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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



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