[Burichan] [Futaba] [Nice] [Pony]  -  [WT]  [Home] [Manage]
[Catalog View] :: [Graveyard] :: [Rules] :: [Quests] :: [Discussions] :: [Wiki]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]
Posting mode: Reply
Name (optional)
Email (optional, will be displayed)
Subject    (optional, usually best left blank)
File []
Password  (for deleting posts, automatically generated)
  • How to format text
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF
  • Maximum file size allowed is 10000 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.

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.
Expand all images
No. 1014177 ID: eedbeb
File 163598752598.png - (339.29KB , 1000x1100 , p1.png )

The park bench is warm from a long day in the sun. Uzak can even feel it through her thick cargo pants and she yawns, the heat lulling her into a relaxing stupor.

Her phone buzzes with a text from her older brother, Ahpin, asking how she's doing. It's the first time he's messaged her since they last saw each other for the holidays.

Uzak ignores the message along with a few others from Bage talking about their gig tonight. She lifts the gas mask hanging by the straps around her neck and fastens it over her nose and mouth.

She breathes in the smell of peppermint and spices. The world changes.
No. 1014179 ID: eedbeb
File 163598762166.png - (362.70KB , 1000x1100 , p2.png )

Uzak scratches her torn ear and pushes herself to her feet. She hears snow crunching under her combat boots as she walks towards the cozy house across the street. The dark, barren trees in the yard stretch into the grey sky, swaying slightly when she rings the doorbell.

A tall owl answers the door. He's shivering from the cold.

"I'm here on behalf of the Adventurers’ Guild." Uzak says.

"You're an adventurer?" the owl asks.

"I'm a freelancer. They want the artifact your team found and registered 15 years ago."

He shakes his head vigorously. "The pieces are ours by Guild rights."

"Well the Guild wants it back. Calamity Clause, or something like that. You rebuffed their past efforts to buy it off you, so I'm here now."

The bird puffs out his chest. "Do you expect to take the lens by force? I'll call the police if you don't leave my property."

A. Attack
B. Appeal to the fact that the world is ending
C. Ask why the owl wants to keep the artifact
D. Other
No. 1014181 ID: afe7de

C, ask why they want to keep it given it's psychoactive effects and the constant weird shit it's summoning. One of them escaped the other day and caused a panic, so you came first, being the closest one to the guild.
No. 1014182 ID: c92a02

C. Does it get you high?
No. 1014193 ID: 2e6d92

B. But also be intimidating to get your point across.

Grab the bird by the collar of his sweater, forcefully drag him close to you, and whisper harshly that the world is ending, and the artifact is a component needed to stop the calamity, and ask if he is truly weak and pathetic to the point of letting his greed control his actions to keep the artifact for himself instead of relinquishing it to the guild to prevent the Apocalypse.
No. 1014194 ID: 094652

"Sir, this is a matter of national security. That means the government is willing to blow taxpayer money to buy whatever 'critical resource' you're hoarding.
Name a price, or tell me why you'd want to watch the apocalypse with this junk on your mantle."
No. 1014209 ID: d809fe

C sounds like a plan.
No. 1014210 ID: ce39da

"Sir, with all due respect, the world is ending. If that ain't Calamity enough to apply a Clause to, I don't know what the hell is. Really. I'd love to hear your reason for refusing the carrot during this time of crisis and having the balls to act like you're not the asshole in this equation after leaving us with nothing left to try but the stick. You'll still be compensated regardless of how this goes, but it's going, I assure you."
No. 1014213 ID: eedbeb
File 163604638454.png - (529.13KB , 1000x1100 , p3.png )

“The world is ending.” Uzak says.

“If I had a rollad for every time I heard that.” the owl replies drily. “I’ve read about the mana vents, it doesn’t seem like an urgent problem, adventurers like to exaggerate.”

Uzak takes a few steps towards the owl, but stops when the bird starts to shut the door.

“I don’t want to hurt you. Can’t you see that this is still more important than your claim from years ago? The pieces alone are just junk, and they’re not even dangerous when put together. You could help save people.”

The owl distorts, icicles growing from under his skin, feathers lengthening and eyes black. “I suppose you’ve met my former teammates.” he says quietly.

“Not yet, you were first on the list.” Uzak admits.
No. 1014214 ID: eedbeb
File 163604639157.png - (399.92KB , 1000x1100 , p4.png )

“If you can get Audrey to hand over her lens, I’ll give you mine.” the owl says. Uzak has to focus to keep her eyes at where she’s guessing is the right place. “Otherwise, good day.”

He shuts the door and the hallucinations ease slightly. Uzak sighs and kicks a patch of snow. Great, now she won’t get paid until she can track down the hare. Rent is coming due and the band earns next to nothing.

A. Go home
B. Go to band practice to prepare for the gig
C. Text Ahpin
D. Visit drug dealer
No. 1014215 ID: 0838d6

Text Aphin, find out what he's been upto.
No. 1014221 ID: 235c53

Go band practicing. Youre good on drugs for now and will get some with the band. And you don't want to deal with family, Not after what happened during the holidays...

Whatever we decide to do, get distracted in your drugged up state and walk into a pole
No. 1014222 ID: 744782

Text your brother.
No. 1014223 ID: c92a02

Visit drug dealer. Does this mean the drugs are bad or working as intended?
No. 1014232 ID: eedbeb
File 163608075823.png - (247.23KB , 1000x1100 , p5.png )

>Drug Dealer
Uzak filled her custom mask filter with eldritch powder this morning, so she doesn’t feel the need to see Tom.

She checks her phone to see what her brother is bothering her about. It takes a minute for the squiggles to sort themselves into readable text.

Ahpin: Hi Uzak I hope you’re okay we haven’t talked in a while
Ahpin: I went on an adventure for the first time! I know I’ve always disliked that sort of thing but it was a wild experience and I never want to do it again.
Ahpin: What’s up with you?

The transparent attempt to find out what she’s up to is annoying, though more tolerable than their parents’ fumbling hints about getting a real job.
No. 1014233 ID: eedbeb
File 163608077261.png - (270.22KB , 1000x1100 , p6.png )

Uzak: I’m fine

Ahpin immediately texts back.

Ahpin: That’s great! We should get dinner and drinks sometime this week, I’ll pay
Ahpin: Invite Bage and I’ll bring Maddie.

Uzak: Ok
Ahpin: Can you do tomorrow?
Uzak: Sure
Ahpin: Meet me at the Nutz at 7:00pm, looking forward to it

>Band Practice
Uzak doesn’t want to admit it but free dinner and free beer sound awfully good. She puts her phone back into her pocket without replying and trudges through the snow to the home of tIt, punk rock band with a horror theme.
No. 1014234 ID: eedbeb
File 163608078284.png - (349.93KB , 1000x1100 , p7.png )

Their drummer and generous host, Tyson, is warming up when she arrives.

“You’re early.” he grunts.

“The job was shorter than I expected, at least the parts I could get to today.” Uzak slings her old bass guitar around her shoulders and puts her fingers into position on the strings.

Tyson glances up at Uzak from his sticks. “Do you need to take that off?”

“It’s my stage costume.”

“Yeah, I guess.” the rabbit says. His face flickers between his mask and normal.
No. 1014235 ID: e51896

Tune the guitar to the best of your influenced abilities. Tell Tyson you want to practice the more faster intense songs tonight (just to let off some steam).
No. 1014236 ID: afe7de

I could get down with this tbh, maybe bemoan that the gig pays less and since the apocalypse is happening shows are getting sparser and sparser whilst discussions about how other people should "liven up" occurs
No. 1014260 ID: 6720d5

Play Weird Autumn.
No. 1014264 ID: 96c896

So, why are you hallucinating?
No. 1014270 ID: e51896


It said here: >>1014232 that she filled her custom gas mask filter with eldritch powder.
No. 1014287 ID: eedbeb
File 163614568850.png - (374.04KB , 1000x1100 , p8.png )

Uzak tunes her bass and strums a few chords.

“Let’s play some of the intense stuff.” she suggests.

“Naw, I want to conserve my energy for tonight. We might have a decent crowd for once and Bage isn’t even here yet. Let’s do Strange Harvest.”

The song sounds a little basic without the melody, but Uzak still enjoys it. Leaves blow around her shoes and she hits all the notes.
No. 1014289 ID: eedbeb
File 163614581738.png - (268.91KB , 1000x1100 , p9.png )

Uzak and Tyson play a few more songs until Bage flings himself into the basement. The mouse is stick-thin, draped in his summer finery, and exhales a cloud of vape fog.

“Guys! How could you start without me?” he squeaks.

Uzak shrugs. “I came early. We’re just messing around.”

“I want us to run through all our songs before we have to pack up and go to the club. If we make a good impression they might ask us to come back.” Bage puffs. His movements are twitchy, emphasized by red sparks as he pulls on his guitar and tests the mic with a finger.

“Are you guys worried about the mana vent thing?” Uzak asks suddenly.

Tyson shakes his head and Bage answers. “My uncle’s one of the members of the Guardians and it’s kind of their job to figure it out, but most non-adventurers don’t seem too concerned.”
No. 1014292 ID: d3ff5a

Ask if they'd be interested in setting up a gig at The Nutz tomorrow, around 7pm, at least so that we actually have a reason to go without making our meeting with our brother too awkward. I'm sure that nudist toad Gordon who runs the place would allow it.

Tell them there is usually lots of people there, usually adventurers looking for fun after a long day if they need convincing. We'll sure to be a hit there.
No. 1014293 ID: 2ddb7b

Normally I’d agree but I think your desire to kick back and get a full nice meal on the cheap with no work 100% overrides that. Tho maybe ask if you can invite a friend or two.
No. 1014294 ID: 6186c1

Time for you and Mr. Mouse to detox a little in order to be clean in time for the gig.
No. 1014338 ID: eedbeb
File 163616954370.png - (341.22KB , 1000x1100 , p10.png )

“Okay.” Uzak says. “Also, Bage, come with me to dinner tomorrow.”

The mouse chokes on his spit and starts hacking into his elbow. “Like, a date?”

“My bro wants to see me and he’s paying for dinner so.” Uzak shrugs. “Dinner.”

“Sure! I’d love to, that’d be really nice.” Bage says, flushing pink and shrinking into a shriveled, naked infant.

Hm. That’s a new one. Maybe she should take the mask off.
No. 1014339 ID: eedbeb
File 163616955264.png - (238.57KB , 1000x1100 , p11.png )

Uzak’s been using eldritch powder for a few weeks and besides the reality bending hallucinations it hasn’t been too bad. Of course, that’s what Tom warned her would happen, that the corrupted essence wouldn’t form a chemical reliance, but something magical.

While Bage readies his guitar, Uzak carefully reaches for the clasp and unlatches it. The mask stays on her face.

What should Uzak try to remove the mask?
A. Tear it off
B. Get Bage to loosen it with a spell
C. Pretend she’s not going to remove the mask, then slip it off without warning
D. Other
No. 1014341 ID: afe7de

B, we know something fucked up is going on underneath it, like you growing a tentacle face. It's probably real hot underneath too (hot as in attractive) when you're all transmogrified.
No. 1014343 ID: a3dc84

D, keep it untied as it is now, and start practicing so you can have wild visuals as you play, but attempt to headbang hard enough to the beat of the songs to have it fall off your face on its own.
No. 1014350 ID: 96c896

D, gently pull, to see if it hurts or anything. Maybe the mask has become sapient and just wants to stay on your face? You could leave it loose for a bit and see what happens.
No. 1014352 ID: c92a02

C. Hey, has anyone seen my mummy?
No. 1014354 ID: f8fa51

No. 1014373 ID: eedbeb
File 163621664276.png - (304.30KB , 1000x1100 , p12.png )


Uzak tests the edge of the mask with her finger. She can feel it sucker down more tightly when she tries to loosen it.

The mask can’t be sapient, right? There’s barely enough substance in there for a handful of motes much less the processing power for a sprite. Hopefully it’s just some instinctual reaction and if she lets it loosen she’ll be able to surprise it and take it off.

Uzak leaves the straps undone as the band starts their official practice. Bage croons into the mike, switching between aggressive, fast paced vocals, and a melancholy chorus.

They’re doing half covers and half original songs. In the middle of tIt anthem Chainsaw Butcher, Uzak takes her hand from the strings and pulls the mask free.
No. 1014374 ID: eedbeb
File 163621664903.png - (274.56KB , 1000x1100 , p13.png )

She blinks and fumbles the next few chords as her vision swims and returns to normal. The inside of the mask is the usual dark grey polymer.

“You good?” Tyson asks once they finish the song.

“Yeah, sorry for fucking up that part.” Uzak unscrews her filter to check her supply. To her alarm, she’s already used half of the powder from this morning.

“Hopefully everyone will be too drunk to notice we suck.” Bage jokes. He puffs at his vape nervously.

The band finishes practice and start packing their gear into bulky packs. The club has amps and a drum set, but otherwise they have to lug everything through the portal gates.

There’s a decent crowd milling around the dingy basement and Uzak has some time to mingle before she performs.

A. Get a drink
B. Talk to Tyson
C. Talk to Bage
No. 1014375 ID: 9548a8

Drinks until after the performance. But we will get lots of drinks when we're done before going home or meeting our drug dealer.

Talk with Bage, he was nervous, so lets assure him we'll be okaaaaaaay.
No. 1014376 ID: 392497

Talk to bage, ur inviting them to dinner so I wanna know more about em, ur relationship, etc.
No. 1014378 ID: c92a02

Talk to Tyson.
No. 1014382 ID: eedbeb
File 163623873352.png - (230.13KB , 1000x1100 , p14.png )

Things have been awkward between the two of them since Bage used the L-word during one of their hookups. Uzak’s done her best to act like nothing’s changed between them, but she knows the mouse is hurt. Maybe she can clear things up and help him calm down before the gig.

She finds Bage skulking in the back, tapping a beat on the painted brick moodily. He winces when he sees her coming.

“Hi.” he says.

“Hey man.” Uzak leans against the wall opposite him. “You feeling okay?”

“It’ll be okay once we get started.” Bage digs his fingers into his forearm. “I always get anxious before a show.”
No. 1014383 ID: eedbeb
File 163623873954.png - (303.26KB , 1000x1100 , p15.png )

“I’m sorry for laughing at you during sex that one time.” Uzak blurts out. “That was mean, it’s okay for you to say you love me, I just won’t reciprocate.”

“I didn’t think you were being mean to me, I just felt really stupid. And. Well. We’ve been friends for so long and everything, do you really feel nothing towards me?” Bage asks.

His eyes are a bit watery. Oops, bringing this up now might not have been a great idea. Uzak genuinely has no romantic feelings towards Bage but needs to find the best way to say it.

A. She’s aromantic and doesn’t love anyone
B. Apologize, it’s not Bage, it’s her
C. “Let’s keep things professional from now on.”
No. 1014384 ID: c92a02

"I could never love you, Bage. You're just not my type."
No. 1014385 ID: df76b1

I figured you're a cat, so you could just go RAWR and chase him onstage.

No sense engaging in Sabotage, unless you're covering it.
No. 1014386 ID: 9548a8


It's not because he's not her type or because she is aromantic, but her junkie lifestyle is kinda messed up and wouldn't want to drag him into it.
No. 1014388 ID: 0838d6

Okay I WOULD say the aromantic thing would make sense, BUT!!!! Aphin is Asexual, and she's avoiding him, considering how this world runs, they would more then likely find actual solidarity in this and have a better bond if this was the case. Unless UZAK just doesent know and will find out at dinner.

So I'm leaning more towards B, and its her drug heavy lifestyle that makes her just... not want that with him, she wants someone who vibes on the same wavelength and he's just a vapey boy.

It COULD be A, but idk my interpretation is that it can't work that way.
No. 1014390 ID: 3c26c4


(To add to my post of course, we dont tell him about our lifestyle, we don't need the risk of him trying to "help" us)
No. 1014391 ID: bbdaaf

No. 1014396 ID: 7ffb59

No. 1014400 ID: 894419

B. "I just don't really... do love like other people do."
No. 1014411 ID: 3328c7

B. I'm a cat, you are a mouse. I was taught not to "$·$· my food.
No. 1014415 ID: ce39da

A: "For what it's worth, the sex was awesome up until that point. Would bang again. But no love. I'll, uh... I'll be honest, I don't do romantic love. With, like... anybody. It's fucking weird, I know, but please don't blame yourself; it was my fault for not making that clear from the start."
No. 1014434 ID: eedbeb
File 163630715398.png - (229.09KB , 1000x1100 , p16.png )

“Bage, this isn’t your fault or anything, you’re a great guy and the sex has been awesome. I have a lot going on with freelance and I don’t want to drag you into that mess.” Uzak flounders for a moment. Feelings aren’t her strong point. “I care about you so much as my friend, but I can’t change how I feel beyond that, I’m sorry.”

Bage wipes his nose on the back of his hand. “You’re not obligated to love me. I-I’m glad we could talk about it.”

“Still want to go to dinner tomorrow?”

“Hell yeah.” Bage smiles weakly. “I’m not gonna say no to free dinner.”
No. 1014435 ID: eedbeb
File 163630716581.png - (431.87KB , 1000x1100 , p17.png )

Uzak and Bage chat about music and random shit until it’s time to go to the stage. Uzak switches out her filter before putting on her mask, she doesn’t want to be tripping during the show.

Bage transforms into a different person once he takes the mic. He swaggers to the edge of the platform, signature sunglasses hiding his soft eyes.

“Thank you all for coming out tonight! We are tIt and we’re going to make you scream.”

“I don’t see any tits! This band’s a sham!” someone heckles lightheartedly. Uzak pinpoints a tall horse as the source.

“Oh yeah?” Bage peels off his shirt to reveal his lean chest. “Get a load of these!”

The crowd whoops with delight and Tyson counts off the first song.
No. 1014436 ID: eedbeb
File 163630717264.png - (273.06KB , 1000x1100 , p18.png )

The hour passes in a blur of head banging and several absolutely sick drum solos. Uzak plays decently and she’s satisfied when Bage staggers to the front at the end of their last song.

“This has been tIt! Hope you all enjoyed the music, horse guy, if you want your dick sucked find me in ten minutes.”

The horse’s friends hoot and punch him in the shoulder. Uzak unclasps her mask and wipes the sweat from her brow. The night is still young by her standards, but she should probably get some rest before hare hunting tomorrow.

A. Watch Bage and the horse
B. Smoke weed and chill with Tyson
C. Go home
No. 1014438 ID: afe7de

Smoke weed, you had a big high and now it's time to have some indica and chill out.
No. 1014440 ID: 4d5afe

Go see Tyson. But don't forget your free dinner and alcohol.
No. 1014441 ID: c92a02

Go home.
No. 1014444 ID: acce71

Pretty sure Bage is 16. Call the police.
No. 1014445 ID: 894419

Time to head to bed I think
No. 1014446 ID: f4d2d2

Yeah, just go home. You're not all that social.
No. 1014478 ID: eedbeb
File 163634537040.png - (322.84KB , 1000x1100 , p19.png )

“I’m heading out, I’ll take my bass.” Uzak tells Tyson, who nods and drifts towards the inviting, bong wielding after party.

Uzak packs her bag and heads into the warm night. Her apartment is between two gate stations, so she’ll have time during the walk to plan for tomorrow.

The team she’s targeting split up ages ago after an intense mission in the Fathomless Forest, which was where they found a mana scope, an extremely rare artifact that can detect mana waves. They split the scope into three parts, and it sounds like the two lenses ended up with Audrey the hare and Vince the owl.
No. 1014479 ID: eedbeb
File 163634538221.png - (265.47KB , 1000x1100 , p20.png )

Uzak has been on a few adventures, but even 15 years retired her targets outrank her by far. That’s why she’s using eldritch dust, a volatile and dangerous tool that includes benefits such as mild precognition and emotion influence.

She needs to get the location of the hare, restock on powder, and prepare to face Ahpin as well as do the various things that keep her alive and healthy.

Uzak climbs the stairs to her tiny second floor studio apartment with a groan. For someone who apparently doesn’t have a real job, she feels awfully busy.

What’s Uzak’s evening routine? Also, what should she do first tomorrow?
No. 1014483 ID: e51896

You go on the internet and look up PursuitLair, an imageboard that contains interactive stories they call "pursuits". You suggest ideas for your favorite pursuits that you like to catch up on, sometimes lightheartedly troll on other pursuits with obviously dumb yet funny ideas. Theres one you like to read called "you're deceased"

Afterwards, you cry yourself to sleep.

First thing to do is restock on powder.
No. 1014484 ID: 094652

6:00 Early Dinner
6:30 Develop Engineering Projects (mostly drug supplies)
8:00 Play Starreach
9:00 Late Dinner
9:30 Practice New Songs
10:00 Porn
12:00 Sleep
No. 1014485 ID: afe7de


Visit PURSUITLAIR and see that there's a story called WEIRD STUFFED ANIMALS GET STITCHED TOGETHER OH GOD. You don't know why the title is so long, or why anyone would read a story about eldritch horror stuffed animals, so you go look up porn until you sleep, not even jerking off, just as ambient noise.
No. 1014489 ID: df76b1

4 hours of watching basketball, playing that mobile phone game where you're a pirate, and jilling off, taken in intermittent shifts.

Around midnight you warm up some frozen enchildas, engage in some self-loathing, and go to bed.
No. 1014500 ID: eedbeb
File 163639303143.png - (297.77KB , 1000x1100 , p21.png )

The first thing Uzak does is warm up some frozen enchiladas. She missed lunch so she eats five of them with a generous splash of hot sauce. The influx of food reminds her how tired she is, and she gets on her bed with her laptop to relax.

After an hour of absent RTS games and watching a recorded hoop-ball game, Uzak switches to some interactive stories on an imageboard. She catches up on her favorites, but doesn’t suggest anything.

Once she’s sufficiently bored she fishes around under her bed for her rabbit vibrator and pulls her pants to her ankles.

The post nut clarity hits Uzak so hard she shuts her laptop and goes to sleep.
No. 1014502 ID: eedbeb
File 163639305458.png - (280.65KB , 1000x1100 , p22.png )

Uzak gets up around noon the next day, showers, eats a leftover enchilada, grabs her mask and heads for Tom’s dingy alley. It lives on the same side of town, so Uzak walks the whole way instead of bothering to take a portal.

The eldritch is lying slumped against the wall with its many eyes shut. She waits until a weak tendril rises from the rags and addresses her.

“Ah, Uzak.” it croaks. “You have come back again. What would you like from me today? I hope you have something interesting for exchange.”

Pick one or more options.
A. Tell Tom about yesterday’s visions
B. Ask Tom how it’s doing
C. Trade for powder (suggest what Uzak trades, it matters)
No. 1014506 ID: 219f68

Tell about the visions, and of course,

Hug Tom.
No. 1014513 ID: afe7de

Talk about the visions, offer up your GAMER GIRL BATHWATER, it's just a cup of water you jilled in a little bit the last time you had a bath. There was this one pervert who bought it off of you once but now you have like 2 bottles left so you thought it'd be worth a shot considering how sex crazed some kin are
No. 1014525 ID: c92a02

Read Tom, trade potions mixed with alcohol from the bar.
No. 1014535 ID: df76b1

We have band merch, gamer girl potion bases, and this bag of pretzels I found on a train.
No. 1014538 ID: eedbeb
File 163642735393.png - (326.31KB , 1000x1100 , p23.png )

“When I was using the powder yesterday I had two strong visions. This first was the owl I told you about, he got all frozen and distorted when he brought up his team.”

“Hmm.” Tom nods its little tendril. “Yes, they split up, you said. He could be stuck in the past, unable to move on. Or there could have been a draft in the house, who knows.”

“Probably the first one.”

Tom does a tiny shrug. “You’re the one who needs to get something useful from the interpretation. The mind is complicated.”

“Okay, what about, uh, my friend turning into a big baby.”

“Break up with him.” Tom says instantly.

“What? We’re not even together and you just said it’s open to interpretation. Whatever, let me find something to give you.”
No. 1014539 ID: eedbeb
File 163642736346.png - (260.01KB , 1000x1100 , p24.png )

Uzak rummages around in her pockets and produces a tIt CD and a jar of old shower water she keeps with her at all time.

Tom recoils with displeasure. “Don’t insult me with garbage.”

“Last time I gave you a bag of pretzels.” Uzak protests.

“Yes, well, supply and demand.” Tom grumbles. “I’d like something with a decent amount of mana or actual money.”
No. 1014569 ID: df76b1

Huh, if we assembled that manascope, it'd lead us right to the biggest payoff in the city.

Either we need to put some more points into pretzel find, or hope we get a lead on the hare. I guess we pay cash.
No. 1014577 ID: c92a02

You and me both Tom.
No. 1014596 ID: 96c896

Do you have some cash? How much would it want?
No. 1014612 ID: eedbeb
File 163647011733.png - (301.52KB , 1000x1100 , p25.png )

Uzak assesses her wallet. She has 48 rollad and a coupon for half off a pizza.

“Yes I’ll take all that.” Tom says from her elbow.

She snaps her wallet shut. “Jeez dude, this is all I’ve got. I have to eat too.”

“Well maybe you shouldn’t have offered me bathwater.” the eldritch says waspishly. “Once you get the manascope parts you can use them to find something magical, otherwise I want cash.”

Uzak sighs and hands over her money and the coupon. She needs the eldritch powder for her job, so unless she finds a new dealer, she’s at the whim of Tom, who is notoriously whimsical.

Tom takes her filter and a razorblade from its rags. It worms one of its tentacles through the cracks and then slices it free.

The eldritch pockets the money and hums a nonsense tune. What should Uzak do next?
A. Use eldritch powder to find the hare
B. Ask her Guild contact where the hare is
C. Other
No. 1014614 ID: e51896

We ran out of the stuff pretty fast last time. So lets just ask our guild contact before we use the powder.

Also, ask Tom about the powder making the mask stick to your face, and you had to trick it to pull it off without hurting yourself. can you at least get compensated for that?
No. 1014619 ID: 506ff5

Ask the guild, on your way there try to see what food places are extra cheap, maybe you can ask for a small advance for some food from them since you’re actively working on the case?
No. 1014629 ID: cc4ee7

Tom, why are you lying in this dank alley all despondent? Are you daydreaming about what you would have become if someone hadn't cracked your egg again?
No. 1014634 ID: eedbeb
File 163650492603.png - (264.08KB , 1000x1100 , p26.png )

"One more thing, when I was using the mask yesterday, it got stuck to my face. Is that normal or..?"

"Did it really?" Tom looks vaguely impressed as he flips through the dirty bills.

Uzak sighs and changes the subject. "You just, uh, planning to stay here all day?"

"Usually I like to mope about how my egg was cracked by a curious rat and I was doomed to this pitiful existence but your visit put me in much better spirits." Tom says cheerfully. "Perhaps I will visit a printing shop later."

Uzak leaves Tom in the alley and finds a curb to sit on. Losing that money hurt, she doesn't have to worry about rent for a couple weeks but if anything breaks or goes wrong she'll be in trouble. Since the powder is so valuable, she doesn't want to use it to find the hare.
No. 1014637 ID: eedbeb
File 163650512844.png - (352.74KB , 1000x1100 , p27.png )

The cat thumbs through her phone and finds the Guild recruiter that contacted her for the job. Uzak has a profile on the Guild website listing her combat level, skills, and availability. In the past, her best paying gigs have been multi-day adventuring trips where the party needed some extra muscle, so she was surprised when someone from the Guild itself contacted her.

"Hello, this is the office of Guild Internal Affairs, how can I help you." Prim burbles from the other side of the phone.

"Prim, its Uzak, can you give me a tip about the scope job—"

"Shh!" the shrimp hisses. "Where are you?"

"Sitting on the ground."

"Is there anyone near you?"

"No one's listening, if that’s what you're worried about." Uzak mutters.
No. 1014638 ID: eedbeb
File 163650513616.png - (328.75KB , 1000x1100 , p28.png )

"Good, because the Guild isn't technically supposed to be bothering retired adventurers. Our authority mostly extends to collecting dues and since it can be argued the mana vent issue isn't a calamity, people could sue." the shrimp says.

Uzak rolls her eyes. "It's fine, I'd like to know where Audrey lives."

"Give me a moment." Uzak hears the clack of a keyboard. "Yes, the druid, her house is on the outskirts of the city but she spends a lot of time foraging in the forest so it’s hard to get ahold of her. I'll send you the address. Anything else you'd like?"

"Can you pay me a bit upfront? My supplies for this sort of thing aren't free."

"Oh...that's true. Can we meet later? Digital records can be subpoenaed."
No. 1014643 ID: ce39da

"Yeah, fair. And you're sure you don't need the third piece? I don't wanna cut it down to the wire for rent harassing two retired dudes only to find out I gotta bust ass to hound the third guy, too."

Assuming "later" doesn't mean "now," go to the hare's house.
No. 1014672 ID: afe7de

Say sure you can meet later and ask for the last persons location too just to save time since you have her on the call.
No. 1014673 ID: 094652

"Send me a dead drop. Remember, you're paying us peanuts."
No. 1014690 ID: 3328c7

We'll meet with her, but I don't trust these GIA guys.
No. 1014707 ID: eedbeb
File 163658667323.png - (264.32KB , 1000x1100 , p29.png )

"When's later?" Uzak asks.

"I get off work at 5:00pm, and I can meet any time after that within portal boundaries."

A drop off would be more convenient but Uzak doubts Prim trusts her enough. She's never actually met the shrimp in person, so it might be a good opportunity to haggle for higher pay.

"What about the third piece? You still want me to get that, right?"

"The optics are more important, but the body of the scope would make putting it together much easier." Prim explains. "Princess has a family with kids, though, and if you're not comfortable with that you don't have to worry."

"Send me her address too." Uzak can stop by to chat even if she doesn't want to fistfight a mom.

Prim ends the call and immediately texts the two addresses to Uzak. Princess is in one of the suburbs while Audrey is much further. Who should Uzak visit first? What's her approach strategy?
No. 1014712 ID: afe7de

Visit princess, she’s a mom with kids, should be possible to catch her, have a quick convo to gauge the situation, then dip and plan your real strat which is breaking in when her kids leave for school and she leaves for work to snatch it should she not be willing to give it up. That thought crossed your mind as you wander towards her place
No. 1014737 ID: eedbeb
File 163659754959.png - (351.85KB , 1000x1100 , p30.png )

It should be possible to have a quick conversation with the coyote, no mask necessary, to gauge the situation and see who’s usually around the house. If the kids aren’t there, Uzak could try to break in, scummy as that is.

Uzak stands, dusts off the seat of her pants, and follows her phone’s instructions to get to the house. It’s a lovely idyllic neighborhood, well-kept yards and glossy painted exteriors. Princess’s house has a new roof and water guns scattered around the yard.

Uzak rings the doorbell and waits. She hears a young child hollering, then footsteps, and the door swings open.

“Hello.” Princess beams. There’s a pup chewing on their paw and clutching their mother’s loose shirt.

“I’m here on behalf of the Adventurers’ Guild—“ Uzak begins.

“Oh! Of course, just a moment.” Princess puts the pup on the tile and tackles Uzak onto the grass.
No. 1014740 ID: 4ab949

"Geez, at least buy a woman dinner first!"
Ask what this is about.
No. 1014741 ID: 094652

"I have eldritch crack and I'm not afraid to use it!"
No. 1014742 ID: afe7de

Ask what its about, if you see her going to actively wound you or continue her assault do what you know to do in these situations with quickly assaulting dogs, lift your legs and KICK either her off of you, or the ground so that you can reverse the situation.
No. 1014743 ID: df76b1

Yell something rude directly in her ear.

If she recoils, use that time to get to your feet. Did you bring either type of Mace?
No. 1014744 ID: ce39da

"Non-violent! I come with non-violent intent on behalf of the AG! Jeezum, relax, lady! I'm not gonna punch a mom over an optional bonus piece! I wanted to talk things through."
No. 1014759 ID: eedbeb
File 163660465263.png - (382.22KB , 1000x1100 , p31.png )

There’s hard muscle under the coyote’s cardigan, not to mention that she took Uzak totally by surprise.

“Hey, relax lady!” Uzak struggles to push Princess away but her flailing hands are expertly deflected. “What’s this for? I want to talk!”

Princess punches Uzak in the nose playfully. It hurts like fuck and blood starts running into her mouth.

“Get ‘er mommy!” the pup squeaks.

“I told the last Guild representative that I’d beat up whoever they sent to harass my family next!” Princess yips, with a blow to Uzak’s right eye.
No. 1014761 ID: eedbeb
File 163660471042.png - (317.84KB , 1000x1100 , p32.png )

Uzak yowls with rage and kicks at Princess with her sturdy combat boots. Her strong legs are enough to lift the coyote off of her, giving Uzak a chance to fling herself upright.

This is bad, her nose and eye are swelling up and Princess isn’t even winded. What should Uzak do?

A. Use the eldritch powder and reengage
B. Threaten to use the eldritch powder to try to deescalate (has a chance of failure)
C. Run
D. Other
No. 1014763 ID: e51896

A. Trip out to ease the pain
No. 1014764 ID: 8483cf

A. Go get 'em!
No. 1014767 ID: afe7de

A. Trip out, engage a temporary mutation and use it to bind this lady.
No. 1014769 ID: bc11b8

A. murder. no mercy
No. 1014770 ID: df76b1

Are we really gonna assault a naked lady in front of her kid?

Hell yes, then we're gonna cross that off the bucket list later. A.
No. 1014776 ID: f8fa51

B. We want to try to de-escalate the situation so we can talk.
No. 1014779 ID: ce39da

B: "Lady, I wasn't even gonna threaten you, but I do have the means to defend myself!"
No. 1014795 ID: 094652

A) "I just want you children to know - whatever I do next is instigated as an act of self-defense, unless your mother stops trying to blend my ribcage within the next five seconds."
No. 1014802 ID: 36784c

No. 1014811 ID: eedbeb
File 163665534396.png - (429.00KB , 1000x1100 , p33.png )

Uzak lifts the mask to her face. She doesn’t even have to do the straps after she takes the first breath, the mask suckers itself to her skin and the pain from her nose and eye disappears.

“Baby, go inside and try to call your dad.” Princess growls. She tears her cardigan away with one hand, revealing the battle hardened body beneath.

“C’mon, help me.” Uzak mutters. The hallucinations are trickling in, blurring out the rest of the world and drawing sharp lines from Princess’s eyes. She can see where Princess is about to move and aim, and the image of a black tube, which must be the piece of the artifact.

The vision is remarkably crisp compared to what she saw of the owl. She doesn’t have time to think about what this could symbolize.
No. 1014814 ID: eedbeb
File 163665555081.png - (386.47KB , 1000x1100 , p34.png )

Uzak dodges Princess’s first blow and meets her with a knee to the stomach. This time the coyote is the one who falls to ground, gasping for breath and clutching her ribs. Uzak follows up with a merciless kick, then kneels so she’s straddling the writhing woman.

Princess breaks the first attempt at a pin and socks Uzak in the boob, struggling until Uzak gets an arm around her fluffy neck and squeezes, threatening to choke her.

The coyote taps out and Uzak loosens her hold slightly, but doesn’t let go.

“I want the mana scope piece.” Uzak growls in her ear.

“You can have it if you leave me and my family alone.” Princess coughs. “It won’t work anyway, after I found out the Guild was looking for it I put it through our new Magilux washer so many times it ruined the mana signature.”
No. 1014815 ID: 63467e

Might be brutal but maybe break a rib as you let her go, saying something like “THAT was for attacking someone just here to talk” say you’ll be taking it and that they shouldn’t be bothering you anymore. I like the idea that Uzak is a little petty.
No. 1014816 ID: 894419

Whether it works or not isn't my problem, I'm only paid to get it back, which we could have done without beating the shit out of eachother if you'd just talked to me.
No. 1014817 ID: 36784c

Tell her that you don’t care if it works or not. Your job was to just get it, you were never told that you had to make sure that it still works.
No. 1014819 ID: ce39da

"Unfortunate, but not my problem to deal with. I am curious, though; you wouldn't have destroyed it if you cared about its monetary or practical value, so what was stopping you from just handing it over in the first place and washing your hands of all this?"
No. 1014820 ID: 96c896

Tell her if the world ends it's her fault now.
No. 1014821 ID: be2ac4

"I get the feeling you're bullshitting me. What's to say it's not just a cheap replica."
No. 1014823 ID: 6d5604

"Was it the owl who told you the guild was looking for the pieces yesterday?"
No. 1014839 ID: cba7e4

I'm calling your bluff. If you had done that, you would have just told the Guild instead of punching me.
No. 1014842 ID: df76b1

We'll be sending you an itemized reciept for attacking 2 agents and magical sabotage.

You'll pay it in full, or they'll send someone a lot less patient then me.
No. 1014866 ID: eedbeb
File 163668766295.png - (341.14KB , 1000x1100 , p35.png )

“Not my problem.” Uzak says. Privately she’s cursing Princess for making her life that much harder. No doubt Prim will find some way to charge a fee for the damaged goods.

She adjusts her hold on Princess and the coyote grunts with pain. “You broke a rib, getting me with your knee there. What’s up with the mask? Is it an artifact that makes you stronger?”

“Something like that, so don’t try anything. I’m going to let you up and you’re going to take me to the tube. No surprises.”

“Fine.” Princess wheezes. “It’s in the house, don’t touch anything you don’t want to pay for.”

“You’re the one who attacked first, you should owe me.” Uzak stands, keeping a close eye on Princess as the coyote hobbles to the door.
No. 1014867 ID: eedbeb
File 163668767017.png - (192.68KB , 1000x1100 , p36.png )

Princess leads Uzak to the master bedroom. Uzak sees a pair of luminous, frightened eyes as the kid darts away from the scary intruder to hide in the bathroom.

Princess dumps the hamper and the strange black tube comes rolling out over the dirty laundry. Uzak dips to snag it, testing the material with a claw.

There’s a vague aura around the hard shell. Peering closer, Uzak can see that it’s made of interlocking fibers. She squeezes but the material doesn’t give.

“How do I know this is the real thing?” Uzak asks. “You could be bullshitting me, given me a prop or something. If you care about it enough not to sell it, you wouldn’t just hand it over.”

Princess squints at Uzak for a few seconds. “Fuck you.”

“No, fuck you! I don’t want to have to come back here.”

Princess groans. “I’m not a mage, and if you can’t tell by yourself there’s nothing I can do to prove it to you. The reason I wanted to keep it is because it’s my only keepsake from our last adventure.”
No. 1014868 ID: eedbeb
File 163668767786.png - (260.10KB , 1000x1100 , p37.png )

That actually isn’t a bad reason. It would explain why everyone in the ex-team is so unwilling to hand their pieces over, clearly it was a bad breakup for friends so close to not even talk to each other anymore.

There’s still some magic in the tube, so the washing machine wasn’t enough to totally ruin it. Maybe Prim will have a way to restore it.

Uzak’s stomach rumbles as she walks away from the blurry saccharine neighborhood. She has an hour or two before dinner with Ahpin, not enough time to find Audrey and come back. What should she do in the meantime?

A. Meet with Prim
B. Hang out with Tyson
C. Hang out with Bage
D. Other
No. 1014870 ID: 46be71

Gotta meet with prim as promised
No. 1014871 ID: 8dddab

D remove mask. Need to save the rest for hunting down the rabbit. We ran low quick last time.
No. 1014872 ID: afe7de

Remove mask and hang with Prim, being high is cool but that shit costs food money. Gotta conserve.
No. 1014877 ID: 8483cf

No. 1014881 ID: 96c896

A. Chew her out a bit, since she didn't tell you Princess was pissed at the guild already.
No. 1014913 ID: eedbeb
File 163673156570.png - (301.08KB , 1000x1100 , p38.png )

First things first, Uzak needs to take off the mask so she doesn’t waste more powder. She tentatively pokes at the side, and to her pleasant surprise, it peels off easily.

The pain of her injuries returns with a vengeance and Uzak bites her lip with a hiss. There’s dried blood all over her mouth and she can’t see out of her swollen eye. She needs to find a public bathroom where she can tidy up a bit.

Uzak wipes her face with scratchy paper towels soaked in tap water, wincing whenever she touches her nose. Once she’s presentable, she texts Prim.
No. 1014914 ID: eedbeb
File 163673158055.png - (279.39KB , 1000x1100 , p39.png )

Uzak: Can you meet in 15 minutes?
Prim: Yes! Where?
Uzak: Bathroom at Station G
Prim: D:
Prim: We can do a bit better than that, there’s a lovely little specialty desserts place not far from there, I’ll pay
Uzak: Ok

Uzak makes her way to the ice cream slash bakery slash crepe shop and finds a table to wait. The employees take in her eye, tattoos, and dirty clothes, but don’t ask her to leave.

Prim bustles in after a few minutes. “Uzak! Oh dear, are you alright?”
No. 1014915 ID: ce39da

"Yyyyyup. Wish you could have warned me that Princess was already mad, though. Apparently, someone else was harassing her for her 'thing' on 'your' behalf. I did manage to get it, but she ran it through the wash a bunch of times, thinking you'd lose interest. Not sure how useful it still is."
No. 1014918 ID: e51896

Give her the scope piece, tell her to not worry about it, it comes with the job and you dont need anyone's pity.
No. 1014919 ID: e51896

Actually, wait, I changed my mind. Don't give her the scope piece just yet, we might be able to use it to show to the owl to help us get his scope piece if we fail getting a scope piece from the rabbit.
But we will show it to her as proof and let her know our plans.
No. 1014920 ID: 256512

Remind yourself to get some sunglasses to hide your injuries from Ahpin later tonight.
No. 1014928 ID: eedbeb
File 163675153639.png - (232.00KB , 1000x1100 , p40.png )

“It’s not serious but you could have warned me that Princess was going to attack me.” Uzak grumbles.

Prim pulls out a chair and sits. “We didn’t think she would actually follow up on her threat, our mistake. I can cover the cost of a healer, and oh, you should get one of the crepes, they’re delicious.”

Uzak is not opposed to dessert before dinner, and she orders one with lots of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. While she waits, she pulls out the tube.

“I got the scope piece, Princess said she tried to remove the magic in it, so not sure how useful it will be.”

Prim whips out a pair of enchanted specs and reaches for the little cylinder. When Uzak doesn’t let go she sighs and leans across the table.

“Yes, its low on energy but a good soaking in a pure mana solution should restore it in no time. Powerful artifacts are almost impossible to break, which is why we have direct flights to the closest active volcano.”
No. 1014929 ID: eedbeb
File 163675157018.png - (363.75KB , 1000x1100 , p41.png )

“Ok.” Uzak tucks the tube back into her pocket despite Prim’s look of desperation. Their crepes arrive and Uzak devours hers in two minutes.

“Let’s talk payment.” Prim says, pushing her half eaten crepe towards Uzak, who gratefully accepts. “We want this to be a complete job but we’re willing to pay for each piece separately. Also, you said you needed money for your tools so I can add that as well.”

Prim lowers her voice. “We’re also willing to exchange information, though I’m sure you’d prefer cash. Just know it’s an option!”

Uzak is getting 50 rollad no matter what, but she has a choice to make about the tube.
A. Trade tube for 2000 rollad
B. Trade tube for 1000 rollad and a question about the mana vents or some other important item
C. Keep tube
D. Other
No. 1014930 ID: 0838d6

so I think a valid question, when recieving that kind of money is, do you have a bank or bank card so you can store money and not get it all janked when going for magic dust.

Second, how much is needed for rent, is 1000 enough?

Third, gear/allies, if the last person is a problem will you need to spend it on that?

I think while getting lore info would be cool for us as suggestors, I dont think Uzak will actually care about it unless Aphin dinner changes that?

I got other questions but I feel like an interim -what about this- might be warranted.
No. 1014932 ID: 894419

what do we care about info? Its not like manavents are our problem. Take 2000 rollad.
No. 1014933 ID: 96c896

Why the fuck would we trade 1k for nebulous info on the mana vents?
Holla holla get dolla. A.
No. 1014934 ID: 1efbe3

B. Getting some information might make convincing the others to relinquish their pieces easier.
No. 1014935 ID: 9893a6

Did you just fucking soul vore that crepe?
No. 1014936 ID: 96c896

Ok ask her first if the info would help you convince the others to give up their parts. If yes, B but ask for a discount since it serves her purposes as well.
No. 1014941 ID: fb257b

That purple guy's face in the backround! XD

Let's ask if the information can be used to track down the last piece more easily.
No. 1014951 ID: eedbeb
File 163676866459.png - (421.13KB , 1000x1100 , p42.png )

>More info about the options

Uzak mostly needs money for the rapidly escalating cost of eldritch powder (will be rollad amounts randomly chosen from 500, 1000, 150, and 2000 from now on), though she can also do whatever she wants with her money such as buy magical items or donate cash to the band. She currently has enough powder for one short excursion.

The question could lead to helpful information about the ex-team, such as why they broke up or their origin story, which would help if attempting to extract their pieces non-violently. Asking about the mana vents might not help with artifact extraction, but would lead to plot relevance.
No. 1014952 ID: 8483cf

Disregard plot, acquire fluff
No. 1014953 ID: 9b127b

>B. Trade tube for 1000 rollad and a question about the mana vents or some other important item

this the important item is Prim's dress.

alternately flirt with Prim for better deal
No. 1014955 ID: 07b56b

Fine, let's accept the money.

Also, mock Prim ridiculous physique.
No. 1014958 ID: 0838d6

Accept the full money, try to sneak a quickie with the shrimp lady, her physique is HOT like someone fried this shrimp in rice. Heck that should be your pickup line. One she's never heard of before!
No. 1014959 ID: 96c896

Take 1000 and find out about the vents.
Also, compliment Prim's ridiculous physique.
No. 1014964 ID: df76b1

All the money. We have a habit, but it's under control.

And to keep it under control, we need all that money.
No. 1014977 ID: e51896

Still gonna say B so we can get info about the adventurers and not hurt ourself again.
No. 1015013 ID: eedbeb
File 163681987055.png - (331.39KB , 1000x1100 , p43.png )

>Full payment
“I’ll take all the cash.” Uzak decides. Money is more important than the nebulous promise of useful knowledge.

Prim opens her purse and pulls out a stack of fifty rollad notes held together with a rubber band. She hands Uzak the money to count and eagerly takes the tube. Uzak now has 2050 rollad.

“You wanna fuck?” Uzak asks after stuffing the numerous bills into her old wallet.

“Uzak! Have a little finesse.” Prim chides.

“You got smokin’ tits, babe. Hotter than fried rice.”

Prim blushes. “That’s better. This building has a sex room down the hall and I have a few toys in my purse. I don’t want it too rough but I do like the usual dirty talk as long as you aren’t making fun of me.”

What is Uzak’s quickie method (to use on Prim)?
A. Dildo
B. Fingering
C. Oral

No. 1015015 ID: e7c7d3

A. Shrimp on a skewer
No. 1015016 ID: 608bc8

Oralllll, you are a cat, she’s a type of fish, you live for this shit.
No. 1015022 ID: e51896

Only because we've been wearing a gasmask filled with that eldritch powder, and breathing that shit in, so some of that stuff might still be in our mouth, and cause something very interesting. Whether that will have good or bad effects on Prim, who knows? Im just feeling a bit evil right now.
No. 1015025 ID: 9b127b

Oral, gotta taste the shrimp
No. 1015029 ID: eedbeb
File 163683768863.png - (347.89KB , 1000x1100 , p44.png )

>Sea food’s on the menu, boys

One of the stalls in the sex room is occupied, muffled moans coming from behind the door. Uzak lets Prim lead the way to the other cozy cubby, fitted with a small bed and shelf to place clothes and personal items.

The shrimp squeezes out of her dress, revealing her boobs in all their glory. Uzak kicks her pants aside and sits on the bed, which is fitted with a clean top sheet.

Prim crawls into her lap and they make out, the shrimp’s antennae fluttering happily. Uzak lays Prim out and moves between her hard shelled legs, pulling her tail away from her salty cunt.

Uzak doesn’t have time to eat Prim out properly, so she uses her fingers to help get Prim off. The shrimp makes adorable gasping noises when she comes.

No. 1015030 ID: eedbeb
File 163683769693.png - (346.37KB , 1000x1100 , p45.png )

Once Uzak’s cleaned up, she squeezes a tit for good luck then starts her journey to Nutz, texting Bage to meet her outside. The mouse immediately responds that he’s leaving his place and will be there in several minutes. Uzak is looking forward to flexing her fat payout, though she still wants Ahpin to cover dinner.

Uzak waits outside the tavern until Bage arrives, hair tousled like he just got out of bed.

“Late night after the show.” he yawns. “That horse had a dick like a soda can, thought I’d pass out at one point.”

“Glad you survived.” Uzak says drily.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met your brother. What’s he like?”

“He’s kind of a nerd honestly. Does accounting shit, you probably shouldn’t hit on him.”

Bage shrugs. “Whatever you say. Don’t come crying if he tries to get in my pants.”
No. 1015031 ID: eedbeb
File 163683770513.png - (384.50KB , 1000x1100 , p46.png )

Ahpin and Maddie arrive right on time, arm in arm with each other. Uzak recognizes the dog from the Guild website as a high ranked adventurer, though she’s also heard rumors that Maddie’s team ran into serious trouble in a dungeon a month ago. She reaches a hand to her mask instinctively.

“Uzak, you made it!” Ahpin bounds forward but doesn’t go for a hug. He’s a smidge taller than her, wielding his usual bare chest and scarf.

“Don’t sound so surprised.”

“I hadn’t heard from you in a while and so much craziness has happened.” Ahpin rubs the back of his head sheepishly. “Anyway, this place has great ale and burgers. Let’s get a table.”

Maddie is wearing a long sleeved shirt, despite the warm weather. There’s a glint of metal from her left hand, but Uzak doesn’t have a chance to get a good look before they’re seated at a sturdy wood table.

“So before I tell you my adventuring story, what’s been happening with you?” Ahpin asks.
No. 1015032 ID: 0838d6

Be vague about what's been happening, mention you got a good freelance job recently, let gage talk about band woes and introduce himself. Eye Aphins (girlfriend?) [we know they arent together but you dont know that] down a bit and that arm, maybe ask whats up with that.
No. 1015033 ID: e51896

be very vague, don't let him know about how you got your injury.
"Gigs, band practice, freelance work, same old shit, ran into pole, got black eye from it. Fine."

If Ahpin is worried about your life because of your parents concern, explain:

"Look, I'm making enough money, just got paid from my last freelance work, so you guys don't have to worry about me. I'm fine, I'm an adult and can take good care of myself."
No. 1015036 ID: 96c896

Tell him you're collecting pieces of an artifact that will probably save the world or something.
No. 1015037 ID: 36784c

>“So before I tell you my adventuring story, what’s been happening with you?” Ahpin asks.
You know he doesn't do adventures, so whatever his story is it probably isn't as exciting as he's making it seem.

Ask what happened? Did his boss send him on an adventure to get some more ink for the office printer?
No. 1015038 ID: df76b1

Shock him with the most lurid details of your life, blown wildly out of proportion.

You're a punk rocker, dammit.
No. 1015077 ID: eedbeb
File 163686679565.png - (304.95KB , 1000x1100 , p47.png )

Uzak mulls over what to share. While she stalls, Ahpin glances at her face, no doubt noticing her black eye but not commenting.

“I ran into a pole after our band gig last night.” she says lamely.

“Oh! I’m sorry.” Ahpin says. “How’s the band? Is Bage still the singer?”

“Yup, we had a great show yesterday.” Bage has his sex voice on full blast, aiming years of honed horny energy at her brother, who doesn’t seem to notice.

“Besides that I’m doing a guild job to collect some pieces of an artifact that will help save the world or something. Pays okay. Nothing too exciting.” Uzak digs her claw into a crack in the wood.
No. 1015078 ID: eedbeb
File 163686680277.png - (380.48KB , 1000x1100 , p48.png )

Familial obligations satisfied, Uzak turns the attention to Ahpin. “You said you went on an adventure, where was it? One of the starter dungeons?”

Maddie grips Ahpin’s hand in warning.

“Uh—yeah. It was Baby’s First Dungeon. Got a charmed participation ribbon after I pacified the final boss with a kobold I met in the IT department.” Ahpin manages a feeble thumbs up with his free hand. “Yup. Great time.”

Ahpin is acting pretty suspicious, which leaves them in a mutually assured destruction scenario. Uzak lets Bage take over the small talk while their beers are delivered by a naked toad, who pats Ahpin on the back in an avuncular way. The ale is rich and sweet, bubbles sparking pleasantly on her tongue as she drains the glass.
No. 1015079 ID: afe7de

Aphin is paying, it's getting awkward, this means you have to drink the awkwardness away and spoil some stuff which causes an avalanche of awkward which Bage is VERY excited for, and then Maddie starts getting excited about. I want to see them both emberassed and have a side bar under the table haha
No. 1015081 ID: b942c1

Get drunk and pry. Pry until he tells you everything! Make him sing!
No. 1015082 ID: e51896

"baby's first dungeon is not usually what you call "a wild experience" as you texted, bro,"

*long pause to take in Ahpin's nervousness*

"but whateves, you do you."
No. 1015088 ID: 96c896

Pry. Offer up extra details about your own job as an exchange.
No. 1015091 ID: 36784c

Tell Ahpin that it’s very obvious that he’s lying. If he doesn’t want to tell you what actually happened, then he should’ve just said that he didn’t want to tell you, instead of lying to you.
No. 1015096 ID: 7992ee

We're not one to pry, if he actually went to a dangrous dungeon, and his friend got god powers, or something, that's their business not ours. Uzak wouldn't really care.

(If Uzak does pry, it's while she is drunk)
No. 1015105 ID: f8fa51

Don't pry. You pry and he'll pry right back. Whatever juicy goss he's got isn't worth admitting you beat up a mother in front of her kids.
No. 1015122 ID: eedbeb
File 163690765836.png - (239.80KB , 1000x1100 , p49.png )

>To pry or not to pry
Uzak isn’t about to ask her brother about his business when she simply does not give a shit. She can press the offensive if he tries to get answers, but otherwise she’s going to have more beer.

While Uzak motions to the toad for a fresh glass, she notices that Bage is trying to go footsies with Ahpin under the table. She’s about to smack him when Ahpin speaks.

“Bage, are you trying to flirt with me?” he asks.

“Maybe I am.” the mouse titters.

“Well, I’d appreciate if you stopped.” Ahpin says firmly. “I’m not looking for a partner or a sexual encounter.”

“Oh, uh, sorry, my bad man.” Bage looks at Uzak with bewilderment. It’s not every day someone says something like that. Her respect for her brother sits up from its coffin with a wheeze.
No. 1015124 ID: eedbeb
File 163690771426.png - (280.42KB , 1000x1100 , p50.png )

The conversation stalls without Bage to ease it along. Maddie doesn’t see at all interested in the company and doesn’t touch her beer. Uzak shoots the abandoned cold foamy glass a Bage look of longing and regret.

Ahpin monologues about his boring office job until the food arrives. The burgers are juicy and the fries delightfully crisp. Uzak gently zones out, only to be shocked back into reality when Maddie addresses her.

“Why does your mask smell like an eldritch?” the dog asks, in a low, coarse voice.

“It’s for work. Why is your hand silver?”

“Eldritch ingestion is dangerous and unpredictable.” Maddie continues without answering.

By this time Uzak is fairly tipsy, and she squints belligerently at the dog. “So is adventuring, though I haven’t seen your team be very active recently.”

Maddie stiffens and averts her eyes. Clearly a sensitive topic.

“Maddie’s teammates are no longer with us.” Ahpin says softly.
No. 1015126 ID: e51896

Well that shut her up. Just shrug at that, then ask Bage if Maddie is cute, just to try to have him flirt with her instead so she can leave you alone.
No. 1015132 ID: bbdaaf

Ask if it has something to do with her hand being made of silver?
No. 1015144 ID: c377cb

Raise an eyebrow,"This have something to do with 'baby's first dungeon'?"
No. 1015145 ID: 96c896

Don't be a huge bitch, at least offer your condolences.
No. 1015147 ID: e01323

no need to be aggressive, not everyone wants to fuck us over
No. 1015152 ID: 3328c7

Get drunk and apologise while crying for your rude behaviour.


Say "Guess you shouldn't have gone to that dungeon....unarmed." and dab for effect.
No. 1015153 ID: df76b1


I support Snarky Uzak.
No. 1015155 ID: 0838d6

Sorry, im a sucker for the innapropriate dab
No. 1015159 ID: eedbeb
File 163693696370.png - (252.63KB , 1000x1100 , p51.png )

Uzak has been chugging beers this whole time, which makes her petty and very stupid.

“Wow, must have been a nasty dungeon. I guess you shouldn’t have gone in…unarmed.”

Ahpin and Bage simultaneously gasp with horror. Encouraged by the reaction, Uzak keeps going.

“Does this have something to do with Ahpin’s adventure? Must be pretty embarrassing for you if he made it out in one piece when he’s a pathetic dweeb and you’re a pro.”

Her mask twitches against her clavicle, which is all the warning Uzak gets before she’s slammed backwards over her chair by Maddie’s enlarged left hand, plates and glasses clattering to the stone floor next to her.
No. 1015160 ID: e51896

The floor feels comfy. Go unconscious and dream of the angel auction and win prizes your troubled past
No. 1015161 ID: 0838d6

LMAO, I agree with passing out, Angel auction would make me bust a gut though, I expect it to be incredibly stupid with incredibly useless prizes. Or prizes that seem incredibly useless but actually have value in the meta-narrative.
No. 1015162 ID: 894419

Reflect on how you just mocked a woman's recently dead friends with a shitty pun, wonder briefly if you've made poor life choices.
No. 1015163 ID: 96c896

"Cool... arm"
No. 1015165 ID: ce39da

"IIIIIIII deserved that! I deserve... fuckin' everythin'... fuckin' worthless bitch I am..."
No. 1015166 ID: 36784c

No. 1015167 ID: c92a02

"Wish I had a right hook like that when trying to knock some sense into people. Not saying that it works, but it's certainly fun to try."
No. 1015170 ID: e51896

I like the idea of drunk Uzak saying this before passing out.
No. 1015171 ID: 894419

also say this.
No. 1015191 ID: eedbeb
File 163695051119.png - (339.79KB , 1000x1100 , p52.png )

Uzak’s head smacks against the hard ground, making her teeth clack. A glass shatters next to her face, wetting her cheek with dregs of beer.

“I deserved that.” she groans. “I’m such a fuckin’ worthless bitch…”

Ahpin is saying something to Maddie, who’s uncanny enormous hand is still outstretched. Bage is kneeling by her side, asking if she’s okay.

Uzak’s vision swims and she thinks she sees tentacles out of the corner of her eye before she passes out.
No. 1015192 ID: eedbeb
File 163695051831.png - (138.75KB , 1000x1100 , p53.png )

Uzak wakes on an unfamiliar couch, in an apartment that is distinctly not Bage’s due to the lack of garbage everything. She really needs to piss.

After some trial and error, Uzak stumbles into a neat bathroom. Her chest feels bruised, but not broken and there’s a bump on the back of her head where she hit the floor. After a few more minutes of thought, she recalls her disastrous comments to Maddie and groans softly. She’s such an ass when she’s drunk.

This must be Ahpin’s apartment, with her brother asleep somewhere. What should Uzak do?
A. Snoop around
B. Snoop around with mask
C. Go home to dwell on her troubled past
D. Other
No. 1015193 ID: b7d216

No. 1015194 ID: afe7de

Maybe just keep resting there and wake up in the morning to actually talk with your bro and apologize because you feel bad from being a drunk ass. Yer getting older, and hes adventuring like you always wanted him to, try to give an olive branch.
No. 1015196 ID: e51896

C, you kind of not want to be here, or anywhere except home. You think can take care of yourself... no, you know you can take care of yourself... right?
No. 1015197 ID: 36784c

D. Other

Go the fuck back to sleep. You don’t feel like being awake yet.
No. 1015198 ID: 3ed3c3

It's late, you still have alcohol in your body, you got smacked, and you need to apologize.
No. 1015213 ID: f8fa51

Yeah. You can't run off if you're going to apologise.
No. 1015218 ID: df76b1

Eat some of his cereal and wash his dishes.
No. 1015220 ID: 094652

D) Make sure your body parts are still attached correctly.
No. 1015222 ID: 96c896

No. 1015250 ID: eedbeb
File 163701422328.png - (237.83KB , 1000x1100 , p54.png )

Uzak is tired, overwhelmed by regret, and somewhat concussed. She crawls back onto the couch and pulls the blanket around herself. She can stay here and apologize to Ahpin in the morning.

“Uzak? You awake? I need to go to work soon.”

Ahpin is standing over her, haloed by the morning light from the window. The light hurts. Uzak is hungover.

“Wait…” she mumbles.

“Do you need water or anything? I, er, don’t want to leave you alone in here so I can help you get breakfast.”

Uzak groans and forces herself upright. Her whole body is sore. “I’m sorry for being so rude to your girlfriend.”

“We’re not dating anymore.” Ahpin says quickly. “But you were totally out of line and should apologize to Maddie directly. She has a lot of trauma about her best friends dying.”
No. 1015251 ID: eedbeb
File 163701423346.png - (294.20KB , 1000x1100 , p55.png )

“What really happened?” Uzak asks before she can help herself.

Ahpin sighs and sits on the couch next to her, tugging a hand through his hair. “She went to the Ultimate Annihilation Dungeon and fought a silver elemental. I went in after her because I’m an idiot, but I managed to find her and bring her back. I’m fine now but she’s still dealing with the survivor’s guilt and stuff so I try to support her as much as I can.”

Damn. Your brother is a massive dork who’s totally in love. Just like Bage.

“Maddie told me more about the eldritch powder you’re using. She said it can do all kinds of horrible things, are you really okay? You can tell me if you’re in trouble.” Ahpin pleads.

Does Uzak:
A. Tell the truth
B. Tell the truth and ask for help getting the lenses
C. Deflect
No. 1015252 ID: afe7de

A, you dont REALLY need to ask for his help since there's just one guy left and the last one promised to just give it to you. Plus from the sounds of it, APHIN still kinda sucks at fighting so he'd be more a liability your conscience would not want on it.
No. 1015254 ID: c92a02

C. For unrelated reasons, can I borrow like twenty bucks.
No. 1015255 ID: 3ed3c3

"A" all the way.
No. 1015258 ID: a9af05

>Ultimate Annihilation Dungeon
Damn, your brother went there to rescue Maddie and he came out unharmed? That's actually pretty badass. Did he bring a souvenir or something?

Ask if he went alone or if he really did bring a kobold he met in the IT department?


You only need to tell him the truth, you don't need to ask for his help.
No. 1015274 ID: 96c896

A. Because you *are* okay. The visions are useful, and so far your mask is what's being affected, not you.
Maybe a little bit of B, but I don't see how Ahpin could help. Maddie would be more useful, unless Ahpin thinks he could talk them down easier than you could?
No. 1015290 ID: f8fa51

"It's pretty weird, but I think I'm fine."

Tell the truth, you owe him that now, but don't ask him for his help.
No. 1015296 ID: 8cb25d

A tell the truth.
Tell him you feel inadequate, you want to work as a rock star, or make good money through the adventures guild, but can't seem to get good enough to accomplish either of those dreams. doesn't help that parents doesnt support and wants us to find a "real job"... and then you got that eldritch powder and suddenly you're doing things so much better, even making good money recently, and practicing better at band practice. You just need to accomplish your current mission on your own and prove to yourself and your parents you can take care of yourself.
No. 1015298 ID: eedbeb
File 163703788127.png - (259.97KB , 1000x1100 , p56.png )

“Things were hard for a while cause I couldn’t get work but this new job has actually been helping me get back on my feet.” Uzak admits. She carefully watches Ahpin’s face but it stays the picture of earnest concern. “I know being a rock star isn’t realistic, so I’m trying to break into the better Adventurers’ Guild stuff. Eldritch powder is more weird than anything and I’m used to it so it’s fine. I dunno.”

“Is it addictive?” Ahpin asks.

“Doesn’t cause chemical addiction.” Uzak mutters. “I need it for the job, I’m getting pieces of a mana scope from these retired adventurers to help save the world. One of them surprised me yesterday and I got the shiner but besides that it’s not that dangerous.”

“If you’d like any help—“

“No. I have it under control. I should probably get going actually.” Uzak stands with a wobble and make her way to Ahpin’s kitchen for a box of cereal, which she tucks under one arm.
No. 1015299 ID: eedbeb
File 163703788889.png - (228.35KB , 1000x1100 , p57.png )

Ahpin wavers at the door as Uzak walks out draped in the blanket.

“It was good to see you.” he says. “Since you don’t live too far away, you should come over more.”

Uzak shrugs. “Okay.” That wasn’t a total disaster and she’ll go easy on the drink next time. Maybe her brother is a little cooler than she gave him credit for.

Uzak gets her bearings once she exits Ahpin’s nice apartment. Moving is painful, but manageable, and she finds a street corner to stop and plan her next move. She has 2050 rollad, a blanket, cereal, her mask with a little powder left, and her phone. What should she do?

A. Go directly to Audrey the hare (suggest approach method)
B. Get more powder from Tom
C. Purchase some magical items (suggest items, cost will scale with power)
D. Other
No. 1015302 ID: 96c896

C, some piece of equipment that numbs pain.

Also D, go apologize to Maggie.
No. 1015303 ID: e51896

D apologize to Maddie, tell her you were drunk, and jealous. and tell her your mission about saving the world.
No. 1015304 ID: afe7de

C: Buy magic gear

You get a green earring in the shape of a little ball with the following effect:

(Toxin Absorption): User is immune to poisons and toxic substances. User can absorb/consume them safely, and either process them, or internally concentrate them to use offensively later.

Basically, you use this to absorb the effect of the ELDRITCH POWDER internally, and if you get in a fight you can just pop a charge of it.

I was going to suggest that as a SKILL BOOK, but idk how your universe works so have it be a green earring because reasons.

If not that then go to the bank and store some of that cash so Tom doesent steal all your money.
No. 1015308 ID: df76b1

Being immune to toxins doesn't sound fun at all. Some of her best friends are toxic.

Buying a mace and one arms worth of leather armor could be useful, and maybe she could show it off on stage later.

It may be racist, but I feel like Audrey running away is a likely scenario, and we should prepare for it.
No. 1015327 ID: c92a02

Its time to purchase some magical items! How about an Amulet of Mediocre Accuracy: Guarantees you'll hit what you're aiming at, as long as it isn't too far away or moving too fast.
No. 1015369 ID: eedbeb
File 163710793080.png - (301.32KB , 1000x1100 , p58.png )

>Apologize to Maddie
Uzak would like to tell Maddie she's sorry, but she doesn't know where the dog lives. Ah well, she can find out later.

If she can get some tools for cheap instead of relying on Tom for powder, Uzak reasons she'll save a lot of money. She heads to the budget adventuring shop on the other side of town. A small brass bell rings when she pushes open the heavy door and the old sheep at the register nods a greeting.

Uzak walks past bins of dull daggers and worn bows to the case of bludgeoning tools in the back.

The mace is a crude weapon. Uzak picks one up by the worn leather handle and tests the weight and balance. A ridged metal head for breaking bones and shattering teeth. It's a sturdy piece, but she can see how it ended up at a second hand store. Skull crushing is not encouraged by polite society.

Uzak also buys some leather armor to cover her forearms, passing over a poison resistant earing and an amulet to help long range fighters. Her last purchase is a mild healing salve that she slathers over her eye, nose, and chest. The total cost comes to 250 rollad.
No. 1015370 ID: eedbeb
File 163710794232.png - (327.91KB , 1000x1100 , p59.png )

Energized and equipped, Uzak takes the gate station to the furthest portal possible, at the northern tip of the city where a dense forest quickly overtakes the few buildings. There's a train that goes north, to the edge of where the trees dip into the earth like an ocean of leaves and needles. A few signs point towards the dungeons in the area, listing recommended supplies and skill level.

Uzak follows her phone’s map towards a white-washed cottage surrounded by a massive garden. The ground has been expertly tilled and shaped into neat beds full of ripening, growing, and climbing vegetables.

There's a line of fruit trees to the east as well, and examining the leaves of an apricot tree is a lone hare with a walking stick.
No. 1015371 ID: c92a02

No. 1015374 ID: 96c896

Mask on. That mace is a lethal weapon, you do not want to hit this guy with it. That means you have to fight unarmed, which means you're going to want the edge of eldritch-fueled precog. A cudgel would've been more appropriate... I guess the mace works as a deterrent though.

Say hello. Introduce yourself, tell him you'd prefer to negotiate or trade for the lens but you won't leave empty handed either.
No. 1015375 ID: df76b1

Don't think she'll get far if she runs.

We can try to be nice. Feel free to praise the weather and her cottage, and sympathize that she'd probably like to get back to enjoying it.

But she has something we need urgently, and we can't leave without it.
No. 1015377 ID: a9af05

Go attempt peaceful conversation. Do not attack first!
No. 1015379 ID: 3328c7

Apologize for your intrution and try to make friends with her.

C-pose if she gets sassy.

C-pose is the symbol of "celibacy", which all in this world fear and dread.
No. 1015382 ID: 1ffeb5

Approach politely, mask down.
No. 1015386 ID: 2d5a01

Mask on, approach politely
No. 1015387 ID: 36784c

Be polite and try talking to them. Don't be the asshole that attacks first! And keep your mask off because approaching with your mask on just makes you look like you're going to mug them.
No. 1015395 ID: eedbeb
File 163712341942.png - (326.19KB , 1000x1100 , p60.png )

Uzak has enough self-awareness to realize she looks like a murder hobo, complete with blanket. Putting on the mask would give her a combat advantage but she doesn’t want this to get violent. The mace is heavy in her pocket. A weapon like that could easily kill if Uzak isn’t careful.

Since Princess told her about the pieces’ sentimental value, Uzak has been preparing an argument to convince Audrey. She stays a respectful distance away and clears her throat to get the hare’s attention.

Audrey flinches violently, eyes flashing light green as she rounds on Uzak. There’s something wrong with her left leg and she brings her staff forward in preparation for spell casting. Uzak isn’t too worried, though, most mages are conservative with their remaining mana by the time they reach middle age.

“I’m here, peacefully, on behalf of the Adventurer’s Guild.” Uzak begins. “They’re trying to find out what’s making the mana vents close, and they’d be extremely grateful if they could borrow your scope lens to be returned after the calamity is resolved.”
No. 1015396 ID: eedbeb
File 163712342637.png - (223.87KB , 1000x1100 , p61.png )

“No.” Audrey says immediately.

Uzak groans. “What is with you people? Do you really miss your old team that much?”

Audrey curls her lip. “I don’t care about those cowards. I refused the Guild the first time because the scope shouldn’t be used at all.”
Oh boy, drama. “Is it okay if I ask why? They didn’t mention anything like that to me.”

Audrey hesitates but Uzak’s polite, nonthreatening approach has been effective.

“I don’t often have visitors.” the hare says cautiously. “Would you care for some cookies and tea in the garden?”

This might be some kind of test, to see if Uzak can be trustworthy. She agrees, sits, and waits on the grass for Audrey to boil the water and fetch the snacks.

After many long minutes, the hare returns bearing a neat ceramic pot and a tray of cookies.

“This is difficult for me to talk about.” the hare admits. “It’s all connected to our last adventure, which ended very badly.”

How should Uzak prompt Audrey? She won’t be getting the full story from any of the options.
A. Ask about the scope’s origins
B. Ask about the Fathomless Forest
C. Ask about Vince
D. Ask about Princess
No. 1015397 ID: afe7de


I think B, but you should try to be empathetic and maybe share a bit about why YOU retired, get some UZAK lore and also learn about the sitch.

At least my intent is being more empathetic whilst sharing pain, if that wont work out, then just B but remain as polite as possible.
No. 1015399 ID: c92a02

Ask about Vince.
No. 1015410 ID: e51896


We can probably mention about how the other two kept the lens as a way of connecting them to each other. Stuck in the past to relive the good times they had together. She might see them as cowards, but that just means she has the courage to set up a time to get back together at the Nutz or something to hang out.

Use how you had to gather courage meet your brother despite not being... well. For what it's worth, he was understanding.
No. 1015416 ID: 894419

Scopes origins, there has to be some big cost to using it, if doing so is such a bad thing. We ought to know if we're secretly collecting parts to something that like siphons peoples souls away or something.
No. 1015429 ID: 5de068

A. Eyes on the prize
No. 1015454 ID: eedbeb
File 163719347966.png - (222.74KB , 1000x1100 , p62.png )

"Don't worry about the other stuff, you can just tell me about the scope." Uzak says gently.

Audrey pours herself a cup of tea and holds it close to her stomach, shoulders hunched. "We weren't in the forest looking for a scope, you know. I'd only ever heard of a few before, and they came from the ocean. Powerful saltwater spirits made them from sea glass and driftwood, infused with their power and the natural mana in the sea. They weren't perfect, but they still were incredibly useful."

The hare pauses to sip her tea, averting her eyes. Uzak stays quiet, waiting for her to continue.
No. 1015456 ID: eedbeb
File 163719361763.png - (417.60KB , 1000x1100 , p63.png )

"I suppose any magical creature with the skill and access to enough energy could make a scope. When we found the mother dryad, the heart of the forest, there were also two elementals, a giant ape and some strange robot draining her power to create the scope you're searching for."

Audrey grips the sides of her head and shudders. "I couldn't stop them. The woods were screaming for help but I couldn't fight them alone. I was like a little insignificant insect and the great mother was so desperate..."

Druid powers probably made the ordeal even worse, Uzak reasons. Made the poor hare understand what the plants were feeling.

"During our journey back home, I found the scope tucked into my pack, like someone had intentionally put it there. Even holding it in my hand I could glimpse a world of brilliance behind the glass." Audrey bares her teeth. "Such a powerful magic tool, created from vicious harm. The fact that it somehow ended up with us confirmed my thought that it was dangerous and I took it apart right then and there. It’s safer for the world if it stays that way."
No. 1015457 ID: bc11b8

Respect the rabbit's wisdom; this prince of the forest knows much. It's time to beseech the ocean for a replacement scope. To do otherwise is moral cowardice.
No. 1015458 ID: 0838d6

You should probably talk about the significance of this robot thing draining the scope, making it and then sneaking it into your bag.

But in all practicality, the damage has been done. What you CAN do is dedicate a portion of it's use to find what's happening. from what we meta know, something is siphoning the mana from the planet. We were just informed of an entity doing that from the spirit of a forest, which is kind of a BIG DEAL and could be related to the problem.

You could use the scope to search for problems, potentially even searching for the thing that made it and stop it from syphoning MORE mana from the world leading to its eventual collapse. If this is a global warming styled issue you are probably on the precipice of it getting WORSE because of inaction to the point of no return. Of course Uzak doesent know this, so her best argument would be to offer to use it in her capacity to try to find this being and figure out what its doing, maybe even make a party to hunt it down in the future.
No. 1015463 ID: 6c227a

It sounds like the damage and the suffering have already been done, isn't it a waste of that sacrifice to let the scope sit in pieces? We should do something GOOD with it. The guild said they aren't trying to use it for some petty thing, the mana vents closing is a big deal, and they want to get out in front of that.
No. 1015464 ID: b688b3

It sounds like those creepos planted that think in this bunny's pocket. Though it may not be wise to point it out.
No. 1015483 ID: df76b1

Look, I'm not a guildboss, I'm just a cat on a job. But I heard what you're saying, and if I pass your warning up the chain, Maybe someone important will heed it and find another way.

But that's really above both our pay grades isnt it?
No. 1015520 ID: eedbeb
File 163725930483.png - (296.42KB , 1000x1100 , p64.png )

“That makes sense.” Uzak says firmly. “I totally understand and I’ll talk to my boss to tell her it’s not a good idea to use the scope.”

The hare looks taken aback. “Really?”

“Yeah man, those elementals totally planted that thing in your bag and I trust your judgement about how they were hurting the forest.” Uzak gulps down her tea and takes a few cookies for the road. “I don’t want to bother you so I’ll be going.”

“Oh, uh, thank you for listening and being sensible.” Audrey says. She stays sitting as Uzak adjusts her blanket and strides away.

Uzak waits until she’s back at the northern gate station to call Prim. She’s not optimistic about her ability to convince the shrimp, so it might mean a quick return visit to poor Audrey.
No. 1015521 ID: eedbeb
File 163725931355.png - (314.31KB , 1000x1100 , p65.png )

“Hello Uzak.” Prim chirps when she answers the phone.

“Hey Prim, so I just talked to Audrey, did you know the whole backstory about the elementals who made the scope?”

The line is silent for a few moments. Uzak checks her phone to make sure the call wasn’t dropped.

“We are aware, yes.” Prim finally says.

“So you realize the scope probably has some horrible curse on it, right?”

“No, it’s…” Uzak hears Prim having a hurried discussion with someone in the office away from the phone receiver. “The Guild knows about those two elementals and the scope would be their idea of a…prank.”

“Okay, what I’m hearing is that the scope is cursed.” Uzak says.

Prim sighs. “No, that wouldn’t be in character. I’m afraid you’re not cleared for any more information. If you no longer want to do this job I’ll terminate our contract and give you a four star review.”
No. 1015523 ID: 96c896

Considering what we know from the first quest, that was Carbon and Silicon. Silicon is the one messing with the vents in the first place, so why would they make a legitimate mana scope that would let mortals see what they're doing? They'd be sabotaging their own plans, unless what they're doing with the mana vents is necessary somehow and only by using the mana scope will mortals believe that?

Anyway, ask Prim why they don't use one of the saltwater scopes. Also say you're not going to quit just yet if they're certain it's fine, but you can't just go back immediately to Audrey and say you changed your mind again, you've gotta wait a little while first (and talk to Maddie, she probably knows what's up).
No. 1015526 ID: 0e72f9

Four stars ain't bad. Just quit, use the money you got to donate to the band and chase that dream.
No. 1015528 ID: 5f39e1

I say we should talk to Audrey some more and afterwards tell her to give us the lens because the Guild is more than likely gonna send more goons after her if we don't finish the job.
No. 1015530 ID: df76b1

This whole thing is whacked. I wanted to get the Lens before passing on the information.

No, we're still in it.
No. 1015535 ID: eedbeb
File 163728731043.png - (269.16KB , 1000x1100 , p66.png )

“If I were to quit,” Uzak says carefully, “who would you send next?”

“I’m not supposed to tell you.”

“C’mon Prim.” Uzak groans. “I’m just curious.”

“Some of the Awakened finished up an adventure and are back in town, we’d probably grab one or two of them.” the shrimp says in a hushed tone.

Oh shit, the Awakened is the #2 pro team behind the Guardians. Their members are only a bit older than Uzak but there’s a ton of them and they’re all super powerful. The leader, a jackal named Cat, has the unique ability to amplify and strengthen other’s magic once they receive his touch.

“Can’t you use one of the ocean scopes?” Uzak asks.

“Ocean scopes are fragile and large and funnily enough our last one broke several months ago, which is why we’re so keen on this mission.”

How sad that large scopes are hard to maintain. Uzak chews her lip and tries to make a decision.

This is one of Uzak’s most important choices. What should she do?
A. Stay on the job and go get the lens immediately
B. Stay on the job, but go home and get more information first
C. Quit the job and help defend Audrey and co. from the Awakened
D. Quit the job and go home to hang out with the band
No. 1015536 ID: c92a02

B. Nobody's telling us the whole picture. Also, these guys are the B-team? Wow. You should be getting paid more for this.
No. 1015537 ID: 3ed3c3

No. 1015538 ID: 8483cf

B (team)
No. 1015539 ID: 96c896

B. The more information you have, the better you can either convince them to give up the parts, or convince the next adventurers to stop.
No. 1015541 ID: db5cb3

B, maddie might have info, find out where she lives, apologize, and discuss.
No. 1015550 ID: eedbeb
File 163733770810.png - (245.07KB , 1000x1100 , p67.png )

“I want to keep collecting the pieces but I’m going to wait a bit before I go back to Audrey since she knows I’m here.” Uzak says carefully. She doesn’t tell Prim she’ll be trying to get more information, since that would appear suspicious.

“I’m glad, but I think I’ll still send one of the Awakened to help you.” Prim says.

“I have it under control!”

“You were all beat up yesterday.” Prim reminds her reproachfully. “I don’t want you to get seriously injured and it sounds like Audrey will fight. Did you at least find where she’s hiding the lens?”

“No, I didn’t use my mask cause I was trying to be peaceful.”

Prim huffs, a bit impatiently. “Alright, I have a meeting in a few minutes, let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
No. 1015551 ID: eedbeb
File 163733774080.png - (268.51KB , 1000x1100 , p68.png )

Uzak wants find Maddie next, partially to apologize and partially to find out more about the mysterious elementals. An experienced adventurer like the dog has probably heard of them before. She texts Ahpin to ask where Maddie lives.

Ahpin replies after several minutes.

Ahpin: She doesn’t really like visitors
Ahpin: Visitors who flaunt her dead friends to her face especially
Uzak: I was drunk, I want to apologize
Ahpin: If you’re really sure, you can get a silver bar to bribe her

Ahpin sends Maddie’s address, which is in some yuppie apartment complex.

Should Uzak:
A. Buy some silver for 1000 rollad, guaranteeing Maddie will let her in
B. Risk being turned away
No. 1015552 ID: e51896

A. Buy the thing, apologize, get info.
No. 1015553 ID: 04e063

A, u wanna finish the job and get paid, so consider it a business expense lol
No. 1015557 ID: df76b1

We are not spending half our dust money on an apology. B.
No. 1015558 ID: eedbeb
File 163735359310.png - (223.79KB , 1000x1100 , p69.png )

Uzak reluctantly locates the nearest precious metal exchange (a necessity when adventurers are always returning with chunks of gold in their pockets) and hands over her hard earned cash for a kilogram of silver. She only has 800 rollad left and the fact that the little bar fits in her palm is not reassuring.

The doorman, an old, squat turtle, is hesitant to let Uzak into the luxury condos, but relents when Uzak mentions Ahpin. Apparently her brother often visits and is trustworthy enough that it carries over.

Uzak takes a glass elevator to the fourth floor and finds Maddie’s door. She knocks lightly.

The door cracks open and a snout peeks out, sniffing with interest.

“It’s Uzak, I’m really sorry for the hurtful thing I said yesterday, it was totally inappropriate—“

“Yes, yes, you were awful and I cried and made a scene.” Maddie says briskly. “Come inside and give me that silver.”

The dog opens the door fully and Uzak zeros in on her naked form. Ahpin is missing out.
No. 1015559 ID: eedbeb
File 163735360243.png - (323.24KB , 1000x1100 , p70.png )

Maddie’s apartment is a mess, furniture piled haphazardly to the side of the living room to make room for a meager pile of silverware and twisted bits of wire. The fridge is on its side in the kitchen and there are plates in the sink that have partially fossilized.

Uzak glances nervously at Maddie’s scaly metal arm then hands over the goods. Maddie rubs her face against the little bar and finds a place to tuck it into her pile, before flopping on top of it.

“I wish everyone was as good at apologies as you.” she sighs. “It’s so hard to find high grade silver that people don’t mind me taking.”

“You could, um, buy it.” Uzak suggests.

Maddie shakes her head. Her eyes flutter closed. “Gave most of my cash to the families. I have enough for rent, for a few more months…”

This is painful so Uzak changes the subject. “On your adventures, did you ever see a big monkey elemental or a robot?”

“Annoying fuckers.” Maddie mutters. “Yeah, that’s Carbon and Silicon, I met them in person on that last mission. Silicon kept trying to get me to leave when I was on the third level, said I was being a downer after my friends died, but I smashed his robots whenever they got close. Carbon tried to steal the bodies but he wasn’t obnoxious about it.”

Maddie yawns and curls herself tighter around her stash. “Elementals usually have names because there’s more than one of the same kind in a dungeon. Since these guys don’t, they’re probably a big deal.”
No. 1015560 ID: 96c896

Tell her what Audrey told you. Is the lens a trap?
No. 1015562 ID: a9af05

Tell her about your mission to find the lens pieces.

Then tell her that those elementals put the lens in Audrey's bag and you suspect that it's a trap and there's probably a curse of some kind on it. The guild seems to be aware of that, but they refuse to tell you anything else.
No. 1015564 ID: 694707

Lets Clean her place up a bit for her as she talks. We don't have to clean all of it, but at least clean the dishes and set the fridge upright.

Talk about how those elementals stole power from the mother dryad. Maybe if there were to some way to restore her mana, Audrey would be more willing to give us the scope... does Maddie have some way to restore her power? If she does and is unwilling, maybe say that she can still be a hero despite what happened, it's probably what her teammates would want her to do...

We could probably explain our rudeness to Maddie, saying we got all defensive after she revealed to Ahpin about our mask, and we didn't want him to worry about us or get our parents involved. But that did not excuse our actions, even with the silver we gave her.

Though she seems fine now and already accepted our apology. we dont have to explain our actions.
No. 1015565 ID: 2a9c86

Sorry to remind you but you are still mostly mortal, so you gotta do the extra effort to not let the elemental dragon habits take over your life.
No. 1015568 ID: a9af05

>it's probably what her teammates would want her to do...
I don't think it'd be a good idea to say something like that. She might not appreciate us bringing up her dead friends again. Especially when it sounds like you're trying to use them to make her do something for us.
No. 1015572 ID: 0838d6

Yeah I agree, I dont like the manipulation aspect of that as it feels like you making the same mistake as yesterday, but I do like the idea of asking her if she knows how to give mana back to the dryad along with some of what the other posts have asked. This is a good step forward and if you can do that then you can get the scope, get paid for one, and then easily get the last one since they promised to give it to you if you got the others.
No. 1015581 ID: 36784c

Agreeing with these. Don’t bring up her dead friends.
No. 1015583 ID: f8a534

Bringing up dead friends is really heartless. Don't do it
No. 1015605 ID: df76b1

Bringing up dead friends is really heartless. Do it
No. 1015620 ID: 5ea209

mention the scope and the elemental's alleged connection. The exact details about the friends shouldn't be important(we don't have to go super into it), what they may've done with the scope is
No. 1015640 ID: eedbeb
File 163743628666.png - (294.15KB , 1000x1100 , p71.png )

>Catch Maddie up on the lore
Uzak tells Audrey’s story about the mana scope and the forest, with Maddie nodding every few minutes to show that she’s still awake.

“So, do you think the scope could be a trap or something? The Guild’s hiding something about it but they don’t seem to think it’s too dangerous. ”

“Hm…I don’t know about other elementals but all I really want is to get silver. Maybe it’s a precious metal thing since our elements are rarer, but besides that and absorbing mana for fuel there’s not too much to do. They could just be messing around.”

“By tormenting a giant dryad.” Uzak says.

“Yeah, that’s kind of a dick move but it’s not like they killed her and spirits can regenerate mana. I’m more worried about that gunk you have in your mask.”

“Eldritch dust has a bad reputation.” Uzak complains. “Ugh, I don’t want to start another fight with you. Do you want help tidying your place up a little before I go?”

Maddie looks around the haphazard room in surprise, as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s fine right now.”
No. 1015641 ID: eedbeb
File 163743630224.png - (275.40KB , 1000x1100 , p72.png )

Uzak leaves the apartment complex with a nod to the doorman and emerges in the afternoon heat. She’s worn out from the alcohol ridden sleep of the night before and the revelations of today. Audrey’s lens can wait until tonight or tomorrow, Uzak needs to chill.

What should Uzak do?
A. Visit Tom
B. Visit Bage
C. Go home to rest
D. Other
No. 1015642 ID: e51896

D visit Tyson. Chill and Smoke weed with him. We didn't spend much time with him to really know him yet.
No. 1015643 ID: 0838d6

C. Go home and rest but invite someone over
No. 1015648 ID: 22cdfd

Go home. But find that Ahpin with family and friends are waiting for you in your apartment for your surprise intervention.
No. 1015649 ID: 96c896

A, have a frank talk about the risks.
No. 1015675 ID: eedbeb
File 163746400670.png - (215.08KB , 1000x1100 , p73.png )

Uzak’s laptop with its pirated shows and porn is calling to her. If she rests she’ll feel ready to betray Audrey this evening, she hopes.

Uzak gets groceries on her way home, feeling guilty despite only spending 50 rollad. Laden with bags and her trusty blanket, Uzak ascends to her apartment and unlocks the door.

“Finally.” says the shadow right next to her. “Waiting here has been such a waste of time.”

Uzak shrieks at an embarrassingly high pitch. She fumbles her bag of eggs and milk as she turns to confront the talking wall and winces when she hears the cartons hit the floor. The shadow snickers and peels itself free, sprouting a pair of mouse ears.
No. 1015676 ID: eedbeb
File 163746401567.png - (239.12KB , 1000x1100 , p74.png )

“What the fuck? Who are you?” Uzak says.

The mouse looks insulted. “I’m G, the Awakened you asked for? Prim told me to help you with your thing with the mana scope, so I had to miss our post mission orgy.”

“Oh. I’m very sorry.” Uzak says. She gestures weakly at her tiny apartment. “I need to put these away, want to come in?”

G follows Uzak into the apartment. It’s hard for Uzak to see the mouse’s eyes behind her hood and bangs, but the sparse, cheap furniture wouldn’t impress anyone. The mouse’s clothes are of high quality material and look custom tailored. Uzak self-consciously stuffs her groceries into the fridge.

“I’d like to take care of this as soon as possible.” G says stiffly.
No. 1015678 ID: 96c896

Tell her Prim jumped the gun, you already told her you're not going back to Audrey today. It'd be weird. You can go get both parts tomorrow, you've got enough information to get Audrey to agree probably, and you feel more confident that the scope isn't cursed or whatever.
No. 1015679 ID: 99549d

"just to let you know, the guild is who insisted on calling you so fast, not me. But let's talk strategy, make sure we're on the same page."
No. 1015681 ID: e51896

"be right back, bathroom"

Go to the bathroom, call Prim and complain. Ask why she needs the manascope right away to the point of sending us a helper when the end of the world isn't happening for like, a long time. (maybe the adventurer's guild intends to use it for other reasons instead of what they claim they'll use it for?)

after that argument is finished, talk strategy with Ms. G
No. 1015682 ID: df76b1

Don't be a bitch and complain.

Be alpha as fuck and lady of your domain (like cats do) , and make her endure it. Then when you're making a plan, make sure she gets stuck with all the tricky bits (infiltration, keeping watch)

You'll go tonight, after you've eaten.
No. 1015691 ID: afe7de

Let's think for a sec. Your problem is money, the scope is the solution to your problem. Only there's a catch, the scope definitely does something you're not in the know about that's either good or bad.

It's also made with the blood (mana) of a dryad but you now know the dryad will be okay after a while.

Unless you have some hidden skills or reasons to do so, there's no impetus to rock the boat other then you said you'd talk to the heroes guild. You did it, they said they still want you to do it, so that's where you're at unless you drop this right now.

Come clean to G with what you know, see how she responds, if she doesen't care and wants to come up with a plan or something try strategizing.

My plan idea is you go talk to Audrey again, ask for the scope and share what you learned with Maddie, that the DRYAD is okay and will heal, and that the HL plans to use the scope as their ocean ones broke.

If that fails, plan B is G doing the sneak thief shit while she's distracted.
No. 1015695 ID: 6c227a

What, the rep didn't give you my phone number? I've been on the phone with her all day, busting my ass out there. I need a break. You wanna hit that orgy, or just hang with me for a bit, whatever, but right now is union mandated break time.
No. 1015710 ID: eedbeb
File 163751239534.png - (257.29KB , 1000x1100 , p75.png )

“I’m kind of worn out and I still need lunch.” Uzak explains. “We can take some time to plan before we go talk to Audrey.”

“Talk? Didn’t the Guild already try that? I thought you were more of the thug type they sent in after the nice words didn’t work.”

Uzak takes out a package of instant noodles and puts a pan on the stove. She dumps the content of the flavor packet into the water and swirls it around. “I’m more of a specialist.”

“Me too. My specialty is sneaking in and getting the goods, which I can do fine by myself but apparently I’m under your jurisdiction for this job.”

Uzak flinches when G appears at her elbow. The mouse is clearly operating at a high level. Dammit Prim, why did the shrimp have to send a rogue to her apartment?
No. 1015711 ID: eedbeb
File 163751240730.png - (290.86KB , 1000x1100 , p76.png )

“It’s more complicated than just getting an artifact, there’s stuff with these two elementals going on and I don’t want to hurt Audrey, she gave me cookies.” Uzak wishes the water would boil faster.

G goes very still at the mention of the elementals. “The backstory is above your paygrade.” she says quietly. “I’m also tired and I’d like to be able to go back to my place and relax with my friend, which means we need to get the lens sometime today.”

Curse you, high heat capacity of water. “Okay. Sure. I want a plan though.”

“We go to Audrey’s house, I slide in, knock her out, we locate the lens—“

“Do we have to hurt her?”

“Fine, we go to Audrey’s house, I slide in, tranquilize her, we locate the lens—“

Uzak groans. “Can’t I have a conversation with her first?”

“What? What are you going to say? Hey sorry about your sob story I’m here to rob you anyway.” G says flatly.

What’s the plan?
A. G’s idea
B. Talk to Audrey and try to convince her to hand over the lens
C. Other
No. 1015712 ID: 094652

"fine, but I want in on your orgy."
No. 1015714 ID: 411b92

Has the "above your paygrade" shit ever convinced anyone of anything?


G can stay in the shadows (and very out of the conversation) and step in if things go south.

Sorry for the side role, and going out of your style, but I didn't ask for you to be here. If you want to send in complaints, you'll need to go higher than me.

Going in hard when you don't have to is how we get terrorists.
No. 1015716 ID: afe7de

This, especially because if G ducks this up for you then it WILL get violent with the owl. It was on the condition they willingly give you their pieces after all. You can even say if she fucks it up then the previous things you set up could shatter and then the last target might flee or some shit.
No. 1015738 ID: df76b1

Why don't you distract Audrey while G does the snatch and grab?

This is cleaner, and you still succeed even if she 'convinces you' again. Plus you're playing to your relative strengths.
No. 1015759 ID: eedbeb
File 163755575951.png - (326.40KB , 1000x1100 , p77.png )

>Peaceful communication
“I’m in charge here and I think Audrey will listen to me. We’re going to talk to her, after I’ve eaten and showered.” Uzak says firmly.

G grumbles and slinks away to fiddle with her phone. Whew, that was kind of exhilarating, Uzak isn’t used to being the boss outside of the bedroom.

With more pep in her preparations, Uzak finds the broken eggs and transfers them to her broth. A bit of green onion and her delicious meal is ready for consumption. Uzak eats out of the pan at the counter with a miscellaneous fork and rinses everything once she’s done.

G hasn’t moved from her sprawled position on the couch, so Uzak sneaks into the bedroom for some R&R. After an episode or two of anime she forces herself off her mattress, leaving the blanket for later, and heads into the bathroom.

“Let’s go.” Uzak says cheerfully after emerging with wet fur and a cloud of steam. She’s feeling much better.
No. 1015760 ID: eedbeb
File 163755577084.png - (259.10KB , 1000x1100 , p78.png )

G doesn’t attempt any small talk, so Uzak doesn’t either, content to stroll in silence. She leads the mouse to the hare’s lovely property, where the sunset is casting long shadows on all the vegetables.

“I can search while you’re distracting her.” G offers.

“No. Wait right here and don’t do any sneaky rogue bullshit. I’m going to tell Audrey you were foisted on me.”

G releases a truly legendary sigh and plants herself on the edge of the grass. Uzak squints at her for a moment to assert authority then goes to knock on the plain door.

After a few moments, Audrey carefully opens the door a crack, chain lock in place.

“It’s you again.” the hare says. “Still after my lens?”

Uzak clears her throat. “Ma’am, I did additional research after I heard your story, which I believe. I learned that the dryad should be able to regenerate her mana and while the act by those two elementals was atrocious, the damage has been done and the Guild has dire need of a working scope to stop whatever is making the mana vents close. They don’t think using it will be dangerous.”

She jerks her thumb over her shoulder. “Also they sent a rogue to steal from you, but I told her to not do that.”
No. 1015761 ID: eedbeb
File 163755579977.png - (213.78KB , 1000x1100 , p79.png )

Audrey gives a small smile and unlatches the door. “You’re a strange one. I suppose it has been 15 years…”

Uzak holds her breath with excitement as Audrey ambles onto the porch and towards one of the old trees on the edge of the forest. The hare’s eyes glow green and she raises her staff to tap a knot in the trunk.

“Have you gotten the other parts?” Audrey asks conversationally.

“I got the body from Princess but Vince said I had to get your lens first before he gave up his.”

“Sentimental fool.” Audrey sneers. Oof, seems like the team’s old wounds are still as painful as ever.

The knot bulges, sprouts a few leaves, then spits a disc of glass into Audrey’s paw, which she transfers to Uzak. That would have been a pain to get out without the hare’s help.

Success! Uzak has obtained the front lens.
No. 1015762 ID: 96c896

Be smug at G. Then let's immediately go get the last part from Vince.
No. 1015763 ID: afe7de

Thank her, head out, and show G that you did in fact get the lens but under no circumstance do you let G hold it nor do you stop holding it in your hand even if you shove it in your pocket. She's a Rogue. You want to make sure she doesen't steal your paycheck. Is it petty? yes. but she's a rogue.

Either meet up with shrimp tits and pawn of the next bit, or go get some rest. You've done enough work for one day and you WERE going to rest until SOMEONE came. You probably should mutter how you were HANDLING it. (and maybe build up some sexual tension, idk)
No. 1015765 ID: e51896

Call Prim. Tell her you got it. take a selfie with you holding it as proof to send to her.

G has somewhere she wants to be with her friends tonight, so go see the owl and get the job done.
No. 1015768 ID: 36784c

Tell G that she should just go home because you'll be able to get the next lens piece tomorrow when you're not tired. Apologize for the guild wasting her time and making her come here for no reason at all, but recommend that she tell the guild to compensate her for wasting her time like this.

Then call Prim and ask why they're so desperate for the lens? You were handling it and she didn't need to send G over to you! Then tell her that she better compensate G for wasting her time like this!
No. 1015778 ID: eedbeb
File 163759922642.png - (291.10KB , 1000x1100 , p80.png )

It’s hard to tell in the fading light, but Uzak thinks she sees the lens flash a dull green before she stuffs it into her most secure pocket.

“Thank you so much.” Uzak says.

“You’re welcome. Never bother me again.”

Uzak scurries away to where G is waiting while Audrey returns to her house.

“I got it!” Uzak tells the mouse. She doesn’t take the lens out due to basic rogue precautions, but she’s still excited to share the news

“Talking worked? Damn.” G says incredulously.

“I’ll let Prim know, you should be free to go right?”

The mouse stands a little straighter. “Yeah, uh, I guess I’ll head out then.”
No. 1015779 ID: eedbeb
File 163759923674.png - (279.08KB , 1000x1100 , p81.png )

Uzak walks with G to the station then finds a corner to call Prim.

“Uzak?” the shrimp answers nervously.

“Audrey gave me the lens.”

“Oh that’s wonderful! You’ll be happy to hear that our mana treatment has restored the tube so with the lens we’re most of the way to completion.”

“Great, though next time you don’t have to waste G’s time. I handled it fine by myself and nobody got hurt.” Uzak insists.

“I-I’m sorry for doubting you. Will you plan to visit Vince tonight?”

“Yeah, after that I can give you both lenses.” Uzak pops her neck. Then she’ll be a lot richer and not have to worry about this stuff anymore.

With everything going so well, it was natural that life would decide to screw her over. Uzak ends the call and absently scratches her collarbone, nudging the mask which reaches its flaps upwards and grabs onto her face.
No. 1015780 ID: bc11b8

No. 1015781 ID: afe7de

Normally I’d say there’s no reason to put it on but every time it did that before you got attacked so maybe execute a dodge roll, don mask, and identify source of attack?
No. 1015783 ID: b3e977

Yeah an attack might be incoming. Mask seems to react to stuff like that, though it must be immediate if it quickly already latched to our face. Agree to dodge roll, Stay alert.

Otherwise, I guess we should leave it alone and keep it on to let the powder run out on its own, theres enough left for one visit with Vince anyway... or to fight back in case someone is about to attack us. Just think of it wanting to help you, don't reject it. That'll be rude.

Also, are you suuuuuuuure it bounced upwards and grabbed your face, or did you subconsciously grab it and put it on your face on your own without realizing it and only thought it flapped up on your face?
No. 1015790 ID: 6abea6

stress makes it cling, try to stay calm and look around
No. 1015792 ID: 894419

Make absolutely sure your still have the lens. Like right now no delays. Then put it somewhere very, very secure wrapped in cloth and I guess ride out the trip.
No. 1015793 ID: eedbeb
File 163762008315.png - (0.97MB , 1000x1100 , p82.png )

The last time the mask moved on its own was when Maddie was about to smack her. Uzak whirls around, vision blurring unpleasantly, while she tries to find an attacker. There were a few people standing around the platform before she called Prim, but none of them seemed hostile.

There are several shriveled creatures staring at her now. Uzak reaches for her mace slowly.
They could be after the lens in her pocket, maybe G told them about it and now they’re going to mug her. No, that’s fucking crazy, why is she being so paranoid?

She needs to calm down, this isn’t real. One of the phantoms shrieks at her and she grips her mace so hard the leather grip squeaks. The last time the mask got stuck to her face she had to relax to get it off which is understandably difficult when she’s having a bad trip.

The largest creature starts to advance, gibbering nonsense. What should Uzak do?
A. Run
B. Tell the figures to go away
C. Fight
D. Other
No. 1015794 ID: afe7de

D. You're at a station right? Let go of the mace, as hard as that may seem and walk away, it'll be erratic and weird, but maybe try to remember what they looked like pre-mask? Try to stay away from other people until you calm down, and if you can't calm down, then maybe use the mace to try to pry off the mask because holy crap it trying to fuse to your skin is a no bueno.
No. 1015795 ID: 6e4236

Put your hands forward in a "please, stop" position and say "I'm suffering from hallucinations, please stay back and be patient while it passes."
No. 1015796 ID: c92a02

B. They're real enough to you.
No. 1015797 ID: 96c896

B. The most likely explanation is that these are bystanders that saw the mask grab your face, and now they're worried about you.

You should go to G, ask her to watch you while you try to relax, maybe it will help if you try to make the mask itself relax?
No. 1015798 ID: fdb5a9

A. running is the safe option
No. 1015799 ID: 894419

This seems reasonable, take a couple of steps back as well
No. 1015800 ID: b3e977

Does the poweder effect what we say?

I do this >>1015795 but dont say anything, then we sit down quietly, shut our eyes to not see anything, and wait for this to pass.
No. 1015808 ID: f8fa51

Drop the mace and tell them to back off. Keep your distance.
No. 1015811 ID: eedbeb
File 163762940899.png - (387.73KB , 1000x1100 , p83.png )

Uzak backs against the wall and raises the hand not holding her mace.

“Please don’t come any closer, I’m having hallucinations and I need to wait for them to pass.”

The figures flinch away at her words. Shit, is she speaking eldritch? At least the people have stopped coming closer.

Uzak squeezes her eyes shut and tries to ignore the hissing that builds in her ears as the mask tries to get her attention. She doesn’t trust herself to move, but luckily the powder should run out soon.

An agonizing amount of time passes. The hallucinations make her shiver, send insects crawling across her skin and make splotches of light dripping from her behind eyelids. She hears more muttering and jumps when someone touches her shoulder.
No. 1015812 ID: eedbeb
File 163762941844.png - (584.33KB , 1000x1100 , p84.png )

A familiar hockey mask stares down at her, worn and bloody.

“Tyson.” she croaks. “How did you find me?”

The rabbit sits and offers Uzak an axe. He says something and Uzak manages to catch a few words. Something about someone telling him she was here.

She’s helped Tyson through some tough times and having an experienced friend with her makes her feel a lot safer. Tyson tried eldritch powder when she did so he at least has some idea of what she’s going through.

After what feels like ages the mask falls into her lap, lifeless once more. Uzak sobs with relief and takes a long drink from the axe turned water bottle. She pats her pocket to make sure the lens is still there. Her hand is sore from gripping the mace and she has to struggle to let go.

“What happened?” Tyson asks. He’s wearing his usual hoodie, sans mask.
No. 1015816 ID: a9af05

>She pats her pocket to make sure the lens is still there.
I think I know what happened. I think the mask reacted to the lens.

The lens is a powerful artifact, so it must have a lot of mana radiating off of it. The mask might have reacted to the lens' mana and decided to attach itself to our face.
No. 1015822 ID: 96c896

The mask reacting to the lens's mana seems about right, but it could also be that eldritch powder has an expiration date, and the mask now forces you to use it once the powder goes bad. An additional possibility is that the mask was preventing you from getting onto that bus.
Gonna have to go ask Tom, I think, and find out exactly what this stuff can do to you.

Tell Tyson the mask is acting on its own now and forced itself on you for some reason, giving you a bad trip. Now that you can speak properly you should also ask how he found you.
No. 1015828 ID: e51896

HUG TYSON, you need comfort, you don't care if you'll be seen as weak right now.

Explain what happened, Ask what time is it, you were supposed to see Vince tonight...
No. 1015838 ID: 3ed3c3

"Never do drugs, kids."
Then throw up.
No. 1015868 ID: 06d408

Tell him the mask jumped up onto your face, on it's own
No. 1015875 ID: eedbeb
File 163768190492.png - (367.29KB , 1000x1100 , p85.png )

“My mask jumped onto my face on its own. It might have been reacting to the artifact I just got or maybe the powder went bad, I dunno. I should ask Tom about it.” Uzak rubs her stiff hand.

“It’s not my place to say but I don’t think you should use it anymore.” Tyson says.

Bile rises in Uzak’s throat, but she forces it down. “I shouldn’t have to, the guy I need to see next said he’d hand over his artifact if I got this one first. “

“You’re going there now?”

Uzak struggles to her feet. She’s as weak as a kitten. “I don’t know.”

Should Uzak:
-Go to Vince
-Go home to rest
-Find Tom
No. 1015877 ID: cda6c9

Find Tom. If the powder went bad then just replace it. If it’s something else then you need to avoid using it again.
No. 1015879 ID: e51896

I think after that terrifying experience, and how weak Uzak is now, she needs to get home (hopefully not the hospital)

Ask Tyson to help you get home safely. Apologize to him for being a burden on him by having to come here for you. tell him you'll get the last part from Vince tomorrow.

But ask him who told him to come for you. It must have been someone who knew you and Tyson were friends or band members and knew where Tyson lived.
No. 1015883 ID: 5d9830

an artifact a day is a good pace, and you've done it cleaner than anyone guessed could be done. Get home and get some rest for now.

Vince said he'd give you the last piece, but people are more likely to keep their word if it looks like the other party has the force to do something about it if they don't
No. 1015902 ID: 4e749e

If ever there was a time for a power nap, this is it.
Order up some pizza and sleep while you wait
Make sure the mask is locked up good and far from your face
No. 1015903 ID: eedbeb
File 163769241883.png - (320.43KB , 1000x1100 , p86.png )

>Go home
Uzak feels awful. It’d be best to go home and get the second lens tomorrow. She cautiously picks up the mask and sticks it in her back pocket with the mace.

“Can you walk me home?” she asks.

“Yeah, no problem.”

Uzak stumbles after the rabbit as he leads her through the portal gates to her apartment.

“Who told you I was there?” she mumbles once they’re walking up the stairs.

“Some Guild lady, I think. Said a girl named G let her know so she found my number from the tIt website.”

What does Uzak do before bed? She can call someone, order a pizza, and/or cuddle with Tyson.
No. 1015905 ID: ab072e

Ugh, G most likely called Prim... her opinion of us is going to lower

Lets just cuddle, dont need to be sexual just want comfort and to talk about the future of the band. Order a cheese pizza from Pizzid
No. 1015906 ID: 4e749e

Screw cheese this girl needs a meat lovers pizza
No. 1015922 ID: a9af05

Order yourself a meat lovers pizza.
No. 1015924 ID: 0838d6

Order a pizza and give the owl a call or text letting them know you'll be dropping by tomorrow. If tyson wants to cuddle that could be nice, probably just you being quiet and listening to something whilst you nurse that dank za
No. 1015926 ID: 96c896

Cuddle with Tyson.
No. 1015930 ID: cda6c9

Call... Eddie? Does he have a phone?
Otherwise call Prim so she knows you have another piece.
No. 1015940 ID: eedbeb
File 163770678574.png - (492.54KB , 1000x1100 , p87.png )

>Pizza and cuddles
Uzak’s stomach gives a sluggish rumble. Her appetite returning is a good sign, even if she still feels like shit.

“Uh, I’m going to order a pizza. Want to stay over for a bit? I don’t want to have sex or anything until I feel better but I’d like to cuddle.” she offers.

Tyson hesitates. “What kind of pizza?”

“I’ll get half meat for me and cheese for you.”

Uzak and Tyson end up curled against each other in her bed, watching trash anime and picking strands of cheese from the grease stained box. It’s so much easier to spend time with Tyson than with Bage. She doesn’t have to worry about hurting the rabbit’s feelings or saying the wrong thing. Tyson also isn’t incorrigibly horny, which can make Bage annoying sometimes.
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
File 163805583978.png - (274.06KB , 1000x1100 , p111.png )

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
File 163806935664.png - (172.51KB , 1000x1100 , p112.png )

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
File 163806936393.png - (265.34KB , 1000x1100 , p113.png )

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
File 163806952458.png - (334.68KB , 1000x1100 , p114.png )

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
File 163811563169.png - (294.93KB , 1000x1100 , p115.png )

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
File 163813427609.png - (368.26KB , 1000x1100 , p117.png )

“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
File 163813429803.png - (238.90KB , 1000x1100 , p118.png )

Thanks for reading.
[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]

Delete post []