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6 yrs ago
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goblin time

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 3,303 (+5)
Bowser: Level 11 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (235/110)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (12/120)
Kamek: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (11/120)
Rika: Level 6 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (54/60)
Location: The Under - The Ruins

The general consensus of the other two with regards to Barnabee’s request was about the same as Bowsers, as in: “if we have the time maybe we’ll look into it.”

No dashing heroes willing to put everything down for a noble cause here it seemed.

Still, it was enough to keep the bee knight with them, and none of the troop felt bad about the prospect of stringing him along for as long as his presence was of use. He certainly proved himself handy yet again quite quickly, as he identified the mask fragment they had found as belonging to one Lurien, the Watcher, a figure of some local historical import. That certainly bode well for the odds of it being important, and, as luck would have it, it was indeed part of one of the ones they needed

"Hey nice, it fits!” Rika said celebratory after she found it to fit nicely into the slot, happy that the missadventure she’d somewhat caused had had a positive ending.

”So, nine bits instead of just 3 huh” Bowser said, pointing out the obvious change to their quest this represented

”Well, it could just be this one that is broken” Kamek suggested, but the King looked unconvinced.

”Eh I mean they probably are though? Right? Otherwise it’s 5 pieces and …. Well I guess that’s an ok number too but it would still be a bit weird if only one was broken up. That’s just … sloppy evil workmanship” Bowser mused on the topic of macguffin hunts and keys and such.

”So… I guess we aren't just looking for monsters wearing these masks then, but like, big monsters in general? This is gonna be a real bug hunt then huh?” Jr summarized, before noting that ”It’s weird that it's like, this mask belonged to this Lurien person but they aren't the boss we need to take down, right? I’m not the only one thinking that right?”

”Perhaps this F decided to make things harder for us? Claimed the masks himself and then broke them up?” Kamek theorized

"So are we just going to go around punching big monsters till we find more?” Rika asked

”I dunno, maybe urgh … you know what let’s focus on finding the others first, yeah?” Bowser decided, not at all interested in facing that daunting sounding task at the moment.

After taking a short rest to catch their breath, drink some water, and eat some snacks, the Troop trooped out, heading back the way they had come and swiftly coming across the hanging platform filled pit they had crossed over to get here.

Jr simply descended down using his car, while Bowser who had never taken the time to un-meowser himself, set his claws into the side of the pit and just kinda slid down the side of it, using tentacles, lobster limbs, and guns to dissuade anything from trying to knock him off.

Kamek meanwhile hung back, glancing at the two ladies and other wizard of the group and proceed to make them an offer ”So, I may have come up with an idea, one that might make traversing this place a little easier for you, if you are interested?”

Rika certainly was, her legs still not the best at land based traversal, and so she took him up on the offer without additional questions.

With her approval, the mage landed, took out his wand, and then tapped it into an open palm, forming, in an instant, a little egg. This he sets down on the ground, stepped back from, and began chanting too:

”Hocus pocus filiokus
Keep quiet now while I focus
Grow and grow, O loyal steed
Of you we have need
To skitter through these caverns deep
To help us free the light blinded sheep
So awaken child of mother dead
Rise and shine you sleepy head
To carry her slayer, that is what you are for
So rise and rise and live once more!”

As Kamek spoke, energy and magic flowed into the egg, causing it to grow and grow, larger and larger, till it towered above them all and then, as he finished, it cracked. Split asunder, and out of it hatched a massive spider which had Rika subconsciously take a half step back before she recalled that it was under control, and had a better look at it

What she was presented with by the mage was a big spider, yes, but specifically one that, if she knew her taxonomy, she would have recognized as something close to a huntsman spider due to its wide flat thorax and abdomen. It also had a small cushion like saddle on top of its head, which she was motioned to take a seat on.

"You know I’m not so sure this is really that secure” she said, not exactly an expert in these things but still recognizing the lack of things to hold her down, as she set herself down cross legged, right before a magical aura gripped her and bound her to the creature’s back.

"Wow” she started, right before the as til now motionless spider itself stumbled to the side clumsily, with Rika failing her arms a top it with a "wowowow” as Kamek hurried after it in a panic.

Right before the spider hit the edge however, Rika suddenly went "Wait!” and halted her arm flailing, holding both horizontally and as stock still as the spider had gone. There was a tense little moment, and then the spider padded away from the edge as the ship girl declared that "I think I’ve got it. Yup. It’s like it’s my legs now? That is so weird”

”Ah so that’s how it works” Kamek said, admitting he had had no idea up until now, before starting to suggest ”In that case let’s take it slow and-” right before Rika took a running start and she, on spider back, lept down into the pit while wooping with delight at her new found mobility.

”Oh no” Kamek started as he hurried back to the edge, only to sigh in relief as he saw the girl land safely on a hanging platform, and then marble as she rapidly descended, the hunter spider beneath her stringing webs between platforms and across the walls to scramble on down quick as can be.

”Well, that seems to have worked nicely” he noted, before looking at the other two and offering ”Would you like one? Or, well, one to copy in your case Rubick? It does not have to be a spider either, I just thought it would be symbolic. I can do a burrowing beetle, or a variety of Wyverns if you’d prefer to try and fly, or even a griffon should you prefer that aesthetic”

Whether they took him up on it or not, the mage preceded to produce a obsidian wyvern for himself, stashing away his broomstick and descending into the depths on the cavern adapted flying beast, which caused him and it to fade from view as they flew through the dark caves.

He was next seen down below, landing by the map maker that the others had stopped by to hear the news about where the others had gone, namely, onwards after buying a map. Something both said map maker and the bee knight suggested they do as well.

”I mean if they already got one, then we don’t need another one right?”

”Big waste of money”

"Yeah … what they said”

” … ” Kamek just stared at the rest of the troop for a few moments, shook his head, and then went ahead and bought a map when they weren't looking anyway.

His (advised) foresight proved itself useful swiftly, as they walked right past where the entrance to the basement had been (just as they had walked right past where the spirits of Sectonia’s mind controlled minions had fallen after they were eaten alive by spiders) and deeper into the maze of tunnels the people they were looking for had barely set foot in before beginning their downwards decent.

Obviously then, they found neither hide nor hair of their fellows, and instead found only more of what the realm was infested with: more bugs.

Many of these turned out to be skittish and harmless, a light zap from a wisp or burst of gunfire from a scout plane enough to deter most of the curious or aggressive ones, while a stealthy Kamek simply flapped on by without a care in the world, the mage gradually filling out the twisty turns of the deadend filled maze.

Progress was gradual yet steady and safe … right up until Rika suddenly shouted "Oh no you don’t!” Down a tunnel one of her planes had gone, and then spurred her spider steed down it at a breakneck speed without warning, thrusters on her back firing and giving it extra acceleration, leaving the rest of the troop blindsided and in her dust.

Astride giant spider Rika stampeded through the tunnel, hopping across gaps and scaling a few vertical surfaces while scattering lesser bugs in her wake till she burst into a little mining complex and came across what had caused her to yell in the first place.

Within where three centipede like creatures perched around various crude yet sturdy miner’s shacks and, pinned to a wall, the sputtering form of her scout plane, once again pinned by silky strands, although this time the aircraft was to a wall and was also in a sorry state of repair.

"You jerks, you’ll pay for - eek” Rika was interrupted in her decrying of their attack on her plane by 3 volleys of the same attacks that had taken it down. Each of the pests raised up its arms and then launched dozens of fine strands of silk from their backs, which swiftly turned in the air and flew straight at the ship girl with near impeccable homing ability.

Her sunglasses flashed as if catching the nonpresent sun, slowing the frightfully fast shots, resulting in her and her spidery steed only getting clipped by a few shots as they scampered to the side rather than taking the full volley to the face. It still stung a hell of a lot though, at least where it didn’t get caught on her gauntlets and shielding.

On instinct, Rika pulled up her guns to return fire … only to hear the dreaded click of empty chambers from each and every weapon, reminding her of how she’d used everything up before on killing the spider queen.

"shoot” she cursed, because that was now a thing she couldn't do. Logically, she should have just turned, run, got reinforcements or just left the weird hand bugs with their prize. That, however, would have been admitting defeat, and the Pacific Princess had injected something similar to the Gleaming refusal to be beaten back into her.

"Alright spidey, time for some live fire combat training!” she told the unthinking construct she was riding/controlling, and then leapt into the fray. Literally. The huntsman spider launched itself atop one of the buildings hosting a kindred,taking the creature by surprise enough that Rika could deliver a massive gauntleted punch to its limb-covered chest, smashing it clear off of the building and onto the rocky ground below with a crunch.

That was swiftly followed by a second crunch as Rika’s steed leapt again after it, the ship girl bringing down both her two gauntlets in an overhead smash that finished the job

"Phew. Ok. Next!” Rika taunted as she pulled herself up, only to find that the second one who would face her gauntlets coming right at her. Fast.

Skittering along the ground came the centipede like monster, many limbs carrying it frightfully fast and its long glaive striking even faster. The wicket point connected solidly with her chest … only for it to be bounced back by the last of her energy field’s reserves.

With an alarm beeping in her ears Rika herself skittered back as the centipede stood tall, took two slow stalking steps to the right … and then struck again and again with several quick jabs. Rika caught these by copying Bowser, using both gauntlets in a boxer’s guard to defend herself, before surging forwards as the kindred drew back for another strike and using the hull blades attached to her rigging to punch forwards and strike it in the abdomen.

The creature shrieked and stumbled back, only for the low blow to bring its focus down, and to her steed, which it then directed a stab at, skewering one of the spider’s eyes. Rika cried out in pain and stumbled back, not because she had been hurt as she would have had the spider been a striker, but because her controlling link to the construct had fed her a simulacra of pain to helpfully inform her it had been damaged.

She really did not appreciate that, nor when another volley of those sticky strands came flying in from the other kindred who was off to her left, striking the spider’s body and limbs in dozens of places and causing it and her to lurch to the side with another bark of pain.

"That’s really annoying” she hissed as she acclimatized to the transmitted sensations of pain and found them not nearly as bad as it would have been had she herself been struck all over.

As she adapted her foes wordlessly come up with a plan, with the close range fighter scuttling around to put itself on the opposite side of her from the shooter, which would have would have forced her to face it with her back to the other … if her instincts hadn’t screamed at her about how bad this position was. Said instincts also reminded her that this was not how she was supposed to fight. She was a battle cruiser, she was supposed to move fast and hit hard not slug it out like a heavily armored battleship.

So she ran, or, rather, rode, turning and charging towards the shooter instead, the wounded spider racing forth at what was still an impressive speed. The one who had circled round her chased after her, but to ward it off she dropped it a gift, one that came in the form of the one modern armament she had left: a torpedo.

The scrambling creature darted to the side to avoid being bonked by the metal tube she’d dumped from the underside of a gauntlet, and then stumbled as said tube exploded behind it, the blast levaling one of the shacks.

That gave her enough room to block a sunglasses slowed volley of threads, and then to leap at the shooting kindred.

It had learned from the first one’s fate however, and so fell back to avoid being smashed into upon her landing, and then raised its spear to hack at her. Rika countered using both gauntlets, catching the blade in their maws … and then triumphantly touted "See how you like your own medicine” as the spider brought its abdomen down under its belly to positively blast the kindred with its own silk, a wave of the strands washing over it and sticking it to the floor.

"Ha! Now eat this” Rika cried as she smashed two fists down onto it in a one two punch, and then disdainfully spat on the creature for good measure, priming the Brachydios slime her blows had splattered to blow while the kindred struggled futility to free itself.

"And now finally for you!” she said, turning on the last kindred as it rose up to unleash a volley of strands upon her … only for it to be struck by a flaming clown shaped balloon and knocked off its feet.

”There you are! You had papa worried sick running off on your own like that!” called the source of that attack, junior, as he fluttered in on his clown car ”You could have gotten hurt or something”

"I’m fine, and I can handle myself” Rika retorted, right before the slime she had set exploded behind her, taking out the kindred … and her own spider as its abdomen was too close to the blast. The destruction of that unraveled the magic and caused the ship girl to unceremoniously be dumped to the ground, landing on her butt with an ”Oof!”

”See” Jr retorted, before vaguely waving over at the kindred and saying ”Primid Party, just shoot that thing or something” resulting in the burning bug getting introduced to the 5 rounds rapid method of dealing with horrors, and for once, siad method worked remarkably well as it was blown away by a hail of super scope shots.

”I had this” Rika insisted as she picked herself up off the ground, thinking for a moment, sighing, and then saying ”but thanks for coming”

”Yeah sure whatever it's nothing … so why’d you run off anyway?” he asked, to which Rika replied by tramping over to the cave wall and awkwardly scratching at her trapped plane till she freed it from the strands … and it promptly fell apart.

”Gah. Well. Urg. Stupid” the shipgirl said as she crouched down, unlocked her gauntlets to free her hands, and then started piling bits of the broken plane into the hanger bay it had come out of. ”Don’t have spare parts for these” she explained as the hanger began recycling the bits that had survived and demanding replacements for the parts that hadn’t.

”Oh yeah oof. I know what you mean, without that mallet Papa gave me keeping this” he smacked his clown car ”in one piece has been way more of a pain than it used to be” before he had a think and suggested ”You where really relying on that dispenser thing to keep going huh? Guess we shoulda stocked up on spare ammo and parts and stuff while we had it… Well, till then, maybe we should try and get you some replacement gear and strikers and stuff?”

That Rika had to agree with.

After the troop regrouped and had joined back up with the main party (and Rika had gotten her ear talked off for her recklessness by the two worried old koopas) they headed deeper into the caves till they came to the fork in the road.

The troop moved to look at the big cavern first of all, the one filled with big indestructible worms, cool clown bugs, weird jumpy bugs and ”Oh hey, that screaming one has gems on it … get it for me Kamek”

The mage glanced at his king, then at the screaming bug … and then delegated the task himself.

”End, put it to sleep, would you?” he said, getting the foliage covered sniper striker to appear and, after he made another comment about the lovely locations he kept being brought to, proceeded to try and put a tranquilizer dart in the bug. Should it hit, and the bug be forced to take a nap, Kamek would then get some toadies to go get it for him so he wouldn’t have to risk becoming wormfood himself.

While the elders waited to see if they were going to get rich quick, and Rika sat down next to the giant chicken she’d gotten as a replacement mount and sulked/thought about what she’d do with the spirits she’d packed up for a bit, Jr attempted some long distance clown to clown communication.

First he let Dazzle the clown nosed sealion pokemon out of his ball to ride in his car beside him for moral support, then he floated up in the air at the entrance and yelled ”Hey! Clown bugs, over here!” before smacking the front of his clown car to establish the fact that they had similar aesthetic tastes.

If he did not get bombarded by roach and/or clown based sorcery, he’d call over the question ”Have you seen a catgirl? Or a giant bee? Or a small human kid? Or a guy and/or girl human with red hair? We’re looking for them and wanna know if they went by here”

wordcount: 3045 (+5)(+12)
Midna: level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(89/90)
Location: Suoh
Warp Charges: 2 (+1 from fight reward)

Sakura Level 9: 28/90
Karin Level 5: 12/50
Location: Suoh
Word Count: 3045
Points Gained: 5 +12
New EXP Balance--- Sakura Level 9: 45/90
Karin Level 5: 29/50
(pending) +

As Sakura got caught up with the others over the radio, Midna opened her shadow hand to unveiled the results of her mass crushing of the Other spirits:

”So… mysterious liquid” Minda picked up a little bottle of orange liquid, popped the cork, and gave it a sniff.

”hmm, orangy” she commented, before adding ”but still mysterious” to attempt to convince her dry mouth, violence having worked up a bit of a thirst. Fortunately she still had some of the survival rations, and so she stopped the bottle, stashed them, and retrieved some water bottles in their place.

”Drink?” she asked the other two, before she herself unscrewed the cap of hers and began to sip away at it while examining the other items.

Karin raised her eyebrows at Midna, interrupted from her studying the lose collection of miscellaneous items on the ground. ”Ah. I would be much obliged, thank you.” She responded, taking a refreshing drink of water. Hydration was very important.

”I only wish there was an easier way to identify these treasures and any properties they may have. Right now it just looks like a bunch of merchandise. What is that, some type of physical representation of data?” She said, pointing at the Suppression.

”The mysterious orangy liquid is most likely magical, and the shield may be, too. It’s all a bit silly. I’m glad I can rely on my fists.” She said.

”There was a lady back in one of the Al Mamoon who could identify stuff, and while we can’t go back there, I don’t have a portal and I’m not sure we’d be welcome, hopefully there might be something like that in this town as well. Only question is: where?” Midna replied, as she gave the crocodile shield a poke, unsure if it would be any better than her current one… and also finding it odd that the straps looked much too big for arms.

As for the comment about relying on firsts, Midna could see her point, but she did have a suggestion ”You might still want to keep an eye out for clothes and such though. This is magic” she patted her pauldron ”as is this bandana and these beads … though i should probably get them identified as well now that I think about it”

Karin nodded, conceding the point. ”Special clothing would undoubtedly be useful without slowing me down. Though again, I…” She squinted at Midna. ”I would not just be putting random garbage- err, attire, rather- I find on my person. Both for practical and aesthetic reasons.” She said, clearing her throat. Her adventurer’s outfit was much more practical than her noble outfit but despite the pockets, the muted colors, and the sleeveless look, it was undeniably very sleek. Something a rich person would wear while out on a hiking trip.

Midna had another look at the items, and then tapped most of them to store them in the twilight ream. The only ones she didn’t were the money, which she offered to the other two as a fair split of the spoils, and the doll. That she gave an examin and then, after finding it oddly easy to balance, carefully used her shadow hand to balance it on top of Sakrau’s head while the young woman was talking on the radio.

Sakura had been listening intently to Peach’s response, thus she did not notice her new hat. Now she knew where Princess Peach was! ”Got it, Peach-san! Be there soon, over!” She responded, pleased that her idea was being used by the LEADER of the Seekers of Light! The freakin’ Mario Princess!

”We have an in with the Sep- the Septentrion. Which are the people in charge, right? So our plan is working! Now we just need to meet up with Peach-san. We’re looking for Anistar Gym, with the big purple roof, close to Main Street. Should be an easy enough find if we get on the roofs.” Sakura said with a nod. The doll on her head didn’t seem to budge an inch. Karin smirked, not even trying to conceal her amusement. Sakura smiled back. Karin gave Sakura her divvy of the money and pocketed her own.

”Well then. Princess Midna, Miss Sakura. Shall we be on our way? There is no time to lose. I want to meet this Sep- this Sep-ten-trion as soon as possible, my word, what a word they’ve chosen. ”

”Wish I knew what it meant. That might give us a clue. What’s it in English- September? Maybe there’s seven of them?” Sakura theorized.

”It’s a deliberately obtuse word, chosen most likely to make themselves seem smarter rather than any kind of practical reason. It does indeed have to do with the number seven, and also, I believe, the ‘northern regions.’” Karin said, recalling her extensive private education.

”I bet it would annoy you.” Sakura said teasingly. ”You have the longest attack names ever. Everyone knows exactly what your attacks are! What’s that elbow hit called? ‘Koka Tenshinchu: Sumeragi?’” Sakura recited the complicated attack name with air quotes.

”Indeed. You’ve really got me there, Sakura.” Karin said, conceding the rib and avoiding looking at the little doll on Sakura’s head.

Midna’s one visible eye was looking anywhere but, in a way that was frankly suspicious in its own way, and her own amusement at the prank had made paying attention to all the details a little tricky, though she at least did not miss a chance to get in on the ribbing.

”To be fair, it's only descriptive if you know whichever language that is. I certainly have no idea what it means, other than the fact that I can get a stab in before you finish shouting that” she joked, before having a think and asking ”Wait, so is naming attacks a normal thing where you are from? Question. Why?” while drifting up towards the roof to get that gym spotting on.

”I don’t shout it every time, but the technique being named makes it easier to learn. It’s why we name things.” Karin said, talking to Midna. As she drifted up, Karin joined her by attaching a grapple hook to the roof and walking at leisurely pace up the wall. Sakura knelt down for about a second and just jumped a storey and a half into the air. Karin watched as she passed her and stifled a surprised comment. Sakura bent over the edge of the roof as Karin approached and smiled, briefly rubbing her finger under her own nose.

”Learned that one from Kazama Akira herself.” Sakura says, dusting off her hands.

”Regardless.” Karin said. ”I’d like to see someone counter a move based on the attack name once the fist has already struck true. It’s no different from shouting or letting out air to focus your energy as you attack. Similar to a Kiai.” Karin said.

”Kanzuki-Ryu only has long attack names because the martial art is so deep and varied that it simply necessitates it.” Karin said.

”Right…” Sakura said. ”It is fun to come up with attack names though!”

”I mainly just hit things … but I guess I can see your point. Easier to plan ahead if the attacks have names instead of going ’and then I'll hit them with that lighting beam thing i can do’ I suppose” Midna admitted, now thinking about attack names in the back of her head.

”Somethin’ like that! Easier to teach other people, too. Rather than just: ‘Elbow Thing’ or “Fireball thing.’ Though I guess if you use ‘em consistently enough, those are attack names, too.” She mused, and Midna had to give a little laugh to that even as she mentally conceded the point.

Sakura held her hand over her eyebrows and looked for the purple roof. ”Anyone see anything?

”I’ll be honest, my eyes are not the best in the light. Growing up in a world of perpetual twilight will do that to a girl” the princess admitted while squinting out over the sea of buildings

”Understandable. Fortunately, I’ve located it on my side.” Karin said, pointing out the steep purple roof. Sakura turned and followed her index finger. ”It isn’t that far away, we can be there shortly. Shall we?” Karin said.

With that she fired a line across the street. Sakura immediately hopped on and started balancing on the tiny little string.

”What on-”

”Shh shh shh, hold on, this is cool.” Sakura said, wobbling from side to side with her arms extended. She slowly started walking across. Karin stood there with her arm extended, supporting Sakura’s weight and tapping her shoe impatiently.

”Oookay, nevermind, this is a long time and I’m gonna fall.” Sakura admitted, still wobbling with her arms out.

”Obviously!” Karin said, detaching the hook and letting Sakura fall. She landed on her feet with a heavy thud and stumbled a few steps to get her feet underneath her.

”Now that you’re down there, I’ll race you both.” Karin said confidently, zipping across the street with her grapple hook for real this time.

”Yeah no you’re going to lose that” Midna said, stepping into a shadow and then stepping out of one on the opposite building (specifically a ventilation unit, not that she knew what that was) a blink of an eye later. That point made, however, she wasn’t going to actually ruin the fun, and so she called over ”But i’ll make it a fair race and not just shadow hop all the way there” as she summoned her her wolfos to ride an then taunting ” So let’s see if you can beat this mutt instead?” before kicking her heels to its sides and setting off at a scamper across the rooftops, periodically dismounting to warp ahead and guide its leaps like she had Link during their whole adventure.

”What was that?” Karin said, skidding across the roof, transitioning into a flip, and then firing away, pulling herself quickly.

Sakura watched them both go and with a brief cry of dismay, started sprinting at street level.

”Perhaps you can teleport into my shadow, Princess. Most people are used to living there!” Karin taunted, finding a good rhythm as she sailed through the air and across the next street like an acrobat.

”I spent like a month chilling in the hero of time’s one, so sorry, you'd be second best at the very least” Midna retorted as she guided her pet across the rooftops before calling back ”Not that I’d complain about being able to watch you while you do all the work for me mind, so you know what, maybe I’ll take you up on that some time”

It wasn't exactly the worst strategy either, having a second fighter to spring out when a foe least expected it, she mused … but only after having made the comment entirely to tease the noble lady.

Karin couldn’t respond because she was too busy showing off. She quick-fired a line to either side of an alleyway and caught it with a hand, spinning around it like a trapeze artist. With a graceful loop she landed on top of it, posed, and fell forward to transition into a swing.

”My coattails are long enough for everyone.” Karin said. She flew out of the swing and landed in a handstand. Then she walked in said handstand to the edge of the roof, fell, and zipped across to the other side.

She arrived at the purple rooftop, most likely losing to the mutt if Midna played seriously, because Karin got caught up in the show of it all. ”Hmm. My mistake.”

Midna was 100% not taking this seriously, because the banter was fun, and her ego was not on the line at all, so it was a close thing indeed and the poor hound just lost by a single daring leap.

The princess tisk tisked the wolfos, but wasn't so self centered as to not acknowledge her own participation in the loss so that was all it got criticism wise.

Sakura arrived at the scene third for certain, and she had used some of money to buy a souvenir from a street vendor. ”Good race- hey, look what I got!” It was a second Baki doll.

”Isn’t he cute? It’s Baki-chan! My friend Jimmy-san started up his own line of cute dolls, and it reminded me of that.” She said, still clueless to the one on her head. Though she did wonder why the vendor saw fit to give her a discount.

Midna, for her part, had to purse and bite both her lips and cover her mouth in attempt to hide her laughter, before getting a hold of herself and suggesting ”you should start a collection”

”Maybe I will! I bet there’s lots of cool stuff to find in this world.” Sakura said, looking intently at the doll. She unzipped her jacket and put it next to the radio in the inside pockets, before zipping it back up.

”I see our fellows!” Karin said, eager to rejoin with the others and move on. It was only a matter of time until Sakura discovered the doll, of course. Mainly because when she was confused she often scratched her rubbed her head, and she was often confused in Karin’s opinion. Or someone may immediately point it out to her. Either way.

”It seems some of them are heading into this very building.” Karin leaned over the edge. With a single step she delicately dropped from the roof and onto the ground. Sakura was already wanting to head inside, but she didn’t want to miss out on the Seekers’ conversation.

”Hey everyone! It’s us! We got here. That was crazy, huh? Those monsters are weird. What are we talking about?” She asked, crossing her arms and looking to try and pay some attention.

”Nothing we couldn’t handle of course, why, we saved a whole bunker” Minda said, just a tad gloatingly, before adding, a bit more humbly while gesturing to the two street fighters, ”or, well, these two did and I helped clear out the trash”

Karin nodded graciously, her posture straight. ”If anyone learned anything useful or strange, please do fill us in. Sakura learned that if the Others take enough damage, a light bulb-esque weak spot is revealed.”

”also, if you crush their spirits, you can sometimes get some ‘data’ out of some of them which, well, I have no idea how to use, but maybe someone else can? We know they know about fusion, but maybe this crushed stuff” she summoned some buddy rummy data ”could be useful to them when it comes to learning about where they come from?”

Minda was not so sure about this, so she also added ”also it is either that, mildly interesting stuff, or money, so i’d give it a go either way if I was you” as a way of instructing the newbies among them to the worth of crushing spirits, particularly when these, which where producing comparatively useful stuff compared to some of the trash they’d sometimes gotten before.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,187 (+2)
Bowser: Level 11 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (230/110)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (7/120)
Kamek: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (6/120)
Rika: Level 6 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (49/60)
Location: The Under - The Colorless Wood

The Melee fighters were, ironically given conventional wisdom about these things, overtaken by the mages in their charge after the knight. While the sword wielding warrior struck first, after that came a barrage of magics from the teleporting casters in the form of acid and a mighty spear, though all this was preceded by Kamek’s big punch, done at a much more comfortable range than his colleagues' up close and personal wizardry. Something he got a needling over from Rubick when he reappeared at the magikoopa’s side.

”My apologies for choosing a safe and reliable option” he replied, words full of vinegar, the mage not at all upset by this insult in the slightest ”I’ll be sure next time to simply annihilate the whole area indiscriminately with little concern for the lives of my friends and family” which was a thing he could do, although the charge time and setup of his most destructive spell was prohibitively long for most situations.

”Besides, his majesty has this in the bag I’m sure” the old Koopa insisted, as they both watched as the royals and shipgirl finally got into range on foot.

Jr and Rika had overtaken the stamina burning Bowser by the time they had closed the gap, with the prince flying up and going for the face while Rika went to try and cripple the legs with her chainsaw bayonet and explosive punches. Together, they brought the queen’s head low right in time for Bowser to arrive. The king skidded to a halt right ahead of her, well, head, then pull back a fist in a massive wind-up, and then, finally, kinetic strike module blazing, slammed a rocket propelled punch directly into Silitha’s battered and bleeding mug, rendering into pulp with this final blow.

”Splat!” went the spider queen, who then swiftly dissolved into ash, leaving behind her brightly glowing spirit and, interestingly and unexpectedly enough, a fragment of a mask.

”Way to go papa!” Jr cheered from on high, before shouting ”That’s right, run! Run you weenies! Run!” as the spider swarm panicked and broke in response to the death of their mistress-mother.

Rika, meanwhile, was more interested in what had been dropped, approaching the mask fragment and saying ”Ooo, is that one of the ones we are looking for?” before picking it up and recognizing its fragmented nature and adding, less confidently ”Or part of it?”

”I dunno, maybe?” Bowser replied as he held one claw on onto and rolled his shoulder, before giving a general order of ”Grab some spirits and then let’s get out of here! I am done with this place.”

The Knight likely had much the same feeling as that last, warning them that there were more spiders out there, which was not good news.

”Eh, we can take em” Jr replied to that, but to which Kamek countered with ”I’d really rather not. We need time to regain our mana and stamina before any more encounters like that young master”

While they had been saying that, the knight had hopped off, insisting they come with him to his camp, but the Troop would be having none of that.

”Yeah nah no thanks. We are heading back that away” Bowser replied, jabbing a thumb over his shoulder back the way they had come, a way neatly lit up by the torches the troop had popped down as the party had ventured into the woods ”and you can come if you like I guess”

”It has light, and has been scrubbed clean of webs, so comparatively to going that way it will be smooth sailing” Kamek agreed, to which Rika added ”Literally” as she moved to skim off in that direction, gliding on the trail of goop also leading the way back alongside the lights.

”Besides, we have friends back that way who we need to link up with again. We’re already wandered way off track after all” Bowser added at last, which most likely put the matter to bed.

”Sorry about that” Rika called back sheepishly, her lost plane having been the cause of all this, but the king waved off her apology ”Eh, turned out fine, and we got a pretty strong looking spirit out of it so don’t worry about it” and in so doing tacitly raised the question of the ownership of said powerful spirit.

Then, a few moments later, after they’d grabbed a couple of the fallen spiders for good measure and stuffed them away to try out with Sectonia’s funny hat (which they still did not know they were going to be being charged for yet, which was going to be a whole altercation that was for certain) they were off. Rika led the way, Kamek and Jr floated above, and Bowser’s spiky shell acted as their rearguard. Mimi stayed with her trainer, while her Mimies, however long they lasted, grappled themselves onto the backs of the accompanying hiveling to give them some tiny and adorable cavalry escorts, which gave Kamek an idea that he would be trying out later.

As they traveled, they were regaled with the knight (who went by Barnabee)’s tale of woe regarding the disposed Vespa and the wretched wasps who had stolen her land and her throne despite his best efforts to defend and/or reclaim it but, unfortunately, the kingdom conquering Troop wasn't exactly the best target for this sort of request.

Or wouldn’t have been anyway, but fusion had had a few positive effects on some of them.

”Saving a queen and kingdom” Kamek, not at all to be found among that number, replied before giving a sniff of a laugh and half explaining that ”That is not exactly our ballpark, so to speak. Quite the opposite, you might say”

Rika and Jr shrugged at this whole thing. The former happy to go with the flow attitude wise and not particularly concerned with the plight of those who she did not know. The latter was not as invested in the whole villainous deal as his dad and caretaker were, yet also while playing the hero did sound like it could be fun, it also sounded like effort and a whole side thing they didn’t have time for.

Which left their response mostly in the hands of the King himself and, perhaps unexpectedly, he did not reject the quest outright .

”Ehhhh, maybe if we’re in the area?” which got him a pair of slightly surprised looks from the other two koopas, and which prompted to gruffly defend his (almost) kindness with ”I mean, we gotta go all over looking for these masks anyway right? …. Plus, honey tastes good” which got a pair of nods of understanding, both of them much more used to the king following his stomach instead of his heart.

”Buuuut first we need to meet up with the rest of the troops, so we’ll get back to that egg temple thing, take a rest” the king was really needing one ”And if they don’t come back for us, we’ll go looking for them” which was a plan that had his family’s approval at the very least.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 973 (+2)
Bowser: Level 11 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (228/110)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (5/120)
Kamek: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (4/120)
Rika: Level 6 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (47/60)
Location: The Under - The Colorless Wood

The plan worked! Jr’s new magics stunned their towering foe, and Rika got to move in oh so close and hit each and every one of her twelve shots!

And yet

It was not enough.

The stun ended, and the still living spider queen cried out, leaping back into the woods and unleashing a hurled wave of spiders, proving in an instant that, had they had the nerve, the little minions could have overwhelmed them at any time. Just as they did now.

”Incoming!” Jr called out in alarm, a moment before he was bodied, not by spiders, but by his Papa who leapt to shield his boy from the incoming torrent. The others were not so lucky, as both Rika and Kamek where washed away by the wave of spiders, both falling to the ground, covered in the wretched creatures

”Nononononono not again!” Rika cried out in dismay, having just experienced this exact same situation only with snakes a short while ago, only now her body being bound by webs instead of living ropes. Her response was flailing wildly. Hullblades and gauntlets crushed and chopped some, while a firing of her maneuvering thrusters caused her to be dragged in-elegantly across the ground and got her even more tangled up.

The frailer Kamek could not even muster that panicked self defense, the old Koopa having to resort to hiding in his shell to avoid having his extremities nipped and bitten by the spider swarm.

Meanwhile Bowser, holding his son to his chest, weathered the storm on his feet, but the spiders still tried their best to web him up anyway, swarming the hulking king and binding first his said to the floor, before weaving their way upwards despite his struggles and the flailing of arms, Dreugh limbs and Tentacruel tendrils trying to bat them off.

”Go” the king commanded as they rose higher, pushing his son’s flying machine up into the air before the arachnids could try to bind them together

”Papa! Hold on!” Jr called out as he floated upwards, raising up his staff to cast the same spell he had halted Silitha with. Yet in the two second interval it would take to do so, he saw the forest light up with exactly what he had feared: a dozen more deep hunters and, following after, a rain of poison that came shooting towards the immobilized Troop.

Then, a shining miracle in the dark world shot forth from the mists: as a striped knight darting through the air, parrying the poison with a golden blade, and who then set his sights upon felling the wretched queen, scoring a mighty hit that blinded several of her eyes.

It gave Jr the time he needed to finish the Holy spell, which sent a blast of light out in a bubble around him, burning though the webs and causing the spiders swarming his papa to drop to the ground like files, where they lay stunned.

As Bowser proceeded to stomp the paralyzed spiders flat, and Jr rushed over to repeat his trick for Rika, Kamek and anyone else who was unable to free themselves, the knight continued to show his prowess. He used his voice to the same effect as Jr’s magic to blast away spiders swarming him, then leapt to and fro with masterful steps, avoiding more deephunter shots, before landing and releasing the bees upon his foes.

”Oh! Oh! Mimi! Copy that!” Jr called out when he saw that final trick, a command which his pokemon who was still riding along with him in the clowncar forced to obey. With a “Mi-miiii” vaguely reminiscent of the hive knight’s signature cry, she also opened wide and released a little flurry of pint sized yellow bed sheet ghosts wearing pichu ear headbands the size of thumb puppets.

These adorable yet miniscule constructs clustered around their creator behind the car’s windshield, awaiting instruction.

Those instructions would have to wait till after the boy finished his own casting, and the holy light washed over the last of the trapped seekers, a thing he finished doing right as the knight leapt back to land at their side for a moment. From there their savior commanded a charge and, without waiting for agreement from them, proceeded to do just that, running at full pelt towards their towering foe.

”Should we, uh, follow him?” Rika asked after a moment of inaction, she herself having just gotten to her feet and still recovering from her second swarming of the day.

”Of course not! I’m the one who gives the orders around here” Bowser replied, before, in the exact same breath commanding ”Koopa troop! Chaaaaaarge!” and racing after the knight, steel capped boots pounding the ground and shoulder cannons spitting shells at the spider queen while he wound up a fist, priming it to give her a good ol sock in the mouth if/when he reached her.

”Huh? Wha? Ok then!” a confused Rika said as she found herself instinctively following after him without a thought of how she was actually going to fight the giant spider sans any bullets or shells, meaning she’d likely be following Bowser’s lead all the way through to the mouth socking end.

Jr followed suit himself, commanding ”Mimi and, uh, the Mimis! Use shadow sneak on all those glowy spitty ones!” as he swooped after the others, boxing gloves deployed, prompting the Mimikyu and her mimikyulings to stick their tendrils into their own shadows, and making it so that the deephunters would have to fear claws in the dark coming from behind them while the hivelings came in from the front.

Kamek meanwhile just sighed, shook his head … and instead of charging just summoned a large rock sized magic fist next to Silitha’s new blind spot inorder to punch her in the face with it.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,885 (+3)
Bowser: Level 11 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (226/110)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (3/120)
Kamek: Level 11 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(112/110)
Rika: Level 6 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (45/60)
Location: The Under - The Colorless Wood

”Stars, that is some ability” Kamek marveled as Primrose’s dance spread the shield he had just put on Bowser to every other member of their party.

Then he promptly marveled at just how durable the spell made his king, for though Bowser was beaten and bruised from being used as a strung up punching bag by the spider queen, when she plucked him from the web like an oversized fly and attempted to chow down on him, not only did the blow not finish the koopa off, it hardly scratched the pigment on his shell.

Then there came a call of ”Cure!” from jr, as he, upon failing to get close to his pa before he was snatched, had instead switched strategy to casting a healing spell upon the battered king. Vitality rushed through Bowser thanks to his son’s new magics, enough for him to give the queen a flailing swat to the snout while she was fruitlessly munching on him. That, plus the fact that she was hardly tickling him with her teeth, prompted her to toss him away … into yet more webbing.

The king got stuck fast again, and was far too disorientated from the toss to do anything about the spiders that promptly swarmed him … and found they had exactly the same problem as their queen, as their tiny bites failed to do much of anything to the reinforced king.

”Shadow minions! To your king!” Kamek commanded, directing the closest two jr clones to help free Bowser. They sped forwards and lashed out with paint, being careful as to not coat the king (they did not neat a repeat of a certain incident) but in doing so leaving themselves open to attack.

Spiders leapt upon the clones … and found that they too, had barriers, which let them ignore the little attackers for long enough that they could pull the king out of the web and try to clear him of creepy crawlies while they themselves died a death of 1000 cuts.

”Son…? Thank you for saving me” the still mentally confuddled from the hammer blows he had taken king murmured as he was rescued by the two shadowy copies of his boy.

Meanwhile his actual son was busy trying to avoid being flattened by the spider queen, who, after she had finished trying to hurt Primrose, had turned her focus to attempting to splat him and Rika like rats.

The prince’s response to this was to hit the deck and drive, little go cart wheels deploying from the bottom of the clown car letting him put all his racing experience into practice as he did powerslide across the ink, causing blue sparks to form at his wheels, and then releasing the stored up power to boosted to avoid the attacks. As he drove, Dazzle the Popolio acted as his double dash partner, leaning out the back of the car and harassing the queen with belts of his disarming voice.

Rika meanwhile took full advantage of the goopy terrain to shipgirl around, skimming across the surface as if it were the sea, allowing her to move any which way she desired. She had to put all that agility to work because the queen quickly focused on her rather than the prince of the racetracks. She drifted and weaved away from the strikes rather than take them, because while being bopped by only 20% of a crushing blow wasn’t close to lethal, it was still dangerous to those who were not built like tanks like Bowser was, even those built like a cruiser like she was.

This went well when she used just her rifle or her lower caliber rigging guns, but when she tried to raise her main gun’s shot count, that was when she ran into trouble.

”Five…” Rika counted her main cannon shot, only for the recoil to leave her movement predictable and letting a blow land on her and break her shields, leaving her with an alarm sound ringing in her ears.

Undeterred, and assuming it was simply an unlucky blow, she went and tried to follow up with shot ”Six…” only to cry out ”Ow!” as a second blow clipped one of her gauntlets, jarring her arm and sending her stumbling.

”Dazzle, bash her!” came a call as the queen moved to follow up her blow with a grab on the staggered ship girl, only for she herself to be staggered as in the blink of an eye Dazzle had launched himself from Jr’s clown car like a missile, aqua jet and penguin leap combined to turn him into a living battering ram which slammed into her.

Rike got to recover and get clear thanks to the intervention, while Jr sent out a red beam to call back Dazzle back to his pokeball before the queen could try and smash him in retaliation.

As she backed away, Rika fired another shot of her main gun to the tune of ”Seven! ” Only for Silitha to warp away, leaving the shell to sail into the dark forest ”Hey no fair! I need you to stay still so I can blast you!”

”She’s gonna drop again!” Jr reminded her, getting both of them moving again. Koopa and ship both race across the goop side by side, using speed to make gauging where to drop in-order to land on them a tricky proposition. This side by side race also let the pair scheme without calling their plans out loud that the spider matriarch might overhear them.

Kamek, meanwhile, had his own strategy, which was to simply use the fact that the queen hung in the air a moment before dropping to do a teleport of his own to get out of the way. That he started to hover above a planted dark mine every time she warped away simply added insult to injury whenever she did try to get the drop on him.

That left Bowser as the only easy drop target of the troop, but with the shield + his own natural armor, that was simply a recipe for Silitha to get shell spikes stabbed into her as she came down, something she traded for very little damage. Bowser used this to his advantage to ward her away from Rubick, giving her a pain in the foot whenever she tried to land on them.

Then, once she did fall, the four of them laid into her as best they could while also avoiding her as best they could, though the shields did mean they could be somewhat carless.

Kamek used his powerful yet slow magic blasts to harry her.

Junior used an assortment of gadgets, spells and a freshly sent out Mimi’s electroballs.

Rika bladder away with her rifle and rigging turrets (but holding back her eighth main gun shot as part of a plan she and Jr had concocted)

Finally Bowser began to fearlessly jump at the queen rather than out of her way as he had at first, Kamek’s barrier allowing him to damage trade with the mighty queen, while Jr could heal up what little harm he did take reliably.

This dance ended when Bowser delivered a Bowser bomb to the queen’s back, causing her to shriek in pain and warp away once again.

”Hahahaha, take that! With this barrier, nothing can stop me!” the king gloated … right as the barrier flashed on him and vanished, along with everyone else's.

”Hey, what’s the big idea! Put it back on right now” Bowser complained to his mage, who agreed ”Right away sire” before warning him that ”but I can’t keep it up forever” as the mana drained out of him and into another golden shield for the king.

”Doesn’t matter. One more should be more than enough … yeah you hear that! you're going down!” the king taunted out into the darkness. The darkness, in response, answered with a volley six bolts of glowing venom fired from the was of the deephunters Silitha had summoned.

While the rest of the troop took evasive action, Bowser laughed at their insignificant attack … right up until the mix of fire and blight damage pierced right though the shield and dealt its full damage to the king

”Gah-ha!” he cried out in pain as it burned away at his scales.

”Why isn’t it working!” he demanded to know as he got moving, to which Kamek called out ”It’s a physical defense spell, it does nothing against elemental attacks!” inadvertently giving the game away to their foe as she reappeared right in time to receive this news.

As Bowser used Heel the Rabbid supporter striker to recover from the venom burns, Jr came up with their new strategy to deal with the latest variable

”We need to end this quicker in case these things keep coming, so let's pull out all the stops” Jr called out as he swerved to and fro in his go-karting clown car to avoid the incoming toxic rain, the prince dredging to think how bad this could get should the big spider lady call out for aid again.

”Kamek, get the minions to splash the areas where the shots are coming from! Dad, keep moving to not get acided! Rika! I’m gonna try the plan!” he called out.

That last plan deliberately left vague as the ship already knew the details from their earlier scheming and, as the clones swept into the dark and Bowser used short hops to stay mobile, the prince set said scheming into action.

Jr started by casting ”Presence of Mind” on himself to boost his casting and attack speed, before charging towards the queen instead of keeping away from her after her next landing. He held up his paintbrush for 2 seconds as he got closer, before he finished channeling as near to her as he could and cast ”Holy!” causing a burst of pure white light to burst out around him. The aoe spell centered on him washed harmlessly over any allies, but potentially stunning the spider queen for up to 4 seconds.

If it did, Rika followed up Jr’s move by racing close as she dared and calling out ”Eight-shot, all out assault!” as she pulled the trigger of her main gun, fired the 8th shot in a row, and activated the called out ability, unleashing 5 triple shots from the single barrel in quick succession, her closeness and the stun together there to ensure that every last one had the highest chance of hitting as possible without some missing, or the queen warping away in the middle of it.

Thunder roared throughout the cave as the shells unloaded in attack that Kamek and Mimi's accompanying shots paled in compassion too, and then there was the softest click as Rika tried to go for shot 24 and found her main gun’s ammo stores drained. Which put its wells just as dry as she had drained her other guns in-order to get the queen down to half health.

”I’m out of ammo!” she warned, leaving her with having to hope she’d done her part to ensure the kill … or with having to follow Bowser’s suicidally daring head on strategy for attacking for the rest of the battle.
Here it is!

Sadly, I did not have the height for Roter or Fern.

if you want the full art i used for Rita:
@DracoLunaris Another Goblin. Nice😁

goblin dynamic?

or friendships?

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