Adventurers Guild Adventurer's Guild - Receptionist's Desk

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Games' started by AliceShiki, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Alice is Friend, Not Food』

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    Seems like you worked hard~

    And don't worry too much for the quality, I'm sure Lord Ralditorias will be happy with your perseverance and with the fact you didn't give up on making them even if you weren't happy with the initial product, those symbols will definitely fit the festival perfectly~

    The reward will be of 3 Large Copper and 3 Small Copper Coins, as well as 4 guild points~

    Take care now and good luck on your future quests~ *bows*
     
  2. Unreachable Hope

    Unreachable Hope Unspecified, Wandering and Doubtful Member

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    Coming back after only a few hours, Cinis didn't know how to feel as he just felt a bit heavy.
    "Here's my report, I am not sure, but I think it should be fine, no? Oh right, I have a question, I can keep one of these flowers, right?"
    Carving symbols, cleaning a place from all the cats and now picking flowers, Cinis felt like he was becoming less and less of an adventurer and more of a servant. Something along those lines perhaps ? He did not know how to describe this emotion. Shame? Whatever, it did not matter much, all he needed to was to pick some flower, they grow outside the town, as always, he decided to go to the forest to first search them.

    “Mmm, so, these flowers are quite interesting according to the quest sheet… perhaps I should get some of them for personal uses, it could be used for... well, stuff.”
    Being in the forest, he quickly noticed some patches of Herbane, he wondered how many flowers he should pick, just enough to get around five large copper coins, it was basically a stroll. He could even just pick one and come back to the Adventurers Guild, after all, is it forbidden to only bring one flower? Of course, he would not do that. It will be too much of an abuse.

    Later on, Cinis took one of the four and smelt it. The scent was quite funny, it seemed to be bitter and sweet at the same time. Taking a deep breath, he then slightly coughed, he took two flowers and put them in his coat, as always, he used his coat as a bag, his head felt a bit light at the moment.
    He looked around and the trees seemed to be deformed, the images he was seeing were distorted. Everything seemed to be twisted. It was quite poten.

    “Ahh, oh, eh, that’s quite… funny, I guess I can take some for myself, perhaps, I could use them to fuel the campfire… I wonder how they would be affected by it?”, it was probably a bad idea, Cinis rubbed his chin and felt that his facial hair was growing… or was it? No… it couldn’t be growing? Wait, that’s not the point.

    “That is a bit… quick.. wait, let’s get back to the herbs, it is more important…”, it felt like his thinking process was a mess, or at least, it was less focused, usually, he would only concentrate on the herbs. Or so he thought, he was doubting his own thinking at the moment, that was also a first.

    “Anyway… three more, it makes seven…” , picking three more henbane flowers, he decided not to smell it again. Definitively, that was something he could use, but for what, he still needed to think about it, as for now, he will only keep one for himself. In his opinion, he should at least get five large coppers coins, so, he needed to get eleven henbane flowers. So still four more henbanes.

    A few dozens of minutes later, Cinis found what he was searching, as he felt relieved, there was around six henbane flowers, it was perfect, it means he would get a bit more than he originally expected.
    “Ah perfect, it makes thirteen flowers… thus twelve for the guild, one for me… wait… since it is a so-called sacred flowers… is it authorized for me to keep it?”, after thinking aloud, Cinis began to have a reflexion about it and decided it would simply be wiser to ask Aria about it, after all, he basically did not know a lot about the Church of Ralditorias. Just that they were weirdoes which doesn’t change much as the guild should be more or less the same as the Church, isn’t it?

    “Time to get back to the Adventurer Guild… wait, where am… nevermind, I just have to get back on my tracks.”, suddenly feeling a headache, Cinis felt quite weird, wasn’t the effect of the herbs a bit too quick? it was already disappearing, well, perhaps because he only smelled it, but still, it is unexpectedly highly hallucinogenic, smelling it was enough for me to see the world in a different view. Either he had a keen nose, either it was normal, either the first one he picked was really potent.

    In the end, it didn’t matter, after realizing this, he simply looked toward Nagrand and began to walk around it, taking his time.

    @AliceShiki
     
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  3. Nahrenne

    Nahrenne Sister|Daughter|Niece|Aunt|Mummy

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    Flying in while using [Entangle] to carry the flowers, Phinimimilomimo finally reached the receptionist desk and gently placed the henbane flowers in a neat pile onto it.

    "Haah, Fris...I'm here...to...finish my...henbane...quest...Fris..."

    The little fairy collapsed in fatigue, before grabbing a sheet of paper and using her [Telekinesis] to use a pen to write her report. Upon finishing it, she fell asleep, softly saying as she slipped into a soft slumber:
    "Merchants are so nice and friendly...Fris..."
    Heading to the area where Flaminis was located, Phinimimilomimo secretly boarded a merchant wagon going that way. After most of the day had gone, the wagon had transported the little fairy close to where there was evidence of someone having camped at an earlier time. Seeing that the merchant was going to carry on, Phinimimlomimo decided to fly off and start searching for henbane flowers farther away from the road.

    "I hope I manage to find some of those flowers around here, but first, I should probably find somewhere to sleep, Fris!"

    Noticing the setting sun, the little fairy searched for some trees for her to sleep on. After roughly 2 hours, she eventually came across a small outcropping, where she quickly used [Root Weapon] to shape a hole into a tree trunk big enough for her to fit into. She then used [Entangle] to move the branches closer together to cover the hole from the outside. Once she was happy with everything, she closed her tiny eyes and went to sleep - dreaming of flying cats chasing after black flying monsters (ravens).

    "Hee hee hee...Fris..."

    The next day, Phinimimilomimo woke up sleepily as she stretched out her arms with a smile on her face.

    "Ahhh, that was a pleasant sleep, Fris~"

    Leaving the tree trunk to continue with her quest, she began feeling the energy of Nature to try and find some henbane flowers.

    Once she had spent about 3 hours of searching and flying around the area, the little fairy finally located some - noticing that someone had clearly been in this area before; tell-tale signs of parts of bunches having been cut off at some point not many days ago. Wanting to ensure that the plants remained healthy, she used [Growth] to reinvigorate the flowers - with some of them producing fruits. Harvesting the fruits and planting them into the ground, Phinimimilomimo cast [Growth] on them to ensure the seeds within the fruit grew up healthily.

    After another few hours of tending to the henbane plants, the little fairy finally went about picking the adult plants - making sure to leave the newly growing ones behind for the future. Putting the plants into a pile (stalks), she used some grass to tie them up together, before attempting to pick them all up in her tiny arms.

    "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...hah....hah...hah....Fris..."

    Having difficulty picking them all up, Phinimimilomimo tried using [Entangle] to move them as she flew back towards the road. Every few minutes, or so, she rested so she didn't get too tired so that she wouldn't get to the point of not being able to defend herself if any dangers came her way. About an hour later, she finally reached the road and saw the merchant from before heading back towards Nagrand with a wagon full of different stuff than before.

    "Ooh, good, Fris! I can ask him to help me carry these back to the guild, Fris!"

    Just after saying this to herself, Phinimimilomimo noticed 3 green figures heading towards the merchant. In a very short time, the merchant was ambushed by the green things, with them all surrounding him as they began punching and kicking him over and over again.

    "Ah, Fris!"

    Seeing the merchant getting badly injured, the little fairy dropped the henbane and immediately flew over to the scene of assault. Using [Illusion] to hide herself from the green things, Phinimimilomimo quickly used her [Paralytic Dust] to paralyse all three of them, before then following up with [Entangle] - using the roots from the grass that was growing at the sides of the road to wrap around them and tie them in place. With the enemies unable to move - both from the effects of paralysis and the roots - the little fairy had the roots tighten around them, before eventually using [Root Weapon] to form 3 sharp stakes that pierced their hearts. Feeling fatigued from using so many spells in so short a time, the little fairy cancelled her [Illusion] and revealed herself to the merchant while breathing heavily.

    "Haaah, Fris...Are you okay, Fris?"

    The merchant looked battered and bruised, but still very much alive. Having seen the events that had transpired, he showed confusion and fear, before finally relaxing upon seeing the source of the childish voice.

    "Ah, a fairy? Yes, I think I'm okay, thanks in huge part to you, little one."

    "Yay, Fris! I'm so glad you're all right, Fris!"

    Feeling energised from the thanks, Phinimimilomimo flew up to the merchant and began dancing in front of him in happiness.

    "Such a funny little thing, aren't you?"

    "Funny, Fris?"

    "Nevermind. Still," The merchant looked at the 3 green bodies, "to think that there were some goblins near here...I think I really should start hiring a bodyguard when doing these trips...."

    "Goblins, Fris?"

    Unsure of what it was she had actually fought just now, at the mention of goblins Phinimimilomimo tilted her head before examining the merchant's assailants. Indeed, they fit the description of goblins that she had heard from passing travellers in Fairy Land. Upon realising she had finally slain some goblins, her tiny mouth opened wide in shock at having accomplished such a feat.

    "Your first time seeing them, little one?"

    The little fairy nodded, her mouth still wide open in shock at the situation.

    "Well, I'm also surprised about this. I mean, I'd heard some rumours here and there, but didn't think there'd be any this close to the road...Anyway, there's no point in standing around here. Goblins never travel in such small groups unless there are others nearby - it's best if we start leaving this place."

    "...Ah, Fris! Is it okay if I travel with you, Fris?"

    "Hmm?"

    "You see, I was on a quest to harvest some flowers, but I can't really carry them on my own...Fris...At least, not without the journey taking too long and missing the deadline, Fris."

    "Ah, you're an adventurer, little one? I never knew that fairies even lived this far away from Fairy Land. And sure, I'll let you travel with me. After all, you did just save my life."

    "Ah, thank you, Fris!"

    "No problem."

    "I'll go and get the flowers, then, Fris!"

    Flying off to get the flowers she'd dropped, Phinimimilomimo eventually came back after a few minutes - struggling to transport the flowers. Landing on the wagon, the little fairy noticed the merchant cutting off the left ears of the 3 goblins.

    "Hmm, Fris? What are you doing, Fris?"

    "Ah, I heard there was a bounty for killing goblins, and they wanted their left ears as proof of them being killed. I thought you'd like to get some reward for it, since you managed to kill these vile monsters."

    "Ah, Fris! You take the reward, Fris! Take it as my thanks for you letting me ride with you to Nagrand, Fris."

    "Really? Are you sure?"

    "I'm sure, Fris!"

    The little fairy smiled happily, as she could see the merchant's mood perk up from getting to claim the reward for himself.

    "Okay, then." He put the left ears into the wagon, before sitting at the front and telling his horse to start moving again.

    After another day of travelling, they finally reached Nagrand, where the merchant said goodbye to Phinimimilomimo, before heading to the market to sell his wares.
    Acquired 12 stalks (30 flowers) of henbane.
    Killed 3 goblins, but let the merchant claim the reward.
    Proficiency in [Illusion] has increased to 10% max Mana per 2 minutes.
    Proficiency in [Entangle] has increased to 5% max Mana per 2 minutes.
    Proficiency in [Growth] has increased to max speed of growth lasting for 2 minutes.
    @AliceShiki
    X
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  4. Coler

    Coler Well-Known Member

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    To @AliceShiki
    You are absolutely right on this part. Since I messed up on this I apologize. My desire for action overtook me. I probably immersed myself to much in this. Once again I am sorry! [Bows]

    I was not clear on the effects that my skills deliver and can be used for.
    My signature has been updated to show you all my characteristics and ability’s more clearly. [I figured out that it was better to give you a lot of details on myself and whatever I might be able to do.] [Have fun reading it]

    About my report. I already erased it. It’s too early to take on some goblins. We are all weak after all. Well, what can I say about it. It just went wrong. That is all. I will try taking some more easy quests and explore the your Online wiki on the guild a bit more.

    About the lores. I will consult with you when I make one. I guess I screwed up on the lore too. Anyway....

    About the Hobgoblins? In the online page describing ‘Flamins Village’ Hobgoblins it says that they have white skin and white hair but look exactly like goblins. The only difference is their hight of 1.50 m. Can you please check the description on Flamins and the Hobgoblin Race. Some stuff must be fixed. [That is what I think]
    And I made enough connections to the country and the hobgoblin village. Next time I will not fail at all.

    Lastly: How many goblins must I hunt there. And how many hours do I need to spend on hunting them. I can use Godoto’s help on this matter but when it comes to hunting down goblins there are at least 30-50 in a nest. You know what....
    Just tell me how many goblins can a nest have. In this way I won’t get inside their nest or kill a lot of them.

    Ps: You are a wizard in editing and reviews. Congrats on doing all that work. It really left a deep mark of respect inside me for you.
    Frankly I really respect your hard work.
    [Liking you desire to devote time to this game and to the players]
    You are really great !!!
     
  5. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Alice is Friend, Not Food』

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    Really now... The warning is there for a reason... Why did you try smelling it...?

    It's all good though, there is no problem in taking one with you either~

    The reward will be of 6 Large Copper Coins and 4 Guild Points. Take care now~
     
  6. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Alice is Friend, Not Food』

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    30 flowers in one go? That's surely impressive, Soren will definitely be pleased~

    Good job Phini-chan, your reward will be of 15 Large Copper Coins and 4 Guild Points~

    Take care now~
     
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  7. Ddraig

    Ddraig Frostfire Dragon|Retired lurker|FFF|Loved by RNG

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    While finding out more about Lady Selena, Klovia had heard a rumoir that the Lady is actually male...
    The rumour was confirmed when Klov asked around in the tavern. From a rather credible source of information ran by a certain fanatical cult of orcs, Klovia could determine that the two "mortals" were a hobgoblin trader and a young dwarven noble who had recently arrived in the town.
    With the help of Selena's neighbour, Klovia decided to confront the two "mortals".
    The trader was the first one to be confronted by Klov and the neighbour. He was rather handsome by hobgoblin standards, which for the record was somewhere between that of humans on the higher end and orcs on the lower end. It seemed like a mystery to Klovia as to how did he managed to fall for her urrr him. The neighbour and Klov explained to him like a child that the dear Lady of him is a male. He seem shocked with a look that the world is about to end around him...
    When Klovia inquired as to why did he fall for him, he replied that he was asked to do so by the dwarven noble so as to appear as a worse choice for a lover to Lady Selena, making it easier for the noble to win her(him).
    "I would have never taken up the offer if I knew that potato was male...."
    The three of them decided to go to the dwarven noble. After stating that they were here to talk about Selena, the noble immediately granted them attendance, leaving all his work aside.
    Klovia then proceeded to explain the noble about how Selena is male and how they know about his plan. Instead of a shocked expression on his face, the noble merrily danced saying, "That's awesome, I was worried that she will reject me just because I am a girl..."
    It was there turn to be shocked. Unable to say anything else, Klovia went back to report the quest.
    @Naraku
     
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  8. SpearOfLies

    SpearOfLies [Fellow Human]

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    Sol, still slightly affected by motion sickness, managed to reach one of receptionist.
    "Do you prefer going by land or by water?" Sol said while heading toward the church to meet Soren, the priest. "It will be a very long journey."
    Either way, more than seven days to go and return.

    Uncoiling her body and slithering alongside her party members, Plumeria added her two cents to the conversation, "Asss long as you can find a carriage big enough~! I can sssswim rather well though." She didn't quite know where the Church was, and simply followed along, trying to avoiding bumping into people with her girth.

    "If it's about transportation, I have something that can get us back and forth in 5 days."
    "Oh? What it is?" Sol asked Takako curiously.
    "Follow me, it's in the parking area."
    "Parking area?" Sol was confused.
    "The stable."

    The party arrived at the stable. Right beside it was where carriages and wagons of all size were parking. Takako stopped at one rather odd-looking carriage, it didn't have front seat for driver.

    "Let me introduce you to one of my father's greatest inventions: the Circuit-tech Advanced Racer! Or you could call it a C.A.R. It's a golem equipped with double core system, suspension mechanics and air regulating circuits that guarantee a very comfortable travel for a long distance."

    Staring at the odd contraption before her, Plumeria doubted every word Takako spoke. She'd never been one to associate the words 'carriage' and 'comfortable'. Although they both started with 'C', that was where the similarities ended. Her serpentine body was often left cramped and sore after long hours spent coiled on the rickety contraptions.
    Nevertheless, the carriage was without a doubt the fastest available means of travel if what Takako claimed was true, and so with discontent hissing, she attempted to board the 'C.A.R', "Letsssss get thissss over with..."

    Sol didn't understand a thing about what Takako said. He only looked at the odd-looking carriage for a few seconds. "So... where we are supposed to sit?" Sol asked confused. He didn't mind using this odd-looking vehicle. Fear wasn't a problem. Though he didn't know whether that thing was fast or comfortable.

    Takako opened the door and showed the party the interior.
    "There are 2 seats in the front and 2 at the back. Me and mister Sol will take the front, miss Plumeria will take the back. It seems to be a bit tight back there, but please bear with it. We can reach Moon Village by tonight if we depart now, so let's get on!"

    "Ladies, we still have to go to the church to get the food supply and something to contain the water."
    Sol said while looking at his companions with an amazed expression.

    Sol fell out of the vehicle with a nauseous feeling. That thing was certainly fast but Sol refused to believe that was comfortable. They took only 1 days to reach this place instead of the usual 3. If there was a next mission together, he will refuse to go with that vehicle. No way he wants to try that experience again.

    There was a couple of moon rabbits that was blocking the road to the village. They didn't seem to hold any bad intention, but it didn't look like they will let the party pass through either. After recover for a minute, Sol decided to talk to them. He was the obvious choice, since the other two, one was the natural enemy of rabbits, and one was busy screaming "Nooooo..." under the C.A.R.
    "We are from the Adventurer's Guild. We want to ask a couple of information about the Lake of The Ancients."
    The oldest of the bunch walked forward. "Dangerous place. Lot of monsters." She didn't seem talkative.
    "Is there a safe way to the lake?" Sol tried to ask.
    "Go west, then southwest, then climb highest hill to north. Can see lake from top of hill." Then the moon rabbit pointed her finger at the C.A.R. "Leave behind. Attract monsters."
    Sol nodded. Not like he could fight within that thing and having a bunch of beasts follow them wasn't good for retrieving the water.

    ***

    Exiting the vehicle, her tail cramped from her time in the C.A.R., but no where near as nauseous as Sol -probably because her last meal had been 3 days ago and her stomach already had a death grip on it's contents, which had been a sizable rabbit- Plumeria began to stretch and observe their surroundings.

    The first thing she noticed was how positively delicious the residents looked. Tufts of fur settled softly on their leporine ears, delicate skin that seemed to invite her fangs, and small petite bodies that she could just gobble up and swallow who-cough- with stealthy motion, Plumeria wiped a trail of drool from her lips.

    The Moon Rabbits, as they were aptly named, seemed to greet the adventurer's with staunch indifference tinged with suspicious. They appeared neither glad to see their arrival, nor hostile and abrasive. However, their soft voices and reserved demeanor only served to make them look more appetizing- errr, innocent. She meant they looked innocent.

    They declined the group entry to their village, perhaps for the benefit of both parties, but were obliged to provide as much assistance as they could. Most, if not all, of the interaction had been left to Sol, and for good reason as she herself had been occupied trying to divert her mind and body from thoughts of tender white rabbit meat roasted over an open fire, cooked to a golden brown and seasoned with an au naturel spread of seasonings and a side of -cough- she was drooling again.

    Keeping her eyes on the road, and off the rabbit buffet, Plumeria adopted a rather casual pace, her particular style of motion and size meaning she covered as much distance in each slither as several strides from her companions. They hadn't been traveling long before they begun a steady ascent, cresting a hill from which an expanse of blue could be seen in the distance. The trip hadn't been eventful, and neither had it been unpleasant, in fact, for Plumeria, the soft grasses that caressed her underbelly were a welcome distraction from her stomach's impulses.

    ***

    While Sol was dealing with the Moon Rabbits, Takako took a look under the C.A.R. The suspension mechanics had been acting strange ever since the party departed, and it finally broke during the mountain climb.

    "It can't be helped", she muttered to herself, "it's over 200 years old after all".

    She needed several parts to repair it, and since she was utterly broke at the moment, it would take a while before it could be restored to the best condition.

    "Well, it's just a bit shaking, we could still reach the lake by tomorrow with no problem."

    Apparently, Takako had already forgot about her companions' predicament, as the automatas were immune to motion sickness. To her, some back-and-forth swaying simply obstructed view for a bit, but most other races would get a lot of headaches. It seems her companions would need to prepare a lot of willpower to endure themselves for the next few days.
    The party reached the hills surrounding the lake in the afternoon.

    As they approached the hill, the scent of various monsters grew thicker, to the point where they become ubiquitous, leaving a bitter taste on Plumeria's tongue each time she flicked it out to keep a tab on their surroundings. Since they followed the path that the moon rabbits told them about, they were able to avoid any combat. However, Plumeria could tell that the lake was practically a monster infested abyss, as apart from the almost overwhelming smell, she could sense heat signatures of scattered clusters and the occasional lone wolf in all direction.
    She couldn't tell much beside that though, as her vision was much too poor to make out anything in the distance.

    The next day, the party decided to leave the C.A.R. on top of the hill, which is a safe spot, then travel down on foot.
    The trek from the hill down to the lake was difficult and painstakingly slow. Plumeria took the lead as the one with the best senses and pulling on those she was able to lead their group mostly through without incident. Between her heat vision and a superb sense of smell, she was able to see or taste anything coming long before it was close enough to notice them.

    The area around the lake was moist, as was to be expected, and this posed a bit of a problem. For one, the vibration sensitive scales on Plumeria's underbelly were completely useless. The damp mud and soggy grass absorbed vibration so easily that she wouldn't have been able to feel an elephant stomping around next to her. Secondly, as they traversed the distance to the river the icky squelches of their feet into the mud made sure that their approach was less than subtle. No matter how hard they might've tried, nothing short of levitation would've allowed them to move silently. The final nail in the coffin was the wind. As wind stirred the gentle waves of the lake, it also brought scents from the direction of the lake towards Plumeria, where she would be able to pick them up and thus chart a path around any creatures ahead of them. However, the downside to this was that the wind would blow their own scents behind them, and alert any creatures at their rear who had a good enough sense of smell.

    The last problem was somewhat solvable, as Plumeria had slathered herself in mud and suggested her partners do the same.

    Sol followed Plumeria instruction. He trusted the snake lady's judgement. Without her, he was probably going to meet and struggle against many monsters.

    The vegetation wasn't good for moving around but it's was still within the acceptable range for Sol. It was like a green sea around them. You hardly can see something without any special mean. It was like anything can jump on them. Sol thanked god for the luck to get Plumeria as party member.

    From time to time, Sol checked Takako to make sure she didn't get lost, as Takako with her short height would be easily lost in the sea of grass.

    Suddenly, he felt something was observing them. Blindly trust that they will avoid every monster was foolish. There was a chance that monsters that can hide their heat and smell to ambush over-confident preys. Something was moving slowly behind them. A veteran predator.

    Sol saw something moving behind a bush and decided to throw an egg to that direction. A giant beast emerged from under the mud, opened its huge mouth and swallowed the egg whole. It was a crocodile. Sol knew a reptilian adventurer who love eggs but didn't expect that crocodiles did like eat eggs too. That crocodile was so big that it can bite off a tree without any problem.

    Sol dashed forward to take the beast's attention. He didn't believe that his shortsword was enough to damage the creature's hard scale but he trusted in his companions' ability to immobilised the beast so they can hit its weakpoint.

    From behind Sol, a blueish and translucent dagger flew past his side towards the crocodile. But it got deflected and quickly disappeared when coming in contact with its hard scales. The dagger did its job though, as the crocodile's sight glued to a small silhouette, namely Takako, moving to its left. It let out a small growl to intimidate the impulsive enemies who dared to treat on its territory.

    A bit too cold blooded to be accurately sensed by her heat vision, and being downwind from the group, hence the wind carrying its smell away from the lamia, Plumeria found herself rather surprised by the appearance of the crocodilian. She didn't attack it directly like her companions, instead, as they drew its attention, she stealthily took its back. Flanking the creature, she wound around the creature's torso to restrict its movement. With her free hand she brought her dagger to her mouth and slathered it with her venom, quickly tossing it towards one of her companions while she tried to keep the beast bogged down. Through tense, and baited breaths she urged,

    "Hurry up and ssstab it!"

    Sol grabbed the knife mid-air and quickly stabbed it into the creature's eye. The crocodile started to struggle even more violently. The splash pushed Sol away from it, but it was still unable to free itself from Plumeria's hug. The venom started to take effect. It moved less and less wildly, but it seemed it wasn't enough to take it down. Sol passed his shortsword to the weaponless snake lady. She probably can still attack with her fangs but a weapon was still better choice.

    Meanwhile, Takako was still throwing daggers at the beast to distract its attention. Her attacks dealt little damage, but she had no choice as it's better to leave the fight to the other two and she should not risk breaking the barrel behind her back.

    As the crocodile thrashing beneath her weakened, likely from the venom coursing through its veins and the dagger lodged in its eye, Plumeria grit her teeth and tightened her hold. While her companions pressed their relentless attack, she noticed Sol tossing her his shortsword, and her eyes flickered with understanding.

    Catching the blade, she grabbed it tightly with both hands and plunged it into the only remaining eye of the crocodilian. The beast thrashes were renewed, but Plumeria knew these were merely is dying struggles. With the length of the shortsword, she figured the blade would've gone straight to the beast's brain, killing it in an instant. Her hunch proved to be correct, as a moment later, the reptile stilled and collapsed.

    After struggling a bit to free her body from beneath the Crocodile's weight, Plumeria went to retrieve the blade from the Crocodile's eye, passing the shortsword back to Sol, and retrieving her dagger and putting it back on her waist. She flashed a toothy smile towards her companions, and urged them along, "Let'ssss hurry, the fight might've attracted sssome unwanted attention."

    After the encounter with the crocodile, the rest of the trip to the lake was rather smooth, thanks to Plumeria's leading.

    "We are here. Let finish this."
    As Takako said quitely, she took off the small barrel, waded a bit offshore to scoop up the less muddy water, then went back and signaled her companions. They nodded slightly and turned their back to make an escape.

    "I see no dragon. The lake is pretty big, I guess that's why it can't easily detect and come after our small party."
    Even with her rather heavy luggage, Takako can still keep up with Sol and Plumeria and even had the leisure to talk. At first they objected this role allocation as Takako looked no different from an underage girl, but seeing how light-foot Takako was through their own eyes, they soon accepted that it'd better not judge adventurers by appearance.

    'Maybe she is related to a variant race of oni? I heard there are little girls with insane strength' Sol was surprised by how easy the little girl move the barrel of water, but immediately denied this idea. As far he know, onis don't have that level of technology to produce carriage-type golem.

    They slowly climbed the hill to where the carriage was stationed. Plumeria took another path as the previous one must be full of monsters clashing to claim the big crocodile corpse. They don't have time and leisure to dismantle and bring the corpse back.

    Again, thanks to the Plumeria, they managed to avoid all kinds of troubles that this quest seemed like it was for E-rankers. Until a small group of monsters attacked them near the top of the hill.

    They were a group of three panther-like beasts. They had the same size as tigers, but they seemed to have much better capability for swift movement. One of them tried to jump on Takako, the smallest and most defenseless of the party, but it Sol stepped in and threw a pinch of spice, blinded the creature. Then he kicked it to the direction of Plumeria.

    Seeing the panther sent towards her, the Lamia reacted just as her companion expected, wrapping her body around the struggling feline and pining it down. She didn't try to strangle it, but instead, acted quickly, plunging her dagger into its neck and then release the dying cat.

    "We are near the top. Just focus on escape."
    As Takako said to the party, she threw several daggers to the direction on the other beasts then ran uphill. Often, she did a spin and threw daggers to the pursuers. To the nimble beasts, the daggers didn't even do as much as touch their fur, but they was still annoying to dodge regardless.

    Plumeria agreed with Takako when the girl reminded them to focus on escape, and so she didn't wait around, instead, slithered away while her tail swept up small stones and launched them at their pursuers.

    The chase ended when Takako spotted a familiar carriage in sight. She arrived, quickly opened the door and got in, not before putting the barrel in the back luggage compartment.

    The carriage, with the driver back in seat, gave off a loud vroom sounds to signal its power on. Then it slowly moved forward.
    "Quick, get in!" Takako shouted.

    Plumeria lurched forward, her hands grabbing onto the carriage and then pulling her humanoid upper half aboard. Noticing that Sol still hadn't gotten on yet, she stretched out her lengthy tail. "Grab on and I'll pull you up!"

    Seeing that both his partners had safely board the C.A.R., Sol threw one of his firecrackers to confuse and scare the two beasts before he could safely grab Plumeria's tail. Expecting not less of her kind, the tail managed to pull him into the strange vehicle.

    The two beasts were still stunned by the firecracker, and when they could perceive the surrounding again, the silhouette of the C.A.R had disappeared.

    ***

    The party, after escaping, spent the remaining of the day to rest, then embarked home on the next. It took them another 2 uneventful days to come back to Nagrand, bringing the total time on the quest to 5 days, just as Takako claimed at the start.

    OoC: Hope my partner members still enjoyed the party quest even if it took so long to finish. I'm happy we took that quest very early instead of too late. :sweating_profusely::sweating_profusely:


    @Nurman @nguuuquaaa @kyuukestu
     
    Blitz, AliceShiki, Nurman and 4 others like this.
  9. Zero300

    Zero300 『Mask Maker』『Kamen Rider Khaos』『Demon Immortal』

    Joined:
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    Task: Monster Hunting [Taken by @WhitesRabbit48, @Zero300 and @wraith]
    Requester: Oldspice Village
    Quest rank: C
    Rewards: 60 Large Copper Coins
    Description: After issuing a request for help in rescuing some stolen horses, we received a very troubling report over how a monster den somehow set up right next to our village. Many centipede-like creatures seem to inhabit it, as well as some strange and corrupted elves... We're in desperate need of help, so please clean the monster den!

    Zinc, Lethe, and Nero stumbled into the guild after completing the quest for taking out centipede-like monsters near Oldspice Village.
    It was really early in the morning, the sun was yet to rise. An open-top wagon stood outside the Guild, a couple of horses tied to its front. Nero was the first one from his party to arrive. He placed his shield, spears and bag on the wagon floor and climbed in.

    The noise woke the wagon driver up from his slumber. He turned around and saw Nero making himself comfortable on the wooden seats. "Morning, adventurer! Where to?"


    "The Oldspice village. My companions should be arriving soon."


    "Yeah, I was told to take you there. You know what, I'll just lie down for a bit. Wake me up when you are ready to travel."


    ---

    Seeing the wagon outside of the guild, Lethe was quite pleased: no walking required to reach their destination and ample space for napping. It was practically a dream come true.

    Upon reaching the back of the wagon, she tossed in a bag twice the size of her body containing who knows what and clambered in after it. With a quick greeting to Nero, Lethe found herself a nice corner and laid out her sleeping bag. After making sure the sleeping bag was optimally positioned and her pillow was properly situated, Lethe wormed her way into the bag, falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.


    ---

    As soon as Zinc reached the wagon, the young doctor slowed his pace while he double-checked his bag to see if he had packed everything. He held his hand to his weapons and tightly secured them before arriving before the wagon. When he realized that he was the last to arrive, he scratched his beard embarrassingly. With an apologetic nod, he climbed onto the wagon and found a corner to meditate.

    Seeing Zinc show up, Nero shook the driver awake and notified him that everyone had arrived. The driver woke with a start and quickly re-positioned himself. Glancing back, he remarked.

    "All set? Good, let's go. Haaa!"

    The driver grabbed a hold of the reins and with a flick of his hands, urged the horses into action. While the adventurers made their way to the village, Zinc decided to break the silence with a simple introduction causing Nero to look up and Lethe to stir from her sleep.

    "Hello friends, it's about time I properly introduced myself. My name is Zinc. I'm a dwelf...an half mountain dwarf and half drow elf. I studied eastern medicine since young and I have some skills with the blade. What about you?" Zinc replied as he glanced over at his fellow party members.


    ---


    "I'm Nero. They say that my race are descendants of the dragons. But nobody knows for sure. I am quite handy in a fight.", Nero replied, "And this is Lethe, a summoner."


    ---

    Feeling that Nero's response was adequate she was about to go back to sleep when Lethe noticed that Zinc seemed to smell slightly of herbs and chefy-ness. This reminded her of the fact that she had only eaten an entire loaf of bread and a generous helping of steamed veggies that morning, which was certainly not enough to sustain a young(?), growing(?) rabbitkin such as herself. Deciding that a proper investigation was necessary, Lethe squirmed her way over to Zinc to confirm her suspicions. Finding that, that had done nothing to help confirm anything, she decided just to ask.

    "Chef?" she questioned him, her eyes hiding a hint of expectation and possible excitement behind the sleepiness that perpetually seemed to plague them.

    Just thinking about food had made Lethe hungry and her stomach gave a rather terrifying yet quiet roar.


    ---

    "No, not exactly. My cooking can be considered rudimentary. Of course, it's not the taste that I focus on but more on the medicinal effects." Zinc shook his head as he explained what the differences between regular cooking and medicinal cooking are.

    "Oh." Lethe murmured dejectedly as she went back to sleep.

    With the conversation ended just like that, Zinc awkwardly went back to meditation.


    ---


    The wagon reached the Oldspice village at noon. The first thing to be noticed was a crowd had gathered at the grounds. People were seen rushing from one place to another.

    The adventurers got off the wagon when it reached the crowd. Nero paid the driver his dues and the team collected their stuff. While they were disembarking, the village had turned silent. All eyes were drawn towards the newcomers and some excited whispers started originating from them.

    Nero stepped towards the villagers and brandished his guild card in a dramatic fashion. "We are from the Adventurers Guild. Is the village chief present here?"

    "Adventurers! We were wondering if anyone would even turn up.", an old man had stepped forward. "We were attacked last night. Two of our farmers have died!"


    ---

    Lethe had still been recovering from the blow that Zinc wasn’t actually as chefy as she had first believed, and now she was struck again when she saw the villagers and heard their situation. Feeling that now was the time, she grabbed her enormous bag and pulled out an inordinate amount of orange carrot cookies that she proceeded to hand out to the villagers. Though the cookies were a bit on the small side, the villagers seemed rather touched.

    Making it back to the Village Chief, Lethe approached him and gave him a solemn *pat pat* saying, "We here. It gon' be 'kay."


    Hearing that, the Chief felt immensely relieved and struggled to hold back his tears. Though somewhere in the back of his mind he was wondering how the heck this tiny rabbitkin was supposed to do anything against such a fearsome enemy.

    Following that moment the Village Chief, who introduced himself as Chief Wedgemore, brought them into his home and gave them a more in-depth rundown of the situation.


    ---

    "It was terrible. Larry and Joe were killed in such a brutal way. There were two distinctive piercings on each body and greenish fluid flowing out of it." Chief Wedgemore described with frantic gestures.

    "Poisoned." Zinc remarked as he had some experience with centipedes in the past.

    "Yeah, I believe so too." The old man nodded in agreement. "But the sizes and shapes of the wounds are huge. It reminds me of a childhood story I used to hear from my grandfather. He described of a monstrosity living in the forests and caves nearby who went by the name of Latreille - the Hundred-Foot Dragoness. Legends foretold of Latreille as an insect-like subspecies of dragon with poisonous fangs, long curvy body, and armored scales that can block even mythril. I thought it was just a fairy tale meant to deter children from playing in the woods at night...but to think.... Do you think whoever killed the two farmers last night were descendants of Latreille?"

    "Possibly. But no worries, we'll find a way to handle it. For now, show me where the wounded are. I'm a doctor, perhaps I'll be of assistance." Zinc replied as he efficiently changed the subject.

    "Ah yes, right over there. That's where our village doctor - Kaleb - is attending the wounded. Just tell him I sent you." Chief Wedgemore replied as he pointed towards a roughly built tent.

    Zinc thanked the old man before headed towards the tent.


    "Is anyone there?" Zinc asked as he lifted up the covers and entered the tent. He was met with the smell of blood and the stench of medicine. Looking around, he saw a middle-aged man with brown hair and ragged beard standing up to his declaration.

    "I'm Kaleb. How may I help you?" The man wiped his hands and stared at Zinc suspiciously.

    "Chief Wedgemore sent me. Do you need any help?"

    "You? Do you understand medicine?"

    "Absolutely. I'm a practitioner of eastern medicine."

    "Eastern medicine eh? Can you bandage?"

    "Yes."

    "Great, come over and help me wrap this man up." Kaleb smiled as he motioned the dwelf towards a young woman with a gash across her arm.

    Zinc sat down beside Kaleb and began wrapping some clean bandages around the wound as the village doctor held up the arm in position.

    Meanwhile....


    ---

    "So, how many of these insects exist?", Nero asked, "And where are they coming from?"

    "We had one insect attack us last night. It had scampered off as soon it attacked. Our hunters have been seeing their tracks for a few days now, but they have never come near the village before. Another adventurer had said that she had seen four large ones inside their cave.", Chief Wedgemore replied, "Do you think they will come back?"

    "I can't say for sure, but I think they will. We should make the village more secure by then.", Nero answered. He stood up to go and scout the village and its neighboring terrain.


    ---

    Lethe had wandered off at some point while the Chief was talking to investigate the damage in the surrounding area and maybe set up some traps to ward off any future attacks. While out and about she ran into Bob, one of the other farmers. He stood looking out over his broken corral, utterly miffed.


    “Took’em, dey took’em ‘gain. Can’t dey just leave duh horses lone?”

    “Mayb’ they find ‘em tasty?” commented Lethe.

    Bob just stared at here like she was crazy. “Ain’t nobody like eatin’ horse meat. It’s duh last resort of any meat source, Dey have t’much muscle.”

    Nodding to express her understanding Lethe then bid Bob adieu and headed out to set up some tripwires to form an alarm system around the village’s perimeter. And a few other fun surprises and traps for good measure.


    ---

    Nero returned from his uneventful scouting trip and met up with the others at the chief's house.

    They had decided their strategy to combat these foes. The villagers had been told to gather their horses at the edge of the village. Traps had been set and the adventurers and the hunters lay in wait for the creatures to make their appearance.


    ---

    As night approached with still no enemy movement everyone became rather restless. Deciding that just waiting around was boring, Lethe summoned Martin instructing him to use his Detect Presence skill and let her know if/when their foes appeared. She then proceeded to scramble up a nearby tree so she would be able to literally get a jump on them upon their arrival.

    Not long after Lethe had settled into position, Martin sent her a signal to let her know that there was a party of 4 enemies fast approaching. By some bizarre stroke of luck (Lethe chose to avoid the possibility that it was skill) they had managed to avoid all of the tripwires. Realizing that the others had no idea of what was soon to come, she quickly signaled them to let them know of the incoming enemy.


    ---

    After Lethe signaled them that the enemy was coming and that there were four enemies, Zinc motioned for the guards and hunters to get into place while he deftly scrambled forward a few meters and up a tree. The dwelf reached behind him and pulled out his Amputation Knife. He left his Horse-Slaying Blade in the Village Chief's house since that weapon was mostly used to cleave flesh and crack bone. The Amputation Knife, however, was a single-handed weapon used to attack the joints...perfect for dealing with the centipede-like monsters.

    Zinc waited, and after a few minutes, he caught sight of the enemies. There was one Falmer, one large Chaurus, and two small Chaurus. The large Chaurus acted as the vanguard while flanked by the two small Chaurus. The three Chaurus protected the Falmer behind them. Zinc waited for the four enemies to walk past him before he leaped from his hiding place and swung his blade at the Falmer.

    As he fell, he cried out. "Attack!"


    ---

    Nero rose from the trench that he was lying in, spears equipped. The first thing he noticed was Zinc dropping down towards the Falmer. Deciding to focus on the others, he aimed his spear at the small Chaurus who stood between him and the large insect. The spear flew out of his hand and pierced right through the body of his target. It writhed around in pain for a few seconds before falling down.

    Hearing its smaller comrade's screams, the large Chaurus shifted its attention from Zinc to Nero and started hissing angrily. Nero, not the one to waste an opportunity, threw his second spear right at its body. Unfortunately, the fully grown Chaurus had a really thick exoskeleton. The spear was only able to leave a scratch on the Chaurus before it lost its momentum and fell down.

    Clicking his tongue in disappointment, Nero grabbed his shield and his final spear and charged at his enemy.


    ---

    As soon as the other smaller Chaurus reached Lethe's position, Martin quickly used "Stuck on You" to hold it in place for a split second. This was just enough for Lethe as she dropped from the tree above. By aiming at the chinks in the Chaurus' exoskeleton and using the extra force generated by gravity Lethe was able to quickly put an end to its sorry life.

    While the larger Chaurus was distracted by Nero, Lethe took the opportunity to dash in and out aiming quick attacks at the joints that connected its legs to its body. After a few rounds, she severed one of its legs.


    ---

    Meanwhile, Zinc managed to land a solid blow on the Falmer, cutting off one of his hands. The hunters and village guards rushed out with bows and spears and aimed at the Falmer. While they overwhelmed the poor creature, Zinc rushed to the aid of his fellow party members. The dwelf arrived behind the large Chaurus and stabbed down. The Amputation Knife pierced through between two scales, pinning the large Chaurus into the ground. As the large Chaurus writhed in pain and tried to free itself, Lethe and Nero moved in for another attack.

    ---

    With Zinc and Lethe joining in to fight the Chaurus, Nero felt the tide of the fight change in his favor. He grabbed the head of the distracted creature with his two free hands so that it wouldn't be able to bite anyone. Now with a bit more breathing room, he calmly found the joints using the tip of his spear and started stabbing at it.

    With the Chaurus being unable to move and attack, Lethe and Nero were able to stab and hack it to death in the space of a few minutes.


    ---

    After defeating the scouting party, Zinc, Nero, and Lethe made the decision to rest for the remainder of the night and head for the cave at first light in attempts to catch the remainder of the creatures in the cave unawares. Chief Wedgemore graciously offered his home as accommodations for the weary adventurers, who gladly accepted.

    ---

    While the villagers and the other adventurers rest for the night, Zinc asked the Village Chief for a few bundles of rope and a knapsack. He grabbed the two smaller Chaurus and beheaded both of them. Then, he tied them by their tails and slung them over a tree branch in order to bleed them out. While that was going on, Zinc grabbed his Amputation Knife and stabbed into the joint between the head and the first scale. With a couple of wrenches, he ripped the head clean off.

    Then, he proceeded to slice of the tail and cut the rest into cross-sectional pieces. Poking through the flesh with the handle of his knife, Zinc de-fleshed the large Chaurus. After roughly cleaning the flesh from the blood and the guts, Zinc stuffed the flesh into the knapsack and dragged it over to the village. At the village, he started a fire and brought over a few wooden poles. Skewering the Chaurus flesh, Zinc placed the skewer on top of the large fire pit.

    Once the cooking was done, Zinc distributed the meat to his party as well as to the other villagers. At first, they looked at Zinc as if he was crazy. Though the meat smells good, why would they eat meat from a poisonous creature? Zinc, as if knowing what was going through their minds, calmly assured them that the Chaurus meat was free from poison and definitely edible. He was sure of it...90% sure of it...80% sure of it...nevertheless, to prove to the others, Zinc took the first bite. Seeing Zinc chow down on the meat, the others joined in soon after. Once the meal was finished, Lethe set down a few more tripwire traps before everyone went to sleep.

    When morning came, Zinc woke up the earliest and walked towards the tree where the two small Chaurus hang. Zinc checked the two bodies and nodded that they were sufficiently drained of their bodily fluids. Zinc released the two corpses and dragged them over into the village. After discussing with the Village Chief about what he intended for the bodies, the chief nodded in agreement. Zinc hung the two bodies up where the sun shone the brightest. He had intended to dry the bodies before crushing them into powder and stored for later use.

    While he waited for the bodies to dry, the rest of the party woke up.


    ---

    Nero woke up after a good night's rest, feeling sharp and energetic. They would raid the cave in a few hours. Last night's battle hadn't done his spears any favors. One of the spear heads had cracked upon contact with the Chaurus. He would have to replace it soon.

    Not feeling as energetic as before, he lumbered out of his room to go and meet his teammates and have their breakfast.


    ---

    After what Lethe considered a rather disappointing breakfast of cream of wheat and dried meats, she, Nero and, Zinc gathered their supplies and headed out. Sebastian, the brave young lad who had been one of the first to witness the creatures, served as their guide. Along their careful trek towards the cave, they noticed obvious signs of recent activity. There was increasingly damaged underbrush as they approached closer; the Falmers and their little pets were definitely up to something.

    Approximately a mile from the cave's entrance, Sebastian stopped, gesturing towards the direction of the cave. He had no plans nor desires to go any closer. Lethe figured that was probably for the best. The most likely thing the boy would end up being if he tagged along was bug chow, and Lethe was certain his parents would not approve.

    The adventures, however, had no choice in the matter really and continued their journey forwards. As they traversed that last mile, they readied themselves mentally and physically for the tricky battle to come. Lethe, Nero, and Zinc stopped just short of the cave entrance where they saw two larger and one smaller Chaurus on guard.


    ---

    Once the party woke up and had a light breakfast, they ventured towards the cave under the guidance of the young boy - Sebastian. Near the entrance of the cave, Zinc handed his Horse-Slaying Blade for Nero to use. The Horse-Slaying Blade was a large blade at 7 feet in length with 2 feet of handle and 5 feet of blade. Although it will not be able to cleave through a large Chaurus's scales, it can at least provide enough force to knock them away without breaking. Zinc, on the other hand, took out his Amputation Knife and steadied himself for the upcoming raid.

    By the entrance, the party spotted two large Chaurus and one small Chaurus patrolling about. After some discussion on how to proceed, Zinc decided to first lure one or two out and ambush them in the forest. While Sebastian was sent back and the other two hid behind a couple of trees, Zinc rushed towards the edge of the forest and threw a rock towards the cave.

    PIAK!

    The rock smashed into the cave, causing a startling disturbance. The three Chaurus glanced at each other as if communicating on what to do before two of them - the small one and a large one - ventured into the forest to investigate. As they went deeper into the forest, Zinc circled around back to the party and discussed the plan. He and Nero will handle the large one while Lethe handles the small one.

    With that said, the plan was put into motion. As soon as the two Chaurus moved into range, Zinc leaped from the tree he was positioned in and landed on the back of the large Chaurus. As the large Chaurus squirmed to throw off the attacker on its back, Zinc deftly swiped his knife and severed a leg from the joints. Meanwhile, both Nero and Lethe sprang into action.


    ---

    Nero had learnt a lot from his fight last night. He had to attack the gaps between the Chaurus scales to actually inflict damage. Zinc's Horse-Slaying Blade was a much better weapon against these particular enemies, as he would be able to deal much greater damage from a closer range, when compared to his spears. To add to that, with Zinc having achieved a great amount of success in catching the creature off guard, it would be a much easier fight this time around.

    Nero rushed at the distracted Chaurus and grabbed at its head with his top arms. With the opponents main weapon neutralized, he began to slice at its weak spots. He was able to get through the armor in his first try and dealt a vital strike immediately. The Chaurus lost its strength really quickly and went limp with a few more strikes.

    After confirming that the Chaurus had perished, Nero decided to check out how Lethe was faring against her opponent.


    ---

    Following the same pattern as last night, Lethe had positioned herself in a tree and coordinated with Martin to quickly take down the smaller Chaurus.

    Hearing the commotion, the remaining larger Chaurus rushed over to help its companions; but it was already too late, the others were dead. Enraged, the Chuarus went straight for Martin, the closest enemy. Startled but not panicked Martin was able to evade the Chaurus' blow. Taking advantage of its focus on Martin, Lethe and Zinc swiftly attacked its joints to impede its maneuverability. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the damage it had received and his astonishing might, Nero was once again able to halt the Chaurus in its tracks and strike a fatal blow with Zinc's Horse-Slaying Blade.

    After a quick break to catch their breath, the party forged ahead into the cave. They had traveled what seemed like half a mile when Lethe motioned for the others to stop as Martin had sensed an enemy up ahead.


    ---

    Zinc walked up a peered towards the distance. With the dim light from the surrounding flora coupled with his innate dark vision, Zinc could make out a small Chaurus patrolling up ahead. Zinc held his hand up and motioned for the others to stay put while he dealt with the enemy. As soon as the small Chaurus turned its back, Zinc rushed forward and threw out his knife. Last night, after dismantling the large Chaurus, he had a pretty good idea of the physiology of the monster. Immediately, he could ascertain the main nerves of the Chaurus as well as the location of its hindbrain.

    The Amputation Knife flew into the unsuspecting small Chaurus, piercing its hindbrain, and causing immediate brain death. This was a technique that combined acupuncture and cooking called "knocking". The small Chaurus didn't even let out a squeak as it collapsed onto the ground. Zinc walked up to the monster and pulled out his knife...not a single drop of blood flowed out from the piercing wound. Zinc glanced back after confirming his kill and motioned for the others to follow. Soon, they arrived at what seemed to be a large cavern. In it were numerous Chaurus eggs. Beside the eggs, there were two Falmer and one large Chaurus tending to them.

    Zinc looked back and mouthed. "What should we do now?"


    ---

    "Attack!", mouthed Nero in reply, and drew out two of his spears. But when he stretched his arms to throw them, the Falmers seemed to notice his presence and moved to confront him. The Falmer who was nearest had reacted a little too late. As he turned to face Nero, he found a spear had been embedded into his chest, and promptly breathed his last.

    The second Falmer managed to duck the spear throw in the nick of time and had smartly decided to close down the attacker. Unfortunately for Nero, this Falmer wasn't the only creature that was moving towards him. The large Chaurus had rushed to Nero as soon as the spears had been launched. It barged straight into his body with its entire weight and momentum behind it and managed to knock the adventurer to the ground.

    The Horse -Slaying Blade had been drawn in the nick of time as Nero used it to keep the fangs of the Chaurus from biting at his face. The two of them were now involved in a wrestling match on the ground, trying to overpower each other.


    ---

    Noticing the other Falmer drawing its bow, Lethe and Martin worked in tandem to interrupt its attack. While Martin drew its attention Lethe flanked the Falmer and was able to deal it a decent blow. Now attempting to go after Lethe, the Falmer drew its sword and began to approach only to be briefly stuck in place by Martin's skill. This caught the Falmer unaware and allowed Lethe to make another strike. Unfortunately, however, the Falmer was quick enough to counter strike and lightly injured Lethe's right arm. Thankfully, she was left-handed thus able to continue on with the battle. Lethe and Martin went quite a few more rounds with the Falmer before taking it down for good. During the battle, Lethe received a few more superficial wounds but, really, nothing to write home about.

    While Lethe and Martin had gone for the Falmer Archer, Zinc had gone to aid Nero in taking down the Chaurus.


    ---

    Zinc rushed in and amputated one of the Chaurus's hind legs. Without the support of one of its legs, the large Chaurus stumbled and could not resist Nero as the giant pushed it back. With a powerful force, Nero knocked the large Chaurus onto its back. As it tried to stabilize itself and flip itself over, Zinc moved in and severed the rest of its legs with three quick strokes. Without its legs, the large Chaurus could do nothing except writhe about. Zinc flipped his Amputation Knife and, with both hands, stabbed the knife down and pinned the limbless monster to the ground.

    Then, Nero moved in and, after a few swipes of the Horse-Slaying Blade, cleaved the large Chaurus in half. Once the monster had died, Zinc pulled out his knife and wiped his knife. He walked up to the mouth of the cavern to check if any more enemies are hiding behind the stalagmites. Seeing none, Zinc rushed over and started grabbing a few of the eggs.


    ---

    After confirming that the cave contained no more creatures, Nero decided to gather all the Chaurus corpses at the mouth of the cave. The three large Chaurus exoskeletons were the toughest things he had ever seen. Thinking of the armor that could be made from them, he began the process of dismantling the scales. He had grown fond of the Horse-Slaying Blade over the course of this adventure and as he continued with the monotonous task, he began to entertain thoughts of replacing his chipped spear with a similar blade.

    ---

    After Zinc had gathered sufficient eggs, Lethe and Martin set about destroying the rest. They separated to search out and crush them to ensure that the Chaurus would not reemerge and once again threaten Old Spice Village. While searching through one of the structures the Falmer had constructed, Lethe found a chest containing three bottles of weak poison, a copper dagger, and 6 Large Coppers. Pocketing them to share with her party members, she continued her mission to seek and destroy until she was certain there wasn't a single egg left.

    ---

    Zinc quickly stuffed more than fifty fist-sized Chaurus eggs into his large backpack. Having stuffed his backpack to the brim, Zinc began helping Lethe destroy the other eggs. While he walked about and smashed a couple of eggs, he noticed that there was another room hidden behind a row of stalagmites. With a curious mind, he squeezed through the stalagmites and entered the room. There, he discovered something amazing. There was a wide pond of greenish liquid with heavy green fog floating above it. Partially-submerged in the center of the pond was a large skeleton of what looked to be a dragon.

    When Zinc tried to approach the pond, his brain immediately began flashing warning signs. Poison!! Zinc quickly covered his nose and retreated a couple of steps. The green pond was a pond of poisonous acid and the green fog was poisonous gas! It's amazing how powerful the dragon must have been for its bones to stay so intact even after being submerged in the green fluids for so long. It was even more amazing imagining the creature that killed such a powerful beast. It was then, that Zinc recalled the tale from Chief Wedgemore...the tale of the Hundred-Foot Dragoness - Latreille. Could this dragon skeleton belong to Latreille? No, that can't be. The skeleton had the structure of a typical winged dragon, but from what he had heard from the Village Chief, Latreille had no wings and was more like a gigantic centipede.

    Zinc could confirm that the greenish pond was most likely from Latreille...then where was she? And who was the skeleton that laid before him? As Zinc observed the skeleton once more, he caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a piece of fabric within the teeth of the monstrosity. The fabric looked like a piece of a map. Having no means of getting it, Zinc could only go back. Once he exited the room, he saw that Lethe and Nero were finished with their work. As Nero handed the Horse-Slaying Blade back to Zinc, the dwelf told them what he had saw and the trio decided to talk to one of the guild staff about it. Maybe it will be continued as another quest. Or maybe the staff will deem it unnecessary to venture any further. Nevertheless, the trio packed up and headed out of the cave.


    ---

    It was evening by the time the adventurers returned to the village. The villagers started celebrating once they learned that the threat had been eliminated. Chief Wedgemore decided to hold a feast for them at his house as well as arrange transportation back to the city the following morning.

    ---

    After enjoying the sumptuous meal, the adventures retired for the evening and enjoyed a good night’s rest. This time after waking, to Lethe's delight, there was a more luxurious breakfast of sausage, flapjacks, and even fresh fruit! Upon finishing their breakfast Lethe, Zinc, and Nero secured their belongings and bid farewell to the villagers before boarding a wagon to return to headquarters.
    • Zinc foraged 51 fist-sized Chaurus eggs, of which 24 of them are divided equally to Lethe and Nero.
    • Nero managed to dismantle the three large Chaurus which are divided equally among the three party members.
    • In addition, Zinc brought back two dried small Chaurus as well as news of a hidden room in the monster den with the bones of a dragon partially submerged in a pond of strong, poisonous acid. A piece of fabric of what seemed to be a map was stuck between the dragon's teeth.
    Tagged Receptionist:
    @AliceShiki
    Others;
    @Haxagen
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  10. Ejsarv

    Ejsarv Well-Known Member

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    "Hey, I'm finally done."

    Task: Gather Batches of Henbane

    After watching the city for the past few days, he more or less had an idea on how the church patrols worked. It was fairly basic, with a couple of lookouts covering the city exits checking the incoming shipments from afar they could gather easy information on the current state of the town and catch potential smugglers.

    With the exits covered they set aside a small group people skilled in tracking and stealth to follow potential flower seekers to the source. Allowing them easy access to the stuff later on though whatever the church could do with a bunch of flowers wasn’t going to be anything threatening. What were they going to do? Shower the flowers on the city? Oh deary me the humanity~

    Anyway the remains of their force were spit up mainly on the trading and business districts so unless he suddenly wanted to be burned on a stake he could easily avoid contact with them

    The only issue was entering and grabbing the item. If his guess was correct then his only problem wouldn’t only be the trackers hunting him down but also the people looking out in the common gathering spots.

    But, since today was the last day of the quest their security should be little looser than usual. Moving in between the alley he settled down near an exit.

    Seeing two of them hanging out near the entrance zone with the same old brown robes made growl annoyedly.

    “You’ve got to be kidding me,”

    While he wasn’t really a resident or anything he was hoping that one of them would take the day off after all didn’t they have this festival thing to prepare for.

    Sighing he gave up on having an easy run and waited for another batch of flower gatherers to come by..

    Watching the crowd move by, he waited til one of the lookouts followed the group before leaving this time.

    Once he got out, he wandered around for a few hours looking for some henbane after all if he didn’t know what he was doing, they sure as hell wouldn’t.

    Finally finding a couple, he could gather some now. Filling the bag with the requested amount and stashing ten away in his bag he was done.

    Now it was time to come back and a couple of hours later he finally made back to town. Seriously who thought it was a great idea to randomly walk around for hours a couple flowers. Honestly he gave up on trying to see if there was anyone following halfway through. Well at least if there was anyone following him now they would tired and bored out of their minds too.

    Moving back on his planned route to the library after weaving through a couple of alleyways and stopping every once and a while to look out for any followers.

    He made it the library without any issues, not bothering to hide the flowers on his back after all with the amount of investment the client had in modifying the library it would be strange if there were any followers actively guarding here.

    Entering the library, he gave a small nod to the librarian as he walked into the astronomy section and dropped off the flowers in the compartment behind the books.

    Finally done with that job he headed back to the guild and dropped off the remaining ten.

    @Nurman
     
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  11. Haitaka

    Haitaka [Always Busy]

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    Having worked together before, Vandrin and Venefica quietly nod to each other in the tavern and begin heading towards the North Gate, towards Oldspice Village.

    ____

    The two made some small talk along the way. Discussing alchemical recipes, and where to find the herbs for them.

    Venefica, surprised Vandrin with her Lyre playing ability which he had yet to hear. He in turn showed her how to follow and track animals in the wild, and how to find some herbs in the wild.

    Gathering Moonlight Flowers, Fly Amantia caps and Blood Lilies as they journeyed the next two days through the wilderness, avoiding any serious threat.

    ___

    Entering into their sights was a quaint village, buildings made out of wood and stone, and seemingly endless number of trees surrounding it.

    “Seems this is the place”, Vandrin said looking at a signpost which read “Oldspice”

    “So it is”, Venefica said with a nod.

    Asking around the village for the young boy who had been acting strangely, they were pointed towards an old house closest to the woods.

    ___

    “Isn’t this welcoming”, Vandrin joked as the pair saw the disrepair the house was in.

    The gate was off its hinges, the walls were slanted towards the right, and the thatch roof had several holes run through it.

    Ignoring Vandrin, Venefica went up to the door, gently knocking as to not knock it off its hinges.

    Rustling could be heard from inside, and an old voice calling out, “Just a minute”

    Roughly thirty seconds later, the old door opened, revealing an elderly lady covered in old ragged clothes, a damp sash, and a whittled walking stick, “Yes, how can i help you?”, she asked with a sickly hoarse voice.

    “Yes, we are looking for a young boy who has been talking to an imaginary friend recently,” Vandrin said with the same calm smile he always carries.

    “Ah yes yes”, the old lady said with a sigh, “My grandson been different ‘ere since he started spendin’ all his time in those woods”, she gave an expression of angst recounting it, “Talking about some mercenary whose been teaching him how to fight, nothing but trouble” she said, with her face returning to normal.

    “Do you know where we can find him?”, Venefica asked shortly

    “Probably in those damned woods again”, the old lady said, “Best to look there” she pointed in a generalized direction.

    “I see”, Vandrin said with a smile, “Well thank you for your time, and hopefully we can deal with this shortly” with a nod and slight bow, he turned to go towards the direction in the woods the old lady pointed, with Venefica following shortly behind.

    ____

    After searching for around two hours, the two came across a clearing in the woods. Partial suits of armor, and damaged bones surrounded the vicinity.

    “The site of a fight”, Vandrin said as they entered the clearing.

    In the center of the clearing, they saw a single sword, with its tip in the ground. A young boy seemed to be talking directly to the sword, though the pair could not make out the words.

    The young boy seemed to notice the two as he quieted down, turning to face them.

    “Can i help you?”, he called out to them

    “Are you the one who has an imaginary friend?”, Venefica asks as they stop walking towards the boy about ten paces away.

    “Thats none of your business”, the boy replied, “I ain’t hurtin’ no one”

    “The people in the village are concerned about you”, Vandrin said moving closer to the boy, “And we care too, why else would we spent two hours trying to find you in these woods?”, he said with a disarming smile.

    “...They don’t care about me”, the boy said looking down, “They just care about their own lives, and want anything which disrupts it to disappear”, the boy continued, “The only one that cares about me is Master”, he slightly glances over to the sword before refocusing on the pair, “he’s teaching me to fight so i can get out of this town”

    “Why do you think the villagers don’t like you?”, Venefica asked the young boy

    “Because of the way they look at me…”, the boy said shortly, “my parents died, so i had to come here and live with my crazy grandma, and everyone here just looks at me with disgust…”

    “Not sympathy?”, Vandrin asked standing in front of the boy, “The village came together to pay for us to come here and sort out the imaginary friend situation, because they were worried about you and didn’t know how to handle it”, he said as he kneeled down, putting his hand on his shoulder, “You are cared for young man, never doubt that”, he smile as gently as he could

    Tears began to well up in the young boys eyes as he hugged Vandrin,

    ___

    After the boy calmed down, they learned the imaginary friend was a spirit inhabiting the sword in the center of the clearing, and the boy had only started to see it after touching the blade, but could only talk to it if he saw the sword.

    “Seems we’ll have to take the sword to finish this request”, Vandrin said looking at the boy, “Will you be okay with that?”

    “I should be fine”, the young boy replied, “Now that i know the villagers don’t hate me, I’ll try talking to them more”, he said with an innocent smile.

    “That’s good”, Venefica said with her usual cool expression.

    “I’ll go ahead then”, Vandrin said approaching the sword.

    Putting his hand on the hilt, he heard a voice in his ears “Learn”, but nothing else followed

    ‘This is going to be interesting’, Van thought to himself

    “You could probably try to find a few items around here two Ven”, Vandrin said looking around, “Some stuff might be intact.”

    “Un”, she nodded as she looked around for some items, eventually grabbing a few leather pieces of armor

    “Lets head back”, Vandrin said rubbing the kids hair as the left the clearing.

    ___

    Returning to the village, the pair informed the villagers about what happened, and the fact the boy had been talking to a spirit rather than himself. Whether this was more comforting for them or not depended on the individual, but they accepted the result and answer.

    Having answered the request, the pair started the trek back to Nagrand, looking for more herbs along the way.
    10 Moonlight Flowers
    4 Fly Amantia Caps
    6 Blood Lilies
    1 (Haunted) Steel Longsword
    A couple pieces of leather armor (Let Rena decide later)

    "We're back", Vandrin said turning the report in

    @Nurman @FuRen @AliceShiki

    OoC: Sorry for the short report, but Alice knows why. Anyway i'm tired, so nap time.
     
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  12. Nurman

    Nurman ( ಠ∩ಠ) [Retired Ton]

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    "Ah, welcome back! It's great to see that you still have your limbs intact. Here are the rewards."

    Fu hands 70 Large Copper Coins to split and 6 points each.

    "... but regarding the travel fees... We'll need our finance and logistics departments to take a look at this C.A.R thingy, so please expect to see some dwarves and gnomes to drop by."

    [OOC: @SpearOfLies @nguuuquaaa @kyuukestu, if you write a fun and compelling story about the investigations on the C.A.R I'll provide good compensation~ I'll talk the other staffies afterwards and for each one that giggles by the end of reading the investigation report, I'll add 25 Large Coppers per giggle to the compensation. No time limit on this.]
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  13. A5G_Reaper

    A5G_Reaper [DCLXVI, sohyee, and iampsyx's cute imouto]

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    Task: Dispersion of Dark Energies [Available]
    Requester: Hidden
    Quest rank: D
    Rewards: 27 Large Copper Coins
    Description: Dark energies have been roaming the area near Randgriz for a while now... They've started to gather though, I fear a portal to the darkness realm may be opening.
    The cause of it can wait, for now I need the energies dispersed, it would be no good to have a new Abyss appearing right in the middle of Ternus. Additional rewards will be given for anyone that can find what has been causing it.

    "So, I guess introduction's in order. You can call me Mr. Gourd or Jack, stabbing specialist."

    "Stabbing Specialist?" She gives the gourd an incredulous look. "I think I'll call you Mr. Gourd."

    She shakes her head, pinching her nose.

    "I'm Selvia Nilrem, You can call me Selvia, or Ms. Nilrem if you really want to I guess. Though that makes me think of my sister. I'm an arcanist with pretensions of one day being a magical researcher of the highest caliber."

    She bows her head slightly.

    "And this cat on my shoulder you see is named Sera. She's rather intelligent, and yes she can fly."

    "Selvia then. And Sera" He nods. "When do you want to start?"


    She shrugs.

    "I don't really have much to do here, now that I'm finished my food and Fu is busy with another customer and so won't ask for his plate back. I guess I could sell my henbane, but you never know they could be quite useful."

    "Ah, in which case we should get moving." He recalled the map. "Should be about ten days carriage trip."

    "10 days by carriage? Hmm seems like awhile for only about 67 Dragon's flights, but a day or two in either direction isn't that meaningful."

    She stares at him for a second.

    "Hmmm, you feel more like a Jack then a Mr. Gourd tbh. Also, you're paying the carriage fee."

    She hastily walks toward the door.

    *****

    Two hours later, the two were seated in the back of a trade caravan going to Randgritz.

    "You know, free transportation is readily available so long as you've an idea where to look. Especially toward busy place like the capital." He told the elven mage, lightly chewing on some jerky. "The road's dangerous after all, and that guild badge worth a little bit of trust. We just need to find our own meal and help them fend off any possible threat."


    "Walking is also free you know. As is hunting your own food. But I guess not walking is nice from time to time. And I'm glad the guild badge is good for something at least."

    She winces as the cart goes over a nasty bump.

    "Especially with the soreness from going the last two days without sleep and constant walking."

    She ponders for a second before pulling out some leaves and grinding them.

    "You might want to stay away for a few moments, unless that helmet filters the air for you."

    "It will take at least twice as long walking." He plainly stated. "Then either we pay a hefty sum to cross the mountain or we bumble through the Cave of the Dead. Hitching a ride is a lot more efficient."

    The gourd looked at the leaf with interest.

    "What's that for?"


    "It's henbane. It's a...." She thinks for a moment. "...medicinal plant that I'm planning on making into a tea and using as a muscle reliever and a sedative so I can get a very good day's sleep while you guard the caravan."

    She gives him two thumbs up.

    "Ah. I planned to get some for my garden after we return." He nods. "don't worry, I'll wake you up without fail." He returned with two finger-guns.

    She goes back to grinding leaves.

    "And I'm sure there's a free path through the mountains without going through any nasty caves. There almost always is."

    "Climbing those mountains?" He pointed at the towering peaks visible to southeast. "Now that's just unnecessary inconvenience."

    She shrugs, gets out her pot and pours in water from her waterskin. "Climbing mountain passes can be fun. You can see all sorts of interesting things." After a few minutes of concentration with an odd magical formation appearing under the pot, it slowly begins to boil. After stirring in a small amount of the tea leaves and letting them steep, she finally prepares to drink.

    "Now I believe that with the other substances I mixed in to alleviate some of the side effects, I should be out for a good 16 hours or so given my current state of exhaustion. And ignore any weird noises I make or things I say. It does have some ...conscious-expanding properties as well that may affect me."

    She raises the pot as if to toast.

    "Sweet dreams."

    She puts the whole thing back.

    "It lose the novelty after the first dozen times." He replied, although the elf is already dozing off by then.


    *****


    The caravan reached Doylors five days later, a rather rare journey without mishap along the way. It was the center of Ternus' magical advancement, although it's almost entirely hoarded by the Coastal Tower Assosciation. The city had more book than the rest of the country combined, yet only a tiny fraction would be opened regularly; the rest locked up in a private library somewhere.

    "We'll need to find another caravan, shouldn't be too hard I think. It's a big city. Should we rest here for a day or two beforehand?"


    "You can rest here. Just tell me when exactly we're leaving, so I can make some plans."

    She begins to mutter to herself. "If I disguise myself as a servant I might be able to break into the library...Just need to make sure I get to the caravan and we leave before they start investigating seriously."

    "I'll look around for information. Meet me back here tonight?"

    Sightseeing aside, he noticed an unusual tension in the city. A slight sense of gloom and tension, almost like a city on wartime. Which shouldn't be possible, it's chock deep within friendly territory - if any city is under risk of invasion, it's Ternus.

    "Perhaps it's worth investigating after all..."


    "Of course. I'll need to do some discreet scouting as well. It's been sometime since I was in Doylors after all and I have catching up to do."

    She has almost a malevolent look in her eyes as gazes up at the large tower.

    "Nagrand's adventurer? You're very welcome to the caravan! How many of you were there?"

    "Uuh, only me and my mage friend-"

    "I'll pay you five large copper each to tag along!"

    "Ookay, when will you depart?"

    "Be here by sunrise the day after tomorrow, please don't be late!"

    "Alright."

    That was unusual alright. Normally merchants would begrudgingly settles on free hitching, but the first one he inquired at immediately want him in their caravan with some payment to boot. There's definitely something fishy with the route.

    "Say, did something happen between here and the capital?"


    *****

    "Bandits. Huh, I recall the new bounty board mentioned that. Almost forgot about it."

    A gourd muttered as he wandered through the city, a bag of flavored bread in hand. The place was several times larger than Nagrand, so there's no way he could see it all in a day. But there were several rather amazing sight, especially the lone tower that was visible from everywhere in the city. Well, he still think the Cloudencasse was still a grander sight but then not many could top the Castle of Storms in that matter.

    "Price are hiking here, with the traders constantly waylaid by bandits. Who would expect a knight vice-captain to turncoat just like that?" He took a bite of his bread. "Didn't really paid attention back at the guild, but the bounty is rather nice... sure make me feels like returning to my root for a bit."

    Looking at the orange sky, he thought that it's almost time to meet his travel companion. The young elf was quite an interesting fellow, perhaps she had a story to tell of her journey today.


    She knew it had been a bad idea to come here. It had only been a year and the signs with images of her saying no admittance at the entrance to the Tower had yet to go away. Yet here she was anyway disguised as a servant to avoid any unwanted attention. She sighed to herself and hurriedly made her way through the halls and mutters to herself. “How did I get here anyway…”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    She knew the first place she had to go in Doylors and so made her way through the marketplace, stopping briefly to pick up two delicious skewers of meat from a local street vendor. She made her way through the cramped, winding streets to Gamel’s Emporium. At first glance, it appeared to be a mixture of a general store and library. But to those on the outskirts, who were in the know, this was a haven for unregulated magical study and a black market store for magical goods and information.


    She walked up to the counter and grinned at the half-elf woman currently managing. “Hello Cyra, is Gamel in?”


    The woman turned around and stared at Selvia for a moment before grabbing her and whispering urgently to her.


    “Selvia, you know very well you shouldn’t be her in Doylors! Magus Guildford Winfield wants your head after what you did! And he has the resources and power to get it. He’s a Mage of the Sphere and his brother the Count is one of the most powerful nobles in the area! And that’s ignoring his uncle!” She yanks Selvia to the back and directs one of her fellow employees to more carefully watch this floor of the shop.


    Selvia shakes her head. “So that bastard became a Mage of the Sphere, huh? That’s disgusting. He’s not even that good of a mage and barely has done any meaningful magical work.”


    “Yes, well his uncle is one of the Archmagi on the council and even if Guildford isn’t much for using magic, with the Winfield Legacy and the uncle teaching him spells, he’s still quite a powerful battlemage. There probably isn’t anyone in here besides maybe Gamel who would even have a chance against him in a straight up duel.”


    “Sounds like that bastard needs to be taken down a peg if you ask me.” She pulls out of Cyra’s grip and begins to walk toward the door.


    Cyra calls after her. “Sel-you get back here!.....At least, be careful, you idiot!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So here she was, having infiltrated the lax tower guard as a servant bringing in supplies and then changing into a maid outfit and bringing food on a cart to Dickfield’s rooms. Thankfully they were largely oblivious to the servants in the tower, especially in Archmagus Winfield’s section. A nonhuman servant wasn’t worth their notice at all. She approaches the door and unfortunately comes face to face with Magus Guildford Winfield himself. The tall man was built like a soldier with a strong face, thin nose and long blonde hair.


    ‘Oh no. This is bad. This is bad. This is bad.’


    “I was wondering when you would get here. My lunch is already quite late. Come in and set it down and get it prepared. I need to see Magus Orbus first and I expect everything to be ready and waiting.”


    ‘Thankfully he doesn’t seem to recognize me. Then again, I’m in a servant’s outfit and I’ve dyed and grew out my hair.’


    He proceeds to leer at her. “And I expect you to attend me faithfully while I eat.”


    ‘Plus he has yet too look at me as anything more than a delicious piece of meat. I forgot how much of a sexist pig he is as well.’


    Keeping her head bowed so he can’t get a good look at her face, she answers in a quiet and meek voice.


    “Sorry sir, I really must be going, I have food to deliver to Magus Gordion as well and I’m already late.”


    He gives a grunt and a last ogle before beginning to cast a spell.


    “Fine then. Well I’m going to leave the wards down for three minutes. If the food isn’t setup by then, you’ll be staying here with me when I get back and you won’t leave until I’m satisfied.”


    He strides out of them room.


    Sweating profusely, Selvia hurries through setting up the food. She mutters. “Well I’ll have pretty much no opportunity to do anything serious, but I’m gonna steal that book on his desk at least. He can deal with trying to remember what he did with it. Bloody jerk.”


    Dashing about the room, she grabs the book, slides it onto the cart and barely makes it through the door as three minutes comes to a close and the wards guarding it go back up.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    After spending the next several hours making her way back out of the Tower, Selvia is quite tired.


    ‘The last thing I needed would have been being discovered there. Especially since the bastard was leering at my breasts. He certainly would have tried to take advantage of me and realized who I am.’


    She picks up her cat from the park where she had left it to roam before making her way to the tavern at which they had agreed to meet.

    "Selvy! Welcome back." Across the common room, a gourd waved half a piece of bread to her direction. "Nice outfit."


    She looks down at the stolen maid getup and blushes.

    "I meant to change! I'll be right back."

    She runs into the bathroom and quickly comes out in her traveler's garb. The maid outfit is still quite clearly sticking out of her pack though.

    "Looks like you had a fun day. Bread?" There's a hint of amusement in his tone as he offered the half-empty bag of flavored bread.

    "Sure. I haven't eaten since breakfast again." She mutters to herself more quietly. "Though I really should have liberated some food from the kitchen. Or even stolen food from that bastard.

    She reaches in to the bad and pulls out a baguette and comfortably begins nomming on it. "You have an interesting day as well?"

    "Quite straightforward, got ourself a paid ride but we'd probably see some fighting during the way. There's a bandit infestation between here and the capital." He sipped at his drink. "The departure is sunrise at the day after tomorrow, so we have another day if there's any business left."

    She shrugs.

    "If the fighting gets too bad we can always run away. You'll have to be the front-liner though. I'm more of a utility mage in terms of my combat ability right now. Plus bandits don't sound too bad."

    Somehow she has already made her way through 2/3 of the baguette in a couple of minutes.

    "I don't really have too much business, just maybe doing some quick buying and selling and meeting with a friend."

    "I'll try investigate more about the bandits tomorrow, I suppose? Keeping you alive shouldn't be too difficult regardless." He swallowed the remaining bread in his grasp.

    "Oh keeping me alive won't be difficult at all. Running away, besides magical improvisation, is if anything my specialty."

    She finally polishes off the baguette and holds out her hand as if prompting for another.

    He smoothly slide the bread bag closer to the elf.

    "What's your usual spells, if you dont mind me asking?"


    She pulls out another baguette and begins to devour it as well.

    "Well I use a variety of arcane constructs in simple yet versatile ways, such as arcane shields, arrows, and blades. I also can do some small healing magic, but it relies on your own physical reserves of energy and isn't too powerful either. Lastly, I am quite gifted in using nature magic to grow various plants and use their effects on opponents. Typically i use this to grow vines to ensnare them, but I also carry a small selection of seeds with some other more poisonous and odd properties as well."

    "That's a good variety." He nodded. "Effective range? We'd probably be up against a number of bowmen."


    "Well my growth spells are dependent upon seeds embedded with my magic signature and so not particularly ranged beyond where I can throw them. Though I do have a winged cat now. Arcane spells need to be within visible range, typically up to about 100 meters or so. Healing is not my specialty and I'll need to be touching you."

    She finishes off the baguette, finishes draining her water and pulls out the book she "borrowed" earlier today to see if it was anything useful. A battle magic grimoire would be excellent.

    "A hundred meters is good enough. Unless we're up against longbows, but what are the odds of that?" He sipped again, watching the elf's odd look of expectation as she pulled out a thick book. Looks expensive with the fine leather hardcover and metallic brace at the edges. It had no title though.

    Sera swoops in through an open window, gnawing on a rat, and lands on Selvia's shoulder as she opens the book.

    Her mouth drops open as she stares at words and images of unspeakable acts. Her face turns a very bright red color.

    'How and why would anyone even want to do that?'

    She shudders and flips through the book very quickly to see if there is anything that is of any redeeming value. There is not. In fact, she notices, to her horror, some pages at the end with fanfiction stories written by the bastard himself, including one about an elf.

    She quickly shuts the book and her face becomes twisted by an incendiary rage and she drops the book on the table and begins concentrating intently and muttering as if working on a spell.

    "Are you quite... alright there?" The gourd wisely pulled his drink and bag of bread away from his fuming partner.

    She says through gritted teeth. "Oh, I'm very very fine."

    A blue construct forms around the book and then it bursts into flame.

    "Much better."

    Her eyes dance as she stares at the new merry fire blazing away on their table.

    "Don't you think that's a bit excessive? What's written there?" He raised a hand to pat out the fire but the alarming rate of the table blackening beneath it got him to reconsider. Shaking his head, he activated his rune.

    "Hardlight."

    The back of his left hand glowed weakly silver, barely visible beneath the glove. A translucent blue platform popped between the flaming book and the table, quarantining said book until the flame consumed it all.


    "Nope, not excessive at all. The world is now better and purer by its absence."

    She sits down smiling at the pile of ash.

    "Now I need another baguette to cool my anger."

    The gourd worldlessly pass the bag, dispelling the platform with a shake of a hand. The innkeeper would probably bill the damage cost to him.

    She plows through it even faster than the previous two. Sera also finishes polishing of the rodent and licks her lips.

    "Say....how did you create that magical platform by the way? It looked like some sort of arcane magic. Are you also a mage?"

    "I'm no mage, although I do know a few tricks I haven't got the manapool to sustain those for long. That was... what did he called it again?" He spaced off for a moment. "Branded Rune, bound to flesh and soul. Almost completely rigid in manifestation, but the few unrestricted aspects were easily manipulated by thought."

    He downed his remaining drink.

    "Well, at least that's what my old friend said. Unparallelled in arcane matter, but this is beyond his expertise."


    "Mmmm...how interesting..."

    Selvia is now staring at the pumpkin like she was staring at the bread earlier. She licks her lips.

    "Well if you don't mind, I still think it might be interesting to test it. If you don't mind me intruding."

    "What manner of test, if I may ask? He wiped some nonexistent sweat. "Your eyes looks hungry."

    "I do feel a bit curious. And it just some minor tests. Nothing too intrusive. Just some biological scans and maybe arcane analytical formation."

    "Just... be careful with it. Right here and now?" It's still dinner time, the whole place's rather full at the moment.


    "No, I wouldn't want the guests to be disturbed. I'll wait until I have a good setup somewhere private."

    She nods to herself and begins muttering.

    "I definitely noticed something glowing on his hand, maybe some sort of ritual branding. Maybe I could use something like that with tattoos to create a magical effect. I've heard some elven tribes used to do that in antiquity. I wonder if he'll mine testing out some of my theories. If he was already branded once, he shouldn't mind doing it again. Mmmm."

    "You do know this would make some misunderstanding-" A gourd complained as the elf dragged him into her room.

    She turns back and looks at him for several seconds with her head tilted as if confused. Finally she processes the words and begins blushing. She covers her face with one hand and shoves him out of the room.

    "T-that's true. W-wouldn't want any misunderstandings. P-plus this isn't the best place to be doing this sort of thing"

    She pauses a second and thinks.

    "But I'm definitely going to be using you once we get back to the guild. I'll have to borrow the same room I used last time."

    "That would be best." He nodded sagely. "Well, until tomorrow then."

    *****

    The caravan set off two days later, with heavier guards than normal including a gourd and an elf. There was a rumor from Doylors that a magus was flipping out because someone stole a book containing "important experimental note" but that didn't concern them as far as the gourd could deduce, so he ignored it. Instead he shared more concrete information on the bandit situation, which were arguably more important to know.

    The leader was a knight vice-captain with magic sword, but he never participate in raiding small caravans so the guy could be discounted. Instead, he had some deserters of the military joining him that made the core of their bandit gang. Estimate varied wildly from fifty to approaching four digits, but he's inclined to believe that it's in low hundreds at most. There's only so many ways to keep people fed, and raiding food caravan was a coin toss at best.

    Theirs was a small-medium one, consisting of five sturdy wagons in which four carried cargo and the last held the merchant's family and personal belongings. There were ten guards, but only four were permanent while the rest were armed hitchiker like the two. All in all, there were twenty three people in the caravan.

    They travelled during the day with breaks and camped for the night. The first two days were calm, but trouble reared its ugly head at the third when they're passing a rather forested area. Trees were felled in the middle of the road just out of sight beyond a bend with ten-odd armed men standing behind it, the caravan was already too close when they noticed the setup.

    "Cargo or life?" The leading bandit demanded. "You may leave and bring whatever and whoever fit into one wagon. We lay claim to the rest."

    The gourd watched the surrounding warily. There were people camouflaged with leaf and branch out there, easier to spot now that they stopped moving.

    "...there are more among the trees. Keep out of sight for now."


    She nods. She opens her eyes which shine with a faint blue light. "I can sense them. No mages in this bunch that I can tell either. I think the leader has a couple of magic enhanced potions. Can't tell what they do though."

    "How many are out there?" It's time like this that he sorely miss his flintlock.

    "Another dozen in the woods. Probably at least half are bowmen. They probably don't expect us to put up much of a fight though."

    "Point me their location. Best turn this around before our host surrender."

    "Six on each side. They're relatively spread out to avoid hitting each other. Good organization there. There, there, there, there and there're two near the front wagon on the left."

    "I'll be off then. Stay safe, and try to protect the caravan." He unstrapped his weapon. "Venomous Blade."

    The sticky glow coated his blade, turning it blackish green alongside the throwing knives belted across his chest. He dashed into the first pair of bandit, the two foolishly standing around like they've already won. The archer was fumbling to nock his arrow when a knife kissed him through the eye, while the supposed protector swung badly and got parried - his head sliding down by the next moment.

    Wasting no time, the gourd smoothly changed course toward the next pair. These were more alert and managed to shout about the attack, but that did nothing to preserve their life. He kept the protector between himself and the archer, closing in before nailing the guy's thigh with the knife. His victim muffled a pained grunt and stood back up but five seconds later the paralysis set in and he lost control of his left leg, falling straight into a waiting blade. The archer shoot then, hitting naught but the protector's body he used as a shield, and was cut down before reloading.

    The sound of fighting could now be heard from the caravan. He strapped his blade as he moved to the last pair on this side, drawing four knives out instead. He ran in a circle as he peppered the two bandits with knives, moving in and snapping their neck after their limbs were paralyzed.

    He pried the bow and a quiver of arrow from the archer. It was an average hunting bow with sligty rusted arrow, he honestly felt they're quite shitty, but that's all he had to work with.

    "Vertigo."

    He braced for the usual disorienting flip as gravity turned on him, ejecting him to the sky. He cancelled the rune some thirty meters up before activating the Hardlight Brand, crouching on the platform.

    "Let's see how they're doing down there..."


    She smiled, trusting that Jack would stab his way through the enemies on the left and then stealthily made her way to the front cart where she cast a line of seeds from her right pouch before singing out a few notes that began weak and grew ever more strong. A small wall of vines grew up around the front blocking off any concerted charge by the bandits in the distant. In the chaos, almost no one noticed a small animal escaping into the sky and over the right side of the woods.

    Selvia instantly threw up her left arm where a small momentary arcane plane of force deflected an arrow off to the side. She commandeered some of the guards out of their lackadaisical state.

    "You 8 split into 2 groups and hold off the advancing bandits. You two with me to take out the flankers. We need to either scare them off or incapacitate them before the bandits spend too much time on our front."

    Another set of arrows fly out and while Selvia shields her trio, one of the guards at the front is swiftly downed.

    "Dammit, we need to move!"

    She shoves the two guards forward toward the nearest bandits and ducks behind a cart, throwing up another shield. "You two charge that close group right there! I'll coordinate and provide you with cover."

    She hears a loud "Nyaa", sings out another set of powerful notes from behind and a couple of screams rings out from the far back right.

    She whispers, "Good job Sera."

    The overturned trees used to block the road was now an obstacle to the bandits who set them up, and the additional wall of vines completely ruined their chance of overwhelming the caravan guards. Rather ironic. Selvia's split the remaining guards to block the front and lead the rest to combat the flankers, so that side's covered. That allowed him to focus on the vanguard of ten.

    Whistling a jolly tune, he nocked an arrow and launched it down to the bandits trying to move through the blockade. It missed, he clicked his tongue at the terrible bow but that shot would serve as calibration for the next. By the third shot he finally nailed the first victim, who went down screaming with an arrow through the belly. The rest were alarmed by his presence by then, but nothing they could do to someone perched thirty meters up.

    Within a minute he rapid-fired the whole quiver, clipping a total of four enemies. They're routed at that point, trying their best to just escape. Meanwhile Selvia returned with the remaining guards, some of them injured but no death.

    The platform vanished beneath his feet, dropping him down to the ground. A short activation of Vertigo slowed his fall just enough for him to land lightly, skipping forward to finish the downed bandits.

    Then it's looting time. There were plenty of people to split with, but at the same time the fallen foes were aplenty as well.


    She winces, having taken an arrow in the side while distracted. It had been partially deflected and thus didn't penetrate her leather gear fully, but the bruising had definitely set in.

    "Looks like nine of them managed to escape. Hopefully they don't bring back friends." She examines the scene and then swiftly comes to a process forward. Unfortunately someone comes out to distract her.

    A portly man in well-done clothes waddles out of the cart.
    "You are not in charge of this caravan! While it worked out this time, you could have gotten us all killed! And I paid for all of this, not you!"

    She sighs. Another powerful human man wanting to assert his dominance after feeling powerless. How predictable.

    "We have more experience in matters of violence than most. And we saved you a lot of money as well. So please stop sounding like an ignoramus and let us do the job you paid us for. Please."

    She strides forward as the man sputters in an almost incoherent rage behind her. The vine wall is already withering into dust after a few minutes as she hadn't put too much magic into it.

    'Well I probably could have handled that a bit better. Well first thing to do is to clear the trees.'

    "Hey pal, your family and goods are safe and sound." The gourd patted the caravan's owner at the shoulder, eliciting a shriek after the man turned around - he had cut a strip of leather from one of the dead bandit and was stringing left ears on it. Aside from that, the slight blood splatter probably didn't help. "Give it a rest, would you?"

    He returned to his work, stripping valuables from the dead bandits with such refined ease that it's hard to tell who's the actual robber there.

    *****

    "Of thirteen kills I got ten, I feel so scammed."

    That's what the gourd complained once they left the caravan, in the city of Randgriz two days later. Most of the loot were split with the other guards and sold to the caravan itself for cheap, since they've got a job and it wouldn't do to lug around half a dozen swords in the meanwhile. So, out of over a hundred-ish large copper, the two only got 21 pieces in their share. They still got their promised payment of 5 large coppers each, but it annoyed the gourd a bit that after doing the lion's share of murderhoboing pest control he'd still get the equal split. At least he got to keep the proof of his own kill, namely the ears, which they're about to cash in with the army guy. The caravan would be staying in the city for a while so he'll just drag them for witness if it comes to that.


    She shrugs. Not her problem anyway. There were bigger fish to fry than some merchant and caravan.

    "So what do you want to do first? I wouldn't mind some food and a bathe, if you can get us some. I can put out some feelers with some contacts I have in the magical scene."

    "I'll look around. Where can I find you?"


    "The Inn of the Prancing Pony is where I stayed last time I was here."

    "I'll arrange lodging then. You do your, well, mage stuff I suppose."


    She smiles. "Not so much mage stuff. Just talking to a couple people I know down here. They probably won't be able to tell me much either just yet."

    The inn was located near the central hub of the city, with easy access to stables and merchant stalls. The place had experience in catering to non-humans seeing that some of the rooms were arranged for someone smaller or larger than normal humanoids. That made it quite close to Nagrand in atmosphere, although human had the highest presence here instead of orcs.

    Booking two rooms came simple enough, although cost had somewhat risen due to bandit activity. The gourd left some rough description of Selvia before leaving the keys to the innkeeper, going out to report the bandits slain. With luck he'd be back by dinner.


    It had been awhile since she'd been in Randgriz. It really wasn't the biggest hub for magic. If anything, magic was tightly constrained here. The royal family wanted everything to do with magic in their heartland to be strictly under their purview. Nonetheless, she had spent a month here with some friends of Gamel awhile back, where one of his friends had revealed how to change the arcane circle for the shield spell to increase power dramatically at the expense of time lasting with negligible mana overhead. She walks into a small bakery near the outskirts of the city.

    She hugs the owner of the shop, a short and stout blonde haired woman who was quite gifted in manners of alchemy and magical cooking. After conversing for a bit, the owner, Gloria Camerupt, invited her to the back for tea.

    "So you seem to be fishing about for information, what do you need?"

    "I'm looking into some rumors about dark energies, likely magical, being noticed in and around the city here. Nothing too crazy. It sounds like it could be nothing, or even just a temporary rift."

    She nods and sips her tea.

    "Unfortunately, I can confirm the rumors. Something has definitely been happening in terms of magical energies. Unfortunately, they've been concentrated in the slums, so royalty hasn't cared too much to investigate. Plus with how crowded they are, it makes it difficult to tell what the source. But several of my special customers from the slums haven't been around lately. So something is definitely up. I was going to call Gamel in to look into it further if it persisted. I can get you some more information by asking around if you'd like."

    Selvia nods. "That would be wonderful."

    "Well you are good at solving problems. Just don't cause anymore like you did when you caused that explosion in Doylors. There's a reason the Tower wants you, you know."

    She raises her eyebrows.

    "And I see the rumors that you made another mess in Nagrand is also true." She looks pointedly at the winged cat on Selvia's shoulder.

    Selvia looks down for a second and grimaces into her cup.

    "I made some minor miscalculations in creating a short-lived magical plague to remove a curse. And the explosion wasn't my intention, even if the bastard deserved it."

    She sighed

    "But I have the most wonderful cat now. Gloria, this is Sera, who is also entirely too full of herself."

    They converse for a bit more before Selvia bids her farewell, making her way to the Inn.

    A stranger sat at the corner of the inn's common room. It would be mysterious if only he's hooded instead of gourded. He waved at Selvia as she entered the inn.

    She smiled and sat down waving the barmaid over to bring her a drink of wine.

    "So how did things go on your end?"

    "Turning in the bandits went rather well." He shrugged. "Seems that bringing ears around isn't common here."

    "Well, they usually do that with monsters not humans. I can imagine that bringing a bunch of human ears could be seen as rather...problematic for guards. So what did they do and say?"

    "They sent some people to inquire from the caravan, then politely inform me that ears would normally be unnecessary. Got they bouty though."

    "How much was the bounty? We get a good price? Did they find out anything about the hideout?"

    "One large copper per gang member. No lead on the hideout yet according to them, so the bounty's still going. It all goes for lodging, I price's hiking a bit because those bandits killed most trade west."

    She sighs.

    "I hope I don't get used to sleeping on beds, they're too expensive for me"

    She shakes her head while petting Sera.

    "So anything to eat, or are we just getting from the inn this time?"

    She has a slightly ravenous look in her eyes.

    "We got meal and bath included in that. We should be gone after breakfast tomorrow or incur extra charge." He waved a barmaid for dinner.

    "Only a day? Damn, prices in the capital really have risen."

    She smiles at the barmaid as she brings over a healthy serving of stew with a large hunk of bread apiece.

    "Ahhh, nothing like a good meal after a long day."

    "So, any lead on the darkness energy?"


    "Not really any serious leads at the moment, just that the energies have been focused in the northwestern slums along the river, but I'm waiting on my contact to get back to me with more information and that could take a day or two. We could check out the slums tomorrow if you want."

    "I'll accompany you. Not sure how much help I'd be though." He broke off his bread. "But for now, dinner."


    "You can stab anyone who tries to rob us. It's not like were going to the nicest place in the world."

    She begins to really plow through her stew and bread.

    "Though I imagine that you'll do a decent job of scaring people off with that gourd of yours and my cat. People don't like to mess with the really weird, since weird is frequently dangerous."

    "I'll take that as compliment." He rubbed his gourd.


    "Yep I'm a bit of the opposite though. Weird things usually mean weird magic. And weird magic is always fun to study."

    She finishes her stew, using the bread to soak up the last remnants of it. She stares intently at him.

    "And you are going to be a good research subject for me once we get back to the Guild."

    She reaches over and pats the gourd as well.

    "That sounds oddly familiar..." Perhaps getting too entangled with the elf lady wasn't a good decision, in hindsight.


    She pats him some more.

    "Don't worry, I take great care with all of my experimentees. Sera right here was one of my research subjects and she is still the most wonderful cat in the world."

    She picks up and cuddles with the cat.

    "And I promise not to give you wings. Unless you want them. And once I figure out how Sera grew them in the first place."

    "I think I'll retire for today." He got up reeeeally slowly, wondering if he could fit through the window of his room.

    "Sounds good. But be ready to get up bright and early. I want to hit the bakery not too long after it opens. Fresh baked food always makes for a good breakfast."

    Apparently the window didn't fit a man, so he couldn't escape unnoticed yet. The gourd resigned himself to fate and just slept the night, there would be more chance later. Yep, definitely.

    Comes morning, he had some bacon and egg for breakfast after going out to buy some flavored bread. For some reason he always had a knack to find the best of the batch...


    She wakes up and looks out the window to gauge the time. A bit later past dawn than she would have liked, but plenty of time to get to the bakery. She puts on her gear, combs Sera and is fresh and ready for the day. She wanders downstairs and runs into Jack.

    "Ah some bread for me! Though I was planning on going to eat at my contact's shop. She is a baker after all. No matter! I'm never one to deny food!"

    She snatches the bread from the gourd and begins to munch on it happily.

    "This way!"

    He was rather speechless at how fast a whole baguette disappeared like that. Selvia wasn't that big of an eater when they're hunting for food during the trip, what's with the sudden switch into a glutton?

    "Let's go then." He wolfed down the last bacon and followed her up, idly wondering if the bag of bread would last until her informant. He thought it would, but now? Not so sure anymore.

    They make their way through the city. She slowly munching through bread, he trying his best to keep it away from her subtly. Unfortunately, Sera was also working against him, and there's only so much you can do to evade a flying cat. Selvia smiled. It didn't matter if Jack was the one who bought the food, if Selvia was the one to feed it to Sera.

    "Ah here we are. So what do you think we should buy here. The baker, Gloria Camerupt, bakes an excellent Bear Claw pastry I hear."

    Tossing the empty bag to the nearest bin, the gourd glanced at the bakery display.

    "Haven't had bears for quite some time, I'll take that."

    Reminder: dont buy bread in bulk in the future.


    "Mmmm. Let's see we'll get 2 each. I think that's all I'll need after all of that bread." She smiles at Gloria. "Here, have him pay and then can we have a quick talk?"

    Gloria nods.

    "Of course, anything for my customer and friend. I'll have my daughter run the shop while we talk."

    "What-" by then Selvia already pulled the baker into a side room, so he sighed and counted the coins before following them in.


    They settle into the same seats as last time, though Gloria pulls up another one for Jack. She keeps giving the gourd strange looks, but then shakes her head. Weirder things have happened around Selvia after all.

    "So what have you heard for me?"

    "Well I was able to get in touch with all of my regulars in the underground near and in the slums. All of them except for one. Young Stephan disappeared in the last few weeks and no one has seen him. They weren't sure what, but he had gotten on the wrong side of a gang. And he also could have been taken by the guards, or worse the Tower, or even worse them. They weren't going to pry. Even if he was only 15 years old and hadn't done bad to nobody."

    She looks about shiftily before leaning in towards Selvia.

    "But, don't tell anyone, but, Stephan, he was quite gifted, particularly with the raw affinity he had for the dark element. The tower and the nobles don't like it when someone that powerful isn't chained to them. Especially when it's as dangerous and with as bad a reputation as the Dark has. Stephan was frightened. He mentioned to one of my friends that he thought someone was after him right before he disappeared. And he bought quite a few ingredients for some sealing rituals and spells, probably as much as he had savings. If you want to find out what happened, look for Stephan. His home was in the southern edge of the slums, by where the Boar's Hair's is."

    "Sounds like we have some stabbing to do after all." A gourd was biting the bear pastry. "This is amazing, by the way."

    Selvia looks down at the crumbs on her plate.

    "They were quite delicious indeed! And your information was exactly what we needed. Thanks for your help. Let me know if you need anything done before we leave."

    She stands up to go.

    Gloria smiles. "This is a problem for our small community here. You helping us with it is more than enough help for us. But I won't be shy if we really do need help."

    "You know the place?" Back outside, he trailed behind the elf. Assuming she know where to go.


    "I'm familiar with the Boar's Hair. I hid there once when I was trying to avoid someone. It's not the nicest place and not the place you'd look for an elf."

    She grimaces at the memory of when she disguised herself as a barmaid there.

    "But we don't have to go there, just near there, so it won't be a problem."

    "I'll be right behind you."

    Selvia asks around and finds the room in a back alley. It's quite obvious though. The door is barely hanging on its hinges.

    "Well something found the poor kid. Whether it was the guards, a gang or something else, I can't say. But we'll take a look."

    She gingerly opens the door, trying to keep it from completely falling over and walks in.

    She slowly sifts through the room. There are some small signs of some sort of conflict in some damage that clearly wasn't made by mundane means, but not much else. The room has already been very well searched.

    "About... two magic casters, at least?" He traced a scorch mark across the wall. "Traded spellfire with the kid, I think these are result of deflection. Nothing big was fired, they want him alive. A number of more physical people went forward after he spent his magic."

    He gestured at the huge gaping hole on the other side of the room. And on the floor at the center, with bits of people splattered all over the place.

    "Well, they're wrong. The kid blow the thugs apart and then the wall, making a way out for him. The survivors turned this place inside out. I can'tbe certain about pursuers though." He leaned against the doorstill. "So, any idea where he went? I could probably find out in a few days of investigation but you probably could track that mage kid faster than me."


    She nodded along with his assessment.

    "This is almost certainly the gang. The guards would have just charged in with overwhelming numbers and everyone would've known. The nobles would've been more subtle and more carefully planned out then this firefight. He wouldn't have been able to see this coming and react. In either case, he probably wouldn't have gotten away."

    She smiles.

    She waves her hand over her eyes and magical circles turn into lens in front of them. Selvia slowly scans the room with her new sight.

    "Aha! You see Stephan was a member of the little society around here and we had a way of hiding the things we didn't want found, in case the nobles came knocking. Now the nobles and guards would've had investigative mages, people who can find things. They might've been able to find this with enough luck. The gangs only would've worried about magical fire power though."

    "Especially since it seems this Stephan had the most affinity at using the nothingness element of the dark. Which allows people to make things very hard to find."

    She casts another spell on the wall and carefully opens an almost invisible opening and peeks into to find a cache of papers. "There you are. Hmm. Looks like our boy Stephan had a small hideaway in a warehouse where he actually did his magic. That's probably where he fled."

    She stuffs the papers in her bag after staring at one of them intently for a second.

    "I think I'm going to keep these though. Our boy has been doing some interesting things. Let's go."

    He followed the elven mage across the slum, into the warehouse marked on the map. The gourd casually walked toward her side about halfway across.

    "Don't turn. Seriously." He said with nonchalat tone. "Pretty sure someone's following us since we left. And the number's increasing just now."

    Oh, they were being looked at alright. From the very first second they entered the slum area. Some even followed after them for a bit. But none was as persistent as this particular group, who started after their little excursion on the ruined apartment. Nor any of them called for reinforcement like this. Rule of thumb on this kind of gang, they would never do anything unprofitable. Attacking someone fully armed was one, under normal circumstance, so if they'd take the risk anyway...

    "I'm quite sure that's the group that attacked Stephan."


    She nods. "I've noticed them now too. And there are pretty good odds that's them."

    She curses under breath.

    "My urban environment reflexes are too out of habit from spending time in the woods. Never would've missed them back when I was working with Gamel. So can we lose them? Or do we attempt to fight them off before getting to the boy?"

    "It's high noon, can't sneak around. I think best if we get the boy first. They'd have to engage in close combat if they want to go indoor and they won't just level the whole place if they want to get him. Plus, if he could do whatever it is that blew up the wall that'd be a welcome addition to our ranged firepower."


    "The only problem is from what I'm saw in those notes and the battle, he has a lot of raw power, but not a lot of control. Friendly fire could be an issue. Ideally we won't get into a major battle though. At least I know where the dark energy is coming from. He's got a spell with a ton of leakage that he's been using when necessary to throw off his pursuer's scent. Without this map, we'd probably never have found this warehouse."

    "We don't need much accuracy, don't worry about that. Kill a number of them, add some flashy explosion, they'd rout just fine and we'll be gone before they regroup. But time's the essence, before they gather even more of their number. Let's run for it, break their planning so they have to pursue with what they've got."


    She breaks forward and dashes through the alleys towards the warehouse.

    She hefts her bag of seeds.

    "You want me to leave a surprise to delay them? Or leave that surprise for later when we hit them with everything?"

    "For later, if we leave some surprise they'd grow wary. Let them be overconfident." He said as he easily keep pace, the two leaving alarmed shouts behind them.

    She nods.

    "Now quickly through this alley. And...in here!"

    She grabs Jack and pulls him through a side door into a warehouse.

    She whispers to him. "Now to talk to Stephan without him attacking us."

    "...don't you know him? Just call him out and make the situation clear. He should pack whatever valuables and be ready to leave, I'll see what I can do to delay these rascals."

    "I met him once, I think, so hopefully he remembers me. Then again I do have a way of him recognizing me, as long as he doesn't attack us first."

    She calls out.

    "Hey Stephan! This is Selvia from the Alliance! Me and friend are here to help! Just don't attack on sight!"

    She wanders forward with her hands in the air and sees a scared teenage boy with a Dark magic circle forming, ready to attack. Selvia quickly performs a simple magical spell that creates a weird light symbol.

    "Now, we've come to rescue you. Your dark magic usage was getting the wrong sort of attention and either the Tower or the Nobles would've come for you seen enough. If not the gang deciding to pay someone stronger in the underworld to help them out. "

    The boy calms down and the circle fires into the ground. Selvia shakes her head internally. 'If he had more practice, he could've easily dissipated that.' She looks around. There are quite a few supplies and a very large summoning circle painted onto the wooden floor.

    "We've sped up that time table though and the gang is coming in hot soon. We need to pack up what we can, and probably destroy the rest, at least if you don't want the nobles to come after you."

    They quickly start packing up the most valuable of the supplies into what can be carried.

    "Hey Jack we need to set a fire to get rid of some evidence! We'll need to run fast!" She calls out

    "Also Stephan, ignore the pumpkin on Jack's head."

    He looks at her quizzically, but she quickly gets bunch of wood together as well as the supplies and starts a fire with a magical circle.

    "Now quickly to Jack."

    "I might be a bit busy! Arcane Armament!"

    He stalked behind the door they entered from. Ten seconds later someone heavy slammed onto it, rattling the hinges as the cheap construct bent from the force. A second slam thrown it straight off as the man stumbled to regain his balance, but a purplish blade flashed and chopped his neck off before he could realize it.

    The gourd charged out where a small mob of armed thug was waiting, completely unexpecting of his arrival. The two robed men at the back received a glowing knife to the throat and down they went, followed by the three closest thugs to him as the arcane-laden blade slashed through their flesh and bone with impunity.

    When fighting these sort of rabble? Shock and awe. It worked well before, it work well now, and it will work just fine in the future.

    Resistance was light when his blade cut halfway through an iron sword with a single swing. The originally ten men squad only had three left as they scrambled away, he spent several seconds retrieving his knives before making himself scarce. Just in time, as lightning bolts started raining from the neighboring building.

    "Heads up, they got mages!"


    She catches up to the entrance. The boy did a double take upon seeing Jack, but quickly shook his head and Selvia smiled at how collected he was.

    "Now I want you to take your strongest spell and blast the upper right corner of the building. You have a good void spell on you. I'll provide cover."

    She quickly fires off an array of weak, yet quite bright, arcane arrows which disorient the charging mob and stun a few of them while throwing off the mages' sight as well. She then quickly throws up a vine wall with her seeds, cutting the small mob into two smaller groups.

    There was an... implosion. And explosion. That's the only way to describe what happened. The corner of the building shrunk into a tiny ball of black mass, before violently exploding. It ejects the gathered mass as shrapnels onto the surrounding, especially the gang members that took cover near it.

    "Seems like enough chaos." He noted the warehouse starting to burn behind them, and the vine wall that obstructed most of the thugs. The few that actually got through was convinced not to with a single gourd-shaped glare, after the first few was cut down without fanfare the rest wisened and ran for their lives.

    "Let's make ourselves scarce."


    "Yeah, the guards will probably be here soon. They can ignore a lot from the slums, but not this much chaos and overt magic."

    The group swiftly makes its way back to the Prancing Pony, having thrown off the very limited pursuit.

    After all said and done, they left the city that very day and took the path straight back toward Nagrand instead. Small unpaved roads, wilderness, mountains, all of that. It was a peaceful trip, without bandit or perverted magus or gang member interrupting the journey. The boy sure needed the quiet, and Selvia had the chance to teach him a few things. Not bleeding elemental energy like a colander being the chief topic among them.

    All in all, there weren't much problem. Aside from the lack of soap of course, which the only woman in their group ranted about all the times.

    -Selvia got 16.5 Large Copper from the excursion.
    -Gourd got 8 Small Copper due to a series of unfortunate expenses.
    -cause of dark energy was some talented but untrained mage leaking elemental energy from his hodgepodged research. The kid have been secured by Selvia.

    @Nurman @Arcturus
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    Arexio, Nurman, AliceShiki and 4 others like this.
  14. Ddraig

    Ddraig Frostfire Dragon|Retired lurker|FFF|Loved by RNG

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    @Nurman
     
  15. strikegunner

    strikegunner Well-Known Member

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    "Miss Receptionist I'm back from gathering flowers" while carrying boar carcass
    “This quest is picked by everyone lately, I shouldn’t come across those flowers so easily. It's just late morning so I guess I can take time.”

    Fen goes to the tavern to have breakfast and depart to the forest nearby searching for Henbane flowers.

    “14 of them is not a bad amount I guess” Fen continues to search for one more hour after trolling for 30 minutes. “Hmm...23...I could go to back to town right now but this place is good for training so...” Fen observe around the area in the forest.

    ((Footprints. Someone must come to train a few days ago and I’ve seen these movements before. Was it Raz? He practised the basics, how amusing.))

    “Yosh! Today I’ll train with this guy!” Fen raises the two spears that drop the Simetra’s dungeon. He swings around tries to touch the leaves that are falling from trees.

    “It’s too long. I can’t use them like this except I shorten the spears and . . .” *Fen walk to the tree nearby and cut two of the branches, he uses those branches as a practice weapon instead of the metal spears.

    “Good, the length is around 1 meter and all I need is a weight at the end.”

    *Rustling sound*

    “Hmm~ Looks like I’m gonna have meat for dinner” Fen stops training and stares at the black running silhouette in the wood. “Heh~ It’s a boar today. Welp, I’ve been eating lots of wolves meat lately so this gonna be good”

    Fen picks up the metal and throws at the boar that charging towards him. The spear lands on the back leg but the boar still charge at him “A miss huh. Sorry, but I got 1 more” Fen pierce the spear though Boar’s skin behind the front leg at the moment he dodges to the left and the boar falls down.

    “Next is bleeding and removing organs~” Fen cut the neck of the boar and let it bleed out for few minutes, then he carries the boar to the river to clean it.

    He slices through its skin with the axe from the waist area to the chest and pulls the organs out.

    “Damn! This thing is sure heavy” Fen hangs the boar up by tieing both front and back legs with rope wrapping around a stick and carries back to the town. “This is it for today.” *yawns* “Afternoon nap~ afternoon nap~”
    Fen took interest in changing weapon (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ
    Fen wants to visit blacksmiths (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

    @AliceShiki
     
    Nahrenne likes this.
  16. Naraku

    Naraku 『』『』『』

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    Hearing the tale, Gaap sighed and began to prepare the rewards as a sudden headache appeared after reading the report. Why was there such a confusion of genders?

    "I really don't know what to say. Aaaaah, anyway, everything seems to be fine... You partially accomplished your quest."

    Then he muttered.
    "Perhaps that was an impossible quest since the start because there is no sense to bring to Selena."

    "The thing is that the quest was you got informations about the two lovers which is great but the quest sheet said to :"ask somebody familiar with Lady Selena to attempt to bring sense to her.", you didn't really attempt to bring sense to Lady Selena, you didn't confront her. Your quest isn't failed but you didn't succeed as well."

    "So, despite your... findings which should have helped to completely accomplish the quest. You get 7 Large Copper Coins along with 3 Guild Points which is better than nothing."
     
  17. A5G_Reaper

    A5G_Reaper [DCLXVI, sohyee, and iampsyx's cute imouto]

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    A gourd went out of town to gather henbanes. Shouldn't be difficult, he thought, because those herbs grow everywhere. He saw some on his way out of town during his last quest.

    Of course, he wouldn't expect the whole damn town of adventurer to go out on crusade against henbane flowers throughout the week. Every single plant he came across was plucked clean, sometimes the whole herb included. And thus he had to move further and further out... with little luck.

    "Seriously, these people are way too overzealous."

    Eventually he got to the northeast area, near an abandoned watchtower. He was wondering why there's a concealed foot trap near the bush of henbane when several rocks was fling his direction. He dodged a bit, few bounced harmlessly on the gourd, before a bunch of semi-naked green midgets hopped out of the surrounding with random assortment of improvised weaponry.

    "Yikes! Arcane Armament!"

    He overreacted due to a midget-related trauma, of course.

    Ten arcane-wrought knives and a PTSD-induced rampage later, a gourd scrutinized the carnage and noted that the things were, in fact, not Drowned Porcelains. Recalling the bounty, this were a bunch of goblins that the guild warned about. Weak bunch that use traps and numbers to bully weaker targets, not dead children in porcelain masks that could leap-tackle with the force of a golem and repeatedly stab through the thickest plate of metal a man can wear.

    He cut out a bunch of left ears, sheepishly grinning in hope that nobody witnessed that. Then he filled the trals and harvested the flowers, before properly unearthing a few of the herbs for his garden. All in a day's work.
    -obliterated 22 goblins. Totally didn't lost control there, no idea what you're talking about. Will go to Lakeside Village to cash it in after this.
    -turned in 13 henbane flowers. They're super hard to find, okay!
    -brought some of the herbs for his own garden.
    @AliceShiki
     
  18. Arexio

    Arexio Blob Fanatic | AG Player

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    Arawn, Aconter, and Ryul enter the building. All of them look extremely worn out and some look even injured. They come up to the front desk looking for Caligo.

    Holding onto his left side, Ryul hands the papers over, "Turning this in. Cages are outside."

    Arawn, Aconter, and Ryul meet up at the Guild Hall early in the morning. They begin to discuss their plans for their quest. Needing to travel to Lakeside Village, the party of adventurers requires some way to transport themselves and their targets to and from the village. In addition, they also need some way to contain the animals that they are supposed to capture.


    “First things first… how are we going to obtain transportation and cages for the quest?” Arawn asks. Ryul nods in agreement at Arawn’s question. Aconter sits in thought for a few seconds before replying.


    "That's quite easy, Arawn. How about this: you go to the nearest carriage station and ask for a horse and carriage for hire. We can use it to transport us and the cages. Ryul, you go find Caligo and ask him for any more details about our targets and where we should bring them once we’re done. I would like to use this time to go into town and search for a merchant that sells bows to get a better bow." Arawn nods in acceptance at this and smiles.


    The three adventurers split up, and Aconter heads out to town to search for a shop where bows were sold. After about one hour, he finds what he was seeking and met with a bowyer. He buys a new carriage bow, a type of recurve bow, for 15 Large Copper Coins and heads on to Caligo’s place, where his companions are talking to Caligo.

    _____________


    After chatting with Arawn and Aconter to set things in motion, Ryul was tasked with going to Caligo with the quest paper to officially accept said quest. He enters the Guild Hall, walking up to the front desk and calls for Caligo.


    After informing him that they were all ready to go, Ryul then asks the researcher for metal cages in order to store the live specimens. Telling him that Arawn is pulling the carriage around with the driver and Aconter is doing some last minute errands before they head on out, he also asks for any additional info about their targets and where they should drop them off when done.


    Seeing Arawn arrive with the horse and carriage, ready for loading, Ryul greets him.


    “Hello, Arawn. So, this is the carriage we’ll be using?”


    “Yeah, this is it. I managed to get it cheaper since we’ll be driving ourselves,” Arawn replies.


    The pair now sees Aconter as he approaches them. After a short greeting, the now-trio loads the cages on board. Caligo sends them off as they head on down the road leading out of Nagrand.

    _____________


    As they travel down the road leading to Lakeside Village, the party uses the peace and quiet to further discuss their plan to capture three of the berserk animals as well as kill two others.


    Their plan is rather straightforward. Arawn would lead the group through the forest and find the locations of the animals through tracking. Aconter, having the greatest combat abilities, would be the vanguard as soon as the battle begun. Arawn and Ryul would stay behind and provide ranged assistance. As soon as they took down one animal without killing it, Ryul would use his Nature Elemental to suppress it. They would bring the captured animal back to the carriage and secure it in the cages. If they found a group of the berserk animals, they would set up traps using Arawn’s help and separate them so as to overpower the animals easily.


    The group of adventurers soon reach Lakeside Village, where they stop to speak to the locals about the direction of the forest. They go over the plan once more and check their supplies a final time before setting off towards the woods.
    _____________

    As the party approaches the forest, Arawn shifts to the front. Carefully traveling through the forest, it isn’t long before the group find what could be the tracks of a berserk animal.


    Arawn stops to study the tracks. An oval shape with four clawed toes makes up each of the footprints. Arawn recognizes them at once.


    “These belong to foxes perhaps… Or maybe some other type of canine. Two or three of them,” he whispers to Ryul and Aconter. “It hasn’t been long since they’ve passed through here. I can’t be certain that they’re affected by the berserker vines, but it’s a start.”


    Aconter and Ryul draw their blades from their scabbard with a low scraping noise. Arawn tightens his grip on his dagger and follows the tracks.


    The fox tracks lead the trio to an area of densely packed trees. Tense and warily watching their surroundings for an ambush, the party moves into the area. The tracks disappear as the ground underfoot becomes more densely packed and filled with roots. Even so, Arawn silently motions for the group to travel forwards, following the previous direction of the tracks.


    They come upon a small red fox positioned near the roots of a large tree. The fox is indeed a berserker, having vines growing from its body. The fox is turned away from them, digging furiously at the tree’s roots.


    Stopping, Arawn feels that something is wrong. Just then the cry of another animal sounds. Spinning around in place, Arawn spots a second fox. He curses himself for his forgetfulness. He had seen two separate tracks, after all.


    The first fox, which has been alerted, begins to run towards the group aggressively. Aconter faces the second fox as Ryul and Arawn turn towards the first. Aconter clashes with the second fox, trying to drive it back using the point of his blade. The pair move away from the clearing, towards the densely packed trees, clashing the entire time.


    Arawn and Ryul move more carefully than Aconter, hoping to capture the first fox alive. Arawn approaches the fox first as Ryul prepares to cast his magic.


    Slashing downwards with his dagger, Arawn aims at the fox’s forelegs, hoping to cripple its movement. However, the fox throws itself well over the blade’s trajectory, flying towards Arawn’s face.


    At this moment, Ryul casts a Thunder spell, knocking the fox sideways and away from Arawn. Arawn uses this brief pause to slam his dagger into the leg of the fox, but this proves to be useless as the fox rises to its full height once more, completely ignoring its injuries.


    Arawn continues to struggle with the fox, barely managing to avoid the fox’s maw and claws as he tries to immobilize the impossibly strong fox.


    “Get back now!” Ryul yells towards Arawn. Unhesitantly, Arawn throws himself away from the fox, rolling back up onto his feet. Ryul unleashes the spell he’d been preparing, roots tearing up from the ground around the fox. The roots wrap around the fox, completely trapping it and leaving only its head and neck free.


    The fox is already struggling, and the roots are already showing signs of strain. Before the roots give out, Arawn leaps forward once more, and brings the pommel of his dagger down on the back of the fox’s skull hard. With a solid hit, the fox collapses limply to the ground.


    Ryul withdraws the roots as Arawn checks on the fox.


    “It’s still alive,” Arawn confirms. Ryul makes eye contact with Arawn, silently communicating his intentions. After Arawn's approval, he then takes a few minutes to catch his breath and circulate the elemental energies within his body.


    He finds himself still able to summon his elemental, but the process will certainly tire him out quite a bit. Steeling himself, he goes on ahead with his quick chanting to begin the spell.


    Ryul uses the Wildspeak words to focus his mana and pour the energy into a Magical Circle. He simultaneously manipulates his spiritual energy to cross dimensions and enter the Elemental Planes.


    After some time, the two Primal energies fuse into one force; the Secondary energy manifesting itself into being. The ritual spell [Summon Elemental] is finally completed as a blinding light encompasses the surrounding area.


    Ryul breathes more heavily and frequently, circulating his elemental energies once again to try and lessen the strain on his body.


    Th'Kun, the Nature Elemental, exits the Plane-crossing portal and looks over to Ryul. The pair communicate telepathically, with Ryul catching Th'Kun up to speed. The elemental nods as he understands what he must do. The green entity heads over to the downed fox and begins to absorb some of its Nature energy, weakening it so that it can be easily taken to the cages left outside the forest. The Elemental flashes a glance to Ryul, wincing in a bit of pain just as he does so.


    Ryul turns to Arawn to relay the information given to him by Th’Kun. "Th'Kun says its Nature energy is highly corrupted, and that there is a source nearby feeding it power. It must be that vine monster plant that Caligo mentioned in the report."


    "What should we do now?" Ryul asks Arawn.


    “We need to go after Aconter. Let’s hope that he hasn’t gotten into any trouble,” Arawn decides.

    _____________


    Drawing the second berserker fox away from Arawn and Ryul, Aconter lures the animal close to a large tree nearby and uses it to limit the beast's movements. As the fox charges at him, Aconter enters the shadow of the tree and uses [Shadow Navigation] to shift positions from the base of the tree up to a branch, evading the attack.


    Before the fox manages to halt its charge, the shadow assassin drops from the branch and slashes with his blade at one of the fox’s legs. As Aconter draws the first blood in this battle, the fox cries out in pain, releasing a red mist out of its maws - the mysterious substance that seems to be driving it mad!


    Realizing the danger, Aconter distances himself from the fox with another use of [Shadow Navigation], taking out his new carriage bow. Swiftly fitting an arrow to the string and drawing it back, he shoots the arrow at the crazed fox. The shot pierces its flank, but the beast does not halt in its violent rampage.


    Forced to draw yet another arrow, Aconter fires it immediately. The projectile flies true, piercing through the fox’s small skull. The fox is killed immediately, its corpse falling limply to the ground.


    Now, Aconter hears the sounds of some significantly larger creatures. Tensing, he turns to aim at the source of the noise with his bow. He relaxes as he recognizes those on the other end of his arrow. His companions are approaching with a large green elemental in tow.

    _____________


    Ryul and Arawn manage to track down Aconter, only to find that he had managed to kill the second fox without much harm. It seems that killing the berserk animals was easier than trying to capture them alive.


    Now, the trio has captured one live berserk animal and obtained one corpse. Ryul, who is using his mana to support the manifestation of his elemental to suppress the live fox, is tiring quickly.


    “We need to finish this quickly,” Ryul states. “I am unsure of whether or not my mana will hold out for a prolonged period of time.”


    “If we go back and secure the fox, then you can release Th’Kun. You won’t need to summon him until we manage to capture more animals,” Arawn proposes. “The multiple summonings might be a bit draining, but I think it would offset the balance from having to keep Th’Kun summoned for so long.”


    Ryul shakes his head, replying, “That likely would not matter much, as the summoning is what drains much of my energy.” He pauses now as if struck by a new thought.


    “However, that may help me with the drain when it comes to using other spells while keeping Th’Kun summoned. Having him unsummoned may give me more flexibility when it comes to unexpected situations.”


    “So then, we’ll head back to the carriage first?” Aconter confirms. After nods from the others, Arawn leads them back out of the forest, tracing their trail back to the area they entered.


    The group approaches the carriage, which remains exactly where they left it. Inside, there are five large metal cages, supplied by Caligo. Unlocking the first of the cages, Ryul has Th’Kun place the live fox within, then locks it up.


    Unsummoning the elemental now, Ryul visibly sags as the drain from the elemental ends.


    “Let’s rest here for a little bit before going back in,” he proposes. Arawn and Aconter climb onto the carriage to rest their legs. The midday sun shines harshly overhead, and the canvas cover provides welcome relief.


    “Haah… I know that these berserker things were supposed to be tough, but this is no joke,” Arawn sighs. “Just foxes were this tough. I hate to think about how strong something like a bear might be or, gods forbid, if a monster was affected by this stuff.”


    Ryul nods gravely. “That is why this quest is all the more important. Just hope that Caligo manages to find something from our efforts here.”
    _____________

    Having finished resting, the party of adventurers treks back into the woods, this time without an elemental or any foxes. This time, Arawn leads the party in a different direction, away from the tracks of the foxes.


    “Hm? Why are we going in a different direction this time?” Aconter asks. “Wouldn’t it be more likely to find more berserk animals in the same area as the last ones, especially if they come from the same source?”


    “Not exactly,” Arawn replies quietly, slowing down. “From what I could tell, the berserkers still retain some of their animalistic instincts. Most creatures will flee from those stronger than them. The foxes wouldn’t have been there if something stronger than them was there, and anything weaker than them would have already fled.”


    “We’ll need to search in a different area if we want to find something other than foxes,” Ryul adds on. Aconter nods in understanding, and the group hastens their pace.

    _____________


    This time, the group hears the animals before they see them. Snarls and growls echo through the forest, warning the adventurers of a conflict. Arawn, recognizing the sounds for another large canine, silently motions to the others.


    Aconter takes up the position of point from Arawn, blade held at ready. Hiding among the trees, they observe the animals.


    The canines making most of the noise were large, dark-colored wolves. Two of the vine-covered creatures were in the middle of a conflict with three smaller, equally vine-covered creatures. Rabbits.


    Any normal rabbit would have fled or fallen to the ferocious wolves long ago, but these ones fought back with equal ferocity. Using their enhanced speed and strength, the rabbits narrowly avoided the wolves, their greater numbers being a boon. The rabbit who was not being pursued managed to interfere with the wolves whenever they were close to catching one of the other rabbits.


    Arawn is shocked at these tactics, not expecting them from animals affected by the berserker vines, but soon puts it out of his mind.


    Aconter signals to the others and they all equip their bows. Fitting arrows to the strings, each adventurer chooses their target. Arawn and Ryul each choose a wolf, finding the larger, slower animals to be easier targets. Aconter aims at one of the fast-moving rabbits.


    Releasing their arrows simultaneously at a silent signal from Aconter, the adventurers drop their bows and draw their melee weapons, charging at the surprised animals.


    Ryul curses mentally as he sees that his arrow has only injured a wolf, sticking out of its right foreleg. The other two arrows have flown true, however, with Aconter’s arrow burying itself in the torso of the rabbit and Arawn’s piercing the throat of the other wolf. Even so, Ryul’s arrow is an impediment to the wolf, the projectile hindering its movement despite the fact that the wolf was unresponsive to the actual injury.


    Arawn targets the injured wolf, while Ryul and Aconter take a rabbit each.


    Aconter charges at the rabbit as it moves towards him, apparently wanting the same thing as himself: The death of an opponent who threatens his existence!


    The rabbit circles around Aconter, alternating between charging at him and hopping to his left and right. Aconter, as fast as he is, doesn’t have the ability to catch up to the rabbit’s superior speed. Deciding to wait for an opportunity, Aconter waits for the rabbit to attack. When it does, he slashes with his sword, aiming at the rabbit’s torso. The rabbit, being as small as it is, would likely be split in half if any of his blows landed. However, this proves to be harder than he expects, as the rabbit withdraws too quickly.


    After several repetitive rounds of neither side being able to strike the other, Aconter finally manages to get a shallow slice in. The cut is too light, and the berserk rabbit, rather than being incapacitated, only grows more aggressive. This newfound aggressiveness, strangely enough, makes it both harder to avoid and easier to hit. As the rabbit charges at him once more, Aconter raises his sword in front of him. The rabbit, in its mindless charge, impales itself directly on the tip of the blade, dying instantly.


    Aconter removes his blade from the corpse with a rather unpleasant sound. At this moment, an incredible roar sounds through the air. Spinning around in surprise, Aconter’s jaw drops as he views the situation.


    Oh, sh*t.

    _____________


    Arawn had chosen to fight the sole wolf left. Lacking the reach the others had with their swords, Arawn opted for the bigger, albeit weakened, target. The black wolf had been struck by Ryul’s arrow, which inflicted serious injuries upon it.


    Arawn advances towards the large creature, dagger held at ready. The wolf charges towards Arawn, seeming to recognize him as his opponent. Despite the arrow in its foreleg, the canine moves like normal, disregarding the extra damage it was doing to itself.


    The wolf leaps through the air, teeth bared and claws extended, towards Arawn with explosive power. Eyes widening, Arawn drops to the ground, rolling under the wolf’s trajectory. He rolls back up to his feet and spins around to face the wolf.


    Arawn and the wolf circle each other warily, looking for an opening to exploit. The wolf is the first to move, bounding at Arawn at full speed. Arawn, expecting such a charge, leaps to the side and slashes out with his dagger as the wolf flew past him.


    The dagger’s long blade cuts deeply into the wolf’s flank as it passes by, staining the blade red with blood. The wolf, now even more injured but still unaffected, growls at Arawn, red eyes glinting dangerously. It opens its maw and rips the arrow out of its foreleg violently.


    Surprised by this move, Arawn is slow to react to the wolf’s next charge. The wolf slams him into the ground, bearing down on him with all of its weight. However, the wolf doesn’t stop to maul Arawn but continues forward in a straight line -- towards the unprepared Ryul.

    _____________


    Having chosen his target, Ryul condenses some Nature energy into his left hand to cast an [Entangle] at the berserk rabbit. Roots burst from the ground once again, this time failing to entrap his target as it leaps away incredibly quickly.


    Ever more furious, the speedy rabbit leaps at his face. The scholar barely manages to deflect its assault, his arm bleeding from a large gash caused by the rabbit’s attack.


    Clenching his teeth through the pain, he infuses Thunder elemental energy into his sword, which begins to crackle with electricity. Ryul faces off against the second attack of the rabbit and meets the creature's leap with a heavy diagonal slash.


    Severely injured with fur charred from the electricity, the rabbit attempts to escape as Ryul shifts the Thunder element from his sword to his left hand and releases a [Bolt] spell. The lightning zigzags through the air and strikes the escaping creature. The rabbit is stunned by the paralyzing effects of the spell, and drops to the ground, unmoving.


    Before he could even catch his breath, Ryul hears something behind him. Turning to face the noise, he is met head-on by a large black wolf coming straight at him, its eyes red and speed unbelievably quick. Frozen in shock, Ryul takes the brunt of the enraged wolf’s attack.


    "F*ck!" The mage curses as he holds his tattered left side.


    He tries to stop some of the bleeding with a minor healing spell, [Nature's Balm], but between the use of so many spells in such a short period of time and the lack of a proper magical medium, Ryul manages to only pour half of the usual mana into the spell.


    Flustered, he looks up to see the wolf opening its jaws, not to bite him but to release a red mist right into his face. Ryul, being in close proximity to the wolf, does not have the time to escape the mist. He accidentally breathes in some of the mysterious substance.


    Breaking out into a fit of coughs and doubling over, Ryul tries to get a hold of himself. All of a sudden, the scholar suddenly stops his movements, stands up rigidly, and growls. The now infected half-elf starts to release corrupted Nature energy all around himself, most of it flowing into the area around him, small vines sprouting from the earth around him and rapidly growing larger.


    Aconter lopes towards the now-berserk Ryul at full speed. He needs to stop Ryul before the situation gets any worse.


    “I’ll take care of Ryul. You make sure to keep the animals away from us!” Aconter yells to Arawn, as he passes the dazed hunter. Arawn nods his head in response, shaking off the dizziness from the wolf’s attack. He rises from the ground and moves towards the stunned rabbit, which is starting to stir.


    Ryul is just standing around, but the beast is still a threat. He’d need to take care of it before dealing with Ryul. Hurrying, Aconter snatches up his bow from the ground where he had discarded it and expertly fires an arrow towards the wolf. The arrow, while it does not cause any fatal injuries, is securely thrust through the wolf’s leg.


    Aconter immediately drops his bow and goes after the now wounded wolf, sword in hand. The animal turns from Ryul to the new threat and does its best to charge at him. However, Aconter’s arrow inhibits the wolf’s movement, and it finds itself unable to react quickly enough.


    Midway through the wolf's attack, Aconter slashes at the front legs of the berserker wolf, intending to cripple its movements. The first swing lands and creates a deep wound on the leg. The wolf falls down to the ground and ends up helpless against the next swing, which inflicts another deep wound to its other leg. Its legs would be unable to support the wolf’s weight, pain resistance or no.


    Aconter now moves towards the still-raging Ryul, only taking the time to note that Arawn had secured the downed rabbit and is now moving towards the injured wolf.


    With the wolf taken out of play, he turns his full attention towards Ryul. The infected half-elf is holding his sword limply, still letting out strange, animalistic noises.


    Aconter starts to think about his chances. Should he get close to the vines and cut them down first or should he just ignore them and try to take care of Ryul by knocking him out cold using the blunt side of his sword?


    Aconter picks up a nearby stone in order to see what Ryul will do if he hurls it at him. If luck is on his side, the mage will move towards him to attack before the stone is thrown, which would alleviate the concerns about the vines.


    Or the worst that could happen would be if Ryul moved against Aconter after being hit by the stone. This would also increase the distance from the vines, so it's a win-win situation either way.


    The assassin throws the stone and nails Ryul in the torso. The crazed half-elf turns to face him and roars. He launches towards his attacker single-mindedly. Even though Ryul's movements aren't incredibly fast, it's more than quick enough for Aconter to largely ignore the vines, as Ryul moves away from them.


    Aconter then charges at Ryul, easily evading his sword. The assassin slams a fist into the magic-user and snatches his sword from his grip. Tossing both of their swords away, Aconter tackles Ryul to the ground. He struggles to overpower Ryul and discovers something surprising.


    The other half-elf is very strong, undoubtedly because of the berserker mist. Aconter can’t beat him in a contest of pure strength, but luckily, he doesn’t have to. Aconter is more than well-equipped for close combat, and Ryul, for all his strength, can’t think properly.


    Manipulating the other man’s limbs, Aconter manages to get behind him and wrap his arms around Ryul’s neck. Tightening his grip, Aconter squeezes tightly. Ryul struggles violently against Aconter’s grip, but soon fall into unconsciousness as the blood flow to his brain was cut.


    Holding his position for a few more seconds, Aconter waits to be sure of Ryul’s passing out. He now releases the man and checks to on his breathing. Finding no issues, he then drags the mage into the shadow of a tree and waits for him to recover. Arawn, who has by now finished capturing the wolf and cutting down the vines, moves to meet him.


    Before either adventurer can say anything, Ryul begins to stir. With a light groan, Ryul’s eyelids flutter open to reveal bright red orbs. Arawn gasps as Aconter reaches for his blade, only to realize that he had forgotten to retrieve it.


    “W-What… happened…?” Ryul asks groggily, still disoriented. At the realization that Ryul had recovered his consciousness, Aconter halts his search for his sword. He and Arawn move closer to take a look at Ryul’s injuries.

    “What do you remember?” Arawn asks Ryul. Ryul blinks slowly, feeling the exhaustion of his body.


    “Ah… I was… fighting the rabbit. But then… a wolf showed up. It breathed out some red mist, and then… nothing,” Ryul mutters confusedly. Aconter gives Arawn a look and begins to treat Ryul’s injuries with the first-aid supplies they had brought with them.


    “I think you were affected by the same stuff that made the animals go berserk. As to what happened after that… well…” Aconter begins to recount his fight with Ryul and the crazed state he had been in. As he finishes his story, he finishes bandaging Ryul up. Now that Ryul had somewhat recovered, Arawn speaks up once more.


    “I’m sorry to ask this so soon, but are you in any shape to summon Th’Kun again?” he asks, wincing at his own request. “I tied up the animals with some rope, but I don’t know how long it’ll hold.”


    Ryul stands up shakily, eyes still red. The mage circulates his energies and finds that he has lost direct access to the Nature element; it must be a consequence of his earlier maddening.


    Luckily, he is still able to pull off one more [Elemental Summoning] before his body completely gives out, so that they can have Th'Kun weaken the captured rabbit and wolf before taking them out of the forest.


    As the arduous process is completed once more, and as the Elemental goes about absorbing the two berserker beasts' energies, the adventurers finish up collecting the animal corpses.


    Ryul recovers some strange seeds from the second dead rabbit. The two fist-sized seeds seem to have come from red flowers from some of the larger berserker vines earlier. He collects both of them, intending to keep one while handing in the other to Caligo.
    _____________

    The party of three adventurers and one elemental carry the five animals towards the direction of the forest's exit, where their carriage and cages are parked. Arawn takes point as he scouts the way forward while Aconter protects their rear. No one wants another battle in their current situation, not with how exhausted they all are.


    After quite some time and, luckily, without any mishaps, they eventually find their way out of the forest and head to the location they hid their horse and carriage at. As they approach the carriage, Arawn notices something wrong.


    “Huh? Where’s the horse?” he asks his companions. The horse that was meant to draw their carriage is nowhere to be seen. Looking around, a growing sense of unease falls upon the weary group.


    It couldn’t have been stolen, not with how well the group hid their carriage. Any bandit would have made off with the carriage as well, so it couldn’t be that. The horse couldn’t have left on its own. Well-trained, the horse was taught to never abandon the carriage unless accompanied by its master. The horse had been lightly secured as well, so it would have had to go to great lengths to run away. Not something it would do unless… unless… it was spooked. Spooked by something dangerous.


    The same realization strikes the group at the same time, and the adventurers give each other wary looks. Tired as they are, the party draws their weapons and carefully advances on the carriage, the only place something could be hiding.


    Aconter, armed with his sword, takes the lead. He approaches the carriage as Arawn and Ryul, armed with their bows, keep their weapons trained on the entrance to the carriage. Th’Kun places the captured animals on the ground and prepares to provide support.


    Nearing the carriage, Aconter can hear shuffling and light snarls coming from inside the carriage. Signaling the others silently, Aconter peers into the carriage stealthily.


    The first thing he sees are the creatures. There are four small, vaguely humanoid creatures in the carriage, who seem to be attracted to the cages in the back. They are rattling the bars on the cages as if trying to tear them apart.


    As Aconter’s vision adjusts to the darkness, he identifies the creatures. In the darkness, it is difficult to see any details, but he recognizes their shape. Goblins.


    It was then that one of the goblins turns as if sensing him, revealing a pair of baleful red eyes. Aconter leaps away from the carriage, signaling to his companions with a loud cry. Behind him, the goblins explode from the carriage entrance.


    Arawn and Ryul, prepared for this situation, loose two arrows at the goblins before fitting arrows to their bowstrings and firing once more. One goblin is struck in the shoulder, but the other arrows narrowly miss the agile goblins.


    As the goblins enter the light of day, the adventurers freeze in shock. Vines. There are vines growing from the goblins.


    However, they have no time to worry about this new development as the goblins fall upon them in a frenzy. The small green monsters are devilishly quick, no doubt thanks to the vines, and the adventurers find themselves busy.


    Aconter cleaves down with his sword, missing a goblin as it dodges away. The goblin circles around to strike at him with a large cudgel. Parrying the blow, Aconter frowns. The berserker vines had enhanced the goblin’s strength significantly. While it still was no match to a human adult, it was an incredible improvement.


    Arawn and Ryul find themselves in similar situations. Arawn is facing off against a single goblin, who carries an old, rusty spear. Unable to close the gap with the faster creature, he is quickly getting frustrated.


    Ryul, who is dealing with two goblins, was in the worst situation. Already exhausted from his ordeals, he is finding it difficult to deal with two of the creatures simultaneously. Ryul uses his sword to keep the goblins off his back but is unable to strike a blow on either of them.


    Soon enough, Aconter has his first victory. As his opponent overextends himself, he strikes violently at the goblin. His blade cuts into the goblin’s left shoulder, nearly splitting it from shoulder to hip. Having slain his enemy, Aconter moves to assist Arawn, who has still been unable to get close to the spear-wielding goblin.


    As Aconter approaches, the goblin turns to block his blow using the shaft of its spear. Aconter overpowers it quickly, throwing the goblin off-balance. As the monster tries to regain its footing, Arawn attacks from behind. He stabs it deeply with his dagger and tears upwards viciously. The blade carves a path through the goblin’s torso, exiting from its right side.


    At this point, Ryul manages to strike one of his goblins. Leaping forward with his blade outstretched, his slash cuts into the goblin’s chest. It squeals painfully and retreats hastily. But in his attack, Ryul has overextended himself, a mistake that the other goblin is more than happy to capitalize on. The goblin charges at him, club raised, before Ryul has recovered.


    In response to the threat to his summoner’s life, Th’Kun works some Nature magic. The grass below the goblin grows rapidly, tangling up the goblin’s foot as it tries to step forward. The goblin, unable to move its foot, falls to the ground and loses its grip on its club.


    Arawn and Aconter are upon it instantly, having already slain their goblins. Before either of them can kill it, Ryul yells out, “Don’t kill it!”


    Halting their movements, the pair looks to Ryul confusedly.


    “We’ll capture this one. We have extra cages, so we might as well keep one,” he explains. At this, the other adventurers nod and begin to restrain the berserker goblin. As they do so, Ryul looks around. The last goblin, which he had injured, was nowhere in sight. It appeared to have escaped. Sighing in disappointment, Ryul had Th’Kun suppress the goblin and take into the carriage.


    Entering the carriage with the goblin as well as the other animals they had brought, Arawn opened up three of the empty cages, storing the goblin, wolf, and rabbit in separate cages. Locking the cages up once again, Arawn sighs wearily.


    Ryul observes the cages, checking them for signs of damage after the goblins’ attempt to raid them. Luckily, the cages are solidly made and are undamaged by the violent goblins. The live fox within the cage is also unharmed. He continues on to check the rest of their supplies, which are similarly unharmed. It is strange that the goblins didn’t touch anything but the cages, even if they were affected by the vines -- no, especially because of the vines. But first, there was a bigger problem.


    “I might be able to track the horse,” Arawn offers. “If it hasn’t gone too far, I should be able to bring it back.”


    “You do that then,” Ryul confirmed. “We’ll set up camp here for the night. Even if you don’t find the horse, be sure to be back by nightfall.”


    Arawn nods in acceptance and sets off to find the horse. Ryul, who has by now unsummoned Th’Kun, and Aconter gather wood to start a fire with. They are all tired, but there is still much to do.
    _____________

    Arawn returns with the horse perhaps half an hour before sunset. The spooked steed had not fled too far before calming down. Arawn had found it grazing in a field amiably as if simply waiting for him to retrieve it. The trio then eats a simple dinner and settles in for the night.


    As the fire burns low, there is no movement, but the adventurers are very much awake. Despite the rigors of the day, none of them could sleep a wink.


    “Something’s really bothering me,” Arawn whispers. “And I know it’s bothering you too -- there’s no way you couldn’t have noticed it.”


    “And what might that be?” Ryul whispers back.


    “There’s something wrong with this quest. The vines were weird on their own, but this goes beyond some fervor-inducing plant,” he answers. “The berserk animals were impossibly strong. Those goblins too.”


    “We already knew that their physical abilities would be enhanced,” Aconter refutes. “It wasn’t something unexpected.”


    “Yeah, but they were stronger than is physically possible. Goblins aren’t supposed to have that sort of strength,” Arawn argues. “It goes against their physiology.”


    “There’s something that’s bothering me as well about those goblins,” Ryul adds. “They didn’t touch anything in the carriage. The horse was untouched as well, only scared. They only thing they went for was the cages. Nothing but the cages. Even though they were in an extremely violent, uncontrollable state.”


    “Are you saying that they were aiming for the cages from the beginning?” Aconter asks.


    “I’m not saying anything. It is just rather strange, that’s all,” Ryul replies. “I don’t know how they’d have possibly known about the cages and our location -- unless it has something to do with those vines.”


    “What if this spreads?” Aconter adds. “First it was animals, but now there’s monsters. We were lucky to face goblins, but what if it’s something stronger next time? Who knows what kind of damage it might cause…”


    “... This is all so disconcerting,” Arawn sighs. “ Let’s just leave the research to Cailgo.”


    A brief silence falls upon the campsite, only to be broken a moment later.


    “I still can’t access the Nature element,” Ryul admits.


    “Huh?! Does that mean you can’t use magic anymore?” Arawn asks worriedly.


    “No, I still have access to the Thunder element, but I haven’t been able to reach the Nature one since I was hit by that red mist,” Ryul explains. “I think it might be a side effect from the corrupted Nature energy.”


    “...Your eyes are still red,” Aconter notes. “That could be a sign of some lingering effects or something.”


    “Maybe… let’s just rest for now. We’ll worry about this later,” Ryul sighs. “I am far too exhausted for this right now.”

    _____________


    The trio of adventurers rises with the sun. Despite having not fully recovered from their adventures the previous day, they wearily prepare to set out for Nagrand. Checking over the animals and goblins, both dead and alive, one final time, they board the horse-drawn carriage.

    They leave the forest behind and head back home, accompanied by a wolf, a rabbit, a fox, a goblin, a pile of corpses, numerous injuries, and disconcerting news.

    - Defeated 2 berserk foxes
    - Defeated 3 berserk rabbits and 2 berserk wolves
    - Defeated 3 berserk goblins, 1 escaped

    - Realized berserk creatures are much stronger than normal ones
    - Discovered parasitic plants infecting the goblins near Lakeside Village

    - Acquired 4 living berserk creatures (1 fox, 1 wolf, 1 rabbit, 1 goblin)
    - Acquired 6 dead berserk creatures (1 fox, 1 wolf, 2 rabbits, 2 goblins)
    - Acquired 2 strange seeds; only turning in 1, Ryul is keeping 1

    - Aconter is barely injured, Arawn has light injuries, and Ryul is moderately-severely injured
    - Ryul has loss direct access to Nature magic and now has red eyes

    "Had some nasty surprises." Ryul says as his eyes glow unnaturally red.

    OOC: @shad12ow @jbturkle @MrAconter
    (Bit lengthy but has some JUICY action scenes. IDK if we do gore warnings but this probably needs one.)
     
  19. shad12ow

    shad12ow 『Semi-Offline』

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    Seeing his contracted adventurers came back, the masked scholar quickly stood up.

    "You!" he shouted to the nearby staff. "Call my crew and my guards! Tell them Caligo summoned them! Tell them we got the delivery!"

    After barking that order, the staff quickly scampered away and minutes later a group of men quickly came to the scene bringing some thick clothes and ropes with them. They quickly unloaded the cages after covering them with the clothes and secured them with the ropes. Some of the men even sprinkle some powder onto it and chant something before they all took it away.

    "Good work, you three. Let me read the report." After reading the report, he made a heavy sigh. "My goodness. This is getting more and more outrageous. We need to move fast. And you all made this work much easier for us. And....this seed...," he paused as he takes a closer look at the seed they brought. He put it inside a small box and covered it with a piece of cloth. He closed the box and then put it away. "May this seed gives us another clue for ....whatever it is that happened there." Another heavy sigh came from the masked man.

    He then pulled out a small pouch from under the desk and also a slip. He gave it to Ryul.

    "This is 30 Large Copper Coins, as promised. You will get 8 guild points. I will tell the staff to register your point. And you, Ryul, " he said to him with a rather serious voice, a bit more than before. "I feel....some bad mana about you. And I am an earth mage. As I read, you have inhaled the mist. Read the slip, go to Mary. Right now. Get healed. The faster the better." He then looked at the other two. "You two should go there too. Accompany him. Just in case." Another heavy sigh came from him. "Tell Mary to read that slip. It is my request to her and tell her Caligo send you. Last but not least, " he nodded at them. "Thank you for doing the quest. I will ask of your service again in the near future. let's hope that I and my team can get more result this way." He then waved at them. "Take care you three."

    OOC:
    @Arexio @jbturkle @MrAconter
    Splendid~ Splendid job indeed~ I have enjoyed that story of yours. You followed the lore, the setting, the last report. Splendid~ Good job~
    I await your next story and this means that Caligo will have a high chance of picking you again for the next story. Remember to split the reward, both the money and the points~ I look forward to more action-filled stories~!
     
  20. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Alice is Friend, Not Food』

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    Well, that was quite an adventure, I'm glad the 3 of you could come back safely and with a job well done, great work out there!

    I'm not sure the guild can do much about the dragon's corpse or the map... I mean, just thinking of a map that can survive a pool of acid already gives me the shivers, it's probably enchanted or... Cursed. I personally bet on the latter option.

    I'll notify the higher ups about it, but I don't really think we'll be able to do much about it... I mean, just thinking of how much it would take to hire someone that could cleanse an entire pool of acid in order to make it safe for travel... The guild can't really afford that.

    Buuuut, if you wished to invest in an expedition to the caves in order to do get the map away from the dragon's jaws for yourself, the guild would be more than happy to work as an intermediary~ *giggles*
    Of course, it would not be cheap though~


    Either way, the 3 of you more than earned your reward, it's 60 Large Copper Coins to split as you see fit, as well as 6 Guild Points for each~

    Take care now~

    ((I really liked the story overall! Great job the 3 of you!

    Just on a side note though, please avoid setting the centipede-dragon as still alive, I really wanted to keep the number of dragons controlled... Setting it as an ancient mythical centipede monster that was confused as a dragon is fair game though~

    *pokes @WhitesRabbit48 and @wraith too*))