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File: 1607486417477.png (4.97 MB, 2710x2125, The Choristers -- Tartarus….png)

 No.750229[View All]

>Last time, on HolyQuest…

>Amy, Cloak, Pryce


Salt maintains her steady and judgmental glare, even as you respond. "Finally… it seems that you get it. In the end, one Will shall prevail above the others; it is those who do not conquer, who shall be subsumed. Know that all those who enter Tartarus must understand this. And if they do not, then rest assured that they will."

Ignoring Amy's other question, Salt nods. "See to it that you pass along my question to those other members of your small army. Not for my satisfaction, but for their hope of survival."

Like Sulfur before her, Salt is engulfed in a small and dense cloud of gaseous salt, and then vanishes.

>Shei

Gadds slowly turns his head your way as you make more suggestions. "…How about we take the 'expected' way down."
"Yeah," Busta says. "The Sons of God would have probably taken extra care to put up obstacles against demons that could just phase through walls and bypass all their more conventional traps and impediments. Whatever those things were, they won't be the last ones we face if we try that again."

>Flaming

Volkama jots down the entry onto his map, but then taps your head with his pen. As Spark gnaws on his hoof, he speaks. "Erm, young miss goddess, can't you simply bypass this lock with your dominion over physicality?"
"Or, failing that, bash it open, as your usual modus operandi," Deriva adds.
717 posts and 9 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.755014

>>755010
Pryce's horn glows as he sets River and Zjetya on his back, going back to standing proper.
"That is one tactic. Even with a silly name though, I wouldn't doubt your trust in your friends."

 No.755015

>>755013

"Of course I can keep a secret!" Amy says loudly in a crowded room.

 No.755016

>>755013
Voyage looks about as he sets you down, pretending not to notice your wink – only to swing his head at an alarming angle to bonk against your horns. Such a strike would send a smaller creature flying, but for a divine buffalo such as yourself, it only makes a rather amusing sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwxTZaa3NgI

>>755011
>>755012
"Ahh," Lion says. "Is that why she can afford to spend so much time and money on collecting cards?"
"N– ye– n…" Supper stammers. "Okay, yes, but you don't have to say it like that!"
Lion looks oblivious to the implications of what he said.

>>755014
Zjetya kicks her back hooves against yours as she rides on your back. "Giddyup!"
"I wonder if we might be too heavy for that," River observes.
"Maybe you," Zjetya says.
River gasps.
"There is no need for such bullying," Anzu says.
"Especially coming from a fatty such as her," River counters.

 No.755017

>>755016

"Hey! You're doing what you think is fun! There's nothing wrong with that!" Amy says as she gives Supper an over-aggressive pat on the back.

 No.755018

>>754796
>>754793
When Supper stops Shei from grabbing the card an indeterminate amount of time passes before shei realizes a sort of magic is preventing him from pushing his hoof past Super's. And then he realizes a feeling of vacancy to his side. When he looks he sees Amy is absent from hugging his arm.

Looking about the room He can see some of the others flying about holding their fellows aloft in some sort of contest he doesn't readily recognize. And He sees Amy trailing off to a another group.
"Ah- I see. Feeling left out I suppose."

Shei's eyes glance back to Supper "Yeah.. That's enough hoof holding for now Supper" He shakes his hoof away from Supper's hoof. He begins to stand and without warning picks Supper up allowing her to sit on one arm.

>>754796
>>755013
>>754796
Shei-Sher then ambles over to Amy and picks her up in one arm. Whether she resists or not. Upon arrival he chances a glance at Flaming and Voyage nose booping eachother. Shei remarks his vexation for their kind.
"You people disgust me." Shei says in a low growl of a tone.

After sitting both mares on his arms Shei leave them in a gust of wind as he flies off to the others holding the wife off.
"Here is my compromise! Survival of the fittest!"

Shei begins thrusting his wings violently toward the competition to knock them off balance
DARK.III
[1d10] To create a gust that blows away the competition.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.755019

>>755016
As Voyage swings his head around to bonk his mighty skull into hers, the two thick heads clashing with equal force to make a rather amusing sound ringing throught he pot-luck, Shorthorns chuckles, returning the gesture ever so lightly. "Okay, see, THAT'S something we can do in front of people. There's nothing inappropriate about a good headbutt!"

>>755015
As Amy opens her trap and announces to the whole gathering she can keep a secret, Shorthorns looks around in a panic, quickly pushing her hooves up to close Amy's muzzle shut. "Y-you're not making a convincing argument, Amy!"

She keeps her hooves on the muzzle, letting out a sigh, "Okay, here it goes… I…" she looks around, making sure no one is listening, before leaning int whisper into Amy's ear as quietly as she can. "I really like Voyage."

 No.755020

>>755017
>>755016
"I concur, it brings no one harm, a hobby is a hobby." Leather nods.

 No.755021

>>755016
"Neither of you two are heavy, so no fighting during the ride," Pryce comments to their back and forth. "When we get moving again, I can giddyup. For now I'm fine taking it easy for the rest of our break." Pryce adds, levitating up his plate to finish off the food he grabbed earlier.

>>755016
>>754804
KP looks up to Hurricanrana.
>"So if you're the strongest… What's the strongest thing you've done?"

 No.755022

>>755018

"Disgust you?" Amy asks with a dramatic gasp. "Haven't you learned ANYTHING about public displays of affection over the course of our relationship!?"

>>755019

Amy gasps. "But, what about LJ!?"

 No.755023

>>755017
>>755018
>>755019
>>755020
Supper's just about to respond to Amy, or more like yell, given that she looks as stressed as she was earlier with how Lion blew the lid right off her non-existent love life, when Shei attempts to pick her up. Her yell turns into a full-on screech for the few moments that she's in his arm, when–
"Stranger!" she cries. "Stranger Danger! L'Etranger, I summon–"
At that word, "Summon," a black and needle-thin knife manifests upon Shei's shoulder. The handle is held by some spectral entity, who appeared without trace. Tall, impossibly lanky, wearing the masked hood and black robes of an executioner. A long cigarette dangles out of the hood, whose shadows conceal L'Etranger's face.

As L'Etranger accosts Shei, Supper spasms in every possible direction, and a few impossible ones for good measure, and tosses herself to the ground.

This time, it is the Ecclesians who hold their peace, despite a demon appearing in their midst. However, all of the Light Brigade train their weapons upon Supper and L'Etranger. L'Etranger, for its part, doesn't show any great interest in them, merely laying his blade upon Shei's shoulder.

>>755021
"Standin' up for peace, justice and the rights of my fellow mortals," Hurricanrana answers sincerely.
Mocha blinks in bafflement.
"And you too, with a little courage, can do what's right, every time," Hurricanrana continues.

 No.755024

>>755023

Amy has a giggle-fit as she watches the chaos unfold.

 No.755025

>>755023
>>755018
Pryce turns as he hears the shouting, wings spread and ready to intervene, even with his passengers, as he sees the demon on Shei with it's blade at the ready.
"Shei, what did you do now?"

>>755023
>"Wow, you sound like the old knights back at the Church. No wonder you're the strongest."
KP says in awe.

 No.755026

>>755023
Leather closes his eyes and exhales, trying to remain patient with Shei before opening his eyes back up and working on his children's book more.

 No.755027

>>755022
Shorthorns takes a few moments to stare at Amy as though she had a second head, then rolls her eyes and whispers again, "Voyage IS Journey! He changed his name too!"

>>755018
As Shei mentions how she disgusts him, Shorthorns stomps her hooves, "Oh, no, no alright, YOU have no room to talk! I know what we did was a little… inappropriate… but you and Amy do way, WAY worse than that like, every night! I had to change beds because of you!"

>>755018
>>755023
As Shei picks up a second mare along with Amy, Shorthorns looks on at his attempt to one-up everyone involved in the official Pre-Tartarus Wife-Off. She looks on as his wings start blowing away all of them, moving up to Voyage to stand their ground firmly before looking at Supper starting to fight back, summoning some odd, spectral creature looming over Shei.

As she starts to spasm, falling on the ground off of Shei's shoulder, her eyes open wide with concern, looking at the specter with trepidation. "Uh… d-does anyone know if that was SUPPOSED to happen to her?"

 No.755028

>>755023
Shei looks to L'Etranger and then the Light Brigade "Va-ah!" He dismisses the sense danger with a wave of his hoof "Let her have her moment."

Shei rolls his eyes for a moment and then looks over to Vizlsa just to say "These people."

>>755022
>>755023
>"Haven't you learned ANYTHING about public displays of affection over the course of our relationship!?"
"Yes- It's okay when we do it." and with that Shei-Sher picks up Amy resting her on his shoulder

Shei-Sher affixes a layer of his aura with the power of control. If L'Etranger decides to attack Shei he'll enter his the bounds of Shei's aura and be afflicted with this roll

>DARK.III

>Control+1
>[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.755029

>>755027
"The difference is I kept it in the bedroom!" Shei responds ungraciously to Flaming pointing out his night of passion in front of everyone

 No.755030

>>755027

"Well that's just confusing!" Amy complains with a stomp of her hoof-paw. "How is anyone supposed to remember that!?"

>>755028

Amy laughs and smiles at Shei's answer. Then, she yelps as Shei picks her up. "I-wha-whoa!" She shouts.

Now straddling Shei's shoulders, she looks down in confusion. Then, a grin crosses her face. "Shei, I think you put me on the wrong side of your head," she says with a snicker.

 No.755031

>>755030
"Why do you think you should be upside down?" Shei doesn't even realize how lurid it is what he just said. But says it as if meant to shut Amy up.

 No.755032

>>755025
Mocha decides not to burst KP's bubble.

Hurricanrana nods and pats KP's head. "And always remember to eat your vegetables."
"I should certainly hope he does, considering we're all herbivores," River says.

>>755024
>>755025
>>755026
>>755027
>>755028
Supper keeps low to the ground, scrambling to pick up her belongings and to go find someplace to hide – much to Mudi's embarrassment, Supper skitters behind her like a frightened animal. Sighing, Mudi pats her head.
L'Etranger, without moving its shoulders, or even its neck, pivots its head around to keep an eye on Supper. After a few moments of Supper issuing no command, it vanishes, dissipating into smoke, but the cold chill of its needle-like knife lingers upon Shei's flesh and veins.
"Just be glad she did not call for La Peste," Vizsla says. "Even I wouldn't have had the sheer gall to recruit them."
Silently, with L'Etranger gone, the Light Brigade sheathe their weapons, and polish off the last of their meals.

 No.755033

>>755032
KP nods.
>"I always do!"

>>755032
Pryce folds his wings back, clearing his throat.
"I suppose it is better to get stuff like that out of the way now, and not in Tartarus."

 No.755034

>>755031

"Oooh! You're right! If I was upside down, I could return the favor!" Amy says excitedly.

>>755032

"Does she also have a demon named Natasha?" Amy asks Mudi and Supper enigmatically.

 No.755035

>>755032
Shei eyes Supper with modest disdain as she cowers behind Mudi's robe "And I will consider that as the mood being thoroughly spoiled."

>>755030
"Well, we can't play chicken anymore. But you can still ride on my shoulders." Shei moves one of Amy's legs so she is seated with a leg on each shoulder.

>>755032
At Vizsla's remark Shei-Sher responds "I live for abuse." As if offended she would assume otherwise. "Also La Peste, sounds like a pasta."

 No.755036

>>755029
Shorthorns gasps, "T-That's… what we just did still isn't as bad! Right?"

>>755030
"Well, you're supposed to because we told you so, Amy!" She groans, "B-but that's all besides the point anyhow!"

She looks around, whispering again, "The point is, I really, REALLY like Voyage… and, I just wanna make sure we don't mess this up. Our clan told us stuff like… what we just did aren't meant to be just, thrown around or else it isn't special, and it makes people upset if it isn't done right."

>>755032
Shorthorns watches Supper's odd actions as she also keeps a careful eye on the black, spectral creature lingering around Shei, keeping in a battle stance ready to jump if it looks to harm him.

After it eventually vanishes, Shorthorns lets loose a breath, turning to look at Supper and Mudi. "WHAT was that? Did you bring it here? You looked so scared of it…"

 No.755037

>>755032
>>755033
"We should put together some small duels then, before going forward. As I said earlier, it is best to get any of these emotions out before we head to Tartarus, and sparring is good practice."

 No.755038

>>755037
"If we can keep them small. Maybe the Sons of God stuck an arena down here we could use."

 No.755039

>>755034
"Bad! Bad dog" Amy's balance shakes as Shei fidgets "Where's my newspaper."

>>755036
"Hmm." Shei grunts "I still taste bile."

 No.755040

>>755035

"Shei how am I supposed to NOT make a dirty joke like this!?" Amy asks as Shei talks about Amy riding him and with his head between her hind legs.

>>755036

"But, if you like him, it's not wrong," Amy says sagely.

>>755039

"But, YOU put me here!" Amy whines.

 No.755041

>>755035
"Then I would highly recommend that you swallow once you hear those words leave her mouth," Vizsla says with a kind smile. "You may find them delicious and nutritious, after all."

>>755036
"Umm, I wouldn't say scared, so much as not wanting to get my outfit dirty," Supper says. "If Shei had tried to grab me again, then I would have given L'Etranger the order… with white fur like that, you would have needed a new coat by the end of it."

>>755033
>>755034
>>755035
>>755036
>>755037
"Duels…?" Living Saint Zoantharia asks. He glances to Gegenschein, who smiles.

But before he can answer that suggestion, Mudi looks up.

"Oh," she says. "You preempted me. I guess. It was just something of an off-the-cuff idea I had, anyway."

"Don't leave us in such suspense," Hope says.

"I was going to offer a one-on-one challenge to anyone who intended to betray me," Mudi says casually. "I would fully disclose my abilities, down to the last cantrip. I would give them as much prep time as they needed. I would let them pick favorable conditions. I would let them use any weapons, style or abilities they wanted. And if I died, I'd give them the means necessary to pick up the plan in my stead… only, if I killed them, that'd be the end of it. Nobody would get to take up the challenge after that first challenger died."

 No.755042

>>755037
>>755038
>>755041
"It was playing! We were only playing. The stark difference of culture is astounding. You have to label things like duel or sparring. When for bohemians violence and tomfoolery are another method of conversation. And I won't have you labeling my good standing with these folk with something as one-dimensional as a duel- A twinge of advice. When you see two members of the occult throwing daggers at eachother the polite thing to do is watch with amused curiosity live Vizsla does, not pick up arms in their defense."

Shei-Sher complains to their suggestions loud enough for the crowd to hear.

 No.755043

>>755042
>live Vizsla does
ahem
like Vizsla does

 No.755044

>>755041

Amy, still sitting on Shei's shoulders, drops her smile as Mudi speaks. She stares at Mudi for a while. She steps down off of Shei's shoulders.

"I never intended to betray you, and I don't want to kill you. But, I'd be interested in dueling you," Amy offers Mudi in a serious tone.

 No.755045

>>755042
"That hardly looked like tomfoolery or good standing," Pryce comments. "Just remember to not start things like that in Tartarus."

>>755041
Pryce looks over to Mudi as she offers her proposal.
"A duel wouldn't end in death. There's no need to thin numbers before the mission even begins."

 No.755046

>>755040
"Isn't it?" Shorthorns asks, genuinely curious. "I mean… I really, REALLY like him, but, we have only just met, and… such displays are encouraged to only be between those who've been recognized and approved by each other's immediate family. Neither of us really have our parents around… and, even then t…touching… touching 'you-know-what's is considered pretty provocative."

>>755041
As Supper insists she wasn't scared, and only kept the interest of keeping her outfit clean, Shorthorns gives a smug grin. "Sure… that was all there was, huh?"
She winces as she mentions how she'd need to clean her coat afterwards. "Ooooh… sounds really messy."

>>755041
Shorthorns nods at Mudi, raising up. "I am always ready to meet a duel when it is offered, though I don't know if I should be our chosen fighter I would gladly take up that challenge!"

"But…" she pauses, remembering all the hesitation she'd had before in speaking with Mudi… but also the moments of benevolence she witnessed as well. "I would not want to kill you either, I'm with Amy. Our duel would end in your defeat, but not in your death."

 No.755047

>>755046

Amy shrugs. "Traditions don't really mean anything to me."

 No.755048

>>755042
>>755041

"In either case, I am an advocate of consent for things to be play or a duel, otherwise they are ambushes." Cloak shrugs.

 No.755049

>>755048
>>755044
>>755045
>>755042
>>755046
"My conditions aren't up for negotiation," Mudi says. "It's to the death, or it's nothing. If I failed to beat you, there's no reason to believe that I would have made it to the Momentary Lake. Thus, my plan would need a successor."
"That worried about letting secrets get out?" Hope asks.
Mudi glares over at him in annoyance.
"Notice that she spelled things out quite explicitly…" Hope continues. "But said nothing about allowing an audience. You would kill your challenger in secret, leaving the rest of us to speculate in fear of how you managed to do it."
"Mmm…" Gegenschein says. "No, no, I don't think it's quite that. She's sticking to her conditions precisely because she knows the Saviors won't take her up on them. They find murder so… disagreeable. Her challenge is only to us, I imagine."
"Or perhaps to me," Vizsla says with a shrug. "But I don't see what either of us would gain from it. Death is more of an inconvenience for our kind."
Mudi narrows her eyes as the others peel apart her bluff.

 No.755050

>>755047
"Well they're important to me!" Shorthorns says a little louder than she should given the privacy she wanted. "My clan's traditions are just about the only bit of my clan I still have!"

>>755049
Shorthorns narrow as she listens to Mudi's insistence their battle be one to the very end, then to the Ecclessians as they digest her terms and determine she refers more to them than the Saviors.
Shorthorns steps forward. "If you want to try and kill one of us, you go on ahead. WE won't die. And we'll beat you without killing you, as will be our right as victors."

 No.755051

>>755049
>>755049
"Again. A meaningless and pointless excursion. The games will begin after we pass the door. Otherwise duels are a distraction to the true conversation." Shei-Sher states

 No.755052

>>755049
"So it's not a duel then, only a test," Pryce says as the others analyze her conditions. "The dragons were saying we need to be decisive, and unrelenting in our goals. If you're thinking somepony here could have the possibility of beating you in an off the cuff idea, it sounds like you're not in the mindset for Tartarus at all."

 No.755053

>>755049

"I know exactly why she made this offer," Amy says, staring down Mudi. "The important part is that it's specifically to people who 'intend to betray her'. She wants it to be to the death because if it's not, then they might not want to betray her," she explains with uncharacteristic clarity.

"But, I'm not interested in explaining more than that. It would just hurt everyone here. I have a more important question, anyway. If I win the duel, then how do you intend to force me to kill you?"

 No.755054

>>755050
>>755049
"I do not think she would consider the duel to be over if you left her alive, Shorthorned. It would also be rude to go against her terms."

Leather digresses, "Alas, as cliche as it is I would rather wait it out and let fate takes its course. To rush such a thing when more solutions could emerge later is a sin."

 No.755055

>>755053
>>755049
"Feh- Betrayal. Look at Mudi. She's poignant, she show's restraint, She wears her emotions to fit the decorum. It's the same girl that harvests the souls of children, the same girl who wishes she could put the world inside a glass ball. She justifies her actions after they happen -she still justifies them to herself. Yet she feels compelled by fate, by remorse, and ambition. She secretly welcomes betrayal as absolution for her crimes. Yet will find the same satisfaction in victory, but no absolution. She will become a nihlist as all meaning in the world pales against her raw power. Mudi I will ensure you receive your power, your absolution, and your defeat."

Shei locks eye contact with Mudi trying to see within her.
[1d10] Appraise

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.755056

>>755055

"I don't think I agree with a word you just said," Amy says thoughtfully.

 No.755057

>>755052
>>755051
"That's what I think she's trying to suss out," Lion says. "Because if anyone was so tempted by an 'off the cuff' challenge like hers, obviously they didn't have the mental fortitude to resist quick and easy temptations."
"I daresay she had this planned from the moment she stepped hoof into Fantasia Palace," Monkey says. "Not an iota of it sounds spontaneous."

>>755051
>>755052
>>755053
>>755054
>>755050
>>755055
"Because otherwise, I would kill everyone," Mudi answers Amy simply, disregarding Shei. Energy sparks about her, eventually forming a small cyclone that snaps and burns, causing her mane and clothes to flow, and her eyes to glow.

"Everyone, until I am stopped. Everyone in this room… everyone in this dungeon…"

At this, the flippancy with which the Ecclesians dismissed Mudi's challenge freezes over. The Light Brigade, who had looked ready for a surprise attack since the moment of the challenge, tense themselves. The Spiders, not so reserved as the other two factions, wear their contempt openly, and stare her down. Even Hurricanrana, and especially Supper, back away from her. As for the Saviors, they watch her with a caution that borders on fear.

"Everyone in Fantasia… everyone in the neigh… yeowch!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBq8x8tjpsQ

Busta has hit Mudi atop the head with a karate-chop. Mudi rubs the impact point, grumbling.

"Your bluff hasn't worked," Busta says. "Now you just sound weird. We have a mission to accomplish, and I'm pretty sure everyone's done eating. Let's move on, alright? There's still some artifacts to be found around here, I bet."

The others look on in disbelief.

 No.755060

>>755057

As Mudi threatens everyone, Amy smiles simply. She ignores Busta. "And, what if you couldn't do any of that?" she asks Mudi.

 No.755061

>>755057
"Hard to believe she'd be testing the rest of us so casually."

>>755057
When Mudi expands on her plan, energy crackling about, Pryce ushers KP and the pets over to him, keeping them shielded as he glares down the witch as she extends what she'd destroy.
That is, until Busta stops her simply and effectively.
"…"
He is shocked silent at the display, Busta of any of them stopping Mudi like a child right before they start throwing a tantrum.

 No.755062

>>755057
Shei looks on in disdain. He's ready to leave now. And waits for the party to move on.

 No.755063

>>755057
"I still think it worked as an effective communion despite the ending, all in all a success." Leather says, rather detached from the threat.

 No.755064

>>755054
"Well, even if she DIDN'T consider the duel to be over, if we won, what could she do about it? If she started the fight all over again, it'd just end the same way, with us winning!"

>>755057
As Mudi lets them know what would happen if they didn't follow through, and a small cyclone of energy appears around her, Shorthorns is caught off guard, taking a few steps back in shock as she reminds herself to stand her ground, looking on at Mudi with determination to meet her threats…

Before being interrupted by Busta coming in to lighten the mood, giving Mudi a bonk on the head with a buggy chop. She looks at Busta, smiles, and starts giggling uncontrollably, the sheer contrast of what could have been an incredibly dangerous situation ending so light-hearted causing her to break out in giggles.

"AHahahahah! Well, I think I know who *I* want to fight Mudi if it came to that. Clearly, Busta's in a league of his own!" She compliments the demon fly

 No.755067

>>755064
>>755063
>>755062
>>755061
>>755060
Mudi, blinking away a few tears of pain after that chop, doesn't respond to anyone, and instead slinks away.

"Hoo-hoo-hoo."

Following Shorthorned's lead, Gegenschein allows himself to laugh. He is the only one. Even Vizsla, normally so cold toward her sister, looks on in silence.

"Now that that's settled… why don't we put this bowl to good use? Galton, dear, another fruit, if you will."

Doctor Galton flies over and retrieves another large fruit of possibility from the garden walls.

"Now, then, if one of you could be so kind as to fill me in on the details of how this scrying basin operates," Gegenschein says. "We can peer about for some treasure before we face the Capo."

>Paused


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