Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Mae's good mood carried her all the way back to the guttered remains of Infactorium, with the procession of Maneaters behind her sharing the general cheer for the most part. Though in the end their shared mission had been a minor assignment that necessitated neither a lot of skill or hard work, they relished a job well done, particularly one outside the rather limited wheelhouse of cooking; chance for the monstrous chefs to be anything other than food generators did not come every day. Besides, the task came directly from Faetalis herself, which made its completion both important and gratifying by default.

Of course, Mae's crew not alone in their trek. Gammaton accompanied the staff of the Gorging Trough on their way back, the captive Szilard kept close at hand, but their attention mostly centered on the scarecrow of a woman slung over Mae's shoulder. Rib, the unofficial second-in-command of the bunch with the sous chef Head otherwise occupied, took it upon herself to attend to Riny as she followed her boss back to base. "I'm sure this whole ordeal has been terribly confusing," the stolid chef was saying. "It might be best to put that whole thing behind you, as best you can. Luckily it looks like you didn't suffer a breakdown and go insane or anything. That's good, since otherwise you wouldn't be good for much. As it stands, you're going to be a guest at our restaurant, the fabulous Gorging Trough!"

Mae gave a guttural chuckle as she continued to stomp forward. "That's if Lady Faetalis ain't got other plans for ya. Couldn't keep ya if she did. Our place's seen better days, but I think ya gotta make do. Now that ya seen behind the curtain, we can't exactly letcha run away."

"Certainly," Rib nodded, her face serious. "Now that we have a captive, we have a duty to protect the knowledge of our guild's existence, and we cannot fail."

As she spoke Roast sauntered up beside her, her eyes bright as ever. "Dude, isn't this exciting? First we rout our enemies, and now we've got a freakin' captive!" She pounded one fist into the palm of her other hand. "We're finally living up to the guild's reputation!"

Behind the two, Tender ran her fingers through her hair anxiously. "Um...excuse me? If we're...you know, actually working on behalf of the guild, shouldn't we be more...well, monstrous? Cruel?" Pitch-black eyes with white sclera peered through her veil of hair at Riny. "Like at the camp."

Mae scratched at her chins thoughtfully with her free hand. "Huh...well, ya gotta point. But at the end o' the day, that's just actin', not the way we are. Not the way Lord Sugi made us. Maybe he thought we'd never go out 'n in'eract with enemies." She shrugged, causing Riny to flop up and down. "Maybe we oughta take lessons or somethin'. Whatcha think, human?"

Although incredibly overwhelmed by just about everything she'd heard and witnessed tonight, especially after the 'attack' ended, the huntress got a chance to settle down a little during the journey up the mountain. Being held captive by a group of heteromorphs working together was about as bad as it could get for an adventurer, but these monsters seemed oddly personable, earnest even. Though nightmarish in form they acted strangely normal, human even. The gears in Riny's head spun quickly. Maybe she could turn this to her advantage. If she could remain under the charge of these bizarre chefs and not anyone more nightmarish, she might be able to survive long enough to escape. Just try and get on their good sides, without seeming too obvious, she thought. Really starting to wish I spent more time with people now, rather than alone in the wilderness. Riny took a deep breath. "W-well. This wasn't really what I expected. At all. But, since you asked what I think, uh, I think you're just fine the way you are. It makes you unique." Her voice got more confident as an idea came to mind. "Plus, this Lord Sugi of yours must have made you this way for a reason. So, this is how he wanted you to be." She did her best to look reassuring. "Yourselves!"

"Hmm!" Mae rumbled. "That's a darn good way to look at it! No way a Supreme Bein' woulda just made us like this for no reason!" She gave a guttural laugh. "You ain't half bad, human. See, girls? We're already gettin' use from a fresh perspective!"

A couple minutes later the group arrived back at the Gorging Trough, where Head awaited them with his usual professional patience. As she approached Mae noticed the clipboard in his hand. "Enjoy yourselves?" her sous-chef deadpanned, eyes flickering over what he could see of Riny. "Ah, I see we have company. I'm afraid I do not have a room prepared at the moment--or a room at all, for that matter. On the other hand, I do have a report drafted that concerns Gammaton's menagerie and your proposed ranching efforts. After consulting the bestiary we have an idea of what creatures can provide meat, eggs, and so forth, as well as how we can house them. I must warn you that both the resource and labor demand is rather steep given the creatures' exotic nature."

Mae groaned. "Ugh, what else is new. Well, we ain't got a restaurant 'til we got supplies. Guess we'll focus on ranchin' for now 'n leave the Trough as it is, much as it hurts."

Head gave a solemn nod. "My apologies for heaping more on your plate, ma'am, but we must also consider conventional ingredients, especially while the kitchen isn't operational. Vegetables, wheat for flour, eggs, standard meats. We would need allocate our personnel to hunting, gathering, and farming. Or, since it seems there are humans around here, it may be possible to establish a front for trading with them, so we can get supplies that way. Of course, everything would need the approval of Lady Faetalis."

If Mae had temples she would have been rubbing them, but she settled for rubbing at the base of her neck instead. "Oof...stuck up the creek without a paddle, huh. Our people don't got the skills for any o' that crap. We'd be startin' from scratch. I gotta lot to think about. Anyway, thanks, Head. Great work as usual."

"Merely doing my duty, ma'am," Head allowed himself a thin smile as he bowed.

Mae pulled Riny from her shoulder and set her down right in the middle of the crowd of Maneaters, then plopped down by her cookfire. "Guh. Rib, mind findin' the boss and givin' a report? Tell 'er we drove the humans off no sweat but got two captives. I bet Gammaton's already got ate, but we wanna get this one's help." Her focus shifted to Riny as the headless horror began to pull from her meager ingredient pile and start work on a stew. "We can chat while I'm cookin'. What's your name, first off?"

Though stiff with apprehension, Riny realized she was supposed to take a seat, and sat opposite Mae by the fire. The remaining Maneaters followed suit, taking a chance to rest. "...Riny. Riny Verloren."

"Well, hello then, Riny." A hunk of salted beef splashed into the pubbling pot, followed by spices and minced carrots. "I know we prolly got off on the wrong foot, but I think this could be the start o' somethin' beautiful for both of us. As long as you're helpful, I bet the boss won't mind me treatin' ya like a guest. Hell, do right by the Guild 'n we could send ya off a whole lot better 'n ya came in. It all starts with a li'l give 'n take." In record time she finished her recipe. Mae filled a bowl full her steaming, tantalizingly aromatic stew and offered to the huntress. "Right now, I'm interested in knowin' the lay of the land. Towns an' farms an' such, anyone we might be able to trade with. Ya might be thinkin' I just wanna stomp over 'n kill 'em all, but I ain't some bloodthirsty warlord, Riny. I'm a chef, and I know the value o' renewable resources. Wanna spill the beans?"

Riny gulped, her eyes shifting between Mae and the Maneaters all around her. Mannerisms and human forms aside, these were all still monsters against whom the hunters and militia of the average village would stand no chance. Slaughter and destruction surely awaited any who fell afoul of them--herself included. As it stood, however, Riny felt no excess of love for her fellow man. She had neither friends nor family, just a lonesome existence spent sustaining herself day to day. People saw no value in her other than as a wife and mother, and ever since she forsook that path, pretty much nobody cared about her. She wasn't about to die for them. Gingerly the huntress reached out and took the bowl in hand. "Yeah. I'll tell you everything I know."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Guess Who
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Cormac perked up from his position near the window as he heard Faetalis speak. He had believed himself alone, so the sudden sound of a voice had surprised him, though not enough to make him startled or jump from his seat. One would need to try much, much harder to scare a giant such as him.

"Restless?" he asked, followed by a nod of his head. "Yes. Yes, restless would be a good way to describe it. I'm not used to this feeling. Usually, B;oodAndGuts93 would give me a task to perform and I would do it until I was given another. I know there were moments of inactivity. Times when I was given nothing to do until he returned, but..." The blacksmith had a look in his eyes, as if he was staring right through woman while looking back to the years he existed before coming here. And yet, he couldn't seem to recall a thing.

"Ignore me." Cormac finally said. "Just me old age catching up with me." A shrug of his shoulders and whatever weight that had been on his mind had been lifted. If only Faetalis could so easily toss away her worries as this giant. "Got a new task for me? I'm sick of feeling like I'm contributing so little."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by The Irish Tree
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Levia would clench her hands, grinning as Tungsten began marking the appropriate spots for her destruction. "Okay, here I go Tungsten!" Levia would drop to all sixes, stampeding after Tungsten and leveling everything he marked for appropriate destruction. In doing this, Tungsten would realize that it wasn't that Levia was confused or rebelling against his previous orders...

It was that she was worried she would break something WRONG, and ruin everything. Levia was a being that didn't function without input. All items that needed complete dismantling via meltdown or destruction were requests made to her, so...her actual decision making skills were incredibly lacking. But when the force of her power was directed, she was as powerful as one would expect as the selected locations quickly crumbled from singular blows, Levia's HP slowly decreasing in increments as Pain to Power into Planet Rocker was used over and over again, a miasma following in her wake as she poisoned herself to continually heal up the minor damage she was suffering. Levia wasn't as fast as Tungsten was with all of his buffs, but she was able to keep a decent pace behind him by hurling herself through the air from her Planet Rocker firing off again and again.

In the matter of a singular hour, every spot was demolished a fair portion of the forest was consequentially rendered uninhabitable from the toxic mist expelled from Levia's mouth. It would lead to many small animals falling over dead, and many trees losing their leaves. Levia would unknowingly wipe out many insignificant forms of life in the process of carrying out her orders...but, at least no humans were in the portion she destroyed. Mission accomplished!

Standing proudly amidst the mountain wreckage, Levia would hurry to meet back up with Tungsten for further directions, thinking that this couldn't possibly be all of the destroying she was needed for.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Stern Algorithm
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Upon returning to Infactorium, Gammaton's first instinct was to report to Faetalis, but then she remembered that she had another task to accomplish; the tunnel. She also didn't want to bring this filthy captive, who had soiled himself by now, into the presence of a Supreme Being. So once she arrived at Hivehill, she descended to the Pits, the lowest point of Infactorium and a logical place to start digging. Gammaton searched for two empty holding cells and tossed Szilard into the smallest empty cell she could find. The largest empty cell would make a good location for the tunnel's entrance. Though her instructions were to make the outer-facing exit camouflaged, Gammaton still planned for the possibility that someone could infiltrate Infactorium through the tunnel. By making the entrance to the tunnel from within Infactorium end at a locked cell door meant that even if someone did manage to sneak through the tunnel, they would still be locked out from the rest of the guild castle.

Releasing pheromones to summon a small band of idle ant workers, Gammaton wafted out an elaborate assortment of delicate chemical scents that provided the workers with instructions on the shape of the tunnel, complete with a spiraling ramp that reached all the way to the bottom. Once Gammaton was certain that the instructions had been absorbed, she left the ants to their task and returned to Szilard, who was blubbering and begging for his life now. Gammaton found this odd, since previous enemies had always fought to the death. Of course, previous enemies had always been players who could respawn or summoned minions who lacked sentience, but Gammaton wasn't privy to such concepts. What Gammaton did know was that she was a neural parasite, and though she had never extracted memory with her Consume Knowledge skill in the past, she instinctively knew that it was possible; and she was hungry.

Approaching Szilard's cell caused the man to recoil and move away from the door, making it all the more easier for Gammaton to enter unimpeded. Locking the door behind her, Gammaton reached for her mask and pulled it off, revealing the dead, sunken eyes, moist pallid skin, and thinning strands of pale hair of her host. Honestly, she had been using this body for just a little too long, and could hatch into her Infantilis form whenever she wanted, but considered that it might be more prudent to maintain a humanoid form for the time being.

"You're a...human...?" Szilard asked, though the thing in front of him looked closer to undeath.

"Not anymore," Gammaton replied. Her toxic blood coursed through her host's veins and altered its physiology in subtle ways, one of which would be revealed soon. Gammaton dashed forward with surprising agility and grabbed Szilard by the neck to silence the scream she knew was coming. Unhinging her jaw, Gammaton's throat prolapsed into a fleshy proboscis with a black, hollow spine at the tip. Szilard gurgled feebly as the tip approached his face. Despite being strangled, Szilard's scream was still quite audible as the proboscis pushed its way through his left eye. Szilard suddenly fell silent as his body convulsed while a tongue covered in microscopic hooked scoops darted in and out of Gammaton's probscis, gouging, liquefying, and drinking Szilard's brain matter, scraping the inside of his skull clean.

Gammaton had only ever used Consume Knowledge to temporarily obtain a skill relevant to her current mission. For example, when she accompanied GrillBears to a volcano biome, Gammaton consumed the brain of one the local fauna to obtain temporary heat resistance. So even she wasn't prepared for what came next. Memories flooded through her mind, and for a moment that lasted an eternity, she was Szilard, a sad broken old man who never respected those around him and who was incapable of preserving the bonds that meant the most to him. Gammaton saw his failure, his ineptitude, his irresponsibility, his bitterness, and his loneliness. Gammaton saw her own rotting face approach and the black spine drill into her eye, tasting the sudden, final crescendo of terror and then...nothing. Gammaton woke up in the cell next to Szilard's dead body. She was curled up in the fetal position as tears ran down her cheek. It took Gammaton a moment to realize that these were not her tears; these were the tears of Szilard's fading consciousness, but coming from her own eyes. Gammaton stood up, still trembling, realizing that she had underestimated how harrowing it would be to consume an entire lifetime's worth of memories. But such weakness was unbecoming of the Lord of Hivehill, Grand General of Infactorium. Still trembling, Gammaton stood up, and placed her mask back on her face, providing a sense of security. She had gotten what she wanted; she now knew everything about this world that Szilard did, and a thorough written report was in order.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Enkryption
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In the meantime, Levia’s controlled destruction and corrosive nature worked in perfect conflict with Tungsten’s conduction. The rumbling would be heard and felt across the factory and down the mountain, but the landslide would not cascade out of control; settling in large, but stable mounds that would shift slowly, and become new ground as time wore on. However, that was rendered less important, as Levia would smell the heady scent of iron oxide in great quantities, while Tungsten would be able to shift his focus on scanning for what had been blocking his radar scans in strange lumps.

By simply looking under her feet, and digging a little, Levia would find a large chunk of bauxite ore; the primary source of aluminum metal. By scanning more precisely, Tungsten would be able to locate said ore in several dozen rather sizable chunks within the mountain - it was easy to surmise that their sudden presence was likeable considered a potential threat to a clear means of profit and livelihood for whomever was down there.

Meaning, its existence was a clear and present danger to Infactorium, as a whole. If their mile-wide gap was ever overcome, there was no telling what force would wage an assault against them, and, with no understanding of the military they could bring to bear, there was no way of telling if that was a battle that Infactorium could survive without issue.

Thusly, the tactician was brought to an impasse: he could outright destroy the bauxite ore with Levia’s power of corrosion and Infactorium could control the Humans through a clear act of power, or he could devise a way to take control of the ore and Infactorium could the Humans through an act of diplomacy. Levia’s eagerness to destroy would make the former decision a mere trifle, but her power was useful for excavation in the latter, as well.

It really was just a matter of how he intended to formulate his after-report.
Meanwhile, Faetalis took a seat on the sil of the window, and rested herself both in and outside of the room that Cormac was in. “Yes, I do,” she says. “I have a task only one such as you can accomplish. I need you to be the Ambassador of Infactorium.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Since making a simple meal such as this required neither much effort nor concentration on Mae's part, the headless horror could focus on soaking up every word that issues from Riny, like a heel of bread mopping up the leftover dregs of a stew. Though no expert storyteller, the huntress painted a picture of her life well enough. Being the perennial pariah from this region's communities she couldn't describe many things in great detail, but she could describe a lot from a distance, and with approximately zero knowledge about this new area, Mae wanted broad strokes first and foremost anyway.

So, this place was called Anzelgard. In an odd parallel with the current state of Infactorium itself, this kingdom was in a sorry state, only a shadow of its former self. Made vassal to the reigning Nyll Empire, the former nation had at some point been reduced to little more than a mining colony, its strongest sons and daughters laboring day by day in the dusty darkness of the aluminum mines to sustain the treaty made by a royal wedding, all in hopes that Nyll wouldn't finally decide to snuff the smoldering embers out. Personally speaking, politics interested Mae less than the valuable news about it being breeding season in the woodlands, but even she knew that wherever there was turmoil, there was opportunity.

While Mae harbored no real ambitions beyond restoring her restaurant -which would, to be fair, require quality materials and helping hands- she had no doubt that her boss could make the most of this situation. Just thinking about what Faetalis would do, and how her head chef might be able to help out even beyond her official capacity, filled Mae with excitement. No matter what she picked, though, a confrontation with the locals seemed inevitable at some point. Even once people caught wind of the indescribable horrors that came down the mountain, they couldn't give up on the resource that kept their kingdom afloat. They'd be back with more men, better weapons, and in broad daylight, Mae bet. And if the Guild routed that party, too, and Anzelgard went kaput, Nyll might very well drop by to take care of things themselves. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Infactorium needed a strategy, and since Mae made better flans than plans, she knew just who to call.

But first it was mealtime, and that wasn't something Mae took lightly. With the food done, she ladled a bowlful for Riny. Tired and hollowed out by the events of the night, and not well-fed to begin with, the huntress accepted it gladly. The moment she laid hands on the bowl she seemed captivated by the simple dish. "W-what is this?" she stammered, taken by surprise. "It smells...unreal."

The nearby Maneaters flinched, and Riny looked around with a start, wondering if she made some mistake. The abominable cook had crossed her arms under her chest, and even without a head looked annoyed. "Hmph! Feelin' kinda rude all of a sudden, huh? I know I ain't got the best ingredients right now, but I put my heart in everythin' I make! Woulda figured a li'l gratitude'd be in order..."

Riny waved her free hand in a panic, eyes wide and fearful, nearly spilling brother on herself. "Nonono, I'm sorry, ma'am! I meant 'unreal' as in, uh, too good to be true. It smells better than anythin' I've ever had--better than the king's feast I delivered some game to, a while back!"

In an instant Mae's mood changed, turning from irate to pleased. "Oh-hoho? That's more like it! Well then, hurry up an' give it a try!"

Riny quickly obliged Mae's request. A moment after the spoon went in, she froze solid. Mae kept still, surprised and confused by the lack of reaction, her blindsight detecting nothing. Until, that was, Riny's eyes squeezed shut, and tears began to roll down her face. Mae was taken aghast until she realized exactly what was going on. "It's...so good!" the huntress wept, her shoulders shaking. "I've never...in all my years, never...tasted the like! It's like heaven!"

Embarrassed by what she saw as undeserved praise, Mae raised one arm behind her head to scratch at the base of her neck, jiggling her underarm folds in the process. The thought that Riny might be faking crossed her mind, but those tears seemed totally genuine. "Aw, geez," the headless horror chuckled. "I guess the ingredients we salvaged were pretty high-class. But still, I'm ashamed to call what I did here cookin'. Just you wait an' see what I can really do!"

Her words seemed lost on Riny, however, as the starved huntress wolfed down her meal at breakneck pace. Nothing else in the world seemed to matter, and when she finished she barely stopped herself leaping at the stewpot. "P-please, can I have another?"

Mae gave a thumbs-up, seemingly pleased. "Be my guest. Just don't make yourself sick, bahaha!" With some effort Mae hauled herself to her feet. "Alright, I'm gonna go an' let the boss know what we're lookin' at. Sit tight." The master of the Gorging Trough left the newcomer to her staff's care and began her hunt for Faetalis.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Guess Who
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The barest hint of a smile seemed to cross Cormac's lips as Faetalis gave him the good news. Physical labor. That was exactly what he needed to keep his mind from wandering toward thoughts he didn't want to give the time of day. It could be something as disgusting as cleaning the stables of animal stool and he still might have begun humming a tune to himself.

So when she broke the news that her task for him was to be a politician, she downright broke his poor fragile heart. "An ambassador?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow at her. "You've got the wrong man, missy. There's got to be plenty of other candidates you could choose from. Hell, Tungsten's automatons are probably more qualified than me," Cormac argued.
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It wasn't long before Tungsten and Levia finished their work. Without threats of powerful enemies or a particularly hostile environment to worry about, Tungsten was more concerned if he even needed Levia's help. His own destructive abilities could have likely done the same, but these were his orders and Tungsten was not one to question them too deeply. However as he made his rounds to ensure the finality of the destruction, his sensors picked up an oddity. Or rather, an opportunity. This mountain was rich in Bauxite, a valuable material for general construction within the guild. With much of it destroyed and in dire need of repairs it was imperative that the guild accumulate resources in order to hasten the Infactorium back to it's former glory. However Tungsten was also well aware of what this vast mineral deposit could also mean.

While he does not know much about the technology level of this world, Tungsten cannot assume that the guild is better or worse. While it does not sound like either Mae nor Gammaton had any issues with whatever scouting party they had intercepted, there was no telling who the powers that be here were. The enemy was an unknown factor: they could very well be as strong or stronger than the guild right now, and when their scouts return about stories of monsters in the mountains they may come with an army instead of mere lookouts. If that were the case the guild would need to fortify it's defenses, and that meant Tungsten cannot risk sending his Cyber Skeletons to secure the Bauxite in this region, less they be attacked by foreign enemies and lost. And while ordinarily Tungsten had no qualms about losing his soldiers, the situation at the Infactorium was too delicate to be so careless.

Yet at the same time, that same unknown threat made Tungsten well aware that if they do not accumulate resources now to build up their fortifications and supplies now, there may not be an opportunity later. Even for all their power the Infactorium cannot make something out of nothing: all repairs and work being done right now is only due to the cannibalization of preexisting resources within the guild, and they certainly do not have enough to survive a siege. The Bauxite is valuable to the guild not just for it's material properties but because once Tungsten can get the Big Scrap Alley back to some operational level, he can streamline any resources obtained into higher grade, more rarer materials the guild would need. But they must have some sort of income of materials to do so, and that cannot happen if they remained hold up in the ruins of their guild, hoping that the world would turn a blind eye to them.

Tungsten made his decision. "Overseer Levia. We must secure this bauxite ore for the guild. I have already sent a command to my Cyber Skeletons to arrive with wagons and carts to haul our bounty. Let us harvest these materials so that the guild may use it in restoring itself to former glory." Tungsten stabbed Io into a large stone, where she began to passively scanned the area. Not only would this assist Tungsten in locating any further minerals, but she would also serve as a look out for the two Overseers while they worked. Together Tungsten has no doubt they could gather a large quantity of bauxite before sunrise.
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Levia would curiously dig at the ground, smelling flakes of what appeared to be some sort of ore in a bit of rubble. Huh. It sure was...something. She wasn't quite sure what KIND of ore it was, given that her job was almost exclusively to break things instead of deeply analyzing them like some sort of geologist, but she was certain one of the brainier members of their merry band of misfits would be perfectly suited to the task of figuring out what to do with it.

Speaking of brainy, her skeletal coworker would give her new orders: To harvest the Bauxite and prepare it for transportation via the Cyber Skeleton's caravans that were going to be arriving to ship everything away. "Got it! We'll bleed the mountain dry, and let Lady Faetalis sleep easier," she would say, all the while packing power into her hands, not shaped into fists, but fully spread out, claws extending as she began furiously digging, a toxic cloud in the air from her constant re-poisoning of herself.

By the time the skeletons would arrive, a gargantuan divide had been made into the rocks around her, physically yanking ludicrous amounts of ore and rock, which she carefully divided with her mastery of destructive capabilities that lead to chunks of ore so massive, that any normal human blacksmith might drool at the thought of converting it into countless works of their craft. So massive that, embarrassingly enough, Levia had to cut them into smaller chunks just for the wagons to carry them off.

With the sun slowly rising over the horizon, Levia would remove the cap from her head, waving it as she approached Tungsten. "We did great, right Tungsten!?" The chimeric dragon was always generally cheerfull, but this dawn even moreso. She had finally served a meaningful purpose, wheras before her entire job was to basically be handed mediocre items to be crushed into the most basic of materials. But now, she'd finally had a chance to gather, explore, destroy, and aid the Guild in ways she never had before.

Despite her excitement however, it also couldn't be understated that even with Levia not directly assaulting a single living thing, the mere act of her presence with her need to poison herself via her own breath weapon also meant a huge amount of collateral. No rabbits were spared harmed in the production of Infactorium: A New 4Xpansion (Overlord RP)
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Gammaton had written down as much as she could recall in the moment, things of immediate importance to Infactorium, as well as a rudimentarily drawn-up map of Anzelgard and it's surroundings. But since Szilard did not have a photographic memory, nor was he a cartographer, the map was dubious at best. Gammaton had rushed to put down in pen as much as he could for fear of the memories fading; after all, skills he acquired with Consume Knowledge were only temporary. Yet the memories remained, haunting Gammaton's mind, and to a degree, poisoning her judgment. Gammaton didn't like the idea of having to wrestle the memories of with Szilard's pathetic life longer than she had to, but could, for now, only hope that the memories would fade in time. having finally taken satisfaction with her report, Gammaton marched out of Hivehill, searching Infactorium for its Guildmaster.

Upon exiting her domain, Gammaton realized that she had no way of locating Faetalis herself, but recalling how the Supreme Beings themselves had a way of communicating with one another. In fact, Gammaton was fairly certain that they did this through the use of an item, most likely that silly explorer's hat that GrillBears always wore. More likely than not, the hat was in GrillBears' personal storage in his lab at Hivehill, but Gammaton wasn't ready to root through her former master's personal effects and wear his things. Perhaps at some later date, if she felt that she had earned that right to wear a Supreme Being's personal artifact without their permission or presence. With that, she continued on her way, only to run into Mae, who likely shared the same purpose.

"Ah, Mae. I suppose you are also looking for the Guildmaster to report on your findings? How did you get yours to talk? I suppose the threat of being slow-roasted over a spit would loosen any tongue. Would you happen to know where the Guildmaster might be? If not, we might as well head to the throne room, as I'm sure she's bound to return there at some point." While saying this, Gammaton was already meandering in that direction, unless Mae had another suggestion. "I also plan on requesting permission to head into Anzelgard to procure a map. I have a vague understanding of where important locations are, but some details would be nice. I can perhaps use this body for one last mission before I allow myself to hatch."
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In its natural course, a week didn’t seem all that long to most. However, for Faetalis, it felt like a small eternity - her first instinct was to speak to Riny, come to an understanding with the woman. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time for such a thing, and relegated the hunter-turned-prisoner into her bedroom - locking her behind a door that only she could open, and permitted Mae to take care of her as she needed. Her bedroom was a sterile room with a futon, a bathroom, and a walk-in wardrobe; she trusted that Riny’s pride and self-preservation would keep her from committing something as senseless as suicide, but even if she did, it wasn’t a big loss.

What was a big loss was the access to the mountaintop that Anzelgard had, which was generating pressure from the Nyll Empire, as their daily shipments had suddenly ceased to be, and within the week, there was an investigation launched into the village. That served to be a problem, as information trickled in from the reports that Cormac sent to her from the local Blacksmith that she had taken possession of overnight by way of some expensive bribery. Cormac’s mission as Ambassador of Infactorium had not yet gone into effect - Faetalis needed to get him settled into understanding his future role, familiar with the town and its folk, and then she could make her grand entrance.

The Shelled Kingdom was a wary place, as Faetalis walked upon its muddy roads; the meager dirt roads were a pretty representation of the vassal kingdom - uncared for and enslaved to a debt wrought of circumstance. They didn't ask to be situated next to such a rich deposit of bauxite ore, nor to draw the interest of the Nyll Empire, but they did both in equal measure, and suffered more than any ought. However, at the end of the day, Faetalis didn’t concern herself with the small details - she was only concerned with the reconstruction and fortification of her Guild.

95% of the Guild Infrastructure had been gutted out; Mae’s kitchen was back to full power and water, refrigeration, and gas on high; Gamma’s hive was able to start reproducing new workers to ease the burdens of the mountaintop life; Tungsten’s assemblies were working in nominal conditions, and, though, they couldn’t construct his favoured BIGs, he was able to match Hivehill in workforce, once again; even Cormac’s volcanoes and Levia’s recycling slime vats seemed more lively.

Yes, salvaged to the end of its technological rope, Infactorium was running again.

The bauxite ore that once served the Nyll Empire was dug up by Hivehill, brought to Big Scrap Alley, converted into aluminum ingots, and stacked onto the platform that supported Infactorium; Faetalis was debating on using it as raw material to build new Factories.

It was a hard decision, as she now held a significant bargaining tool over Anzelgard with most of their precious resources broken down and converted into its intermediate state, but she also had a significant amount of free resources to rebuild her home.

It was something that would have to take up with her Overseers.

Lost in her thoughts, Faetalis tuned out the world to the point that she slammed into the solid chest of a large, possibly Half-Giant man clad head to foot in heavily reinforced armor, that must have weighed as much as he or more. Much like anyone that walked into a wall, Faetalis stumbled back, and fell on her ass. “A child,” asked the man, “No, a young woman. Head lost to the clouds, and attention where it doesn’t belong. You should watch what’s ahead of you, not beyond you.

Faetalis frowned, as she was chastised by the deep-voiced man - he was decorated, excessively, and definitely earned his attitude and pride. However, she didn’t appreciate a scolding over an accident. “It was a simple mistake, sir. Nothing more,” she rebuked. “There’s no need to be unkind.

A grunt escaped the hulk of a man, as he countered, “A simple mistake is the difference between life and death. An uneducated woman such as you would not know such a thing, however,” before he started to walk pass Faetalis, “I’ll overlook your “simple mistake” this time. Next time, it will be seen as an assault against a General of the Nyll Empire.

Emboldened by their leader, the small contingent of soldiers that followed him tossed their hats in the ring with unsolicited kicks of cart and horseshoe trodden mud at Faetalis and jeers. The mockery didn’t bother the Replicant - she was beyond her Humanity, beyond all Humanity; the very pinnacle. However, the wet mud dirt had soiled her white wedding dress from breast to knee.

That was a crime worthy of death.

Murmuring the spells needed, Faetalis fashioned a handgun into her right hand, and took aim on instinct - eliciting the scream of an onlooking woman, which turned the investigative team back to face her. Dispelling her weapon, Faetalis looked to be reaching out to steady herself as she stood, and steeled herself to offer a pathetic maid’s bow to the General, and leave him to deal with the screaming woman who looked crazed without the obvious weapon in sight.

At least, now, she had come to one decision: Anzelgard would be sending a delivery carriage to Nyll - one full of butchered corpses and blood-stained aluminum ingots.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by The Irish Tree
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"Vat 37...check. Vat 38...check," Levia listed off, holding a clipboard in her larger set of hands while the more human-like ones scratched off check marks with a pen. The various slime breeds that had been produced by Levia via a lot of "poof-poof", a lot of "smoosh", and just a pinch of "bing bing wahoo" with touching slimes together, she'd have a veritable assembly line of slimes going to and from the other parts of the guild. Their main purpose was transporting goods, recycling useless materials that Tungsten couldn't do anything with, and anything that someone bossed them around to do. They'd even made special slime tubes for specific non-acidic messenger slimes to slip through, carrying mail when message scrolls would be too expensive.

"Aaaaaand Vat 45. Done~" she said, dropping her clipboard right onto a cyan colored slime that absorbed it happily, leaping into a tube to carry it to the proper channels. Falling back, Levia was caught by a large noxious green slime, the likes of which squished under her weight and formed into the shape of a chair. Crossing her legs and taking her hat off with her tail, Levia would take a drag of a poisonous cigarette, blowing the residual smoke up into the ceiling. It felt nice to be needed, but man...slime breeding was hard. And boring. It wasn't breaking stuff down herself...and the slimes were the ones doing all the running around. Flicking some of her cigarette's sulfurous ash into a nearby metallic-colored slime, she would take another drag right after. "...I wanna do something for everyone," she mused, sinking further into her slime chair.

She'd get up, finish her cigarette, then go to her semi-new private bathing chamber which consisted of a bunch of rejected slimes, their corrosive properties either too weak or too strong for usage. But, for someone too strong to be dissolved, there wasn't a better way to get clean. Levia would dunk herself in, clothes and all, and swim around for a bit, ponder the meaning of life, and wonder how Faetalis was doing. Then, she'd emerge, bored again, and take another cigarette from her pack. "...Papa's an idiot. Made me for one freakin' thing and then nobody needs that thing...and now these slimes are doing all my work for me..."

Then, a realization hit her. ...If they were doing all her work...did that mean taking a day off wasn't such a bad thing? Paralyzed by the realization that she had a modicum of freedom, a smidgeon of restraint broken...Levia was terrified. She needed advice from someone professional...someone that knew how to do their work and love it no matter what. She needed to talk to Mae.

The halls of Infactorium were repaired and maintained with that Bauxite they'd excavated, and Levia was careful not to damage it, or create a type of slime that would recklessly eat through it. In the same manner, the dragoness chimera was cautious as she walked at a brisk pace. The Gorging Trough was her destination, as she wanted to know how Mae kept finding joy in her work when, as far as Levia knew, she could leave it to her Maneaters for most things. Gammaton and Tungsten had mostly mindless minions that needed commands, but the Maneaters had will, personality, everything that everyone else had. With delicacy as her focus, the dragoness would sneak into the trough with enough effort in being sneaky that one would be forgiven for thinking she was there to steal some food. Easier said then done though with [Stealth Sneak] active.

She needed ideas, for what to do for everyone, what to do for herself, and what to do for their leader who was off by herself. Something nice for her to return to.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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The hiss of sputtering oil, the roar of flame, the chop-chop-chop of fresh vegetables, and the clang of tools against sinks, pots, and pans melded with the barked orders and status updates of the Maneater crew to create a fantastic symphony of frenetic activity--a riotous cooking frenzy most befitting of a five-star kitchen newly restored to its former glory, and all the more splendid for its brief absence. Of course, the kitchen lacked the professional polish, eye-catching ornamentation, and immaculate luster it once proudly displayed, and though not in shambles anymore by any stretch the dining hall featured just the barest essentials, but at the end of the day the Gorging Trough had one purpose: to make unforgettable, fashionable, and functional food. If her domain could do that, Canology Mae was happy.

Of course, she had no time right now to marvel at how just a week ago she and her staff had been huddled around a single cookfire. Just standing there in quiet appreciation of everything that Infactorium’s reconstruction efforts could come later. Right now, the master of the Gorging Trough was on overdrive, directing her pride and joy through a rigorous trial by fire of its capabilities. Gone was the affable, sanguine behemoth whose larger-than-life presence filled any room to burst with bombast. In her place was a domineering taskmaster, an relentless force of nature committed to complete and utter victory against the eternal adversaries of inefficiency, miscommunication, accident, and time. Out there the other Overseers led their minions in military campaigns, and the supreme commander Faetalis reigned over all, but here Mae was the boss. Like a drum of war her guttural belows resounded through the Gorging Trough, spurring her tireless Maneaters onward in the creation of a grand celebratory feast.

Naturally not one cook among them could spare even a moment for the dragoness sneaking around the premises, but that did not mean that Levia’s intrusion encountered no trouble. Instead she quickly found herself slithering through the trenches of what could easily be mistaken for active warfare. Ingredients harvested both from the wilderness and a variety of creatures both mundane and extraordinary lay scattered around like goopy or crunchy landmines. A few of the more exotic ingredients like Basilisk Glands, Dryad Hearts, Rock Lobster Geodes, Thunderbird Drums, and Stygian Shrooms even presented magical hazards for unwary handlers. Add to that the many boiling-hot splash zones around stovetops, fryers, and cauldrons, plus the constant hustle and bustle of the staff, and Levia had quite the obstacle course to contend with. It did, however, allow the dragoness to witness the passion of each and every chef firsthand.

“Need someone to pull the pot roast off ‘fore it overcooks!” Mae was saying as she plated a Beast Cheese Lasagna. After plopping the finished dish down on the already-crowded delivery counter, she pulled out a large basin for the roast and started arranging colorful sliced carrots around the rims for presentation. “Right this way! Chuck, need more Deeproot Carrots! Flank, that cheese is for the burgers, get ‘em on the grill before slappin’ ‘em on there. Heart, ya dingus, get those doggone sausages off the grill to make room! We want ‘em simmered, so juicy they’ll burst in yer mouth!” Finishing the roast, the headless horror plodded over to the line of stovetops and their bubbling pots, unbothered by any hot spatter. With her blindsight she could keep track of the whole kitchen at once, and though not observant or ingenious enough to micromanage every detail, she could address each issue as it presented itself. She inhaled deeply through her neck, taking in the smell of the sauce, before going over to the nearby sink for a colander of pasta to stir into the sauce for the Chimeric Bolognese.

An acrid aroma caught her attention. “We’ve got a balsamic glaze that’s done reductin’ over here!” she announced, prompting Tender to rush over for the critical ingredient to her Feygarden Salad dressing. Chuck followed right behind to give her Watercress Soup a taste, then flew off to fetch more white wine. Shank sprinted by with a basket of freshly-baked loaves, and Mae waited until she passed to avoid a collision before flipping the Stygian Shrooms in their saute. WIth the toxins properly neutralized by the accompanying garlic, soy sauce, and butter, they promised a rich, earthy dish that could provide a potent boost to Dark elemental attacks. Next Mae stomped over to the big cookfire to retrieve a handful of fragrant Bugbear Kebabs from over the flame and set the next batch up to roast. Before going, however, she stopped by the night’s prize dish, the Suckling Manticore, where it turned on its spit. With a knife from her toolbelt she prized a sliver of its flesh free, then extended an enormous purple tongue from the darkness within her hood to slurp it up. For a moment she stood there in contemplation, while Round watched in fearful suspense, until Mae gave her the thumbs-up. “That’ll do nicely!” Before Round could celebrate too much, however, the Overseer poked the Maneater right in her belly. “But why’s that tail still there!? That ain’t edible! Hack it off and pull out the venom!”

With a squeak the chubby cook hurried off to fetch her cleaver and pipette. Mae laughed and returned to her own duties. She helped Rib cut up and honey her cornbread, showed Shank how to tie up her dumplings, and stopped by Roast’s pizzas to offer topping suggestions. After sparing a moment to chuckle at Heart for getting a faceful of steam from the shoots for her consomme Mae heeded the ring of her timer to pull a trio of plate-sized cookie dishes from the oven. She scooped freshly-made Mint Slime Gelato from the bucket to heap upon the chocolate cookies for a dual hot-and-cold desert, then drizzled chocolate sauce on top. After a quick taste Mae couldn’t help but chuckle. “Hoho, nelly. The gals’re gonna looooove this! I bet even stodgy ol’ Head’s gonna crack a smile after he gets a bite o’ these bad boys!” Sensing that preparations were wrapping up, Mae allowed herself to heave a contented sigh at last. “Man if it don’t feel good to be back in the swing of things again,” she mused aloud as she began slicing pears to accompany hibiscus for garnish.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Lucius Cypher
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It has been some time since the Infactorium settled here. Well, a week. But to Tungsten it almost felt like months. There was absolutely no time to rest: Even after all the basic repairs were done, practically none of the factories were operating at previous levels, and everyone was hard at work ensuring that they can work their way back to normal levels. Tungsten himself has been hard at work processing materials, delivering them to different factories, and managing his Cyber Skeletons. The Cyber Skeletons were especially important. Without any of the BIGs to provide high industry labor, he needed to restock as a vast majority of them had been destroyed during the sudden arrival. Fortunately, he was able to get close to 500 Cyber Skeletons created once Tungsten was able to get a small surplus of spare materials to make them. He is once more grateful to AlphaQ: she knew what she was doing making the Cyber Skeletons so low cost, so low maintenance.

Nearly about 80% of production done in the Big Scrap Alley was done through Cyber Skeletons. While they had managed to restore power to one of the Auxiliary Generators, they were struggling to get the materials for the second. They were also pushing the limits of power the lone generator could put out: at it's max it can dismantle materials at 80% efficiency, but Tungsten could already see the problems that would hit Big Scrap Alley if this were to continue. Worse of all, they had no spare materials to do any further repairs without cannibalizing from what remained of his own facilities: He would have to destroy one of the generators just to repair the second one, and that itself would only delay the enviable, not to mention doing so would mean he would need raw materials to create a new auxiliary generator, which was entirely out of the question.

Thus a majority of the Cyber Skeletons needed to work in order to reduce the energy costs for the lone generator. This did not please Tungsten's sense of efficiency: in the previous world he would only need 10% of his Cyber Skletons manning the factory floor, while the other 90% could be delegated to guild or gathering duties. His total output was a mere 5% of what he once could do before, and that 5% was barely sustaining his factory. He basically could not spare any resources to the other factories unless they brought it to him, which infuriates the construct. He felt weak. Pathetic.

But he had a plan. Part of the reason he had constructed so many Cyber Skeletons as a priority wasn't just to alleviate pressure on the generator. He needed to send scouts into the world to continue and look for more material deposited in the world. The Bauxite from the mountain was a boon: being able to gain raw material itself meant that the Big Scrap Alley did not need to recycle materials into Bauxite, and instead it can be transformed into other materials that they are lacking. If the cyber skeletons can find other resources, and Tungsten can continue producing more Cyber Skeletons, he could send them out to strip mine the resources, deliver them back to the guild, and rebuild his factory until it was back to optimal levels.

There was also another glimpse of good news. As they were on a mountainside, there was a geothermal deposit below them. It was much deeper than Tungsten would like, but if he could gather enough materials he could construct an excavator BIG that can dig to that Geothermal deposit, and they can begin construction to siphon energy from it. That would solve most of Big Scrap Alley's energy issues, and would rocket their efficiency to 140% without generators. If they continue to gain a steady source of materials, that total could increase exponentially, and eventually, in what Tungsten projects to be within a year, they could be back to full operation once more.

All easier said than done of course. It's not as if Tungsten has not seen some issues already. These were unknown lands with unknown threats. While so far none of his Cyber Skeletons have encountered hard resistance, they still do not know the lands or it's customs. More often than not they have to retreat into the wilds to avoid locals. It's not that Tungsten fears they may threaten his skeletons, but he cannot afford to let their presence be known. Thus many of his minions were only slowly spreading out from the guild, looking for material deposits, while doing everything within their ability to avoid detection. There's also still the matter of other factories in need of materials and repairs. Tungsten could only afford to create more Cyber Skeletons because of their extremely cheap costs. Bigger projects like making a BIG would be impossible until other factories are in a state sufficient enough that he can afford to divert materials into his own projects. And while he could certainly do that now, no doubt other Factory members will notice a lack of resources coming from his factory, and this would create strife.

Speaking of strife, Tungsten was one of the Factory leaders who was hesitant of letting Faetalis go into the world. It was unknown to her, and she was their leader. There were many other Factory Leaders, or even their minions, who could disguise themselves, infiltrate the outside world, and even if they are discovered they are far more disposable than their leader. But ultimately she made the decision and Tungsten would not go against her wishes, as much as he wants her to reconsider. The worse part was that Tungsten had no way to track her: she was far beyond his or Io's scanner distance and he lacks the facilities and means to do long-range reconnaissance. And he dare not send any of his own Cyber Skeletons to follow her, less she be angered by his interference or worse, his actions may interfere with her own. So the best Tungesten could do was simply remain up to date whenever she reported in. That, and take care of her when she's here.

Cracklings of laser energy could be heard as Tungsten moved to a section of the Big Scrap Alley that was frankly, a new edition. Little more than an open ware house with some crude stone structures created from spare resources. Here Tungsten oversaw the training of new Cyber Skeletons. While nearly all of them were preprogrammed with basic combat ability, Tungsten felt the need to ensure each one was gathering experience in this new environment. Previously, under AlphaQ's command, the Cyber Skeletons were little more than mobile turrets, as their numbers were so vast that thousands could die and that would barely affect the productivity or effectiveness of the Cyber Skeletons. But now Tungsten had far fewer, and thus he needed them to be more tactical. Which was difficult to do when nearly all of them are mindless.

The Boneyard wasn't just the facility that ensured a constant stream of Cyber Skeletons for labor. It also served as the central intelligence processing unit for all of the Cyber Skeletons. Before it's destruction, the Cyber Skeletons could emulate intelligence, even personalities. Sure most of it was AI generated but with guidance they could truly become a clever creature with time and experience. Which makes the destruction of the Boneyard all the more tragic. None of the current generation of Cyber Skeletons had that communal memory: each one had only factory level operations. Tungsten would need to train them from the ground up, instead of simply accumulating and choosing optimal memories out of thousands of skeletons, and then putting them all into the ones currently active. Still... He did enjoy seeing them learn.

Though Tungsten cannot love in the sense that most other biological creatures do, he does have a certain level of kinship and concern over the Cyber Skeletons. While he has no concern for ones that are destroyed or abused, be nonetheless desires to see them work hard, succeed in life, and become stronger. The Boneyard was a bustling place where Tungsten could relax without feeling the need to truly live up to his factory title. A place where he could mentally shut down and simply be one with the thousands of machines in this facility. Sure he was the Factory Master, but he was just another cog in the machine, and he felt like his place was among his kin, his fellow Cyber Skeletons. Now that they have been so hurt, Tungsten simply wishes to see them well again. And watching them maneuver through obstacle courses, hitting targets and avoiding traps, it makes Tungsten think that maybe one day he can bring back the Boneyard, and all the memories that were lost.

As he oversaw the training he looked down at a few Cyber Skeletons who were currently constructing and organizing the weapons. Despite the destruction that had shook the guild to it's very foundations, Big Scrap Alley did not suffer too much when the Cyber Skeleton armory was hit. That was in large part thanks to the sheer surplus of cheap weapons the place had. Even after 90% of the armory was destroyed, they still had 1000 units of AC02 rifles, 3000 crates of Zap Knives, and over 5000 crates of weapon accessories. They also had 200 units of Cerberus pistols, though no Cyber Skeleton that survived used one and Tungsten has no need for one. Perhaps he should give them away to the other factory leaders. He did not wish to recycle them as he knows AlphaQ created the ostentatious weapon as a reward for distinguished Cyber Skeletons, but perhaps Tungsten could make it into some sort of luxury whenever he's dealing with natives. Did the natives use guns?

Finally, Tungsten returned to the factory floor. It was business as usual, even if Tungsten wished business was better. There was a shipment of knives and kitchenware that was just synthesized: The Gorging Trough was always in need of new equipment, to replace the ones used or destroyed. So many in fact that it would take at least four cyber skeletons to push the cart to deliver the materials. Tungsten stepped in: he was more than strong enough to do it himself. He commanded the skeletons to continue working in the Big Scrap Alley while he would personally deliver these supplies to Mae herself. Mostly just because Tungsten wanted to visit the other factory leaders, get a sense of how the guild was feeling right now in their lull. Holding onto the handles, Tungsten pushed the cart out of the Big Scrap Alley and head towards Mae's monstrous kitchen.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by The Irish Tree
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This...was growing to be an awkward position to be in. Levia was currently perched in a corner of the room, head to the ceiling as she nervously watched Mae's kitchen at work. She was so commanding, clearly knowledgeable of her work, and also...t-the smell of the dishes in the kitchen were everything she wanted out of life, at the moment. She had to use every ounce of willpower to keep her stomach from grumbling and giving away her hiding spot. She had to keep watching...purely for research purposes, of course. She definitely now wasn't eagerly anticipating sinking her teeth into whatever dish Mae was making. She had to contort her own body into ways that many wouldn't think possible to avoid bumping into the countless chefs as she had made her way in, figuring that the ceiling, with its lack of foot traffic, was ideal for observing.

Mae's burning passion and dominating taskmastering was inspiring to Levia who, despite technically being significantly older by technicality, was a novice at managerial duties. It didn't help that most of her services were barely useful before...but here, Mae was back into the full swing of things and leading everyone! It was moving, seeing someone so devoted to their role, even if it wasn't something involving fighting. Mae was the very heart and stomach of the guild now, and she made sure everyone was fighting fit with a meal worth dying for in their gullets.

But then, another issue arrived...that of Tungsten Jazz, who's barbarian senses were fine-tuned to let him perceive any ambush. Even one not targeting him. Even one from an ally. ...Even one not targeting him, performed by an ally, who was also coincidentally right in his field of view upon entering the kitchen. Levia was vibrating, in fear that she'd be caught and have to explain. One could literally hear the veritable dice being rolled, the latent perception of Danger Sense challenged by the elusiveness of Stealth Sneak.

Natural 20s were a funny thing, but even funnier would be that Tungsten could clearly see Levia staring at him, looking like a cat perched upon a high place they have no way of getting down from. And, somehow, she knew that he knew. But he probably didn't know that she knew that he knew. And thus, she'd start slowly snaking her way along the ceiling, using one of her human hands to make a "shh" motion over her lips, hoping Tungsten wouldn't draw attention to her.

This is the worst... she thought to herself, trying to exit with at least a scrap of her dignity in place, cheeks burning red. But...at least she'd gotten to see something that inspired her. And make her ridiculously hungry.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Stern Algorithm
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Back in Yggdrasil, there was a 'scavenger' mechanic that certain classes of creatures, including ants, took advantage of. Being a game, there was no such thing as 'waste material', but within the scavenger aura of a scavenger creature, whenever 'food' was prepared or consumed, 'food scraps' would be left behind that scavengers could take for experience, health, or energy. Hivehill used this principal to function as a bioreactor, and as long as there were ants in the vicinity of the Gorging Trough or the dining hall, they could collect food scraps to power Hivehill's organic engine.

But this wasn't a game world anymore, and waste was an inevitable fact of life, one might even say a fundamental, inescapable aspect of reality. Ants no longer needed to be present, yet the Gorging Trough, now operating at full force, was outputting food waste at an unprecedented volume. This sudden, rapid influx of biomatter into Hivehill allowed it to quickly replenish an impressive legion of ant and wasp soldiers. Still, due to some other restrictions, the production of the higher evolution units was still not possible, but at least Infactorium wasn't completely defenseless anymore. And one ingenious thing about ant and wasp fighters was their ability to double up as workers during peacetime, so it wasn't long before the bauxite mines were dug out, as well as the shaft to the base of the mountain.

During this time, Gammaton's host body had deteriorated to the point that Gammaton had determined that it was time to hatch and enter her next stage. Having found a secluded spot within Hivehill, the host body's spine split apart as Gammaton Infatilis wormed her way out. In this form, it would be significantly more difficult to infiltrate human society as Gammaton would need to maintain an illusion at all times, but this form was not only stronger than Gammaton Zero, it was actually the form with the highest magical ability. In this form, Gammaton would need to consume food or food scraps to build up a pool of evolution points before she could move on to her next stage, but given the Gorging Troughs recent level of activity, this would not be an issue. And it might be better to stay in this form for a while; having a dedicated spellcaster was always handy. Gammaton hoped that it would be a long time yet before she needed her final form, which was meant for warfare. Still, hatching from her egg-like state and being able to spread her legs was a very liberating sensation which she savored every time.

With her transformation process complete for now, Gammaton headed into the mines to refresh the pheromone instructions she had left to direct the mining ants with. She would also inspect the secret door Faetalis had asked her to install at the base of the mountain.
Hidden 19 days ago 18 days ago Post by Enkryption
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Anger could fuel a lot of things: decisions; needs; means; wars. Justified Anger compounded that fuel - enriched it - and Faetalis was marching by the fuel just that, as she returned to Infactorium, and slammed into her seat. Her return did not go unnoticed - the denizens of Hivehill took notice of her first, as she entered the tunnels to the elevator; a veritable maze she had Gammatron dig out with an central meeting point for the elevator shaft, and seemingly countless of false ends that were stationed with Soldier Ants.

Cyberskeleton could sense her virus data trying to breach theirs like an Aura of Terror, as she rose up; bypassing each of the layers in between the bottom and top floors that would serve as one of the ten floors combat floors of Infactorium’s successor:

Infinifactorium

A work-in-progress that would function like your standard Dungeon, staffed by her Overseers and their own unique tastes.

It was broken into 6 Sections:

A-F1 and A-F2: Gammatron could staff to her general style and liking; though, Faetalis would suggest employing a mixture of her Soldier Ants and Drone Ants to defend the first floor and the maze, while she, herself, and her best units would defend the second floor in the first Miniboss fight.

If Gammatron were to fall and her <Elevator Key: B Section> be obtained, they would gain access to the next two floors.

B-F1 and B-F2: Tungsten would staff these two floors with set-up much like Gammatron, as Faetalis would suggest; employing Sentry Cyberskeletons and Soldier Cyberskeleton to pick at and off numbers, while Tungsten, himself, and a squadron of BIGs awaited the survivors.

If Tungsten were to fall, his <Elevator Key: C Section> would be rewarded.

C-F1 and C-F2: Levia would shine here; above the heated geothermal reactors of the B Section, and below the ever-working forges of the D Section and kitchens of the E Sections is where her Slimes would best feed and breed and grow into the threats to soften their prey up for the Queen of DoT (Dead on Trash) upon her throne.

If Levia were to fall, her <Elevator Key: D Section> would be rewarded.

D-F2 and D-F1: Cormac would hold down the fort here with an assembly of Soldier Cyberskeletons and Soldier Ants, now adorned in his handiwork, and geared to the teeth to present a much grander challenge to the intruders; those that reached him with face the Titan’s Might of Mór Brionnú and solo the giant in his molten element.

If Cormax were to fall, his <Elevator Key: E Section> would be rewarded.

E-F1 and E-F2: Mae would be stationed here, with the Gorging Trough divided into two sections, and defended by Mae and her Kitchen Staff upon the second and her Wait Staff upon the first. Tables lined with food - rich with Buffs; laden with Debuffs; lovingly crafted by the Head Chef herself to facilitate the demise of those that made it so far.

If Mae were to fall, her <Elevator Key: F Section> would be rewarded.

And, that would open the elevator to the Final Section: Faetalis’s Domain. A boss fight in three phases:

First: MinMaxine in a replication of the Overseers that she oversaw as the Supervisor, employing patterned combat moves from each of the Overseers from the floors below. At 10% HP, MinMaxine would retreat, and Faetalis would step out.

Second: Faetalis would take on the party in an almost insulting manner, unconcerned by their very presence before her own. However, if taken to 25% HP, Faetalis wii incit as DPS Check as she readies a Tank Buster; upon success, she will TPK, while failure will result in a retreat.

Third: This final phase will see MinMaxine and Faetalis as a tag-team, in which MinMaxine takes on the form of her Supreme Being, and offers healing magic and ranged support while Faetalis takes on an aggressive role.

If MinMaxine is taken down first, Faetalis will enter the Eldritch Machina Form by invoking a Super Tier Magic.

If Faetalis goes down first, MinMaxine will sacrifice herself, and merge with Faetalis to revive her in the form of The Fleshen Colossus.

Depending on the form she is defeated in, Faetalis will drop Legendary Components for Magic Gear in her Eldritch Machina Form or Physical Gear in her Fleshen Colossus Form.

Either form would drop her <Main Office Key> and allow, in YGGDRASIL Online, the claim to Infactorium to transfer to the victorious party’s leader.

However, she never intended to allow that to happen...

This was the plan she had formed over the week of thinking, revising, and scheming. The only hitch was that MinMaxine had yet to awaken from her [Comatose] affliction, and remained in her [Dormant] state at 1 HP.

Morosely, Faetalis stroked the sleeping slime, before she steeled herself. It was time to plan the annexation of Anzelgard. Either by violence or by peace, the ruined kingdom would come under her control, and be her first targeted assault against the Nyll Empire.

That meant, it was time for an Emergency Meeting.
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Progress waits for no man, nor machine. Tungsten knew this. He could not wallow in despair over the state of the Guild when he knew there were actions to take to revitalize it. Among the first of the things Tungsten did was rebuild the Bone Yard. Thanks to access to raw materials via the mining operation in the mountains, as well as Tungstens own clandestine material gathering through his network of Cyberskeletons, Tungsten was able to recreate the Boneyard in full. The only issue was a lack of certain uncommon but relatively rare material, as well as sheer power from the Infernal Engines, to resume full on recycling of the Cyberskeletons. But now Tungsten no longer needs to worry about losing many due to injury or destruction: the remains can be rebuilt, and the damaged can be restored. He can even produce a handful of fresh Cyberskeletons daily, enabling a very slow but progressively growing work force. And more hands make lighter work.

But there was more to it than that. Thanks to Tungsten's agents, he was able to access important minerals that he otherwise would not have been able to get without full power from the Infernal Engines. This material, known simply on the database as Saturnite, though it may have a different name in this realm, was a naturally occurring alloy that would enable Tungsten to create some low-tier BIGS. Nothing as amazing as what his creator would've made, but things that could help the Cyberskeleton with their work. Powered Exosuits that would increase the individual strength and abilities of the Cyberskeletons many fold, enough that a sufficiently large amount of them may even threaten Tungsten himself, if they happen to catch him without a weapon or armor on hand. But more importantly it allows the Cyberskeletons to work faster and better, increasing over all production levels, and enabled Tungsten to send these BIGS to his agents outside of the guild to increase the speed in which they extracted the materials from the foreign lands, as well as dealing with any threats that tried to stop them. Not that they couldn't before, but now they could do so more effectively.

But the creation of the BIGs weren't the only thing that Tungsten has done. With the depletion of natural defenses and fortifications that made the guild safe, Tungsten had taken it upon himself to create new Cyber Skeletons. These were specialized for combat instead of generalist workers like the CS04 models. They were the SEN01 and SOL02, Sentry Cyber Skeleton v.01 and Soldier Cyber Skeleton v.02 respectively.

The SEN01 were designed to be defenders and siege specialists, with a built in gauss cannon that enables them to have a powerful long range weapon and be armed at any time. Their combat specialty also enables them to withstand damage and protect their allies more efficiently, making them perfect guards for the guild. The downside however is that such soldiers were slow to build and not the most mobile: they would be ill-suited to be part of a vanguard force despite their power, and are better off being part of a bulk force that moves and hold ground. But that's what the SOL01 is for.

The SOL02 are far more mobile, and while their combat abilities are not quire as specialized as the Sentries, they made up for it in mobility and stealth operations. Their skills lend them to be able to move quickly across any terrain and blend in with their environments, be it a dark forest or an urban sprawl. Their more generalized skill also enables flexibility with what sort of weapon and equipment they could use, which considering the covert nature of their existence, could be anything from a proper AC02 or any primeval weapon used in this new world.

Still there was much more work to be done. Energy production still has not risen though Tungsten was now making active efforts into accessing that Geothermal Deposit he had detected a while ago. Right now he needed to focus on creating the BIG that would dig and oversee the construction of the generator to siphon energy to the Infernal Engines. Unfortunately such a BIG required rare materials that he does not have access to at this moment, though Tungsten can still get the preliminary work finished so once that rare material is obtained, he can expiate the completion.

Though there was still a matter of the outside world to content with as well. Tungsten has heard whispers that Faetalis is going to war with one of the nations nearby. A war Tungsten has no doubt they can win. But Tungsten was not an arrogate machine. He knew that the unknown bring all sorts of possibilities, and pride comes before the fall. Not only has his scouts been obtaining rare material for him, they have also been gathering information. Whatever details they could gleam from whispered rumor, hush tones, or even gossip and drunken babbling. Information was power and Tungesten intends for the Infactorium to be the strongest.

As Tungsten was working on the Excavator Big he received an Emergency Meeting call. He had his Cyberskeleton Sentries on alert, but kept the workers continuing as usual. This Emergency Meeting did not belay an immediate threat but it could be a call to action, so Tungsten made sure his units were ready to deploy at a moment's notice. He himself was always ready to battle, with Io magnetized to his back. As he proceeded to the Overseer exclusive elevators he had one of his minions bring him his Tempest HMG. Perhaps overkill, but Tungesten would not allow even a moment to be wasted if Fataelis wanted him to immediately go to battle. He would arrive to Faetalis's domain armed to the teeth, and kneel before her.

"Greetings, Creator Faetalis. Tungsten Jazz of the Big Scrap Alley is here to serve you. My soldiers and the titans are ready to be used at your disposal."
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At length, the cooking inferno that raged within the Gorging Trough’s kitchens finally began to die down. Ovens went dark and dishes piled high in the sinks, and after a bevy of finishing touches to the various plates, the weary but satisfied crew of the old world’s number-one monster restaurant formed a procession to bring each and every meal to table. The threshold between the kitchen and the dining hall might as well have been a portal to another world, a boundary between restoration and desolation. With the kitchens as Mae’s first priority, lovingly and painstakingly restored to full functionality, the other half of the Gorging Trough created a sharp, even jarring contrast. With sheer walls, inelegant lighting, and only a plain wooden dining table with accompanying chairs as furniture, the dining hall was a shell of its former self. Still, given what had been achieved with the kitchens, Canology Mae was undaunted. It would be only a matter of time before this place regained, or even surpassed, its former glory.

Besides, even if it did feel good to have a lavish, opulent mess hall, it was just a building at the end of the day. It was Mae’s staff that made it all possible, and after all that hard work everyone deserved a well-earned chance to kick back, chow down, and make merry. Soon the table groaned beneath the weight of enough pies, pastas, chops, chowders, stews, salads, bread, and barbeque to kill a dragon, let alone a man. Mealtime for Mae and her Maneaters was a time-honored tradition, practically a ritual, and every monster among them was eager to enjoy what they’d been missing since last week’s chaos threw their whole world into disarray. While the cooks seated themselves, expressing excitement and congratulating one another for the job well done, a certain unexpected someone rolled into the Trough bearing gifts. Her blindsight took just a moment to sweep over the contents of the cart, after which she practically jumped for joy. If she had eyes to twinkle or a mouth to smile, Mae would have beamed such a radiant look of gratitude at Tungsten that he’d shine for hours from the afterglow, but with neither the headless horror did her best to show her thanks in other ways. “Right on time!” she crowed, waddling his way with her arms held wide to snap up the metallic skeleton in a blubbery embrace. “Whoo-wie! You’re finer than a frog hair split four ways, jazz man. Thanks a million!” Using her apron she offered as dignified a curtsey as an abomination possibly could. “I figure I don’t got anythin’ worth repayin’ ya with, ‘specially seein’ as ya brought all this out here in person, but if there’s ever anythin’ I can do for ya, be sure to give me a ring!” She took the cart off his hands and toward the dining table, where the staff could distribute the much-needed utensils. If Jazz or Levia chose to stay, so much the merrier!

With that, the feast could begin. The Maneaters dug in ravenously, relishing the food all the more for the blood, sweat, and tears poured into it, sometimes literally. And everyone, from the more cheerful, earnest likes of Chuck and Round to the stolid Rib and caustic Tongue, was pleased as punch. Even Tender, paranoid and self-critical to the extreme, was satisfied, and though the sous chef Head did not break character, Mae could tell just how thoroughly he enjoyed what few delicacies he allowed himself. No one, of course, experienced the feast quite like Riny did. Mae’s prisoner had spent the week both learning and teaching, and though she did not excel in her assignments as a kitchen assistant, she’d quickly proved herself invaluable when it came to instructing the Maneaters. She’d doled out her hunting and survival skills as best she could, and though by no means an educator, Riny got the benefit of an eager and patient audience. Her talents allowed the Gorging Trough to better make use of the wilderness on and around the mountain, harvesting even its less-obvious resources for use in the kitchen. At first Riny had naturally been fearful and skeptical, but as time went by and she tasted more of the monsters’ cooking, her worries had begun to melt away. Having subsisted on a blend of misery, want, distrust, isolation for so long, the huntress was quickly getting used to security and plenty. Although, maybe the sort of food Mae and her Maneaters made her wasn’t fit for regular consumption by ordinary humans. It seemed to be having an addictive effect on Riny, and that was hardly the only byproduct of excess consumption. The Overseer made a mental note to deal with it later.

Gradually the conversation at the table shifted away from the meal itself and toward the bigger picture. Last week’s efforts to drive away the expedition had been a major highlight for everyone involved, and the knowledge that not every encounter would be fun and games did not dissuade the Maneaters’ interest in further interaction with the outside world. Rumor had it that Infactorium’s takeover of the mountain’s bauxite supply would lead to conflict with not only the nearby kingdom, but other powers more formidable and remote. Murmurs of a storm brewing on the horizon got the chefs wanting to do their part. The discovery of a guidebook for class progression among the guild’s wreckage while cleaning up had ignited a fire of self-discovery within the Maneaters, sparking ideas of what they could become in service to the guild. “I gotta be a Pyromancer!” Roast announced, frothing with flame at the mouth in excitement. “It’s perfect! With a little trainin’, I could take these flames I use for lightin’ the ovens and start lightin’ up enemies instead! Haha!” She punched the empty air, nearly falling over.

Rib sniffed. “Whatever you all choose, it’s clear you’ll need someone watching over you. If I were to become a Paladin, I could defend everyone.”

“Yeah, yeah. Meanwhile, I’d totally be an Assassin!” Shank declared. “I mean, my chopping and slicing makes the rest of you look like you’re wielding butterknives. Hand me a real dagger and I’m good to go!”

With a nod of approval Chuck handed the book to the next girl in line. “I think I have it! It said under ‘Ranger’ that elves are natural archers, and I don’t I look sort of like that girl in the picture? Maybe I could try one of those bow thingies!”

Tongue gave her a judgemental glance over the top of the guidebook. “Don’t flatter yourself, sweetie, you’re far too soft to be shooting people with arrows. Perhaps healing would suit you better.”

Chuck scratched her head, an uneasy smile on her face. “Eh...maybe...” She then raised an eyebrow at Tongue. “Wait, what about you, then?”

The imperial Maneater gave a haughty laugh. “Why, I would be a Sorceress, of course! I am the only one with the requisite intelligence and refinement, after all.” She turned to pass the guidebook, only to remember that Round sat on her other side, her chair nearly buckling beneath her. She turned up her nose. “Oh, how unfortunate. I don’t suppose there’s a class for falling on people…?”

She tittered with laughter, and Round started to tear up, Flank lent a hand. “Don’t listen to her, Round! You can do anything you put your mind to! Take me, for instance. I’m not very big or strong, but I still want to be a Knight!”

“Yeah!” Mae herself chimed in. “You could be a mage, or a fencer. Hell, even a dancer!” She threw a fork at Tongue, who jumped in surprise as the utensil bounced off her own stomach. “What’s wrong with bein’ big, anyhow? I’m four times bigger than Round minimum, and I got eight whole levels in Barbarian, so if I’m gonna fight someone, you better bet your britches I’m gonna smash ‘em flat!”

Not long after that, Mae received her emergency summons from Faetalis. The headless horror hurriedly excused herself and left the Maneaters to their banter, instead making a beeline for headquarters. She was surprised to see that she was the second to arrive, all things considered. Rather than kneel and risk falling flat on her front, Mae gave a ponderous bow. “Hi-de-ho, Lady Faetalis! Canology Mae of the Gorgin’ Trough, here to satisfy your every need. What can I do ya for?”
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Levia would eventually have no choice but to give up the stealth gig, and slip into the kitchen to help out after literally crawling out and slinking back in without stealth. It was incredibly awkward to literally only her, and maybe Tungsten if he cared at all during the hustle and bustle of helping Mae set up for her massive feast. She would help set the table carefully, trying to not crush the forks by accidentally "equipping" them in her hands with prolonged contact.

Partaking in the feast was a delight, given that Mae's cooking was as stellar as ever. The texture, flavor, and aftertaste...everything was beyond description, and definitely not due in part to Levia's vocabulary lacking a word for it beyond: "Delicious!" The talk of the various kitchen helpers of Mae did make her feel a bit lonely though...her slimes were about as sentient as a potato's tubers when it came to complex orders, and certainly had no ambitions of their own. ...Maybe...if they started eating smarter things, they'd get smarter too? Iron and rocks were dumb, dumb enough to just sit there when you hit them, so it made sense that her slimes were as dumb as rocks. They needed smart things, like ants, fish...maybe even humans if any tried to attack Infactorium. ...Though, would Gammaton be offended at Levia feeding tiny ants to her slimes to make them smarter?

Levia's meal would be slightly ruined by her fear of interspecies appropriation, and would find herself absentmindedly chewing on her fork while she thought, accidentally holding it so long that her [Break] Class skill took effect, causing the fork to violently tear itself apart in her hand, sending bits fo itself flying at her face. After apologizing profusely for breaking the fork, Levia would depart just in time for the summons to happen. Levia, having pondered her purpose for the day, was excited to march into Faetalis' office as quickly as she could.

Her legs would become a blur as she pushed herself to get there first, wanting to prove herself...but then found an oddity that gave her pause. An elevator shaft that hadn't been there days prior was present. ...Was this to take them to the new meeting? Levia would enter it, pressing the down-button to begin her descent...a rather long one, at that, while she started wondering if this was something bad to do. And then, she'd arrive at the topmost scaffolding area of the would-be Infinifactorium.

It wasn't accurate to say that she felt small in the wake of this mega-dungeon in progress. It was more that she felt microscopic. Her tiny plans of niceties and breaking of materials...all of this, done by Faetalis while they were largely unaware. So much of the mountain carved out all at once, so much of the groundwork layered downwards. Did this reach all the way to the base of the mountain? Levia's thoughts were getting her lost, and the chimera would hurriedly hit the button to return to the surface floor of the factory...or rather, now, the attic.

Levia would press her back to the leftmost wall of the elevator, exhaling slowly as she just...thought. ...Was Lady Faetalis creating new workers to manage a new layer of the factory? Was this all her's? She was terrified, frankly, at the gap of power between herself and her ruler. Not because she feared Faetalis, but was continually worried that her role, and her home, would become entirely superfluous.

*Ding*


The door would open to reveal Levia, slouched on the floor with her head hanging, cap obscuring the worried look on her face. ...Would Faetalis kill her for knowing about this structure? She hadn't meant to disobey the immediate summons for the emergency meeting. Everyone was likely already present. Everyone important. Levia would bite down on the thumb of her left humanoid hand, focusing a bit as she channeled Pain to Power into her teeth, gaining a bit of perspective by inflicting miniscule damage on herself. "...Lady Faetalis would never. She isn't like he was. I...I need to go to the meeting," she thought, raising herself up shakily, a cold sweat having formed on her face. She would slowly walk towards the door, hesitant to even touch the handle to the office's door.

Then, she would open the door.

"Reporting for duty, Lady Faetalis," Levia said, saluting as she came in, her slightly bleeding thumb obscured behind her back, with the other human hand doing its duty.
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