Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Atsat
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Atsat A Little Clueless

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Naumi the Spearwoman
+ Others (Green Pepper, Ami, and Hopper.)




Naumi stood back to simply observe the other players, besides the deceleration that someone was searching for a party it seemed like nothing other than side conversations were going on. What really caught her attention was when two people ran face first into the gate which quickly answered a question if they were able to travel to the new area yet. That answer was clearly no. What really was interesting however were the people, vibrantly colored fox girl of some kind, and the other was a bunny boy actually, just more plain looking in all honesty. Surprisingly it looked like someone who could only be called a novice, at least she was still wearing the starter armor, was also there. Naumi had to wonder if for access to this new content had any requirements, or if instead everyone was randomly selected. That would explain why a novice of all players was with them. At any rate, she was looking for a chance to party up with some people for once, and there she was staring at exactly that.

The spear wielding swordswoman started to approach the small group, aforementioned spear in hand considering it wasn't exactly easy to store it anywhere on her person. "That's one way to get started." She called out, smile on her face. Not exactly the eager grin everyone else had, but still a friendly one. "Hope no one minds if I poke my nose into your business, but now seems like a good enough time to start getting to know people."

She hoped that was a decent way to introduce herself, in all her time playing this game she simply hadn't bothered playing with others. There simply wasn't any need before then.

"Yo! I'm Fr... well, I'm Bell Pepper, in this game. Howsit goin!"

Bell Pepper gave a friendly wave to them. People were people, and she didn't really see a need to behave any differently than she would have in real life. Not when they're friendly like this. Man, but that fox avatar was kinda cute; she wanted to grip its ears and pat it so hard she explodes.

"Watcha think is goin to happen in there?" She gestured towards the still black gate.

Ami waved cheerily, showing no indication of her previous accident with the portal. "I'm Gekkou Kami-- but that's a mouthful," she chuckled, "My friends just call me Ami."

She bounced on her heels excitedly at Pepper's question, "Whatever it is-- it looks super cool!" She wagged her index finger in the air and winked, "And super secretive."

Meanwhile Naumi shrugged. "I have no idea, but this place is pretty different from everything else WEO has to offer so I bet its going to be interesting at least."

"Oh and I'm Naumi, a swordwoman who doesn't really use a sword." As if to make her point she gave a small flourish with her spear AND didn't manage to drop it, so she managed to hopefully look cool without looking like an idiot.

"Hopper," the rabbit-eared thief said again, introducing himself to the others who just appeared. He gave a cheeky wink to the swordswoman as he continued on answering question asked by Bell Pepper too. "No clue either, but I just want to see the new stuff. I'm ready for some quest rewards."

"I know!" Ami cooed, "I can't wait for--"

Without warning, Bell Pepper grabbed Ami's ears, squeezing them between her fingers. Perhaps if she was closer, or was behind Ami, she'd grab the tail instead, but she wasn't sure she was able to keep herself under control if they were anything like Ami's ears.

"Whoah, its soft~! Kinda wish I customized myself a bit now. "

Ami squeaked, body tensing at the sudden contact. Her mouth quirked into a half of an amused smile. "Thanks," she grinned, swishing her tail as she clutched her staff closer to her chest. She chuckled a little more nervously when Pepper kept squeezing, "F-foxes are my favorite animal s-so..."

Naumi raised an eyebrow at such a sight. She would never go and rub her hands all over someone else's ears like that, although it was all virtual so any real harm probably wasn't done. It also begged the question of what it would feel like to have fox ears, was that sort of thing even simulated?

"What's it like to have animal ears anyway? Do you... hear out of them, and can feel them? I bet its weird at first if that's the case." The swordswoman commented as she witnessed the novice mildly harass Ami.

"My ears are just for the aesthetics," Zhane answered, pinching his bunny ears. Pulling them off he revealed that the pair of ears were attached to a headband that he wore, "I just think it's cute." A chuckle escaped his lips, wondering if he actually would have put rabbit ears on his avatar, how it would feel like.

Ami tilted her head, flicking one ear out of Pepper's grasp as she thought about Naumi's question. She shot a knowing smile towards Zhane and his bunny ears. Definitely cute.

"Mine work just like normal ears. Even a little better, in fact," she winked, "Great for hearing things that try and sneak up on you."

Bell Pepper had all but forgot about the conversation, still unsatisfied with just feeling Ami's ears.

"Ah, is that so? Why'd ya call yourself Gecko, if your avatar is a fox then?"

"Ah--"

Ami's eye twitched. "It's not 'gecko', it's 'gekkou'," she corrected, putting heavy emphasis on the japanese pronunciation, "I-it means moonbeam..."

She chuckled to hide the irritation creaping into her voice.

"Eh~ Is that so?" Bell wasn't really listening now, she had moved on to grabbing at that huge fluffy tail Ami was sporting.

Naumi saw what was happening, and never in her life had she ever met someone quite as clueless as Bell. Before anything drastic could happen, the swordswoman switched her spear to her other hand, then moved forward place her newly freed hand on Bell's shoulder.

"Hey, I like your enthusiasm, but maybe you should stop. I'm sure Ami doesn't appreciate someone touching her all over like this." She explained to the novice before turning back to Ami. "That's pretty neat by the way, never knew the game bothered to simulate this kind of stuff, guess the downside is people want to rub them all the time, huh?" Naumi chuckled a little,

"Oh, it's fine," Ami waved hurriedly. She seemed to be enjoying the attention... in a way. Twirling her staff in her hand a few times, she cast a somewhat impatient sideways glance towards the portal.

Naumi nodded, she noticed how the mage looked back at the gate. "Well hey as long as you're okay with this, but yeah gotta wonder when this whole thing is gonna get kicked off. Hopefully soon."
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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World's End Online: The Conquest of the New Lands


Coughing, Frika spoke loudly to regain the attention of those gathered there.

"Uhm, the campaign is starting!"

Taking in a deep breath, Frika adopted a more confident pose, as well as speaking with a more grandiose tone.

"Welcome, adventurers! The fair King Tristran of Prontera had received word from explorers, that a new hostile land hath been discovered,and decreed that the land be taken under his banner. However, our king needs a foothold on these new lands, and our scouts have identified a few locations that would serve as such. Now, brave warriors, which of these sites would you conquer first?! Beware, however, each location will award different bonuses, as well as hosting different yet similarly dangerous foes to overcome!"

The gate's empty blackness started to gain swirls of colours as it hummed to life, blue hieroglyphs and indecipherable runes shining upon its structure.

Everyone present will receive a small poll to vote, as images of the locations they can vote on appeared on the darkness inside the gate itself. However, anyone else besides those that had stumbled upon the place did not. People like Cygnus for example.

Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Riffus Maximus
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Riffus Maximus Death's Metalsmith

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Old & New Partnership

Collab by @Riffus Maximus & @Lasrever
In response to @Ever Green's party call



Fayt looked around, seeking the familiar giant muscled merchant. Now seemed like a good time to talk to Marken. The Thief sneaked up behind the big guy who was busy rummaging inside his cart. Then, a green hand abruptly fell on Marken's shoulder as Fayt half-shouted enthusiastically in his usual loud and friendly orcish deep voice.

"Marky! Good to see ya here man! How's it goin'?"

Marken tended to take surprises in his stride, and seeing as this one was accompanied by a familiar face, he didn’t seem to startle at all. In fact, the man’s face practically lit up as soon as he realised someone was talking to him, his movements taking on a new, excitable, energy.

“Great, as always! Just, ah, making sure nothing important vanished in all that weirdness.” Stepping back from his cart, Marken broke into a wide grin, laughing as he turned to Fayt with a conspiratorial wink. “Looks like the booze is still there anyway, so nothing for you to worry about.”

"Thank god! Ya had me worried fer a minute!" Fayt laughed along rather loudly. "We'll need to open one, celebrate fer a new campaign." The orc returned the wink with a scheming one.

"So an'way, how didya find out 'bout this place? Was plannin' to tell ya 'bout it next time I visit yer shop, but seems like ya foun' it already too."

Marken glanced back at his cart, nodding. “Once we know what’s happening, I’ll certainly share some. No fun in starting a grand new campaign without a party to match, after all!”

Still, there was a question to answer. He didn’t appear concerned; he’d put down his appearance here as being a glitch with some new content. You couldn’t go expecting technology to work perfectly all the time, or you were asking for trouble.

“As for here, I was just out travelling, and there was a shrine I’d never seen before. Figured there had to be some kind of reason for adding it, but I got disconnected. Maintenance or something.” He shrugged. “It must’ve warped me here when I logged in next.”

"Strange stuff." Fayt responded after Marken finished, seemingly interested in how his friend got to the.glitched area. "Y'see, I was solo raidin' the Sunken Hydra Lair. Made it to the boss room unnoticed. Was just 'bout to open the loot chest with the boss still 'live, but I got here 'nstead of havin' loot. Got booted out for maintenance though. Went back here after I equipped a glitched item I must've got from the chest or whatevs."

There was some sort of excitement as the Thief told his tale, like he was proud of his achievements as well as the strange occurence that led both of them here.

“Kicked before you could steal everything not nailed down? Shame - some of the items in there could make us both a tidy profit.” Marken didn’t seem to give the whole thing a second thought, accepting the strangeness caused by the maintenance at face value.

“So, what’s your take on all this? I’ll admit I may not have been paying so much attention to the details.” He’d gotten slightly distracted with the rabbit. It wasn’t that he meant to be weird about stuff, but he’d gotten a little overexcited.

"Hmmm, I dunno..." Fayt looked pensive as he turned to the gate, watching the other players, the NPC and the changing sceneries inside the portal. "I'd say players got randomly picked for game testing."

Then the feral humanoid turned to his associate with a mischievous look in his eyes and a wide grin. "Bit strange, but hey, can't complain. New stuff to see, new loot to pick. If we get to keep it all, imagine the profits."

“You’ve got that right. Saying that...” Marken thought for a moment, before breaking into a wide grin. “I say we gather up all the loot we can carry, start trading, and once we’ve raked in enough cash?” He laughed, giddy at the possibilities. “You and I take our mountains of gold, spend like madmen, and we have ourselves the greatest party World’s End has ever seen!”

The whole ‘conquest’ thing wasn’t really Marken’s style. Far too grand. He didn’t play to take things all seriously - mostly, he was here just to talk to people. Making people happy, spreading a little joy even in a virtual world, that was his idea of fun. “I suppose we should decide where to go, though.”

"Sounds like a perfect plan to me!" Fayt laughed, enjoying the idea of hosting the greatest party ever thrown. Much like Marken, Faith didn't consider the whole 'conquest of a new realm' the most interesting of this campaign. Rather, it was the possibility of riches that could be made. The idea of a party was making it even more enticing.

Looking at the locations displayed in the portal, the Orc was considering the possibilities.

"They all look pretty... anime-cliché? Not that the whole mansion and pink trees look cute as hell, but I'm curious what is inside that mansion. If we're to set base somewhere, looks like a nice spot to stay, yeah?"

“I’m leaning towards the village myself. Should be plenty of opportunity in someplace like that.” Marken paused, thoughtful for a moment. “Anywhere that’s got something built up is good enough for me, I think. I’d rather that than be stuck wandering the woods or fighting in the middle of nowhere.”

"Ya got a point. Though we'ren't sure if tha locals be friendly." The thief scratched his head, wondering which approach would be safer. It's not like a Thief with no combat skills and his Merchant friend had much to protect themselves if it got messy. "Thing fer sure, sunflowers look pretty, but what do you think hides in those? Toes-eating insects? Not trusting that open field."

"Speakin' 'bout fightin', whatcha think of the others? Think it'd be wise to get in a party with 'em?


“Well, don’t know how difficult the new areas are gonna be, that's for sure. Better safe than sorry, I say.” Marken grinned. “Besides, two’s hardly enough for a world-shattering celebration! Best we go ahead and join a group - I’m not bothered about the balance, so long’s there’s a few who can take a hit and they know how to have fun.”

He’d never meshed too well with the over-serious types. They’d always try and rain on his parade, and while it never worked completely, it did get a little tiring. Not being able to cheer people up was upsetting. “Guess that makes it your pick. Just tell ‘em we’ve got booze, and I’ll throw in a free cart ride if they're still not sure."

"Sounds good, mate! A'right, les'see who we got here..."

Taking his eyes off the portal, Fayt looked around more intently at the players who have gathered. There were plenty of warriors, judging from the equipments. Already, a few people had started forming parties, as it was expected from venturing into a new area. There were two groups more prominent than the others. Both had their odd ones, that was for sure. and looked pretty much filled already judging from their numbers.

There was this one obvious Acolyte (judging from her clerical attire) who had drawn his attention with a flare. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like there were tough-looking fellows, but a Healer wa always welcomed, and she wasn't swarmed with the others yet.

The orc's gaze shifted between the three possibilities of partying up, taking into consideration both their survivability and Marken's preference for light-hearted playing style. It was hard coming up with the decision, but in the end, Faith decided to go with the less crowded choice.

"How 'bout the priestess-looking woman and the guy allergic to wearing shirt?"

“Fine by me.” Marken nodded, pausing to look at the mentioned pair as well as think over what they’d been told. “If it doesn’t work out, I get the feeling we’re all headed to the same place anyhow. Nothing to lose!” Gesturing for Fayt to lead the way, he grabbed his cart.

Nodding after Marken's approval, the orcish Thief took the lead and walked towards the white-robed Acolyte. As he approached her and the half-naked Mage, Fayt rose a hand as a casual greeting.

"Heyo, fair lady and good gentleman." He swished his arm into an exaggerated bow. "We've heard yer party call. My big friend here..." Fayt gestured to his Merchant partner with a thumb pointing backwards "...and I'd be interested to join in on the fun. We've got booze and mercantile, thieving and party skills to offer! Whaddaya say?"

Catching up to his partner, Marken raised a hand in greeting as he chuckled. “Really, it’s mostly the partying. But it’s good to have an adventure every now and then; if you’ll have us, of course.”
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Diggerton
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Diggerton

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too tired for header sunny/wendel/nomine/matt/darren

Her heart rate was probably starting to pick up around now. Wendel turned from the mage girl to the giant, the dismay she was feeling translating outwards into a narrow-eyed stare. More people, right after Sleazy Matt and Darren, and they were strange. This was... fine. All good, really. She was supposed to be talking to people anyway. More party members was a positive thing. Nothing to despair about in the slightest.

... Hey, didn't she have a casserole to get to?

Wendel remained silent as she attempted to mentally craft a reasonable excuse to exit the game.

Sunny glanced between the two newcomers and then back at Wendel. That was... some introduction, alright. But Sunny gave them her signature grin, "Well... hmm..." she learned her lesson from last time, it was better to consult before coming to a decision, "What do you think, Wendel?"

Wendel's gaze flickered to Sunny. Why was she the one getting asked here? She couldn't reject their request while they were standing right in front of them. The swordsman gave a terse nod, summoning yet another smile.

"Yay!" Nomine grinned, raising her staff in celebration, though she quickly reined herself in and lowered it to the ground. "Anyway, as the big guy said," Nomine poked Cygnus in the side with her staff, "I'm Nomine, acolyte and apparent moon goddess, if you take Cyggy here's word for it," she prodded him in the side a few more times, earning a lighthearted but questioning expression from the man. "Oh, and his name is actually Cygnus. Only I can call him Cyggy, probably. I mean, you're free to try, but he might punch you," Nomine stopped assaulting her ally, and he simply joined his hands behind his back, standing straight up and saying nothing. Cygnus sighed. "So, what are your names?"

Sunny held back a giggle. Nomine was certainly eager, and a lot more charming than the other two that had joined them. "I'm Sunny, and my friend is Wendel," she said with a nod, "Nice to meet you!"

The swordsman nodded some more. She didn't offer a handshake this time. "Nice to meet you."

A cough sounded from the NPC, and polls appeared before all thte players but Cygnus. Wendel's attention was fixed on the landscapes.

After the NPC's short speech, Nomine stared into the portal, glancing over the images set for them to choose from. She turned back to her new allies and Cygnus, just in time to watch the giant shrug and sit himself down.

"So, what will you two be voting for?" Nomine wasn't too sure what to choose, herself.

Wendel's gaze didn't move from the portal, one image in particular. Her mouth was slightly ajar in a vacant expression. That stuff was seriously pretty. "Sunflowers."

Sunny half-turned to Wendel, giving her a curious look. "Sunflowers?" she repeated, questioning, giving a small smirk, "Tough guy wanna look at the pretty flowers?" she teased.

"I--" Wendel felt an unwanted blush heat her face, "I'm not that tough."

"Sunflowers, then?" Nomine interrupted, acting oblivious to Sunny and Wendel's exchange. The acolyte immediately put in her vote, giving no time for anyone to talk her out of the sudden choice.

Sunny didn't hold back that laugh, "Sunflowers are good. Flowers are nice, and I getta live up to the name." she gave Wendel a wry smile as she keyed in her own vote. Rolling her eyes at the joke, Wendel voted too.

Matt chose that moment to return with Darren in tow, the latter was still engrossed in his ledgers and notes.

"Have you guys all voted?" -He grinned, the jovial demeanour back in place -"Or still making up your mind?"

Wendel said nothing, hoping the still-open poll in her hands would be answer enough.

"We're going with sunflowers." Sunny said with a polite smile, giving a nod towards Nomine and Cygnus, "We also got some new people with us."

"We do. Introduce us?" -Matt glanced at the newcomers, subtly running his gaze over the both of them -"Me and Darren's going sunflowers too, so that's good news."

Cygnus excitedly lifted himself from the ground, clearly prepared to repeat his spiel, which earned him another whack from Nomine's staff. He still stood up, though he now lurched over himself.

"This is Nomine," he sighed, "goddess of the moon and patron of the guild MOONPHASE." He made a halfhearted gesture with his arms towards the short, energetic Nomine. His tone was almost comedically monotonous. "Her Holiness will be joining your party for the duration of this campaign. I, a simple follower of Her Holiness, will refrain from most direct involvement unless she requires my action." Nomine nodded along, attempting to console the sad giant with a few pats on the wrist.

"O-Okay?" -Matt raised an eyebrow, clearly taken aback by Nomine's elaborated introduction. He regained his cool quickly enough though, working a smile back onto his face. He knew of hardcore roleplayers; he had just never run in the same circle as them-"I'm Matt. This is my friend Darren. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too!" Nomine darted around and looked over Matt and Darren. She seemed to take particular interest in the fish-man, barely able to keep herself from poking at the water sphere with her staff. She eventually moved back to her place next to Cygnus. "Your characters are cool! You don't see many people playing merfolk, or... goat-people," her hat blinked, "so, what classes are you all playing?" This question was addressed to all four of her new companions. The answer was obvious for most of them, but she clearly hoped for some sort of elaboration.

"I'm an archer!" Sunny chirped, "And Wendel here is a swordsman."

Wendel nodded in affirmation.

Matt did raise an eyebrow at the goat person comment, but he let it slide. Not everyone could really appreciate the aesthetic, after all.

"I'm an acolyte. Darren over there is mage." -He gestured over to his friend, who gave a slight nod.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Bell Pepper, Gekkou Kami, Hopper, Naumi
Collab with Denny, Baklava, and Atsat


"SUN FLOWER FIELD!" Bell exclaimed almost immediately. "I want to go-"

Realizing she needed to vote for it on the paper in front of her, she flicked out a quill with a quick gesture, then ticked the box on the paper. Field means a large vast space, and that means space for running. A lot of running. She liked to run. Turning to the others, her hands wandered slowly towards the huge fluffy tail behind Ami.

"Well, what are you guys gonna pick?"

Before Bell had the chance to touch it, the tail swiveled out of sight. Turning to face Bell just as her own voting paper disappeared, Ami smiled, "I picked the village!"

Naumi had already voted by the time Bell spoke up. "Oh, well I picked that forest. Feels like the most interesting place to explore, and I bet there's some mystical shit in there just looking at it." She also noted how the novice was really infatuated with that tail. Poor Ami, having to deal with being rubbed all the time.

"Eh? Is that so? I don't really care for those sort of things." Bell looked slightly disappointed at the tail swishing away, but she guessed there would be another time for fluffy tail touching. Maybe after this part of the campaign was done. "The field with the sunflower field looks nice and open. Ah, sunflowers are nice too. Maybe we can find a nice old grandma to take us in while we're there or something."

Ami grinned ruefully, almost starting to regret her choice, "Or a handsome samurai!"

Naumi laughed at this. "Well, your Samurai in shining armor is just a bunch of ones and zeroes. NPCs might look nice, but there really isn't much to them. Now I gotta wonder though, this place seems pretty Japanese-whatever inspired so guess we'll run into stuff like that."

Ami stared blankly at Naumi for the briefest of moments, masking the firey indignation lurking behind bright pink eyes. Of course she didn't think the NPCs were real or anything. How old did Naumi think she was?

Her lips split into a sunny smile.

"Jesus, Naumi," she laughed lightly at the white haired swordsman, "I'm not lookin' to marry one. A woman can hope for some eye candy every now and then, can't she?" She winked playfully, swishing her tail for emphasis.

Without missing a beat, Bell Pepper caught the tail as it swished by her. The softness of the fur was enough to make her mind melt; almost enough to make her lose what little common sense she had and grab Ami like a plushie. Almost. As it was, she felt she could die right now and regret nothing. Realizing she had just been warned against this sort of thing, Bell snapped to herself suddenly, and let go.

"Ah, sorry about that. Its just that..." I can't resist grabbing it when it started swishing she wanted to say, but that didn't seem right. What was she, a cat? "I really like fluffy things."

"OH! Maybe we will find a fluffy samurai! I want to see a red panda samurai! It won't matter that they're real or not then, right?" She turned towards Naumi, smilling widely.

Ami jumped a little at the grab, but was otherwise unhindered. She smiled in response to Bell's apology, prepared to explain that she didn't mind before the blonde girl spoke again.

Ami's eyes lit up immediately.

"Yes! See? Pepper gets it!" she exclaimed excitedly. Gracefully balancing one foot against the base of her staff, the little fox sorceress used the leverage to drape one arm around Bell's neck and press their cheeks together.

Zhane had listened to the girls carefully before he picked, seeing what their opinions were on the choices before finally making a descision of his own. "I'm going with the place with the cherry blossoms." Turning to the girls again, he watched as they interacted, smiling at how comfortable they were with one another having just only met.

"A cute neko-girl would be awesome to see at the manor. Especially one in an adorable kimono!" The thief said, imagining a cute NPC of his own.

Naumi crossed her arms and glanced to the side thoughtfully. "Alright, guess some Samurai dude or, a cat girl." She gestured at Hopper to at least acknowledge his contribution, "Could be some nice eye candy. Dunno what I would want to see on the other side though."
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Piercing Light
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Piercing Light ...

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Sophos stared at the images inside the gate, her arms crossed and her feet still. If she didn't know any better she'd have sworn they were being tested right now. This entire situation was strange. The part of her mind that demanded to know the insides of the sausage was going mad.

She focused instead on the six locations and what they could possibly have in store for them. After deliberating she settled on either the first location or the third. The malicious looking forest seemed as if it would provide the most challenge for them, and since this was a game they could expect great rewards in turn. The other option was the one she was most curious about personally. A vast field with nothing of note but a sea of sunflowers, calm flowing brooks, and a lone house. An important event was surely waiting at that location, game designers don't go out of their way to highlight something this much otherwise. That said...

Sophos voted for the forest and turned to the gathering of players. Some of them had split off into groups, that was inevitable really. Crowds of people in any casual setting will eventually create groups. Yet here she was voting on her own. It would have been a good excuse to socialize, but she wanted to vote without being influenced. She wondered if they would even be splitting up once they went through the gate, what if that wasn't an option? That was something to worry about if it happened, for now there was no harm in finding party members.

"Pro thief here looking for a party, any takers!?" Sophos proclaimed in a boisterous voice. It was only after she said it that she remembered that she'd just sold her high level character. Too late to take it back now.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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With the location for their first conquest finally locked in, the image within the gate shimmered, throwing out some impressive blue sparks, before finally showing an image of the Forest. It seemed to ripple as if it was the surface of a pond, disturbed by a droplet of water, but the image within was unmistakable.

"Then, by the vote of the majority, the forest is our first conquest! Our landing, our foothold into this strange barbaric lands! Come, adventurers, claim this land in the name of King Tristran, claim it, for honor and glory!"

Looking a little out of breath, Frika nonetheless gave a grand gesture towards the gate, looking more than a little bit excited.

"Well? Lets go!"

***


Once those that got the paper to vote went through the gate, everyone would feel an insane tingling down their back, with perhaps even some being to the point of actual tickling. However, the gate seemed to have worked, and teleported them into the forest. Almost immediately the difference between here and where they came from was clear. There was a gentle breeze, ruffling hair, and bringing with it the heady scent of several odd mushrooms as well as the earthy smell of an ancient forest. Laughter could be heard around, like the tinkling of bells. The source was immediately apparent; winged beings with the appearance of children, and judging how they were playing, with the minds of one, was flitting about the trees paying them no mind. The leaves on the ground seemed crisper, crackling with dryly with every step made upon them.

While it all looked like the image seen upon the gate, towards the north was a small clearing, and a rather odd looking house. A man opened his door nonchalantly, stretching out and yawning, before catching sight of the group. After a moment's hesitation, he gave a small smile and spoke.

"Oh? Did I pick up another one of those lamps? Or do I have actual visitors?"


While he seemed easygoing, there was obviously tension in his body, as if still wary of the group. It seemed he did not expect such a group to show up on his doorsteps.

"Or perhaps there was another reason why such a group comes to me?"

His hand went lazily towards the door of his house, the latch opening as he turned the knob.
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Zelosse
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Zelosse The Entity

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Bullhorns advances on prospective team members had been met with less than stellar results. No invites. Not even the invites he had sent. It had only been one but still, it was disappointing to go into new content as a solo player. Odds are there would be elite mobs roaming the early zones to count as 'boss' monsters for quest chains as some kind of buffer for the unskilled players or offer a chance to experienced players to help out the solos. At that point a party would form itself out of necessity and he could slide into a group. Until then.

"Solo it is, then." He mumbled, glancing at the shrine behind him.

As much as Bullhorn hated to admit the truth it really was a familiar thing to be alone in a situation like this. His job wasn't terribly demanding but the hours were a disaster to his social standing since the bar was open in the afternoon until the early hours of the morning. With his availability so far out of the loop it left him alone more often than not as other players logged out when he was logging in. Granted there were the EU players that came around but that just created further complications as, on his days off, they weren't online.

"Pain in the ass hours.." again grumbling as he approached the shrine empty handed.

With the location for their first conquest finally locked in, the image within the gate shimmered, throwing out some impressive blue sparks, before finally showing an image of the Forest. It seemed to ripple as if it was the surface of a pond, disturbed by a droplet of water, but the image within was unmistakable.

"Then, by the vote of the majority, the forest is our first conquest! Our landing, our foothold into this strange barbaric lands! Come, adventurers, claim this land in the name of King Tristran, claim it, for honor and glory!"


Wait, a lottery system for a new zone? It's not going to just open up into linear zones we explore? What in the hell are the dev team up to with this..

With a shower of blue sparks the portal activated, the surface displaying the destination voted for by the participants. Personally Bullhorn had voted for the eastern village but it seemed he was not part of the majority. The loot on the other side of the portal wouldn't be any less delicious just because it wasn't his choice starting zone, if you could even call it that.
Stepping through the portal deposited the shirtless caster into the forested area. The most immediate landmark in the area was a small house, a man in a black and blue robe talking about.. lanterns?

Not wanting to dive headfirst into trouble, Bullhorn decided the best course of action was to sit back and let others handle the talking.

Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Piercing Light
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Piercing Light ...

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Sophos blinked in astonishment as she found herself transported to the strange forest displayed in the gate. She was still in virtual reality, right? She looked at her hands, she felt her long elf ears. She took out a scroll and check her stats. Yeah, she was still in the game, but she couldn't really be blamed for thinking otherwise for a moment. Every single one of her senses was telling her this was real. The breeze on her face, the wild smell of the forest, it all felt fantastic in the true sense of the word.

In the distance ahead of them she saw an odd looking building. She couldn't quite place the architecture, it resembled the structures seen in the other options given to them, but was clearly distinct. Her eyes moved to something to the right of the building, it was the remains of a car. Judging by the amount of overgrowth on it she could assume it had been there for a while. In front of the store was a postbox and a CRT television. These objects all looked quite anachronistic together.

A man stepped out of the building, Sophos narrowed her eyes. She knew the building looked familiar, but she wasn't expecting to actually see a certain video game character. Had that talented game developer made a deal with WEO? With this barely alive game? She put the thoughts aside for a moment as she focused on what the man had just said. She put on a wide smile and walked up to him.

"Sorry if we scared you, we're new to this region and are simply exploring on behalf of a benefactor of ours. If you wouldn't mind, could you tell us a little about this forest?"

The man opened the door, looking ruefully at the crowded room with various objects piled upon the table. "Hmm, I'd thought to invite you all in for some tea, but it seems I've not room to do so."

With a critical eye that would make anyone feel as if they're being analysed, the man spoke again. "Oh? Perhaps we should introduce ourselves before anything else?"

Sophos nodded and walked towards what she assumed to be the man's shop. "Of course, I'm Sophos. If it would be too much trouble I'm sure some of the others could occupy their time exploring." She gleefully let herself in, examining the assortment of objects inside. "And you are?" She asked, looking to the NPC.

"Rinnosuke Morichika, owner of Kourindou, this shop you see here." He gave a gesture towards the building behind him before realizing Sophos has already entered. "Might I ask who your benefactor is and what they want with this forest?"

As Sophos entered the building, she could see various strange objects within that room alone; a rusted tsurugi, jars of odds and ends, even a strange thin and tall glass vase with a pipe going out from the bottom. Even stranger, several old pieces of technology could be found, from record players to an old looking vinyl record with only a white cover.

Sophos's ears twitched upon hearing the man's name. It really was who she thought it was, this was starting to feel surreal. "He is a man with a lot of money and influence where we're from. As for what he wants with this forest, nothing I assume?" Sophos placed a finger on her chin and looked upwards quizzically.

"After all, this is the first time anyone from our home has ever laid foot in this land. However, I would be lying if I said any valuable resources wouldn't be of interest." She let out a cough and held her hands up. "But don't worry, we aren't here to take anything by force, we're hardly an army as you can see. As a matter of fact we would be more than willing to help however we can."

Ohh, fairies! Not being able to visit the village, Ami was dissappointed but it didn't last long. Stunned by all the intricate details, the multi-colored fox girl approached the clearing with her head on a swivel, clearly beguiled by the new surroundings.

The breeze through her hair... the fresh air... the texture of the forest floor...

Of course, it was all simulated, but she'd never experienced anything quite like it. Nor could she resist finding the newest NPC extremely interesting. She listened intently as the elven thief, 'Sophos', began interacting with him-- interest quickly feigning as she tip toed around Rinnosuke's questions.

Lingering in the doorway for a moment after the two entered the shop, Ami made a weak effort to stifle a sigh as she slipped inside and picked up a jar, squinting at the contents.

"You sure you want to speak for all of us like that?" she chuckled, moving on to investigate the next jar.

Rinnosuke's expression was unreadable, though his smile stayed on. He wasn't a fool, from the way they skirted around his question, it wasn't that hard to put two and two together. He looked at Ami with only a mild curiosity before turning back to Sophos.

"Oh? So you're here for resources, but you're also here to help?" He pushed up his glasses. "A group of people, coming from a rich and powerful person, ordered to come to a place, he has no interest in."

Adopting a thoughtful pose, he continued. "Well, if you're here to claim this land, then you and your group should fight me outside. I have a lot of things here I'd rather not break carelessly."

Sophos looked at Ami, her face somehow looking upon her the same way a parent does when they come home with the family car dinged. "Actually, I'm pretty sure of it now." She let out a fake cough and turned to Rinnosuke. "Look, you don't want to fight us, and honestly I'd rather not fight you. I'll be straight with you, our king sent us here, but not to slaughter the locals. This can be a beneficial relationship for all of us. If we find a valuable resource we could pay for it, I'm sure we have something to offer." Sophos put on a wide smile, perhaps too wide. "I do hope the first impression we get here isn't that people are unwilling to be civil."

"Civil?" Rinnosuke held out his hand, a rusty tsurugi flying to his outstretched hand. "A king sends armed men to my doorsteps and expects things to be civil? To have a beneficial relationship for all? You'll forgive me for saying this, but I have no trust in any such king sending such flowery promises."

There seemed no way around this now; Rinnosuke looked determined as he went outside and took his place.

"It appears the diplomatic process has broken down." Sophos let out an amused giggle and walked outside. She really wasn't as dead set on a peaceful solution as she had seemed. She simply had a habit of always trying the pacifist route first when it came to NPC interactions, she wouldn't want to miss any interesting content because she murdered a character right away after all. She equipped her daggers and stood opposite of Rinnosuke, waiting for him to make a move.
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by GreenGoat
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Rinnosuke Morichika
The Unmoving Used Goods Seller


The shopkeeper moved slowly towards his starting point.

Oddly enough, he still wore a gentle smile, though tempered with determination. It was as if he was heading not to battle, but a normal exercise.

"Sorry for being hard headed, but if you're new to this place, I might as well teach you how conflicts are settled here. But, they're usually settled by matches li-"

"WHOAH! IS SOMEONE FIGHTING!?" An overexcited fairy zipped around the clearing, their voice luring in more fairies.

"I wanna join! Danmaku! DANMAKUUUU!" More and more fairies started to join in, though the more timid ones stayed back around the clearing, looking worriedly at their bolder friends.

Sighing, Rinnosuke continued. "Well, perhaps a demonstration would be best. On guard!"

***


Bell Pepper, in the meantime, had rushed into the shop with Ami, looking around at... well, it looked more like a pawn shop from the real world. It was full of old junk, strange curios, jars of preserved stuff, and even an old looking keyboard in the background. For a strange eastern land it seemed odd that this shop would carry such a stuff. As such, Bell wasn't really paying attention to Sophos' conversation, being more interested to root around and see what else this person has in their collection.

All of a sudden, a beep from her log book notified her that battle was commencing with the shopkeeper.

"Ah. Did we make him mad? Maybe he doesn't like window shoppers."

Following the location noted on the book to start and participate in the combat, she took her place with Ami, giving a thumbs up as she did so.


Hidden 12 mos ago Post by banjoanjo
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banjoanjo Still likes pistachios

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Wendel & Sunny

Collab with @Diggerton



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Riffus Maximus Death's Metalsmith

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Odd or not, in the cart it goes!

Fayt
Marken
Bullhorn

A collab by [@Riffusmaximus], @Lasrever & @Zelosse


It was with a bit of sour disappointment Fayt entered this new world. There was nothing seemingly interesting to do in a forest except run into some dangerous forest monsters. Kicking a small pebble out of the way as the sight of the forest came into view, the orcish Thief sighed to his friend, seeing he didn’t get an answer from the priestess. “So much for the party thing…”

Well, maybe they’d get lucky and find a hidden temple or a dungeon inside the forest.

Or maybe just a guy and his house in the middle of nowhere.

Before Fayt could speak, the elven Thief had taken the lead and caused a scene. From the back, one could clearly see the green-skinned avatar raising a hand to his face. “Gee, is that how ye do diplomacy? Ness’ time, leave tha talk to som’n’ else, yeh?” the orc muttered as he distanced himself from the group leaving the house.

He didn’t come here to fight. Fighting wasn’t the Thief’s forte anyway. That was best left for all those fighting classes. His talent was looting. And from what he’ve seen in the house, there could be something worth taking in there.

With a malicious glint in his eyes, Fayt turned to Marken with a grin “How ‘bout we leave ‘em to their problems, an’ help ourselves out?”

Well, that hadn’t gone well. Marken had decided to try and stay out of the confrontation once someone else started it. He didn’t really feel like getting in a fight, preferring to ensure his own safety compared to most of these people’s.

Maybe he’d have chosen different initially if he’d realised how bad they’d be at talking things out, but it wasn’t as if he could change that now.

“They really should’ve let me do the talking.” Marken sighed, looking slightly frustrated with how things had turned out. Turning to Fayt, he decided to forget about his frustrations, breaking into a wide grin. “Anything that saves me getting a bash over the head! May as well make the best of being stuck here.”

"Oi."

Like the two thief classes, Bullhorn had positioned himself from the bulk of the group and gone on his lonesome, aiming to avoid the npc now that others hadstarted a commotion. To his line of thinking, the npc was either strong enough to solo a whole squad of folks or would only be enough for a single combatant.

Neither option was attractive to think about.

"You two need a third?" Bullhorn cast a sideways glance at the group forming up near the npc, giving a little sigh.

"The more the merrier!" Fayt enthusiastically answered, giving the newcomer a thumbs up.

Glancing back and forth from the hermit to his house, the orc nodded to himself. If the guy was going to just stand there and wait for everyone to charge at him, then that makes things just easier for the Thief and his two partners.

"Lesgo do some... 'shopping', whaddaya say?"

Fayt didn't really bother for an answer though, seeing as he was already walking discreetly towards the house.

Marken followed, though the cart meant he couldn’t be nearly as subtle about his movements - instead of trying to avoid notice, he decided to move quickly, figuring it’d be easier to let it look like he was retreating from the inevitable fight. Because really, there was no reason to risk his goods for people who insisted on starting problems right away. He was a merchant at his core, after all, and profits came first.

Despite appearances, he really wasn’t much of a fighter. Letting other people take on your battles was always much safer.

Arching an eyebrow, Bullhorn didn't inquire as to what the thief meant by 'shopping'. It seemed a fairly obvious answer if you thought about it. Unbothered by the moral conflict of doing right or making a profit, the horned mage merely nodded his consent and flashed a similar thumbs up to Fayt. The situation outside was going to get ugly and having a way to possibly funnel cannon fodder the boss summoned would be useful.
Unless.. Shaking his head, Bull focused on the now rather than trying to predict the future.

"Ready when you are."

Nodding once more, Fayt now looked up, examining the house. It would seem like there were a few windows up there. Perfect.

"Marks, ye stay here on watch. Imma toss ya stuff from the window up thare. New guy, ye come with me."

Taking a few steps back, the Thief took a running start. Agile footing ran up the walls and deft hands clung onto the edges of the house with surprising parkour skills. Before a minute even passed, the orcish figure was at the window of the house's second floor. Up there, he tied a grappling hook to a length of rope he had produced from his backpack. Once the hook was secured to the window's lower frame, Fayt let go of the rope, where it was hanging next to Bullhorn.

Quietly, the acrobatic thief motionned the Mage to join him up there.

In the real world I never would have gone along with this..

Silently following along with the skilled and experienced thief players, Bull sheathed his dagger and watched the nimble orc scale the side of the building with frightening ease. Appearances were deceiving apparently. When the rope fell he took hold and pulled, easily hoisting himself up the side of the house as he put hand over hand until he was over the windowsill and next to Fayt.

"What next."

As soon as they went up there, they were greeted by a rather spartan looking room; the shopkeeper's bedroom if the single plain bed there was of any indication. While clean, it was bare of any real decorations. Indeed the only noteable thing was the stairs going back down, as well as another door behind a plain wardrobe.

"Whoever the owner is, either it's minimalist for show or they have something to hide."

If it was something to hide they would need something large. Either under the bed or 'decoration' that wouldn't look out of place to the casual observer. Marching across the room, Bullhorn pressed his back to the wardrobe and gave a grunt as he moved it slowly to the side and fully revealing the door. Flashing a smile of satisfaction, he motioned for the thief to do their job.

"Odds of a trap are high. Be careful."

"No worries, I'm on tha job."

Fayt chuckled with confidence. Traps and secret passages? That was what this Thief character was made for.

Closing her eyes for a second, Faith suddenly saw her vision returning with a faint red outline all around her field of view when she opened her eyes. Similarly, Fayt's dark brown eyes seemed to slightly glow with a red hue as his Search skill was toggled on.

A shopkeeper with minimal furniture. That indeed raised suspicions. Whatever he was hiding, the green-skinned avatar will waste no time finding those secrets.

The room beyond the door was outlined clearly, as well as outlines of what seemed to be boxes and objects stacked on boxes, but nothing else. No traps, just a large room with a lot of things in it, albeit dark without any source of light in it.

Looking aeound the room, Fayt had a mixture of surprise and disappointment on his face. Despite the darkness of the room, Fayt had no problem seeing thanks to one of his passibe skills. He navigated through the room, ushering a quiet "Clear." to his Mage partner. Looking through the boxes, Fayt found nothing of peculiar interest, at least it would be in the real world. Inside a medieval game, the existence of TVs amd radios, electronics even, no matter how old they were, was way too technologically advanced for the game's usual setting.

"Das... strange." Fayt muttered as he examined the contents of the room.

Marken, who’d held off on climbing in until he was absolutely sure nothing had murdered the other two, pulled his way through the window far less gracefully than they had and flopped unceremoniously to the floor. Of course, he could have stayed outside, but he’d ultimately decided against it. After all, he was best placed to figure out what was worth taking - and, for that matter, to talk their way out if they were discovered.

Looking down towards the room, he called out as loudly as he dared, choosing not to head down into the darkness. “Anything interesting down there?”

Fayt jumped in surprise even as it was a familliar voice whi called out to him. "Gee, ya scared me. Thought you'd still be down thare."

The orc pushed a sigh of relief out of his lungs, turning his sight back to the boxes that have been rummaged through.

"I... dunno? Lots o' TVs, radios, statues and junk. Stuff outta place for the game. Think ya can salvage these and find a use?"

“Should find a use, if you give me some time. Even if I can't, stuff that sticks out like that's valuable.” Marken squinted at the outlines - all packed up, it looked like. “Don’t bother unpacking all that, just take the boxes. I’ll climb back down; you just pass them down to me so I can get them on the cart.” And then, all things going to plan, they could find somewhere to hide out, look through the goods, and wait for the rest of the mess to blow over so they could get to the real fun stuff.

Normally he'd have been more altruistic about the whole thing, but they were the ones who'd decided to get him warped out into the wilderness, so he didn't really want to stick his neck out for them. It wasn't as if you could go around joining every random stranger's fights, or you'd never make any progress.

Bullhorn rummaged through the items with casual disinterest, picking up what looked like old and outdated television and radio sets scattered through, if they were being honest, with a whole lot of worthless junk. The why of it all was elusive. Of course even outdated electronics could be useful and anything metal could be salvaged to make other things but that didn't explain anything about the situation or why the man would go to such lengths to hide this.. junk.

The only reason he could see at all was thanks to what little light shimmered in the darkness. The thief had already gone further in thanks to their dark vision but from the sound of it there wasn't anything else to see. Thinking back on the wardrobe, it gave him an idea.

"Oi. Maybe this is a double fake out? There might be another 'wardrobe' hiding a trapdoor somewhere on the floor. Look for a heavy statue or a pile of this trash thats bigger than the others."

If his hunch was true the real treasure, something the shopkeeper might want to protect above all and thus be worth fighting for, was hidden in this house.

"Nope, I see nothin' hidden, I'd know with my Search skill. Unless..."

What if this new campaign was still in development and Fayt's skill wasn't working as it was supposed to? Within the blink of his eyes, the red glow vanished, and Faith's vision returned to normal. Well, darkvision normal.

Searching carefully throughout the wardrobe, Fayt concluded one thing:

There really was nothing noteworthy in this attic.

It was sort of a let down, but at the very least they got something very unusual from all this, no matter how junk-ish it looked like.

"Well, there really is nothin' here but all that scrap. No mattah. Marks, get ready down there. We'll toss ya the stuff from up here."

With that being said, Fayt tried to take a box by his lonesome self, but he found himself unable to lift them off the ground.

"Shit, that's heavy. Help me pick it up, we'll just toss ya the contents one by one an' leave the lighter stuff in the boxes."

Pausing at the request, Marken headed back, grabbing the other side of the box next to Fayt. “You should start training! Get yourself lifting some real weights.” He was only teasing, of course, looking at his partner in crime with a chuckle.

”Let’s make it quick as we can, eh? Any luck we’ll be long gone by the time the fight’s over.” He grinned, bracing himself for the weight.

“Ready when you are.”

Picking up whatever looked most salvageable, Bullhorn did his best to help lug their valuables up and out the way they had come in. Their plan to vanish before the npc knew they'd come was wise.

"Easy fer ya to say, big guy!" Fayt replied with a grin, letting out a grunt escape his throat as he started lifting the heavy boxes. "Yeh, easy come, easy go. We be goin' in a jiffy."

“Right. So first, we pile all these up.” Marken grinned. “Stick them in front of the door, leave everything that doesn’t look valuable inside, and they should make a good barricade.” Really, he was the only merchant around here anyway; the others were unlikely to make good use of all this, and letting everyone have a piece of their discovery would just cut in to profits.

Marken Monet was not about to toss away party funds that easily. It’d benefit everyone in the end. “Unload the valuable-looking electronics first, then we can look through the scraps.”

"Righto!"

Doing as Marken suggested, the trio of thieves moved the heaviest boxes in front of the door while keeping an eye out for the would-be valuable electronics. Anything else, they simply moved it to block the only way to reach them. Despite their effort and their hurry, it would still take them quite a while to sort through the whole attic and retrieve what was of interest.

As the trio bent their backs to secure the loot, Bullhorn couldn't escape overthinking the situation. This could go down many ways but one of them seemed the most troublesome and at last could be ignored no longer. Speaking up, he brought his attention to Marken.

"Do you think its wise to carry all this when we have no idea where to go next to sell it? For all we know at the moment the guy outside is the only npc for miles."

A wiser plan, to Bullhorns thinking at least, was get far away and stash the goods where nobody would stumble on them. Travel light, find a buyer, then come back for the heavy stuff later.

"Cart's there for a reason."Marken laughed. "We leave stuff behind, it won't be there when we get back. Just stack it all up and I'll do the planning."
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Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Rekaigan
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Rekaigan Rolling Sushi

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Christening of the Stupid
Reina
Bullhorn


Coming down from the window was Bullhorn with his backpack full of loot, in tow were his two companions the thief and the merchant. Bogged down with all the loot from inside, the trio had quickly amassed a generous pile of broken radios and other miscellaneous garbage from inside the strange NPC's house and were poised to make a dash for the treeline. Bullhorn did not generally make himself out to be a thief of any kind and in the real world looked upon the act of theft with heavy disdain. There were many a fool who had tried to swipe alcohol from behind the bar only to come face to face with him.
It was a secret pride of his to be alert for such shenanigans.

@Lasrever@riffus maximus

"You two head out. I'm gonna hang back and take a look around a bit." Saluting the two others, Bullhorn dusted off and rearranged his coat with a quick flick by its collars. As Bullhorn turned away from his wouldbe companions, his gaze was met by a slightly shorter woman, in tribal apparel. A warm smile beaming at him.
"A heist well executed, hm?" She chuckled, her eyes glancing to his loot bag.

At any other time Bullhorns inescapable lack of emotion, from joy to fright, would not have surfaced. The sight of a vibrantly colored somebody whos name he knew was a rare exception. The stifled scream from his lips would surely have alerted others had his hands not covered his mouth in time. Eyes wide with brief but visible panic, Bullhorn exhaled sharply before half-running over to the diminutive speaker.

"I told you not to do that.." Arching an eyebrow, Maxwell glanced to either side before continuing. "How long have you been here?"

Her smile changed to a smrik before she looked up slightly, tapping her chin in thought. "Well..."
FLASHBACK..
Flashback..
Flashback..

(Note: She is actually saying 'flashback', but quieter each time..)

Lynda woke up this morning with the energy of a child that downed ten espresso shots in rapid succession. Excited for the new event that was about to unfold that morning. An event that she was informed of by her amazing and very nice and talkative best friend, Sir Maxwell O'Sullivan the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Fifth of his name, long may he reign! In all his capey cash shop 'I've got too much money' glory! Logging in with the speed of a rock accelerating into the sun's orbit, jamming the VRMMO headset onto her skull as if she was about to concuss herself in a bout of self harm. Logging in and immediately being sucked into the event portal as if a blackhole itself had opened in the world, having forgotten they'd parked the character there the night before at Bullhorn's behest. Then they landed in a mysterious plane that our brave and oh so beautifully shiny hero didn't even know of! And there he was. Sir Maxwell O'Sullivan the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Fifth of his name (long may he reign), walking off with two other miscreants or general no-good-nicks who seemed to be leading him to somewhere most unsavory! The Great Lightning Sage Reina, she of magnificence and armed with a beauty that can not be beat, had to stalk after them to make sure Sir Maxwell O'Sullivan the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Fifth of his name (long may he reign), her best friend in the whole universe, wasn't about to do something so sinful that the greatest demon kings and queens of the Seven Hell's themselves would be challenged!

"And here we are. You thiefy thief you! You should be ashamed of yourself, oh Most Powerful Astromancer of Doom, BULLHORN!" She said with great grandeur, her hands on her hips.

Bullhorn, standing through the verbal diarrhea that was escaping from Lynda's mouth, had thumb and pointing finger firmly pressed to his temples in a futile attempt to massage away the stupidity. Like a blanket it wrapped around him uncomfortably as the story progressed for what felt like an eternity. At last she was finished and Max cut in with his usual 'to the point' dissection.

"So you woke up, logged in and saw me, then waited to find me outside the house. That about covers it?" The girl wasn't exactly a morning person. Max rightfully assumed this was sleep deprivation being played off as 'enthusiasm'.

"Yup!" She exclaimed, brimming with stolen enthusiasm. "So, what did you get?" She added, basically teleporting behind, poking his bag of loot with a childish curiosity.

In a futile attempt to stop her, the horned mage tried to turn with the girl's eccentric speed, ultimately giving up as Reina poked the bag on his back. Defeated but not bested, his hand closed on the collar of Reina's shirt and lifted up, casually pulling the girl off the ground as he sighed. "If I show you, will you stop that please."

"Maaaaaaaybe~" She responds with a cheeky smirk.

"You're a catastrophe, Lyn." Not one to chuckle he let the girl down and motioned for her to follow.

"Of course!" She cheered, throwing her hands up in the air before following after him

"Me and two others, thief and a merchant, absolutely broke into the NPC's house. Weird thing is we found a bunch of.. old, OLD, outdated technology just sitting in a hidden room full of statues." Reaching into his inventory he tossed one such broken clock to the Thunder mage. The two of them were setting a casual pace towards the trees, Bullhorn sending the girl a proper party request. The other group he had dissolved from. There would be a message for both of them later but for now it was back to a familiar face. "Look for yourself. They're rusted junk but there was lots of them. Merchant player intends to make a profit and share. I intend to use the profits to get us better gear."

"Aha! So I was right! They're a right shady bunch!!" She said, nodding to herself as if to say 'I'm totally smart and stuff.' Catching the broken clock with the dexterity of a newborn fawn, she promptly dropped it into the dirt. She quickly accepted the party request as she picked up the mechanical artifact. "Maaaybe it's super magical! MAYBE THIS THING CAN CONTROL TIME ITSELF!" She exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air once more, almost tossing the clock into a tree.She retrieved the object again, nodding to herself.. Again.
"That Merchant is real shady. But he knows his stuff!"

"Or maybe it is just an old and broken clock. One of nearly a hundred. Might be a game, Lyn, but stuff like that doesn't hide out on the first zone." Reaching over, Bullhorn flicked the girl's forehead and grabbed the clock with his free hand before placing it back in the bag for safekeeping. Of the loot they had found, a single clock was all he'd taken as his own personal loot.

"BUT it's because it's a game. Don't you get it?!" She protested just as her forehead was impacted by the mighty digit of Sir Maxwell O'Sullivan the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Fifth of his name, (long may he reign.) or.. Most Powerful Astromancer of Doom, Bullhorn. She rubbed her forehead with her now empty hand with a slight look of pain.. AGONY.

"Grow up.."
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Forest of Magic Conquered


"Oh... Well alright then!" Sophos was expecting Rinnosuke to make the first move, but if he wanted to give up that chance then that was fine with her. She wasn't interested in dealing with the fairies, trying to thin them out first would take a while, she was better at focusing on one target anyhow. She charged forward towards the three fairies in front of her, just before she was within reach of them she leaped forward over them, then using double jump to propel herself forwards towards Rinnosuke. She slashed at him with a horizontal swing, then skidding to a stop as she touched the ground. She had activated Pilfer Sight at the same time, intending to cause herself to become invisible to him. (moves to F5?)

For the most part Naumi was neutral in all of this, she allowed the others to deal with the NPC while she simply hanged back to enjoy the scenery. When it became pretty clear that diplomacy broke down, however she was more than ready to throw down. She watched that thief, who was kinda responsible for everything falling apart in the first place, jump over the trio of faries before them. Seeing this as her opening to do some damage, Naumi made use of her Spear Down ability, and aimed herself directly at the fairly in the middle. Her intention was to stab that fairy, and ideally if that was enough to take it down, she would then start engaging the other two faries in melee with the objective to keep their attention on her, although she didn't see the point in firing off her taunt quite yet. (moves to J11)

Thryr had just been observing all the scenery around him. He decided to let the others do their own thing and he'd join them in time. His only concern at the moment was that the forst wasn't made for half giants in mind, as he broke yet another branch with his helmed head. "Gods damn it..." He decided it would be best for himself to go back to the clearing. Upon entering he saw that something wasn't right. Upon hearing Rinnosuke's words and the fairies coming over for a fight he sighed. "Why did we let the rogues speak to the guy.... Guess it's fightin' time. He drew his massive blade. "I'll handle the fairies... I can kill them right? They're bloody small..." He set his sword straight in front of him, point up, calling upon the move Rising Sun. The blade gained a soft sheen before he slid a foot back and used his move, Charging Bull to the group of fairies in front of him, moving unnervingly fast, for his size. He used a broad slash which, with his ungodly massive blade, should be enough to catch all of them. (moves to O4)

Rinnosuke only watched as Sophos leapt over the three fairies, jumping fast towards him. She was certainly fast, but, facing someone head on, who was taller than her and wieldng a longer weapon was perhaps not the best decision. With how far she was before she started beelining towards him, it was no surprise that Rinnosuke could anticipate then counter her moves, slashing down upon her attacking hand, giving a sharp cut and knocking the knife out of her hand. He looked almost apologetic as she disappeared from sight. Her hand would be bleeding now, though it was the red buzzy digital effect that all wounds have in World's End Online.

Naumi however, had more success, knocking the fairy out instantly, her log would beep at the successful attack. However, unlike in World's End Online, the fairy seemed to be only stunned, though if checked, the Enemy tag on inspection would have disappeared. The other two however, swarmed Naumi, one of them winding up for a powerful punch that.... only did about a small fraction of her health. The other was starting to swirl a bunch of colorful balls in her hands, puffing up her cheeks as she concentrated as hard as she could.

With his charge, Thryr managed to catch two of them("AH! NO FAIR!") in his swing, the other three managing to dodge due to the tallest, grabbing the other two and flying upwards to avoid that sweep. In one fluid motion, the tallest materialized a wickedly sharp mineral spear, stabbing towards the man's guts, while the other two simply started spraying colorful magical pellets at him, shaving off small portions of his health with the few that hit from that wildly innaccurate attack.

"Whew!" Ami cheered gleefully, nudging Bell Pepper's arm, "Hey, we better hurry up or we're gonna miss all the fun!"

Spinning her staff once as the end glowed with a light pink light, Ami fired a spark towards the cluster of fairies nearest them. (C14)

Unfortunately Bell had already dashed off towards the same group upon Ami's encouragement. There was a spectacular spark arcing from Bell towards the group of fairies when the spell hit her back before the spell exploded, leaving one very shocked Bell, and one stunned looking fairy standing.

"Eh!? Uh.. T-teiya!" Bell smacked the fairy on the head, knocking it clean out of the fight.

Ami blinked in surprise, breaking into a laugh as she watching the fairy go flying. "Sorry about that," she giggled, casually jogging to catch up, "Nice hit, though. Poor thing didn't stand a chance!"

Sophos blinked and looked at her right hand. She opened and closed her palm, thankfully not feeling pain but a familiar numbing. She wasn't expecting Rinnosuke to react so well, he was a tougher character than he looked. Well, knowing where he's from she should have been more on guard. She looked to Rinnosuke, his back facing her. It seemed her Pilfer Sight had worked at least. She unequipped her remaining dagger and leaped for his back, intending to lock her arm around his neck and lock her legs around him. Strangling worked in this expansion, right?

Thryr focused on deflecting the spear, which he found quite annoying as it glanced off his blade. He swung hard at the fairy, blade whistling as it went. He felt the pellets hit him but it only made him attack more fiercely. He let out a roar as he activated Dragon Rage, his eyes turing dark red. "You think you can best me with those tiny little sticks of yours?!?! I'll show you what a warrior can do!" He moved to cleave the tallest fairy in two with his blade.

Seeing as she managed to stun that fairy, although she didn't notice the lack of an enemy tag, Naumi instead turned her focus to the other fairly that was casting some sort of magic. She had no idea what it was trying to cast, but she at least knew their punches barely tickled. With this objective in mind she wanted to put as much pressure as possbile on the caster as she started to stab away at the little creature.

"I see. Fast moving, with light weapons. Disappears from sight, by means unknown." Rinnosuke tensed up, lowering his body in anticipation. "A hit and run sort of fighter, unable to hold ground in a straight fight."

But with his vision impaired, he wasn't going to be able to react very well. Reaching into his front pouch, he was unable to pull out the stone within before being jumped upon, slender arms going around his neck.

"What!?" With her arms around his neck, he tried to get her grip off with one hand, with the other free hand, swiveling back, to hit her side with the pommel of the sword.

Thryr gained little with his Dragon Rage from what little damage the fairies had done to him. Regardless, his swing still shattered the fairy's spear, as well as knocking out all three of them left. Unfortunately, the rest (in J4) near Rinnosuke noticed him now, and all of them started to channel some magic.

Naumi didn't have much trouble with the mage, almost immediately stabbing it in the face with the buzzy digital red effects where she hit it, the effect disappearing as soon as the fairy was knocked out. The other one continued to punch her with much gusto, seemingly intent on depleting her health sliver by tiny sliver.

"O-oh! Thanks for that! You were quite good too!" Bell looked at herself. "Almost depleted all my hp."

The fairies (at D8) noticed both Ami and Bell by now, and started zooming in towards them. With how much health Bell had, she put a hand on Ami's shoulder while giving her the thumbs up, before keeling over, using her Play Dead skill to fool the fairies.

As soon as Rinnosuke moved to strike her with his sword's pommel Sophos used her free right hand to grab his wrist. She released one of her leg's grip on him and used Double Jump to kick off of the air, helping her arch backwards and bring him down to the ground to preform an armbar. "Unless you want a broken arm, give up."

Thryr grunted, hefted his sword and held it for a few seconds while he aimed and swung his blade, letting the large weapon sail toawards the fairy in the middle, activating charge just a moment later after the weapon struck it's target. Spinning in a circle hecleaved with his blade, hoping to end the fight quikly as his stamina dropped. He was starting to get real irritated at the pesky fairies with their besting bolts."Gah... I thought there wasn't a worse thing than goblins!"

Naumi's next move was very straight forward and that was to stab the remaining fairy in the face.

An astonished wail sounded from Ami and Bell's position as the sorceress gawked at the prone novice playing dead on the ground.

"What a cheesey move!" she whined, moving to face the oncoming fairies with another flashy flourish of her staff.

"That's alright," she smirked, "I'll show you what a solo mage can do!"

A glittery ball of light burst from the orb at the head of Ami's staff as she cast dazzle towards the group of fairies. The ball exploded like a crackling firework filled with pastel rainbows. She quickly fired a few basic shots towards whichever three of the fairies were stunned.

"Gweh!" the middle fairy was blown away by the great sword, more by the weight and speed rather than being cut, but it still got knocked down, but not out of the fight entirely. A thrown sword, unless thrown a certain way, with a skill, or was a sword designed for throwing, rarely ever was effective, due to its shape. The other two had simply moved out of the way, and without their channeling interrupted, sparked out twin beams that was starting to chip at Thryr's health at an alarming rate.

Naumi however had little trouble, having poked the persistent fairy in the face, knocking it out of the fight with a very displeased look.

The fairies around had been jeering, cheering and generally being raucous crowd as they watched the fight, but they cheered louder when the sparkly colorful ball exploded at the fairies advancing towards Ami. While Ami's quickshots only hit one of the fairies, they looked stunned enough by the ball that she could perhaps start whacking on them with her staff if she needed to.

"Ow! OW! Ah, I give, I give!" Rinnosuke tapped her leg with his free hand.

As soon as Rinnosuke gave up, the battle system simply wiped away all enemy status from the fairies, freezing everyone in place for a moment to let the victory be absolutely apparent. The remaining fairies whined in disappointment, while the rest... remained their raucous playful self, soon bringing the losing fairies back into their usual shennanigans.

"Ah, you were pretty good." The shopkeeper stood up and dusted himself off. "I guess to the victor goes the spoils, I.."

He turned around, noticing something amiss. Pulling out a round crystal from his pouch, he squinted at it, before sighing.

"Well, I suppose thats what I get for being careless."

Holding out a hand towards the building, there was a slight shimmer before it turned back to normal. A spell of disconnect, rendering the house utterly indestructable and inaccessible until the spell was reversed.

"Ah, I'm sure not all of you are dishonest, but I think I will do better in another place."

With that, he bowed down, picked up the rusty sword and anything else he had dropped, before walking away. As he did so, another notification beeped from everyone's personal log, indicating the region was conquered. As if to make absolutely certain to everyone, a large flag bearing the star and lion of King Tristran appeared in the middle of the clearing. With that, the first location of the campaign was conquered, with hiccups here and there, but conquered nonetheless.

Hidden 12 mos ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Forest of Magic, what comes after


With some crashing through the underbrush, Frika finally arrived at the clearing. She looked rather bedraggled, with her dress looking noticeably dirtier than when they had seen her previously. One might even assume several things had tried to eat her while she was walking through the woods.

"Uu.. I'm here! Lets start this... eh?"

She looked around at the aftermath of the battle, the house locked down in disconnect, the pile of junk a few had looted from the house. One could not help but feel she was getting more and more flustered with every new detail she took in.

"We... we've already won? But the shopkeeper here, he closed... his shop? Eh? Eh?"

Frika took a moment to breath in, calming herself down, before speaking loud enough to be heard by everyone, her words appearing as announcement logs for those too far away to listen.

"C-Congratulations, with this location secured, our fair King Tristran will be very pleased to finally have a foothold in this area. There will be undoubtedly be more enemies to face, even those that may try to strike upon this place to claim it. But fear not, with the resources here, the magical reagents, the creatures, and with the experienced magic enchante-" she faltered for a moment, once again gazing at the locked house. "-with the help of an indestructable house as cover, we will be able to strengthen this place. For now, the next campaign shall start next week, on the same day. Until then, brave warrior, rest, feast and spend your time upon this place wisely, for the next campaign will not be so easy."

With a bow, she waved to everyone, before disappearing.

Now that the next part of the event was done, the players would find themselves free to do anything they wanted, be it explore more of the place, scouting out the next locations, or even just logging out and going to sleep if they desired. All those who logs out will inevitably feel a little fatigued.


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Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Diggerton
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Diggerton

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Wendel & Sunny

Collab with @Banjoanjo


A buzz from one of her books alerted Wendel to the campaign status. It seemed that they'd missed a whole bunch of developments, but while the 'Chaotic' did make her raise an eyebrow, it was the time displayed in the corner that made her breathe out a surprised "Ah...".

Sunny glanced over her own book, giving a blank “Huh.” she paused for a moment, contemplating the page, “Maybe we should’ve hung around…”

Wendel's only response was a nod, her eyes still stuck on the time.

Sunny smiled, “Well, whatever. They can do whatever they want! We… we should go look for those sunflowers, eh? See this new area a little more. And hopefully find that cool thing to put our name on.” she said excitedly.

Wendel didn't move. Geez, they'd really talked for that long? A sinking, crawling feeling filled the pit of her stomach as her thoughts inevitably drifted to Joy. Joy, who was at a party tonight, who wouldn't even know if her sister spent another hour or so in this game. Joy, who Wendy didn't want to let down, even behind her back.

There was the matter of Sunny too. She was nice, really nice. Somehow, things seemed to be looking up despite what happened earlier. Not that it would last. Either way there was a casserole she needed to get to.

"Uh, I, uh... gotta go," Wendel shifted awkwardly.

Sunny frowned a little, caught off guard, but quickly reformulated her expression back into a smile, “Oh! Yeah. Totally. I should… I’ve totally got stuff I should be doing too. So, like, cool. Plus, if you’re going I don’t want to be caught alone with that weird dude we partied with. Ha… haha.” was she being awkward? She genuinely couldn’t tell. Why did she feel like she was being awkward?

A look of concern briefly crossed Wendel's face. Sunny wasn't usually like this.

"Yeah, weird..." she scratched the back of her head, "There's that Nomine girl, if you don't want to be alone."

“Yeah, totally, she seems alright,” was she saying totally too much? “It’s cool. Like I said, I should probably get going too. Get… like… food and stuff.”

Another frown. Wendel had definitely done something wrong here but she'd be doing an even bigger thing wrong if she didn't log out now.

"Okay," she simply nodded, turning to a page in her book, "See you, then."

And then she was gone.

“See ya.“ Sunny said, watching Wendel fade away.

Yeah, he was gone.

Sunny rubbed the back of her head, awkwardly glancing around. She really didn’t want to be stuck with the others, even if she didn’t really have a reason to log off. Playing with Wendel had been fun, but she wasn’t exactly sure why it seemed so much more fun than playing by herself.

She sighed, snapping open her book and logging out too.

Hidden 12 mos ago Post by RedDusk
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RedDusk Likes cheese and slacking

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Darren and Matt versus the psychotic bitch

The fight began and concluded soon enough and as expected, Matt didn’t really need to participate. He didn’t want to anyway. Combat was never the drawing point of this game for him and he rationalized that he would need to learn how the enemies worked here first, before charging. He had advised Darren to do the same. The merman agreed, easily, so they watched together.

Afterward, they had gained a week of free time until the next event, which Matt accepted with a yawn before logging off to bed.

He logged back on the day after and made his way toward the flower field where Darren said he wanted to explore. As if on cue, the vibrating book at his hips told him that his friend was logging back online. He smiled, sending Darren a quick message and his location. The sound of sloshing water accompanied the teleport and Darren soon floated his way over, yawning and blinking slowly.

"Hey." -Matt waved enthusiastically -"Ready for some fun?"

Slow nods. And for a moment it looked like nodding off.

"Well, you don't look ready."

"I'm just...a little sleepy. Work, you know?" Darren gave a half-smile, trying to wave off the fatigue as a passing issue.

"Mkay." -Matt raised an eyebrow, but he decided the drop the issue, curiosity and promise of loot overpowering any other concerns -"Let's go then."

Without much hesitation or caution, Matt turned and walked into the flower field, assured at the sound of water slowly following him.

The sun was already low by the time they arrived there, bathing the place with a gentle warm glow of early dusk. The sky, sullied not by pollution, a painter's pallete, swirls of brilliant colours, red, orange and blue, complementing the yellow and green of the sunflower fields. Sunflowers, true to the name, dominated the area, but there are gentle rolling plains of green and smaller flowers, upon which their only path lay, unless they saw fit to crash through the sunflowers, which grew tall and large, trying to outgrow their neighbors for sunlight. Their peaceful walk was only interupted by the fairies playing, laughing and flitting amongsts the flowers, moving through them without even disturbing so much as a leaf or a stalk. A few had already taken interest in them, gawking at their strange attire, with one trying to swim in the ball of water Myosotis generated.

In the distance, a small farmhouse was the only noticable thing amongst the sunflowers, though there was a path that lead up to a tall hill as well.

Darren laughed at the small fae splashing in his water orb, moving aside to make a bit more room while the creature paddled happily along the surface. Matt, meanwhile, was examining the flowers. He reached out for one, but eventually decided against picking any. No need to burden himself with useless junks. He turned to the farmhouse in the distance.

"I'm checking it out." -He called back to Darren, then moved toward the building.

"Hang on, I'll take the lead. You don't have very good damage," the merman argued, swimming quickly ahead of Matt and gliding towards the building.

The farmhouse in question, was undeniably truly a farmhouse, with several chickens roaming the yard. A small field had been tilled by hand it seemed, with long stakes for whatever that was planted there. The owner of the place wasn't too hard to identify either, considering she was the only one there, sitting on an outdoors table having her tea. A well built woman, with short wavy green hair, wearing red striped long pants and a simple white blouse accented by a small yellow scarf. Her eyes were blood red, but her expression was friendly as she looked towards the newcomers.

"Ah, good evening." She looked towards the spread on her table, a small bowl of tea biscuits, a teapot, but only one teacup. "I apologize, but I was not expecting visitors."

The woman paused for a moment, her eyes lingering a bit too long upon both of them. "The free spirits that... took over that shopkeeper's place, yes? Would you like to join me for tea?"

"...I'd rather you just tell us about the location," Darren replied, staring back at her.

"I wouldn't mind tea." -Next to him, Matt only grinned -"Miss...?"

A shadow flitted across her face for a moment as Darren replied, but only for a moment. "Yuuka Kazami. Yuuka is fine. Please, have a seat. I'll get more teacups for you two."

She stood up, dusting herself off, then went back into the house, presumably to get more teacups for the two of them.

"Well, what do you think?" -Matt dropped down onto a nearby chair, picking up a biscuit and examining it closely.

"She never answered my question. So I don't think she's all that welcoming." Water dropped around the small table, hiding in the grass as Darren squinted suspiciously at the food. "Wish we had something to test the food on. Don't want to be taking weird DoT damage if she turns out to be an enemy NPC."

"Let me talk first. Maybe we can bypass this encounter or whatever." -Matt crumpled the biscuit in his hand, tossing the pieces toward the roaming chickens.

The chickens swarmed greedily towards the biscuit crumbs, jostling each other while trying to eat as much as they could. Yuuka returned at that point, shooing the chickens away gently as she brought two more teacups to the table, before filling them both up and offering them to the two. Filling her own cup, she started eating one of the tea biscuits, before sipping from her own cup.

"So, to what do I owe this visit?"

"We--" Darren half-started before shutting up and letting Matt take the lead. It didn't sit well with him to actually play along with the in-story behaviors of the NPCs and usually he had no inclination to, but Matt had hung around longer than anyone else had and he didn't want to burn another bridge that had just formed recently. "Sorry," he mumbled, backing away from the table and into his bubble.

Matt glanced briefly at his friend, but he refrained. There would time for that later.

"We were just passing by, really. The field is very... scenic." -He turned back to the NPC with his brightest smile -"As you know, some of our companions have just recently 'taken over' a place nearby. We did not take part in that ugly bussiness, and frankly, we do not plan to. Just getting that out of the way."

"Oh? Is that so?" Yuuka took another sip at her tea. "Will you not drink the tea? Or perhaps, some of the biscuits? Do not worry on my account, I have plenty more to go around."

"Sure." -Matt agreed easily, sipping from his cup and reaching out for another biscuit. This time, he devoured the whole thing in one bite -"Excuse my friend, though. He is...well...in a bubble. And half fish."

Nodding approvingly, Yuuka finished hers. "I've not heard the details, only what that bird told me. But I find that hard to believe, especially with the fish's rather rude first demand. Even if you say you did not take part of the incident yesterday, you did allow your companions to do so. Now.."

There was a slight crinkle under her right eye as she paused. "Tell me what you are doing here, again."

"Flowers. Prettiest things I have seen in a while." -Matt stayed put, showing no sign that he was readying for combat -"Like I said before, just sightseeing."

Yuuka closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. "Finish your tea and go home. I will not suffer fools and liars in my home."

"I'm sorry to have spoiled your evening, Miss Yuuka." -Matt looked genuinely apologetic as he lifted the cup and finished off his tea -"We will take our leave."

As he stood up, however, he squinted into the distance behind Yuuka, then his expression was a look of pure horror -"No." -He mumbled in disbelief -"They're here!"

Whipping her head around, she turned towards where he was looking, starting up from her chair. "What!?"

Matt quickly grabbed the teapot on the table and swung it at her head with all the strength he could muster. Ready to fight since the start, Darren poisoned the water he had settled around the table, pulling Matt backwards as the toxic green vapor rose around the woman.

"Move somewhere else!" he shouted, shoving Matt out of his path as he readied to spread more poison in the nearby water.

The teapot crashed against her head, with barely any effect. Poison vapours rose around her, and yet, she seemed unaffected even as the damage ticked upon her healthbar.

"You come into my home, drink my tea, lie to my face, and now you have the audacity to use this sort of tactic on me?"

Yuuka had not moved, but even as Matt moved out of range, a hand grabbed his arm in a vise grip, putting an uncomfortable amount of pressure on it with the battlesytem on. If this had not been in VR, he would have this feeling he would be screaming blue murder right now. Another Yuuka, similar in all ways to the one standing in the poison vapours, having an expression of not hate, but disgust. With alarming ease, her grip broke his arm, sending the limb into that red fuzzy state to indicate injury, before she threw him to the ground like a ragdoll. Both of the Yuukas pointed towards the merman, a small beam of light shining upon his chest as they did so.

He'd figured the enemies in the new zone would be high level, and he hated being right about that as he watched a chunk of Matt's health bar disappear in one attack. Darren threw water from his orb directly onto the women and fled backwards, poisoning more of the water as he did so and hoping their attacks wouldn't kill him immediately. Respawning was such a massive pain.

Meanwhile, Matt quickly got back to his feet, the broken arm was useless at his side as he rushed toward with the intention to tackle the Yuuka that broke it.

Even Matt's entire weight did not move her, with her only reaction was to point towards his face instead of Darren's chest. Considering both was in a bad position, they both would perish in a gigantic beam of light, Matt from point blank range, and Darren from midrange, due to moving backwards.

But....

Instead of finishing her channeling, and casting the massive beam, both of the Yuuka flipped upside down suddenly, identical yelps as they hit their heads on the ground. A small figure jumped in, grabbing Matt and Darren in both her arms, before flying quickly away.

"Ahaha~ You two are crazy, challenging Yuuka like that. From that new phantom group, aintcha?"

A girl in white, with black, red streaked hair, grinning wildly as she shifted their weight.

As a merman, Darren had never experienced VR flight aside from system travel and the strange sensation of being lifted from his bubble and soaring through the skies left him quiet enough that he didn’t protest the stranger who had saved them. For the moment. Whatever event they had triggered at least saved them the respawn trip.

"Yeah." -Matt grumbled, still trying to get his bearing -"It's a game. You gotta play like you wanna win." -He glanced at the rapidly shrinking terrain beneath them, the sudden height made his stomach uneasy.

"Who are you again?"

"A game huh? I like that. Gotta win all the time."

She started slowing down, once she was sure Yuuka wasn't pursuing them. From up here, they had a good view of the flowerfield behind them, as well as the large sprawling Forest of Magic. There was a small speck of a flag in it, though just barely recognizable as their flag. To the north was a large mountaineous region, and on its feet further away from the forest, they could see the human village, seemingly busy from the specks moving about it.

"Seija Kijin. Who are you two?"

"Tourists." -Matt mumbled, trying very hard not to look down -"I'm Matt. Fish man is Darren."

"Thanks for saving us, I suppose. Why though?"

She guffawed unellegantly at that. "Still trying to keep that up huh? I heard. Well, most everyone heard by now due to that bird, but I also heard. A buncha free spirits up and ousted that fake youkai from the Forest of Magic. Sounds like my kinda thing. If you're going up against them I want to join in too. 'Spect more people will be frowning on you more too after that last one. Man that was good, you done cracked her own pot on her head. Hahaha~!"

"I'm just trying to get a piece of that bitch for my friend here." -Matt admitted, frowning slightly at the memory. Not his best idea, the teapot. They could have just stolen a chicken or two -"Wait, what do you mean 'them'? There are sides?"

"Course there are! Whole of Gensokyo is in an uproar after what you lot pulled off yesterday. Fractured to bits with all the little factions." She landed neatly in the clearing where their flag was. "Oh jeez its empty. So this' your place, huh? Ain't much to look at."

"Whose side are you on?" -Matt raised an eyebrow as he staggered on his feet, grateful to be on firm ground once again. His arm was still useless though. He should have taken a healing spell.

"No one. Well, yours hopefully. I wanna join." Seija hovered a little as she prepared to fly once more. "Well, call me if you need me alright? Don't leave me out of any future plans. I'll go and do what I do best."

With that, she flew away, leaving Darren and Matt alone in the clearing.

"Hey! How are we going to call you?" -Matt called after the disappearing figure in vain. Knowing that he would never get the answer, he sighed, turning back to Darren -"Well, that was a hot mess."

Yeah—hey, um, I gotta log out. Just, uh, something came up, sorry.” The merman‘s head looked elsewhere, pausing a moment before the avatar disappeared.

"Fuck." -Matt swore at where his friend used to stand. There went his plans for the evening. He then sighed, patting at his pockets to find the pipe. Maybe he would log off soon, too. Pointless to do anything without Darren here.



Hidden 11 mos ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Dark Elf jumps in water and works at a school


Sophos blinked with a blank expression as Rinnosuke walked away and locked away his store. She turned her head towards her "allies" that had spent the battle looting the store. Had they ever played an RPG before? Stealing from a store was hardly ever a good idea, at best you'd have the things stolen taken back, at worst well, this happened. Just how many events had they been closed off from? She let out a sigh and walked past the bunny. She walked into the woods. She could go to the sunflower field now, but considering what this world likely actually was, she reconsidered. She settled on the town, assuming it to be a fairly benign choice.

The forest was both alien yet familiar to her. There was myriads of trees growing together, several old oaks and many types of trees that she would usually see as normal. Yet there were others more alien as well, herbs of various kinds grew together, mushrooms both edible and poisonous grew to prodigious size, and ancient fauna stalked the forest, both magical and mundane. A noppera bo looked hopeful when it spied Sophos for a moment, before deflating and continuing on its way.

It wasn't long until she found a river, with a mysterious circular patch of blue in the water near its shores, as well as a bridge that presumably led towards the village.

Sophos, or rather Robin, found herself cooling down as she walked alongside the river. She considered chasing after the faceless ghost, but after her bout with Rinnosuke she decided she'd had enough fighting for the moment. "Hm?" She spotted an out of place blue area in the river. If she had a fishing rod this would be the time she'd pull it out. But she didn't have one, so should she just ignore it?...

"Banzai!" She leaped into the air and belly flopped right on top of it.

"Gyaaaaa!" the spot suddenly screamed. Wrestling itself off of Sophos, it came out of the water with an annoyed look. A female, wearing a pair of large tinted safety glasses, almost hidden under long unkempt blue hair. Almost all of her clothings were blue as well, both the long coat and the boots she had on.

"W-what was that for!?"

"Whoa!" Sophos scrambled to her feet in the river after realizing she had landed on someone. Taking a step back she saw the girl in full. It was another familiar face. "Oh, Nit-" She let out a cough. "Sorry about that, I didn't see you there. I'm Sophos. May I ask for your name?"

"Momoko."

She rubbed her head, taking off her glasses. There were dark bags under her eyes, as if she lacked sleep.

"So?" She wiped her safety glass with a piece of cloth from her pockets. "Whats the deal with you? Why'd you jump on me all of a sudden?"

"Momoko huh?" Sophos rubbed the back of her head and put on an apologetic smile. "Well uh, I saw something weird in the water and sorta figured that it'd uh, lead to something valuable? In hindsight it does sound rather dumb." She crossed her arms and looked towards the bridge. "Have you been to the nearby town? I'm new around here and was wondering what it's like."

"They're all excited. Didn't feel like going near them today." She shrugged. "Well, you know how humans are. They wo..."

Momoko stopped, staring at Sophos openly. "You... Are you one of those free spirits that took over that person's place?"

There was a slightly greedy glint in her eyes at that, as she waited for Sophos to answer.

Sophos's right eye twitched and she let out a nervous laugh. "Wow... News sure spreads fast around here. "I didn't exactly intend on taking the place, but some of the people I traveled with had other ideas." She let out a sigh. "You wouldn't happen to know Rinnosuke, would you? And maybe how to get back on his good side?"

"Nope," Momoko dismissed her questions. "But, if the shopkeeper there is gone... Hey, what if I set up shop there? As close as I can anyways. I don't like leaving the river. I promise I have better stuff than that dinky half human."

Sophos's ears quivered. She really did land on something interesting. "That'd be great actually. Would it be alright if I brought in some stuff for you to sell or... tinker with?"

"Fu..fu fu fu..." Momoko walked further into the river, putting on her tinted safety glasses, grinning widely all the while. "That will depend on what you bring me. I'll get ready to relocate there. I have a lot of things to move."

She simply moved beneath the water, leaving not even a ripple, though a blue outline of her could be seen as she moved further upstream. With that, Sophos remained alone once again, safe for the occasional youkai and fairies passing by.

"Ah, lemonade out of lemons if I do so say myself." Sophos patted herself on the back as she stepped out of the river. As her soaked shoes squeaked with each step she continued through the forest. Pulling up her menu she noticed that she'd gained a skill point. It was still early in this expansion so she decided to save it for now. If she came across a difficult situation she could perhaps spend the point then on a handy skill.

She eventually reached the edge of the forest to the sight of the city in the distance. Now that she thought about it, would she be okay walking into a human town? She almost looked human, her ears were a bit of a giveaway that she wasn't however. She shrugged and continued onward. Hopefully a soaking wet dark elf wouldn't be too much of a trouble sight for those at the gate.

The village looked peaceful enough, but as soon as she was spotted, it seemed most of the villagers started getting very excited at the sight. One ran immediately as the rest gawked at her. Other than that, the village looked pretty rustic, with its eastern architecture, utilizing mostly wood and paper in its construction. From where she was, Sophos could see more houses further down the road, with what seemed to be a main square in the middle.

"Well that's not a good sign..." Sophos walked as nonthreatening as she could and continued into the village. She hoped the villager that saw her and ran hadn't run off to get guards. Though even if they did, she figured she could just run away. As she walked further in she passed by a marketplace. She didn't have any money now that she thought about it, which was something she needed to fix right away. She wondered if the shop that would be set up would generate revenue for her. As she pondered this she stopped by a bar near the main square. She walked in and looked around. "Hello? I'm new in town and looking for some work." Places like this tended to have at least a few quest givers, someone was bound to have something for her.

"Oh? Fancy seeing you here." Rinnosuke raised up a glass at her from the bar. From the assortment of plates in front of him, he had just started on drinking after eating a meal. "Doubt they have a job for you, unless you don't mind being a waitress. Oh, and you might have to be careful, theres so- oh speak of the devil..."

A stern looking woman entered the bar just then, glancing around before her brown eyes locked upon the newcomer. "You, I need to speak with you if you don't mind."

Brushing off her silver hair, the tall buxom woman had a rather striking blue outfit, with a strange square hat with glyphs upon it. Sitting down at the bar, she gestured towards a seat beside her, looking at Sophos expectantly.

Sophos nearly broke out into a cold sweat upon seeing Rinnosuke in the bar, she was about to run off when she realized his demeanor was fairly benign all things considered. As the silver haired woman he was about to mention walked in Sophos let out an awkward cough and sat down as asked. "Is there something I can help you with? Lost son, cellar full of rats you need taken care of?"

"Yes, there was something I'd like you to help me with" The woman signalled to the barkeeper, who brought them both a drink.There was an uncomfortably long silence as the woman sipped at her drink, broken only by the tinkling of the door bell, indicating another customer had entered.

"First of all, what are you doing here?"

Sophos gingerly sipped her drink, her eyes not quite knowing where to look as an awkward silence filled the air between them. When she finally spoke she almost spilled her drink. "I'm... not entirely sure to be honest. I just need to make some money, and learn more about this land."

"I see. Then is that why you ransacked Rinnosuke's shop?" The woman replied nonchalantly. Rinnosuke was about to say something to that before she held up her hand. "I am Keine Kamishirakawa, de facto leader of the Human faction. What you have started here, may be the beginning of the end for us."
There was a matter-of-fact tone in her voice, speaking without bitterness or judgement. "Gensokyo, this place, has fractured, and various factions now vie for territory in this... game of theirs. The miko cannot act, for this too will balance out, but..."

Keine let the silence sit between them, leaving Sophos to ponder her words.

"Hmm." Sophos set her drink down and leaned back on the bar, stretching her arms out on it. "Sounds like things were on the edge of becoming like this anyway. Why would a simple robbery cause the land to become fractured?" She let out a puff of air and shook her head. "Even still I kinda feel responsible even though I never wanted to steal anything. These factions, I imagine there is tension between them all? Tell me about them. I'll gladly help."

"Robbery? No. You taking over territory. The Moriya shrine, Byaku-" Keine stopped. "No, perhaps it would be too complicated for newcomers to understand. But there are people just waiting for an excuse to cause incidents, some for their own reasons, others because they can. Some need no reasons."

Sophos stuck her tongue in her cheek as she nonchalantly scanned the room. Alright, getting bored. "What is it you want me to help with then?"

"Join us. If I take over all the territory, this.... fad, will go away, and we can return to our peaceful lives. Of course, you have to tell us about your former teammates as well, what they do, what your territory has right now, and what we can do to defeat them utterly." There was a gleam in Keine's eyes now, as she gripped her drink tighter. Perhaps Sophos would pick up that she wasn't going to be able to leave that easily if she refused to betray her teammates.

"Okay." Sophos said straight away. She hopped from her seat and downed her drink before slamming it on the bar, but not hard enough to break it, she was poor after all. She put on a wide smile, wide and toothy. "This should be entertaining at least."

Sophos defected to the Human faction
Sophos lost her save point at the Forest of Magic
Sophos gains a save point at the Human Village


"Really!?" Keine sighed at that. "Well, that's a load off my chest. Uhm... did you have a place to stay? If you're looking for a job, you could stay with me."

"Ahaha, she's going to work you to the bone," exclaimed a customer. It was the one that had entered before, with a simple clean blouse, and red pants with suspenders with odd tags all over it. The very same tags seemed to be tied in her hair, arranged to be symmetrical on both sides.

Sophos's eyes widened at the person that had just walked into the bar. "Oh really, to the bone huh?" She bowed, then held out her hand. "I'm Sophos, it's nice to meet you." She turned her head to Keine. "I'll work with you, but I have to ask, why is it necessary to capture every bit of territory for things to calm down? I'm sure some of the factions can be reigned in by other means."

"Mokou." Was all the silver haired woman said, clearing her hair from her face as she focused back on her drink. "Don't break your back now, ya hear?"

Keine looked thoughtful at that, but shook her head. "Perhaps. But no one here would start up such a faction if they did not intend to go through with it."

"Well, enough talk of that. Let me show you my place for now."

With that, she lead Sophos out of the bar, heading northwards. The streets were as busy as before, but now that Keine was walking along Sophos, it seemed no one gawked at her, or at least, no one gawked at her with the intensity that they had before. Soon the streets turned from busy, to well travelled, to almost abandoned as they walked towards the outskirts. It seemed they were heading towards a long building, with a large fenced off yard.

"This is it. My school." Keine looked proud of herself as she said that. "No one here now, but, there will be plenty of children later tomorrow. You're welcome to sleep in one of the spare rooms."

As they walked through town Sophos noticed the change in reception now that she was walking with Keine. She almost wanted to stick her tongue out at them in spite. As they continued and things steadily became less and less dense they reached her school.

"Kids... huh?" Sophos said with a wary expression. She couldn't really handle kids, she didn't know how to talk to them let alone look after them. "I'll try to stay out of your way then, thank you for the room."

"Hold on a moment." Keine had a positively evil gleam in her eyes now. "There was the matter of the job you asked about. For starters, help me clean up after the kids, clear their doodles from the walls and..."

Keine started mouthing off a long string of duties before ending it with "... and then perhaps you can try patrolling around the area to deter any youkai that tries to eat the children at night."

"Mokou wasn't kidding." Sophos let out a wary laugh. Cleaning up after brats wasn't exactly her idea of fun. She pulled up her menu and looked at her skills. With her recent skill point she unlocked a skill called Overdrive. It would help her get this over with quickly. "Sure thing boss lady."
Hidden 11 mos ago Post by Rekaigan
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Breaking Fab
Reina
Bullhorn



As the doors and windows to the enchanters house became impassable, and the mans services unavailable, Bullhorn frowned at the realization. "Fuck me, this is a living world event." While not sure what the enchanter could do for the party it seemee prudent to keep npcs on your side.
For all they knew the best chance at getting gear just went up in smoke.

"Not a lot of options left but to explore. Where to first, Spaz?" Glancing down at his diminutive companion as he spoke.

"Exploring gives us plenty of options~! Let's go this way!" She responds cheerfully, skipping westward ahead of Grand Magus Bullhorn the third, third of his name (long may he reign.) As usual she had no real awareness of where she was going, but from a bystanders perspective, it'd look like she has her eyes on just about everything.

Without picking a path, without any real tracking or survival skills between them, and by just wandering westward, they were soon turned around, directed this way and that by the geography of the place and the trees. A path trodden only by their feet, and with their destination known only to the gods themselves.

In short, they've gotten lost quickly.

Perhaps if they had bothered to set up the captured location with any sort of meaningful structure, perhaps if they had done something to mark their way, perhaps, perhaps, but the time for perhaps was long gone.

There was hope, however, for in the distance they could see a plume of smoke, though as to where it originated from remains a mystery.

Bullhorn was a patient man. By nature he was a rather timid fellow that often just went wherever the moment took him. With Reina by his side those moments often did lead the pair into foolish predicaments and letting her lead had been no exception. In hindsight he should have been paying attention more.

Around his energetic friend though it couldn't be helped, the girl was the trailblazer and couldn't be stopped either way. That did not mean he was accepting of it though.

"Quit your walking. We've been going in bloody circles!" Emphasizing his words by brazenly pointing a finger at a shrub he had cast a fireball on some time ago, its remains smoking slightly. Ever since the enchanter, Bullhorn had been cautious as to how much of the new expansion would be living world or if had object permanence, fixed buildings or landscapes, but thus far it was no different than the real world. Every branch you took would not return, every enemy killed might not respawn, all the materials they gathered would not regrow for quite some time.

The devs had done a fantastic job making a realistic and completely destructible world. The problem with that was even an accident had the potential to cause a catastrophe.
With his fire spell, Bullhorn reasoned that a single missed or deflected hit could cause irreperable damage to the vast forest. Odds are it would also destroy valuable hidden treasures or materials..

All the details made his stomach turn upside down. Placing a hand over his stomach and resting his chin in his fingers, the question of what how was at the front of his thoughts.
Glancing up past the treeline there was smoke billowing lazily into the air. Signs of intelligent life?

"Oi, Reina. The smoke!" Not bothering if it meant combat or not, Bullhorn trekked off in the smokes direction, motioning for the multicolored girl to follow.

The moment those words left Bullhorn's mouth, was the moment Reina instantly changed direction as if controlled by some sort of puppet master. "Ooh? Well, let's hurry over before whatever's happening ends!" She responded excitedly as she cast 'Ride the Lightning', her form turning into a ball of lightning, propelling herself at least a hundred yards toward the smoke within a few seconds.

Reina's spell, considering she cast it in a forest, elicited annoyed responses from passing youkais, with one screaming "HEY WATCH IT I'M WALKIN' 'ERE!" It also did not propel her that far, considering where they were. Within several meters she crashed soundly into a large tree, shaking off a few surprised fairies off its boughs.

The Lightning mage laid flat on her back for a few moments in shock, remembering that she's completely unable to control the direction of her travel spell. She promptly sits up like someone who had just had a nightmare. She gets up to her feet without a word, giving Bullhorn a silly smile, her forehead looking quite red from the impact.

Other than that, they arrived at the cottage with nary a problem.

It seemed they hit upon a large cottage in the woods, looking distinctly European in design, with wattle fences and a small garden behind it. Judging from the chimney puffing out smoke merrily, it seemed someone was here, or was recently here. Both of them would not be able to see anyone on the grounds from where they were.

With a resigned sigh, Bullhorn made his way ro Reina while suppressing an honest chuckle. Just like her to run ahead and crash into something. "Alright, up we go." With a grunt he hoisted the girl up to flop over his shoulder like luggage. The girl wasn't exactly light but Bullhorn wasn't exactly weak.

"Eh?" Was all she could let out before she was laid over Bullhorn's shoulder. She squirmed a little in his grasp, but made no real move to break free. From her perspective, this was pretty fun too. Although seeing where she was going would be nice too.

The pair paced forward, Bullhorn casting a glance at the fairies they had disturbed. Fairies he has no idea were even there. If they were like the ones from the enchanter did that mean there was an NPC ahead too? Only one way to find out.
Ignoring the other sights and sounds, the horned mage made his way to the front door and knocked with his free hand while the other held Reina firmly on his shoulder.

The door creaked open, revealing.... nothing, or at least, no one.

The interior of the room within was comfortably familiar to players of WEO, though with a more homely touch. There was a bookcase, displaying all manner of books, though they seemed to be in an entirely different language. There were some that were easily recognized, like Japanese and English, but the rest seemed to be written in all sort of different languages.

A light tugging at Bullhorn's pants would direct his gaze downwards, towards a small two feet tall doll looking expectantly at him.

Reina's gaze fell upon the doll, and if anyone could see her eyes at this point, they'd be blinded by all the sparkles.

Looking down from the many out of place items, again making the mage curious as to the theme of this expansion, Bullhorn glanced to his pant leg where from the look of it a doll was trying to get attention. Not a fan of horror movies, this was becoming a jump scare scenario at an alarming rate. "... Rei, there is a doll grabbing my leg. You wanna field this one?" Something about moving children's toys creeped him out terribly. Better to let the girly one deal with the girly item. Bending forward he put the thunder mage down on her own two feet. "I'll.. back you up." The concern across his face was barely masked.

The girl quickly squirmed out of her best friend's grasp, rolling off his shoulder, landing neatly on her feet like a cat. She immediately picked up the doll, lifting it up in front of her face. "Oh my gosh, aren't you a cutie~!?" She giggled. "I don't know what you're on about Bully, unless these were mimics or something, there's nothing to worry about!" She added nonchalantly.

The doll was very well made, the joints articulated perfectly, and it seemed the face was made with something stretchy, for it moved very convincingly, as it struggled silently at being picked up suddenly. Another doll opened the door wider, with a black outfit to contrast the struggling doll's blue outfit.

While they moved very convincingly, it seemed the dolls lacked the ability to talk. The black one bowed and gestured towards another room, presumably inviting them in.

After giving the blue doll a warm smile, she put it back down, her attention drawn to the black outfitted doll, giving it a wordless nod before walking into the room that it gestured toward. Her gait and expression seemed more like an excited child than a grown woman. "C'mon Max~" She called as she disappeared through the door. Max followed along after his companion, less from personal interest in dealing with creepy autonomous dolls ushering him to trouble and more to keep Reina out of trouble.

"You're gonna be the death of us, woman." He mumbled while eyeing the doll suspiciously.
"Oh don't be so stiff!" She chuckled as she turned back to him, grabbing his cheeks.

The blue doll almost seemed to huff as she dusted herself off, closing the door behind them as the black doll lead the way. There seemed to be more dolls with the same look as theirs, though most seemed busy with what seemed to be housework. One seemed to have been entrapped by a shirt while two others tried to untangle it.

They soon found themselves in a comfy looking room, with a fireplace on one end, and a few chairs around the fireplace. The bookcase further from the fire and the table with a teapot and some cups on it suggests the woman had been enjoying tea shortly before continuing to work.

As she turned towards them, her short blonde hair and decidedly western clothing implies she wasn't a native to this place. "Ah, welcome. I am Alice Margratroid. To what do I owe the pleasure of having your company?"

Without a sound, the black doll struggled onto the table, trying to pour them all a cup of tea.

"Like a scene from a fairytale.." Maxwell ignored the animated dolls as best he could, swatting away Reina's hand as he mumbled. When that bunny mentioned adventure he had honestly expected dragons or war or.. anything besides tea with an old woman.

"Apologies for the intrusion, Ma'am. We are adventurers from.." where the hell were they from? Bullhorn couldn't recall the name of an continent from the previous games. "A land far from this one. We are lost in the forest but found your home by accident." Glancing about, he went stiff and ushered a low bow out of habit. [color=00aeef]"Where are my manners? I am Bullhorn. My associate, infatuated with your," [i]Minions[i], "friends, is Reina."[/color] Rising from the respectful bow he gave Reina a light kick to the shin and motioned for her to do the same as he had.

The kick made Reina flinch as she was completely enamoured by the quaint look of the room. "A-ah? Yes! I'm Reina, but you may call me, Great Lightning Sage of the North, Reina Zaiga the Seventh." She said, giving Alice a slight curtsy. "Are you the master of these adorable dolls? Do they have names?" She began before pausing for a moment... She moves closer to the blonde woman, leaning in, her eyes looking rather.. shifty...
"Can I keep one...?" She whispers.

"Ah yes, welcome. I've heard from the fairies that newcomers were in the forest, but I was never really interested in whats going on outside. I am the master of these dolls, yes. No they do not have a name." Alice cocked her head at Reina asking for one. "Which one? One of my Hourai dolls, or the Shanghai dolls?"
"Hourai!" She replied immediately, not really knowing what it meant.

"Well, since you're here, do you want to help me with something?" Alice put down the piece of fabric she was busy fiddling with. It seemed to be another new outfit for one of the other dolls. "I'll give you one of my dolls, as well as something nice if you do."

Bullhorn arched an eyebrow at the mention of 'something nice'. A quest could provide the both of them with necessary items to overcome the new world, that was common sense, so his choice to participate was a given. Nodding his head, "What do you need done Miss Margatroid."
"Do the dolls stay animated after you give me one?" Reina queried. This was extremely important to her. The reasons were obvious.

"They should." Alice spoke, leading the way to the back. "Over here. Judging from you two, this should be a simple task."

The back of the house, where Alice lead them, was a nice open clearing, with barely anything but grass growing on it, ringed by the forest itself, and a few of those large mushrooms, a few large enough to sit on. There was few lines to hang clothes upon nearer the house but nothing else of mention.

Once they stepped out onto the clearing, a strange electric noise came, followed by the sudden poof of displaced air. A large three meter tall doll, perfectly proportioned, wielding two large blades stared impassively at them.

"Fight my Goliath doll."

"What are we, your crash test dummies?" Bullhorn asked incredulously, the sight of one of those creepy emotionless faced dolls wielding painful looking weapons hit him hard in the creepy zone, a tingle surged through his spine at the thought of fighting such an abominable looking thing.

"Fuuuuuck." Half whisper, half groan, Bullhorn took out his pitiful little knife and bit his lip trying to consider how this should work. Freeze its legs and punish from afar seemed viable, but odds are it was strong enough to shatter such a feeble restraint.

"Whats the plan?" Maybe his companion would have an idea.

Reina, for the most part, had been oddly quiet since Alice's answer. Quiet because her mind was just racing with all the fun she could have with her own animated doll buddy. She'd always wanted to have a small companion. Only when Bullhorn spoke to her directly, did she snap back to reality, only to see the giant doll in front of her. Somehow she knew that they had to fight it, perhaps the information just kind of filtered into the back of her head.

She looked at her bestest friend, Bullhorn... And gave him the most nonchalant shrug known to man, and a silly looking smirk. "Don't got one! Beat it up!" She exclaimed proudly as her hand crackled with bolts of blue electricity. A single bolt of lightning flashes from her hand, striking the doll in between the eyes.

Or so it would, had it not moved as soon as she raised her crackling hand. With unnatural speed for the huge blades it wielded, one blade struck the ground, attracting then dissipating the lightning, before the other went for a broad sweep, broad enough to cleave both of them where they stood.

The combination of watching her lightning hit a makeshift lightning rod, and the stunning speed of the giant doll; she almost didn't dodge the sweeping blow. Her body turned into a ball of lightning, zipping forward toward the doll, hoping to stun it with the spell. She deactivated the spell as she reached it's leg, touching it and casting lightning from her hand once more.

Bullhorn on the other hand took the route less traveled, dropping to the floor the instant Reina's lightning arced through the air. With the monsters blade cleaving just above him it seemed that was the wisest choice. "Fucking dolls." Grumbling to himself yet again, he rose to one knee and launched a frozen bolt at its chest, hoping the magics innate slow would give them a chance.

If that didn't work, fire would have to serve.

Had Bullhorn not done what he did, Reina would have been cleaved in two almost immediately. With a long blade still uncommited, with its mere reach, it had enough to simply cut her down as she flied through the air. Instead, its arm froze slightly, enough to slow it down that Reina bounced off the flat of the blade instead of straight into the edge. The electricity surged up the doll's arms, searing the wood, but doing little to stun it, considering it had no nervous system to scramble.

"Kite the damn thing, Rei." As the faster and more limber of the pair she was better suited to dodging. If he had a staff he moght have been able to block the damn things swing(s) but a knife served no purpose on an animated piece of.. whatever ot was made of. The positive news was it could be slowed so ice would serve for now.

Both hands turned an icy blue as he prepared to cast another bolt of cold aimed at its chest again. Attack speed lowering seemed more beneficial than movespeed crippling.

"Yessir!" She responded, saluting quickly as she circled it's legs, trying to get behind it. Her hand crackled once more with lightning. It didn't seem very effective, but the increasing damage would surely do something, right? She let the bolt loose again, her hand still point-blank on it's leg.

It turned its attention first, towards the mage in front of it, who having ducked its speedy attack, was now casting right in front of it. Its hand shot forwards, grasping Bullhorn's face with a vicegrip, distrupting his spell. Throwing him back, far towards the cottage, it instead spun with its weapons out, unfettered by any slow effects, and crushed Reina's ribs, sending her hp far into the red.

The blow took Reina by surprise and with a loud WHACK, her body slams into a nearby tree, making it shake from the impact. "Ugh.." is all she let out as she took a health potion out of her belt, downing it like a shot of vodka. Her health bar quickly regenerates as she stands up, tossing the small vial aside. Due to her build, she's very limited on options, but it didn't bother her too much. Again she holds out her hand, firing yet another lightning bolt at the doll, this one looking a little more vicious than before.

Cursing his luck as he flew back under the strength behind the golem's strength, his vision swam as the ground rushed up to meet his crashing fall, rolling through the dirt until finally colliding with a fence post of some sort, his body cracking painfully against it. Arms flopping to either side he stared straight ahead as his brain struggled back to working order.

Disorients in VR were obnoxious as could be.

With his health bar only down by 20% from impact damage, Max rose from the ground shaking until both legs were steady, eyes never leaving the golem. It had tossed him nearly a dozen feet.

"If I cannot freeze you, then so be it. You. Will. Burn." The words came from clenched jaws as both hands smoldered before turning to brilliant flames of shimmering crimson. Bracing his feet he channeled the spell and thrust both hands forward, hurling the burning sphere at the golem's chest. A second and hopefully a third, raced from Bullhorns hands in quick succession.
If that creature turned his way, he would be ready to stop casting and blast the thing back with Forcewave.
If it ignored him, the fireballs would fall like rain.

The doll had turned towards Reina, being closer to it. The crash of lightning against its body, seared and cracked its arm a little now, but it was still moving extremely quick towards her. Bullhorn's attack, though rushed due to queuing up a few in a row, did hit the doll, now turning it into a blazing hulking inferno wielding two blades, now bearing down upon Reina. Once more it raised one arm to attack Reina, who held up her staff in futile defense, but....

"Thats enough. I've gotten what I need." Alice interrupted, smiling all the while.

With a wave of her hand, the goliath doll first extinguished of all flames, then seemingly repaired itself by magic, turning back into its original condition before the fight.

"I wasn't quite comfortable letting you ignite all that gunpowder inside the doll so close to my house."

Gunpowder? That fucking thing was a walking bomb?!

The flames on his hands dissipated as the spell was interrupted, Bullhorn merely crossing his arms as he eyed the doll and the old lady with equal caution. If she had desired to, miss Margatroid could have killed both of them, quite easily..

"Good to know. Now, about that reward?"
"Yes! The reward~!" She parroted in excitement, brushing herself off.

The promised doll stepped forwards, wielding a lance and shield that seemed a bit bigger than it should be able to handle, looking very pleased with itself. The clothing it wore was similar to the rest of the blue dolls, white capelets and apron, blue dress underneath, but with an envelope in one of its pockets.

"Take good care of it." Alice smiled. "And it will take care of you, as best as it could."

Reina's eyes lit up like it was Christmas day for a 5 year old getting a fantastic present. She immediately picked it up and held it in front of her face like she had done previously. "Does it have a name or do I get to name it?" She asked, her gaze fixated on her new friend.

"Hmm... You can name it anything you want, within reason."
"Coco!" She responded immediately., with a big grin on her face

Bullhorn tried, poorly, to hide his disappointment. Dolls that could move were terrifying and after dealing with a 10 foot tall murder machine in girlish clothing he was less than eager to have a miniature one armed with a toothpick as their traveling companion. It honestly gave him the creeps! Turning to Miss Margatroid, he cleared his throat and approached with what passed for a smile. "By chance is there an item you can give that may be more suitable for a mage?"

"Oh?" Alice cocked her head slightly. "Did you want more dolls? I found dolls make perfect items for magicians like I, after all."

"Afraid not, Ma'am. If you can tell me about the area perhaps, anything an adventurer should know, that would be equally helpful."

"Adventurers, huh? Thats what you two are?" Alice paused for a moment, before continuing. "Don't eat the red and white mushroom, they're very poisonous. But they're good for stews, if and only if you cook them with the glowing blue mushrooms that grows on rotten tree. Oh and beware of the black and white witch, she'll try to swipe everything she can from you."

"Helpful. Thank you, Ma'am." Saluting the elderly woman, Bullhorn turned to Reina and his.. newest.. companion(?)

Reina, for the most part, wasn't really listening; deciding to pull out the small envelope that sat in the Coco's pocket. She wasted no time in opening it to see what was inside...
Unfamiliar notes, bearing the numbers 1000. Plus several hard candy.

Bullhorn and Reina gains 1000yen each

The lightning mage examined the notes for a moment, trying to figure out what use they had. She gave up in about five seconds, pocketing them. She unwrapped one of the candies and promptly popped it into her mouth without checking what it was.

"You're really just gonna EAT a candy, given to you by an old woman in a forest cabin, surrounded by creepy dolls, that nearly had you KILLED by a 10 foot tall walking bomb? Reina, how can you be so careless." Exasperated, Bullhorn had fallen to a sitting position on the grass with a hand on his face.

"Hmm? But it's tasty! And maybe I'll get a new spell out of it, who knows?" She chuckles, squatting down in front of Bullhorn, holding out one of the candies toward him. "Want one?"
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"WHOAH!" Bell almost launched herself at Ami when the battle was finished. "That was amazing!"

The aftermaths of the battle, and it seemed like almost nothing changed, save for the house now locked in stasis forever. It seemed now that they had this place to themselves, they could build anything they wanted here. Maybe a campfire. Perhaps she could camp out in VR and see how it felt like. Bell certainly couldn't camp while she was at the hospital.

"Oh, sorry about having to play dead out of that situation. I'm not sure if it will respawn me elsewhere or just kick me out entirely from this campaign."

Ami giggled, tearing her eyes away from the retreating NPC as she turned to face Bell. Well, the fight went better than the interaction at least.

"Fair enough," she chuckled, glancing back at the house with a slight frown. Maybe she should have explored that a bit before fighting.... Oh well. Not like anyone was watching her now.

"I should probably hop off and eat something for now," Ami sighed, checking the time, "But first--"

She pulled out her book and held it out for Bell. The pages were all remarkably blank for such a bubbly person.

"OH!" Bell drew a cat's face into it."I understand. I need to log off soon too. Hey, wanna meet up Friday tomorrow?"

The doodle she made downsized and set itself on a column, indicating the friend's list had been updated. Bell needed to get off soon, before the nurses get worried, but tomorrow she will have more free time.

"Friday?" Ami repeated. Dark fuschia eyes wandered towards the sky as she tapped her cheek with her index finger, pretending to think for a moment. Of course, she had nothing else to do, but that wouldn't make for a good first impression.

"Mm," she nodded, "I should be free."

Resting her staff against her shoulder, Ami smiled again and waved as she began to log out. "I'll see you then. Ja neee~!"

Waving a goodbye to Ami, Bell logged off as well, back into her dreary hospital bed. Sighing, she carefully fluffed up her pillow, closing her eyes in an attempt to sleep. A light in the darkness for her, this game. At least she would not be bored.

***


Finding herself starting upon near the flag at Rinnosuke's house, she decided to wait there for Ami, stretching as she did so. Bell didn't know if cramps could happen when you were exercising here, but better safe than sorry. Perhaps she could set up a nice bonfire here, for everyone to use? This seemed to be a place that they were going to be in for a long time, so might as well set up some things. Well, she didn't exactly know anything about building things, but a bonfire seemed easy enough. Seeking to keep herself busy while waiting, she started collecting some dead wood first, humming as she did so.

Logging in, Ami would've been lying if she said she didn't take her sweet time seeking out Bell. Not that she didn't like the girl or anything but... she couldn't help being hesitant. It'd been a long time since she'd partied up with anyone much less added a name to her friends book.

"Stick collecting, eh?" she chimed curiously as she approached Bell.

"Eh? Oh, yeah." Bell piled all the wood into a pit she dug out, ringed with stones she found. "I've never had the opportunity to camp before. Just felt the need to try, since I've got the chance right now and all."

For a moment her features softened, as she remembered her condition, and the several months she likely would spend hospitalized for her leg. She might get a chance to camp later on, but right now, its something she really wanted to do.

"Wanna help me? We could try and cook things on it. Oh, unless you wanted to go out and do something else that is. Saw a large patch of mushrooms somewhere here before."

"Hmm..." Ami thought for a moment, looking from the bundle of sticks to Bell's face. This was the sort of mundane thing most people didn't ever want to watch... but she didn't have to worry about that anymore. She could finally be as reckless or boring as she wanted. Besides, Bell was obviously into this whole camping idea.

"I've never camped before either," Ami admitted, cracking a smile, "But let's try it! I bet roasted mushrooms would be yummy!"

The fire did not take long to make, not with the logbook giving Bell instructions on how to make it. There was a notification on the logbook that mentioned the camp now had a 'fireplace' as one of its structures, but Bell paid it no mind. Unsure of how to proceed, she picked a colorful red and white spotted mushroom onto the fire, squatting down and watching it intently.

"You know, I don't really know much about you. You seem like a nice person. Wanna talk a bit about yourself?"

Ami held a mushroom of her own, twirling it on a stick as she watched the flames dance quietly. She didn't turn to face Bell as the question was posed, only giving her a short, sideways glance before clearing her throat. The question itself was so direct... too direct, in fact. Not that it was an odd question, but... what was she supposed to say?

She moved her weight onto one arm. Holding the mushroom a bit closer and pretending to examine it, her tail swished with a casual air as Ami decided she might as well say the first thing that came to mind.

Which, as usual, was a lie.

"There isn't much to say," she smiled faintly, "I'm studying programming in L.A. I'll be 25 next month. I've got a dog named Fofo... nice little condo in the city... lots of plants... eh, I'm pretty boring."

"Eh... Is that so? Sounds pretty nice. I'm an athlete, or at least, I'm supposed to be. Kinda broke my leg though, so I've a few months to sit in bed." Bell spoke, as if she was just recounting the weather. It was just her leg that was broken, not her career after all. Noticing their mushrooms were getting a bit brown, she poked hers out of the fire.

Ami listened quietly, gaze dropping slightly when Bell mentioned her leg being broken. Before she could say anything, Bell spoke again.

"W...wonder how this tastes?" She turned to Ami. "You first?"

Ami grinned, bravely nodding as she pulled her mushroom out of the fire and waved it in the air to cool off.

"Sure, I'll be the guinea pig!" she giggled before sinking her teeth into her mushroom, tearing a sizable portion of it off the stick.

Noticing Ami eating hers with great gusto, Bell followed suit, popping an entire mushroom into her mouth. It has a kinda tart taste, but it seemed edib--

--RESPAWN--


Bell jolted as she spawned back mere feets away from the fire. Perhaps they shouldn't have eaten those colourful mushrooms, and gotten someone else more qualified to look for those instead.

Ami blinked in surprise, staring forward blankly for a moment before looking at Bell. Her mouth quirked into a smile and she pursed her lips until she couldn't hold it in any longer. It was such a novice mistake.

She laughed hard, the high pitched sound bubbling out of her mouth until she cried and could scarcley breathe. She at one point tried to speak, but only erupted into another fit of giggles.
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