Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
You've never been good with children. Ironic, really, given your own tender age. You wouldn't know how to keep a child amused – what do children like these days, anyway? - and you definitely don't know how to stop them from crying.
And when the child is a demon, the problem only increases. When that demon is a young and temperamental death goddess, you've got all the ingredients for a serious problem – and that's the situation you've found yourself in. Alice, her eyes blasted by the brilliant radiance of Dominion's holy light, is sobbing hard, her tears mixing with the blood from where she had clawed at her face. By her side, cooing soft words of comfort is Nadja – another demonic child, this one thankfully easier to deal with.
Standing on the sidelines, equally awkward with his rigid posture, is Eligor. A demonic knight, towering over everyone around him, the devil remains silent as he watches Alice's tantrum. A wise move, considering what she's capable of. When Nadja abandons her murmuring and simply casts a warm glow of healing magic over Alice's wounds, the weeping child finally calms.
Even Eligor allows himself a slight slump as some of the tension lifts.
“Human,” he rumbles after a while, with the curious tone of a question, “It's rare to see humans in this world – and it's always a sign of interesting times. Worms gnawing at the roots of the world, a lotus flower blooming in the depths of the earth and now human warriors...” the knight barks out a hard laugh, “Never before have I grasped so much honour, or so many triumphs! Are you, too, having as much fun as I am?”
Fun, you repeat numbly, barely able to bring yourself to reply. You're having a little difficulty seeing the fun in all this, where every fight might very well be a life or limb situation. You wince inwardly at that turn of phrase seconds after thinking it to yourself. Bad choice of wording, perhaps. You just don't know how to respond to the knight – you don't even trust yourself to reply at all, lest your words end up as bitter curses.
Welcome distraction comes in the form of a petulant wail, as Alice burns out the last of her tantrum in spectacular style. “I'm tired!” she gripes, once her energy has been spent, “I want to go home. I want to go to bed.”
That's your excuse to leave, for when you want to cash it in. Still, once you move past his warlord demeanour, you sense something about the devilish knight that almost strikes you as... good. Honourable, perhaps, which is a rare thing to credit a devil with. Besides, you fought side by side with him against the angels – that has to count for something, right?
“Human...” Eligor repeats, looking down upon you with burning eyes, “You're not the first human I've fought beside. But never mind that - tell me, young one, do you have questions for me?”
>I need stronger allies. Can you help with that?
>What was that you said about a lotus flower?
>You've fought with humans before?
>Well, I'd better get going...
Well, you'd like to ask about something he just said, that little comment about a lotus flower. What, exactly, did he mean by that?
“Rumours, mostly,” the knight tells you, a sagely tone entering his voice, “But there are whispers of a lotus flower – large beyond all logic and reason – growing beneath the earth, where no sun has ever shone. If you believe the stories, it is nourished by the greatest bonfire in the city. Of course, that is sacred ground – few demons would dare to trespass.”
...You think you know exactly what he's talking about. But... sacred ground?
“The bonfires grant life to the wasteland. Even those who wish to spread destruction and chaos are not so short sighted as to jeopardise that,” Eligor taps his lance against the ground, pushing snow aside as if to remind you of the consequences.
Nodding to yourself – if he IS talking about Sati's tower, you might have to pay her a visit later – you ask your next question. It's a simple one, a plea for the strength to prosper in this world. You need stronger demons, you ask honestly, is that something he can help you with?
“Not many would be so open about their weakness,” Eligor muses, “But you seek strength, and that is something I can respect. It is said that a certain stone was capable of commanding – and attracting – some of the strongest demons. The Deathstone, it was called, because it commanded the personifications of death itself. The Deathstone spent some time in the hands of a human, but then it was lost. I don't know where it can be found now – but there are stories that it was broken down to create a sacrificial dagger. A thing of hungry obsidian, when fed on human blood it would call out to one of the Fiends.”
An obsidian dagger? That sounds... familiar...
It'll come back to you in time, you think as your memory comes up blank, but what was that he said about fighting alongside humans before?
“A great many years ago, although it would seem like less for you,” he pauses for a moment, a note of vague amusement entering his voice, “I am a soldier at heart, born for the battlefield. I know little of the forces underpinning this universe, and even less about those working in the human world. Regardless, it was a long time ago that I fought alongside a human. Ah, those were the days – the victories we achieved were legendary. We spat in the eyes of angels and devils both!”
You're about to ask about who this human was, but then you fall silent. You can put two and two together – and there aren't many humans who can claim to have fought alongside a devil like Eligor.
“That's right,” the devil nods, “She is no longer a part of your world, but holds a higher office. A position seized with strength, cunning and ruthlessness – the honourable way. In honour of her memory, I too have chosen my own path – the path of a wandering knight, serving no master but myself. Of course...” a vaguely paternal note enters Eligor's voice as the first of the scattered warrior women slinks back, “There are those who were inspired, and chose to follow my path. Roving warriors, all, who bow to no one.”
“I'm TIRED,” Alice whines again, tugging at your coat, “I'm going home!”
Letting her wander freely, you realise, might very well be a mistake.
>Just a minute, I have a few more questions... (Write in)
>Fine, I'll take you home
>>Fine, I'll take you home
Eligor, do you and your warriors want to drink at Hellfire after that battle? You tell Mister Black you fought alongside Alice and he might give you a free round.
Fine, you sigh, you'll take her home. It's certainly better than letting her roam about the streets at will. You shudder to imagine what kind of trouble she might get up to, left to her own devices. Probably, you realise with a mirthless smile, exactly the same kind of trouble she dragged you into. Taking her hand – with that strange slight shiver – you're about to let Alice lead you away when a thought strikes you. Lilim, the little devil that fought alongside you, does Eligor know of a way to make her stronger? He's a devil, after all, so he might know something about it, right?
“Such a thing is possible,” Eligor says, after a moment's thought, “But it's beyond my power to bestow such a gift upon her. Take her to Hell's forges, so that she can be reshaped in infernal power.”
Gehenna, then. Considering that Lilim's “boss” wanted you to give him the Inferno Idol – an offer you turned down – you might not be given the warmest welcome. Putting THAT thought out of your mind for the moment, you give the knight your thanks. You're heading back to the Hellfire Club now – he should swing by, later. If he told Mister Black about helping Alice, you're sure that the gentleman would look favourably upon them. He might even throw in a free drink!
“The Hellfire Club,” Eligor growls, like a man forced to read out an unwelcome piece of profanity, “Perhaps, or perhaps not.”
There's... history there. You'd ask, but you're not sure that knowing would do you any favours. Besides, Alice is tugging insistently on your hand with growing desperation. She must be really eager to get home. Either that, or she's grown bored of your company already. Considering her mercurial nature, either option seems likely. With your free hand, you offer Eligor a vague salute before relenting, allowing the young demon to drag you away.
“I forgot,” she complains a few moments later, “Were you keeping score? I forgot who won...”
Of course, the score. Looking back, you can't help but see the whole process as slightly distasteful. Even if demon's don't “die” like humans do, it still seemed needlessly callous to put a point value on their lives. That said, it certainly hadn't stopped you getting into the spectator sport, or even joining in. Perhaps, in that case, you don't have much of a moral high ground. Sighing, you assure Alice that you were the ones who won.
“Hooray!” she cheers, skipping across the clean, unblemished snow and spinning around with her arms outstretched, “We won!”
With that enthusiastic celebration, her pace grows quicker until you are both running through the streets. Your pace is significantly slowed by the fact you sink into the snow, and you are soon gasping for each breath you take. The sight of the Hellfire Club is a welcome one, as Alice finally lets her pace slow.
“Do you think they'll be mad at me?” she asks suddenly.
Not mad, you offer weakly, just concerned. Worried, that's all. Of course, what you don't mention is that you're worried as well – you're all too aware that Marco was, at best, shaken up by Alice's escape. Then again, maybe he was just happy to be rid of her for a while...
Time, you tell her as you push the door open, to face the music. The club is empty – as you expected – but the damage has been completely repaired. Mister Red is pushing a broom listlessly across the floor as Mister Black paces. When the taller gentleman sees Alice, he grows still.
“Young lady,” he scolds, “What have we told you about wandering off alone? It's not safe for-” He sees you, then, and falls silent.
>How's Marco doing?
>I kept an eye on her, don't worry
>Babysitters usually get paid, you know
There is an awkward pause as Mister Black looks you up and down, his eyes hesitating on your hand – your fingers still entwined with Alice's. Marco, you ask after clearing your throat, how's he doing?
“He is... unharmed,” Mister Black replies cautiously, “A little concerned by today's events, I'm afraid, but ultimately he will recover. I believe the dispute started over an issue of the young mistress' education. Your father believed she should learn her times tables all the way up to twelve, rather than ten. The young mistress disagreed and things got... heated.”
That's it? That's the reason behind this whole ordeal?
“So it would seem,” the slender gentleman shrugs slightly, “Currently, your father is sleeping – recovering from the day's events. I could show you through to him, but perhaps it would be wiser to let him rest. I must ask, were you with the young mistress from the start?”
You kept an eye on her, you assure him, don't worry about that. One thing's for sure – she certainly likes her adventures.
“Indeed,” Mister Black kneels down, gently tilting Alice's head from side to side as he examines her closely. A bead of sweat forms on your forehead as you force down a wave of panic. If he saw what her injuries were like earlier, he might not be very happy with you. At least Nadja did an immaculate job of healing the scars, and that seems to be enough for Mister Black. He rises again, and gives you a grateful nod. “I really must thank you, then,” he tells you, “If there's anything I can do to repay you...”
>I'll get back to you on that
>I could use a new demon. Something that's strong!
>There was something I wanted... (Write in)
>If you're asking for a demon, are there any specifics you wish to request?
>There was something I wanted... (Write in)
"Would you happen to have a magic item that could debilitate my enemies like my Lilim does, only I can cast it personally?"
The way I see it, Mia is fucking tired of her (best?) friend and the others getting hurt, so its time to stack the odds hard in our favor. That means buffs, debuffs, and strong demons.
>There was something I wanted... (Write in)
"I've been looking to acquire a magic item, one that would slow and weaken anything, archangel or demon lord, or one that would strengthen my allies in much the opposite way."
Now he mentions it, there is one thing that you could use – if he can get his hands on it.
“I can acquire almost anything,” Mister Black tells you with a thin smile, “Given enough time. So tell me, what did you have in mind?”
You're tired of your friends getting hurt, you tell Mister Black, and not being able to do anything about it. You need something that can debilitate the enemies you fight, cutting them down to something more on your level. You've got a demon capable of doing such a thing – Lilim – but she's relatively weak, and you can only summon one demon at once. No, what you'd like is the ability to do it yourself – but is that possible?
“I can't teach you to use magic,” Mister Black mentions regretfully, “But... perhaps there IS a way. Yes, I think there might be. I need to make some arrangements, but I believe it can be done. As I said, these things take time – until, say, tomorrow. Assuming human interpretations of the passing of time, of course.” He adds that last part on with a slightly weary smile, as though being forced to use such terms as “tomorrow” are tiresome to him.
Tomorrow. Well, you weren't planning on getting in any serious fights for the rest of today, so that's acceptable. Not perfect, but acceptable.
“I'm glad you find it agreeable,” the gentleman's voice is like silk, “Now, excuse me. I should see the young mistress to bed. It's been a long day for all of us.”
It certainly has. With Alice delivered, you've got the rest of the day to yourself – and maybe it's about time you returned to the fairy kingdom. Joseph might be getting worried about you.
>Ask to see Marco before you leave
>Return to the fairy kingdom
>Seek out Sati's tower
>Head to Gehenna
so uh, the hell's Cass going to do now? Even if we told her about the Deathstone, blood loss and subsequent negotiations might be a bit difficult while dodging around great heavenly inferno.
Could Sati help with Petra? Healing fires, kind of deal? Or maybe the Lotus itself has some magical properties.
>Call up the others, tell them we're going to Sati's tower to see if there's anything that can help.
Well in character Mia doesn't even remember that Cass has the dagger. I just hope Cass doesn't accidentally jab herself. You don't want a Fiend coming out on accident.
As for Petra, I doubt it. It seems pretty clear that her injury is permanent.
>You don't want a Fiend coming out on accident.
I'm suddenly very glad that Cass didn't end up stabbing Leon that time. I imagine Matador popping out would have made the situation much worse.
>>Seek out Sati's tower
But yeah. Let Joseph know we're okay at least.
So I don't know how many of you caught the tail end of last thread but the sad truth is, is that our little girl demons are going to be outdated/weak for the coming threats.
Hua Po might have something with Sati, Lilim might have a power up in Gehenna, but I don't know about the others.
The good news is that our favorite Chuuni could make a really good item. Faster Evasion/Limited Flight according to Moloch. That coupled with teleportation would be really handy in a fight (or in a lot of situations.)
>He actually shuts up because he could seriously die
>but that's not the problem because FUCKING MATADOR
>Petra can't come help because she's being toyed around by a certain Fiend's bell chimes, but he doesn't actually show up to be recruited
As Mister Black is leaving, Alice now sleepily clinging to his hand, you call after him. Give Marco your best, you ask, once he wakes up. Can he do that for you?
“Of course,” Mister Black nods, bowing his head slightly as he bids you farewell, “And remember – tomorrow.”
You're not likely to forget, you assure him, waving goodbye to Mister Red as you're leaving the club. Maybe you can see what Eligor was saying about that lotus flower before you do anything else – it's not much of a detour, after all. Still, you should probably let Joseph know that you're okay first. It's been quite some time since you parted ways. Taking your phone out, you're surprised to see that there is already a message waiting for you, from Cassandra.
>I'm well. I'm getting close to something, I'm sure of it.
Simple and to the point, just as you've come to expect from her. Rereading the message – so she's close to one of the fragments as well, is she? - you pause, picturing her in your mind. She wore daggers on her hips, one of them the white tooth of some great beast, and the other... obsidian.
So that's another thing you might have to deal with. Wonderful. Grimacing, you tap out a quick message to Joseph, letting him know about recent events. He replies immediately – you imagine him waiting by his phone, not daring to let it go, and grimace again – but his reply is even more simple. He merely confirms things, adding nothing of his own. Not in the talkative mood, you assume.
Sighing, pushing your phone back into your pocket, you start on the way to Sati's tower. Time to do some gardening.
The tower itself is as you remember it, the top few floors blazing with what should be an uncontrolled inferno. Appearances are deceiving, though, and you're sure that the tower will still be burning like this in a thousand years, without leaving even the slightest trace of damage on the structure beneath.
Magic, you mutter as you enter, it's pretty weird.
Leaning precariously over the edge of the spiral staircase, you see the lotus blossom that Eligor mentioned. It's truly larger than any flower you've ever seen – perhaps there are some tropical blossoms that rival it in scale, but you've never been much of a flower person – and it seems to glow with a soft inner light. The Inferno Idol, perched nearby, is burning as brightly as ever. After all the work it took to return it, you think bitterly, it had better be,
Taking the rest of the stairs in a more careful manner, you descend to the bottom and tentatively approach the flower. Up close, you can see a dim shadow moving within, the smooth petals shielding the figure like a silk screen. Swallowing hard, feeling somehow as though you are not in control of your own body, you reach out and brush a hand against the flower. A shudder runs through it, and you take a hasty step backwards as the petals begin to part, falling gracefully away. When the last has fallen, you look up at the radiant figure that had been sleeping within.
It's... not Sati. She's not dressed in funeral garb, for one thing. She's also not on fire, although the light that cloaks her is as warming as any fire you've ever felt.
“Ah...” she murmurs, “So the time has come at last. I am Parvati. You knew me as Sati, before I was incarnated into this new form.”
“Tell me, Mia,” Sati... no, Parvati, asks, “How has the world fared, in my absence?”
Well, you stammer, the fires are still burning. That's... something.
“Yes,” she regards the Inferno Idol with a fond eye, “And now I find myself released from my duties, free to choose my own path in the days ahead. I wonder, would you accept my service in the days ahead? It would be, I feel, apt repayment for everything you've done for me.”
She's volunteering to join your service?
“I am,” Parvati says graciously, “I assure you, I would be a great assistance to your cause. I am no longer bound to flame alone – all the winds of magic now bend at my command.”
>Then I would be honoured to accept your service
>Would you serve one of my friends instead?
>I cannot accept your service, I'm sorry
>Then I would be honoured to accept your service
>Should not someone stand guard for the idol?
I'm not saying this is an excuse to dump Hua Po. Call it....an "opportunity to evolve into a better fire demon by proximity"
In that case, you announce, you'd be honoured to accept her service. There are just a few questions you have, first. Is it really okay, you ask, to leave the Inferno Idol like this? It seems like there should be someone standing guard, just in case someone tried something.
“This is a sacred space,” Parvati answers, although you swear you can hear a note of hesitation in her voice, “No demon would risk this world for something as base as looting. Even the worm that gnaws the bones of this world does not dare tunnel beneath this building.”
She makes a strong case, but you've still got your doubts. What about a demon without a stake in this world, one that would be better served by the chaos and uncertainty that removing the Idol would spread? For a demon that thrives on mayhem, the resulting carnage would be very... amusing. Nyarlathotep – destroying the world, you suspect, would be nothing but a joke to him.
“...I fear you may be right,” Parvati admits, “But what can be done about it? Against a power like the one you suggest, who could protect the idol? Even I would be slain in mere moments.”
As a sense of doom slowly creeps up your spine, you start to wish you'd avoided the topic. Being prepared for the worst is one thing, but it's not exactly improving your already low mood. Clearing your throat, you try to move onto safer ground. Is there anything Parvati can do to help Hua Po? They spent a fair amount of time together, when she was still going by the name of Sati, after all.
“I taught her everything I knew about bending fire to her will,” Parvati admits, “But that was all I could do. She is, I'm sorry to say, as strong as she will ever get. There are limits to us all.”
That's disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising. Now, though, a new choice has appeared before you. How should you deal with the Idol?
>Leave Parvati here to guard it
>Leave another demon to guard it
>Leave it unguarded
>Leave it unguarded
If she really can't get stronger, then I suppose there's not much to try.
I mainly wanted it because it's less rude than iteming her, but sending her off to be slaughtered out of "duty" is worse.
So, fire resist gloves so we don't burn ourselves trying to stab an archangel?
She could probably either make a Null Fire item or maybe Fire/Healing casting item so we can do it ourselves.
Both could be useful. We got Mada coming up after all so Null Fire is good.
And I think if we talk to her before hand about the iteming it won't be so bad. Remember how happy Troll was to be a ring?
You'll leave it unguarded, you say with a heavy heart. It doesn't matter who or what you leave behind – Nyarlathotep would tear through them in a matter of moments, or so you've been told. You could leave someone so that you might, at least, have a warning, but would you really need a warning? If he destroyed the Inferno Idol, you'd know about it pretty quickly, warning or no warning. So that's decided – you'll leave it unguarded, and hope that you can finish your mission before Nyarlathotep decides to start causing trouble.
“I understand,” Parvati tells you, nodding with that same uncertain note in her voice, “It may be selfish of me, but I approve of your decision. I have no desire to throw my life away for a futile battle.” A pause, here. “And, I must admit,” she smiles shyly, “I wish to see the outside world for myself. It seems like such a distant thing, to me.”
Well, she'll certainly get her chance to see the sights. After all, you seem to travel around quite a lot. Speaking of travelling, you say to yourself, it's about time to decide on your next destination. Perhaps Gehenna, where Moloch waits upon his iron throne? Or maybe you've finally run out of distractions, and you should return to the fairy kingdom.
>Return to the fairy kingdom
>Go somewhere else (Write in)
Joseph lets us go off on our own for a second and we've
>Accompanied/Babysat a Goddess of Death
>Delved into a an already heated battle
>Made deals with dudes in suits
>Took a stroll on sacred ground which most demons would dare not enter
>And now is about to take trip into Hell to get some loot.
I bet he has a headache.
You're already tying up loose end, you decide, so you might as well do everything at once. In that case, it's time to go to Hell – for a friendly visit, of course, and nothing more.
Shivering slightly as you emerge from Sati's tower – it's hard to adjust to calling it “Parvati's tower”, especially now that she's travelling in your company – you take a few moments to orientate yourself. Gehenna, or the tower that contains it at least, is dimly visible in the distant gloom, a round edifice of pure black basalt. It stands out from the more mundane buildings around it, even if those skyscrapers themselves can barely be described as “mundane”. Dripping, now, with sinister ornamentation, it almost seems like something of Gehenna's native darkness has started to corrupt the world around it.
Maybe you won't linger too long within Hell's halls. There's no particular reason to assume the same corrupting effect will apply to human flesh, but... better safe than sorry. Biting your lip as you push those worries from your mind, you set off through the streets towards your destination. You cover ground quickly, the thought of shelter against the wind giving you ample motivation to move. When you arrive, the door stands ajar – welcoming you inside.
Wasting little time, you slip through the open door and head for the stairs, taking the precarious descent with as much care as you can. The sound of industrial machinery begins to fill your ears as you reach the bottom, pounding out a lunatic rhythm as countless engines churn out their deadly wares. At least the numerous fires that burn here offer both light and warmth, a fine metal dust glinting on the floor beneath your feet. That same dust crackles under your feet as you approach the great iron throne, looking up at the devil sitting atop it.
“So!” Moloch announces, moving with an energy unlike anything he possessed the first time you met him, “Here you are, the human that brought fire back to the wasteland! Hmph, and I thought our offer was more than fair...”
Yes, the other offer. Deliver the Inferno Idol to Hell alone, and grant the devils a vast advantage over any of their rivals. You're not sorry for rejecting that offer, no matter what he might have offered you.
“Bah, enough of that!” Moloch snorts, “What's done is done. You've earned yourself a prize, at least. Ahead of you, do you see? Those grand iron doors are the gateway to Hell's armouries. Go on, you may enter.” Chuckling softly, Moloch reaches forwards and pulls a lever, causing the vast metal doors to grind open, “Many treasures await within – you may take one of them. ONE. I'll know if you try to cheat me, rest assured.”
Slowly, you enter the armoury and look around in wonder. The walls are lined with what looks like chunks of amber, each one of them containing a frozen insect – a kind of worm-like thing, unlike any natural creature. Looking at them makes you feel... strange. You almost find yourself taking one, just out of some alien curiosity. Shuddering, you turn away and look around the rest of the armoury. There isn't really much else here – a pile of blackened armour that almost looks like scrap, and a more delicate circlet, coated in dust.
>Take one of the insect things
>Take the armour – if you can lift it
>Take the circlet
Hold on a moment, you call out, your voice echoing down the long armoury hallway. You're not even touching any of this stuff, you shout, until you know what it does. Everything here looks so... shady. What's with these weird bugs, anyway?
“The Magatama!” Moloch roars, laughing loud and long, “Lord Lucifer's prize specimens! Just one is capable of making any human – even you – into the finest warrior of all the land. Does such power tempt you, child? Ah, but I am generous – take one, if you wish, in addition to anything else. Take as many as you like, share them with everyone you know!”
...Maybe you're NOT going to touch the weird bugs. What about, you ask instead, all this other stuff? The armour, or this circlet thing?
“Bah, are you sure?” Moloch grunts, “The armour is proof against even the hottest flame – nothing can burn you, should you choose to wear it. The circlet wards against the darkness, and any attempts a devil might make to control your mind.” He pauses here, and you can practically hear him clearing his throat awkwardly. “Not that I'd ever try to influence your decisions, of course!”
>Take a Magatama, in addition to an item
>Take the armour
>Take the circlet
You bend down and pick up the armour, weighing it in your hands. Considering the countless scales of blackened metal you can see peeking through the larger plates, you had been expecting it to be crushingly heavy. Not so, as you can lift it without much trouble. It's a strange thing, and you can't help but notice that it looks to be a different size depending on what angle you examine it from. Would it change size, you wonder, to fit whoever wore it? Say, expanding to the size of Petra's muscular torso or contracting to your more petite frame?
Either way, it manages to be no trouble to slip the armour under your arm and stride out of the armoury with it, as though you were carrying nothing more inconvenient than a moderately sized box. When he sees you, Moloch seems to grunt in disapproval.
“You're very ungrateful,” he pouts, “I offer you the greatest gift beneath the heavens, and you don't even take one? Humans these days...”
Sorry, you shrug, but you're not really a fan of gross bugs. There was one other thing he could help you with, though. You heard that he might be able to impart some new strength to Lilim. She was pretty helpful, after all, when it came to getting the Inferno Idol back – she deserves a reward as well.
“But of course!” Moloch bellows, pulling a chain hanging from the ceiling. At the base of his throne, a pair of previously hidden doors grind open to reveal a raging furnace. “Go on them, toss her in. It's perfectly safe, I promise you!”
You summon Lilim, but hesitate. Is this some trick, to pay you back for refusing his deal?
“I don't THINK it's a trick,” Lilim says dubiously, looking into the dancing flames, “But, uh, I'm the one that's jumping in there, not you, so...”
>Put Lilim into the furnace
>Maybe this isn't such a good idea
Who are you talking about, Anon. I'm like you, just another person.
Well, Eligor DID say you had to take her to a forge. You just didn't know it would be quite so... literal. Then again, considering some of Scathach's experiments, maybe you shouldn't be surprised. Taking a step backwards, you hold out your hands – the classic “after you” gesture. Sighing and rolling her eyes, Lilim delicately steps into the furnace. If this is a trap, you silently tell her, you'll kick Moloch's ass.
“Thanks boss,” Lilim says, somewhat unconvinced, “Now shut the door, you're letting a cold breeze in.”
Shrugging, you heave the heavy iron doors closed and stand back, not quite sure what to expect. A moment later, there is a roar of surging fire and the most hellish shriek imaginable emerges from the furnace. It's the sound of someone burning to death, the flesh roasting on their bones in a slow and tortuous death. Scrabbling closer, you grab at the furnace handles before the screaming suddenly stops, replaced by a tittering laugh.
“Jeez boss!” Lilim cries, her voice muffled by the heavy metal, “It's just a prank, don't get so worked up!”
Just a... prank?
“Yeah,” Lilim chuckles, “It's pretty nice in here, actually, kind of-”
You never get to learn what it is, for Lilim falls silent in the middle of her sentence. Another joke, you ask yourself, or something more? Then another laugh rings out, this one deeper and slightly husky. As the furnace doors swing open, smoke billowing out, you stare in amazement at the figure that gracefully stands.
She grew up. She filled out.
“So,” Lilim, or whatever she is now, purrs, “What do you think?”
>You were cuter before
>Very, uh, very impressive
>Are you any stronger now?
She was cuter before, you mention, fighting down a grin as the devil before you – no longer the slender, almost childish creature she once was – pouts, her tail swishing angrily.
“Before?” she asks, flustered, “And what am I NOW?”
Now? She's, uh... you trail off, wiping a sudden sweat from your brow. Just the heat from the furnace, that's all – what else could it be? She's, uh, very impressive, you manage to force out at last.
“Oh really,” a coy smile crosses the demon's face as she leans down – she's taller now, you notice – to brush her sharp nails against your chin, “Tell me again, master. Tell me how impressed you really are...”
She looks stronger now, you blurt out, right? Is she any stronger now?
“Yes,” she sighs, taking her hand away in frustration, “My magic is much stronger now, in general. Just wait until I start throwing out thunderbolts, I guarantee you won't be disappointed! Ah, and that reminds me – now, you can call me Succubus. I certainly look the part, don't I? Wouldn't you just love to find me in your bed?”
...But demons don't sleep like humans do, do they, so why would she be in your bed?
“Because...” Succubus begins, before throwing her hands up in the air, “Oh, what's the point? Look, you'll understand when you're older, okay?”
Well... okay then. You had one last question though – what happened to her tan?
“Jeez!” Succubus cries, “Just send me back already, would you?”
Confused by the whole nonsensical encounter, you just nod and let her return to storage. She'll be fine after a good long rest, you're sure of that.
“Didn't even blink,” Moloch, watching from above, shakes his head in despair, “Kid, you're something else.”
...Maybe you should leave, before things start getting really weird.
>Return to the fairy kingdom
>Head somewhere else first (Write in)
>Return to the fairy kingdom
>“Didn't even blink,” Moloch, watching from above, shakes his head in despair, “Kid, you're something else.”
So brutally exposed to violence and death, so naive to anything sexual its hilarious.
Hah, didn't think about that. Well we need to go get Leon's phone when we assault the Golden City.
Probably the next thing on our To Do List once we are super prepared. None of that 'Surprise Chernobog' crap. We do research and develop countermeasures against Mada and whatever forces we have left.
When you've returned to the entranceway to Gehenna – it's much cooler here, but it still takes your body to grow calmer – you set the armour down and give it a sceptical look, sizing up its strangely irregular dimensions. When you think you've got an idea of how to wear it, you begin the awkward process of wriggling into it. It's easier than you first thought – which is to say, it's possible – and when you're done, the armour seems to cling tight to you. It's relatively easy to move in, although you do need to get used to not being able to twist your body quite as much.
At least you don't have to cart it around with you, like some ridiculous theatre prop. You'll have both of your hands free, if you need them to fight. Not that fighting seems to be a particularly immediate concern – the streets are as deserted as ever. Where, you wonder as you stride down empty avenues, do the demons go when they're not busy harassing you? Do they have lairs that they slink into, or is there something more mystical at work?
Not that it really matters, you decide, as long as they aren't constantly nipping at your heels whenever you go out for a stroll. When you arrive back at the fairy kingdom, still deep in thought, you almost walk right past Joseph, who is leaning against the gateway. There's something forgettable about him, you've learned, something that lets him blend into seamlessly into the background.
“I'm glad you're here,” he tells you, before adding, “...at last.”
You were busy, you shoot back, really busy.
“You sure like to give me a headache, don't you?” Joseph sighs, “You had the right idea though. It's been grim, here. I don't need to tell you why.”
>How's Petra holding up?
>How's everyone doing?
>I'd better go and see her, right away
>There's something forgettable about him
Of course he doesn't need to tell you. Petra – you'd better go and see her, right away. You pat him on the arm, then, and ask him to walk with you. It might ring a little hollow, considering your recent misadventures, but he really shouldn't linger out here on his own. If nothing else, it's much nicer inside the kingdom – it's sunny, at least.
“You're right,” Joseph decides after a moment's thought, “I thought to get some fresh air out here, but it's not really doing my mood much good. I never realised how much I'd miss the noise of traffic, or just... just people. Humans doing human things.”
You can understand that, you tell him as you both slip into the fairy kingdom, the sudden change in temperature causing you both to shudder slightly. You walk in silence for a few moments before you speak up, asking how everyone is doing.
“Well, Leon seems to be taking it... well,” Joseph's voice is tight, revealing nothing about his own feelings on the matter, “Which is to say, he doesn't really care much. He's not been making cruel jokes or anything, but he hasn't exactly been offering condolences either. That's the best we can expect, I suppose.”
A little disappointing, but perhaps you should have expected this.
“Elliot has been quiet,” Joseph continues, “He's been spending more time in private, or with that group of Pixies that seems to follow him everywhere. Carousing, mostly. I suppose it's one way of dealing with things.”
You'll need to keep an eye on that, in case it gets out of hand. And what about Joseph himself?
“It's rough,” he answers honestly, “I'm supposed to be a doctor – training to be one, at least – but there's nothing I can do to help. I hate feeling useless, but doing something rash for the sake of doing something... that's a mistake I've made before.”
So, you murmur as you part the trees to emerge at the castle gates, what about Petra?
“I can't even guess,” Joseph shrugs in frustration, the gesture masking a deeper helplessness, “She's totally closed up. You might have better luck, but she barely talks to anyone. I spoke with Scathach, actually, and she said that Petra turned down the offer of help. I didn't get the full story, but Scathach mentioned that there WAS something she could have done. At the end of the day, though, it's not my decision to make – and it's not my place to pry, either.”
You fall silent as you contemplate that. Petra must have had a good reason to refuse help – maybe there was a catch, or some vile price to pay. Whatever the cause, you know that you need to see her. You glance up at Joseph as he lingers on the steps – he should come and see her with you, you suggest.
“Not me,” Joseph shakes his head, “Not straight away, at least. I've tried my best, and she's not having any of it. This one is on you, I'm afraid.”
You expected that, really, but you still falter a little. You've never been all that good at offering comfort and condolences, even at the best of times. This is something completely alien to you. Maybe it would be better to speak with Scathach first, so that you know all the facts. Then again, going behind Petra's back like that...
>Go to Petra first. She'll tell you what she's ready to tell you
>Go to Scathach first. You need all the facts
>See someone else first. Another perspective might help
You'll go and see Petra first, you decide. She'll tell you what she's prepared to tell you, and you should respect that. If you start treating her like an animal in the zoo, asking everyone except her about how she's doing, she'll only come to resent you. At least, that's how you'd react if you were in her position. Where is she, you ask Joseph, in her usual room?
“That's right, I think,” the young man nods, “Apparently she's in no danger – Gabriel is quite a capable healer – so she doesn't need to remain in the ward. Unless she's gone wandering off, she should still be in her room. And, between you and me, she didn't look like she was in any position to go wandering.”
You nod, sadly, at that and bid farewell to Joseph. As worried as you are, you find yourself hurrying through the corridors, eager to get things over with as soon as possible. No, that's not right – a cruel choice of wording. You just want to get past the worst of it, and focus on helping Petra as best you can. With that in mind, you only hesitate for a moment before entering the room, opening the door seconds after your knuckles brush against the wood. Your eyes, as you enter, are immediately drawn to Petra.
Sitting upright in bed, the sheets bunched around her waist, Petra looks somehow... shrunken. Withered, almost, even though she is as muscular as ever. Her hair is unbound, spilling around her shoulders, and that alone is enough to make her look younger. She doesn't react to the sound of your entrance, and even when you take a seat next to her, the only sign she's noticed you at all is her eye twitching around towards you.
You... don't know what to say.
>How are you holding up?
>I hear you've refused Scathach's help
>Wait until she's ready to speak
In the end, you don't say anything at all. With hot tears stinging your eyes, you lunge forwards – your chair tumbling, unnoticed, to the ground behind you – and wrap Petra in a tight hug. You hold her like you couldn't bear to let go of her, as if she would be snatched away from you the moment you do. She's been hurt – hurt so badly – and you wish with all your heart that you never have to see her harmed again.
It feels like a long time before you feel something brushing against your back. Petra attempts a clumsy, left-armed embrace for a moment longer before you are finally capable of pulling yourself away, brushing at your eyes and sniffing softly. How, you ask when your voice returns, how is she holding up?
“Some bodyguard I turned out to be,” Petra whispers, unable – or unwilling – to raise her voice, “I think maybe... you were right, yes? I should not have been fighting. Now... I don't think I ever will. Not again.”
Her voice is flat and pained, as she forces those words out. It's the voice of someone who has been forced, once and for all, to face a harsh reality. You sense, somehow, that she would have preferred to die there, in that forsaken forest hell rather than live on, with her reason for living stripped cruelly away.
You're going to start crying again, if you're not careful.
>I'm going to stop there for tonight. Next thread on Friday, and I'll stick around for any questions!
I'm sure Petra will be just fine!
Scathach could have attached the arm, but it wouldn't have been anything more than a cosmetic thing. Petra wouldn't have had any real strength or dexterity in it.
Would it least have been functional for regular-life, non-combat shit? ;_;
Petra is my waifu of this quest even if she is a lesbian or at least theosexual. I want to protect her fucking smile god damn it.
If it makes you feel better she might be bi considering there was an option to take up Elliot on his offer when she thought the offer was sex. Which is ironic cause Elliot is really a girl.
It's possible that, eventually, her arm would have regained a degree of normal strength, assuming she got the appropriate physical therapy. Not unlike a real limb being reattached, perhaps. It's hard to see the long term, though, when you're in a low mood!
Hua Po is about as strong as she can get, which is pretty strong compared with the other little girls. Nadja is probably the strongest child demon we own though - she was pretty above average from the start! Unfortunately, she's also at her peak.
I don't see why not, assuming Mia can put forwards a good case for it!
I didn't have anything planned, but there are a few possibilities there. We'll see what the future holds!
Oh yes, Hua Po has healing magic. In that case, I could see her creating an item capable of healing. Not a constant regeneration like Troll had, but more in bursts of rapid healing.
Potentially - good luck though!
That's correct, yes.
Mada is not, in fact, immune to Gun damage.
Correct. These things have a pretty short time limit, and magical healing doesn't help. It's a little like cauterizing a wound - it stops any further harm, but doesn't help the healing process much.
>That's correct, yes. Mada is not, in fact, immune to Gun damage.
Alright. I am going to propose a strategy meeting of our ex-Shackle demons when we have a chance. Learn as much as we can.
We are also going to need 3 more handguns for Joseph, Leon, and Elliot.
When the time comes we can have one our Ice demons elementally enhance them with Ice.
I'm not saying we go after Mada today. I want to at least get our Debilitate glove or whatever it is before we commit.
Hopefully by the time we are squared away Petra will realize that she doesn't need to swing a damn sword to fight. She can fight like Amelia did.
That... appears to be something I completely overlooked when I was writing things up. I will remember to include it next update, assuming Mia talks to the right people.
I have to ask, though. What is brimsteel? I've never heard the term before.
I probably should have picked up on that. Damn.
Well, I will say that the issue of a prosthetic is not a delicate one. Saying exactly what is and isn't possible could cause problems later on. That's all I can really say on the matter!
>what could POSSIBLY go wrong!?
I wouldn't worry about it!
Honestly, It might be better to just have no prosthetic. Amelia when she does world regression should bring back missing pieces along with everything else.
Petra would only have to deal with this bullshit for another week or so.
I wouldn't be surprised if one of Mia's driving goals is to restore Petra on the same sense of priority as the world now.
that was the goal all along
>Petra has a terminator eye and an arm covered in glowing runes, hot like the furnaces of hell.
>it crackles and whirs a bit, almost like gears that don't exist are trying to grind.