Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
There's a metaphor here, you think to yourself as you stare into the bloodied sands that line the pit below you, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Glittering splinters of gold dot the grainy surface, the remains of shattered tiles too thin to ever support any real weight. It was all part of a trap – and not a particularly good one – set by the Intoxicating One to kill you. Or maybe not to kill you, maybe he had just hoped to slow you down, to burden you with injuries or fatigue.
The wealth he created is nothing but a mirage, you muse, unfit to support even the slightest touch of reality. Place too much trust in crude materialism, and end up... dumped into some sand? That's not a very good way to end the metaphor, even you'll admit that.
But then, you're here to kill a demon, not attend a poetry class.
Pressing your back against the wall of the room, you take careful steps along the ragged remains of the floor that still stubbornly resist gravity. You could use Midnight's magic to simply blink across the gap, but that wouldn't really help the others. This way, at least, you're showing solidarity. As the lightest, you have the unenviable job of leading the way.
Once again, you're the leader.
It's not difficult, you're glad to say, to slip across the perilous gap. One by one, the others follow you across. Elliot is the first to brave the trip, scuttling across with a haste that borders on desperation, while Leon takes it with an expression of resolute boredom. Joseph and Petra follow, creeping across with light steps and cautious speed. Other than a few extra tiles crumbling away beneath them, nothing particularly goes wrong.
“Well!” Elliot says lightly once Petra has rejoined the group, “I shan't complain too much – since we all made it – but I'll be happy if I never have to do THAT again.”
“Listen,” Joseph speaks up suddenly as you're about to take the next flight of stairs up, “I've been thinking...” He pauses, here, as if waiting for someone to make a cruel joke. “You see,” he continues after a moment, “The last time, when we fought Chernobog, the forest dissolved after he was defeated, right?”
Right, you agree, but what does that have to-
“We are quite high up,” Joseph confirms, “The highest place in the entire fortress, in fact, if we assume that the Intoxicating One is really there. So what I'm saying is, how do we get down?”
“I would have thought,” Elliot suggests slyly, “That would be obvious.”
“Safely,” Joseph shoots back with a weary sigh, “How do we get down safely?”
You've got to admit, it's a good question. You might have a few moments to get as low down as possible before the constructed world collapses completely, but you have no way of knowing exactly how long. Of course, it'll only start to collapse once the Intoxicating One is dead, so that gives you a degree of control. Even so, you might need a plan for this.
>We'll worry about that later
>You guys start running once the Intoxicating One is wounded. I should be able to blink to safety
>I wonder if we can draw him out...
>I wonder if we can draw him out...
Though I really don't have an idea on how to do that. Just start vandalizing and shittalking? Maybe he has some prized artifact/statue/art we can break.
Worst case though we can still
>You guys start running once the Intoxicating One is wounded. I should be able to blink to safety
>Some notes, while I remember:
>Leon has his phone back, so he can summon again
>We'll be using the dodge mechanics discussed last thread starting today. Success requires rolling OVER a certain number.
It might be possible, you think aloud, to draw the Intoxicating One out. If you can get him to follow you – taunting him, baiting him with something, the specifics don't really matter – you might be able to get him down low enough that there is no risk of falling. If that fails, though, you've got a back up plan. The others should run, you tell them, run as fast as they can once the Intoxicating One is seriously injured. You should be able to get to safety quicker than them with Midnight's magic, so you're in less danger.
“You're offering to take him on alone?” Joseph asks quietly, his voice strained and disbelieving.
Not quite, you argue, just the finishing blow. Besides, they should be able to leave their demons behind for a few moments, just long enough to help you with finishing him off. It IS dangerous, you'll admit that, but you don't really see any other option. You can't just walk away from this.
“I wish we bloody could,” Elliot shakes his head in exasperation, “All this running away and fleeing – I hate running, did you know that? There's only one thing worse for creasing a suit, and that's-” A flash of realisation, then, and Elliot turns whatever he was about to say next into a cough, “Well, it's simply awful, that's all I'm saying.”
“Stay, then,” Petra grunts, before slapping you lightly on the shoulder, “Enough time wasted, yes? Your plan should work, but I hope you know what you're doing. I don't want you getting left behind, you hear me?”
Message received, you tell her with a nod, and understood. First plan – lure the Intoxicating One somewhere safer. Focus on that for the time being. Repeating that to yourself, you reach the final doorway, a surprisingly mundane wooden portal. Taking a breath, you push it open...
This, you admit as you enter the domed chamber, might not be as easy as you thought – both luring the Intoxicating One out, and killing him. He is, quite simply, massive. Towering over the walkway that creates a circuit around the great circular room, he stands up to his knees in a frothing ocean of lava. Your mind boggles, staring at that lake – it should be filling the space you just moved through to get here, and yet here it is. There is something very wrong at play here.
“Insects!” the great basalt idol – the Intoxicating One himself – howls as you approach, “I invited you here, so that you might beg for your lives, and this is how you repay me?”
You ignore his comment, casting a nearly panicked eye about the room. The air is thick with perfumed smoke, and countless droves of those gaudy slaves bow down before their master. Overlapping rhythms of lunatic drumbeats disturbs any peace that you might wish for, while flicking flames cast wild shadows about the curved walls. It's a primal vision of hell, fused with the frantic atmosphere of the wildest revelry imaginable.
You are broken from your trance – those damn hypnotic drums! - by the sound of your allies summoning demons. Fortuna, Gabriel and Vivian appear, with Leon holding back for now. Waiting, you assume, to see what happens.
How are you going to play this?
>Summon a demon
>Summon a demon and fight personally
>Give new orders to your allies
>Summon a demon and fight personally
Parvati - Enchant Guns
Mia - Debilitate and Gun. He isn't weak to Wind but he isn't resistant either.
>Give new orders to your allies
Leon - Suu-ki - Wind Attacks Only.
>Summon a demon
Parvati and Vivian ice up our guns. Ranged attacks, stay the hell away from him. Use Debilitate from our scarf. Oh, and can we turn Petra's glove into a temporary ice glove?
Rolled 45, 91, 45, 121, 125, 107 = 534 (6d140)
Shoot him, you mutter to yourself as you pluck your pistol out and twist the barrel, withdrawing those ornamental feathers into the smooth, blank metal. Just keep your distance and shoot him, same as when you fought Pazuzu. With that in mind, you summon Parvati and snap a quick glance across to Petra. Berserker, you ask her quickly, you'll need his strength.
“Huh?” Petra shakes her head, as if confused by the churning atmosphere, “Ah, of course! Coming right up, yes?” She hastily obeys your instructions, fumbling her phone out to summon the bloodthirsty demon. Just as long as he doesn't try hitting the Intoxicating One, you think to yourself.
Leon, you ask a moment later, does he have a demon useful here? Nothing physical, or fire aligned, but something that would help regardless?
“Uh, aye, I think so!” Leon replies a moment later, flicking uncertainly through his phone, “Got it!”
Sorted, you decide as Parvati forms beside you, a graceful sweep of her arm casting a spell of ice around your entire party. Now you just need to finish things off – that shouldn't be too difficult, with the magic bound within your scarf weakening the Intoxicating One. His pet died easily enough, and now he's next.
>Please roll 6D120, for Mia, Elliot, Joseph, Leon, Gabriel and Fuu-Ki. I'll take the highest of the first three!
>Those scores are at +10 due to Fortuna, while Mada is at -10.
>I'll also need a 6D10 for the dodge roll, aiming to score above 5. Mia gets +2 for this, but it's one roll only.
When he sees that you have no interest in grovelling for your lives – or even exchanging words with him – the Intoxicating One lets out a guttural roar that shakes you to your very bones. Slowly – ponderously – he heaves his stone arms up and swings at you, sweeping along the length of the walkway with hideous strength. Heedless of the scores of slaves that he hits, casting them into the lava below, he swipes at you.
For all the terrible strength he might have, he's still very slow. It's a simple matter for you to flatten yourself up against the wall as his fist passes you by, the wind stirred up by his passing sending your scarf fluttering wildly. Everyone else manages to dodge equally well, retreating to the walls or crouching low enough that the blow passes over them. It's only the furthest figure out – Fuu-Ki – that cannot dodge. What the Oni does, though, astounds you. Squaring his shoulders, the demon catches the blow, digging his heels into the ground as he holds the massive fist at bay.
You don't let the opening go to waste, even if you wanted to stare in wonder at the struggle. Shaking off the amazement, you turn and fire upon the defenceless idol, all your companions joining you in blasting away. The Intoxicating One howls with laughter as your bullets hit home, spreading patches of frost along his body. He laughs, and then the fires around the room glow brighter still. He's... building up to something.
“Mia?” Petra asks, from her safe spot on the sideines.
>Order you friends to retreat
>Hold firm for now
>Order you friends to retreat
"Elliot summon Kagutsuchi and have him help block this."
He's a big guy.
"Parvati with me."
They retreat and defend, we keep the pressure on since we are Null Fire.
Rolled 69, 39, 49 = 157 (3d140)
Get out of here, you shout to her, get out before he gets off whatever spell he's trying to cast!
“You heard her!” Petra shouts to the others, her voice rising above the thunderous background noise, “Get out of here!”
Elliot, you call as the others are retreating, you'll need Kagutsuchi for this – he can take whatever the Intoxicating One throws at him. You'll be losing whatever ephemeral help Fortuna's manipulations have to offer you, but that's okay. You can work with that – luck, you figure, won't matter too much when you're both immune to fire.
Bring it on, you scream at the Intoxicating One, casting defiance into the growing inferno. He smirks at your bravado, holding off on releasing his magic for just the moment you need. Out of the corner of your eye, you see the last of your allies retreating into the safety of the stairwell.
“Traitor!” the Intoxicating One snarls as he sees Kagutsuchi taking your side, “You... even if I can't burn you, I'll crush you to dust!”
>Please roll 3D120, for Mia, Parvati and Kagutsuchi. I'll take the highest of the first three
>Plus a 3D10 dodge roll, target number of 5 again. Mia still has a +2
Well Kagu wasn't supposed to be doing damage anyways.
Also Moloch, don't worry about it now since we already rolled but doesn't getting hit with a bunch of Ice attacks lower your dice pool?
>That's correct, yes.
>doesn't getting hit with a bunch of Ice attacks lower your dice pool?
>I'm still working out the specifics with that. I don't want it to become too easy to completely wipe out an enemy dice pool.
You stand firm against the burst of fire that erupts around you, swirling and clawing for any hole in your defences. With the potent, hell-forged iron of your armour defending you, however, the flames are merely ticklish. It's a strange sensation, standing unharmed as hungry fire crawls across you. It doesn't even touch your hair or scarf, merely lapping against the exposed materials like curious waves. Kagutsuchi is equally unaffected, revelling in the fire bathing him. Parvati, too, was never in danger – just as Sati could burn endlessly without harm, so can she.
You don't let yourself get too complacent, however. As the fires start to abate, you have to hurl yourself to the side as a titanic fist pounds into the wall behind you, cracking the golden tiles. The Intoxicating One, spitting and snarling with rage, swings wild punches at you all. Too wild – the blows are easily ducked or dodged, and they leave wide openings for you to snap off quick shots. The ice never quite gets a chance to form on the Intoxicating One's burning body, but you can definitely see wounds appearing on him.
If anything, Kagutsuchi seems a little left out here. He can't attack – not without the Intoxicating One somehow turning aside his punches – and his fire magic is equally useless. All he can do is watch, glowering, as Parvati spreads a thick and frosty mist across the tyrant's body. It's only as your allies are returning, ready to attack, that the Intoxicating One really starts to get serious.
“Weak,” he sneers, twisting his hand in the air. You feel an awful sensation gripping your body, like something is being wrenched out of you. Is that, you realise with dismay, what you've been doing to them with your scarf?
>Keep up the attack
>Damage control. Focus on recovery for now
Fog Breath trumps Mia's Debilitate accuracy loss huh?
Petra - Berserker - Tarukaja
Leon - Fuu-Ki - Fog Breath
Joseph - Gabby - Ice
Mia - Parvati - Ice
Elliot - Fortuna - Luck
Everyone who can shoot, shoot.
Uhm, you've gotten misarchived.
Devil Summoner: New Cycle Quest #32 leads to AT-TE Commander Quest 6
Rolled 35, 43, 37, 27, 2 = 144 (5d140)
You'll show him who's weak. Rapid fire orders spilling from your lips, you move your friends and allies into position. You need Berserker to restore your strength – Petra obeys quickly, and soon the warrior demon is beating his chest and howling once more, bringing back the strength that the Intoxicating One drained from you. You can't do anything about the insidious frailty seeping into your bones – the terrible feeling that you might shatter at a single punch – but you can make sure the Intoxicating One doesn't get a chance to land that single punch.
At Leon's behest, Fuu-Ki leans back and lets a great plume of mist gust from the yawning hole in his face, rising up to shroud the Intoxicating One's head in cloying fog. Try seeing through that, you spit at the towering demon. With the cloud hovering around his head, all he can do is swipe wildly at you all – and wild punches are all too easily dodged.
Placing your trust in your superior speed and agility, you order everyone capable of attacking with ice to focus their attacks on the Intoxicating One. Kill him quickly, you order, and he won't have a chance to attack!
>Please roll 5D120, for Mia, Elliot, Joseph, Leon and Gabriel. Best of three, again. This will be at the usual +10/-10 due to Fortuna's power.
>Also, a 5D10 dodge roll, aiming to beat a target of 4.
Rolled 16, 64, 54, 82, 90 = 306 (5d120)
Thats for Debilitating us jerk.
I got you. Next few threads you should early archive just in case.
This time, the Intoxicating One swings directly towards you, his fist streaking down from the fog-wreathed ceiling in an attempt to wipe you out. Maybe he can sense the magic of your scarf, the same magic he used to sting you with, or maybe it's just random chance. Regardless, the blow is telegraphed immensely, so much so that you could see it coming a mile away. You leap to the side, landing heavily on the walkway as the plummeting fist crashes through – right through, leaving a trail of destruction behind it – where you were standing.
No time, you remind yourself, to stare in wonder. You'd take the chance shoot him in the eye – if he had anything that even looked remotely like a human eye – but you have to content yourself with a bullet straight to the mouth, shattering some of his savage fangs. The others focus on less dramatic targets, dedicating their fire to the arm that tried to crush you. Shaking and convulsing under the barrage of bullets, the Intoxicating One pulls his fist back. A second later, and Gabriel hurls a tremendous spear of ice into the damaged arm. There is a titanic shriek, like metal tearing and stone collapsing, and the entire arm soon tumbles free, dropping into the lava beneath.
Howling and cursing your name, the Intoxicating One begins to sink into that same lava. As one last, bitter farewell, he reaches up and claws at the walkway, seizing it and tearing a great section free. Mindless slaves spill down into the lava, shortly followed by pieces of the structure as the entire walkway begins to collapse.
“Run!” Elliot yells, already taking his own advice, “Bloody run!”
Well, you don't need to be told twice.
Rolled 12, 66, 29, 93, 76 = 276 (5d100)
Scrabbling against the smooth, metallic tiles, you surge to your feet and sprint down towards the spiral staircase, seeking the safety of the entranceway. No, you correct yourself, it's not safety – you won't be safe until you're out of this tower, out of this entire gaudy city. You can't stop moving until you see that normal sky, all grey clouds and threatened storms. Shouting ahead everyone else to run, you plunge into the poorly lit stairwell and clatter down the countless steps, a great chorus of rumbling shaking you to the bone.
Behind you, exploding through the wall in a spray of twisted shrapnel, is some dark and smouldering ram. A fist – one of HIS fists, you realise. The Intoxicating One is still alive, punching out at you through the walls of that great chamber he was once in. It's damn near impossible to tell where the next blow could come from, without a chance to see the fist being raised. The only blessing, here, is that he can't see you either.
Another problem, you realise with delirious fear as the stairwell begins to light up, the lava. Pouring like thick treacle through the holes the Intoxicating One punches, it starts to creep down towards you. All you can do, right now, is keep moving forwards as fast as you can.
>Please roll 5D100, for Mia, Elliot, Joseph, Leon and Petra. I'll take the highest of the first three, and Mia is at +20
Rolled 22, 74, 100, 39, 3 = 238 (5d100)
We never got a chance to do that Mia finishes, everyone run before hand huh?
Can all the Ice Demons make an Ice barrier above us to hold the lava off if just for a few seconds?
Plunging desperately down the uneven stairs, ducking and dodging as best you can in an attempt at avoiding punches that you can't see coming, you allow yourself a moment of fear. Terror, even, as a new spray of metal shards stings its way across every inch of exposed flesh you have. Tactics fly desperately through your mind, walls of ice to block off the lava, having Kagutsuchi hold it back personally, but nothing sticks in your mind for long. All you can do is run, trusting yourself to the speed of your feet.
The next blow isn't a punch, but a great rending tear. The Intoxicating One smashes through the wall, grabbing onto the deceptively frail material and pulling downwards. Lava spills out from the twisted gash, but it's the monstrous fist itself that comes close to crushing you. Time slows to a crawl – although, in truth, you know that it is your ring speeding you up – as you slip under the attack, Elliot following suit. Joseph – larger and a little slower than the others – has to leap desperately forwards to dodge the blow. He spills into Leon and Petra, knocking them from their feet and into a mad, uncontrolled spill down the stairs.
You don't have time to think of anything else, then, and force fresh strength into your feet to run. Scrabbling up, Joseph unthinkingly throws Leon over his shoulder as he moves forwards. You grab Petra by her left arm – her only arm – and pull, trusting the strength her necklace provides you with to move her. Somehow – you couldn't quite say how – you all make it to the room below, your momentum carrying you into the pit that was once Pazuzu's lair. A moment, then, of silence.
“It looks like Leon is out cold,” Joseph pants, gasping for breath as he lays the comatose man down, “Alive, but he'll have one hell of a headache when he wakes up.” Joseph speaks with a quiet wonder, as if he can't quite believe what he just did. Dragging in lungfuls of blessed air, you check on Petra. Although her hair is matted with blood from where she hit the stairs, her chest still rises with regular breaths. She's also out for the count, but not in any immediate danger.
“Now,” Elliot rasps, rubbing his chest, “We just need a way out of this blasted pit, before-”
He never gets a chance to complete that sentence, for the wall explodes outwards. Roaring, tearing through the boundary, the Intoxicating One blasts his way into the pit. He's... much smaller now, barely a few feet higher than the tallest member of your group.
“This city is MINE,” he growls, “Within these boundaries, I am GOD. I can be as big as a mountain, or small enough to crush your throat within my hands!”
“Getting pretty sick of this guy,” Elliot sighs, pulling his phone out, “We'd better finish this quickly – a few good attacks should do it!”
Maybe. But you don't have the same numbers you once had – Leon and Petra can't fight, nor can their demons. At least Berserker's rush of strength still fills your limbs with savage power – you're not harmless yet.
>Summon a demon
>Summon a demon and fight personally
Just how when we fought Mastema, you can change the elements but you can't get rid of the Bullet aspect of it, just how I would assume you can't get rid of the Phys aspect just by throwing Ice on it.
Rolled 82, 104, 104, 53 = 343 (4d120)
You were already doing good damage to him with your old tactics, you realise, so there's no sense in changing things now. Parvati, as graceful as always, even in these trying times, appears before you and blows a cool mist across your weapons. With the metal of your pistol growing cold in your hands, you level the gun and point it at the Intoxicating One's stupid smug face. Elliot, summoning Fortuna once more, gives his demon's great wheel a mighty spin.
“Don't you want to beg for your lives?” the Intoxicating One snarls, drops of slowly cooling lava leaking from inside the numerous wounds covering his body, “To plead for mercy and clemency?”
Not a chance, you spit back as Joseph calls up Gabriel, not a chance in hell!
“Then I'll enjoy destroying you!” your hated enemy shouts, his voice shaking the walls around you, “Enough talk – we fight!”
>Please roll 4D120, for Mia, Elliot, Joseph and Gabriel. Highest of the first three. The +10/-10 modifier is in effect.
>Please roll 4D10 for dodging, aiming to beat 6. Mia is at +2
When the Intoxicating One charges, it is done without any grace or skill. He simply blunders forwards, swinging all three of his remaining arms in wild, mindless punches. It would almost be comical – you could imagine him tripping over a tiny pebble, or even an outstretched foot – if you weren't certain that even a fleeting blow from one of those great fists might cave in your skull. You flash to the side, an inhumanly quick leap taking you, quite easily, out of his range. Still lying in the sand, you snap off a quick shot that hits the looming demon in the back of the knee, sending him into a clumsy stumble.
It's that stumble that saves Elliot, one of the meaty fists swinging above the foppishly dressed man's head. Elliot curses – a shrill yelp of terror – and drops his rifle to the sandy ground. Joseph, on the other hand, holds his ground and snaps off shot after shot into the Intoxicating One, every one of the enchanted bullets causing the tyrant to jerk and twitch. Even so, it's barely enough to slow him.
What really ends the fight is Gabriel's magic, conjuring up a great spear of ice that tears up through the ground, punching up into the Intoxicating One and shearing through his burnished armour. Hoisted up into the air, the Intoxicating One writhes like a bug on a needle, a stream of vile blasphemies seeping from his jagged mouth.
“You can't do this!” he gurgles, a thin steam of... something leaking from his jaws, “I am a god! A GOD!”
In a world like this, you tell him bluntly, even gods can die.
“Leave the sarcasm,” Joseph tells you, already hoisting Leon up onto his shoulders, “We need to leave – now.”
Nodding your agreement, you help Elliot to his feet. Together, you do your best to support Petra between you – not an easy task, given the wild variation in height between the three of you – and start to look for a way out. You've got some time before the Intoxicating One dies once and for all, but he won't cling to life forever. Once he goes, you'll be on a tight time limit.
“Here!” Joseph shouts, leaning out through the hole made by the Intoxicating One's explosive entrance, “Stairs, leading down. Why the hell would there be... oh, I don't care!”
He's right. Questions can wait, and the geography of this place has always defied any logical explanation. With your injured colleagues dragged along with you, Joseph leads the way down the impossible staircase, his haste only tempered by the sheer back of any handrails or safety features. It seems churlish to complain about such things now though, with the ceiling starting to tremble with the first of many spasms.
Not wasting any time on filling out complaint forms, you just follow Joseph down the winding stairs until you come to the bottom of the tower... and a dead end.
“This is...” Joseph curses, “This is bullshit! What kind of sick joke is this?”
You can't say anything. You just sink, wearily, to the ground and close your eyes. There's nothing more you can do, other than hope that you made it down to ground level. A great shudder runs through the world as the Intoxicating One finally dies, his death throes casting this world into an irreversible collapse.
Closing your eyes a little tighter, you feel a shower of rubble clattering against your armoured back like hailstones. There is one final, titanic rumble, and then nothing.
>There's nothing more you can do
>Not having our door/wall unlocker champ Kin-ki give it a go.
Pls Mia, less giving up immediately and more using supernatural entities.
Slowly opening your eyes, you stand up on shaking legs and look around. Snow surrounds you, piled high and slick in great blustery drifts. The wind must have brought it, quickly filling in the dips and deformed scenery left behind in the wake of the fortress collapsing. So, you really reached ground level after all. You wondered.
“Thank god we never have to go back there,” Joseph sighs, helping Elliot to his feet, “Next time I see anything gold, I'm going to be sick.”
You chuckle slightly, and then glance around at the snow. Lying in that field of white, untouched by any of the falling flakes, is the divine fragment. You take it gratefully, slipping it into a deep pocket. So, you say to nobody in particular, what next?
“Next,” Elliot says, “Would be getting out of here. Going home, preferably, but I'd settle for any kind of shelter.”
He's got a point. You could do with a rest, but sitting here in the snow is hardly your idea of comfort. The auction house shouldn't be too far from here, or you could push through your fatigue and march back to the kingdom.
>Take shelter at the auction house
>Don't stop until you reach the kingdom
You'll get to the shelter of the auction house, you declare, and take some time to rest up. Maybe start a fire, get some healing done – just, generally, take as long as you need to recover. When you're all feeling a little more awake – literally, considering the still unconscious Petra and Leon – you can think about completing your journey back to the fairy kingdom.
“Wonderful idea,” Elliot beams, giving you a radiant smile, “Ah, a fine old manor in the countryside – I can't think of a better place to take a brief holiday!”
It's not exactly a spa weekend, you remind him as you start to walk. Petra has recovered a little, just enough that she can help to support her own weight, but the trip is still quite the ordeal. If this was bad, you think wearily as you trudge through the snow, the full journey would have been intolerable. The auction house is lonely, desolate and deserted, but it still seems like a paradise compared with the snowy wasteland around you.
Making your own way inside, you all begin the arduous process of dragging furniture into a pile. You're about to summon Parvati to provide the initial spark when a weak hand falls on your arm. It's Petra, her eyes only now returning to some kind of focus.
“Let me,” she rasps, nodding towards the pile of wood, “A chance to try out my new toy, yes?”
By all means, you tell her, taking a cautious step back. Flexing her hand for a moment, Petra snaps her fingers briskly, the leather of her glove glowing slightly as sparks – and then crackling flames – burst forth. In a matter of seconds, you have a raging bonfire before you.
“I like it,” Petra declares, giving you a savage grin.
As the heat from the bonfire begins to chase the heat from your bones, the various members of your group slump down before it. Elliot takes a nap, folding his coat into a thick but scratchy pillow, while Joseph stares into the fire itself. Leon, still sleeping off his injuries, lies behind you. Gabriel, having taken a look at both Leon and Petra, quickly healed the worst of their injuries with a few sparks of healing magic. When Petra, too, dozes off, it's just you and Joseph.
“I can't believe,” the young man admits slowly, “That I helped him. Leon, I mean. I didn't even think twice about it – I just grabbed him and ran.”
You look up, frowning in confusion at the sudden confession. Why... should that be a surprise?
“I suppose we don't get along,” Joseph laughs awkwardly, clearly forcing it, “Truth be told, I kind of thought we'd end up killing each other. You know, the way this world is.”
Well... you're not really sure what to say to that. Assuming that he'd immediately need to kill his friends, just because of a few demons – what kind of weird logic is that?
>Thank you for saving him, Joseph
>I don't think you would have left him. You're not that kind of person
>I just hope this won't come back to haunt us later
>I don't think you would have left him. You're not that kind of person
>Thank you for saving him, Joseph
"This world doesn't have to change us. With some human decency and by sticking together we can accomplish things these demons thought impossible. I mean, look at what we just did."
You sit in silence for a while, staring into the bonfire in unconscious imitation of Joseph. He's wrong, you say softly, you don't think he would have left Leon there to die. He's just not that kind of person – at least, you don't think so.
“Well, you're seeing me at my best,” Joseph replies, a note of deliberate levity in his voice, “I've done some pretty shady stuff before – well, maybe not me, but... ah, you know what I mean.”
It hardly matters now, you offer with a shrug, before scooting around so you're sitting beside him, rather than opposite him. This world, you tell him as you lean against his reassuring bulk, doesn't have to change us. All it takes it a little human decency, and sticking together, and you can achieve the impossible. Or, at the very least, things that demons would consider to be impossible – like slaying the Intoxicating One, for example.
“Hah!” Joseph laughs, but quiet enough as to not wake the others, “You might be right about that. You know – I think I'm glad I saved Leon. I'd never be able to forgive myself if I'd just left him there.”
You thank him, then, for saving Leon. It feels like an odd thing to be thanking Joseph for, but it also feels natural. For the same reason, perhaps, that Joseph didn't think twice before stooping to pick Leon up, even though it put him at risk. Human decency – a rare thing, in a world like this.
“I wonder if they'll be having a party,” Joseph yawns, “Back at the kingdom, I mean. They seem to be big on parties, and this is a hell of an occasion.”
Maybe, you reply after yawning as well. They never let an opportunity go by.
“Go on,” the young man tells you, “Get some sleep. I'll stand guard for a while. I'll have Gabriel to keep me company, so don't feel bad about it.”
>Get some sleep
>Wake everyone up. You've rested long enough
Alright, you say slowly, you'll take him up on that. All this running about has left your body feeling like lead, fatigue clinging to your bones and weighing you down. You can't even be bothered to take off your armour, instead contenting yourself with just flopping down here you sat and letting your eyes drift shut. It seems like no time at all before you fall into a deep and dreamless sleep – you are, perhaps, too tired to dream.
From the moment you wake up, you know that something is wrong.
You fell asleep in an awkward position, still encased in the hellish iron armour, but even that cannot explain the stiffness that has overtaken your limbs or chest. You can barely move – barely even breath – and your initial attempt at crying for help comes out as a strangled gurgle. The thought of poison flashes across your mind, but you immediately dismiss it – when was the last time you ate or drank? Breakfast, perhaps, an unknown length of time ago.
You can see Joseph, his back to you, sitting and watching the entrance. The bonfire has burned low, merely embers now. The others all sleep peacefully, only occasionally stirring. You notice these things with a kind of aimless, detached eye, while the majority of your thoughts course with panic. Something is terribly wrong with you – some clinging tightness that leaves your chest feeling about ready to collapse.
Then, slowly, the nameless problem begins to ease off, releasing you from its grip. You can breath easily once more, even if breathing too deeply only sends pain shooting through your chest. Listening to your heartbeat slowing to a normal rhythm, you sit cautiously up and look around.
What the hell is wrong with you?
“Oh,” Joseph says suddenly, turning to face you. Some noise you made must have snapped him out of his guarded caution. “I'd say “good morning”, but I suppose that isn't really accurate, is it? It's more... afternoon, I suppose. “Noon” being relative in a place like...” he trails off, shaking his head, “Ah, a man could go mad trying to think about it.”
You simply nod, at that. You're finding it a little difficult, right now, to keep up with his slightly aimless verbal wanderings. Swallowing hard, you reach up to rub your chest, wincing at your own foolishness as your hand reaches cool metal instead.
“So...” Joseph asks slowly, “Are you feeling okay? You look very pale.”
>I'm not even slightly okay
>I'll be fine. Didn't sleep very well, that's all
You're not even slightly okay, you breath. It's difficult, trying to keep a shrill edge of hysteria out of your voice, but you think you manage. At the very least, Joseph doesn't immediately start to panic along with you. Sitting fully upright, you begin to fumble at the catches of your armour, the motion of your fingers quickly growing to a frantic scrabbling as you grow desperate to be free of the clinging metal.
“Hey, calm down,” Joseph warns you, hurrying over to work the various catches. “If you're not feeling well, getting worked up won't help you.”
A sudden sensation of relief washes over you as the armour grows loose, letting you wriggle out of it. You can breath a little easier now, with it off, but your chest is still tight – the corset doesn't help, of course, but there's no way you're taking that off in front of Joseph. Swallowing hard, you hesitantly explain what the problem was. Shooting chest pains, a feeling of weakness, everything. The young medical student listens in silence for a while, before speaking in the carefully neutral tone of a doctor.
“And you've had this before?” he asks, “After, say, intense exercise?”
Right on both counts, you agree, but it's never been this bad before. Does he think that it might be some kind of heart condition?
“Possibly,” Joseph admits, and a strange note enters his voice here, “But it sounds relatively mild. All this exercise and exertion might have caused it to intensify, but I wouldn't worry about it too much.”
Is that guilt, you wonder, in his voice? It might be – there's something about his voice that reminds you of the rare moments when Marco tried to hide something from you, to avoid a difficult issue.
“In either case,” Joseph continues, speaking a little louder now so his voice gradually rouses the others, “I'm not a fully trained doctor, you know, so you shouldn't put too much trust in what I can tell you. Even when I was studying, hearts were never my area of expertise. I'd tell you to take it easy, but I don't think any of us have that kind of luxury, do we?”
No, you agree, taking it easy is not an option. You'd like to say more, taking advantage of the private moment, but the sound of the others stirring and waking puts an end to that hope. Had Joseph decided it was time to make a move, you ask yourself, or was he trying to distract you from the sensitive topic?
Paranoia, you scold yourself inwardly, won't get you anywhere.
“Anyway, now that we're all awake, it's probably time to get a move on,” Joseph stretches, “Ah, I wasn't a very good guard I'm afraid. I had a bit of a nap myself.”
“I believe I ended up doing most of the guarding,” Gabriel, approaching you, says gently. Her hearing must be very good, you realise, to pick up the conversation from her distant post. “There were no dangers, I assure you.”
That's good, you murmur as your fingers slip lightly across your chest, that's good.
>I'll end things here for tonight. Next thread on Friday, and I'll stick around in case of any questions.
How the hell could we possibly deal with Mia's heart condition that doesn't involve demon fusion or a magatama? I'm not exactly sure that Scathach could just turn Parvati into a pacemaker
or could she?
This is the condition that led to Mia's death in the previous cycle, yes.
Joseph opted to give her an optimistic take on things because he believes there isn't anything that can help Mia. No point in worrying about something that can't be fixed.
Some things don't have an easy solution, I'm afraid!
That was something I'd been meaning to get back to, actually! I had a few weeks when I didn't have as much time to write as I would have liked, so that kind of put those on the back burner for a while. I hope to have one ready by Friday, Sunday at the latest.
Next would probably be either Cass or Joseph, depending on how I feel.
So this assault went pretty well I think. Some close calls but we didn't even lose a demon. Prep work and overwhelming firepower works.
Now we have to deal with the Mysterious South Town that we can't really prepare specifically for.
I'll admit, I'm not quite sure I've got a good handle on the target numbers for dodging yet. I felt this was a little too easy, but that was largely down to run of very good rolls.
I'll just have to make the next fight even harder!
>but that was largely down to run of very good rolls.
Honestly it really was. Dodging rarely had to come into effect. Tarukaja and Fortuna real MVPs that fight.
>I'll just have to make the next fight even harder!
mostlyjoking about the difficulty. I will try to experiment a little, though, in the future. Figuring out other ways of mixing up the difficulty or various tactics.
Maybe a barrier shift boss. Those are always fun!
So I mentioned that Gauntlet thing on Ask the other day and you got some ideas from it.
Do we need to ask Scathach about it or is it going to come up on its own?
Though we still need to ask Petra if she even wants something on her right arm first. Probably talk to her when we get back to the Kingdom.
Asking Scathach would yield some information, but I also have an idea of how to drop it into the mix naturally. Like many lost things of value, I would check out the slums - if you're up for a little sneaking!
>Like many lost things of value, I would check out the slums - if you're up for a little sneaking!
Well we were planning to get a book anyway. 2 birds 1 stone. Just gotta not be murdered by Archangels.
It'll be fine.
>It'll be fine.
That's the spirit!
Really though, I can't see how Mia could be better prepared. Her demons are all in fine health, and she's just had a nice relaxing nap. Ready to take on the world!
Gabriel isn't exactly "fine" - Uriel and Raphael are dead to her, so she's in a kind of mourning for them - but her mood isn't as bad as it could be. Working with humans who have good intentions help. It hasn't gone unnoticed that, since defecting, she's done far to help people.
She doesn't have much of a home to go back to, but she's starting to see human company as "home".
Her relationship with Joseph is pure. Entirely platonic. Even if he used her lap as a sleeping pillow when he was on guard duty. They are pretty close though!
Mister Red swept the worst of the dregs off the doorstep, but there are going to be a lot more demons running around looking for trouble. If they have money, they can drink. If not - they can take a walk!
On one hand, she's had plenty of time to prepare for it - to get her excuses ready, so to speak! On the other hand, though, things haven't exactly gone off without a hitch, so things might get a little uncertain.
Cass could cause some trouble - if she even shows up!
>Cass could cause some trouble - if she even shows up!
I think Mia, Cass, and Petra need to have a talk together BEFORE they go see Amelia, maybe on the 'morning' of the full moon day at the Kingdom. Some things just need to be laid out before they go to Hellfire.
So I got a question. Michael and Mastema both believe that a divine fragment will bring YHVH back, but not having cosmic power wasn't the reason YHVH disappeared since he never had it in the first place.
Are they just going on blind faith that it will bring their dad back?
Michael is primarily going on blind faith and a degree of desperation. He's not sure what else to try, so he wants to make a grand gesture.
Mastema, on the other hand, has slightly different motives. He's still planning on making a grand gesture, though!
A combination of factors. Desperation, lingering guilt over what happened to Gabriel and not being aware of what Mastema is really like.
He can spin a pretty good yarn, when he wants to - especially when he knows exactly what the other person wants to hear.
He's not explicitly used mind control on her. Yet.
The issue is complicated by the fact that Mia is only now becoming aware of the problem.
Nothing within human means can help Mia's heart yet. Transplants and artificial hearts are only temporary measures, even if we had the facilities for it.
But Nadja is literally the Child of Hope. If not for this, then what?
Although if we got Luster Candy instead of Debilitate, the defensive buff might help retain the structural integrity of Mia's heart. Any demons with Rakukaja?
Look at it this way anon. We only have the South Fragment left, then the last two are going to be (hopefully) matters of negotiation unless Cass royally fucks up. With some luck we'll have this done only a few days after the Full Moon.
You're stretching with that Rakukaja. And its very temporary.
Although I wrote up his stats before I started using buffs/debuffs, Kin-Ki should be able to cast Rakukaja. I'll amend his abilities to make up for this oversight. That's the first demon with Rakukaja I can think of off the top of my head.
I do think it might be reaching a little. I think if any magic was going to provide a respite for any kind of health issue, it would be regeneration. Even then, I don't see that being a quick fix solution.
Again, the problem comes down to Mia not knowing what the problem is, or what her options might be.
Ahriman was fucking simple, he very clearly tells you what to hit him with. Heezy Beezy is simple to as long as demifiend doesn't get fly'd, it's trivial to kill him before he summons Ose and...the other guy, whatever his name was.
But Noah. Fucking Noah. Unless you read a walkthrough you will NOT be able to beat him.