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File 163598751353.png - (378.88KB , 1000x1100 , p0.png )
1014176 No. 1014176 ID: eedbeb

Previous Thread: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1008685.html
Wiki: https://questden.org/wiki/This_Isn%27t_Working
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tippler

NSFW, warning for fantasy drug use.

Uzak is the reader controlled character. Her perception cannot be trusted.
334 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 1015941 ID: eedbeb
File 163770679429.png - (216.24KB , 1000x1100 , p88.png )

When it’s late and the pizza has run out, Tyson rolls himself off the bed and heads for his place. The silence is painful and Uzak quickly covers herself in her blankets and goes to sleep.

She wakes with something that’s not quite a headache the next morning, tongue coated in grease. The mask stares accusingly at her from her dresser and she checks to make sure she still has the lens.

Okay, today’s a new day. The bad trip is still prickling at her psyche, but Uzak can keep things under control until the job is done.

Does she:
A. Go to Vince
B. Go to Tom
C. Other
No. 1015950 ID: e51896

grab a water bottle to keep your nerves cool throughout the day, go see Tom to tell him you're n̴͉̖͒͂o̶̭̅t̷̪͙̅ done with his stuff, but thank him for his service, you had a very bad trip that almost hurt someone innocent.

As for the mask, d̸̠͗̚ǫ̶̺̗̊̾͝n̶͔̔͝'̵̼̦͖̔̌ẗ̶̲́̌ leave the mask behind, out of paranoia. consider n̸̫͆͝o̵̰͊t̴̗̞͆ getting rid of it after the job
No. 1015951 ID: 6e4236

Give Tom the mask. It's his son, now.
No. 1015965 ID: 96c896

Go to Vince and finish the job; bring the mask but don't have it so close to your face anymore.
No. 1015995 ID: 894419

Seems like a smart plan.
No. 1016009 ID: eedbeb
File 163776988068.png - (324.61KB , 1000x1100 , p89.png )

Uzak is ambivalent about visiting Vince or Tom first, but she decides to be responsible and get the second lens. After staring down the mask for a moment, she tucks it into her back pocket, has some cereal, and heads into the morning sun.

Without the mask changing her perception, Vince’s house seems a lot more welcoming. It’s mid-morning so the retired owl should be there.

Uzak knocks on the door, preparing her customer service voice. She sees Vince peek at her from the window to the left and gesture for her to step back before opening the door.

“I got the lens from Audrey.” Uzak says, pulling the disc from her pocket. It winks blue as she angles it toward Vince.

“Did you…Did you hurt her?” Vince asks.
No. 1016010 ID: eedbeb
File 163776989073.png - (310.67KB , 1000x1100 , p90.png )

“Oh no, we talked a bit and she told me about how you guys found those elementals who made the scope and after I checked with a bunch of people to make sure it was safe she handed it over.” Uzak chuckles.
“She told you about the scope...Did she mention me at all?”

“Uh.” The only times Audrey had mentioned Vince was to mutter bitterly about him. “Well, not really. I didn’t ask for the details for why you guys broke up.”

The owl’s eyes are getting watery. “After all this time, all these years, and she just lets you have the lens when she cut me out of her life because of it.”

“Er, like I said I don’t know what that’s all about but you promised you’d give me your piece so…”

The air crackles with suppressed emotion. Vince was a ranger and knew some spells, but probably has enough mana left to cast unconscious magic. Uzak takes a nervous step backwards.
No. 1016011 ID: eedbeb
File 163776990661.png - (262.61KB , 1000x1100 , p91.png )

“I can’t stand living like this!” the owl sobs. “I want to talk to her again, to see her and tell her I’m sorry and I’ve regretted that moment every day of my life.”

“Sir, I don’t know what you went through and I’m really only interested in the lens, so if you could give that to me I can leave—“

“No, you can’t have it.” Vince snarls.

Uzak puts up her hands and takes another step back. “Oh-kay, they’re going to send someone to kick your ass then.” Someone who is probably Uzak herself.

“They can try. I’ve hired a lawyer and the Guild doesn’t want a PR disaster.”

Vince slams the door shut, leaving Uzak to stand awkwardly in the yard. It seems like she won’t be able to get the lens with violence.
No. 1016012 ID: bc11b8

put da lense up to ya eye and scan about
No. 1016013 ID: 6e4236

Invite him to come with you to Audrey's house so they can bang or whatever it is he wants from her.
No. 1016014 ID: ab072e

We gotta get the two to make amends.

Go up to the door and knock. If he answers, tell him that you yourself wronged somebody really badly a couple days ago, and just yesterday, you needed to gather the courage to go to her house, offer a gift, apologize, and we actually made amends. It was hard, but if we can gather the courage to do that, so can he. Plus he's not ever going to know he's going to get back with Audrey unless he at least tries instead of staying frozen in the past like he is now.

Yell this out to him through the door if he doesn't answer after knocking.

If nothing comes of it, guess we gotta make a visit to Audrey.
No. 1016015 ID: f5f38e

see if you can get his attention, but careful not to go too hard.

When that fails, Audrey probably deserves a warning. Guy is giving off major unstable vibes, and she may not be totally safe.

Which would lead to a chance to get some advice on what the fuck is going on!
No. 1016024 ID: 96c896

Mask up, knock on the door, beat him up.
No. 1016028 ID: eedbeb
File 163778721965.png - (426.38KB , 1000x1100 , p92.png )

Uzak takes a moment to collect herself, then knocks on Vince’s door again. Nobody answers. After retreating to the lawn, Uzak puts the lens up to one eye. It takes a bit of experimentation to get it the right distance from her face, but once she’s found the sweet spot she can see Vince hiding in the basement.

There are three end game options:

A. Obtain and use eldritch powder to fight a mental manifestation of Vince’s trauma (guaranteed success with possible corruption afterwards)

B. Get the team back together (learn the story behind the breakup and have folks talk it out, potential failure since Audrey might not be home and Uzak hurt Princess)

C. Ask Prim to bring in the Awakened to smack Vince (guaranteed success, less prestige, don’t get a chance to see the completed scope)
No. 1016031 ID: e51896

A. For the greater good (and we need more hallucinations happening). But it might be best to drop off our scope back at home before we do this, just in case, then go see Tom, gotta refill.
No. 1016032 ID: c0a638

A. So that's how it works.
No. 1016034 ID: 894419

Wow ed, so nice of you to guest art this update for tippler. Anyway option A seems like the best option here.
No. 1016035 ID: df76b1

Let's be honest, Uzak is gonna pick A.
No. 1016037 ID: f8fa51

B feels like the best ending, but we did beat up Princess (it really didn't feel like we had a choice, though). A should get us there, though, if more circuitously. So I vote for either B or A.
No. 1016038 ID: 96c896

No. 1016045 ID: 6e4236

We are not only here to win, we are here to read a good story.
I choose B.
Let us find out what really happened.
No. 1016057 ID: a9af05

No. 1016073 ID: 36784c

No. 1016087 ID: f19f34

A because i am spiteful about B. really? we hurt poor little ol princess? screw her
No. 1016113 ID: 02e7e9

Gotta try B, we already started all this reasonable stuff, might as well see it through. Also princess chose that fight, hard to talk someone off your ribs
No. 1016118 ID: 80117c

No. 1016119 ID: 094652

No. 1016120 ID: eedbeb

i'm working on the update so VOTING IS NOW CLOSED, i technically stopped counting before the last two B votes went in, so I'm going with A but you also get the full story
No. 1016122 ID: eedbeb
File 163785682653.png - (237.68KB , 1000x1100 , p93.png )

>A, with extra backstory
Uzak brushes aside the fear from her bad trip yesterday and reaches for the mask. It’s a lifeless hunk of rubber and plastic without any powder and when she checks with the lens for any residual magic she sees none.

The eldritch influence showed Vince’s issues before. With her limited knowledge of the team and a big enough hit, she should be able to dig into the heart of his problems. That way she can finish the job herself.

Mind made up, Uzak heads for Tom’s alley.

The eldritch has a few more eyes open this time, and it perks up when Uzak slides to sit against the opposite wall.
No. 1016123 ID: eedbeb
File 163785683758.png - (291.68KB , 1000x1100 , p94.png )

“Ah, Uzak, I thought you were done with me.” It says cheerfully. “Like I said when you first asked me for my body, mortals have to be particularly rash to expose themselves to eldritch.”

“This will be the last time.” Uzak promises. “I need a lot, I’m trying to see into a guy’s mind.”

“That will cost you. How about, hm, 500 rollad?”

“Perfect. That’s fine.” Uzak pulls out her wallet and hands over the money without haggling, to Tom’s surprise. Honestly she’s relieved the eldritch didn’t ask for any more since she only had 750 rollad left.

Tom takes out its razorblade and bares an entire tentacle limb. “If this is to be the last time I see you, I want you to know I enjoyed having a visitor.”

“I can still come back, dumbass.” Uzak says. “Things don’t have to be transactional, we can just be pals.”

Tom’s eyes fill with tears and Uzak decides to go for the hug. It’s like holding a sack of rubber cement.

“Do you have any more questions before you go?” Tom asks, once Uzak disengages. “I can’t promise I’ll know the answers but I can try.”
No. 1016127 ID: e51896

We should invite Tom to see one of our rock shows at one of the locations we play at, our treat, we'll pay for him to come over to a show once we get the money from this frustrating mission.

If the nun eldritch was able to warn Ahpin about Maddie being in danger, Tom might know a bit about what happened between Vince and Audrey. It'll be important to know this for Vince's therapy session. Ask Tom about what mistake Vince did that made Audrey upset with him, we know about them failing to save the dryad from Carbon and Silicon...
No. 1016129 ID: 094652

Ask him to tag along if he has nothing better to do. Mostly because he might be the only one who will know how to mitigate any mutations that occur from the overdose.
No. 1016134 ID: df76b1

I'll be the heartless one, and say if we want to kick this dust habit (after this one last score) we'll have to make a clean break and cut ties with Tom.
No. 1016136 ID: c0a638

If I needed to flush my system of this stuff really fast, what would work best? Iron? Changeling?
Also, would you like a bedroll or something to make this alley more comfortable.
No. 1016160 ID: eedbeb
File 163789480944.png - (233.92KB , 1000x1100 , p95.png )

“Can you come with me? I’d feel a lot safer if someone was watching while I get sucked into dream land or whatever.” Uzak blurts out.

“I would love to, but I might not be very useful. Eldritch interact strangely with each other, it is a very lonely existence to avoid losing yourself.”

“There won’t be other eldritch there.” Uzak says, puzzled.

“Did I say that? My mistake, I can come.”

“Also, if I’m about to get dream murdered or something and need to flush my system really fast, what would be best? The mask gets stuck to my face.”

“You mentioned that before. I could try to remove it though I don’t think you can die from the simulation.”
No. 1016161 ID: eedbeb
File 163789482250.png - (172.87KB , 1000x1100 , p96.png )

Uzak squints at Tom suspiciously. “Have you ever told me what eldritch are really about?”

“We’re janitors and we’re glue. We keep things together and clean up when it’s done.”

“Right, that makes perfect sense how silly of me.”

“Oh, we do the magical equivalent of nuclear fusion, but only when we’re setting up the next world.” Tom adds helpfully.

Uzak stares at the deformed creature dressed in rags and sitting in a filthy alley.

“Is this something I have to worry about in my lifetime?”

Tom giggles. “No.”

“Great, let’s go to Vince’s house.”
No. 1016162 ID: eedbeb
File 163789483183.png - (214.91KB , 1000x1100 , p97.png )

It’s a long walk to the owl’s place since Tom doesn’t want to take the portals, claiming the mana batteries are too great a temptation. Once they arrive, Uzak checks for Vince with the lens and sees that he’s still in the basement.

“Okay, do I have to be next to him for this to work?” Uzak asks.

“With that dose and how you described your last vision of him, no. You can lie next to the house instead. Behind that shrub looks perfect.”

Uzak carefully flattens a spot in the mulch and lies down. She takes a deep, calming breath.

“I’m going in.” she says, then puts the mask to her face.
No. 1016163 ID: eedbeb
File 163789484531.png - (507.49KB , 1000x1100 , p98.png )

It’s deep winter. The snow comes up to her knees but is light and fluffy. Trees as wide as she is tall line the sky with ominous, bare branches.

She pushes forward. The mother tree is close, she can sense it.

The trees begin to thin and the mana signature strengthens. Something feels wrong though, like the forest is in pain.

Two robots fling themselves out of the brush, slipping in the snow.

“Halt adventurers! We are de, er, guardians of this place and you must defeat us to gain access to the great tree.” says the masculine bodied one.

“Why are robots guarding a dryad?” Uzak asks.

“De Fathomless Forest is very mystewious.” the female bodied robot explains.

“Princess, can you handle these two?” says a familiar voice.

Uzak turns around. Vince, dressed in full ranger regalia is addressing a coyote with dull green eyes, who looks more confused than anything.
No. 1016164 ID: c0a638

Look at Princess and give an expressionless nod of encouragement. Just roll with it for now.
No. 1016166 ID: e51896

I don't think that is Princess, that is Tom and he is unknowingly acting out as Princess in Vince's flashback while we are acting out as Audrey. (Princess has Tom's color instead of her usual red)

Whisper to Tom and tell him to act as Princess to play along and tackle the robots like a wild animal (similar to how Princess attacked us).
No. 1016167 ID: 96c896

Offer to help. Tom's probably gonna need it.
No. 1016195 ID: eedbeb
File 163795939376.png - (179.44KB , 1000x1100 , p99.png )

It seems like Tom got sucked into the hallucination, taking the place of Princess in the ex-team’s last adventure. Uzak beckons the eldritch closer.

“Hey, play along, you’re the fighter who probably beat up these robots in real life. Hit them so we can keep moving in the memory.” Uzak whispers.

“But I don’t know how.” Tom’s eyes dart from the waiting robots to Vince, who is staring into space.

“You take your hand, put your fingers into a fist thumb on the outside, like this—“ Uzak demonstrates. “And smack ‘em in their face screens.”

Tom nods, walks up to the robots, and weakly punches them.
No. 1016196 ID: eedbeb
File 163795941414.png - (322.12KB , 1000x1100 , p100.png )

Silicon’s robots share a look and shove Tom backwards onto the ground

“You are unworthy! Vewy weak!” They start piling snow over the thrashing Tom, who probably isn’t used to having solid limbs. “You are a loser, no big tree for you!”

Vince steps forward to stare at Tom, brow furrowed. “This isn’t right.”

Icicles start to sprout from his neck and he turns on Uzak. “There’s something wrong with Princess, Audrey. I know you want to see the dryad, what should we do?”
No. 1016197 ID: 142748

Help Princess. You take the right robot, I’ll take the left.
No. 1016198 ID: 96c896

Uh, maybe you can swap places? Take on Princess's role and beat them up yourself? Tom would probably be more capable as the caster anyway.
No. 1016199 ID: a883b3

Tell tom you appreciate the effort. Get your mace and knock out those robos
No. 1016202 ID: 6e4236

Pass your mace to Tom and show the poor guy how to twack them with your staff.
No. 1016208 ID: eedbeb
File 163797104664.png - (375.23KB , 1000x1100 , p101.png )

Uzak reaches for her mace. Nobody, not even ineffectual fragments of Vince’s mind are allowed to bully Tom on her watch.

She finds the leather handle and surges forward, smashing clear through the girl robot’s chest with one blow. The chassis sparks and keels over while the guy robot cries out with dismay.

“No, no, dat’s too fast! Can’t you wait a few more minutes?”

Uzak ends his blabbering with a well-placed hit that crushes his screen into his neck. She catches her breath and helps Tom to its feet.

“I’m sorry.” the eldritch says. “I’m not good at this.”

Vince joins them, staring at Uzak with awe and a touch of fear. “Audrey, how did you do that?”
No. 1016209 ID: eedbeb
File 163797105669.png - (296.69KB , 1000x1100 , p102.png )

Vince seems to get more disturbed when they deviate from what actually happened, which is pretty hard to avoid when Uzak doesn’t know the details. She struggles to come up with an excuse. “Uh, you know, adrenaline and stuff, beat up the robots with my magic druid staff so we could move on.”

The ice thorns in Vince’s neck quiver. “Yes, you’re very eager. This has been a long pilgrimage.”

No more robots come out of the woods, so Uzak leads the way towards where she knows they’ll find Silicon and Carbon. At least she’s confident about that part.

When she tries to see into the distance, everything appears as a grey blur, like an area that hasn’t loaded yet. At the edge of dryad’s clearing, the scene becomes visible all at once.
No. 1016210 ID: eedbeb
File 163797106742.png - (276.08KB , 1000x1100 , p103.png )

A massive black ape and a much larger version of the robots she recently killed are huddled around the ancient tree, draining bright green mana from its trunk. Carbon raises his head to look, but doesn’t speak, while Silicon pushes himself away from the tree with a shriek.

“Eh? Where am I? What’s going on here?”

The robot crouches down to get a better look at Uzak and Vince grabs her arm, trying to drag her away. Uzak is a big girl and easily resists the owl.

“Wait a second, I remember you, de owl from the mana scope job a while ago, that ended up being a bust since I guess da Guild never used it.” Silicon squints at Uzak and Tom. “Ach, dirty eldritch, are you giving me a bad dream? I am vewy busy you know, please finish your business quickly. ”

Vince makes a desperate attempt to pull Uzak back into the woods.
No. 1016211 ID: c0a638

Follow Vince and ask him what the fuss is. Also, very suspicious! You should probably break the pieces of that scope so this job stays a bust.
No. 1016213 ID: 96c896

...job. The guild hired Silicon to make a mana scope? Well that explains why the guild didn't want to give you any information, why they think it's safe, and why they want it.

Well, better verify. Ask who hired them.
No. 1016214 ID: e51896

Tell Vince to proceed have courage, it's alright to be scared, but you know he can get through this as a team.

then tell Silicone what's the deal with draining the dryad's power to make the scope to to sneakingly give to us afterwards? although they didn't know at the time the Dryad's power would be restored, it still caused the team to split for whatever misunderstanding is going on. Silicone has to at least apologize for ruining the relationship of Vince's team and for making Vince think it was his fault, because it's not.
No. 1016215 ID: 6e4236

I think what's actually happening is that Silicon got dragged into the vision too!

Let Tom kick this dummy.
No. 1016218 ID: 894419

We have to destroy the remaining scope pieces. The guild knowingly arranged an experience which traumatized these people, ruined their relationships, and then when they didn't get their goods they hired you to recover them. Something the admitted was dubiously legal at best.

The guild does not get to have a win out of this.
No. 1016221 ID: eedbeb
File 163797942866.png - (322.27KB , 1000x1100 , p104.png )

Uzak shakes him off. “Hey, hey it’s okay, we don’t have to run.”

Vince stares at Uzak as if seeing her for the first time.

“You’re the cat from earlier.” he whispers. “This isn’t real this isn’t real it’s a dream you can’t hurt me I won’t let you hurt me.”

Uzak reaches a careful hand to the owl’s shoulder. “I’m not going to hurt you, I’m here to find out what happened.”

Vince tears away from Uzak and bolts, only to be snatched by a giant robot hand.

“Oh dis is real. A real waste of my time.” Silicon snarks. “What I’m hearing is you need to talk about your problems so we can get da fuck outta here.”

The owl screams with terror and struggles, shedding ice and distorting wildly, but Silicon holds tight.
No. 1016222 ID: eedbeb
File 163797943712.png - (270.82KB , 1000x1100 , p105.png )

“I have questions for you, too.” Uzak snarls at Silicon. “What do you mean the scope was a job? Did the Guild hire you to make it?”

Silicon puffs with indignation. “Don’t be silly! I am gainfully self-employed as de premier supervillain on dis dwarf planet. The problem is heroes are very weak and easily distracted so I have to help them sometimes.”

He holds Vince up to his face. “So what is it? Girl twouble? Teammates die? I learned that second one bothers people a lot.”

Uzak checks on Tom, who’s trying to make itself seem as small and non-threatening as possible by burrowing in the snow, then walks up to Silicon.
No. 1016223 ID: c0a638

"Both, kind of! You're not being very helpful."
Go for his neck. You don't want to breathe in the stuff that comes from smashing those screens - oh wait, gasmask, right.
No. 1016225 ID: e51896

Tell Silicon Vince is feeling guilt over the team breaking up ever since they failed to protect the Dryad from them, and Vince wants Audrey to forgive him so the group can be friends again...
But as Audrey said, Vince might be a coward. and considering the fact that he doesn't go apologize to audrey face to face and is instead stuck frozen in the past isolated in his home, we can believe that.

We might need to tell Vince about our own experience with Maddie and how we apologized to her.
No. 1016227 ID: 6e4236

Encourage Tom play with his new body, now that he has the chance, then turn towards Silicon.

Explain to this robot that Vince and his two companions split after this adventure and this old owl has been simping on the hare druidess ex-partner ever since.
No. 1016229 ID: 96c896

Oh, so the scope is intended to be used to see the thing that Silicon is doing so that he gets to fight heroes.

Hmm, how confident are you feeling? Do you think you could give Silicon an actual nightmare?
No. 1016230 ID: 96c896

Oh, Silicon doesn't know you're getting the scope parts, and likely thinks that scheme is still sunk. Ask them what the scope was supposed to do.
No. 1016256 ID: eedbeb
File 163803000399.png - (351.12KB , 1000x1100 , p106.png )

Hahahahahahaha no. That’s for next thread.

“You’re not helping by scaring him like that.” Uzak says.

“Dat is the problem.” Silicon grumbles. “When I’m mean people yell at me and when I’m nice nobody takes me seriously. I have to do drastic things to get anything to go according to plan.”

The robot sighs and drops Vince into the snow. Uzak hurries over to the owl, who’s curled up into a ball with his head in his hands.

“Audrey told me that you guys didn’t stay to fight the elementals even though she wanted to. What happened?” she asks gently.

“She was charging her magic and didn’t seem to see me. I couldn’t let her die there so I-I took her by surprise and dragged her away. After that, I apologized over and over but s-she never forgave me.”
No. 1016257 ID: eedbeb
File 163803001308.png - (312.29KB , 1000x1100 , p107.png )

“Sounds like she’s the asshole here.” Silicon says helpfully. “You thought you were saving her from two nasty elementals, which is a perfectly good reason even if we weren’t planning to hurt you. If she can’t see that she’s either dense or being stubborn.”

That was a bit harsh but relatively accurate. “What about Princess?” Uzak asks.

“She was dealing with the robots from before, she didn’t know what happened. When we split up afterwards it broke her heart.” Vince sniffs.

“It’s not too late to reconnect with her. You can’t change how Audrey feels but I’m sure Princess would like to see you again.”

Vince shakes his head weakly. “She has a family, she’s busy—“

Silicon pokes Vince with a finger. “Stop being stupid.”

The owl wipes his eyes and pushes himself to a sitting position. The snow has stopped.
No. 1016258 ID: 5024e5

Worst case scenario, she says no.
And then sends you to the hospital with a gut punch, but maybe don't say that part out loud.
No. 1016262 ID: e51896

Right, so tell Vince to go reconnect with Princess at the very least, and get to know her family (give them a gift). Let Vince know Whenever he feels comfortable one day after reconnecting with Princess, he should tell her what happened between him and Audrey, and then discuss to Princess about how the two of them could reconnect and apologize to Audrey.

Let Vince know that it should probably be much easier now to get her forgiveness because we told her that the Dryad is recovering and will be back to her normal state.

If Vince says he is scared, tell him about your incident with you and Maddie and how you fucked things up badly with her, but was able to make amends by gaining the courage to apologize to her with a gift.
No. 1016263 ID: 6e4236

What Poltergeist said.
No. 1016265 ID: a90ed6

I think the only other thing to wonder about is, i know Tom and Vince are here because we were close to vince traveling through his memories, and Tom is here because he is an eldrich and also nearby, but how did Silicon get here?
No. 1016266 ID: 96c896

Tell Silicon that's a good middle ground. Not mean, not nice.

Audrey's problem is that she thought Silicon and Carbon were killing or at least doing permanent damage to the great tree. She's a druid. She would have gladly given her life to defend the forest, I think. However, we've since told her it wasn't as big a deal as she thought, so... she might finally forgive Vince?
No. 1016268 ID: eedbeb
File 163804261218.png - (302.38KB , 1000x1100 , p108.png )

“You should see Princess soon and explain to her what happened, and when it feels appropriate the two of you can talk to Audrey together. I’ve already told Audrey about how the dryad wasn’t permanently hurt, so she should be more willing to forgive you.”

“Why are you giving me advice? You’re only here for the lens.” Vince sulks.

“Oho? You’re putting de scope together?” Silicon gives Uzak an approving smile. “I am glad it will not go to waste.”

Praise from a self-proclaimed supervillain feels weird. “It’s for the Guild.” Uzak says quickly.

“Yes good, they can finally find my real body and I can unleash my robot army.” Silicon says. “You hear dat, owl? Give her da lens when we get out of here or I will be sad.”

Silicon pauses. “Wait, are de lenses why I was pulled into this place? I betta patch that out.”
No. 1016269 ID: eedbeb
File 163804262060.png - (416.81KB , 1000x1100 , p109.png )

Vince starts making a strange choking noise. At first Uzak thinks he’s crying, but then he starts cackling hysterically.

“This is ridiculous, I can’t believe an elemental is helping a cat hopped up on eldritch powder fix my team problems.” he gasps. He shuts his eyes and shrieks with laughter.

Uzak jumps when Tom tugs on her elbow. The surroundings are dissolving into eldritch tentacles and she feels one wrap around her leg.

“Don’t absorb me.” it pleads.

How does Uzak resist corruption?
A. Beat the shit out of the tentacles with mace (low chance of corruption, high chance of injuring Tom)

B. Focus on memories of friends and family (medium chance of corruption, medium chance of absorbing Tom if corrupted)

C. Ask Silicon for help (???)
No. 1016270 ID: e51896

B. We're not hurting Tom or trusting Silicon.
No. 1016271 ID: 5024e5

A. A little pain now will dim in comparison to not getting smoked, Tom.
No. 1016272 ID: f8fa51

No. 1016273 ID: 96c896

A seems like a good bet. Injuring an eldritch is obviously temporary, considering how willing Tom was to cut his own limbs off.
No. 1016274 ID: a09158

A: tell Tom that you’re his friend, and that he can passively regain mana, you’ll help him out and are very sorry for this pummeling but wouldn rather not be corrupted thanks.
No. 1016275 ID: 58acf3

A, we bought the mace after all, so it'd be a shame not to use it
No. 1016276 ID: 36784c

At the very least, make sure you apologize to Tom!
No. 1016283 ID: eedbeb
File 163805582995.png - (424.06KB , 1000x1100 , p110.png )

“I’m sorry for dragging you here Tom, but I’ll protect us.” Uzak says. She stomps the tendril around her foot. It squeaks and dissolves.

The other tentacles, sensing their target, stream towards Uzak, obscuring the rest of the clearing from view. She pulls out her trusty mace and alternates between bashing and heavy punches.

At some point she loses track of Tom in the tangle of dull green. Uzak thinks she hears someone cry out, but she’s lost in the rapture of battle and doesn’t stop.

The world shrinks to the blur of tentacles, the dark metal of her mace, and a wild joy.
No. 1016284 ID: eedbeb
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Uzak bolts upright from behind the bush. She reaches for her mask and peels it away easily. The filter is empty. Everything feels normal and a quick check with her phone doesn’t show any physical changes. Uzak sighs with relief and stands.

“Tom? Are you there?”

The eldritch is nowhere to be found in the yard. Uzak grows increasingly desperate, even enlisting Vince once the owl comes out of the house to look. The sharp eyed ranger spots a pile of dark ash near the bush.

“I think these are its remains, I’m sorry, eldritch are quite delicate.” Vince says.

Uzak stares at the little pile of dirt. Vince coughs lightly and pulls out his lens, which he was wearing on a chain around his neck. After a moment, she takes it. All that’s left is to deliver the goods to Prim.
No. 1016286 ID: e51896

Tell Vince to go see Princess as you want to be alone. After he's gone, Remove the mask, throw it hard on the ground, and bash it until it is like a million pieces with the mace. Try not to cry while doing it, but fail.

When you're feeling better, call Prim, tell her you got the pieces, and this will be your final job after you're paid. your done doing this, because this job just isn't working out.
No. 1016287 ID: 0838d6

Collect his ashes, im sure that the owl has some tupperware, your friend is dead and as evidenced by his life in an alley he had no one other then you, so might as well give him a proper burial or whatever eldritch prefer, burning? later.

Put like the mask on the pyre as like a symbolic gesture.
No. 1016291 ID: 36784c

You just accidentally killed your friend. Mourn for him.
No. 1016295 ID: 561b4a

I thought it said Injure! We just fucking killed that guy, what the shit :(. I guess time to dig a grave
No. 1016296 ID: 6e4236

*Sniff* Is there an afterlife for the eldritch?
No. 1016298 ID: 4d065c

As an addendum, Uzak feel no guilt, this man was murdered by the UI not you
No. 1016313 ID: eedbeb
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Vince steps away at some point, while Uzak kneels in the grass.

She didn’t think she was going to kill Tom when fighting off the eldritch influence. She didn’t even know that could happen in the simulation or dream or whatever that was.

It’s not like Tom was a close friend, or legally recognized as a person, but it was a conscious thing. It helped her. Uzak carefully touches the ashes. They’re soft, already blowing away with the breeze. She empties her jar of bathwater, dries it with her shirt, and tries to gather as much of the dust as possible. Maybe she can bury or scatter it later.

She sends a brief text to Prim and starts walking toward the Guild offices. The lenses clink together in her pocket. Somewhere out there is Silicon, with his ominous schemes. Uzak doesn’t find it in herself to care.
No. 1016314 ID: eedbeb
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Prim greets her at the entrance, practically bubbling with excitement. When the shrimp sees Uzak’s dour face, she sobers up.

“Are you injured, Uzak? Is something wrong?”

“My friend Tom, the one I was getting powder from, died.” Uzak says shortly.

“Dear, I’m so sorry.” Prim pats Uzak’s hip. “If you’d like to talk to another eldritch, I can give you Bob’s number.”

The name rings a bell. Nun’ya Business is at the top of the total job leaderboard for freelance and one of their members is an eldritch, a rarity in the adventuring business.

“Yeah, that’d be nice, thanks.”
No. 1016316 ID: eedbeb
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Prim leads Uzak deep into the facility past cubicles and glass rooms of ancient artifacts to a modern lab.

“We got the scope body here, very high security.” Prim assures Uzak. “I’m excited to see the finished product, we have Cat here to test it once it’s ready, he’s an artifact expert.”

Uzak gags with horror. “Cat the leader of the Awakened?”

“I said some of them were in town.”

“Well yeah but fuck, is he wearing gloves at least? I don’t want that guy reading my mind or something when he shakes my hand.”

Sure enough, inside the lab, leaning against one of the benches, the legendary black jackal is chatting cheerfully with a grumpy crocodile.
No. 1016318 ID: e51896

Quick, Put on your mask to not give away any facial expressions you don't want anyone to see.

Don't make eye contact with Cat and just focus on Prim, give Prim the scope to deal with so you yourself don't have to hand it to him and ask for the rollad.
No. 1016319 ID: 5024e5

"So, how many more people are you going to kill with this thing? "
It's a pretty big warning sign when an elemental self appointed as supervillain wants you guys to build the scope. There is definitely some alternative to scopes you guys are missing.
No. 1016322 ID: df76b1

I'm prepared to hand this over, and never speak a word about it to anyone. For which I expect to be outrageously well compensated.

There may be a nonzero risk of a robot uprising, too.
No. 1016323 ID: 8483cf

Do not make eye contact!
No. 1016324 ID: afe7de

Mention that silicone mentioned that using this would literally cause the apocalypse, and they made it specifically to get you to use it.

But other then that maybe some exposition on who these other two are, Cat does some power strengthening thing right, what about the cool gator? (and that bnnuy)
No. 1016328 ID: 96c896

"cause the apocalypse" is a bit strong. Silicon wants the guild to know where its real body is so it can send out its robot army with real stakes on both sides. It wants to fight for keeps. For some reason.
No. 1016331 ID: eedbeb
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Uzak stops at the lab entrance and covers her face with a hand when Cat looks around curiously. “I’ll give you the lenses but I don’t want to stick around. I expect a five star rating and at least 10,000 rollad.” she tells Prim.

The shrimp nods. “Of course, I can send the money via wire transfer. Do you have any other questions or comments? I really appreciated working with you, and if you’d be available for future tasks—“

“I met Silicon. He said he wanted the Guild to use the scope so he could release his robot army or something. What’s his deal? Why are you still trying to use the scope?”

Prim opens her mouth and shuts it. She smooths the front of her dress and takes a deep breath.

“I told you the truth when I contacted you for this job. The scope is for the mana vents, first and foremost. Silicon is the one behind closing them.”
No. 1016332 ID: eedbeb
File 163811566548.png - (393.56KB , 1000x1100 , p116.png )

The shrimp continues. “He’s an extremely strange elemental. Adventurers have encountered his robots in dungeons across the world. He never hurts them and usually offers hints and advice, always claiming to be a great and terrible villain.”

‘When I’m nice nobody takes me seriously’ Silicon had said, Uzak remembers.

“Silicon has eaten many elementals of his kind, which is why he’s so powerful, but he’s never killed or seriously harmed a mortal. We haven’t devoted too many resources to stopping him because he hasn’t been a pressing concern, until now.”

“He’s closing the mana vents for attention.” Uzak says slowly. “What a nerd. You’re saying the robot army won’t kill anyone?”

“Based on past evidence, no. At worst the robots will be annoying, the real concern is the decrease in atmospheric mana that will impact the next generation of adventurers.”
No. 1016334 ID: e51896

Talk about how it's hypocritical that Silicon was complaining about adventurers being weak and not putting up much of a challenge, yet him closing the mana vents is making adventurers weaker.

Also he said something about patching the lens so he doesn't get sucked into eldritch dreams again or something, fair warning.

(Suddenly Cat spots you, and brings you over to watch the scope in action which Uzak relunctantly accepts.)
No. 1016340 ID: eedbeb
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“Silicon made it sound like he was having a hard time finding worthy opponents, why does he want to weaken adventurers?”

“Future adventurers.” Prim corrects. “Mortals don’t need mana to live and modern industry mostly depends on artificial magic, so by closing the vents he’s threatening an end to spellcasting. To, uh, get the Guild to do something about him.”

“Good luck, that guy seems wacky.” Uzak hands Prim the lenses and turns to leave. Cat beckons at her frantically to join them but she ignores him and retraces her path out of the building.

Outside, she finds a quiet awning to check her phone and consider the jar of ashes. Tyson sent a text earlier asking how she was feeling, so she responds saying she’s fine, finished the job, and can come to band practice.

Her stomach rumbles. She needs to go home to eat and grab her bass. Maybe she can schedule a date with Bage that doesn’t end with her passed out on the floor.
No. 1016341 ID: eedbeb
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Thanks for reading.
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