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 No.766029[Last 50 Posts]

>Good Intentions
The rodent takes one cookie, and scampers off to enjoy it. Trajan, who had been stretching his legs elsewhere, has a nibble of one of the other cookies.


Godspeed ponders it. "I do wonder… But I am inclined to picture school as a uniquely effective role for Psy-Chrono harvesting. In Zinccastle, where basic education is required for all by law, people report suffering school-based dream-terrors quite regularly. Most often, they can't find their way to class, or they're forced to retake difficult classes, because their credits were retroactively declared invalid after they graduated. But other situations aren't as universal as school. Some people are fortunate enough to earn jobs that they enjoy, as soon as they enter the workforce. A few – the Nobles – are wealthy enough that they never have to work at all. So, a workplace scenario might not be as effective for feeding the Tree."

>Billy, Zamrud, Qhapaq

"I shudder to think what students who were wealthy and well-connected enough to gain admission to Agape would be armed with," Godspeed says. "Get along nicely with your classmates– and never agree to meet them in a dark alleyway."

She checks the time, and stands up as well. "Right. I'll be off, myself then. I'd offer you luck, but I've fought alongside you before. Your skill and determination will see you through these midterms."


Zamrud nods in agreement with Godspeed. "Quite so… in fact, while I would normally never recommend this in a place of learning, knowing how seriously some of your fellow students might take advancement in this academy it might be good to have a plan in case you have to defend yourself. Something small you can conceal, would be ideal… and provided you know when not to use it."

As Godspeed stands up, Zamrud nods. "I feel I may retire to my office as well. My escapades this evening have put me a tad behind on my papers I need to grade…"


"Mmm. I think I would be fine- unlike most students, I do not need my equipment with me to be dangerous." He remarks, shrugging a little. He dips his head lightly in thanks, ruffling his wings and saying. "Thank you, Godspeed. I appreciate the confidence."


Good took up the pencil and worked on the free response questions, taking advantage of the lightened workload. He took another cookie for himself as he worked.


"That does make me think that this place is more hyperbolic and could have been another's dream or perspective on this school. Though I don't know if this train of thought could help us." Billy falls sullen.


"Someone else's dream…?" Godspeed repeats. "Hmm… you know, I wouldn't discount that train of thought just yet. We don't have the time to tell or test it right now, but keep that idea on the shelf nearby for when midterms are done and dusted.

With that, Godspeed departs, and the cafeteria closes up, leaving you with precious little time before the curfew. Then, on the next Cycle, midterms await…

>timeskip to midterms available


>Ready for Skip!


Zamrud chuckles as Qhapaq points out his martial prowess. "Yes, an upside to being proficient in the martial arts, it seems. You're never far from your weapon. Me, on the other hand, I prefer to have a rifle or grenade on standby."

He waves goodnight to his students, and makes his way to his office to finish up his paper-work. When he gets back to his dorm, he checks his closet to see what equipment may lie in wait, seeing what he could discretely carry around school….

>Ready for Timeskip


"I will try my best to do so. Thank you for your time." Billy bows his head down as Godspeed takes his leave.

>Ready for Skip


Good continues his rodent strats to speedrun school.

>Ready to skip


All of your equipment from your time previously spent in the Outlands is there, in your closet. It's tucked away, largely out of sight, and divided into many different drawers, shelves and boxes, the contents meticulously organized, like with like, as if your housekeeper had a tendency toward the obsessive-compulsive. Yet, not any of it is missing.

You retire for the evening, to get as much rest as you possibly can, before you must meet the dreadful trials that await you…

Though your sleep could have been better, you arise, finding notifications upon your phones. They contain your midterm schedules. As Zamrud can attest, it was a trial in and of itself to coordinate with the other faculty as to when each midterm can be held, so as to avoid overlap. In fact, some of the faculty report having been bribed or threatened by their students, so as to deliberately cause such overlaps in the interest of sabotaging said students' rivals. The teachers do not seem to have acted on those bribes, for no overlaps exist… but whether they deceitfully accepted the bribes is a question they won't answer.

That tangent aside, once you've got your schedules, you begin to formulate a personal schedule for yourselves, maps to and from different lecture halls, space for breaks where you can decompress, and all the other necessities of life…


This is it. Failure here means expulsion from the school life. Back into the Outlands, perhaps…? Well, who can say what judgement the Tree of Evil shall render. Herb's group informs you that they did not fail any tests so far, out of fear of death, or far worse. The Tree is an Outlands phenomenon, after all…

Now, it would be quite a dreadful thing to actually render to you, dear reader, the exact details of these tests. So perhaps it is best conveyed through a metaphor… of violent, bloody combat.


>Declare all your classes, and divide yourselves into two battle groups.
>Each battle group will face off against all the midterms corresponding to the classes that the members of that battle group are taking.
>If multiple members of the same battle group are taking the same class, they will get a +(x-1) bonus to attacks targeting that class's midterm. IE, 3 members in the same class means a bonus of +2 to attacks.
>Each battle group can only damage its own midterms. However, each battle group can use support skills on the other battle group.
>Each battle group can take one (1) NPC ally with them.


Allies available:

>Herb: Bard

>Lone Star: Knight
>Locomotive: Tracker
>Origami: Paladin

>Ride or Die: Cleric

>Assembly: Smith
>Bet: Necromancer
>Gimmel: Rogue
>Dorya: Alchemist


>Classes: Alchemist, History
>Battle Group 2


>Classes: Math, History
>Battle Group 2


>Classes Math, History
>Battle group 2


>Battle Group 2 NPC: Ride or Die


>Classes: PE, Computers, History
>Battle Group 1


Zamrud notices his arsenal is completely intact, and decides to pocket a few grenades that he could conceal discretely in his coat. Just in case one of his students has a grudge with a low grade on his latest report…

Zamrud prepares himself mentally for the upcoming trials of midterms, hoping he's put his students (and especially his companions) through as much training as necessary to handle the rigorous tests they're about to face.

>Classes: Chemistry, Math

>Battle group 1


Classes PE, Computer, History
Battlegroup: 1

Taking Herb


*switching to Battle Group 2 if Billy agrees


Moving to group 1


After exchanging one last round of well-wishes, you turn off your phones, sip the last of your coffee, tea, energy drink, whatever your poison– and descend straight into the harrowing of this academic Hell.


Battle Group 1: Billy, Qhapaq, Good Intentions
Computers (x2), Physical Education (x2), History (x3), Alchemy (x1)
NPC: Herb

Battle Group 2: Deadweight, Lost Hope, Zamrud
Math (x3), History (x2), Chemistry (x1),
NPC: Ride or Die

Respond to this post either with a ready confirmation, or any last-second revisions desired.


I am fine to go


Confirmed ready to take the tests




>Good Ready to go


Lesbo 2 Checking in


Somewhere, somehow, two curtains rise upon two stages.

The stages face one another, across a gulf of seats. From the perspective of those standing upon each stage, the seats – each one empty – face their own stage, and not the other.

Herb gasps, eyes darting back and forth. "D-did I walk into the wrong hall?"

He didn't, of course, yet he's here, standing beside Billy, Qhapaq and Good Intentions. Upon the other stage are Deadweight, Lost Hope and Professor Zamrud, as well as Ride or Die, who looks equally confused.


To the lot of you, this scenery hardly strikes you as being something worth commenting on. There's a certain mundane regularity to it, akin to how a dreamer finds the setting of their dream rather ordinary, at least until they wake up and think back.

Neither Herb nor Ride have much time to wonder or protest before more figures descend upon the stage. Peculiar monsters, wrought of metal fused with flesh, animated by wires that stretch up into the catwalks. The wielders of the wires hide behind the blinding stage-lights.

Wherever this is, whatever this is– now, you've got to fight.


>BG 1

Computers charges a spell!

>Homing Magic: Lightning


Physical Education lunges at Good Intentions!



History puts a curse on Qhapaq!



Alchemy follows-up against Qhapaq!

>Alchemist's Fire


Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #3 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #4 3 + 2 = 5


>BG 2

Math paper-cuts Deadweight!



History tries to take out Zamrud!



Chemistry throws a mysterious can at Lost Hope!

>Animal Swarm


>I forgot to roll for Herb and Ride

Herb (6/6) rallies the troops!



Ride (5/7) takes a swing at Chemistry!

>Basic Attack


Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #3 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #4 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #5 8 + 1 = 9


"Oh sh—" Deadweightleaps into the air to avoid Math's deadly attack and pulls from her side a claymore (where did that come from?) to swipe at the foe.

>Dodge, +1 bonus pegasus flight

>Basic attack, crit 9+, crit fail 2-



Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 5 = 5


>Starting H/W: 11/8


Qhapaq nods a little bit to Herb- with how things to be shaping up, he definitely wishes he had his mask back- he doesn't like fighting much without it.

Qhapaq decides to go for the two targeting him- hoping that his allies can handle Physical Education and Computers, instead lunging for History and slamming him into the ground with an angered screech!
>Suppress: [1d10+3]

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


Zamrud looks aghast as he finds himself upon the stage, despite being a teacher he's utterly unfamiliar with the surprising manner in which Agape Academy seems ready to deliver their tests. Feeling himself imagine this battlefield might be something of a metaphor, the battle of wits betwixt the teachers' tests and the students they challenge with them, but he has little time to grasp the meta-nature of their battle as History tries to do him in.

He begins with analyzing his enemy, and preparing some quick salves on the fly in case either he or the others should need healing…

>Appraise: instant; Determine the number of remaining hits and wounds on an enemy or possibly a weakness. More powerful enemies may be harder to Appraise. Out of combat, quickly determine value of objects, study mechanisms and documents, size up other beings, etc,.


>Distill Life: recharge 2, spell; Create three Health Potions that restore 3 hits each, and on Crit also restore one wound. You may distribute these freely to nearby party members on cast, at any time after. Consuming a potion is an Instant Automatic action. Non-Alchemists can only hold one Health Potion at a time.


Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 2 = 2


>If it's not too late, I use the Tactician skill and declare the number 4


Billy attempts attempts to grapple with the alchemy assessment. Attempting to use it against the other problems. Take this cross referencing!

>Sentry: passive, recharge 4; You can declare one action you make to be Automatic instead of rolling.

>animal husbandry (Fight With Your Enemies):instant automatic, recharge 5 after effect ends; The coolest thing most of your enemies will ever see. Whenever you render a foe smaller than you helpless, you can use this to equip them as a weapon with no properties to replace your current weapon. All successful attacks you make will also deal damage to who you are wielding. If you become helpless, Critfail, or the “weapon” makes a successful roll to recover from helplessness, this effect immediately ends.

>animal husbandry (Bear Hug): passive; Bear hugs are the strongest grip known to ponykind. Your arms are like a vice-grip, anything you grab, unless it’s bigger than you, has no chance of escaping. You also lift, carry and move heavier objects than most other races.


Carrying his problems with him, Billy strikes out against history, more confident in his strength than the stories presented by the dream.


-Cavalier (Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only. You have +2 Max Hits and +1 Max Wounds. All Doctrines from Cavalier apply to you.

Roll #1 2 = 2


You suffer a nasty papercut! Not deep, but the sheer harsh sting is enough to be life-threatening!

>Lose 5 Hits, suffer Bleed for the next 2 turns

Your mind is awash with the dull throbbing of excess studying. As you fall helpless, you learn something of your foe…

>History [BG2], 6/6

>Can use 1-point and 2-point Necromancer and Smith skills
>Suffers 1.5x damage when specifically targeting the bulbs in its face. This can be invoked up to 4 times (note: a failed roll doesn't count against this limit).

You rush down your attacker (who will henceforth be labeled with [BG1] for distinction) and turn its lunge into a throw!

>History [BG1] 0/5

You take hold of Alchemy, and try to weaponize it, but its odd distribution of weight, owing to its oversized head and long neck, make it an unruly weapon. While it can't break free, it manages to take some bites out of you in protest.

>Alchemy 0/4

>Billy 3/6

>will complete next time


>Turn 2
"Ah, damn!" Deadweight exclaims, shaking the hoof that got cut. She then charges at the paper mass, hoping to do some damage to it.

>Slam, crits on 9+, +2 bonus for talent

>Basic attack

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6


As Zamrud falls, he rolls out of the way to a safer spot where he won't impede the others progress, a slight tactical retreat as he fully analyzes History's weak points.

He turns to shout to Dead Weight and Lost Hope, warning them both as he points to one of the two Histories, "The bulbs on its face! Aim for those, they're a vulnerable spot!"

[1d10] Rise from helpless

Roll #1 10 = 10


Lost took the chance to summon a set of burnt orange claws as she lunged at the beast, attempting to shred chemistry to bits now

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


Good aims one of his Singularity shots at the Phys Ed monster that was attacking him, trying to pin the beast in place.

[1d10] Singularity shot
[1d10] Dodge attack

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 8 = 8


As he gets up, Zamrud also thinks to look at Chemistry, seeing what his particular subject's strong and weak points were
[1d10+1] Appraise (Instant)

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Qhapaq lifts History up and hurls it at Physical Education!
>Mighty Throw: [1d10+2]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Bearing a stubborn attitude, Billy continues holding a grip onto Alchemy. Making few more swings again.


Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 7 = 7


>Battle Group 1

You juke PE's attempted strike, and retaliate with a gravitational bolt. It floats and revolves around the axis of the bolt, unable to get at you further!

Qhapaq flings History [BG1] into the gravitational field, pinning it against PE!
>History 0/4
>PE 0/7

The two try to get disentangled before taking too much damage…

[2d10+1] helpless recovery

You bonk Alchemy on the ground, dealing serious damage!

>Alchemy 0/2

Alchemy tries to get free…

[1d10+1] helpless recovery

>Battle Group 2

You knock down Math, and the papers scatter as it tries to get away from you!

[1d10+1] recovery from helpless

You manage to knock away the strange… soda can? that Chemistry threw your way, and Ride uses the opening to land a punch on one of the two shrimp that comprise Chemistry's form. Chemistry grabs another can, shakes it, and splashes it at you!

>Raze: recharge 5, spell; Unleash pure, unfiltered magic that burns away at a target. This skill always counts as a success, except on Crit Fail, and deals # hits. This can never Crit. On Crit Fail, instead of falling helpless immediately you roll again, this time dealing # hits to yourself but leaving you with a DC3 for recovering if you fall helpless.


>Chemistry, 3/7
>Can use 1-point and 2-point Shaman and Summoner skills
>Automatically loses 2 Wounds if: Their attacker takes a soda can from the machine, drinks it, rolls 1d2, and rolls a 2. If the attacker rolls a 1, the attacker loses 1 Wound instead.

>Herb and Ride

Herb's mane and tail ignite, as he gives a threatening glare to History [BG1]!



Ride punches out History [BG2]!

>Basic Attack



Roll #1 2, 8 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #5 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #6 4 + 1 = 5


Computers launches 4 bolts of lightning at Qhapaq!

[4d10+2] Homing Magic

History [BG2] uses another dark spell on Zamrud!

[1d10+2] Lifestream

Roll #1 9, 4, 8, 9 + 2 = 32 / Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3


Good opted to fire a magic bolt at the PE beast as it seamed to be quite potent.

[2d10] Magic Bolt Gravity (Rolling 2 taking best)

Roll #1 1, 1 = 2


>Turn 3
"Got it!" Deadweight says to Zamrud. She bucks Math one more time for good measure before zipping over to History to hit its bulbs.

>Basic attack

>Basic attack 2: something some-aloo

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 6 = 6


In a fervor Billy takes to swinging Alchemy once again, but in a charge against PE.


Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 8 = 8


Back up and at it again, Zamrud gets to running and decides to focus fire on the Histories along with Deadweight, also focusing on its bulbs as he prepares a inflammatory concoction to hurl at him next (targeting BG2)

-Alchemist Fire: recharge 1, ranged; Concoct a flame that produces virulent smoke and can latch onto anything, even water. Deals damage and gives +1 to all skills against that target next turn. On Crit this has the Fire Elementalist effect.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


For lack of something else to do, Qhapaq brings his arms up and braces himself- one of the four is better than blocking none of the four.
>Sentry: Automatic Action Block (Bolt 1)


Lost moved to evade the attack as best she could, lunging in with two strikes to try and bring it down.

[1d10] Dodge
[1d10] Dual Strike
[1d10] Dual Strike

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 6 = 6


As Good tries to press the advantage against PE, the Computer beast catches him in the volleys it flings at Qhapaq, dealing serious damage!

>Good 0/4

>Qhapaq 0/4

Merciless, Computers prepares another volley against Qhapaq!

[2d10+2] Magic Bolt

PE manages to break free of the gravitational orb, but Herb's deadly glare paralyzes it in its tracks, allowing you to send it flying with Alchemy!

>Alchemy 0/1

>PE 0/5

>PE recovery


Deadweight manages to put more hits onto Math, before joining Zamrud in a dual attack on Histories! Two of the machine's glass bulbs explode as it hits the ground, burning and smoking!

>Math 0/3

>History 0/4

The two try to recover…


You land strikes on both of the shrimp, but they manage to spray you head-on with the can! You feel woozy and stumble to the ground. Whatever that is, it isn't soda…

>Lost 0/5

>Chemistry 0/6

Chemistry tries to recover.



Herb tries to take down Computers!
[1d10+2] Cheap Shot

Ride turns to face the far stage, and heals Good!
[1d10+2] Heal

Roll #1 1, 10 + 2 = 13 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 2, 10 + 1 = 13 / Roll #4 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #5 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #6 2 + 2 = 4


Lost moved to get up herself with a pained hiss.


Roll #1 4 = 4


Good cried out in agony as he tried to push himself to get back up.


Roll #1 10 = 10


>Turn 4
Deadweight lands one more hit on History before she sees Lost fall. "Lost!" She gallops to her to help her up.

>Recover Lost

>Bonus attack on History, +4 bonus from Tactician


>Recover Lost
>Bonus attack on History, +4 bonus from Tactician

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 9 + 4 = 13


While the History he struck is reeling from having two of its bulbs broken, and helpless as a result, Zamrud takes out his rifle (safely procured from his closet beforehand) and aims a shot directly at the third point, intending to snipe it through and take out one of the subjects

[1d10+2] (+1 for special talent against appraised targets, +1 for alchemist's fire effect)
>Fault Point: recharge 3, weapon; You can notice the imperfections in anything from your years of crafting. Strike at a foes gear, either their weapon or armor, abusing these faults to weaken them and applying a stack of Faulty. Each stack lowers the quality of a weapon by 1 or lowers the damage reduction a foe has by 1 on armor. Once the gear reaches 3 stacks it will be destroyed. On Crit, or when the gear is broken, this will deal damage (Damage on break will be based on the roll that applied the 3rd stack). Can be used out of combat to break most average materials.

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


Billy pursues his target with his enemy in hand, confident that brute strength able to handle any and all diplomatic issues.


Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 5 = 5


>Recovery Roll! Hopefully! [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1




As Billy slays Alchemy, you feel a dread rumbling building within the twin-stage theater… the other Tests before you grow stronger!

As you try to rise, the magic bolt blows apart the very boards of the stage before you, launching you end over end until you collide against one of the metal supports of the catwalk above!

>Qhapaq 0/1

Computers attempts to charge another spell…

>Marksman Shot vs. Billy


You land another hit on PE before it shoves you back. Alchemy, at this point, is truly dead. Up until a mere moment ago, it was doubtlessly a real and living monster. Yet now, it's nothing more than a theater prop made of metal and plastic, and seems as if it had never been anything but that.

>PE 8/4

PE takes a swing at you!

[1d10+3] Slam

History [BG1] remembers that it's in this fight and goes to punch you!

[1d10+2] Basic Attack

You pile the hits onto History, and steam and electricity erupt from its body as its damage compounds, but the surge of dread power in the theater keeps it going – for now!

>History [BG2] 6/1

It takes a wild swing at Deadweight and Zamrud!

[1d10+3] Hot Irons, Cleaving 2

Chemistry adds on, throwing a can of soda right at Zamrud's head!

[1d10+2] Basic attack

As Deadweight runs toward where Lost lies, a soda can rolls their way, bulging like it's about to expl–

Deadweight goes flying, launched by the soda grenade.

>Deadweight 1/8

>Lost 0/4, DC to recover 5


Herb uses Inspire

Ride uses Healing Bonds on Lost, Qhapaq and Good

Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #2 5 + 3 = 8 / Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #4 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #5 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #6 1 + 2 = 3 /


Good forced himself to evade the lunge by History as he tried to throw another magic bolt at him.

[1d10] Dodge
[2d10] Taking Best ) Magic bolt gravity

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5, 6 = 11


"Get up you stupid mare." she barked at herself trying to get up.

[1d10] Get up

Roll #1 3 = 3


Deadweight gets up with a groan. She shakes herself off and runs to Lost's aid.

>Recover Lost


Roll #1 4 = 4


Billy meet PE right in the middle, he charges right back at it, in the hope to overpower the monster before him.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.

[1d10] Slam
[1d10] Basic attack

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 3 = 3


Zamrud turns and looks to see History, now on its last legs but still very much a threat, taking a wide swing that will hit both himself and Deadweight. Fearing Deadweight will take more of a hit in her compromised position, he quickly moves to help her up and get them out of the way of the swing

[1d10] Attempt to help Deadweight recover

Roll #1 9 = 9


>MLPG cut off Ride's roll (which was supposed to be #7 but I miscounted. So in order, the rolls are Marksman Shot, Slam, Basic Attack, Hot Irons, Basic Attack, and Inspire).

>re-rolling Ride's Healing Bonds [1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


>using the 9 from this roll instead on Zamrud using 'Alchemist's Fire' on History, intending to wipe it out with a well placed flame grenade on its last bulb


With a well-tossed bomb, Zamrud annihilates the History Test before its catastrophic attack can land. History lands a short distance away, appearing now to be a somewhat ramshackle theater prop, made of little more than cardboard, papier mache, PVC and love. Gone is the strange mechanical monster that plagued you until now.

>Lost fully healed

But as you ponder this, Chemistry beans Zamrud in the head with a soda can, and he's knocked down.

>Zamrud 0/3

Math and Chemistry turn their sights on Deadweight and Lost!

>Basic Attacks, in order


PE shoves you backwards, right into the path of Computers' attack! You're knocked down with a searing burn on your side.

>Billy 0/5

>Qhapaq 8/3

History [BG1] pummels Good, but Good manages to pull History away with another gravitational shot.

>History [BG1] 3/4

As Good stumbles backwards, Qhapaq catches him, setting him upright.

>Good 7/5

But a moment later, Qhapaq also has to catch Herb, smoking and burnt, having suffered Computers's vicious counterattack.

The Tests stare you down, sizing you up before their next offensive…

>Herb helpless this turn

Ride aids Qhapaq again!

>Bolster, automatic

Roll #1 5, 5 + 2 = 12


Lost moved to dodge and weave the attacks, and end the annoying soda can pelter with a proper slash.

[1d10+2] Rupture
[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Good grunted and used his spell Resonenence to fire another singularity in between to hold the tests in place again.

>Spell Resonance:instant automatic, recharge 3, spell; The next spell you cast is automatic, provided you have used it earlier in this combat.

>Singularity shot


Just need to pull yourself up now!

>Recovery roll? [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Appreciate you, Docent Zamrud," Deadweight says. She attempts to dodge Math's attack and return the favor with a counterattack.

>Dodge, +1 bonus pegasus flight

>Basic attack on Math

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 = 7


Zamrud grips his paw in victorious satisfaction as he sees his explosive pop the History Test, looking on surprise as he sees its apparent true form made up of cardboard and PVC. "Ah… the production values on this test truly are something else…"

His admiration costs him as the soda-can beans him squarely in the head, causing him to fall over and rub his temples in agony, "AGH! Clumsy, Zamrud…"

[1d10] To get up

Roll #1 7 = 7


Billy bounces to hooves and rushes headfirst back at the PE monster.

Combat Talent: [Headbutt]; recharge 2, instant; Slam your horns into an enemy and send them reeling. Knocks an enemy helpless on success, dealing 5-(X-5) damage to yourself as well.


Roll #1 10 = 10


>Using Appraise with his instant action to determine the stats of the last foe they face, Math


Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


>Apparently at 8/3
Qhapaq gently sets Herb down- smoked herbs aren't really his preference- before trying to clobber History over the head again
>Slam: [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


You're hit, but you manage to crash-land onto Math to keep it occupied for a turn.

>Deadweight 0/7

>Math 5/3
>If Math is completely ignored – not attacked, dodged, blocked, debuffed, or otherwise acknowledged – for three consecutive turns, it will automatically die

You beat up the shrimp that's been throwing around soda cans. As it goes to grab another one, the machine seems to break, so the shrimp stops to pop it open and have a look at what the problem might be.

>Chemistry 0/5

Billy and Good put their heads together – Good throws down another gravitational pin, while Billy charges at PE! PE tries to brace itself for impact, but Billy's not screwing around this time, and the attack is enough to knock it into Computers! The two are caught in the gravitational well again, uunable to act!

>PE 0/3

>Computers 0/6

History shrugs off Qhapaq's strike, and readies a counter-attack!

[1d10+3] Hot Irons, Cleaving 3

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10


>forgot Ride's action

Ride scoops up two of the "sodas" that the shrimp's been throwing around, and double-fists them!


Roll #1 2, 2 = 4


>Chemistry, 0/5

>Automatically loses 2 Wounds if: Their attacker takes a soda can from the machine, drinks it, rolls 1d2, and rolls a 2. If the attacker rolls a 1, the attacker loses 1 Wound instead.

>Chemistry goes to 0/1


Good moved to fire another magic bolt, this time at Computers, using more gravity magic to keep it thrown off.

[2d10] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 6, 3 = 9


Lost intends to put that Shrimp on the barbie as she moves to skewer chemistry

[1d10] dual attack 1
[1d10] dual attack 2

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


"Oof!" Deadweight grunts as she collides with the number riddled papers. She tries to get herself back up.



Roll #1 2 = 2


As he rises back up, Zamrud, now having analyzed Math as a subject, warns the others.

"Focus everything we have on Chemistry! If it is utterly ignored, it will self destruct, do not even acknowledge it!" He says as he prepares another alchemical grenade of flame to throw on Chemistry

[1d10+1] (+1 to appraised targets)
Alchemist's Fire

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


Leaning over, Billy grabs onto the leg of the computer, lifting it up and slamming the monster against the downed PE.

animal husbandry (Fight With Your Enemies):instant automatic, recharge 5 after effect ends; The coolest thing most of your enemies will ever see. Whenever you render a foe smaller than you helpless, you can use this to equip them as a weapon with no properties to replace your current weapon. All successful attacks you make will also deal damage to who you are wielding. If you become helpless, Critfail, or the “weapon” makes a successful roll to recover from helplessness, this effect immediately ends.

Grappler: passive; Trained in melee and close quarters combat, you overpower foes easily in such situations. You have +1 to all rolls when making non-combat actions to grapple, subdue, restrain, or in any way preventing a target from moving with your own body. You can apply this bonus in combat to remove an enemy from combat without killing them, but only when they’re the only enemy in their zone and helpless, or on very low health.


Roll #1 6 = 6


>Sentry: Automatic Block
Not looking to be knocked flat again, Qhapaq braces himself!


The Shrimps decide, under the hail of your attacks, that this is all a bit too much trouble to deal with. They unplug the soda machine, load it onto a dolly, and wheel it away stage left, leaving the battlefield. They run over Deadweight's tail on the way out, pulling out some hairs.

"Just ignore… it?" Ride asks, not even mentioning the name Math lest that violate Zamrud's warning. He glances at the other stage across from you. "Hmm… then they could use help, but I am wary of the chasm between this stage and that one. Should we hazard the journey?"

The big stack of Math homework tries to paper-cut Deadweight while she's down!

[1d10+2] Backstab

>Math on 1/3 ignored turns

Billy crushes PE beneath the weight of the Computer robot while Good pelts it with his gravitational magic! With the focus on Computers, PE attempts to sneak away…

[1d10+1] helplessness recovery

>PE 0/2

>Comps 0/4

History crosses both arms, preparing to swipe the lot of you off the stage, but Qhapaq lunges in, arms crossed himself, and meets History in the middle, so to speak. History's swipe stops dead before it can even swing out! The two break away, leaping back.

With its grand attack thwarted, History tries to free its allies by breaking up Billy's rampage instead!



Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 3 + 3 = 6


"Alright, professor!"

"Ow! What gives?" Deadweight yells indignantly at the crustaceans. She tries to get back up.



Roll #1 10 = 10


>Basic attack, Lone Knight

Roll #1 2 = 2


Zamrud notices how Chemistry is taken out entirely, and Math is now their only remaining adversary. "Hrmmm… would have been more useful if I had analyzed that one earlier…"

He turns to look at Ride or Die, "I think it's worth the effort to assist the others… but seeing as how we only have one test left, it seems it would be easier to find a way over that chasm without it hounding us." He says, turning his attention to Math and disregarding his own advice

>Last attack was instead fired towards Math


"No! Leave him be!" Qhapaq shouts, raking his claws across History's chest!
>Dual Wielding: [1d10+1] [1d10+1]
>Lightclaw: Instant [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5


Lost was a bit confused but seeing dead hurt, she had to resist the urge to lunge at the papers, and seeing everyone else is, does so too.

[1d10] dual strike 1
[1d10] dual strike 2

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10


Good opted to try and rush in, inuring himself as he moved to assist with history.

[1d10] Inure

Roll #1 6 = 6


Billy follows along with more strikes at the monster with computer in hand.



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


>Deadweight 11/6

Math takes a dreadful bite out of Deadweight, but she scampers away behind Lost before too much damage can be done. You then gang up on the endless stack of knife-sharp papers, scattering them all around the stage!

>Math 0/2

Math tries to regain itself, while Ride nods, ignites his fists, and goes in for the slam!

>Wrath vs. Math


>Math recovery roll


PE manages to get back up, but the robot's on its last legs.

>PE 6/1

Before Billy can finish the job, History blasts him across the arena with a powerful spell, which sets Computers free in the process.

>Billy 0/4

>Computers 0/3

>rolling for recovery


Then, History and Qhapaq exchange strikes, before the former warms up for another wild swing!

>Qhapaq 7/3

>History 1/4

>Hot Irons, cleaving 3


Herb rallies the troops!

[1d10+2] Inspire

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #4 2 + 3 = 5 / Roll #5 6 + 2 = 8


Billy curses the monstrous history out loud for such a cheap shot. He flails around and pushes himself to get back up at the creatures.


Roll #1 10 = 10


Good snapped to and fired another Singularity at PE to finally put the pain in the ass down.

[1d10] Singularity shot.

His gun similarly took a shot at PE, wanting to end it's existence and free them up a bit.

[1d10] Light gun shot

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


Lost continues her murderous hatred of numerals as she tried to make it bleed.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


Zamrud readies another fiery grenade to lob at the prone mathematics test, intent on burning its pages to a cinder, "Everyone, keep on the pressure! Pass this test and we'll see if we can assist the others!"

[1d10+1] Alchemist's Fire

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


While History winds up to swing, Qhapaq tackles him to the ground and pins him to the floor with an angry screech!
>Suppress: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


>Crit: Smashing into Computers!


Billy comes up swinging, his attacks finding the computers right next to him with the one two!



Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Deadweight looks back and smirks at Lost. "Thanks." She tries to land one more hit on the mess of papers.

>Slam, crits on 9+, +2 bonus for talent

>Basic attack

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 10 = 10



The stage erupts into a great melee of metal and man, while Herb calls out actions and attack names from the sidelines! But soon the brawl rolls his way, sucking him in!

>Enemies effectively smoked, feel free to describe your finishing move now

Things go a little less smoothly on this side. Zamrud succeeds on igniting a great quantity of the stack of math papers, but the math-beast uses this to its advantage, spreading far and wide while burning, catching Ride and Zamrud in a great inferno. As those two run about and try to extinguish themselves, Deadweight and Lost cut up enough of the papers into little ribbons, which burn themselves out before they can do too much damage.

>Zamrud 0/4

With that, however… the last of your tests have been finished.


Lost sighed and flumped onto her side panting "I hate this school! The foods not nearly good enough for the emotional trauma." she whined.


Grabbing History and gripping him tightly, the griffon spreads his strangely-colored wings and shoots into the air with a jet of mutation-enhanced wind. Once he's gotten enough air he spins around and dive-bombs, slamming History into his allies head-first!


Using the singularity to correct his shot, the scion of House Titanite slayed his physically fit and educated foe with his mastery of tech and gravity, a combo he had grown to rely on. He kissed his wrist comp and his gun affectionately.


"Woo!" Deadweight exclaims before falling on her rump. "Looks like this problem's… been solved," she says, crossing her forelegs in front of her and turning to the unseen camera with a smirk.

"Ahhh… piece of cake," Deadweight says. The shape she's in would suggest that it was a little more than a piece of cake, though.


Lost shuffled across the floor without getting up of her side to get close to Weighty.


Deadweight lets a smile escape and uncrosses her forelegs to bring Lost closer to her.


Zamrud groans as the fiery inferno of paper shrapnel knocks him prone, patting out small sparks on his coat before they can spread any further, but looks relieved at the tests having been completely defeated.

He looks to Lost Hope and Deadweight, nodding towards them, "Yes, as a professor of Chemistry myself, I think I can safely say you two passed with flying colors. I'm certain your Math and History teachers will concur. Well done." He says, standing up and looking to Ride or Die

"Are we able to see how the others are faring?"


Billy in his joy crushes the creature, swinging it to and fro, rending it from limb and body.


"Thanks, Docent Zamrud. Couldn't have done it without your help," Deadweight says with a nod back and still holding Lost.


She snuggled into her getting comfy.

She gave Zamrud a lazy nod and a yawn


Ride looks out at the far stage, and gives Herb a thumbs-up. Herb, lacking thumbs himself, picks up PE's severed arm and improvises a thumbs-up out of that.

Yet, not too long after your victory, the lights on the stages flicker off, one by one. You hear the rustling of thick velvet, as the unseen staff lower the curtains. As the velvet touches the floor of the stage, your consciousness swims… then fades…

And, not long afterward, each of you comes to, stumbling in a stupor from the lecture-hall, the laboratory, the conventional classroom, and even from the gymnasium. Your eyes and brains are as sore as the muscles in your necks and backs from having bent over papers for so long. Only a faint spark of realization animates you – the knowledge that whatever test it was you just took, it was the last one for awhile.


Despite the stupors you have been left in, you manage to claw yourselves over to the Team Boreal dorm, where it seems that your allies have all managed to meet… despite Ride's team being of Dorm Austral. It looks like the enmity between the two Teams has been put on armistice for now, out of respect for those who survived the midterms.

Your allies are too exhausted to talk, splayed out wherever they can find free space. La Senorita's passing out cups of horchata, despite the deep circles under her eyes.


Good, feeling chipper despite it all, moved to help Senorita, taking a cup for himself before doing his best to assist her work.


Qhapaq shakes his head a little to try and clear it, and grabs his mug to look inside it. It might be something he's had before, but even if he hasn't he'll drain it anyways. "Mmm… I, ah. Think we did well, then?"


"Quite a different test than I imagined. I don't remember any kind of test being like that." Billy leans back staring up in the air at nothing.


Deadweight just blinks repeatedly, staring at nothing in particular. When she's presented with a cup of horchata, she wakes from her stupor and takes it with a "Thanks." She sips on it and hums, "Mm!" before gulping it down.


Lost grabbed herself a cup and found a nice soft class mate to use as a pillow. She was beyond asking right now.


Was her pillow


Zamrud similarly moves slowly, lethargically to the nearest empty chair, intending to plant himself and exhale. "If this is how difficult it is to simply grade these tests, I can hardly imagine how it feels for those who have to take them…" He groans, stretching in his chair and popping out a few parts of his back as he happily takes the horchata provided by Senorita. "Thank you."

He laps it up at a leisurely pace, looking to everyone as he raises his glass, "If I may… a toast. To a successful midterms! Let us never need go through such difficulties for another three months, at least…"


Deadweight looks down, seeing that Lost has claimed her as a pillow. She then decides to claim her as a table and puts her cup of horchata on her head.


Trajan crawls out of his designated pocket, and settles down on a high and secluded place in the room, where La Senorita puts his horchata in a dish with a low rim.

The shadow rodent, however – tentatively named Dexter, last we recall – bounces off your shoulder into the room. No matter how chipper you're feeling, it pales to Dexter's enthusiasm. He runs this way and that over the room with seemingly inexhaustible energy. Once the others get over the shock of seeing a shadow rodent in their midst, they mostly tolerate his boundless vigor.

The others raise their glasses, half-muttering their lifeless cheers in response to Zamrud's toast.

Then, as Billy speaks, Herb's listless eyes light up at his remark. His gaze darts back and forth, as if he's not entirely sure if he heard right, or if he's just crazy… before he nods. "Yeah… I almost feel like I was in a real fight, y'know?"

Ride's eyebrow arches, and he slowly nods.


Good smiled at his two animal companions running around and enjoying themselves, only to hum at the others words.

"They did seem to be moving with a more… lethal purpose then I would have expected."


"I can't wait to get some shut-eye. I don't want another thought." Billy takes his spot down where he stands.


Zamrud suppresses a yawn, eager for a cat nap of his own as he nurses his drink. "An exhausted mind can feel as heavy as an exhausted body. Adrenaline pumps through you all the same whether you're in a fight or taking an exam, that the after-effects should feel similar aren't all too unusual. Still, all the more reason for us to take our time and relax. Classes will continue but for now, we should appreciate our accomplishment."

He rubs his chin, deep in thought. "We're all that much closer to 'graduation' now as a result… still so many mysteries about this Academy."


Lost was rather pensive at first before looking up at Deadweight "Glad you made it out safe Weighty."


"Hmm… when exactly did we pick this one up? I do not recognize her." He remarks, looking her over curiously.

Qhapaq offers a soft, sheepish smile, and pats at Zamrud's shoulder. "Mmm. One step closer."

"It did feel as such, yes. More than what I expected. Have any of you encountered such things before?"


Deadweight stifles a chuckle before Lost expresses her concern for her. She quickly picks the cup back up and replies, "Glad you did too, Lost. Those exams were killer," while stretching her neck.


Good cleared his throat a bit "She is my sister, or at least an illusion of her. I met her in a dream in the outlands, and I knew she was out here, but I do not know if this is truly her."


The others perk up more and more as Good and Qhapaq attest to the fight.

"Hold up…" Origami says. "You guys saw all that too!? I wasn't just going insane?"

As painful as it may be to work your tired brains more at this moment… you can certainly recall… quite a bit.

Endless test questions, page after page, sharpening pencils, rubbing down erasers, double-checking work…

And, simultaneously–

Being dropped upon a stage. Facing monsters fit for the Outlands. Swinging, dodging, shooting, falling, getting back up…

The two scenarios hang overlapping in your memories, as if the two scenarios unfolded simultaneously, as impossible as that is.


Qhapaq blinks, and looks the pony over…. if it's an illusion, he could probably see that, right?

"Do you think this is… some manner of test, for the Outlands?"


Zamrud is taken out of his stupor as the others seem to attest to his same strange experience - of actually fighting, literally, their exams as though their lives depended on it with every weapon at their disposal. But then, he also remembered conventionally grading exams as one normally would, so which then is the true memory he asks himself.

"It… knowing how this Academy functions, it may well have been both. We know it can already mess with our perceptions, what we know to be real as well as our memory. Perhaps it quite literally did involve such a trial and we simply… are having our our recollection altered."


"Huh?" Deadweight looks at them as if they grew a fifth leg. "I think you guys hit the books a little too hard…" she says before taking another sip of her horchata.


"That I do remember. Honestly though, I might have a preference for the physical arts over writing." Billy stretches himself out by leaning forward, letting out all the cricks. "Though it certainly isn't anything easy."


"So…." Origami begins, frowning as he ponders the implications of remembering both the tests and the battle. "If tests are the same as combat, then what's our homework? Or our pop quizzes? Is everything around here trying to kill us?"

Lone Star scoffs. "You'd better be careful taking notes in class. A formula might jump you or something."

Speaking of taking notes…


"Perhaps it is only the larger tests that feel like that? I do not feel like my studies felt like combat. They felt like… studies." He remarks, shrugging.


"I don't think everything is here to kill us." Billy begins scratching at his chin. "There in the theater it was a maze keeping people trapped. We are told there are other students who will kill us if we seek an advantage for test. There was a lecture on luck and time relativity, though I don't think that relates to direct danger."


Lost seemed to be thrown by the others odd reactions the others to their tests as well


I doubt that's entirely the case… maybe." he said glancing to Dexter now.


Deadweight's finished her cup of horchata and looks for La Senorita to get another cup. That stuff's good.


As Origami poses the question, Zamrud can't help but wonder… WERE they fighting all this time?

"I don't think the same applies to our tests or homework… for the most part, we are not nearly so exhausted after anything like that. No, if this is indeed something we experienced, I think it must be particular to the midterms. It would certainly fit given with how important they are, don't you agree?"

Taking a moment to recollect himself, Zamrud decides to take out Kirk's notebook, now curious if - with the Midterms complete - if anything had changed with it

Zamrud looks to Deadweight with a curious eye. "You do not have any such memory, Deadweight? Of fighting or of combat…?"


"Of course I remember that," Deadweight says as she tries to take another sip of her horchata, before coming to the sad realization that she ran out.


A paper airplane nails you in the ear. You look over and see the silhouette student, sitting nearby. Evidently a cheeky retort to your remark just now.

Dexter looks back at you from atop a shelf. You can trace the path he's taken through the room. Rather than leaving behind a trail of destruction, as most energetic pets would be wont to do, he's left behind a trail of organization. Stacked papers, sorted books, tidied tchotchkes.

The others nod, sharing a few minor anecdotes of their own from before the test– examples of perfectly ordinary college life, free of all dangers except social ones.

"That's a relief," Ride says. "Hopefully only our major tests will pose such a threat while we're here. Students have enough to worry about without also needing to fight for their lives."

Herb snorts. "You'd take issue with most anime, then."

"Actually…" Ride begins. For some reason he's now wearing swirly glasses.

But before this tangent can get away from us, Zamrud examines Kirk's notebook… and finds that a new set of pages have been filled in.


Herb's crew gathers in close as Zamrud flips through the new pages. While the first section of the notebook was kept orderly, this section's writing is much more dense. No lines are skipped, and in fact, there are several boxes drawn on the far side of the page, where it seems that Kirk – or whoever wrote these new pages – made another section of notes on the same page.

Another difference: The first section of the notebook was kept to calculus, but this section comprises many subjects, from chemistry, to business, to electrical engineering, history, architecture, poetry, dance– but most of all are the languages. Manedarin, Horspanol, Prench, Eqrussian, Mareabic, even less commonly spoken ones originating among giraffes, buffalo, griffons, and other peoples. If this notebook is to be taken as a record of Kirk's studies, he's taken on impossible number of classes.

Finally, in the latter half of this second section, the notes give way to pictures. Quite literally, in fact. The latter half's notes border on illegible, for each line's words and letters get scratchier, and then flatter, as they, upon the very page, give way to a landscape drawing. It depicts a loamy field of earth– out of which a great set of roots ascend. The roots ascend toward the far side of the page… but the next page is blank.

No more notes follow after that.


"What is this anime you speak of? Is there something similar to this in the deadlands?" Billy tilts his head looking to Herb.


Zamrud's eyes open wide as he sees the newest section of Kirk's notebook has manifest, turning through them along with Herb and the others as he looks through the new notes. "Remarkable! Just I'd hoped, the midterms have yield new clues for us…"

However, as he looks through them, his excitement soon turns to exhaustion. "Not that these are much more help than the previous section. If there is anything to discern from this newest section of Kirk's notebook, it's that he seemed to take many classes… Herb, do any of these subjects sound familiar, can you affirm if Kirk took all these classes? Particularly all these languages, he's quite lingual…"


Qhapaq warks a little as he's beaned with a paper airplane, looking around for the source… before blinking.

"Ah! I suppose mine have been more literal this entire time, yes. Unless it is something else you wish to add?" He asks, looking to the silhouette student.

"Ah… hrm. Then, we have more to discover now, yes? Are the roots in this image related to the tree, perhaps? Is it something else?"


Good perked up a bit at the anime mention. HE liked those. He began to slink over to Ride, though joins the others in reading, and then finding some genuine discomfort in how this all fit together.


Lost was unsure what to make of what was being presented, the concepts and all the info it didn't really make sense to her.


Deadweight keeps looking for La Senorita to get some more horchata. She needs her fix.


La Senorita pours you some mor' 'chata.

"Uhh…" Herb mutters, as he's entranced by the strange notebook.

Peyote, less distracted, nods. "I'll host a watch party for us after this."

Herb shakes his head to Zamrud. "If he took even half of the classes that he's got notes for here, he wouldn't even have time to sleep. I'm pretty sure a lot of these classes are concurrent, too. It'd be impossible to attend all these lectures."

"Could he have gotten notes from other students?" Assembly asks.

"…Maybe," Herb says. "But what would even be the point? I mean… architecture, film studies… animal husbandry? A lot of these are advanced classes for subjects that I've never seen him take an interest in."

"I think it's gotta be the Tree of Evil," Bet says, speaking up for once to agree with Qhapaq. "The way the writing turns into the drawing… it's almost like he kinda went crazy from all those subjects he's studying."

Lone Star rubs her chin. "But we haven't seen him at all around campus. If he was taking a bunch of classes, then at least one of us would have run into him by now."

The silhouette student, prompted by Qhapaq, tries to peer closer at the notes and the drawings…

>roll perception


"A… 'watch-party'? I think I have heard of those before, though I was too… shy to go to it myself."


Qhapaq peers closer as well, and hums a little. "Maybe he is… on a different 'level'?"

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Do you think the tree calls itself something other than evil, if anything at all. I would imagine it would have more elegant or something academic to call itself, now that I think about it." Billy glances to the shade from the corner of his eye.


Roll #1 10 = 10


"I'm in agreement," Zamrud says with Qhapaq and Bet as they look the final drawing depicting the many roots coming out of the ground. "Hmm… it is rather interesting, the way the scratches from the writing just naturally form into the drawing. I'd call it an inspired artistic piece if I weren't slightly perturbed by the implications… Is there an art teacher on campus anyone is aware of?"

He combs over the notes and the drawings one more time as well, seeing if anything jumps out
[1d10+1] Perception

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Lost sips her Horchata and tries to be a very perceptive little stalker.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Thanks," Deadweight says, smiling unconsciously. She takes another sip and hums in satisfaction.


>never fixed the wounds
Good looked to the others and nodded about the watch party before beginning to peer around for things himself.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5


You look over the notes once more. Although at first glance, you see dense and meticulous writing, a closer inspection reveals that most of the notes… are actually closer to nonsense.

Even without having much in-depth knowledge about the subjects in question, you can tell that each line of each note is jumbled-up. Concepts from architecture are mashed together with fashion and photography theories. Ponderings about the biochemical compositions of languages. Snippets of classical literature plugged into complex mathematical matrices.

There's something to be said about the cross-disciplinary application of knowledge, it seems that Kirk's been trying, through this impossible stack of classes, to find some kind of "unified theory of everything." You even see ample ramblings on the Psy-Chrono Hypothesis, much to Herb's satisfaction… but the ramblings quickly spiral into incoherence, and in fact, jump from language to language, at a level of proficiency in those languages that would suggest Herb didn't even need to take the classes in the first place.


You turn over the final page once more. And now, something clicks. When one pushes a pen with enough force into the page, there is a protrusion on the reverse side. And depending on the ink, there may even be bleed-through onto that reverse side.

That is exactly the result of Kirk's frenzied drawing. But while this phenomenon is usually accidental, and done without much thought… Kirk's drawing was unmistakably deliberate.

On the front side of the page, you see the roots of the Tree of Evil, growing out of the loamy soil. But on the reverse, you see a canopy of branches, cloudy with leaves. And, hanging from those branches, like so much fruit, are a number of crystalline shapes. These have been made by the aforementioned bleeding-through of ink. Herb seems to have have pushed into the fore-side of the page with enough force, at these deliberately calculated spots, to cause this bleed-through.

Upon closer inspection, these crystalline shapes… look just like Crystal Hearts… the very same kind produced by the Heart of Ironcastle… the same with Zinccastle, Coppercastle… all nine of the remaining Castles that house unmutated mortalkind from the Outlands. According to this drawing of Kirk's – the Tree of Evil also produces these Crystal Hearts.


Deadweight continues enjoying her horchata and being Lost's pillow. She finds all the people poring over the notebook strange and silently judges them.


>Herb seems to have have pushed into the fore-side of the page…



"Well, ain't that a cute and clever hidden message. I feel like I should have paid more attention and showed more interest in our delivery of those hearts." Billy frowns at the thought.


It takes Zamrud several attempts looking through Kirk's notes before he notices the blotches of ink bleeding through the back sides of the pages, realizing what at first seemed to be random nonsense was instead appearing to be very deliberate and planned out. As he pushes through the pages, watching the ink-blots build into forming more and more distinct shapes until the final drawing of the Tree of Evil on the final section of the notes, turning the final page to see nine, very distinct crystalline hearts drawn out, it takes Zamrud a few moments more before he realizes the hidden message behind Kirk's notes.

He drops the book then and there, shocked by the revelation. "The Tree of Evil… it makes Crystal Hearts?" Zamrud blinks, remembering Rudolph's manifesto and the warning of a waning power-supply for IronCastle. "Impossible… can that truly be what Kirk means by this message?"


"Wait… the tree produces these hearts?" He looks confused, before glancing to the others. "Didn't the castle wish for us to destroy the tree? Why would they destroy a source of Hearts?"

"Maybe there is… something else about them. But, I do not know."


Good was…. he did not know what to say. This revelation was… disconcerting in ways he did not know. His entire world view was challenged by that


The others are left in silence for a time… before Herb ventures to speak. "Well… assuming that's what this means… that would be a good thing… wouldn't it? We'd have a solution for the energy crisis, wouldn't we?"

You recall your delivery mission to the Aya Mutants: The year's supply of the miniature Crystal Hearts which you gave to them on behalf of the USB Delivery Company– despite that unauthorized delivery of the Light Undefiled contained inside the Hearts being one of the most severe crimes possible in Ironcastle.

You recall also Apuchin's words, about the Dragon of Ironcastle, who had given them Crystal Hearts in the past… it might not be a good idea to bring that up in front of the others. That business involved many high-level secrets. But, it raises a question… why bother delivering Crystal Hearts to the Mutants if a supply can be procured from the Tree of Evil? And why conspire to destroy the Tree of Evil at all?

Zamrud also recalls Truth Dares… and the 'Alter' that she made of this notebook. She never explained just what an 'Alter' is, and she forbade him from bringing up the term in front of others…



"So… do the hearts change how me might be able to escape or tell us how we might be able to find our missing friend?" Billy pulls at the hairs on his chin in his frustration. "I admit that I am lost."


Zamrud looks to Herb, "Assuming there even IS an energy crisis… I'm not writing off the possibilities but the notion of the hearts being finite at all is not an idea many are ready to accept. The idea they can be made though… certainly seems to support that."

He turned to Quapaq next, "It may be they simply do not know that it can, we only just discovered ot and the Tree is undoubtedly dangerous… but knowing this, it may change their minds."


"But is this a world we want to keep the way it is? Shouldn't we want to fix it?" good queried


The others think it over…

"Hmm," Lone Star says. "As happy as I am to finally get more word from Kirk, however strange it might be… it really doesn't tell us that much."

Ride shakes his head. "He had to have gotten this knowledge from somewhere. And if we haven't seen him anywhere at all, that suggests he's somewhere that we can't get to just yet. Not a lot of places around the campus meet that criteria."

"Right," Assembly says. "Assuming it's somewhere we haven't heard about yet, we have the Bodhi Garden… and wherever you and Good ended up when exploring the theater."

"Ah… right," Herb says. "The crisis was debunked, after all."

Obviously, Herb didn't put much stock in the Iron Family's official debunking of the energy crisis.

Origami shrugs. "We can hug trees after we find our missing pal and get our asses outta here."

"Can it," Herb barks. "You're right, Good. It's still the overarching mission of everyone who ventures outside Ironcastle to use the Outlands for Ironcastle's advancement."

"Man, that's what I just said!" Origami protests.

"So if nothing else," Herb continues. "We still have to survive long enough to take this information back. Oh– Zamrud, didn't you mention Truth had communication with Ironcastle? Why don't we have her run a report back home?"


Billy frowns thinking it over. "I am not looking forward to any more ventures into that Maze, we only found our way back through the bell. We certainly won't find a way forward to the end as we are now, if there is even an end and not just a trap." Billy tilts his head looking up. "Unless that creature we had brought out knows better than us, we could try to communicate with it."


"I'm hesitant to let that info go over the air, it's better to go in person, even if the Lux probably already know." Good grumbled feeling off now and moving to lean on a wall a bit.

He didn't like it but on some level they were right, they had to survive this first before they did anything."


Zamrud says to Herb, "'Debunked' officially, yes, but I never wrote it off entirely as possible… and on the chance Rudolph's findings are accurate, something like this would prove of the utmost import. If at all possible, before we take any actions with the Tree, we should look into if Kirk's hints hold true."

As Herb mentions Truth's communications with the outside, Zamrud nods, "Yes, she does have a drone transit system set up to deliver news to the outside world. Given how long it takes to get response, we were waiting for something bigger to send a message out but this would certainly qualify in my opinion."

As Good suggests withholding the information, lest it be intercepted or manipulated by the Lux, Zamrud gives this some thought. "…a fair point, I would be concerned about that as well. But I am worried what may happen between now and then - what if something happens to us or the Tree when we escape, if we even successfully manage to escape at all? Knowledge that Crystal Hearts can be made and replaced, that the energy crisis could be resolved, might be lost entirely if we fail at the Academy and are stuck here forever."


"But what if it's a trap? Or they're too good to be true and tainted?" he asked then cursed under his breath "NO… no you're right, it's best to let them know, if only so they can make that call themselves."


"Hrm… it feels strange, though. We cannot contact them from here though, yes?"

"Are the communications… real? It could be Truth thinks they do."


Eyebrows raise among Herb's crew as you contemplate interference from the Lux Deorum. You sense that they have not had run-ins with the secretive intelligence organization themselves…

"It's a drone?" Lone Star asks. "Okay… I retract my vote. That thing could get intercepted by just about anybody… and if another Castle gets their hooves on it, they may come knocking to get their hooves on the crystal hearts themselves, and then we go riiiight back to the start of the semester. AGAIN."

Herb shudders at the thought. "Ugh… well, we should still run it by her and her crew all the same. They're stuck in here too. Oh, and Vestal Godspeed, too."


"On that, I agree as well." Zamrud says to Herb, "I realize the concerns and the risks - not only with our own Castle potentially misusing this information, but being intercepted by other Castles as well looking for an advantage. Regardless, I concur that this decision should not just be made by those in this room. There are more of us trapped in the Academy and this information could affect every Castle in the Outlands."

"We should alert Truth and her team as well as Godspeed, and call a meeting. Tonight. All those in favor?"


"I am willing to move on, I certainly don't feel comfortable making a decision with only what I know." Billy says.


"Mmm. I think it would be the best option for now- that, and waiting to send any messages. The Castles seem… hrm. I am not natural-born to one, but they seem very unsettling."


"I am in favor." Good said just wanting to rest. He called Dexter and Trajan back to him.


Peyote and the former Tiger-Masked student nod in solidarity.

The idea of doing anything else this Cycle elicits universal groans from all your exhausted allies… but their sense of Iron honor – and the old Abbean work ethic – compels them to assent.

>timeskip to meeting available


>Willing to timeskip


"The depths of Iron Castle's… or rather, the Lux's… machinations are more evident to me now, but even before I would say 'unsettling' is a word to describe the inter-politics of it all."

Zamrud nods, "Thank you. I know we're all exhausted from our exams, but there is no time like the present. We need not come to any conclusions tonight, but we should meet with Truth's team and see where they stand. Then, we can all take a well earned rest."

>Good to skip to meeting


"Mmm- my own people have their bickerings and squabbles, but I do not like the clan…clandestine? Nature of the Castles."



You get into contact with Godspeed and Truth. Godspeed offers to secure one of the faculty conference rooms as a meeting place. Truth, finding this agreeable, confirms that she'll be there with Clamence. Rieux and Meursault are due to immerse themselves in the illusory dream-world of the school, and will be unable to attend.

All in all, the evening isn't such a bad time for the meeting. It gets you out of Dorm Boreal, at the very least. A party's happening nearby, and the bass is boosted enough to rattle all the nearby dorm rooms like a perpetual earthquake. Perhaps you're missing out– but chances are, it'll still be raging long after you return.

At the appointed time, you gather in one of the conference rooms of the faculty office. Truth and Godspeed are already there. Joining them is a tall and lean mare. You almost mistake her for an earth pony, before recognizing her as one of the Yagi– a minority ethnic group considered closely related to, yet culturally distinct from the earth ponies. She has a long and curly grayscale mane, and an off-white coat. Most peculiarly, perhaps, she too is augmented by military-grade cybernetics. The entirety of her right-side foreleg, shoulder, half of her neck, and about half of her face are comprised by these cybernetics.

In other words– her cybernetics are a perfect mirror of Meursault's.

"안녕하세요!" Truth says. "Err… hello," she translates herself for want of subtitles.

"Bonjour," Godspeed answers. "You survived. Let's hope you passed as well."

Clamence, as you presume, remains silent, but offers a pleasant congratulatory smile all the same.


Good looked mildly perturbed by the newcomer, and seemed to be mostly watching instead of engaging.

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