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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:12 pm 
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Outside, once the bartering was complete and a tentative affirmation was given to the Master, Demorian confronted the group.

“So, what do we do? We have several resources at our disposal. We can use our key for free ascent up a tower. Or we can fight our way up. We could climb to assault any one of the towers, or we can approach Xenobia or Melzas for participation in the coup. We could even leave Yamiyo for a time, as long as someone stays here to anchor us for our return, and wait until Nall is healed and better able to help us. I don’t know how long that will take, though.” Demorian shrugged. “Thoughts?”

“Practicality.” Nighthand said. “If we get Xenobia or Melzas to side with Klive, we can aid them in defeating Garaa and Royce, who are arguably our biggest threats. Then, when they’re all weakened from fighting, we can step in and finish them off. Collect the Twilight Items for ourselves, and use them to escape this game. That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? To get out of these comas and back to the real world.” The thought was almost foreign to him, who had been stuck in the game for years, but it was still their grand goal. He looked around the group. “Speak up, if you have ideas.”

----------------------------------OOC:

This is an odd round for you all. I want posts in the old thread and the new thread. In the old thread, feel free to talk to the Master for whatever other information you want. Ask him for your favor, if you desire, and barter for what you want. In the new thread, offer what ideas you may have for where to go from here. I don’t have the next steps firmly set, so you’re well able to influence the direction the plot progresses in. You don’t have to agree with Nighthand if you don’t want, feel free to suggest anything. As usual, it’ll basically be majority rule. Grades for the old thread will come once it’s done and locked. Don’t worry, the new thread won’t move on to a point where it matters until the old one is done with.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:46 pm 
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(So, it was after they had all spoken their peace with the Fire Master, and now they were out of earshot from him or anyone working for him, just us Freedom Fighters talking. They now had a pair of missions, as outlined by that man, to either recruit Xenobia - Canti shuddered at the thought - or Melzas. Neither one had the dark Twin Blade ever personally dealt with, but he had information of course. Of the two, the one that could be most-reasonable was - as a sort of paradox - the one who was more-than-likely looking out for himself. If Melzas were to be approached, it was possible that they could get him to stick to the side of them, the Fire master, and Klive out of selfish desire or self-preversation...the two most-important things to him, no doubt. They just had to be able to use enough leverage and sweeten the pot until he caved in. What that would require was an issue in of itself, as he would be pitting himself against Garaa, Royce, and their as-of-yet-unseen Master figure. Canti's first impression of ANYONE in Melzas' position was that he would be stubborn, irritating, and looking for an angle that allows him to benefit the most while doing the least. And then, there was Xenobia...)

Canti: I can't believe that guy actually wants us to go REASON with Xenobia, the most manipulative Twin Blade to ever exist.

(She was not one that you would trust easily, a decidedly evil character who might have leanings towards the propsed Coup on the grounds that the current setup of things was annoying her more and more, and that it would be time for a change. That was slightly more hopeful in terms of getting her to act, but it was colored by the fact that she was someone who took control of people probably by mere touch and was more than likely a master at her class, the Twin Blade class which Canti himself sported. It made him doubt himself just a little, but then it was not simply a matter of him VS her in any case. Hopefully, he had enough tricks in the yag-bag to keep someone like that at bay, should she decide to go Ape Shit Bazooka on them. But for now, Nighthand and Demorian were in discussion over their next move - which didn't have to be going after those two just yet if they didn't want to - and then wanted to hear their opinions on the matter.)

“Speak up, if you have ideas.”

(He gave this matter thought, and then stepped forward with his thoughts.)

Canti: We may have the freedom of movement now, but unless there's something we badly need to do before the missions at hand, I would say let's not drag it out and get to business. And much as I hate to say it, we should probably handle Xenobia first. I think we all know just how risky that is, but I've got this feeling Melzas might not budge unless we have her as well. But before approaching her tower, may I just say that it's probably better to find out if we have any sort of counter to her manipulation? And that I think we should use our key on that one, because what I like less about this is a whole tower that reflects such a power, just in case. Since we know what Xenobia's capable of, this is what makes the most sense to me.

OOC: I apologize for taking so long. I saw the lack of activity and thought the worst.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:27 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Focusing on what the group was saying, he glanced over at Canti. He hadn't really gotten to know the Twin Blade that much, although the man had pulled his ass out of the fire earlier in the Rai sector. Oddly enough, much of what he was saying echoed what Takua had been thinking, but there were a few things that he couldn't agree with. He glanced over at Sekai and Kira for a moment to see if there was anything on their face about what they were thinking, with no luck. He turned and spoke to Nighthand and Demorian, who seemed to know the most out of everyone in the group. Not too surprising, since they both seemed like leaders of sorts. "What do Melzas and Xenobia do?  I know that Xenobia takes control of your body and manipulates plants, but I'm not familiar with Melzas or any more of Xenobia's powers."

Nighthand was the one who spoke up, "You're right on Xenobia.  She can manipulate your player as if she was playing it, and has various Juk element controls.  Melzas might possibly be worse." He shrugs.  "His Twilight Item is a golden eye, and it allows him to see the future.  He knows what you're going to do before you do it, and reacts fast enough to prevent you from attacking, or whatever.  Plus he has all kinds of deadly ice powers."

Takua frowned. That sounded like...a pain in the ass in every way. See into the future? That...was completely plausible, given what he knew of Twilight. But how long could he see? "How far ahead can he see, would you say?  A few seconds, minutes, longer?" The response was fast, again from Nighthand. "Seconds, probably.  Long enough to counteract your attacks."

Things were coming together pretty much like he had thought they might, not that really made him feel any better. There was still his own, and Canti's, question to deal with though. He'd get to that in a moment, right after he checked that he wasn't being crazy. "Alright, so it sounds like he's more of a planner and the Fire Master said that he was holding back to see which side was going to get ahead.  And that Xenobia was more receptive.  We also have a key to get up.  Would it be crazy to climb the tower to Xenobia, without the key, to show her what we can do, and then once we've either secured her allegiance or killed her, use the key on Melzas' tower with either her strength as an added bargaining chip, or proof that we can take care of a dangerous one?  I'd rather have her on our side, though."

Nighthand, again, was the one to respond. "Both of them are exceedingly dangerous foes.  The towers I have no doubt we can handle.  We've been through worse."  But then Demorian broke in, but what he had to say didn't make Takua feel any better at all. "I doubt that, however, you're right.  We'll be able to fight our way up. In any case.  Whichever one you guys think you're ready to tackle is fine by me."

Sekai spoke up at that point from the side where she'd been listening, "Xenobia-san's tower is the first we should approach. If she's the one more... amicable, we should start with her... though I think we need to have a good plan in place first, um, just in case things go badly."

Right, that whole control thing. Would there be any way to counteract it? He looked over at Demorian. "Is there any way that you know of to prevent her from taking control of a body, if there's a limit on it?  She took control of our entire group without any problem, so I'd rather not go into something we have no chance of escaping from if things go south."

"The more people there are the less her control over them.  The same with the more powerful they are.  Rumor is, the further away and apart they are the better, but inside her tower that likely won't be an option.  As for any specific protections or counters, I've not heard of any.  I suspect no force in the world short of a Twilight Item would allow one to be entirely free of her control."

Not...really what he wanted to hear, but not surprising. And if Demorian and Nighthand hadn't heard of one, then their best bet would be the mysterious, and unconscious (recursion!) Nall or Sheena. Or this Raine that he'd heard talked about. So much that he didn't know! And he couldn't trust...well, pretty much any of it! Trying to force himself to think, he still found himself coming back to his first plan. “Alright. I think it'd be best to prove our power to her in immediate terms, by fighting our way up the tower. And immediately. I don't think that it'll take long for Garaa to let the other Elites know what happened, but I don't want him organizing a search party to take us down. After we negotiate with her, we can use the key on Melzas' tower. Simply because he seems like he might be more interested if we have Xenobia on our side.”

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:46 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Baron joined in on the new discussion a few minutes after it started, stepping in soon enough to hear Takua speak. Though he didn’t like the idea of working with Xenobia to get her on their side, he grudgingly admitted that she would be a useful ally in the fight between Elites. He didn’t have to like her though; after all, the woman had trapped several of them within The World by placing them in comas, Baron included. As a result, the Twin Blade owed her a bit of payback, especially since that coma had come as a result of thorns through the eyes; that was never a pleasant feeling, especially since The World had become much more real to all of them at that point.

The Twin Blade glanced over at his companions, eyes locking on each of them in turn. Particularly, he worried about those who had been present at the time that Xenobia attacked them. Would Talal be the one to react? She was a quiet, level-headed person, but she had a rash streak to her at times too. Takua… well, he had shown how calm he could keep when he mass-nuked Garaa to no effect. He should have known that normal measures probably wouldn’t be enough to handle an Elite, even with a hacked item such as his. And then there were Sekai and Kira; would the former be upset by the woman who had dragged her friends into a war that they shouldn’t be involved in? Would her AI companion be cool-headed when faced with the Elite that had greatly harmed Sekai?

And then of course, Baron himself was going to have a hard time accepting it. He wanted to… do something to the woman in retaliation for all that she had done. He didn’t want to kill her; the Twin Blade didn’t want to kill anyone, really. And “wanting to hurt her” just sounded sadistic. Honestly, he didn’t know how to react. Baron just wanted her to understand just how much she had hurt them all by dragging them into what was supposed to be a game and making it a very real and very deadly war. But Xenobia wouldn’t exactly be the type of person to feel remorse for her actions; she was one of the Elites, who only cared about their power and not the lives of those they destroyed.

But Baron understood, as painful as it was, that they needed the ally. Xenobia was powerful, and with her support they might be able to sway the ever-neutral Melzas to take their side as well. Control over another’s body coupled with the ability to read into the future would be two very powerful and potent abilities on their side. But would they even be able to convince Xenobia? The woman was cruel, manipulative… she could turn on them in an instant and stab them in the back. Actually, Baron was more than certain she would, just not when. Of course, it would hopefully be after they convinced Melzas to join their side, so that if Xenobia did betray the Freedom Fighters, at least there would be two more Elites around to know of her betrayal. One could only hope.

Still, the Twin Blade was feeling uncomfortable with the whole mess, and he sent a Flashmail to Takua to confirm if he was the only one feeling the same way.

Quote:
To: Takua
From: Baron
Subject: Are you sure?

Xenobia’s the one that put us into comas. I know that we're going to need her in order to survive a battle between Elites now that Gaara’s onto us, but at the same time... can we really work with her? You know how she was; she was manipulative, cruel, and loved to torment Sekai and Kira when they fought against her. How do we know she won’t just stab us in the back?


The reply was quick, and Baron skimmed it over.

Quote:
To: Baron
From: Takua
Subject: Re: Are you sure?

We can either have her sitting out of the battle entirely, ready to step in when everyone is weak and fucking us all over. She can be our enemy from the start. Or we can use her with the knowledge that the moment we’ve outlived our usefulness, she’ll try and kill us all. Frankly, I know she’ll try to stab us in the back eventually, but we don’t really have a choice. Plus, if she tries to backstab everyone, then Klive and Melzas are going to have issues. And besides, we're already planning on backstabbing them if they don't agree to free everyone from Twilight, remember? We’re hardly the model ally here, and I’ll bet Klive and the Fire Master already know it. So, yeah, she’ll try eventually, but until then we can work with her.


Takua pretty much confirmed Baron’s worries, and added some new ones. Klive and the Fire Master likely knew everything about them and the Freedom Fighters… which made it odd that they were working together. From what the Twin Blade had gathered, the Freedom Fighters were behind Klive’s current status, and it was because of them that things moved forward so rapidly. So why would they work together? Why had they not been betrayed or simply killed off? Something was odd here, that was certain, and Baron wasn’t sure where to start worrying. Things could turn ugly, quickly.

But it still left one more question unanswered, and Baron sent another reply back to the Wavemaster.

Quote:
To: Takua
From: Baron
Subject: Re: Re: Are you sure?

That's all fine and well... but can you in particular handle her? You weren’t exactly the model of control when we were up against Garaa. I know myself that I want to get even with her somehow, but I can accept that we’re going to need her help too... ugh. The feeling of using someone like a tool is a sickening one.


Again, a quick reply, only this one was much shorter, and Baron doubted the validity of its words.

Quote:
To: Baron
From: Takua
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Are you sure?

I can handle it.


Pushing it aside for the moment and noting that it’d probably be best to send a note to Sekai to keep an eye on Takua during this phase of the their plan—the two of them seemed to have a particular affinity—Baron decided that it was best to add his own two cents to the mix. Stepping forward when Takua was done giving his suggestions, the Twin Blade looked from one member to another, taking a deep breath.

“I, for one, don’t trust Xenobia to make a promise of joining us and not stab us in the back the instant we turn away. I think she’d be the type to do that, if she wasn’t already on Garaa’s side now. And if she is, how are we going to handle her? She has the ability to control us, and unless we patch up Nall sooner than later, we don’t even have the slightest chance of stopping her. Demonrian said that her Master’s Crown isn’t able to be stopped short of a Twilight item to counteract it, and since we don’t have one nor could we use one, we need Nall’s help. My vote would be to either start with Melzas’s tower, using our key to go straight to him and then negotiate to get him on our side, or else to sit out Nall’s recovery before we go to Xenobia’s tower. I say this because having Melzas’s power behind us might make Xenobia question backstabbing us, as well as the fact that it’d give Nall the time to recover.”

His piece said, Baron stepped back again, hoping that the others understood a little common sense. There was no point going after Xenobia if she could just turn them into her puppets to dance on little strings and die when she grew bored. Hopefully, his plan would be taken; it would also give the Twin Blade time to think things over and perhaps accept Xenobia into their ranks a little more. He still wanted to show her payback for her cruelty, after all.

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Baron | Level 47 Twin Blade [100/1000 EXP] | 891 HP / 265 SP
Weapon: Fishskin
Armor: Emperor's Crown/Bone Armor/Thunder Gloves/Ninja Anklet
Accessories/Books: Ethereal Angel Wings, Silver Grunty
Skills: Thunder Coil, Gale of Swords
Spells: Merrows, GiRai Don, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot, Rai Don, Ani Don, Duk Lei
GP: 750 (As of 8/2/15)
Wishlist: Nny Scales, Lucky Shoes, Saint Cross, Greave Sticker, Pet EX-Levels/Spheres(!)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Master of Games
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OOC: Grades
Baron: 5,200 EXP + 2 Ion Strike, + 3 Raging Plasma, + 1 Thundercall
Nighthand: 2,000 EXP
Takua: 3,000 EXP + Burning Brand
Talal: 2,500 EXP + 3 Hale Cross, + 3,500 GP
Sekai: 3,000 EXP + 3 Leafblight, + 2 Wood Sprite, + 1 Summon Wood
Canti: 4,500 EXP + 1 Infernocall, + 1 Nightcall, + 2 Nightbane, + 2 Firebane
Raquar: 500 EXP

Plus everyone gets the various items and powers we’ve discussed getting over the last year or whatever. I don’t remember what all of them are, since it’s been so damn long since I brought up some of it. If you’re not sure (or just want to confirm with me) hit me up on AIM or PM or whatever.

A real post will be coming soonish. Figured I'd get these out of the way for new years though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:48 am 
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Ikkitousen
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When her turn at speaking with the Fire Master arrived, she approached with a calm and confident stature, a tone of mutual respect. "Might you have an item that could boost any skill or ability so that it could withstand an attack, or several attacks, from an opponent that has higher power than that of our combined group? I would like it to be reusable, for instance like that of a regular weapon skill, perhaps based off of available SP...or not, but activated like a scroll or something just as simple?"

"I... may have something, perhaps. I don't know if it will work for you, but. It's something of a general power booster, for defensive abilities. It's a toggle, meaning it can be turned on or off, and while it's on it boosts the defensive nature of certain non-standard abilities, and drains a constant amount of SP."
”Could you please expand on your interpretation of ‘general’? I guess what I am getting at is we are all here because we possess abilities that exceed those of a typical player. So, would this boost work with these types of ‘powers’ as you put it or just with standard issue powers?"

The Fire Master lauged. "Obviously, I'm referring to hacked abilities. We're in Yamiyo, after all. No one here is playing a standard character. By 'general' I simply mean it's engineered to be 'one size fits all' so to speak. Obviously I won't have a specific boost to your exact ability, not without knowing precisely what it is, and even then... the logistics of keeping tabs on everyone's abilities are immense. Most don't even try, and even fewer come close to claiming success. Maybe Marionette... but I stray. I believe it would work for you, though I don't know without testing it."

Ohhhh, how she wanted to go smack her head into a wall right then. For someone that didn’t want to let on how little she really knew, she was failing miserably. Managing to keep her stature, she smiled faintly and spoke as if she knew that already. "Of course, of course." A brief moment, filing away the name of Marionette for later research. She thought she had heard it before, perhaps in the prison when they first arrived. "I will be happy to test it. Should it not work, perhaps it can be returned and we can discuss something more....effective?"

"One would hope. Of course, should a defense-boosting device fail and your defense is overpowered, well, one would hope merely to survive." Okay, now it was an utter failure all together. ‘Check Please’.

Once again with a slight smile, she said the only thing that came to mind. "Touche.”

Before she could ask any further stupidly ‘green’ questions, the Fire Master pulled a piece of paper and pen from his pocket, scribbled a quick note, and scrunched it up, closing his hand. She watched in curiosity but there was no time to consider his basic actions because from his hand came a popping noise. When his hand opened, sitting upon his palm was a small cube about three inches to a side. Talal reached over and removed the small cube from his hand and gave a respectful nod.

"Thank you."

With that she left the room and headed back down to the where the group should be gathering in the courtyard. On her way down she inspected the small cube but could find nothing special about it except an “on/off” switch on one side. That was indeed what she asked for…something simple. Talal hoped that it wasn’t too simple and didn’t work. Unfortunately until there was a need to try it out, she wouldn’t know. As she entered the courtyard, everyone was already tossing ideas around about to whom or where they should go first. Listening to them made her really think about the end result for possibly the first time. Sure she knew what they were doing it all for, but somehow after all the fights, the dungeons, and lets not forget the lovely jail of the Elites with their less than adequate prison clothing, the end result wasn’t what she was the most concentrated on. No, it was the friendships she had made and how she was with a group of people that overall, were genuinely concerned for her well being. It was then that she realized what the true end result was going to be if they succeeded and everyone woke from their comas, no longer a prisoner inside of the The World. She would be alone once again, listening to her ocean at home.

That realization was enough to almost send her into a panic. Almost. It was enough however to get her to completely forget certain…details. Consequently, a rant began in her mind. Are they all NUTS! XENOBIA! REALLY! Little miss, let’s make them watch as I destroy their friend until I get bored of the bickering and decide to just take them all and throw them in jail first and deal with them later? Considering it sounded like she was the Elite responsible for the majority of the Freedom Fighters comatose status, or at least this particular group of it, allying with her just wasn’t in the cards for Talal without a LOT more convincing. Besides, it sounded to her like Melzas just needed to be overwhelmed with attack so that even his foresight would not completely enable him to avoid everything coming at him. The only backfire is he may see the onslaught and retreat prior to it happening in order to avoid it altogether. "Is Melzas' foresight always active...like a sixth sense? Or, does he have to invoke or summon it somehow in order to use it?"

"I have no idea." Says Nighthand, and Demorian chips in, "Nor do I. Every experience tells me it's always active, but he may just activate it as we enter a room and it always seems that way."

At least she had Baron on her side even if not for the same reasons. She also had her new defensive weapon per se. Not to say it would defend against Xenobia’s Crown or shield the groups intentions for enough time to get an attack or two in on Melzas. Continuing on with her rant except for the small fact that it had now left her head and was now being vocalized. “I am still wondering why we must ally with either of them in the beginning? Isn’t our overall goal to defeat them and collect their Twilight items? It honestly sounds like suicide no matter who we fight off first or who we try to make think we can be trusted to help them. The key, in my opinion should be used on the Master’s tower, not on any of the Elites. Even with all the items at our disposal, the Master’s tower still sounds like it will be the toughest tower and by the sound of things, none of you are remembering that fact.” Her volume rose in unison with the out of nowhere irritation that ever so faintly shadowed her words.

Canti was first to pipe up with a thought that he didn’t think the key worked on the Master’s tower and then continued on. ”We are no more inclined to be fully trusting of them than they are of us.” In short, he knew going in that things were off, but he viewed this as playing them, not them playing us.

"Exactly! Which is why I am baffled at how we think we can come up with a good enough scheme that will make them want to give trusting us even a little bit a chance? I guess this is one of the few times my usual 'hold out hope' attitude is failing."

Takua raised an eyebrow and replied in as level voice as he could, without any patronizing attitude. ”For a few reasons. One, the key can’t work on the Master’s Tower. Second, because honestly, if it were all of us against all of them, there wouldn’t be a pixel left of us when the dust cleared. Simply put, one Elite, Klive, and all of us against four, plus the master, would be suicide. Enticing Elites to our side so that we don’t have to face them all united and together is probably the only way we can win, and for them, the only way they could overcome the Master as well. So they might be interested simply for a chance to take down the Master himself.” He shrugged at that point. ”They’ll either die in the fighting, or probably try and betray us afterward. But if we don’t do it…we’re screwed. In the off chance that they actually don’t betray us, and we win, we’ve taken down two Elites and the Master.”

"The Freedom Fighters have killed, or have had a hand in killing, two of the Elites. Each time, retaliation from the Master or from the others has... been anticipated for nothing." Her eyes flicked uncertainly toward Demorian and Nighthand, unsure if she was correct in that assumption. "The Master has done nothing, has shown no sign of even... noticing, or caring that his, um, 'guardian's and co-rulers have been slain and their items taken. The lack of concern over such is one good reason for us to get Xenobia-san and Melzas to cooperate with the Fire Master, and our own, plans as well." A second finger flicked up to join the first as Sekai recited the second reason she could think of. "Tying into the first reason, the more Elites we have on 'our' side, and, um, I put that very loosely... at this point, the fewer of them we have to spend our time and energy killing; Garaa-san, Royce-san and whoever else chooses not to join the coup... well, they will likely be the ones fighting," the young woman made a face at this, as if something about it didn't sit right with her, "against the Elites who have joined the coup. Which... if things are done right, will mean a sort of repeat of the battle we just witnessed, and came out of alive. Any Elite who doesn't survive... if we're intelligent about it, we can get in, take their Twilight Item and run before the dust completely settles... and that's another point for our side. It'll also mean those left standing of the Elites will be weakened... possibly to the point we may be able to finish off one, and if the gods smile upon us, perhaps two of them at once and gain those items in return." Sekai sighs a little and raises a third finger to join the other two. "Third... well, the third is kind of the same as the second. Letting the Elites kill each other will save us the time, energy and resources we'll need to... finish things off, and release everyone from their comas."

Talal looks down a bit at Sekai's last words. "All very valid reasons that I had misplaced in the chaos. How stupid of me."

"Don't let it get to you. Anyone could lose themselves in this after a while.” In some odd way, the dark Twin Blade’s voice always had a way of making her smile, even if only a little and on the inside as it was now. Talal didn’t know how or why that was.

"You're not stupid, Talal-san, Canti-san is right; everyone loses themselves at some point. It's better to ask questions and get the answers... than just decide you don't want those answers and go on not knowing."

Talal nodded and gave a faint curl of the lips to her friends. "I still do not like the idea of working with Xenobia first. I think Melzas would be a better bet. I...might have something that would give us at least a small window of opportunity against his abilities of foresight. It...was a gift from the Fire Master to aid in protecting the group against higher level attacks."

Sekai gives a wry half-smile in return. "I don't think anyone is particularly, um, looking forward to trying to work with Xenobia-san... but it was implied that if she chooses to ally herself with us, it would, um, motivate Melzas-san to, perhaps, do the same as well." The small archer paused. "...I wonder if that means Xenobia-san has something he doesn't want others to know about? And we know more about Xenobia-san, and how her, um, abilities work, I think, than we do about Melzas-san's... and I'd be more comfortable facing the one we know about than the one we don't, personally."

Canti then spoke once again, providing more calming effect on the young girl. "I don't like this anymore than you do, really. I just want to get it over with." She looked at her fellow Twin Blade with a slight smile. "Agreed. The sooner the better and going after the one we know more about does make logical sense. Alright then, I agree with you. Xenobia it is."

With that, having given her vote, Talal turned and began walking away from the group so she could think for a bit alone. Sadly, she didn’t make it but a few steps before Takua’s voice got her attention and she turned back around. ”You doin’ alright? Seemed a little made at the start?”

"I suppose so. I don't know. I was." With that, Takua raised an eyebrow and then raised one arm to scratch behind his neck. ”Okay…mind letting me know why you were pissed off? Because of what Xenobia did before? Something else?” Really? Now, after everything they had been through and all the chances she had given him….NOW he chooses to care about how she feels and have a heart to heart chat? ”Yes and…no? Ugh…I don’t know!” She turned quickly half way around, her long black braid whipping around with her and almost smacking the Wavemaster in the face. Her back now to him… ”Everything?...Nothing?”

He remained behind her, but Vesica walked up and put one claw on the Twin Blade’s leg startling the girl a bit. Other than seeing the snow leopard by Takua’s side, she didn’t know why it was there or whether it would attack members of the group outright or not. Talal looked down with slanted eyes at the white paw on her leg, slowly reaching down and attempting to nicely backhand brush the paw from her leg. The paw of course didn’t budge. In fact, Vesica put a bit more pressure on the twin blade’s leg and tilted her head sideways before showing her teeth and something that was definitely not a smile. The young girl scowled back but did not pursue the matter further, putting up with the paw knowing that if anything, Takua would step in if needed. ”Whenever I hear something this ambiguous, I have to remind myself it is not a scratching post. Perhaps you could make yourself more clear?” Takua coughed one of those ‘I’m amused by that statement’ kind of coughs before butting back in. ”However blunt Vesica is, she has a point. Unless you want me to stop talking, I can do that too.”

Lowering her head down and looking slightly back towards Takua…”No, I don’t want you to stop talking. I guess it’s just a little bit of everything and I couldn’t keep it hidden any longer…this time. Every time I think I have a handle on how things work, I'm either wrong, know nothing at all, or I make a fool of myself. The latter usually being the case which is frustrating as hell. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for your pity by saying that, I'm just really tired of feeling like I'm constantly playing catch up and yes, the whole episode with Xenobia still has me...pissed off as you said. Not that it happened. More like we are just letting her off the hook for it I guess, even if it is only until we can find that needle in a haystack opportunity to defeat her."

Takua nodded as Vesica took her paw off the Twin Blade, an amused twitch of the ears conveying her satisfaction with the submission. He smiled a little sadly. ”No no, we’re all playing catch up in our different ways, that’s hardly unusual, or sad.” He hesitated, trying to see the best way to work this out. ”I wouldn’t call it getting her off the hook. We’re planning on killing her later, and she no doubt knows it. Especially since it’s us. But more to the point, we’re each other’s chance to get rid of the loyalists and the Master.” He shrugged, visibly trying to find the right words. ”So instead of that needle in the haystack opportunity, we’re just postponing it until we’re done using each other. And then we can put a blade through her throat.” If that made any sense at all, since he was arguing tiny points.

Her frame slumped a bit. Talal was frustrated. There were too many questions, emotions and unknowns mixed into the groups’ current status, or at least from her viewpoint. But…even still, her words were soft; a strong desire not to voice them, not even to answer his questions, yet speaking out loud helped them make more sense somehow. ”How do we know that even if we succeed and kill all the Elites...that having all the items will allow us to release everyone from comas? How do we know if we succeed at that, that we will all wake up and be how we were before it happened? How do we know....we won't be trapped within our own mind still and instead of living in the world, are left to watch the real world from behind eyes and a body that don't relay that we are back?" All of these were very valid questions from Talal’s point of view but she still didn’t feel like they were touching on the real issue.

Takua snorted, a small smile creeping onto his face. It seemed he had no trouble hearing her. ”Well, so far, I’d guess that we’re taking it on faith.” He twitched, but her head was turned away, so maybe she didn’t notice. ”Honestly though, no, I don’t know. But your choices are living in this world, like this, until one day the servers for Yamiyo and The World die. And then we’re deleted, for good. Or, you can try to get back, following the line of thought that if Twilight keeps us here, than controlling Twilight will let us get out. All of us, including all of the slaves that are kept here.” He shrugged, no small amount of emotion there, making his voice a little thick, although very, very low. ”I guess there’s really just no question for me which side I’m on. If I stay here, I’m fucked. If I try to escape, I have a shot at living.”

There was a hell of a lot of logic in his response, but wasn’t exactly what she had meant by her questions even if she could see how he would have misunderstood them so. The last part admittedly got her and she agreed 100% with him. In nothing but a whisper meant more for herself…
”I’m on the same side as you my friend.”

He chuckled again, as though he had known what her reaction would have been before she had said it. It was an easy sound, but it wasn’t condescending, ”Well, yes. You went through the Eventide Crescendo. If you didn’t think that was heinous, you wouldn’t have come back into Juk, regardless of wanting to keep an eye on me.” He raised an eyebrow, but didn’t open his eyes. ”Since the Highers wanted to enslave thousands of people with Twilight and march them here…kind of riles someone up.” He tilted his head to the side, and then said in the softest whisper that he thought she could hear, ”But if you mean that if you stay here you’re fucked…well, then that’s interesting, but I don’t know why you’d say that.” The question wasn’t said, left hanging in the air.

Wide brown eyes shot open wondering how in the world he could have heard that. Quickly she turned and stared at the Wavemaster standing before her with his eyes closed, studying him as if they had never met. Speaking normally again with an edge of sarcasm... "Clearly your other senses have kicked in well to take over where your eyes have left off. One more thing you haven't felt the need to tell me, but I have become accustomed to that. There are things I have not told you either so I guess we are even." Suddenly everything was clear, the frustration she had been feeling lifted like a giant weight from her shoulders. She stepped very close to him and whispered in his ear. ”I’m scared Takua. Scared of losing all of you when it’s over. No matter how we go, whether we die a digital death during a great battle, or we wake up and are alive. Out of everyone here, you are the only one that was in that dungeon with me that day. You are the only one that would understand why.” Stepping back and taking every ounce of will she had in her to keep her emotions in tact, Talal turned to Vesica with a grin and returned to her old standby of odd humor to keep from showing how she really felt. ”Keep him in line for me out there. I’m glad he has someone who can keep up with him.” She then turned back to her mentor and friend knowing that she could not hide anything from him as hard as she tried. Somehow he always knew. ”If needed, we can continue this later. Right now, we have a temporary ally to find.” As she walked away back towards where Shadow had chosen to wait… ”I can hear your whispers too, so don’t let any secrets escape.”

He froze…and then let a soft, very soft, laugh escape. Muttering so low that only she could hear, with her enhanced hearing. ”There’s a reason for the secrets. I’m paranoid.” It was delivered without even a touch of sarcasm. Talal stopped for a moment, again slanting her head to the side to listen further to the truthful tone in his voice. ”No, really. Paranoid Schizophrenic. It’s difficult to talk to most because of that. I’m sorry. We really should continue later.” The girl nodded and continued on her way. Takua did the same choosing to walk towards Sekai and her group, seemingly more comfortable there than anywhere else. Vesica, after an amused growl at Talal, turned to go with him.

Reaching Shadow, she stood next to him, reaching up to scratch him behind the ear. She still wasn’t sure if he liked it or not, but he didn’t seem to at least mind her doing it and it had a calming effect for her while they waited for the discussions to complete.

((OOC: Finally! All caught up….
Sorry Baron and Nights. I'm sure both of you would/could have contributed to the group discussion but you weren't online at the time. :( ))

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
***************************************
Talal
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Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Master of Games
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Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
So then it was decided. However unhappy the group was as a whole to face Xenobia head on, that was their goal. Xenobia was powerful, no doubt. Her control of other players was immense and there was no telling if she could use it on even Demorian, the strongest of their group. Not to mention her spear, the Treeweaver. That object had been through so much, through so many areas of such heavy infection it made Nall look clean. Baptized in Twilight itself, no one except maybe Xenobia knew its powers. Assuredly Garaa, Royce, and even the Master were aware of its power and wished it was theirs, but they were unable to wield it. Even they, it seemed, were subject to the limitations of the game forcing their class to equip certain weapons. Or perhaps the Treeweaver had a mind of its own, and had chosen Xenobia for some reason. Knowing Kurai as he had, Nighthand couldn’t be so sure one way or the other.

“All right. The Tower of Nature it is.” Demorian announced to the group once the final, if unhappy decisions had been made. “Alright. Because our home base is in the Gan sector, everyone meet up at the exit into the Wastes there. Now’s your chance to stock up on items from the Bazaar, take a minute to breathe, and prepare for this attack. Even if we don’t have to fight Xenobia at the top, her tower is bound to be a challenge.”

After the pep talk, Nighthand spread his winds and soared off into the sky. He didn’t have much to stock up on, but a few more items would be nice. After that brief shopping trip was over, he landed at the gate from Gan to Wastes, finding himself the first one there.

The gate was wide open, but a handful of guards were the only people around. The Wastes were dangerous, and sometimes they spilled over towards the city. The guards were all that stood between it and the city proper, and no ‘civilian’ wanted to be caught in that. After a brief nod to the guard captain, a different one from the one who had helped them with Tritoch, he took up a position near the open gate. He was not looking forward to another fight through that hellscape.

Demorian, with no more of their party asking him questions, left to return to their hideout. He wanted to talk to Sheena on his own, to brief her of their situation. It would be dangerous to leave Nall all alone while their entire party went to the center of the enemy encampment. On the other hand, he wasn’t fully healed, and to take him with them would be folly.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Some time later, Nighthand watched as the rest of their party gathered. The only one still missing was Demorian. So he sent a flashmail off to the man, asking his whereabouts. A moment later he received the reply – “Coming.”

A few minutes later, Demorian rounded a corner in the twisting streets and appeared with two companions in tow. All three of them looked worn, but on an average scale. Demorian looked tired, and Sheena looked exhausted, but between them Nall looked far more hale and healthy than he had in ages. The blademaster was walking under his own power, though cautiously.

“Don’t worry about me.” Nall said. “I’ll be fine. Just don’t let them get to me.” He pre-empted the questions that were no doubt incoming. “I don’t intend to do a lot of fighting, my powers are a huge drain on me, and these…” He twisted his head to show of the Earrings of Raikiri, “Are basically useless to me. I wouldn’t be able to transform into Raikiri without tearing myself apart.” He still held his trio of other Twilight items, though, and who knew what level of powers he could use on them. Kuja’s cloak, Jett’s armor, and his own pendant gave him a look unlike any other Blademaster, yet he was still Nall.

“Use the cloak.” Nighthand said, with an air of force. Nall nodded. Anyone who had seen Kuja in action, or heard stories of him, knew that it was the most powerful defensive item in the game – when used properly. Attacks used on the wearer of the cloak, when its defensive power was turned on, literally teleported to the other side of them. A sword swing passed through with no effect, a spell did no damage. As long as Nall didn’t attack, the defensive ability would protect him.

“How are we going to get him through the Wastes?” Nighthand asked Demorian and Sheena. He was willing and able to help protect him, but it would be slow and draining for all of them.

Instead of answering, Sheena looked at Nall. Nall smiled and stepped up to the gate.

“Nighthand will remember this, and maybe some of you will as well.” He reached into a pocket, and pulled out a small object. It was roughly the size of a credit card and was apparently made entirely of gold. Simply enough named the Gold Card. Nall had used it before. It gave him access to locked fields and keywords that didn’t exist, as well as other vaguely-defined access and teleportation abilities. “Its true purpose is here. The Wastelands require specific access to get through without a hassle. Its how the elites never have to deal with it.”

Pressing a small hidden button on the card surface, a series of symbols appeared. He rotated them in a circle until one in particular was aligned with the top.

“How come we never got to use this feature before?” Nighthand asked.

“It only works here, between town and tower, or tower and town.” Nall replied. “And it’s keyed to me, so I couldn’t give it to you guys and let you go on your own. You’ve used it before for the gate hacking and such, those are passive features. This is the active use.”

Nall pressed the corner button again, and a small, person-sized Chaos Gate appeared in front of him. Instead of the usual blue watery center, however, it showed a picture of the tower they were headed towards. “Everybody ready?”

Once everyone was, he activated the gate. The familiar golden rings of transport flowed down around them, and the gate itself disappeared. The group reappeared at the base of Xenobia’s tower.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

They had seen it before from afar, where it looked like a single giant tree. Up close, Gaea’s Embrace – for that was the name of Xenobia’s citadel – was far more. It was a gigantic tree, yes, bigger around than the average city block. The wooden surface was covered with vines and plants, flowers and thorns, the beauty and savagery of nature all in one place. In some places, smaller trees even grew out of crannies in the trunk. Smaller being relative – some of them were huge and ancient. In dark places, there were subdued glows, the bioluminescence of fungus and insects.

Plants were not the only thing present, either. The trunk was crawling and alive with hundreds of different species of insects, all of them going about their business and entirely unconcerned for the people who had just appeared. Ants, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, and hundreds more made the trunk seem alive. Higher in the reaches of the tower, in foliage and dense branches, larger things moved. There were the calls of primates, the chirps of birds, the screeches of eagles, and the roars of other less earthly beings.

Their entryway was small, barely large enough for a single person to pass through. It was a gap in the trunk, twisting and deep, worn smooth by ages of people passing through. Whether that was the case or not was unknown, since age in The World was meaningless.

“Hold off on using the key.” Nall said. “Xenobia should listen to you all more if you’ve won her respect fighting through her tower. Melzas not so much.” Demorian nodded and left the key stored away.

One by one the group passed single-file through the dark and twisting corridor, until they emerged into a well-lit room roughly the size of a typical dungeon room. It was also relatively empty. All four walls were bare wood, the light coming from some indefinable and omnipresent location. The only exit was the one they had come through. There were no monsters, no treasures, and no NPCs. The only feature of the room was a pair of circular platforms, in the center of the room itself.

“Welcome to Xenobia’s Tower.” Nall said.

_________________
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Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:12 am 
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Location: Walking the line of madness
Takua eventually arrived back from his adventures in the Bazaar with several new pieces of armor and a new weapon, still a little sore from being slammed into the ground by Talal's Twilight ability. Vesica was, although she'd never admit it, acting a little bit more worried than usual and keeping closer to him, generally showing that by...well, growling ferociously at him whenever he was about to do something that she disagreed with, nearly clawing passerby who got a little too close, and various other fun actions that made people give him a wider berth as he walked to the gate to the Wastes. To be fair, it was easy to give someone space here, it wasn't exactly as though the average denizen of Yamiyo wanted to meet the kind of beasts that came out of the Wastes.

The Wavemaster didn't blame them.

Which left the question of how they were going to get across the Wastes without being butchered terribly, but that was something that they could deal with once they were all here. Which, given that the group was gathering from all of their own adventures, took a while. At least he had plenty to think about, and no desire to sleep. When Sekai and company showed up, he waved at them. And then did the same when he saw Talal, although she looked a little different from the time that he had seen her last. So it didn't really take that long from his perspective before they were all there, even the mysterious Nall, who he had never seen awake. There was something about how he presented himself that put him off though, something that he just didn't like about the man. But he did show that he was useful at least, getting them across the Wastes and to Xenobia's tower without any fuss at all.

From afar, Xenobia's tower was impressive. Up close, it was inspiring, with all kinds of plants and animals on and around the trunk...and presumably inside as well. The entrance was the worse kind, a single-file passageway that one nearly had to squeeze through, worn through the wall of the tree. It was the perfect place for a trap, but there wasn't one right away. That was good. The bad part was, he definitely felt like there should have been. The inside, the first room, was...uninspired. A single circular room with two platforms in the center, with light all around, and walls of bare wood. However, looking at the platforms, it was fairly easy to see what they were supposed to do.

Well, might as well do it. Asking Sekai and her group to join him, he turned and spoke to the group at large. “I figure these are teleporters. I'll go first, let you know what happens. Try to keep in contact, let each other know what you find in a room so that we know what the others have covered.” With Vesica stepping up behind the Archer, he stepped onto the left circle. In the next moment, he heard a “fwzzzzzip” and everything went black as he was cut off from Vesica's vision. Although he didn't know it, his avatar had frozen and then drained of color before vanishing.

What seemed like a second later, he dropped to the floor to the same noise, perhaps a two inch fall, and moved forward so that someone could follow him. From what he could tell, it sounded like much the same room, and there were no contacts for his Twilight to latch on to, so it didn't seem like there was anything else in the room.

Code:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Takua
Subject: Teleports
You hear a noise, and then you're elsewhere.  There's a bit of a drop on entering, but it's more of a jolt than anything else.  Nothing else is in the room with me, so it should be safe to come on through.


A few seconds later Sekai and the rest of her company joined him, and he finally got a look around. The room was circular, with a window on one wall that looked out into the Wastes. There was a pile of leaves on one side of the room, and two other teleporters arranged in the exactly same location as last time. All in all, it was fairly uninspiring. After the Archer came through, Vesica came through as well, looking annoyed that he'd gone first, but he really didn't want to hear anything out of her about it right now.

Meanwhile, the girl was poking and prodding at the grass, caution that the Wavemaster felt was very well placed. Eventually she turned up one gold piece, and then another. Takua didn't like that, and felt that the easiest way to get rid of the leaf pile and uncover what was beneath it was to just blow it away with a Rom spell, just a level 1. But Sekai disagreed with that, which was understandable as well, and uncovered the rest of a bag of about one thousand gold pieces....before covering the bag back up.

Takua raised an eyebrow at her, only to have to keep himself from laughing as she flushed, stammering that it was better that it was better not to do things that were unnecessary in someone else's house. It was times like these, he thought, that she really showed how innocent she really was. This was Xenobia's house, and a single thousand gold was probably something she could create, or earn, in the blink of an eye. Still, he couldn't help but agree, it would undoubtedly be better not to touch it and leave it alone.

It took a little bit, but he crafted a flashmail that would serve well for the entire group to throw around at each other, and then filled in what he knew. Then they were off, onto the right teleporter platform, in the same order that they had gone last time. This time the room was a lot different though, as the grass was knee-high, and there was...a ghost on the other end of the room, watching them. That got his attention fast, as he wondered if there was some sort of trap in this room that would ghost them too, or if that ghost was the trap. He remembered the warning to stay away from resurrecting people in the Wastes, because they could kill you, and he figured that went double for someone inside of an Elite's tower.

He looked a little more closely from where he stood, in the entrance area, through Vesica's eyes. He kind of looked like a Twin Blade or Blademaster, but he couldn't see any weapons. The problem of coming closer, and thus checking, was all of the grass. Sekai spoke up, "Um... good... good afternoon, do... do you need help or... um, are you standing guard?"

The man laughed, a sarcastic sound, "Hah, a right bimbo we got here.  Guard duty?  Fat lot of good I'd be doing standing guard."  There wasn't any more wariness on his face that he had shown when they had first teleported in. Takua snorted. Sure, go ahead and insult the people that might resurrect you, great idea.   "Looks like someone doesn't want to get resurrected.  Whatever."

Kira, on the other hand, just sounded and looked amused. "You get ditched by your party, or did you think you'd get up the tower on your own, hotshot?" The man rolled his eyes in response. "Does it matter? Me mates ditched me and I died of old age." The Wavemaster just shrugged. The man wasn't exactly doing himself any favors, and his more paranoid side was struggling against the compassion in him. Resurrect him, or assume he was an enemy and just go on their way.

"Not hard to see why with that attitude, asked outta curiosity and nothin' more." Kira turned to the Wavemaster. "So, we wanna wade through it, send me or her out to test things as a just-in-case or toss something out to see if anything springs out to attack?"

He checked the area first with all of the senses that he had, smelling the air and listening for any sounds that seemed out of place. There was nothing, though, that he could detect. At least, nothing past the general animal calls that seemed to permeate the tower. He gestured to Vesica, who promptly walked out into the grass, prowling toward the ghost...and nothing happened. The man, however, did stand up. "Ye want to go on, be my guest.  I just might have some info that could be of interest.  Is all."

Called it, the Wavemaster thought to himself. Which would lead into a trap, or something of the like. And then once they resurrected him, he'd try to kill them. There was a very lopsided smile on his face.   "Alright.  And you want to be resurrected for this, of course."  Vesica will plod back, and he'll turn to the other side of the group, "Shall we, or just go on?" "Yeah? What info's that and what's your price?" Kira raised an eyebrow in response and looked at Takua. "We could, but I wanna see if it's useful info or if it's crap we already know."

"Right.  And I'm going to tell you before I get what I want.  No wonder they sent you two in first."

Takua raised an eyebrow, "And you can either kill us, or run, and not have to tell us at anything assuming you know it in the first place.  Right.  And no wonder your mates ditched you."  He shrugged.  "I promise that I'll resurrect you if you tell us what you know.  Or we can walk away and you can try again when someone else gets here."

"Hey, doesn't hurt to be careful. It's why we're alive, and you're not. So you can do it, knowing that the little Archer here'll make us stick to our word to res you or she'll cry and make these really pathetic sad faces to make whatever's left of our conscience feel bad, or you can probably keep talkin' and we may even find your old buddies, potentially having that same info you're offering, further on up the tower. If they're around, anyway. Choice is yours, might do it carefully, as it's not likely that the rest of the group'll be as willing to help."

"Me mates are long gone, babe.  Nothin' gonna change that.  Aye, whatever.  I know how many rooms are in this maze.  I know at some of 'em gots treasures, and some of 'ems got traps.  I might even know what a few of 'em are, if ya res me."

Takua just sighed. He wanted that information, but this was probably a trap. Well, fine, he was confident that they could handle the fucker. He called out ready to both Kira and Sekai, since Vesica already was ready and closer to them...and threw out a Rip Maen. As the color flushed back into his body, the man lifted up four arms with blades in them, grinned, and jumped at Sekai.

He also ran headlong into a MeRai Rom and PhaVak Don, exploding into blades of grass as Takua proceeded to light the rest of the room on fire, not trusting the man to hide in the grass somehow, given that they had no idea what his Twilight powers were. Dammit, and this was why he should listen to that voice in the back of his head!   "Next room, pick a porter."

Sekai and Kira were already back to back, ready and waiting for him to reappear again. With so much fire raging around the room, it wasn't like he could really pop up without getting burned. And he could always put out the fire. But Kira seemed to disagree with his point of view, and said so, "We can't just leave without taking care of this first, find him, or his ghost and then we leave after he's been properly dealt with!."

Perhaps fifteen seconds later he put out all of the fire with several Rue spells, and they continued to wait. They didn't have long. Another thirty seconds, and the ghost popped back into being against the far wall, scowling. So, he'd died in those first two spells had he? Excellent. Kira just grinned and plopped her spear against her shoulder. "That was fun, wanna play again?"

The Wavemaster just chuckled and rolled his eyes, adding the room danger to his little flashmail, and flipping the guy off as Vesica let out an amused growl.   "Nice to see you were one of the traps." The man, on the other hand, didn't seem to be very appreciative of his sense of humor, rolling his eyes right back. "Yeah yeah. Turns out I'm a trap, we got that.  But a deals a deal.  There's 32 rooms in this maze.  An' theres two more like me out there somewhere.  Me mates is hiding.  One of 'em, well, you don't wanna mess with 'em.  Powerful.  The other, 's got a heap a treasure right for the taking." 

He blinked and tilted his head. Why the...fuck would he tell them that unless it was some sort of trap? Or was he bound here against his will by Xenobia?   "Huh, good to know.  We'll leave you be, then." Of course, he figured that the odds were good that the info was bullshit, but who knew, maybe it was true. Kira, of course, had a parting quip, but Sekai just looked slightly sad. Takua could imagine why, of course, because she didn't want to kill the man, and actually did want to resurrect him and get him out. For that matter, so did Takua, if only because he didn't want to murder anyone...and because he could imagine how boring it would be to sit there day after day, with nothing to do. A few seconds later he stepped onto the teleporter plate on the left, and was elsewhere....

Code:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Takua
Subject: Room Map
Left/Right
Entrance: A/B
A: Bag of GP under leaves C/D
B:
C: Ghost of Twin Blade with four arms.  Asked to be resurrected, then attacked.  Told us that there are 24 rooms in the maze, two other ghosts like him, one with treasure, the other's powerful as hell.  E/F
D:
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F:
G:
H:
I:
J:
K:
L:
M:
N:
O:
P:
Q:
R:
S:
T:
U:
V:
X:
Y:

I'm sure that the teleporters will eventually start leading us to the same rooms we've been in, so try and check to see if a new room looks like one of the old ones, maybe we can get a decent map going to find our way out.

_________________
Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
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Wishlist: Levels, Stun Rod, Hag's Wand, Ex-Level, Ex-Spheres, and Heh Heh Heh, Myth: Demiurge, FL Fukuoka


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
“All right. The Tower of Nature it is. Alright. Because our home base is in the Gan sector, everyone meet up at the exit into the Wastes there. Now’s your chance to stock up on items from the Bazaar, take a minute to breathe, and prepare for this attack. Even if we don’t have to fight Xenobia at the top, her tower is bound to be a challenge.”

(The situation having been somewhat resolved in discussion with Talal, they now had some time to themselves to handle...whatever it was that needed to be done, such as shopping. Canti was largely investigating his new and interesting tattoo for the moment while Talal actually headed over to the large devil hound and actually began to give him a scratch behind the ears. There appeared to be no objection to this. In fact, the dark-haired hound even seemed calmer a bit...right up until Vesica came with Takua. Nothing personal, you understand, Takua, but somehow this didn't seem unexpected. Shadow actually growled at the other pet, as though imparting a "GO. AWAY." kind of message. Canti wasn't even paying attention, as he was also compiling a list of things he wanted to buy. Vesica...did not appreciate this.)

"My human is her friend, and you have no need to get in our way, especially when she wants to come with us. May I ask you to back down?"

Shadow: I have not been aware of your presence before. Do you have...credentials?

"Oh yes, I do. I've known him for months, but today was the first time I could join him on his journeys."

Shadow: Why do you not smell right?

(The leopard pulled off a cat-shrug.)

"I'm not aware of any 'right' smell. I'm a snow leopard, I am what I am."

Shadow: State your business in Bogie County.

"What is Bogie country?"

(How can a monster hound grin?!)

Shadow: This...is Bogie County.

"Accompanying Takua as he talks with, and shops with, the Twin Blade."

(It was about this time that the music caught Canti's attention and he looked over.)

Canti: Did I miss something?

Shadow: Master, this stranger wishes to accompany Talal.

Canti: And? Takua knows her better than I do. No reason to get in the way.

Shadow: I see...

(He snorts and gets out of the way.)

Shadow: Proceed...on your way to oblivi-

Canti: Shadow!

Shadow: Sorry...

(Takua flashed him a thumbs-up sign and Canti shook his head.)

Canti: Shadow, do you have anti-feline protocols installed?

Shadow: ...Maybe.

Canti: Well, come on. I have to do some shopping and make it quick. It's been a few levels since I got some proper gear.

(The two of them headed off to do a little shopping...)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(In which Canti gets distracted by a wobbly dude and abducted, then gets offered membership to the secret order that did the deed...and then ends up fighting 'em and causing a mess down in the Mercenaries Sector.)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(The time? Later. The place? Pretty much where they had left in the first place, it being the appointed meeting area before the mission was to start. Canti raced back over here with Shadow from the Chaos Gate, both of them panting a little from a good deal of running, or flying. Whatever. If anyone flashed him a look, he flashed 'em back a "Don't ask!" kind of glare. He was able to recover quickly enough, and then they were in for a surprise here.)

“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Just don’t let them get to me. I don’t intend to do a lot of fighting, my powers are a huge drain on me, and these...are basically useless to me. I wouldn’t be able to transform into Raikiri without tearing myself apart.”

(Nall was back! He looked alot better than he had been in a while, as opposed to Demorian and Sheena looking quite fatigued. It looked as though he would be joining them now, though apparently the earrings they got from Rugu weren't gonna be much help. To his credit, Canti didn't know how exactly the Twilight Items functioned. Judging from the mess in the lab with Nall's items, YOu can't just put 'em on and expect results. It prebably helped to have a receptive character, meaning then infection. And it probably wouldn't hurt to keep to elements your yourself favored. For instance, those earrings wouldn't help Canti either, as he would most likely reject lightning power right off. It also appeared that Nall wasn't strong enough to handle all of his own right now, because he selected the cloak and no other for now.)

Canti: I would ask what you DO with the unused items, but I imagine the answer is 'safe keeping'.

“How are we going to get him through the Wastes?”

(A very good question, one that Nall was obliged to answer by holding up a Gold Card and explaining that it was truly meant for travel between the town of Yamiyo and the Elite Towers. It had other uses in gate hacking and such-like, but this was its core use and the reason that the owners OF the Towers never suffer in the Wastes. A damn good thing to hear, considering the stuff they filled this area with. The last little jaunt they took through there, they got off easy. A broken puzzle? A bunch of evil snowmen? Tritoch? Cakewalk. There things out there that couldn't die... Well anyway, Nall seem prepared and everyone else seem prepared, so...)

“Everybody ready?”

Canti: Yyyup.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

(A quick transport...and they were there, standing in front of a massive tree tower. The tower was called Gaia's Embrace, but...Canti didn't really know that. If anybody told him, he'd forgotten. This place was...exceptionally alive, sort of like that one sci-fi movie where the guy is working the body of an alien from remote and stuff. You know the one. Bugs and birds and anything that had business being in that tree were in that tree. There was a small opening at the bottom. Nothing fancy, just a hole big enough for people to fit through.)

“Hold off on using the key. Xenobia should listen to you all more if you’ve won her respect fighting through her tower. Melzas not so much.”

Canti: Huh? Ah, dammit...

(He was hoping they wouldn't have to do that, because they all knew what Xenobia was capable of herself, and you could practically double that with anything she owned or dwelt within. So, the one-use 'free ride' key was saved for a rainy day and they headed on in down the twists and tunnels until...)

“Welcome to Xenobia’s Tower.”

Canti: "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate".

(Where they found themselves was a decidedly ordinary-looking room made of wood with no visible exits beyond the one they just came through. That, and there were these pads on the floor, also made of wood. There was something familiar about that... A memory of something from a more ancient age of game playing. This was a little thing that he felt was confirmed by Takua.)

“I figure these are teleporters. I'll go first, let you know what happens. Try to keep in contact, let each other know what you find in a room so that we know what the others have covered.”

(He stepped onto the Left Pad and vanished. Vesica did the same, and then...they waited. Well, Sekai also stepped on after a while. And from there, it was a case of waiting and receiving information as it came through FM. There was a warning about the landing from the teleportation, a case of reconstructing a matter of a guardian trap and that he had friends, and finally even a breakdown of the rooms according to letter. There was no proof that it was exactly organized like this, but it was as good as anything else they've got. Oh, and there could possibly be boobytraps. After receiving the information from Takua, Canti began to understand what the hell he was talking about a little more and eyed the other telepad. Here, he approached it with Shadow and instructed the devil dog to wait at least five seconds before stepping through. We can't have a Doom-related insta-kill moment here. So saying, the Twin Blade stepped on the Right Pad. The sensation was uhhh...new. It was highly-unexpected and the Twin Blade now found himself in...a room not unlike the one he'd left. It was darker, more foreboding claustrophobic, but it looked largely the same.

Canti: Oh, I just got out of a dark place...

(No harsh landing for Canti, thanks to his powers...but as he walked a bit forward, he heard Shadow grunt from impact a few seconds later behind him. It was all made of wood and this room WAS like the old one except...there was this rustling sound. It was soft at first, but gradually increasing in audibility. This place was, of course, a Juk-centered area. The rustling of leaves could only be something wind and wood-related. He looked around the room for the teleporters - just in case - and asked Shadow to find the source of the rustling. If something dangerous was going to happen, he wanted to know from where. This was all starting to remind him of a certain sci-fi movie about rooms filled with deadly traps. Yes, that one. In the course of the investigation, Shadow found a number of little leaf piles situated at the edge of the room at every wall, effectively surrounding him. They were indeed the source of the rustling, with subtle motions that were becoming more apparent over time. The Bogie didn't get too close to it. He was close enough to see what it was, but wasn't willing to sniff at it, the way the piles were moving around. He began to growl in response to whatever trigger in his mind determined these things suspicious. Canti found the telepads to be much like the previous ones and looked around again only when the devil hound let out his warning. Taking out his blades, he saw the rustling increase quite a bit now and gave Shadow an order.)

Canti: You go first this time. Right one. Now.

The dog obliged and was gone. The Twin Blade gave him a few seconds, edging towards the same pad himself, eyes fixed on the leaf piles at the edges of the room...just as they all slid around to reveal themselves to be ALOT of bugs that were crawling right towards him. Canti arched an eyebrow and lifted off of the ground before shooting dark flamethrower attacks over the scores of bugs which were very obviously a trap...but perhaps wasted on him? He fried up a good load of bugs with darkness that ate away at their beings, but uhhh...they just kept coming perpetually out of the bushes, so to speak, and they were starting to climb the walls to reach the ceiling.)

Canti: Ugh, who am I? Brendan Fraser or Harrison Ford? Outta here!

(He decided to follow Shadow and landed harshly due to the quick dive onto the pad. No harm done, just had to beat the bugs there. Here...there was another wooden room, much like the last two. However, in this case, there was the added bonus of no apparent traps or hazards in view. Very nice. What it DID contain was two teleporters, one deep blue treasure chest, and Shadow approaching these things to investigate them. There was also something of importance on the left pad. It looked like blood, and it looked like someone had used blood to paint a skull-and-crossbones sign on the pad. Looking this over, Canti decided that this was a bit important, and that he needed to tell them what's going on besides.)

Quote:
TO: The Party.
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Bugs!

So...the first right pad took me to a roomful of vicious-looking bugs. Definitely a trap. The right pad from there has led to an ordinary room with two pads and a treasure chest, all of which I'm not trusting very much. The chest is deep blue, and there's blood on the left teleporter in the pattern of a skull and crossbones. The other one is blank.

Uhh, refresh my memory, guys. Is Xenobia the type to leave misleading clues to bluff people into making bad decisions, or to double-bluff by marking a highly-dangerous room accordingly and then watching hilarity ensue?


(A valid question, given the nature of the Juk Elite. A master manipulator like her could work either way. For you see, she could mark a safe room as dangerous, and watch the person there choose the unmarked room...leading to certain doom. Or, she could play it straight and mark the dangerous room as dangerous and then let people think that she is bluffing when she's not. And then, of course, there was the mark of a true sadist: Both rooms equally bad.)

Quote:
To: Canti
From: Demorian
Subject: RE: Bugs!

Both? It's hard to tell with her tower, given how old some of these traps may be. It could have been years since she changed them up. I'd exercise caution.


(You see?)

Quote:
TO: Demorian
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Bugs!

I was afraid you were gonna say that. Alright, if I explode, I'll let you know.


(Grumbling slightly, Canti looked over at the chest...sorely tempted. He didn't have the chance to look in the chest back at the Umbra Ex Scorpio base in Mercenaries, so a chest around here was...well...something he might've wanted to chance. You see, there were traps in here, but information indicated that there were also goodies, and even worse...what if this was the kind of teleporter maze with vital things you had to check out or fail completely in? All things were possible, so he decided to go for it. However...the dark Twin Blade outlined a plan with Shadow where he would open it from behind while the Bogie stood before it, but several feet away. If anything leapt out, being behind or away from it would be the best places to avoid immediate harm and Shadow could lunge at it. Once in their positions, he counted to three and then pulled at the chest to open it quickly.)

BOOM!!!

(Well, there goes half his HP. Cue the ash-faced Twin Blade with the dour expression.)

Canti: So, I did explo- GAH!

(...and get pounced! After removing Shadow from his person, he took a moment to health-up with magic...and then dropped Shadow onto the Left Telepad.)

Canti: You have to be stern sometimes. It build's character. So, is it hell over there?

Shadow: Not as such, no.

(Sighing, he decided to join him and...wow. This had to be the first truly-different room they'd come across. Let's set the scene. It was brighter and more warmer-lit, with a yellowish glow from plants and insects. Here, there was only one teleporter and a rather large and ornate treasure chest, bigger than the last one and also not blue. The lack of blue made Canti remember that the chest might have been a right-and-proper trap chest that the game has Fortune Wires for - and he DID have some - but that he had totally forgotten about 'em, considering how long he'd been in a coma. Also, Xenobia was a hacker. It might've always blown up, no matter what. Still, he probably wasn't going to check this one himself. Besides all of that, the room itself was just brimming with different gemstones, all of them looking like the wood grew around 'em. Sizes and colors varied from marble to fist and used every color of the rainbow. Canti and Shadow glanced at each other, then the two of them began to look the room over carefully, noting the all of the rooms important features. They didn't touch anything yet, because while this place wasn't immediately dangerous...it could have been about as innocent as the last room, which is to say...not at all. Hell, they tried not to even step on the gems while they were at it. This room was either very good or very very bad, and it was about time he got an outside opinion of what.)

Quote:
TO: The Party
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Funny story.

The chest DID explode, actually. Wasn't fatal. Shadow and I are in a very ornate plant-filled room with a jewel-laden...everything. The walls, the floor, and the even-bigger treasure chest here has gems embedded in it. This was the skull-marked left pad, by the way. There's only one teleporter out of here too. I'm either in big trouble here or very much not. Suggestions?


(Sadly, Demorian didn't have anything new to say on the matter, nor Nall or Nighthand. Fair enough, really. One could only be cautious in these cases, as the chances of something bad going down were largely 50-50. Either the chest, the gems, and the one teleporter were bad or...they weren't. Fortunately, his other teammates had opinions of their own.)

Quote:
To: Canti
From: Sekai
Subject: RE: Funny Story

Um... I... wouldn't touch any of the gems, or the treasure chest for that matter. It may very well explode again, and if you don't have, um, anyone there... it may not be the best idea to proceed hastily.

As for the teleporter... I think... I think you should wait, one of us is bound to show up in the same room sooner or later, especially since we are sharing information as we take the teleporters. I would personally wait, if I were you, at least until one or two of us are with you.


Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Talal
SUBJECT: RE: Funny story.

I'd say be cautious of the plants but search through them. Perhaps there is something to be found in them that will help later? I wouldn't touch the treasure, but that warning didn't seem to deter you in the first room. I am not sure how to put this but....do any of the gems or jewels in the room seem to appear as a control gem of sorts? Hope you are catching the drift of that question.


(There was also an additional Flash Mail from Takua which pretty much agreed with the statements given by the other Twin Blade and the Archer. There appeared to be some calling on the previous chest exploding, understandable since it was his fault for either not handling it properly or just being too damn curious. There was also the case of waiting for someone from Takua and Sekai right now, which made sense...given that it was his only way out of here and definite trouble if it turned out he was being thrown into the worst trap of all...in ANY case around here. Talal's message about the plants and the gems caught his eye, so he replied to it.)


Quote:
TO: Talal
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Funny story.

Yeah, I don't wanna touch that without backup, personally. I figured the first chest couldn't be TOO bad, at least. Still, the gems look like the wood grew around them, rather than cut and set in, and they're all different colors. My mind is saying 'elemental landmines'. Sekai thinks I should hang-about until someone shows up before doing anything else. What do you think?


(And then, there was another moment before...)

Quote:
TO: Canti
FROM: Talal
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Funny story.

I agree with her. You can never have too much backup. I don't like that you only have one option to exit through. On my way!


(Given the opinions of his peers versus the current situation he was in, Canti did indeed decide to hold position for now. Whatever was in this chest or beyond that teleporter, one of two extreme was going to present itself. He and Shadow would wait for now. They all knew how to get here, and Talal was apparently coming directly here as is. Cue the zen Twin Blade, sitting Indian-style in mid-air, next to the Bogie.)

OOC: So, there you have it. Get crackin' folks.

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Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:28 pm 
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Master of Games
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:23 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
Nighthand seemed almost fatherly, in the way he was watching over the "leaders" of the group. Particularly Nall, who seemed exhausted, though he hid it well. The blademaster would never be fully healthy again, but he was making a remarkable recovery. No doubt that was because of Raine and Sheena, and whatever self-healing tech he had hidden inside his data. Whatever had fucked him up initially had done a really good job of it.

Sheena was watching over Nall to the exclusion of all else. She, and Nall as well, was content to let the group spread out through what was apparently a teleport maze. Once they had mapped out a way through to the exit and scouted the threats to face, Nall could be escorted to the exit. Sheena was a competent enough bodyguard, but Nighthand was loathe to leave them. He had taken up the role as leader long enough, and he longed for the days when he could set thinking aside and put the full brunt of his power into a problem. Perhaps he could stroll through the maze as well, but for the moment, he was content to stay put.

Demorian was engrossed in his own work, when Raquar bumped into him. Their brief exchange was puzzling, but it was soon made clear that the man had encountered something that tore through his data like fire. And something else that had healed him up. What any of it had been was a mystery. Raquar seemed not to know, or at least not to say. Demorian, meanwhile, seemed to finish up what project he was working on. Seconds later, a chime sounded to everyone as a Flashmail arrived.

To: Everyone
From: Demorian
RE: Map


I've developed a bit of code that's attached to this Flashmail. It should display a bit of a minimap in your vision, which will be networked between us and show where we've been. Hopefully this will make navigation much easier. Anyone finding any trouble or need backup?

End Flashmail

True to his word, Demorian's code took effect immediately upon closing the message. The few rooms that had so far been explored were displayed, complete with text fields where the players involved could note what was inside them. Some notes were filled in quickly.

Image

Quote:
EN: Entrance room. Left pad leads to A, right pad leads to F.
A: Pile of leaves with GP coins scattered inside. Right pad leads to K.
F: Room filled with rustling noise. Swarms of bugs attack if you linger. Right pad leads to G.
G: Left telepad marked with bloody skull and crossbones. Blue treasure chest in room that explodes when opened. Left pad leads to T2.
T2: Lit by soft glow, gemstones embedded in walls. Treasure chest present. Only one telepad.
K: Knee-high grass. Ghosted player named RogueBane. When resurrected, attacks. Left pad leads to O.
O:


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:45 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:21 pm
Posts: 111
It seemed that everyone had decided at that point, and Baron found himself partially frustrated. He understood that the others had their reasons for going after Xenobia first, especially if Melzas would have to be won over, but at the same time he found himself getting worried. The Twin Blade didn’t feel like asking Takua or Talal right now, but he had to wonder if they had the same sort of trepidation about this whole thing as he did. After all, the three of them had been dragged into the Twilight by this woman and her powers without being able to lift a finger to stop her; if she recognized them, which she undoubtedly would, then what sort of friction would that cause? They were in serious trouble if she decided not to help them whether it was because of one of her many “charming” moods or because she simply didn’t like them.

Nonetheless, that was the path they were going to take. Baron knew he couldn’t just turn and go up towards Melzas’s tower all by himself; after all, he didn’t possess the key that would allow them to jump straight to the Elite, and without any strong forms of hack-based augmentation the Twin Blade didn’t see himself making it anywhere near the top. This wasn’t like playing The World normally, where you could just wander off solo and the only potential penalties was the death of your character and having to restart from the last time you saved. Death here was death in the real world, as far as they all knew, and as a result it had to be treated as if it were much more real than just virtual data. To others, this was just a game to be enjoyed socially.

For the Freedom Fighters who had become part of something more deadly, it was real.

Well, it seemed that there was no arguing his way out of this. The Twin Blade stifled a sigh as the destination was set and they were told to meet at the Wastes once they were ready to head out. At that point everyone went their own way in order to prepare, taking the time to gather their supplies and their equipment in order to make sure they could deal with whatever came their way. Baron had nothing left to retrieve; his equipment was all in place, he had a fair stock of healing and support items, and there was nothing except his overt dislike of the Elite they would be attempting to recruit before long stopping him from heading towards the Wastes. In all logic, he should have just headed straight there to arrive before the others.

But that hesitation made the Twin Blade drag his feet figuratively; instead of heading straight for the Wastes, Baron strode through the streets of the Gan sector, thinking things over. It was unlike him to be so thoughtful in the game; before becoming comatose, the boy had often played solo and rushed through dungeons by himself regardless of the dangers, always searching for rare treasures to show off. Thinking wasn’t a part of his life when he was in the game, the place where Locke went to relax and instead become Baron for an hour or two, enjoying his time away from studies and schoolwork. The chance to be relaxed and impulsive was nice for the overworked student.

But now the game was real, and with the loss of his old reality, Baron found the luxury of relaxation ripped away from him. The Twin Blade had no choice but to try and think his way through things before he acted if he wanted to survive; the others wouldn’t always be able to cover for a foolish mistake from him. And the boy couldn’t kid himself, either; most of the mistakes would come from him, being new to everything. Takua at least had experience with the Eventide Crescendo before Baron had joined, and Sekai had been comatose before he met her. The majority of the members here were experienced and seasoned in ways the Twin Blade clearly was not, leaving him to make most of the errors that could threaten the entire group. Sure, Talal was as relatively inexperienced as he was, but for some reason Baron felt that most of the trouble would come from him at first.

That was part of the reason Baron didn’t want to head to Xenobia’s tower just yet; he feared that he would cause even more trouble than he already had by not only charging into an enemy stronghold with no idea of what to expect, but also by charging into the tower owned by the woman who had put several of them into a coma. The boy was normally fairly level-headed, but since becoming comatose he had been much more on edge and emotionally unbalanced. It wasn’t to say that he was out of control or anything along those lines, but he had a lot less mental restraint than he had possessed before. Situations like this put an unusual amount of stress on him, and now that all of his decisions could be life-or-death, he did not handle that stress well. And by not handling the stress, he could put the rest of the group in danger.

But at the same time, the Twin Blade couldn’t just sit around. Staying put would just drive his stress levels up all the more, and staying within a city run by hackers would put his life in danger. That was the practical issues of why he couldn’t stay put, of course. There was also that whole morality thing that got to him at times; how could Baron just leave the others behind, when they were all working together, struggling to break free of the Twilight that bound them within this game? What if he was the make-or-break man that could make the difference, no matter how minute, in their progress forward? The boy didn’t harbor any illusions that he was something special, or that any of the others couldn’t simply beat him for outright usefulness, but in these situations every person counted. What if, by staying behind, he endangered them all?

Baron sighed, rubbing at his forehead. Looked like he would be going into Xenobia’s tower with the others, whether he doomed them or not.

About time you made your decision… the others are going to be leaving any time now. You should probably get running.

The Twin Blade froze for a moment as the advice from Higure sank in, and then immediately turned as he ran towards where the others would be meeting at the Chaos Gate. Decision made, he had to go after it full-sprint, or else he’d hesitate and probably get left behind. The latter was still an option, Baron mused, since he hadn’t considered the time it would take for him to come to this decision. The others were probably already leaving now, taking whatever means Demorian had whipped up for them to get to the tower with whatever convenience they could. Even now that he was sure what he was going to do, the Twin Blade started to worry that he wouldn’t make it in time and be left in this city alone.

Fortunately, the group was still there as Baron approached, though they were all standing around some sort of Chaos Gate with an image of a tower shimmering inside of it. Rings of light were descending already, transporting the group out of the area and towards the chosen tower; the Twin Blade put forth his full speed in order to try and catch up and hopefully get caught within the range of the teleportation mechanics. A few of the Freedom Fighters had vanished already, and the rest were almost gone. Baron gritted his teeth and sprinted as quickly as he could, praying that he wasn’t too late…

Golden rings surrounded him, and the Twin Blade was cast into the darkness that lay between locations.

---

Ugh… being caught in the end wake of that transportation is not something I want to repeat again.

Baron pushed himself up from the ground, brushing dirt out of his face. Looking up, he wasn’t surprised to find himself at the base of a giant tree, its enormous roots spreading across the nearby landscape. Go figure that the Elite of Wood (Nature? Baron was never really sure of her official title, and just sort of made it up on the spot) would use a gigantic tree as her tower. Considering her power over plants and people, the Twin Blade found it almost fitting that her stronghold would be this monstrosity. Insects, animals, and other living creatures were also present. That made the boy wonder if it was just plants and people that Xenobia had control over. What if it was life in general, as in living plants and animals, including people? If so, then she would be even more deadly than before, regardless of which side she was on.

The others had already gone inside, so the Twin Blade figured it was best not to dawdle. Quickly he ran after the other Freedom Fighters, squeezing into the opening in the trunk that provided the entrance to the tower. He was a slight person, and as a result the opening wasn’t too narrow for him. The larger members of their group would probably have a bit more difficulty squeezing through, but for the most part it was easy for Baron to make his way into the tower. The Twin Blade quickly emerged in the main room, only to receive a Flashmail from Demorian with a map of the rooms that had been displayed. Blinking in surprise, the Twin Blade sent a simple thanks back before examining what was before him. The map was pretty simplistic, not a lot to it so far; clearly the others hadn’t explored very far into its depths.

Well then, Baron decided it was time to explore the unvisited rooms on the map. A quick double-check of the visited rooms had a simple path laid out for him; first, he headed towards the left teleporter in the room, the one that was marked “A” on the map given to him. There was a weird, jarring sensation as he was transported between the two rooms, and then he was simply dropped a few inches to enter the next room. As tempted as he was to go through the GP that was supposedly hidden beneath the leaves, the Twin Blade figured that they were obvious traps. Xenobia was a hacker, she didn’t need GP. Would it really be so hard to program up infinite money? Baron just shrugged them off and quickly headed towards the next teleporter, which was on the left again. Takua’s group had apparently moved towards the right, which gave the Twin Blade his own room to explore.

The next room was smaller than the first two had been, probably about half the size, and had two teleporters like the original. There was also a wooden throne at the far end of the room, sitting right between the two teleporters. The throne itself was rather unremarkable, just a large, wooden seat in all practicality. Of course, it was out of place in this room simply due to the fact that there was a random throne in the middle of the maze, but besides that it was just an ordinary chair. Baron wondered if it was just a trap for the unwary or those who liked to risk fate, but regardless of who it was meant for, it was obviously set there for a reason. The temptation was there to just sit and see what happened, a morbid curiosity despite the trepidation of being alone in Xenobia’s tower, but Baron at least had the sense to realize it would be better to test it first.

The first step was to avoid being too close, in case the trap went off by proximity. Baron grabbed one of the two blades at his side, sliding it from its sheath and lining up his throw. After a moment he hurled the dagger across the distance, where it thudded into the wooden back of the chair. The Twin Blade tensed, expecting something to happen to him like the walls coming down or evil plants attacking. Fortunately, he was disappointed by the lack of reaction, meaning that a proximity trap was unlikely. That meant it was safe to approach, so Baron did so, watching his feet slightly as he went to avoid any wire lines his knife would not have tripped. The approach was uneventful, however, and the Twin Blade found himself right before the throne. The curiosity to sit down rose up again, but there was one more test that the boy wanted to perform before he tossed himself headfirst into the fire.

Rather than taking the dagger from its spot in the back of the chair, Baron lifted its twin from the other side of his waist and dropped it directly on the seat of the chair. Immediately he tensed up, expecting a trap again… only to once more be disappointed. Relaxing, the Twin Blade reached down and grabbed both of his weapons, sure now that the trap of this throne, whatever it was, didn’t relate to proximity to the throne or contact with the seat. That meant that the only possible trigger would be someone sitting directly on the wooden chair, at which point the trap would activate. But what if it wasn’t a trap? Baron considered that briefly. It was possible to create a path forward towards their destination, and then make it look like a trap to become a false lead. On average, people would shy away from such devices because they would expect to be ensnared in some kind of trap that would injure or even kill them, and as a result be lost in mazes like this forever.

Well, there’s only one way to find out…

Please tell me you’re not going to…

Baron turned and sat himself on the throne without hesitation. Yup.

Immediately the changes were triggered. The walls in the room simply vanished, revealing that the chamber was as large as the previous ones, only hidden behind false walls in order to conceal its overall size. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only thing hidden behind those walls; as the panels rose up, large rows of plants became visible. And they weren’t just any plants, but enormous flowers, four or five dozen of them rising as tall as a person. There were three colors, and they were somewhat evenly divided; among the patches at least half were white, half of the remaining were yellow, and the rest were red. All of them looked roughly the same aside from their color… until they started attacking.

The yellow flowers started spitting seeds out at Baron, who quickly jumped off of the throne and rolled forward. A few fireballs sputtered around his back and shoulders, but they were brushed off as the Twin Blade kept moving, releasing a Merrows at the row of offending plants. The fireballs seemed to have come from the red flowers, while the yellow ones merely shot seeds. Of the two, the former seemed a fair deal more deadly, so Baron kept his focus on those. He noted out of the corner of his eye that the Merrows had taken out several flowers, two of which were the red variety, while the other two were white. The latter hadn’t made any action yet, but considering their sheer number the Twin Blade was happier to see more flowers go than not.

A switch of weapons brought forth a Vak Rom that shot through the flowers like a firestorm of well… fire. Petals wilted and another two flowers, these white and yellow, fell to the ground and vanished in virtual death. However, Baron wasn’t fast enough to dodge, and was hit again. Burns peppered his body, light enough that they weren’t severe, but still very painful. The seeds weren’t much better, their hard shells cracking against the Twin Blade’s body, but at least it was just a few mild bruises as compared to the continuous burns. A Repth quickly healed the damage to his body, as the statistical effects within the game’s boundaries weren’t too bad, and the pain seeped away. A BiVak Rom erupted among another mass of flowers even as the healing spell wore off, withering two more white, a yellow, and a red.

Baron turned to go for another set of enemies when another spray of seeds hit him in the back, and everything froze up. The Twin Blade tried to move to avoid another barrage of attacks, but his muscles refused to move. The only thing that could shift was his eyes, and he quickly turned them to where he “saw” his status bar. Really it was more of a mental visualization that was part of his connection to the game, but it was accurate and showed him without a doubt that he was paralyzed. Grimacing, Baron continued to try and fight the magical spell that bound his muscles in place, doing his best to get moving and out of the line of fire. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even cast a spell to remove the Paralysis, let alone get out of the way. Seeds and fireballs sputtered across his body, the projectiles sending waves of pain up Baron’s body as he tried to get free.

Well, at least your body will make good fertilizer for Xenobia’s trap.

Not. Helping.

You’re the one who decided to come alone, without any help. Why not call for some? I’m sure your friends aren’t far off.

Baron felt a wave of irritation at Higure’s calm demeanor in this situation, the pain making it hard to concentrate. Technically you’re here, so I’m not alone. So why don’t you come out and help?

Oh I would, but you see, my allergies…

Baron knew when he was being made fun of, so he tuned out the wolf’s voice as he tried to figure a way out of this situation. His body refused to respond, however, and he couldn’t even flinch in response to the attacks peppering across his skin. His jacket was scorched and burned in patches, and though it dulled the impact of the seeds, his whole body ached in bruises. It was all the Twin Blade could do to grit his teeth to the pain and not cry out, though Higure could probably feel the mental and physical turmoil roiling through his mind. For a moment, Baron considered sending out that Flashmail. He needed help, and soon, or else he’d be a ghost. Better to at least warn the others what to expect so that if they came and resurrected him, so that they could handle the threat.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Baron
Subject: <none>

So there’s a room full of plants if you go left twice, and they’re not very nice. Room’s bigger than it looks, if you sit on the throne (don’t ask why I did) then the walls slide up to reveal the flowers. Half of them are white and haven’t done anything yet, while the other half is divided between red and yellow. The red ones spit fireballs, which really aren’t too pleasant, while the yellow ones spit seeds that apparently have a chance of Paralysis. I don’t know if they have any other status ailments, but I’m paralyzed and probably about to die so…


Just then, Baron’s paralysis wore off, and he blinked in surprise. Of course, he had the sense not to sit still, and he quickly cast a Repth while running away from the larger groups of flowers, trying his best to avoid more damage. A few more attacks still hit, but they were minimal and overall the Twin Blade escaped serious harm. Quickly he sent out another Flashmail while retreating, keeping himself mobile to avoid damage.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Baron
Subject: <none>

Nevermind! I’m okay. But yeah, watch out for the flowers.


Once the Flashmail was sent off, Baron headed towards another group of flowers and tried to slash through them, seeing as his magic was only having limited effect and he only had so much SP. The Twin Blade hadn’t had the chance to restock his Mage’s Souls since he had gotten to town last either, so he didn’t have many and couldn’t restore his SP quickly. Instead he focused on a more physical approach, using his knives to try and cut through the thick stalks of a yellow flower. Unfortunately, the blades turned aside as if blunted and dull, with no effect. Baron quickly tumbled past the group he was trying to cut, and moved back to the center of the room, not too close to any one group in order to have a bit more room to dodge.

It seemed that the plants were immune to a physical attack on their stalks, so Baron realized he would have to resort to magic, removing as many of the remaining flowers as he could until his SP ran low, after which he would have to run. Tossing another BiVak Rom at the flowers, the Twin Blade targeted as large of a group as he could find in order to take out as many as he could. Two white flowers and two yellow flowers died, but in the distraction of casting the spell, Baron was nailed by another round of attacks. Thankfully another round of paralysis didn’t follow, which suggested that the activation rate was rather low for their effect. That was a bit of a relief, as the Twin Blade didn’t really like the thought of dying alone and waiting for the others while lost within Xenobia’s maze.

Another BiVak Rom tore through a group of flowers, incinerating a pair in white and red, but a following GiRai Don destroyed none, despite being a more powerful spell. Baron found himself a bit frustrated at that, as he tended to favor the Rai element and its powerful lightning strikes, but it would make sense for plants to wilt away from heat and flame. Still, the Twin Blade’s SP was getting low, and he couldn’t afford to keep bombarding the flowers when there were still so many remaining. Quickly, he darted for the teleporters that led out of the room, picking one at random and noting its direction. It was the one on the right, he was fairly sure, which made his directions so far left, left, right. The teleporter moved him away rapidly, thankfully, which meant that the plants didn’t get any more chunks out of his hide before he vanished.

The next room had Baron dropping the usual few inches to the ground, but as he had practically dived into the teleporter, his balance was off. The Twin Blade fell face-down in the grass and loam of the room, the smell of fresh grass filling his nostrils. It was a natural, earthy smell, which felt so out of place even in a tower dedicated to nature; this whole construct was a virtual world, and the woman who controlled the land itself did so by manipulating data. Baron had not yet adjusted to the feeling of being in a real, living world even while being within a constructed game; it was rather eerie. It was just such a weird sensation to experience everything despite its lack of reality.

Remember that for us, this is reality. In essence, it’s like a god stepping down to a human’s level, with a creation seeming so natural.

Baron gave Higure a mental nod even as he pushed himself to his feet, groaning at the fresh injuries on his body. A Repth spell restored his health and removed the bruises and burns coating him, and even managed to patch up his clothing to look good as new. The room was quiet thus far, so the Twin Blade took a quick breather to restore his SP; after all, running headfirst into more traps without any preparation was going to be the death of him. Well, that was assuming his voluntary wandering into traps didn’t get him killed first; Baron was not turning out to be a treasure hunter material despite the self-proclaimed title. Then again, treasure hunters always triggered traps in the movies, so maybe he was cut out for the job; who knew? Regardless he needed to prepare for the potential traps ahead.

While the Twin Blade let his SP recover, he took the time to look at the room around him. It was standard for the maze’s rooms, with two teleporters to the left and right. However, the unique feature to this room was a humanoid statue made of wood against the far wall, and a shelf with several glittering objects next to it. Baron’s eyes were drawn to the shiny things, as they tended to be, but he restrained himself from simply walking across the room and taking them. After all, treasures in Xenobia’s tower were unlikely; either they were used in some form of a trap, or some form of passage forward. It was the same conundrum as with the throne in the last room; solving this room could lead deeper into the tower, but it could also be a trap like the flowers in the last room.

Well, there was only one way to find out. Once his SP was good to go, Baron strode across the room to do a little exploring. The objects on the shelf were crystalline hearts, one for each Wavemark color. Red for Vak, green for Juk, brown for Gan, blue for Rue, purple for Ani, and yellow for Rai; all six elements were represented in the row of objects. Baron didn’t know what the crystalline hearts could be used for immediately, but he figured if it was a trap to take even one, he might as well find out. Without hesitation, the boy reached over and grabbed the yellow heart, seeing as Rai was his favorite element anyway, though at the moment Vak was probably his strongest one. It couldn’t hurt to stick with a favorite if it was going to bite him in the rear anyway, right?

Upon closing his hand upon the crystal heart, Baron expected to be struck by lightning or something. He was distantly disappointed, but at the same time relieved that this didn’t seem to be a trap so far. Looking around, the Twin Blade wondered if the heart had some use in this room; it wasn’t implausible that the heart could be used elsewhere in the maze, like a key for a hidden door, but he figured it was best to be certain. With that, the boy’s eyes were drawn towards the statue of a man, carved in fine detail in all but the face. The whole statue was a solid object rather than a jointed mannequin, but it still had enough details to it to define muscles, body parts… it was almost realistic at points except for a very vague and undefined face.

For some reason, Baron doubted it was just decoration. A closer examination of the chest confirmed it, showing a panel that swung out on hinges. Without having to think hard on the matter, the Twin Blade opened the panel and put the crystal heart into the exposed cavity. Nothing happened, so he immediately closed the panel. This time there was an incredibly loud “click!” that echoed throughout the room. With its reverberations, it was possible that the sound had echoed through all of the maze, rather than just this room. The Twin Blade brought a hand down to the weapons at his waist, expecting some sort of trap to trigger. His whole body was tense as he waited for something to unveil itself, his feet planted and ready to propel him away from danger. All he could do was wait and watch…

I’ve been thinking about something.

Baron reactively jumped as Higure spoke to him, startled out of his focus. Did you have to do that right now?

No, not really, but clearly nothing else is happening right now. Anyway, I just realized the pattern to the flowers from before. Every time a white one died, another flower died with it. Perhaps they’re connected, and so if you kill the white flowers the red and yellow ones will die, while vice-versa nothing will die. Might want to communicate that to the others who are passing through.

Baron wanted to roll his eyes at the wolf, but it was valuable information. He figured it would be best to pass on the information, so he drew up a quick Flashmail for everyone. This one even came with a subject, as he had the time to write it instead of working on the run.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Baron
Subject: Flower Info and other things

Hey, about time I got a subject line in, what with how crazy it’s been here. Anyway, more info on the flowers from that one room I was telling you all about; they seem to be linked by the white flowers, so if you kill those the rest should die.

That aside, this next room, which is through the right teleporter (so left, left, right so far) has a statue with a chest cavity and a shelf with six crystal hearts whose colors match the six Wave elements. I put the yellow heart in, and you all might have heard a loud click; nothing else has happened so far, however, so no worries. I haven’t killed us yet! Gonna try with another heart in a moment to see if there’s any other effect, then move on.


Once the Flashmail was sent, Baron moved back to the shelf with all of the crystal hearts and grabbed the purple one. He figured since he had put in the “Rai” heart (which was still just an assumption at the moment), then the “Ani” heart would be a good balance to potentially counter whatever mischief he might have caused. Opening the chest cavity again, Baron was surprised that there was nothing in it anymore; the yellow heart seemed to have vanished completely. The Twin Blade shrugged and placed the purple heart in, figuring that it was time to find out if the vanishing trick was a one-time thing only. He closed the chest door behind it again, expecting the same resounding noise as before.

What actually happened, however, was a complete surprise. The statue started glowing with a purple aura, and Baron started to get an eerie sensation. Before he could ask Higure if the wolf sensed anything, the statue fired a beam of the same off-purple color towards the teleporter on the left, vanishing completely upon doing so. The Twin Blade stared curiously at the beam as it vanished, wondering what it had just triggered. Perhaps it was some sort of key to open a door after all, and that beam had just unlocked the way forward. Figuring that it wouldn’t help to just stand around, Baron headed towards the teleporter and stepped onto it, waiting to see what waited on the other side.

The new room was slightly different from the others, with only one teleporter on the far side. There was also a ghostly player floating behind it, watching Baron appear with an almost detached gaze. The Twin Blade shivered at the stare, but let it go; he figured that this person, whoever he was, was some soloist who had tried to challenge Xenobia’s tower and failed, now doomed to haunt the halls of it. Clearly it was a hacked player of some kind; Baron didn’t see any weapons anywhere on the man, and his class was indeterminable. Well, whoever he was, the ghost wasn’t doing anything but floating there; he hadn’t even asked for a Resurrect. In fact, he just stayed there completely silently, staring at the Twin Blade.

I have a bad feeling about this…

You and me both, but I figure we might get an ally out of this, so let’s try…

Baron cleared his throat, figuring he could start off cordially enough. “Hey there. Solo trip through the tower not working out so well?”

The man’s eyes moved up and down, noting faint burn marks on Baron’s body. “Apparently not.”

The words were meant to be a jab at Baron, but the boy rolled with the punches, hoping to avoid offending the ghosted player. “ Yeah, me neither. So, need a Resurrect?”

“I do not.” The ghost made his first real expression, grinning softly. Even in the mid-level lighting, Baron noticed fangs quite clearly protruding from the man’s mouth. Oh joy, a vampire-hacked player. The Twin Blade had to wonder if the guy could actually suck someone’s blood or something with them. Honestly, he didn’t want to find out.

“Nice teeth ya got there. So, you don't want me to revive you, or can you hack yourself back to life?”

“Neither is necessary. Indeed, that's a skill you may wish you had.”

That much was true. "Oh believe me, I wish I do. It would make solo ventures like these much easier, and I wouldn't have to keep calling for help. Quite accident prone, you see. So, mind if I revive you anyway? Not like I'm doing anything else with my SP anyway.”

“Best save it. I fancy as even a duel as possible.”

Now what was that supposed to mean? Was the player suggesting that upon revival he’d attack Baron, and didn’t think he was worth it? Baron remembered Takua’s Flashmail that told of a four-armed Twin Blade, who was supposed to have two allies in the dungeon. One was supposed to be super-powerful, the other was supposed to have a great treasure. Well, chances were fifty-fifty, and it was possible that the ghost was bluffing to defend his treasure… well, Baron figured that it might be worth a shot. Before he did so, however, he sent out a quick Flashmail of his own to warn the party in advance for what they might be facing.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Baron
Subject: Warning

Two things. First, I used the purple heart and it fired some sort of beam at this teleporter, and when I took it I was put in a room with another ghosted player. Can’t tell what he is, though he might be a vampire with his teeth. Meant that more about his class, but anyway. Second thing is that he’s threatening me and saying he’s pretty powerful… he might be the super-powerful one that Takua mentioned, or he might be bluffing to conceal a treasure. I’m going to resurrect him, and if he’s the powerful one I’m probably going to die. But I’d like you guys to hurry and come to me; from the entrance it’s left, left, right, left. Also, try and put one more crystal heart in the statue’s chest on the way; I’m curious to see what effect it might have, since this one had a beam sent to this room.


With that, Baron raised a hand towards the ghost. “Rip Maen.”

Color flooded back into the player as he was resurrected, but immediately upon his revival he started to float. Floating was never a good sign, and when players did it without any sort of wings or some sort of device to help their flight, it generally meant a lot of power. Baron had a sinking feeling that this man wasn’t bluffing before, and that he really was the super powerful ghost in the maze. Even as he floated there, a dozen black tentacles of shadow rose from his back and started lashing around in the air, almost seeming like they were hungry as they hung behind the man. The former ghost merely arched his back like he was preparing something, ready to attack.

Baron quickly reached for his blades, ready to act, but he was too slow; suddenly, the vampire was right in his face, a hand around Baron’s throat even as he slammed the Twin Blade into the wall. “Far too late.” The boy struggled, trying to break free, but he was unable to; whatever this hacked player was, he really was incredible. It was going to take a miracle to beat him, even some backup; right now, however, Baron had to survive. A hand was raised and pressed to the vampire’s chest even as the Twin Blade’s weapons were switched out for the new set he had obtained from the Fire Master. It was time to see what these weapons could do.

“Vulcan Ch.”

An explosion of fire should have rocketed the two apart as the summoned dragon of fire and melted stone rose from the ground, its blazing heat tearing through all in the room. Most of that happened, but the vampire didn’t flinch as he took the hit, and some of the backlash hit Baron as well, sending searing burns across his front. Maybe the former ghost didn’t flinch, but the Twin Blade certainly did, gasping out as the flames hit him hard. If this was just the backlash, what had the full spell been like? And just how powerful was this vampire that he could just shrug off the hit? That thought left a cold sweat on Baron’s face despite the heat from his summon-type spell; his opponent was far beyond the Twin Blade’s level, meaning that this fight would be over in short order, and not in the best of ways—

Suddenly Baron’s eyes widened, and he tried to gasp in pain, but no sound came. For a moment there was numbness, and the Twin Blade looked down to see his stomach and chest skewered by several of the tentacles. There was a jarring, ripping sensation, and he felt himself getting weaker; it was obvious that the tentacles, whatever they were, were starting to drain away his health. It created a semi-lethargic feeling that dulled the pain but didn’t make it go away in the least; Baron wanted to scream but one of the tentacles was dangerously near his lungs, and was making it difficult to breathe, let alone do anything else.

The Twin Blade tried to break free, releasing another powerful spell after restoring some of his missing health with a Repth. This time the GiRai Don crashed down, powerful lightning bolts slamming into the vampire… who once again shrugged it off. Another lurch left Baron feeling impossibly weak as more of his HP was drained away by the tentacles stabbed through him, but before he could be overtaken by death, the Twin Blade was tossed across the room with a casual flick of the vampire’s wrist. He bounced across the floor several times, feeling fresh bruises form on his body, but he hardly noticed them compared to the blood quickly draining from his body. A pair of Ol Repths fixed him up, thankfully sewing shut the gaping wounds, but the drained feeling still persisted; that was an uncomfortable sensation.

Baron tried to dash for the teleporter and get out of the room while he still could, but landing on it did nothing; it was inert at the moment. The Twin Blade swore as he realized that it was probably keyed to this room’s “boss” and wouldn’t unlock until the vampire was defeated. Baron hoped it was only a one-way lock so that his allies could get in when they arrived; if he was left alone, he was done for.

I think you’ll need my help here, then.

Baron nodded, and immediately Higure activated his Overdrive Ex-Sphere, which caused the two of them to merge with his Soul of Darkness power. For a moment the Twin Blade’s vision was halved as an eyepatch appeared on his left eye, but after a moment it adjusted and his sight returned despite the apparent blinding on one side. Power surged through him as the fusion completed, the equivalent of four Ap spells boosting his strength, evasion, speed, and Ani element upwards in order to increase his capabilities in battle. With his stats a bit more up to par, the Twin Blade tried to call upon the power Libra had left for him, the one that was supposed to be used for the Zodiac. With Baron’s Twilight, however, the ability that had been given to him had a much wider use.

“Equivalence!”

There was almost a shift to the air, a bit of white noise causing static to crackle across the room. Everything seemed to double, triple as multiple after-images formed from the sudden shift in the vampire’s code. Essentially, Libra’s ability was meant to create a balance, and in this case it weakened far more powerful enemies in order to bring their level down to Baron’s, meaning that the fight would be far more even. The vampire staggered, affected by the Twin Blade’s Twilight ability, but he was far from down. Even after being hit with an ability that would severely weaken his strengths, assuming that he was hacked to a level far above Baron’s, the vampire was ready to fight. The Twin Blade, with Higure’s powers merged into him, was more than happy to oblige.

Baron leapt forward even as his weapons shifted, his Raikoumaru taking the fore. “Tempest Strike!” He spun in mid-motion, his blades glowing powerfully with the Rai element as thunder crackled down each weapon. The Twin Blade’s spin had his blades cutting through the vampire six different times with the power of an Ap-enhanced Level 3 Skill; it was nothing to simply scoff at when the vampire was down to his level. Indeed, the man took a fair amount of damage, but even so it was hardly enough to drive him back. Baron, despite the triumph at using his newfound abilities to do some damage, suddenly found his ego flattened along with his face as he was backhanded across the room, once more sliding across the stones.

Damn, what do I have to do to this guy to keep him down? He hits like a truck, too…

Baron, use this! The Twin Blade was directed to an item in his inventory as Higure pointed it out, his hand finding a scroll. Quickly he removed it and red the name across the case: “The Judgment.” Oh, that was one of the hacked scrolls that he had bought in the Yamiyo Bazaar. It was supposed to instantly kill the player or enemy who had done the most damage within a battle, making it useful against enemies who were excessively powered. Enemies like this one, Baron supposed; quickly he unwrapped and activated the scroll, causing a brilliant white light to fill the entire room. It blinded him even as it filled every nook and cranny, a solid wall of white that swallowed everything.

And then it was gone. The vampire was back to his ghosted state; clearly, the scroll had worked as intended and killed the man. Baron let himself relax, his weapons slowly slid towards their sheaths... right until the ghosted player moved up and hit the Twin Blade across the face. The boy went flying into the far wall, groaning from the impact. What the hell was that! Ghosted players weren’t supposed to be able to attack living ones; clearly this was another hack. Was the man really that powerful, that he could fight even while dead? Was he immortal, making him essentially impossible to defeat? If so, things were about to get ugly.

“GiRai Don!” More lightning streaked down, but the bolts had even less of an effect than before, and the vampire shrugged it off. That tactic wasn’t working, so Baron figured it would be best to try another. A Mage’s Soul was quickly downed, and then the Twin Blade pulled out a scroll from his pouch. The Fool was meant to be a charm to Confuse enemies and cause them to attack random targets, and it was followed by a Suvi Lei and a Mumyn Lei spell in order to afflict the ghost with Paralyze and Sleep. Even if he was powerful, there was always a chance that one would stick and debilitate the vampire somewhat, making it easier to survive. Of course, not one affected him.

One minute left on my powers, Baron… you’ll need to hold out until the others get here. Do whatever you can to keep away for now.

Right… sending the Flashmail now.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Baron
Subject: <none>

Help! Man in room LLRL is a vampire who is excessively powerful, can even attack me while ghosted. I can’t even leave the room because the teleporter is linked to him; I need backup asap! Watch out, his tentacles will stab into you and drain your HP.

_________________
Character Information
Baron | Level 47 Twin Blade [100/1000 EXP] | 891 HP / 265 SP
Weapon: Fishskin
Armor: Emperor's Crown/Bone Armor/Thunder Gloves/Ninja Anklet
Accessories/Books: Ethereal Angel Wings, Silver Grunty
Skills: Thunder Coil, Gale of Swords
Spells: Merrows, GiRai Don, BiVak Rom, GiGan Zot, Rai Don, Ani Don, Duk Lei
GP: 750 (As of 8/2/15)
Wishlist: Nny Scales, Lucky Shoes, Saint Cross, Greave Sticker, Pet EX-Levels/Spheres(!)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:33 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:50 am
Posts: 114
The scratching motions of the twin blade’s fingers were pretty much on automatic although they had slowed some; her mind pondering on irrelevant things. Why did petting or scratching an animal provide calm and comfort to the person doing it? How could just the sound of a voice or the roar of ocean waves crashing do the same? Perhaps, if everything worked out like Takua, and everyone else for that matter, hoped then maybe she would get herself a dog. It would have to be a black one, to remind her of Shadow. With just that one simple thought, Talal could feel the emotion building up inside again but she was determined to not let it get in the way for as long as possible. Like she had told Takua, she wasn’t mentally ready to lose contact with everyone in the group. Some of them much more than others but really she was not willing to lose any of them regardless. They were the closest thing she had to a family either in or out of The World and she liked the feeling it gave her. She wasn’t sure how long she had been lost in thought. Time was hard to track in The World, especially when one kept getting lost in thoughts like she did. Or, as the group had been doing, continue to go from place to place, fight to fight, without any kind of real breather except to purchase more items. Somehow though, they just all kept going, driven by a will that was so deeply inlayed into all of them that not one of them would be able to put it into words. Of that the girl was certain.

Shadow suddenly tensed, shifting his weight causing the girl to come out of her trance like state. Takua, along with his new traveling companion Vesica, were approaching. Shadow took a few steps, putting himself in between Talal and the snow leopard and emitted a low growl to which Canti immediately face palmed at. Talal wasn’t sure whether Shadow’s placement was one of protection or just one of ‘me dog, you cat – I don’t want you here. GO AWAY!’. Perhaps it was a bit of both. Would Shadow and Vesica even know that dogs and cats were technically mortal enemies in the real world? If not, then the latter option of his stance would not be the case. However, the female Twin Blade did find a bit of humor in the situation, mostly because it was basically a big black dog that belonged to a Twin Blade who used dark flame versus a big fluffy pure white ice kitty. Color AND background being polar opposites. Perhaps that was the cause for the tension in the air?

The banter between the two animals, although brief, was both serious from their point of view, a little comical for everyone else and for Talal…well, she kind of liked the protective side of Shadow. Talal stayed out of it since Canti stepped in, convincing Shadow that she would be okay. Although his reasoning was possibly a bit misconstrued considering the unknown tension between the Twin Blade and the Wavemaster that could be set off by the smallest irritation, but Canti wouldn’t have known about that. The girl walked back up to Shadow for a moment and smiles, reaching up to stroke his side from shoulder to back. ”I appreciate you looking out for me. I should be fine with Takua. He won’t let the big kitty do anything to hurt me and I need to discuss a few things with him. Privately, she wasn’t too sure how much control the boy actually had over the snow leopard but there was no need to give Shadow any cause to feel he should accompany her. With the current situation, it was really better if none of them traveled to the Bazaar alone and she knew Canti wouldn’t care if he were alone or not. He had that little bit of arrogance about him in that way. Truly, he was just being a guy. ”I promise I will message you if things get out of hand but I think Canti might need you too. After all, you exist to be here for him and it would make me feel better knowing you are watching his back while I’m gone.” There was a lot of feeling behind her words, not that she knew if the big hound was perceptive enough to tell.

”I’ll keep him safe.”

With that, Talal took a fist full of fur and squeezed briefly before releasing, walking away towards Takua and Vesica, and whispered knowing Shadow would hear her. ”Thank you, Shadow. It means a lot to me”..

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Trip to the Bazaar with Takua turned into much more than a shopping trip and a ‘let’s air out the closets’ kind of conversation. Talal learned a lot about herself, her abilities, how little control over them she really had and in the end, that like it or not, it seemed she had more people watching out for her than she knew and weren’t shy about forcing her to grow in all aspects; mind, body, soul. Primarily confidence was there key target, no matter what they had to do to get the young Twin Blade to believe in herself and chuck the timid and shy outer exterior. For this round…it meant complete and utter embarrassment that she had little control over due to the time constraints on the party. She also now had a better understanding of what Takua was going through. Honestly, she wasn’t sure if knowing really helped as much as she had hoped but his reasoning at least was plausible. He wasn’t the only one that had paranoia’s and fears but she wasn’t going to go and compare notes and lists with him either. Talal’s were more emotionally based anyway and not due to any kind of mental disorder.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Talal, to her surprise, arrived early; Nighthand being the only other member of their party to have arrived before her. She may have come to a comfort point walking through the bazaar in her new outfit but the minute she came within eyesight of someone from the group, she immediately became self conscious and chose to stay back from where the Heavyblade stood. She watched from a short distance, her backside up against a building to hide the revealing slits in her skirt; her hair strategically draped forward over both shoulders. Kira had had full say over the design of the Twin Blade’s outfit while Sekai and December had kept her calm and busy out in the other room of the Tailor’s shop. The purple and lavender 3-piece would not have been the shy girl’s first or even second choice should she have been making the decisions. However, once it was made, Talal didn’t want to be disrespectful to the tailors who made it.

The Long Arm’s way of forcing confidence into the young girl was indeed a different approach. The top was a triangle shaped halter that simply went up around the neck, down along the sides covering just enough of the sides of her chest to say “covered” and wrapping tightly around her mid-section just under the cleavage that had been well hidden in her previous attire, leaving from her midsection to her waist bare. A bikini thong was loosely covered by a draping, slitted skirt. The one short panel in the front hit roughly half-way between her thighs and the top of her knees and covered from the middle of each leg/thigh across to the other. The back and side panels draped down to just below her knees. The slits that separated them revealed the side strap of the bikini at a quick glance and the bare skin of her leg and bum if someone were to take a closer, longer look and the air was moving just right; at least when she was standing still. Rai and Gan symbols were decoratively embroidered into the skirt panels. Thankfully, her long black hair that was simply pulled back on top into a braid, leaving the sides and back of her hair loose with another rope twisted braid on either side down the front, covered most of the cleavage that was apparent through the triangle shaped opening in the front of her halter. This, she felt, Kira was getting her kicks from, knowing how shy she had been back in the prison with that one size too small garb they called a prison uniform. Talal couldn’t even bring herself to think about what would show once they had to engage in a serious battle and just hoped that her adrenaline would make her zone away from even thinking about it.

Takua was the next to arrive, still walking gingerly from their “discussion” in the bazaar. Talal felt bad that she had caused him harm and wouldn’t forgive herself very easily even if she tried to convince him she was okay after it had happened. She left the pair alone, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, keeping her backside to the wall; her face slowly turning a darker shade of pink. Everyone was beginning to arriver one after the other now, the girls sauntering in and glancing in the Twin Blade’s direction as they walked by her. Kira, looking like the devil incarnate, a shit eating grin on her face and a wicked glint in her eye. December simply smiling with a highly entertained expression which Talal was still unsure on how to take. They were a band of girls and Kira and Sekai were ‘attached’ to one another. The young girl felt it was one of a physical nature as well as the emotional simply by the way each of them reacted to the other. December, although part of ‘the group’ seemed to be only attached by Sekai’s ability that created their pact and a caring nature but not much else. Canti and Shadow arrived next, literally running to the entrance. Talal watched with curiosity and concern but was only met with a glare from her fellow Twin Blade.

She was happy when the group was whisked away by a variation of a Chaos Gate to the tower. Traveling across the Wastes was hard the first time and wasted valuable resources to some extent. They were going to need everything, well hopefully not, that everyone had deemed necessary to bring in the way of items, scrolls, and extra little trinkets. When the rings dissipated, the way in seemed to be through a group of teleporters. It seemed reasonable to her that they should all go in through the same one, but before she had considered all the options in her head, Canti, Shadow, Takua, Sekai, December, Kira, and Baron had all stepped up and were gone. It didn’t take long for the flashmail’s to start flying. Everytime she thought she was ready to take her turn and a telepad, another flashmail would arrive. Canti finally popped up asking the group for suggestion on how to proceed. A few flashmail’s later and Talal had her destination. From the sounds of things, the rooms that the pads took everyone to weren’t exactly solo traveler friendly. She followed the exact path that the dark Twin Blade had taken, making sure not to touch anything along the way. Before long, she had arrived to find Canti hovering next to Shadow, cross-legged like a genie floating next to their bottle. She chuckled and couldn’t help herself.

”Hey! Nice place you have here. You look like a Genie floating around like that. Does that mean I get three wishes? Heh” There was a smile on her face and a slight curl to her grin. Canti turned in mid-air, only slightly surprised by her arrival. But then again, she hadn’t stopped along the way to take in any of the views going through the rooms so…

Canti let off a smirk. ”Maybe so, but alls I can grant you are items, the contents of that chest, or show you the door.”

She crossed her arms and chuckled, looking around the room at each of the options presented like she was considering them and then nodded. ”I tell you what, Mr. Genie, I will hold onto my wishes for now. Never know when they might come in handy.”

”All well and good, but the chest and the door still have to be taken care of.” At this he stopped hovering and stood up. ”Baron’s flash mails make me think he found the ‘really hard guy’ the other ghost was bragging about. Makes me a little less wary of what we have here….with on exception.”

Talal walked over towards Shadow and offered her normal greeting of a scratch behind the ear before turning to her fellow Twin Blade nodding. ”I agree about Baron’s discovery. Is the one exception in this room the chest?” The large hell hound appeared to take to her ear-scratching, which in turn left Canti raising an eyebrow for a second, then shrugging. ”No, I think the chest is the Big McLargeHuge treasure now, assuming that wasn’t a lie in the first place. The teleporter… might be the final door. Maybe.”

The young girl pondered the idea for bit, her fingers on automatic scratch motion. ”Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the final door be in the room with the Vampire? I mean, you got to this room by luck of the teleporters… well, and surviving getting blown up.” With the last comment, her thoughts briefly traveled through memories of both Canti and Takua and how… similar they were when it came to act first, think later actions. Or at least, when things tended to backfire on them and blow them up, that’s they way it seemed to everyone else.

”The blue chest may’ve just been an ordinary trap chest. I forgot about those things. Still, to come in here… I had to question whether or not the skull and crossbones written in blood was a bluff or a double-bluff, and the peanut gallery could only tell me that both were possible, because it’s Xenobia. It could be straightforward like you said, or…” Canti eyed the teleporter. ”Well, I’d just like to be prepared. I dunno about this room yet.”

The scratching motions stopped, the young girl flashing a quick smile at the bogie and then turned and walked over towards the chest eyeing the plants. ”Have you looked in and around the plants yet? Probably really far fetched but maybe there is a hidden switch or key for the chest.”

”We did actually look around the room, though I’m hesitant to disturb anything. I have the strangest feeling that the gems are landmines.” Talal quickly jerked her hand back from the gem she was reaching out to gently rub across and gasped lightly. ”Oh! Interesting feeling. If we only had a rock or something we could toss at one of them to test that theory.” She shuffled around in her pouch bag a bit.

”I considered tossing some of my old equipment at it, but I’m worried about a chain reaction.”

The shuffling stopped. Talal looked at Canti in a playful huff. ”You have obviously had way too much time in here already to think. Has anyone ever told you that you are too logical, heh?” She was in a teasingly playful mood. Considering what the team was trying to accomplish, probably not the best of timing but the dark clad Twin Blade and his canine companion had a way of making her feel at ease without doing much more than being present. Why that was, she wasn’t sure. Looking around the room, the girl looked down and filled with embarrassment; both hands quickly pulled portions of her long hair forward over her shoulders, allowing them to drape down in front of her covering the majority of the bare skin that Kira’s choice of clothing left exposed. Without missing a beat, she went right back into figuring out the room, hoping that she acted quickly enough to lessen any further embarrassment. ”Alright, so we have to try something. There’s too many shinies in this room to just leave it alone and jump on the telepad.”

Canti blinked, the girl hoping it was because of her comment and not…something else. ”No, they don’t usually say that one. So, in light of that, I’m game. However, I’d like to try the chest before the bo- I mean, the gems.” Before she could offer more than a nod, he had a wire of some sort that she had never seen. Canti spread his wings and positioned himself above the chest holding out the wire. What is he going to do with a wire? Ah well, chalk it up on the list of questions to ask later I guess.

”Steady now… You two be ready, in case something happens.”

Not liking the sound of what Canti was saying, Talal comically took a few steps to the side and backward, disappearing behind Shadow; peaking up just far enough from behind the bogies side that only her face from the nose up was visible. Thankfully, nothing did happen…at least no explosions or stranger creatures escaping. What did happen was a golden glow that came from inside the chest preventing any of them from seeing what was inside. The black-winged Twin Blade continued to pull back on the lid. ”Shadow, Ap Do please.” The hellhound obliged his master and provided the boost. Once the lid was fully open, the glow faded. Canti peered into the chest and watched as items materialized inside. It was like the glow was meant to hide them, but it didn’t quite last long enough. Talal walked over and took her own peek inside seeing six scrolls and a pair of blades. The scrolls looked different than the usual ones. They were only sold in Yamiyo just like some of the Tarot cards and other items. There were two scrolls each of Bind, Bind Krake and Disrobe. The blades were a rare set of Blades of Bond. Talal eyed them because of the Rai affiliated attack. She was partial to both Rai and Gan, but would let Canti have first choice if he wanted them. He, after all, was the one that opened the chest and not cowering behind Shadow. Not even thinking, Talal just instinctively reached in and grabbed up the scrolls to remove them. Thankfully, it didn’t trigger any traps or anything else that was bad. It appeared to be a regular treasure chest with items in it for the taking. Although she did notice that the lid to the chest was now locked in the open position and wouldn’t close, so it was probably safe to bet that no one else would find this room very valuable. It made her wonder just how many people had actually found the room on their way through the maze? Perhaps the chest did reset after a certain amount of time but there was no way to tell and she wasn’t planning on coming back to the room in the future to find out. Canti in turn, removed the blades to inspect them and then handed them out for Talal to take from him.

”I think you’d better take these.”

To say she was surprised would be an understatement. She wasn’t sure why he chose to give them to her rather than keep them for himself but she graciously accepted them and stowed them away holding out the pile of scrolls in her hands. ”Thank You! Take what you like of the scrolls. There are two of each of them.” He accepted… ”One of each, then”… then looked around at the gems around the room. Before you knew it, Canti was literally chucking his old Level-1 sandals at a sizable gem farther off, away from both the teleporter and the chest. All Talal had time to do was gasp, squat, cover her head and hope for the best. The sandals to everyone’s surprise simply bounced off the wall and landed on the floor with a thud. No explosions, no ghosting….nothing. Dark brown eyes slowly rose up from their hiding place in the girl’s knees just in time to catch a glimpse of her fellow Twin Blade’s deadpan look.

”…well, I feel stupid.”

She stood up, re-adjusting her clothing, pulling things together where she could and making sure her hair was neatly draped in both front and back. She wanted to admit that she had the same idea but decided it was best to change the subject. ”Well, that leaves the teleporter. But, if this is a treasure room, will getting back on the pad take us forward.. or in reverse back the way we came? Aren’t the treasure rooms always at the end of the dungeon?” Once again, the fact that she had really only gone through about three or four dungeons before getting herself involved with the Eventide Crescendo proved not very useful in knowing how things worked in The World.

”Usually. But then, this isn’t your usual dungeon. If I remember my last tower, I ended up in a backstabby sort of situation. Let’s get going.” Shadow looked up at Canti with a ‘are you going to drop me on that thing again?’ look….somehow, to which the dark clad Twin Blade was quick to acknowledge. ”Oh, we’ll be right behind you.” Shadow then led the way followed by Canti and Talal.

The three companions emerged back at the entrance only to find that everyone else had gone into the maze except Nighthand, Demorian, Nall and Sheena. Which also meant they had not found the right path into the tower. Very discouraging.

((OOC: extended/edited because I didn't like where I left it originally and there is still more editing to come due to some more scripting and actions and such. Sorry it's taking so long. :D ))

((OOC - Part deux: aannnndd, editing complete.))

_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.
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Talal
Image
Level 39 (0/1000 EXP) Twin Blade

Weapons/Armor: Mukuro (Swirling Dark, Dark Dance), Ice Hunter Cap (Repth), Wristbands (Juk Rom), Fishing Gloves (Rue Kruz), Wyrm Hide (Gan Don), Snow Panther (Ap Vorv)

Wish List: Scrolls, Tarot Cards, and Armor higher than level 30.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Exalted Player

Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 3:58 pm
Posts: 288
Location: In da' plains of hell, natch.
(While waiting on people, Canti was sort of sitting in mid-air, the theme of Flash Gordon playing riiight up until Talal appeared, sooner than expected. The music stopped and Canti flinched when she mentioned his genie-like position. After a bit of joking around, the two of them got down to business with the room. With Talal's presence, at least whatever happened wouldn't happen with him isolated. If he died, she could revive him. If she died, well...the same. So, no worries. The funny thing was how Talal remarked on him having too much time to think Have you SEEN some of his actions? These were not the works of a great thinker. Still, that aside, the Big McLargeHuge treasure chest. Taking such precautions as Ap Do from Shadow, Talal on battle standby, and so on...the chest was opened and they found...that it was not boobytrapped. Instead, it granted unto them some nice items, the prize of which - Twin Blade weapons - he gave to Talal after scanning it a second. Now that he'd gotten his own new-and-shiny Vampire Blades, there was no reason for him to have these Blades of Bond. So, that was handled and the scrolls were divided equally. Afterwhich, Canti chucked his old Level-1 Sandals at an embedded gem in the room and felt stupid when nothing happened. So saying, they moved on to the teleporter and found themselves...back at the beginning with the others! clearing his throat...)

Canti: Good news, everyone! We found the treasure room and that single teleporters that don't lead to Xenobia should lead us back here.

(Mostly, it was just Nall with a smile and a thumbs-up that made up the reaction there. Hey, it was progress. Right now, though, it seemed that everyone else was pre-occupied with things...like Sheena over Nall, Demorian over something technical, and Nighthand looking prepared to step on the teleporter here.)

"We should go help Baron, or at least one of us should. Perhaps split up so that we can help, but also explore the other teleporters?"

Canti: Actually, that brings up the question... He's fighting a guy who's lethal even as a ghost. Any ideas?

"I'm going to go help him. I could probably use some backup in case there's a gimmick that needs multiple people to solve, but if you want to explore, go ahead. If nothing else, I can hold out long enough for more people to arrive if need be."

"Personally, I would like to stick together."

Canti: I'm all for team, myself. Better chances. 'Sides, this might be the hard fight we were told about. Count me in.

(Shadow barked.)

Canti: Us...in.

(Without too much delay, they step onto Teleporter A and get a move on to...the GP Room, where the three of them were really too concerned for Baron's well-being to go gold-digging. Onward then to...the irritating flower room, which had been discovered to be a case of flowers casting fireballs or paralyzers. Frankly, with his immunities, this room was hardly a worry to Canti. But hey, between the three of them, they cut through enough white flowers that even Shadow can get through with ease. Finally, the room with the statue, the labyrinth, and the strange elemental - yes, elemental - crystal hearts... Apparently, when Baron came by here earlier, he used the 'Ani' and 'Rai' ones. The others were indeed red, brown, blue, and green. for this, Canti consulted Nighthand.)

Canti: Do we want to risk changing something here? I kinda' think he got where he was going by doing what he did. So unless that teleporter isn't working, we'd better go.

"Baron's mail mentioned that one of these hearts had an effect on the room he went into. It stands to reason that another one might as well. You two can go ahead and let me tinker with it, or vice versa. It shouldn't take too long to cram all four in if we're reckless."

(Talal was considering at the moment... Her moments of silence made him wonder just what was on her mind sometimes. This one was obvious: She was thinking about how best to proceed to help Baron. Other, less rushed times? Who can say? The thing that really caught Canti by surprise that was only recently catching up to him was her new look. It was...rather good, actually, but the Twin Blade kinda' wanted to make sure he wasn't staring, so he'd only glanced here and there. It ummm...made him wonder about the player, really. Still, moving on, the winged Twin Blade had an idea.)

Canti: This might actually have an appropriate effect. Tell you what. I'll favor fire and see what happens. If all's clear, I'll head in and see about helping Baron. I think you should tinker after that if things aren't going our way. Once again, though, I suspect a trap.

"There's always a trap. The trick is being able to survive it. You're getting up there in levels, you can handle a lot of what this game throws at us."

(The grin he gave off was a bit unnerving, but Canti did not show it. Instead, having been given the go, MacDuff lays on and inserts the red crystal as stated. And upon closing the door, there was a WHUMP!, or possibly a FWOOSH! It was all a bit of a mish-mash really. Okay... He was a bit wary of this, but...muttering "Up in levels..."...he opened the door and found A NEW CAR! a glowing-red wooden stake, as in the kill-vampires-with-it variety. The Twin Blade picked it up with a smirk.)

Canti: I think I know where this is going.

"Me too. Go and lend Baron a hand, I'll deal with the rest of these hearts. We don't know how long the maze goes after that room, so I might as well get everything we can out of the room before I leave."

Canti: Rightio.

(Now, as Canti teleported with Shadow, he had no knowledge of what Talal and Nighthand were doing with the other crystals, but that will surely come into play eventually, right? Right. He appeared inside the evil ghosted player room and found three things immediately important. The first was Baron: He was alive, but unconscious, possibly lacking in HP. However, the point of order here was that he was ALIVE, not ghosted. That was immediately peculiar, but we'll get to that later. The second thing of interest was the ghosted character hovering nearby Baron with a number of tendrils exiting his back. There was information about this guy. Apparently, he was a vampire-ghost-tendril-dude that sucks the life out of you through contect, especially by tendril. This was sorta' what convinced our boy here that the tough match was right here. Oh, and the third thing? Single teleporter. Obviously significant. Now, the stake was in Canti's inventory at the moment and Shadow was sidling off to the right as the Twin Blade let out a whistle.)

Canti: Yo, Orlock! What it is, mah nosferatu?

(The vampire spun around as soon as he spoke, grinning as he spotted a new victim. He landed on the ground, spread his arms out wide, and spoke.)

"Another comes to my waiting arms."

Canti: Yeah, that's the ticket.

(The Twin Blade grinned as well, stepping forwards into striking range - Huh-what?! - and extending his hand.)

Canti: Put 'er there, pal.

(Amused, the vampire did just that and now Canti could feel his HP slowly draining. Huh... Oddly tangiable for a ghost. This dude was dead, but he could grab hold of him, and draining HP didn't make him alive. Well, whatever. Wincing at the grip, the winged Twin Blade actually gripped back and pulled while the other hand suddenly whipped out the stake to stab at the heart!)

Canti: Surprise!

(And...that's when all twelve of the ghost's tendrils stabbed into his arm. This, of course, was both painful and starting to drain MORE. Probems...)

"On the contrary, completely unsurprising. Do you have any idea how many have tried such a trick?"

Canti: Fifty-seven?

(Even as he was arm-atabbed and making conversation, Canti was now suddenly concentrating his dark flame aura around himself and setting an explosion through his handshaker. That certainly threw them apart, leaving a reasonable distance between the two. At this time, a quick flash-mail was composed. Kind of important now.)

Quote:
TO: The party
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: Oh crap.

The stake isn't working and maybe it never could. Gimme a hand in here before I lose MINE.


"Far more. Many seek to challenge this tower, and few make it through this maze. The statue's heart is necessary to unlock the exit, and from there, most stumble on to me. They don't pass."

Canti: And where's your heart, Casper? In the same place?

(He put the stake away for the moment to draw his blades. This looked to be an old-fashioned fight-out for now. Yet...Baron had fought it out too, to no end. Was he any better off than his comrade? For the moment, Canti was keeping distance, blades drawn out and looking poised move in an instant.)

"Sadly, they lost it during a transplant operation. It is long gone."

(Here, the Twin Blade arched an eyebrow. This boyo was acting funny.)

Canti: Hey, what's up with you? You're a life-stealing vampire guardian and I'm intruding. So why...aren't you attacking?

"As your friend discovered...you cannot escape. You have nowhere to run."

Canti: Right.

(Obviously skeptical, Canti healed up with a few Health Drinks, just blatently standing there without really defending himself for a moment. No attacks came, so instead he just simply said "Shadow" and had the Bogie on standby bellow at him, trying to use his paralyze effect. Sadly, it missed and the vampire seemed to only NOW notice the hellhound.)

"Interesting. Few others have such creatures under their command. Your group is relatively unique. A shame you will die here."

(Nobody likes idle threats from a vampire-ghost that won't even finish his opponents. Seriously, Baron was wide open and Canti was standing there, waiting for something to happen all while nonchalantly healing up. The situation was, therefore, quite fubar. Fortunately, it was about to get more interesting as Talal showed up, saw the creature, and held her new blades at ready.)

Canti: Uh-uh, not yet Passive-aggressive, this one.

(She looked at him, confused, but backed off a little just in case.)

"Made a new friend, have you?"

Canti: We shook hands, I exploded, and now we're onto witty banter. It's a love-hate relationship. Hasn't killed anyone, though. I- Wait. Where's Nighthand?

(The answer came in the form of "Here." as the Blademaster made his appearance from the teleporter now, looking around the room before fixing his gaze on Baron.)

"Anyone see if he's alright?"

Canti: I'll look. You all watch my back.

(He goes over, giving Dracula a wide berth, and starts to check on Baron. Shadow's on the other side, ready to attack if anything happens. As stated before, he was low on HP - critically low - and out cold. The former, they could handle with health items or spells. The latter...who knows? Nighthand was now more focused on their foe.)

"Interesting. A ghost that can attack. Well, there's a first time for everything."

"I'll take care of Baron, you go help Nighthand."

Canti: Yeah...

(Talal had knelt before Baron with her weapons on the ground for a quick pick-up if necessary. He had no objections. Baron was better-known to her and she was focused on him while the other two were more-or-less considering the problem with the enemy. He sidled back to Nighthand and muttered something when near 'im.)

Canti: He's not killing for some reason. Not even the helpless. And he's a ghost too... Whadya think?

"I think he's overconfident in his power and is playing with us. I don't think he expects us to be able to figure out whatever weakness he may have. I assume you tried the stake?"

Canti: Yup, and apparently many have tried and all have failed. But I wonder, if on his level...

"Of course, if he dies he likely won't remember his failure. In any case, we'll see if we can put it to use."

Quote:
TO: Canti, Nighthand
FROM: Talal
SUBJECT: Are you saying what I think you're saying?

Are you saying we need to fight him on the ghosted level?


Quote:
TO: Talal, Nighthand
FROM: Canti
SUBJECT: RE: Are you saying what I think you're saying?

Well, stake him. I dunno if we CAN fight that way, but maybe the stake DOES work.


"Given that I have the best chance at staying alive to res you guys if it doesn't work, you can do what you like. I'll even stab you if you like."

(Talal was busy trying to wake up Baron while this part of the conversation was going on. So, as Canti pulled out the stake...)

Canti: Just critical for now. I wanna see something.

(That wasn't hard. Nighthand could move his stats around to make a calculated hit that sent Canti down to critical in one shot.)

"What? Wait!"

Canti: Ghk! Oww...! Yeah. Let's do this.

(He approached the vampire, dagger in one hand and stake in the other.)

Canti: Come on, squid-vamp. Let's see you do your job. This might be really stupid, but that never stopped me before!

"I didn't say I agreed with it!"

(Cue Canti diving right at the vampire to stab 'im with both. He had two chances. Either living dangerously or living not at all. And if not, they could always take it from the top. The vampire quickly dodged, but had no qualms about stabbing Canti with his tentacles and killing him. As a ghost, the tentacles didn't keep hold and he just fell right through them. Getting up, the Twin Blade was now properly ghosted, and...still holding the stake! Raising it up, he looked at the vampire now.)

Canti: Mwa ha ha ha ha ha haaa...

(That was where he rapidly flew at the vampire with the stake, said foe moving only slightly to avoid the stake as Canti passed through him, proving intangiability there.)

Canti: Grab 'im and keep 'im still! I'm onto something!

(Shadow acted first, lunging for the vampire's ass and clenching down with his teeth. He was shaken off by the dude, but that dog was persistant and kept going at it. At the same time, both Nighthand and Talal were attacking from either side to occupy him. Three living targets keeping him fixed and occupied? That might do it! With enough occupation, Canti goes stabbing in the front repeatedly until...he barrels right through the guy - stake and all - even though he hit the place where the stake ought to be. The ghosted Twin Blade got up, a little frustrated now.)

Canti: What the hell? STILL not working?

(Suddenly, Baron woke up!)

"Ohmygod I just had the worst dream about a vampire with tentacles and they were all stabby-- ...I think I liked it better when I was sleeping."

(Yeah, it might've been safer too. Baron was now trying to get filled in on the situation by Talal, thus putting him on the same page about the statue, the crystals, this vampire-bastard, and the stake in Canti's ghostly hands.)

"...Well, did you try to revive him? I don't know, it worked well enough for me. Solid stake, solid person sounds about right to me. I revived him successfully before, killed him... and then he started wailing on me as a ghost."

(Deadpan Canti is deadpan.)

Canti: What.

"Yeah, y'know. Rip Maen, Resurrects... they all work quite nicely. So, how do you plan on getting him still long enough to stake 'em?"

(The Twin Blade stared for a moment, and then...FACEPALM! DOUBLE FACEPALM! TRI- No wait, that's not possible. Still, he groaned in irritation because out of the three of them - four of them if you count Shadow - no one had considered the idea of ressing the vampire! No one!)

Canti: Will someone Rip Maen this bastard so's I can stake him properly?!

(Thaaat totally happened. One Rip Maen was for Canti that made him EXPLODE and the other their ghostly 'friend'...who was now no longer dead, but quite in the flesh. Nighthand backed away to avoid killing him again. Without warning, Canti shouted "TACKLE!" after {A} using a Mage's Soul to gain some SP, {B} casting La Repth so that drained people could have health back, and {C} getting his attack/accuracy/speed enhanced by Baron. His tackle-cry was both for the benefit of others, which they did pay heed to, and what he happened to be doing NOW. His tackle almost struck, but the vampire proved a bit too mobile, lunging in towards Nighthand to avoid it. Talal, grappling with a tentacle, could feel contact with it training HP from her, but did seem to twist him slightly out of his intended trajectory. Nighthand, a bit surprised by the move, performed a heavy backswing with his blade in defense and struck the vampire pretty hard, killing it once again.)

"Oops."

(However, Canti tossed a Resurrect at the vampire while its back was turned and unexpectedly livified the guy before driving the stake home properly! ..... Wait, you were expecting it to do something? Well, good, because it does...after a few seconds. the suspense got to Canti, but the vampire's back suddenly arched and he screamed. He turned into a ghost again, and then fire blossomed from around the stake and engulfed him where he stood. The fire burnt out quickly, leaving the vampire crouched on the floor fully tangible, with an aura of purple/black energy around it. That energy dissipates over the course of a few seconds.)

"...Well uh. That's not familiar, not at all. Totally not my fault or anything."

Canti (Glaaare...): What did you do?

"I just said it's not familiar!"

(He didn't like this innocent act. He knew something...)

Canti: Baron, I have had enough with vampire wannabes today. WHAT did you do?

(Instead of him answering, his dark wolf pet spoke up.)

Higure: He found a set of crystal hearts on a shelf and put a yellow one in first, which did nothing but give a loud click. Then he put the purple one in, which caused a beam of that same-colored energy to hit the teleporter leading here. Clearly this is his fault.

"Oh, gee, thanks."

(This...was not a good thing, somehow. Their vampire guardian dude was now with only six tendrils and currently in the flesh, but that aura made this situation look more dangerous. Also, in the time Canti spent trying to wheedle information out of Baron, said guardian moved for a part of the room they didn't occupy, preparing to get down to business again. The dark Twin Blade figured that another staking was in order, but how to go about it? This guy wasn't gonna lie still and...hey. Okay then, it's go time! He started flinging a number of his Demon Spikes at the vampire, trying to pin him down on something. This had limited effect. There was some stabbing and damage, but not really on the whole what Canti wanted. Hell, the sucker batted a few of the things away. Afterwhich, the vampire reached up and back with his hand - tendrils converging on it - and when he swung that hand down again, he had zero tentacles and one nifty Blademaster sword ready for action!)

"I will make you suffer for that. YOU ALL WILL SUFFER."

(But the Freedom Fighters just wouldn't have it. Baron cast a number of de-buffs - Dek Vorv landing - as Shadow and Canti stood near each other, concentrating hard on the vampire now. What were they doing? Their Overdrive... The area at and around the vampire, all material and debris within the given radius, suddenly sucked in for a destructive implosion...and then a sudden explosion! It was an attack power with no element to stir things up quite a bit...or put certain foes in their place.)

Canti: Suffer that.

(This did an appreciable amount of damage, and it was followed by a power-buffed Talal Thunder Dancing and then Nighthand culminating it all in a ridiculous front-flip smash with Death Bringer. So while he's upside down, balanced on his sword mid-swing, he's taunting, "You won't. You really, really won't.", and then he smashed the entire area in a woodsy explosion centered around the vampire, who is still reeling from all of these attacks. With that, the vampire was done for, leaving them safe to continue.)

"So, can I bum a Mage's Soul? I'm sorta low now."

(Both Twin Blades - Canti and Talal - toss him one.)

"Danke."

"Hey, do either of you need some health drinks?"

Canti: No, I've got lots. I tend to either magic-heal alot, die, or wait for recovery.

"I'm alright for now, I've kept my stock up. Forgot to buy some Mage's Souls in town though."

"See you on the flip side"

(Aye, and the flipside - stepping on the teleporter - turned out to be...the beginning again.)

Canti: Bad news everyone. The vampire didn't lead to the final room.

OOC: Yyyup, back where we started, although that clicking sound and the golden nugget might be significant. 'Till next time, Divvy members.

_________________
I'll have a doozy of a sig later, I swear. It'll reflect ".hack//CODE" an' everything.

Hey look! A profile! It's got items and stats and things! Cool! If it isn't fully up to date, it will be, so don't worry 'bout it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:43 am 
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Ikkitousen
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:04 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Liminality
You're getting pretty good at anticipating attacks. It was an offered compliment, one that was genuinely felt, because she was getting uncomfortable with the girl's sad silence as they stepped to follow Takua to the next room. It was true, had it been about a year prior, Sekai would've been stumbling back with all kinds of injuries on her person and then she'd have had to step in and beat a sonofabitch down for it as a result. Her stomach gave a funny, odd drop as the teleporter activated, transporting them directly into the mouth of Hell. Well, an exaggeration, but the room was certainly on fire enough to be at least a window into Hell.

Or into that pain in the ass' bedroom.

”If I didn't know any better, I'd say that stupid bastard got himself caught.” Kira muttered to Sekai as she took point, watching Takua launch attack after attack off to kill the flames. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly as little fireballs continued to bounce about unharmed, occasionally relighting the places they'd put out back to full flaming glory all over again.

”Please don't even joke about that, The young Archer responded earnestly, the very idea of another she cared dearly about being trapped within 'The World' enough to drive her to near-tears. If he did, it would be all her fault- just like it was with Takua, Talal-san, Baron-san, and Raquar too. Four of them. Four. ”Nii-san should be as far away from the game as possib- ow!” Anything else the fifteen year old girl would have said was quickly cut off by one of the small fireballs around the area nimbly flying through the air to bounce right off her head. Her hand flew up to the heated place on instinct, though hot to the touch, nothing burned or was on fire on her person.

She looked back to Takua, who's attention had been elsewhere than in her direction. Well, that was information on its own. ”Takua-san, I think there's more than one fireball.” Rummaging around, she removed a scroll from her inventory and aimed in the direction of the fireball's hiding place- or, rather, where she thought it'd gone. The scroll activated, large stones dropping down in a furious storm upon the area with no effect whatsoever. She frowned a little at that, Kira chuckling to herself for some reason or another and gave her a ghostly pat on the shoulder in consolation.

”It's not your world, little one. Remember, Stone and Wood dominate as Light and Shadow devour and as Ice and Fire war. Only the opposite element'll work in this case. Worth a try though.” The last part was added to soothe the girl's frustration a little. Really, if 'The World' worked anything like that girl's world, it'd have worked with some decent power behind it. Dropping dirt and rocks would smother a fire pretty damn quick. Water was, of course, always the most effective when fighting it, but earth was good too.

She ignored Takua's comments for the most part, keeping an interested eye out on the burning landscape around them. One such fireball went through her chest and bounced to the other side. Kira grinned at the little fireball as it scuttled back to relight a patch of charred ground after. She'd almost wanted to be a Vak affiliate just so she could hear the grumbled surprise out of the little wisp.

Almost.

Rue was still superior, after all.

Sekai's bow vanished, replaced with one at least half again as tall as she was as she drew the bow back, aimed, and fired with softly spoken spell. Crackling blue light surrounded the arrow, freezing it solid with jagged edges as it impaled one of the fireballs. Soft gold-brown eyes watched carefully, studying the reaction as the ice itself seemed to shatter, breaking off from around the shaft itself to fall useless against the ground. The shaft of the arrow, however, pierced completely through and destroyed the sphere of fire completely.

She spoke to Takua again, asking him to carpet the area with Rue spells once more, a theory forming in her mind as she watched, aiming and sending another icy arrow through the steam to pierce another fireball left behind in the smoldering wake of the extinguished flames. Again, the same thing happed- the fireballs survived where their flames hadn't- and it repelled the ice effect of the arrow... but were destroyed anyway with the arrow's shaft.

”...I'd wondered,” she said softly, drawing her bow back to test the theory once more in a different way. She loosed the arrow, watching it fly to pierce without a problem. Completely annihilated. ”and it looks like I was right. Takua-san, they're resistant, or immune, to magic.” String drawn back again, she took aim and fired again, sending another one to disappear with a flash and pop.

A plan was worked out, Takua turning the flames to steam while Sekai focused on eliminating the fireballs themselves until the room was smoldering, and all the fireballs were gone- from what they could see, anyway.

Another choice to be made, this one in the form of which teleporter to take. Deliberating for a moment, Sekai sent off a flashmail with a descriptor of the room and its contents- as well as how to take care of everything if the room reset itself.

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Sekai
Subject: Room O

Um, I'm not sure if it'll reset itself or not, but... this room, when Takua-san and I entered, was completely engulfed in flames. We've managed to put it out, but we're not sure if it'll come back once we leave. On the side of caution, be careful when entering. There are little fireballs, they didn't hurt us very much, but they were certainly surprising! Um... they're immune, or at least very resistant to magic, so you have to hit them without spells. The fire will go out with Rue spells though, so at least only the fireballs are immune to magic! We're about to enter the next room, so I will send another when we finish with it too.

Please be safe, everyone.

~ Sekai


With another stomach lurch, Sekai blinked as she opened her eyes and found herself in quite the unassuming room. Blinking rapidly to try and clear the fuzzy-funny feeling out of her head, she noticed the well in the center... and felt something in her stomach turn to ice. A well. No. She'd seen that movie, and no. She didn't want to go there, didn't want to meet Sadako-san or anything of that lik-

...what was Kira singing?

The steady, almost out of earshot pitch was accompanied by an ever-spreading grin on the AI woman's face, her expression more than giving away her own sick sense of amusement as Sekai had to focus and listen to pick out what the woman was saying. The tune was familiar, extremely catchy in nature, and Sekai was trying to figure out just where she'd heard it before- and why it didn't sound quite right.

”...threw a kid in a well, don't ask me I'll never tell, he wasn't askin' for it, but he was in my way,” December and Sekai were both giving her puzzled looks, though the former's eyes were narrowed once she realized where Kira's own eyes were at the moment; on Takua, who'd approached the well and tossed a coin in with a vaguely concentrated look on his face. Kira's grin spread further once December shook her head, taking the woman's disapproval as a clear sign to continue in the same, barely audible tone. ”-was holdin', ripped spleen, blood was flowin'- where you think you're goin', baby?”

”Kira!” Sekai hissed, wiping water out of her face, too distracted by the AI's awful song to realize someone had come up out of the well and was discussing business with Takua until the sprite's voice spoke up. Kira, currently shaking from laughter to the point she couldn't continue on, was firmly ushered a bit away from the two humans trying to do serious business.

”Why do you choose the most inappropriate times to act up?” December demanded, once out of earshot of the two. The bangles on her arms clinked together as she waited for Kira to recompose herself. Not an easy feat, apparently, the rose haired woman thought with a quirk of one arched brow, as the question only seemed to make the other woman laugh all the harder. She rubbed the place between her brow with the pad of her thumb with a sigh. ”Do make an attempt to compose yourself, this is embarrassing even for you.”

Kira groaned, rubbing the stitch in her side from laughter as she wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. She didn't give a good goddamn whether or not anyone else thought it was funny, Takua'd probably appreciate the morose humor in it, if nothing else. ”Because someone needs to help people lighten the fuck up around here and chill before we kick off a coronary or something.” She replied, sobering herself up for a moment or two, long enough to fight it out with December and settle it. ”Look; shit's bad enough as is, and this is probably one of the most serious tasks these kids've been assigned yet; if we keep being nothing but serious, they're going to choke, get rattled around worse than they are, and whatsherface'll just take one look and laugh at us right up until the point they get a goddamn thorn through the eye socket again as we're all booted from the tower.”

December blinked at the rather colorful descriptor, frowning at the language used as well.”A thorn through the... that is either a graphic exaggerate meant to shock, or this is something you've witnessed.” She studied the look on the Ruem princess' face, and didn't like what she saw there at all. ”...truly?” She asked, disdain in her voice as Kira gave her a wry looking half-smile. The twin blade glanced over to the Wavemaster and the Archer currently dealing with the well sprite with a troubled look on her face.

”On the sorry excuse for a monarchy in which I was raised, yes.” Kira replied grimly, following the other woman's gaze with her own. ”You don't want to know, it's not like anything you'd think. Elites aren't worth fucking around on, and I'm only sorry I didn't beat the shit out of Baron hard enough to knock him silent before I challenged her to a duel.”

An odd statement, and she blinked. ”What would he have to do with the matter?” December asked, thrown off a bit and trying to think of whether or not she'd heard of the circumstances.

”Long story short, he's the reason we got the nice long thorny sticks in the eye, and is really the reason he and Talal're in this mess to begin with.” She muttered in response, anger vivid in her voice as she scowled at the memory of it. b]”Another fuckin' kid who figures this world is nothing more than a gigantic playground for him to become king shit of the jungle gym on.”[/b] A darker scowl. b]”He chose the wrong time to get into a pissing contest with me over things, and as a result, Xenobia lost what little patience she had left and slaughtered everyone right then and there.”[/b]

”Oh dear,” she murmured with a degree of sympathy. ”and how have things gone for him since?”

There was silence for a few moments as whatever transaction was done and over with. ”Hell if I know, Sekai's more concerned about him and the others than I am.” It was an honest answer, callous as it implied her to be and December gave her an odd look as a result. Kira's eyes didn't waver as she matched looks with the woman. ”You and she don't have to like it, that's fine, I don't give most of a good goddamn either way. She is my priority, not Baron or his little problems, Takua and his death wish, or the rest of the people she's assigned herself responsible for.”

That rose colored eyebrow arched just a smidge higher. ”Are you implying...?

”Ain't implying, I'm saying it; the rest of 'em can die and I won't give half the damn that she will.” Her expression was stony, tone soft and lethal as she stared December in the eye. ”I owe them nothing. She goes, I'm gone too. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it'll be.”

”What if that other is here? The one that upset her thinking about?” December asked quickly, somehow unsurprised to see the flash of conflict in the other woman's amber eyes. ”Is it the same for him too?”

”He ain't here, so that's a bridge not worth mentioning until the time comes to cross it.” She replied after a moment's uneasy thought. ”If I knew 'im half as well as I figured? He'd say the same and threaten to behead me or some shit if I didn't put her first.”

December turned the phrasing around in her mind several times, analyzing it carefully as Sekai turned to see what the two of them were doing. ”...why do you put her first? I suppose that is the question I should have asked first.”

Kira gave a subtle, genuine smile in response, the ice in her expression thawing significantly as the slight form of her beloved Archer approached. ”Someone has guard her,” she replied quietly enough that December had to strain to hear her. ”she holds herself responsible for two whole worlds, puts that kind of weight on her shoulders that she shouldn't, and she tries to be the protector of things everyone else's taken for granted and never thinks about.” Kira hooked her long hair behind her ear to get it out of her face, moving to meet the concerned Archer. “So, I'll protect and guard what everyone takes advantage of when it comes to her- even if it means I turn into an enemy to those who might have been a friend.”

”Is everything okay? You two were really quiet and I wasn't able to pick up on anything going on, um, other than your emotional responses.” Sekai asked once she knew Kira could hear her. Her gaze went from Kira to December, the former looking as if nothing in the world was going on, and like she'd been just discussing something pleasant, and the latter seemed to be mulling over something as if it had answered a question, only to present several more that needed contemplating.

”Just chattin', figured you'd ask if you needed our input, that's all, little one.” Kira replied easily, smiling as she brushed a hand against the girl's cheek out of habit. ”Anything neat you got for us?”

Still concerned, Sekai let them in on the information, looking excited as she explained how Takua had tossed a coin in the well- something that still brought a grin to Kira's face for a reason the AI wouldn't explain- and had gotten an Emperor's Soul in return for giving the well sprite an item. Judging by the tone of voice, it'd been a substantial upgrade from what'd been given, and she'd seen Sekai give the sprite a bow of thanks.

Pretty nifty, and Sekai'd even replaced the coin Takua had used with one of her own, so that three coins once again sat on the lip of the well. ”Write your message and let's head to the next room, doubtless there'll be more stuff to look at, if we're not all suddenly hauled up before the mighty Elite herself for a redo of our first encounter.” Kira drawled as they caught up with Takua and prepared to teleport off to the next set of rooms. ”Puttin' it out there now, Baron sasses me again while whoever ends up being elected the diplomat of the group is trying not to get us all killed? I'm taking him out a window and using him as a landing cushion when we hit the ground.”

Quote:
To: Freedom Fighters
From: Sekai
Suject: Room R

There's a well in this room, no enemies that we've managed to find- which is a good thing, if you make it here and need a moment to catch your breath, this is a good place to do it. There's a well, like I mentioned, um, and if you toss a coin and make a wish, there's a sprite who comes up- um, but it's not Sadako-san, so you don't have to worry about anything like that... I think- and will exchange an item if you give her one. Takua-san got something pretty nice, just make sure to be polite to her and replace the coin you throw into the well. It would be stealing otherwise... and I don't think that's wise.

(Is that too vague? Have people seen that movie to know who Sadako-san is....? Um, nevermind.)

Please stay safe, we're moving on to the next room.

~ Sekai


December shook her head at the exasperated look on Sekai's face, agreeing with the snowy haired girl's assessment of Kira's not-so-idle threat and idea on how to handle a particularly headstrong member of a team. But, as she continued mulling the information she'd received, something kept worming its way into her head in the form of a very catchy song that Kira had been singing with a positively wretched and impishly up to no good smile the moment they'd spotted the well in the room.

-here's your left lung, so please die maybe? ...damn you, Kirayne. Now it won't get out of my head.

Sekai just threw her hands up in the air as Kira doubled over laughing in silence as they stepped on to the teleporter.

_________________
Image

Name: Sekai
Level: 54
EXP: 0000/1000
Class: Archer
Clan: Army of Darkness
HP: 835
SP: 347

Currently Equipped:

Einherjar: Kira, December, Zorya

Head: Bat Earrings (Ola Repth 40, Rip Maen 40)
Body: Saint Cross (Rue Zot 10, RaJuk Zot 30)
Arm: Protect Ring (Ap Vorma 15, MeJuk Kruz 20)
Leg: Ninja Anklet (BiVak Rom 20, GiGan Zot 30)
Add-Ons: Forestlore, Wood Magic (permanently raised Wood Offense/Defense by +3 total)

Wishlist: Levels, Summon: Wood, Archer Weapons, Light Armor


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:04 am 
Offline
Ikkitousen
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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am
Posts: 114
Location: Walking the line of madness
The room that he ported into was obscenely hot. Sweltering. Heat waves shimmered all over the room because...because...well because the room was actually on fire. Normally, being this close to fire might, say, kill him from smoke inhalation or the heat of it charring him where he took, turning the air in his lungs into superheated gas. As it was, it just hurt. He sighed, looking around after stepping off the teleporter for Sekai and Vesica to follow along (as well as Kira and December, but they mostly could be counted as Sekai for this moment). Jack all in this room that he could see other than a towering inferno with no room to fly over. Good to know. Besides, he couldn't see the two other teleporters.

While he was looking around, though, and half-listening to the conversation going on between Sekai and Kira, when a fireball came rocketing out of the fire and smacked him dead in the chest. He rocked back a bit, half in reflex, half in pain, and followed its path out with Vesica's eyes. Well, that just wasn't good. Staff in hand, he lit the area up, following a straight path out with OrRue Roms after having cast Rig Geam and Rig Saem on himself. He did love those spells, made SP regeneration actually a think, instead of a piddling point every now and then.

The water blasted away fairly large circles of fire, leaving smoldering, but flameless, patches on the ground. And, for one moment, he saw the fireball flicker away from the Rom, moving out of it. Well, that wasn't good. He'd wanted to blow it up, not let it escape. Well, now that he'd lost track of the damn thing, he was just going to quench that fire. His SP took a sudden, precipitous drop, and a storm of water erupted, one giant tornado at a time, along with the hiss of steam. When it was done, there were a hell of a lot more open spaces...but still no sign of the fireball. Until it came and smacked Sekai anyways.

Well, that was annoying, more than one? As the Archer tried a Gan spell, he watched two fireballs zip through an open space, reigniting them. Well, theory one confirmed, and now they'd need to kill those fireballs if they wanted to get anywhere. Targeting the area where it was going to go, he let loose with a Merrows Ch. The ice elemental formed in the center of the flames, a glistening creature of clear crystal, and detonated, wiping a large area of fire away, and exposing three fireballs. All of which were unharmed by a second level summon.

Alright, that was bad. Sekai had her own ideas though, and wanted to give it a try, so he decided to give her the opportunity she needed. His SP was crying deeply, but another two Merrows Ch lashed out, and a good portion of the room erupted in water and ice. With a fireball in sight, the Archer let loose a water arrow...which was stripped of its water before plunging into the fireball itself, which instantly popped. Well then, looks like they needed both of them in order to clear this room. Especially when she popped a second fireball without using anything but a regular arrow. But as they were watching, more and more of what he had cleared was vanishing into a reignited inferno, and his lungs hurt again.

At this point, it was fairly obvious what they needed to do, and they hashed out a plan in short order. Since Merrows Ch was by far the most effective at clearing space, he proceeded to use it, clearing out the room of flame until there was almost nothing left, and Sekai made sure that all of the fireballs were dead and gone. But there was no reward for clearing the room, just the two teleporters and a now doused fire.

Moving on from that room, they arrived in a room that was possibly as different as could be from the prior one, first because it was not on fire, and second because there was a well in the center of the room. Which only brought to mind many, many a heard-about movie where something horrible crawled out of the well and ended someone. In horribly gruesome ways, as he seemed to remember. Approaching the well, he saw three gold coins on the lip of it, which...just made him think of a wishing well. Kind of an odd juxtaposition, wishing well and murder well. Well, this was Xenobia's tower, so what more could he expect?

He listened to Kira singing softly, and abruptly had to hold in a fit of the giggles. As it was, he chuckled a few times, reaching out to grab a coin, and then started to concentrate on what he was doing. Was this a wishing well? “I wish for a Heh Heh Heh.” A moment later, and the coin went splashing into the well...and a flood of water drenched his face as he heard the rest of what Kira was singing. Dammit, now he just wanted to bust up laughing. As he wiped the water out of his face, and Vesica just hissed and pawed it away, he saw a female water spite perched on the rim of the well.

Great, just what he needed, some kind of AI when Vesica was hissing and spitting mad from getting soaked. Ruem she might be, but far more ice than water. He bowed, speaking as genially as he could, “Hello, did we disturb you?” The last thing he wanted was another fight, so heading one off with diplomacy would be good. However, he was utterly ignored. Odd, and interesting.

When Sekai presented her a GP though, and bowed, the sprite spoke to him.  "You have offered me this token, and so I will offer you one as well.  Present to me an item." Interesting, and still illogical. He'd given the coin first and summoned her, so he got spoken to even when another person gave the money? After considering the possibilities, he gave her the Gaia Staff first, just in case something bad happened when he gave over the item. However..."Invalid item.  Equipment is not available."

So next up was an Artisan's Soul. He handed it over to her, and the item shimmered in her hand as she accepted it. The GP that Sekai had offered vanished, and the sprite jumped back into her well. He paused, a bit dumbfounded, as he realized that the item now in his hand was an Emperor's Soul. Talk about an upgrade. "...well that was nice of her."

The Archer looked over at him, curiosity written all over her face, "What did she give you?" “She gave me an Emperor's Soul.  In exchange for an Artisan's Soul." It was his turn to be bemused as she thanked the sprite, and then replaced the GP that he had thrown in. Such a polite child she was...and she really did make him think of a child. Perhaps simply younger than him, but there was a sweet innocence to her that he had to wonder about. How did she retain it after the Eventide Crescendo?

For that matter, how did she retain it with Kira around? He'd listened in the entire time to their conversation, shamelessly eavesdropping with his enhanced hearing. She knew of his ability, she would know that he could listen in on it. Which, of course, implied that she didn't care or wanted him to know about it. Including the small part that she wouldn't care if he up and died, or at least wouldn't care much. Part of him...shrugged. He could understand it. It still hurt in the way that he expected it to, but really, he wasn't surprised in any way. Given how angry she became when he was being...suicidally stupid, it was hardly surprising. In light of her protection of Sekai, and how his lack of self-preservation hurt her, it could even be expected.

But what he really thought, as he stepped around the well and saw an engraving on the back of the well, which represented a person throwing in a large bag of gold into the well, was that it didn't make a difference. Which was the part that didn't make sense. He'd known Kira for a few weeks, he'd hardly expect her to be tearing up if he died. Actually, the Long Arm tearing up at all would be kinda weird as fuck. He might appreciate a curse from her on his behalf, but not crying. Sekai would be doing enough of that as it was. That she didn't care if he lived or died, apart from what it would do to the Archer...should have made him not trust her.

But it didn't, and how screwed up was that? Maybe it was the big sister who would and could kick his ass that he'd always needed in his life. Maybe it was that he could understand why she'd despise him for what he had done, thought like. As she approached, along with a puzzling December and disapproving Sekai, he grinned at what she was saying. He just laughed as he stepped onto the teleporter. “If you push Baron out the window, you have to surf the body down, use your spear as the tiller.”

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Takua - Lvl 57 Wavemaster
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Wishlist: Levels, Stun Rod, Hag's Wand, Ex-Level, Ex-Spheres, and Heh Heh Heh, Myth: Demiurge, FL Fukuoka


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