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File 137707478953.png - (6.52KB , 320x240 , redmoon.png )
536265 No. 536265 ID: 7f09ec

In the darkness of your mind, an image forms.
"...known as the Crimson Moon, or Hunter's Moon.
It has appeared during the King's Clover every twenty years, like clockwork, for as long can be remembered.
However, the sign of the red moon as an ill omen started relatively recently, around two hundred cycles ago."
Expand all images
>>
No. 536266 ID: 7f09ec
File 137707484435.png - (4.70KB , 320x240 , redmoonfall.png )
536266

The blood red moon grows smaller, and is replaced by a new vision.
"On that night the moon shone brightly, as red streaks fell from the sky.
They landed near many major settlements around the world.
These red streaks were quickly found to be all kinds of demonic creatures, sent to slay the populace."
>>
No. 536267 ID: 7f09ec
File 137707489885.png - (5.23KB , 320x240 , army.png )
536267

The endless red melds together, and separates into something new.
"Now, every time the red moon rises, the people of Saibah are ready.
Mercenaries, HEROs, and the guards stand of to defend their homes, ready to drive out these threa--
Oh come on!"
>>
No. 536269 ID: 7f09ec
File 137707497172.png - (6.77KB , 320x240 , sigh.png )
536269

"Jess, you aren't even listening! This is important!" A female voice shouts in annoyance.
The boy named Jess doesn't even flinch. "I didn't know that 'book' of yours was so wordy, Mereba."
The young bookworm flops backward.
"You were the one that wanted me to read it for you!"
I swear, he drives me nuts!
>>
No. 536285 ID: bf54a8

give em a bonk.
>>
No. 536315 ID: 41690e

This book important at all? That story fiction or fact?
>>
No. 536340 ID: 9ddf68

then give him the short version, everything else is likely to go over his head.
>>
No. 536543 ID: 7f09ec
File 137714937157.png - (6.08KB , 320x240 , 2-5.png )
536543

The girl hesitates for a moment, before reaching into her backpack and taking out a round stone.
She starts talking in a low tone.
"It's fact. Elder Gamuth asked him to read up on the Tears of the Crimson Moon since it's
already Queen's Clover.
Naturally we ended up here, with me explaining things and him staring off into the distance like a git.
As usual.
I'd throw the book at him, but it'd probably just go over his head and fall off the cliff. I'm also not a judge."


Jess speaks up without turning his head. "You're not talking to that rock again, are you?"

"How would you know, you're too busy in your own little world!" Mereba blurts out.
"You have to take this stuff seriously, this happens in a week!"

"Or two. Any time in King's Clover."

"That's not the po--"
...Oh, he was listening, for once.

>>
No. 536545 ID: 9ddf68

so what you 2 are going to fight whatever once the moon turns red or are you out here for other reasons?
>>
No. 536585 ID: ea863f

>>536543
what happens when the moon is red, exactly?
>>
No. 536632 ID: bf54a8

say if he listens you'll give him something cool.
>>
No. 536731 ID: 7f09ec
File 137722124787.png - (6.47KB , 400x300 , 2-6.png )
536731

Mereba lowers her voice again.
"If the moon turns red, it'll be just like any other night. Except with bloodthirsty demonic creatures on the rampage.
It can happen any time during the King's Clover.
Which is why--"

She looks to Jess. "You need to take this seriously."

He keeps looking off into the distance. "Why? All we need to do is stay inside, and let your parents and the other adults take care of it."

"Because the Elder wants you to be able to throw all this back at him word for word, and I'm getting sick of being the killjoy bugging you about it."

He shrugs. "I think I'd rather take the punishment."

"...I'll give you something cool if you listen."

"A kiss?"

"Like you'd even want that!"
Mereba says while rolling her eyes.

"It's the thought that counts," he says, shrugging again.

"What are you even looking at, anyway?"

"The human talking to the elder."

"Wait, what?"
Mereba says, jumping to her feet.
>>
No. 536732 ID: 7f09ec
File 137722136401.png - (12.06KB , 600x300 , 2-7.png )
536732

"Weird, right?" Jess looks on with a worried expression.

"...He's probably a traveler. Nobody from Sansota ever comes over here." The two look on for a moment until Mereba speaks again. "I wonder what he wants."

Jess replies in a matter-of-fact tone. "Money. What else would he want?"

Mereba goes back to grab her satchel, packing her books and replacing the stone. "Food and board. Maybe he heard about those damn bandits and he's trying to boost his reputation."

"I thought your folks were going to take care of them?"

"Sure, a week before the Cry?

"Or two. Bastard's probably talking Gamuth out of half our harvest as we speak."

Oh great, he's jumping to conclusions already. I can never get through to Jess when he's like this. ...You wouldn't happen to have any ideas, would you?
>>
No. 536735 ID: bf54a8

you don't HAVE to give him the thing, just SAY you will. he learns it all then you can just back out. of course it will only work once. want it to work again you will need to give hm what he wants.
also he's the one that suggested kiss, meaning he totally wants one but is too awkward to actually say he wants it.

right now though just run up and yell right at the traveler "the demons are coming!" if he is is legit he will stand his ground. if not he will freak out and run away.
>>
No. 536741 ID: d2995c

You could spy on the stranger to see for yourselves what he is here for. Or just walk up to them.
>>
No. 536743 ID: 01531c

>>536732
Does Gamuth have a history of selling away the crops, or similarly being conned?

If so, I suggest getting closer and eavesdropping, to check out the scamminess of the human's conversation.

If not, I suggest getting closer and eavesdropping, to check out the importance of the human's conversation.
>>
No. 536756 ID: 9ddf68

give him a quick peek on the check just to see the look on his face, then say since he said he would pay attention if you kissed him he has to do it. If he gives you crap that it didn't count because you didn't kiss him on the lips or some BS like that just say it's his fault for not telling you where he would have liked you to kiss him. Even if he doesn't lesion to you it still would probably be worth it just to see the look on his face.

Also do your people have a thing against people or is it just him and either way why?
>>
No. 536781 ID: 7f09ec
File 137723784696.png - (10.21KB , 600x300 , 2-8.png )
536781

Right, here goes.
"Hey, before you go something crazy like jump off the cliff--"

"Which I totally wasn't going to do."

"--which you -totally- weren't going to do, how about we just, yknow, spy on him?"


Jess thinks for a moment. "Sounds like effort."

Mereba sighs. "Or, we can walk up to him and accuse him of trying to swindle us, which has a good chance of ending in a fist fight."

"We could yell that the demons are coming, and see if he runs like a coward."

"A week before the Hunter's Moon. In broad daylight."


The boy shrugs, and then starts taking the trail back.

"Jess, you really need to finish that book."

"After we spy on him."

"Oh, NOW you want to..."


Mereba follows, taking out the stone again.

"Man, you guys are asking a lot of questions lately.
Anyway, Elder Gamuth's led us even before we stopped being nomads.
I mean, that was before I was born, but he's held in high regard for a reason.
Also, we don't have anything against Humans, but the town of Sansota is a few kilometers out and we don't exactly mix.
And trust me, he doesn't want a kiss from me. Not because it's me, either.
...I thought you all knew that?"

"Yo, don't fall behind talking to the rock."

"I'm just thinking out loud!"

>>
No. 536789 ID: 9ddf68

we're a rock, we tend to forget things from time to time. Usually mundane things Like what we've been asking. And if I had to guess I'm guessing your friend does whatever he can to get out of work. So other then trying to hope for a miracle and have your friend grow enough of a brain to at least lesion to you read him the book what other plans did we have for the day... Other then spying on the human to avoid homework I mean.
>>
No. 536790 ID: 761017

these characters feel awfully familiar! I swear I've seen a quest here or comic elsewhere that uses them!
>>
No. 536844 ID: 41690e

Geeze, what's wrong with talking to a rock! We talk back, after all. ...although I'm assuming he either can't hear us, or doesn't believe that.

>Trust me, he doesn't want a kiss from me. Not because it's me, either.
Which means he's not interested in getting a kiss from anyone? (How sad!) Or he's gay.

>Don't you know this already?
Sorry, we've got rocks in our head. Well, a rock for a head.
>>
No. 536920 ID: 70cd34
File 137730681410.png - (7.49KB , 400x300 , 1-9.png )
536920

(yes, you have, I've tried this before and got sidelined by my internet cutting out for a few months :V)

Mereba looks at the stone, you, with a look of concern.
You walk for quite some time before she says anything.
"Right, I guess there would be some hiccups with keeping your facts straight without a visible brain.
I don't have any problem explaining things.
But, yeah, he can't hear you. I haven't found a person who can, that's why I'm whispering."


"Shhh! We're getting close. We should be able to hear him if we just stick to the edge of the forest."

Mereba nods, and the two leave the trail in favor of the trees after you are stowed away.

--

The two creep up in the foilage, to where the elder apparently holds his meetings of importance.

"There he is," says Mereba, her voice a bit too high.
Jess makes a shushing noise.

--

A soft voice in a controlled tone speaks. "...have doubts. This is rather selfless of you."

The young man sitting respectfully across from him replies. "A week of inaction is something I cannot stand.
I figured the least I could do was help out a place that didn't have two heroes standing watch."


--

Jess nods. "Looks like we didn't miss the bargaining."

--

The soft-spoken Elder speaks again after a time. "And you seek neither monetary compensation, nor rations?"

The reply is quick. "The wages from the organization are enough, and I'm not exactly a fan of vegetables." He can't help but flash a smile.

More silence. "People don't do favors for other people for nothing, even ones most noble, swordsman."

The blond swordsman takes longer to reply this time. "Fair enough."

--

"I knew it!"

"Quiet Jess, I can't hear him."


--

The swordsman continues. "I want your trust. As often as I travel, having a place that welcomes you is priceless."

Gamuth chuckles, a slightly cynical look spreading across his face. "So you're willing to solve such a problem for only trust?"

"Well, -I- think it's a fair trade."

--

"Yknow, he doesn't seem that bad."

Jess scoffs. "For all we know, he could be scouting our village for the bandits."

-I dunno, Elder Gamuth seems to have this under control.-
>>
No. 536931 ID: 41690e

>For all we know, he could be scouting our village for the bandits.
...how would we stop that? Kill everyone who visits for fear they'll talk to bandits later?

He hasn't cheated the Elder out of anything, either.

>I swear I've seen a quest here
Aha! Found it. >>/graveyard/473374
>>
No. 536975 ID: 9ddf68

so what you two just going to keep watching or are you going to go somewhere else? I'm also sensing your friends has trust issues.
>>
No. 537685 ID: 7f09ec
File 137750530430.png - (10.58KB , 400x300 , 1-10.png )
537685

Mereba's tone softens.
"He's hasn't done anything wrong yet.
Let's just see what Elder Gamuth does first, okay?"


Jess frowns, but doesn't say anything further as Gamuth steps down from his pedestal.


--

"We're but a week from the Cry, and you ask to help with something so serious."
The Elder comes to a stop in front of the swordsman.
"You were hired to protect Sansota from the demons, were you not?"

He nods. "That is correct."

"What if you are wounded?"

"That's for me to worry about."


Gamuth looks him over, as if looking at a bird intent on flying up-side down and somehow being successful.
"You are willing to go into the stronghold of these bandits alone?"

"If need be. That's the point, isn't it? I doubt you have people to spare." His confidence is clear in his voice.

The old man is lost in thought for a short while.
Finally, he speaks.
"Wait here."

The boy smiles.
"I understand."

With that, the Elder leaves, the swordsman going through his belongings not long after.

--

"See, the Elder trusts him. Isn't that enough for you?"

Jess has a look of uncertainty on his face, but it quickly subsides.
"...Hold on."

"What now?"

>>
No. 537686 ID: 7f09ec
File 137750544564.png - (9.66KB , 400x300 , 1-11.png )
537686

Jess points to the mercenary.
"Those ears. He's not human, is he?"

Mereba looks on.
"You're right... You know, I think he might be a Vetian."

"...What the hell is a Vetian?"


If Jess's question was a common one, Mereba wasn't showing it.
"...You can -not- be serious."

Silence.

Her voice raises.
"Vetians. Really tall? Olive to Brown skin? Generally all around ass-kickers?"

"Oh. Good thing I didn't try to fist fight him then."


Louder.
"How the hell do you not know what a Vetia is?"

"I've never seen one!"
Jess says defensively.

"READ A BOOK!" Mereba's voice is just short of screaming.

"Is someone there?"
The swordsman looks up from the blade he was sharpening, his face neutral.

-Crap.-

Jess gets to his feet, clenching and unclenching his fists, his voice still low.
"Then again, he's pretty pale for a Vetia, isn't he?"

-CRAP.-
>>
No. 537724 ID: d2995c

Ok, he probably won't attack you in broad daylight if he is up to something, so it would probably be safe to go up and ask questions. So is he just here to say that he will kill the bandits then promptly leave?
>>
No. 537746 ID: 41690e

Jess, please don't go fighting the traveler who thinks he can take an entire bandit's lair by himself alone and unarmed.
>>
No. 537757 ID: e1609c

>>537686
Just say hi. Dude's clearly a hero associated with a protective guild of some sort, so I think hes legit.
>>
No. 537776 ID: 9ddf68

tell your friend that it isn't a good idea to go around fighting random people just cause you feel like it. It's a good way to get your ass kicked and even if you somehow don't get your ass handed to you, you just look like a giant prick.
>>
No. 537823 ID: c23ab0

Just walk out of the bushes sheepishly. He seems perfectly nice. You aren't somewhere you're not supposed to be. You're getting all worked up over nothing!
>>
No. 538110 ID: 7f09ec
File 137767698525.png - (10.22KB , 400x300 , 1-12.png )
538110

Mereba grabs him by the sleeve.
"Jess, please, -please- don't go fighting the traveler who thinks he can take an
entire bandit's lair. By himself. Alone and unarmed."


He starts sizing the swordsman up.
"He's not unarmed. He has like, two swords, and a back pack full of junk."

"Is that supposed to be encouraging?! Why don't we just talk to him?"

Jess shakes his head.
"Gamuth already did that. That's not enough."

Mereba scoffs. "Right, I forgot the part where we make asses of ourselves by
trying to beat up someone helping us!"


"Why the hell would some random traveler throw himself at that band of
murderers! He has to be working for them!"

His teeth are bared, eyes straight ahead.

Mereba looks on as well, and there's a second of silence.

"My family, they were travelers once, remember?"

Jess's fists loosen slightly.

"My parents wouldn't just walk through a town, knowing they had a problem they could solve."

The blond one's voice unwittingly chimes in.
"I know you're there."

The two friends stand there a moment in the foliage, uncertainty in the air,
before Mereba suddenly strides out into the open.
>>
No. 538111 ID: 7f09ec
File 137767716802.png - (15.40KB , 600x300 , 1-13.png )
538111

She gets a few feet before a voice stops her in her tracks.

"I'm sorry, I didn't startle you did I?"
The swordsman's voice carries the same sort of friendliness
it had when he was speaking to the Elder.

-Wait, startle -me-?-
"N-no, I... uhh..."
Mereba manages to stutter out.
-Why the hell did I just walk up to this guy?!
I was so busy talking Jess down I didn't even think about it!-


A few seconds of awkward silence follows,
ending with the boy's smile turning slightly amused.

Mereba pushes the conversation onward.
"I just... I saw you... talking to the Elder, and thought I'd say hi? Maybe?"
She made a mental note to apply her hand to her face later with significant force.

The boy's smile turns into laughter.
"Well, then I'd like to say 'Hi' back, too, maybe.
It's nice to meet you...?"
He adds, questioningly.

"It's nice to meet you too!"
-Damn it!-

"Her name's Mereba."

Jess was walking up to the two, his hands now in his sweater pockets,
but his face no less grim.
"And my name's Jess. What about you?"

The somehow still unidentified swordsman gets to his feet, leaving his sword where it lies.
"Andrew Tybalt."
He flashes an emblem dangling from his necklace.
"I'm a member of the Hunting, Elimination and Rescue Organization," He says with a bit of pride.

Mereba breathes a sigh of relief, turning slightly to Jess.
"See, nothing to worry about!

"Oh? Why were you worried about me?" Andrew asks with a raised eyebrow.

-WHY DID I SAY THAT-

"I think you know why."

-WHY DID YOU SAY THAT-

>>
No. 538112 ID: 7f09ec
File 137767732228.png - (16.32KB , 600x300 , 1-14.png )
538112

Andrew looks to Jess, his smile now paired with a firm look.
"Why don't you tell me?"

Jess's eyes narrow even more in response.
"Don't play dumb."

"Are you still on about that?"
Mereba says, with a hint of annoyance.

"On about what, Mereba?"

She looks at Andrew quickly, surprised at being addressed by name.
"U-uh..."

Jess responds quickly.
"Don't talk to her, you don't know her."
His voice is raised.

Andrew's eyes return to the relaxed, friendly gleam from before.
"I wouldn't talk to a lot of people if I did that." He muses.

Jess shifts his back foot, and raises his fists.

"I don't recommend that. It won't turn out well."
Andrew's friendly tone doesn't fit the warning.
All he gets in response is Jess's narrow-eyed stare.
With a sigh, he adopts a very loose bare-handed stance of his own.
"Alright, if you really can't let it go..."

Mereba takes a deep breath, blocking out the silence of the standoff before talking quickly.
"Look, this is all just a big misunderstanding! We shouldn't be fighting eac--"

Jess charges headlong at Andrew.

"Damn it, Jess!"
>>
No. 538113 ID: 7f09ec
File 137767739130.png - (6.08KB , 250x300 , 1-15.png )
538113

Andrew's face instantly turns serious, his eyes locked on to his opponent as he makes his reckless charge.
The yell that bursts forth from his lungs doesn't even make Andrew flinch, and he looks every bit like he boasts.
A mercenary of great confidence.
A swordsman capable of taking on all comers without breaking a sweat.
One at the pinnacle of his art, one who wouldn't lose, as every fight means his life.
He stands ready against the bravado of someone who's anger he does not understand.
Jess swings, with all his might and the momentum of a good thirty feet of running room.
>>
No. 538114 ID: 7f09ec
File 137767759040.png - (10.41KB , 400x300 , 1-16.png )
538114

The quiet lasted for a good thirty seconds.

"Ah gods, you just knocked him out." Mereba says in disbelief.

Jess finally decides to do something besides stand in shock.
"S-See! I told you something was up!"

"Are you done?"

Their race is known for being rather good at jumping, but, the mile they jumped was figurative.

"How di--"
"Are yo--"


"Feel better?" Andrew asks, a smile on his face as he sits with his back to the tree he slammed into.

Jess tries to regain his composure, but fails utterly.
"Get up." He commands weakly.

Andrew takes a second to wipe the blood from his busted lip.
"So you can punch me again?"

Mereba can't help but stare.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Jess manages.

Mereba quickly turns to him.
"What the HELL is wrong with you?!"

He puts his arms up to shield himself from the verbal assault.
"He didn't even defend himself!

"He's right, I didn't." Andrew adds helpfully.

"Stop agreeing with me!" Jess shoots back angrily.

Andrew starts laughing instead.

"Stop laughing!"
Jess's frustration is apparent, but his anger has all but deflated.

"I'm sorry, just... I honestly don't know what I did to tick you off." Andrew answers truthfully.

Jess is quick to reply. "You're here!"

A look of realization spreads across Mereba's face.

"I mean besides that.
I get the whole lack of trust thing, that's why I wanted to help in the first place."


All Jess manages to get out are a few incredulous noises.

"Seems a bit more believable now, doesn't it?" Andrew says respectfully.

Jess's arms go slack to his sides, all the fight having left him.

"Maybe you want to talk now?"
Andrew smiles again.
>>
No. 538129 ID: 001618

tell jess he's a dumbass
>>
No. 538146 ID: e26b06

Hrrm...Distrustful. What happened in the past to make Jess not trust strangers? I would think the peril of the Hunter's Moon would make yours more open to accepting a helping hand. I presume then, that either the demons or strangers tricked you guys in the past, is that right?
>>
No. 538167 ID: d2995c

What did he expect to happen when he went up and punched the stranger?

>>538146
That seems likely.
>>
No. 538176 ID: 41690e

Well. Okay. This guy is kind of weird, but I suppose complete nonviolence in the face of aggression is one way to show you don't mean harm.

...and I meant Jess shouldn't attack a swordsman while Jess is unarmed. Pronoun confusion.
>>
No. 539994 ID: 2aba6c

>>538129
this, also I'm curious too, is just Jeff or is it more common?
>>
No. 540219 ID: 15134e
File 137889441482.png - (14.81KB , 500x400 , 1-17.png )
540219

Sorry, I know it's been quite a bit. I got hit with a doubleheader of a flu and back to back closing shifts.
The next time things get crazy, I'll actually post something in here like a not!idiot. psdrawingsucksaaaa


Mereba uses the new-found distance to fill you in.
"We're not on the best terms with our human neighbors.
The fact that some of the bandits are layabouts from their town doesn't help matters.
They used to just target Sansota, but then we realized we were an easier target, even with my parents around.
It's worse for Jess though."

She pauses.
"The village drummed up a volunteer guard awhile back to protect from bandit attacks.
However, we found out quickly how ruthless they could be."


"Fine." Jess' sudden outburst cuts Mereba off.
He decides his hands would be better served in his pockets.
"Alright, fine.
This doesn't mean I trust you, yknow."


Andrew gets to his feet, a kind smile on his face as he removes his backpack.
"Of course, I haven't exactly proved you can yet, have I?"

Jess tenses up a bit as he removes it, but calms down as Mereba sits in front of Andrew.
"You can't just assume that everyone's out to get us, Jess."

"I can understand. It's natural to put up a few walls when nobody's helping you out.
Hopefully I can fix that."

Andrew kneels down and starts rummaging about his bag.
"Besides, I've dealt with worse than a solid punch in the mouth."
His eyes light up as he takes out a bit of dried meat, and starts snacking amidst the awkward silence.

---

"Anything in particular you want me to do once I get there?"
Andrew finally cuts the tension.

"Um, at the hideout?"

Mereba tries her best to not sound startled.

She receives a nod in reply.
"If they stole something from you, I can get it back.
They might take it when they run if it's valuable."


"There should be two rings."
Jess suddenly speaks up, his voice firm.
"They're set with heart-cut Rubies, on plain bands.
Probably wearing them too,"
he says through gritted teeth.

Andrew looks at him for a bit longer than usual, before flashing his usual smile.
"Alright, I'll make sure to get them back for you."
He looks on expectantly, as the silence starts to creep in again, before sighing after a time.
"You guys were so spirited before. Why not throw a few questions my way?
Y'know, about HERO, or places I've seen... anything? Maybe that'll put your minds at ease.
I've got time to burn until your Elder comes back, after all."

>>
No. 540238 ID: bf54a8

okay, how many guys has he fought at the same time?
>>
No. 540240 ID: 2d638b

so why you doing this hole take out the bandits thing now? I mean isn't the red moon thing only what a week away? seems like poor timing to me
>>
No. 540369 ID: 07e3a8

Well, what are you doing in these parts, anyways? Asides from volunteering to take down bandit gangs just for local goodwill.
>>
No. 540462 ID: d2995c

Has he heard anything about magic rocks in his travels? (Why are you asking? Oh, just reasons. Unless he actually has heard of them, of course.)
>>
No. 544732 ID: 827e5d
File 138221931560.png - (673B , 133x27 , PH1.png )
544732

Images later. My drawing ability has died but my writing has not.

Yknow, he's right. I haven't had a chance to talk with an adventurer before, and someone from HERO no less...

Mereba finally speaks up, with a grin on her face. "Okay, how many people have you fought at the same time?

Andrew thinks for a moment.
"Well, I don't recommend it, but there was the time I have to fight off three people at the same time.
Got a slash across my cheek and a stab to the gut for the trouble. Luckily, I had a decent healer's kit on me."


Jess chimes in. "Just three?"

"Hey, three people at the same time is a lot. Fighting's not as flashy as you think." Andrew says as a matter of factly.

"What's up with the whole bandit slaying thing, anyway?" Jess continues. "Not that we don't need it, but you've got the Crimson Moon to worry about, don't you?"

"To be honest, there's too many of us over at Sansota."
Andrew sighs. "Three of us is more than enough to protect a town of that size. I figured that it would be a good idea to help out any other places nearby."
He shrugs. "Besides, the whole demon-slaying business is sort of my specialty. I'm more concerned about other people who have too much on their plate."

"So that's it? You're just here to knock off any demons that come around when the Cry happens, and you figure that's too easy for you?" Jess replies with a bit of surprise.

"That doesn't sound weird, does it?" Andrew asks.

Jess only stares, while Mereba manages to respond quickly.
"No, not at all!"
>>
No. 544734 ID: 827e5d
File 138221954252.png - (722B , 133x27 , PH2.png )
544734

More silence, until Andrew tries to brush it away.
"...Man, he's taking awhile. I guess it's a bigger decision than I thought."

Mereba looks down at you.
"You've been a lot of places, right, Andrew?"

"Mmhmm."

"Have you heard anything about... magic rocks?"


"Oh boy." Jess says, rolling his eyes.

"Stow it."
Mereba snaps back.
"I just... I've heard of items that look like ordinary things, but they have magical properties, like to the point where they could maybe even communicate."
She looks up at Andrew. "Have you heard anything like that?"

He looks at the rock in her hands for a time before replying.
"I really can't say I have." He quickly continues after seeing her look of disappointment.
"I do know what both my father, and my instructor told me though. Be wary of anything that thinks, when you can't tell where it's thinking from.
Magic powerful enough to make anything think, to any extent, is inherently dangerous."

He doesn't seem too worried when he says this. "You may be lucky enough that it's a benevolent power, but if not..."

"I think it's benevolent."
Mereba says quickly.

"You guys mind keeping your words simple?" Jess grumbles from behind.

She sighs, before explaining. "Kind, good, not wanting to hurt things."

"...If you're sure, then it's fine, whatever it is." Andrew looks at Mereba dead on.
"But you'd have to be completely, absolutely sure."

She closes her eyes, thinking for a second before responding, her eyes open again.
"I'm sure."

She recieves a warm smile in return. "That's good. I'm glad there's nothing to worry about."
>>
No. 544735 ID: 827e5d
File 138221968445.png - (973B , 133x27 , PH3.png )
544735

Jess taps his foot in annoyance. "Jeez, he really is taking awhile."

"He did mention he needed to talk to some people about it first."
Andrew reminds.

"...Wait, he did? I missed that!" Mereba says, taken aback.

Andrew raises an eyebrow to her. "Is that a probl-"

Before he can even finish, she's hopped to her feet. "Damn it. We need to leave! It was nice meeting you and all tha-"

"So this is him, huh?"

CRAP.

>>
No. 544736 ID: 827e5d
File 138221975084.png - (1.07KB , 133x27 , PH4.png )
544736

Mereba comes face to face with the last thing she wanted to see right now.

"Why did they come here with the Elder?!"


The woman chimes in cheerfully. "Oh! Merry, I was wondering where you've been all day!"

Mereba's voice comes out strained. "Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad."

Mereba's mother speaks up again, a wry smile on her face. "Hanging out with your boyfriend again, are you?"

"Hesnotmyboyfr-"
"I'm not her..."


Her father lets out a low laugh. "Now, now, no need to hassle her when she's on a date, we're here to see the wanderer after all."

"Why are you guys here, anyway?" says Mereba, her arms crossed in annoyance.

"Gene and Erin wanted to meet Andrew in person, to see if he is as strong as he claims," Elder Gamuth explains.

As he says this, Gene walks over to Andrew, and he looks at him face to face.
>>
No. 544739 ID: 827e5d
File 138221986260.png - (1.09KB , 133x27 , PH5.png )
544739

Andrew waits a bit, before testing the waters. "Um..."

"Your eyes are too soft."

"Pardon?"
He says, taken aback.

"Your heart's in the right place, but we can't have anyone worried about the fate of their enemy fighting by our side."
Gene crosses his arms. "When it comes right down to it, we're going to fight, and we're going to end people's lives.
Eyes like that aren't up to task."


Andrew sets his backpack aside, his expression hardening. "Trust me, I can fight."

Gene smirks. "Can you?"

"These people turned to a destructive way of life. They're killing, probably without remorse, to sustain themselves.
If you think wiping them out is best, then I will not falter."

>>
No. 544740 ID: 827e5d
File 138221995018.png - (937B , 133x27 , PH6.png )
544740

"...Fair enough." Gene finally replies.

Erin speaks up. "Gamuth says that you believe you can take on this entire group by yourself."

Andrew turns his head to her, nodding in affirmation. "Not all at the same time, of course.
I'd take a day or two to scout the place, then pick them apart as best I can."

He shrugs. "It wouldn't be the fastest way to go about it, but it would be the safest, and you can save your fighting-ready people for more important things, like the Cry."

The two parents look to each other, smiling.
"We agree."
Gene turns back to him. "Except for one thing, the fact that you feel the need to do this alone.
We'll go with you."


This is immediately followed by five very surprised "What?!"s.

"We've had a plan of attack for the past few days, we just needed to finish mapping a layout of the place."
Erin explains.
"Scrying isn't perfect, but I've given it enough casts that our map is at least 90% on the mark."

Gene continues. "The only thing we were worried about was the fact it would only be us two.
However, with you around, it should work out just fine."


The Elder regains his composure. "Now hold on a minute, what if either of you get hurt? We can't have our two best fighters hurt before the Crimson Moon."

Erin frowns at him. "So it's fair that this young man puts himself at risk?"

"I'm not that young."


Gene looks to Andrew, smirking. "Regardless, the chance of us getting hurt is a lot less if we put as much force as possible to the problem."
>>
No. 544741 ID: 827e5d
File 138221998242.png - (1.10KB , 133x27 , PH7.png )
544741

Mereba speaks up, managing to stay calm. "If that's true, then let us come with you!"

On the other hand, Jess is absolutely livid. "We've been trying to get you to take us for weeks, and then you're just letting this random guy go instead?!"
>>
No. 544742 ID: 827e5d
File 138222000188.png - (1.01KB , 133x27 , PH8.png )
544742

Andrew looks to both parties in awkward silence, before taking a sudden interest in the contents of his backpack.
>>
No. 544743 ID: 827e5d
File 138222008435.png - (945B , 133x27 , PH9.png )
544743

Gene's face softens. "I know you both wanted to come, for your own reasons."
He nods slightly to Jess. "However, you two aren't ready for something like this."

"How am I not ready?" Mereba insists. "I've been practicing nonstop! I can even cast basic spells without getting tired anymore!"

"I've been training so much, I was even able to knock that guy flat!" Jess says, pointing to the blonde swordsman.

The two parents look to their would-be companion skeptically as he holds up a hand in confirmation, missing the death glare from their daughter to her friend.
"REALLY."
"...Well, I did!"


Erin can't help but grin at the thought. "As impressive as that is... I'm sorry, but it's not about your combat ability."

"We've been over this."
Gene continues. "This isn't the sort of thing you should be dealing with on your first time out.
Fighting people is harder than you think, even if you have a grudge against them."

Jess considers a reply, but thinks better of it, going back to looking sour. Mereba does otherwise.
"So I'm just supposed to sit here, worried sick if you're going to come back or not. Again."

"We will."

"But..."

"I'm sorry. I know it's hard, but we'll come back. We always do."
Erin adds.

That's easy for you to say, you're not the one sitting home, worried sick.
Every time you go do something so dangerous, it could be the last time I see you two alive...


"I'll make sure they make it back."
>>
No. 544744 ID: 827e5d
File 138222013952.png - (1.05KB , 133x27 , PH10.png )
544744

Everyone turns to Andrew, having forgotten him for a minute.

"Trust me."

Elder Gamuth finally speaks up. "Well, you heard the young man."

"Indeed. He'll protect us, so we'll make it back just fine. Okay?" Erin remarks lightheartedly.

After a bit, Mereba lets out a sigh. "Okay."

Gene claps his hands together. "Alright then. We'll get all the pleasantries out of the way on the way there."
The two turn to leave, as Erin adds one more thing. "Just meet us at the north gate once you get your supplies. Got it, Andrew?"

Andrew nods in response. "Yes, ma'am. We'll attack tonight, then?"

"If all goes well. See you there~!"


Damn it...

>>
No. 544793 ID: d2995c

If you are worried, you might try sending us with the adventurer.
>>
No. 544795 ID: 1a029e

>>544793
Dunno if he'd be willing to trust us, frankly...Annd I dunno-our abilities applied to combat are limited-we can prevent an ambush, but...That's about it. As far as combat advice? I don't think we could give too much that wouldn't just be common sense to these trained fighters.
>>
No. 545384 ID: e878fe
File 138277900749.png - (129.18KB , 500x400 , 1-28.png )
545384

Mereba whispers to you.
"There might not be much you can do, but it would make me feel better knowing someone is keeping an eye on them."

"I'm sorry, but they're right."

Mereba jumps a bit, looking to Andrew as he stands in front of her.
"Bandits or not, we are going to be killing people out there.
It's no easy task."


She quickly regains her composure.
"I think I'd find it easier than sitting at home, waiting for the news of my parents deaths."

Andrew smiles again, but there's no warmth in it, and he says nothing.

"I know I shouldn't try to come with you. So, can you do something else for me instead?"


"More favors?"

"You did ask if there was anything you can do."

"True, true!"
He lets out a slight chuckle.

Mereba takes a deep breath to steady herself, before holding you out toward Andrew.
>>
No. 545385 ID: e878fe
File 138277912358.png - (145.07KB , 500x400 , 1-29.png )
545385

"Take this with you."

He offers a raised eyebrow in return. "Oh, your pethaImean--magic stone?"

"Look, I know it seems silly, but my parents gave it to me when I was just a kit.
It's supposed to bring you good luck. A luckstone, they call it."


"Fitting."

"Right, but... what good is it to me if I'm sitting here?
I figure that they could do with a bit of luck, but they'll never take it, so I thought..."

"Give me a bit of luck, which gives them a bit of luck too?"


She nods. "R-right, that's it."

He reaches out his hand, but stops just short of taking you.

"Y'know, this is quite a lot to trust me with. Your parents, and one of your most prized possessions?"

"Listen to you, hotshot. My parents aren't pushovers, you know."

Andrew grins.

"They trust you. The elder trusts you. Not to mention you were able to put up with Jess's nonsense."

"Oy!" Jess lets out a cry of indignation from behind.

Mereba gives him a sidelong glance. "It's true! You haven't even apologized for hitting him!"

He offers a set of crossed arms. "I ain't sorry about it yet!"

Mereba's disdain is extremely visible.

"At least he's honest about it."

Shaking her head as she turns back to Andrew, she continues.
"Anyway, I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone else I've ever met who managed to pull all three of those off.
If I can't give you a chance, then who can I?"
She finishes with a shrug.
>>
No. 545386 ID: e878fe
File 138277919250.png - (43.25KB , 500x400 , 1-30.png )
545386

Andrew hesitates for a bit, before taking the stone, bowing afterward.

"I won't let you down, Mereba."

"I'm hoping."

She snaps her fingers, a puff of flame spouting upward before quickly dying out.
"Because I'm gonna torch you if you're lying, got it?"

He laughs as he turns to leave. "Well, then I have nothing to worry about!"

He gets about halfway out of sight before Jess shouts after him.
"Hey! Don't die out there, okay!"

Andrew raises his hand, giving a thumbs up until he disappears into the trees.

Before your vision of the two gives way, one last thought enters your consciousness.
Be safe, you guys.
>>
No. 545387 ID: e878fe
File 138277922460.png - (74.81KB , 500x400 , 1-31.png )
545387

Your vision refocuses, centering on the swordsman now carrying you.
>>
No. 545394 ID: dc7649

hello swordsman. You ready for this?
>>
No. 545534 ID: 761017

Are you really a Vetian?

How're you doing after that punch from earlier?
>>
No. 546448 ID: 3ef1a5
File 138345521402.png - (81.06KB , 500x400 , 1-32.png )
546448

Alright, let's try to update this more frequently than a freaking week, shall we?
I was hoping to try to solve the problem by myself, considering places like this generally have... well... their best isn't that good.
So much for that.

Now I have to keep an eye on these two, as well as find these rings, and make sure Mereba's magic stone that may or may not be filled with a bunch of voices doesn't get damaged.


Andrew sighs. "It's never easy, is it?"

His step skips a beat, an honest look of surprise on his face for a moment before continuing on.
"Wow, the voices didn't take long at all, did they?"

"Yeah, I'm ready. I'm just hoping Mereba's parents fit the bill."


He listens, somehow not bewildered by the fact he's hearing with his mind, and not his ears.
"Well. Half-Vetian. The other half is human, so I'm not as strong as a full-blooded one. Strong enough, though."

"Oh, Jess? He punched harder than I expected, but it was pretty easy to step with it. His style is pretty basic."


He looks to his backpack, where you now sit.
"Let me guess, you want to pick my brain, too?
Just remember, if you're up to something I'm not going to stand for it."


Although I have a feeling that sitting around as someone's pet rock ranks pretty low in nefariousness.
>>
No. 546450 ID: 53ba34

all we got is talk. but there are a lot of us so we can think really fast. and we can see without eyes so we can like, see behind you.
>>
No. 546468 ID: 65f0b0

Sooo...
1 Skilled dude at...Hrrm. Let's say level 10-15, high enough to conceviably solo this thing. That's you.
2...Lesser country folk fighters, unknown but presumed at level 5ish or around that area. Not bad, but definately a load...
And that's our squad.
Ok.
Sooo a few ideas. First off, something that might not be a bad idea, is to sit down and work out a plan of attack-ties well into what we do, and might give you a chance to get more insight into how skilled or not your companions are.
Plus, we can run over any and all tactically important information and possibly offer refined insights.
As far as our intentions...Well, listen, and judge for yourself. We generally tend to be most loyal to whoever we consider our 'owner', I think? Either way that would be Mereba, the girl that gave us to you.
>>
No. 546816 ID: 5df76e
File 138372883477.jpg - (36.80KB , 500x400 , 1-33.jpg )
546816

>>544736 Sorry, placeholders are harder to fill than I thought, but here's an image for this one. http://i.imgur.com/dXOcslK.jpg

"Tend to be loyal to, huh?" Andrew thinks aloud.
"So you've had different owners before? Nothing... bad happened to them, I take it?"

He shrugs. "Either way, Mereba's had you most of her life, and she trusts you.
In the end, what's the world if we can't trust other people, eh? Especially when they can watch your back for you."
"Speaking of which, I'm sure looking forward to trusting some low level scryin-- ...Huh."

His frown at the thought turns to a look of awe.
"Well."
>>
No. 546817 ID: 5df76e
File 138372891246.jpg - (38.92KB , 500x400 , 1-34.jpg )
546817

Gene's better armed than I expected.
...Damn, that's a sweet axe.


Gain looks to his axe with a knowing look, then back to the swordsman.
"About time you got here, Tybalt!"

"You told me to go grab supplies, didn't you?"


He points to your backpack.
"Well, that bag doesn't look much heavier. Jess hold you up by trying to fight you again?"

Andrew waves his hands. "No, no, nothing like that. We've come to a bit of an understanding."

A softer, casual sounding voice chimes in.
"I see. I apologize, he's... understandably wary of travelers. We all are, admittedly."
>>
No. 546818 ID: 5df76e
File 138372896496.jpg - (29.60KB , 500x400 , 1-35.jpg )
546818

Erin looks a bit lightly armored for this, though.
Even if she can use Magic, a well placed strike could do some serious damage.


"Hopefully I can help ease the tensions a bit." Andrew offers.

"Well, we appreciate the help." She gives him an honest smile in return.
"Speaking of which, I think it's about time we came up with a plan of attack, don't you?"
>>
No. 546819 ID: 5df76e
File 138372910146.jpg - (54.82KB , 500x400 , 1-36.jpg )
546819

"You want my opinion?"

"Well, we've been so busy with the Cry happening soon to get a solid plan," Gene says.
"Not to mention there's three of us now.

"Sorry about the small gap in the layout, I tried scrying it multiple times, but it kept shrugging off every attempt." Erin finishes with a frustrated huff.

Something that can block a scrying spell, even a low level one, seems a bit above what bandits should be able to do...
Interesting...


Alright, let's see if I can be a bit faster updating now.
>>
No. 546823 ID: 53ba34

ugh, sloppy work. making something impossible to see just means they have something worth hiding. proper anti-scry is a confounder. make yourself look like you are weaker then you really are. then when a attack force shows up ready to kill your "weak" army, BAM you hit them with a strong one.

anyway, think a fast strike for that sleeping area on the left would be good.
>>
No. 546827 ID: 6924b8

Hrm...
Sooo retriving the valuables, as well as getting the two ruby rings from whoever's wearing them, as well as general bandit buttkicking...
Sounds like we want to hit the room with the G at what to our view is the top-left.
What I don't like is the sheer distance from any entrance to it-too likely we'll be found out before hand even if we beeline for it.
Going for what I'm presuming to be the sleeping area with the Z's seems like a good way to reduce overall Bandit Numbers...
...Alright.
The front door with the eyes will get us detected immeadiately, but lets us go straight into the 'black' area. The 'side entrance' seems less defended, but it's far from anything we'd want to hit early on...
Part of me wonders if we could just use magic to blast through the wall-that way we could get through to someplace sensitive and surprise them.
Does cost us the element of surprise though...
Sooo next to the room that has what looks like cages? There's this funny zig-zaggy mark on it. Is that a trapped room?

In general...I feel like we should try and avoid that darkened area as much as possible, and only dive into it when necessary. We also should hit either the sleeping quarters or anyplace we think our particular targets are, so we can get out of there quickly-No offense to you guys but I'm not thinking with the idea we can blow through the bandits-I'm thinking with the idea that we need to be fast, and stealthy about this.
So.
Either Side-entrance or WALL BUSTING! to get in, beeline for sleeping area to cut down on bandits, or armory to prevent them from using weapons on us, get vital targets, and get out of there.
>>
No. 547036 ID: d2995c

The armory would be the best target normally, but it is behind the blocked zone that is probably relatively heavily guarded, so the side entrance near the sleeping area is probably better.
>>
No. 583765 ID: b1b2e8
File 140508683319.png - (88.55KB , 500x400 , 1-37.png )
583765

Andrew pours over the map for a bit too long, making Erin uneasy.
"I apologize if the map looks a bit odd. My husband had to draw it. A bit hard to focus on scrying and doing anything else at the same time."

"H-hey, it doesn't look that bad!" Gene adds quickly.

It's awful.

"It's no big deal. If I'm reading this right, then it looks like the front is under heavy guard." Andrew's eyes shift. "Not to mention a possible sleeping quarters on the left side..."

"The side entrance is heavily guarded by trees. I obviously can't tell how many people are guarding it..." Erin trails off.

"Scrying spells can't detect living beings, right?"

Erin smiles. "You've done your homework, Andrew!"

"I'd be a pretty lousy Hero if I didn't." He says, a knowing smile on his face.

Gene clears his throat.
"Yes, there's some beds on the left side. That's the three Zs. The sleeping quarters."

"Of course, dear."

"Anyway," Gene continues, "if we're quiet enough, we can sneak in the side entrance, and cut down their numbers."

Andrew nods. "Best done at night, then?"

"Maybe. How's your vision?" Erin asks.

"Better than a normal human, probably as good as yours in low light."

Gene nods. "That'll do then. Night it is. We'll camp a mile out, with no fire."

"Sounds good. One more question, though."

"Yeah?"

Andrew speaks carefully. "Why is there a... face on the bottom right of the map?"

"Those are watchtowers!"

Erin barely stifles a chuckle.

"Right. Of course." Andrew finishes, a slight smirk on his face.
>>
No. 583766 ID: b1b2e8
File 140508701770.png - (102.28KB , 500x400 , 1-38.png )
583766

The three have made a small campsite, taking care not to be too obvious.
They're not too far from the bandit's camp, making the final checks on their equipment, and having a quick bite to eat.
Andrew makes sure to keep an eye on you at all times.

The whole lesser country folk fighters comment's been bugging me... I mean, they seem like they've been in a few fights, but there's probably a large number of bandits in there.

"Please remember to keep an ear out for my signal. I don't want to singe your fur this time."

"Eh? Not like it got me that bad last time."

"That's just asking for trouble, honey."

A few spells and a nice axe won't help if they get overrun... and I did promise Mereba they'd be safe.

The pair have been talking for quite awhile, and it just now hit them how quiet Andrew has been.

"Something wrong, man? You looked a lot more confident earlier." Gene raises an eyebrow, while Erin looks at Andrew with concern.

"You're used to working in a group, aren't you? Or are you nervous?"

I don't want to offend them, but now might be a good time to have a serious talk about what they can do, or if they should even come along.
I kind of have a feeling that they wouldn't listen, even if I did tell them that, but there has to be some way to put it delicately...

>>
No. 583769 ID: 2c4eb9

...So, my current plan, is go in and be stealthy. If we end up fighting these bandits we'll end up fighting large numbers of them at once-a real mob fight. Honestly: How many do you think you can take at once working together?
>>
No. 583774 ID: 638a22

>Scrying spells can't detect living beings, right?
But it detects trees? And what about all non-living things people tend to carry on them? You'd think enemies would have weapons and armor and stuff that maybe you could ping.
>>
No. 639032 ID: c51469
File 143110209405.png - (187.66KB , 800x600 , 1-39alkogolik.png )
639032

Thank you, Sombermann. Seriously.

Well, if I remember about scrying spells correctly, then trying to locate objects on a person would be blocked by their own personal resistance to the magic.
Intelligent beings inherently have a resistance to magical forces, which is why you can't just walk up to people and make them do dances or hurt each other.


"I'm not nervous, I'm just..."
Andrew takes a deep breath. "Are you sure you can handle this?"

The two Usurans exchange bemused glances with each other.

"That's what you're worried about?" Gene says with a big grin.

"I mean no disrespect, it's just that I'm... not the best at watching other people's backs." Andrew admits.

Erin responds with a soft smile. "Don't stress that kind heart of yours, we've seen plenty of combat."

Gene looks to Andrew as he stands. "Just bring those swords of yours to bear, and we'll have your back."
"Looks like it's about time. Are you ready, Andrew?"


Andrew gets to his feet. "Ready as I'll ever be."

"Right then." Erin hops up, brushing herself off. "We'll start by taking the side entrance. If it's too heavily guarded, we'll bust in through the side."
>>
No. 639033 ID: c51469
File 143110213660.png - (99.05KB , 800x600 , 1-40alkogolik.png )
639033

The group ends up cutting through the forest in the last bit of light left, before ending up close to the side entrance.
A single, lightly armored man stands near the doorway.

"Light guard."
Erin holds up a hand, but Gene waves her down, a resolute look on his face as he walks forward.
>>
No. 639034 ID: c51469
File 143110217977.png - (149.33KB , 800x600 , 1-41alkogolik.png )
639034

Before the guard can do more than gasp, Gene puts on a burst of speed, dodging to his side and landing a solid hit to the guard's temple with the haft of his axe.
The terran goes down with a thump.

Whoa. Even I could barely react to that.

Gene motions to the others to follow him as Erin steps forward, muttering something as one of her cesti glows a soft blue.
"Should be low enough without drawing too much attention. Coming, Andrew?"

He nods, as he follows the two inside.
>>
No. 639035 ID: c51469
File 143110222169.png - (110.25KB , 800x600 , 1-42alkogolik.png )
639035

Not long into traversing the entrance corridor, the group ends up in a small circular room with three exits, and lit by torches.
There's no sign of anyone, and the room lacks any meaningful furnishings.

Erin keeps her voice low. "The un-scryable area is straight ahead. There's a corridor that loops around to one of the sleeping areas and the treasure room to the left, and the weak-walled room on the right."

The rings that Jess asked me to find might be in there...

"The left side would also lead to their food stores, if I remember right." Gene adds, his hands tightening around his axe. "Maybe we'll get lucky and catch a few by surprise while they're grabbing a snack."

He recieves a smirk from Erin. "Hon, I thought we were supposed to be sneaking around until we found their leader?"

He keeps looking forward. "Wouldn't mind taking out a few on the way, less to deal with in the long run."

"...I'd rather keep casualties to a minimum, honestly. We can rout them without killing many of them, I'm sure." Andrew says confidently.

Gene casts a glance at him. "Forgive me if I don't agree after all the problems they've caused."

Before the conversation can get heated, Erin interjects.
"At any rate, we should pick a direction."
>>
No. 639045 ID: d3be40

Mildly poisoning the food supplies might make things easier without increasing casualties. Plus, all that treasure could be confiscated by the enemy once the alarm sets off.

You can also set a trap near the breakable wall if you have the right tools for breaching. The treasure room might have the materials.

So, Left corridor first (poison rations and obtain treasure), right corridor next (place breaching charges on the wall), middle corridor last (take down the leader). Stay in stealth as long as you can.
>>
No. 639056 ID: bd8b82

should head left so we can work our way around behind the unscryable area, probably have most defenses on this side near the outer door.
>>
No. 639177 ID: 57d76a

>>639045
Poisning the food only helps if we give them time to eat it. Which, I'm pretty sure, we're not planning to do.

So hey, Andrew, what were you going to call us when Mereba gave us to you, if I may ask? "Petha-" something? I mean, you'd think we'd know what we are, but nope, memory just goes out the window.
>>
No. 639458 ID: 79940c

>>639045
I doubt we're going to be here long enough for poisoning supplies to matter. Also, we didn't bring poison.

I'm not so sure the food stores are worth hitting, but it might be worth checking the weak walled room or the treasure room before going for the boss.
>>
No. 640354 ID: 68fe90
File 143162335147.png - (159.39KB , 700x500 , 1-43alkogolik.png )
640354

Poison... no, not an option, even if we did have the time. Far too underhanded. Should probably just sidestep that question.

Andrew keeps his voice low as he skillfully removes you from a pouch on his belt.

"I almost called you a pet rock, but I figured that would be rude. Seems even ruder in hindsight.
As for what you are, you're a luckstone, right? That's what Mereba called you, anyway."


Gene gives you and Andrew a look. "You don't need to talk to it too, unless you really think you need the luck."
>>
No. 640355 ID: 68fe90
File 143162348960.png - (83.87KB , 700x400 , 1-44alkogolik.png )
640355

Damn, I forgot how quiet it was in here!

Andrew puts you back in a flash, hiding his flushed cheeks as he regains his composure.

"Well, we should check the left, first. Securing the treasure room means they won't be able to make a run for it with all the money they've stolen from your settlement."
Andrew smiles. "Not to mention, all the terrans of Sanasota would be pretty happy to hear you helped get their stuff back."

"Already looking ahead, huh?" Gene gives Andrew a knowing look. "It's not that simple between them and us, unfortunately."

Andrew continues without missing a beat. "Once we make sure the area is clear, including the sleeping quarters, we'll see if we can do anything with the thin walls to the right.
Well, depending on if we find anything in the treasure room."


Erin perks up. "Oh? What about me?"
>>
No. 640356 ID: 68fe90
File 143162361257.png - (74.61KB , 700x400 , 1-45alkogolik.png )
640356

Andrew frowns a bit back at her. "Well, I mean, you could blow it up, and our cover at the same time."

She scoffs in a bit of overblown indignation.
"I could liquidize the rock to form a doorway, or set a delayed magical emission that would cause an explosion half an hour from now, or--"

Wait, WHAT.

Andrew can barely hold back his surprise. "You can melt a hole in the wall?"

"Well, it's more like changing the structure from solid rock to mud." Erin explains.
"It's the only area on the map thin enough to actually get through, at any other point, I'd just be making crannies in the wall and wasting my energy."

Altering the structure like that, and talking about it like it's no big deal...

"How strong -are- you?"

Erin smiles one of her soft smiles, taking a confident stance. "Enough to make this easy as long as we're smart."

"Let's stick with the treasure room for now, then. We'll start with the sabotage when we get a better footing in this place."
Gene starts walking toward the left corridor, as Erin looks back to the still stunned Andrew.
"Coming, Andrew? You're the vanguard, remember?"
>>
No. 640357 ID: 68fe90
File 143162365023.png - (127.11KB , 700x500 , 1-46alkogolik.png )
640357

Right. So, she just so happens to be a magus that can harness mid-range arcane magic without much worry, and he's experienced enough to move quicker than my reflexes can follow.
...Yeah, totally normal for country bumpkins.


The group ends up in a large room after a sequence of long hallways. The lighting in here is different: proper lanterns with wax candles, and even an enchanted stone or two giving off a soft glow.
There are plenty of items and money scattered about the tables, obviously in the middle of being sorted.
Racks of weapons and armor line the walls, and chests are laid out in an organized pattern in the center of the room.

What the hell? This is way more than they'd be able to get from two villages and merchants on the roads.
>>
No. 640358 ID: 68fe90
File 143162369914.png - (139.40KB , 700x500 , 1-47alkogolik.png )
640358

Gene's expression hardens as he scans the hallway behind the group.
"...Three hallways and a treasure room without a sentry or a single patrol. I'd expect better guard than this, even at night."

"This is unsettling. Their attacks on the roads were coordinated enough that we had a hard time following them. This seems... out of character."
Erin looks a bit worried as well.

Andrew surveys the room a bit from the entrance before crossing his arms.
"It also looks like they've been way busier than we thought. There's no way we can just carry or hide all this quickly."

"Well, we could try to sift through some of it now for anything useful, or make it harder for them to run away with any valuables." Gene offers.

"Or maybe..."

"Maybe what, Andrew?" Erin asks.
>>
No. 640365 ID: 57d76a

>>640354
Uh...huh. Suure.

Oh, uh. You don't need to talk out loud, I think. We're picking up some of your thoughts, so just think at us and we should hear it.

...I actually thought you were doing that or I would've told you earlier. We need to tell Mereba when we get back to her too... honestly what have the earlier voices been doing.
>>
No. 640390 ID: 5afdff

go back, if it isnt guarded then theres going to be traps for sure, and check out an different room
>>
No. 640442 ID: bd8b82

if any of the weapons are super enchanted it would be a good idea to snag those before a fight. the leader probably already got the pick so you need an edge to fight them.
>>
No. 640446 ID: 79940c

Giant unguarded treasure piles scream 'trap' or 'something has gone very very wrong'. And wandering into a trap, or someone else's disaster, is never a good thing.

Less wondering about good fortune, more alertness and paranoia.
>>
No. 641050 ID: a53f7c

Slight technical difficulties. Switching to text mode for a bit. Should let me update faster, too.

Wait a damn minute, this link's a two-way street?
...If you ever end up talking to Gene, don't tell him I thought his map was awful.
Man, this is going to be weird. But more to the point...


"Maybe you're right. This is a bit too easy." Andrew muses.

Gene keeps his eyes on the area behind the group, readying his axe.
"What do you think, a trap?"

"Or that someone got here before us..."

Erin hesitates for a second before replying.
"Maybe they ticked off the wrong people at some point? This loot can't all be from Sanasota and our village."

"Sanasota could have hired some Heroes too, Eri."
Gene walks back a bit to get a better view of the area as Andrew shakes his head.

"No, there are only two Heroes there besides me, and they wouldn't do a job like this for free. The town's strapped for cash as it is."

Erin starts following her husband.
"Let's take a better look around before we sift through all this, then. There's a sleeping area near here, that's a good start."

The two fighters nod at her in reply.
>>
No. 641051 ID: a53f7c

The group doubles back, travelling down the currently unexplored hallway a short distance, before Erin puts a hand on Andrew's shoulder.
When he looks back, she has a finger to her lips, and then points to her ears.

Man, I didn't know an Usuran's hearing was that good. I don't even hear an--

Andrew's flow of thought abruptly stops as he, and by extension, you, hear two muffled voices up ahead.
"...Damn... snack... lazy..."
"...my fault... hungry..."


Crap, not good. Their timing's awful. Pretty sure we're close to one of the sleeping areas right now!
>>
No. 641132 ID: 57d76a

>>641051
They're headed from the eating area to the entrance we came in, yeah? We could return to the treasure room, either to ambush them as they pass, or to let them pass us. They will of course realize somthing's amiss when they reach the entrance, but hopefully by that time we can have the sleeping areas barricaded or have some way of supressing the alarm.
>>
No. 641161 ID: 82c018

Return to the treasure room passage opening then ambush from around the corner.

By the way, when we are not immediately sleeping ask if the wall-to-mud thing can be used on a layer of floor or ceiling to trip up enemies caught in it.
>>
No. 655888 ID: 57e7ca
File 143690566226.png - (9.92KB , 480x326 , 1-50.png )
655888

Good idea, and since you mention it...

Andrew motions to Erin as the group hurries back to the treasure room.
He receives a raised eyebrow in return, and applies his palm to his forehead.

I was never good at charades.

"Mud." He says in a hushed tone.

"Ah!" Erin gets a mischievous grin on her face as she points to the floor, a soft glow radiating from her extended fingers to the ground.
The ground shudders a bit, and it looks a bit softer if you look at it well enough.

Nodding to each other, the three duck around the corner.
>>
No. 655889 ID: 57e7ca
File 143690573149.png - (10.91KB , 480x326 , 1-51.png )
655889

The two bandits continue their walk forward.

"The boss is going to find out about this. James is a godsdamned snitch, you know that."
"He's not going to rat us out for being a few minutes late."
"A few? Shift change is at sundown. You better hope he's in a good mood."
"Whatever. I bet you he's sleeping or something."
"That'd be even worse. It doesn't matter if our boss is a bad-ass, if someone got in here, they'd have to go through us first."


The pair come into view walking side by side. One of them is a female Terran; the other is a male Rhat, his cat-like ears covered with a bandanna.

The Terran continues. "Who'd do that? The sissies in Sanasota? Those little fuzzballs that forgot moving all the time keeps them from getting killed?"
"I dunno, I bet those Usurans are pissed that we killed some of 'em."
"Yeah, I'd like to see those veggie-munching dogs try somethi--"


Before she can finish, the two uncerimoniously topple into the pit of mud.
Andre and Gene spring forward as the bandits try to orient themselves.

"WHA--"

Before they can make much noise, Gene delivers a solid chop with his axe to the Terran's neck.
Andrew follows suit with a well-placed stab to the Rhat's chest.

"Fffff..."
Before Andrew's target can utter another word, he's slain.

"Well, you asked." Gene says coldly.
>>
No. 655891 ID: 99cfa8

>>655889
Hmm. If you can bury them in the mud before turning it back to rock, there'll be no evidence! Check them for those rings first though. Don't want to bury those in solid rock.
>>
No. 655901 ID: bd8b82

>>655891
good idea.
>>
No. 656135 ID: ab7529

Rip, unnamed bandits.

Cover up evidence of the fight, as best you can.
>>
No. 663528 ID: 57e7ca
File 143987576607.jpg - (437.36KB , 700x647 , 1-51snager.jpg )
663528

snager on art now. Thanks, snager!

The three hold their breaths for a second, seeing if any of the light noise aroused suspicions.

Hearing nothing after a time, they all breathe a sigh of relief.

Andrew pulls up the recently impaled Rhat slightly, checking for any sign of the rings Jess told him about.
"Could you check the other one for me, Gene?"

He looks down at his former target, pausing a moment.
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No. 663531 ID: 57e7ca
File 143987602355.jpg - (311.30KB , 599x695 , 1-52snager.jpg )
663531

"Marian and Hale's rings, right?" Gene pauses again.
"I mean, the body's not going anywhere."

Andrew frowns at him. "Yeah, but you took her head clean off. If you're gonna decapitate people, don't make me look at that."
He grumbles as he frisks the corpse quickly.
>>
No. 663537 ID: 57e7ca
File 143987626836.jpg - (212.70KB , 616x684 , 1-53snager.jpg )
663537

The two look to each other, shaking their heads as they drop their respective bodies.
Andrew can't help but shudder a bit, as Erin pats his back lightly.
"I know, it's grim work, but it has to be done."
She points at the muddy makeshift grave and clenches her fist, the dirt hardening back into stone.
"I have to wonder what your plan was if you came up here alone?"
>>
No. 663539 ID: 57e7ca
File 143987630335.jpg - (253.28KB , 631x683 , 1-54snager.jpg )
663539

The Half-Vetian crosses his arms. "A surgical strike on the leader. Make them confused and a non-issue until after the Cry."
He shakes his head. "Of course, this would probably happen eventually."

Gene makes a grim nod as he starts for the hallway back to the sleeping area.
"They gave up their right to mercy when they started killing people."
>>
No. 663540 ID: 57e7ca
File 143987633108.jpg - (344.47KB , 700x801 , 1-55snager.jpg )
663540

Erin follows him, offering a understanding smile backward as she goes.
Andrew hesitates a bit before following.
This is going to get messy.
>>
No. 663760 ID: ab7529

>They gave up their right to mercy when they started killing people.
Mercy isn't a right. But yeah, we get what they're saying.

>This is going to get messy.
Yeah. No real way around it, unfortunately.

Do we have a plan for approaching the remainder of the bandits, or are we just going strait in now?
>>
No. 667514 ID: 57e7ca
File 144149202896.png - (68.33KB , 601x514 , 1-56.png )
667514

With how many we have, the obvious tactic is to pick off who we can, taking advantage of weaknesses in their defenses.
They can't be allowed to get a foothold in the region again.
My plan was to just kill their leader, destabilizing them until long after the Cry, but it looks like we're slaying them to the last.
They haven't really talked about it, and I don't blame them.


The party travels down the passage again, keeping an ear out for patrols until they pass the sleeping quarters.
>>
No. 667515 ID: 57e7ca
File 144149226998.png - (83.60KB , 682x514 , 1-57.png )
667515

Gene makes a halting motion, and points to the slightly ajar door.
Slowly walking up, he takes a peek inside, and then turns to the others, making motions with his hands.

You hear Andrew mentally processing what he's trying to say.
See... half of the room... twenty beds on that side, most full.

Erin nods, replying.
One... strike... with a spell. Fire spell, reinforce the door. Very loud.

The fuzzy warrior gets a mean grin on his face, apparently pleased with the idea.
Sneaking... oh, a middle finger, got it.

Andrew waves his hand to get their attention, and makes a shushing motion.
Is there a way to do it quietly?

After a moment, Erin nods.
Magic... jam the door. Long time to open. Could be broken down with enough people.

Gene shakes his head hard.
He wants this done. If we nuke that room though, anyone else left in this place will definitely hear us. We'd kill a lot, though.
>>
No. 667517 ID: 2f4b71

Seal the door, airtight (pack the edges with mud?) with a small fire set in the middle of the room. Smoke inhalation in an enclosed environment, followed by hypoxia.
>>
No. 667609 ID: 82c018

>>667517
That should work as long as you can set the small fire quietly.
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