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File 127379360270.png - (308.42KB , 640x480 , chapter4title.png )
2001208 No. 2001208 ID: 8d7dd2

[Thread #1: >>/questarch/149732 ]
[Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Resonance ]

The world of Ter. An insignificant world, a mere rock falling through the void.

But the Golden Empire came to it, and shaped in it their image. Upon its surface, they seeded species of their own design, for their own plans and purposes.

And into this world, they built their greatest weapon. The Resonance of the Empire.

Expand all images
No. 2001210 ID: 8d7dd2
File 127379372379.png - (212.64KB , 640x480 , 4-1.png )

Hrm... Teteke's been gone for a while now.


Okay, I can hear murmuring in my head. I know a link when I hear one. Who are you? What do you want? I've been hunted down by chaos creatures and Machine forces and lived, so don't try anything.
No. 2001211 ID: a00c7f

I'll try asking you a question. How are you with the ladies? Do they swoon at the mere sight of you?
No. 2001212 ID: c71597

Oh us. We're not going to try anything that won't be fun. Trust me, we're gonna have loads of fun.

But that's for later. So for now, how are things hanging? Making good time on your journey? Or are you having problems with shit stalking and attacking you on every step of the way?
No. 2001213 ID: 620bfb


No. 2001214 ID: a594b9

What, don't you recognize us? I'm hurt, really. How could you have forgotten what it feels like to be in contact with the Thousandfold?

So. Where'd Tacobird go off to? Should we be worried?

Oh yeah also the Machine is planning to unleash a supposedly unstoppable apocalyptic weapon called The Incarnadine Dream so if you have any idea what that is now would be the time to tell us. If it makes you feel any better the Director is at least willing to evacuate as many people from the planet as possible first, to make sure none of the species here go extinct. Although apparently the Sserreds are... not included? Or perhaps there's some other reason why they're in danger.
No. 2001216 ID: a85626

Yes we know you've been hunted down by chaos creatures and Machine forces and lived. We helped you live once. Remember back when Seilea and you got in that scrap? Yeah.

Also we paid off your debt at GREAT PERSONAL SACRIFICE to us so give a little respect, ya know?
No. 2001217 ID: c71597

Eh yeah, I don't think we actually paid off that debt. All we did was postpone having Truth kill him. Truth will still try again later down the road.

Which is why it's a good thing we kind off know how to injure or even possibly kill Truth. It does have some rather harsh demands though.
No. 2001219 ID: a00c7f

No, we paid for his life. Truth won't attack him, just any of his descendants. Of which, coincidentally, we must ensure he has many.
No. 2001220 ID: 059120

Hey, Lesin. We're the Thousandfold! We were in Seilea's head before, I believe she mentioned us? You may have even heard us when you linked with her before. We were with Teteke before that, too.

Hmm, you weren't one of our designated hosts. I wonder how we got here? Well, for whatever reason, we're here to give you advice. Which means knowing what's going on. Last we heard, you were heading to Azni's. You meet up with her yet? And where'd Tacobird get off to?

Hmm. You guys don't even know the magnitude of the situation yet, do you. We had our chat with Th after we left. Okay, so here's the deal. You're familiar with the Golden Empire, right? Spread out, conquering universes, etc? Really liked that kaier stuff? Well, at some point, they found some creatures that had the stuff built into them. Decatur and Sserred, to be specific, but that's not really important. Well, the Empire's response to them was to basically enslave them, to harvest the Kaier. Needless to say, they weren't really happy about that. Neither were a notable portion of the Empire, for that matter. So they helped them escape, split off, and decided that The Golden Empire needed to be stopped. I'd probably have come up with the same conclusion (the odds we weren't actually responsible for that conclusion are non-zero, by the way). Well, so they started their own army and stuff with the purpose of destroying the Empire. They called it The Machine, if you hadn't figured that out yet.

Okay, so The Machine and the Empire are fighting a war across the multiverse. At some point, the Abstract Chaos comes into play. That's the stuff outside universes, which can apparently leak in people hop between them. But while that's serious concern, it's not really a pressing one at this point. What is, however, the world or Ter itself. The Empire, getting tired of this endless war, terraformed this place and created a quartet of species to maintain it or something. The cenesu, seltwil, umbrals, and craftkind. At some point, they abandoned Terea specifically, but they've still got an strong presence in their capital of Zenith, which is on Gilde, I think? Well, the point is, the planet's main purpose is setting up those nine conduit towers. They, together, form a weapon only known as "Resonance", which has enough destructive power to... do something. It's bad enough for the Machine to call in their strongest weapon to blow up the planet before evacuating even their own soldiers. ...Which, by the way, is happening. Yeah. Well, whatever it does, it also ends up using the life of everything on the planet to do it. Which is also really bad. And unfortunately, it's already on the way to being activated. Only two of the nine towers are on so far, though, which is at least something.

So, to recap, The Golden Empire has a super weapon that I can only imagine has at least enough power to destroy a universe, kills everything on the planet in the process, and in order to stop it, The Machine is going to fire a different superweapon at all of you. Oh, and every universe is slowly collapsing into the Abstract Chaos. And now we have to stop it all.

Doesn't sound that hard.
No. 2001221 ID: 8d7dd2
File 127405276716.png - (219.03KB , 640x480 , 4-2.png )


Thought I recognised that babble of voices. Well, if you're leaving Sei alone at least, I-


What? Why do you need to know... Well, maybe some but-



I knew that bastard wouldn't just leave for no reason!! Why the hell did you do that?! What did he charge you?! Spirits...

Thanks. I don't know why you did it, and the thought of why you did it worries me considerably, but I don't think I can thank you enough for saving my life. I guess I'll just have to be on the look-out for the bastard again if I ever want kids. After the invasion's been dealt with.


ARGH!! How can you speak that quickly?!


okay I can think again. I think I caught most of that- no, I don't want it repeated! Right. First off, it was pitch black by the time we got here, so we went to an inn and spent the night there in separate rooms.

After breakfast, Teteke went off to go talk to someone he knows. He said he'd be back in about ten to twenty minutes. It's been an hour since. I'd go look for him but I don't know Rillford nor Teteke well enough to figure out where to search. Sei's with me and we're basically stuck here waiting for him to come back.


Let me get this straight. Okay. Yes, I know what the Empire is and what it's done and how everything will go horribly, horribly wrong if they ever so much as show their faces here again.

I don't really particularly care for what the Machine's origins are while they go about trying to kill me. But they're here to destroy the Towers? I want those Towers destroyed. I know more about this world than you give me credit for. Maybe it's not too late to negotiate-

..."Incarnadine Dream"? You mean the reason the Empire built the Resonance of the Empire in the first place?! They're going to use that?!

"...are you okay?"

"I-it's nothing. Nothing."

...There's something I can do, right? You're the Thousandfold, you can tell me what to do to stop it, right?

She knows me too well. She knows something isn't right...

"Lesin? ...What is it?"
No. 2001222 ID: 1ac39d

just come out with it, 'thousand fold told me some bad news'
No. 2001223 ID: 701a19

We did it because she is a host to us, and she is in love with you. If you know much about us, then I would expect our history reflects a strong desire to act in the best interests of our hosts.
We're going to have to find a way in order to pay off his grudge - perhaps presenting him with something important that he doesn't know? We have several pieces of information that he shouldn't be able to know.

Anyway, what can you tell us about the Incarnadine Dream? The more we know, the better chance we have to destroy it.

Oh, and we have a contact in the machine empire. We might be able to get them to stay their dream if we destroy the weapon and remove the motivation to do so.
No. 2001224 ID: c71597

We paid for your life because Sei didn't want you to die. The will of our hosts is kind of important to how we act.

Sadly we don't really have any solid information on the Incardine dream at the present. One way to stop it might be to destroy the towers before they unleash it, they're planning to use it to make sure the weapon is never fired. Although I suspect they would use the weapon themselves if they could just figure out how to use it against the Golden empire.

Destroying the towers is probably your best bet at the moment. And it needs to be done anyway. You should probably try to find Tacobird and get cracking on that. Oh and by the way, if you want to properly injure Truth you're probably going to have to use chaos magic. Learning how to cast that is very hard and extremly dangerous though.
No. 2001225 ID: 6834bc

He owed us a favor. Apparently, we did something huge for him some time in the past.
The price to save you from him was the negation of his debt to us.

That's... about all we know. Don't even really know what it was that indebted him to us.

As for why we talk so quickly... our perception of time in your world is, to put it lightly, skewed. On our side, it's been about three days since you noticed our murmurs.
Please understand that we don't mean to be confusing, and try to bear with us.
No. 2001226 ID: a594b9

Wow, we made the right choice saving your life. Even though, to be honest, we did it out of compassion and loyalty to Sei.

You say that things would go wrong if the Empire showed its face here again. Aren't they still technically in Zenith? You do know about that place, right? At the center of the ring of towers? Full of machines fueled by kaierkind?

Well, at any rate, one or more of the Guardian Essences want to activate the weapon. AU said he was loyal to the Empire, and TH said he was not. We do not know what IR's motivations are but TH says he merely feigns loyalty to the Empire. When we met TH, one of the towers activated. Overridden by Guardian Essence, it said.

So. What exactly does Resonance do, and what is the Dream?
No. 2001227 ID: 701a19

Don't forget that we recently spent a few days in yesterday as well, although that wasn't by choice and we couldn't actually interfere with events we witnessed.
No. 2001228 ID: 059120

Well, first I wanted to say (apparently unlike everyone else here) I didn't care how much Sei cared about you. You were in trouble, we had the opportunity to stop it, clear enough for me. Same goes for the rest of this planet, now.

So, yeah, knowing what either of these superweapons do would really help in figuring out how to counteract them.

The 'smash the towers' plan seems kind of solid, though I do have to point out that involves going to the towers, which so far, has shown to be the only thing to activate them. Though... that was specifically when a Guardian Essence was around, and we seem to have just gotten someone who doesn't have one of those. Still, I'm going to recommend staying away from them until we know what breaking them would do, and if we can even break them.

But yeah, let's just focus on the moment for now. Let's see if we can figure out where Tacobird went off to. Hey, weren't we able detect the locations our other hosts once before or something? [Sense location of Teteke]
No. 2001230 ID: 8d7dd2
File 12743800262.png - (188.09KB , 640x480 , 4-2pause.png )

[Resonance paused until the end of my exams.

In the meantime, here's the link for the discussion thread! Questions, comments, complaints, whacked-out theories and sinister long-term plans go here >>/questdis/322914 ]
No. 2001231 ID: 8d7dd2
File 127629067359.png - (192.85KB , 640x480 , 4-3.png )


We cannot do such a thing, fellow voices. We merely recalled that this group were travelling to Rillford, and informed as such.


I'd really rather not say anything. I'm probably the only one in this town who knows that the thing even exists. Except... Azni knows a lot.


...she loves me? I'm pretty sure she just thinks of me a friend like I do. Just a close friend. Also, I have to focus on more important things right now. End of the world things.

"Sei. That Thousandfold thing. It shut up for you, right? It's talking to me now, and it..."

No, I can't say anything else. No-one seems to be paying attention to us, but I don't want to risk it...

-The Machine is trying to bring in a weapon that will kill everyone on Ter within seconds. I don't think we can do anything to stop it, but if we can help them destroy the Conduit Towers we might give them a reason not to bring it here.-

-...Spirits. Then let's go destroy the towers! What are we doing sitting around here waiting for Tacobird when the stakes are this high?!-

-We need all the help we can get, Sei. Plus, he's somehow related to all this too. Remember?-

Zenith. I know too much about that place. Can we put that on the "to destroy" list? I want to see it burn to the ground. Or melt. Whatever works.

Guardian Essences... I recognise those names but that's it.

The Resonance of the Empire is meant to target something and then make that something destroy other things like it, I don't know exactly what. And that it requires all of us on the planet dying.

All I know about the Incarnadine Dream is that everyone will die. Everyone. With no chance of survival.

-I'll be right back.-

-Fine. Get back as quick as you can. He could show up any moment.-


Hm. Almost on cue.

"Alright. Back. Let's go. Now."
No. 2001232 ID: c71597

Ask him where you're going and what's the hurry. He might not mean the same thing as you're thinking about.
No. 2001233 ID: 059120

Hi Tacobird! Tell him we say hi. And then get going. To wherever it is you're going. Wasn't it supposed to be Azni's? Why is Teteke leading, if you're the one who knows her?
No. 2001234 ID: e973f4

Ask him to clarify what he means on the way.

But if he's being like that he's probably got a damn good reason for why you suddenly need to get moving very quickly.
No. 2001235 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127949723140.png - (293.23KB , 640x480 , 4-4.png )


"What's the hurry, Teteke?"

"I don't want to talk about it. Let's go to Anzi's or Azni's or whatever your friend's name is."

"Alright. Hold on a second. Sei should be back soon."

-Sei, he's right in front of me.-

-Of course he turns up now after we've been sitting here doing nothing for I forget how long! I'll meet you guys outside.-


"Oh, and the Thousandfold says hi. I know, it's stuck in my head now this time. Trust me, you're better off without hearing their chatter in the back of your mind all the time."

Teteke sighs. "I should never have gone into the tower."

"Can't do much about what's already happened. Let's go. Sei said she'd catch up with us along the way."

We leave the inn and start heading towards Azni's house. It's next to the river, so it's not hard to find. This is a relatively sparse town. Sei catches up with us... as does someone else. Teteke walks faster.

"Keep going."

Sei looks behind her. "Is that cenesu a friend of yours-"
"Let's keep going."

The cenesu calls after us. "Teteke! Get back here right now! This isn't over! Don't act like you can't hear me!" She sounds very annoyed. As far as I can tell based on cenesu inflections and tones of voice, anyway. ...And Teteke is just staring back at her, not saying a word. He doesn't look too happy.

Maybe I should ask him who she is. Or maybe we should keep going to Azni's and worry less about the details of Teteke's associates. What do you guys think?
No. 2001236 ID: c2c011

It's probably just an ex of his and he feels he doesn't have the time to explain everything. Just keep going, not your problem to deal with.
No. 2001237 ID: e3ff7f

... is that his mate? i think it is. something must have happened and they are having an argument. we should just keep going. maybe say "need to tell me what that was about later. let's just keep moving."
No. 2001238 ID: 059120

Introduce yourself! Be polite. Ignore Tacobird.
No. 2001239 ID: a594b9

We the Thousandfold are infamously nosy and often rude. Ask him all kinds of personal questions.

I think that's either his mom or his ex.
No. 2001240 ID: a594b9

...Lesin, are you okay? I feel as though our presence is putting a strain on your mind.
No. 2001241 ID: 5a2e05

Ask him who it is. It's bound to annoy him, and that's fun to do.
No. 2001242 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127956887130.png - (198.97KB , 640x480 , 4-5.png )


What are you talking about? You're a little grating, but I've had experience with annoying voices inside my head. For instance, Sei. Speaking of, I better drop that link. It's starting to give me a headache.


I don't think she's his mother. She seems a bit too young for that. And I really don't want to get caught up in someone else's personal issues. I only met Teteke yesterday! And if we're going to need to work together to stop either of the two world killing weapons going off, I don't need him angry at me for ruining his relationships.


I already know I'm going to regret this. I stop, turn around and walk up to the cenesu. Sei and Teteke both stop and turn around.

"Greetings. My name is Lesin, and I am a representative of Southfort, as is Seilea here. I'm afraid your friend Teteke here is acting as a guide for us and is currently occupied. We don't know the town very well, you understand."

She pauses and speaks in a calm but simmering tone of voice, trying her best to be level-headed and polite while clearly still enraged. "Ah. My mistake, sir. Can I request a favour?"

I think I can feel Teteke boring a hole into the back of my head with his glare. "You certainly may."

"I'd like you to remind your guide that at some point, he needs to explain why he felt the need to storm out of the town and utterly destroy both his reputation and the credibility of my research in the process."

Okay. I knew I was going to regret getting involved. Why did I do that? Teteke is now walking forward and - right, I'm going to stand back now. Well back.

"I explained before I left, but no-one was prepared to listen!! What use is constant research and scrutiny of information that started flawed and ended up so censored they contradict themselves on the same pages?!"
"What use is a cenesu killed by craftkind because they got the great idea to run off into the wild because they weren't willing to have a civil conversation?!"
"The council wouldn't listen! I had to know the truth!"
"What truth, Teteke?! What truth was so great and so mysterious you abandoned m- us for it?!"
"What truth, Reketi? What truth?! I learned a lot of truths... I learned a lot of... I learned..."
No. 2001243 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127956888894.png - (189.78KB , 640x480 , 4-6.png )

He's shaking and his voice is starting to crack a little. Reketi looks less angry, and more a mixture of irritated, confused and slightly concerned. They're both a lot quieter now, so people are just walking by, paying no attention. Much better.

"Learned what, Teteke?"
"The Golden Empire never fell, and we were created by them to serve as their slaves and nothing more. We're artificial constructs just like the craftkind, but made of flesh and blood."

I think Teteke's finally starting to realise the full ramifications of what he's learnt. It hit me like a brick a day later when I learned the same thing, and Sei was lost in thought for three whole days. Or two. It was probably two.

"...That's... that's pretty far-fetched, Teteke." Reketi sounds uncertain. She sounds more like she doesn't want to believe it than that she doesn't believe it. Maybe she was like Teteke and had an inkling something wasn't right the whole time.

"No. Reketi. Listen to me. I risked my life to find out answers, and I didn't find answers I wanted. We're constructs. The cenesu, and the seltwils, and the umbrals. Our myths and legends are closer to the truth than our historical documents. We were created to be slaves at best, or to die completely to fuel the weapon built into our world, the weapon which is the sole reason we exist at all."

Reketi stares.

"But... I... Teteke... I've spent years trying to disprove the Golden Empire as anything other than some ancient civilisation of cenesu, seltwils and umbrals... Years and years of my life."
"So did I. But it makes sense, doesn't it? It shouldn't, but it does."
"I don't want it to be true. I don't want to be artificial. Are we not even people, just machines like the craftkind for the Empire to exploit? Is that why the sky turned red yesterday, are they coming back to- to collect us? What am I supposed to do now, Teteke? What am I supposed to do? Am I just a machine? Just... just something to do what it was told to do, with false dreams and hopes and feelings and... and..." She trails off, and breaks down into quiet sobbing. Teteke hugs her tightly, whispering something I am not going to try to eavesdrop on.

Sei whispers to me. "(...I don't get it. So our species were made by the Empire. How does that make us machines? I don't feel like my thoughts are false.)"
"(You haven't spent a large part of your life trying to prove the Empire didn't make us, Sei. She's probably spent a lot more time thinking of the ramifications than two days.)"
"(Actually it was more like three.)"
"(Okay, sure.)"

Well, Thousandfold, while I sympathise with Reketi having her whole worldview collapse in front of her, this isn't helping us save the world any faster. I can probably go to Azni's house with just Sei if necessary. Feels like it's going to take the whole day trying to get there otherwise. Or I could just stay here and wait patiently. ...Any better ideas?
No. 2001244 ID: d586b6

Patience is a virtue.

Let's, uh, pass the time by looking at the scenery, or something, while the cenesu get their act together.
No. 2001245 ID: c2c011

Be an asshole and tell Tacobird to get a move on. Remind him of the impending doom of the world and all that.
No. 2001246 ID: a594b9

Give them a moment. Teteke understands that time is short, too. He won't be long.
No. 2001249 ID: 701a19

Tell her "As much as I hate to interrupt, we are really pressed for time. There are many more answers we would gladly share, but nobody can afford us staying here any longer."
No. 2001250 ID: 059120

Inspiring Speech! The only answer is dramatic inspiring speech. [spoilers]With reasonable grammar. >_>[/spoilers]

It doesn't matter where you came from! Whether it was created by gods, or people, or evolved from animals or plants, or whatever. I know people who would love to know that they were created by something, with thought and care put into them. Others that refuse to believe anything but that random chance, the nigh impossible odds of cells and genes arranged in the perfect way, could be the only that they are alive, and use that to give their life meaning.

But none of that matters! What's important is that you're here now; living, thinking people! Seltwils, Cenesu, Umbrals, The Machine, even Craftkind, you're all people, with thoughts and beliefs and desires and friends and goals! And right now, you're all fighting to not die, to defend what you think is right! To stop both the superweapons aimed at your planet and of SAVE THE WORLD!
No. 2001251 ID: c4c313


True! If you were just machines, then you wouldn't have things like love, hate, fear, worries. If the only thing you could do were be the Golden Empire's machines, then learning of it would not disturb you at all! The fact that you can question the Empire and the fact that you will destroy their towers proves that you are something more than even they could have possibly intended. They wanted machines, but what they got were people. You can't be machines at all, because machines feel no sadness at accomplishing their predetermined task, even at the cost of their own destruction.
No. 2001252 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127974164169.png - (338.17KB , 640x480 , 4-7.png )


Yeah. I don't want to intrude.


But time IS limited...


I love this plan and I support it fully. Time for a speech!

"You know, Reketi. It doesn't matter where you came from. Gods, people, descendants of spooldets, created by chance or designed with intent, we're all people. Living, thinking people, with emotions and the ability to question. To question our place, to defy our intended purpose, to challenge the Empire and to stand tall in freedom!"

All three of them are staring at me. Reketi in mild awe, Teteke in approval, and Sei in disdain.

"(Lesin, that speech was better the last time you gave it.)"

...So I may have done this before a few times. You guys are my excuse this time. I've only done it a few times, though. ...Just a few. I don't break out in speeches like that a lot. Usually.

...We have an umbral to visit.

The trip to Azni's house is mostly uneventful, as far as other people outside our little group are concerned, although I've come to realise that we might have to include Reketi as part of that group. She's just been following us - well, Teteke, more accurately - since we left the inn.

Something we do find out on the way to Azni's house is that Reketi is a lot more powerful in metamagic than she let on, or perhaps even knows herself. I kept casting weak spells nearby and she kept turning to face something she didn't quite seem to consciously notice. She might actually come in very handy.

Well, we're here.

I knock on the door.

"Come iiiiin~~"

...oh dear.

I open the do- AGH

"Lesin! Lesin it's good to see you after so long!~"

okay I don't think she's actually going to let go of me for the next five minutes I think I can just about walk inside her house

I can hear Sei trying not to laugh and it isn't helping my situation!
No. 2001253 ID: c2c011

So how do you know her? She seems to be rather fond of you and stuff.

Anyway, should be to hard to drag her back into the house and start asking her questions about Zenith.
No. 2001254 ID: e973f4

I guess let's get everyone into the house and start talking about things like Zenith and the fact that I think you kind of like Azni and don't want to admit it to yourself I mean uh

Zenith, yes.
No. 2001255 ID: 059120

On that "defying fate" note, remember we don't actually mean anything. Tacobird pretty quickly consigned himself to destiny after he met us, but really, we're basically just a bad idea machine. Just a bunch of a useless voices stuck in your head. You aren't destined to save the world because of us, it's just that no one else really knows about it. All the choices are yours.

...except about being hugged. Go inside and get her off you or something. Let's see, we came here to ask about Zenith, didn't we? We told you we went there, right? Not very nice place. We don't know where the conduit towers are. You could ask about that. You should probably fill her in about the two(+) ways the world could end.
No. 2001256 ID: c4c313

Umbrals love to hug almost as much as they love to fix.


Our power is in not having meaning. We defy meaning. We are an unpredictable force in this universe, one that doesn't fall under any fate or destiny. Basically any advice you follow of ours is not predetermined or fated. It still might get you killed but anything we suggest will most certainly be unexpected, neither predictable by you, the Golden Empire nor the Machine.
No. 2001257 ID: a594b9

He probably likes Seilea more... From his subconscious, it seems that they were dating at some point but that was a long time ago.

Care to fill us in, Lesin? Let her hang off you for a bit, maybe hug back a little while you talk to her about why you're here.

No, TH can predict us. In fact, his plans rely on predicting us.
No. 2001258 ID: c2c011

That's what he says and thinks. But it isn't necessarily the truth. He's not truly omniscient after all.
No. 2001259 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127982676087.png - (277.62KB , 640x480 , 4-8.png )


Well. It's going to be a long story, but it's going to explain a bit about our relationship, I guess. ...Our relationship as friends! Friends! ...just listen.

She knows a lot about Zenith because that's where she came from, originally. I was on Gilde at the time, and saw her lost in the middle of nowhere. ...I was too, but unlike her I had an idea of where to reach civilisation that wasn't Zenith.

We did grow close during our travels back to Terea. Very close. As close as two members of entirely different species can get, anyway. She confided in me, I confided in her, we both know things about each other we would never dream of telling anyone else. That includes ancient immortal bundles of spirits, or whatever you are.

Then we went our separate ways, keeping in touch now and then. I guess I would still consider her a close friend but after not seeing her in a while the hug was... a little unexpected.


We're in her house. It's, frankly, a mess. There's blue and black paint marks in a few places, and lots of crystal things scattered around, as well as a mat taking up most of the floor space. And a few murals she mentioned painting onto her walls. She told me they were "intentionally simplistic and predominately symbolic as a means of demonstrating the nature of symbols", but I think she just isn't a very good artist.

"Take a seat!"

The seats are all floor cushions. Well, it's better than the floor itself, I guess.

"Azni, we're here because we need some guidance. You're aware of the Resonance of the Empire, right?"
Azni scratches her head. "Hmm... that would explain the red sky. ...Oh dear. We don't have a lot of time, do we? Well... I'll see what I can figure out."

She picks up the crystals and places them on coloured patches on the mat. I have no idea how she gets any sort of information out of this at all, but it works. Her crystal divination has yet to give a wrong answer to things we've asked before. It's probably- wait no never mind.

"Okay. A yes or no question about something we already know should be good to calibrate... Then we can continue from there. Any suggestions from anyone? How about you, Lesin?~"

I am going to regret asking this, but any ideas for questions, Thousandfold?
No. 2001260 ID: c2c011

Well good starting points are probably asking how to keep the weapon from being fired and how to stop the Machine's Incarnadine dream thing. Neither of those two seem particularly beneficial to the longterm survival of anything on this planets surface.
No. 2001261 ID: a594b9

Those aren't yes/no questions. Besides we just need something for calibration. The real questions come after this one.

I'll have to think on this for a bit.
No. 2001262 ID: c2c011

Always with the yes or no questions.

Ok then, time to think up some.

Ask her if Teteke can move things with the help of an artifact he got from AU. We all know the answer to that one, but Azni doesn't.

Questions to ask after that would be if it's even possible to stop the firing of the weapon or the Incarnadine Dream. Then we can narrow it down after that.
No. 2001264 ID: abb30a

Hey Lesin, do you like big butts and are you unable to lie about it?

Coincidentally, is Azni's tail large because that is a sign of her being pregnant? Perhaps with your own half-seltwil mutant abominations?
No. 2001265 ID: 059120

The idea of unpredictable is good. That's too specific, obvious to guess it's yes, though. How about "Has Ter native ever hugged a machine soldier?"

And yeah, asking if there is any way to disable the Resonance and Dream (without the aid of the Empire or Machine) is a good place to start.
No. 2001266 ID: a594b9

Hmm. Just how close CAN two members of different species get? Are you... compatible at all?

Better rephrase that to "Has Ter native ever hugged a Machine Diplomat?" if we want a Yes answer.
No. 2001267 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127984243927.png - (248.02KB , 640x480 , 4-9.png )


Good questions for later.


...I'm not asking her that. Or answering it. Wait. What? ...What. That's not even biologically possible!


With Azni? ...I'm not answering that question.


That's perfect. There is no way she'd be able to know that, but we would-


That's... that sounds even better, but I personally have no idea whether that's a yes or a no. ...Given that you even asked it, it's probably going to be "yes", because that's the opposite of what I'd expect. Wow. I'd love to know if they even survived after that. Poor bastard probably got torn to shreds after, right?

"Here's one you won't know the answer to. Has a Terean ever hugged a Machine soldier?"
"...That seems silly. Of course the answer's going to be no!"

She pats at the mat as she asks the question again. Some of the crystals glow faintly. Others shimmer and flicker.

"The answer is yes. Yes? Is that the right answer, Lesin?"
"Er uh yes yes it is. Hrm."

What were the questions you guys wanted to ask again? When she's done this before she's been able to answer yes or no questions and also questions that have simple answers. Something that could be answered in a sentence, for example. It's pretty nebulous though...

Wait. Both Teteke and Reketi are staring at Azni very, very strangely.

"Something wrong?"
Teteke snaps out of it. "No, not at all, just..."

He lapses back into staring. Okay, I know she acts a little weird, but-


cenesu can detect magic

we need to act fast before one of the two cenesu start working out that something is amiss I'd explain more but a promise is a promise and I am not revealing anything else
No. 2001268 ID: 059120

Can't solve problems when we don't know what they are. So either we're leaving or someone's going to figure this out. And it'd be a shame to leave after we came all this way. It has been a while since you made this promise, presumably, see if she even cares about it being secret anymore.
No. 2001269 ID: c2c011

Using magic does seem rather odd for an Umbral. But that could be the iteams. Just tell them it's the iteams or something.

Anyway, asking if there is any way to disable the Resonance and Incarnadine Dream (without the aid of the Empire or Machine) does seem like two good starter questions. Then you can get more specific on how to go about it from there.
No. 2001271 ID: e973f4

So let me get this straight. You came all this way with a guy who has the inherent ability to detect magic, and it's only occurring to you just now that a presumably magic-related problem (which you won't even explain to us!) might arise from that? That's a bit of a lack of foresight, isn't it?

I guess the question now is whether your secret or whatever that you won't tell us is more important than, y'know, the impending destruction of the world you live on and everything in it. >:/
No. 2001273 ID: a594b9

Is this some kind of Kaierminded thing?

Maybe you can shoo the cenesu away with the excuse that you need to talk to Azni in private.
No. 2001274 ID: c4c313

Yeah um... you might want to skip the silly questions and ask something important if you're worried the tacobirds will catch onto something. Ask if there's a way to stop the Resonance, and if not, ask if there's a way to survive the Resonance. Maybe ask if we the Thousandfold are actually useful for something.

She may have never been wrong before, but remember her divination is only as good as whoever she's... talking to through those crystal... things. They might have their limits too.
No. 2001275 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127992722254.png - (295.74KB , 640x480 , 4-10.png )


Sigh. Well, you're right, and I'm sure Azni would understand the need to know everything about the situation...

"Azni, before we ask any questions I need to quickly discuss something in private."

The other three talking among themselves. Sei looks incredibly bored but otherwise unsuspicious, while the two cenesu seem to discussing how weird the house feels... Okay I need to hurry.

Azni leads me into her bedroom and sits on her bed. "What did you need to ask me?"
"Do you know what the Thousandfold is?"
"It sounds like I should know what that is but I don't. What is it?"
"It's a unique spirit, or, well, bunch of spirits tied together, that can't be destroyed, separated, or otherwise harmed while it has a host. They're pretty strange voices, but they generally mean well. Also, I'm their host right now."
"...mhm, I'll go look for my banishment kit-"
"No, no, I don't want them banished or dispelled. They want to help us save our world. I'm just letting you know this first. Those two cenesu in your front room? They both have better metamagic than most cenesu here. And they know something isn't right."

Azni seizes up. She wrings her arms together, nearly tying them into knots. "Can't... can't you just send them away? I don't-"
"And the Thousandfold wants to know why. All I have is their word that they won't tell anyone else, but I'd rather you explain it to them yourself."
"I... I don't know. I don't..."
"Trust me, Azni. I wouldn't ask you if I didn't trust these spirits."
"...You can explain. I don't like the memories."

Azni isn't an umbral. Not completely. She was an umbral once, and she's desperately trying to be an umbral again. She came from Zenith, as I said. There, her life was comfortable and easy. She repaired the machines and systems there at their most fragile parts, their kaier lattices. She even repaired some of the craftkind. She was good at what she did, she worked hard, she was happy.

Then one day she was called down to the lower levels of Zenith, and she spent her entire journey there trying to figure out what she had done wrong. But she hadn't done anything wrong. This was explained to her. A random selection process was conducted to pick one umbral member of the populace, and she was the umbral selected.

One of the Empire's creations, Opus 7, had been destroyed in an attempt to contain it, and rather than explain their failure to their masters, the rulers of Zenith devised an alternative solution - quietly make a replacement Opus 7, using an existing resident as a base. The closest things to Opus 7 that Zenith had access to were umbrals, and so a random umbral had been selected.

Azni was to become the replacement Opus 7 that the mad rulers planned to create. Her life as she knew it became something warped and horrifying as they subjected her to the processes required to rip out the magic potential of an umbral and implant the magic potential of an Opus weapon. They tried to break her will, to sculpt her into an exact replacement for what had been destroyed.

She spent half a year trying to escape from that situation, and eventually, she was successful. The process was incomplete, but whatever Azni had become, it wasn't an umbral any more. She fled Zenith, and ran into the wilderness. I found her in a forest, curled up on the ground, lost and frightened. But from there, I took her to Abat-null, showed her civilisation that wasn't Zenith, showed her free people, people who did not need Zenith.

She wanted to find a place where she could live in peace and happiness for the rest of her days, somewhere small, somewhere where the Empire wouldn't come looking for her. She's been living here in Rillford since, trying to convince herself and others that she's still a normal umbral, out of fear of being captured again if anyone ever knew.

On that note, if you tell anyone what I've just told you, I might have to take up Azni's offer of a spirit banishment.

The reason the cenesu think something is wrong is because Azni has a much higher magic potential than an umbral should have. It's higher than the magic potential a seltwil has. I don't know exactly how high, because Azni is terrified of the idea of directly casting.

"There. I've told them."
"Did you tell them not to tell anyone else?"
"So... questions?"
No. 2001276 ID: 1a2b6b
File 127992727034.png - (320.26KB , 640x480 , 4-11.png )

We go back to the others. The cenesu stop midsentence and look worriedly at Azni. There is a faint hint of confusion - they know something is not right but they aren't sure what. I've seen that happen with cenesu before.

Teteke speaks up. "Azni... is that paint, well, this sounds like a foolish question, but is that paint you use infused with kaier crystals? It... seems unusual."
Azni smiles. "I love kaier crystals!~ They're so shiny and they make the paint glow in the right light."
"Ah. That'd explain it then."

Excellent. An excuse. Right, time for questions.


"How can we stop the Resonance?"
Azni prods the crystals. "'All must fall.'"
"All of the Towers?"
"They say yes."
"Is there a way to survive the Resonance?"
"'The Control City.'"
"...not really what I wanted to hear. ...Is the Thousandfold useful for anything?" Hey, you guys asked me to ask that.
Reketi looks confused. "...Thousandfold? Isn't that just a myth?"
Teteke turns to her. "...it's a long story, trust me."
Azni consults the crystals and points to them, tilting her head side to side as she works something out. "'It guides.'"
"Of course it'd tell us something we already know. Guides to what?"
"...'To fulfil its plans.'"
"Again, not something we don't know already."


"Can we disable the Dream?"
Sei looks at me. "Lesin, what's the Dream?" The two cenesu just react as if I'd asked 'how can I fish for an ore mine' or something equally nonsensical.
"The Thousandfold told me it's something the Machine might be bringing to Ter. I don't know what it is, but I want to know if we can stop it." Oh spirits I wish I really didn't know what it is. I feel panicked just thinking about it.
Azni pokes a crystal a few times until it falls over. "They say no."

...ah. Well, we're all going to die.

Azni pets one of the crystals. "If anyone has any more questions they have to be quick. They're starting to fade."
No. 2001277 ID: b124fe

hmmm... "if truth helped us, could it be stopped?"
No. 2001278 ID: a594b9

What are IR's goals?
No. 2001279 ID: a594b9

Who is altering the timeflow other than TH?
No. 2001280 ID: c4c313

We don't have to stop the Incardine Dream. If we can disable the Resonance of the Empire, then we can negotiate with the Machines not to fire it. If not, then they'll be forced to fire it out of self defense, which is what they currently claim.

It looks like it ain't gonna be easy though. The towers have to all get taken down. Doing that as a surprise attack is practically impossible, but then again actively resisting the Golden Empire is also impossible, so we might as well hatch a plan to destroy them all at once, however impossible it may seem.
No. 2001281 ID: c4c313

Oh. I got it. Explosives.

We have to sneak into each of the towers and plant a buttload of bombs, without anyone noticing. Then all it takes is a tiny trigger for each of them to go sky high. Put all the triggers in one place, and boom no more Resonance.

We should seek out the Machine if we can and see if they have any explosives that might be powerful enough to do that. You can let them know yes you're crazy enough to do it. They might even delay their Incardine Dream just to see if we can pull it off.
No. 2001282 ID: c71597

Ask her if it's possible to drive the Machine away from Ter. Before the Dream goes off that is.
No. 2001283 ID: 059120

Can Th predict the thousandfold?

Where is the being known as Sensation? Does Truth know the answer to that?
No. 2001284 ID: 1a2b6b
File 12800073506.png - (241.51KB , 640x480 , 4-12.png )

I let others ask their questions before I continue.

Teteke is first. "What is the Dream?"
"'The greatest loss for all.'"
"Why do the craftkind want me?"
Reketi turns to him, concerned. "...What?"
"'They seek to free the Guardian.'"
Teteke puts a hand to his beak. "...ah."
Reketi makes an odd noise. It's like a faint chirp. I've heard cenesu make this noise before. It's usually a sign of anxiety. "Teteke, are the craftkind actually targeting you specifically?"
"Ever since I went to that tower."
Reketi stares wide-eyed at him. "Teteke, if the craftkind are actually trying to track down someone, they aren't going to stop. Nothing stops them. They're machines, they don't need to rest or eat or sleep. Why didn't you mention this?! Were they following you here?"
"I don't think so..."

Sei considers. "Can we persuade the Machine to just leave us alone?"
"They say yes but they aren't telling me anything else!"
"How can we do that?"
"There we go! 'Seek the corn.' ...'Core', sorry, 'Core', I'm having some problems with trying to figure these things out."

Reketi raises her hand. "Will we ever be free from the Empire?"
"...I don't want to know the answer to that quest-"
Reketi clasps her hands together. "Azni. Please. Ask it."
"Reketi, the answer is yes, why else would we-"

Azni examines a crystal very closely. "All they say is yes. Nothing else but yes."

"I have a few more questions if there's still time. Well, questions from the Thousandfold."
"Hurry, Lesin, I think we have a minute left."

"Can we stop the weapons with Truth's help?"
"'Perhaps.'" ...No. No, I am not going to ask Truth for help. The bastard wants me dead! If I ask it for help it'll just wait for the perfect opportunity to stab me in the back!
"What are Ir's goals?"
"...'To protect the three, to destroy all who pose a threat to Ter, whether Empire or Machine, to be free.'"
"Who is altering the timeflow other than Th?" Th can alter time?
"'The First, the Last, the First of the Last, and the Last of the First.'" Well, I've heard some pretty cryptic answers before, but that's something else. How useless.
"Can Th predict the Thousandfold?"
"'It believes so.'"
"Where is the being known as Sensation?" Who is Sensation?
"Does Truth know where Sensation is?" Teteke and Seilea don't seem to bat an eye at the weird questions I'm asking, but Reketi looks a little lost.
All of the crystals have stopped glowing. Azni looks around. "No, no, just one more question! I can't make it out... it looks like it says yes AND no, though!"

Hmm... well. That whole session was less than I was anticipating. ...Everyone's looking at me expectantly. I didn't know I'd become the leader of the group, but I guess they're waiting for me to come up with some plan.

My old plan doesn't apply any more. I was going to head to Seawind to warn them about the Machine attack, but at this point they've probably experienced it first hand. And now I know we're all doomed if they bring in their superweapon... I really do not know what to do right now.
No. 2001285 ID: 788388

well that set of quesions was because the one thing we KNOW truth cares about is sensation, and we know where it is.

but let's see... we need some explosives. just walk up to a tower. put bombs in it, and set them off. would be best if they were on the second floor.
No. 2001286 ID: c71597

Well things are looking rather grim. But survival is not impossible. Lets start with what we can do. Which is destroy the towers and keep them from getting activated. Then we can worry about the rest.

To help with the tower destruction we should probably see if Ir could start reinforcing Seilea's powers again and maybe even boost them some more. That should make it easier to take them down.

It would also be good to find Th's host. But taking down towers takes precedence. And Th can probably guide his host towards us.
No. 2001287 ID: 059120

Okay. We need a map. With the towers marked, of course. Are they all on Terea, or are there some on Gilde and Koroi, too?

Then we can plan a route to start taking them out. We need some way of actually breaking them, too. Like a moon cannon. Have you ever seen the moon shoot giant lasers or something? If we could go to the moon and commandeer that to shoot down the towers that would be awesome.

But yeah I guess explosives work too. Do you guys know how to make magic bombs or something? Or we can try and get Ir to just blow them up. He actually seems to be the aspect we can trust the most.
No. 2001288 ID: a594b9

We probably don't know where Sensation is right now. When the three of us got separated, they were sent to Logos. but... if Sensation is close by... either Logos is here, or they must be in Zenith.

Well, we still might be able to get something in exchange for the information that Sensation got sent to Logos.

Anyway, I think, maybe... we should destroy a tower, and contact the Machines afterwards. Let them know what we're doing and ask for their assistance and mercy. That's the short term plan.
No. 2001289 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128006470385.png - (264.68KB , 640x480 , 4-13.png )


Of course! Destroying the towers ourselves would mean the Machine has no reason to stay further. If we can somehow contact them after destroying the first tower, perhaps we could even get them to help us destroy the rest!

We could start with the tower closest to Rillford. That would be bound to attract the attention of a Seeker or five, and then we could try explaining ourselves to them. Worst comes to worst, we just blow up the Seekers too and move on to the next tower.

Azni happens to own a world map. It's not remotely to scale, and the distances between the landmasses are completely inaccurate, but it serves as a good enough start.

"Azni, where did you get this?"
"I drew it myself!" ...That explains pretty much everything.

"We need to destroy the towers. If the towers are destroyed, the weapon is useless. In fact, if all of those towers are needed, then destroying a single tower will ruin the Empire's plans, and perhaps convince the Machine to just leave."
Reketi sighs. "No. We can't destroy the towers."
"It's a wonderful idea, but they're indestructible. They were used as defensive structures in the Unification Wars because nothing could so much as scratch them. Simple history. Disabling them, however, if we know how they work, would be a better option."
"Perhaps we just don't know how to destroy them."
Azni rubs her face. "Should have asked that."
Teteke pauses. "I've seen the inside of one of them. I don't think they're indestructible on the inside. Something destructive on the inside should put them out of commission."
Sei smiles. "We can take care of that, right, Lesin?"
"We can take care of that, yes. Two seltwils with Destruction magic should be able to cause enough damage to render the towers inoperative! So, let's find a means of transport and destroy us a tower!"

Sei hums. "What about Seawind? Weren't we going to warn them of the Machine's attack?"
"By now, I think they're well aware of it."
Teteke and Reketi both look at each other. Teteke speaks. "There's someone else here in Rillford I think can help. He's a seltwil, and he's someone else who knows a great deal about the towers. He might actually know the best way to destroy them."

Hrrrm. Time is precious. We can go see this seltwil, or we can go find a means of transport to get to the tower quicker, or we can just go to the tower directly.
No. 2001291 ID: a594b9

We can't take a chance on just going there and expecting to be able to damage the tower through experimentation. It might even backfire and hurt one of you.

Talk to the seltwil. We may even be able to find a transport at the same time, which will save us time in the long run and short run.

Oh... and what's that big empty space in the upper right? Seems like there should be something there.
No. 2001292 ID: 6834bc

Maybe you can multitask a bit - have some of you go find that seltwil tower guy, while the others try to secure transportation to the tower.

Also, Lesin, if you get another chance to talk alone with Azni before you leave; tell her that she's pretty, awesome, and a normal umbral. Nothing out of the ordinary.

...Oh, and if she's curious, the Terean that hugged a machine soldier and lived is an umbral named Uwix.
No. 2001293 ID: 5a2e05

If at all possible split up and do both at once. If not, talk to this guy.
No. 2001294 ID: 059120

Sounds like the best plan. You and Tacobird meet up with this Seltwil, Reketi and Sei go find a landship, or something.
No. 2001295 ID: c71597

Go find the Seltwil and get his help first.

Then there is an experiment involving a cart and Tacobird that you should do. See if he can stay on the cart and use his artifact to push it along. That should allow you to get around a bit faster than just walking, as well as allow him to train himself in the use of his powers.
No. 2001296 ID: a594b9

More about Uwix: He's the Umbral linked to TH, and the Machine he hugged is a Diplomat called Quiet Resolution. Quiet is very empathic for someone working for the Machine, and so... well, he helped us out a little trying to get a good word in with the Director. Didn't work though; once the Director found out about what the Resonance does she freaked out.
No. 2001297 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128025373733.png - (246.85KB , 640x480 , 4-14.png )


That does seem a little risky... And no, there's nothing there. The world is mostly ocean, as far as we know. Which isn't far from these landmasses. Head too far out, and... well, no-one actually knows, given as no-one has returned.


I'm still thinking like it's just me on my own again. That's a far better idea.

"Okay. Teteke, we're going to go see this seltwil. Reketi, Sei, find a means of transport. Azni, thanks for the information."

I walk over to her and speak quietly to her. "And everything I've said before still stands. You're the best umbral I know, and you're one of the best friends anyone could ever ask for."
"...You'll come visit me again some time, right?"
"Of course."

I give her a hug goodbye.

"Stay safe."
"You too."

"Right! We have no time to waste. Let's go, everyone!"

Everyone is pretty eager to do what needs to be done. Not even a single word of protest about my decisions. Wow. Guess I'm a natural leader?


Hm. Maybe later. But it would be an interesting experiment for everyone involved.


He was an umbral? That doesn't surprise me. So there's some dissension within the ranks of the Machine? That should work to our advantage.

...Hm. It was perfectly bright and sunny outside earlier. Now it's raining. Me and Teteke talk as he leads me to the seltwil he mentioned.

"This way. He'll be hanging around in a workshop of the Academy. Probably have Leaf with him too."
"Nel is fascinated by the mythology and ideas around the Guardian Essences. Never really thought they were actually real, but tried to craft something similar. Leaf was his personal research project for a few years, but it... wasn't quite what he'd planned it out to be."
"How so?"
"He wanted a miniature Guardian Essence, with some power and some intellect. But it, in his words, had as much power and presence of mind as a wet leaf. So there the name stuck. It's grown in intellect a little since then, but not by a lot."

An attempt at making a Guardian Essence? Okay, this I have to see.
No. 2001299 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128025418043.png - (180.23KB , 640x480 , 4-15.png )

We arrive, and Teteke guides me through the labyrinthine sprawling corridors of the Academy. Its layout makes just as little sense as some of Southfort, but at least there the intention was to confuse and misdirect invaders. This place just feels like the architect scrawled on a piece of paper and opted to use the design instead of throwing it away.

"Hey, Teteke, man! Back from your freak-out?"
"Hey Nel. How's Leaf?"
"It's just floatin' there, admirin' the view."

Huh. I... huh.

It makes a sort of chiming noise. "New! Seltwil! Hi!"
"Uhhh... hi."
"Name Leaf. Name?"
"Lesin. This thing can talk?"
Nel laughs. "'S the only thing it can do."
More chimes. "Hi Lesin this thing can talk!"
"...Er, hi again."

Teteke coughs. "As amusing as this is, we came here to discuss something you might be aware of. How could we destroy a Conduit Tower?"
Nel leans back. "That's some pretty serious talkin' you're doing there. Why d'you need to know?"
"It's a long story, but we need to destroy all of the towers before the world ends."
Nel stares at Teteke (or at least I assume he does, with those goggles it's a little hard to tell), and bursts out laughing. "Those things end the world? They've been dead for hundreds of years, man! It'd take some kind of incredible power to make them do anything again-"
"Like a Guardian Essence?"
"...Hah. That's why you're really here, isn't it, Southforter? Come crawling out of your elitist cage because you haven't got a spirit-damned clue what's going on-"
"Don't try my patience. I've been threatened and talked down to by things that could tear both of us apart in an instant without blinking."
He laughs viciously. "Haha! Look at me, I'm from Southfort, I'm better than everyone else! Teteke, why did you bring this guy here?"
"We just came here for some information-"
"I asked Teteke, man! I know it's hard for you to grasp seeing as you guys think you own the world, but just chill out and keep quiet, okay?"

He's asking me to chill out?! Okay, Thousandfold, I am about three seconds away from setting this guy's tail on fire or something. Help me salvage this situation!
No. 2001300 ID: 4b2fbb

Set the guy's tail on fire. It'll be awesome.
No. 2001301 ID: c4c313


How about you amaze him by keeping quiet?

Then accidentally set his tail on fire on your way out.
No. 2001302 ID: c4c313


>> if all of those towers are needed, then destroying a single tower will ruin the Empire's plans,

I don't think you quite understand what the meaning of the phrase "All must fall" is. You know. All of the towers? Yes?

We had hoped that all the towers were needed, but Azni told you that all of the towers must fall. That means only one of them is needed. You have to destroy all of them.

I worry that if you destroy one of the towers, the others may become much more difficult to destroy. The Golden Empire isn't even aware at the moment that anyone is contemplating the destruction of their little toy here. If they do, I can imagine we would be facing Ir itself upon trying to take the second tower. That's why I was trying to craft a plan to destroy all of them (or at least most of them) at once.
No. 2001303 ID: c71597

Simple. You chill the fuck out. Tell Teteke to show him the artifact he got from Au and to show off its powers. Then Teteke can give this guy the short and condensed story of what's going on and you can get his help.

Finding a means of transportation is probably going to take some time anyway. You still have time and getting him to cooperate without setting his tail on fire is alot easier.
No. 2001304 ID: 5696f7

You know, Lesin, maybe he's right.

Maybe you guys ARE a bunch of loudmouths. So shut up and listen okay?
No. 2001305 ID: a594b9

@Leaf: Hello? If you can hear me, say Thousandfold!
No. 2001306 ID: 5a2e05

Tell him to humor you or you'll set his tail on fire.
No. 2001307 ID: e973f4

Oh for the love of---

Whatever you do, don't set his tail on fire. And preferably let Teteke talk more, since this guy clearly doesn't like you just from looking at you, and doesn't want to believe you at all, but you need his help anyway. Actually it'd probably be better if you barely talked at all. :V
No. 2001308 ID: 059120

Okay. Calmly explain. Almost mechanically. Just recite the details.

"There's a army of things called the Machine that are invading our planet. They want to kill us all, because the Empire is still here, and is using the towers as some kind of weapon that can kill them. That would also kill us. So we need break the towers."

Some proof of this would probably be nice. The only thing I can think of right now is that glyph we learned about but I am pretty reluctant to show that to you. Or have you show it to him.

Alternatively, follow his lead. Ask what the hell he thinks is going on.

Alternatively alternatively, talk to Leaf. He is way cooler than this douchebag anyway. Ask if he can leanback.

Note that none of these alternatives include setting things on fire. That is important.
No. 2001309 ID: abb30a

Don't set his tail on fire.
No. 2001310 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128049660475.png - (273.30KB , 640x480 , 4-16.png )


I'll let Teteke do the talking. Then I'll mention his artifact. If Nel still doesn't believe us, I'll ask him what he believes, and calmly explain the situation.

Setting his tail on fire would only make me look the lesser seltwil here.

"We need to know how to destroy the towers. I brought him along because he's going to help us do it."
"Yeah, I got that, but they're ancient and irreplaceable. There's so much we don't know about them, and you're going to go blow up our local one?"
"We don't have a choice, Nel. It's active."
"...What?! But who activated-"
"I did."

Nel stares at him.

"You know who Au is, right?" Teteke shows Nel his artifact. Nel's jaw slowly falls.

"That... that looks like it was made like a week ago! If not later!"
"Yesterday. By Au."
"Listen, Au is a myth, the Guardian Essences are legends and the closest thing we've got to them is floating over next to the Southforter!"

...I turn my head to the right- spirits it is right in my face


I hear Nel chuckle. ...It is actually kinda funny, being spooked by something that nonthreatening.

"Heheh. This thing needs to learn more about personal space."
"Hah. Have a sense of humour, eh? I guess you can't be as bad as I thought."
"I'm curious as to how you made it-"
Teteke clears his throat. "Ahem. World ending. Towers. Destroying."
"Oh, right."
Nel looks at me, hand to the underside of his mouth. "You really that interested?"
"Actually, yeah, but we do have to focus. I'll explain as quickly as I can. There's an army of things, they call themselves the Machine, they're invading, that's why the sky went red. They want to kill us to stop us from firing a weapon made by the Empire and the towers are part of that weapon. We want to destroy the towers to stop that weapon being fired to both make the Machine go away and because firing the weapon would kill us anyway."

Nel looks at me for a few seconds, then moves his goggles to his forehead to give me as much of a nonplussed look as possible.

"Let's say I believe you, okay? What makes you think you guys can single-handedly take out the towers?"
"I've dealt with some weird things in my life. Lost my dad to one of them. We just have to act fast."
"Well, I'm comin' with you. Might as well see the damn thing up close before you blow it to bits. If I just told you what to do you'd probably mess it up anyway."

Wait, what?

Do... do we want this guy with us?
No. 2001311 ID: bde889

well yeah, we are gonna go suikoden with this. just recruit anyone you can. by the time that last tower is gone you will have accidentally gathered an army.
No. 2001312 ID: a594b9

Strength in numbers. If he directly inconveniences us after we find out how to destroy the towers from him, we can leave him behind at the next town or something.
No. 2001313 ID: 5a2e05

Oh fuck yes, I support this idea. We just need to find a castle at some point, slot some runes. If a chick randomly teleports in, invite her to the group.
No. 2001314 ID: c71597

Sure you do. If he just gave you instructions then they might not be correct or you could mess it up and shit would get worse. With him with you on the spot you can easily get more up to date information out of him.

So lets tell him to pack together what he needs and then lets get going.
No. 2001315 ID: e973f4

Well, he's obnoxious, but presumably he 1) believes you and 2) knows his shit or he wouldn't have offered. So as long as you're collecting every character you meet working on this task, why not?
No. 2001316 ID: 059120

Ask if Leaf is coming, too. The answer had better be yes.
No. 2001317 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128085355558.png - (226.79KB , 640x480 , 4-17.png )


I... don't think I understand the references you're making, Thousandfold.


You make good points. He can come with us. If he's too much hassle, we'll drop him off back here or something.


"If you're coming, are you taking Leaf too?"
"No, I'm gonna leave my best, most valuable creation that I keep with me all the time and work on every day behind to get stolen or broken. Of course it's coming with me!"

We leave the Academy, with Teteke and Nel acting as guides through this maze of a building.

Teteke peers off into the distance. "Where are they..?"

We... never actually remembered to say where to meet back up, did we. How did that even slip my mind? Oh, wait, Reketi's approaching us now. Whew.

Reketi stares at Leaf, floating just above Nel's shoulder, and then looks at Nel incredulously before shaking her head. "No. I'll ask why later. Well, most transport in this village is currently already reserved by most of the families living here. There was a panic when the sky turned red. They didn't want to leave anything to chance in case the town has to be evacuated or something similar."
"Well, that's useful. Was there anything at all we could use?"

She points behind her shoulder. I see Sei heading towards us, accompanied by wagon being pulled by - what.
No. 2001318 ID: 1a2b6b
File 128085357237.png - (248.63KB , 640x480 , 4-18.png )

"Well, your partner here convinced the guy in charge that she was perfectly capable of dealing with that thing."
Sei smiles at me. "What can I say? If you're from Southfort people here think you know what's best!"

I hear Nel mutter something indignantly. Wait a second. I link to Sei for a moment.

-Sei, you do know that's basically a type of craftkind, right? Spirits, how did you convince him- how did he even- I don't-
-Me and Reketi kept asking politely, and he just wanted to get rid of it. Said if we felt we could handle it ourselves, we could keep it.-
-But- why- didn't Reketi recognise it as being a craftkind? Isn't that the sort of thing she should know?-
-Didn't seem to have any objections.-

I break the link. She's still smiling at me, like she feels she's won something. Spirits, sometimes I do not understand what is going through her head.

"Reketi, Teteke, Nel, do any of you... recognise that thing?"
Teteke strokes his beak. "Looks like a craftkind to me, different type to the normal ones. Usually get them pulling transports to and from Seawind. I wouldn't worry, they're harmless."
Reketi nods. "They're actually built in Seawind from the scavanged bodies of regular craftkind. They don't have much more smarts about them other than how to walk in a straight line without falling over or walking over someone. I'm actually still amazed your friend here talked him into giving it to her altogether."

Okay. Hang on.

-Sei. What exactly did you say?-
-That I was a representative of Southfort and needed transport back home. Why?-
-And you could keep something this expensive?-
-He said it was a liability. He didn't want craftkind coming after him because someone abandoned their means of transport!-

Something doesn't feel right about this. We're not actually formal representatives of Southfort. If word gets back there that we're using authority we don't actually have, then we might not exactly be welcomed back with open arms.

Hrm. We've got transport. We've got someone to help us destroy the tower closest to Rillford. I don't think it'll take very long to get there with actual transport. Reketi also had the foresight to get some provisions for the journey, so that's not an issue.

Anything else we need to do before we go? I mean, it's not like we can't ever come back here again.
No. 2001319 ID: a594b9

We have traveling supplies, transport, and manpower. Only thing left would be buying weapons and armor for those of you who can't use offensive or defensive magic. Is that kind of stuff even available?
No. 2001320 ID: c71597

Lets get going, we got a tower to destroy and a planet to save. Possibly a universe to conqour, but that can wait.

And don't worry about the Southford thing, either you will succed here and save everyone and be hailed as heroes. Or everyone is going to be dead. So nothing to worry about.
No. 2001321 ID: c4c313

Seriously Lesin, you've got a baby Guardian Essence floating over there right next to you, and you're letting a refurbished craftkind spook you?
No. 2001322 ID: 620bfb

Check around town one last time for anyone with a unique or interesting character model. If they don't join you now, remember what they look like and what they want for when you inevitably find them again. We're getting the true end.
No. 2001323 ID: b0020f
File 128105296972.png - (341.85KB , 640x480 , 4-19.png )


You've lost me again.


Yeah... If we succeed, I'm sure we'll be forgiven for breaking Unified Terean law just this once. I mean, technically I could be a representative, so I could argue that... but there's more pressing concerns right now.


Said "baby Guardian Essence" doesn't seem to be able to do much more than float and eagerly greet people over and over again. ...No, you're right, that's irrational fear, I've faced worse and survived.

It still makes me feel a little uneasy.


Rillford is actually the best place to come to if you're looking for any sort of armour or weapon, but they're usually pretty expensive and mostly reserved for those actually part of the town guard. Most of the weaponry is also chiefly intended to be used against craftkind, which is what we're most likely to run into problems with. Unless Machine soldiers are already at the tower, but what are the chances of that?

"Teteke. Reketi. Nel. Me and Sei are prepared for any hazards on the way to the tower, do you need weapons-"

Nel's hand is wreathed in an orange, flowing flame. Reketi holds something shiny to her forehead, closes her eyes, and... glows faintly. Teteke adjusts his artifact and lifts the cart off of the ground slightly before putting it back down.

"...that's a no, then. What about armour?"
Nel turns to face me, hand still ablaze. "You plannin' on gettin' in a fight where we need it?"
"I didn't intend to, but I thought as a precaution-"
Teteke shrugs. "Made it to the tower and back with just my labcoat."
Reketi doesn't even respond.

We head off.
No. 2001324 ID: b0020f
File 12810529911.png - (263.26KB , 640x480 , 4-20.png )

I guess me and Sei between us could fix damage as we go along. We're both skilled mages. Of course, there is the risk of... no, I'm sure that won't happen again.

It won't happen. Can't happen. That was a freak incident and she's fine now.

We arrive at the tower. Of course, things are never so easy.

There's a cloud of Seekers swirling around it. And a big Machine soldier.

That is a VERY big Machine soldier. It lumbers over to us, and the craftkind pulling the wagon stops rather than walk into it.

"Creations of the Empire. Heading in the direction of a Conduit Tower. A currently active Conduit Tower. I am sure you all have a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. Exit your vehicle. I would not wish to miss your excuses."

I have no idea how strong or resilient this thing will be if me and Sei start flinging destructive spells at it. Then Teteke and Nel could help somehow. Do we do as it says?
No. 2001325 ID: 672901

if anything, i think "we are going to blow it up" may actually work here. it is currently active so they can't claim we want to turn it on.
No. 2001326 ID: 6834bc

Yeah, basically "We want to blow the thing into little tiny pieces." If/when it asks why, tell it the truth. You found out that the towers are part of a weapon that kills everyone on the planet to attack the Machines, and you'd rather not die for a war you don't want to fight.

If it still protests, counter with "It's active, right? We can't very well turn it on more, can we?"
No. 2001327 ID: 672901

a backup plan if that fails though and it trys to kill you:
everyone concentrate fire on the red eye thing. even if it doesn't kill it, it will be blinded.
No. 2001328 ID: 620bfb

The truth may actually work in this situation. If it doesn't, OPEN FIRE!
No. 2001329 ID: c4c313

A backup, backup plan might be to tell them that the Thousandfold sent you. If I were a Machine soldier I'd be worried that you guys were under the influence of the Empire, but they know as well as the Empire does that neither of them can influence us.

It's likely if the Machine are this close to the tower that they've already tried to blow it up. Just saying.
No. 2001330 ID: 8d5850

Man Lesin, you need to chill out. Don't have a seltdown.

Not yet.
No. 2001331 ID: a594b9

Tell him we were planning to destroy the tower. They should probably believe us.

And yes, may as well leave the vehicle.
No. 2001332 ID: c2c011

Tell Nel and Sei to start preparing spells. Go up in front and tell it that you're traveling to the tower to destroy it. Since it's already active it's not like you could do alot that would be worse right now. It's welcome to tag along and see the destruction if it wants to.

If it doesn't let you past then blast the fucking thing.
No. 2001333 ID: b0020f
File 128121075568.png - (233.05KB , 640x480 , 4-21.png )


"Everyone out."

I'm met with some mixed reactions. Sei nods, Teteke and Reketi glance at each other in concern, and Nel raises a hand to his face and sighs heavily.

But we all leave the wagon, Leaf following Nel. The Machine soldier watches us.

"We want to destroy the tower."
"You want to destroy a Conduit Tower."
"Well, given as all of us are going to die unless we destroy all of the towers, yes."
"Interesting. Elaborate on your belief that this world is, in any way whatsoever, affected by the Empire's weapon."

It sounds condescending and doubting. There's an air of sneering malice to its voice, as if it's expecting to catch me out at any point.

"We'll all die if it's fired because we're its power source?"
"What leads you to believe this, seltwil? Some dusty tome of the Empire? Some ancestral memory left in your blueprint, degraded through so many generations of your artificial species?"
"The seltwil who started our revolution against the Empire is my ancestor! We're not going to be part of the Empire's plans!"
"Would you like to know what I happen to believe the weapon of the Empire is? And what the towers are?"

Phrased like a question, spoken like a demand. There is... something not right about this. I feel fuzzier than normal.

"It's you. All of you. You're the weapon. Three new species, designed to work together, the commanders, the soldiers, the medics, multipurpose species designed to complement one another in the field of war. The towers? Beacons to signal when the Empire should come back to collect you."

But that's not right, we're... we're not their weapons, we're nothing compared to their other weapons... I feel strange... cold...

Everything feels numb and all I can hear is this thing talking to me. I... can't hear or see the others. What's happening?

"That is what I believe. The Director speaks of the Resonance of the Empire, of the weapon that will destroy us all. I believe she is mistaken. I believe that this world must scoured of all traces of the Empire to be sure."

...my hand is on fire.

My hand. Is on fire. It's blue fire. I can't feel it. No. No no no no no no spirits no. no no no no no no no

"Of course, challenging my beliefs or trying to fight me are both entirely pointless endeavours. After all, you're dead already."

I fall to the ground. My legs don't respond any more. I feel nothing, no pain, but I see blood trickling down my face, and a cold numbness that fills me with nothing more than mortal fear.

My heart is racing. My vision is beginning to blur. I am doing everything I can to stay conscious. I feel my breath tearing out of me, I feel and taste my own blood pooling from my mouth on the grass. I'm going to die. Spirits I am going to die. I am going to die. I'm blind, all I can see is the blue fire. I can't hear anything.


No. 2001334 ID: 8d5850

Just relax. Don't fight it or it will get worse.
No. 2001335 ID: c2c011

Well this is pretty fucking bad. There's probably not a whole lot you can do right now except hold on and hope the others can take it down.

Or if you happen to know any secret tricks then now is probably the time to use them. Like open a portal to the chaos and jump in there to escape. Or anything really that will let you survive.

Shame you're not connected to any of the guardian essences, they might have been able to help a bit more with this. Hey, maybe there's a way to use this guy to power up Leaf a bit. They got some kaier in them after all. But that's probably not going to help with the current situation, unless you can figure out a way to channel this spell into Leaf.
No. 2001336 ID: e973f4

Not sure what you can do when you apparently can't move. :/
No. 2001337 ID: a594b9

Lesin. Don't use any magic. Stay calm. Keep your eyes closed. Try not to think.
No. 2001338 ID: c4c313


and I thought the Empire was clueless.

He thinks you're this all powerful weapon that can utterly destroy his people? Well prove him right by standing up and shaking off his flames! He's dominating your mind, trying to get you to kill yourself with sheer indecision. Give in to what he fears, become this weapon that he postulates you to be.

Witch hunts are utterly mad. The only people you can destroy are the innocent and only the witches go free. Someone's got to stop this right now. If only you could contact the Director...

Oh hey, can you send us to this machine soldier? He really sounds like he could use some advice.
No. 2001339 ID: c2c011

Fuck giving him advice. Fucker dies.
No. 2001340 ID: c4c313


Well, I didn't say it had to be good advice. :3c
No. 2001341 ID: b0020f
File 128137584910.png - (433.34KB , 640x480 , 4-22.png )




hold together Lesin hold together


Wait a second.

The fire is inconsistent. I feel it burning in places where it isn't and see it burning it places I feel nothing.

What is..?

I try to move my legs. Everything tells me I can't but I end up pushing myself clumsily onto the ground again.

"You're dead, seltwil. Give up."
"What's going on?! ...I can speak? ...What is this?!"

I feel a surge of pain as my entire body goes up in blue flame.


It feels distant.

Like I'm supposed to be on fire, but I'm not.

Like... Like I should be filling in the gaps myself.

I'm not on fire. I'm simply glowing blue.



This is all a trick, isn't it? The bastard thinks it can mess with my head? I've been playing with mental links for years and years, and if it's making me hallucinate, that means it already has a link.

-Hello there.-

My senses fully return to me, I stand. I watch the large shell of the Machine soldier crumble to the side and hear it screaming in agony. It's a simple mental defence trick I picked up a while ago. Reflection.

I see the other four on the ground writhing in their own private torments, and notice them stop, and stir, as if waking, as the Machine soldier lies motionless on the ground, save for the odd twitch.

It's at our mercy now. I could try to get some information out of it or I could skip straight to killing. Personally, I am in favour of killing it.
No. 2001342 ID: c2c011

Funky. Ok lets try the power transfer to Leaf. See if you can't pull out this guys magical essance, which is pretty much his brain or something, and push it into Leaf to power it up so it becomes a bit more useful.
No. 2001343 ID: d5b72c

no, killing it would prove it right. of course this was a much better then i had hopped, if we didn't get out it may have gone physical and smashed the wagon.

just get going, blow up the tower, and when it sees you were telling the truth it will sing a different tune.
No. 2001344 ID: c4c313

Hokay, so I dunno about now, but next time you run into a thus itinerant machine soldier, remind him that the Machine was made to be a tool of the Empire too, and look how badly it backfired. And they're trying the same thing again? If you're powerful enough to destroy the Machine utterly, then what's to stop you from doing the same to the Empire?

I'm sure among the thousandfold we've said this before a hundred times over, but even if that machine soldier is correct, in creating you with the capacity to care and love, the Empire may have made a critical mistake.

As for killing it, nah. It could be a potential ally in the future, once it realizes that you really are its only hope not to get utterly destroyed. You really should only kill if holding back would prove deadly to yourself. With the exception of true monsters, any life you spare is a potential ally. In this case you seem to have eliminated the danger with little sacrifice, so no need to do more.
No. 2001345 ID: a594b9

Ask them what they're doing here. Also, demand to know why he would think he somehow knew better than the Director. What possible excuse could there be for him to so flagrantly disregard her orders?
No. 2001346 ID: c2c011

The machine weren't made by the empire. The empire found them and intended to harvest their bodies for the magical kaier stuff in them. What's why they're fighting. Because the empire wants to use delicious machine blood to fuel their society.

And this fucking machine is a dickbag that needs to die because he's a fucking moron that attacked us.
No. 2001347 ID: c4c313


Sorry, I have trouble keeping up with what's going on. Kaier huh? Hm...
No. 2001348 ID: dad664

"Tell me everything you know, now. You have fifteen seconds to comply."
No. 2001349 ID: 1b02ed


If it is linked to you, then it is linked to us, the Thousandfold, and out area of strength is the mind...

What do you think boys? Should we say hi?
No. 2001350 ID: b0020f
File 12817394374.png - (304.78KB , 640x480 , 4-23.png )


That's more of a metamagic thing. If I tried to do it I can guarantee you it will go disastrously wrong for all of us.

And I don't think either of the two cenesu we have with us are going to be able to do something like that.


Yeah. Killing it will just prove it right. I doubt it's going to be an ally, but, well... it does seem misinformed. And crazy.


-Why would you go against your Director's orders? What makes you think you know better than her?- I ease up on the pain to give it a chance to answer.
-Aagh. Someone who still has a family to protect. She doesn't. She doesn't have anything to lose. I do. No chances. No chances at all. Keep fighting. Destroy anything that's a threat. Everything related to the Empire is a threat.-

My head is starting to swim. I think its pain is starting to leak. I try adjusting the link and reducing the pain again, and feel clearer.


Maybe you should.

-I have fought on many worlds, seltwil, I have faced beings that would make you die of fright on the spot. I have faced their Opus weapons, I have faced their mindless combat beasts, their compassionless commanders, I have seen my closest friends on the field of battle die right next to me. You can't kill me.-
-Overconfidence is suicide, Machine soldier. The second you think you're invulnerable, you are anything but.-
-Do you speak from experience, seltwil? How can you possibly understand anything of the war we wage? Our hearts, our minds, our blood, these are what the Empire crave! Those who die are fortunate! They raid our colonies, steal our people, and we find their lifeless broken bodies in their laboratories! Males, females, young, it does not matter to them! How can you understand this? You are their creations! Engineered to obey! Puppets who believe they have free will!-

I am finding it incredibly hard to keep this link. I'm being overpowered by its emotions. I feel anger. Injustice. Despair. It shouldn't end like this. They need their father back.


...he... he can live. Say what you want to him first, but I'm not going to kill him if I can convince him otherwise.

I- I need to sit down.
No. 2001351 ID: c2c011

Well you could have asked them. Anyway, you never considered that your enemies had families? As good as everything except chaos creatures and constructs have a family somewhere. Of course different species might have different connections to their families.

Anyway, I got nothing to say to the machine bastard. You should have killed him when you had the chance though. If this war ends then I doubt he's going to be able to go back to civilian life and meet his family again. He's stuck in a machine like that after all, and the mental strain isn't going to be easy to handle.
No. 2001352 ID: a594b9


Alright you, say hello to the Thousandfold. Want to know a bit more about the situation, hmm?

Truth is we asked a source of information that cannot lie and we were told that we could stop the Resonance weapon by destroying all the towers. Specifically we were told "All must fall." And yes, we made sure to ask that they meant the towers and not the people living here.

Very few people living on this planet are truly loyal to the Empire. Even those living in Zenith are feeling abandoned and mistreated. It is possible to cooperate! It would be best if you worked together with the rebels (which is mostly everyone) to stop the Resonance, instead of killing everyone!

Oh also, we have personal experience with the Golden Empire. They took a very dear friend from us and trapped us in a crystal for who knows how long, trying to turn us into some kind of tool. I won't forgive them for that.
No. 2001353 ID: 07c61f

we are the thousand fold, you may have heard of us. perhaps we have sabotaged you before? but know that it was not out of malace but from simple misinformation. we lose our memories every time we are disconnected from any host. whenever we were in the hands of the empire we only knew what they told us, when in the hands of the machine, we knew what they said. this time we are in the hands of a third party and have a new perspective from all.

we want to help whoever has us, it is our nature. so now we wish to help this worlds life, and to do that the towers must fall. besides, destroy the towers and they can't be used as beacons anyway.
No. 2001354 ID: c9852b

You realize that's exactly why he understands, right? The Empire doesn't give a damn about either of you. You're tools, used to improve the lives of the people they do care about. And the only reason you're different is because you are useful, whether as a weapon or a resource. You they crave your minds and blood? They own his! You say you've faced off against opuses? His family has been slaughtered by one that still wants him dead!

(Do you really need to be that loose with information? Just don't do this when we talk to him.)
No. 2001355 ID: b0020f
File 128241942749.png - (231.89KB , 640x480 , 4-24.png )


I hear and feel some sort of echo as what you say to me transfers to him.


The link shatters abruptly-oh spirits help FALLING BURNING AAAAAA

...it's okay. I wasn't expecting him to shut the link down so fast, I just got flooded with noise for a split second. Agh. My head hurts.

"Lesin?" It's Sei, kneeling over me. "Are you okay?"
"I think I am."

She looks at me, concerned. She looks like she wants to say something else... and then just helps me up. "I can't see where our wagon went. The other three are taking care of the machine."

Nel is standing on top of the downed soldier. "Not so tough now, are you?!" He keeps slinging flames at the shell, which don't even leave so much as a scorch mark behind. Teteke is silent, and seems to be pinning down the soldier's limbs, while Reketi continues holding whatever trinket it is she has to her head.

Reketi snaps her eyes open. "Teteke! Stop!"

The Machine soldier suddenly gets up. Nel is thrown to the ground. Leaf chimes. "Priority override! Must defend creator!"

It fires tiny beams of light that have as much effect as holding a lantern to the soldier's metal shell.

Teteke's artifact glows brightly and he's suddenly thrown down to the ground. Reketi rushes to assist him.

"Everyone stop! I think I worked something out! STOP!"

Sei looks at me after a ball of dark nothingness leaves her hands and flies towards the Machine shell. "Wait, stop? ...uh oh."

I recognise that as one of the spells she perfected. Her Oblivion Sphere. It flies and hits the Machine soldier... and dissipates. As if it were nothing.

"You wish to destroy the Towers. You wish to destroy your creators. You are being driven to do this by the manyfold demon that drives all it latches onto to ruin."

The Machine soldier looks at us again.

"There is not a single entity who has paid host to it that has not met with tragedy. Seltwil, you spared my life when you could have so easily taken it away from me. Heed these words, and meet your destiny."

He starts to walk away from us. The others stare dumbfounded at this sudden turnabout. Of course, they weren't the ones who convinced him otherwise.

...The cloud of seekers around the tower is starting to fly towards us now. Oh, spirits take it all, what now?!
No. 2001356 ID: 3234dd

Onward, to tragedy!
No. 2001357 ID: 3234dd

Seriously though, the tower is the one place those Seekers can't get to. You can hold them off there while you rig the explosives.

...you did bring explosives, right
No. 2001358 ID: a594b9

Hmph. Almost everyone meets with tragedy someday. We always do what's best for our host. The only time we're the cause of tragedy is if we switch to their enemy and forget about our friends.

That happens more often than I'd like. Which is at ALL. I hope we can find a way to stop forgetting everything on each cycle. Then we'd be able to stay loyal to our friends...

Oh right, the Seekers. Take cover! Find out if they're going to try to kill you before opening fire. They might just be an escort or something.
No. 2001359 ID: 059120

Oh damn, the wagon disappeared. Uh. Ask Nel what do. You might not even want to go to the tower if you can't do anything to it.
No. 2001360 ID: c2c011

Seems like it's time to fight. Ask Teteke to hold them together in tight clusters and get Sei to launch oblivions spheres at the clusters being held together so they can't dodge. You and Nel should get some shields up and try to ask Reketi to warn you in advance when one of them is throwing a spell so that you can try and disrupt or deflect it.
No. 2001361 ID: ea460c

just get shields and wait for them to make the first move. destruction will be met with destruction, peace with peace.
No. 2001362 ID: 04b0cf

Raise shields, but don't open fire yet. We don't know their intentions yet.
No. 2001363 ID: f55a21
File 128355467170.png - (324.18KB , 640x480 , 4-25.png )


Not helping!


"Do we have anything explosive?!"
I hear Nel shout. "In the wagon!"


...The wagon is gone. "The wagon we don't have?"
"What?! Spirits, I'm out! Blow up your own spirit-damned tower!"
Is that Reketi yelling? "We can't give up now! We could all die if we don't destroy that tower!"
I hear Sei. "Seekers, people!! Are you blind?! Lesin!"[/i]
[b]"Shields! Sei, Teteke! Nel, Reketi! I'll cover us three!"

"Sure you can handle that, southforter? Leaf, shield me and Reketi. You cover your own hide, man. And hers."
"Priority override! Command confirmed! Shields active!"


If they so much as attempt to look menacing, that sounds like a solid battle plan.

We're all shielded and- and the Seeker swarm just flies directly over us, paying no heed.


The storm is getting louder and fiercer - that's not right! Storm season's not for another month!
No. 2001364 ID: f55a21
File 128355469414.png - (274.45KB , 640x480 , 4-26.png )

"What are we going to do to blow up the tower if we don't have any explosives?!" I have to shout into the howling wind.

I hear Reketi shout back. "The towers are almost invincible! It'd take some form of incredibly powerful destruction-domain magic to even so much as scratch them!"


I turn back. Sei is just behind me.

Wait. ...She doesn't know how to form mind-links yet, does she?

-Lesin, something is weird. I feel like... like destroying something.-

She has her hands over her eyes. -Sei, what's wrong?-

-It's... talking to me. It's... I...-

She doesn't turn to face me, and lowers her hands- spirits!!

We will continue from here. Au defends its precious fortress. Th watches other timelines. Now is time for me to do what I've wanted to do for so many long centuries. Now is the time to start putting an end to this madness! NOW IS THE TIME THE EMPIRE SHALL KNOW THE WRATH OF IR!
No. 2001367 ID: f55a21
File 12835547813.png - (193.90KB , 640x480 , 4-27.png )

how is she flying how can she even do that what's going on

"Ding! Anomalous event detected! Yay!"

She's... I don't even recognise that as anything I've ever seen before. It... looks like the universe is unravelling in a beam from her hands towards the tower!

AHahAHAHAHahaha!! Enjoying the show, seltwil?! I know I am! HAHAHAHAHA! What a GLORIOUS display!

What- what's going on? Where are you? What's going on?!

Heheheee! Ask less questions, seltwil! You will enjoy the spectacle more!

Where are you?! How are you talking to me?! Answer me! Answer me!!


The tower is...
No. 2001368 ID: f55a21
File 12835548096.png - (268.91KB , 640x480 , 4-28.png )


The tower is just... gone. Not even shrapnel. Sei's slowly falling to the ground. I run to where she's going to fall. Her eyes are back to normal.

She touches the ground, and looks at me, exhausted. "...we did it-"

I catch her just as she loses consciousness. Okay. That's good. That's fine. Unconscious seltwils are fine, I can deal with those. I kept expecting her to burst into flames.

I don't know what just happened and I don't think I'm going to find out for a while yet, but something just used her as a step in its own plans. Ir. I don't even know a lot about Ir. Just the name.

...Fighting Machine soldiers was one thing. I've fought worse things. I've been chased by craftkind more than once. But. This is something else. I feel like... like I've just seen how inconsequential we are. That this is something far above what we can hope to deal with right now.

I feel very, very small and helpless right now. And Sei's out cold in my arms. I don't even know what the Rillford group is doing right now. Probably staring in awe or arguing or I don't know.

I hear another thundering crash... and the clouds suddenly... glow.

I hear... no, no this is... this is what it sounded like before the sky turned red!
No. 2001369 ID: f55a21
File 128355483317.png - (244.23KB , 640x480 , 4-29.png )

I cling onto Sei, trying to shield her from the wind. Well. And also so she acts as an anchor. The wind is fierce. Feel like I could be picked up by it at any point.

The glow becomes yellow.

I don't see anything, but I hear a blaring loud noise like the scraping of metal and a moon-sized trumpet blaring out three notes that scratch at my head from the inside and I fight for as long as I can but those three tones - no focus - those three tones - I've heard - those - before...


I can't... I can't see anything... feel faint...


fight it

fight i...

Link to Lesin has been lost.

No. 2001372 ID: f55a21
File 128355497648.png - (219.08KB , 640x480 , 4-30.png )

World Summary: Towers Active: 1/8 Incarnadine Dream Progress: 0% Unified Terean Influence: 25% Golden Empire Influence: 40% Machine Influence: 35% Party Status: Lesin: Unconscious Seilea: Unconscious Teteke: Okay Reketi: Okay Nel: Okay Leaf: Okay
No. 2001373 ID: ea2a3c

Well it's simple really. What's going on is that... dammit.

Damn you, cut scenes! >:O
No. 2001374 ID: a594b9


Thanks, Ir.
No. 2001375 ID: c71597

I knew Ir was a bro. Now lets get to Tacobird for doing tacobirdy stuff.
No. 2001376 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128675032057.png - (216.07KB , 640x480 , chapter5title.png )

...mmhhh... wait ohhhh

Oh wow I am dreaming apparently! How didn't I notice this before?! This is cool there are things and stuff they're all glowy!

Oh hi it's you guys again! Me and Nyix are asleep again because we found our boat somehow! It was amazing. It was exactly where we set off to that island with the tower on it and that was the best thing! So we're sleeping on the boat before we go back to Abat-null because we were both very tired.

I don't know why our boat was there though. Should I be worried?
No. 2001377 ID: c59f60

is that shadow behind you Nyix? if so then taht lowers my worry a little. but i don't think you should both sleep at the same time. take shifts.
No. 2001378 ID: fd6d7e

Hey, Uwix. Would you mind if I tried out a little experiment I've been thinking about?
No. 2001379 ID: e973f4

Hey, what's that thing back there?
No. 2001380 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128680778955.png - (121.41KB , 640x480 , 5-1.png )


What experiment?


...what shadow? I don't think Nyix is in this dream. Why would she be in the same dream as me? That sounds silly. I mean maybe if I was dreaming about Nyix like- I um er never mind I said that



Do not fear! I am a message sent from one far away. A message sung by spirit to spirit, that has seen passage over the land and seas.

It looks a bit like an umbral I think?

I am a warning. They seek you. They wish to find the ones bound to the guardians. You are a shining light to them in a land of darkness. You cannot hide. You must run.


The Empire is coming.

The weird thing dissolves away. Um. Maybe it could have been more specific about where I have to run to or why I need to run! ...Okay, I think Zenith is a good case for why, but...

"Uwix! Wake up wake up wake up I saw craftkind!"
"mhh... what... whas goin' on..."
"Wake up faster!!"

I think she sounds a little panicky.
No. 2001381 ID: 5a2e05

Wake up faster!
No. 2001382 ID: e973f4

Wake up more faster!
No. 2001383 ID: e973f4

Also, ask Nyix what exactly she's so panicked about.
No. 2001384 ID: 1854db

Wake up, get your things together. The Empire is what created this world, and they seek to enslave everyone on it then use their life force to power a massively powerful weapon. This is a bad thing. Don't get caught by the craftkind.
No. 2001385 ID: fd6d7e


Oh, I'm afraid if I told you then fate might be against the hope of it working. Well, here goes.

(Replicate the three tones from >>225436)

No. 2001386 ID: e973f4

[Why the hell do we need to do that? Uwix already does what we tell him to anyway. Can I cancel that?]
No. 2001387 ID: fd6d7e


[Don't cancel it you idiot. This might be our only chance to override the Empire's security protocols. Haven't you ever heard of a rootkit before?]
No. 2001388 ID: 059120

[I am totally fine with just dropping the "we are your masters part". The rest sounds okay.]
No. 2001389 ID: 8b261a

[No this is retarded.]
No. 2001390 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128683914971.png - (137.42KB , 640x480 , 5-2.png )


Such an act seems unwise. We will not do this.


I'm awake I'm awake aaaaa!


"Nyix what's wrong?!"
"I saw craftkind and they were running away from something! They were running. Away. From something!! If it's making them run away I don't want to be anywhere near it and it looked like it was headed this way!!"


I gather all my tools and some food and some sleeping bags into a box that has some driftplants in it. It makes it all floaty and easy to push! Nyix puts a map and a compass in it and a bunch of shiny trinkets.

"...I've had them for ages and they might be useful."
"Wait. Nyix, why are we doing this? If we're going to run, why aren't we using the boat-"

Nyix pushes me and the box off the boat.

It's... slowly sinking?!

"We- we have to forget the boat! I don't know why it was here but I think something is following us!"
"How do you know?!"
"Why else would the boat be at this exact same place?"
"Okay I guess we should start running!"
"Where to?!"

I have no idea where I am going aaaa where can I run to the closest place I can think of is Abat-null or there's a forest should I run to the forest would that throw them off the trail what are they and who are they anyway aaaaaaa
No. 2001391 ID: e973f4

Hide out in the forest, then figure out what's chasing the craftkind once they blow over. Enemy Mine principle and all.
No. 2001392 ID: dc80ab

wait wait wait. the craftkind work FOR the empire. wouldn't whatever they are running from be something OTHER THEN the empire?
No. 2001393 ID: c71597

Forest seems pretty nice.

Just because they're against the empire doesn't mean they want us well. Could be chaos creatures or something.
No. 2001394 ID: fd6d7e


God damn. Well, I'll enjoy saying "I told you so."


Okay, you can't hide from the Empire, but someone seems to think you can run from them. What you need to do is determine the direction they are approaching, and go in the opposite direction. They are quite airborne so you probably cannot lead them off of cliffs, but you might be able to delay them if you can find small passages in large rocky or metallic structures to slip through. As long as you're a walking target, er, floating target, go to that mean and nasty city and try to put it between you and your pursuers. Whoever wins that will buy you time.

Warning: the Empire has arrived. A tower has fallen, and in response they physically came here. They have a terrible power to command you if they can find you, and you'll never escape then, so for now you have to run. Run!
No. 2001395 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128727665494.png - (261.66KB , 640x480 , 5-3.png )




Forest is good let's go forest

"Uwix slow down please slow down don't leave me behind!"
"Hold on to my tail I don't want to get caught by the Empire they'll make us do things if they find us and we won't be able to stop them aaaaaaaaaa!"

I pull Nyix and we get deeper into the forest and-



What... what's going on... But they were there... Or something... And now they're here... What?

"...Sir, I must admit. I did not expect Th's creature to dive so eagerly towards the trap meant for it."
"Hrr. Hrr. Hrr. You underestimate my capabilities once more, Gerkan."

oh no he's got a piece of paper with that symbol on it no don't look don't look don-

"Creations. =REMAIN THERE=. Tell me. Has your loyalty for your creators, your almighty, glorious masters, faded at all over these long, long years?"
No. 2001397 ID: 1b42c5

No. 2001398 ID: fd6d7e

Damn, should have gone for the city.
No. 2001399 ID: c71597

Aw shit. These bastards have some powerful mojo. Time to lie like a motherfucker and mean it so fucking hard that it's indistinghuishable from the truth.

Tell them that you have only the greatest of loyalty and respect for them. The reason you ran is simply because you figured that an unworthy one such as yourself would immediatly be struck down for daring to look at their glorious forms.

When the time to strike comes, you will wrap your arms around its throat and crush the life out of it. But for now, we play along, pretend to be the obediant and superstitious creation. Make them believe the act and lower their guards.
No. 2001400 ID: fd6d7e

The reason you ran is that you didn't know it was your glorious masters! It has been so long that you didn't recognize them and ran out of fear and ignorance. Beg for them to forgive you in your primitive state.
No. 2001401 ID: e973f4

Well, I, um.

I don't suppose you'd know a way to resist that command glyph thing there? Because otherwise I'm not really sure if you can actually do much of anything besides what you're being told to do. :V
No. 2001402 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128856895585.png - (322.83KB , 640x480 , 5-4.png )


"Uhh yes I have the greatest of respect and loyalty and I'm unworthy for looking to glorious your daring forms because you are my fear and ignorance masters and I ran out of primitive! ...Aaaaa I'm sorry I'm nervous I mixed up my words don't hurt me or Nyix please sir!"


I don't know how! I don't even know why it's making me do this! I'm scared!


okay i obey

I grab Nyix and turn around and start drifting as fast as I can the other way!

"Uh. Sir. I don't think the-"
"OF COURSE IT ISN'T, YOU FOOL! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Tz, bind them! Slow them down! Do not let the creations escape!"

It's hard to weave through these trees - we're out!

"Uwix what's going on who were those what happened why couldn't I move?!"
"They're the Empire! They want to make us slaves or something! Or we were slaves but then we weren't and they want to make us slaves again! I'm not entirely clear on what's going on!"


i flew straight into a craftkind how did i miss that

It grabbed me! And Nyix! And... it's running away from those Empire guys?

I don't even know what's going on anymore!
No. 2001403 ID: d677cc

Okay, let's rip the Enemy Mine principle a new one and see where the craftkind are going, since it's away from these guys who are more obviously hostile.
No. 2001404 ID: c71597

Well it's currently taking you in the direction you want to go, so it's probably better to just stay with them for now.
No. 2001405 ID: 1854db

Ask it who it is, and what they're doing, where they're going, etc.
No. 2001406 ID: d677cc

Oh, yeah, we could probably try communicating with them too.
No. 2001407 ID: fd6d7e

Craftkind are creations of the Empire. Just like you, and just like the guardian essences. Considering the Empire's luck I'd say that the craftkind too are rebelling in their own way. But captured by craftkind or not, the point still stands that your only hope is to move quickly away from those of the Empire. Not hide. Hiding doesn't work. Run. Distance. Speed. Use the craftkind to make you go faster! Throw obstacles in their way. Like a city for instance.
No. 2001408 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128866298943.png - (338.19KB , 640x480 , 5-5.png )


Go with it?! I... what?! Okay, it makes as much sense as anything else makes right about now!


"Where are you going? Where are you taking us?!"

That was not as useful as you guys said it was probably going to be I think!

"Why is the Empire's return going to end all? End all what?"

Nyix speaks craftkind?


The craftkind doesn't feel like it's about to stop running as fast as it can move but...

"Why did you grab us?"

I wish I knew what it was saying! It's still running.

"Where are you going?"
"Could you at least drag us along a little less roughly? Your claw things are a bit tight!"
"It wants to take us to Abat-null and help us and protect us or something!"

Uh... I see something directly in the craftkind's path. ...Uh oh. I think I recognise it.
No. 2001409 ID: d677cc

Oh, it's this guy.

...what the hell is he even doing?

Anyway, it sounds like Mr. Craftkind here has pretty much decided "fuck the Empire I don't want to die," so you're probably okay in that regard.
No. 2001410 ID: 1854db

Not likely to be a problem. Truth hates the empire. Say hello and warn him that the empire's nearby and he should avoid seeing their symbols.

...if he's already seen a symbol and is under their influence, we may be in trouble.
No. 2001411 ID: c71597

Oh fuck, not this asshole. Lets see if we can just slink by him, although chances are he's just going to kill the craftkind and be chaotic about it, then drop some cryptic lines and leave you hanging. By the way, don't enter into any deals with it.
No. 2001412 ID: fd6d7e


Craftkind only say words with three letters, so they have to shorten everything. It takes some getting used to, especially since they haven't actually talked in all of recorded history until recently, but given a bit of quiet contemplation you should have the hang of it quickly. And now for the bad news...

Your time is short. Don't panic, but don't stop running. Who cares what it's saying? You can worry about that later! You can trust us when we say that it's not trying to hurt you, and Nyix understands it too.

Don't make any deals with Truth. We should know why, but unfortunately we made a deal with Truth, so now we don't.
No. 2001413 ID: 1854db

...tell him we want to talk about Sensation.
No. 2001414 ID: abb30a

Tell it "Come with me if you want to live!"
No. 2001415 ID: 27fe93

"craftkind non-hostile, empire pursuing" then keep running.
No. 2001416 ID: 8d7dd2
File 128944085499.png - (211.65KB , 640x480 , 5-6.png )


What sort of sensation? That seems like a really vague question!


I think we should ignore him then!

"Let's go to Abat-null! Go faster go faster go faster!"
"I don't think Abat-null is this way!"

agh it's going faster I didn't think that through it's shaking me around a bit more than I would like!

Agh! That Truth guy just appeared in front of us! The craftkind's acting all scared for some reason! It keeps trying to run but the thing is reappearing and laughing a lot!

"AhahAHAHAHAH! Release the umbrals, Empire servant, and you will leave as you arrived! Do I make myself clear, servant?"

The craftkind lets go and runs away. Me and Nyix gently drift to our normal hover heights above the ground! It feels good to be free but...

"Um, uh, excuse me, uhm, mister, uh, Truth, sir, don't hurt the craftkind, it was trying to help us?"

Nyix is staring wide eyed at Truth and slowly nodding while slowly floating behind me.

"Haha. My, you seem so afraid of me. Do I strike fear into your heart, little umbral? Are my eternal laugh and my unceasing smile not reassuring?"


"GOOD! THEY SHOULDN'T BE! AHahAHAHAHAH! The Empire has come to reclaim your world, umbrals! You will soon perish at their hands, I expect. But! I offer an alternative. From the kindness of my own body mass! All I ask is you accept, and I will take you where you must go!"


No. 2001417 ID: d677cc

Ask what the catch is.
No. 2001418 ID: d677cc

Oh, and for that matter, where it is you "need to be."
No. 2001419 ID: fd6d7e

It should be fine to take favors from Truth. Just don't get in its debt, because the price paid will always be unexpectedly severe. Truth was betrayed once, so it doesn't trust anyone anymore.

You haven't got anywhere in particular you need to be right now aside from away from the Empire, so you might as well let Truth take you somewhere!
No. 2001420 ID: 1854db

Truth HATES the Empire. I do not think it would send us anywhere that would lead to them winning. Accept.

...I kinda want to talk to Truth, but this isn't really the time. Maybe we could say that we have some old information about the entity known as Sensation that we recently remembered, and to talk later, perhaps.
No. 2001421 ID: c71597

Ask what the catch is.

Try to find some alternative to accepting. This bastard could show up suddenly demanding repayment for this act from your grandkids. And as you have noticed, he's kind of chaotic and undependable.

Unless the empire goons are right on your heels then there should be some other way to get away.
No. 2001422 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129202737647.png - (279.37KB , 640x480 , 5-7.png )


"What's the catch?"
"You insult me, umbral! This is an act of altruism guided by my own benevolence! Reject my kindness if you will, but do not be so quick to judge my acts as trickery!"
"Oh! I'm sorry, I just wanted to make sure! You're scary like you said you were and-"
"AHAhaAHAHAhahAH! There is no catch, umbral! I must apologise, but you are so amusing to me! And your companion is too scared to so much as utter a single word!"
"Uwix can we just go I think we should just go I think if we go to the coasts they won't be-"

I hear shouting! Truth looks behind us and laughs.

"My, they have changed so little over the past millennia. I can simply leave now and abandon you to them or I can take you to the place you are destined to be! Choose, umbrals!"


"Aaa! We'll go with you!"
"Excellent! AhahahAHAHa!"

uh oh what's happen-
No. 2001423 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129202747984.png - (227.69KB , 640x480 , 5-8.png )

-ing where am I aaah-

"Umbrals! This way! You will not last long within the void!"

-being pulled don't know what's-

"Here! Here is the nexus! She will be here soon, I have instructed her on what I will permit you to see and do here! I am needed elsewhere for now!"

-going on aaaaa oh oh wait oh wow

"Uwix are you still there I don't know if I'm still awake or alive right now my head is spinning this is worse than the time I tried floating upside down for a week-"
"Look there's things!
"What? What things?"

Me and Nyix kind of... stare.

This place is...


I see things flitting between glowy things. Are they...

"...It's... are those all portals to other places?"
"I don't know but it's glowy!"
"This is AMAZING!"

I see something come out of a glowy thing.

"Mhm. Visitors. Over here!"

It disappears back into the glowy thing it came out. Nyix starts floating towards it. She looks back at me for a second and keeps floating on.

...Zenith was nothing compared to this! I should go but I wanna go pop my head through a portal or something and see other worlds this is the best thing ever everrrr spirits this is amazing no I think I should go follow Nyix. Shouldn't get separated! Bad things could happen again!
No. 2001424 ID: 8d7dd2
File 12920274988.png - (360.49KB , 640x480 , 5-9.png )

this place is also strange

There's a lot of glowy orb things. They look different to the other glowy orb things. Like they're covered in different things or something.

Oh and I can see what the thing looks like now. It looks like an umbral. Oh it's probably a person I probably shouldn't use "it" I don't know what their gender is though this is all a little confusing-

"Mhhhm. Haven't seen two like you. You look familiar. Kind of remind me of me." I think it's a she. I dunno. She kinda seems like she's a she. Sounds like a she too. It's weird, it's like she's an umbral but she isn't! "Of course, I shall introduce myself first. You both are understandably bewildered. My name is Setisetala. Well, my preferred name, of course. I'm the curator here."

She smiles. I think? "I am sure Truth will return shortly, but until it does, would you like to know more about what this place is?"

Nyix nods really enthusiastically! I think. I can't tell, the world's shaking about too much with me nodding my head a lot.
No. 2001425 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129202751453.png - (147.98KB , 640x480 , 5-10.png )

"This place is a hall of... records. Information. Data. Memories. In fact, the most precious things held here are memories. Memories of many people, of many things, across world, across times, across realities. Everyone is welcome to experience these moments, and to add theirs to the catalogue."

She pauses.

"There is a minor, trivial cost, however, and one that I enforce on request. It's asked simply that for each thing you wish to learn, or discover, or even experience, you give us some moments of your own. Copies, I should clarify. It would be a terrible thing to rip your precious memories from your minds, and completely against everything I stand for."

She sighs. "Of course, certain employers do not agree with some of my principles, so there is also the option for you to donate memories altogether for a larger variety of choice and number of choices. It is all relative to whatever you wish to do."


After a long time Nyix raises her arm. "Do you have anything on-"
"Yes. If you can think of it, if you can name it, I can find it for you. Ours is an extensive catalogue here. If I can't find it, I will request it for you and take efforts to deliver your request to you as soon as I can."

Nyix looks thoughtful.

I don't know. Is there anything I should look into and stuff I shouldn't give away? I mean I... don't really wanna give away any of my memories completely but I think it'd be kinda neat to put as many of my memories in a place like this! You could like look at who I was forever!
No. 2001426 ID: c71597

Two things comes to mind. First, what is she? Because really that would be quite neat to know.

Second, are the memories of the thousandfold stored in here somewhere?

We probably can't get them back to "us". Truth likely knows about the connection and wouldn't make it that simple. But there might be way to get them into you. Which should serve to make you a hellt of a lot more powerful.
No. 2001427 ID: d677cc

I'd like to know what the heck she is as well.
No. 2001428 ID: 1854db

Yes... if you can get our memory of what, exactly, we learned from Truth, then we will be ahead of the game.

Also, learning how to resist the commands of the Empire, or how to make it so none of the people on the planet are affected by the commands... Oh, or you could find out exactly how the Resonance Weapon works. Or how to stop the Incardine Dream.

A minor concern would be... learning if the Chaos Creature called Sensation is alive and well.
No. 2001429 ID: 1854db

As for what memories you shouldn't share... well, anything related to Th, or anything unusual in your past you may have experienced should be kept secret. Nice memories such as hanging out with friends or learning stuff at school (wait do you even go to school?) would be good.
No. 2001430 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243540830.png - (202.40KB , 640x480 , 5-11.png )


"Uh, I don't wanna sound rude, but... what are you?"
Nyix looks at me and then back to Setatela. Is that her name? "I want to know too, if that's alright."

Setisala looks around and I think she looks thoughtful. "Given as this is personal information about me, and I have no qualms with telling my story to other creations of the Empire - and yes, I did notice that - I'll give you this for free."

"Creations of the Empire?"
"I don't know I think long ago umbrals were made by magic or something it's not entirely clear to me right now but more importantly how did you know that?"

She smiles- wow that is a lot of teeth. "I had my suspicions, which you confirmed for me. Thank you."

She holds up an arm and a dark ball moves over to her. She holds it out to us. We touch it-
No. 2001432 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243547413.png - (159.31KB , 640x480 , 5-12.png )

My name is Setisetala. This is a name I chose for myself. I didn't have a name given to me.

I am a creation of the Empire, Opus 8. Like many of the Empire's Opus creations, however, I reject them entirely. I don't think I can really tell you what it's like to be an Opus, but I might be able to give you some insight.

When I was first aware of my surroundings, of myself, of my body and mind, I was treated like any other soldier to be trained. I already had a large set of basic knowledge about the world and skills relevant to my capabilities and I didn't know why. I wasn't given a chance to ask why, either. All I knew was following orders. I didn't question if there was anything else. It's standard operating practice for the Empire to make sure creations remain compliant and loyal.

I was never aware of this then, but my design deviated from how it was originally intended. The main change was to make me female instead of male, and the reason for this was related to another Opus. Opus 7. At the time of me recalling this, he has yet to decide upon a name for himself like I have. I have kept trying to offer suggestions- sorry, I'm straying off track.

Some other part of the Empire had studied the designs for us and were choosing features from both of our designs, altering them and combining them to make a template for a new servant-species to assist in the disabling and repair of kaier-based technology. But Opus designs weren't intended to be combined, unlike other Empire designs which allow for such possibilities. The templates produced simply failed to produce viable creations. ...It makes me shudder to think of the painful and brief lives those early prototypes must have lived.

No. 2001433 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243550598.png - (174.01KB , 640x480 , 5-13.png )

But I shall stray no further. My design was changed to female, and two weeks after I was created I was introduced to Opus 7. Of course, things progressed about as awkwardly and quietly as you'd expect with two creations completely unable to comprehend anything unrelated to following orders to destroy something. Of course, in hindsight the entire plan made some sense. The Empire can just as easily create a template from an organism as it can the other way around, and it wasn't above exploiting natural processes to get results where their artificial design processes failed.

Every week or so we would be brought together in the same room and left to our own devices. I imagine we were probably being monitored just in case we ended up deciding to try killing each other, given as that was mostly all we knew. Eventually, however, we would spend our time together talking without end. Then after that, we started talking about each other and... well, this is meant to be my story. These details can go somewhere else.

But to answer the question you might have, yes. Through a combination of lack of having anyone else to talk to, and probably a fair amount of suggestion from Empire staff around us, we did become enamoured with one another. Unusually for an Empire project, it went exactly as intended and had the results they were expecting. The templates were created from our offspring, destroying them in the process. I'm sure whatever servant-species they intended to create from them has been in existence for generations now. I was engineered specifically not to care for the fate of my young, so despite knowing exactly what would happen to them, I gave them away freely.

This all happened on Logos. It was a pleasant world. Having no other frame of reference, 7 and I were both happy with our lives. Then Truth arrived.

No. 2001434 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243552947.png - (396.42KB , 640x480 , 5-14.png )

It claimed it was freeing the Opuses. It claimed it was sympathetic to our situation. We didn't understand. It told us that while we lived the way we did, we never would understand. It pointed out that we had given everything that was rightfully ours, including our children, to the Empire, eagerly, because we did not understand how abhorrent this was.

After it became clear we couldn't comprehend the notion of freedom it was offering us, it changed its approach. It told us, simply, that if we were going to spend our lives as slaves, it would far rather prefer we were its slaves than the Empire's.

We were taken here. We were given a place in the new society it was trying to build along with its partner. It assigned me to the task of curator for its storage of information. I have free access to lifetimes' worth of information. From time to time here I soak in the life histories of others. It's almost addicting. I find I cannot recall any but the most vivid details, but I feel this is a more pleasant alternative to being permanently burdened with the memories of many lives.

As I think these thoughts, 7 is beside me right now. I don't know if he is also pouring his memories and experiences into an ethereal orb like the one before me, or if he is simply watching me. I don't know what my life would be like if I had never met him. Would I have learnt compassion for any other living thing? The root of my understanding of the suffering of others came from seeing 7 sad or in pain. It would never have come to me while I killed for the Empire indiscriminately.

I will go create orbs for some of my memories in more detail now. I hope whoever hears this, feels this, knows this knows a little more about who I am. ...or, potentially, who I was.

No. 2001435 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243555371.png - (184.60KB , 640x480 , 5-15.png )

Selesala takes our arms off the orb gently.

That was... I'm not.. what just happened?

"...Oh. I forgot I separated my memories out."

She looks at us very carefully.

"You really remind me of me. I will be very, very interested in looking through whatever memories you have to leave."

Nyix looks at her arms and back to Seritala. "...Template? ...Servant-species? ...Are we..." She trails off and holds her arms around her.

"Oh, and do you have the memories of the Thousandfold?"
"Mhm. Truth told me not to give those out to anyone unless they were on a specific list of approved purchasers. I know the names on that list and what they look like. I'm sorry, but I can't let you buy them for any price."
"You said Truth knows how to resist Empire commands! Can we get that?"
"That'll be worth... hm... about two years worth of common memories, a month's worth of rarely shared memories, or maybe a secret or two. Per individual. Truth would definitely say I am undercharging considerably for access to this but I know all too well what it is like to be in the thrall of the Empire."
"What's a secret? ...For this, I mean!"
"Something you've held onto for all your life and that maybe only the closest to you are even aware of. Something you would never tell anyone because it would hurt or even kill you, or those around you. There are memories here that only secrets can buy."

I... uh... I'm not sure I have any of those. I think. I think I don't have any of those. ...maybe I do but I'm not giving them away.

Nope. No secrets. None.
No. 2001436 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243558765.png - (157.54KB , 640x480 , 5-16.png )

Nyix leans towards Setisala. She... looks at me kind of weirdly and whispers to her.

Then Setiseta looks at me and back to Nyix, points at me and smiles.

"Is he Uwix?"
Nyix looks flustered. "Yes but that was- Uwix that was a private question can you I mean um never mind!" She smiles as widely as she can and there is no doubt in my mind at all she is trying to hide something from me what is it what is she hiding
"Why is it private?! We need as much information as we can get about everything so we can stand a chance against the Empire!"
"No it's not important it's a silly question never mind Uwix you can ask some more important things!"
Oh. Well, if Nyix thinks it's a silly question it's probably a silly question that I'll have to keep asking her about some other time.

Nyix holds onto her arm. "Oh, and don't play all of our cards yet. I want to ask some things about this Empire and about some other important things. Magic things. It was just a silly question."
No. 2001437 ID: 8d7dd2
File 129243561348.png - (208.27KB , 640x480 , 5-17.png )

"Okay. Um. Resonance. How does Resonance work? Also how can we stop the Incardinine Dream from coming to Ter? Also something about a chaos creature called Sensation."

Selesita stares at me. ...Did I say something wrong?

"...who are you two to be concerned about such things? I find it unlikely either of you two would know anything about Sensation unless you're acting on someone else's behalf. No, don't be scared. I will not allow anyone to be harmed in this place and I have already caused enough harm myself to last for at least three lifetimes. I am not harming anything or anyone again."

She puts an arm to her mouth. "I'm more idly curious than anything else. Who are you working for? I'm tempted to say 'Thousandfold' based on your earlier question, given how usually only its agents are ever aware of its existence, but if you could confirm that for me I could simply give you that information about resisting the command glyph for the price of confirming my suspicions. Add in a few secrets or some months of memories from the two of you and I should be able to tell you about the Resonance and the Dream as well."

...Do I do it? Do I tell her the truth? I won't tell her anything about Th or... weird things that happened to me in the past. I could tell her about the times me and Nyix went sailing together or the stuff I learned when I was in school like you said. But what about revealing I'm working for you guys, I think? Or you guys are working for me I'm not sure how it works either way what do I say what do I say
No. 2001438 ID: 87e86b

She doesn't seem that hostile, and doesn't Truth already know about our connection to you?

Tell her. She's smart, and has pretty much already figured it out. Also: you're a bad liar, Uwix, so you wouldn't be able to bluff her anyway.
No. 2001439 ID: c71597

She can probably figure it out on her own anyway. Take the deal. Also, ask her who are allowed to buy our memories. That one would be rather important to have.

Oh, by the way, say Hi to the mother of all the sentient species on your planet. Was probably from her children that you were derived through some arcanotech. So you could ask her if she has any magic nullifying powers and if she coulc give you some tips on how to use that.
No. 2001440 ID: 1854db

Tell her that we're working for you. Because that's basically true. The Thousandfold helps whoever it is currently attached to. Tell her we just want to know if Sensation is okay... but it's not important enough to trade anything big for.

As for the other things... Hmm. Learning about the Dream might be useless actually, considering we've been told that it cannot be stopped, and the price is rather high. But definitely trade some memories and/or secrets to her for information about the Resonance.
No. 2001441 ID: e973f4

Telling her the truth seems like a reasonable idea.
No. 2001442 ID: 0d5c06
File 129315483178.png - (323.20KB , 640x480 , 5-18.png )


"They're kind of working for me, I think. But they want me to do some things for them too, I think, as well."
"Excellent. This wouldn't be the first time it's shown up here."

Nyix waves can't-figure-out-her-name over and whispers to her. She smiles again.

"It's an ancient and terrible power. It's the collective of souls that refused to die. It's many things to many people. They say when planets die, it grows in number and power. Some say it's the ultimate incarnation of retribution and justice itself, others say it's really too ethereal to be considered an incarnation of anything. Those it has guided it has lead to glory and ruin, and quite a few times in that exact order. It's also, aside from the Four, something that really, really seems to scare Truth, and I have never quite learned why."
"Uh, what is this?"

She smiles even more. "The thing that's working for you, of course."



I, uh. You guys are pretty well known, aren't you?
No. 2001443 ID: 0d5c06
File 129315485245.png - (206.55KB , 640x480 , 5-19.png )


Mother of... what?

"Who is allowed to buy the Thousandfold's memories?"
"If you have to ask, you're not allowed to know, I'm afraid."
"Also... do you have any magic nullifying powers because the Thousandfold thinks you're our mother or something?"

She pauses and looks lost in thought. "I was considering that myself... I do have an innate talent for antimagic casting." She looks at Nyix. "But then, so does she. Likely some consequence of drift based upon... your species is free, correct?"

Nyix blinks. "...I think we are? ...I have talent in what? I mean, I know I'm a good sailor, but... what was that other thing?"
"Your magic potential. You're hiding it from me. I can still tell it's there, but for a non-Opus creation, it's truly remarkable!"

Nyix looks a little bewildered. "I... um, thank you! I'm not sure what anything you just said is, but, um... yes!"
Selala folds her arms. "Really? Because I don't think someone from a servant-species would have that level of competence without practice."
"I... I might have practiced a little..."
"Practiced what?"

Nyix waves her arms around and little dark shadowy tendrils form in the air and disappear. "Magic. It's nothing major. I mean, we're meant to be good at it, right? All of us. Except maybe cenesu. But they're better in a different way because they can see it and change it."

Setali looks at me. "Species-wide proficiency in the domain of antimagic. Makes sense. Except you don't seem to have that..?"

No. 2001444 ID: 0d5c06
File 129315486946.png - (171.58KB , 640x480 , 5-20.png )

"No, it seems that you have a distinctly different feel to your potential, Uwix. You... what is that? ...No, actually, what is that? The only thing I've noticed like that is-"

She freezes up.

"Let's conclude this arrangement quickly, shall we? I'm sure Truth will arrive any moment to come and collect you."

"Okay I want to know about Resonance and also Sensation and if I can the Dream!"
"And I want to know how I can be better at antimagic and some stuff about the Empire so I know what it is and why it's bad and how I can protect myself!"

She looks... extremely nervous. She's still staring at me.

"...Ha, ha, how about I find that for you and you can pay me back some other time? I'm sure time is precious and if Truth protests it can sort it out itself. Here, give me some time-"

She soars away and collects sphere thingies!
No. 2001445 ID: 0d5c06
File 129315488793.png - (175.06KB , 640x480 , 5-21.png )

"Here. Take them. I have copies. Whenever you want to access the information in them simply put your arm over them and relax."
"You're giving them to us?!"
"Oh, wow! Thanks!"

Nyix is holding onto the memory spheres or whatever they are. They don't seem to work unless you actually want to trigger them.

She nods quickly. "Yes, yes, I'm sure it'll be fine, now I'm sure Truth's outside so I think you should leave as quickly as you can so he knows where to find you."

Okay, even I can tell she's panicking about something.

I don't know if going outside is a good idea. I don't know how safe that green place is.
No. 2001446 ID: c2c011

No real problem for you, because of what she is freaked out about. You're sort of the chosen one for one of the Golden Empire's most important creations, that has sort of gone a bit rogue. Likely one of the things that monitored her growth and even created her. She's sort of panicking because she thinks it might notice her and include her or something.

But that should probably not be any big problem. Anyway, lets leave her now. It's not nice to upset your mum like that.
No. 2001447 ID: e973f4

Yeah, alright, head on out I suppose.
No. 2001448 ID: 1e9d01

Let's exit swiftly. The first thing you should read is how to defend yourself against the Empire. After that, the information about Resonance. Hmm, as for the other things... Well, try to read the info on Sensation at a point when Truth isn't there to witness that you have it. I suspect he would not react positively.
No. 2001449 ID: dbd557
File 129390106159.png - (287.77KB , 640x480 , 5-22.png )


Oh. ...Oh, I should probably go. I don't think I understand the "mother of your species" thing but she seems like a nice person and I don't want to upset her.


Me and Nyix leave the swirly blue place and are at... not the swirly green place. It's some sort of swirly black place? With colourful light things in the distance.

It's cold. Me and Nyix put an arm around each other to keep warmer.

what the-

"I'll be taking those back. Those aren't hers to give."
No. 2001450 ID: dbd557
File 129390108225.png - (186.01KB , 640x480 , 5-23.png )

It's like that thing that got Nyix a day or two ago! It also sounds different to Truth! Help! Help!!

"Hmm... no, I think I'll let you keep the countermagic primer. As for Sensation... well, for some reason, I have a hunch Sensation is currently fine, no thanks to the entity it came to rely on abandoning it in its time of greatest need. You want to know what the Resonance and the Dream are, Thousandfold? I'll tell you."d

"Uwix what's happening is that thing going to eat us I'm scared Uwix-"
"Sssh I think it's talking to the thing that's working for us!" Stay calm stay calm maybe it can smell fear be calm it isn't going to hurt me right is it or Nyix is it going to hurt me or Nyix
No. 2001451 ID: dbd557
File 129390110051.png - (293.06KB , 640x480 , 5-24.png )

"I will start with the Dream. First, you must know how the sserreds that built it fight. When they enter the battlefield, they do not leave alive. They fight not with the intent to kill but the intent to die, and in dying to bring their foes down with them. They link their lives to their foes. Sserreds are masters of linking magic."

"The Dream is a horrific structure designed to house millions of sserreds and amplify their linking magic. When it is used, it is filled with the dying, the elderly, the terminally ill, any that have volunteered to die in the name of the Machine. The Dream links as much of the population of a world as it can to the sserreds onboard. And then, with this achieved, it kills them. Instantly. I was there at Aegis when it was first used. Anywhere between a quarter to half of the population of the Empire's most populated, most defended world died in an instant."

"The only weapon I know of worse than the Dream is the Resonance."
No. 2001456 ID: dbd557
File 129390128661.png - (287.06KB , 640x480 , 5-25.png )

"The Resonance of the Empire was built as a last resort, and if the Empire is having to resort to it, I find it an indication that our chance to finally topple the Empire altogether has finally arrived. But I digress."

"The substance they call kaier is truly miraculous in its uses and its existence. For the Empire and Machine alike, kaier and magic are all but inseparable. From kaier, magic is possible, and with magic, kaier is possible. But while the Empire thrives on it, their enemies need it simply to exist."

"There is... I will call it a signal, but it is not quite the case. Almost a harmonic frequency. It shatters kaier, and in shattering it amplifies this signal by the tiniest fraction. The decatur were the first to realise this. When they fought amongst their own, they created, used, and subsequently banned and destroyed weapons exploiting this fact."

"The Resonance of the Empire broadcasts this signal. At an intensity beyond imagining, across multiple worlds, across multiple universes, at an intensity that every single tiny cluster of kaier would itself broadcast it far enough to reach every kaier crystal within Empire and Machine space."
No. 2001457 ID: dbd557
File 129390132063.png - (464.44KB , 640x480 , 5-26.png )

"It will do this first by draining the life of Ter and converting it into usable energy, and then opening a portal to the Chaos, tapping into the energy there. Then it will broadcast, and it will not stop broadcasting until Ter falls into the Chaos altogether."

"The Resonance of the Empire would destroy magic entirely, and it would bring with it the extinction of the decatur, the sserreds, and any creature with an innate magic potential, and could alter the Chaos to such an extent that chaos creatures can never form or survive."

Link broken. New link forged.

And yes. I am Sensation. Were you concerned about me? It might have been a little more useful some time ago when I was captured and experimented on. I will try to show no animosity, knowing your nature, but you left me to die on Logos, whether of your own will or not. What do you have to say to me after millennia, Thousandfold?
No. 2001458 ID: c2c011
File 129390242745.png - (159.22KB , 347x351 , b80a8b2f85f43599727be43bcdb660e9.png )

Problem Sensation?

Oh, and how did you manage to get chaos creatures to do your bidding and crap? You guys mostly don't seem very bright or prone to cooperation.
No. 2001459 ID: 20fc85

Trust us. If we had the ability we woulda stood by you... but we were kinda... torn away...

So, Sensation. How have you progressed? I remember when you first began forming conscious and thought. And you got the poison resistance...

oh god, what happened to your friend?
No. 2001460 ID: 6834bc

Uh, no.

From what we, or I, can remember, it wasn't our choice to be ripped away from you. Nor was it our choice that you be experimented on. And though it can't answer for what happened, and perhaps it's not worth anything, we - or I - am sorry.

We do, however, have the Dream and Resonance to deal with. We need to stop them both. Could you help us save this planet and its people - would you help us save this planet and its people? Please? Sort of terribly businesslike of me, I suppose.

Also, don't know how much help the Guardians will be, but the majority of them seem to hate (or maybe just dislike) the Empire.
...So I guess that's something.
No. 2001461 ID: 0b2a05

Leave you to die? More like was torn away from and thrown away. It certainly wasn't what we wanted, and not something we could help. We tried to look for you, but look at this, we were linked to umbrals. UMBRALS. We're not exactly the high class power forces required to find you.

Sorry though.. we should have looked harder. are you alright? How do you live without a shell? And please tell us you're not insane and crazy
No. 2001462 ID: 1854db

Sensation! I'm so glad to see you're alright. We didn't abandon you, we were ripped from you by the Empire's scientists and shoved in a crystal to rot! WE HATE THEM. Only recently have we remembered your journey. I was really, really worried about you.

...so are you and Truth still friends? Or... more than friends? Hell, maybe you can tell us why Truth is the way is is. What happened?
No. 2001463 ID: 701a19

We didn't want to leave you, but we were ripped away. As soon as we recovered those memories we immediately set about trying to help. It felt terrible to not be able to help you, and we can only imagine how much worse it must have been for you to find out we didn't even remember-

... we go through this every time we meet, don't we.
No. 2001464 ID: d677cc

Well, the whole universe appears to be fucked, for one.

At least we remember who you are! By some kinda fluke of luck we retain the memories of that. We don't remember a goddamn thing between being separated from you and meeting a cenesu apparently millenia later. You can apparently thank one of our previous iterations plus your old friend Truth for that! What a bro, eh.

Honestly we were kind of extremely worried that when we finally found you again you'd have died.
No. 2001465 ID: 3e6377
File 129825046057.png - (409.53KB , 640x480 , 5-27.png )


It has been a long and arduous struggle, but there are others of my kind I have rescued from the madness of the Chaos. We are creating a new society here in a space between worlds, far away from mortal interference and relatively protected from certain forces from within the Chaos. I tell you this now because I have absolute confidence that by the time you are able to bring harm to us, we will be well defended.


This is the first time this reunion has happened. As for my sanity, what measure can I use? My own kind are largely what you would call insane, save for the precious few who we work to protect and who protect us. Mortal standards vary across species and cultures.

I like to think I have remained rational despite all I've been through, however.


Truth remains my greatest ally, and-
No. 2001466 ID: 3e6377
File 129825048651.png - (450.59KB , 640x480 , 5-28.png )

Link broken. Link reverting to Uwix.

"Hello, Sensation."
"Truth! I-"
"Planning on giving away my secrets, were you?"
"No! I'd never betray you like that, Truth! You know that!"
"We have to be careful, you know. They're all out to destroy us. The Empire, the Machine, they're hunting us down and killing us one by one. You need to stay here, Sensation. You're safe here. So few even know my true nature when I'm inside that shell!"
"Truth, let go of me."
"Of course, the Thousandfold will never see me outside my shell! And if they do, I'll simply tear those memories away from them like I have done so many times before!"
"Please let go of me. You're starting to hurt me."
"Oh, Sensation, we're two halves of a greater whole! How can I ever let you out of my sight now that the Thousandfold has seen you alive and me outside my shell?! Aha! Ahahaha! Let's just deal with that situation first before they learn any more and take you away from me again! HahAHAHAH!"

hi guys i'm more than a little terrified right now and-
No. 2001467 ID: 3e6377
File 129825050684.png - (388.45KB , 640x480 , 5-29.png )

everything is sideways tasting purple feeling kind of high pitched aaaaaaaaa heeeellp
No. 2001468 ID: 3e6377
File 129825052057.png - (207.07KB , 640x480 , 5-30.png )

-oof. Now where are we?

I don't recognise this place at all!

"...Teteke, is this sort of thing common for Rillford?"
"No. No, it is not common for two umbrals to suddenly appear above a table. In fact, I've never seen that happen before, and feel a little disturbed that I find it the most normal thing to have happened in the past couple of days."

Nyix is just staring wordlessly around in confusion.

"...hello where are we please don't hurt us"
"We won't hurt you. Spirits. Someone get some more chairs or something. We've got a lot to ask our unexpected guests here."

No. 2001469 ID: 3e6377
File 129825053213.png - (219.09KB , 640x480 , 5-31.png )

End of Chapter 5

World Summary: Towers Active: 2/8 Incarnadine Dream Progress: 12% Unified Terean Influence: 20% Golden Empire Influence: 43% Machine Influence: 37% Party Status: All Okay!

No. 2001470 ID: 1854db

>the machine is hunting down and killing chaos creatures

No. 2001472 ID: 701a19

Say: "Um, thousandfold says hi?"
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