of past allies briefly pass him by, and he struggles to maintain the thread of sanity keeping him together.
>putting the pieces together
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.719880

>>719874
KP turns back to see the doctors and guards trying to flee, the fox pony blasted away by the demon and somepony calling out Gegenschien's name. KP looks up at the angels as they just watch, doing nothing to help.
"I thought you hated demons! Why aren't you helping to stop this thing?!"

 No.719881

[4d10+8]

Roll #1 5, 7, 5, 2 + 8 = 27

 No.719884

>>719878
As you reach out deeper for the broken memories within you, they elude you, receeding deeper into the dark corners of your shattered mind. A great sense of exhaustion flashes over you, and the strain on your mind and body causes you to stumble. The one point of stability, your recovered name, echoes continuously in your mind.

>>719878
>>719880
It is not needed, the angels reply, an echoing clamor of heavenly bells resounding in KP's mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvt096Agl2M

A sudden feeling of lightness and peace fills the area, in spite of the horrors and filth spreading all about Lilane's main streets and roads. A great wave of serenity, the slowest and most pure moment of a calm night, spreads all about you, as if promising that it will all be alright. It is a great and sudden comfort, like the wings of an angel.

And then, the resounding light.

An almighty, wooden crash rings out from the north, like the felling of an ancient tree. A massive wave of great, pure teal light explodes from the main street, stretching high into the sky like a volcanic eruption. It floods out from the direction of the central longhouse, filling the streets in a Y-shape. The sound is deafening, yet glorious, the chime of a heavenly Choir.

When the light finally dissipates, all the sounds of the battle are gone.

 No.719885

>>719884
Flow’s eyes begin to bug out as he stumbles, having only one thing to go by as he directs his gaze skyward, as if the answers were hidden in the clouds.
His gaze remains fixed, even as the massive echoing of the choir and dazzling teal washes over his vision, and he closes his eyes to ponder and ruminate, after the sounds of battle have cleared, and the streets grew silent once more.

 No.719886

>>719884
KP glares up at the angels, upset as they comment that they don't need to help. Only when the Choir feels the air, KP turns back, the calm filling the atmosphere and light washing over his vision. Once it fades, he stands there, confused.
"What just happened?"

 No.719887

>>719886
>>719885
A great silence and stillness lays over Lilane in the aftermath of the heavenly light's dissipation. The Ecclesians around you carry the wounded out to the other medical tents around the city. A short time later, two figures approach you, clothed in ceremonial robes that brim with a protective light.

The pair are Princesses Laciela and Yareakh, though Flow does not recognize them as such, only fuzzily recalling them in the hazy recesses of your mind. Between them, held aloft with magic, you see them holding something small and spherical. Flow realizes that it is the core of a goo pony. The two say nothing to him, regarding him with a kind of caution and pity.

>>719886
"Sir Gegenschein realized that the Fox couldn't handle it on his own, so he came out and attacked… 'it' with his crucifix," Laciela says.
"You two are going to want to lay low," Yareakh adds. "Sir Gegenschein is beyond livid right now that this much Magatsuhi was even allowed past the city's walls. He's going to be on the warpath and the Fox is right in the line of fire."

 No.719888

>>719887
Still shellshocked, Flow almost looks right past the two princesses were it not for the core, and his eyes remain glued to that one basic instinct of survival. He tentatively reaches a hoof out to the core they hold, intent on cradling it next to him.

 No.719889

>>719887
KP puts a hoof over his eyes, helping shield some of the light as the two kid princesses come out towards the group. He looks out at what they hold, wondering what it is until they get close enough to see.
"Is that Flow's?"
He asks, seeing the goo core.

>>719887
"Gegenschien did that?"
KP repeats in awe at how quickly the creature was defeated.
"Wait, why do I have to lay low? I didn't do anything!"
He asks in confusion

 No.719890

>>719888
As you reach out and take the core, the mere fact of holding it close to you fills your mind with a kind of immaterial light, a recollection of what you have lost. Your name, your abilities, the events of the day, the names and faces of all you have journeyed with… and all you have lost… it comes back to you as you take the core.

But to retain it, you realize that you will have to absorb it into you. What will happen when this core touches… what's left of the core within you?

>>719889
>>719888
"It was in what was left of that… that abomination after Sir Gegenschein purified the area," Laciela explained. "Flow's already got one in him, but this one should have everything that the abomination took from him… he probably hasn't said anything since Ichimonji purified him, am I right?"
"So… is… if Flow absorbs that core, he'll be alright again?" Renee asks, her voice wavering on the edge of despair. But Laciela doesn't answer, only looking off to the side uncertainly.

"Just do it," Yareakh says. "Gegenschein had to tap into his Benediction to defeat the abomination. He'd been saving that for Tartarus, so… just keep your head down. When he's angry… it's like he can take you apart with just a look."

>Paused

 No.719956

>>719648
Wireframe's horn glows with a pink magic haze, and from the holes in her horn, and the holes in her legs, pink wires flow, knitting together over the lid of the jar, creating a tight seal. The grub lays there, gazing out at you with hunger in its gaze. Wireframe studies it nervously, but relaxes when nothing more happens.

>>719647
>>719648
>>719650
https://youtu.be/K6jEJYthL4A

>Replicamy deftly slips Pryce's robe off of him and pulls it up over her head to create an ominous shadow over her face, obscuring her eyes. "The Library of the Sancrosanct is believed to be infinite, stretching onward forever in each direction. They say that a book that is left open too long within the Library starts to spill out. Its words fill the air and take shape, changing the Library's very lay–"


Stop that. She did not say that. You didn't hear any of that.

Replicamy deftly slips Pryce's robe off of him and pulls it up over her head to create an ominous shadow over her face, obscuring her eyes. "Shei's right. We've stepped into her lair now. This temple… look how empty it is. Barren. Few decorations, little to distract us from the doors. We're treading in her territory now, walking on her canvas."

Pryce can't seem to make sense of the scrolls, as they are in many different languages. Some have pictures upon them, illuminations like those in old manuscripts. Replicamy looks over. "Can you read them? Pass 'em over if you can't, I'll have a gander at them."

 No.719957

>>719956
Flaming looks on as Wireframe 'sews' a cover out of her pink wires, latching it on top of the glass bowl and sealing the furry grub within. Flaming stares at it right back, leering.
"You're staying RIGHT in there until we figure out what we can do with you, buddy." She turns to the changeling, nodding her head. "Thank you, Wireframe."

>>719956
Flaming shakes her head, looking at Replicamy contemplatively as she looks around, confused as to what just happened. "Huh? Other Amy, what were you saying about leaving books open? I swear you were just talking about…"

She pauses, looking around the others. "Weren't you saying something about leaving the books open before talking about a canvas?" When Replicamy claims she can read them, she reaches over to grab the scroll from the west door, bringing it over to her to look at. "Okay, how about this one then? What's these symbols mean?"

 No.719958

>>719957
>"First time in a while I've felt like I've helped," Wireframe gruffly grunts.

>>719957
What are you talking about?

The scroll upon the western door holds fast, and you see that it is held there by a kind of paste. Instead, Replicamy comes over to it to read it. "Oh, this one says 'The Earthvein," she explains. "It's another legend from the Country of Red Thunder. It's about these… currents, or channels, or whatever you want to call them, deep underneath the earth. It's said that that's where the oldest natural magic in the world comes from. Naturally, a warlock tried to go down there and tap into it for his own gain, or so the story goes."

"They always said magic came from the stars, where I'm from," LJ comments.

Roll memory

 No.719959

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>719956
"H-Hey!"
Pryce looks back as Replicamy sneaks his robe off, snatching it back out of her grasp to re-garb himself from that violation of space.
"You don't just take somepony's clothes off in public!" He accosts, grumbling, "I don't know if I should blame Amy or Regina for that…"

As she offers to look at the scrolls, Pryce levitates them over to her.
"It can't hurt, I can't make any sense of them. They're written in practically every language."

 No.719960

>>719959
Replicamy only offers you a sly wink, before she turns to the scrolls. She seems to focus on three in particular.

"The others don't matter much, they're just about herbology and entomology and the like," Replicamy says, pushing the other scrolls aside. She holds up the three that she focused on.

"This first one is called 'The Palace Raid,' and it's about a prince of a wartorn country. His palace is attacked by a band of assassins in the dead of night, sent by a rival who wants to take the throne, but he traps them in with magic, and picks them off through treachery and traps that he built himself."

"The second one is called 'One Last Job.' This one's about an old thief, who fears what will happen to him once he has died, as he has made many deals with Heretics and Tormentors and even a Marquis for power in this life, trading his soul many times over in exchange. Seeking eternal youth, he journeys to a temple in the northern mountains in search of a saint's incorrupt heart, which he believes will give him the immortality he seeks."

"The third one is called 'The Peacemakers.' It's kind of a children's story. There was a city on the frontier of a wilderness, and the people had plans to expand deeper into it, chopping up the natural landscape to make more room for towns and railways, but they came to be attacked by coordinated monster raids. The mayor rounds up a group of adventurers to journey into the wilderness and seek out what might be causing the raids."

>"…You're quite well read," Box mentions.


>The current stories on the temple's doors are the following:

>East: The Sky-Riding Leopard
>West: The Earthvein
>North: ???