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Super Secret Cult Beating

Malphas was a bit disappointed at how the first group had done nothing thus far. This disappointment was short-lived, however, as Malphas began to assume that those inside the temple were somehow aware of their planned ambush. Not an issue, really. After all, Malphas had already assumed such was the case. With the number of divine interventions he's received, it would only make sense if the others were blessed with such knowledge as well. The only issue was the preparations they could be making while within the temple. With the fear of a planned counter-attack, Malphas quickly made his way to the first group's brash leader.

"There's the possibility they may know of our ambush. Change of plans, then."

Malphas looked at the arrow in his hand, remembering his flashy entrance moments prior. This gave him an idea.

"We'll smoke them out. Build a fire near the temple's entrance. Yes, yes... Nothing you mind getting burned in there, right? Ah, we won't even need to burn anything within the temple proper. Have your group gather some lumber near the grounds, just enough to make a nice and smoky fire. I'll have my group gather the torches from the hall."

With that, Malphas walked just out of earshot of the first group's leader, signaling to his group to rally towards him.

"Gather the torches from your worshipping hall. We're gonna build a fire pit near the entrance of the main temple and seal them in. I'll be helping the others gather enough wood to do so."

With both groups off his tail for the time being, this gave Malphas ample time to think of some sort of escape. Before he could scheme to himself, however, he noticed a familiar sight scurrying off behind the temple! Was that the hag from earlier? Malphas remembered just what she said the night before... Was this a sign of the Illuminator? Or was this a trap?

Regardless of what it was, Malphas cautiously made his way towards the ragged figure, clutching onto his poisoned dagger tightly. Assuming this was a trap, Malphas gathered the very same energy he manipulated yesterday into his hand. He'll use that light trick that blinded him moments before to make his escape!
Super Secret Cult Meeting

As the first group left, Malphas took a quick gander around the temple, seeing if he could peek out any other entrances or exits. Should things go awry,- or worse, boring,- Malphas needed a safe way out. Somewhere he could run to if needed, potentially out of sight from that monster he ran into on his way here. For now, he looked onto the others who remained with him, scrutinizing them with his eyes as if he were measuring each of their individual worths.

In reality, Malphas only pondered on how long they could actually last in combat.

As interesting as both the Illuminator and his secret cult is, it was the cultists themselves that had Malphas feel... uninspired? He just wasn't sure what to really say to them, personally. He has no tangible leverage over them, and their uses seem severely limited. Sure, they are hunters who know the land better than he ever would, but they are also rooted to the village. There's also the fact that Malphas already made arrangements to travel with another group. In all honesty, Malphas did not care for them on a personal level.

Still, their lives do mean something to him. They are all human, after all. They all have hopes, dreams, desires... And they also have a clear goal in mind: Taking the thief alive. Between this duty to their god as well as the more... graphic murals of this temple, Malphas was given a stroke of inspiration! One at would allow these lemmings to do what Malphas desired while also fulfilling the duty given to them by their god.

"... You all know what you have to do. The thief must be punished for her transgressions. But afterwards, what shall we do with her after he retrieve what she has stolen? Kill her? Leave her alive with a mere slap on the wrist? And what of her captives? Shall we let them live, knowing they have desecrated this holy place? No... I feel as if we could do more."

Malphas walked further into the room, so he could place himself in the center.

"Take them all alive. We shall bestow upon them the mercy of the Illuminator. After all, there's much more we can learn from a living subject than a dead one, no? Perhaps you'd like to know just how far one's fingers can stretch apart? Or what about the absolute threshold of pain a man or woman could endure? Indulge in your curiosities! Turn this temple not into a tomb for the dead, but instead a dungeon for those foolish enough to cross the Illuminator! Use their pain as instruments of worship, and use the knowledge gained from their vessels to stand above your peers!"

Malphas grinned as he looked forward, towards the temple's exit. Whether they believed in his words or not, Malphas did not care. The only thing that interested him was what he inspired in them. Hopefully, whoever's left alive of this cult would turn this holy place into a den of debauchery, a temple not just dedicated to a god, but also to human depravity. Placing his mask on and throwing up his hood, Malphas marched forward, bow and arrow in hand.
Super Secret Cult Meeting

While an ambush was a bit too uncouth for Malphas's taste, it was probably the best thing they could do given their advantageous position and resources at this time. Either they succeed and the Illuminator gifts him with his favor, or they fail and Malphas flees the scene before he is caught. The outcome means little to Malphas, seeing as he'll be gone before long. As far as leading this troupe into battle goes, however, was another issue. As much as Malphas wants to avoid getting his hands too dirty, he still has the poison on his dagger as well as the poisons collected by the hunters. With that and the home-field advantage in mind, this ambush probably wouldn't be too difficult. For now, he'll indulge in this bloodthirsty hunter's request.

It's the only way Malphas is able to secure more of that poison, after all.

"We'll split into two groups, then. One group will be tasked with capturing this girl, while the other will serve as a distraction for the other travelers. If you've collected enough of those herbs for an ambush, then we'll need to put them on your weapons right away. You shouldn't underestimate the physical capabilities of those travelers, so you'll want every advantage you can take against them." Malphas drew his poisoned dagger, spinning it in his hand. "As for the thief, we'll need the swiftest of us on her, myself included. We'll go in after the first group throws their party into disarray."

Malphas gave everyone a look-over once more, before being reminded of something.

"Ah, and before we continue... I'll need a mask. They might recognize me, and some of them may know what I'm capable of. We can't have that now, can we?"
Super Secret Cult Meeting

Malphas was noticeably on edge on his arrival to the temple. This was due to the fact that he was moments from death once more at the hands of a giant monstrosity. He wondered briefly if he was in a Saturday morning cartoon, hoping he didn't run into another unusually sized beast the next day.

Still, Malphas did not come here to discuss plans on dealing with giant monsters, at least not yet.

"Regretfully, your assumption is correct. I was unable to speak to Enli. Seems the old fellow was busy, after all." Malphas scratched his head, nervously. He wondered for a brief moment about that giant deer, once more, and how it could have definitely been used for its meat should his plan have come to fruition. For now, it seems that the mere mentioning of being pursued by such a monster is better left unsaid, for fear of being ostracized.

"Have we collected enough of that toxin? Perhaps an ambush could be in order, especially since you all know the inner workings of the temple, yes?"

Of course, Malphas's true goals are to obtain at least some of the poison for his own personal use, although it would be interesting to see what else he could take from this cult before he made his departure. At the very least, he does feel a hint of responsibility towards the task given to him, after all. It would be a waste not to squeeze every amount of opportunity he could from it, no?
one day i will add my items to my inventory :^)

(I still remember I have 13 arrows tho)

As the winds picked up speed, Junichiro clutched his own arms tightly for warmth. For now, he put his gun back into his jacket pocket seeing as a fake weapon likely wouldn't help to deter any local wildlife looking for a meal. It seemed like he was far off from the rest, so he didn't need the threat of a weapon on him at the moment. The more Junichiro thought about it, the more it might've been better to stick with them instead, especially since he didn't have a mobile phone of his own. Perhaps it isn't too late to call out for them?

For now, the freeter continued to follow the path of the north star with caution. The wilderness seemed to expand for miles on end, but perhaps he could find some form of shelter tonight, if not civilization. With a storm approaching, it'd be nice to have something like a cave to nestle into. The waterfall in the distance also looked promising especially if Junichiro was going to be out here for more than a day or so. He remembered hearing about freshwater being the first thing you should look for when lost in the woods somewhere on TV. It'd also be nice to wash his trousers given the mess he had made on himself moments prior.

As he pondered his decision, the shapes in the trees gave Junichiro a stir. Could it be the others? No, he'd likely hear them discussing among themselves if it were. Whatever the case, the young man clutched his gun, obtaining a false sense of security as he proceeded with a slower stride. If someone, or something, was going to get the jump on him, perhaps his fake pistol would serve as a decent enough improvised weapon. The grip of the gun was heavy and metallic, especially with the added weight of the magazine in mind. It could serve as a nice club to bat things away with, should all else fail. Taking a deep breath, Junichiro did his best to remain calm given the situation he was in, so he could respond to danger with a bit more thought put into it.

The sudden clap of thunder did not help, causing Junichiro's movements to stir a great deal. A storm was approaching, and Junichiro was rudely reminded of such a fact. Rather than continue to move slower, he instead picked up his pace, following the direction of the glistening waterfall in the distance. Perhaps the thunder scared away whatever pursuer was currently eying him, as well...
insert metal gear solid reference here

Malphas gazed at the towering behemoth with a bit of worry. Was this the thing that made the noise earlier? Whatever it was, it was huge. Too big for the poison to take proper effect, Malphas surmised. An arrow or two possibly wouldn't work, either. He watched the creature's movements carefully, judging its speed and the possible weight of its footfalls. The wise thing to do would be to run while he was still undetected, cutting his losses as well as his connection with the cult of the Illuminator.

Of course, Malphas was no wise man.

Malphas sheathed his dagger as he searched the ground for a real nice rock. Procuring one, he threw it at a tree far enough to throw the beast off his direction. Afterward, he would quickly sneak off behind the nearest tree or bush large enough to hide his slender form. Should this tactic prove to work, Malphas would continue to do this on his way to the Illuminator's temple. If this failed, Malphas would instead beeline towards the temple instead.
important question. is nazeem still alive?
Shor thing, already got a few ideas in mind.
Delivery DiGiorno!

While Mie was preoccupied with beasts, shorties, and Donovan of all people, Malphas snuck away for a moment. He pondered the idea of just tuckering out for a moment especially since he was more-or-less free from obligations for the night. Still, he was curious about the progress of the little cult of the Lightbringer or whatever it was they were called again. Definitely not his problem anymore, but still a group he has some ties to. There was also the matter of them gathering more of those flowers, perhaps one that Malphas can take for himself seeing that the fair lady didn't need anymore.

Whatever the case, Malphas made his way to the temple once more, armed with his poisoned dagger. If there were any creatures to pop out at him, all he really needed to do was swipe, run, and let the poison do the rest of the work. However, unlike before, he did his best to stay quiet as he traversed the woodlands. Avoiding conflict was always a good thing, after all. Still, with no huntress to swoop in at a convenient time, Malphas wonders just how well he would fare against the next beast he comes across.

Assuming his trip was uneventful, Malphas would make his way to the secret entrance once more. With all his scheming, he realized he forgot to speak to Enli! Ah well, he'll just come up with some excuse as to why. They've no reason not to trust him, after all... well, aside from the fact he's new to this world and is an absolute stranger.
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