1,747 (+3) Midna: level 3
Sandswept Sky - railroad
The strange detonation left them in the dark, both figuratively and literally. All they could do was push forwards and- ”No, wait, no we don’t”
Midna remembered there was a relatively straightforward way of getting info about what had happened, at least if the mercs knew anything about it. Actually now that she thought about it, the detonation had been worryingly close to Alcamoth, it would be good to make sure it was still in one piece. With a simple incantation she summoned a Moogle who appeared upon the disk decorating her mount’s forehead.
It wobbled for a moment, arms spinning, then caught its balance and said “Hello again, Kupo. Got more errands for people?””Questions actually”
“About the big explosion” the moogle guessed, to which Minda nodded, and so it helpful explained “That was the Dead Zone going kablooie kupo. The Red Team left because they said someone dumped a body in the middle and that it was going to go boom any second. Looks like they were right kupo, because now that place is gone. A good thing too, lots of nasty things multiplying in there apparently, which is why someone decided to explode it in the first I’d bet, kupo.””Well. Guess that deals with Red’s target,”
Midna said, which was good news, although the existence of a way to blow up entire cities was concerning. Then again, how many bodies were there in the world of light? No new ones at any rate. ”Red got out ok then? What’s next on their agenda?”
“Some were hurt, but the rest went off to meet with the Blue team in a city sitting on the south west ocean, kupo” Midna nodded. So they were, at the moment, the only ones going east at the moment. They were ranging far, far beyond any base of support then. Good thing it was just them, with an army this would have been a logistical nightmare. The Moogle wasn't done however, as it got to some of the bad news. One of the party had died in the zone, which was regrettable, though Minda couldn't place the name and, “also Linkle took this thing called the Skullheart. It’s supposed to grant pure-hearted wishes, but it turns anyone who’s wish doesn't meet that criteria into a monster called a skull girl. Strong scary necromancer kupo. Apparently it’s real strict with what’s ‘pure’ and so it thought Linkle’s wish was no good and then, well...””What?”
Midna couldn't believe it. Well, she could believe that that girl had been reckless enough to do something like that, people didn't merrily follow a compass needle into a time fractured warzone without buckets of self confidence, ovaries of steel and a complete disregard for their own safety after all, but that anything she might have wished for was impure? Preposterous. ”Then what happened?”
“They said that before anyone could do anything, a member of organization XIII, that's those leather cloaked guys with weird names. Not the master of masters. Different people kupo. One of them snatched her up and took her who knows where though a portal. Big turtle boss says for everyone to keep a look out for her kupo, to be suspicious of those cloaked people and to think about if they know any way to remove cursed wish giving skull hearts from people.”
Midna didn't, at least not off the bat. Maybe if they captured her she could try and work something out, but it wasn't her area of magical expertise. She didn't know if anyone else had anything they could use to help either. She shook her head head sadly. Between the city bomb and linkle being monsterified the Deadzone was as bad as its name suggested.
“That’s all. Need anything else Kupo?” the moogle asked gently”No… No I think that’s all. Or, well, I guess if anyone else asks we’re getting closer to the mountain? Oh and if you take on 10 weak spirits of the same type it’ll turn you into the spirits you're taking in. People might like to know that.”
“That is new Kupo,” the Moogle looked around to see if it could spot who’d completely transformed themselves before Minda infomed it that ”It was a wolfos, but they’re back in the twilight real right now”
“Oh ok, Kupo.” It replied, a little disappointed, before asking the group “anyone else need anything?”
After it was done, the moogle vanished after a final ”goodby and good luck kupo” leaving them to continue their night running. Or night riding in Midna’s solitary privileged case. Both her and her mount were well adapted to this. Indeed the bright star and moonlight shining down on them was more than enough for them to see clearly through the night and, as a result, Midna actually got a clear look at the mountain they were traveling towards. Admittedly having a hazy blob turn into a clear lump wasn’t the biggest change, but she could see the shape of the, presumed, guardian slowly circling it. Good to know where they were going, a touch unnerving to have it looming over them the whole time. Was it watching or were they just insignificant specks to the Guardian?
The team kept following the tracks as they stretched out, seemingly endlessly, towards the mountain. It was rather impressive that anyone or thing had had the resources to just plonk this much metal down in the middle of the desert, though she still had no idea what it was for. Part of the reason only came clear when the sand started to change from a packed to more liquidy, causing her wolfos to start to get bogged down in it. She followed Tora’s advice and steered onto the track, and then gave Poison a big hand when Braum needed pulling out of the quicksand.”We’re lucky these are here,”
Midna noted, though she didn't know quite how lucky till the report came in that the liquefaction kept going, sand turning to a sea of syrupy delight. ”Maybe we’ve actually been walking on brown sugar since we left the ruins?”
Minda suggested, and while she somewhat wanted to go back and check that hypothesis they were left with little time to muse on the upcoming absurdity as the desert decided that now was an excellent time to get nasty.
First came a rumbling and then suddenly a pair of red slugs burst from the sand, dragging two of their companions off into the quicksand. Following in their wake was a swarm of small metal machines that buzzed around above them and pelted them with energy pellets. Midna and her wolfos dodged and dashed around on the limited space of the tracks trying to avoid the shots. At first she tried to grab them with her shadow hand, then she hurled sand at the flying things, but both of these were incapable of hitting the nimble buzzing machines.
For her third strategy, the princess jabbed a finger at the ones flying around above her and then out of a portal came her new Vibrava, briefly increased by more than three times in size and much more imposingly draggony as a result. The adolescent drake flew upwards like a massive projectile, smashing multiple machines with sheer mass and crunching another one right in front of it before pausing at roughly the same altitude as the swarm and unleashed a bug buzz. Its wings buzzed thunderously and produced a violent storm of soundwaves around itself, buffeting the drones (and forcing the princess, who was directly below the source of the ear splitting sound, to cover her ears defensively) before dropping down into another portal and vanishing again. All this occurred in a scant few heartbeats.
The princess shook her head to clear the ringing and spotted that both the medic and the scout had freed themselves from the beasts and the sand, before both she and her Wolfos had to leap out of the way of the giant bullrushing sandfish as it plowed over the tracks, smashing their two big guys, Braum and the Heavy, into the quicksand in the process. ”I’ve got you!”
Midna called out as she raced to the edge of the tracks, had it leap over the quicksand then dismissed her woflos before it got stuck and floated the rest of the way over the sands using her levitation. As she drifted across the last meter she summoned the Vibrava, now merely at it’s standard size, and commanded it to ”Keep them off of me!”
before focusing her power and bringing out a massive shadow hand, big as the large men she needed to fish out. She made a grab for Heavy and tried to either pull him out and throw him back to the tracks or, if she couldn't manage that, use her power to help drag/shove him to safety as the man added his own power to the mix. Once the heavy was free, and if Bruam hadn’t received other help and was still in the sand, she’d help him as well.
As she did her Vibrava buzzed too and fro around her, firing beams of dragon fire at anything that tried to harm its princess and even selflessly body blocking energy shots, ”Don’t actually die to protect me from scratches bug!”
The princess admonished the beast as one way or another she finished her rescue attempt, ”Now help me to get back to land-”
the Vibraba flew in close when she commanded this and then grabbed her arm with its chameleon like feet and hauled her both out of the way of an energy shot and back towards the sand back faster than she would have been able to float under her own power. The Princess cried out in surprise when it happened, but considering it had been obeying orders and that it had worked, she didn't complain or berate the beast once she was back on the tracks.
Instead she dropped down, dismissing the Vibrava and summoning one of the two wolfos below her. She didn’t run when Poppi called out too. If she went all out she’d likely outpace everyone and so instead of trying to save her own hide she moved to a defensive position near Braum and Heavy, ready to cover the retreat if the others ran or push in if they held their ground, her mind blazing as she tired to strategize a way to get them out of this alive.