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File 166873871922.png - (256.10KB , 522x700 , 15-1.png )
1049539 No. 1049539 ID: 9272af

Chapter 15
Adult content 18+

First thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/860238.html
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Moot_Point
Previous chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1013588.html
123 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1054006 ID: 15c72a

If Moot doesn't want to be a lacky, then she can just demand to be in charge.
>>
No. 1054014 ID: c28082

>>1053962

Odd metaphor, but fitting, considering the destruction this war has already caused. Alright, fair enough. Tell us about your stitches, and maybe we'll prove partial to your methods, vampire.
>>
No. 1054017 ID: 9a2966

>>1054005
Proving his intentions would be the big 'un here. This is a tough sell, as he surely can tell.

If he renounced his old ways - this damn game of pawns and players, toying with people's lives and deaths - and abandoned his whole damn necr-operation here to come with her... that'd be a neat start. Moot could enforce it, too - he'd only be able to go where and when she pleased if she dumped him somewhere his physical form couldn't easily escape in-between whatever tasks he's got planned. And if he offed his physical form to escape spiritually, she'd know during a check-in.

If he really has a plan that only needs him and her - if he can swear to this - then he won't need any of these armies and trappings of rule, yeah? Then that's the price for Moot's power is his power. His role and authority, now and forever, ceded to the people. Moot ain't gonna prop up some lich just for him to get away with lording over everyone in the end, no matter how well-intentioned.

Or the two of them can start duking it out now - and he can see how long it'll take him to get back from the furthest reach she can push her portals. There's some... interesting places out there.
>>
No. 1054019 ID: 9c856e

>>1053981

Hekal's a cat (at least in his current body), Moot's a cat, it's not too far-fetched an idea. They clearly end up trusting each other quite a bit, so who knows how far it went with time
>>
No. 1054021 ID: 2a82d3

>>1053981
Even kids aren't the exact model of their parents. This is more along the lines of reincarnation. That could've been was her final measure to keep his ambitions in check and ensure he'd live up to his word: a way of having "her" see the results of his efforts through fresh eyes.

As to the question of whether they "were intimate", it has horrifying yet intriguing implications. She would not even remotely consider it unless he proves here and now he can eventually, and perhaps literally, warm up to her as a person not a tool.
>>
No. 1054026 ID: 889865

>>1054021

To be fair, we've already seen Casey get intimate with Sir Opinel, a literal animated dead body. In contrast, I think the body a vampire usually inhabits might still be alive.
>>
No. 1054085 ID: 9272af
File 167409690044.png - (123.45KB , 587x700 , 15-34.png )
1054085

“This is fuck’n weird…” Moot scratches her ear, shifting uncomfortably as the warlord begs for her assistance. “So what, you want me to help beat all the vampires, then you take over? Rule the world?”

Hekal looks at the arraignment of forces on his war room table and sighs. “I don’t deserve to rule this world. I’ve been running this machine of death out of pure, delusional spite. It would be best for it to end and be forgotten. If you help me seal the wells and stop the wars, you may do with me whatever you see fit.” 

“What about them?” Augustine asks, one finger poking at the map, “All them men? You just gonna leave em? They gonna be forgotten too?”

“Yes. I must trust them to do what they can in my absence.” The warlord says simply, with a twinge of regret behind his cold voice. “The longer they continue to draw power from me, the more the lust for mana will consume them. They’re good soldiers and I can’t imagine my betrayal will be easy for them, but I cannot lead them any further.” 
>>
No. 1054086 ID: 9272af
File 167409691959.png - (165.33KB , 700x500 , 15-35.png )
1054086

Madame Moot paces as she thinks, her face scrunched up in a scowl. She huffs, clearly having come prepared for a fight, and now being asked to make a deal with a hated enemy. 

She spins on her heel and points with the sword of light, accidentally lopping a chair in half in the process. “Whats to stop you from doing a double-cross when we’re done, then? You know: when I’m not useful?” 

“An astute thought.” Hekal admits, which prompts a satisfied grin from the cat. “What do you propose?” 
>>
No. 1054088 ID: 43bc19

May be easier said than done for Rodwin, he's dedicated all those centuries in a giant dog to his master's vision.
>>
No. 1054124 ID: fa3034

Some sort of collateral, assurance, physical or spiritual proof of pact.
>>
No. 1054128 ID: c29e6e

Cue graves falling into existential dread.

>>1054124
A good thought. There's nothing more binding than a contract made by a fae.
>>
No. 1054130 ID: 2a82d3

Simple. Be a pain in the ass to double-cross. Be the student that has to and will one day surpass the rival master one day. (Basically, a shonen protagonist.) Train herself to eventually be his better in a variety of ways, and in a way prove herself always useful. If her magic fails him, her strength won't. If her strength fails him, her leadership won't.

If he's abandoning his army, obviously there will be a power vacuum to take advantage of. Was it actually comprised of all undead, or were some merely conscripted to be such? Getting her start liberating people from such fates, providing salvation from undeath, it's no wonder she'd be remembered as a saint. It works as a test of character too: in his absence, do they serve the man, for his power, or for his ideals? Only the third group could make the counter-intuitive decision he's making today.
>>
No. 1054135 ID: e5709d

There's only one viable means to ensuring an all-consuming undead overlord will lay down and die to a mere mortal at her command:

Link your souls together.

Ensure that if she dies, he dies with her. If she suffers, he'll suffer as well. If he throws her down a well and deprives her senses to keep her unconscious and as a new source of power, that just empowers the passive sense-share generated through the soul-link, which will allow her to assume direct control of Hekal.

Maybe add a third soul as an overwatch, to ensure he can't run circles around her.
>>
No. 1054136 ID: 15c72a

>>1054086
A truly binding pact will require assistance from a Fae.
>>
No. 1054139 ID: 8c7af7

"Gonna teach us how to seal a well, will ya? I see you've got one, yerself"

Even just knowing where and how he draws his power, and how to end it, is a pretty good assurance for a teleporter
>>
No. 1054141 ID: 904418

>>1054139

Yep. They gotta start somewhere. Sealing Hekal's own well, a vampire's most precious resource, would the best gesture of commitment he could offer
>>
No. 1054144 ID: 7309d2

This quest has been running so long, I'm no longer sure how much I remember from previous ones. How much have been said prior to this on Hekal's own attitude towards the war? I just also found his propasal not completely in line with his status. If he could provide a bit more on his motivation behind the change of heart it might be more convincing.
>>
No. 1054428 ID: 9272af
File 167443161955.png - (98.19KB , 700x500 , 15-36.png )
1054428

Augustine chews her lip for a moment and says, in halting tones, “Ow ‘bout… we get us a third party? Right? Maybe one of them Fae? I ain’t dealt with them much, but rules is rules with them.”

“There aren’t many Fae willing to deal with me, but you may be on to something. There’s someone I’ve had an eye on; perhaps they can be of help.” The vampire nods in sagely agreement. “Someone they call ‘the Teacher’.”

“An another thing: you want my trust? You gotta show me how to seal a well. You can start with yer own well.”

“I anticipated as much, and agree to your terms.”
Hekal stands up, a full head shorter than the Sender founder. “My well is here,” he points to a spot on the map, “Impossibly hidden in a place with no name. Can you take us there?”
>>
No. 1054429 ID: 9272af
File 167443162332.png - (202.74KB , 700x700 , 15-37.png )
1054429

The cat nods and rips open a gate with a claw.

The vampire approaches and examines the gate spell. The ragged edge shivers with a furious, uncontrolled energy: the sign of a self taught mage.

“Fascinating, its less of a ‘thing’ and more of a ‘place’…” he comments.

“Yeah don’t touch it, lest ya want ta lose a finger.” Augustine holds up a hand, revealing an unusually short pinky.

The vampire nods and steps through, “You know, with some experimentation, I daresay you could make it much safer…” He steps through the blinding light and into history, followed closely by Madam Moot.
>>
No. 1054434 ID: 36784c

>>1054429
Well? What are you waiting for Gabe? You saw the spot Hekal pointed at on the map. Can't you work the mercury device to look at where Hekal and Moot are going?
>>
No. 1054441 ID: 43bc19

>>1054428
By the sea huh? I've got a hunch the answer was under everyone's feet the whole time.
>>
No. 1054449 ID: fa3034

>>1054429
The start of something great..
>>
No. 1054469 ID: 2f94e0

Rather surprised to learn Hekal's well isn't buried directly under his citadel or something. While I suppose keeping it hidden is just as good if not better than keeping it defended, how would you even hide something as powerful as an open mana well to begin with?
>>
No. 1054487 ID: edfb1b

Interesting. Is he responsible for making the portals a lot less jagged later on?
>>
No. 1054491 ID: 7b65e9

that.... would explain why the Barghast went back to Moot Point isn't it?
>>
No. 1054500 ID: 823a1a

I wonder if the scrying machine can go through that portal, it is "more of a place than a thing" after all
>>
No. 1054577 ID: a5218e

>>1054491

Nah, Rodwin took the Barghast to Moot Point because of the lichfire flare that Adrian shot up, thinking it could be something connected to Hekal.
>>
No. 1054596 ID: 7b65e9

>>1054577
That's right, I forgot about that.
Still, would make a good combo of circumstances...
>>
No. 1054635 ID: 9272af
File 167461407513.png - (148.68KB , 500x700 , 15-38.png )
1054635

“Follow them, Gabe!” Kol insists.

The mouse pushes the spell forward, passing through the plane of the gate spell. Gabe rotates the viewpoint, “Crap! Looks like we can’t follow them.”

“Did you catch where they were going on the map?” Casey asks.

“Yeah…” Gabe nods, “It looked like it was that wasteland Sifr took us too. The one poisoned with spite.”
>>
No. 1054646 ID: 15c72a

I guess we're going to find out why it was poisoned, then... Maybe one of Hekal's lieutenants found out about the plan and fought the duo?
Should be easy to find this time. We have a timestamp, and a location, and the gate should be easy to spot.
>>
No. 1054679 ID: 03f49f

Uh oh. I'm going to hazard a guess that their first attempt at sealing a well didn't go, uh, well...
>>
No. 1054681 ID: 9a2966

>>1054679
Or maybe there's one well left - and they needed to hide it but good. Somewhere that would only be accessible to someone with Madame Moot's skills.
>>
No. 1054689 ID: 9272af
File 167469756682.png - (138.93KB , 500x700 , 15-39.png )
1054689

“Can you navigate us there?” Kol asks.

Gabe pauses to think and nods. “I- I think so. Might take a while. Maybe an hour or so? Hekal said it was hidden, so maybe longer.”

Three-Horns speaks up to remind them, “My shielding spell won’t last that long. It may be better to retire for now and return after we’re rested.”
>>
No. 1054710 ID: e5a713

>>1054689
Fair enough. Let's break off and assess what we just learned. Cause this is literally history.
>>
No. 1054719 ID: e12308

Darn, I guess that rules out visiting his well, unless somebody knows how to protect themselves from Spite for an extended search. Hopefully we won’t need to try.
>>
No. 1054723 ID: 15c72a

>>1054689
Alright. How long until another cast?
>>
No. 1054726 ID: e5709d

We need to think about what we're going to say to Rodwin and the rest of Hekal's regiment. They aren't going to take the fact that Hekal effectively gave up on them well; sure, he wanted them to 'live' but he also made it clear they could never save the world and became unimportant to his greater plans.

Maintain the machine, we don't want it breaking down after this.
>>
No. 1054731 ID: bbb04b

Yeah, let's assess; we already had our suspicions from the journal, but it's starting to look like Hekal might be the third member of the original Guardians and the inventor of medium magic.

We should also be on our guard as we delve deeper; dream oracles aren't infallible, I'm pretty sure, but I'm also confident in saying they aren't normally this fallible with their recent losses. We can't dismiss the possibility that this one merely sacrificed a few playing-pieces to try and get us to where they want us to be. Such as uncovering the location of a hated foe for them - one that escaped the scope of their powers. Or perhaps uncover a way to undo the sealing of the wells. (It doesn't sound like the Court of the Reflected Sky are really fans of what the Guardian Trio did.)
>>
No. 1054736 ID: cd8054

"retire for now and return after we’re rested"

Translation: Sex, likely with another kobold orgy~

Also, who wants to bet that something will happen to the machine that disables it before it can be used again? Maybe an attack from the Court of the Reflected Sky. This one scrying could be the only one they get, and they'll have to find another way to get the rest of the story.
>>
No. 1054762 ID: 9272af
File 167478762931.png - (175.06KB , 700x500 , 15-40.png )
1054762

“Fair enough, I’d rather not be around all this mercury without protection.” Kol agrees, his dreads bobbing as he nods. “About how long would it take to recover?”

The kobold leader closes her eyes for a moment, gauging her remaining mana supply. She responds, “Three or four hours with food and rest.”

The mice share a few glances of silent communication and Kol speaks up, “Sounds good. That’ll give us time to unpack everything we saw and try to figure out what to tell Rodwin. I doubt he’s going to be happy hearing Hekal betrayed him.”

As the group turns to leave, Graves raises a bony hand. “Um, I don’t need actually need any protection. I can’t navigate as well as Gabe, but if you give me a map and point me in the right direction, I could steer things for a bit.”
>>
No. 1054764 ID: 7accea

I still think regrouping is the better idea. And even if he's dead the Mercury could still do something to his bones, but I'm no doctor so don't quote me on it.

If he double insists though it "should" be fine.
>>
No. 1054767 ID: e12308

How does Graves feel about Hekal's actions?
>>
No. 1054769 ID: 15c72a

>>1054762
Before Graves uses the device, we need to break the news.
>>
No. 1054772 ID: f8083d

I think it's best to discover whatever it has to show together.
>>
No. 1054792 ID: fa3034

Let's still take our rest but have Graves go ahead of the others so by the time they're rested he should be pulling up to the appointed place.
>>
No. 1054793 ID: 36784c

>>1054769
What are you talking about? If you're saying we need to tell Graves about what we saw, then there's no need to do that because he's been in the room the entire time. He already knows.
>>
No. 1054795 ID: cd8054

Oh yeah, just how delicate is Kol gonna have to be, breaking this news to Rodwin? He spent so long and sacrificed so much searching for his lost lord, taking care of the army as best he could, all out of love and loyalty. To find out it was all for nothing, and that Hekal not only never wanted to be found but willingly abandoned him... what's gonna happen if the person currently in control of an undead army gives in to despair?
>>
No. 1054802 ID: c28082

>>1054762

Good idea! We can let Graves maintain the spell so we needn't go through the whole process after we start the thing up again. Definitely owe him a favor later, for this.

As for Rodwin, however, was he honestly betrayed, or had Hekal simply taken an opportunity given to him to end things quickly and decisively, rather than in a drawn-out war? It might not be the resolution he desired, but it may be best to let Rodwin decide the matter for himself.

The two were close enough for such confidence, so perhaps ... perhaps the truth won't come as quite so unexpected or bitter, after all these centuries.
>>
No. 1054891 ID: 8eee37

>>1054762
Good idea, but when the gang comes back Graves should leave and clean himself up. Being dead doesn't mean you can't become contaminated.
>>
No. 1054918 ID: cfb4f1

Hekal claims he can't be killed, but what about Sending? You know, that thing Gabe does when he opens a portal to the afterlife so a spirit can move on. I think that's what Moot eventually ends up doing to Hekal. After all, if Gabe can do it to a lich, then it's not too hard to believe that Moot could do it to Hekal after she figures out how to do it and when Hekal consents to it.

>>1054762
As long as Graves isn’t following some secret orders to prevent anyone from discovering the truth, which will result in him destroying the mercury machine, then yes he can do this solo.
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