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File: 1574180656028.png (24.12 KB, 291x293, Flag 2.png)

 No.727864[Last 50 Posts]

>Fun fact, I've been numbering these wrong so we're actually up to 11 mlpg threads now!

Last time on HolyQuest…

The Saviors wrapped up the last of their business for the night before retiring to bed. It had been a very long and very eventful day, and needless to say, their exhaustion gave them a good night's rest.

Amy Thest and Flaming Shorthorns met with Fairy Castle in the Observatory. There, Fairy Castle explained what it meant to be a Witch, and what one's Craft represented. Put simply, to be a Witch was to be free. Though Witchlings are cursed from birth by the Mark of the Crone to lives of misery and misfortune, adult Witches have the power to rebel against that fate. The point of choosing one's Craft was not just to gain power, but to exercise a strengthened Will, to go down a path not because they are forced to by fate or destiny or any other external pressure, but because that is what they desire. Thus, the highest virtue for any Witch was to be free. Regina lost against the Saviors because she attempted to take their freedom, and because she created Replicas and Replicants, and tried to take their freedom for the sake of defeating Mudi. Mudi, Vizsla and Azawakh were also guilty of stealing others' freedom; in this way, they sinned against what it meant to be a Witch.

Fairy Castle concluded with a formal ceremony, in which she, as Shekinah of Wacachan, gave Amy the Arc of the Moon, a special talisman designed to inspire Amy, helping her develop her own spells relating to her Craft. She also gave Amy a title – well, Amy basically chose it herself: She was dubbed "Amy the Inescapable Revelrous Friendmaking Heartthief Hugger." Perhaps an abbreviation would be in order.

Shei spoke with Gadriel and Buiwong, accidentally spilling his plans. Some days prior, Shei had consulted a group of Umbrals via the Augur Grail, the relic of Tartarus recovered from the Tower of Traitors. During this time, he learned about the power of the Sacrifice: It was a special property of Tartarus. Those who entered Tartarus from the Overworld, the land of the living, could sacrifice their lives for another's sake. They would be given tremendous power in exchange, but their deaths would be all but assured. In addition, a life that is sacrificed to the God of Tartarus would be claimed by that God, with no hope of escaping Its jaws. Shei hoped to sacrifice himself in the event that Mudi overwhelmed the party, and use that power to help Amy fuse with Mudi. Needless to say, Gadriel was unable to accept this, but Buiwong made no objections.

(1/2)

 No.727865

Pryce announced his new relationship with Zjetya and River to the rest of the Saviors in order to preempt any rumors or suspicions of infidelity or abuse. Though the Saviors largely had no idea what to do with this information, Rus and Vortigern gave the new trio a toast to their happiness. The three would later retire to the airship, under Zjetya's direction. Zjetya had planned to invite River and Pryce to share a bed that night, given that he would fight against Sir Estuary tomorrow, and possibly die by his sword. However, Pryce and River were reluctant to rush things, and so Zjetya relented. Instead, they and Lockjaw played a short tabletop adventure using Covenkeeper, third edition, a companion book to the mainline Witches and Wargs series.

Little Journey, after much prodding by the rest of Buiwong's servants, asked out Flaming on a date tomorrow. On the advice of _____, the date would start off as a double date with Regina and Box, before the two couples split off around noontime.

And finally, later that night, Flaming was visited by Vir-can in a dream, during which the two discussed fear, death and what it meant to be a god. Buiwong interrupted them partway through, as he had a quest that only Flaming could take on – it dealt with the fate of Vortigern. Though she swore up and down that she was ready for Tartarus, Buiwong could tell that she harbored secret fears that she could not overcome. She longed to see her children and husband once more, and Buiwong feared that such longings would disrupt the Tartarus mission, potentially even getting her or others killed, due to Tartarus' malleable nature. He gave Flaming two options: Assuage Vortigern's fears and bring her into Tartarus, or amplify her fears, break her Faith in Buiwong, and leave her behind.

Though Vir-can was annoyed with Buiwong's interruption, he agreed that it was best for Flaming to take that quest. Responsibility for the lives of their worshipers was among the chief duties of a god. If Flaming wanted to know if she was ready for the Kindling, this quest would prove it, one way or the other.

 No.727866

In lieu of an opening post, we are starting with a timeskip to morning. Please state where you would like to begin, and what you will be doing. You can sleep over at Threecoins, or return to Fantasia if you have business there. If you have anything else you want to do before the previous night ends, such as shopping, RP or other matters, state so and we can tend to that first.

 No.727867

>>727866
Flaming, having slept in Threecoins in the softest, most comfortable bed she thinks she had EVER slept in (least, in the wake of the arduous day behind her), Flaming wakes up in a cold sweat, remembering deeply the vision she had concerning her god, her enemy, and her friend. She blinks herself awake, looking around the room in the dim light of the dawning sun as she lets out a yawn, stretching out before falling back onto her bed, exhausted.
"What a day…."

Allowing herself 20ish more minutes of sleep, Flaming puts on the red tunic she'd found in Threecoins, grabs her brooch, mirror, and circlet, and heads out into the common area of the abode she was allowed to stay in, looking for any of her clanmates to see who she runs into.

 No.727868

>>727865
>>727865
>>727445
[leaving off from the discussion with Buiwong that night]

If there is an instrument in Buiwong's lair for calling the angels, like a rotary phone or something Shei picks it up and speaks up.

Either that or he speaks aloud. "Ahoy, Malakhim of st. Providence. This is Shei-Sher. I still wake in the world of the living."

 No.727869

>>727868
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMtOWrFChLU

The small room grows dark, and all candles and the flames in the fire-pit grow small and dim. As you look up, the ceiling has vanished, replaced with an utter blackness that crawls down along the walls to the floor. Out of that darkness, crawling along webs of silk, you see three abhorrent beings.

Though they have ponies' heads, they have eight eyes apiece, and their bodies have been twisted into the shapes of spiders. Mightily thick, deep brown fur covers their bodies, which have plates of shiny obsidian metal fused into them. They are an awful hybrid of mechanical and biological, with many angular surfaces, much like the angels you have faced before. Their jaws split, revealing dozens of rows of jagged scrap metal within. Some twisting, twirling, probe-like instrument lurks in the shadows beyond, much like a tongue.

Buiwong expands his arms upward. "I didn't have the power to make demons of mortal souls at the time, so I had to improvise, appropriating something of roughly equal power to make them into my own. Transmutation instead of creation. They are ours to command."

 No.727870

>>727866

Amy spent the night in Three Coins studying her new witch powers. Though, she doesn't make much progress as fatigue finally catches up with her. She falls asleep nearly immediately upon starting. So, she sleeps somewhere in the middle of the garden. And, there she remains unless someone picked her up and moved her. Amy sleeps so heavily that she wouldn't even notice if someone did.

 No.727871

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>727865
>>727866
The exhaustion of the day before, along with the added stress from the relationship drama and the dealings with gods, left Pryce worn, nearly dropping out during their game. They manage to finish though, and before the lure of dreams pulls Pryce away, he does suggest they could at least share a bed that night, considering their points on the fight with Sir Estuary.


Pryce stirs in the morning, slowly awakening from one of the most relaxing nights of sleep he had. It's practically a challenge to leave his current comfort, a challenge he feels he can leave along for a few more minutes.

 No.727872

>>727870
>>727867
As it turns out, someone DID pick up Amy and move her. Probably Yadala or Zjetyacant, as Flaming and Amy wake up in the same bed, with Flaming functioning as some kind of stuffed animal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTmil10bjaU

The area you entered was a blur to you last night, given how tired you were after your many fights and adventures. In what feels like the first time, you are finally able to get a good look at it.

At first glance, it is a grand library's common reading space, a massive square room, full of desks, plush chairs, couches, futons, and so forth, centered around a fire-pit. Makeshift corridors, composed of towering stone bookcases, sprawl off from the central area. Beautiful portraits many times your size fill the walls, depicting fantastical and surreal scenes, mostly of magical locations and incredible battles from past, mythical kalpas.

But as Flaming looks above, her mind starts to bend to make sense of it all. Instead of there being a ceiling to this grand room, there appears to be another floor, an upside-down floor with its own assortments of furniture, magical apparatuses, display cases full of magical objects, and so forth. Spiral staircases connect the two levels, as do ramps and stairs running along the sides, and mobius-strip walkways curving through the air. Floating collections of wind chimes seem to be making music out of the morning breeze.

Amy, of course, recognizes it as the common area she was brought to after being abducted from Regina's illusory world.

Many of your allies start coming into the room as well, minus, most notably, Box, LJ, River, Zjetya, Mocha and Deriva. Apart from those six, everyone else seems to be present in this strange reading-room.

>>727871
As your mind clears away the grogginess of sleep, you realize that the comfiness feels slightly different than it did earlier. You're curled up with Lockjaw (who seems to be using you as a stuffed animal), but not Zjetya or River. You start to smell breakfast being cooked in the kitchen.

 No.727873

>>727869
>>727872
Shei-Sher is unmoved by the darkness, but when the transmutated malakhim, perturbed sensations swim up and down Shei's spine. He looks at them with a degree of remorse.

"Was that necessary Buiwong. This- What you've done to them. Why could they not have remained the way there were. They made an oath."

 No.727874

>>727873
"Oh, pardon me – I was feeling just a little mean after countless thousands of my servants perished in battle against the Accorsian Holy Army, and thousands upon thousands more were being stolen by their cowardly Devas as they abandoned the world to a slow, painful ruin… not to mention what happened to your true mothers and their son, Wrath. Would you prefer I turn them back?"

 No.727875

>>727874
"I would. Please." When Shei looks to Buiwong his eyes harbor a trembling sincerity. That what Buiwong has done has struck a chord. A deep seated fear. Something Shei-Sher wouldn't wish upon his worst enemy. He takes his gaze back to the malakhim and speaks more casually. "What you've done here is an offense to creation."

 No.727876

>>727875
"Too bad. Take 'em or leave 'em."

 No.727877

>>727872
Pryce sits up in bed, looking down at Lockjaw who uses him as a toy. He nudges the deviljho to wake him up.
"Come on little guy, it's morning."
He steps out of bed, sniffing the alluring smell of breakfast.
"Did they wake up that early?"

Pryce goes through his routine, cleaning up, donning his robe, and heads to the kitchen.

 No.727878

>>727872
>>727867

Amy wakes up to find herself hugging Flaming like a stuffed animal. When Flaming escapes her grasp, she wakes up. She looks around drowsily at her surroundings. When she recognizes where she is but has no memory of how she got there, she shrugs and tries to go back to sleep.

When others start coming in the room, she groans like a child, clearly not wanting to get up yet.

 No.727879

>>727872
Flaming groans as she wakes up, looking back at Amy as she holds her like a stuffed animal. Her eyes open wide. "Amy? When… how did you get in here?"

She lightly jostles Amy awake so she stops squeezing her, and wiggles her way out and into the library's common reading space. Flaming looks around, admiring just how much nicer this place is when Regina isn't using it for deadly games. Until, at least, she looks up and sees the 'upside down' floor above on the ceiling, causing her to turn her head to the side in confusion.
"…witches." She states simply, looking on towards the others coming into the common room. Spotting LJ in particular, she decides to go say good morning.

"Hey Journey, get any sleep last night?" She asks, curious if Buiwong happened to invade his dreams as he invaded hers.

 No.727880

>>727879
>Remove the last phrase to LJ
Flaming looks around the room, spotting Vortigern amid the masses. Swallowing a gulp, remembering Buiwong's warning, she decides to take things slow, and just greet Vortigern in the morning before pressing too deeply into anything else.

"Morning Vortigern. Get any sleep last night?"

 No.727881

>>727876
Shei-Sher grimaces as he looks upon the malakhim "I know I will be having a difficult time explaining this." Shei scratches the back of his head.

"Alright Buiwong, I am not in a position to turn down help. Speaking of help, let's make our exchange now so I can leave this place and carry on with my business for the night."

Shei-Sher touches his heart and then his belly "Buiwong I beseech thee. I offer my portal and a compartment within my inner sea. In exchange I ask for the replenishment of my soul. Restore it how I once was. Do you accept?"

Shei-Sher sacrifices

>A Vision of Thralls: Twice per combat; Instant; Summon either 1 monster from the “Medium” tier, or 2 from the “Small” tier of the Compendium of Monsters. If “I Dream of Monsters” has already been chosen, this skill’s rolls get +1. Grants one Pet Mastery point. All summoning weakens the Firmament.


and

>Sulphureous Brume: Recharge 2(minus 1); Ranged; Pick two targets; This effect spreads a mist around those targets which will either increase their damage received by 2 for 2 turns, or reduce their damage dealt by 2 for 2 turns. Effect is chosen when cast.


for 2 skill points.

 No.727882

>>727877
Lockjaw's yawn is a low roar, followed by a good stretch and shake of all his limbs. It nearly tosses you out of the bed from how much force he produces, but once he's done, he rolls out of bed and hops out, following you into the dining room.

There, you see Zjetya and River, both wearing loose pajamas. Both look well-rested, but they've still left the kitchen somewhat of a mess in their preparations. Strongberry jam, ice grape preserves, milknut butter, and tallwheat bread toast fill the center of the table. Coffee, hayggs, haycon, and froghop tea are also available. The mares smile at you, taking their places at the table. Zjetya starts passing around plates to everyone, and ties a bib around Lockjaw.

"Not the night I was expecting, but just as fun," Zjetya says.
"I really can't believe those back-to-back 10s Lockjaw rolled. He really did save us from that final battle!" River exclaims. "Perhaps you might not want to make combat so difficult, Pryce."
"Nah, that's what makes it fun."

>>727878
>>727880
Vortigern nods to Flaming, and nudges Amy with a wing-tip.
Breakfast in garden, she mouths, pointing upward with her wing.
"How… exactly are we meant to get up there?" Busta asks.
"We're in a witch's library, I think we're meant to figure it out ourselves," Wireframe says.
"Technically, the library was always this upside-down and inside-out," Volkama says. "The witches only found it homey; they didn't make it this way. This library is actually what's known in technical occultist terms as a Dungeon. Capital-D."

>>727881
"I'm not one to go back on my word; not even I dare to do that," Buiwong says with a grin. "Very well. I hope you do not regret your deal."

You feel greatly unsteady as power leaves your body and soul. It's like being punched in the gut, but without the actual impact. You can't help but stumble, catching yourself upon the desk. The "air" gradually returns to you after a little while, and you feel yourself growing strong again over the next few minutes.

>>727881
That night, for reasons you couldn't fully grasp at the time, you felt an insatiable urge to go back outside, and find solitude somewhere in the garden atop the LIbrary. You wandered about for a time, but it is there that your memory cuts off. Presumably, the exhaustion of the day ambushed you, and you could not help but fall asleep.

When morning comes, and you are wrested from the bosom of dreams, you half-remember a vision you had in the depths of that sleep. Strange, unearthly beings visited you one by one in the garden, a scene feeling so real and lucid that it almost was like you were awake. But those incomprehensible forms, and the strange words they spoke, a foreign tongue you understood completely – those couldn't have been a product of this world. It is only now that you theorize that they may have been avatars of the gods. They showed you strange and wondrous contraptions, devices and weapons capable of things no school of magic or magitech had mastered yet. You were like a child being presented with a host of new, fascinating toys.

 No.727883

>>727881
>>727882
You also wake up a short distance from Amy, on another nearby futon, and you see what they see.

 No.727884

>>727882
"You two have been busy."
Pryce comments as he walks in, seeing the breakfast array the two prepared, smiling back.
"It was our first time, I have a better grasp on the rules now."

Pryce is about to sit down, but notices something off.
"Shouldn't we pick up the kids first?"

 No.727885

>>727882

Upon learning that there's food to be eaten, Amy rolls out of bed. Or, more accurately, Amy rolls off the bed, face first into the ground. There, she lays for a moment until she dramatically lifts one hoof into her bag and pulls out her broom.

With her face still pressed into the ground, she drowsily holds her broom up for everyone to see as if to answer the question as to how you're meant to get up there.

 No.727886

>>727882
>>727878
Flaming looks to Amy, nudging her gently with her horns.
"Come on Amy, it's morning! The day's wasting away here." She puffs out her cheeks, "Bet you'd get out of bed if you could bring a blanket and pillow to breakfast…"

She turns to look up at Vortigern as she mouthes her message, and she nods. "Sounds good to me, let's get going"

She looks at the bizarre nature of the witche's common room, pausing to think as she grabs at her mirror. "I found this in Regina's home yesterday, it lets me look down on the room like a map from above. Maybe it'll show us the way out…"

[1d10] Using Mirror to navigate

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727887

>>727882
>>727886
>>727882
Shei-Sher sits up remaining silent as he collects his thoughts. After some moments he observes the conversation and everyone's confusion to navigate the place.

Shei stands up "Ahem. Or I could draw us a corridor to the Garden." With a little effort Shei opens a dark corridor back to the garden.


[1d10+1] dark corridor

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.727888

>>727887
Flaming glowers at Shei, giving him a sour-faced look as he deprives her the chance of using her new fancy magic item.
"You're the opposite of fun."

 No.727889

>>727884
"We've got it covered," Zjetya says. "We sent Mocha and Deriva on ahead to bring them here. They should be coming in any minute now."
"That's why we made so much!" River exclaims. "What, you thought we were going to eat all this on our own?"

>>727884
>Back in Fantasia…
KP is awoken by a splashing sound nearby. Over to his left, on the nightstand, he sees Hopper splish-splashing about, swimming small laps in his new aquarium. Looks like he really enjoys it. Just outside his small room, he hears the muffled sounds of Mocha, Deriva, Sugar and Spitshine talking.

>>727885
>>727886
>>727887
Those in attendance all Ooh and Aah at the sight of Flaming's new handy-dandy item, making sure to get a peek in at the bird's eye view of themselves. Some, like Tantra and Busta, take the opportunity to make faces up at the mirror from where they are, thoroughly amused by the antics.

You follow your makeshift map closely, going around turns, bends, corners, intersections, loop-de-loops, conveyor belts made out of square blocks floating along rivers carved into the very stonework of the library itself, and so on and so forth.

Eventually, you arrive at your destination.

You look up.

You're back in the same place you started.

Shei fails to open up a dark corridor, only manifesting some strange black mist in the general area he wanted to open it.

"Oh, but what's the fun in that?" Volkama complains.
Vortigern shakes her head. Time of essence.
"For breakfast? But is it really gonna be that import…" Tantra begins, but Vortigern silences him with a look.
"Ohhh… now I get it," Tantra says.

 No.727890

>>727889
"Oh, good."
Pryce says as he takes his seat.
"…Maybe a little. We did have a big day yesterday after all."


>>727889
KP opens his eyes, hopping out of bed eagerly at the new day. He steps across his mattress to peer into the aquarium.
>"Enjoying your new little home buddy?"
He says as Hopper makes his laps. Hearing the others talking and awake, KP hops off his bed, opening the door to his room to see the others.
>"Mornin' everypony!"

 No.727891

>>727889
>>727888
>>727887

Amy huffs as everyone arrives back to where she is still laying on the ground. She slowly and drowsily gets up.

"Just fly!" she declares moodily. She gets on her broom. She grabs Flaming and Shei and takes off.

[1d10] to fly Amy, Flaming, and Shei to breakfast

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727892

>>727889
Flaming looks down at her map, following it intently as she weaves her way through the library's corridors with the party following behind.
"This thing is so neat! I can see every corridor and turn from above and see what's in them. Okay, think we take this left… then a right… then up those stairs…."

However, after reaching what appears to be her final destination, Flaming looks up, "And here we… are?"

She frowns, looking up at the same ceiling (floor) with amazement. "We… we just went in a circle."

She blushes, "Uh, JUST as I had intended! I forgot something I needed to take down with me." She looks around for something, anything, to grab as though she needed it (she decides on her Wargs and Witches book), "And with that, now I'm ready to REALLY go outside. E-everyone, please follow me-"

>>727891
>>727889
As Amy grabs her, she lets out a gasp, "Woah! Okay, just, follow my directions!"
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727893

>>727889
"Well there are about a dozen errands that remain in my itinerary. If getting lost in a dungeon is your idea of a good morning then by all means." Shei-Sher opens up a dark corridor again to the garden. "But I have things to do."

Shei leaves through a dark corridor he opened to the garden.

 No.727894

>>727889
Also I'm spending 2 skill points on
>Spell Bleed: passive; You may cast any spell you know at multiple targets, but doing so increases the crit fail range to the number of targets +1

have 1 skill point remaining

Also
activating What if: https://pastebin.com/x0gyfzRa
>>Sapphen's Favor: As an extra effect to Phantasmagoria of Conquest, without expending hitpoints Shei can create vegetation that is both tasty and nutritious to eat. All fruits and vegetables that are known to Shei may be produced including esoteric ones.

 No.727895

>>727892
Shei-Sher sees you come back into the room the other direction. He snickers. "I thought Buffalo were known for their skill in nagivation."

 No.727896

>>727890
Hopper croaks heartily, leaping out of the aquarium, which gets you a little wet. As you leave the room, you see Mocha and Deriva sitting on a couch, while the kids get their things together. Two pony-sized spiders stand nearby. They are wearing gray knightly armor with a black-and-white spider heraldry. They also have eight swords, one on each leg.

Meanwhile, next to Mocha, are a couple of much smaller spiders. Between them, they're holding a silk stage magician's outfit, designed for Hopper's proportions.

"Morning!" Spitshine says.
"Glad you're finally up," Mocha says. "Breakfast is waiting for us with the others."

>>727890
Zjetya and River pass the time with small talk. Neither touch their food, waiting for the others to arrive. Lockjaw has to be restrained from digging in more than a few times, and he whines with impatience.

>>727893
>>727892
>>727891
Through your own various ways, you end up back in the sprawling garden on the Library's rooftop. The lake, laying nearby, brilliantly glimmers in the sun's rising light. The air is chilly and bracing, yet the healthy glow of the nearby plantlife dashes the cold from your minds. Though the garden itself did not change between your first visit and now, something about it feels far more lively, as if Regina's change in turn changed the garden.

Over where the feasting tables once sat, a very wide circle has been made of tables, complete with countless chairs. A short distance to the side, you see Box and LJ wearing aprons and chef's hats. LJ's keeps sliding off owing to his fluffy hair. The two stand near a collection of grills, bonfires, and so forth, and they have produced a bounty of meals. Hearty drinks, teas, coffee and fruit juices are present, as well as collections of soups, exotic salads, and well-seasoned hay dishes. A number of fish have been caught, de-boned and cooked, and there is even a variety of meats, glazed with honey and other tantalizing sauces.

LJ waves, and you notice he looks exceedingly tired. Black bags hang under his eyes as if he didn't get a second of sleep. Still, he looks happy to see Flaming. "Heeeeyy! Help yourselves!"

 No.727897

>>727895
Flaming growls as she leads the way on the broom-stick. "Shut up, Shei! They do! I just… may not be the best example of them. But we find our way across the countryside all the time!"

>>727896
As the group finally make their way to the garden on the roof top, Flaming holds her mirror upside down, still trying to make heads or tails of it. "Ummm… then we… I think we went the right way…" she says before looking out onto the spread of food laid out before them all.

Flaming smiles as she looks over at Journey in particular, noticing the chef's hat falling off his head. She snickers, walking up to him as she looks over the tables. "Journey! I didn't know you could work with a kitchen! Did you help make all of this?!" She says, genuinely impressed the bull knew his way around a stove.

 No.727898

>>727896
Shei-Sher grabs himself a piping hot cup of coffee. He takes it black with honey, fondly nostalgic of the drink and ambles over to LJ. "You're a mess." Shei puts it bluntly before gratuitously sipping his cup-a-joe. "Explain."

Remarkably Shei's have dark rings around them too due to his usual lack of sleeping.

 No.727899

>>727896

Amy wakes up more when she sees the fish. She grabs a plate and throws several whole fish onto it. She sits down and starts devouring the deboned creatures.

 No.727900

>>727897
"Lead on O God of buffalo." Shei is still smiling, the only one laughing at his own jokes.

 No.727901

>>727896
KP catches Hopper, not minding the splash. As he steps out, he walks over to the spiders, looking up at them.
>"Cooool… Are these your guards Mocha?"
He asks, turning to her and seeing the outfit in their grasp.
>"Whoa, that looks great!"

When told that breakfast is waiting,and seeing the rest grab their things, KP goes off to get his new supplies as well, keeping the aquarium just enough in balance with his magic so it doesn't spill.
>"I can't wait to show them all my cool new stuff! let's go!"


>>727896
"So what are the others up to?"
Pryce asks, since it's only the four of them at the table.

 No.727902

>>727901
"Yup," Mocha nods. "We left late last night to meet up with the others. Vortigern brought us to where everyone was. To make a very long story short, they've made friends with a whole city full of Witches. I left my guards here before I left, to make sure you were safe."
"Just doing our job, folks," one of the spider guards says. Meanwhile, the tiny spider seamstresses crawl over to Hopper, showing off the new outfit for him. Hopper thoughtfully inspects the coat, trousers, robe and hat.

>>727901
River is about to answer, but at that moment, a Dark Corridor opens aboard the ship. Out step Mocha, Deriva, KP, Spitshine, Sugar and Hopper.
"Sup?" Sugar asks. "How's– who the heck…?"
Zjetya puts down her coffee and smiles. "Three guesses sound fair?"
"Zjetya!?" Spitshine exclaims. "Looking good! This a new disguise or something?"
"Why don't we let Pryce here explain?" River asks.

>>727898
>>727897
LJ has to stop and give a mighty yawn, rubbing at his darkened eyes. "N-nooooooohhhh… Box showed me quite a lot of it. He was really taking the reins."
"Ah-ah-ah," Box says. "I may have read you the recipes, but it was you who helped prepare and cook your share of the dishes. Take credit, will you?"
LJ laughs sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "W-well, we still have to wait until the taste test verdict comes in."

He trots over to a chair, pulling it out for Flaming. "Here, take a seat and tell me what you want. I'll serve for you."

>>727898
"Didn't sleep great," LJ bluntly replies, hardly even looking in your direction. He only has eyes for Flaming, it seems.

>>727898
>>727899
>>727897
https://youtu.be/dVi0ZbmkvOc
As you begin your meals, sitting at the wide circle of tables, you hear soft footsteps coming from the northwest. From behind the curtains of trees, Regina softly, bashfully steps into view. She has on a white sundress, her mane done in two girlish braids and adorned with flowers woven in. Sandals cover her back paws, and much of her magical jewelry has been swapped out for smaller, more modest necklaces and bangles.
Box nearly hops out of his skin at the sight of her, and happily approaches. He takes her hoof and guides her over to the tables.
"Good morning to you too," Regina says.
"O-oh, I forgot! Good morning!" Box says. "Got a little ahead of myself, heh."
"With how much you cooked, I don't blame you." Regina then turns her gaze to you. "How are you doing, Saviors?"

 No.727903

He takes her paw*
Sphinxes do not have hooves.

 No.727904

>>727900
Flaming glowers at Shei, sticking her nose up high and doing just that, leading on, as a noble god o buffalo would!

>>727902
Flaming looks out at the spread made before them, utterly impressed. "W-woah… this all looks so great. I can't believe you helped make all this." She looks at Box and Journey, then frowns as LJ rubs at his darkened eyes. "How late did you two work on all this? Journey, you look exhausted."

She sits down in to the chair he pulls out for her, but looks to him before taking a bite. "You sure you don't need a nap or anything? I can tell you how good it all tastes after you wake up."

>>727902
As Regina enters, Flaming looks up at her, similarly (but not as much as Box) wowed by her appearance. "Woah. REgina, you look like a whole new pony…cat…ponycat?" She says, forgetting what a 'sphinx' was.
"And, I'm doing pretty okay. Had a weird dream but, I can talk about that later…" she says, trying not to look in Vortigern's direction. "How about you, Regina?"

 No.727905

>>727902
>"You guys got to go to a city full of witches? That sounds amazing."
KP responds, before turning to the guards. He salutes respectfully.
>"Thank you for your service, sirs."
He says, also with respect as he would if he was full grown after his knight training, but he also can't help but chuckle a little from having spider guards.

>"Oh cool, they look perfect!"

He says as the seamstresses show Hopper his new duds.
>"Thanks!"
He says to them.


>>727902
Pryce turns as he sees the corridor open and the others step in. He gets up from his seat, horn lighting to grab the aquarium from KP just to get that aside before a mess.
>"Zjetya?! Whoaaa, you look all fiery and cool!"
KP says in amazing, walking up for a closer look.

Pryce comes back to the table, realizing that the children are the only ones out of the loop.
"Right. Well…" He clears his throat, trying to consider how to word this for them, "The three of us, River, Zjetya, and I, are in a relationship now. And from that, Zjetya had a metamorphosis into this new form."
He explains. Whether it's the smaller crowd, or that they spent the night together, but he feels more confident this time.
KP looks up in silence for a moment.
>"…You can do that?"
He questions, mostly to the relationship part.

 No.727907

>>727902

"Great! Now that I have food!" Amy says between bites of fish.

 No.727908

>>727902
>"Didn't sleep great,"
"Hm. Fantastic." Shei sips some more coffee "A small tithe to Sabuul should fix that."

Regina catches Shei's eye for a while as he watches her make her way through garden, all gussied up. Shei double takes to the feast "Ah, that explains all the food. Completely forgot you had a special day today Box."

>"How are you doing, Saviors?"

Good morning. Thank you for allowing us the night in your home." Shei-Sher finishes his coffee and finally sits himself to eat some salad and try out the glazed. He puts a single cutlet onto his plate in case he does not like it.

Shei-Sher asks to anyone present at the table "Has anyone seen Gadriel? I have not seen hide or tail of him since last night."

 No.727909

>>727904
"We've only been up a little over an hour," LJ says. "Sun was already up when we started. I tend to get up at sunrise, so I even slept in…"

He tosses his head and blinks rapidly, trying to shake off the feelings. "Just… it's just those weird dreams I told you about yesterday. Had more of them, you know? I should be okay once I get some food in me. Cooking all this without being able to chow down beforehand has been driving me crazy."

>>727904
>>727906
Regina smiles. "Better than I have in a long time. I really do feel like a whole new catpony," she smirks at Flaming.
With a snap of her claws, Regina produces a very large couch for her to lounge upon. Box, visibly sweating, rolls up a tray with food for her, including plenty of fish. Though the food is comically small in comparison to her, she bends down, allowing Box to feed her.
"So, what are we doing first?" Regina asks. "I have a few things in mind, if you'd like."
"I heard something about a board game being put on, and so I think we can start with that, if there's no objections?" Box asks.

>>727905
The spider guard tousles KP's mane, and the seamstresses bow, all seeming quite happy from the thanks.

>>727905
Zjetya shrugs. "We're doing it now."
"F-for a time," River says. "Just so we're clear, I agreed to test this unorthodox situation for a month before making my final decision."
Sugar nods. "Well, both Mr. Pryce and Ms. Zjetya are good ponies. You should be in good hooves."
Spitshine is silent, his expression flat.
The others seem to take no notice as they get to their meals, digging in at last.
Mocha opens another dark corridor. "I don't mean to run off, but the others have their own breakfast planned, and I want to be there to support LJ. Poor guy's nerves are fried from anticipation. You guys enjoy yourselves, then stop by to say hello, won't you?"
Deriva waves farewell.

>>727908
It's actually very well done, if somewhat foreign in taste. You're not sure who made it, but though it is exotic, it is very competently prepared.
"Oh, your brother, I take it?" Regina asks. "He wandered a little near my palace last night. I saw he was in a terrible mood, so I offered him a tent. He took it and set up his own camp under the stars. I didn't see him this morning, but I did inform him of breakfast last night. I fancy he should be on his way soon."

 No.727910

>>727909

"Catpony?" Amy asks with sudden interest.

"Okay, I've been meaning to ask this for a while now. Are you REALLY a sphinx? Is that what you were born as?"

 No.727911

>>727910
Regina tilts her head. "Yes! I know you never ended up fighting me, so you never touched my body, but this isn't an illusion. You don't believe me? Have a touch if you want."

She extends her paw to you.

 No.727912

>>727911

"I DID hug you," Amy points out.

"Your other illusions have felt real too, by the way," she adds as she pokes Regina's paw curiously.

 No.727913

>>727909
Shei-Sher puts down his utensils. "I should go look for him. If you'll excuse me." he leaves his dish unfinished. And leaves for Regina's palace in search of Gadriel's tent. Maybe he'll see him on his way.

 No.727914

>>727909
"It is unorthodox, but it was the best thing I could see to work for us."
Pryce answers with Zjetya and River. KP looks between the three, and smiles.
>"If you're all happy then it's great! Seems a lot easier for everypony when you don't need to pick between each other."
KP takes his seat, and Pryce helps serve some of the breakfast, giving Lockjaw and extra helping of haycon along with a few treats he has left over in reward for waiting patiently for so long. KP sets Hopper down next to him, happily biting into some toast with a generous helping of jam.
>"So you all visited a city of witches? What was it like?"
"It's interesting, you'll see it soon. We're parked there right now."
>"We're here already? I can't wait to see all the magic they have! Oh! Also look at all the cool new stuff I got. I met some cool ponies and they gave me some stuff to learn Beast Mastery!"
KP says with an excited voice to Pryce, River, and Zjetya, taking out his grimoire and diary, and showing off Hopper's outfit.


Pryce takes a sip of his coffee first to start the morning, getting a serving of hayggs and haycon. He notices Spitshine's flat expression, looking over to the colt.
"Are you alright Spitshine?"

 No.727915

>>727912
"Oh, yeah…" Regina muses. "Clearly, the first one didn't take. I require another one."
Regina is extremely soft and plush, with luxuriously smooth fur.
Box looks visibly annoyed.
"Well, you may wish to use some kind of anti-magic upon me if you're not convinced. I've done such a good job with my magic I can't even prove my own existence. Illusionists of lesser stuff would kill to have such a dilemma.

 No.727916

>>727909
Flaming lets out a sigh of relief, "Phew, okay that's a little better." She smirks, "You were yawning so hard I thought you didn't get any sleep at all last night or something. You'll be fine, you're tougher than that."

As he mentions the dreams, she frowns, "Huh… funny story about that, but, I can wait to tell you after I try your breakfast. What should I try first, the soups? Some of the toast or jam, or…" she pauses, taking a look towards the hayggs. "Ooh… what's those?" She asks, reaching over to take a mouthful

>>727909
Flaming chcukles, "WellI'm glad you do! You look pretty, too."

As she asks aloud what she had in mind, her eyes open wide, "OH! Uh, if you want, I still have your Wargs and Witches game! I spent a little time last night reading… well okay I had Rus-Tea helping me read it, but I think I get the gist of the rules if you wanted to play later. I came up with a character idea."

 No.727917

>>727915

Amy can never resist a hug when it's invited to her.

[1d10] for goodness of hug

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727918

>>727914
Even Hopper gets to have a meal, as Zjetya seems to have captured several bugs for him to eat. Lockjaw tears into his own meal, finishing it swiftly. Hopper glares at him judgmentally.
River and Zjetya take great interest in KP's new things. "Sounds like you had your own adventures," River says.
"A chip off the old block," Zjetya jokes.
Spitshine finishes off his own meal quickly, his expression never changing. He uses his full mouth as an excuse to say nothing for a while, before he eventually swallows.
"…Dad used to do that a lot. Have a lot of mares hanging off his arms," he says bluntly.
"Well… it's not exactly the same here," Zjetya says.
"I guess."

>>727916
"Hayggs!" LJ says, scooping you up a plateful, as well as some soups to go with it. "Try it with haycon too. It's an iconic combination for a reason.
Quite simply, the hayggs are the best you've ever had.

>>727916
>>727917
Box starts vibrating in place when Amy hugs Regina. Regina's hug is like being immersed in a big, sweet-smelling blanket. Regina eventually lets her go through. "That's just what I was going to suggest," Regina says. "We can use some of the stories you didn't go into as a campaign grounds. Though, it won't be as intense as what you faced yesterday, heheheh."

>>727913
After quite a bit of wandering, you emerge from the garden's small forests into the plains that surround Regina's tree-house palace. Yonder, among the rocky horizon, you see Gadriel sitting near an animal-pelt tent. He seems to be making a small cairn out of rocks, but each time he builds it up, he slaps it down again with a look of bitter frustration.

 No.727919

>>727918
Shei-Sher stands by Gadd's tent watching him do his thing for a while. Letting the remorse build up inside himself before speaking up "Gadds. Come, Little Journey and Box cooked a feast for breakfast. Really, it's all quite good.. A warm meal soothes the soul."

 No.727920

>>727919
Gadriel just sits there, not even looking your way.

 No.727921

>>727918
"Beast Mastery?"
>"Yea! It's this cool way to train and do stuff with your pets! I got Hopper all set up with it!"
He beams with pride as Zjetya and River show interest in his new toys.
>"Yup. I'll have my own magic shows going with Hopper soon enough!"

Pryce isn't sure how to respond to Spitshine's comment. He can only imagine how a slaver would go with that lifestyle, but that is Spitshine's father, and being openly negative of him wouldn't be right in front of Spitshine.
"River and Zjetya are the only mares I will ever consider. I chose and offered this because I care about their happiness, not for my own selfishness."
Pryce says to reassure.

 No.727922

>>727918
Flaming takes a big bite of the hayggs and haycon, chewing them slowly in her mouth as she enjoys the sweet, savory combination. She melts into her chair, lost in flavor before swallowing. "Aaah… by the spirits, that's good!" She takes another bite, downing it with a small side of soup she pours for herself (as well as one additional bowl of especially spicy bisque for Spark), before turning over towards Journey, grabbing some haycon, "This is amazing, you're a genius!" She says, putting some haycon into his mouth. "Now you eat up too, you got to get your energy back after putting in this much work!" She commands him as she feeds him a bit of his own breakfast.

>>727918
Flaming laughs, "Trust me, Regina, after yesterday, I could use less intense… no offense, your games were really REALLY fun but, I could do with something a bit more down to Earth. I'd love to try one of your other stories we didn't get a chance to go into. Want to set up right after breakfast? I read these games can take a while."

 No.727923

>>727918

Amy looks at Box vibrating. "Do you want a hug too, Box?" Amy asks with a grin.

>>727918
>>727916

"You guys want to… play a game? The day before Tartarus?" Amy asks, cocking her head nervously.

"I… was just thinking about working on my witchy powers. I can't believe I'm the one saying we SHOULDN'T have fun…"

 No.727924

>>727923
Flaming frowns, "I- I know, that sounds weird, but, I guess I just really want to try it just once you know? Before going in. I know I probably have better things I should be doing, like figuring out how to get this god-thing right, but, you know… when's the next chance we'll get?"

 No.727925

>>727924

Amy frowns. "I'm sorry, you're right," she says softly.

 No.727926

>>727920
Shei-Sher sits beside Gadriel. "Come spend the day with me. Spend some time together while we still have it. And even still, the end is not guaranteed. I've escaped the brink of death a number of times now. You never know."

 No.727927

>>727921
"And we said yes because it was what we wanted of our own free will," River adds.
Spitshine doesn't offer a response. By the grimace on his face, it seems like hearing these rebuttals have only caused him to shut down with frustration. He just collects the empty plates and takes them to the sink.
Sugar gulps, the awkwardness getting to her. "Wh-why don't we go see the others soon? I'd like to meet those Witches you've all met."

>>727922
Spark squeaks with delight as he slurps up the spicy broth, occasionally burping out tiny plumes of fire.
LJ laughs, grabbing himself a plate of pancakes to complement the hayggs and haycon. Occasionally he'll dip one of your haycon pieces into the syrup, going on some kind of ramble about how the maple and the grease of the haycon mix in such and such ways. You've never seen this kind of culinary expertise from him. He trails off now and again from being tired, but a few cups of coffee seems to perk him up.

>>727923
"In a manner of speaking," Box mumbles. It's clear what he really wants.

>>727923
>>727922
Regina holds up a claw. "Well, it's up to you. Amy, I can make the campaign something in which you can practice as intently as you want. But, Flaming might find it a little too intense for her tastes after what you endured yesterday."
The others take note of this conversation, and start talking among themselves. From what you overhear, they seem to be divided down the line. Some, like _____, Blessings and Volkama, want to get in as much training as they can. Others, such as Wireframe and Busta, sound like they would much rather take it easy, keeping their minds free for one final day of relaxation before the next stage of their quest.
"We don't all have to do everything as a group, honestly," Blessings says. "After all, it's their date. Why don't we go check in on other things? Cover our bases?"
"Oh, right!" Rus Tea says. "I need to check in with the rest of the Choir. Amy, Flaming, I don't know if you heard, but Doctor Galton arrived here last night. She says she wanted to speak to you. You are Ecclesian soldiers, after all."
"Oh, right," Regina says. "I met with her last night. A most curious, laconic woman."

>>727926
Gadriel turns away, rubbing at his eyes for a few moments. "…Can you escape this… this 'Sacrifice' thing?"

The answer to that, as you remember all too clearly, is no.

 No.727928

>>727927
>>727924

"Well then I guess first thing we should do is talk to that Galton lady," Amy says with a nod.

She looks to Flaming. "Ready to go? We can play later."

 No.727929

>>727927
Pryce feels guilty as Spitshine goes silent for the rest of breakfast. What River said about this lifestyle being barbaric comes back to mind, and Spitshine's father likely went down the route with it. For now he leaves the topic off, not pushing it further on the colt.
>"Yea! Let's go see the witches!"
"Right. You three can set your stuff away while we clean up, then we'll go meet up with the others."
Pryce says at the topic chance. He finishes off his haycon and hayggs, taking a piece of toast with a spread of butter and jelly and clearing off the rest of his coffee. KP goes off to find a good spot for the aquarium while Pryce helps River and Zjetya put the dishes away and clean up. As they do the dishes, Pryce gives Zjetya a kiss on the cheek so she can have a proper breakfast serving of love, and then gives River a kiss as well to not leave her out.

Once they're all ready, Pryce gathers them all, pets included, to track down the party.

 No.727930

>>727927
Shei puts his arm over Gadriel.
"I do not actually know. But I never do anything unprepared. Everything at my disposal, all of my power, will be used to escape Tartarus' clutches. And I will be counting on you and Amy, and everyone else to leave Tartarus as soon as the deed is done. If I tie my soul to someone else the sooner you all leave Tartarus the more of a chance I will have."

 No.727931

>>727929
>Memory [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727932

>>727927
Flaming laughs alongside Journey, stealing some of his toast and jams to make up for her haycon pieces and taking his suggestions about what kind of butters and spreads to put with her food to enhance the flavor. She says, with an unlady-like mouthful of food,
"This is really good, Journey, seriously. I wish I knew how to cook like this but, whenever I tried to help my mama in the kitchen back in the tribe I sort of excelled at finding new ways to light things on fire. Do you like burnt flatbread? Cause I can make that."

>>727927
>>727928
"Galton…" Flaming repeats, remembering that griffon to be quite a bit of trouble, especially where the Mariposan princesses were concerned. "Right, as members of Ecclesia I guess we have a duty to speak to her first."

She nods to Amy, "Right, let's finish up breakfast and go see her. Then when we get back we can decide what to do next." She looks to Regina, Box, and Journey, "You'll wait for me before starting the date, right?" She honestly asks.

 No.727933

>>727929
The last you saw of Banana Splitz was in Vitral, you recall, in the Cozy Vimana. There, he seemed to be with only one mare, and his daughter, Sundae III. There seemed to be no evidence of a harem or concubines anywhere.

Spitshine is silent for the rest of the time, but eventually does come with you. River and Zjetya appreciate the kisses, but take care to return them only when Spitshine isn't looking. Afterward, once everyone's done, River conjures a Dark Corridor, which takes you to the garden where everyone else is having their own breakfasts.

>>727930
Gadriel sits there, slumped over, his head between his knees for a long while. Eventually, he stands, clenching and unclenching his fists, releasing tension. "…Okay. Where did you say everyone was?"

>>727932
"Burnt flatbread is only a few steps away from pizza!" LJ excitedly says. "You ever have one of those?"

>>727932
>>727928
>>727931
After LJ, Box and Regina assure Flaming and Amy that they won't start the date without them, Regina gives Flaming and Amy directions to where Galton can be found.

Regina goes on: As it turns out, Doctor Galton was sent over upon Sir Ichimonji receiving reports that an Ecclesian soldier with a black septagram button on his lapel had stolen bags of Dove Incense from the Witch population. Galton and this mysterious member had come back to Threecoins last night, relinquishing the stolen bags to Regina, as requested.

Doctor Galton also wanted to retrieve the bodies of several escapees from Vitral. Following Metatron's attack on Vitral, some of the initial escapees managed to get some distance north before succumbing to the strange disease that turned their bodies to glass. A few of the Witches loyal to Regina at the time discovered their bodies and brought them to Threecoins, to be placed under Regina's care. (You remember hearing about this from the three Witches you met when first arriving here).

"ANYWAY, you'll find her in the Observatory… hopefully. That's where I told her to wait, after all," Regina finally concludes.

It's at this point that Pryce, Zjetya, River, Sugar, Spitshine, KP, Hopper and Lockjaw arrive at the picnic grounds via Dark Corridor.

 No.727934

>>727933
"In the garden." Shei stands "Follow me." Shei leads Gadriel back to the breakfast table.

 No.727935

>>727933
Pryce wonders if Splitz changed his ways, or if maybe he goes through various phases on this. Either way, that seems like a talk for later. Once everypony is prepared, Pryce leads on through the corridor.

>>727933
>>727932
>>727928
Pryce steps out into the garden, seeing everypony gathered and having breakfast.
"Good morning everypony."
He greets.

KP turns around in place, circling as he walks forward at the lavish garden they're now in. He's about to comment in his usual enthusiasm, but he stops as he spots Regina, walking over and looking up at the sphinx.
>"Whoa…. You're huuuge."

 No.727936

>>727934
Upon your triumphant return, the others greet Gadriel heartily. Blessings and Deriva wave him over, offering him a spot beside them, as well as a plate stocked with fish and chips. Gadriel takes the seat, offering only a mumbled bit of thanks.

 No.727937

>>727933
>>727932

"So she wants to ask us to do some favors…" Amy grumbles. "Alright, Shortyhorns… Let's go…"

Amy gets up from the table, having finished her meal. She follows Regina's directions.

 No.727938

>>727935

"Hi," Amy grumbles. "We were just leaving. See you later."

 No.727939

>>727935
Regina's eye twitches. "I prefer to be called Regina, Queen-Mother of the Coven of Wacachan, and Mother of Illusions, thank you… Pryce?"
"Oh, that's KP. It's a long story," Box says. "Think of him as… actually, kind of similar to a Replica, all things considered. He's like a kid brother to Pryce, not a son."
Regina frowns. "You people are so weird."

 No.727940

>>727933
"Pizza… I'm almost sure I've heard it mentioned but no, I haven't tried it. Like a cheesy bread thing, right? Maybe we can have some for dinner."

>>727935
Flaming looks at Pryce, "Morning sleepyhead. You're late! We started bright and early already. We have to go take care of some Ecclessia business at the Observatory but we'll be back soon."

>>727933
>>727937
As Regina explains the whole situation, she sighs in relief. "I'm glad to hear they returned the incense. I just wish I understood why they felt it was needed to take them in the first place. We'll talk to them about the bodies, I think they just want to try and help them get back to normal. We'll move over to the Observatory and talk to her. Amy, get the broom!"

 No.727941

>>727938
>>727940
"You're leaving already?"
Pryce questions as Amy grumbles, looking to Flaming as she explains.
"Oh, alright. And I'm not late, we were having breakfast ourselves, and getting the kids."
Pryce says.
"Oh, wait, you're meeting somepony from Ecclessia here? That reminds me, we should do another of those cleansing rituals today. Flow had an incident yesterday from not clearing himself, so we should take precaution."


>>727939
Pryce steps over as he sees Regina's eye twitch.
>"You're a Queen? of Witches? Wow…"
KP says in awe, not realizing his earlier mistake.
"It's a bit of a story, but to sum it up there was a pony who cast a spell to remake my younger self."
Pryce explains.
"Sorry for that, we haven't explained everything yet to them."
He apologizes, and then takes out Covenkeeper manual to return.
"Also, we borrowed this last night."

 No.727942

>>727941
>>727940

"Or he could just stop going around murdering," she grumbles under her breath as she climbs on her broom.

 No.727943


>>727936
>>727935
Shei-Sher waves to Kid pryce "It feels like it's been ages since I last you little Pryce."

>>727933
>>727940
>Pizza
"Did someone say pizza? I actually never made one before. Before we go into Tartarus it is of high import we go without a pizza." Shei cuts into Little Journey and Flaming Shorthorn's conversation.

 No.727944

>>727943
>>727940
LJ grumbles. "Just 'cause I can make pizza doesn't mean I'm starting a business! Why do you want one all of a sudden?" he asks Shei.

>>727940
>>727937
After you fly back over to the Observatory, you land inside via an open window. Some time afterward, Rus Tea joins you, trotting over on hoof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1j19swJ8Rc

At first, it seems like the Observatory is empty. But then, an outline of a door traces itself along the ground, as if someone were rapidly sketching it in charcoal. Once the drawing is complete, that door opens. Out floats a very tall, very skinny crystal pony stallion, clothed in an Ecclesian coat and trousers. He has a black septagram button upon his lapel, and his body appears to be a patchwork of different kinds of crystal, all lumped together. He floats using a small parasol, carried by an unknown breeze. You recognize his appearance as matching the description of the incense-thief.

He curtly nods to you, then reaches down, extending his hoof into the darkness beyond the door. Doctor Galton, a beautiful phoenix griffoness, with a black septagram stitched into her white labcoat, climbs out, aided by the stallion. Rus Tea stands at attention and salutes them, but Galton dismissively waves her claw.

"At ease, soldier. Ah-hu-hu-hu-hu, we were almost late," Doctor Galton says. "Thank you, Viper, for your speedy delivery."
"Of course, ma'am. Though I might suggest that we don't have so many last-second shopping trips when we are scheduled to meet someone."
"Utter nonsense! The Princesses require souvenirs," Galton retorts. She then turns to you. "Good to see you again, girls. Ichimonji speaks so highly of you these days. I understand it's you we have to thank for this new alliance brewing between Ecclesia and the Coven of Wacachan?"

>>727941
Regina takes back the book gingerly. "I thought I noticed something vanishing from my shelf. My perfectly well-organized shelf, of course," she says, affixing you with a look that reminds you not to speak out about her messy abode.

>Paused

 No.727945

>>727943
>"Hey Shei! Yea, a day can feel pretty long, can't it? Especially since you all have been going through a cool witch city."

 No.727946

>>727941
>>727942
Flaming sticks out her tongue, "Still shoulda come have breakfast with us instead!" She says jokingly, not really all that broken up about it. "And, maybe that'd be a good idea: I don't think anything Regina had for us yesterday had anything to do with demons… at least, not 'real' demons… but better safe than sorry."

 No.727947

>>727943
>of high import we go without a pizza."
of high import we go with a pizza."

 No.727948

>>727946
>>727941

"Yeah, I'm… gonna pass on that," Amy says uncomfortably. "Obviously."

 No.728356

Last time on HolyQuest…

The sun rose on the fifth and final morning before the Tartarus Expedition. The party spent the night in the Library of the Sacrosanct, having been provided lodging by the Coven of Wacachan. Apart from the Kindling, and apart from Pryce's and Flow's duel with Sir Estuary, there was little of note upon the agenda. They were free to spend their time as they liked.

Today would be the last of their free time until what was quite possibly the most important, and certainly the most dangerous, undertaking of their lives. Perhaps that precious little time would best be spent in the company of friends in relaxation. Perhaps it would be best spent in preparation, checking weapons and armor and practicing with spells and the Primordial Aspects. Perhaps consulting the stars and divines would be in order. Whatever they chose to use their time on, it would be wise to use it well.

Box set up his date with Regina the night before, and Little Journey made it a double date with Flaming Shorthorns soon after. To start things off, the two woke up a little early to cook a massive breakfast for the party.

Once the eating subsided, Flaming and Amy went to go speak briefly with Doctor Galton in the Observatory. Galton had arrived late last night to return the stolen dove incense, and to collect several survivors of Metatron's attack on Vitral, who had fled north before turning into glass as a result of the unknown disease Metatron weaponized. Shei, Flow and Pryce were still in the Library's garden, free to spend their time as they pleased.

 No.728357

>Shei, Flaming
LJ grumbles. "Just 'cause I can make pizza doesn't mean I'm starting a business! Why do you want one all of a sudden?" he asks Shei.

>Flaming, Amy

After you fly back over to the Observatory, you land inside via an open window. Some time afterward, Rus Tea joins you, trotting over on hoof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1j19swJ8Rc

At first, it seems like the Observatory is empty. But then, an outline of a door traces itself along the ground, as if someone were rapidly sketching it in charcoal. Once the drawing is complete, that door opens. Out floats a very tall, very skinny crystal pony stallion, clothed in an Ecclesian coat and trousers. He has a black septagram button upon his lapel, and his body appears to be a patchwork of different kinds of crystal, all lumped together. He floats using a small parasol, carried by an unknown breeze. You recognize his appearance as matching the description of the incense-thief.

He curtly nods to you, then reaches down, extending his hoof into the darkness beyond the door. Doctor Galton, a beautiful phoenix griffoness, with a black septagram stitched into her white labcoat, climbs out, aided by the stallion. Rus Tea stands at attention and salutes them, but Galton dismissively waves her claw.

"At ease, soldier. Ah-hu-hu-hu-hu, we were almost late," Doctor Galton says. "Thank you, Viper, for your speedy delivery."
"Of course, ma'am. Though I might suggest that we don't have so many last-second shopping trips when we are scheduled to meet someone."
"Utter nonsense! The Princesses require souvenirs," Galton retorts. She then turns to you. "Good to see you again, girls. Ichimonji speaks so highly of you these days. I understand it's you we have to thank for this new alliance brewing between Ecclesia and the Coven of Wacachan?"

>Pryce

Regina takes back the book gingerly. "I thought I noticed something vanishing from my shelf. My perfectly well-organized shelf, of course," she says, affixing you with a look that reminds you not to speak out about her messy abode.

"Oh, by the way, how did your game go?" Regina asks. "I'm told the first games are always the most deadly. First-time Queen Mothers usually overestimate how much damage a party can take."

 No.728358

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>728357
"Your neat and tidy bookshelf was how I was able to find it so easily with my magic."
Pryce says, reading her look.
"It went well. I did end up making the combat a little difficult, but Lockjaw has some pretty good luck with the dice."
Pryce says, giving Lockjaw a pat.
>"You guys got to play witch games too? Lucky."
KP chimes in.

 No.728359

>>728357
"I may or may not have promised an Umbrel a freshly delivered Pizza in Tartarus's Hanger Port in exchange for esoteric knowledge." Shei-Sher finishes his coffee. Seeming almost sad it's gone.

 No.728360

>>728358
"Yeah, he kept taking all my luck," Zjetya says. "You'd have thought that those dice didn't have numbers over 1 or 2, based on how I was rolling."
"It's too bad," River says. "You had such an optimized character, too. Things would have turned out worse if you didn't."
Lockjaw grunts happily, tearing away at some leftover fish that had went uneaten from breakfast. Regina smirks. "Are you going to want to make it a habit of playing? I can't lend you that book. It's my original copy. However, I have quite many more that I can let you take if you wish."

>>728359
"Just another day in the life of Shei, I suppose," LJ says. "So, what, am I supposed to cook a pizza just before we enter Tartarus? Depending on how long it takes us to get there, that pizza could either be stone cold or moldy."
"Well, not necessarily," Zjetya says. "I get Rus Tea to read me Ecclesian newspapers. They talk a lot about certain new magitechnologies that the engies have developed. There was a report a few weeks ago about food preservation equipment that incorporates the magic used to make bags of holding. I wouldn't be surprised if the Choir wanted to bring it in for the Tartarus Expedition."

 No.728361

>>728360
>Depending on how long it takes us to get there, that pizza could either be stone cold or moldy."
"Well how would he be able to tell?" Shei shrugs "I can hardly imagine the food in Tartarus being much better than moldy pizza."

When Zjetya speaks up Shei-Sher is left a bit confused. He hasn't spoken to Zjetya since her transformation so its weird this stranger is talking like they know them. In fact, Zjetya is a character Shei has interacted with the least.

"Erm. My apologies but- Who are you?"

 No.728362

>>728361
"We should get you a little nametag at this rate," Busta says to the strange newcomer.
"Yes, and some 'before and after' pictures, too," Zjetya says with a characteristic eye-roll. "Shei, it's me. Zjetya. I transformed shortly after Pryce added me to his romance."
"Such a crass way of putting it," River says. "I added you too!"
"Yeah, which was the most surprising part," Zjetya jokes.
River blushes but smiles.

 No.728363

>>728360
>"Yea, totally!"
KP answers eagerly.
"It was a fun way to spend the night, and it might be good to have something easy to set up during travelling time."
Pryce says.
"Where did you get them? Picking up a collection of our own might be a good investment."

 No.728364

>>728363
"Answering that would involve naming other Covens, and telling of their locations," Regina says. "I am grateful to you and your allies, but no Witch, even under the pain of the worst tortures, would commit such an act. It is one thing to talk vaguely about one's own Coven with trusted outsiders, but to name another Coven is to potentially send sisters to their deaths."
Sugar looks up at Regina sadly and puts her hoof on Regina's paw. "I take it Witches aren't welcome anywhere in the World, are they?"
"Only a few places are we safe; the same goes for books and other material that depict us as anything other than monsters to be slain."

 No.728365

>>728362
"OH! That was yooou. There was so much activity the evening of, I was hardly aware of anyone else's business. I merely assumed Pryce was adding Another! to his romance." Shei says wisking his eyes up with admonishment only a second after realizing he's being an ass to two scary women.

"Ba-ah, I'm sorry! I did not mean it in that way. I mean, I hardly speak to you Zjetya and just this morning I viewed your affair with Pryce with complete contempt -This is unprecedented." Shei darts to River "You're fine with this?"

 No.728366

>>728365
"Don't worry," Zjetya says. "A lot of us view you with complete contempt."
River nearly bursts out laughing, but stifles it. "…I am allowing it for a time. It is an unorthodox arrangement, and Pryce and Zjetya have been given an earful of the historic consequences for kingdoms where it was the norm for the elite to do as they pleased to mares. However, I trust them both, so I will honor their proposal for a month to see how I feel about it."

 No.728367

>>728357
As they arrive at the Observatory, Flaming looks up in awe at the parasol Stallion, turning her head as they notice his peculiar behavior / poise. She recognizes him as the incense-thief, and gives him a hard glare as they approach.

When Galton comes out from the darkness, Flaming turns her attention to her next, standing at attention as she bows her head,
"That's really kind of her, but we're just happy to help, Miss Galton. And, it's owed to a lot more than just us that the Coven are willing to work together with Ecclessia now, but I'll pass on your message to them when we return. We all need to stand together to survive, I'd say."

 No.728368

>>728364
"No need to say anymore, I won't pry."
Pryce says in understanding.

>"Really? But you seem so nice so far. Why would anypony want to slay witches?"

KP asks in disbelief at hearing how witches are treated.

 No.728369

>>728366
>"A lot of us view you with complete contempt."
"Ha.. Ha.." Shei can only mock laughter after that sick burn.

>It is an unorthodox arrangement, and Pryce and Zjetya have been given an earful of the historic consequences for kingdoms

Shei snaps his hoof "Somebody beat me to it." Shei-Sher removes himself from the breakfast "I. am curious- but researching polygamy is a little above my paygrade. So I'll let Amy ask all the inappropriate questions and then I'll go to her for the details."

"Gadriel, are you done with breakfast? I want to tell Amy goodbye before we take our leave. I think she and Flaming left to the observatory."

 No.728370

>>728368
"It's a very long story, little colt," Regina says. She reaches down to scratch your hair, but stops when she sees Hopper sitting in your mane. "I don't know who drew the first blood, but Witches have been at odds with the mortal world for a very long time. Curses and misfortune follow in our hoofsteps, and many Witches, feeling themselves pushed to the edge, give in to their dark paths, and seek after truly evil magic. I was about to make a decision like that myself, until your friends stopped me."

>>728367
"I couldn't agree more, young Flaming," Galton says. "Well, anyway, I don't want to take up too much of your time – we all have precious little time these days. The Tartarus Expedition is upon us, after all. So, I'll get straight to the point."
She gives each of you a grave look.
"Surrender your Ecclesian jackets and sidearms."
Rus Tea gulps, her face turning pale, her expression one of abject horror. Her hands tremble.
"D-doctor, if I may be so impertinent," Rus stammers. "Why are we being punished!? We haven't even received letters of reprimand!"
Doctor Galton turns her head. "Eh?"
Viper groans, rubbing his head. "Mind your phrasing, ma'am. First of all, you started off on the wrong item on the agenda. Second, you made it sound like these poor girls are being excommunicated."
Galton gasps and shakes her hands. "No, no, no, no, no! Sorry, I have so many things on my mind at the moment. I got jumbled up."

Galton sighs. "Let me clarify. I have come here bringing quite a few things for you. In addition to the Ecclesians who are already in your party, several more of us will be coming with you: Six members of the Choir, six members of the Spooks, and a few of the Horrors. We want to pull our weight in building the new world, after all. To that end, we will be giving you quite a few things. First of all, we want to enchant your armored jackets and guns, dramatically increasing their effectiveness. I thought that I'd take them off of you while I'm here to save on time."

Rus sighs with relief, slumping to the ground.

>>728369
"Take our leave?" Gadriel asks. "What's up? Where we headed?"

 No.728372

>>728365
Pryce tuns as he hears Shei speaking with River and Zjetya about his romantic life.
"I wasn't having anything close to an affair Shei."


>>728370
>"Maybe now that there's worse things out there than bad luck, everypony can get along with witches again."
KP says in an optimistic tone.
>"And this place looks really nice. I don't see anything like curses or bad luck here."

 No.728376

>>728370
Flaming at first has an elated smile on her face as Galton congratulations her, a sense of pride welling up… but then as she asks to turn over her jacket, her face drops in surprise.
"Wait, what?! Yeah, what did we do-"

As Viper helps her to clarify her phrasing, she looks on in utter confusion. As Galton explains, how they are sending in more of their number to help with the expedition AND will be enchanting their weapons and armor, Flaming looks relieved.
"Oh, OH! That is MUCH better news, thank you! We truly appreciate all the aid you have to offer, in that case i'll gladly give it over to you."

"Oh, uh, a question about the additional members we'll be taking into Tartarus: would you mind if we had a look at them first? It's not that we don't want every hoof on hand we can, but we've learned that Tartarus gets 'tricky' the more are going in, particularly if the more that are going in don't all coincide in their goals. The world warps according to the desires of those exploring it and, if even a single pony is distracted or has other aspirations in mind, it can endanger the entire expedition."

 No.728377

>>728372
"Even Witches who have gained power to resist our cursed births are hated and reviled," Regina says. "So, I will be looking forward to see how a nation of wayward zealots, refugees from the far east, shall treat this alliance."
"If Ecclesia gives you any trouble, just tell us, and we'll fuck 'em up," Wireframe says.
Regina softly laughs. "What an assurance of safety."
"Don't take that literally, though," Zjetya says, shooting Wireframe a severe scowl. "Wireframe feels somewhat differently about Ecclesia than we do."

>>728376
"But of course; you will have a chance to speak with every member of the Expedition tomorrow, before we enter," Galton says. "I would bring them over now, but our teams are currently neck-deep in work, trying to finish the last of their own preparations before entering. I have little time to speak with you as it is.

"In any case, we have, with the cooperation of the Apostles of White, accessed their own records on Tartarus, as part of our preparations. It seems that even the ancient Sons of God struggled with that particular aspect of Tartarus. From what we have discerned so far, the Sons seemed to recommend entering in groups no larger than six. If you find that our members wouldn't have good compatibility with your own, we are prepared to travel separately so as not to jeopardize the Expedition."

Viper clears his throat. He goes to a wall and pushes against it. The wall swings open, revealing darkness beyond. Viper steps in, whistling as he does.

"Ah!" Galton exclaims. "Thank you, Viper. I am getting distracted. Anyway, the coats are just one thing we're giving you."

Viper comes back, wheeling with him a cart that is full to the brim with Caller Conches, much like the one Ichimonji gave you. A variety of colors are present.

"We don't know if long-range communications via the Conch will be possible in Tartarus," Viper says. "And it won't be possible to tell. However, we thought we'd bring these over to you just in case. There should be enough here for every member of your party to have their own. Take your pick."

Rus goes over and picks a pink one.

 No.728378

And it won't be possible to test prior to our entry.*

 No.728380

>>728377
>"They've been pretty friendly so far, and I don't think they'll do anything if you all agreed to work together."
KP says.

"She does have the right idea, if a bit extreme," Pryce comments to Wireframe's bol declaration, "We have a strong reputation with Ecclesia, and if anything goes awry we will help you and your Coven."

 No.728381

>>728377
Flaming nods, "If it wouldn't be too much to ask, we'd appreciate that chance to talk with them. I'm sure things will work out one way or another with all our groups, but if we split that may be for the best after all."

She turns towards Viper as he clears his throat, and she looks on in surprise as he pushes the wall open, demonstrating his peculiar ability again. As he pulls out the Caller Conches, Flaming smiles,

"OH! Just like the one I have with Ichimonji!" She says in glee, dashing over to the conches as she looks throughout the batch. "This is perfect, thank you! Communication will be extra important." She reaches in and grabs at a gray one. "Shei's still borrowing mine, so I'll give him this so I can take mine back."

 No.728386

>>728370
>>728377

Amy already started taking her Ecclesian jacket out of her saddle bag the moment she was told to surrender them. She didn't much mind being kicked out. However, upon being told they intend to bless them, she says, "Oh. Thanks!"

She also takes a purple conch.

"I'm sorry, but what are Spooks and Horrors?"

 No.728387

>>728380
Regina nods. "I figured as such. Buiwong spoke highly of you all during his visit."
"How kind of him," River deadpans. "But apart from his characteristic lies, he wouldn't be wrong to say that we stay true to those who are good to us."

Suddenly, you feel a weight plop down on your head. You feel the warm stickiness of frog's goop too. KP sees that Hopper leaped off his head and landed on Pryce's. Hopper announces his arrival with an annoyed screech.

Regina laughs. "I take it I'm interrupting something?"

>>728386
"That would be me," Viper, the tall crystal pony says. "The Spooks are the personal bodyguards and assistants to the twelve members of the Choir. Each of us were the students of Sir Gegenschein back when he was Grand Legate of the Morte Legionem. However, we don't pay him any special favor over our own assigned Chorister. I am Viper, assigned to Doctor Galton here. Our code names are taken from the twelve signs of the Accorsian – or rather, the Ecclesian – Zodiac. As for the Horrors, they are assistants and bodyguards of the Spooks. To put it simply, for every one Chorister, there is one Spook. For every one Spook, there are two Horrors. Twelve Choristers, twelve Spooks, twenty-four Horrors."

>>728381
>>728386
"Purse!" Galton squawks at Viper. Viper pushes his hoof down on a table, opening up a smaller door. He reaches in, then fishes out a small leather purse, which he gives to Galton. Galton rifles through the contents, pulling out a notebook that is heavily annotated, the pages heavy with ink. She flips through several pages, muttering to herself. "Okay, to-do list… coats, conches… ah, here we are."

Galton clears her throat, getting her demeanor back under control. "Sorry. A thousand plates to juggle. I have two final gifts for you, only one of which is here right now. As you may know, when someone dies in this world, their soul remains in the body for three days, before departing for the Ocean of Souls, housed in the Moon. However, our research shows that if one dies in Tartarus, their soul is claimed by that cursed land's very soil. Tartarus itself manipulates and mutates body and soul, creating a twisted chimera out of the deceased. You can think of it as an instantaneous reincarnation, into a most horrid form.

"To that end, we are developing special talismans capable of protecting and binding souls. Should you feel you are about to die, merely touch the talisman to your body, and your soul shall be extracted. The captive soul shall be taken by Living Saint Zoantharia, who is coming with us. When he emerges from Tartarus, he will release all souls captured by this method, so they may take their eternal rest. But, we are still working on creating those. They will be ready by tomorrow. You can imagine how long it would take to create such powerful items, of course.

"However… the final gift, and the one I actually did bring, is a bit unconventional. He says he's an old ally of yours and wouldn't stop pestering Holy Hours until he approved a change of mission. Of course, how could I say no to a former Savior?"

Viper opens another door in the wall, which opens to darkness. Galton extends her hand to it. "That's your cue, dear."

 No.728389

File: 1574828892144.jpg (122.45 KB, 643x900, PATIENCE REWARDED.jpg)

>>728387
https://pastebin.com/jbpPAusX

The large earth pony walks out of the magical door, wrapped in cloth and leather wrappings. Carrying with him a beaten kite shield and a rifle strapped over his back, he looks at those in front of him.

>>728386
>>728381
"Some new faces as well, eh? Is Pryce around?"

 No.728390

>>728387
"While I hate to say it, that's good to hear."
Pryce says with disdain. Before he can go further, he looks up as he feels a weight and wetness on his head.
"Oh, hello Hopper. Been a while, hasn't it."
Pryce looks up to Regina.
"We've been taking on a lot of pets recently."
>"Oh yea! It's been a whole day since you saw him, check out his cool new outfit!"
KP says excitedly. Pryce picks up Hopper of his head, noting his new wizard attire.
"It's pretty fitting."
>"Yea, it's to go with the new Beast Mastery stuff I got, since Hopper is all in tune with us and our magic! And also Zjetya too."

 No.728391

>>728387

"That's an awful lot of people to be bringing into Tartarus," Amy points out. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

>>728389
>>728387

"An old friend?" Amy asks excitedly, her tail wagging. But, upon seeing someone she doesn't recognize, she cocks her head.

"I'm sorry, I don't think we've met. But, I'm always happy to make new friends! My name is Amy! Amy Thest!"

Before Cloak can responds, the wolf-pony grabs him and gives him a tight hug. "Well, actually, my OFFICIAL name now is Amy Thest the Inescapable Revelrous Friendmaking Heartthief Hugger," she continues to chatter into his ear as she hugs him.

 No.728392

>>728387
Flaming takes a look at Viper. "How are you doing that? It kind of looks like some kind of Dark Corridor. Does it have anything to do with that?"

As she explains how the talismans work, and the horrific fate of those who die in Tartarus, Flaming's eyes open wide with relief. "So, even if we FAIL in Tartarus, we won't be cursed to stay there?! That's great news!" She pauses, "Wait, you said this talisman works by touching it to you if you feel you're about to die. Does that mean, if you touch it to yourself, you'll instantly die? So, you should really, REALLY be sure you want to touch it first?"

>>728387
>>728389
As Galton reveals the second gift, that being a former ally of the party, Flaming twists her head at the new arrival, looking at the large pony with intrigue.

"Uh… I'm sorry, I don't think we've met. You know Pryce? Yeah, he's real close by. But, who are you?"

 No.728397

>>728391
Cloak raises a hoof to great the wolf-pony before being grabbed and pulled into a hug. He stands in slight shock for a moment, before relaxing and hesitantly patting her on the back.

"It is.. nice to meet you too, Miss Amy Thest. It is nice to see such enthusiasm, you'd get along with my wife."

>>728392
Cloak waves his one free hoof to the buffalo, offering an awkward grin as he's held in place by Amy.

"I once traveled with Sir Pryce and the others before the Firmament shattered. My erm, title is Hypostasus, Embodiment of Patience, Follower of Hypomone." He says looking away briefly, "Apologies if it is wordy, I did not choose said title."

 No.728398

>>728390
But as you pull Hopper off your head, he screeches angrily again. He bites down on the side of your hoof several times. It doesn't hurt, but his annoyance is plan to see. Lockjaw looks up at Hopper, and Hopper growls at him. Lockjaw's tail wiggles with interest.

Regina rubs her chin. "Witches have their share of pets, thralls and familiars, but even I haven't seen a frog get jealous."
"Jealous?" Spitshine asks.
"Just look at him!" Regina exclaims. "Don't tell me, Pryce: Did you get him before Lockjaw? It wouldn't surprise me."

>>728392
Viper smirks. "Not quite. My power came about through my training under Grand Legate Gegenschein, when I was hardly more than a homeless colt. I have no connection to your god Buiwong, personally. My power specializes in short-range movement, and not long-range teleportation. It also has a number of other uses."

Suddenly, his head falls off. Or so it seems. His head flops off at a 180 degree angle, but is still connected to his neck at the right side. There is only darkness visible on the underside of his head and the top of his now-headless neck, like what you saw beyond the doors he opened.

"I say!" Viper exclaims. "Who turned everything upside down?"

>>728392
"That is exactly what it entails," Galton says. "There are a number of safety precautions built into it, however, to prevent accidental activation. There are secret words that must be said to activate the spell, and it cannot be invoked against someone else. It can only be used against one's self."

>>728389
>>728391
>>728392
>>728397
"Careful that you don't let Holy Hours hear you," Galton warns Cloak with a smile. "I hear that he was very proud of that title. It took him quite a long time looking into etymology and nomancy, or name divination, to come up with a fortuitous title. I trust it will bring you fortune."
"Moreover, you left out an important part," Viper says. "He is one of the Horrors to Rooster, who in turn is the Spook to Sir Holy Hours. He is one of the few Horrors we are bringing on this mission, for we believe he is one of the few cut out for it."
"We will need every capable member that we can spare," Galton says. "Gegenschein, knowing what he knows about Mudi, Vizsla and Tartarus is still concerned that it may not be enough. But, what we bring we will have to make do with."
"If there is nothing else to tend to here, we must be off," Viper says. "Doctor, you're overdue for your meditations."
"Ah, right," Galton says. "Girls, Cloak, if you have need of me, please call Viper here. I and the other Choristers will be in a secret rite for most of the day. to prepare our souls and bodies. If you want equipment upgrades, weapon refinements, and so forth, Viper will assist you."

 No.728399

>>728397

"You have a wife?" Amy asks happily as she lets Cloak go. "Is she here? I'm always happy to make more friends!"

Again, before Cloak can get a word in, she continues to talk. "So, you were with Pryce and the others before the whole sky breaking thing? Did you know that Punish lady? And Gabriele? Shei talks about Gabriele all the time. She was like a mother to him, or so he says. But, he kinda seems like he doesn't understand relationship connections in general."

"But, I guess I shouldn't judge him," Amy laughs, continuing to jabber on. "It's not like I'm much better. I used to eat people who got close to me."

 No.728400

>>728398
Pryce chuckles a bit, giving Hopper at pat and setting him back down on his head.
"I did, yes. A long time ago. I didn't think he'd be jealous though…"
As Lockjaw looks up with interest at Hopper, KP comes over and gives the deviljho a back scratch.
>"It has been a while. We should trade pets today to make up for the lost time!"
"I'm not leaving you alone with Lockjaw. We can all stick together today instead."

 No.728402

>>728397
Flaming bows her head, "Sorry about her, she's a very 'hoofs on'… or, 'paws on' kind of greeting-pony. Get used to hugs with her."

She smiles, "OH! Then you know Shei and Sir Flow too then, right? I'm Flaming Shorthorns, of Clan Climbing-Fire. And, don't worry about the title: you should hear Amy's."

>>728398
Flaming nods as he offers his explanation of how his powers work, but then when his head suddenly and inexplicably POPS off, she gives a shrill yelp, bouncing back, looking at his disconnected head by the hinge he's created.

"T-that's freaky! But, also kinda cool…"

>>728398
As Galton prepares to depart, Flaming approaches her, "Thank you very much for these gifts and boons, Galton. I know they'll all come in handy once we enter Tartarus. I think Pryce and Shei especially will be excited to hear Leather's joining us. Though, before you go I had one more question: the Mariposan princesses, are they doing well?"

 No.728404

>>728398
"At the very least, it fits me more than any of the other Horrors I have seen. In the end, it was Holy Hour's patience that faltered when it come to my request go journey into Tartarus, not my own." He laughs heartily. "You have my thanks, Doctor."

>>728399
Cloak adjusts himself as he's freed from the vice grip, "I knew the two, yes." the stallion says flatly, before returning to his calm smile when made mention of visiting his wife.

"She is currently bound to a bed in the Cairn, against her will no doubt. She would greatly prefer to be with me now if she could. She likes to make new friends too."

>>728402
"I have heard Amy's, unless there is one even longer than what she has given me. I do not mind the hugs, I am used to unwarranted physical contact and loud noises from my work as a Horror."

Cloak nods, "All three of them, yes. I must ask, do you travel with a Dania as well? We met briefly before we were separated, do you know if she still travels with the troupe?"

 No.728407

>>728370
>>728370
"I thought I said it already. I want to vist my ex-tribe, the goats. Just one more time before the day can end." Shei then smiles "And then we have other things on the itenerary. It should be a fun day!"

>>728372
"It was painfully obvious to everyone the affections being exchanged." Shei says as he is in the middle of leaving "I don't have time for this, all things consider congratulations. You are a very, very, very lucky man."

>>728389
>>728398
>>728399
>>728402

"Leather!" Leather hears a teenage voice call out to him. Just as Gadriel and Shei entered the observatory, Shei made a dash and tackled Leather Cloak. If he recognizes the goat at all, he'll note that he's grown quite a bit since he last saw him.

papers and books fly out of his bag, as he tackles Leather in a hug

 No.728409

>>728407
Having just recovered from his first hug he was subjected to, it's Leather Cloak's large stature and sturdiness that prevents him from being knocked over by the pubescent goat. Unlike with Amy, he returns the hug in full.

"Shei-Sher, you've so grown much since we last traveled together. I apologize for our disappearance."

 No.728410

>>728404

"Bound to a bed?" Amy asks with a grin. "Into freaky stuff, huh? I like it," she says with a wink.

>>728404
>>728402

"There's nothing 'unwarranted' about hugging a new friend!" Amy objects.

>>728407
>>728404

"Your name is Leather?" Amy asks with a laugh. "That's a silly name."

 No.728411

>>728400
Lockjaw pushes his head against KP, the force of which nearly knocks KP over, though Lockjaw seems unaware of it. Katcher and Pucchini squawk with amusement. Hopper groans. Using his long tongue, he snatches up the clothes that the spiders made for him, dangling them in front of your eyes. Seems like he wants you to put them on.
"Why not give them their own adventure with Covenkeeper?" Regina suggests. "If Lockjaw can handle playing, perhaps your other pets can figure it out."

>>728402
In the blink of an eye, his head re-attaches, and Viper laughs. "Life has many doors, not just the ones that others have built for you. I prefer my own."

>>728402
>>728399
>>728404
>>728407
Galton collects the cloaks from Rus, Amy, and Flaming, then tosses them to Viper. Viper gestures to the cart. "Go ahead and bring that back to Lilane once you've passed out all the conches, please."
Galton then turns to Flaming with a smile. "They're doing better than ever! Laciela had the sniffles for the past few days, but Yareakh was sure to help her get over that. We haven't yet gotten to the bottom about the strange reports of Mudi coming into possession of a wing like Laciela's, but I trust we will find out soon."

A cool chill flits through Cloak at the mention of Laciela and Yareakh, the twin alicorn princesses of Mariposa. He hasn't had much interaction with them, as they seldom stray from Lilane, one of Ecclesia's northernmost holdings, these days. But in prior months, back before Cloak was even aware of the Saviors, they had visited some of the holdings further south, as an attempt at building morale for the war effort. Everywhere they went on their tours of holdings, strange incidents followed. A mixture of sudden good and bad fortune, almost in equal measure. Mass reports of deja and jamais vu. Days suddenly seeming longer or shorter without apparent reason. All the while, the Choir has said nothing of these episodes.

Viper opens a final door in the wall, and with a wave, he and Galton depart through it.

>>728407
>>728404
After Cloak gets over being tackled, he turns to see a slender-yet-muscular female minotaur in Ecclesian trousers and a tunic standing before him. Next to her is a small metallic griffon. The minotaur offers a salute.
"Good to meet you, sir," she says in a deep voice. "I am Rus Tea of Ecclesia. Division: Congregation. Rank: Ravager."
The griffon offers his hand for a shake. "And I'm Gadriel. I'm Shei's younger brother, mother and lab experiment. Kind of sort of not really."

 No.728412

>>728411
>>728409
>>728407

"Yeah, like I said… he doesn't really understand relationships…" Amy says as Gadriele makes his HORRENDOUS introduction.

 No.728413

>>728398
>>728409
[Gadriel description]
You see the person Shei-Sher came in with. At first appearance one might assume was an angel due to his metal coat. A lion, with hind talons. His entire body is made up of a light grey metal with a violet sheen in the right light. Many sharp needles make up his fur though it seems to behave as if pliable and soft. His wings are vestigial palor plumes of fluffy, wispy fur. And a lengthy tail for his body much like a cat.

 No.728414

>>728410
Cloak rubs his temples at Amy's first remark, giving a chuckle regardless. "Oh yes, you two would get along."

>>728402
>>728402
He clears his throat, looking to Flaming and Amy. "Yes, my proper name is Leather Cloak, I make an effort not to wear one as a result."

>>728411
Cloak shudders involuntarily at the mention of the two alicorns, turning to the minotaur and nodding. "My pleasure, Rus Tea." With Gadriel's introduction, he turns to Shei before accepting the hand shake.
>>728413
"Gadriel? Any relation to Gabby, Shei?"

 No.728415

>>728404
Flaming raises her eyebrow, "Uh… that sounds like a weird job, being a Horror. You get hugged a lot?"

She nods, "Yeah! Though, Dania actually had to stay behind in Zha Arlakane…" she snickers, "Okay, you're still calling her a she? Okay, I think I might have some surprising news for you then: did you know Dania was actually a boy all along?"

>>728407
>>728404
As Leather and Shei engage in another hug, Flaming laughs. "Okay, I guess you better get used to a lot of those. So you DO know this pony, Shei."

>>728410
"I gave up trying to argue something like that with you a long time ago, Amy." Flaming says with a snicker.

>>728411
"Could… is that spell easy to teach?" Flaming asks in a mix of disgust and interest.

>>728411
"Oh good, word of that got to you. I was worried about it too, but Mudi's become something of an uneasy ally, I don't think we can make any moves on that feather one way or the other until at least the issue of Tartarus is dealt with. Anything you want us to do regarding it now since we're in frequent contact with the Witch?"

 No.728416

>>728411
KP laughs as he's nearly shoved over, and then tries to give Lockjaw a shove back in play.
>Shove [1d10]
Pryce takes the outfit in his telekinesis, picking up Hopper again in his hooves so he can look at frog as he puts on his new outfit.
"That would be a nice idea, especially if Hopper really is that jealous."
Pryce comments after Hopper is now in his wizard attire, then placing the frog back on his head.
"I think we will have to borrow a few of those extra books after all."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.728418

>>728415
>Before Viper and Galton peace out
"Sure, we can sit down and practice for thirty or so years," Viper says, completely seriously.

 No.728419

>>728418
"…maybe AFTER we get out of Tartarus then, thanks." Flaming says with much less interest, already knowing she's got mountains of homework coming from Fairy.

 No.728420

>>728415
"No," Galton says to your second question. "We will conduct our own investigation, and questioning her too much about it will potentially interfere with that, given your connections to her. If and when you see her, simply keep an eye on its powers, if any, and report them to us via the Conch."

She quickly gives you her Conch code and Viper's.

 No.728421

>>728410
"It's a fine equish name. You just aren't used to Accorsian culture."

>>728412
"Shush, bad Amy." Shei lightly pats your head, but firmly, showing his disapproval.

>>728411
>>728414
"Leather Cloak.. This is Gabriele and Evel's Punishment. Together, as one. I brought them back three years they were deceased -during the reckoning." Shei puts an arm over Gadriel's back as he further introduces him. "That is why he's my brother. And this >>728412 Amy thest is my girlfriend."

>>728415
"I originally traveled with Leather Cloak. When I was sent on my mission from Hearthome to vanquish Buiwong, all those years ago."

 No.728424

>>728415
Leather chuckles again in a bassy pitch, "I wish, Miss Flaming. I take the brunt of the blows when fighting along Rooster, as he is not the type to watch his flank. I am told I have lasted the longest as his Horror so far."

Cloak blinks at Flaming's mention of Dania's gender. "I was not aware." He blinks a few times more for good measure, suddenly deep in thought thinking to his past travels.

>>728421
Cloak closes his eyes, processing the information. "I had heard they were no longer with the party. They are- It… He introduced himself, I am to assume they are them in body only?"

 No.728425

>>728424
"In Body and spirit." Shei illustrates the point by bringing his hooves together to touch "They are one, and try not to be rude. He is his own person you realize."

 No.728427

>>728414
>>728421

"Being named after clothes is weird," Amy states matter-of-factly.

>>728421

"You're just lucky I like it," she says to Shei as he pats her head.

 No.728428

>>728416
Lockjaw lets himself be bowled over onto one side, then rolls back up and tries to push back again.
[1d10]
Hopper gradually calms down as you dress him. Once he's all done, he holds up his staff, and twirls it, causing several small orbs of water to float about him.
Regina nods, then reaches about in her bag beside her. She pulls out a skull much like the one she let you take from her house, then taps it twice. "You heard the stallion. Bring me a spare copy of Witches and Wargs, 3E."
Some smoke floats out of the skeleton's eyes, floating off in the direction of the tree-house.
"It'll just be a while," Regina says. "Find yourself a place to set up while we wait."

>>728421
>>728412
>>728413
>>728414
>>728419
"I'm a demon," Gadriel says. "Or, something along those lines. I was created in a process of Fusion, using the souls of Gabriele, Evil's Punishment, and Wrath, their created angel child. For the Fusion, Shei also used the souls of demons."
"Sounds like certain novels I've read and never told anyone about…" Rus comments.
Gadriele rolls his eyes. "Now you see why I have such a hard time introducing myself, mister Cloak. All I can say is that I remember you in a fashion. Those who were born of Fusion often have glimmers of memories when confronted with beings and places that their past lives recognize. They… they thought you were a pretty good guy. I'm sure they're wishing the best for you and your wife."

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.728429

>>728428
>>728424
"That's right. Glass Dagger -where is she now?"

 No.728431

>>728428
>>728425
"Hmn. I see." Cloak's face is stern as he tries to process his emotions on the matter. Quiet for a long time, the stallion takes solace in Amy's welcome distraction from the subject at hand.

>>728427
"I apologize, Miss Amy Thest. If I knew it had been off-putting, I would've asked to had it changed when I was born."

>>728429
"Bedbound in the Cairn, likely getting in an argument with one of the nurses about why she can't leave. The mare hasn't been able to fly for the last two months, yet she thinks she could assist on the expedition to Tartarus. Even in her state, still as full as fighting spirit as ever." He smiles yet again, "We exchanged vows the month after the Firmament shattered. If we were going to make it through the end of the world as we knew it, we decided it should be together. Properly together."

 No.728432

>>728420
Flaming nods her head. "Understood then, Miss Galton. We'll just keep an eye on her from here and make sure she doesn't cause any more trouble. If she does anything with the feather that I haven't seen her do yet, I'll be sure to let you know."

She coughs, "And… when you go back, please tell Ichimonji to give me a call? I haven't seen her in a while."

>>728420
"AH!" Flaming says in understanding, nodding her head. "That is… a lot less fun than hugging, huh?"

As he seems bewildered at the reveal of Dania's nature, Flaming laughs, "Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too. WEIRD, right? Not just that, not only was Dania really a boy, he was a PRINCE."

>>728421
"That's great! Bet you're excited to see him again, huh? Is he strong?"

>>728428
>>728425
>>728424
As Gadriel introduces himself, Flaming looks to Leather, "Oh! Why not get the whole reunion in? Do you want us to take you to Pryce?"

 No.728433

>>728428
KP tumbles back, essentially somersaulting backwards from Lockjaw's mighty push. KP stops on his back, and goes into a laughing fit.
>"That was great!"

"I'll go check in with Amy and Flaming in the meantime. I want to catch their Ecclesian business before they leave."
>"I'll wait here!"
Pryce turns to head to the Observatory where he was told they were going earlier, leaving it up to Zjetya and River if they want to come or stay with Regina.

KP sits up, catching his breath after the tumble and looking at Regina for a moment.
>"So what are you?"

 No.728434

>>728432
"Battle often isn't fun, yes, but it must be done." His attention is fully on Flaming as she mentions visiting Pryce. "At the moment, there is nothing else I'd wish to do more."

 No.728438

>>728432
Shei nods "He is an excellent mercenary. But as I see him, I can feel how much stronger he's become."

>>728431
>>728432
"Oh yes! This would be a good opportunity to introduce him to the whole family."

 No.728440

>>728431

Amy waves her hoof-paws frantically in objection. "I didn't say it was bad! I just said it was weird! I like weird!"

 No.728441

>>728433
As KP lays on the grass, Lockjaw comes over to sniff at him and make sure he's doing alright.
"A sphinx," Regina says simply. "Even where I'm from, we aren't very common. Some say we're descended from a now-extinct race known as Gigantes… though I haven't looked into it much myself. You may have heard of my kind from myths and legends of riddle-telling gatekeepers."

>>728432
"But of course, dear, I'll be seeing her shortly," Galton says.

>>728429
>>728431
>>728432
>>728433
Pryce, Zjetya and River eventually make their way over to the Observatory, where they see Leather Cloak. Cloak recognizes River as one of Buiwong's servants. That's always been a controversial part of the Saviors' story – the idea that some of them were at Accorsia when the world ended, and may even have had a part in bringing that end about.
"Y-you…" River gasps, holding a hoof over her mouth.
"Familiar with him?" Rus asks.
"You… could say that. Like seeing a ghost," River continues.

 No.728442

>>728441
"We do not choose our allies in times of war." Looks to River with passiveness in his eyes, but his attention is quickly turned to Pryce.

>>728433
Rushing forward to take alicorn in a bear hug, Leather Cloak emotes the most since meeting the others again.

"Pryce Etac in the flesh, my patience has been rewarded. It is good to see you, my brother in faith."

 No.728443

>>728438
>>728434
>>728441
Flaming nods in agreement with the others, "Alright then, let's go find him. Last I saw he was having a LATE breakfast, so he should still be in the garden-"

She turns, noticing Pryce approaching the Observatory. She smiles, looking at him and then to Leather, "Hehe… maybe we won't need to go searching after all. HEY PRYCE!" She cries out, drawing attention to their group, "We have someone who'd like to see you!"

 No.728444

>>728441
>>728442
>>728433

Amy claps her hoofpaws together excitedly. "It's like a big happy family reunion!"

>>728443

"R-right?" Amy asks, turning to Flaming. Apparently, Flaming is the professional on families in Amy's mind.

 No.728446

>>728441
KP gives Lockjaw a pet as he comes over with concern.
>"Just catching my breath buddy."
When Regina says she's a sphinx, KP hops up, eyes wide in amazement.
>"You're a sphinx?! For real?!"
He exclaims.
>"Of course I heard of them! Are you really good with riddles? Do you use magic with your riddles? Is that why you're the Queen, cause you're good at being a guard with all the riddles?"
He questions, rattling them off rapidly.

>>728441
>>728442
Pryce walks up to the Observatory, looking for Galton, but stops as he sees the old familiar face.
"…Leather Cloak?"
Pryce says in shock at seeing him, motionless until the pony runs him into a bear hug. Pryce returns it and thensome at seeing a past ally that he thought was gone.
"I thought the Rapture got you… Is Glass here too?"

 No.728447

>>728440
"Just say that it's a nice name next time ten." Shei pats Amy's head again, less firmly this time.

>>728434
>>728441
"How do you feel knowing that we work with Buiwong as well?

>>728410
>"Bound to a bed?" Amy asks with a grin. "Into freaky stuff, huh? I like it," she says with a wink
Retroactive firm pat on the head "She's bed ridden and cripple for goodness sake."

>>728415
>>728424
>Cloak blinks at Flaming's mention of Dania's gender. "I was not aware.
Shei-Sher sighs "What she says is the truth. My embarassment mounts. As we have shared affection on more than one occassion. We've remained friends."

 No.728448

>>728444
>>728446
Flaming looks on as Pryce wraps Leather into a bear hug, then smugly looks up at Amy as she nods her head. "Oh yeah, it definitely is."

>>728447
Flaming snickers. "You dated a boy." She says with utterly immature glee.

 No.728451

>>728446
Cloak speaks with haste (unbecoming of his title), excited to see an old friend. "She is stationed at the Cairn, restricted to her bed and expecting. I'm to be a father." He says with a grin across his face.

 No.728452

>>728448
"That I did.. That I did." Shei nods solemnly, infact he nods a little to eager, and headbutts Flaming.

[1d10] Headbutting.

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.728453

>>728447
>>728442

"O-oh," Amy stammers, looking a fair bit sadder at the news that Dagger is sick.

"Is she going to get better?" she asks Cloak hopefully.

>>728448

Amy simply smiles happily in response.

>>728448
>>728452

Amy bursts out into laughter. "I forgot you two were a thing! Oh how I wish I was there to see when you found out…"

 No.728454

>>728446
"I prefer my illusions to riddles," Regina says. "Verbally, I tend to get tripped up if I'm not prepared."
"It's a little rude to bombard someone with questions, don't you think?" Sugar asks.
"It's alright," Regina says. "Small talk has been in short supply for me. I don't mind the practice."
Lockjaw sits at your side like a puppy.

>>728451
>>728452
>>728448
>>728446
>>728444
The happy announcement elicits a gasp from Rus Tea and Gadriel, both of whom now look rather happy for Cloak.
"Congratulations!" Gadriel says. "Do you know if they'll be a colt or a filly?"
"The others will want to extend their congratulations as well," Rus says. "I hope you aren't intimidated by crowds."

 No.728456

>>728451
"You are?"
Pryce questions at the news with so much new information coming in.
"Congratulations! I'm glad you've been doing so well. What brings you all the way out here?"


>>728454
>"We're meeting a real live sphinx! How can you not have a million questions?"
KP says to Sugar, turning back to Regina.
>"Illusions? Oh so you must do shows and stuff instead of normal riddles! That's even cooler! Can you show me one? Or a bunch?"

 No.728457

>>728453
>>728451
>>728454

"Oh! THAT kind of sickness!" Amy says, sounding relieved to hear that she's not terminally ill.

"You still have my sympathy, though," she says genuinely in response to the pregnancy announcement.

 No.728458

>>728454
>>728451
"You are guaranteed to be an excellent father, but you have to survive Tartarus first. Are you truly decided on going, knowing that you have a child coming?"

 No.728460

>>728453
Flaming continues to laugh, "It is pretty silly, but, at the same time I can't blame Shei too much. Novelus DID make a pretty convincing girl. But I think the only reason I couldn't tell right away is all sheep look alike anyhow."

>>728452
As Shei head-butts Flaming, she reels back, "Ow! Why you…" she says, taking on the challenge readily as she prepares to deliver one right back, even though she technically started it
[1d10] head butt!

>>728451
Flaming looks to Leather excited. "OH! You're going to be a Papa?! That's amazing! Congratulations!"

>>728457
"Sympathy? You make it sound like having a baby's a bad thing."

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.728461

>>728460
"Sorry, my bad. Let me REGAIN MY BALANCE."
headbutt roll

[1d10] chad goat forehead vs virgin buffalo scalp

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.728462

>>728461
As Flaming misses her shot, she grumbles, "And I'm still just a little sleepy, this time I'll get you!" She says as she rears up another small charge
[1d10] chad chieftain buff vs virgin momma's goat

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.728465

>>728458
>>728456
"Holy Hours asked the same thing, and is the logical choice no doubt. Still, I cannot rest knowing my children could be devoured by demons some day, because the expedition to Tartarus failed. Dagger and I have both agreed that your mission is paramount to the fate of the world, and she would be here fighting as well if not for Ecclesian nurses insisting on her being grounded. She is to remain at the Cairn."

>>728453
>>728454

"By the gods I hope so, she looks like a blimp." Leather laughs to Amy, turning to Gadriel and replying despite his discomfort towards the fusion, "Twins, one of each. Glass has already picked out their names."

>>728457
>>728460
"No no, Miss Amy Thest is quite right to give sympathizes, she is even more of a hoof-full with two infants bouncing along inside her. Hypomone knows her humor hasn't gotten any more filly-friendly."

 No.728466

>>728462
"Sorry, did you trip? I'm feeling a little Top Heavy."

[1d10] Motherfuckers vs Dumbfuckers

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.728467

>>728456
Lockjaw rolls onto his side, which results in him laying across your lap.
Regina rolls her eyes. "It's a little impromptu, and I am exhausted from what I demonstrated yesterday. I can spare you some spectacle, I think. What do you want to see?"

>>728465
>>728462
>>728461
>>728456
>>728457
"Then we'll have to make sure we bring you back alive," Rus says.
"Gods, talk about 'no pressure,' huh?"
Rus grunts. "Oh… speaking of which, aren't we forgetting something? A word that starts with 'd' and rhymes with 'ate'?"

>>728462
>>728461
Gadriel sighs with disgust at this pathetic display, then headbutts Shei. [1d10]
Rus headbutts Flaming. [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11

 No.728469

>>728465
>>728460

Amy laughs. "Yeah, I think I would die if I ever found out I was pregnant."

"Actually… I'm not sure I even CAN get pregnant…" She screws her face up in thought for a moment. Then, she shrugs. "Just a win-win for me."

If Cloak is observant, he might notice Amy flinch slightly at the use terms like 'Hypomone knows'.

>>728467

"You mean Box's date?" Amy asks Rus excitedly.

 No.728470

>>728465
"Oh, you're joining the Tartarus expedition?"
Pryce says, his tone dropping ever so slightly to be noticeable before it turns back up to it's previous reunion joy.
"So am I right that this means you joined Ecclesia? You must've been busy in all this time."

 No.728471

>>728467
KP gives Lockjaw a bellyrub as he rols over his lap.
>"Anything! I wanna see what a sphinx witch Queen can do, cause it's gotta be amazing!"
He says, looking up at her in eager anticipation.

 No.728472

>>728467
>3
Shei-Sher isn't very phased very much. He blinks at Gadds and shakes his head "You do realize, this means war." Shei gives Gadriel a headbutt.
[1d10] I wonder what headbutting steel feels like

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.728473

>>728466
"I'm just having a hard time seeing you cause I'm laughing so hard!"
[1d10] Lil' Buff Bump

>>728467
As Rus moves in to head-butt her next, Flaming squawks, "Hey! You want some of this?!"
[1d10]

>>728465
"Wow, TWO!? You're pretty lucky, huh?" She snickers. "I know it can't be easy, least for ponies. Buffalo are HUGE so I know how they can carry a baby but honestly I'm surprised you can fit one inside one of you, much less two. Hope she does okay…"

>>728469
"Really?" Flaming asks, "I think you'd be a good mama."

>>728467
"D… ate… OH!" Flaming's eyes widen. "Right, right! Uh, all my business with Galton is finished so I'm good to head back, is Journey waiting for me?!"

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

 No.728474

>>728467
>>728473
Shei-Sher lets Rus take out Flaming. await DM response before possibly making cheeky remarks.

 No.728475

>>728474
*awaiting

 No.728476

>>728473

"W-what!?" Amy responds with laughter. Though, she also seems to blush a bit. "What makes you think I'd be a good parent!? I barely take care of myself!"

 No.728477

>>728476
"True." Flaming says without much contest. "But, you're really nice, you're REALLY really fun, and you're a lot smarter than most ponies I know. I think a foal… a pup? A CHILD can do a lot worse than a mama who'd shower it with hugs day and night."

 No.728478

>>728467
"You'll be relieved to know I'm incredibly hard to kill, let alone knocked over. It is one of the reasons they've let me along given my wife's pregnancy." Leather says, hoisting his shield in front of him.

>>728470
"I am, and yes. I've worked in the rear guard under the command of Rooster, the Spook of Holy Hours, the Choir member. My previous position in the Morte Legionem made for a quick integration once me and Glass Dagger escaped the chaos that was the Firmament falling. We had believed it to be the end of the world so we-" he cuts himself off.

"Well, eight or so months later, she is in a bunker and I'm making sure my children will have a safe world to live in."

>>728473
"Worse, she's a pegasus. You can't imagine what it looks like with that much baby packed into her small frame." Leather laughs again.

 No.728480

>>728477

Amy laughs. "See that's why I think I can't get pregnant. What would the babies even be? A demon? A pony?"

"Oh no… I said 'babies'… Would I have a whole litter!?"

Amy shakes her head. "Nope, nope, nope. Can't be possible."

 No.728481

>>728470
>>728472
>>728473
>>728469
>>728478
Shei bonks Gadriel, and Flaming bonks Shei, and Rus finally bonks Flaming, putting an end to it once and for all, for all time.

"Yes, you two have special some…ponies… who are waiting you," Rus says, seemingly realizing how that term, "somepony," isn't very applicable when it comes to Box and LJ. "And the rest of our comrades are going to want to meet their new party member. Come now! We are burning daylight here!"
"I dunno if he can be called a Savior, though," Gadriel says, rubbing his head. "Well, I can't really claim the title either…"

>>728471
Regina rolls her eyes, then waves her claws before you. At first, nothing seems different. But then, after a few seconds, you feel a sudden sense of vertigo and exhilaration. The world seems to flip upside-down, with the ground below him turning into a kind of ceiling. KP feels as though he might fall away into the sky at any minute.

Though, the illusion isn't very convincing and seems to fade fast. KP sees Regina looking toward the observatory impatiently, tapping her claws nervously.

>Paused

 No.728482

>>728478
"Oh, wow! Yeah, no, I can definitely see where the worry is coming from there. Pegasi especially are kinda thin… how soon is she planning to have them, if you don't mind me asking?"

>>728480
Flaming starts laughing, "A-a litter! Hahahahaha!" Flaming snickers, "H-hey Amy, look on the bright side, if you do have a litter, you could always adopt, I'd love a lil' Amy-dog of my own."

 No.728483

>>728482

"They wouldn't be pets!" Amy objects, oddly defensively.

>>728478

"So… You work for Ecclessia now, right?" Amy asks as if she's approaching an uncomfortable subject.

 No.728484

>>728482
"Sometime in the next month or two, is what the nurses have said. She says she's holding them in until I return, whether they like it or not." His face scrunches, imagining the image.

 No.728485

>>728483
"That I do. I have worked as an assassin for the Morte Legionem before the fall of the Firmament, and they formed together with other groups in the wake of catastrophe to ensure ponykind would not be wiped from the face of the world. I've since worked patiently waiting for a time that I could do something more to help return peace to the world. I believe this is my opportunity."

 No.728486

>>728483
Flaming shakes her head, still snickering, "I know, I know! I was just making a bad joke. When you said 'litter', it just made me think of it, I'm sorry."

"Seriously though, whether you have one kid or a bunch though, I really do think you'd make a good mom. And, hey, even if you aren't? They'll have a really good aunt to help you out." She smiles proudly.

>>728484
"Holding them in until you get back…?" Flaming shakes her head, "Oooh… that's not… that's not gonna be easy. Or possible, I think? I hope we can get you back in time before that becomes an issue.

 No.728487

>>728485

"I know that Ecclessia has a lot of hate for demons. I was just wondering how you felt about them… And our plans in Tartarus."

>>728486

"Oh yeah?" Amy responds with a smirk. "You think you'd be a good mom, then?"

 No.728488

>>728487
Flaming's eyes widen, "M-me?! I uh…" her face blushes deep red, "I-I never really thought about it. I think that's a long, LONG ways off for me." She says avoiding the question.

 No.728489

>>728488

"Well, you couldn't be worse than MY parents," Amy laughs more sincerely than one should about that.

Then, her face straightens up a bit. "I guess that's true for me too…"

 No.728490

>>728478
"The Spook? Is that what they call their knights?"
Pryce asks, unaware of the Ecclesian rankings. As Cloak cuts his explanation short, Pryce nods, assuming the topic must be something private.
"It's just good to see you've done well. The ember we went to find up at Vadahara, I used it during the dark hours of the Rapture. It put me out for most of that time."
Pryce says, pointing to the charred portion of his horn.
"I came back only a month or so ago, seeing the world completely different, and hearing we lost some of our friends… Those first few days were rough."

 No.728491

>>728489
Flaming sighs, smiling a bit more relaxed. "Yeah, I think I agree. For both of us."

"Alright, how about this: what if we promise, if either of us ever become a mom, to help each other out? Then no matter what we'll be good, right?"

 No.728492

>>728491

"Well, of course I'll help you with anything you need!" Amy says with a smile. "But, I don't think you should expect me to be good at it."

 No.728493

>>728487
"It is something I have petitioned Hypomone for their word on for many months, though I have not had a visit for quite some time. Still, my god is that of patience, and so my opinion is mainly to wait and see. I choose not to make any opinions one way or another, save for the need to stop feral demons from attacking and bringing chaos to the lands. If that is through controlling them, then so be it."

>>728490
"Think right-hoof stallions to the members of the Choir themselves." Cloak grows somber, "And yes, I was under the assumption me and Glass had lost all of you as well. It was through faith and companionship I retained my will to go on, and now I know my patience was not in vain. Let us not enter the bowels of Tartarus with remorse, though. We must press on with resilience and valor!" He pats Pryce firmly on the back. "See now, you had thought me dead, but here I am. It will take more than world ending for our righteous quest to be extinguished!"

 No.728494

>>728493

Amy smiles at that response. "Good," she says with a nod. "I'm glad to see that there's some in Ecclesia who acknowledge that we aren't all bad. That butchering demons and performing horrible experiments on them isn't right. Thank you."

 No.728495

>>728493
Pryce smiles at Cloak's triumphant speech.
"We've fought a god and lived through the worst this world has faced. I don't think anything can extinguish us now."

 No.728496

>>728495
"Ah, to be in good company again. I am blessed."
Leather relaxes, looking back to Amy with an eye raised.

>>728494
"We aren't, hmm. Is it rude to ask what exactly are you? You resemble that of a crystal pony, besides some traits. Are you a shaman of sorts?"

 No.728656

Last time on HolyQuest…

Doctor Galton and her Spook, a crystal pony stallion code-named Viper, came bearing quite a few gifts for our heroes. First, they brought over a shipment of Caller Conches. It was impossible to test whether long-range communications would be possible in Tartarus, but it would be better to stay on the safe side.

Second, Galton told them a little about the nature of dying within Tartarus. According to records of the Sons of God, found by the Apostles of White, anything that is slain in Tartarus is given a kind of instantaneous reincarnation. In the surface world, the Soul lingers in the deceased body for three days before it leaves for the Ocean of Souls. But in Tartarus, both body and soul are immediately warped and mutated, turning into abominations. The Choir, therefore, are preparing special talismans. When used, the Soul is immediately extracted from the body and captured by the power of Living Saint Zoantharia, one of the six Choristers who would be entering Tartarus. This process does entail permanently taking the Soul from the body, however, so it should only be used in the face of imminent death.

Finally, Galton brought over Leather Cloak, or as his new title went, Hypostasus, Embodiment of Patience. Cloak was a former member of the party before vanishing during the chaos of the Rapture nearly eight months ago. He joined Ecclesia the very day it was formed, as he was a member of the Morte Legionem. He quickly rose the ranks thanks to his experience and indomitable will, and attained the rank of Horror. His patron, the Spook known as Rooster, in turn served Sir Holy Hours. Both Rooster and Holy Hours would be going into Tartarus to aid the quest.

With this business concluded, Galton and Viper had to leave, as she had to tend to the Choir's final preparations on this busy, busy fifth day. Now, Leather Cloak needed to meet the whole party, followers and all.

 No.728657

>Everyone except KP
Shei bonks Gadriel, and Flaming bonks Shei, and Rus finally bonks Flaming, putting an end to it once and for all, for all time.

"Yes, you two have special some…ponies… who are waiting you," Rus says, seemingly realizing how that term, "somepony," isn't very applicable when it comes to Box and LJ. "And the rest of our comrades are going to want to meet their new party member. Come now! We are burning daylight here!"
"I dunno if he can be called a Savior, though," Gadriel says, rubbing his head. "Well, I can't really claim the title either…"

>KP

Regina rolls her eyes, then waves her claws before you. At first, nothing seems different. But then, after a few seconds, you feel a sudden sense of vertigo and exhilaration. The world seems to flip upside-down, with the ground below him turning into a kind of ceiling. KP feels as though he might fall away into the sky at any minute.

Though, the illusion isn't very convincing and seems to fade fast. KP sees Regina looking toward the observatory impatiently, tapping her claws nervously.

 No.728658

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>728657
>>728496
"Oh, that's right. Our group has grown a lot since the old days," Pryce comments as Rus brings up the further introductions, "You showed up at a good time. We all just finished breakfast so we're still mostly in one area still."
Pryce gestures over to River.
"You've already met River, but she's changed a lot since back then."
He then gestures to Zjetya.
"And this is Zjetya."
He says, formally introducing, and reintroducing, the two to Cloak.
"And this is Hopper. The first of the collection of pets we've picked up."
Pryce says, picking Hopper up off his head for the frog's introduction.

>>728657
KP looks up eagerly as Regina waves her claws, awaiting what magic a Queen Witch Sphinx can do. The wait draws on, building the anticipation that KP doesn't even notice the sudden flip for the first second, the rush coming to him after as he wobbles in place a bit as his stomach flip-flops. He looks up into sky, or rather ground now, mouth open wide as he feels like he'll fall away to the heavens.
After it ends, he sits there a moment in silent shock before hopping up and giving a stomp of applause.
>"That was amazing! Have you thought of doing magic shows?"

 No.728659

>Cloak
>>728658
River nods stiffly to Cloak. Though she's nervous in his presence, she maintains steady eye contact, and Cloak can see a brightness to her eyes that wasn't there during her servitude to Buiwong. There is only a faint hint of shame for her past misdeeds, but it seems to have turned into hope for atonement.
Zjetya's appearance is certainly strange to Cloak. Her body is like that of a changeling's, but with a distinct flame-orange color instead of black. She has the neck fluff of a mothpony, and a mane to match. With yellow scelra and bright amber eyes, she is certainly eye-catching. "Sup?" she asks, tossing her head back.
"Zjetya, have some manners," River says. "He's a Horror."
Zjetya hops in place, genuinely surprised. "Oh! My apologies, sir." She then does a more formal salute, putting her hoof across her chest to her left shoulder. "Zjetya. Division: Laity. Rank: Evangelist."
Hopper, a small frog in a stage magician's costume, looks to Cloak with a very sagely, studious gaze. He raises his tiny staff, which is tipped with a perfectly spherical orb of water. Droplets of water start floating from it.

>>728658
"I'm about to start my career by making all of them disappear if they don't stop delaying my date…" Regina grumbles.
Box clears his throat nervously. "Remember what we talked about this morning?"
"Right, right…" Regina says, with a sigh. "Some tea, please."
"I've got ya covered," Spitshine says, then gets up, wheeling over a tray from the picnic tables. It has a tea set that would be very small for Regina but the right size for a standard pony. Box immediately starts preparing some tea for her.

 No.728660

>>728657
As Rus bonks Flaming on the head, she lets out a yelp of pain as she reaches up and rubs at it. "Ow. What did I do, Shei was the one who started it."

As she brings up that she has some special 'somepony' waiting for her back at the Library, her eyes blink rapidly. "O-oh yeah, right! I should get back to my room so I can change into that new dress before I go," she says, using her magic to open up a speedy dark corridor
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.728661

>>728660
You produce a Dark Corridor with ease, giving you the opportunity to quickly change aboard the ship. Once you're done, Spark settles down into your hair right atop the crown of your head, getting nice and cozy on this chill morning.

 No.728662

>>728661
Flaming lets out a sigh of relief as the Dark Corridor drops her out so promptly in her room aboard the ship, rushing to change back into her green dress Regina gave her as she smooths it out, making sure it's not wrinkled. "Wooh… alright, that's taken care of. Let's go on that date!" She says to herself excitedly, looking up at Spark as he climbs up to the top of her head. She giggles, reaching up to scratch beneath his chin. "Okay, you can stay up there for now. But you may need to move later when the date gets going, okay?"

With that, she proceeds out of the ship and opens one more corridor to take her to the Library
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.728663

>>728659
"We should not give in to any more delay" Shei tapped Gadriel's shoulder and after made a dark corridor spring up from the floor just the same as Flaming.

The corridor leads to a field some distance outside the walls of lilane.

[1d10+1] dark corridor

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.728664

>>728662
Spark chews a little on your horns, warming them up just a smidgen with puffs of flame. Seems like he's got a bit of an attitude when it comes to being told to move out. You may have some trouble when he's eighteen and needs to get his own house.

With your second corridor, you arrive back at the garden, where you see Regina sitting with Sugar, Spitshine, Box, LJ, KP and the pets.

 No.728665

>>728664
Flaming snickers up at Spark's rebellious behavior as he chews on her horns, "You better watch that attitude of yours buster." She says light-heartedly as she steps through the corridor to the garden.

As she spots the others sitting around, she slows her pace, letting herself get comfortable to her dress as she moves towards LJ, smiling. "Hey! Sorry I'm late, Galton definitely had a surprise for us there. But I'm all done and ready for our date!" She says excitedly, hoping Journey matches her energy.

 No.728666

>>728658
>>728659
Cloak again looks sternly to River, but shows no anger or ill will. "It has been some time, River. While the past cannot be changed, the future can. Let it be known I see you as an ally just as any of the others here, do not let my presence be a cause of worry." Cloak offers a hoof to shake, offering a nod if accepted.

As for Zjetya, Cloak smiles, waving his hoof to dismiss her formal pose. "Oh come now, you may be as informal as you want. If we're to travel to the depths of Tartarus together, it shouldn't be with a stick up our flanks the whole time. Call me whatever it is you wish, as long as my patron Rooster isn't around."

 No.728667

>>728659
>"I'm sure they'll be here soon. They usually don't take too long if they got something they know they gotta do."
KP says, unaware of how serious Regina might be, and how easily she could do such a threat.


>>728659
"Oh, right. I almost forgot you were part of Ecclesia."
Pryce comments at seeing Zjetya acting so formal.

 No.728668

>>728496

"Kind of," Amy screws her face up in thought. "Some of the stuff I do is kind of shaman-ish," she nods. "That's what people have said about my potions, anyway. I do a lot of magic, though. I haven't really studied any of it, so I can't really say what kind of magic-doer I am."

Amy completely misses the point of the question.

 No.728669

>>728663
>>728666
Before Gadriel leaves with Shei, he turns to Cloak, offering his claw for a shake. "Well, I do hope we'll get some time to talk before we enter Tartarus. In my previous lives, I had a more authoritative position over Shei, but he's definitely in charge this time around. Take care, okay? If you get bored, come find us. Shei gets in trouble no matter where he goes, if you don't mind getting banned from Ecclesian territories."

Afterwards, Shei and Gadriel arrive via Dark Corridor near the towering trees of the swamps north of Lilane.

>>728666
>>728667
River takes the shake with solemn resolve. "The same to you. Whatever happened in the past, our interests are the same now. Even Buiwong seems to be fighting for our cause, though as always, we cannot trust his machinations."

Zjetya relaxes. "To be honest, I almost forgot myself. Ever since I got assigned to your group, they haven't been giving me additional missions. They probably assume – correctly – that we'll be too busy."

When Cloak talks about traveling to Tartarus together, Zjetya nearly imperceptibly winces, looking to Pryce for a sign of whether she should say anything.

>>728667
>>728666
>>728665
>>728668
Out of habit, River Spring conjures a Dark Corridor for the party to get back to the garden atop the Library of the Sacrosanct. The Corridor looks similar to those Cloak has seen before, but some things have changed. White esoteric text, in a variety of languages, now spirals around the rim of the portal's opening, as well as across the darkness below and to the sides. River looks to Cloak with a bit of concern. "Sorry. This has become sort of standard practice for us. If you prefer stairs, I believe they're that way."

Whatever your method, eventually everyone gets back to the garden. Cloak finds himself in a vast walled enclosure, full of groves, creeks, ponds, and mysterious and fantastical plants of all kinds. The chill in the air and the sound of sweeping winds nearby suggests it's quite high up.

Cloak sees a group of people of varying races situated by a lake – it's the other party members, of course. They are an eclectic bunch of varying races. Perhaps the most notable is the massive sphinx in the sundress, sitting on a long couch.

LJ, a strong-looking buffalo about Flaming's age, runs over to her once he sees her. He's changed out of his apron and has on a very nice-looking poncho, full of intricate tribal designs. "Hey, it's about time you got ready! Guess Tantra was right about how long cows take to do their makeup and stuff. Who's this guy?"

"An old friend," River says. "Leather Cloak, get ready for a lot of introductions."

 No.728670

>>728669

Amy bounces with bubbly excitement as she watches all the reunions and new meetings.

 No.728671

>>728669
As LJ runs over to her, Flaming admires his poncho for a bit before he makes that comment about how long it takes cows to get ready. She snorts, "Pfff, make-up?" She blinks a few times, realization dawning on her: "…make-up!"

She looks around for Zjetya, who got her looking pretty for the show a couple of days ago, "How could I forget, it was gonna be perfect and I-I just forgot! Where is sh-" she pauses, taking a few moments to calm down before she makes Journey notice her freaking out. "Uh, I-I mean… I uh… t-that's a really nice poncho! I don't think I've ever seen it before, it's very cool."

She looks over to Leather, "An that's an old friend of Pryce and Shei's, he was traveling with them ever since before the Firmament fell!"

 No.728672

>>728666
>>728667
>>728668
>>728662
Shei-Sher flashes his caller conch at Leather Cloak before entering the corridor. "I have a caller conch, should any need. You all have my calling card."

>>728669
"A touch unfair!" Shei complains as they traverse the corridor "I-I have friends in many places -where I am surely welcome. Right? Hm.. Do you think people maybe ENDURE my company rather than recieve it?"

They exit the corridor together finding themselves below Swamp trees. "Right then. Those wings of yours- do they work? Because they look vestigial."

[Gadriel's wings are vestigial despite him having the griffon flight racial. Gadriel is simply able to hover into the air while the metal furs of his body take on a shifting serrated form.]

 No.728673

>>728669
>>728666
Pryce smiles as Cloak and River greet on friendly terms, and in agreement that the past is in the past.

>>728669
"We should discuss with Ecclesia about that at some point," Pryce says to Zjetya on her status, "…What missions did they usually send you on?"

As she looks to hm about the Tartarus talk, he says nothing, his look showing that topic will be for later.

Pryce steps through the corridor as the party all reunites, the air of the day to come feeling light and hopeful. For a lack of better terms, he considers it a godsend to have a reunion and a day of everypony being together amidst the trials and looming threats.

>>728666
KP turns his head as the others step out back into the garden. He waves, and then pauses as he spots Cloak. He runs up to the earth pony, looking up at him.
>"Cloak? Is that really you?"
He asks like he's seeing a ghost. Cloak can see the young colt looks almost identical to Pryce, though he lacks the wings and the charred burn on his horn.

 No.728674

>>728672

"I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention," Amy says, looking to Shei. "Are you going somewhere?" she asks with concern.

 No.728676

>>728674
Shei has already left through the corridor. You get a ring on your caller conch though.

>collect call for Amy

>"I'm visiting my folks."

 No.728678

>>728668
"Right," Cloak nods patiently, "an alchemist by trade then. Perhaps I'll ask you more questions when I'm not being introduced to so many new faces all at once."

>>728669
Still the most tentative to interact with so far, Cloak does eventually shake ahnds with Gadriel. "Very well." Out of sight, he polishes his hoof on one of his wrappings.

With little more to say besides an eyebrow raised at River's words towards Buiwong, Cloak joins them through the Corridor. Giving a small laugh as he sees just how large the group as become since he's left. "By the gods, you've amassed your own army."

 No.728680

>>728673
Cloak looks between Pryce and his lesser a few times, blinking once again. "Hello there..?"

He looks to the larger Pryce, looking for him to elaborate on the strange situation wordlessly.

 No.728681

>>728676

"You could have at least given me a kiss before you left…" Amy grumbles in response over the Conch.

>>728678

"My potions aren't all that cool, anyway," Amy says, again missing the point. "And, in case you hear any rumors about my potions, they ARE technically true, but don't worry! It's not that bad!"

 No.728682

>>728681
"Whoops I forgot!" he blurts into the conch

 No.728683

>>728672
"Is that MY caller conch? I think I lent mine to you and I haven't gotten it back yet."

 No.728684

>>728682

"You better make it up to me later," Amy huffs before she hangs up the conch.

 No.728686

>>728670
>>728671
"It was my father's, when he was my age," LJ says fondly. "And before that, it belonged to his father, woven by my grandmother when they were wed."

The implications fly right over his head.

"I thought it'd fit the occasion to bring out something nicer than my grubby combat poncho," he adds with a smile. "You look… uh… really pretty yourself."

In the background, Vortigern softly claps.

>>728672
Gadriel floats upward a short distance, but despite not needing his wings, he does flap them, rather forcibly. They're inelegant, off-balance flaps, looking almost like a cartoonish parody of flight than anything else. "Yeah, I can fly just fine," he says, not taking any notice of how awkward he looks. "Where we headed?"

>>728673
"Laity usually can't participate in any combat ops unless they have a detachment of Congregation to guard them," Zjetya says. "I've only seen battle a few times, though. They pegged my skillset as being best for after-battle care. I would perform for wounded soldiers in medical tents, and for widows and orphans recovered from danger zones. Stuff for raising morale, you know?"

(1/2)

 No.728687

>>728678
>>728674
>>728673
>>728671
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYTpZ_wfcgU

River waves over the others. "Come say hello to our new ally!"

Eagerly they do, trotting over from various parts of the colorful, magical lakeside to get a look at Cloak.

The first is an orange unicorn colt with one eye permanently shut by a scar. "Hey! I'm Spitshine."
Next is a morose-looking doe, about Spitshine's age. "…Name's Sugar."
After her is a battle-scarred zebra mare in a white cloak, a little older than Pryce. She wears a sword handle with no blade at her hip. "I'm Blessings, blade of the Apostles of White. Good to meet you."
Next is a middle-aged mare whose body appears to be made all of smooth chrome with a rainbow sheen. "I am General Chorazin of the fallen nation of Mariposa."
She's followed by two ghastly-looking alicorns whose bodies are jet-black, one stallion and one mare. The stallion's body almost appears to be lacking skin, covered with sinewy muscles, with an elongated neck. His sclera glow yellow like lanterns, but the eyes are intelligent and blue. His mane is very long and greasy, unkempt. "I am Volkama, the Earl of Glass, from Circadia. Meet my wife, Deriva."
The mare next to Volkama has a similar, albeit more feminine apperance. She is covered with tattered mage's robes. "…Hello…" she wheezes softly.
After them is a treasure chest with four pony legs sticking out of the bottom at the corners. The lid opens, revealing a row of teeth along the rim and a very long tongue. "Hey! I'm Box, nice to meetcha."
Afterward is a changeling mare with a glasgow smile. Pink wires flash around her in a circle, disappearing and reappearing seemingly on the mare's whim. "Sup. I'm Wireframe. I mostly… hang out."
Next to Wireframe are two deep purple unicorns, of ambiguous and indeterminate gender. The smaller one appears to be a stallion, with a crow on his head. "I am Observer, agent of the Void," he intones dryly.
"I'm Yes Mare… technically…" the mare says, with much more personality. "I would really prefer if you call me Hafaza though. I'm trying to rebrand."
Finally, there's a humanoid fly demon, about the height of a pony. He seems to be relaxed enough around the party, but when he gets close to Cloak, he grows nervous. "H-hey. I'm Busta…"
"Did we forget anybody?" Box asks.
"Just Sister Renee, but she's training with Flow," Wireframe says.

 No.728688

>>728686

Amy lets out a tiny squee as LJ talks, but doesn't want to ruin the moment.

>>728687

"Don't worry, Busta," Amy consoles Busta. "He's fine with nice demons."

 No.728689

>>728686
Flaming spots Zjetya, but realizes it's far too late to ask her for that make-up… and, thinking on it, maybe she'll be okay without it. She looks back to Journey as he explains where it comes from, and lucky for HIM, the implications seem to sail over Flaming's head as well, who is too caught up admiring it. What she does get is how big this date must be to Journey too if he'd break it out for this.

"It really, really is cool. It must mean a lot to you, thanks for showing it to me." As he compliments her looks, she smirks, doing a little twirl in her dress. "Thanks! I uh… 'feel' pretty pretty, too. I'm not used to dresses like this." She glares, "But uh, don't go spreading that around."

She casts a look in Vortigern's direction, raising an eyebrow, before turning back to Journey. "So… should we grab Box and Regina and let them know date's started?"

 No.728691

>>728689
LJ laughs, suppressing a yawn. "You could've fooled me. Looks like it was practically made for you! Uhh but yeah, we should report in to Regina. Like… five minutes ago. She got pretty antsy waiting for you to come back from the observatory."

He takes you by the hoof. "C'mon! I think she'll throw us into those illusions again if we make her wait any longer."

 No.728692

>>728687
Working down the line with a grin at how many made the effort to introduce themselves, pausing a bit to repeat the list in his head before attempting to return all the names as accurately as he can.

"Right, let's see then. Spitshine, Sugar, Box, Wireframe, and Hafaza; it is nice to meet all of you-" Cloak says in friendly matter, -"General Chorazin, Earl Volkama, and who I assume would then be the Countess Deriva, the pleasure is mine." He says more respectfully, offering something between a bow and a nod. "Blessings, a pleasure as well.. and let's see… Ah, Observer, Busta, my greetings to you two as well." Cloak says, amicably despite giving the last two a second glance.

"I am Leather Cloak, former companion of Sir Pryce, Flow, and Shei-Sher, among others. In the ranks of the Ecclesia, I am known as the Horror Hypostasus, Embodiment of Patience. I look forward to working alongside you all."

 No.728693

>>728686
>>728686
Shei looks on at Gardiel seamlessly hovering into the sky. He's impressed and flaps his wings to join him up in the sky.

"Hehe, you know I am not entirely sure actually. Lets rise above the swamp canopy and see." Shei flaps his wings more until he is above the trees and scans the area.

"I remember someone saying there were villages being built east of lilane. Just fly in opposite direction of the electric horizon. We will know if we are going the wrong way if the sky is turning dark."

With Shei flies eastward
[1d10+1] navigation

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.728694

>>728692
"In case you were wondering, I am not a demon, nor is Hafaza," Observer says. "I considered the transformation, but demon parasites are apparently far harder to come by than black market dealings. Besides, gathering the knowledge I seek would be far less efficient in a demon form."
"We are Voidlings," Hafaza says. "Beings from outside your World. Don't worry, we plan to stick around to aid your struggle, so long as it's beneficial to our own mission of Gathering."

"Well, that's everyone in our little circle. Now for Buiwong's n–" Wireframe begins.

"ME! You forgot me!" a metallic female voice cries out. From down a road to the north, you see a silver bipedal figure, made all of metal like an automaton or golem. It has wings as well, woven of metal. The figure stops once it gets close to Cloak. It stops, stopping over with hands on knees to catch its breath… despite having no muscles to get sore, nor lungs to need breath. It gets up and extends a hand to Cloak. "Paladin Mirror Image of the Union Church, and Chayot of the Heavenly Hosts."

 No.728695

>>728694

"Demon parasites?" Amy asks with a cock of her head.

 No.728696

>>728680
>"Hi! I can't believe you're here, it's been so long I thought the demons go you."
Pryce steps over at seeing Cloak's confusion.
"Right, this might be one of the odder faces to see. A few days ago, on our mission to Mariposa, I ran into a crystal pony who had an interesting spell to make a child version of myself as a hostage threat."
>"Yea, Mr. Ruby was a bit rough to work with but he's calmed and helps us out now."
KP chimes in.
"There wasn't really a way to undo the spell, so here we are."


>>728686
"They did pick you for the right job there. But, that is a concern if things will get as bad as it feels tomorrow."

 No.728697

>>728696
"We'll need to put in a special petition sometime today," Zjetya says. "Any of the Ecclesian agents entering Tartarus will have the authority to command me to go with them. Whether they'd actually do that remains to be seen, but we should try to be sure."

>>728695
"An exceedingly rare organism from Tartarus," Observer explains. "They Fuse with the first organism they come into contact with, regardless of whatever they may be. Their beauty lies in the fact that, because the parasites have no personality of their own, a Fusion between a mortal and a parasite results in no change to the mortal's personality or memories, only their bodies and souls. However, when they are used on demons, the results are typically disastrous."

 No.728698

>>728693
"Just fly in the opposite direction?" Gadriel asks, incredulously. He doesn't follow you, instead plopping down on an overturned tree. "Are all your plans this ingenious?"

He reaches into his bag and pulls out the crystal ball you gave him yesterday. "Why don't we actually try finding out where we're supposed to go? That's what this can do, right? How do I use this thing again?"

 No.728699

>>728691
Flaming blushes, turning her head away as he says that. "C-come on, Journey, you're embarrassing me here, hehe… and, yeah, I agree: if we don't check in soon I bet she'll make us take our date in another story book!" She says.

As Journey grabs hold of her hoof, she smiles and runs along side him, heading over to the massive sphinx just ahead, shouting at her for her attention. "Regina! Sorry I'm late, I just had to deal with a little Ecclesia business first. You weren't waiting too long, were you?"

 No.728700

>>728694
Leather nods, not in understanding but to at least show he's paying attention, "Very well, I myself might need to gather all the knowledge I've been given today. Once I find some free time I'll probably be hunched over a scroll writing this all down."

Taking a curious glance to Mirror Image, Cloak shakes the Chayot's hand. "Leather Cloak, disciple of Hypomone and Horror to Rooster, Spook of Holy Hours. A good name you have, my wife was thinking Mirror as a name for one of our children."

 No.728701

>>728696
"Ah, what a surprise. It sounds as if you share the memories of the memories of the Pryce I've traveled with proper, so it is a pleasure to meet again for the very first time." Cloak says with a smile.

 No.728702

>>728697

"Well that's nifty," is all Amy has to say in response to Observer.

>>728700

"Don't worry," Amy says, patting Leather on the back as if they're old friends. "I don't know what's happening half the time, either."

 No.728704

>>728698
Shei hoofpalms at seeing Gadriel fly directly down "I -uh.. I did not mean that way -opposite." Shei gently flies down to Gadriel, feeling out the awkward misunderstanding. "Yes! let's do that." Shei sits down on the tree beside Gadriel.

"Why don't you have at it first. It is your gift after all. Do you remember my instruction, on how to use the crystal ball." Shei insists Gadriel try using the crystal ball "Simply visualize a goat village, try and let the feeling take you, do not chase it."

 No.728705

>>728700
"I would be happy to bless them, whatever you choose as their name," Mirror says. "By the way, your accent… Are you an Accorsian by any chance?"

"I'll draw you a diagram too," Wireframe says. "That'd probably be more useful for our group, anyway, since illiteracy is a rampant problem among the mares here. Not me, though. Heh! Leave it to the changelings to hog all the brains!

"Anyway, as I was saying, Buiwong's group is over there," she continues, gesturing to the picnic tables. "Ready to meet them too or do you need a breather?"

>>728699
Regina takes tiny sips from a teacup that is practically microscopic in comparison to her, balanced precariously on her claw-tips. "All I'll say is that it's good for you that we set this up after my change of heart, otherwise I'd be having a very different response right now."

She sets down the tea-cups and claps her paws. "Well, gentlecolts, what shall we do first? I may be a queen, but even I know boys don't like to let the mares lead the dates."

"If it's all the same to you," LJ begins. "I'd like to do something a bit… active. Don't get me wrong, I want to have this be a fun relaxing day, but we are on the verge of an important mission. If it's at all possible to blend training with our date, I would think it wise to go for that."
"Yeah, that's just what I was about to say!" Box says. "I had a lot of fun yesterday!"

Regina makes a big show of tapping her chin, but her barely-hidden grin betrays that she's looking forward to it. "Flaming, what say you?"

>>728704
Gadriel holds the crystal between his claws, shutting his eyes in quiet focus. Curls of swirling light and sparks start to form in the ball…

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.728706

>>728704
>>728705
Gadriel groans after a few seconds, but holds his posture. "A-am I doing it right…?"

>Second attempt; if this fails, you can roll as well.


[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.728707

>>728705
>>728706
"I -uhm cannot really say. It is your mind after all. But don't give up! I'm sure you can do it."

 No.728708

>>728697
An extreme, and visible, sense of worry flashes over Pryce at hearing any agent could order her away to Tartarus.
"We'll need to do that right away, the next time we see them."
He says with an absolute determination.
"I wanted to pick up some of those cleansing ingredients too, so that might be later this afternoon."


>>728701
>"Yup! All the memories up to when Ruby cast the spell, but since then I've a whole new pony. For half the price too!"
KP says, laughing at his own pun.
>"Though we're also still connected too sorta."
"We are?"
>"Yea! River was saying yesterday that we still have a connection cause of the magic used and stuff… I was gonna talk to Mr. Ruby to learn ore about it, but then it got late and now we're here and he's back at Fantasia."

 No.728709

>>728705

"Hey! You say that like not be able to read is some kind of sickness!" Amy objects to Wireframe.

"And, I have plenty of brains!"

 No.728710

>>728707
Eventually, the orb reveals a small settlement under construction. It's in a lightly forested area, in a rocky hillside, built along a rapid cutting through the mountains that runs southwest to join a larger river. Goats populate the area, and everyone you see is wearing Ecclesian clothing. Many armed guards keep watch on the surrounding area while workers build fortified huts and repair existing architecture.

Based on the map of the region, and on the geography you're seeing, it looks like this is near Commontown.

Gadriel laughs as he opens his eyes and beholds the crystal ball's vision. "Hey! I got it working!"

 No.728712

>>728705
"Aye, born and raised in an Accordian town and was once part of the Morte Legionem. I've only become accustomed to so much travel over the last year."

"Thank you, Wireframe. I'd like to think I have a better memory than most, but I'll not argue the usefulness if a diagram."

He nods, "I am fine to wait, whenever it would be most convenient."

 No.728713

>>728705
Flaming looks up at Regina as she sips her tea, chuckling lightly as she tries to gauge just 'how' mad she is with a comment like that. "Hahaha.. g-guess we're pretty lucky you've changed since then, huh? What exactly would you have done to us, dare I ask?"

When Journey offers up his suggestion of what to do for their date, Flaming can't help but frown a 'little', hoping to focus more on relaxation for their date and getting to know one another better, but perks up as she realizes, training IS pretty much like a fun-day out for buffalo. "Hmm…. I guess I could go for that! But, how exactly do you plan to do it? Is our first date going to be to the sparring circle?"

 No.728714

>>728712
>Accorsian, not Accordian. Cloak doesn't do Polka dots anymore

 No.728715

>>728710
"Bravo Gadds! Tis no surprise, you have a legacy of magic within you." Shei leans forward to get a look at the crystal ball, he clicks his tongue at seeing the many guards surrounding the town. "Now I wish I had not traded my sacklcloth disguise with Flaming.. Well I doubt we could manage to find you a disguise either way Gadriel. We will have to present ourselves at the gate and beseech entry if they've heard of my transgression."

Shei-Sher puts his hoof over the crystal ball and looks to Gadriel.
"Whatever happens, promise me you will not resort to violence. They may be a little belligerent."

 No.728716

>>728708
Cloak chuckles, "Well, I've seen a great deal of odd things today, but nowhere near unpleasant."

 No.728717

>>728708
Zjetya lightly socks your arm. "Relax. We're gonna take care of it. I know your feelings on 'em are complicated, but the Choir has been good to us soldiers. The paperwork might drive you crazy, but I'm sure we can come to an understanding."

>>728709
"How are you gonna be a demon queen if you can't even…" Wireframe begins to retort, but stops and considers her words. "Hang on… does being royalty or aristocracy even require much reading?"

>>728712
"So good to finally meet a kinspony. I was born in the Glowstone Gulch, a mining town in Andalusite, and one of the few settlements where unicorns were welcome," Mirror continues. "Accorsia yet lives."

She dabs at her metal eyes as if wiping away tears that are not there. "F-forgive me. Even in this angelic body I can't help but wax emotional. Don't let me get in the way of your introductions!"

>>728713
Regina just winks.

LJ turns to Regina. "Hey, based on what I heard from the others about yesterday, they skipped over a few of the stories. Can we use one of those?"
"Go into an illusion, you mean?" Regina asks. "Er, that's a bit more work than I was hoping. What I could do is play a little Witches and Wargs for us, like we were talking about last night. I can do a conventional adventure, or for a more modern take, have a little more relaxation and play. Does that sound alright?"
"We should be asking you that!" Box says. "Flaming, Regina, it's our day to pamper you. Does that sound fun?"

>>728715
"I don't think I'm even capable of resorting to violence," Gadriel dryly comments.

He takes a compass from his bag and starts to follow it and the map eastward.

>Roll navigation


>>728712
"Forget waiting," Wireframe says. "We're on a short timeframe today."

She leads you over to the picnic table. There, you see four powerful-looking figures.

The first is a gray pegasus mare with a very large wingspan, and a ghille suit for armor. She gazes at you dispassionately.
"That's Vortigern," Wireframe says. "Doesn't do much talking."
Next to her is a white dragon, with a segmented body made entirely out of paper, with features seemingly painted on with black ink. He grins. "I am _____, formerly of Yongning-si, outcast of the dragons. Refer to me however you wish."
After that is a drider mare, a pony with a short-cropped dark auburn mane, massive round glasses, and a modest blue poncho covering her midriff. Her spider half is black and a kind of poisonous-looking olive color. "Howdy. Name's Mocha. Buiwong's granddaughter."
Next is a very large buffalo with gruesome facial scarring, including a glowing-white scar that runs down the right side of his face, turning one of his eyes pure white. He wears an orange gi. When you look his way, he grins, contrasting with his horrific damage.

But of course, you recognize him instantly.

"Hey! I'm Temper Tant–" he begins, then stops short. He stands up, knocking back his chair. "You… I know you!"

 No.728718

>>728717
>"I don't think I'm even capable of resorting to violence," Gadriel dryly comments.
Shei chuckles "heh, okay. Lets be off then." Shei flies up again and when Gadriel joins him they make a flight path eastward.

[1d10] naviagtion
[forgot, my regular talent isn't active right now]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.728719

>>728717

Amy shrugs. "I don't see why I can't have someone else read everything for me."

>>728717
>>728712

Amy follows along to the picnic table.

When Tantra stands up, Amy cocks her head. "You know Pleather, Tanter?" Amy asks, getting neither name right.

 No.728720

>>728717
"That sounds great!" Flaming says to Regina's suggestion. "I've been wanting to try it since last night, I even made a character with Rus and Vortigern's help reading through the book with me! I think that sounds like a lot of fun, if you two don't mind playing through that." She says, looking to Box and Journey.

"It 'could' help with training in more ways than one too, let us practice strategy right?"

 No.728721

>>728717
"While I may have had a more urban upbringing, I agree it is good to see Accorsian hospitality even here."

Cloak offers a short nod to all of them, not going through their names like the previous group. "Leather Cloak, my greetings." With Temper Tantrum's appearance, he rubs the back of his neck awkwardly.

>>728719
"Leather." Cloak says amicably to the side, "One could say that."

 No.728722

>>728716
>"Oh! Have you seen our cool new pet? Lockjaw!"
KP says, calling over Lockjaw for Cloak to see.

>>728717
Pryce looks down as she bops him, giving a light chuckle as the worry is cleared.
"It was just shocking to hear you could be whisked away so easily. But you're right, some of them have been pleasant to work with, so things can be settled."

>>728717
>>728716
Pryce looks over to River, and then to Leather, seeing as Shei ran off and Flaming went off to her date.
"Did you have any plans for the day? We were going to show the kids around town."

 No.728723

>>728721

"Cotton," Amy responds enigmatically.

"Another old friend?"

 No.728724

>>728719
"C-can I do it?" Wireframe asks excitedly. "I always wanted a cushy, important position where I get paid big to do easy work."
"I already called dibs!" Rus protests.
"Since when!?"
"Just now."
"That's not how dibs works!"
Wireframe and Rus Tea suddenly lock horns, getting into a bizarrely buffalo-like headbutting bout.

>>728718
You and Gadriel are forced to fly into an eastern headwind, making travel rather difficult for a time, but after a while you get into a pattern of criss-crossing through the winds, mimicking the strategies of birds to get to your destination. Soon enough, after getting closer to the mountains, they catch enough of the winds for you to get to your destination safely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYE4bXRGHds

You and Gadriel touch down on a hill road, well-worn with cart tracks. Pine needles coat the ground, and a light hoarfrost embraces everything nearby. An imposing wall awaits further up the hill, built from thick, well-carved logs with spiked tops. Guards await in their towers, but don't seem to have noticed you yet.

"So can't we just go in and request entry?" Gadriel asks.

>>728721
>>728723
"Much like River Spring, I fought to bring about the end of days with Buiwong," Tantra says. "Though, if I had known it would have turned out like this… argh. I need to get out of that mindset. What's done is done, right?"

He offers his hoof for a bump.

>>728722
>>728721
"Oh right, our pets!" Spitshine exclaims.
Aside from Hopper, there seem to be four pets with the party. The first is a tiny Kecha-Wacha, which Sugar introduces as Katcher. Second is a tiny Pukei-Pukei, who Spitshine names Pucchini. Third is Lockjaw, a tiny Deviljho. Lockjaw grunts upon being introduced, sniffing Cloak all over, apparently in search of food.

The fourth pet is a piglet, who sniffs around in the grass near Hafaza's legs. He seems a little shy.

"Still working on a name," Hafaza says. "I've been sticking with Pig for now."
"Hafaza is a Power Voidling, while I am a Knowledge Voidling," Observer dryly explains.

>>728720
"Does this involve a lot of math…?" Box asks. "…Cause math is my favorite subject!"
"That actually sounds like a good start!" LJ says. "You'll have to show me how it's done though."
"I was hoping you'd say that," Regina says. She digs into her bag and pulls out that old copy of Witches and Wargs, as well as a set of glasses. As she sets them on her nose, Box starts visibly sweating.
Regina then passes out pens, inkwells, sheets of paper, and dice. "Alright, we need to decide on what characters you'll be playing. Box, LJ, why don't you look through the book here and take your pick. Flaming, give us your introduction while they do that."

 No.728725

>>728724

"I may not know how to read, but I'm pretty sure that's not how the word 'already' works, Rusty," Amy laughs.

"But really, I'm sure I'll need both your help… I'm not sure if it will be the cushy job you're looking for though…" Amy pauses as she realizes she doesn't have a nickname for Wireframe.

Then, she suddenly gasps. She jumps up and down with a giddy expression. "Framy!" she exclaims excitedly.

 No.728726

>>728724
>>728721

"So you WERE on the same side!" Amy nods to Tantra.

As far as Amy understands it, it was Pryce and his friends that caused the end of days. Thus, Tantra was on their side.

 No.728727

>>728724
Shei-Sher looks about himself, taking in the surroundings. "I suppose so."

And so they sonder over to the gate. As Shei approaches closer to the fort he can feel his beat faster and his hooves feel clamy. He musters the spirit to greet the guards without sounding nervous. "Ahoy!" Shei calls out to the tower guards "Goodmorning, We request entry into the village. A relative of Shei-perd and my griffon friend."

 No.728728

>>728724
"The past cannot be erased, but the future may still be righted." Cloak nods, "I've spoke to River about the same sentiment." Cloak shakes the hoof that had intended to bump.

Cloak looks at the pets with amusement and bemusement alike, turning his head towards Observer when he spouts the random factoid. "..I see."

>>728726
"Mmn. We had some disagreements, but I am sure at the end of the day, we all wished to continue living fulfilling lives. Most if not all do."

>>728722
"None, save introductions."

 No.728729

>>728724
As Regina takes out the board and starts to set up the game, Flaming looks to Box, "Yeah, there is a little… but from what I can tell it shouldn't be too hard, just subtractions. I can do those, I just write my numbers in sticks and it should be fine."

As Regina asks her to introduce her character, Flaming smiles widely. "Sure! Ahem… okay… my character is a pony named Sheimy Thrice. She's the noble, honorable alicorn wizard-princess of a kingdom that's always in danger, and she goes out to save it using her magic, warm hugs, and crazy smarts… extra on the 'crazy', she gets yelled at a lot for doing stupid stuff sometimes, even though she means well."

 No.728730

>>728728

"I'd rather have fun than be fulfilled," Amy shrugs.

 No.728731

>>728724
As Lockjaw searches for food on Cloak, Pryce pulls off his bracelet, attempting to conjure some food for the little deviljho.
>Hat Magic [Meat] [1d10]

He smiles at all the pets playing around.
"Are you ready to see the city?"
He asks Spitshine, Sugar, and KP.
>"Yea, totally!"


>>728728
"You're welcome to join us. It'll be a good time to catch up."

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.728732

>>728725
>>728726
"As you can no doubt see, Amy has a very interesting imagination," Wireframe says.

>>728727
The guards look down at you, then operate a system of levers at their command, and the gate slowly opens. Once you get past the gates, you are stopped at a checkpoint, operated by a group of three guards.

"State your business, and turn over your belongings," the head guard says. "We just need to inspect them for any illegal materials. You'll get them back soon."

>>728728
>>728731
"He's calling me dumb," Hafaza says. "But for all that knowledge, he still can't help but be cripplingly socially inept."
Observer merely blinks, less than amused. Meanwhile, Pryce conjures a slab of meat-on-the-bone, which Lockjaw quickly starts chowing down on.
"It would be a good opportunity to get something to bring back to Dagger," River suggests.

>>728729
Regina stops in the middle of setting out a folding board to cover her stack of papers and dice. She looks down the rim of her glasses at you. "…I think some edits are to be in order. Why not make this… Sheimy… somewhat more down to earth? If she starts out as an alicorn and a princess, there's nowhere really for her to develop and advance. Maybe she can be an earth pony to begin with, of humble origins, and rise to greatness."

LJ laughs. "Sounds like Regina's experienced with vetting characters. Anyway, Box, check out this sick combo if you take this class and that one…"

 No.728733

>>728732

"Amy and Framy," Amy says happily in a little tune. "Now you HAVE to be one of my advisors or something!"

 No.728734

>>728732
Flaming looks up at Regina as she offers her notes, "Oh, I haven't even mentioned how she's also part demon yet! But uh… I… think I may see your point." She says feeling a little sad that her character didn't go over so well.

"I could dial her back a little bit then. How about… what was Pryce again… oh, just a regular unicorn then? Could she still be a princess? Just a young one, not really in charge yet?"

She looks to Journey, snickering. "I think Regina has a bit too much experience with characters, I guess… also, 'combo's? You know combos?"

 No.728735

>>728732
Like the cutting of steel, a cold tremor is felt inside Shei-Sher at the mention of an inspection. He tries to remain calm.

"I am visiting family after being gone for some time. I also wish to offer my labor and perform good works for the village." Shei-Sher holds his bag securely in a hoof.

"However, I am afraid I will be needing to dispense of my belongings at an inn before visiting. I am an alchemist by trade and handle highly sensitive materials within my bag. It would be highly unethical of me as a professional to allow laymen to handle such hazards. Thank you" Shei bows "I shall return soon again."

[1d10] to be convincing enough not to rouse suspicion

Shei turns around and motions Gadriel to follow him back up the hill.

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.728736

>>728732
Pryce gives Lockjaw a pet after handing him the slab of meat, letting him gnaw away in peace.
"How have you two been?"
He asks Observer and Hafaza, not having had time to speak with them much as of late.

 No.728737

>>728732
"Ah, well I've been called slow plenty, which I would argue is not equivalent to patient but I digress."

>>728731
>>728732

He rolls his eyes at River, already acting more friendly around her at the mention of getting something for Dagger, "If there's one thing that's tested my patience in these last few months, is her need for the strangest of foods. By time I go fetch her maple sugar candies, she's already decided she's in the need for pickled beets. If it wasn't for the nurses I may have renounced my vows already. I'll see if I can find something nice."

 No.728738

>>728733
"And obviously, since this fits so well, I have to get a nice big salary cut out of the royal budget!" Wireframe laughs.
"Fine, but since my penponyship is better than yours, I get a nice office with a big desk and a good view!" Rus Tea says.

>>728734
Regina nearly bursts up laughing when she hears about the part demon bit. "If you thought that was over the top, you should look at some of the earliest characters I made. Since I always played by myself, I had nobody to tell me what worked and didn't."
"You played by yourself?" Box asks. "…How?"
"…I had more imaginary friends than most mares my age," Regina mumbles sheepishly.

Meanwhile, LJ is scribbling down notes. "Yeah, whoever designed this should've done some testing. You can make ridiculous things if you play it right. Okay, so I'm Great Voyage, the son of the lead warrior of my wayward tribe. I'm an Ascendant too, and my horns are magic!"

"That's… marginally better," Regina comments. "Box?"

"I'm Chester, the keeper of goods. I'm gonna be an Entertainer, a wandering Krikral bard in search of things to steal, sell and tell tall tales about!"

Regina nods in approval. "Something interesting."

>>728735
"Get lost and don't come back," the guard says. He signals to those in the towers, and they shut the gates once you depart.

Gadriel follows you. "You couldn't have just let them look through it? I doubt those guys would know what any of that stuff was if you just lied to 'em. Now they'll think you had a bomb in there!"

>>728737
>>728736
River conjures another Dark Corridor for your small group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-xJEmwrahE

After proceeding through, you find yourselves back in the northwestern district of Threecoins. In the distance to the east, Cloak can see just how gargantuan the Library is, even when seen from far-off. The northwestern district is a very eclectic place.

The flagstone streets are marked with several closely-held clumps of buildings, separated by winding streets. No two buildings look alike, and often look like they were taken out of fantastical paintings and plopped straight down in the city. Some are made of mushrooms, others resemble cakes or tree trunks or even stone fish. The streets are populated by an all-female population, of diverse races and clothing styles, suggesting they hail from all across the lands.

Zjetya looks somewhat sad as she looks over them all.

 No.728739

>>728738

"Huh…" Amy suddenly puts a hoof to her chin pensively. "Where do you think I'd rule from?"

 No.728740

>>728737
"There's a lot of variety, and surprises, here. I'm positive you'll find more than enough."

>>728738
As they step out into one of the main districts of Threecoins, KP immediately looks giddy at all the magical and also imaginary architecture, as well as the clothing.
>"This place is so cool! Look at all this, it's like we're going through a storybook like the other day! Remember that Spits?"

Pryce is feeling better walking through the witch city this time, no overarching threat of demons or a mission, just a simple stroll. He turns to Zjetya, seeing her expression.
"Is everything alright?"
He asks.

 No.728741

>>728738
>>728740
Leather follows Pryce close as they walk through the city, peering into windows and soaking in the sights.

"No kidding, Pryce…" Curious to see where they'll lead, he mostly stays quiet to allow for the conversation between Pryce and Zjetya to take place.

 No.728742

>>728738
"She probably made replicas to play with, right? And, I'm sorry you had to play all by yourself back then, I guess that would make it hard to check to see if what you're doing is good or not. What was YOUR first character, REgina?"

As LJ points out his character, Flaming looks over her sheet, not wanting to be outdone competitively by him as she leers at his sheet. "Uh… um… do you… just HAPPEN to see anything like that that can be done for a wizard? Just curious, don't want them or anything just wanna know if you can see the combos for my class too."

As they introduce their characters, Flaming snorts. "Great Voyage? Chester? Those are a little familiar. But I like the idea about your horns being magic, that's a pretty neat trick." She looks up at her horns, where she sees Spark is still perched.

 No.728743

>>728739
"Somewhere central to your territory, with a good amount of transportation in every which way in case you have to travel, which I bet you will," Blessings says. "Why not take over Fantasia? I have talked with Easy Doesit in recent times. She has little wish to be a queen, or a ruler of any kind. She was born from legends of adventurers, and adventure is all she wishes to do."

>>728740
>>728741
Zjetya shrugs. "I talked a lot with Yadala and the others about where they're from. The Coven they're from – Wacachan – was kinda like this. Everything and everyone looked like a mishmash of a million different things collapsing in on themselves. Witches are misfits, and no matter where they're from, Wacachan took them all in.

"They might be able to handle it, since it's all they know, but lots of places are experiencing the same thing. Ecclesia's been swamped trying to keep all the refugees they've taken in happy, but that hasn't succeeded in the slightest. Zha Arlakane's been filled with violence from different refugee groups every single day, even after we took it over. I just wonder if Ecclesia will be able to make all those different peoples as happy as these Witches seem."

"Eventually, I think so," River says. "When people are brought together due to fear and strife, they can't help but fight. Once we're back to a state where all those old kingdoms have their own land and sovereignty again, instead of being clumped up in shelters all day, we'll see peace return in that way too."

Spitshine blinks. "…So, uh… where's the good shops? Anyone know?"

>>728742
"I can only make replicas out of the Dove Orchids, so for a while I was just with me myself and my imagination," Regina says, then smiles. "We're not going to dig that one out of the folder."

LJ looks over. "Want some help building your character? I can definitely make you overpowered."

Regina frowns. "That's kind of not the point… but if you want to have a challenge, you better be prepared."

>paused, continue the RP if wanted

 No.729011

>Pryce
After arriving in the northeastern district, you feel a shuffling around in your robe. Hopper is crawling around inside, until he eventually pops out of your collar and climbs onto your shoulder. He taps you with the staff, and little orbs of water manifest from the staff's tip. He seems very proud of this cantrip, as he is very insistent that you get an eyeful of it.

 No.729015

>>729011
Pryce turns his head down to Hopper as he bops him with his little staff, looking at the little droplets he conjures.
"This is part of the ensemble you got yesterday, right?"
>"Yea! Hopper picked it out all by himself!"
"It's a good fit," Pryce comments, turning his attention back to Hopper, "I knew you were talented but this is a real gift you have."

 No.729017

>>729015
Hopper then turns about, and waves the staff again. This time, the water orbs float down toward KP's bag, floating around the pouch containing the books that he got from Sansebas about beast taming. He makes little grumbling sounds until KP takes them out of his bag.
"Curious," River says, eyeing the grimoire and bestiary. "Do you think Regina wasn't far off when she said he was acting jealous? Because it looks to me like he wants to prove his worth as an adventurer."

 No.729019

>>729017
KP pulls out the books as Hopper makes it clear he wants to see them.
>"Which one do you want Hopper?"
He asks, holding them up for the frog.
"I wouldn't be surprised. I found him all the way back in Vadalahara before the Rapture. After all that time he probably wants more to do."

 No.729020

>>729019
Hopper taps the grimoire with the staff (with the butt of course, so as not to damage it with water).
River grimly smiles. "He'd have to be a very strong little frog to survive a place like that. I think it would be a far cry to expect that he could be trained to a point where he could assist you against Estuary, but he will probably appreciate being trained all the same. Why not devote a day to him, since Lockjaw had his share of the fun yesterday?"

 No.729024

>>729020
KP puts the bestiary away, and opens the grimoire,flipping through the pages.
>"Ok, stop me when I get the page you want."
"Maybe one day he could. There was a rather large frog with a sword back in the wichbone forest that I ran into."
>"I was hearing a lot about beast masters from Spits and Sansebas, Hopper could totally be an amazing mage!"
Pryce nods to River's suggestion.
"I was planning to spend most of this day for quality time, since it'll be the last for a while I might get for some."

 No.729027

>>729024
Hopper grumbles a little – though KP knows by now that he always does that – until he gets about 10 percent of the way through the book. At that point, Hopper thrusts out the butt of the staff, stopping KP from going on further. He can see that it's a two-page spread, illustrating many Beast-Tamers fighting alongside their Pact-beasts. It is a very heroic scene, displaying a wide variety of adventurer archetypes, defending a massive castle-city from an onslaught against shadowy monsters.
Hopper's eyes widen at the sight, and then he gives Kp a look of severe hope.
"…How might a frog train, though?" River asks aloud. "If only we got to ask that frog in the Witchbone Jungle what his routine was."

 No.729031

>>729027
"We could always visit him in the future. I imagine he'd like to know how this duel will turn out, since he was the one who warned me about Sir Estuary to begin with."
KP looks down at the the spread display of battles, looking as excited as Hopper is. He turns, holding the book up for Pryce, River, and Zjetya to see.
>"Look! We just gotta do stuff with him, like they are here!"
He says as if inspired.
>"And since there's two of us, Hopper will probably get twice the training!"
"…Would it really work that way?"
>"I don't know. But if Zjetya had enough of a bond to teach Hopper a trick, then two of us having the main bond has to be twice as fast!"

 No.729035

>>729031
Hopper turns from KP to Pryce, looking up at him the way that a young colt looks at a stallion who is of great inspiration to him, motivating him onward to greater heights.
River smiles. "Looks like we have ourselves our day five mission. Perhaps the Ecclesians might have some simple tasks we can take on to get some practice with him."
"Want me to call the logistics offices and see what they've got?" Zjetya asks. "Or should we stick with the Witches? Though, in all likelihood, Ecclesia will be coming and going around here today to try to solidify that deal."

She laughs. "Plus, once the stallions know that there's a whole city full of single ladies, we'll see a serious spike in the population."

 No.729038

>>729035
"I did want to speak with the Ecclesians anyways, for a few reasons. Why don't we try both? See if the Witches have any tasks we could take on while we shop, and then in the afternoon head to the Ecclesian camp and see what they have."
He suggests, looking down to Hopper.
"Been a while since I did any proper training as well, it'll go good for the both of us."
>"The three of us!"
KP corrects.

Pryce looks over to Zjetya and her comment.
"Do you think they'll really rush over here over that?"

 No.729039

>>729038
River nods. "Time well spent, if I say so myself."
"We ought to get in some ourselves," Spitshine says to Sugar. He strokes Katcher's fur. "Maybe we can get our pets on the same level."
"I don't wanna put them in danger," Sugar says. "But it would be best if they're practiced at defending us and themselves."

Zjetya nods. "Oh yeah. Setting aside that the Witches themselves have probably next to no experience with stallions, and would be excited themselves, Ecclesia is very pro-natalist. Being in a committed relationship that is likely to result in marriage and children gets you the good life. Earlier, Cloak mentioned the Cairn. It's Ecclesia's most fortified bunker, reserved for VVIPs, like the families of the Choir, the elderly, and expectant and young mothers. Its location is kept a strict secret; need-to-know basis only. Revealing it without proper authorization can get you the death penalty. But if you can get yourself or your spouse there, their safety is totally guaranteed, and you're set financially for the rest of your life."
"For a more simple explanation – some ponies may just have a thing for witches," River says. "Box is proof of that."

 No.729040

>>729039
He looks down to Spitshine and Sugar as they talk about their own pets and training as well.
"I think your pets have an edge, since they're all shrunken like Lockjaw was. They're already better at handling their own," Pryce comments, thinking a moment, "I'll need to check in with Fairy Castle too to finish up that Unweaving training as well."
Pryce says, followed by a sigh.
"Today is going to be a busy day. Hope I don't wear myself out before the fight."


"That's good to hear they keep the families safe, though I hope the Ecclesians would take interest for their own emotions, and not just to take those benefits."
He comments.
"I think Box's romance goes beyond just Regina being a witch."

 No.729041

>>729040
"Well sure," Spitshine says. "But I have a feeling that if they're cooped up while they see you, Hopper and Lockjaw running around, they'll lose their minds."
"Yeah, better let 'em get a share of the fun," Sugar says.
"Don't worry," River says. "Keeping to a schedule is one of my skills. I had to keep my whole group on task when I was working for Buiwong. They were all dysfunctional and a tad scatterbrained, even Shining Light. I'll keep our tasks on track, however."

Zjetya shrugs. "I wouldn't worry too much. Something tells me Witches aren't so easily taken advantage of. Besides, the troops that the Choir sends to retake a city are made of much better stuff than what they keep on the front lines. I don't think Regina will regret this deal."

>Pause, reply if you want

 No.729042

Last time on HolyQuest…

In a whirlwind of new names and faces, Leather Cloak was introduced to almost every member of the Saviors of Mariposa, including four members who served Buiwong, their old adversary and the fallen god who cast the world into ruin. Although not all of them would be joining the Tartarus Expedition, they greeted him warmly as one of their own.

Afterward, the party split up in order to tend to their business for the fifth and final day that they had before the Expedition began. If they needed to get in contact with one another, they could use the Caller Conches that Doctor Galton of the Choir brought them.

Flaming, LJ, Regina, Box and Buiwong's crew remained behind in the garden at the top of the Library of the Sacrosanct. LJ, Flaming, Regina and Box began their double date with an adventure of Witches and Wargs 3E, while (unbeknownst to LJ and Flaming) Buiwong's crew remained nearby to keep an eye on things. Additionally, Amy stuck around to give her own advice to Flaming. While there, she also had access to Fairy Castle and the other Witches, who could teach her more about her powers.

Pryce, Cloak, KP, River, Zjetya, Spitshine, Sugar and the pets went into Threecoins' northeastern district, located outside the Library's massive, castle-like grounds. There, they could do some shopping and see the sights to take their minds of the ordeals to come.

Shei and Gadriel took a Dark Corridor to Lilane's outskirts. Although they couldn't enter the city proper, thanks to Ichimonji's ban, they could go to another developing Ecclesian territory, to the east. Gadriel managed to scry it out with the crystal ball Shei procured for him, and they were off. Luckily, they managed to avoid encountering demons on the way. When they arrived at the town's outskirts, they had to face a guard outpost and submit to an inspection of their belongings. Shei's refusal to submit raised much suspicion in the guards, so it would be harder to get in now… at least, through that route. As any thief will tell you, there's more than one way to get somewhere undetected.

 No.729043

>Amy
"Somewhere central to your territory, with a good amount of transportation in every which way in case you have to travel, which I bet you will," Blessings says. "Why not take over Fantasia? I have talked with Easy Doesit in recent times. She has little wish to be a queen, or a ruler of any kind. She was born from legends of adventurers, and adventure is all she wishes to do."

>Pryce, Leather

Zjetya shrugs. "I talked a lot with Yadala and the others about where they're from. The Coven they're from – Wacachan – was kinda like this. Everything and everyone looked like a mishmash of a million different things collapsing in on themselves. Witches are misfits, and no matter where they're from, Wacachan took them all in.

"They might be able to handle it, since it's all they know, but lots of places are experiencing the same thing. Ecclesia's been swamped trying to keep all the refugees they've taken in happy, but that hasn't succeeded in the slightest. Zha Arlakane's been filled with violence from different refugee groups every single day, even after we took it over. I just wonder if Ecclesia will be able to make all those different peoples as happy as these Witches seem."

"Eventually, I think so," River says. "When people are brought together due to fear and strife, they can't help but fight. Once we're back to a state where all those old kingdoms have their own land and sovereignty again, instead of being clumped up in shelters all day, we'll see peace return in that way too."

Spitshine blinks. "…So, uh… where's the good shops? Anyone know?"

>Flaming

"I can only make replicas out of the Dove Orchids, so for a while I was just with me myself and my imagination," Regina says, then smiles. "We're not going to dig that one out of the folder."

LJ looks over. "Want some help building your character? I can definitely make you overpowered."

Regina frowns. "That's kind of not the point… but if you want to have a challenge, you better be prepared."

>Shei

"Get lost and don't come back," the guard says. He signals to those in the towers, and they shut the gates once you depart.

Gadriel follows you. "You couldn't have just let them look through it? I doubt those guys would know what any of that stuff was if you just lied to 'em. Now they'll think you had a bomb in there!"

 No.729044

https://pastebin.com/RaZG8KLM

>>729043
"Right, and that's not counting any biases Ecclesia might have, or the ponies that are a part of it."
He comments on the topic.
"I'm sure they'll be fine though. The Witches have been able to hold themselves, so they won't need to be as reliant on Ecclesia's help. That should keep most tensions down."

As Spitshine speaks up, Pryce looks down the roads.
"I think there was some this way. Let's start there first."
He says, leading the group towards the shops.

 No.729045

File: 1576030239568.jpg (29.23 KB, 576x324, cloak_dagger_7.jpg)

>>729043
https://pastebin.com/jbpPAusX

Leather Cloak listens passively to the conversation between the others, mostly doing window shopping at the strange buildings around him, seeing if anything around would appeal to either Dagger's crude sense of humor, or something for her to snack on.

 No.729046

>>729043
Flaming smiles up at Regina, "Tartarus won't show mercy on us, and neither should you! Climbing Fires don't shy down from a challenge."

She pushes her character sheet towards LJ, scooting in close to look over it with him. "Okay, so, what do you recommend? I chose a wizard so, all that fancy magic should already make me pretty powerful right?"

 No.729047

>>729045
"Well, unless two Witches end up fighting over the same soldier," Zjetya says with a laugh. "I doubt they'd all be willing to go down the polygamous path you've chosen."

>>729044
>>729045
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwa-81884m8
As you head into the shopping district, you see many willowy and tall buildings, grouped together closely. The district's streets are not ordinary ones. A grand, central street gives rise to many smaller streets, sprawling off from the central one like the roots of a plant. Those smaller streets are in turn filled with criss-crossing staircases, pulley elevators and ladders, making practically every building interconnected in some way. It's almost as much of a labyrinth as the Library itself.

Along the way, River flags down a local witch to ask for some directions. Said witch, recognizing Pryce et al from yesterday, is all too glad to help, listing off some noteworthy stops and what they offer.

>Halaq's Haircuts


-Offers not just haircuts, but hair lengthening, alteration of texture, thickness, composition, color, etc.

>Meister's Metallurgy


-Weapon purchasing and quality upgrades, property changes (Elemental / Physical damage type), other Enhancements
-Elemental Ammo, Special Ammo
-Armor purchasing and upgrades

>Prickly Pear's Pharmacy


-Sells potions, salves, creams, perfumes, colognes, gels, pills, comics, toys and candy

>Wizingstar's Witcheries


-Catalysts like spellbooks, wands, grimoires, fetishes, staves, amulets, charms, coins, cards, tubes, spell tags, scrolls, etc.
-Supplies for summoned familiars and pets
-Assorted magical items for both combat and noncombat purposes

>Arthuria's Antiques


-Furniture, rugs, curtains, tapestries, and art commissions

>Threadbearer's Threads


-Clothes, accessories, makeup. They also have coffee.

>>729046
"So, check it out, if you go pure Mage, not taking any other classes, you'll get this, plus these two skills have some synergy. Let me show you…" LJ says, going over the rulebook to show you everything that the Mage class offers, until you have a sheet that you can be proud of.
Regina looks your way once it sounds like you're putting on the finishing touches. "All ready?"

 No.729048

Flaming's sheet is as follows:
>Sheimy Thrice
>Female Unicorn
>5/5
>Fire Elementalist (free)
>Hat Magic
>Storm Bolt
>Magic Bolt
>Homing Magic
>Talent: +2 to Homing Magic

>>729047
Flaming looks over her sheet, holding a pencil in her mouth as she jots down some notes according to LJ's instructions. Once done, she spits it out, smiling as she looks it over. "Yeah… yeah, I think this works!" She turns to LJ, awfully close to his face. Almost too close! She moves her muzzle down a little, snickering. "T-thanks. I bet it'll be awesome now."

She turns to Regina, nodding her head eagerly. "Ready!"

 No.729049

>>729047
"Art commissions… Glass would be wondering if they do smut." Leather muses, looking about. "Prickly Pear's seems like a nice time, long as they don't offer free samples without consent."

 No.729050

>>729043
"I couldn't risk that.." Shei says in a hushed tone as they walk back up the and behind the hill. "My grievances would be doubled if I lost anything before we enter Tartarus."

Shei-Sher opens a portal to their airship in threecoins "We will drop off our things at the ship and return. I have a few contingency plans before calling it quits."

[1d10] dark corridor

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.729051

>>729048
You see LJ almost reflexively back off when you get too near to him, but then he stops and allows you to be closer to him than he'd normally allow. He casts a glance over to a grove, where Vortigern, Tantra, Mocha and _____ are doing a very conspicuous job of not looking inconspicuous, as they watch the date unfold.

Regina looks over the three sheets that her players have submitted. "Okay then… yeah, I can work with these."

She hands them back, then rustles some paper, pens and dice behind her massive QM screen. She waves a paw, and dark mists gather around and above you, darkening things slightly to set a mood. Regina's face seems to be lit from below, and her voice slightly resonates, as if she were speaking from all around you.

"You three have been commissioned by the Machine-King of Acappella City on a quest that he can trust nobody else with. A dungeon far to the west, known as the Coil of Daedas, holds the remains of the Vrykolakas, a dreaded vampire defeated and sealed away long ago. But now, in the shadowy kingdom of Circadia, occultists driven mad by the eternal moon have stolen into the dungeon, seeking to revive the Vrykolakas and install her as the head of their new kingdom of the night. This cannot be allowed to happen. The Machine-King has commissioned you to infiltrate the Coil, retrieve the three corpse parts of the Vrykolakas, and return to Acapella City before the Occultists can revive her.

"You have ridden by carriage for several days across the northern countryside. The swampy terrain has made travel terribly difficult, and the beasts of burden pulling your wagon are exhausted. The ride is bumpy, and the carriage stuffy and hot with the damp air of the fetid swamp. Without warning, the carriage grinds to a halt, nearly throwing you out of your seats."

With a flourish, she turns it over to you.

>>729050
"Okay, I trust you," Gadriel says. "Just let me know if you need me to do anything. Hey, maybe one of my past selves was really good at distractions. Tapdancing routines, slapstick comedy, that kind of stuff.

As you return to the ship, you recall the Moon and Sun Diskos that the others will need to use in order to be eligible for the Kindling.

>For the sake of time you can assume you get back to that area outside Commontown without a roll.

 No.729052

>>729051
Flaming looks over in the grove, wondering what the heck those guys are up to watching their date before she shrugs it off, looking over at LJ and rolling her eyes pointed in their direction.

As Regina passes them back their sheets, Flaming looks up at the giant sphynx, nodding her head as she tells the story of their mission. "Coool…. wait, uh, you're looking at me?" Flaming says, eyes popping wide open.

"OH! Oh this is the part where I act, got it!" She looks at her sheet, "Umm… okay, Sheimy says, 'Hey! What's going on out there?', deciding to take matter into her own hoofs and hop outside to see what's going on."

She looks around. "Um, do I need to roll for that?"

 No.729054

>>729052
Regina smiles. "Oh, I hope you like the word 'perception,' because you're going to be hearing that a lot. Yep, whenever you want to know more about the physical details of a place around you, you need to roll perception. I will prompt you sometimes when I want one out of you. All of you, go ahead and roll for that."

LJ and Box pick up and toss their dice.

[1d10] LJ
[1d10] Box

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.729055

>>729054
"'Perception', huh? That's a funny word. Alright: Sheimy steps outside of the cart and looks around!" She says, giddly grabbing at dice and shaking them up enthusiastically. "This part looks really fun-" she says, seemingly enamored with the simple act of tossing a multi-sided decahedron on the table.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.729056

>>729047
"Eheh, I uh, don't imagine Ecclesians would go down that route either."
Pryce says wit ha nervous chuckle.

As the witch tells them of the nearby stores, KP looks all too eager to check out each one.
>"They have so many places here! You can get everything."
"The antique stores sound like a good place to start if we want to decorate the ship up."
Pryce suggests to the group.

>>729049
"Have you been to places that force samples on you?"
Pryce asks curiously at the comment.

 No.729057

>>729055
After counting up the rolls, Regina leans back.

"You see that your carriage has been running across a partly-sunken dirt road, gripped on all sides by the depths of the Onuma Swamp. The carriage was en route to cross a great bridge over the deepest parts of the swamp. The bridge awaits before you, but has been destroyed. The wood panels of the bridge have been blown away, and support beams, black with burn marks, sink partway into the swamp, their ropes turning a sickly green from the bile below. It looks like the bridge was destroyed recently. The driver tells you that this is as far as he can go; he's not getting paid nearly enough to risk his boars of burden in this swamp."

"I tell him that he's violating the king's orders if he runs away!" Box protests.

"Roll persuasion," Regina says.

Box shakes the dice… [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.729058

>>729057
>>729055
"But the driver will hear none of it!" Regina says. "He tells you that he's not going to tangle with occultists no matter how much he's offered, not when he's got so much to lose. You'll have to find your own way from here."

LJ taps his chin. "Okay, what to do…"

 No.729060

>>729051
They arrive at commontown and Shei-Sher heads for the Airship

>Hey, maybe one of my past selves was really good at distractions.

"I suppose there's always a chance. Perhaps you should inquire the Sun Diskos on your true self Gadds. It might just acquaint you better with your past lives."

Shei pats a fist onto his hoof "That reminds me. The others have not made their own inquiries with the diskos. Before we leave again for Ecclessia lets drop those off with Flaming."

When they enter the ship Shei-Sher directs Gadds to the location of the diskos while dropping off the majority of his belongings. He calls out loud for anyone in the ship hear "Chorazin are you here? I have a question."

 No.729061

>>729057
>>729058
Flaming snickers at LJ's failed negotiations. "You should have tried being nicer with him, Journey. It's alright though," Flaming looks at Regina with a confident look.

"Sheimy says, 'Don't worry about him! The King tasked US with stopping the occultists, and that's just what we'll do. We'll traverse the swamp ourselves, unless any of you can fly'."

"Um, neither of you can fly, right? I downgraded Sheimy to a unicorn so her wings are gone. Oh! And, she uses her magic to pull out three pairs of swamp-wadding boots out of her bag!"
[1d10] Hat Magic

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.729062

>>729060
Gadriel heads for your room, which is where you last left both Diskos. There's no response when you call out to Chorazin. It seems that she's not here. Perhaps you could try the Conch.

 No.729063

>>729056
"Glass has dragged me into a gag gift store. Err, not that sorta gag, practical joke stuff. Had me peer through a kaleidoscope even though I didn't care for the experience. Tattoo'd some magical ink around my eye for a week that wouldn't wash off. Real funny."

 No.729066

>>729049
>>729056
Deciding to hit up the pharmacy first, you proceed through the labyrinthine streets until you find a squat building, shaped like a mushroom. It's built on the lower tiers of the district, on the western side, by the great river which divides the city in two. Around the outside balcony overlooking the River, you see many pots containing rows of mushrooms and other small plants.

With a jingle of the doorbell, you enter and find a very nice, cool hovel, with a dirt floor and many stout wood tables, containing rows and rows of potions, salves, medicine cases, and so on and so forth. Spitshine and Sugar immediately bolt for the back, where you see candy, toys and manga on the shelves.

Prickly Pear is at the counter. Cloak sees that she is a young white alpaca with a colorful poncho and a curled staff at her side. She hums and waves as you enter. "Hey, Pryce! How's everything today?"

 No.729067

>>729062
"Gadriel I need to send a call out to Chorazin. You can use the Sun Diskos while I speak through the conch. It works similarly to the crystal, simply ask it a question."

Shei-Sher takes the conch out from his belongings and makes a call out to Chorazin.

 No.729069

>>729061
You succeed at drawing forth three high-topped boots, enough to insulate your legs from the treacherous swamp. You know that even though the occultists destroyed the bridge to slow their pursuers, they must have still gone that way, for this bridge was part of the long road to the Coil.

>"The mighty Great Voyage thanks the clever mage Sheimy for her spell," LJ says, making his voice much deeper than it normally is. "Alright, let's roll for navigation!"


[1d10] LJ
[1d10] Box

>>729067
"Alright, I'll give it a shot and report back!" Gadriel says.

After a short while, Chorazin picks up. "Hello, Shei. I must have just missed you. I am in the middle of discussions with Mirror Image at the moment. What do you need?"

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

 No.729070

>>729069
As LJ lowers his voice, Flaming snickers, heightening hers so that it sounds like a close approximation of Amy's. "Sheimy says that the great warrior Voyage is very welcome, and she skips and hops her way through the swamp in her boots ahead of the others with no sense of direction!" She says, drawing upon someone close to her IRL as she takes another roll of the dice.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.729071

>>729056
>>729066
Cloak offers a small bow as he enters, looking to Pryce. "Ah you know the proprietor. That's nice to know." He waves to Pear, "Hiya, just browsing the sweets, trying to pick out a gift for my wife."

 No.729072

>>729069
"Oh Sorry to interrupt. Well you may not approve, but I wished to visit my biological mother before the day ends. She has not seen me since opportunity compelled me to join Pryce and the others on our quest -that was months ago. The problem is her place of residence is likely an ecclessian village. It is not among my first ideas to gain entry, but if my options run out would you be available to lend a hoof in playing a role?"

 No.729073

>>729070
>Regina flourishes her fingers, and ominous, atmospheric background music begins to play.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y645soXPias

With the help of your boots, you trudge through the deep swamp, taking experimental steps here and there to test the depths, lest you take one wrong step and fall in, never to surface again. More than a few times, Chester missteps, nearly submerging his head below the surface of the foul swamp, and Great Journey and Sheimy are hard-pressed to pull him out once more.

After finishing the last leg of the trek on your own, you see the cold gray of carved stone, poking out between the vines between the thick, dark trees. A great temple, made to resemble a holy symbol of the sun, lies before you. There was once a stone door sealing it off, but it appears to have been recently destroyed, as rubble lays scattered around. With her magical senses, Sheimy can feel that several protective spells were cast upon the temple, but have sense been dispelled with evil magic. Occult runes deface the temple's stones, almost like a defiant and presumptuous declaration of victory.

"After thanking the others for their help, Chester checks for traps!" Box says.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.729074

>>729070
>>729073
You're certain that it's not trapped.

>Regina says this with a small smile.


>Box looks at the die with the 3 facing upward, gulping nervously.

 No.729075

>>729063
KP snickers at hearing Cloak's unfortunate gift.
>"Those are great, aren't they?"
"That is one of the classic ones. Haven't heard of one using magical ink though personally. She sounds like she really enjoys pranks."


>>729066
KP follows Spitshine and Sugar, quickly following the sweet smell of assorted candies one expects at small shops like this.
"Hello Prickly. I didn't know you worked here."
Pryce greets as they enter.
"Everything is going, great," He says with the slightest pause of thought, realizing that today really is going well, "We're taking a look around the town for some souvenirs."

>>729071
Pryce nods.
"We met her yesterday shortly after arriving. She's a pretty talented mage."

 No.729076

>>729043

"Hmm…" Amy thinks out loud. "Does anyone know how to call her on the conch? I could talk to her about it right now!"

 No.729078

>>729073
Flaming looks over to Box, really starting to get into character as she berates his character for getting stuck in the swamp so often. "Sheimy says, 'Watch your step from now on! If you fall in again, I might just leave you there'." She pauses. "Uh, but, she says that in a joking way, like not really."

As they reach the temple, Flaming tells the others, "Sheimy senses the magic that once protected this place is long since gone. She uses her own magic to detect if the occultists set up any magic wards of their own." Flaming grabs at the dice again, eagerly shaking it. "Hehehe, I REALLY like throwing this thing for some reason, the rush of not knowing what it's going to land on is really fun!"
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.729079

>>729075
"It comes with the job, so she says. Assassinating someone is just a really big prank on someone and all."

 No.729080

>>729072
"I would be all too glad to help," Chorazin says. You hear some muffled talking on the other end of the line. "And Mirror Image offers her help as well. Do you wish for us to come there now?"

>>729071
>>729075
Prickly nods. "Yeah, Mistress Fairy Castle makes me work here to pay her for the magic lessons. She may be my aunt, but she's an alpaca alright. We're a frugal people."

She gestures with a staff over her wares. "Here's what we've got."

>Assorted candies with spooky themes: 5 Bits per tin, or 1 small favor

-Candies shaped like jack-o-lanterns, haunted mansions, ghosts and witches
>Prank toys: 5 Bits each, or 1 small favor
-Simple toys that often can perform some small cantrip as a prank. Options include snakes-in-a-can, self-lighting candles, disappearing gold coins, cards that can change their suit and value, and other such small things.
>Manga: 5 Bits each, or 1 small favor
-Stories of female heroes solving world-threatening calamities with friendship and sweets. There are fights, but nobody's ever really hurt.
>Vilepetal Wrappings: 10 Bits per wrapping, or 1 small favor
-Black rags that apply the Poison quality to your weapon until combat is over. 1 wrapping has 1 use.
>Hermit's Pills: 50 Bits per case, or 1 moderate favor
-A medicine case containing 3 pills. Each counts as an automatic use of Heal.
>Universal Salve(vation): 100 Bits per jar, or 1 big favor
-A jar of medicinal salve that can cure any Physical status condition, but not Mental or Spiritual ones. Each jar has 5 uses.

>>729076
"I don't have her conch code, but if we have one of Buiwong's crew take us back to Fantasia, we can get it and talk to her," Blessings says. "Want me to get ahold of one of them?"

 No.729081

>>729080

"Yeah!" Amy says excitedly. "I haven't seen Easy in sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long anyway! It'll be nice to see her!"

 No.729082

>>729078
A chill creeps up and down your spine as you detect faint currents of evil magic. Their sorcerers took great care to conceal their trickery, but you are mightier than their evil. You can tell that, in the temple's entrance hall, they enchanted various stone panels on the ground. It looks like they stuck to the panels with a spiral pattern to help themselves remember which ones are safe and which aren't. The entrance hall is narrow, and sloped downward as the temple goes deeper into the earth. The panels are checkerboard in arrangement, and so the traps are arranged according to that pattern.

 No.729084

>>729080
"No no, not now. Enjoy yourselves -enjoy your time today. I will call again if the help is absolutely needed. Thank you Chorazin. I will see you later today."

Shei-Sher hangs up and goes to check up on Gadriel.

 No.729085

>>729080
Cloak tilts his head as he inspects the candies, looking up to Prickly. "Any of these sour? She's a fan making her face all puckered up, not that I agree with her tastes."

 No.729086

>>729081
Blessings nods, walking off to the grove where Buiwong's four minions are both training and keeping an eye on LJ and Flamin as their date unfolds. You see her sharing a few words with them. Eventually, Mocha nods, splitting off from the group. She comes over your way, and conjures a Dark Corridor.

>For the sake of time, going to just assume you hop in


The Corridor takes you to Fantasia's main thoroughfare. You see that, in the past few days, things have really improved. Construction on destroyed buildings has mostly finished, and there are many more Ecclesians milling about on guard duty. The outer walls are now higher and more fortified, and the streets are far cleaner than they were before. It seems that almost everyone has been put to work. Carts bearing Ecclesian banners are being pulled by Rumblers out through the city's main gates. Inside, you can see the mind-broken mortals who were dumped there by the Treibheanna.

Overseeing this evacuation effort, you see Easy Doesit standing atop the fountain in the center of the thoroughfare, periodically shouting at people through a paper cone to amplify her voice as she directs traffic and barks orders.

 No.729089

>>729085
"Ooh, if you want sour, try these," Prickly says. She passes you a small cloth pouch full of green, yellow and amber candies which are shaped like villainous-looking fruits. Many of them twist and curl, evoking that feeling of sourness, and are encrusted with sugar. "Careful though, these aren't for the faint of heart or lips."

>>729084
In the bedroom, you see Gadriel shaking the Sun Diskos as if it were a piece of malfunctioning magitech. "Uh… I don't know what I did wrong, but it's not showing me anything."

 No.729090

>>729079
"I guess that's one way of looking at it."

>>729080
"You can pay with favors?"
Pryce questions as Prickly showcases the wares.
>"We don't need bits?!"
KP says joyfully as he spent all his cash the day before on his pet supplies, quickly grabbing a bunch of candy tins before Pryce stops him with his telekinesis.
"Let's find out what that will entail before we take our whole day up in payments."

 No.729091

>>729089
Shei looks at Gadds quizically "Hm.. maybe not shake it." Shei sits down beside Gadriel "Ask it who you truly are. Try and focus on the question like you focused with the crystal ball."

 No.729093

>>729090
"Yep," Prickly Pear says. "It's a holdover from our days in Wacachan. Witches have little use for gold, except for the rare occasions when we must deal with the outside world, and with our magic, procuring gold can be done with little effort for us – err, but don't let the economists or the treasuries know that we're deflating their currency. Anyway, for our internal business matters, we barter in either direct exchanges of goods, or in favors and work. No two Witches have the same Craft, and so, we all have radically different magic styles, and different abilities. Thus, we 'sell' our labor to one another in exchange for goods, since the Witch we're buying from often has tasks she needs done that she can't do by herself, or that would be easier done with another Witch's Craft. Make sense?"

>>729091
"Th-that's just it!" Gadriel stammers. "I tried just about everything I could. Questions about myself. Questions about the future. Questions about you and the others. All I saw was a blinding light each time, but nothing ever came out of it. It was like I was just trying to look at the sun!"

 No.729094

>>729082
Flaming smiles, looking to Journey and Box out of character. "Okay, this should be simple: my magic picked out the pattern they were using for their traps. So, I have Sheimy…" Flaming shakes her head, "Right, right, I do that in character, ahem…."

"'Ha! Those occulstists think they're so clever, but I can see right through their little trap pattern. Voyage, Chester, follow me, we have to go in a certain path or we'll spring their trap.' And then, I have Sheimy go through the checkboard along that spiral. Do I get to roll for it?!" She asks excitedly.

 No.729095

>>729093
>>729089
Leather rubs his chin, "I'll take your word for it, I'm sure she'll enjoy them. Anyways, I probably wouldn't mind doing a small task if you need something done for them, though I can't say I'm too magical. Sturdy and patient, sure, and I can counter a spell if I put my mind to it."

 No.729096

>>729086

"Easy!" Amy shouts happily as she rushes toward her. "How are you, you fairy!?"

She tackles Easy and hugs her tight.

 No.729097

>>729094
>Regina shakes her head. "I would consider that to be a simple, trivial thing. It'd be easy enough to avoid…" But, she double-takes at your excitement, seeming to question her lenience. "…You know what? Yes, go ahead. You may know what panels are trapped, but the panels are small compared to your hooves, and they are many. You'll need to carefully navigate over them to avoid stepping on a trap."

>"Aw!" LJ says. "We almost got out of having to navigate around it!"

>"The danger's part of the fun!" Box says. "I'm sure it won't be a hard dice check."

[1d10] LJ
[1d10] Box

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

 No.729098

>>729097
"What are you complaining about, Journey?! Now we get to throw the dice again!" She says, all too giddy to risk every thing to RNG as she tosses up the dice. "Hehehe, okay here it goes!"

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.729100

>>729098
>LJ sighs with relief when he sees that everyone passed. Box seems to be having a ball, just as you are. Regina smiles, but contains her excitement, clearing her throat as she goes back to her more severe QM voice.

Despite a few close scrapes of nearly stepping upon a trapped panel, you get past the entrance hall without bringing down any of the curses that the occultists left to stop you. Upon arriving at the end of the hall, you find yourselves in a round room, with three great passageways splitting off from it – one to the north, one to the west, and one to the east. In the center of the room is, or rather was, a statue of a great paladin. It has been destroyed, and radiates evil magic – a result of the occultists' blasphemous arrogance.

>"Chester turns to the others and suggests, 'Hey, if we split up, we should be able to cover all three corpse parts before the occultists can get them!'" Box says.


>Regina says nothing, but bites her finger with worry.


>LJ picks up on this. "Uh… Voyage is gonna shake his head. 'It's much too dangerous to split up. They got here before us, but we can probably stop them from taking at least one corpse part if we choose the right path."

 No.729102

>>729093
Shei frowns lightly, looking at the diskos crestfallen. "I think I know what it is. I've done my best to frabricate your soma without blemish. But the essence of an angel, a mortal, a demon. It comes up to you like static. Like too many paints on canvas."

Shei steps away to grab the moon diskos "So I am going to do something, and it could be dangerous, or it could be very insightful. The moon diskos and sun diskos, I will tied thread between them and you will use them both. If you are willing, of course. The choice is yours."

Shei draws a tether between the sun diskos and the moon diskos
>Black Threads; Spell; Ranged; Recharge 3(minus 1); Create a tether between two targets. What happens to one target (damage, status effects, intimidation, persuasion etc.) will also happen to the other. Killing one target does not kill the other.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.729103

>>729093
"That makes sense. So, what would a small favor entail then?"
Pryce questions, while KP walks up to the counter with four tins of candies, each with a different pattern.
"…Make that four favors."
He corrects, looking down at his younger counterpart, who smiles at the relatively free candy.

 No.729104

>>729096
Easy wears an eyepatch made out of a large leather belt, covering her right eye. Her expression is grim and grizzled, bitter with what looks like many years of misfortune and tragedy.

"Hello, Amy," she says with a deep and grizzled voice. "It's been rough out here without you. Ecclesia has shown up en masse, now that I signed an official agreement of alliance between us and them. We've got a stable supply of food and water coming in over the new trade routes, and Ecclesia has finally taken in the Treibheanna's former hostages. We're managing to keep our independence for now, but I expect that they'll want to take that from me soon. Just like they take everyone's…"

Mocha blinks. "I get your sentiment, but aren't you hamming it up a little?"

Easy shushes her. "So how are you two? I hear good things about you, Savior."

>>729093
>>729095
>>729103
In addition to Leather's sour candy, Spitshine and Sugar line up to buy some manga volumes (Sugar's) and monster action figures that light up thanks to the magic tree wood that they're carved out of (Spitshine's). Prickly Pear tallies all your goods up, then consults a long list hanging on the wall. It looks like an endless list of chores assigned by Fairy Castle. "Hmm… Aha! Okay, scrub the floors, dust the shelves, organize the goods and wipe down the windows."
"That doesn't sound very magical," Sugar says.
"You know what is magical?" Prickly Pear asks. "Having a moment off! I get that she's my mentor, but she's working me to the bone! I don't get what running a shop is supposed to teach me about metamagic…"
River laughs. "I'm sure she has a purpose for it. Now, hand over the cleaning supplies, and let's get started."
Prickly Pear reaches under the counter, fishing out rags, a bucket and mop, and some bandannas to tie back your manes. "Here you go!"

>>729102
Gadriel hyperventilates softly, and sits down on the bed before the two Diskos. After you connect them with a thread, he tries to slow his breathing down. After a few moments, he slowly reaches out, shuts his eyes, then touches both Diskos at once. He shudders as he touches them, but maintains his grip, keeping his eyes closed all the while. He is silent, and the only sound is of his breathing and his periodic small shivers.

 No.729106

>>729100
Flaming looks down at the table, thinking. "Hmmm… Sheimy says 'I agree with Great Voyage, splitting up is just what the bad guys would want when we're on their turf! Even if they don't know we're here yet, that can change at any time. Besides, we only need ONE part of the corpse right? If they don't have all three, their plan doesn't work, so let's just pick one and grab a part of the vampire!'"

Flaming points west, "Sheimy immediately heads off into the western tunnel, expecting the others to follow her lead!" She grabs the dice and rolls it again, having become infatuated with the constant tension of chance.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.729108

>>729104

"I don't feel like a savior…" Amy frowns. "Not yet, anyway."

"Which is kinda why I'm here. Can I have your city?" Amy asks sincerely without any additional information.

[1d10] diplomacy with compassion

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.729109

>>729104
Shei-Sher takes out Pupil, holding it to see the diskos so he can observe the process with the diskos better.
[1d10] appraise

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.729110

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.729111

>>729106
>Regina tilts her head. "Wh-what are you rolling for exactly?"
>"I think she just wanted to toss the dice!" LJ laughs. "It is fun though, can't blame her."

 No.729112

>>729104
Leather nods, "Happily done, honest work for honest.. candy."

Leather Cloak gets to scrubbing the floors, given it's probably the most physically demanding.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.729113

>>729111
Flaming blushes, "Oh…. I uh… j-just thought it might help you know? Hehe… like, how well Sheimy runs down the tunnel?"

She shrinks back in her chair. "Ilikethedicethrowing."

 No.729114

>>729108
"Sure," Easy says without any hesitation. She also seems to have dropped that grizzled, deep voice, and has now gone back to her usual sweet alto tone.
"So easily?" Mocha asks, baffled.
Easy reaches upward and removes her makeshift eyepatch. You see that her eye wasn't hurt or anything. It seems to have been more of an accessory than anything else. "Well, she can have it once she's strong enough to rule from it. I don't want to be a queen or anything of the sort. But, Amy won't be able to govern from Tartarus, so I'll have to watch over it with my council before I can turn over the keys to her."

 No.729115

>>729104
"Even when you're a mage, you'll still need to keep your study clean and controlled."
Pryce says for an answer as then takes the mop, while KP grabs one of the rags.
>"Can we use magic for this, or is there some 'no magic rule' here?"
He asks as they start their favors.
>Mopping [Pryce] [1d10]
>Windows [KP] [1d10]

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

 No.729116

>>729110
Almost immediately, as you spy into Gadriel's visions, you can tell what the problem is. Unlike the visions you had with the Moon and Sun Diskos, which were clear and simple despite being deeply symbolic, Gadriel is being bombarded with countless different visions of countless different possible futures, played out by countless different selves. Some are armored like knights, others cloaked like rogues. Some connive and conspire with demons and umbrals for personal glory, while others charge into battle with shield raised to defend the helpless. Some perish, some slay. A great many fail, vanishing into eternal darkness. Only a few succeed, returning to the light with victory in hand.

Eventually, it ends as Gadriel leans back, releasing both Diskos. His claws faintly glow; the one that held the Sun is radiant and gold, while the one that held the Moon is dark and misty.

"So… well… I guess that answered that…" Gadriel murmurs to himself. "Hey, tell me. What did you see in your visions when you touched them?"

 No.729117

>>729114

"So, you know that the plan is to make me queen?" Amy asks, equally surprised about that as her willingness to hand over the city.

 No.729118

>>729113
>Regina smiles. "Maybe one day you can be the one behind the screen. You'll enjoy that, I think. Now, where was I?"
>"Voyage follows Sheimy as she charges into battle!" LJ declares.
>"And Chester's following!" Box says.
>"Ah, right."

Leading the charge, Sheimy rushes down the western tunnel, with the courageous Voyage and the clever Chester hot on her heels. The tunnel is dark, as the occultists have extinguished the fires that once burned eternal in the sconces along the walls. But, just as you reach for your own torches to light the path…

>You hear Regina tossing about a score of dice behind her screen.


Sheimy feels the hum of magic at her hoof! It is too late to change course; and before she can react, she sees a deep red rune glow below her. She stops running, but not of her own volition. Grabbed by an unseen force, she starts levitating upward toward the ceiling, helpless in something's grasp.

LJ grabs his die frantically. "Perception to see what's up there!"

[1d10] LJ
[1d10] Box

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

 No.729119

>>729116
"Mine was a singular vision. Infact it was less like a vision, and more as though I was transported somewhere. It was beautiful, I saw the kingdom I had wished to build for the goats. In all it's shining glory, cradled in a valley where children played. It was as though I never knew the word prosperity until I saw it. And then I saw him, my older self. Aged, wise, tall. He fixed a gaze at me. And it was all it took to keep me from running head long into the valley with glee. I told him That I understood. That I'm not a goat, and verily I never was. What he showed me, the prosperity and belonging. The truest since of pride and family. I acknowledged that it was neither something owed to me or by superstition tied to my fate. And infact I already have all those things, I've just been being silly for a long time now. I told him there was nothing more I want than to be what I'm being right now and enjoy the experiences of this world that come along with that. That. That was my destiny the same as anyone else."

Shei-Sher stands up and puts a hoof on Gadriel's shoulder "Your vision was a bit muddy wasn't it. But it's just proof that your past is not your defining feature. You are the beginning of a new soul. Your true self are the things that you do."

 No.729120

>>729115
>>729112
If only Cloak could see Leather now as he gets down, rump raised, and scrubs the floor. She would probably get a kick out of it in more than one way.

Pryce and KP set to work as well, as do Sugar and Spitshine, and River and Zjetya. The shop is a bit cramped for all of you to be working at the same time. Zjetya and River take advantage of this by hip-checking Pryce whenever they pass by to throw off his work. Despite all the chaos, you do quite a good job. Prickly Pear does request that you leave the cobwebs alone – she thinks it adds a more authentic witchy feel to the place.

By the time that you're done, the place is practically spotless. Prickly Pear's eyes are glowing. "Sheesh. Could've saved something for me to do! Th-that was a joke, I am glad that you didn't. Take these, you've more than earned them."

She pushes your goods to you. "If you need anything else, you know where to find me."

>>729117
Easy shakes her head. "Nope, but rumors have been flying around lately. Appropriate, considering how Fantasia even came about. The Ecclesians have been spreading talk about Mudi's plan. They know what she aims, but teh question that everyone's discussing is who's actually going to succeed at it. In fact, it's a very popular subject of debate. What will happen if Mudi dies on the way? Who shall take her place? I hear that among the Ecclesians, Gegenschein and Doctor Galton are the favorites… though I don't know if they themselves would want to take it. As for you, well, the Fantasians speak more about you taking the crown than any of the Choristers."

 No.729122

>>729119
Gadriel nods slowly. He looks far different than he did a while ago. A great weight seems to have pressed down upon his heart. "It was like looking into a kaleidoscope. So many different, overlapping visions of what could be. But the reason I saw that at all, instead of a single, clear vision like you, was because I'm… not really anybody yet. I was just brought back to life in a new form. I have nothing except my memories of the old lives. But if I continue to remain like this, in this undifferentiated state, doing nothing but following you around and making my snide remarks, then not even these relics could show me what awaits me. That's probably why I saw nothing the first time I touched the Sun Diskos. It showed me nothing, because no good fate awaits those who don't make anything of themselves."

He lays back on the bed, closing his eyes in thought. "…well, now what?"

 No.729123

>>729118
"I think that'd be pretty fun but, I don't know. I'm not that good at telling stories, I can't really come up with any good ones off the top of my head."

Flaming listens as she's pulled upwards in the dungeon, her eyes opening wide, "Oh great, that's what I get for copying Amy 'too' hard… okay uh, Sheimy says 'Watch out Voyage, Chester, there's some sort of evil magic pulling me up!'"

"And, while the others are looking up, I try to use my fire spell to recoil my self back down by firing it up!" She picks up the dice, and throws it again, "Don't fail me now!"
[1d10] Rolling fire blast

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.729124

>>729120

Amy makes a dissatisfied grumble. "It feels weird," she says, scratching the back of her own neck. "This wasn't even my plan. But, everyone just started talking about it like it was the best idea. I don't know… me ruling? The more people like the idea, the more nervous I get."

"But, there's a lot of things I want to be better. And, I can't get people to listen to me like this. And, before anyone can listen, everyone needs to stop fighting. So, when I think about that, I like the plan," Amy nods.

"I'll needs lots of help, though. So, if you stayed by my side, that'd be awesome! Assistant to the Queen of Demons sounds pretty nice, huh?" Amy asks, giving Easy a nudge with her elbow.

 No.729125

>>729122
"What do you desire most?" Shei shrugs

 No.729126

>>729120
"As I said, honest work is fine by me. Maybe it's something I'll have to get used to, if everything goes well in the coming month."

Cloak offers a short bow again, "Thank you for the treats."

 No.729127

>>729125
"Chocolate," Gadriel says. He reaches into his pouch, pulling forth a small velvet bag of chocolate droplets. "I had the good fortune to run into a Chocolate Witch on my way to breakfast this morning… so that's covered."

 No.729129

>>729120
Pryce is certainly taken off guard by the hip-checks, distracting a bit from his mopping, though luckily there's plenty of hooves working that take care of the missed spots.

KP quickly grabs his candy tins, but Pryce lifts three away in his magic.
>"Hey!"
"Don't shovel them all down right away. You'll get sick."
>"Come on, that can't happen again."
"I'd rather not take that chance."

He nods to Prickly with a smile.
"I do want to learn a little more on that Unweaving, but I think that can wait for later. Have a good day now."
He says in farewell as they exit.
"I think we should leave the antique store for last, since I think we'll end up picking up a lot. Which place would you like to check next?"

 No.729131

>>729123
Your blast passes through open air, until it eventually burns out against the ceiling. But, in the brief moment that it illuminates things around you, the fire causes a shadow to be cast on the wall without an apparent cause. In the brief glimpse that you get, it looks like a terrible hybrid of chameleon and mosquito, many times your size. Long wings sprout off from its back, and from its long, tube-like face extends a wicked, spiked tongue. It's grabbed Sheimy in one long hand, gripping her tightly!

>The background music intensifies, adding instruments and a blood-pumping beat.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTVSeKPI1uo

>"Great Voyage commands the monster to drop Sheimy!" LJ declares.

[1d10] Word of Power

>"And Chester will take out his lumpet, blasting a loud sound to add weight to Voyage's declaration!"

[1d10+1] Inspire

After the fire fades, the Invisquito vanishes back into the shadows, and squeezes Sheimy in its grasp!

[1d10+1]

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

 No.729132

>>729131
"Oh, what?!" Flaming exclaims, clearly over-excited. "An invisible monster?! That's cool! Okay, let's kick its butt… uh, I mean, while Sheimy wriggles around in its grasp, she shouts out, 'Hey! If you wanted a hug, all you had to do was ask!'" she snickers, turning around to look at Journey. "Hey, 'Voyage', you better save me, okay? Sheimy will be upset if you don't."

Flaming picks up the dice, "Sheimy summons a bunch of fireballs!"
[1d10+2] Homing Attack

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.729133

>>729127
Shei-Sher is now craving chocolate "Well that solves that" He brandishes his hooves together at a job well done "Identity won't come to you over night and I wanted to spend some time with you while I finished up the last of my works. So would you mind following me around just a little longer and we'll figure it out on the way?"

 No.729135

>>729126
"I imagine you had to work quite a bit to get enough money for all the exotic foods your wife got cravings for!" River jokes.
"Hey, if you get in good with Amy's new government, you could probably get her to cut a big salary just by being the Chancellor of Compliments or something like that," Zjetya adds.

>>729129
>>729126
Prickly Pear bids you a safe journey once you're all done, thanking you again for your work and your purchases.
Spitshine and Sugar share one of their candy tins, providing a model of conservative consumption that KP would probably benefit from.
As Pryce asks for a suggestion on where to go next, Hopper spritzes Lockjaw from behind with a spray of water from his staff. Lockjaw whips around, looking for the source of the unseen attack. Each time he turns about, Hopper sprays him again. Lockjaw doesn't seem angered by this, more like a dog that can't find the ball that his owner is pretending to throw across the room, only to hide behind his back.

>>729133
Gadriel tosses you a chocolate with a laugh. "Eheheh. Yeah, that's what I originally meant when I asked 'what now,' but you misunderstood me. Anyway, you wanted to go see your mom, right? What's your plan to get into Commontown now? I'll be glad to help with that."

>>729124
"The best leaders are usually the ones most reluctant to take power," Easy says. "So, I'm going to say 'Absolutely not,' to any offers of power and authority until you grab me and force me into that position."

Mocha blushes.

Easy laughs. "Well that's not where I was going with that, but that's also an option. Heh…. what were we talking about? Oh, right. Mudi. Well, on a more serious note, who would you have take the throne, if not yourself or her?"

 No.729136

>>729129
>>729126
Deciding to head over to Halaq's Haircuts next, you trek through the winding streets until you find a particularly tall group of buildings near the center of the shopping district. You take an elevator from the ground level all the way up, and then when you reach the top level that the elevator can reach, you have to take a set of stairs to get to the very top of the cluster of buildings.

The hair salon resembles a quaint, kitschy birdhouse, with perches outside where many griffon ladies sit and talk. Inside, there are many chairs around the walls, as well as basins for washing and shampooing hair. In the center of the room is a pool, a birdbath one might say. Sugar frowns and covers Spitshine's eyes so he can't watch the bird ladies bathing.

The salon is populated by both griffons and another species that Pryce has not seen before, but Leather has – the Vola. They seem greatly similar to griffons, but stand upright, and have bird legs rather than cat paws. They seem to range from three to six feet in height.

As you enter, a Witch that Pryce vaguely recognizes – a dark griffoness – turns his way.

"You. You need haircut," she declares, pointing your way.

"Err, who exactly do you mean?" River asks.

"All of you," Halaq says. "Come and sit. I cut."

 No.729137

>>729132
The Invisquito tries to squeeze the life out of Sheimy, but LJ's command and Chester's bold trumpet–

>"Lumpet!" Box corrects.


…and Chester's bold lumpet blast cause it to drop Sheimy to the ground. Sheimy loses 4 Hits, but can still fight. She charges up six fireballs to her cause, ready to fire at the beast, if only she can find where it is…

>"Hmm… how should we get it to reveal itself…?" LJ asks.

>"I've got it!" Box says. "Chester will use Recursion to copy Sheimy's fire blast from before!"
[1d10] Recursion
>"Then Great Voyage will charge up his attack power for when we find it!"
>Empower Weapon on self
>Meanwhile, Regina puts on an affected evil laugh, rolling behind her screen.

[1d10+1]

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

 No.729138

>>729135

Amy shrugs as an answer. "I'm not saying I have a better idea. I'm not even saying I've tried to think of one. I just… never thought of myself as a leader."

 No.729139

>>729135
KP pops a few candies in his mouth, enjoying the sweet treats. He chuckles a bit as Lockjaw spins around at the water sprays.
Pryce looks down at Hopper with a smile.
"Play nice now."
He says, not in a scolding way but to suggest it before it devolves in the future.

>>729136
Pryce remembers the suggestion River gave the other day, and leads to the barber shop. He looks up at the tall group of buildings, looking almost like a castle. The shop itself when they reach it looks even more curious in it's birdhouse design, almost making him question if they went to the right place.
They enter, Pryce not noticing the bird bath setup, and KP amazed at the bird house design, almost feeling like they're hanging from a tree once inside.
As Halaw calls them all out and points, Pryce pauses.
"Oh, that was quick. But we just walked in, don't we need to say what we want first?"
He questions.

 No.729140

>>729135
"Well my first plan was to impress them by conjuring palatable produce. Which is more impressive than it sounds. If that does not work then we will go to Halaq's Haircuts to help disguise ourselves. And if that does not help Chorazin and Mirror agree helping us convince the guards. Ecclessians worshipped Chorazin last she visited their camp. Just the sight of angels causes them to postrate."

Shei-Sher picks up the diskos from the floor and cuts the tether between them. "But first let's deliver these to Flaming."

Shei-Sher opens a dark corridor leading to Regina's observatory
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.729141

>>729140
also shei-sher takes a bite out of the chocolate

 No.729142

>>729138
Easy seems slightly disappointed that you didn't comment on her totally-not-intentional sexual innuendo. "Well, you've proven to me that when hardships come, our true worth and potential are revealed. I ran from Orcus, but you faced him head-on. In the same way that that situation proved my weakness and your strength, so too will the Expedition reveal who's fit to lead, and who isn't. So, don't think about it too much. Do what is right, and the rest will follow."

 No.729143

>>729137
As Sheimy is released to the ground IC, Flaming rubs her chin, "Hmmmm, okay, so we just need to find it first…. OH! Okay I got it. While Chester and Voyage power up, I use my magic sack to pull out a bucket of paint to pour over the room so we can reveal where it is!" Flaming says, grabbing at the dice for another role, "Sheimy says, 'this room could use a little color'!" and she throws her dice
[1d10] Magic Hat: Paint

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.729144

>>729135
"I mean before she was immobilized more or less, she nicked them herselves. Got this purse a while back that helped her with stealing, something something dickass thief."

>>729136
Cloak rubs his scruffy beard, considering the offer. "I've been thinking about it, know the missus was thinking it made me look rugged though."

 No.729145

>>729142

Amy nods. "I can do that," she says with a smile.

"And by the way," she adds, noting her disappointed expression. "I save the flirting for the guys. Making sex jokes with just girls around is no fun," she says with a smirk.

 No.729146

>>729139
This time around, Hopper waits until Lockjaw faces him before casting another spritz. Lockjaw eagerly catches and drinks it, finding it quite enjoyable.

>>729144
>>729139
Halaq takes you both by the shoulder with a firm, authoritative grip, almost like a guard escorting a prisoner. She sits you both down in chairs in front of mirrors, while her attendants come around and tie white cloths over you. "Yes, yes, tell me what you want. Make quick judgment. Stallionfolk must be quick and decisive. Not chatty and him and haw like marefolk.
"Just a little off the top," River says.
"Instead of a cut, just give me a scalp massage. Use your nails, don't hold back either," Zjetya says.
"Yeah, I'd like it cut pretty short," Spitshine says.
"Just brush my fur," Sugar says.

Hopper crawls down from Pryce's shoulder, then hops down to the poolside, where the other pets go as well to avoid getting covered with stray hairs.

>>729145
Easy clicks her tongue. "You're no fun. It's only when the guys aren't around that we can really get spicy. Well, if there's no more flirting to be done, I have a job to do. Oh, by the way…"

She exchanges conch code info with you and Mocha.

Mocha finishes jotting it down, and then turns your way. "Anywhere else I can take you?"

 No.729147

>>729140
"Something tells me the third option would be a better second option than the actual second option…" Gadriel grumbles.

You then arrive back in the garden where Regina, Flaming, Box and LJ are in the middle of intense W&W rolls.

 No.729148

>>729146

Amy laughs. "I think we have very different… tastes, Easy."

Amy turns to Mocha once Easy is gone. She screws her face up in thought. "Wanna get a drink?" she asks after a moment.

 No.729150

>>729148
"Mmm, nah, granddad doesn't like me drinking too much," Mocha says. "Besides, I have training to get to. I've been eating a lot lately and my posture as a drider makes it obvious when I don't work out."

 No.729151

>>729146
Cloak snorts, grinning, "I believe the opposite, patience and forethought are the traits of the most successful. I will spectate until I have decided."

 No.729152

>>729143
Sheimy spills paint all across the floor and walls of the hallway, coating everything in a shade of blue. From the bell of the lumpet, Chester blasts out a peal of fire, which strikes true! A moment after the blast hits the Invisquito, it comes into view, if only for a brief moment. You see a pale monster with grotesque, blotchy skin all covered with scales, and deep red eyes. Its wicked, spiked tongue thrashes about angrily from being struck, but it loses its grip upon the wall, and is forced to land. On the way down, it swipes at Great Voyage, striking him with its spiked tongue for 3 Hits.

It lands in the paint, getting thoroughly messy from the spill. Even if it fades from view now, it shall be child's play to find it again.

>"Great Voyage goes in for the attack!" LJ says.

[1d10+3] Basic Attack

>"Chester steps back a bit to provide support with Lumpet!"

[1d10+1] Inspire

The Invisquito whips at Great Voyage once more to stop his assault!

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5

 No.729153

>>729151
Halaq mad-dogs you, determined to get to cutting ASAP.

>roll to resist

 No.729154

>>729153
yknow patience and shit [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.729155

>>729154
Halaq eventually blinks, then frowns. "Have your way. Sit there while others get the cut they need. You will see error of ways soon."
Spitshine whistles. "Nice. Where'd you learn to do that?"

 No.729156

>>729147
"Yes, but the second option sounds fun. -Alright, alright, we will try the angel plan second."

>>729152
>>729143
"You all seem to be having a jolly gay time." Shei approaches the table they're playing on. "We came by to leave these." Shei places the disko's on the table by Flaming. "They're the diskos we acquired, you and Pryce still haven't inquired upon them yet Flaming."

 No.729158

>>729155
"The title Embodiment of Patience is not for show, I prefer to wait things out." Cloak winks to Spitshine.

 No.729160

>>729152
Flaming smiles, "Yes, nailed it! Okay, now that we can see it, Sheimy goes all out: all her magical fire balls she summoned, AND a Storm Bolt, are coming its way in a hailstorm of fire and death! Muahahahahah!" She says, grabbing at 7 d10 dice to throw at once with eager glee. "Let fire rain down on the monster and smite all who oppose Princess Sheimy Thrice!"

[1d10]
[1d10]
[1d10]
[1d10]
[1d10]
[1d10] (Homing Attacks)
[1d10] Storm Bolt (crit range 3 for 3x attack)

>>729156
As Shei rolls up, Flaming looks over at Shei, "Oh! Hey Shei, what are you up to?" She looks down at the diskos, "Oh! I remember one of those from the Temple. Sorry, things got so busy after we left Wineberry I forgot. If I remember correctly, they can answer almost any question about the future if you have both parts, right?"

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 7 = 7 / Roll #4 7 = 7 / Roll #5 6 = 6 / Roll #6 4 = 4 /

 No.729162

[1d10] Last one for Storm Bolt

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.729163

>>729150

"O-oh…" Amy stammers awkwardly. "How old are you?"

"Well, either way, let's go back. I should probably find something important to do anyway."

 No.729164

>>729163
"Just turned twenty-two last month," Mocha says. She then conjures a Dark Corridor back to the garden, where you see that Shei has joined Flaming and the others.

 No.729165

>>729146
Pryce is surprised at how direct Halaq is in directing them to their seats.
"Uh, just a little trim, I guess?"
He looks to River and Zjetya.
"What do you two think?"

KP hops up in his chair.
"I could use a tidy-up. Or maybe a cool style for being on stage!"

 No.729166

>>729164
>>729156

"Shei! You're back!" Amy shouts happily as if it's been years since she's seen him. She grabs him for a hug as her tail wags vigorously.

 No.729167

>>729160
>>729156
>Regina looks a little annoyed when Shei interrupts to put something on the table. There's where the dice go, for goodness' sake. But she says nothing, preferring instead to just give him a look. She then gets back to her narration.

Great Voyage meets the Invisquito head-on, knocking it back down the hall. As it is thrown off-balance, it ends up whipping Sheimy instead, knocking her back into Chester, who throws out a very loud blast into your ears, breaking your focus. But as Sheimy goes down, she fires off a storm of magic bolts upon the Invisquito. A few miss, but most hit their mark, burning the monster's hide thoroughly. It switches tactics, trying to turn invisible again, but you can still see its footprints, thanks to the paint. It climbs up the wall, out of reach.

>Sheimy 0/4


>"Great Voyage will heal up Sheimy's wounds!" LJ says.

[1d10+1] Heal

>"So that's what it's like to roll a 1…" Box laments. "Uh, Chester… hmmm…. Ah! Chester will make a sound like a much bigger monster to try to scare it off!"

[1d10] Mimic Sound

>Regina rolls behind her screen.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 10 = 10

 No.729168

>>729158
Spitshine nods. "Me, not so much. Not sure what I could be the Embodiment of… Greed, maybe. Wandering?"

>>729165
>>729158
"It's looking a little long," River says as they get to work on hers and the others'. "Go for something a little shorter, but tell them to keep your current style. Try to strike a balance between wandering bard and brave paladin."

Halaq and her assistants descend upon your group, minus Leather of course. They wash and shampoo your manes, massaging your scalps with claws, combs and brushes, which eases away stress you didn't even know you were carrying there. Then they dry with a towel, and start to trim with fine, sharp scissors and razors, taking care not to nick anyone in the process.

 No.729170

>>729167
Flaming lets out a hoof-pump as Sheimy's flames scorch the creature, but looks dismayed as she sees that she also rolled enough lowly to knock her out. "Awwww…. I guess that's the trade off to rolling too many at once. Still, that hurt it more than it hurt me so it's not a bad trade. Oh, uh… 'AAAAAAAAAAH! It got me! Keep me covered!'" Flaming shouts as she gets into character, finding a singular die to try rolling to get up.

"Okay and, I roll this one time to try and get up from 'fallen', right?"
[1d10] She gives it a little roll

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.729171

>>729168
"What she said. My current look but shorter."
Pryce says with River's opinion.

Pryce sits back as they go through the process, finding it much more reliving than he thought it would. It has been a long time since he's seen a barber, even without counting his recent travels.
KP meanwhile isn't as relaxed, though it comes more from his childish nature to not want to sit still for too long. He doesn't dislike it though.

 No.729173

>>729168
Cloak crosses his hooves, spectating the whole affair with mild amusement. "Hmn, wandering's a nice one."

 No.729174

>>729173
"Yeah, well, it runs in the family, if the stories are to be believed," Spitshine says grimly. "Dad left home when he was my age, came back at eighteen, killed my grandpa and took over the family slave trade. Kind of the same thing grandpa did when he was my age too."

>>729171
The griffonesses and Volas under Halaq's command seem to be quite experienced with this issue, as they manage to finish cutting KP's hair despite all the trouble he gives them. Soon, they are finished with everyone's haircuts. They have done an excellent job on all who wanted a cut. Their coiffures are lined up well, looking fresh and neat, and feeling very vivified as a result.

 No.729175

>>729170
Sheimy is back on her hooves before long, and Voyage's magic restores her flesh, leaving no trace of the old injury. As Chester attempts to scare off the Invisquito, you see its footprints linger on the wall. It seems to hesitate, deciding whether or not to flee, but in the end, it remains steadfast.

>"We've almost got it!" LJ cheers. "If we can just roll good right here…"

[1d10+2] Basic attack

>Box now looks really nervous about rolling dice. "Chester sounds out the horns of battle!"

[1d10+1]

The Invisquito, badly wounded, tries to go in for one last blow against Great Voyage.
[1d10+1]

>paused


Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #3 8 + 1 = 9


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